Star Wars: Childhood Revisited

Andrew Barber | December 15, 2015

The commercial opens with a young man sitting in a high-rise office, alone and working overtime. Desperately bored, his eyes stumble across an old R2-D2 toy displayed on his desk. The familiar score softly echoes as the man sees his childhood flash before him: sleepovers with lightsaber-flashlight duels, Star Wars-themed birthday parties, bicycle rides as Tie-Fighters.

Suddenly, back in the office, the walls begin to shake. Our depressed businessman looks up to see an honest-to-goodness X-Wing, hovering outside his window. His childhood friend, piloting the craft, waves and beckons. A second X-Wing then rises up, cockpit empty. Without hesitation, our hero grabs a chair, throws it through the window, and leaps into his X-Wing, off to face the Empire. The final shots are of the young man, now fully enlivened, engaged in an epic battle.

The commercial is for a new Star Wars: Battlefront videogame; and, for better or for worse, I can think of no better statement as to the function of high-end blockbusters like Star Wars. Even in the most prosperous country on earth, in which most have never experienced hunger or homelessness, we are desperately trying to smash through the windows of our adult world and fly back to our childhood.

Thanks to Charles Taylor’s…

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