I first saw Star Wars as I did the Star Trek movies: on good old VHS. We had several drawers of VHS tapes, and nothing beat picking out a tape and putting it into the huge tank of a player and watch the movie on the glowing tube TV. For me, it was almost always a Star Wars or Trek movie. Growing up, I watched both on a regular basis. I saw the re-releases in theater with my mom, and it was great to watch Star Wars on the big screen. A couple years later the new movies came out, and while I had mixed feelings about the movies themselves it was still great to see Star Wars movies in the theaters. Since Revenge of the Sith was released, it’s been several years since I’ve watched a Star Wars movie at home, while I have still watched a Star Trek movie at least once a week. It was only recently that I’ve asked myself why that is.
Growing up, Star Wars blew my mind just like everyone else’s. While I didn’t watch it in theaters to begin with, it was almost better for me to watch them at home; it was just me and the screen, and I was immersed in this world of adventure and heroism. Compared to the cold scientific logic of Star Trek, Star Wars is a warm blanket of risk and romance. I’m surprised I didn’t wear those tapes out. Every time we stayed over at my aunt’s, we watched them there as well.
When the self-recorded VHS copies wore out, we purchased the THX VHS trilogy set. These had some clean-up work done to them, but it was still the original movies. A few years later, the Special Edition set was released and we bought those as well. New effects and more changes had been done to the films. Even then I had slowly stopped watching the films as often. The DVD releases weren’t purchased until after the prequel movies had been released on DVD as well. I think I’ve watched those DVDs once, and I haven’t checked out the newest blu-ray release.
The recent news of the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney is what originally got me thinking about Star Wars at all lately. With it in my mind, I opened up Netflix and watched The People vs. George Lucas. This was an interesting film that asked a lot of the questions I didn’t even know I had. Where are the proper releases of the original, un-altered films? What happened to you George? A lot of that are things that should be relegated to another post, but I will likely not cover them at all. Again, this post is about growing up with the original trilogy and how I relate to it today.
Many say that Star Trek is for the brainy, geeky nerds, while Star Wars is more for the masses; Star Trek is about logic, Star Wars is about feelings. I can agree with those opinions. Did I simply grow out of Star Wars, and so felt it easier to relate to Star Trek? Possibly. It didn’t hurt I later got into The Next Generation and Voyager shows, so there was a lot more Trek in general to dive into rather than just 6 films. Could I not relate to the prequels since I was no longer a kid? That too is possible.
So could I watch any of the Star Wars films now, and still be as enchanted as I was decades ago? I wish I could say yes, but I’m not honestly sure. There’s little doubt I couldn’t watch the prequels again; maybe it’s generational, or those films really are bad, but they’re not “my” Star Wars. Even in the original trilogy, I may have to leave out Return of the Jedi. Ewoks? Barf. It was also the one to get the most changes of the original trilogy. So if I did want to watch the first 2-3 films, how should I? Purchase the original trilogy on blu-ray? That would offer the best quality, but also the most changes. I can try to hunt down the DVD releases that offered the un-altered versions as well, but I’m pretty sure those have gotten quite expensive; they also would be worse quality and not in the proper aspect ratio. Sadly, unless I want to hunt down illegal copies of the laserdisc versions, I don’t really have any options. The movies I want to watch, according to George Lucas and Lucasfilm, don’t exist. Can Disney fix that? If so, I have some money with their name on it.