I first saw Star Wars in 1977. I can’t remember the exact date but I know where I saw it and who with. I also know the affect it had on my 9 year old mind.
Did Episode VII respect my childhood memories at the same time as entertaining the adult I became?
What about Episodes I to III?
In this article I discuss my experiences rather than review the film. There are very mild spoilers as you can guess some things regarding the film from my comments. I do not however discuss the plot. Far too early for that in my opinion.
I tweeted yesterday about how deeply the original film affected me.
I lived in Norfolk at the time and we went to the Odeon in Norwich. My Mum & Dad and my older Sister & Brother. We went with my Dad’s friends Brian & Jean and their children. I can’t actually remember their sons being there but I remember my friend Tanya, she will have been 7 I think.
The scope of Star Wars (it wasn’t known as Episode IV: A New Hope yet) really blew my mind open. I had no idea a film could be like that.
My imagination was set alight. 1977 really was a year that saw my mind open up to stories. That was when I started writing for my own enjoyment. I enjoyed writing for school work before that but 2000AD and Star Wars made me write my own stories, to get them out of my head.
Empire Strikes Back I saw at the cinema in East Dereham. I was that little bit older of course but the affect of the film was similar. Then Return of the Jedi, we were in Yorkshire now and I saw that in the cinema in Yeadon, now long gone.
What was it about Star Wars that fired me up so much?
For one it was the Saturday matinee feel to it yet with epic scope. The myth that was woven. There was a history to the story. Who was Luke’s Father, what had happened to him. Why was Vader so bad and if someone like Vader served someone else just how bad was that someone.
I didn’t know at the time that George Lucas had borrowed from Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress at the time. Though I have since seen that film and heard Lucas explain the inspiration it had given him. I’d seen that inspiration as coming from Westerns – understandable given how much of Kurosawa has been borrowed for that genre (Magnificent Sven/Seven Samurai for example).
Later I enjoyed introducing my children to the films. A proud Father I was when my 4 year-old son pulled his woolly hat over his face and chased his 10 year-old sister saying he was Vader and she was Leia. Star Wars was firing their imagination too.
Science Fiction doesn’t need everything explaining. Leaving things vague can give more than explaining everything. That’s some of what let me down with Episodes I to III. Over all I enjoyed them but certain things just didn’t work in my opinion.
Midichlorians were the worst part, along with Anakin’s ‘virgin birth’. The Force was better as a vague, mystical ‘thing’. If they didn’t want to introduce a Father figure for Anakin, just have him dead, sold to another owner or just don’t mention him.
My children enjoyed Episodes I to III more than I did. My son loved Jar-Jar, a character that took the childishness of Episode I too far for me. My Daughter loved Yoda and R2D2, much better choices.
As I say I did enjoy them but they tarnished the series for me.
Then the news that Disney had bought Lucasfilm and Star Wars. This was interesting news. From day one of hearing this I actually was fairly positive. People that know me will have heard me say that I thought Disney would make good Star Wars films, returning more to the original trilogy. I’ve repeatedly said this to friends in my private life and colleagues at work.
Now I’ve seen the proof.
Episode VII isn’t a matinee, good thing as those times have gone, but there is just the right amount of the feel of the originals. The film is a little more ‘grown up’ but on the whole it is suitable for children.
It is no secret that the main cast return and we do get to see those characters as mature versions. Is it Han solo or just Harrison Ford? It is Han, the whole thing feels right in that way.
The trailers really haven’t given away any plot, I was kept guessing throughout and a few assumptions I had made were proven correct and a few so far seem to be way off. There are also a few things we didn’t see that I hoped we would, there is always Episodes VIII and IX though.
Some great lines are in this film and Chewie delivers a few great punchlines that had the audience laughing along with the fuzzball.
The new cast are well introduced and in most cases I really liked what the film does with them. There is still plenty for us to learn about most of them.
Again there is plenty of backstory to give everything depth. We get some explanations about who is who and how they got to be where they are. There are plenty of unanswered questions though.
Importantly to me some of the vagueness is back; I love that.