After not having been impressed by The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, I wasnt too optimistic about Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. But I knew I'll be seeing it, even right after walking out of the theatre after the forgettable Episode II. (I fell asleep in the movie theater while watching Attack.) George Lucas mustve placed some sort of Jedi mind trick on me. It was inevitable. The circle had to close.
So off we went to GB3 for the 11:20 screening, May 18th, the first day of its regular run. There was the usual smattering of geeks in black robes in the queue, and this never failed to amuse. Cinema 2 was almost packed when we got there, the monitor indicated most of the seats were red, but we found 4 seats (there were 4 of us) not too near the screen. Not 4 seats in the same row, so we split: 2 in row K and 2 in row L. A geek was waving his light sabre all throughout the trailers, but he respectfully turned it off and stashed it away as soon as the yellow letters on the screen spelled 'A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...' There was a moment of reverent silence. Then as the strains of John Williams' rousing Star Wars theme played, a jubilant cheer erupted from the crowd. I cant help not being caught up in it myself. This was the culmination of a saga almost 30 years in the making, the stuff of childhood dreams and fantasies. But I caught myself and kept from cheering. I was with my office colleagues, the people who work under my department, and I had to maintain a certain level of decorum. It wouldve been different if I saw the movie with Grifter, Delphi, and the Dude. I wouldve whooped it up with them, even though I admit I wouldnt have out-geeked those three.
As a movie, it was just OK. I wouldve liked to have Anakin have a more convincing reason to turn over to the Dark Side. I wouldve loved George Lucas to have consulted with his pal Francis Ford Coppola about how to surprise us with the perfect, elaborate mafioso-style plot during the turning of the troops against the Jedi, and not the anticlimactic one they used. I wouldve loved more development in the backstory between Obi Wan and Padme (maybe Obi Wan was in love with her, but he couldnt be with her as this would interfere with his being a Jedi.. awwwwww). I wouldve loved to see more emotion in the acting instead of the detached and wooden performances. I expect more from my movies.
But this isnt just a movie. Anyone approaching this as if this were an ordinary movie would be missing the point. The Star Wars saga gave two generations the capacity to dream and to imagine. It gave it a sense of honor, and chivalry, and hope against all odds. It gave it a sense of wonder. George Lucas's vision had such a profound impact that 70,000 people in Australia declare that they are followers of the Jedi religion. That was in 2002.
Star Wars gave each of us the chance to rediscover the magical years of childhood when everything was new and filled with wonder; when a clothespin was an X-Wing rebel fighter and the cover of a BIC ballpen an alien starship. It reminds us that that sense of wonder is in there somewhere, covered by the veneer of 'maturity' and 'proper adult behavior' but is just aching to get out every chance it gets. The Star Wars movies gave it that chance. Thanks, George.