Human memory is a funny thing. It often plays tricks on us. In US legal systems, eyewitness accounts are considered some of the flimsiest pieces of evidence because someone’s perceptions can cloud their recollections. What you’re doing and how you’re feeling can potentially warp your memory of events. Everyone has a different point of view.
One of the things that truly frustrates me about I-III bashing more than most is the sheer number of complaints that are just plain wrong; people bring up points as a negative that aren’t even true. They claim the films are bad because they do such-and-such when the truth is that they really don’t, and only a few cases can be considered an honest mistake.
So I’m going to repeat a bit of advice I’ve given before. If you were confused by I-III, or didn’t like them when you first saw them, watch them again.
Then, when you’re done with that, watch them again.
Then, when you’re done with THAT, watch them AGAIN!
And this time – this time you clear your mind of the negativity. You focus on giving it a chance. Look for things to like instead of things to dislike. Most importantly, actually pay attention to the stories and what people are saying.
You know how we became Star Wars fans? We loved what we saw so much that we watched them over and over and over and over and over and over again until everyone around us would go into screaming fits of terror the second the titles were brought up. But we didn’t care, because we studied it. We learned it. For that reason, things that were once subtle subtext are plain out in the open with us and we can’t fathom how nobody else sees them on first viewing.
This kind of thing is much easier to do as a child. As an adult, you have responsibilities and time constraints. Gone are the times where you can spend a week wearing out your DVD player with movie marathons. To an adult, things get one chance, and then they get discarded if they aren’t found immediately worthy. Even worse when you were expecting one thing and got something completely different, as is the case with many who felt let down (to put it mildly) when they first saw The Phantom Menace.
And yet, who here can’t give me an example of a movie they hated on first viewing, but grew to love through either watching it over and over with a loved one who likes it, or even simply rediscovering it after many years of life-changing experience? I was six years old when Batman Returns came out, and I loathed it. Then I rediscovered it at 13 and it remains to this day one of my all-time favorite films.
13, by the way, for those coming in late, was the age I was when The Phantom Menace was released. No, scratch that. I turned 13 that year, but it came out in May so I was technically still 12. I loved it from the start and, as I’ve said often before, wore out my VHS until the picture took on a distinctive blue tinge. Even then, there are things I forget if I haven’t seen it for a while. That’s the thing about memory. Do any of you think you could accurately recite the opening paragraph of this very article without scrolling back up and looking?
Which reminds me; after you’ve watched I-III, give IV-VI a watch again with the same kind of scrutiny. Doubtless you’ve forgotten how some of it actually looks/sounds/plays out without supplemental material to back you up.
Yes, I admit, watching it over and over is no guarantee you’ll magically like something you’ve disliked. It may turn out that there’s no way you’ll ever like any of these movies. However, I have a hard time believing that if you’re the kind of person who likes IV-VI, Lord of the Rings, or superhero movies, that you’ll find nothing redeeming in I-III. Because from where I’m standing it’s all the same. You need to separate it from the hype, the expectations, and the decade and a half of sheer negativity and propaganda, and judge it on its own merits. If you’re going to compare it to IV-VI, then you first have to strip THOSE films of their classic status and nostalgic ties.
If you’re ever going to find the brilliance that the fans of I-III see, then you need to really look for it, and that may involve looking more than once. But from my certain point of view, that’s a hell of a lot better than perpetuating negativity and pain.
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