Those of you who know me or follow my blog have probably picked up on the fact that I might be a little obsessive when it comes to my favorite stories. I've read my Harry Potter books so many times that they have penciled-in thoughts, sticky notes, and are literally falling apart. I've been writing essays about The Hunger Games. I've dissected Interstellar and Les Mis--for fun. I read Lord of the Rings when I was fourteen. And I've seen most of the Chronicles of Narnia movies opening weekend.
But then there's Star Wars . . .
My closest experience with it has been the (old) ride at Disneyland, which I'm sure I've seen more times than anything else Star Wars. One time my brother and I found the Star Wars holiday special online and laughed our faces off at it--in fact, we still do. With that said, I've never thought Star Wars was dumb, and I've always thought the lightsabers were sweet and clever.
But Star Wars was always apart from me.
The first movie came out over a decade before I was born. My fondest memories of the franchise from when I was a kid was playing with my brother's ewok action figures (they were adorable). To be honest, I'm fairly certain I saw the prequels each at least once when I was growing up, but I just remember not really caring much for them (yes, I know how every fan says they're terrible). I hardly remember them at all (I was in elementary school when Episode I came out)--so I don't really count the fact I probably saw them.
But with six more Star Wars movies coming out, I figured I'd better finally see them, especially as a writer, to see what the story was really about.
Like I said, the first one came out before I was born, so I wasn't expecting much. It's not that I didn't think I'd like it, it's just that my experience with eighties speculative fiction is like The Labyrinth (still awesome in its own way though).
So I recently finished the original trilogy, and I was pleasantly surprised with how great it was! It was fun because I watched it with one of my brothers who hadn't really seen them either, so we got to talk about how things were different than we expected, or what we thought was going to happen, and share mini-theories along the way.
Sure, it didn't have crazy flashy effects compared to today's movies, but I liked it that way. I felt like it made the plot more important, more of a focus. (And yes, I've heard about how the effects were totally killer in their day.) I feel like so many movies today just rely on cool visuals. Like the other week the latest King Kong was on T.V. I didn't watch the whole thing, but I think I watched at least a third of it--and none of it had like any plot. It was all visual and CGI.
Anyway, I'm going off on a tangent. So the Star Wars story was great. I've known R2D2 and C3PO since I was tiny, but I had no idea how much of a role they played in the plot. And I was pleasantly surprised with Princess Leia. I was expecting her to not really actually do anything, because these were movies from the late seventies and early eighties (in fact, I was prepared to be annoyed by her inabilities), but she was kind of awesome. In fact, I think she might be my favorite character.
I expected to be a bit annoyed with cheesy dialogue (after all, I've heard how awful it is in the prequels), especially knowing that not all the characters speak English. Often set-ups like this result in unnatural dialogue where the characters have to react to the non-English speakers in ways that clue the audience in on what they said, i.e. "What do you mean the house is on fire and you don't know where Cynthia is?!" (Who talks like that in real life?) And while there was some of that, there really wasn't that much, and it wasn't that bad. Actually, I thought most the dialogue was pretty good and fit the context of the story.
And then there was Darth Vader. Okay. I'll be honest. He was totally awesome. I totally see now why he is such an iconic character. The breathing, the mask--brilliant. But it was more than that. He just had a presence. It was in his walk, in his voice, in his cape, in his camera shots. He actually might be my real favorite character . . . sorry Leia. I totally freaked when Darth Vader's mask came off. I knew it was coming, but still--I didn't know what he was going to look like.
And Darth Vader kills the Emperor--WhAaAt? Okay, so I do think I vaguely remember hearing that somewhere, but I couldn't remember, so I was still somewhat surprised. My brother who hadn't heard that at all was totally surprised.
I could go on, but seeing as I've only seen each of the original trilogy once, I sort of feel like I can't. I'm too new to the story to dissect my favorite parts and make some crazy connections. There was too much to take in. (There's something I miss too about not jumping on the bandwagon earlier. I'm feeling like I'm not quite in the fandom when I'm so late. Guess I can blame Harry Potter for growing up with me.)
No, I haven't seen Episode VII, yet (no spoilers!). I want to watch the (infamous) prequels first, and I haven't done that.
But in honor of its release, I thought I would blog about my first real experience with Star Wars, so far.
May the force be with you!
Confession: I totally thought Luke and Leia were going to get romantically together (and be creepily surprised to find out they were twins), because of the "kiss" picture I've seen online hahaha. I felt a little more comforted knowing that wasn't quite the context.
Confession: My brother and I were shocked to see Anakin hanging out with Yoda and Obi Wan at the end! I get the idea, but the divide in life just seemed too great!
Wish me luck with the prequels!