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STAR WARS Leaves Me Torn … Again

They look at me with their sad, beguiling eyes.

“You know you want us,” they taunt. “Oh, you’re taking us home today, aren’t you?” they plead with such earnestness.

“You’ve waited so long for us. You know how pretty we look.”

I look down at my right hand, and find Star Wars Blu-rays in my clutched fingers. They beckon still: “Join us, and the collection will be complete.”

And like Darth Vader now says as he hurls Emperor Palpatine to his death, I cry out, “No …. NOOOOOOOOOO!!” and I run out of Walmart.

See, I want Star Wars on Blu-ray, and I don’t.

I want the amazing, crystal-clear film restoration of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. I want cleaned-up special effects and seamless star battles. I want a Rancor beast in sparkling, mind-bending HD.

I do.

I really do.

I also don’t much care for the special-edition versions, buffed-up as they are.

I don’t think I can handle Revenge of the Sith Vader’s first “NOOOOOOOO!!!” all over again without disappointment in Lucas’ attempt at fanboy cleverness.

The prequels aren’t as bad as people say.

More Jar-Jar Binks?

Oh yeah, I didn’t hate him; I kinda liked the Jamaica fish-people. And, having been at Harvard the same time as Natalie Portman and knowing her milieu at the time, she cracks me up in Attack of the Clones as an uptight leadership-camp sort – basically, playing herself.

I can’t handle hearing again that the Force can be measured in the blood. Or George Lucas’ stiff directing and dialogue – never evolved beyond 1979 – that let Hayden Christensen and Portman drown in seas of sad (i.e. poor) drama.

Part of me wants the old versions of the original trilogy up there on Blu-ray, even though I know how crappy they’d look after running through the HD-rendering funhouse.

“Oh, come on,” the other part of me says. “What are you, some kind of Star Wars fogey, crying about how you remember when everything was matte paintings, stop-motion animation and spit?” I tell myself not to be that kind of fan who turns the thing they like into a rigid memory-church where the older your T-shirt is, the better a fan you are.

“It’s just Star Wars!” my reverse-geek raves. “Yes, it’s awesome. But you didn’t really like it until your teens, anyway. The only one of the first movies you were around for was Return of the Jedi, so you got the story in backwards order, and you mostly cared about the Ewoks and your little landspeeder toy.

“You had to watch the movies just to fit in with your other nerd friends to quote it all the time, just like The Simpsons. So don’t act as if you’re hanging on to your childhood or something.

“Don’t be THAT Star Wars fan. Face it. Embrace it. Turn away from the dark side.”

And so I put the movies down, hating myself only a little. A geek split between his fandom desires.

The completist in me still bristles at the fact that I have all the Star Wars movies on DVD – awesome double-packs of the original and special-edition versions – except for The Phantom Menace. Countless times I have held that DVD in my hand, only to remember that I don’t like that movie, so why own it? But … it’s the only one you don’t have … why? WHYYYYY?!?!?

“But I don’t like that they made Vader shout ‘NOOOOOOO!’ when he kills the emperor,” I whine. “It’s silly and robs the scene of its dramatic power, dumbing it down!”

Then the other part of me pipes up: “Feh, go fetch some power converters at Tosche station, why don’t you, with all that complaining.”

It’s not as if I am opposed to buying a new video version of the movies.

I’ve bought the Lord of the Rings trilogy four times already.

Maybe I feel like the more versions I pick up, the farther away from the original cuts – which I loved just the way they were – will fade away in my mind.

Maybe I resist the changes, thinking that something from my childhood never should keep growing up alongside me.

Maybe Star Wars holds a place of unchanging cultural perfection, like some keep Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue on vinyl forever.

Though I do a thought exercise now and again about what Star Wars by Stanley Kubrick would look like.

Or maybe I’m willing to buy them, for the right price.

Like when I got the LOTR extended edition set on Blu-ray for $60 at Barnes and Noble thanks to a special combination of sales and discounts.

So I’ll continue to struggle with whether to buy Star Wars on Blu-ray.

They will be mine.

They’ll never be mine.

They will be mine.

They’ll never be mine.

They will be mine …

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