Archive | May 25, 2007

Happy Birthday, Star Wars

Today is the 30th anniversary of the original Star Wars.

Star Wars first entered my consciousness either just before or just after my 13th birthday, when I saw a homemade sign in the window of a Phoenix, Az. movie theatre announcing “COMING SOON: STAR WARS.” But I assumed it was some movie about wars among Hollywood stars, and I wasn’t interested.

But then I saw this comic book cover, complete with a green Darth Vader (the lefthand pic – of which the righthand pic is obviously a more polished version; both by Howard Chaykin), and I was hooked.

Howard Chaykin - STAR WARS

Then the magnificent one-page and two-page ad spreads started appearing in the newspapers. Soon I got the novelisation, by “George Lucas.” When I read it I thought, “wow, he’s a director, but he could really be a writer too; he writes just like Alan Dean Foster!” Only many years later did I find out the reason for that ….

McQuarrie - STAR WARS

Thus when I sat down on a May afternoon in San Diego to see Star Wars, I already knew it was going to begin with an Imperial spaceship chasing a rebel spaceship. So I scanned the opening starfield, expecting the ships to enter from the left or perhaps from the right …. Then wham! that magnificent overhead shot just blew me away. And everybody else too, apparently; I noticed that ads and commercials started emphasising the third dimension much more post-Star Wars than they had pre-Star Wars.

Star Wars opening scene

Like most Star Wars fans, sometimes I want to strangle George Lucas. But not today. Thank you, George.

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