ONE of my earliest memories is of an evening when my parents announced that they were going to the cinema and that we – my brother and I – were not invited because the movie was “for grown-ups”.
It wasn’t, really, but we were nowhere near old enough to see the first Star Wars film. Even so, we gave the babysitter hell.
Star Wars has since been somewhere in the background for much of my life.
After finally seeing the first film in what became a trilogy and being entranced; amazed by lightspeed, frightened by the strange breathing of Darth Vader, and saddened by the graceful death of Obi-Wan Kenobi,
I watched them all on so many occasions that I can still recite much of the dialogue, from the opening credits to the end of each one.
My sibling collected the figurines and space ships; my favourite being the large, grotesque, slug-like alien, Jabba the Hutt, from Return of the Jedi (the third of the trilogy). Just sitting here remembering, an earworm of the theme tune has started to trumpet inside my head.
I have long envied friends who have their own lightsabers, I can do a good impression of the noise the weapon makes when cutting through the air.
I know a number of grown men who wear their Chewbacca dressing gown with pride and not just in the privacy of their own home.
Most of us of a certain age had a boyfriend – or was that boyfriend – who had a “thing” for Princess Leia, with her lustrous brown hair coiled in large rings on each side of her head, who wore long white robes, and on one occasion, when captured by Jabba the Hutt – in what is a particularly popular scene – sported a gold bikini. There are various versions of this piece of swimwear that you can buy online, if you are still so inclined.
It’s not just me. “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”, and “May the Force be with you”, are just two phrases that the average person knows off by heart.
They have been incorporated into our everyday speech, referred to in multiple TV programmes and advertising, although the less said about the Yoda Vodafone advert, the better.
Since 2001, thousands of people have recorded their religion on the national census, in a number of English speaking countries, as “Jedi-Knights” after the semi-religious order from the films.
So pervasive is the influence of the movie franchise that there is even a Radio 4 programme called:, I’ve Never Seen Star Wars, where guests try an everyday experience that they have not experienced.
But I know I am not the only one touched by Star Wars who thinks it is time to call it a day.
I am unhappy with the desperate attempt to mine the films, and our experience of them, to exploit both without giving us the credit to recognise that their lame attempts do nothing more than rehash old ideas, make mistakes, and add little that is interesting. It’s getting desperate.
Let me explain for those who may not be fans. The first three Star Wars films are fantastic.
This is partly because their like had not been seen before. Star Wars combined soap opera with space and had a blockbuster appeal.
People watching the first one now tend to be surprised that it encouraged such adulation. Lightspeed – when the spacecraft the Millennium Falcon travels fast through hyperspace – looks like the camera man filmed painted streaks of white lines on a black background, with a plastic model of a spaceship in front of it; especially compared to what effects are possible now, but it was very influential in its day.
It was also one of the first films made with a young audience in mind. Film wasn’t the same afterwards, in a good way.
In 1999, the first of a three-part prequel to the original trilogy was released. We flocked to the cinema to see Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, with hopes that were, admittedly, a little high.
We had grown up and the new films tried to build on something that was already flimsy, if fun. The visual effects had improved, but it was insubstantial in parts, baffling at times, and in a sacrilegious act they fiddled about with the explanation of The Force (the power that unites all life, central to the plot and philosophy of the other films).
Around this time I was uneasy with the hype and merchandising that accompanied each release. I don’t mind about this kind of thing if it is as a consequence of a good film, but the relationship had been reversed: the films seemed to be more of an add-on to the merchandise.
Even so, more than a good few hours were enjoyably spent in the darkened rooms of the cinema, watching Episode II: Attack of the Clones, which was an improvement, and the one that followed: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
But enough is enough. This franchise has run dry. I do not welcome the planned trilogy of films that are to be Episodes VII, VIII and IX, the sequel to the original three.
The news that the film Star Wars: Episode VII (if you have lost track, don’t worry, it is a bit confusing) will be filmed in the UK, scheduled for a release in 2015, fills me with gloom. I won’t be booking in advance.
It’s time to end the Star Wars franchise. These films should not be made, please leave them on the cutting room floor. They are tired, now tedious, relying as they do on nostalgia for our childhood.
Essentially, and most importantly, the films are no longer any good. Film makers need to come up with some new movies, new characters and new plots.
They should create fresh memories for the young, not rehash our memories in place of their good ideas. These films should be left in the past, their Force is weakening.