Just forget the words and sing along

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

All the Times I've Bought Star Wars: Episode VIII -- Train Him I Cannot. He Is Too Old.

And we've reached the final entry of my epic blog series, All the Time I've Bought Star Wars.  I've been recounting all the times I've bought Star Wars, and trying to figure out why I've bought it so many times.  We take a look at what I've learned with the final part, Episode VIII: Train Him I Cannot.  He Is Too Old.

“There’s only one Return, and it ain’t ‘Of the King,’ it’s ‘Of the Jedi.”  That’s a rather famous quote from the film Clerks 2, in which our anti-hero Randall Graves harasses a couple of Lord of the Rings fans about their choice in film trilogies.  On the running commentary for Clerks 2, and in several of his famous Q&A sessions around the time of the film’s release, director Kevin Smith frequently lamented that there’s a whole generation now where “The Trilogy” isn’t Star Wars, but Lord of the Rings.  

And “generation” seems to be one of the key concepts when you’re talking about Star Wars.  The first film came out in May of 1977.  I was born in July of 1977.  Star Wars has always been there...an intrinsic part of my growing up.  When I was in kindergarten I went as Darth Vader for Halloween...the next year I went as Luke Skywalker.  My friends had all the Star Wars action figures you could imagine.  When VCRs started becoming commonplace, I’d constantly beg my parents to rent Return of the Jedi for me, and I’d always fall asleep halfway through.  I don’t think I finally saw it from beginning to end until I was in high school and me and the rest of the misfits would gather in the science lab every lunch hour to watch movies.  And then I was off to college, where lots of my friends enjoyed the Trilogy and we began counting down to the prequels.  Star Wars was just always part of the background noise when I was growing up. 

Eventually, though, the background noise catches your attention.  You begin focusing on it, studying it, analyzing it, figuring out what it has to say.  And when the background noise has been around for as long as Star Wars has, there is a lot to study.  There are new background characters that you’ve never noticed before.  There are untold stories as to how these characters came to be.  There are tiny details to be highlighted.  The more you peel back the layers, the more you find.  

And with all the advancements there have been in home theatre technology, you can’t help yourself but buy the latest versions of Star Wars when they came out.  VHS was the first opportunity we had to watch the films over and over and over again, picking out the details that you only get upon multiple viewings.  DVD came along with increased picture clarity, thus enabling you to discover new background characters that you’ve never noticed before.
And now, Blu-Ray is coming.  In high definition, who knows what background details we’ll pick up on now.   And with the Internet accessibility, I know that Lucasfilm will be taking full advantage of that.  When Episode I came along, most of my friends fell in love with the character of Aurra Sing.  She only has 15 seconds of screen time, but from what I gather, she became a superstar in the expanded universe.  Well, with Blu-Ray, you’ll be able to push a button on your remote and bring up all of Aurra Sing’s life history.  No longer will you have to pour through an endless series of novels and comic books to piece together the tale!

But Blu-Ray and Internet access is only the beginning.  There are still versions of the Trilogy that illuminate more details.  I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on The Clone Wars someday – not the CGI cartoon, but the original Genndy Tartakovsky cartoon.  And there’s still the radio play adaptation.  Back in the early 1980s, NPR adapted the entire Trilogy into a series of radio plays.  Since it was based on George Lucas’s original screenplay, there are lots of added story details that are back in the original tale.  Plus, you know, I love old radio plays, so it’d be interesting to see how it was adapted to the medium.  

It’s the desire.  The desire to learn more.  When something has been a part of your pop culture landscape since you were born, you just can’t help but want to learn more about it.  And purchasing multiple versions of the Trilogy enables you to do just that.  Purchasing the multiple spin-offs and tie-ins enables you to learn more the fictional universe.  Purchasing the Trilogy on new formats enables you to learn the stories as to how these films came to be.  It’s all about the quest for knowledge, so that way, if you ever find yourself in the QuickStop one night, and you overhear a debate about how many independent contractors were killed  when the Death Star was destroyed, you’re ready to join in the fray.  

So that is why I bought it on VHS.  That is why I bought it on DVD.  That is why I will buy it on Blu-Ray.  And when they day comes that you can buy it on a chip you implant in your head, I will buy it again.  And you know why?

Because I haven’t discovered girls yet.  

The End

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