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opinions - how the release of the original to theatres was different than the new three films.

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I am doing a presentation on anything I want regarding fantasy/scifi and I chose Star Wars.
I am new to these boards so i dont know the age demographic here but if anybody was an original fan in the 70s can you give me your opinion about…

what you think about the original trilogy vs the new trilogy and…
how the release of the original to theatres was different than the new three.

i’m a freshman in college so i wasnt there for the original so i dont know what the general opinion is firsthand… :[

thanks so much!

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You have come to the right place. The Demograph here includes a good deal of fans who actually saw the first film in theaters in 1977. I however, am not one of them, so I will not speak for them. But rest assured, you have come to the right place. Good luck with this project, I suppose finals are coming up within the next few weeks? Good luck with those too.

"Every time Warb sighs, an angel falls into a vat of mapel syrup." - Gaffer Tape

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Somebody get Anchorhead in here.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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I saw SW in 1977, so there is 3 groups of SW fans: Star Wars '77 fans, OOT fans, and Saga fans.

To give you alittle perspective on how SW impacted movies in 1977, just think back to the success of Titanic in that winter of 1998 and times that by 100. It was a must see for all age groups, EVERYONE I knew went to see, it was an event. What drove its success was of course the special effects that had never been seen before. The great uplifting story, the humor spread throughout the movie, and the cool characters from Han to Darth Vader. The one thing that will always stick out to me seeing it in the theater was when the Death Star blew up, the crowd went crazy, it was almost like every person in that theater beat the Empire! The crowd clapped after the movie, which is very rare today, and within a week, SW had taken over the movie-biz.

Back then there were no DVD, VCR, you had to see it in the theater, as it did good business ALL summer, not just the 3-4 week window of today, and then it hits DVD by the fall. It took 6 years to come to HBO, so after I had seen it in 1977, and loved the movie to death, I didn't get to fall in love with the movie again until 1983, when I watched it endlessly on HBO.

ESB & ROTJ did great business, but it went from a mass audience to a SW audience, and that is the big difference from the original. The SW audience was still so huge, the movies are still in the top 15, adjusted for inflation. ESB & ROTJ were again an event, as a kid, WE had to see them, as there was no internet, no trailers to see online, just the movies in 1980 & 1983. The movies were so revolutionary back then, nothing even came close, just watch a StarTrek movie or Alien, and the effects don't come even close to a SW movie.

The PT will always be a mixed bag as it all depends who you ask. That is the big difference between the PT & OT, the PT had its fans, it detractors, and then a base of people who just didn't really care after they were finished. The OT had a hardcore base of fans that I know today that STILL love those 3 movies more then anything in the world. The PT is more of an extension of SW, and like any movie series, you have a built in fanbase that will enjoy anything that is put on screen.

I think the PT will be remembered for the hype, the wait for each episode name, the released photos on the internet, the first trailer, and that opening weekend to get juiced for another SW film. That stuff still brings back good memories, but the PT, IMO, was never going to live up to the OT. The OT had the uplifting story, the great characters, the groundbreaking effects, and fanbase that treated it like a religion. The PT will always have its fanbase, more of a niche base, but in fairness to the PT, I go by this old saying, "Those who follow greatness are doomed to fail."

Overall, SW will never die cause it is pop culture. It will never be like it was from 77-83, and I am fortunate I grew up during that magical ride.

I tried to focus most of my post on SW in 1977, but if you want to know more about ESB & ROTJ, I can elaborate. Thanks!
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thank you so much for your help! that helps so much. ive seen documentaries on tv about what it was like in 1977 but what you said helps greatly. thanks :]
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As I have already said, I was not quite around yet in 1977, though I came pretty soon after. Reading COs account reminds me of things my dad has told me. He had heard from just about everyone that this movie was fantastic and had to be seen. He took my mom to see it some weeks after its release and couldn't believe it when he got to the theater it was so jam packed and the line was so long. They were completely sold out so they came back to see it another day. He said that the theater was so full that they had people sitting on the floor of the aisles and you could not have gotten up to use the rest room in the middle of the movie if you had wanted too. Sometime later after it left theaters and the hype had died down, but before ESB was released, he was at some kind of get together with a bunch of friends and they had checked out a section of reel from Star Wars from the local library. It was a piece of the trench run at the end of the movie. They hooked up the projector and watch that same scene over and over again. Everytime it would finish someone would ask if they could run it again.

"Every time Warb sighs, an angel falls into a vat of mapel syrup." - Gaffer Tape

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I was the perfect age in 1977... a senior in high school. By the time the movie came out, I was already hyped for it because for an entire year it had been plugged by the late TV show (Creature Features) that I watched. The host (Bob Wilkins) kept saying there was this movie coming out that was going to be incredible and we weren't going to believe our eyes. He was right.

