I am a white, English-speaking male in my thirties and therefore I am – in full accordance with the law – fairly obsessed with Star Wars. I will read any book, article or Commemorative Special Anniversary Edition magazine, watch every DVD and Blu-Ray extra, play the games and do anything within my power to sate my desire for ever more arcane and obscure pieces of Star Wars trivia.
I have all of the soundtracks on my iPod, a Han Solo standee in the bedroom and I keep my Princess Leia Gold Bikini Bobblehead close to the front door should a fire ever force me to make a rapid exit from the flat. However, I do draw the line at the expanded universe novels (I read the first one, it wasn’t for me) and have never dressed as a character nor been to a convention, so I guess I’m about as fully-functioning a Star Wars obsessive as I can be without having it damage my real life in any meaningful way. In short, I am a fully paid-up member of the very generation that was so horribly, horribly let down when George Lucas unleashed The Phantom Menace and it’s sequels on the world. Except…
I kinda love them.
I know I shouldn’t. In fact, I don’t even know why I do. Their crapulousness is as apparent to me as it is to you and everyone else. I just don’t care. Yes, Jar Jar Binks is an unmitigated disaster, a pulsing, infected space-twat. Yes, Padme and Anakin’s romantic interludes in Attack of the Clones leave me queasy. Qui Gon Jin’s unwarranted explanation of midi-fucking-chlorians makes my anus revolve and every time Jake Lloyd lets out a stilted “Yippee!” I wanna grind his snub-nosed little face into the Tatooine dust. But these things, inexplicably, don’t bother me. In fact they make me laugh, maybe even – god help me – add to the films charm. Whenever I get the urge to watch the “proper” Star Wars trilogy I always feel compelled to start with The Phantom Menace and build up to them. And much to the disbelief and annoyance of my friends, colleagues and – especially – my very patient girlfriend, all of whom know me as an otherwise mentally stable film buff of fairly discerning taste and reasonable intelligence, I’d honestly rather watch the Star Wars prequels any day of the week over the so-called masterpiece that is The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (phew… I’ve finally said it…)
I know that this is bizarre behaviour. A couple of times a year I will watch The Godfather parts I and II with no qualms about skipping the vastly inferior third part. And I’ll watch Alien and Aliens three or four times before giving Alien 3 a spin. So why this mis-placed affection for these films that I should loathe?
I honestly don’t know. I’ve gone over it every which way and cannot for the life of me work it out. Part of me responds to the spirit of adventure and the battles of good versus evil in a far-flung galaxy, much as I did with the originals as a child, but I know that’s not enough, especially as – for the most part – they don’t look like Star Wars films and they sure as hell don’t feel like Star Wars films. And, yeah, there’s the geeky thrill of finally getting to find out the origins of characters I’ve spent my whole life with, be it Vader, Bobba Fett, godammit, even the Storm Troopers. But, at the end of the day, my love for the Prequels baffles me as much as it baffles (and infuriates) everyone else. I know it’s wrong but what can I do?
I guess the heart just wants what the heart wants…
Qui Gon JimPin It