As the saga becomes complete,
friends, colleagues, readers and myself have gathered together to share
our thoughts and feelings about a series of movies that changed the way
we look at cinema forever. As 'Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith'
hits silver screens around the world, the story that started a long time
ago in a galaxy far, far away might be coming to an end but it has forever
changed not only movies but people's lives…
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Wars I Love You"… "I Know"
I was five years old
when 'Star Wars' came into my life and I have to say it changed me forever.
I know this sounds clichéd and most males who grow up in the seventies and
early eighties might say the same but for me it really did. Star Wars was
the movie that really opened my eyes to film.
At that early age
my parents only ever took me to Disney movies, so my film going experience
was fluffy, animated characters that sang and lived happily ever after. The
most traumatic experience I ever witnessed was Bambi's mother dying and even
then I said to my mother "she's only dead', so it really didn't bother me.
This all changed when my Dad read to me 'A long time ago, in a galaxy far,
As soon as I saw the
Star Destroyer engulf the entire screen, my life was never going to be the
same. From then on I wanted all the toys and my Mum would travel miles to
the remotest toyshops to find that elusive action figure that no other shop
had. I entered competitions on 'Swap Shop' to win the Millennium Falcon (which
I didn't win, damn you Noel Edmonds), I ate 'Shreddies' because you got free
Star Wars transfers with them and I was hooked on 'The Muppet Show', always
hoping that Luke Skywalker and the rest of my heroes would be the special
guest stars again. It also changed the way I looked at film.
From then on every
film would be compared to Star Wars, whatever its genre. This wasn't about
the special effects, the characters or storyline, it was about how the movie
made me feel and nothing has come close to that feeling of watching Star Wars
for the first time. The excitement and the sheer sense of spectacle that left
my jaw on the floor for the entire duration has only been matched twice more
in my film going life… when I watched 'The Empire Strikes Back' and 'Return
of the Jedi'.
Not really sequels
but continuations of the saga, the original trilogy, as it would become known,
became the corner stone of a generation's love for film. 'Empire' is arguably
one of the best follow-ups ever totally rewriting the way that people viewed
sequels and it is easy the best Star Wars film to date. It had everything,
a dark storyline, brilliantly realised characters, outstanding special effects
and a twist that no one has ever come close to bettering (Are you taking note
M. Night Shyamalan). While 'Jedi' is the weakest link of the three (mainly
due to the cuddly Ewoks that obviously a commercial venture), it is the complete
story of Luke Skywalker's quest to become a Jedi Knight, the rise of the Rebellion
and the fall of the Empire that totally grips you. This is what cinema is
all about and would become the benchmark that everyone else would aspire to
What Star Wars fans
knew was this was only part of the story. The original trilogy was episodes
IV, V and VI but they never expected to have to wait seventeen years for the
first of the 'Prequel' trilogy to hit the silver screen. For me, 1999 was
the year that was going to change my movie going experience again. I was looking
forward to seeing the Jedi at the height of their power, the Republic and
the first seeds of the rise of the Darkside of the Force been sown. 'The Phantom
Menace' delivered all of these promises but it didn't quite capture the same
magic as the original three.
trade blockades, appalling dialogue and Jar Jar Binks made 'Episode I' not
quite the return to that galaxy far, far away that the fans were expecting.
The 'Phantom Menace' wasn't a movie made for the fans but a film made for
children with all the marketing and commercial opportunities pushed to the
maximum. There were some standout moments in the film such as seeing the Jedi
at the height of their powers, the final confrontation with Darth Maul, the
pod race and the way that Senator Palpatine/Darth Sidious manipulates his
way into power, but this wasn't the full Star Wars experience that the fans
were expecting. Instead we have Anakin as a young boy, who is already a gifted
pilot and engineer, and his discovery by Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi on
Tatooine and the adventures that follow his involvement with the Jedi. For
me, while I did enjoy the sheer spectacle of the film, the movie lacked that
certain something that made the original trilogy so great, great character
Hopes were raised
three years later with 'Attack of the Clones', the second episode of the prequel
series. Set ten years later, we picked up the story after a failed attempt
on the life of Senator Padmé Amidala. A now grown up Anakin Skywalker and
his master Obi-Wan Kenobi are assigned to protect the senator but on their
investigation of the assignation plot, they discover that the Separatist Movement
has a much larger plan in mind. The second episode had a lot more action,
more plot and better characterisation and nearly recaptured the essence of
the original movies but it still failed dismally with the dialogue. All you
have to do is watch the scenes between Anakin and Padmé and you will cringe
at every word they speak. All of this was forgiven however when Yoda walks
onto the screen during the final confrontation with Count Dooku. This was
pure Star Wars and what the fans had been crying out for.
