For the 35th anniversary of Star Wars, I decided to watch Star Wars. Not the recent Blu-ray or the DVD, but a fan preservation of the way I originally watched it as a kid. The time-compressed, full-frame, two-sided CED/Videodisc of Star Wars. It does have the EPISODE IV title, but besides that, its such a vintage way to watch it that it’s very easy to imagine what it was like to watch Star Wars as the stand-alone movie it was designed to be (no matter what George Lucas tries to tell you).
It’s such a bold movie. The old-fashioned crawl is just informative enough that you get an idea of what is going on and throughout the movie you get only the information you need: there are bad guys, there are good guys trying to stop them from being bad. Most of the characters know each other though a history you don’t need to know. The movie moves from one point to the next rather quickly without stopping for long bits of unnecessary exposition.
Luke is just a kid with big dreams who is thrown into the middle of something much bigger than him. Leia is just a princess who can take care of herself. Obi-Wan is just an old wizard past his prime. Vader is just a mean guy who does what’s he’s told. Han is just a good-for-nothing smuggler who shoots first and asks questions later.
No backstory, no books, no comics, no toys, no sequels and no prequels. This is the way millions of people saw it in 1977. This is the way the Academy saw it when they nominated it for 10 Oscars.
Next time you want to watch Star Wars, try to watch it with “old” eyes. It’s definitely something to (re-)experience.