Monday, May 16, 2005

Return of the Sith

First, I am not talking about my STBX in referring to the Sith.

I have the most amazing luck sometimes. On Saturday I went to see an advance screening of Return of the Sith. It was great – definitely the best of them in my opinion. I even made sure I had proof: the movie theater gave everybody a special pass. In my opinion it was the most dark of the three new ones, and it had the most action.

Some of the best news of the newest of the movies is that Jar Jar Binks is only seen in two scenes, and if I recall, does not speak at all. Even thinking about him brings back traumatic memories of the first and second episodes. How many of you felt (like I did) that the second episode would have done just as well if it had been “The 4000 Slow, Bloody Deaths of Jar Jar Binks”? I know I would have paid to see that one. Twice.

I don’t think it’s a stretch of the imagination to say that Jar Jar was meant to be a character to attract and entertain children, but the rage he inspired in the general adult population was truly something to behold. I remember coworkers wondering what the thought process was in putting something like Jar Jar into the movies. Some even went to such lengths as to say that he ruined the movies. My personal thought is that he did not ruin the movie, but it was a close thing. I think that if Lucas ever wants to make a quick buck he could release a DVD version which either has an option to automatically skip over portions of the film that have Jar Jar in them or has a version that digitally replaces him completely, say with Gumby or even Barney. Either would be a vast improvement.

Star Wars was actually the first movie I ever saw in a theater. I was 10 years old at the time, and my dad piled my brothers and I into the car with my mother and off we went. At the time we had no idea where we were going, we were just along for the ride. When the theater sign came into view it had one movie listed in the middle of it: Star Wars. We had heard about it in school, but never thought about going to see it. When it came into view my mother immediately began to protest. Her protest clued us in – we were going to see a movie for the first time, and it was Star Wars!

We got there early, but the line was still quite long. We waited, excited, near the front of it, about eight or nine feet from the door to the particular theater we were seeing it in. The door opened and we saw robots on the screen, whom I now know to be C3PO and R2D2. That short glimpse easily quadrupled our excitement level. I remember a man in front of us in line saying something like “I don’t know what it’s about, but there’s robots in it!”

I don’t remember actually watching the movie, but I certainly remember the next day. We had a big logpile in the backyard, and our imaginations immediately converted it into the Millennium Falcon. Our mother was a convert also, despite her initial protests. She got us the soundtrack and we played it continuously in the house. We were enthralled by Luke, Han, Darth Vader and Chewbacca. I think she liked the theme of the movie, especially the Jedi. For young boys this was an ideal movie. It had spaceships and space battles, aliens, lasers, monsters, swordfighting, and heroes we could identify with.

I think Star Wars did a lot to encourage my interest in science. I was one of the few kids who had a computer at home in the ‘70’s, and there were electronics everywhere. My dad is an electrical engineer, a ham radio operator (as my brothers and I are now) and had built his own home computer from parts he brought home from work and from ham radio flea markets. It was a towering affair and had a very small monitor. We (meaning my dad – we were not to touch anything unless given explicit permission) entered programs by way of punch cards. We had a game my brother and I loved to play which basically was a stationary cannon we could use to shoot spaceships that flew by at various levels of the screen. One of my classmates told a teacher that I was telling stories about having a computer at home. She called my parents, concerned that I was making up stories like this. I can only imagine her surprise when she was told that we really did have a computer.

I won’t post any spoilers for the movie, but I will let you know that the process that produces Darth Vader is good, but should have been longer and more detailed. And I still think Jar Jar should have been killed off.