Monday, July 6, 2015

Amanda & the Star Wars Summer -Episode I

Amanda & the Star Wars Summer

There's this pattern I fall into. I watch a movie, fall in love with it, geek out about it, hop on board the fandom, never seem to have time to rewatch it and instead sort of ruminate on my own idealistic version of it.

I didn't realize just how long it had been since I last watched Star Wars. At least five or six years, which is ridiculous to me. How did time fly by so fast?

But when one has 'ALL THE STAR WARS BOOKS' emblazoned on her reading list, and the release of Episode VII at the end of the year, a girl has got to start out right.

Before I could even bring myself to pop the tape in (that's right, VHS tape), I stood there with A New Hope* in the one hand, and The Phantom Menace in the other. After all, what order does one go about watching the series? My aunt watches the original trilogy first, and then the newer, because this must be the way George Lucas intended.

What about my incessant need to watch things in chronological order? What if I miss something because I didn't watch Episodes I, II, and III first?!

So I decided the only way to watch Star Wars and satisfy everyone is to watch the original trilogy, the newer trilogy, and finish off with the original trilogy again. That way you get the series in order of production, as George Lucas intended, and then chronologically so you can watch the story fully unfold.

I hear that snicker. Do I really think this idealized viewing pattern can be achieved? With how often I can sneak movie time? Well a girl can dream!

Han Shot First

The moment I truly realized how long it had been since my last Star Wars fest was the shootout with Greedo. That isn't really a shootout. Or, at least, it wasn't supposed to be.

I have not actually watched Star Wars since being introduced to the Han Shot First mantra. Nor until now did how realize how irking (and obvious) the cover up was.

I always saw it online -"Oh, yeah, Han shot first. It's a thing."

But actually watching the scene?

"HAN TOTALLY SHOT FIRST! What were they thinking?! Don't mess with the script! Don't change that scene! Han shot first because it totally fits his character and the situation. You want me to believe that Han just sat there while Greedo was two feet away and fired at him? And missed?! GIVE ME THAT T-SHIRT!"

Leia is Actually Super-Awesome

I've been through two big Star Wars phases. The Jedi Knight phase in which the Force and Luke Skywalker had my complete attention, and The Han Solo phase in which the scruffy nerf-herder takes center stage. (Pretty sure this is normal for all female Star Wars fans.)

Incidentally, this time around, I have come to the realization of just how completely awesome Leia is. 

You want a strong female character?
This chick endured torture of the worst kind, was a spy, a politician, *and* a rebel leader.

You're tired of the damsel in distress having to be rescued all the time?
Leia rescued her rescuers after they failed to rescue her.

She had the strategy and calm to secure the Death Star plans when her capture was imminent, she was the only one smart enough to figure out the Imperials were tracking them back to the rebel base, and when Luke tells her to hold his blaster she shoots the bad guys with it.

About those CGI improvements...

In theory, it's a great idea. George Lucas obviously has a great imagination, and the technology of the time hadn't caught up with him. So it makes sense that, as the technology becomes more flexible, he should go in and expound on his original idea. It should be wonderful!

In theory.

But I've decided it's more distracting than anything. There's a certain quality to the original footage, let's call it 'classic'. It's not hi-tech by today's standards, but you know it was hi-tech by that day's standard. It all has the same classic quality, the same authentic feel.

Throw in some ten-year-old CGI improvements and what have you got? Disharmony. Grating opposites. A jerk back to reality. Like the impossibly wild blaster shot from Greedo's gun, I can tell it doesn't belong. It doesn't mesh with the surrounding ambiance of authenticity I'm reveling in, the 'classic' 70's special effects, and it does the one thing a storyteller never wants to do.
It takes me out of the story and reminds me that it's just that, a story.

(On this note, I do need to update from my VHS editions anyway. Any recommendations on which release to get?)

So that's one movie down. I'm reveling in this rediscovered treasure. Books are gathering in piles on my nightstand, audiobooks are weighing down my MP3, and more T-shirts are undoubtedly in my future.

Bring. It. On.

*In my house, the title A New Hope doesn't actually exist. Episode IV doesn't always cut it either. "It wasn't called 'A New Hope' when I saw it," my mother says. "It's Star Wars, the original, the end."

There's more where this came from!
Amanda & the Star Wars Summer


  1. Our church just finished building for At the Movies, and our whole lobby, kids area, and hospitality is decorated like Star Wars. The Millennium Falcon hangs from the ceiling.

    1. I'm kind of jealous right now. It also makes me want a Millennium Falcon for my ceiling.