“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for”
The ‘Star Wars’ franchise played a huge part in my childhood, and I don’t think it’d be wrong to say that it’s the same for a lot of children around the world. If I think back to my earliest memories, ‘Star Wars IV: A New Hope’ is the film that dominates them, and so it was probably one of the first films I saw as a kid. I remember watching it with my cousin and playing with our ‘Star Wars’ figures at the same time, re-enacting scenes and making new ones. This love for the franchise continued well into my teens, and I still look back on it with fondness and nostalgia. I said that I’m going to cheat a little for this piece, and I guess I am in a way. I’m going to put the original trilogy in one of my favourite film slots.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, this is surely heresy!
I can’t do this!
Yes I can, and I’m going to.
The reason why is simple. I’ve loved ‘Star Wars’ since before I can remember, and over the years I’ve liked each of the films more than the others at different times. So while ‘Episode IV’ might have been my favourite when I was five, ‘Episode VI: Return of the Jedi’ might have been my favourite when I was eight years old, and so on. My favourite at the moment is probably ‘Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back’, and to be honest, it’s probably going to stay that way. But it’s never been a constant for me, it’s always in flux, and so I shall be posting all three as a collective.
‘Star Wars’ is the epitome of 70s Sci-fi, created and partially written by George Lucas, it still sets the bar for all space-faring sci-fi that has come after it. Its technical aspects, special effects, and costumes were perfection at that time, and while the plot may seem cheesy or a bit too black and white for some people, it’s still a great watch, for both adults and children. It’s the modern equivalent of a fairy tale or myth, like the ‘Wizard of Oz’ was for the previous generation. The only difference is that this one is set in a science fiction world, while the typical myth or fairytale is purely fantasy. You could argue that it’s as much a fantasy film as it is a Sci-fi one though. It definitely has aspects of both within it…
I’m sure most of you know the plot of ‘Star Wars’, or at least know the basics, but I’ll give you a run-down just in case. The original trilogy follows the story of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and his journey to become a Jedi Knight and bring balance to the force. Along with him are Princess Leia of Alderaan (Carrie Fisher), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca, and his ever-faithful droids R2 D2 and C3PO. This group, along with the rest of the rebels, are the heroes and heroines of this story. And then you have the Empire, a galaxy-spanning domain ruled by The Emperor, a Sith Lord, and his apprentice, Darth Vader (Voiced by the impressive baritone of James Earl Jones). There is a constant war being waged between the two sides, with the overwhelmed rebellion seeking to restore peace and democracy to the galaxy.
The films are essentially about the constant battle between good and evil, both within a person and on a much larger scale. Along with this deeper meaning there are countless action-packed battles, romantic encounters, and a glamorisation of space travel, which result in a nicely balanced set of films. They aren’t pretentious or too philosphical in any shape or form, and they most certainly aren’t just eye candy either. For me, the original trilogy is far superior to the prequels, since they don’t feel a need to dumb everything down, nor introduce a character purely for “comic relief” (you know who I’m talking about), although the Ewoks are cutting it fine.
Also, another point, lightsabers are frickin’ cool as shit, which is the only excuse anyone needs to love these films. Who didn’t want to be a Jedi when they were a kid? In fact, who doesn’t even when they’ve grown up? It’s such a cool concept that it’s hard to resist any kind of love for it. They’re essentially samurai warriors in space with mystical powers and laser swords. Again, you can’t say that that’s not cool.
So there you go, ‘Star Wars’ is on my list because it was a huge influence on my childhood and my love for the sci-fi genre. It’s also simply a great franchise, with a rich story and memorable characters who you’ll remember for a long time after you stop watching them every other day.
I can’t have been the only kid who did that!