So I picked up the original Star Wars trilogy—or, at least, the re-masticated DVD version, Greedo shoots first and all that—mostly out of curiosity. I hadn’t watched the first two in years and I’d never seen Return of the Jedi. I watched most of The Empire Strikes Back, which was pretty good, and ended up fast-forwarding through most of ROTJ. My God. Whole chunks of it were simply unwatchable. Just appalling. It’s notable that the first three films share almost all of the faults of the second three, right down to dubiously ethnic alien sidekicks. (Who the hell came up with Lando’s co-pilot, for instance?) This lends credence to the generational-imprint theory of their popularity. These negatives are offset by the freshness of Star Wars, the decent dramatic pacing of Empire, and the humor of both. But it’s hard not to think that what’s holding the whole edifice together are a couple of good characters (Vader, Yoda, maybe Solo) and some of the design elements: the fighters and ships, the lightsabers, the droids and a few other things. It certainly ain’t the leads, the dialogue, the direction, or the plots.
Update: On the other hand, were it not for Lucas we wouldn’t have things like this.
Update 2: OK, that last clip goes on a bit too long and there’s no real punchline. Try this one instead. Teh funny.