A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away — 30 years ago this week in fact, at the old Bloor Street Cinema — a great adventure took place. Although I was too young to understand what was going on (I thought Storm Troopers were robots, and was seriously upset when Obi Wan Kenobi took a dive against Darth Vader), I knew what I liked. Within a year I was wearing Star Wars shoes and T-shirts, had Star Wars curtains and a Star Wars bedspread, and had a poster of the movie on my wall that I probably should have held onto in retrospect. Every morning my dad would wake the house up cursing as he stepped on an action figure or gun or Sandpeople pike staff that was left on the floor by my brother or me. Every few months he’d take us by the Kenner toy depot to pick up a new stockpile of weapons to replace the ones we lost, broken or were sucked up by the vacuum.
The coup de grâce came when my brother and I got some glow in the dark light sabers for Christmas that we tried out in our basement one evening, resulting in a broken femur on my part and eight weeks of being dragged to Kindergarten on a toboggan. The Force was clearly not with me that time.
To this day I remain a huge fan of the original trilogy, and can debate anyone for hours on the topic of “Why the prequel triology sucks”. Midi-chlorians my ass.
And while I’m not a big enough fan to dress up as Darth Maul and line up outside a movie theatre, the 30 th anniversary celebration of Star Wars is a big deal to me. Aside from making me feel old, there’s some pride in knowing that I saw the greatest science fiction film of all time before I could even ride a bike, that I was part of the magic.
The trilogy remains one of my most memorable aspects of growing up, right up there with visiting Disneyworld (Space Mountain needed a few Storm Troopers), Christmas (the time when I got all my Star Wars toys), and my first day of elementary school (where we showed off our Star Wars lunch boxes). I can probably name more characters is the Mos Eisley cantina scene (shout out to Walrus Man and Hammerhead!) than I could in my Grade One class photo.
As a new religion for geeks everywhere, Star Wars ’ presence on the web is impressive, impressive indeed. And enormously entertaining.
www.starwars.com — The official site of the movie series, with news stories, video game announcement, new toys, exclusive art, book and comic series, photographs, and links to other official Star Wars sites. The phenomena is too big for just one website. Keep an eye on the site in the next few weeks, as the Star Wars machine prepares to add hundreds of homemade movies and video clips based on the series to the website. These range from garage videos of punk bands singing Star Wars songs to professional quality shorts.
www.lucasarts.com — Lucas Arts is the animation wing of George Lucas’s empire, but these days is primarily involved in releasing Star Wars -themed games. The games are immensely popular, from the fun for all Lego Star Wars series to the strategically challenging Battlefront and Empire at War series, to challenging first person games like Knights of the Old Republic.
www.theforce.net — This is one of the largest fan sites on the web, and home of the Jedi Council of bloggers. One of the best features of the site is the Star Wars trivia section, which lets you answer questions on the movies you know about. They also have links to numerous fan films, including the hugely popular Chad Vader series, info on collectibles, and more.
There are literally hundreds of sites out there, but most of the worthy sites can be linked to from TheForce.net. Not that I have as much time to spend obsessing about Star Wars as I used to.
By the way, the femur healed up nicely.
Website of the Week — People are idiots, and I include myself in that category. While we all like to think we lead lives of worth and substance, we fritter away so much of our precious time on meaningless diversions (see above). If you ever wanted proof of our idiocy, Google has found a way to prove it in real time with their new Google Hot Trends service ( www.google.com/trends/hottrends ). This service basically looks at the most popular web search terms at any given time, with the content refreshed several times daily. Some search queries have substance, but a lot of people are looking for celebrity news and gossip or similar garbage. The site will also allow you to enter your own search terms and see how often the things you are interested in have been Googled.