The only thing at all similar was "2001". But it was a different sort of thing because it was so cerebral and slow. Certainly a fantastic movie, and I saw it in the theater too (I was 8), and loved it even at my young age. But Star Wars promised to be more entertaining, accessible, and with ground-breaking special effects.

As it turns out, when the movie hit the theaters I was away from home for a high school math retreat, with about 75 other "nerdy" kids like myself. You can imagine how many times we would walk en-masse to the theater to watch Star Wars. I know I saw it at least 3 times just in the week it came out, and more times thereafter. (the walk to the theater involved going through a cemetary at night, which sorta added to the intensity).

When I got home, I dragged everyone in my family out to see it. I'd like to know what percentage of the U.S. population then saw it - 90%?... you just HAD to see it, there was never anything like it before. Even people who didn't like sci-fi went to see it. It was in the theater for many months.

Then for the next several years there was all this Star Wars "stuff" you could get - trading cards, figurines, lunchboxes, board games, etc. etc. Video games didn't exist yet, so it was all this other stuff. The characters became icons and part of our daily language. Everyone knew "the force" and "Darth Vader" and "R2D2" and what a "Princess Leia hairdo" was, and "ObiWan Kenobi", and "light sabers". I swear there was probably a segment of our population that thought it was all true.

Of course, I also saw the PT movies, more than once. But there really is no comparison. They were fun movies but just didn't (and couldn't, for that matter) have the impact, and I think over time they will fade into obscurity because at their core they simply weren't nearly as good movie-wise (script, acting, etc.).

Star Wars was by far the most memorable movie-going experience in my life. It is one of my fondest memories. And, my greatest regret is that I never saw it on 70mm... I'm jealous of everyone who did!!!!

"Close the blast doors!"
Puggo’s website | Rescuing Star Wars

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zombie84 said:

Somebody get Anchorhead in here.


;-)


emfab,

That's a tough one to explain in a short post. Are you looking for any opinions or experiences specifically?

I'm 45. For my generation (I was 15 when Star Wars came out), there wasn't the entertainment stimuli that there is now. We didn't have video games, computer games, internet, cell phones, video iPods, DVD players hooked to our 50” plasmas with surround sound, or 200 channels of TV. We weren’t wired into the public conscience the way people are now. We had books, radio, prime-time TV (about 5 channels - that went off the air at midnight), and movies.

Our adventures, whatever they were, were all in our imagination. I don't have to tell you that sitting in the theater and seeing Star Wars for the first time was one hell of an experience. It was a very realistic representation of what, for many of us, our imaginations had always been – good guy goes off to rescue a beautiful princess and defeat the bad guys -and – it was in outer space, no less! There were space ships, laser swords, blasters, strange creatures from other galaxies, etc. Man, it had it all.

I felt a million miles from home during the film – when I went on that adventure. It was an adventure I went on every week that year. If you have a way to see the original trailer for Star Wars, you can get an idea of how different a film it really was – both from anything that had come before it, as well as from what Lucas wants it to be now. That original trailer is so foreign and distant that it’s almost creepy. That was no little kid movie. It was an outer space, science fiction adventure. And - as you are no doubt aware – it took the world by storm. It was all anyone talked about. Everyone wanted to be one of the characters because everyone identified with one of them. In popular culture, it was copied, as well as spoofed. 1977 felt like Star Wars. It also quite literally changed the way the world saw outer space movies. Both in how they were made and what people expected out of them.

It was unlike anything that had ever come before it. It was pure magic. Because of the naiveté and innocence of the world back then, it was easy for it to grab the public conscience in a way that just isn’t possible anymore – for anything. The world is no longer innocent and people are accustomed to having perfect realizations presented to them. Sensory overload is the word of the day now. You aren’t required to have an imagination, nor are you allowed to absorb a scene. Everything is spelled out and it all happens very quickly. Lucas himself has long since given in to it.

I’ve seen clips from Attack Of The Clones and I’m shocked at the amount of stuff happening on the screen at any given time. It’s a far cry from the long, solitary shots of Star Wars - 3PO walking through the desert alone with only the sound of his servos or Luke looking out at the sunset. We were allowed to feel isolated and far away. We were given time to feel emotions.

Even Empire and Return weren’t the same because we already had expectations. The public fascination, the emotional attachment - it won’t ever be duplicated again. It can’t be. There could only be one summer of Star Wars – just as there could only have been one The Beatles, or one Apollo space program. That’s something Lucas continues to learn the hard way.

I got my drivers license a few months later. My first car was a 1974, 6 cylinder Gremlin. It was used, had a few dents and scratches, and was sometimes hard to start. It was my speeder and those dents and scratches were caused by laser blasts during narrow escapes from bad guys and strange creatures. My imagination was alive and well. All that existed for us was a single film and it had to be seen in a movie theater. These days, kids get in their Elements or Four Runners and drive over to their friend’s house to watch the prequels in their theater room – that’s after they get on the internet to check for the latest downloadable fan edits. It’s an entirely different world now.