Now in 2005, the final
movie in the Star Wars franchise is about to hit the silver screen. The fear
of dying or catching a terminal disease and having to ask Noel Edmonds to
grant me a Christmas wish that George Lucas would let see the film before
I pop my clogs is starting to abate. Finally I will get to see the film that
I have been waiting to see ever since the prequel trilogy was announced. Everything
has been building up to this and so much has got to happen that we already
know about but Lucas should put in some surprises along the way. Is this going
to be the best Star Wars film ever, if the force is with us, it could be.
HERE to return to the Star Wars memories menu
Wars: The Facts and 3 ½ inch Figures
What can I say about
Star Wars that hasn't already been written? Probably not much, however I feel
compelled to throw my two cents worth into the public domain. What does it
all mean to me I guess is what I'm trying to answer, both on a personal scale
and within the collective?
Star Wars without
a doubt, in my mind, is arguably the most important series of movies ever
put on film. Its commercial success is unquestionable as is (at least for
the original trilogy) its critical success. The movies however are so much
more important then money and Jonathon Ross' opinion (or for that matter his
They are culturally
significant; they have infected the mainstream and the cult together like
possibly nothing else before or since. They're appeal is widespread, from
the obsessive 30yr old living in his parents basement to the casual fan. It
is not just that they are liked or celebrated by many, it is that they are
loved by anyone caught in its tractor beam, until the new trilogy appeared
perhaps that love was more common amongst what I like to think of as "The
Star Wars Generation" i.e. anybody born from say late sixties to early eighties,
however that net is expanded incorporating the new generation ensnared by
The difference between
this and other loved movies and movie series e.g. Lord Of The Rings is that
Star Wars genuinely means something to people, it takes them to another time,
an innocent time when no one cared whether Han shot first or if indeed the
war in Iraq was legal. It really does take us to a galaxy far, far away but
appeals on the most basic of human levels at the same time.
So the Saga is coming
to an end, the circle, as Vader put it in "A New Hope", is complete. Except
really it isn't. Now more than any other time Star Wars is more prevalent
then ever, it's legacy continuing further then the promised six movies. The
universe has expanded rapidly since 1977 incorporating animated series, spin
off movies, video games and novelisations.
Now in 2005 we have
two new video games already this year, the continuation of the Clone Wars
animated series, movie tie in novel and many assorted making of books and
such like and the announcement of a further animated series in the pipeline
as well as most interestingly for the first time a live action TV series.
So while we may mourn
the end of an era for the Star Wars generation, we can sleep easily knowing
Lucas will always need extra cash for his check shirt range and who knows,
maybe just maybe, he may complete the nine-part story we were promised all
those years ago. Geoff Lewis
HERE to return to the Star Wars memories menu
Jabba the Princess?"
Being born in the
magical year of 1977, my first introduction to the marvel that is Star Wars
was via the television and this must have been a significant event in our
household as my father recorded it onto videotape, a big deal in those days.
The only problem being that the tape he used was faulty and every time I watched
it I had to have the remote control (attached via a short cable of course)
in hand so I could continually have the 'play' button pressed down, if not,
the tape stopped every two minutes. In my mind's eye I still see C3-PO and
R2-D2 wandering through the canyon on Tatooine in a weird stop-motion kind
of way! The most interesting point to note from this is that I still own that
videotape or possibly that it later led to my entrance in the Butlins' children's
fancy dress competition as Yoda (the simple yet effective teaming of dressing
gown and mask). All I'll say is I was robbed.
