December 13, 2017

May 5th: Revenge of the Sith

A Sith Lord (?) at the eyepiece.

So, did you survive May the 4th? Yeah, much like Talk Like a Pirate Day, “May the 4th Be With You” is now on its way to crass commercialization. And while there are nerdier days out there to celebrate such as Pi Day (March 14th) or Towel Day (May 25th) commemorating Douglas Adams Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, May 4th, has become a time for fans to expound on all things Star Wars.

True, May the 5th is a much tougher stretch, and a date that has an uphill battle to fight as it shares a place on the calendar with one of the major drink ’til you vomit holidays, Cinco de Mayo also referred to by legendary alcoholics as “amateur drinking night,” we don’t see Sith Lords taking down hordes of inebriated,  tequila-fueled suburbanites anytime soon. And besides, Cinco de Mayo celebrates the loss of an obscure battle, what’s not to love about that?

Truth is, though Star Wars holds a cherished place in my childhood, I’m becoming a bit ambivalent about the latest Disney franchise. True, I’ve been in line for every movie release on opening day except the first one (episode 4) and not many fans have THAT claim to fame, as it was a limited opening waaaaay back in 1977 with a very slow to build buzz. (this was pre-social media, remember).

And yet, we found ourselves anticipating and enjoying The Martian more than Episode 7: The Force Awakens. Don’t get me wrong: we’ll probably continue to stand in line for each and every release. The movies are still a “happening,” something larger than the simple film itself. It seems to me that you need a bit of time and distance to judge whether a Star Wars film is “worthy” or not… for example, I remember how many a fan actually hated Episode 4: The Empire Strikes Back back in 1980, because it wasn’t exactly like the original… now, it’s viewed as the best of the bunch. Likewise, many praised the prequels when they came out, and now, they’re generally considered flops.

I thought the prequels did OK, though The Phantom Menace seemed like a beta test of a reboot unleashed on the unsuspecting public, and they didn’t really fix the flaws ’til Episode III. Hey, we can all find solace in the fact that Jar Jar probably bought it when the Empire blew up Alderaan in A New Hope. And we did enjoy Rogue One, though it seemed to really unnecessarily jump scenes really fast at times.

True story: The very few accounts I’ve ever had to block on Twitter were due to arguments about Star Wars. Sorry fans… a parsec is still a measure of distance, not time, a gaffe that Lucas neglected to fix in the re-releases and was echoed in Episode VII. It was a writer’s error (after all, it has the abbreviation “sec” in it, right?) and the best apologist explanation we’ve heard to date was that perhaps, Han Solo was trying to test his potential clients to see just what sort of rubes they were.

But in the end, the true power of Star Wars lies in myth making. The original series, more fantasy than science fiction, exemplified the myths of our age, and I think that’s truly what they’ll be remembered for ages hence.

Sith Lords and Jedi knights can rejoice in that fact, for decades to come.

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