Sara Tasker was a massive teenage Star Wars fan. Ahead of a trip to see the latest instalment, she revisited the originals to see if a young Mark Hamill still made her bits twitch.
What and why: A long time ago, in a childhood where VHS was still a thing, I was a major teenage Star Wars fan. My book collection was extensive; I knew the name, language and planet of every background character and kept a cardboard cutout of Luke Skywalker in the corner of my bedroom. I was, as I’m sure you’re already imagining, super cool.
Adulthood came along and my interests inevitably moved on – my collection dissolved, Luke went to be landfill. So when my fiancé suggested we rewatch the original trilogy (Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) before catching the latest instalment at the flicks, I was super breezy. If it got dull, I could catch up on Instagram, right?
Wine at the ready, it’s time for a marathon. How do my teenage faves look to adult eyes?
Rated or dated: First observations: Luke looks GOOD! Are we sure he was this hot originally, or did they do something in the digital remastering to make him an extra 20 per cent more attractive? In fact, rather a lot of things are not quite as I remember them: Han’s pants are super tight, that swing-over scene on the Death Star is not nearly as impressive, and Alec Guinness seems a bit more pissed off about delivering his lines. Also, is it me, or is Darth Vader’s helmet ludicrously shiny? He must polish that thing for hours! #NotAEuphemism
“The films feel genuinely timeless; the sci-fi setting means there’s little to date them, and the stories of boy-meets-girl, unlikely heroes and messed-up families are as classic as any forgotten fairy tale.”
Suffice to say, by the end of the first instalment, the raging fangirl is rearing her head. As we boot up for The Empire Strikes Back, I start following Mark Hamill on Twitter and working out how to get him to marry me. As it buffers, I gorge on YouTube videos of lost interviews and cut scenes that weren’t around in my first flush of adolescent addiction. I discover Wookieepedia and brush up on inane and uninteresting facts. I’m getting a bit overexcited.
In fairness, my fiancé is almost as spellbound as I am. To our surprise, we’re both finding these films as compelling as ever, and the gentle lightheartedness means I can stay tuned without battling perpetual anxiety. They feel genuinely timeless; the sci-fi setting means there’s little to date them, and the stories of boy-meets-girl, unlikely heroes and messed-up families are as classic as any forgotten fairy tale.
Sadly, the same can’t quite be said for the special effects shoehorned in for the 1997 re-releases, which stand out enough to break the spell now and then. There are also plot holes I seemed to have missed as a youngster – why don’t they shoot that escape pod? Are they paying by the laser here? Luke’s makeover for Return of the Jedi is disconcertingly monkish, but that’s perhaps for the best, given the myriad issues involved with fancying a young man who is somehow simultaneously now the same age as my Dad.
As a girl, I looked up to these characters; a decade ahead of me and full of sass. Now I’m older than all of them, and see them for infants with their beautiful wide-eyed baby faces. I notice the nuances of their naivety in a way that 14-year-old me never quite grasped, despite all her hundreds of viewings.
But if it’s possible, all of this only serves to amp up my adoration. The spell of these stories is just as strong after 30 years, now being cast on a fresh generation with the gentle rekindling by Disney. Though Star Wars creates an unlikely universe, the tale it tells is relatably human, and herein lies the true magic of these movies. Where sci-fi inevitably dates, fairy tales live forever – much like my inner teenage fangirl, and her love for floppy-haired heroes in super-tight pants.1851 Views
A photographer, blogger and dedicated napper, Sara's career highlights include getting a DM on twitter from Jon Ronson and once appearing on Radio 4 at 6am. She lives in Yorkshire with a dodgy WiFi connection.