While I’ve never dressed up as a Wookie or gone to a movie theatre toting a Light Saber, I’ve considered myself one of the original “Star Wars” fans ever since that first frame of film hit the screen in 1977. I was in my 20s, and even arranged the first preview showing in the area through my radio station job before that Time Magazine article came out and everyone else started jumping on the bandwagon.
It was more fun than I’d ever had at the movies. Yeah. I knew it was a only a movie. And I knew it had its flaws. But I bought in and cheered it on.
I grudgingly accepted the stupid mid-filming script change that killed off Obi-Wan in the original.
I went along with the cheesy “Luke…I am your father!” in “Empire Strikes Back”.
I put up with Ewoks, a Death Star re-run, and the Humpty-Dumpty Darth Vader reveal in “Return of the Jedi”.
When the bloated “Special Editions” came out, I tried to overlook the wretched excess.
I put up (barely) with Jar Jar Binks, midi-chlorians, insipid disc-jockey pod race announcers, and “Yippee” in “Phantom Menace”. (I also remember feeling like I’d been punched in the gut and given a wedgie after going to the midnight preview showing.)
I got through “Attack of the Clones” by reminding myself how good Ewan McGregor and Christopher Lee were at handling awful material when teen-angst Anakin wasn’t taking up screen time, whining.
I even held down my dinner as “I-wanna-be-a-badass” Annie killed a trusting group of children, amid total green-screen/CGI overload, culminating in being expected to accept the instant transformation of said whiny teenage brat into the galactic terror of Darth Vader (now with improved James Earl Jones voice) in “Revenge of the Sith”.
Through it all, I refused to join the enraged online fanboy screams of “George Lucas raped my childhood!!!”
But even semi-blind fanaticism has its limits. And I’ve reached mine.
For all the fun and all the joy the original brought into my life in 1977, imperfect though it may have been…I can’t take another betrayal.
I waited cautiously all year for December 2015, remembering how good the theatrical previews for “Phantom Menace” looked at the time. As the release date approached, I carefully avoided spoilers, and even admired the new bosses’ ability to keep media leaks to almost zero. What showed up in the previews and online features looked like it might just be a return to form.
And now? I’m not even going to see the damned thing.
Yeah…I gave in. I turned to the Dark Side…I finally looked at the spoilers and confirmed the rumours.
Ya know what?
I’m tired of my heroes being trashed. I’m tired of seeing Zorro unmasked and dragged through the street. I’m tired of the Lone Ranger being made a bumbling second-banana to a deranged Tonto. I’m tired of the Green Hornet being re-booted as a n’er-do-well slacker. I’m tired of The Shadow turning into a smirking Alec Baldwin. I’m tired of Starship Enterprises repeatedly getting blown up. I’m tired of the Mission: Impossible team being killed off and demonized just so Tom Cruise can take over. I’m tired of James Bond being mired in murky personal problems instead of saving the world from over-the-top villains. I’m tired of Superman being anything but a hero. And I’m REALLY tired of Batman being dark and gothic and depressing.
I’m tired of people somehow being ashamed of wanting to see a fun, escapist adventure without a lot of dark and “meaningful” overtones once in awhile.
So, forgive me 1977 Star Wars (no bloody “Episode 4, 5, or 6”), if I don’t plunk down more good money to have the props knocked out from under me again for no good reason, other than the new director needed some shock value.
I don’t care how good the first three quarters of the new movie may be…and I’m told it is truly great, as are the new actors.
I’ve had enough. I’ll take my old toys and go home
No, I won’t be burning them in some kind of adolescent tantrum. But if anyone asks, I don’t want a BB-8 or Kylo Ren doll for Christmas.
If you like “The Force Awakens”…good for you. Take over.
For me…even George Lucas never stooped so low.
— over and out —