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Richard Roeper: Fuzzy memories cloud ‘Star Wars’ vision

[WKD SCI FI FILMS G :]ADV. FOR WKD. EDS. AUG. 1-3--FILE--Mark Hamill HarrisFord Carrie Fisher appear scene from 1977 film

[WKD SCI FI FILMS G :]ADV. FOR WKD. EDS., AUG. 1-3--FILE--Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher appear in a scene from the 1977 film 'Star Wars'. 'Star Wars,' which has made $461 million, is the top selling movie of all time. (AP Photo/ho)

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Updated: December 2, 2012 6:29AM



The problem with “Star Wars” is it’s never going to be as good as “Star Wars.”

Or at least our memories of “Star Wars.”

I’m talking about the original trilogy as well as the much-maligned “Phantom Menace” et al. Even the wizards at Disney might not possess enough magical powers to make us love something as much today as when we were young.

If you were 15 when the original “Star Wars” was released in 1977 and it changed your life and you saw how it changed movies forever, your memories of being swept into George Lucas’ amazing world will always be more precious than the experience of watching it now on Blu-Ray — and your strong emotional ties to that first viewing time will be much more intense than anything you’ll feel watching a seventh or eighth or ninth “Star Wars” movie.

The same holds true for subsequent generations of fans who fell in love with the “Star Wars” of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, complete with those late 1970s/early 1980s special effects that now seem so wonderfully amateurish compared to what they can do in an otherwise crummy “Transformers” movie.

You were maybe 6 or 7, possibly as old as 10 or 12, when you first became aware of and fell in love with the “Star Wars” movies, which were introduced to you by your parents or your older siblings. Comic-Con legions of costumed fortysomethings notwithstanding, when it comes to pop culture, for most us there’s nothing we’ll experience as adults that can compare to the intensity of our little-kid feelings for a movie or a TV show or a band. Take an Instagram snapshot of the crowd of screaming 12-year-olds at a One Direction concert in 2012, and they’re just as intense as the screaming 12-year-olds at a New Kids on the Block Concert in 1992 or a David Cassidy show in 1972. A half-dozen years later, the 18-year-old looks back at her fanatical worship of some teen idol and shakes her head. Wow. I was really in love with those guys.

And so it goes with “Star Wars” fans. Asking us to recapture the passion we had for the original films would be like saying, “Here’s an actress who’s going to play your mother and make some cookies for you. Hope you like them as much as you did when you were in fourth grade and your actual Mom was making ’em!”

‘Star Wars VII:
A New Direction’

Disney’s purchase of Lucas­film for a whopping $4 billion (and change) took the industry by surprise and sent Geek Nation into a tizzy. Within an hour of the announcement I’d heard from fans saying this was the best (or worst) news ever!

(Full disclosure: “Ebert & Roeper” was under the Disney umbrella, and my current gig as film critic for “Windy City Live” means I’m once again drawing a paycheck with Mickey’s image on it. Literally.)

Names such as Jon Favreau, J.J. Abrams and Christopher Nolan were tossed out as potential directors for “Star Wars” films. Some fans thought Disney should go the motion capture animation route, while others hoped for a return to retro form. One guy suggested David Fincher (“Zodiac,” “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”) take over the franchise and go R-rated dark with the whole thing.

Here’s an idea: Let’s all take a deep breath and see what happens. All great respect to George Lucas and the eternal universe he gave us, he was not the man to lead the way for a new generation of films. If any studio can figure out how to reinvent the franchise from a creative standpoint and turn that $4 billion investment into a profit via movie tie-ins, theme parks et al., it’s Disney.

World Series of Stamina

Update: Shortly after midnight , I fell asleep as ESPN continued to provide 15-minute time-delayed coverage of the Main Event of the World Series of Poker.

About six hours later, I woke up with the TV on — and they were still playing.

It was the longest Final Table session in WSOP Main Event history, with some 400 hands dealt before a winner emerged. After the field was narrowed to just three players, it took more than 11 hours before 21-year-old Jake Balsinger was eliminated. After that, it took 24-year-old Greg Merson of Baltimore a relatively quick 17 hands to best Jesse Sylvia, 26, for the Main Event bracelet and $8.5 million.

As any Main Event winner can tell you, there will be at least a dozen times in the tournament when you have to get lucky just to survive. But when you outlast 6,597 players and emerge from a final session that started at dusk and ended well after sunrise, you’ve pulled off a feat of skill and stamina worthy of a champion for the ages.



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