Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Star Wars Original Trilogy

Yes, I am tackling one of the biggest franchises (at least the first, but kinda last 3 films) to hit movies since...well..ever. And in doing so, I will most likely draw the wrath of, maybe 4-5 people in the process. But at least it means people are reading, I don't care.

Do I really need to explain the plot of Star Wars? Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo and the Rebel Alliance fight against the evil Empire and Darth Vader. Yeah, I could go into specifics, but in this case, I don't really need to.

Let's get into the actual reason I write these posts, for me to spew my opinion upon the masses. And when it comes to Star Wars, opinions I do have.

Star Wars works on a particular level, and to be honest, only on that particular level. It's very much in the same boat as Indiana Jones as being this throwback to the Serials of yesteryear, where the good guys were good and the bad guys were bad and buckles were swashed. It's The Hidden Fortress, combined with Arthurian Legends, combined with Flash Gordan, and (if you believe some film scholars) a whole bunch of mythological, philosophical historical, and religious subtexts. It utilizes archetypes, the fated orphan with a destiny, a princess in distress, the older wizard-type mentor in the form of Obi-Wan, and the charming rogue, in addition to featuring a sinister, black-clad empire headed by one of the most enduring film villains of all time.

And it works, as a throwback, but when you start to take it seriously and view from to a strictly technical viewpoint, the writing is weak, the acting is stilted, but mostly because the characters themselves are pretty one dimensional. There are little attempts at depth, with Han Solo becoming more noble, Princess Leia being a lot tougher than you may expect, and Luke's toying with the dark side, but it all plays out predictably. The main fault lies with George Lucas who's writing skills leave much to be desired, the dialogue is so bland and exposition-heavy, never rising above the serials that Lucas himself is drawing from, though things slightly improve once someone else takes over for writing the last two.

Not to say the films are horrible, the films are a must-see simply because of its place in cinema history as a landmark technical achievement, and as the worldwide phenomenon that captured and stimulated the imaginations of millions and became a permanent fixture in American pop culture. But I don't really believe it's "that great", it's a fun, enjoyable film series as a blockbuster, as an homage to adventure films of the past, and that's perfectly fine. But beyond that, not really.

But then again, it's hard to actually review Star Wars because it's so much more than just the films, it's become to where I can't watch the film and not be aware of the history of the universe that George Lucas has created, it's evolved to such a point that the words "Star Wars" are referring to a film franchise, book series, video games,a religion, food brands, toys, and anything else that one can think of.

I don't really expect to get much of a reaction from this post (simply because I don't get much reactions in general), but if anyone feels like it, I would be interested in hearing other takes on the crazy, zaniness that is Star Wars. That is, if real-life Jedi don't car bomb me.

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