George Lucas ruined my childhood
George Lucas retroactively ruined my childhood.He did it by creating Jar-Jar Binks, by casting the most wooden child actor in the history of Hollywood as the biggest villain in the history of Hollywood, and by relying too much on special effects instead of story.But worst of all, he did it by being boring.And "Star Wars" was never meant to be boring. Not ever.I was going to save this little screed until the May 19 release of the last "Star Wars" movie, "Revenge of the Sith." But the media hype machine has already started the process of making "Episode III" the biggest film event of the year, so I must raise my voice now.And what I have to say is this: the last two movies have been crap. This shouldn't matter, because flicks are flicks, to be enjoyed and then forgotten, but dagnabit, it does matter. If you're a thirtysomething American male, you know it matters, because "Star Wars" probably did more to shape your youthful imagination than anything else - than everything else, combined - in popular culture. I was about 5 years old the first time I saw the original "Star Wars," now titled "A New Hope," in 1977 or 1978. My parents loaded up the family car, took us to a now-defunct drive-in theater in Emporia, where I watched the show over my father's shoulders from the back of a red Ford Maverick, sound piped in over tinny speakers. I seem to recall it was part of a double bill; the second movie had something to do with roller disco.After that, "Star Wars" became the currency of my youth. I was never good at sports, and I liked reading a little too much, but Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca and the rest gave me something I could talk about with other guys my age.My favorite toy? An X-wing fighter. My parents never could afford The Millennium Falcon. I spent hours in my room with action figures, recreating scenes from the movies and inventing new adventures.I still have my original Chewbacca figure.Then "Episode I" came out in 1999, and it was awful - characters, plot, acting, everything but the climactic lightsaber duel was mindbendingly bad.. I went back a second and third time, just to make sure I hadn't accidentally missed the rollicking fun that fueled the early movies. "Episode II" wasn't much better.And suddenly, it felt like all those childhood hours spent contemplating and expanding upon the "Star Wars" universe were a colossal waste. Which, yes, they probably were anyway - but still, to be confronted with the evidence was painful. Like I said: George Lucas retroactively ruined my childhood.I won't lie: I'm going to go see "Episode III." Maybe even on opening night. But when I go, I'll know I'm going to see a movie, a moneymaking opportunity, but nothing more.The Force, it seems, wasn't ever really with us at all.