Star Wars Binge Week 2020: A New Hope

I’ll be honest: I’m way too close to the original Star Wars trilogy of films to be able to properly examine them with a critical eye. I have a huge bias for them because these are three of my favourite movies of all time, and I’ve watched all three of them more times than I can count. Plus, I don’t think that my ” bulleted list of random musings” format really works as well with something I’m so familiar with. It’s really better suited to media that I’m either experiencing for the first time, or for the first time in about a decade (or more).

So rather than that, I’m going to… do something a little more personal.

To elaborate very briefly on why I don’t feel like I can really review this film properly: for basically the entire duration, all that was running through my mind was “EEEEEEEE I LOVE STAR WARS! I’M SO HAPPY THAT I’M WATCHING STAR WARS!” It’s also notable that despite it having roughly the same runtime as the prequel movies, A New Hope just flew by. It’s a two hour movie that felt like it was an hour because it’s so snappy, the stakes are constantly increasing, and it doesn’t linger anywhere for too long. While watching all three of the prequels, though, I tapped the pause button to see how much time was left more than once for each. They felt much longer than they really were because there were so many scenes that dragged on too long or were simply boring.

So instead of doing the bulleted list thing, I’m just going to type some words about my history with Star Wars. Probably not for very long, but who knows. Sometimes I just get going and then can’t stop.

I have been into Star Wars for almost as long as I have clear memories. Not quite all the way back to early childhood, but it probably started somewhat before the Special Editions of the original trilogy were re-released (I was ten at that point). I’d wager I was probably about six or seven when I started reading old Star Wars picture books and becoming interested in the series. We had definitely moved by that point, and I have no Star Wars memories in my family’s first house. I know that I was incredibly excited to see those re-releases when they hit the theatres, so there must have been a precedent, I just can’t quite place it.

What I can tell you for sure is that I was all-in on Star Wars from that point. I had a collection of Star Wars toys that rivaled my Ninja Turtles. LEGO was never a huge draw for me, but I was obsessed with the Star Wars kits. I’ve owned the original trilogy on VHS, DVD, and blu-ray. I never really got into the expanded universe novels, but I did have a few, the novelization of Shadows of the Empire being the one that I liked the most. I spent countless hours playing as many Star Wars video games as I could, Rogue Squadron and Episode 1 Racer on Nintendo 64 being two of the most memorable. I have a Star Wars Trivial Pursuit game that my family would regularly play on game night, and all of them would play as a team against me and still struggle to win. I also used to take that game to school to play on spare periods, as well as the Electronic Talking Star Wars Battleship Galactic Battle game.

My parents once bought me an awesome Darth Vader watch (I think it was for my eleventh or twelfth birthday?), which I greatly treasured until I lost it by forgetting it in a locker at a public swimming pool. I vividly remember so badly wanting to cry over that particular loss because it meant so much to me, but as a tween boy, crying was simply not allowed. Rest assured that if I had not lost that watch, I would still be wearing it to this very day. I thought that maybe I still had the metal case that it came in, but after digging through the box that it would have been in and going on a half-hour nostalgia trip, I have to conclude that it’s gone. I do still have the sweet Darth Vader pencil case that I’m pretty sure I got for the same birthday, and you’d best believe that I’m not letting that go, ever.

Of course, as with all loves, my passion for Star Wars cooled over time. I’d wager that I probably stopped being obsessed with Star Wars a year or two after Revenge of the Sith. I remember being really pumped about that movie, riding that high for a while, and then… I think that it became more of a passive interest. I got rid of all the toys and LEGOs and books, and didn’t go out of my way to engage with the franchise, but appreciated any time it would drift into my orbit. Like that time I wrote about a Star Wars-themed surprise egg, or how I have the theatrical posters for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi hung prominently in my living room where I admire them every single day. Or how I made my ex-wife sit through both the prequel and original trilogies even though she had absolutely zero interest in them. That’s probably why she left me, actually.

To suggest that I’m riding a very strong nostalgia high right now would be a massive understatement. I’m at that point where I’ve explored so many beloved memories (far more than I’ve written about today) that my chest is physically aching and I’m wondering if memories are just as much a curse as they are a blessing. I think that it’s safe to say that even though I was never a truly hardcore fan (definitely for the best), and even now I mostly appreciate it from afar, Star Wars will always be a huge part of me. And that’s why I can’t possibly hope to objectively analyze A New Hope.

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