To round out the “Star Wars” movie reviews on my blog, here’s a look back at my 30th anniversary essay for “Episode IV: A New Hope,” published in the Brainerd (Minn.) Dispatch on May 24, 2007, one day short of the 30th anniversary of the film’s premiere. Although my views haven’t changed much as we approach the 40th anniversary, I’ve included a few footnotes to expand on this column, which was aimed at a wide daily newspaper audience.
To round out the “Star Wars” film reviews on my blog, I thought it would be fun to look back at my review of “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” from May 20, 2005, in the Brainerd (Minn.) Dispatch. This was my first “Star Wars” movie review for a professional daily paper, so it’s written for a broad audience.
Just for fun — and to round out the “Star Wars” film reviews on my blog – I decided to look back at what I thought of “Episode II: Attack of the Clones” upon its release in the summer of 2002. I wrote the review for my college paper, the NDSU Spectrum. I went on to rank “Attack of the Clones” as the year’s fourth-best film (behind “The Good Girl,” “City by the Sea” and “About a Boy”; I couldn’t tell you a darn thing about “City by the Sea” now). I’ve added some footnotes reflecting what I think about the film now.
My 11-day stretch without cable or Internet as I moved into a new apartment presented a perfect opportunity for an “Indiana Jones” quadrilogy rewatch on DVD. Although “Star Wars” is of course my No. 1 Lucasfilm franchise, I’ve always admired the fedora-wearing archaeologist and his world-hopping adventures as well.
Season 2 of “Star Wars Rebels” recently kicked off in our universe, but in an alternate dimension where George Lucas did not sell “Star Wars” to Disney, fans are currently reflecting on the conclusion of Season 7 of “The Clone Wars” and looking forward to Season 8, probably the epic final season of the show. While we’ll never get the full run of “Clone Wars” as originally intended by Lucas, we recently got the story reels for the “Bad Batch” arc, which according to Wookieepedia would have been the first arc of Season 7. The four episodes are posted on the “Clone Wars Legacy” page at starwars.com.
After a generally strong first season, “Ewoks” Season 2 (1986, ABC) purposely dumbs things down and lightens things up, apparently in an attempt to draw younger viewers – as in “just learning how to walk and talk” young. Of the 22 episodes, only four are a full 22 minutes long (a half-hour with commercials); the others are 11 minutes (15 minutes with commercials). As you’d expect, the 11-minute episodes are simple fables about how to be a good person/Ewok.
There are two categories of old “Star Wars” stuff: That which you consume as entertainment, and that which you consume purely for nostalgia. “Droids,” the 1985-86 animated ABC TV series, falls firmly into the latter category. I loved it when I was 7, but even then my attention span only carried me through the first of the three cycles (“The Trigon One”), which I memorized on repeated Beta viewings. For some reason, I didn’t catch the second (“Mon Julpa”) or third (“The Adventures of Mungo Baobab”) cycles until the 1990s Sci-Fi Channel reruns – and even then, they didn’t make an impression.
Ah, Christmas Day. For a “Star Wars” fan, that means listening to Chewbacca croon “Silent Night”and watching the “Star Wars Holiday Special” on YouTube, right? On second thought, Life Day (the GFFA’s Christmas equivalent) really should be observed on Nov. 17, the date the “Holiday Special” premiered 36 years ago, so I’ll skip the re-watch for now. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever made it through the entire “Holiday Special,” and honestly, I’ll have to be scraping the dregs of the “Star Wars” back catalogue before I ever do.
While I and most fans will always be irked that “The Clone Wars” wasn’t allowed to bring its character threads to natural conclusions, I have to admit that “The Clone Wars: The Lost Missions”(2014), released in March on Netflix and now available on DVD, hits on several crucial elements and bows out with a beautiful grace note in its final episode, providing a nice framing mechanism with the first Season 1 episode, which likewise featured Yoda.
When I first heard Dark Horse was doing an adaptation of George Lucas’ May 1974 rough draft of “A New Hope,” I had two reactions: 1) How cool!, and 2) In retrospect, how obvious! Laurent Bouzereau gave insights into the various drafts of the original trilogy in his 1997 gem “Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays,” and J.W. Rinzler went a step further by providing chunks of the scripts in his comprehensive “Making of” books for “A New Hope” (2007), “The Empire Strikes Back” (2010) and “Return of the Jedi” (2013).