The new ''Star Wars?' trailer -- A look at the teaser of the new George Lucas film

The new ”Star Wars” trailer

In July 1977, my local movie theater on Long Island — one big pockmarked screen, no cappuccino maker, no bottled water — used Star Wars as the excuse to jack up admission 50 cents to $4. Being 16 and broke, I paid it reluctantly, thinking ”No movie’s worth that.” Two hours later, I got back in line and paid again, giddy with a feeling of discovery.

On Nov. 17, 1998, I coughed up $9 to sit through the tantalizingly hyper-speedy trailer for Star Wars: Episode One — The Phantom Menace, stuck on the head of the slower-than-molasses Meet Joe Black. The movie stank; the trailer didn’t. I felt electrified, just as I did 21 years ago.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, behold George Lucas’ miniature jewel of showmanship. Not even David O. Selznick, restaging the burning of Atlanta in 1939 with no actress yet cast as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, exploited a palpable mass curiosity more shrewdly and satisfyingly than Lucas has here.

The images seem at once familiar and exotic, intriguing to geeky fans and newcomers alike. The verisimilitude of the creatures and automatons, from mosquito-winged bipeds to hordes of robotic soldiers snapping into formation, instantly surpass any computer-generated visions heretofore dreamed up by Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic shop. The vanity-shot glimpses of the stars — Liam Neeson in Jedi getup, Ewan McGregor as the young Obi-Wan Kenobi — have just the mythic heft they need too.

There’s no point cataloging it all here, since that’s what every Wars fan will be doing on the Internet from now until the movie’s debut in May. Suffice it to say that this was more than a trailer for me. It was a bona fide travel brochure from another world. I’m back in touch with my inner Luke Skywalker and devoutly awaiting another jump to hyperspace. A

Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace
  • Movie
  • 134 minutes