First time for everything: Watching Star Wars
Alice Jolly is an author, playwrite and teaches creative writing at Oxford University. She is crowd-funding her own memoir of infertility and surrogacy with the publisher Unbound. 50 per cent of the proceeds of the book will be donated to SANDS (The Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Foundation).
Wednesday 07 December 2011
It was the source of much mirth among my colleagues that I'd never seen Star Wars. I suspect that this has more to do with the existence of the BBC TV programme I've Never Seen Star Wars than it does with the fact itself, since – if you ask around – there are quite a few people like me. Everyone has seen a bit, but plenty have never watched the whole thing.
Anyway, I did have some (limited) experience. Aged 15, in an attempt to prove my tomboy credentials, I sat down and tried to concentrate on the TV screen while two male friends extolled Lucas's genius. I now realise this wasn't the best way to start, as the only thing I can remember is Princess Leia's bikini, which means I was watching the third film, Return Of The Jedi, rather than starting at the beginning. Plus, it was a sunny day outside; the living room was hot, dark and miserable.
This experience pretty much shaped my attitude over the next decade. I'm not really a fan of sci-fi; slipping into the fantasy that has been created requires far too much concentration. And anyway, I have a problem with old films. I don't like their fuzzy tone, the dated effects and stagy dialogue. I yearn for gloss, sharpness and HD.
Still, we must suffer for our art. And so it was that one rainy afternoon I found myself spending some time with Han, Luke and the guys. There was plenty to admire: the humour, for one thing, which I'd not expected. And the fact that virtually every scene has informed subsequent cinematic tradition. But I remain unconverted, I'm afraid. I won't be rushing out to buy a light sabre. By the end of it all, I was flicking through the Sunday papers and generally counting the time until I could switch over to The X Factor. What can I say? The force wasn't with me. Apologies, film fans.
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