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
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
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
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
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
Peace, and as always:
May the Force be with you!
Darin W. Smith
May 6, 1999