Star Wars could do with some magic

English: Opening logo to the Star Wars films

English: Opening logo to the Star Wars films (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was something magical about Star Wars. Confusingly, it was the first and the fourth film in the saga and it came out when I was just 7 years old. There are not many films I clearly remember watching at the cinema from back then. I remember two. Grease was enjoyable but not really my cup of tea. Star Wars, however was magnificent. It was a classic science fiction fairy tale, with a Princess (Leia), a downright evil baddy (Darth Vader), a loveable rogue (Han) and a rag-tag collection of droids and a farm boy.

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the film, dozens probably. It was on again last weekend and considering it is now 35 years old, the film wears its years very well. The version being shown was the hobby enhanced edition with all the effects George Lucas added on afterwards to tart up the film. To be honest, I don’t think they add very much to what was already a damn fine film. If anything, the pace seems a little pedestrian, but certainly watchable.

Fast forward to this weekend and we sit here watching the second film in the franchise (or episode V in the new parlance), The Empire Strikes Back. Most people agree that this is by far the best film of the series but I’m not so sure. I like the ice battle on planet Hoth, but I find the training scenes with Yoda very slow. It is still a good film though and ranks among my favourites.

In between these two screenings, there was an enormous disturbance in the Force. A colossal empire by the name of Disney took control of the Star Wars universe. And boy, do I think it’s a good thing. Despite being no lover of Disney, somehow I have been to both Disney World and Disneyland and whilst I don’t like the tweeness and the triteness, I have to admire the vision and production values that lie behind the brand.

After the first three Star Wars films, the franchise was on a real high. It seemed unstoppable. There seemed hardly a child in the world who didn’t own a huge collection of Star Wars figures. A vast merchandising machine went into action and there was Star Wars on just about anything you can imagine.

When George Lucas announced the next three films in the series, episodes I – III, the Star Wars community rejoiced. There would be more wondrous science fiction epics to watch. Only somehow, it didn’t work out that way. There was a fine cast and the effects were magnificent, but where was the humour?  Where was the witty dialog? The interplay between charismatic characters. They were turkeys.

Disney have announced the next three films and let us hope that in these films the Force rediscovers its mojo. If they can hit the high notes that they did with Pirates of the Caribbean, then all will be well in the universe again.

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