Saturday, May 26, 2007

Thirty Years On

Too busy yesterday to notice that it was the thirtieth anniversary since the release of this:

Of course that was the date it opened in America. It would take a little while longer to arrive in England and my neck of the woods back then. Remarkably it opened on only thirty-two screens. By comparison Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End opened this past week at 4,362 theaters across America.

I remember seeing Star Wars as a kid and really enjoying it. But I can also distinctly remember the feeling on emptiness afterwards. After all the hype, was that it? It didn’t stop me from going to see The Empire Strikes Back a few years later, bunking off from school when I should have been revising for my O-levels. Then came the third film with the teddy bears. Oh dear.

I suppose by then it was already about the merchandising, rather than a good story tell told. It was only browsing the Los Angeles Times’ website today that I found out about the celebrations. Their lead article concentrated on the convention’s 24-hour supermarket selling expensive moulded plastic.

There is a school of thought that Star Wars had a very negative effect on filmmaking, sacrificing story for spectacle. Certainly it’s an idea I’d subscribe to. Made on a budget of $11 million, Star Wars for all its faults had an innocence and exuberance. Twenty-eight years later and made for an inflated $113 million, Revenge of the Sith, bloated with digital wizardry and sparse on story, appeared soulless and calculated.*

* Based on the few clips I managed to sit through.


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