Finally, the first movie I can recall seeing in the theater, or is it? As my mom would tell the story, I would beg and beg and beg for her to bring me to this. You have to figure it was probably around 1978, as it came it in 1977, but probably didn't make it to the West Hartford Center MoviePlex 1 until about a year or so after. That would make me about 4 when I saw it. Why would a mom take a 4 year old kid to see something with a character as scary as Darth Vader in it? Here's where the story gets confusing, she claims as soon as the storm troopers invaded the rebel ship, I started crying and she had to take me home, but I SWEAR I made it until at least Darth Vader reared his ugly robotic head.
Some of things I noticed this time around, and this is probably the 80th time I've seen the movie, are these:
Every now and then, a nice liberal will come along and compare the plight of Arabs to the rebellion. After all, the movie starts in a world of sand where a bunch of "rebels" are repressed by The Empire which has better weapons all across the board. Not to mention, pretty much everyone employed by the Empire is either a white guy, or a storm trooper, which is a cloned white guy with white armor. There's a Chris Rock joke in here somewhere. The Rebellion though, is a mix of all sorts of different cultures, which contradicts the politics of Islamic Fundamentalists so the metaphor wears pretty thin.
I did notice a smaller metaphor though. How about Luke's family as Jewish people and the Empire being the Nazi's? (The Arabs are obviously replaced by the Sand People). Wouldn't this story be every Jewish kid's dream? Here you have a group of people who have gone through a historically ill tragedy, and this is a chance to strike back, and young Moses Skywalker blows up the Death Star! Is this stupid? Absolutely, but these are things you think about when you watch a movie this many times. At least Luke can put "Blew Up Death Star" on his resume, which I'm sure will land him a good job after he destroys The Empire for good.
Another thing I about is the deal Han Solo and OB1 strike for passage on the Millenium Falcon. OB1 offers Han $2000 up front, and 15 when he gets to Alderon. Seeing Alderon blows up before he gets there, does that mean he’s off the hook for 15? I guess seeing Ben gets killed, it’s not really his problem. What about Luke though? Luke only had the money he made from selling his speeder which went towards the upfront payment, but what about the back end? Seeing Han was a scruffy lookin' nerf herder, as soon as Alderon was blown to bits, wouldn't he have tried to come to another arrangement with Ben before proceeding on the mission? Maybe he just didn't have enough time, but why does he help Ben and Luke once he gets trapped in the Death Star? At that point, he could probably turn over Ben and get even more money. Aside from resisting arrest (shootout on Tatooine), at that point, he really has no quarrel with the Empire aside from the fact that he's a smuggler. Maybe there's a rap sheet somewhere, but to my knowledge, the only one he has to fear is Jabba the Hutt. There's also the notion that maybe Ben sacrifices himself so he doesn't have to pay Han Solo, but I won't go there because he immediately helps Luke as soon as he reaches the Jedi after life.
What I always found really unbelievable about the light saber fight between Ben and Darth Vader is that every single Storm Trooper leaves guard of the Millenium Falcon, to watch the fight, kinda like how if their are a bunch of hot girls dancing on tables in a bar, every single guy in that bar will turn around if a fight breaks out. It may seem improbable that the Troopers all leave guard of the ship to watch the Saber fight between Ben and Darth Vader, but seriously, who’s not going to watch a light saber fight? There are very few things in life I could be doing that wouldn't make me switch gears if two Jedi's at the height of their careers (ok, maybe it wasn't the height of Ben's career) engaged in a light saber fight. If I was driving to work, and an alien space craft appeared before downtown Tampa Independence Day- style, or two Jedi's were having a light saber fight, I'd go with the light saber fight. Wouldn't even think twice.
One last thing, is one of the best bits of unintentional comedy ever. I have very few compliments for George Lucas' new trifecta, but perhaps what many of us overlooked with his selection of Hayden Christiansen to play Annakin, is the fact that Mark Hamil was such a terrible actor, that whoever was cast as his dad had to be a terrible actor. I wouldn't say Hamil is Hayden bad, but there's a scene, right before he blows up the Death Star and OB1 is speaking to him from Jedi heaven (I wonder if there's a Star Wars geek term for Jedi Heaven. I sincerely hope not). Once Luke goes for his final run, Ben starts saying things like, "Trust your feelings!" and what does Luke do? He taps his transistor, like it's Han saying it or something. It's hysterical.