A few days ago, I stumbled upon this Video which sort of answers a question I had been thinking about of late regarding Star Wars: Is Episode 4 really a great movie? Or was it just nostalgia begging me to recall it in its glory?
See, I’m an Old Man ™. I was growing up back before everyone started getting cybernetic exo-plants grafted to their hands, back before Wi-Fi was ubiquitous – hell, back before there was even a connectivity device called The Internet. Yes. I’m really that Old. But I’m not as old as Star Wars.
That had me beat by two full years. I do, however, recall seeing Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi in movie theaters when it first came out. So I guess I’m Old, but not That Old.
As we often do, we look back on the glory days of our lives with rose-tinted glasses: we can recall the wonder years of youth, playing, gaming, learning just how to become the geek we will one day develop into – and we can do all of this with a happy smile and the words “Why the hell did I let that time go?” Unlike with the actual days of our youthdom, movies (like Star Wars), can actually be played again. Over and over until we can finally get the Motti / Vader dialogue right, or until we can recite the whole movie from “Did you hear that?” until Chewbacca’s roar at the end of “A New Hope.”
If I were being wholly honest, “A New Hope” is probably not a great movie. It was groundbreaking, sure. It changed film – and cultural – history. It revolutionized what could be done with special effects. It has one of the most iconic soundtracks in film history. It has some of the most recognizable sound effects in movie history. It is a classic “hero journey.” It won a number of Academy Awards. But is it actually good?
For me, the biggest problem is that I’ve been watching this movie since I could even recall visual objects. Star Wars IV is more than just a movie to me, it has risen to a prestigious place in my all-time greatest influences. While there is little contest that Star Wars V: Empire Strikes Back is the superior film, the fact of the matter is that A New Hope is utterly iconic. It’s just the question of whether or not it is GOOD that has me wondering.
The treatment presented in the video posted above directly kind of answers that question with another beloved franchise from my childhood: The Transformers. Both Transformers: The Movie and Star Wars IV both rank as two of my all-time go-to movies. (And suddenly I have an idea for a future blog idea. Cool.) And though they are endlessly quotable, and I get little butterflies of joy at watching my favorite scenes again and again, I have begun questioning whether I love these movies for being good movies or whether they simply mean countless moments of enjoyment spread throughout the many many years of this Old Man’s ™ life.
So let me ask you: How do you feel about such nostalgia: Are there any movies that you love but aren’t sure if you love them because they are great movies or because they simply have deeper meaning for you? What about books? Comics? Heroes? Games? Sports teams? I suppose nostalgia could color anything. What kinds of things are up for debate in this way?