This weekend marks the 35th Anniversary of the premiere of Star Wars. I was relaying this fact to some friends at my internship and realized that none of them were even alive when the movie was released. Oy! A moment in time that does not seem too distant suddenly made me feel ready for the old Jedi home–I think I’m starting to look like Yoda.
While the story of good v. evil is eternal, Star Wars provided a futuristic back drop the likes of which we had never seen before. Space creatures, “light speed”, and Darth Vader were so incredibly captivating and seemed so real.
This was a time when movies used to stay at theaters for months at a time, even in some cases years. Star Wars was one of those movies that stayed in the theater for well over a year and my brothers and I probably saw it at least 30 times, when movies cost .75 to see.
Looking back 35 years ago, I also reflect that “Gee, I think I must have been gay,” for I had a kind of crush on Mark Hamill and was fascinated by Princess Leia with the bagels attached to her head. I also reflect back and think about Star Wars as somewhat of a feminist film. Princess Leia was a strong and independent woman who controlled her own destiny.
Star Wars also changed the world of special effects forever more, much as the world we live in has changed so dramatically since the Carter administration. Star Wars was made toward the end of the Second Wave Women’s Movement and when American politicians were working toward peace, such as President Carter working with Prime Minister Menahem Begin of Israel and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt to sign a Peace Accord.
The 35th Anniversary of the premiere of Star Wars has also made me reflect on politics and how far backward we seem to have gone in many ways. The Reagan/Bush years coupled with the W.Bush years have been far more damaging than most of us would like to think.
I shall conclude this post with an encouragement to review history and learn from our mistakes, especially as we move closer to election time. Do we want a person that takes a strong stand for civil rights and has earned the respect of global leaders to lead the United States, or do we want someone from a dynasty of wealth and power that explicitly says he will work against civil rights and has a tarnished reputation around the world?