which is a little surprising because I don’t consider myself a Star Wars fan. Don’t get me wrong, I stood in line for the first Star Wars pretty early in the cycle and I was glad I did. The opening sequence was worth the price of admission alone: that little Bambi spaceship going by at full throttle followed by a huge spaceship, that went on and on, gliding by with a low rumble. I had never seen anything like that, it was breathtaking. Still, I thought the The Empire Strikes Back was only OK, and the third movie was the first movie all over again, only way not as good. I did see one prequel in a theater and one more on TV but I am not sure that I even saw the end, by then I was bored.
But there is something about Star Wars, the first Star Wars, that is unexplainable. The movie opened in a small number of theaters with very little fanfare, and instantly lines formed. We went to San Francisco to see it at the Coronet on Geary – I think that may have been the closest place, to the South Bay, that we could see it – and we waited in line for over three hours for a one o’clock showing. Recognizing that R2D2 was looking for Obi-Wan Kenobi in Golden Canyon, Death Valley, was icing on the cake. Years later, while watching the sunset from Pyramid Four at Tikal, I realized that we were at the Rebel Home Base on Yavin 4. Now, almost forty years later, Star Wars has long been taken over by the collective and has, somehow, transcended George Lucas. I hope and expect that will be a very good thing.
I liked the reboot of Star Trek by J. J. Abrams, the new director, who I have read is a huge Star Wars fan and wants to keep the original flavor. Part of that is the use of real locations and actual sets rather than C.G.I., part of it is the use of film, and part of the flavor was the use of comparatively unknown actors. Like most science fiction, Star Wars has a rightist sensibility – watch Jay explain it in Clerks II – in which the deposed Royalty take back their rightful control of the galaxy. This movie promises to be much Liberaler.
In the first trailer, the first line is “Who are you?” asked by a disembodied voice of a nameless scavenger who is repelling down a wall inside a crashed Imperial cruiser, “I’m no one” is the answer. The scavenger is played by Daisy Ridley and she is as close to no one as anybody could hope for. According to her interviews, she was nobody “working in a beer and ale house” while trying to get acting gigs, when she read for Star Wars not even knowing what the movie or part was. By next month, Daisy Ridley will be one of the most recognizable people on the planet. I like that.
I suspect that this will be a very good Star Wars, I hope so.