Tomorrow, audiences can head to theaters to see the rerelease of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in 3-D. Regardless of how you feel about the much-maligned prequel, there’s no denying the Star Wars franchise made more than an impression on millions of moviegoers who experienced the magic of the first three films in theaters or on their TV screens. This week, EW‘s writers will be celebrating their complicated relationship with George Lucas’ beloved, yet contested, franchise with a series we call “How Star Wars changed my life.” And for those of you headed to the theaters this Friday… may the Force be with you.
There are those who are content to be merely delighted and dazzled by an entertaining magic trick, and there are those who become obsessed with needing to know how they were so persuasively, thrillingly fooled. When it comes to the sort of magic that we routinely see on movie screens, I have long been the second kind of fan, and the film that got me hooked on such enchantment – and put the “How did they do that?!” bug into me – was Star Wars. Like a lot of people my age, George Lucas’ hyperkinetic space opera was a cultural event that seized my imagination and seeded a desire for transporting escapism that has never left me; in some ways, I think my interest in the movies is all about chasing after the same ecstatic WOW! that I felt when I first saw Star Wars at the grand (and now demolished) UA 150 in downtown Seattle in the summer of ’77, and then over and over and over again when it reached the more modest (and still in business) neighborhood movie palace, the Admiral Twin. It wasn’t enough to have the memory of that far-out yarn running on a constant loop in my mind, or to reenact the story each night with my brother for our parents, or to recall and recite (sometimes with peculiar competitive intensity) favorite scenes and memorable lines with my Star Wars-loving friends during recess. And during class. And during the dawdling walk home… READ FULL STORY