It’s been hard to get things going this week, so I’ve let Edward Copeland’s Star Wars blog-a-thon–which starts today, on the 30th anniversary of the movie’s release–slip through the cracks. In lieu of an actual entry, here’s an essay I wrote on the sci-fi phenomenon back in June 2005. Two years later, I’d change a few things but I’m still reasonably pleased with it. A taste:
The Star Wars sextet is not a serious epic, though Lucas probably thinks it is. There’s no real whiff of sex or an understanding of the subtleties of love. The violence doesn’t sting. The politics are dull, muddleheaded, and almost entirely unnecessary. The moral framework doesn’t dig deeper than platitudes, and it’s cobbled together from older, better epics, anyway. I worry about all these people who prattle on about Lucas’s vision as it relates to Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with A Thousand Faces; I doubt most of them have actually read the book.
But seeing it through those children’s eyes made me appreciate what Lucas has accomplished. Star Wars is grandiose and chock-full of the greatest toys, funniest-looking creatures, and neatest adventures that a kid could ask for. There’s not much stuff there that’ll bore them, or make them uncomfortable. (Even the few kisses are chaste, and Anakin is apparently an immaculate conception—never mind that he turned out to be a pretty shitty Christ figure.) There’s no room for contemplation, just stimulation. I watched it in a room full of kids in the dark, who talked at the screen as if the characters just might talk back, with toy lightsabers glowing, and pizza being munched. The atmosphere crackled with energy, so much energy, like a sugar rush that lasts all day.