Friday, May 04, 2012

Once upon a time, there was a movie...

Happy Star Wars Day! I was in university when Star Wars was first released. I remember lining up around the block at one of the largest movie theaters in Toronto, now defunct, to see it. I also remember my reaction to the movie and it wasn't just "Wow, that was good!"

I felt not just excited and happy when the movie ended, but relieved. Star Wars was, in many respects, a throw-back to classic story-telling and characters I enjoyed so much when watching old movies on TV, the ones that often starred Errol Flynn. It had a beginning, a middle and an end. It had good guys and bad guys.

This may not sound so fantastic in the era of blockbuster "popcorn" movies, but back in the '70's era of films, "films" were the thing, movies that were arty and, much of the time, depressing. Apparently many film fans consider the 70's a Golden Age of film, but if you were like me and longed for old-school stories and characters and feeling happy at the end of a movie, not so much.

Then, like both a blast of the past and into the future, came Star Wars, with its classic story elements, like the hero of mysterious origins, and excellent characters. And I'm not just talking about the main characters but the outstanding sidekicks and villains, too.

But those weren't the only things Star Wars had going for it. It was, in many ways, new. The moment I realized that opening shot was from underneath a spaceship, I knew I was in for something different and, well, neat! The other scene that amazed me was the bar scene, especially the band. It was funny AND cool.

Star Wars amazed me because it combined classic, old school elements with what was then new and unexpected. It came at a time when other movies were trying hard to be artistic and deep and so often ended on a "down" note.

For me, Star Wars was like a feast after wandering in the desert.

Have a great Star Wars Day and May the Fourth be with you!

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