Confessions of someone who’s never seen 'Star Wars'
With the new movie hitting theaters, I figured it was time to come clean.
I have a deep, dark secret: I’ve never seen "Star Wars."
To avoid people's stunned reactions, I've lied about this fact a lot over the years. But with Episode VII scheduled for release Friday and Israeli producer Ram Bergman and American producer Kathleen Kennedy already starting on Episode VIII, now seems like the perfect time to come clean and face the George Lucas-worshipping masses. Before you grab your light sabers and I'm forced to get melodramatic, give me a chance to explain myself.
First off, I wasn't trying to be rebellious. I just never had a friend who put "Star Wars" on as a kid, and my parents didn't show it (though they did show us "Spaceballs"). It was a pretty big cultural gap to have.
By the time I realized I was expected to be familiar with robot odd couples and royal hairstyles resembling contortionist snails that started showing up in my friends' Halloween costumes, it was too late. Everyone else had already seen the movies.
"So why don't you watch them now?" you ask.
"Star Wars" just isn't that appealing to watch alone as an adult. I'm not interested in explosions or fight scenes, and I don't get any fuzzy nostalgic feelings from seeing a bunch of space people try not to die. And watching "Star Wars" is committing to six whole movies! That's a lot of time. I'd be watching out of obligation, like a student memorizing vocabulary for a Spanish exam.
There's also the fact that post-pubescent people almost never put "Star Wars" on. They talk about the movies all the time, but I've never witnessed someone actually suggest watching them, which makes me skeptical of the whole thing. Maybe I'm just not hanging out with the right people.
"So you don't know anything about it?"
It's just about impossible to grow up in the U.S. without eventually learning the "Star Wars" plot. In addition to my early exposure to "Spaceballs," I've seen parodies just about everywhere.
So I'm not totally in the dark. I assume things like:
- Darth Vader is Luke’s father, though I’m not totally clear on why Luke doesn’t know that.
- Yoda speaks like a mad linguistic student's experiment.
- Hollywood people decided British actress Keira Knightley looked enough like Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman that they could play the same role (or was one the other's clone or something?).
- The producers made some prequels after the first movies, and everyone thinks the originals were better. But that's the curse of the second version of every really popular thing.
I also think that Darth Vader is probably the most interesting character because he challenges the whole idea of anyone being innately good or evil. It's about choosing to be good, rather than falling to the dark side. It matters not that someone is born, but what they grow to be, Harry Potter. The future is not yet written, Marty McFly, etc.
I'm sure "Star Wars" has a lot of great universal messages and is reasonably captivating. But c'mon, guys. There are better movies out there. This one just got marketed really, really well. Can we stop putting it on a pedestal? Can it just be OK that I haven't seen it?
The Force is with those of us who got into "Lord of the Rings" too, guys.
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