I can’t help you with the prequels as I’ve only seen the first one. It wasn’t magic. Not even close. It was just formula – and it was poorly executed formula at that. To me, even the pre-release hype felt like formula.

Like I said, if you have specific questions, let me know. Others on here can help you with the prequels.

Here's the original Star Wars trailer - An entirely different film and an entirely different emotional experience.


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This is where I went to see Star Wars every week in 1977.

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f20/stonetriple/movietheater.jpg

Even the theaters looked different back then. It was torn down years ago. After it was fenced off and the wrecking ball had been used on some of it, I drove by to look at it. I could see inside the theater & the slope of the seating area was visible. It was a weird feeling. Now the street isn't even there. The whole area was razed and turned into a commercial shopping & dining mega-development - unrecognizable from 1977.
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thanks so much anchorhead :]
that sparked more things to talk about for my presentation.
thats just what i needed to find out.
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I was 9 in 1977 and saw Star Wars at our local drive-in. Drive-in theaters were unique and special....you got a completely different experience watching a movie in a drive-in.

I saw Star Wars in the back seat of a '72 Olds Delta 88. Back then everybody would arrive at the drive-in hours before the movie started...(in order to get a good parking spot). Once we found a good spot, Mom would let us disappear to the drive-in's playground...all the kids would play in the playground area until it got dark enough for the trailers to start, then the moms would start shouting for their kids to come back to their cars....

I saw Star Wars many times after that but only once in the drive-in. I know I didn't get the full effect of the picture and sound that others got when they saw it in a in-house theater but to me it was just as fun and awe inspiring....

As a 9 year old boy in the 70's who's biggest thrills came from collecting baseball cards and on the weekends running my COX model dragster up and down my parents driveway, Star Wars was mind blowing....before Star Wars, movies in the 70's were all about crime, drugs, racial tension, war or anti-war.....we didn't go to the drive-in often, so Star Wars was radical because it was so different than what movies were about then....Star Wars was fun.

Anyway that's my two cents, hope it helps....

I love everybody. Lets all smoke some reefer and chill. Hug and kisses for everybody.

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My obsession with the original Star Wars started when my parents took the family to see a movie. Whatever movie it was doesn't matter. What mattered was that there was this poster. This poster of a young boy/warrior lofting a blazing sword over his head, a dead-head-like visage floating in the background and two robots unlike anything I'd ever seen before, and finally a sultry princess at the boy's feet in a flowing, gossamer gown. How that poster fueled my imagination until until my friends talked about it, hyped it, which only caused my imagination to explode!

I did not get to see Star Wars for another YEAR, because I lived on a farm (like LUKE!) and it was hard to get away. Finally, the day came, and I was about to burst from excitement. You'd think after all the hype and build-up, that I'd actually be let down, but I wasn't, it was all and more than what I expected! After that, even though a year had gone by, my friends STILL talked about it, and it was fresh and new still to them after I saw it and could actually contribute to conversation.

I saw ESB under different circumstances (altho, it was still almost a year later before I saw it after its premiere!), and didn't catch the Vader-is-your-father storyline. It was all rather bizarre. When video became more available, and then I got to see it from start to finish and was blown away even though it was only a 24 inch television (big at that time!).

I was eager to see ROTJ, so much so that I bought the comic adaption and read it before seeing the film. To say the least I was confused and a little disappointed. It didn't feel like Star Wars to me anymore. Still, people talked about it, and there was a rejuvenated interest in Star Wars during the early 90's, especially with the talk of Lucas doing the prequels.

To cut to the chase, I was disappointed in TPM, and thought Lucas really botched it. However, in hindsight, I think it is the technically better of the prequels, and actually the only one that seems to have a sense of fun about it. JarJar still sucks. Sorry, no even time can change my mind on that one. I went to see the rest of them out of courtesy to my other Star Wars friends who were more excited than I was to see them. They still know where I stand, a couple have come around to my point of view now that the hype and craziness is over. Anyway, in retrospect, I'd have to say there really was no way Lucas could ever top the first three films.
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One notable aspect of "then vs. now" that doesn't get mentioned a lot is there wasn't nearly the emphasis on "franchise/saga building" that there is now. This isn't just limited to Star Wars. Unlike the prequels (and even the newly altered 6-part saga, where new "connections" are prized by fans and the movies have had their original look altered/homogenized for consistency), the 3 original trilogy movies were allowed to each have their own style and feel. 3 different directors, multiple writers (plus extra little writing contributions by the Huycks, Harrison Ford, Kershner and even Marquand) and 3 different cinematographers. Everyone has such a hard-on for continuity and consistency now, but back then it was ok, even desirable, for each movie to be more of its own thing. The Indy trilogy is like this too.
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I was almost 8 when SW came out in 1977. I loved it. I loved the first two movies more so than ROTJ. I think ESTB was the best of the three, but ANH will always be the one I watch the most. It has the most allure because it was the movie that grabbed me. How it can't be my favorite, but is the best...well...is confusing to say the least even today.

