While THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is my favorite film of the saga, I owe my love of cinema to STAR WARS. Let me rephrase that. I owe my formative years of loving movies to STAR WARS. Harrison Ford was my first favorite actor. I went crazy seeing Carrie Fisher play a scorned girlfriend in THE BLUES BROTHERS. And Darth Vader was my favorite fictional character.
From ages 3 – 8 it's probably easy to say that my fandom was primarily due to toys. I know I loved the movies, but I liked the toys more. It wasn't until the late eighties and early nineties that I started to forget Star Wars. Me and my best friend at the time were getting into Nintendo and horror movies. He was really into the film ALIENS and I followed suit. By the nineties we thought Star Wars was kids stuff. Fast forward a couple of years and it's all Nirvana, video games, Ninja Turtles, and EVIL DEAD II. It was also around this time that I thought TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY was the biggest best film around.
90's modern rock was real big with me (and the world) at the time. And there was this independent film called CLERKS that had a cool soundtrack, or at least that's what the ads in my comic books were telling me. One afternoon at the video store I stumbled across CLERKS and decided to rent it because of that cool soundtrack. I invited my friend over and we laughed our asses off! At the time I thought it was the funniest film I had ever seen.
Some of the jokes were referencing STAR WARS. It was so awesome! Now for any millennials reading this and thinking “so what”? Believe it or not, but there was an actual time where Star Wars was nostalgic. Man, that's depressing. Star Wars will never ever be nostalgic again.
It was an awesome time to be a fan. And in 1997 the coolest thing happened, STAR WARS was re-released on the big screen. But this wasn't your typical re-release, no we were getting a special edition of our beloved trilogy! Never underestimate the power of the dark side. We were all duped on this because of nostalgia clouded our judgment.
To this day I don't have a problem with the minor changes of the special edition. I think a lot of the improvements are valid. What I do have a problem with is all the unnecessary additions of CGI creatures, buildings, Boba Fett, Han shooting first, and other alterations to Mos Eisley cantina.
Maybe one day we'll get a non special edition of STAR WARS! There are rumors that such a release is on the way? To mark the 40th anniversary of the film, 20th Century Fox will release a 4k remaster of STAR WARS. I'm not holding my breath, but this may be happening folks! How cool it that!
Watching the film as an adult I find myself enjoying more with every viewing! Now that my knowledge of film is more vast, I pick up more on the influences. The easiest being Kurosawa. But more that that I get a kick out of how unconventional it was for it's time. Who begins a movie with two robots in the desert? And it's east meets west. The eastern influence you have Darth Vader, a fallen warrior, who uses a laser sword. Then there is the west, characters like Han Solo, the smuggler gunslinger.
Depending on what mood I'm in will always decided what film I like more, STAR WARS or THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. They are both masterpieces in my opinion! I love how simple and imaginative STAR WARS is. It's a fairy tale in space. And while being serialized, it can still certainly be a stand alone film.
Imagine if the movie would have flopped? You'd have this cult classic space opera film that movie buffs would still be talking about today.
I try and watch STAR WARS at least once a year. Heck, I've already watched THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK five times this year already! I swear it's not because I'm crazy, I'm just excited about the new Star Wars film coming out this December. My only complaint is that I wish I was 23 years old and not 38! Fans that grew up with the original trilogy got screwed over in 1999 with STAR WARS: EPISODE I – THE PHANTOM MENACE.
We were all duped back then, but I honestly believe this time is different. I haven't been this excited for Star Wars in a long long time. In fact, before it was announced that Lucas sold the rights to Disney, I was seriously thinking of setting childish things aside. I had talked about Star Wars enough. Thankfully, filmmaker J.J Abrams has so far proven to change that.
The second teaser trailer for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS makes be believe that there is hope once again in that galaxy far, far away.