Like for so many of my generation "Star Wars" is something so deeply ingrained in me that I don't remember the moment I was first introduced to it or came to love it. I didn't see the films upon their original releases. I was only a year old when "Return of the Jedi" came out. But the "holy trilogy" was a fixture in my living room from an early age. "Jedi" was the first VHS I ever received at age five for Christmas.
I had all the toys, most of which were handed down from Mike, but that doesn't make playing with the Millenium Falcon any less fun. When I wasn't playing with the action figures I was using a wiffle bat as a makeshift lightsaber. My favorite character wasn't Luke, Han Solo, or Boba Fett. I was all about C-3PO. When you're a little kid what's cooler than a talking robot? Threepio is still my favorite because as a 26 year old man what's cooler than a talking robot?
As I grew older my sensibilities changed. My favorite went from being "Jedi" to "Empire." It was around that time that George Lucas announced the "Special Edition" re-releases. The "Star Wars" trilogy on the big screen! And with added scenes. The moment where Luke visits Biggs on Tatooine that I only ever knew from the official picture book. Obi-Wan's inexplicable lightsaber burnout that had always bothered me would be fixed! C-3PO unleashing the wampas! I could not wait. This was going to be amazing.
I saw none of those things. We don't see Biggs until the end of the film, Obi-Wan's lightsaber still burns out for no apparent reason, and C-3PO's single moment of genuine badassery remained on the cutting room floor. Instead we got the cringe inducing "Jedi" musical number, Luke screaming like a little girl, and somebody shooting before someone else. Can't remember who...
But these disappointments would pale in comparison to what "Star Wars" geeks across the world experienced on May 19, 1999. At the time I, along with so many others, told myself, "Okay, it's not as good as the other ones, but it's still good." But deep down each of us knew the truth. That "The Phantom Menace" is a deeply mediocre film with atrocious dialogue and poor acting, save Liam Neeson, who proved he is bullet proof to George Lucas the writer. But yes it was a letdown. A letdown sixteen years in the making.
Most of the wrath was pointed directly at the Gungan. As Simon Pegg so perfectly stated in a classic episode of "Spaced," "Jar Jar Binks make the Ewoks look like f---in'...Shaft!" But "Episode II" would be better. It had to be.
Armed with a title that would have made Ed Wood cringe, "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones" gave us an even worse script. Exhibit A:
Padme: We used to come here for school retreat. We would swim to that island every day. I love the water. We used to lie out on the sand and let the sun dry us and try to guess the names of the birds singing.
Anakin: I don't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is actual dialogue from "Episode II." The biggest shame of all is that Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen are very good actors in the hands of someone who can write a script. Meanwhile, the dependence on CGI made watching "Star Wars" feel like watching your friends play XBox. Now we all now what that's like. You're sitting on the couch at somebody's house you barely know but you don't want to go home 'cause hey, you're out with a few of your friends and all you really wanna do is go get something to eat but these guys are so wrapped up in their game and... Sorry, I used to end up doing that a lot. That's like a 9 on the scale of Most Boring Ways to Spend an Evening. But I digress. "Episode III" was a dramatic improvement but it was still far from perfect.
One of the big questions post-Prequel Trilogy, besides "Can I have my childhood back?" was, "Why didn't we actually get to see the Clone Wars?" They were talked about so much in the Original Trilogy and it was something we had all been dying to see finally. Now a new film actually titled "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," in essence "Episode 2.5," is coming to fill in that gap. And all I can say is... I couldn't possibly care any less. Still, I'm really glad it was made. There's something therapeutic, even
about being able to say the words, "A new 'Star Wars' movie is coming out... and I just don't care." If this entire post hadn't already sold me out as a complete geek that last statement certainly did. But I don't care. It doesn't matter. And neither does this movie. Not to me. George Lucas no longer wields any power over me. I am now immune to mind tricks.