May 25,1977 “Star Wars” was released. Not “Episode IV: A New Hope.” Just plain “Star Wars.”
What’s a less-cliched way of saying, “My life hasn’t been the same since”?
There are those who scoff, call it cheesy (blasphemy), insist “Empire” is better because it’s darker and more complex. or think this was the beginning of the end of actual culture because film-making turned into “What can we merchandise out of this?”
I don’t care. I saw (I don’t know how many times) a story with a kid who desperately wanted to do bigger things with his life than was possible where he lived.
(This, this right here, this piece of music? When all seems to be lost for me, when I look at my situation and think, “I don’t see a way out of this. Are things going to be this bad for the rest of my life?,” this piece of music saves me. ‘The Force Theme.” Someone on Youtube has it on a one-hour loop, so I’m guessing I’m not the only one so moved)
“The Gee Whiz Kid from Tatooine,” Newsweek magazine covering the release of “The Empire Strikes Back”
I did most of my growing up in Rutland, VT, from the age of 7 until I left home for UVM. I know there are people who love it, but to me it was a prison. (As I saw it) I was uprooted from a happy existence in Brattleboro, VT where I had a group of friends to a new neighborhood that was a converted cow pasture and a mile outside of city limits. Where I’d had sidewalks and playgrounds in walking distance, now it was fields, old barbed wire fence, a big rock in the middle of the neighborhood, and, not much else. I hated every minute of living there. It was my Tatooine. I do not like rural.
Here was a movie where one of the heroes was a princess.
We still had hope for the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment, not Earned Run Average). Here was an ambassador, rebel leader, and fighter wearing a dress. And smart-mouthing the bad guys, not acting like a simp. I miss you, Carrie Fisher.
Between Hamill, Fisher, and Ford, I saw a few bad movies because they were in them. On the plus side, I became an Alec Guiness fan and discovered his Ealing comedies, like “The Lavender Hill Mob.” Of course, my favorite role of his will always be Obi Wan Kenobi
(Yes, I was 16, not 4, but did I tell you how friggin’ BORED I was in Rutland?) I would try to feel the Force, to move things. No, I was not successful, but I did move myself out of Rutland eventually, so there is that. And, while I am not an atheist or an agnostic (I do believe there is something “out there” or “inside us” that is greater than us), I’ve considered the idea that maybe the Bible didn’t describe the Greater Power accurately, creating God in Man’s own image, but the Force: “It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.” Given the findings of quantum physicists, maybe that’s a more accurate description. We are all stardust. And energy.
There were even talking robots that were almost human. I concocted a back story where they’d been put in some kind of spacecraft and launched from their galaxy, crash landing into a young George Lucas’s backyard and telling him the tale. Sort of like how they met up with Luke.
And plain and simple: the good guys won. The bad guys who would obliterate an entire planet to get information out of one person who wasn’t even on it at the time, they lost. They had a “technological terror” and the biggest movie villain ever in Darth Vader, who could choke a guy to death without laying a hand on him, the Empire had those things, and they lost. To the Gee Whiz Kid who just wanted a bigger life than he had. To the badass princess who could shoot and fight with the guys. There was hope. I needed that.
Cue the Force theme.