Someone asked me the other day about the first specific event in my life that I can recall. After pondering for a moment, I realized that it was going to see "Return of the Jedi" at the Brea Mall in the summer of 1983. Of course, I have vague recollections of life before then, but if I had to piece together an actual timeline, it would start somewhere in Jabba's Palace when I was 3 years old.
My generation grew up taking "Star Wars" for granted. To people of my parents' generation, who once found "Mary Poppins" state-of-the-art, it was astonishing. And so it goes. Years after George Lucas' first trilogy, I stared in disbelief at "Terminator 2" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," which now look quaint next to "Avatar" and anything by Pixar.
Roger Ebert recently published an essay about how we see the world we grew up in as the standard of normalcy, and how technological advances in our later years often seem ill-fitting. I am several generations younger than Ebert, but I am aware that the media I immersed myself in as a child — videocassettes, Nintendo, hand-drawn animation — has gone the way of radio dramas and vinyl 45s.