May the Force Be With Me?
For about the billionth time, I’ve noticed I’m getting old. I read a story a couple of days ago about the premiere of Star Wars (Episode IV: A New Hope) in 1977. Star Wars 40 years old? It seems like just yesterday–well, maybe a decade or two ago–when Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader had that laser duel and all those shiny spaceships zooming across the heavens on the silver screen.
Star Wars may very well be the ultimate boys movie ever made. It is filled with lots of things boys love–amazing acts of derring-do, great special effects, clearly defined heroes and villains, wham-bam-shazam action, humor, and good triumphing over evil. It has some of the most memorable sci-fi characters ever created like Chewbacca, Han Solo, R2-D2, C-3PO, Yoda, Princess Leia, Jabba the Hutt, and the baddest of the bad outer space guys, Darth Vader (masterfully voiced by James Earl Jones). No wonder to this day little boys as well as the big boys gleefully dress up like Star Wars characters at Halloween and at comic book conventions.
But even though I like Star Wars, it is not my favorite sci-fi film by a long shot. I thought The Fly and The Incredible Shrinking Man were better and more thought proving movies (plus they provided lots of good scares); and I enjoyed the sheer cheesiness of campy super-sized animal flicks like Tarantula, Beginning of the End, The Deadly Mantis, The Killer Shrews, The Giant Gila Monster, and Night of the Lepus. About fifteen years ago, I rewatched 2001: A Space Odyssey and thought it was a great film, even though at times it was just as incomprehensible as when I saw it in the movie theaters in 1968. And a few years ago, I wrote a post in which I argued the original Planet of the Apes was my all time sci-fi film because it was a great action adventure story, a brilliant satire on evolution, and the rare space opera that didn’t rely on flying saucers or laser beams to keep an audience mesmerized. The dialogue was memorable, especially when the astronaut Taylor snarled, “Get your stinking paws off of me you damn dirty ape!” And who can forget the concluding scene when Taylor and his girlfriend Nova sees the ruins of the State of Liberty and realizes the Planet of the Apes is actually Earth? It stunned me more than when my wife accepted my wedding proposal.
And unlike Generation X, I was not bowled over by Star Wars when it first came out. Maybe because Star Wars was the first great movie spectacular Xers ever saw is why they still have overly fond memories of Luke Skywalker and his pals. It’s almost impossible for an eight or a twelve year old not to be amazed by the opening credits or the spaceship battles. Meanwhile, I was a not-so-sweet sixteen year old who had already seen in movie houses epics like Gone With the Wind, The Ten Commandments, and Lawrence of Arabia. Great sci-fi special effects just didn’t amaze me after I saw the psychedelic-like light show in the trip to Jupiter sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey, not to mention the stuff I saw on TV shows like Star Trek, Time Tunnel, and Lost in Space.
Whenever I see Star Wars, I mumble to myself, “May the force be with me.” Unfortunately, I hate it when the force leaves town, especially on those rainy days and Mondays in which the last thing in the world I want to do is to get out of bed.
Joe’s Maybe Memorable Quote of the Day
I would make a great astronaut because I enjoy exploring heavenly bodies,