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Star Wars turns 30

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A long time ago (30 years to the day, to be exact), George Lucas unleashed the full force of the summer blockbuster on the world and changed the landscape of American moviemaking. Today, the conclusion to the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy is strolling into theaters with an ostentatious swashing of buckles, just one of a dozen other mega-moneymakers which will bless (and curse) us during the summer months. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether to thank Lucas and Spielberg, or round up a gang of people to go throw eggs at their houses.

No, that’s a lie. I’ve gotten far more joy than grief from the films of Spielberg and Lucas. And speaking of Spielberg, although today is the 30th birthday of Star Wars, it does not actually mark the birth of the summer blockbuster. That won’t be for another month. It is generally agreed that Jaws (1975) introduced big summer hits to America’s movie studios.

However, I think it would be difficult to argue, in that respect at least, that Jaws was anything more than a herald announcing the imminent arrival of royalty. After all, Jaws may be the 35th-highest grossing movie ever (in America), but Star Wars is the biggest summer movie in history, and the five other movies in its franchise are in the top 25. None of the three Jaws sequels even rates (and really, did you even know there were three?).

30 years. Wow. I went through a rather long Star Wars phase (not so very long ago), and I still love the movies. I used to set up a TV, or even a video projector, in a quiet, out-of-the-way room and have an all-day marathon. Of course, this was when there weren’t quite so many movies, but I remember planning to have a 6-movie marathon sometime in the far-off year of 2006 when the final installment was released on VHS (yes, VHS . . . DVD had not yet reached me). And so, when I read about something like this, I am almost tempted to follow suit (almost).

Still, perhaps I’ll pop in Star Wars tonight and let it run in the background, for old times’ sake.

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~ by Jared on May 25, 2007.

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