I don't recall much from back then. But I can tell you the new trilogy is different because I was a child when the OT came out. I was an adult with the PT came out. Because of the age difference, I think we as viewers see the movies in a different perspective, which in turn skews our viewpoint.

To me, the OT and the PT are terrible movies compared to some I've seen. The acting isn't all that great in either series and the hokey effects are cheesey in both as well. The dialogue is terrible, but one thing just works and that is the reality of the fantasy. They may not be the best crafted films, but they are my favorites. Both trilogies to me are enjoyable. They're just different. I've stopped ranking the movies. I just watch whichever movie strikes my fancy at the time I reach for a DVD.
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sunday256 said:

I think we as viewers see the movies in a different perspective, which in turn skews our viewpoint.


Sunday, I defended you a couple of weeks ago when people were taking shots at you cause you were interested in the new Clone Wars Movie/TV Shows, but you are doing exactly what alot of people do as SW fans: Speak for someone elses opinions.

Why I can't I just say that ANH & ESB are the best movies of the 6, and leave it at that? Why does everything have to involve our youth when it comes to evaluating a SW film? Why does everything have to be psychoanalyzed, why can't we all just look at a movie and just evaluate it for what its worth?

Would you think I have a skewed opinion if I said that Terminator 1 was better then Terminator 3? I saw The Original Terminator as a 12 year old kid and loved the movie, and I saw T3 as a 31 year old and thought it was average at best. Am I wrong?

Oh by the way, before you say the acting is crappy in all SW movies, Alec Guiness got nominated for a Best Supporting Actor nod for the Original SW.

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I'm not saying you, or anyone else for that matter, are wrong or right. I was only speaking to my opinion about the films. What I'm saying with what you quoted of my previous message is that we see things differently as children than we do as adults. I'm not trying to say our age determines whether a movie is "good or bad". Age affects our viewpoint whether in a good or bad light.

Awards programs don't interest me at all. I dismiss all "best of" awards. That opinion has come with age as I have realized that many years ago awards programs are meaningless when so many politics and friendships are involved during the voting process. It's a big joke. I don't so much mind achievement awards though as recognition for work is a lot different than saying you're the "best of.."

I have a saying.."there are certain constants in the universe, but subjectivity isn't one of them."

CO said:

sunday256 said:

I think we as viewers see the movies in a different perspective, which in turn skews our viewpoint.


Sunday, I defended you a couple of weeks ago when people were taking shots at you cause you were interested in the new Clone Wars Movie/TV Shows, but you are doing exactly what alot of people do as SW fans: Speak for someone elses opinions.

Why I can't I just say that ANH & ESB are the best movies of the 6, and leave it at that? Why does everything have to involve our youth when it comes to evaluating a SW film? Why does everything have to be psychoanalyzed, why can't we all just look at a movie and just evaluate it for what its worth?

Would you think I have a skewed opinion if I said that Terminator 1 was better then Terminator 3? I saw The Original Terminator as a 12 year old kid and loved the movie, and I saw T3 as a 31 year old and thought it was average at best. Am I wrong?

Oh by the way, before you say the acting is crappy in all SW movies, Alec Guiness got nominated for a Best Supporting Actor nod for the Original SW.

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sunday256 said:

I'm not saying you, or anyone else for that matter, are wrong or right. I was only speaking to my opinion about the films. What I'm saying with what you quoted of my previous message is that we see things differently as children than we do as adults. I'm not trying to say our age determines whether a movie is "good or bad". Age affects our viewpoint whether in a good or bad light.


We do see things differently as children in some ways, but when I was a kid, I thought Superman I & II were great, and Superman III & IV were terrible. Fast forward 20 years, and now looking at those 4 movies as an adult, I feel the SAME exact way.

Growing up I loved The Original SW more then any other movie, fast forward 30 years, its still my favorite movie.

I will agree that a 5 year old kid isn't going to get offended that Padme 'lost the will to live' the same someone our age will, because there are stuff that goes right over kids heads, for good or bad. Trust me, there was stuff in the OT movies I didn't 'get' until I was older, especially the cave scene.

What alot of people are saying is that alot of people would never like the PT because we were older, more cynical, etc, so that is the reason it is not held in as high esteem as the OT. But I always goto the LOTR movies, why was that so beloved by people are age, when they came out the same time as the PT? There were books that many kids read growing up, so they could have formed in their mind how the movies should be on screen. The bottom line is those movies were well done, and people liked them, simple as that.

