Recently I wrote a piece on the Boman Twin in Tulsa and mentioned seeing Star Wars there in 1977 when I was a fairly young kid. Like the experiences of millions of others and this film--it was a magical moment in my childhood. I was completely enraptured by the film's story and the adventure and "otherworld" qualities as I sat near the front row (the closer to the front the better when I was a kid).
While I enjoyed the two sequels (I still have not seen the three recent prequels and don't plan to mostly because I can't stand George Lucas) they did not have the same power over me. I developed a fondness for other sci-fi instead--the world of Star Trek offered me more substance and ideas so I ran with the Federation. Later on I took to more adult sci-fi such as Blade Runner and the Alien franchise or sci-fi literature. Star Wars just seemed about toys to me the older I got.
I hadn't seen Star Wars since the early 1980s when I re-watched it with a friend's 8 and 6 year old (see photo of "MattVader" and "Jacob Fett"). These two boys are both obsessed with the entire universe that is Star Wars. It is a remarkable film that taps into so many things boys like--adventure, villains, heroes, good v. evil, space ships, alien creatures both lovable and strange, talking robots, hot princesses, laser shootouts, danger, suspense and narrow escapes. Star Wars concocts a spell on young kids and its hard for them to resist as Lucas just goes direct into their DNA with this movie.
Sure, Star Wars is still about merchandiseing with all the toys, video games and endless barrage of product tie-ins. The worst evidence of this is when the R2D2 post office boxes were in cities to promote the anniversary of the film. Ugh. Lucas can not say no when it comes to whoring out the Star Wars world as this is one money making franchise and he needs as much money as he can get evidently. But, the first installment, Star Wars, found my DNA in 1977 and it found it again in 2008. It also found the coded wiring of the 8 and 6 year olds who watched it with me. Any film that can do that deserves its reputation as "magical" no matter how much Lucas and co. have ruined it since it came out.