First time for everything: Watching Star Wars


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The Independent Culture

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.