As for Academy Awards, I agree they don't hold much value, but my point is that the Original SW had some very good actors in it with Guiness, Cushing, Tarkin, that really gave weight to the movie. Alec Guiness really carries the first hour, and a scene in his hut where he is talking to Luke about Vader and Luke father, it is a powerful BECAUSE of Alec Guiness, and that is the difference of the later movies, including ROTJ, where the acting became cheesy.
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Anchorman, I just wanted to say, well said! I wasn't around then, but I can tell just from the docs and how many old people (no offense guys) know Star Wars that that was true. I'm sure all of you othe rguys have spoken well, but I haven't gotten that far in the thread yet. D:

A Goon in a Gaggle of 'em

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Hope I'm not polluting this thread, being of only 22 years of age (as of this writing), but I can only echo the words of the novelization when I say "my discovery of the OT is lost to time and legend."

My earliest definitive memory of watching the movies was popping a vhs tape (recorded from a broadcast) of ROTJ into the vcr at my aunt's place when I was fairly young, probably about 6. Her family had a pretty huge collection of recorded-off-the-air movies, and I picked that one because I thought it was the fist sequel (because it had "return" in the title) and not the actual conclusion to the trilogy. Needless to say, I didn't know what the hell was going on when 3PO goes "look, Captain Solo, and he's still frozen in carbonite."

So, yea, that's the only definitive "first memory" I have. Although I remember an early memory from around that same time of stumbling across the scene of Luke watching the hologram at Ben's hut when Star Wars was being broadcast on TBS.

Those of you who say things like "ROTJ sucks because it caters to the kids," you're absolutely right. Believe it or not, around 4th or 5th grade (when I was around 9 or 10) I actually remember watching ROTJ along with the rest of my class (I went to a small, Catholic, K through 8th school). It was on one of those days where we had nothing else to do, so we'd have a couple hours to watch a movie (don't ask me to explain beyond that, it was so long ago that even I don't remember why that happened). I distinctly remember watching ROTJ not only with the rest of my class, but with the class above ours as well. One of the kids in the class above ours (I still remember his name, how weird is that?) went "Bo Shuda?!" with a laugh after Jabba spoke those lines.

It's funny because I also remember our class gathering in the library for that same kind of "movie time" thing, and we had to vote on what we wanted to watch. One of the choices was "The Empire Strikes Back" (by that point I'd already seen it). I remember my teacher describing it as "the continuing story of Luke Skywalker, (etc)." I don't think we ended up watching it.

Speaking of Empire, my earliest memory of that particular movie is seeing x or y "making of" special where they showed a clip of the "I'll never join you!" scene, and by this point I'd already seen all of ROTJ. I was struck by the whole "oh, so there was another scene in the movie before that where Luke fights Vader, interesting."

Oddly enough, that only leaves the original '77 film, and as I've said my earliest memory is that scene during the TBS broadcast.

Stuff I do have memories of:

-renting the movies (pre-'95), which is probably how I ended up seeing Star Wars and Empire all the way through for the first time
-USA's marathons (by "marathons" I mean something similar to what Spike is doing right now ...... if it was still the early 90's)
-The SciFi Channel showing Empire and Jedi in letterbox sometime around the holidays in the mid-90's. I even recall seeing a commercial sometime in the early 90's saying something like "for the first time, a broadcast of both the fullscreen (they used some other term) and letterbox presentations of the Star Wars trilogy."

Then came the "one last time" release. I even recall seeing the commercials, one of them was Vader looking from side to side during Palpatine's electrocution of Luke at the end of ROTJ with the text "one of the greatest villains ever" against black. Another commercial was 3PO's "and don't let me catch you following me" with some kind of text applying to him and R2, also against black.

Jesus, it it weird that I remember all this?

I ended up getting the THX vhs of ANH for Christmas that year. If you look back in the forums you'll find the thread I started after acquiring the full boxset just this past Fall.

Jump to November of '96. I go to see Star Trek: First Contact by myself while my mother and my sister go to see Jingle all the Way. Afterwards, my mom tells me that one of the previews was for the re-release of Star Wars movies starting "on New Year's Day" or something like that.

Jump to January of '97, I go to see ANH with some friends. Jump to February, I see ESB with my mom. Jump to March, I see ROTJ with some friends.

Ah, the funny thing is that my memories of that first time seeing ANH '97 are really quite vague / almost non-existant. ESB was different though: right at the opening crawl my mom said "y'know, did you ever think of how it takes millions of years for radio waves to get from one side of the universe to the other? So that would be like 'A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away'." I also remember pointing out the addition of the tibanna gas factory in that one wide shot of Cloud City. Later on, I remember naively asking my mom why they were "doing that" to Han Solo and she just replied "it's torture." Jedi '97, oh man: that digital sound really made the activation and deactivation of Luke's saber by Vader in that one scene on Endor especially LOUD. I still remember how that unexpected new Williams music at the end had me feeling (good, in case you were wondering).

