Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Force To Be Reckoned With

The recent release of Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-Ray reminds us of a sense of shock & awe "… from a long time ago…"

I recently purchased the mega-disc set of The Complete Star Wars Saga on Blu-Ray, prompting my girlfriend to ask me; "How many times can you actually re-watch the same movies?" Good question. Let's count, shall we? Kids, grab your abacus!

The answer “forces” me to recall the years of my youth. I was nine when Star Wars first hit the big screen and my life had been altered in ways I can only barely articulate. Though, indulge me dear friends, this was true enlightenment.
Though Jaws (1975), is officially credited to be the first-ever summer blockbuster, Star Wars epitomized this phenomenon. A blockbuster, for those who may not know, is a movie where the lines of moviegoers waiting to get in went out the theater door, down the sidewalk and – you guessed it – around the block, thereby "busting" the block. Remember, this phrase was coined at a time when movie theaters held either single or double screens. A 'megaplex' in downtown Boston was once known to have the unheard of number of four movie screens (gasp!). Back then, Hollywood saw the summer as a dead movie season. After all, who in their right mind would go the movies when you could go swimming, go to the beach or go on a trip? Movies releases were typically slated for late fall or early winter – prime movie release season at the time.

I vividly remember local (and national) TV newscasts interviewing scores of people waiting in lines – often for days – to experience George Lucas's other-world space opera. Sadly, I would see the movie just three times in the original year of release, but that, as they say, was just the beginning.
In 1978, Star Wars ran for six (6) consecutive months, only to be re-released months later in most major markets. The movie was a runaway hit and I couldn’t get enough. I went every weekend for an average of 2-3 continuous showings over the course of the summers of '78 & '79, I estimate I saw this movie roughly 55 – 60 times (keep in mind matinee admission was $1 for kids my age). I just couldn't get enough; the poor story pacing, the campy overacted script, mistake-ridden post-production – none of that mattered. What mattered was how many details my friends and I could discover by seeing it again and again. And Again.

And Again.

"Don't be a Vader-Hater, Son. Now, "Hand" over the remote...!
Then, in 1980, the Empire Strikes Back came to a theater near me. OMG—another one! The ride wasn’t over — it had only just begun! Now older, and on the high of watching Star Wars more than 60 times coursing through my veins, I proceeded to see Empire a whopping 14 times in 1980 alone. Another dozen or so times (thanks again to rereleases!) before 1983 when Return of the Jedi made my head explode with it’s jaw-dropping awesomeness. Was Darth Vader really Luke Skywalker's father? Would Leia & her homeboys be able to save Han from Jabba The Hut in time? Would the rebellion score another major victory against the Empire? As I entered my first year of High School, there were legions of die-hard fans there to share my fascination with.

All told I have viewed each of the six movies somewhere between 30 & 60 times apiece and I’m sure I am well over 200 all-time since VCR's, Cable TV (the original trilogy is run every Christmas, Thanksgiving and Memorial Day on TNT) and DVD's have made these movies available anytime, day or night. Which brings me, finally, to the Blu-Ray release.

You’ll need a decent digital screen, the larger the better, and (of course!) a Blu-Ray player. I recommend a popcorn machine, a healthy supply of vitamin water and remember to shut off your cell phone. 

You’ll be blown away as you fall in love all over again with a story that has captivated two generations of fans. The image clarity is almost unspeakable. The sound is spellbinding and yet, the real gold is the extras. I most likely own every series release since the Gold VHS edition came out. This one "… grinds [the others] up and blasts them into space!" If you have yet to purchase a Blu-Ray player, I understand, but if you love movies like I love movies (just check out my Movie Blog, The Boxed Office) a Blu-Ray player is for you! The added image and sound quality is terrific and the behind the scenes commentary and hands-on documentaries along with the review of the special effects process(es) are too delicious for words – and the SW:TCS Blu-Ray delivers in spades!

To respect those who have NOT purchased this release yet (whoever THOSE left brain, no imagination clones are), I will not divulge any details so you must see the movies for yourself. No Blu-Ray? Visit a friend who has one, do whatever it takes. Yes, they are THAT good!

"Watch or watch not... there is no try."
So to answer the original question; “more than 200 times – and counting!” You can never get enough of a movie series that so epitomizes fantasy, imagination, good overcoming evil and more fantastic science, gadgets and special effects than you can wave a light saber at. Grab your blaster and your wallet; $80 for all six movies in re-mastered digital high definition with surround sound and more than 40 hours of extras – it’s pure heaven, even here in the outer rim territories.

I advise everyone to run, don't walk, and get re-acquainted with the most imaginative and captivating cinematic story-telling experience of the 20th century. (If you need a gentle reminder click here for a comical recap of Star Wars.)

To remind younger readers, Han DID shoot first, don't believe the re-master.
Greedo would never have missed at point-bank range.

"Remember, the force will be with you… always."


  1. You mean Han *DID* shoot first, right?

    Man, this brings back memories of watching these movies with you. And of the Cheri, the Pi Alley, the Charles, and the the.. the other big screen theater on Boylston street, what ever it was called. All those big theaters gone now.

    I so totally want to pull an all day wall to wall viewing now.

  2. Good catch! I have corrected and re-posted!