Having missed out
on the cinema release of the original trilogy first time around, I eagerly
looked forward to 'The Phantom Menace' et al. Of course, like many others,
I was slightly disappointed with that one, but 'Attack of the Clones' more
than made up for that. I went to see it on the Saturday following release
on my own. It did everything I would assume 'A New Hope' did for people in
'77, the opening sequence made me gasp, the droids made me laugh, and I very
nearly started crying when Yoda arrived to kick Dooku's ass. I recall leaving
the cinema and wanting to tell someone, anyone, how exciting, how fantastic,
how simply brilliant this film was. That person turned out to be my dad who,
truth be told, he was not quite as overwhelmed by my descriptions as I thought
he should be. Less than 12 hours later I was at the cinema watching it again!
It is truly astounding
to realise quite what an effect the Star Wars franchise has had on popular
culture and it appears with the release of 'Revenge of the Sith', this will
only escalate in the years to come. I didn't particularly think of myself
as a Star Wars nut until recently, when I realised that amongst other things
I not only have posters of Jango and Boba Fett in my house, two t-shirts,
a mug, calendar and a watch! Most tellingly though it was recently pointed
out to me by my boyfriend that I had quoted some of it honestly without noticing!
Therefore it is clear that Star Wars has indeed shaped my world, though I
wouldn't have it any other way and thank the imagination of George Lucas for
providing my contemporaries and I with an entirely new galaxy to explore!
HERE to return to the Star Wars memories menu
a loada Yoda fun!
I can't remember the
first time I watched 'Star Wars', I was five years old when the first film
was released. I do recall meeting Darth Vader at school when David Prowse
turned up dressed as the Green-Cross-Code Man. I've also lost count of the
times I've watched any of the first trilogy as each film is a fantastic combination
of good verses evil, comedy, breathtaking scenery, music, imaginative characters
and gadgets. Who doesn't want to own a lightsaber?
When 'Episode I' was
released my little nephew caught the bug and you should have seen his eyes
widen when I explained there was three other films already in existence. After
he watched them, I was constantly answering probing questions as to what was
what and who was related to whom. At least he gave me a good excuse to spend
several hours in Toys'R'Us with all the Star Wars merchandise.
Like myself, I'm
sure anyone who has watched all the previous films will be looking forward
with anticipation to Episode III, as it bolts the two trilogies together.
The question in a few weeks will not be 'have you seen it yet?' but 'how many
times have you seen it?'
HERE to return to the Star Wars memories menu
Force!?! . . . What force?"
I have been asked
by a friend to put on paper, as it were, a few thoughts on Star Wars. To be
frank with you I do not believe this fits fully with the original brief I
have been given. This is because I am not what you would call the equivalent
of a "Trekkie" for Star Wars, (nor a "trekker" to that matter!)
The first memory I
have of Star Wars is when I was a very young child, taken by my older brothers
to the cinema. I vaguely used to recall some two distinct images; some yellow
letters nicely floating away from me, and a guy with a black helmet on.
In the meantime,
my godparents ensured that they bought me as presents anything that had to
do with Star Wars. I still recall the village set of these little, teddy bear-like
creatures, (obviously their name eludes me, and I would not think twice if
it stayed that way). Alas, I was yet to make the connection. I simply thought
these were just some cool toys! That village, in fact, eventually became that
big, that I was proud to compete with my older, football-crazed, brother's
'Subbuteo' football stadium set that he so proudly had put together! (I still
believe that my set with the village was better!)
Later on, as the years
went by and I was not such a young child anymore, I watched Star Wars on video
rental, (those days this was nowhere near the home theatre experience of today).
Then, suddenly, ala 'Matrix programme download' style, it finally dawned on
me, and I put the two and two together!!! Those images came to life and suddenly,
as I was watching these films on video, I recalled the enjoyment of that first
cinema experience with my older brothers. It was magical; mythical; utter
My second viewing
of these films, and later on ones, were far more articulated experiences!