Funny, I'd have to credit my mom assuming I'd want the widescreen (silver) vhs boxset of the SE for Christmas (instead of the fullscreen) as part of what actually ended up fueling my interest in movies. That was one fun holiday season, December of '97.

I guess this is as good a time as any to say that all of this is ultimately beside the point, since I was a Star Trek kid first and a Star Wars kid second. The funny thing is that Star Trek was at the height of its exposure in the mass media when I was into it (mid-90's) and yet I was considered really weird for being into it, whereas Star Wars (since it was only three movies from a decade-and-a-half back) was considered cool. That certainly wasn't the case by the time '99 rolled around ......

Which brings me to that whole OT vs PT thing. Let me just echo Baronlando when I say how odd it is that Star Wars went from this classic trilogy of films to this over-hyped "event" that was just one simple film: Episode I.

Of course, it's best to start in that afternoon in November of '98 when I was at the orthodontist's and he for some reason brought up that "they're going to start running the previews (for the new Star Wars movie)." That very night, I watched the teaser on Entertainment Tonight. I still remember it like it was yesterday, and it still gives me goosebumps.

Let me just say something else: 8th grade was hell for me. The fact that I'd be getting a new Star Wars movie for the first time in my lifetime made the light at the end of the tunnel all the brighter. I remember that night in March of '99 watching the theatrical trailer on Access Hollywood and finding out that the release had been pushed up by a couple days.

May 19th of '99 I also remember like it was yesterday. I was even kidding myself to the extent that I said "nah, I'll just wait until later to see it." My mom dropped me off that afternoon, the sun casting an orange glow over everything. By coincidence, a kid who lived up the street from me was walking out of the previous showing just as I was walking in. He asked "you going to see Phantom Menace?" "Yea" I replied, he just kinda smiled and said "it's pretty good." As I recall, the theater wasn't all that crowded. In fact, I remember being surprised that it wasn't sold out already. Guess that was only the midnight showings from the night before, and the showing for that coming night.

The fight club / titan a.e. / anna and the king 20th Century Fox teaser "and now, a look at three projects currently in development" teaser I still remember. Then the Loews Cineplex logo. The the first reel.

The 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm logos.

That opening crawl, wow, this was something.

I'd already read a third of the novelization so I was pretty much immune to those "bad feeling about this" sentiments early on in the movie. I guess that's why, by the time the lightsaber battle at the end was over, I was pretty much loving this. I saw it again with my best friend (who was so turned off by it so early on in the movie that he started telling a long chain of (admittedly quite funny) jokes to me. Take that story for what it's worth) and a third time with my mother and my sister.

I remember getting the vhs not all that long after it came out in Spring of '00. Rogue Planet I checked out of the library and read all the way through that summer. At some point I remember the website for "Episode II" going up with what everyone thought (and it could've been) concept artwork for the cloning facilities.

October of '01 was something special though. Popping in that dvd was a treat.

I remember seeing monster's inc in order to see the "breathing" teaser for AOTC. May of '02, I skip class along with several other people in order to see the movie in the middle of the day at Union Station in DC. That story I've already told elsewhere, so I'll skip it. I would see the movie a bunch more times throughout the summer, chalk that up to whatever you will.

Then there was the craziness that was Spring of '05. I still remember (heh, it was barely three years ago and I'm saying "still remember") as soon as the movie irised out to the end credits I just went "it was good." Not amazing, not great, just good.

In a lot of ways, I guess it took me until I was 19 to see the prequels for what they really were.

(I might edit this later, but this stream of consciousness will suffice for now).
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I'm what you could call a "Next Generation" Star Wars (1977) fan.

When the Special Editions hit the big screen, I was adament with my dad that he take me to see at least one Star Wars movie. I didn't know much about Star Wars at the time, but he was a fanatic of the original, so suggested we go see it... although the poster for "Star Wars" was somewhat underwhelming compared to the ESB and ROTJ.

It was a very memorable theater visit. There was no bad blood between the CGI alterations and I at the time, because that was the first Star Wars movie I'd watched, so I saw it for what it was: a GREAT sci-fi/adventure/fantasy movie.

I eventually bought a 1992 VHS copy of Star Wars, and began to understand how it was superior to the Special Edition. I love both editions, but the original, unaltered Star Wars, as a stand-alone movie, will always remain my favorite.

"Fuck you. All the star wars movies were excellent. none of them sucked. Also, revenge of the sith is the best."

- DarthZorgon (YouTube)

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I was 10 years old in 1977, and my world was changing in many ways. In the summer of '77, my parents sold the house we'd lived in since before I learned to walk, and we moved a few miles to a different town (this was all in suburban Detroit). My paternal grandfather died that summer, and my parents were always occupied with the new house. I went to a new school in September, and it came equipped with My Own Personal Bully, so that was nice.

