Friday, September 11, 2015

#42Movies, Day 1: Star Power

In which no one is surprised by my first double feature:

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983).

Commentary starts after trailers...

Yeah, yeah. Did any of you expect that these would not be the first two movie franchises I talked about? Raise your hand if you're surprised. (If your hand is now raised: HELLO. HAVE WE MET.)

It's safe to say that absorbing these two series at an early age directly influenced at least 47% of my character. The original Star Wars (yes, I mean Episode IV - A New Hope, you fucking nerd) was the first movie I ever saw in a theater, and Star Trek (TOS, duh) was one of the first three television shows I remember watching—while standing up and gripping the bars of my crib, no less.

(The other two TV shows were Space:1999 and Bewitched, in case you're wondering. Explains a lot, doesn't it?)

I am a lifelong fan of both Trek and Wars. I'm a little more hardcore on the Trek side, and you can psychoanalyze that if you like, but it really comes down to liking science fiction more than fantasy. That's just who I am.

So why did I pick these two films in particular? Why not, say, the one with the whales or the fanboy favorite?

Because this is a personal retrospective, and these two particular movies made very specific impacts on me when I first saw them. Wrath of Khan was the first time I witnessed the onscreen death of a beloved fictional character, and one with whom I strongly identified to boot. Return of the Jedi was the biggest "event" movie I had attended up to that point, and I distinctly remember waiting outside the theater for the previous showing to end and hearing parts of the soundtrack (mostly explosions) leaking through the walls. These were big, bold, bombastic stories, and images from both climactic space battles are permanently burned into my brain.

(Side note: I have never been into the "Slave Leia" metal bikini look. And by the way, check out the trailer above; her voiceover intro is "the strength of a leader." Yay for that, but boo for pretty much every other way in which Star Wars shortchanges its only female main character. Another reason I like Trek better, honestly.)

I could go on about this for days, but I'll stop here. Accost me in person if you want to talk about either Star franchise. Excruciating details available upon request!

Finally, this series of animated GIFs captures all I have to say about J.J. Abrams (video source - 02:28).



David said...

Return of the Jedi is the first movie I have a clear memory of seeing in the theater. I may have been a little too young, since I got bored or sick or something and made my mom leave before the movie was over.

It's interesting to me how dated the trailers seem - much more dated than the movies themselves. They both start with the same starfield and voiceover. It's also very noticeable how much better the effects are in Return of the Jedi despite being only a year apart.

When I was very young I was a big Star Wars fan, I had the toys and I had the record + picture book versions before I had ever seen the movies. I didn't start watching Star Trek until a bit later (I think it was in 1986 that my dad and I started watching reruns together - the first movie I saw was The Voyage Home, but it wasn't until TNG that I got really into Trek.

CKL said...

Those are great memories, David. Thanks for sharing!