SPECIAL NOTE: Ava Thursday will be delayed by one day, so I can pontificate on STAR WARS. Sorry for the confusion. I know, I'm a terrible dad.
Yes, I was part of the original massive collective of fans that rushed to the theatres periodically from 1977 through 1983, waiting endlessly in lines that wrapped around the block to witness the glorious geek-fest that was STAR WARS. And after each release, my buddies and I would rush home and play with our action figures and draw pages upon pages of spaceships engaged in massive space battles. I am an Original Trilogy fan -- or "OT" for the uninitiated -- and so I exude extreme trepidation each time a new Prequel Trilogy ("PT," natch) film is about to be released. Now, don't get all up in my grill -- I was very excited back in the mid-90's when I first heard George Lucas was thinking about working on the prequels as my mind raced back an eon ago, sometime in the late-70's when I read somewhere that STAR WARS was meant to be a complete, 9-part epic (Ol' George has since recanted about episodes 7 through 9.). So thus, I just melted with the thought that there could be MORE MORE MORE of the greatest triology ever made (my young self thinking this, of course)!
So, yes -- Episode 1 came out, and I was severely disappointed. I so wanted to like it, to warm up to it, but alas, in the end, I could not. I liked several sequences (pod race, end light saber battle with Darth Maul, new creatures), but all in all, it was very difficult for me to put my stamp of SW approval on it. And yes, it was all because of Jar Jar. Episode 1 is a major point of contention for most SW fans, as it really divides the mulititudes into two camps: those who feel that the original trilogy was the best and anything new waters down the initial impact of the series, and those who feel that anything new brought into the SW universe that is conjured up by Lord Lucas is worth it. I'm mixed, honestly. I love the original, as it's my childhood, and I don't like certain grey-haired moguls fiddling with my history. But I don't mind all the new creatures and worlds that've been introduced in the new trilogy -- I'll always have a soft spot for special effects and creatures and sci-fi in general. However, when a movie completely undermines all that came before it, with seemingly blatant disregard for the wonder and amazement that the OT possessed, then it's hard for me to warm up to Episode 1 so willingly. And others seemed to feel my pain.
So, three years later, we all suffer selective amnesia and got all giddy upon viewing the newest trailer for Episode 2. It did look ultra trés cool, but once the movie came out, it was another disappointment. This time around, it was the horrible, horrible, horrible acting. And because I've seen Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman actually ACT in other movies, I knew that the culprit was George. Oh sure, the Yoda fight sequence was kick arse, the Obi Wan story line was decent, and just anything Mace Windu, but the love story... ahh, don't get me started. (And for the record, I saw that film twice, once in a huge screen in NYC, digitally projected --It looked fantastic, by the way! I loved the special effects and animation, but crisp, clear-as-a-bell digital imagery could not save the film. You'll have to ask Andrea about the other time I saw the film with her and some friends. Quite hilarious.)
So, three years later, we all suffer selective amnesia AGAIN upon viewing the newest trailer for Episode 3. And you know what? I'm kinda excited. I'm hoping that this one will save the PT, as I do desperately want to like that trilogy as much as I can. I'm trying to scrape up all the dignity from deep within, but I do hope that REVENGE OF THE SITH will be the saving grace for the entire STAR WARS trilogy. The fans deserve it. (It looks like it's getting good reviews so far, so who knows.)
Let's talk about dorkiness in the PT, shall we? There are some great embarrassing moments that's made me wish I hadn't paid half my salary for a ticket to see one of the Prequel films and there are many others who feel the same as me. But I must raise an issue here that may or may not be important to all SW fans. I say to all the naysayers of the PT who talk up a nasty flame post on any forum or chatroom about how dorky that trilogy is, (me included) I must remind you that the original STAR WARS was released during the height of DISCO. There was no escaping that strange entity that infiltrated and permeated everything during that time. And I mean EVERYTHING. It was just the way it was, and you could do nothing about it. Being a young-un at the time, I loved disco because of all the lights! the colors! the fun music! the dancing! Never mind that they were singing about sex and drugs.... anyway -- disco was everywhere, people. Everybody did a disco song. Rockers Elton John (remember, he did rock before he did sappy pap) and Rod Stewart surprised many a fan with disco albums. And they were hits, too! KISS fans were appalled at the thought of their rock gods putting out a disco album, but they, too, succumbed to the infectious sin of disco. So, in the midst of the Disco Era, STAR WARS opened to the public and not long after, some dude named Meco produced a disco tune to the theme of Star Wars. Odd? Not so. Like I said before, it was everywhere, and so to hear the famous STAR WARS theme mixed with a silly disco beat did not seem strange to me, nor to a good many people. It actually was a hit.
Without further ado, I present to you all, Meco's Star Wars Theme (Disco Mix).
I've also found Bill Murray's performance of the Star Wars Theme on Saturday Night Live for you all, too:
Bill Murray's Star Wars on SNL.
Because you all have been so good, I've decided to present to you all another embarrassing moment in filmdom. In 1978, a year after STAR WARS, Steven Spielberg released a gem of a movie, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. Probably one of the worst titles ever, the film was a big hit with audiences and especially me. I read the paperback movie adaptation several thousand times (kidding -- only about a hundred) and I so wanted to be Roy (Richard Dreyfuss's character) and be taken up by little aliens to explore the stars and heavens.... I loved the notion of possible life beyond our planet and so I felt like the film presented this notion in plausible terms. (I was 10 years-old -- give me a break.)
So, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, being released in the late 70's, couldn't have suffered the same disco fate as STAR WARS, could it? Yes, it did. And it wasn't by some oddity named Meco. It was by the movie score conductor master, himself, John Williams. I kid you not. I had this wonderful strange oddity of a 45 in my possession and played that sucker like it was going out of style. I now present to you all a special nugget of my past, the Close Encounters Theme by John Williams.
Alright, that's enough embarrassing moments. Go enjoy REVENGE OF THE SITH and tell me what you think of it. And may the force be with you. (You know I just had to say it.)