Here's an unusual story: in 1977 a 12-year-old boy goes to the movies. He leaves the theatre, changed. He wants to see the movie again. And again - every week, if he can. And if that's not possible, he'll just settle for remembering the movie's theme song. How did it go again? Oh, yes:
All of the time...
Yeah, so my story's not that unusual. I would argue that I'm unusual insofar as Star Wars was my first movie experience, period, full stop. That certainly upped the ante for me, as a future movie-goer. But it's a difference of degree - I doubt I babbled any more or less coherently than my contemporaries did at the time.
I'm still fond of that moment when I first stepped into extreme air-conditioned "comfort" and watched every familiar comic-book convention get tweaked just enough to look immediate, and new. If Lucas has done nothing else, he's introduced Light-Sabres and "I am your father!" into the public lexicon. It's not quite up there with Banting and Best, but it's not too shabby, either. And while I won't be lining up with the crowds this weekend, I'll make my way into the theatre sooner or later. In the meantime, here are some choice responses to the George Lucas spectacle.
"Re-viewing the films did nothing to revise my strong feeling, though, that it's positively immoral--no exaggeration--to sink so many resources into something that's so lazily, carelessly, ineptly written. It would've taken a single afternoon to make the dialogue in Phantom Menace bearable." Go, Phil go! (Bonus! - looks like he finally posted some well-considered thoughts on the criminally neglected American novellist Richard Rhodes. Looks like I'll be heading to AbeBooks, after this.)
"I hold out hope that Star Wars is the best sci-fi of our generation—better than those listed above and, Lord knows, better than creaky old Star Trek, which met its ignoble end a week ago." Has it really come to this? Can't we all just get along, without putting the other down? Hey, at least Star Trek gave us goals with its fantasy. If we were to listen to Dale Peck, we'd be convinced that aforementioned ditty is the sound of one civilization expiring.
And finally, WIRED knows its readership: the magazine is gently critical, but chiefly appreciative of Lucas's contributions to the "WIRED World". But who would have thought Lucas's chief influences were Canadian? With a little digging, WIRED reveals Lucas's early fondness for the work of National Film Board regulars Norman McLaren, Arthur Lipsett, and Claude Jutra. This struck me as a revelation, but not a surprise: THX 1138 has more than a whiff of the early NFB aesthetic (and worldview).