It’s Star Wars day. And I do not have a ticket to go see Revenge of the Sith.
Well, that’s not technically true. I have two people who I could easily retrieve tickets from, who are not quite holding them for me as much as they are not giving them to anyone else until I speak up.
Still, the point is: it’s Star Wars day, and I kinda don’t really care. Very much. How strange is it to be at the end of a twenty-plus year fictional odyssey through the mindscape of George Lucas, only to have arrived, now, today, at a sort of resigned disgust with the whole thing.
At least, I think that’s how I feel.
Some background may be in order here.
I really enjoyed the first series. I’m one of those guys that my friends used to go, “Yeah, well, I like Star Wars, but not quite as much as that guy.” Consider that I work in the video game industry when you are imagining what sort of creature said those words.
I can recite for you any (and every) scene from the first film, and most of them from the second and third. I understand that many of you who are reading this can do the same – it’s a cultural habit that we geeks have as a way of sharing our mutual appreciation for awesomeness. That’s cool. I’m not bragging here, but I want to be specific. I don’t quote these scenes. I re-perform them. The vocal inflections, the pacing, the entire scene… many times, my geek friends have gone from smiles, to admiration, to fear, watching me move through the entire Death Star sequence (cuts, footsteps, pantomimes included). It’s not a health thing, is what I want to get across. I shouldn’t know that movie that well. No one should.
That said, I never dressed up (well, mostly never), and I have endeavored over the years to not make a fool of myself about it, as so many of my bretheren do. I attempt, at least, some measure of decorum. I did, however, make a shot-by-shot recreation of the first five minutes of Star Wars, with action figures, [update: permalink ] so I can hardly throw stones.
I am one of those people for whom the original Star Wars films partially (or largely) defined the trajectory my life would take, in the way that the angle a rocket is pointed will largely determine where it lands. My boosters aimed me at Lucasland, if you can imagine such a thing.
And so, in May of 1999, it was with some delight that I engaged with the new series. Let’s confirm the framework here: by “engaged with”, I mean that I was one of the people who paid $500 a seat to be among the first to see Phantom Menace at the charity premieres that were held around the country three days before the film came out.
I walked out of that theater a fan. Although, it must be said, a somewhat confused fan.
Fast forward to now. These many years later, I am done. I’m through. I fucking quit.
I actually had to close my eyes through much of my second (and final) sit-through of Attack of the Clones, just to be able to get through it without shouting in frustration and rage at the atrocity Lucas had wrought. I admit, my reaction may have been overblown. But I can say with some certainty that the film was not, by any stretch of the imagination, good. And, after all, isn’t stretching the imagination kindof the whole point here?
So. I’ve jumped ship. I abandoned my boosters mid-flight, and left Lucasland far behind. I climbed onto a passing horse-drawn wagon being piloted by a grey-bearded old wizard in a tall pointy hat, and never looked back.
My time among Hobbits and Dark Lords has nursed me back to health, although I’m still very, very angry at Mr. Lucas for being so… goddamn… human. Gods aren’t supposed to make mistakes.
And so, here we are, days prior to Revenge of the Sith.
I’m beginning to think there’s a chance I may enjoy it. I’m cautiously hopeful, which is a huge step forward from where I was a month ago. But I’ve learned something about myself through all of this, and that is that, although I am difficult to actually wound, and can, at times, absorb an awful lot of punishment if I need to, if I actually get hurt, like really, really hurt, there’s a not-much-higher-than-zero chance that I’ll ever flip the bit back.
But, my friends, optimistic and perhaps not as emotionally stunted as I, have been gently cajoling me back into the fold. All signs point to wonder. All systems are go. So far, Lucas appears to be on the path to redemption. I, however, have not yet returned to my prior trajectory.
I am approaching the premiere of what I think might be a great film, made by a man that I have come to despise. It’s a fine, thick, sautee of emotion that’s been simmering on my back burner for a while, and now that I’ve brought the pan to the forward burner for a last bit of spice and maybe a stir or two, I find I’m not really sure how it came to smell like… that.
I’ll see it. I’ll probably see it opening day. Most likely, in L.A. I cannot, at this point, predict what my reaction will be.