During this time, I kept hearing about this amazing movie that was in theaters called "Star Wars". Sometime during the summer, playing with my cousins at my great aunt and uncle's house, they told me the basic storyline, and we ran around playing "Star Wars" all evening. While it didn't feel like it at the time, the new house was really stretching our family budget, so we never went to the movies that summer. We actually waited until October, and my sister's birthday, when my parents offered her the option of dinner at a restaurant, or going to see "Star Wars". Thankfully, she chose the latter :)

Think about that for a minute - "Star Wars" was initially released on a few screens in late May, and I didn't see it until five months later. "Star Wars" was still playing in some theaters a year after it was first released. Five months after it was released, you still had to show up and get in a mammoth line to buy tickets, not knowing (in many cases) which showtime you'd get in for. Also, for almost a year after it was released, there just wasn't much *stuff* to buy if you were a "Star Wars"-mad kid. There were trading cards, and comic books, and the novelization, and cheap t-shirts, but there were NO TOYS. Nobody thought the movie would be anything special, so the toy license was sold, very late, to Kenner, and they weren't even able to get toys out for Christmas, leading to the famous "empty box" Early Bird kit, which had a display stand for the original 12 action figures, some stickers, and a certificate to send in for the first four figures (Luke, Leia, R2-D2, and Chewbacca - no bad guys!).

So, we finally saw "Star Wars" in October '77, and when the small ship and the REALLY, REALLY BIG ship passed overhead (nobody knew what they were called back then), the world changed again. Here was a fully-realized world, as big as my imagination, and it seemed so open and limitless. Given everything else that was going on in my life (taken away from school and friends, getting picked on at the new school, etc), I latched on hard to this galaxy "far, far away", and it remained a constant in my life for the next three decades.

When "Empire" came out in 1980, a group of friends and I were driven to the theater by somebody's parents, but we were unable to get in to the show we wanted, so we had to buy tickets for a later show. This happened again a couple weeks later! When "Jedi" came out in 1983, my mom actually called the school to say I was sick the day after it opened, and took me to see it on a Thursday morning, to avoid the crowds.

I won't dwell too much on the prequels. Like Anchorhead, I have very fond memories of being part of the original "Star Wars Generation", though my fondness for it extends a bit further, right up until Darth Vader reveals his identity in "Empire". From that point on, the limitless place that I fell in love with in '77 started to shrink, and has continued to do so ever since. What had seemed like a place that could contain unlimited stories has finally revealed itself to be unable to support the one story its creator decided to tell, and that's disappointing. However, there's no denying that the experience of being there 30 years ago was magical, and I'm glad I was there for it.
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I actually never saw the OOT in the theaters, since I was too young to experience it in 77-83, and I can also be considered a second generation fan of the OOT. Every May I always get the itch to watch the OOT. It makes me quite sad that we can enjoy the OOT the way it should, but at this point, Im all too convinced that SW in its present form will become the entrenched version promoted by Lucasfilm, so I've accepted that I cannot win against George Lucas.
For the PT, I have a kind of "addiction" that isn't all that good. I also end up thinking that the PT isn't that bad, but I think that was because I grew up in Tandem with the releases of the PT, and I almost act in denial that they were bad, but in my heart they are the true destructive factor of the OOT I want to keep alive.
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Well, I have always said I was the ideal age when Star Wars was released -- 5 years old -- because I got to revel in all three movies upon their initial releases AND was able to enjoy playing with the action figure toys during the entire run. I know that may sound like odd reasoning, but "playing star wars" defined my childhood.

Anyhow, after reading Anchorhead's story, I'm not so sure any longer that I was the ideal age.

Being as young as I was, I didn't already have formative years before Star Wars, which would have then been drastically altered after seeing the film. I imagine the "experience" was much more dramatic for a teen. Yeah, if I had been a teen I would have missed out on the joy of playing with the toys and re-living the movie moments over and over (remember, we couldn't watch the films over and over on home video). But Star Wars the film is much more important to me than any of the toys or even the other two movies. Sure, I had it good. But to be a teen in the summer of 1977....

But now to get to what I did experience. I clearly remember the time my sister and I saw a neighborhood teen wearing a red Star Wars shirt with a guy holding a light sword above his head with a woman draped at his feet. We both thought it looked unbelievably cool, but agreed there was no way that our parents would let us see that movie. A little a bit mature for us. But not long after we danced with glee as my dad announced, "Kids, we're going to see Star Wars!" It wasn't spoken as if by someone who must accompany his children to a "kids movie", but by a man who was genuinely excited himself about this movie that EVERYONE was talking about.

Yep, we went and saw it at the drive-in (which was a whole other adventure unto itself). Not an ideal setting for such a film, but at my age I honestly wouldn't have known the difference if I had seen it in a theater. It was the greatest thing I had ever seen.