I was blown away by the storytelling principles embedded in the films. That
is, I believe, the main reason behind the success of the original three films.
How come such a narrow based genre, sci-fi, can have such a wide-spread appeal?
Very early I learnt
to respect the popularity of a film, or a song to that matter, along with
the 'non-intellectual' tag that goes along with such popularity! Regardless,
I believed that it can be neither a coincidence nor a chance that these films
were embraced by millions of viewers world-wide.
Undoubtedly, in terms
of cinematic technology and complexity in making these films, they were ground
breaking for their time! They certainly pushed the envelope of the then current
film production to each limits; so much so that Lucas and his colleagues had
to invent new cinematic and filming techniques. (I always wonder, as a self-proclaimed
avid film connoisseur, where would the Hollywood film industry be without
these ground braking inventions such as Dolby Surround sound or stop motion
photography, to name but a few? Of course Lucas was not the only one!)
Yes, again, undoubtedly,
for an audience of those days, that was not used to such high-octane sci-fi
TV programmes of today, to see an opening sequence of a space star fighter
battle of such large proportions, was extraordinary! It would have left even
the most sceptical with their mouth open! (The closest I can personally refer
to such an experience is "The Matrix"!)
Regardless, for me
it was the story telling. It was as though the writer of these films followed
the basic narrative structure and elements of storytelling of a typical ancient
Greek tragedy; simple stories; simple, easily recognisable characters; battle
between good and evil; love prevailing in spite of any grave circumstances
running against you; searching for your inner balance, to name a few. (Aaaah!
The Force! It can have so many interpretations to real life. Pick one according
to your own life theory and philosophy! That would be your own "Force"!) How
can you go wrong with such a recipe?
Then the cinema re-release
of the 'new and improved' original Star Wars films came along! I made an agreement
with my older brothers that we would share that experience together! We watched
all three films three days in a row, in an exhibition place that it was meant
to be, the cinema, with Dolby Digital EX surround sound! Although that experience
was truthful and important to my brothers and I, as we relived and cherished
again certain, unique and special childhood moments and recollections, which
in itself it was extraordinary and a memory long remembered, at the end of
the screening of the third film we gazed at each other in doubt!
We could not help
but wonder! Something was missing! It was not the re-touched, additional special
effects that the now Lucas Arts Digital studios made on the original films,
(I am aware that many Star Wars fans argued then, and may still do now, that
was the reason that the original films were spoilt in their re-release!).
It was something else. . . After long deliberations we said in unison, "We
have grown older! Pure and simple!"
Of course then the
news of the three pre-quells being on the pipeline to be filmed reached us.
Like then, as it also is now, we said, again in unison: "What's the point?
It would be a suicide mission to attempt something like that!" (I shan't start
explaining our reasons behind that statement as it is not the theme of this
writing.) Nonetheless, I did go and watched "Star Wars Episode I", so did
with "Episode II". I know that a large majority of Star Wars fans were very
disappointed by those films, especially "Episode I"! If you ask me, "What
did you expect?!!!" I shall reply. I believe that certain things such the
first Star Wars film trilogy, that has developed such popularity within generation
after generation; with script lines from the films now being officially in
the Oxford English dictionary; with the film having such an iconic impact;
with a cultural influence that in some extreme cases has influenced certain
ways of living and approaches to life; one cannot just think that this can
be achieved once again, or even replicated!
The fans, I believe,
should have not built such expectations, as it would be almost a certainty
that disappointment would ensued. Which it did! For the same reasons one could
not just simply ignore these films. If anything, one should watch them to
form an opinion of his or her own, (although I seriously doubt whether females
form part of the average Star Wars fan-base).
Hence, before entering
the cinema for "Episode I", I was prepared to see a familiar recipe; to see
where did this saga start from; to see some spectacular visuals; to see the
application of the latest digital cinema and CGI technology being applied
on film; to experience the fact that should one director has the appropriate
amount of money, anything is possible in current cinema. The only limitation
is his or her imagination; all of which are based on a very formulaic narrative.
