Star Wars (not Episode IV: A New Hope) was released on this day forty years ago. A true cinematic phenomenon, an event sociologique, as Lacombe quips to Roy Neary in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
I was twenty years old when the movie came out. I did not see it immediately, even though I loved science fiction and space operas. Heinlein and Asimov and Bradbury were part of my reading back then. I was primed to eventually see it. And see it I did. I was bowled over by the movie. Quibbles aside that age and hindsight have brought up, my twenty year old self loved this movie. I saw it again, and again. I took my sister, all of ten years old at the time, to see it and she loved it as well. All told, I know I saw the movie at least a hundred times. (Back then you had dollar theaters.) Three years later, what I think is the best of the entire franchise, The Empire Strikes Back, was released, and then Return of the Jedi, three years after that. I bought the VHS tapes, I bought the laserdiscs, and I watched them every so often and marveled at the freshness of them. George Lucas had done something special.
And then, he fucked up big time.
I’m not going to rant about how fucking awful Episodes I through III are. Let’s just say that I’d rather watch something else and keep the wonderful memories of that movie that turns 40 today.
P.S., I utterly refuse to buy any Star Wars movies on Blu-ray or DVD until Disney (now the successor to LucasFilm) releases the first three movies in their original theatrical releases. Lucas, in his unbridled arrogance and disdain for the fans that made him billions, decided to “improve” the movies with new scenes and, worse of all, changing plot points so as not offend. It’s bullshit.
Han shot first.