Star Wars – 30 years

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…

I can’t honestly say that I remember the first time I saw those words on the big screen. I’m not old enough to have seen the first Star Wars movie in the theaters when it was first released. My first exposure to the Star Wars trilogy was on Betamax, the almost forgotten video tape format that was blown away by VHS.

We had the entire original trilogy on Beta, and my brothers and I watched it all the time. At the time, cable TV was pretty new and relatively pricey, which limited our TV channels to what we could pick up on the antenna. Unfortunately, the geographic nature of my hometown was such that we didn’t get a lot of channels, which drove a lot of the TV viewing towards movies.

As a boy, Star Wars was just about the coolest thing ever. It had spaceships, laser guns, and great characters; but the one thing that lifted it above other movies for me was the plot. With 20/20 hindsight, it’s actually a quite shallow story, but for an 8 year it was great. The good guys were good, the bad guys were bad, and that was it. Nothing like black & white morality; even the good guy’s bases and ships looked better.

As I got older, I still enjoyed Star Wars and the franchise it spawned. I’ve read a bunch of the novels (with my favorite being the X-Wing books), I went to see the Special Edition when it was re-released into theaters, I saw all of the prequel movies in the theaters as well. While some of the prequels didn’t have quite the magic (for me) as the original movies did, the things that made it “Star Wars” were still there, and still great. Still present was the overarching theme of good vs. evil, whether it was on a galactic scale, or a personal struggle such as Anakin’s or Luke’s.

Star Wars really set the bar for fantasy/sci-fi movies; every epic trilogy invites comparison to the cultural effects of Star Wars, as well as the effect it had on the movie industry. I’ve heard (crazy) people compare the Matrix trilogy to Star Wars, other people have compared the Lord of the Rings movies to Star Wars. The problem with that is that you can’t compare those movies (or really any trilogy) to Star Wars. It was the first, and will (for me at least) remain the best.

I still feel like a little kid again when I hear the words “May the Force be with you”.

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