Force fed

After two decades, Star Wars has become the cult film for the rest of us

But how much lasting "fun" is the first Star Wars movie, really? Once the blush of the gimmickry wears off, what's left is rather ponderous--the dedicated rebels and the iniquitous Empire and that overarching home religion of the Force. I suppose it's encouraging, in this self-absorbed culture, for a piece of pop mythology to call for some vanquishment of self, which the Force does. But the Force is a two-edged light saber. At the initial stage of the Star Wars saga, it's so general that it can mean almost anything, from God to Emerson's "Oversoul" to New Age cure-alls to the "one big soul" of fellow-feeling in The Grapes of Wrath. "The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded," says Obi-Wan Kenobi. Watching audiences applaud the Triumph of the Will-meets-Emerald City finish--a show-of-force ending to an anti-tyrannical fable--you know that Kenobi's not just talking about Imperial Stormtroopers. To me, what's most astonishing about Star Wars is how it laid the tracks for the infinitely superior The Empire Strikes Back--coming refurbished to a theater near you on Feb. 21.

Star Wars Special Edition.
Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness, and the voice of James Earl Jones. Written and directed by George Lucas. Starts Friday.

« Previous Page
My Voice Nation Help

Now Showing

Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

Box Office Report

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, film info & more!