22 February, 2011

Star Wars Revisited

One thing that I gracefully skipped in the previous Star Wars post was the central question: Why do we care? The answer should be obvious: The initial trilogy was good and we want more of where that came from.

Like any story worth following it has 2 essential ingredients: a strong main storyline and powerful/interesting/well-rounded characters. While it is a traditional good vs evil story it adds a whole lot more to the mix, especially a small dose of spirituality in form of the Force, to make things interesting or seemingly deep.

The review above tells us what the story is about and that it doesn't matter what changes Lucas did over time because characters and the story stay the same. While this is true in all cases it did spawn the probably most heated debate of Star Wars fans: Who shot first?
This, of course, refers to the scene with Han and Greedo, and Han shot first. This was later changed and people felt betrayed because they think that somehow it matters. While I do think the original version is better and makes more sense, I can't really say I care.
Another 'important' change was replacing the emperor in Empire with Ian McDiarmid, and as a final example one that actually sucks (because it makes no sense whatsoever) replacing the ghost of Anakin in Jedi with Hayden Christensen.

So, are the characters why we love Star Wars, or maybe the story? I think there's a secret ingredient that makes this saga timeless and not instantly forgettable, and that secret is in the storytelling and it's mystery. It's that mystery that allows us to feel what we see is a part of something bigger. Here's JJ Abrams explaining it (the bit about Star Wars starts around 8:50, but the context of the mystery box is what's important):

I mean take it from this guy, he is a huge fan. You just need to see how he rips it off pays homage to Star Wars in the 2009 Star Trek film to tell.

After all of this, there is only one conclusion to be drawn: what you don't see is what you like most and what makes something memorable. In cased you missed it in the last part you should read this http://www.rilstone.talktalk.net/viewpoint.htm. It takes a look at all the things that are explained better by mystery. The midichlorians have to be the biggest flaw of the prequel trilogy, a lot worse than the acting for example, because their very existence saps the magic out of the world itself, but the Force:
The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living beings. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together. For over a thousand generations, the Jedi were the Guardians of peace and justice in the old republic. Before the dark times, before the empire.

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