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Basi Biittner: Repeat after me, "I am not a Star Wars..."

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Well, guess what I did recently? Let's see, Sunday was a beautiful sunny day… hmmm. I know, I went to George Lucas' latest multi-billion dollar merchandising kickoff, the last installment of the Star Wars epic -- otherwise known as Part III: Revenge Of The Siths (or ROTS, to use an acronym --not a good acronym, by the way -- maybe George should've thought that title through a little more.)

Anyway, let me say up front: I am NOT one of those "Star Wars geeks" that people talk about! Science Fiction has never been my thing. I've never watched a single show on the cable Sci-Fi network, for example. I also did not watch : Quantum Leap, Battlestar Galactica, nor ANY of the multitude of Star Trek series. Not even the first one, with Kirk and Spock, whose short run on NBC was during my formative high school years!

However, for some reason, I went to see what was then called Star Wars (which now goes by the title of Episode 4: A New Hope) when it first hit the theaters in the summer of 1977. I think I had read a cover story in Time magazine, and it sounded like it might be interesting. Anyway, we went and enjoyed it immensely. My daughter was six then, and we took her along.

Next thing you know, we had purchased a "land speeder" (Luke 's vehicle) for my son, along with an "R2-D2", and a few other action figures. Three years later, we happened to be in Kansas City on a family vacation when Episode 5 (2), The Empire Strikes Back, came out. I still cannot believe to this day (and my friends would probably not believe this either), but we left a YANKEE -- Royal game early to catch an Empire matinee in Kansas City !

Fast- forward three years, and Return Of the Jedi premiered. Yes, we went -- at least twice -I mean, how could you resist those cute little ewoks? And, you have to go more than once to catch things you might have missed the first time, right?

It was several years before Lucas got back into the Star Wars story. As I recall, he said at that time that there would be NINE episodes, and that the three which had been released were the MIDDLE part of the story. In the ensuing years, with new technology developing, Lucas and his co-workers tinkered with the first three films, added some scenes that had been cut initially, made more use of the special effects wizardry that they had developed, and re-released all three films to the theaters (as well as on video, of course). My wife and kids gave me the "box set" of videotapes one Christmas.

Finally, Lucas filmed the beginning of the story -- The Phantom Menace. It disappointed many SW fans, although it had its high points, like the "pod race." A couple of years later came Part II -- Attack Of The Clones. This film has been almost unanimously denounced as the worst of the series. So bad, in fact, that, I did NOT purchase the video -- the first one I skipped.

Nevertheless, when Lucas shrewdly announced that the Episode III he would be producing next would be the final installment of the series, tying into Episode IV, and that there would be no Episodes VII, VIII, and IX, all the "faithful" stirred and "buzz" began about this last episode -- the LAST episode, do you hear me??? The LAST, as in final.

Well, my wife and I did go last weekend. My son had already been, going the day before it officially opened, my daughter also went opening day, but we held off a couple of days. After all, I'm not a Star Wars geek! Well, I DID think (briefly) about attending the midnight show at the American Theater, thinking it might be "neat" to do that just once in my life, but I held off. After all, I'm 54 years old, and NOT a STAR WARS GEEK!

Well, let me tell you, Episode III is very, very good. My kids and I agree that it's one of the top three SW movies. Only time (and several more viewings, of course) will tell where we place it in our all-important "final rankings!"

Meanwhile, Janet and I watched A New Hope again, you know, to recall what happened after the current movie. And, of course, we watched the one I don't have- Attack Of the Clones -- on Fox TV Sunday night because, you know, we couldn't quite remember what had happened just prior to the current film.

And, you know, if we have another rainy spell, we might have to watch I,V, and VI again. You know, to get the COMPLETE experience.

But remember -- I am NOT a Star Wars geek!

Am I ?

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner