Thursday, May 24, 2007

Happy 30th Birthday Star Wars!!!

Thirty years ago (well, thirty years ago this Friday) in a Galaxy far, far away (the 70s), Star Wars was released. I, for one, wasn't even born, but Star Wars was a cultural leitmotif throughout my childhood. I had a Darth Vader lunchbox in my first year in school, though I hadn' t actually seen the movies. Indeed, my introduction to the movies was completely backwards. The first installment I saw was Return of the Jedi, and that was on VHS (remember when renting a video was the most exciting thing you could possibly do?). Then the BBC showed The Empire Strikes Back as a Christmas Movie Special (the Christmas Movie Special being almost as exciting as renting a video), which my sister and I recorded and then, along with Return, watched ad nauseum for the rest of the 1980s....

...There was never a rainy afternoon when watching the movies, Return in particular, didn't seem like a good idea. I honestly don't think I actually saw Star Wars: A New Hope (didn't get that title until it's re-release in 1981, fact fans) until the mid-90s. But it hardly seemed to matter. Like Beatles lyrics, there's an extent to which most people just sort of "know" Star Wars. The movies have produced a body of cultural artefacts way beyond famous lines such as "Luke, I am your father" and "Feel the force". The lightsabre noise, Chewbacca's moan, the innate coolness of Han Solo - these are all part of the western cultural lexicon. It says something about the cultural importance of Star Wars that The Phantom Menace (worst movie ever made?) failed to destroy its place in the collective conscious.

Perhaps the real gift that George Lucas gave us with Star Wars is the "Extended Universe": the spin-off cartoons, comics, novels, and video games. It's a whole, coherent world with its own well-worked out history for sci-fi geeks to play in (for example I spent oooh, a good three hours of my work afternoon yesterday reading about the Sith online - I need help, clearly). Everythign that you ever wanted to happen in the movies (my list: kick-ass female Jedi, more lightsabres, almost no JarJar Binks, more political intrigue, convincing alien cultures) all exist soemwhere in the Star Wars Extended Universe.

And so, in the great tradition of this blog (will we reach 30 years?), I present you with this, my entirely subjective, totally self-referential, things I love about Star Wars (all of it, not just the first movie)
1. "You rebel scum"
2. Han Solo
3. The Emporer
4. The sound of Star Destroyers moving slowly past.
5. "I've waited a long time for this. My. Little. Green. Friend."
6. "I love you"... "I know"
7. The music (anyone else still get chills from the opening chords?)
8. The AT-ATs on the Ice Planet Hoth
9. The New Jedi Order novels
10. "These are not the droids you are looking for"

Post your own!


Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

I saw Star Wars in first grade and the next day I went to class and told the teacher that I saw, she said "So?" She just didn't get it.

"Laugh it up, fuzzball. Laugh it up."

"Do you want me to get out and push?"

To many of us, Empire is clearly the best of the series. I have to admit, though, that I didn't understand why Leia liked Han in that movie. It makes sense to me now, of course.

DesLily said...

I did post a small anniversary thing today myself..

I love Hans and Chewy and Obi-wan the most... so of course I wanted Lucas to do the "end" using the same folks rather than the beginning.. but hey, I take whatever he does.

My young kids back then, had star wars sheets and blankets, some models etc... so it was that we were touched also!

UFR said...

I was 10 when Star Wars came out 1n 1977 so I proudly got to "grow up" with the series. Star Wars has a couple of my favoire movie girlie moments. I love THE KISS is Empire and in Return of the Jedi when Han is released from the carbonite he says "Who are you?" then Leia replies "Someone who loves you." *girlie sigh*

I'm in Los Angles so I'm going to the Star Wars 30 year anniversary convention tomorrow. Woo-hoo!

SQT said...


I am so jealous! That sounds like so much fun.

I saw the movie on the big screen when it first came out (I was seven) and looooooved it. I need to ponder a bit to remember the quotes though. I just woke up and I don't do my best thinking when I'm half asleep. (I stayed up late reading a Christopher Moore book and I'm still laughing)

avery said...

I turned four six days after it came out and my parents took me and my two siblings as part of the birthday celebration. I clearly don't remember much of that particular experience, but I do recall thinking the scene with Luke swinging over the pit with Leia being a much longer, grander deal than it really was.

It wasn't until my parents bought a Betamax when I was seven (they've historically made bad electronics choices) and someone at my dad's work gave him a bootleg copy that I really learned to appreciate the movie. My sister and I watched it twenty-seven times in one summer, and acted out scenes on the carpet in our own Rocky Horror-esque productions.

SGT DUB said...

Ah, very fond memories, like watching the movie in the theaters several times, flying the Falcon, of course, I had to be Han Solo. Great tribute.

Hey there, Skippy said...

Jon - "fuzzball" almost made my list, too, but I figured someone else would remember it. The movies really are pretty funny in parts. Well, when Han and Leia are being sarcastic, they are.

Deslily - saw your post. I love the posters, too. I really appreciate how they've kept a sense of unity about the style.

UFR - I remember being totally SHOCKED, shocked, I tells ya, when it turned out to be Leia. I was a very trusting child.

SQT - wake up!

Avery - my sister and I still do act it out, occasionally, but only when we've had too much wine.

Dub - I had to be Vader, for some reason...

avery said...

Yeah, Skippy, my sister and I have been known to act out the sand person scene on several drunken holiday occasions. She can still do a really mean sand person imitation.

Carl V. said...

This is great! You should be participate in all my Star Wars posts this week, there is a prize pack at stake!!!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

It's hard to belive this inflential movie is 30 years old.

Crunchy Carpets said...

We were going to have a Star Wars party this weekend until life got in the way.

I loved Empire..I think because I was that bit older and 'getting' sci fi.

My dh was hooked from day one. It was his religion...he is a bitter man these days.

And he can't quite get his kids to be as enthused about it ....cept Adam LOVES the sabers we have...the one's that make the noise and lights.

Kate S said...

Ok, I'm forgiving neither you nor Avery.

"I, for one, wasn't even born..."- Hey there, Skippy

"I turned four six days after it came out..." - Avery

Ugh. Pups, both of you. Still wet behind the ears.

Grumpy Old Woman :)

Alex said...

I have nothing but love for the Star Wars franchise.


SQT said...

You know Alex, I do believe I miss the normal tone of your posts. It was my usual laugh out loud moment of the morning.

But hey, it is Star Wars after all.

Hey there, Skippy said...

Oh, Kate S, but I have the wizened heart of a seriously grumpy old person!

Alex said...

I suppose I could have mustered up a snide Jar Jar comment, but I would hate to be cliche.

Shauna Roberts said...

I was working at an archaeological dig in Ohio when the first Star Wars movie came out. It was hellaciously hot every day that summer, and the boss told us that anytime it hit 100 degrees, we could take the rest of the day off. We listened vigilantly to the radio, and one day the temperature made it to the magic number. What to do? Theaters were air conditioned--and none of our homes were-- so we went to a movie, and that movie was "Star Wars." We were probably the most obnoxious people in the theater, covered with dirt, stinking to high heaven, and whooping because of our good fortune and the great flick. Thanks for reminding me of that wonderful day.