Were the horrible prequel triology not now a permanent part of the story there isn't a doubt on my mind that I'd want to say something today to mark the anniversary of the release of that first film thirty (thirty!) years ago. As it was I almost let the date pass. Almost. Then I read this really heartfelt ode to that wonderful first film and started to reflect and then, finally, to get quite a bit nostalgic.
I remember vividly remember seeing Star Wars as a kid. For my birthday my parents rented a van and took a bunch of my classmates and me to a showing at the now defunct Westgate cinemas. I'd seen a few movies before then but it was still unreal that we had to wait in line for over an hour just to see a movie. The sense of anticipation was crazy.
Everything after the point film started, the lights dimmed and the Twentieth Century Fox came up with those drums played and the end credits over John Williams greatest score is a blur. I remember this film as the first movie that had completely captured my imagination. At no point was I sitting there in a dirty theater with spilled pop and popcorn on the floor- I WAS in a galaxy far, far away having all sorts of adventures with Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and their sidekicks. It was an out of body experience.
I had an older friend named Larry who passed away a couple of years ago of whom which we shared a mutual, and lifetime love of film. Larry had an extensive collection of hand written lists he asked people to write over the years listing their top ten films. I asked Larry one time what was the film that really hooked him on cinema and why. He answered that his favorite move "Shane" had been the first film that had really hit him when he saw it as a child and that "it was the first time I had an out of body experience."
Regardless of the lousy prequels, Jar Jar and the sad, sad decline of George Lucas I still owe Star Wars something very important to who I am. My love of film is a direct result of the imagination and effort of Lucas, Williams and company those thirty years ago. For that I am immensly greatful.
May the force be with you.