Well, I finally did it. It took me 34 years, but I finally saw Star Wars. I’m one of the few in my age-range who never did show an interest in the whole sci-fi genre of films, even though this was the beginning of a new era in special effects and technology. I preferred, and still do, dramas and romantic comedies. My 9-year-old wanted to watch it, though, so I bought the DVD. It amazes me that a film released in 1977 still attracts kids today — just look at the licensed products selling strong to date. That, in and of itself, makes the series’ popularity pretty spectacular.
I’ve got to say, cheesy acting aside, I did enjoy the movie. I got a kick out of Princess Leia’s cinnamon bun hair-do and Harrison Ford in his younger, action-star days. Watching it was like a time warp for me, even though it was my first viewing. And watching my daughter enjoy it, realizing that I was around her age when it released, was fascinating.
There was another reason I had interest in the film. Some years back when I worked for Lionel Trains, I had the pleasure of working with Mike Fulmer, an incredibly talented model maker once employed by George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). In his “retirement,” Mike created some fantastic model train accessories for us, but the entertainment of working with him came from his stories of the past. This man refused to enter into the computer animation age, instead preferring actual model making. He was a chief model maker for ILM, working on Han Solo’s spaceship, the Millennium Falcon, as well as R2D2 and C3PO. He also created the flying bicycle in E.T. Mike is quirky and funny, and never runs out of stories to tell, be it from his years in the Vietnam War or in working with many famous people (he was introduced to Lionel by part owner, Neil Young). He even shared with us that a working name for Star Wars was something like “A Wagon Train in Space.” Hmmm…doesn’t have the same kind of ring to it, does it?
I never mentioned to Mike that I hadn’t seen his work in the movies, and I’m quite certain he didn’t care. But I’m glad I finally saw the film. Now I have to admit my interest in seeing The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as well as the movie prequels. Having a former personal connection to them (albeit small), and a current family interest, seeing them seems almost more fun.
Ok, back to the DVD store we go. And may the force be with you.