I was not at all disappointed! On the contrary, I thoroughly enjoyed the film.
I listened and even made the mistake once, (one I tend not to repeat), to
take part in a Star Wars fan debate on whether the new episodes were as good
as the old ones.
I believe I enjoyed
the film because simply I had no expectations of grandeur! No expectations
of reliving magical and mythical moments! For me it would simply have been
unrealistic! Then "Episode II" came out! I enjoyed that even more, as I could
see where things fit, and most importantly, it contains one of the most spectacular
sci-fi CGI-based fight sequences I had seen until the third instalment of
Of course I am the
proud owner of the DVD versions of each of the first two episodes, as I also
recently became the proud owner of the original trilogy as well. I say "proud"
because sci-fi and the high technical standards that these DVDs were mastered
on, both visually and auditory in particular, form THE base-line to test,
calibrate and demonstrate the capabilities of a home cinema system that respects
I made an evening
with friends and watched the first trilogy of Star Wars on DVD. Released from
memories and experience of personal importance and value, (which are still
shared and cherished with love and the naivety they were first experienced),
I simply enjoyed a very entertaining, eye pleasing experience, at the comfort
of my own sofa.
We are now about to
see "Episode III". I would not miss it of course. It is a cultural phenomenon,
one I have the opportunity to experience first hand; which I plan to! Again!
And again. . . and again, through DVD, and again once I shall upgrade my home
cinema system to a fully digital High Definition video and audio system, (just
some respectable amount of monthly savings away!)
Therefore, "The Force!?!.
. . What force? Is there such a thing? Or is it all in our minds?"
Thank you for reading
and enjoy the Star Wars films in whichever way you find it most appropriate
HERE to return to the Star Wars memories menu
WARS, CHRISTMAS, SWORDS AND HOUSE PETS
I, like so many other
people of my generation and maybe slightly older were given two options by
Hollywood, 'Star Trek' or 'Star Wars'. So this is the choice and here are
some of the main reasons for choosing 'Star Wars' over 'Star Trek'.
It's set in a galaxy
far, far away, where as 'Star Trek' gives no reference as to its origin and
is total make believe where as 'Star Wars' origin is yet to be discovered,
we just need a bigger space shuttle!
Second reason Princess
Leia at age 13 or 14 enough said. Third reason, Chewy is he a big pet or really
good friend that you would hate to upset.
If it at Christmas
you sat in front of the TV for hours on end, it's more than a good chance
that 'Star Wars' played some part in the festivities. It's almost as traditional
as the present, turkey and the tree.
Hopefully this like
mine is the tale of Christmas for so many fans of star wars and for those
who couldn't' find anything else to watch on terrestrial TV.
- Get up, open the presents
- Play with the new Millennium
- Have dinner still harbouring
thoughts of overthrowing the Dark Side with the new toys I have at my side
- Then the big decision that was
always made by my parents. The Queen's speech or Episode IV, V or VI
The choice more often
than not was to sit and watch a wise old person blab on how to make the world
a better place or to watch the Queen's speech, Yoda wins hands down.
It's only until very
recently that this interest in 'Star Wars' has been re-kindled, sine the 'Phantom
Menace' was released I was sat waiting to go through the ritual of star wars
at Christmas, now I have the full trilogy and Episodes I and II, but is my
life complete, of course not even with the release of Episode III. Why? I
am still waiting, as are most of my friends for the full replica light sabre
to be available. Not the one in Toys R'Us, the full on that can cause serious
Please Mr Lucas when
will the Jedi academy will be available for full use and where can I get the
application form. Only then will I truly satisfied with my life.
So on reflection it's
quite obvious that Star Wars has saved my life, It has stopped me turning
in to a normal person and liking the run of the mill Hollywood blockbusters
or normal films. And has given me a rather worrying infatuation with 7 foot
hairy house pets and still at the age of 23 wanting to play with swords and
fight something that I can't see. So, may the force be with you at the Christmas
table, before the Queen's speech and thank you Mr Lucas!
HERE to return to the Star Wars memories menu
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