A couple of things that stand out:

- In the late '70s early '80s, you could make a Star Wars reference and ANYONE would "get it". My dad would sometimes call my sister (Rebecca) "Chewbecca", and his friend Garth would be dubbed "Garth Vader". This is not a man who had/has any interest in Star Wars aside from it being a great/memorable film he saw when he was 36 years old.

- I was Darth Vader for three Halloweens in a row. Yeah, it was that crummy plastic suit with his picture on the chest -- not even his chest plate! My friend would go as Luke and we made our own light sabers with flashlights, long wires, and plastic food wrap. As was alluded to earlier, we used our imaginations back then. Those goofy vintage toy commercials where the kids use a styrofoam cup as the carbon freezing chamber? That's the sort of thing we did! Not everything was pre-determined for us. There were many playsets that weren't produced, so we created our own!

- Empire was an event too. I still remember sitting in the lunch room at school debating whether or not Darth was actually Luke's father. I firmly believed that Darth was trying to trick Luke. Of course, the psychic "conversation" they had as Luke was whisked away in the Falcon went over my head....

Fast forward many years.............

When the SE's came out in '97, my sister and I and our respective spouses went and saw them together and had a great time. We certainly didn't like all the changes -- Jabba looked lame, Greedo shooting first was deplorable, and some of the CGI add-ons were unnecessary. But it was okay 'cause it was all an excuse to see the Star Wars films in the theater once again. And we certainly didn't think these would REPLACE the original films. After all, they were called "Special Edition". Even the video release said as much. But then when that first SE set came out that didn't say "Special Edition" on it, my brother-in-law and I started to wonder exactly what was going on.

1999: I wasn't following the Episode I hype on the internet at all. About the only thing I saw was the trailer, and it did have me jazzed about the new SW movie. But the end product was a big-time disappointment. A few years later AOTC failed to meet even severely lowered expectations. My wife and I both agreed it was the worst film we have ever seen. She refused to go see ROTS. I went out of a sense of duty, but didn't see it until many weeks after it was released 'cause I was in no hurry. It was only when I realized that it might not last much longer in the theater that I made it to a show. Meh.

I don't know if I've actually helped you out, emfab, but it was fun to rehash some of these memories.

Pink Floyd -- First in Space

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auximenies said:

I have always said I was the ideal age when Star Wars was released -- 5 years old --

...after reading Anchorhead's story, I'm not so sure any longer that I was the ideal age.


I think everyone was the perfect age. It was a serious film with some deeper issues alright, but there was still something for everyone. Older generations had a military\government\war story, my generation had a dishonest smuggler who traveled by space ship and the hero who rescued the girl, and the little kids had robots & Chewbacca.
Adults had actors from their generation (Guinness & Cushing), boys had Luke & Han, and girls had a smart, strong-willed princess.
And for everyone in the theater - special effects that made us feel as though we were actually there.

Star Wars was a perfect storm between honesty and innocence. The honesty was George’s passion for his film and his script - the innocence was the 1977 public. George cared deeply for his idea\story\movie – and we had never seen anything like it. We went in as blank canvases, ready to go on an adventure - while George made a movie he had always dreamed of making. A movie that took us on that adventure.

For George, as soon as he decided to commission two other people to come up with stories for a second film, he lost his honesty. Whatever the story was going to be, it wasn’t going to be passion-driven & penned by George, the way Star Wars had been. It was going to be sequel-driven and penned by other people. It couldn’t be as honest. That doesn’t mean the second story would automatically be bad, and in fact, it wasn’t. But the honesty was somewhat lost. Profit margin, copyrights, contracts, and merchandise tie-ins now had a say in the finished film. Han being frozen is a perfect example of how reality was steering the story – not passion. That’s the kind of loss-of-honesty I’m talking about.

For the public, since we’d been exposed to the story, the characters, the endlessness of outer space, other planets, and the awesome special effects - we now had expectations to go along with that lost innocence. We’d been on the adventure, rescued the princess, defeated the bad guys, and returned home safely to dream about it over & over. We weren’t emotionally innocent anymore.

The second time you fall in love – it doesn’t move you the way the first time did. That’s why people always remember their first love – it changes you forever.

Star Wars took the world by storm because that's exactly what it didn't set out to do. It was created with the idea of film first, franchise second. Once that changed, so did the quality of the story.
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That last paragraph is a keeper, Anchorhead.
I really need to stop reading only his posts, jeez.

A Goon in a Gaggle of 'em

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Anchorhead said:


Star Wars took the world by storm because that's exactly what it didn't set out to do. It was created with the idea of film first, franchise second. Once that changed, so did the quality of the story.


From everything I know of the production history of Empire, that art vs. franchise switch didn't really occur until the box-office returns came in for the film. Before that, George still had a passion for adding interesting story elements and he invented most of the key plot details. (Zombie can correct me if I'm wrong though.)

"Now all Lucas has to do is make a cgi version of himself.  It will be better than the original and fit his original vision." - skyjedi2005