Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Star Wars...Star Great

We can talk endlessly about Star Wars and having re-watched the film (original VHS version), we are intrigued about what makes the movie so good.

Let's get this out of the way. The acting in Star Wars ain't much to look at and some of the lines are delivered with the skill of a high school drama club sophomore, (cough! Harrison Ford cough!).

So what make the film so great?

First, the editing. Editor's Paul Hirsch, Marcia Lucas and Richard Chew saved this film from George Lucas by cutting unnecessary scenes and reordering the opening scenes. The result is an engrossing, fast paced film.

Second, the special effects. Come on, fellow Generation Xrs, remember what a big deal that was? Star Wars was so cool becuase it looked real. Watching the attack on the Death Star, after decades of being bombarded by cheap CGI, really makes one appreciate the time and skill of Lucas's SFX department.
Third, John Williams and his score. Just brilliant. An excellent choice, recommended to Lucas by Steven Spielberg.
For all the grief Lucas gets, and he deserves every bit of it, for Star Wars and the subsequent films he surrounded himself with talented people.

Fourth, the writing, yes the writing. Lucas gathers a host of relatable and knowable characters: the frustrated young man, the old sage, the rogue, the princess, the arch villain. His ideas here are really perfect. Can anyone do better?

Fifth, Star Wars looks like 1977. Everything is beat up, run down, warn out. Tatooine* could be the Bronx.

Six, timing. Had Star Wars been released five years before the nation is still embroiled in the Vietnam War and doesn't want a tale of good vs evil. Five years later we're in the Reagan era and critics are saying the Empire as a metaphor for the US and Darth Vader is Ronald Reagan.

In 1977 the nation needed Star Wars.

*Hah! spellcheck recognizes Tatooine!

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