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Editorials

1997-1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002+



Return of the Child

A 100% spoiler-free editorial!

Here we are less than two weeks from THE MOTION PICTURE. Recently, I took the time to read some of the reviews posted on the net by those who have been so fortunate as to see the film early. As I feared, some of them have had expectations so high that they cannot possibly be met. Others have been quite positive about what they saw. For a while now, I've been wanting to write about some issues people should keep in mind while waiting in line to see this film. Then I figured, "hey, everybody knows this already." Judging from some of the reviews, it seems they don't.

1) THE PHANTOM MENACE WILL BE DIFFERENT FROM THE ORIGINAL FILMS.
Well, duh. When Lucas and crew made the original films, they didn't have all this computer stuff, and they didn't quite know what they were doing to begin with. Uncle George kept things really simple, and it appealed to us simple folk.

Certainly, Lucas and ILM will be trying to achieve something different with these films than they were way back in the beginning. They might even try to show off this new technology a little. Where's the harm in that? As long as the effects don't rob from the story, we're fine.

2) WE ARE ALL 20-SOME-ODD YEARS OLDER THAN WE WERE THEN.
We've grown up. A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Return of the Jedi were all made for little kids, typically 10-year-old boys. Lucas' point was to bring back the feel of the old serials he saw when he was a kid, and at the same time, try to teach a little bit about good and evil. He did a fantastic job at that.

I don't think his target audience has changed. George is still targeting this movie to the kids. We 20, 30, and 40-something people may see ourselves as the "original fans" and think Lucas owes us something, but he doesn't. WE choose to spend hoardes of money on all that plastic and paper stuff. Nobody forces us to freak out like so many of us do. I'm convinced from what I've heard that kids will love this film for the next 20 years. George has a great feedback mechanism: his own kids. I think he's making this for them. Expect the next two films to be even better as he gets feedback.

I would love to see a "dark" film like Empire (IMHO, the best Sci-Fantasy film ever made). I really dig the philosophy and high drama. But it took me years to grow into that. As a kid, I really dug the lightsaber duels and space battles. I think George will give us some of the really deep philosophical stuff; we just have to be patient.

So now, as I prepare to enter the theater, I'm going to mentally transform myself back into a 10-year-old and have fun like George wanted me to. I'm not going to care that they used CG rather than models or people for some things. I'm not going to pick apart every detail of the film. Save that for the critics. (one little profound statement for those who expect such things from me: "The thing about critics is...they're critical. Understand that, then ignore them. Use your own mind.")

I am going to thoroughly enjoy Williams' soundtrack. I am going to love every minute of the space battles & lightsaber duels. Who cares if some of the acting is a little off? Go back and look at the original films. Is that great acting? Who cares if one of the characters has a voice that's a bit annoying?

Quit nit-picking and enjoy the show! We've waited 20 years for it, so I'm going to immerse myself in it and drink it up. I refuse to be disappointed by this film! I refuse to be dragged down into the "I waited 20 years for this film and then he didn't do it like I would have done it" mentality.

3) IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO MAKE AN ABSOLUTELY "PERFECT" FILM.
Everybody has a different definition of perfect. Thus, you can't ever satisfy everybody.

This is the most highly anticipated film in history. There is simply no way it can live up to what some people have imagined. My advice is Yoda's from Empire:

"Clear your mind, yes, calm..."

Wipe the slate clean. Be as giddy as a schoolboy. Take yourself back in time. When the Star Wars logo appears on the screen, the opening crawl comes up, and you find that you can't quote it word for word, and have no idea exactly what you are going to see next, revel in that feeling.

Peace, and as always:

May the Force be with you!

Darin W. Smith
May 6, 1999

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