Digital Polyphony

film, games, memories & random thoughts

Liquid Nostalgia #20

 

 Star Wars: A Look Back

PART ONE

 


As the twentieth installment of the Liquid Nostalgia series, and to "celebrate" one year being on the wonderful world wide web of wonders, I needed to think of something special to bring up. I've covered numerous things I've grown up with, from videogame consoles and Ghostbusters to Goonies and Time Travelers. One I've been putting off and pushing back until, about six months ago, I made a commitment to outlining all future installments and decided to put "Star Wars" as the twentieth article.

Oh, and by "Star Wars" I mean the original trilogy: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

What can I possibly add to discussing Star Wars and its impact on my impressionable years that hasn't been said already? What could I possibly look at and analyze that hasn't been done to death before? Star Wars isn't merely just for me, it's for the world and thus the world has enjoyed it for decades.  I'm not going to go into detail about what Star Wars is about, you know the plot and the characters. I'm not going to go into its history, because it pretty much boils down to a film school grad and fan of classic serials and westerns and samurai flicks making an adventure movie. All I can really do is go into what I think of Star Wars, what was great about it to me and how it impacted me growing up and still holds my admiration to this day, as it does most of the planet.

George Lucas was, and always has been even to this day, a man full of imagination and ideas. You really have to admire this. He took elements of things from cheesy theater serials, pirate movies, westerns, Kurosawa films and bundled it all together in a world that was really like no other, at least not to the degree in which he envisioned it from the droids to planet destroying space stations. But even those we've seen before...yet it all came together perfectly. So what's the draw exactly? Let's take a look.



  What Star Wars Is

If you think about it, Star Wars is universal on one fact: it pretty much covers every single base of entertainment. Drama. Romance. Action. Special effects. Character studies even. Fantasy and, at some moments, science fiction (though it's far, far more fantasy in that galaxy far, far away than discussing or theorizing scientific theorizes for narrative exploration).  Star Wars is myth. Star Wars isn't science fiction, though some label it as such because space and spaceships seem to make people think science fiction for some reason.  Above all else, though, Star Wars is a classic fairy tale. It says as such in the opening of each film

"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..."

 And thus the greatest fantasy franchise was born.

 So already there's a sense of "wonder" and the idea that it's not meant to be some realistic depiction of anything. It's meant to be a fable and adventure with space battles, lightsabers, robots and wookies.

But something happened on the way to the cash cow. Lucas ended up creating these wonderful things called "characters." They're all archetypal characters we've seen dozens of times before, yet at the same time they appear fresh and unique. That's thanks in large part to smart casting and great personalities. All these actors were still relative no-names, save for Sir Alec Guiness (who certainly had a love-gate relationship when it came to Star Wars as a whole and went on record saying he loved the character and the role, but sad it seemed to overshadow his other, better work and just became tired of the whole thing). I can imagine being a producer on Star Wars of an actor even and just knowing it was crap. The sets. The costumes. It was all cheap and shoddy. What we banked on, other than special effects, were the characters. Through them, we are convinced this place and time exists. We can believe Han completely understands Wookie language and that droids have feelings and emotions. What's more is that it all doesn't need to be explained to us, it's that natural presentation and nonchalant approach of them that was unique. Then we start caring less about the world and atmosphere and end up loving the characters, their relationships and how they are intertwined to it all.

As it might want to be a "Space Opera" of sorts, it's really just a great fantasy trilogy but, more importantly, a great character ensemble. Star Wars would not have worked without these characters, and all those various genres it touches upon wouldn't be as appealing if we didn't have ourselves rooted with quality characters - especially Return of the Jedi which pretty much banks on you already knowing everything about them to really appreciate and enjoy how everything closes itself out.

But while the characters are the centerpiece, they need an imaginative world to have their adventure take place in. Star Wars is a mythology and universe that is fully realized, yet we feel there's even more we haven't even seen yet. It doesn't try to over-explain things to stack exposition onto exposition, but has a natural flow to it and is explained eloquently. There's no better case in point than the first film, which is purely meant to establish everything so the sequels can work their own narrative magic. The scene is with Obi Wan and Luke. You know the one. Luke is given his father's lightsaber, Obi Wan briefly makes mention of what it is, what Jedi are and even hints at a mysterious past that is often rumor and whispers than blatant backstory. That sense of mystery was a corner stone of Star Wars. It showed us just enough, hinted at just the right amount, that we buy every fantasy aspect it delivers upon because it doesn't try to explain everything. We appreciate what it does, with the characters and the art design, and not worry about questions and our desire to know every detail. Some things are meant to be spoken about, others are best left to the imagination or the little touches that Obi Wan, or The Emperor, or Yoda, or Vader (those from the past) slightly touch upon. Again, it shows the prominence and importance of the characters: because they sell the fantastical so well, we end up buying it and come to appreciate the imagination and wonder of it all even more.

So as pure, unabashed entertainment, it succeeds greatly thanks to imagination and characters. Yet, Star Wars exceeds this into a great fantasy saga with smart structure, storytelling, thematic resonance and the classical myth structure that makes the likes of The Iliad or Lord of the Rings so universal and iconic. From this, and smart people in the Lucasfilm/Fox marketing camp, we have what is likely the most popular and beloved films in movie history. It swims from the shallows into the depths of pop culture in every single facet. Clothing. Toys. Games. Magazines. Books. Comics. Dinnerware. Glassware. Barware (seriously, barware). Food products. Personal hygiene products. I really could go on here with how a part of culture Star Wars is.

And I will.... websites. Greeting cards. Air fresheners. School and office supplies. Trading cards. Happy meal toys. Beverage and drink products. Costumes. Ice Cream.

Alright, enough is enough, and I think I bought well enough of most of those aforementioned things over the decades Star Wars has spanned, and a lot of those things emerged when Star Wars movies weren't even around. That's how you know when you have something that's more than just a few movies. When you can release something related to those movies a decade removed from when they were in theaters and people still know what it is. Lord knows I did.

 

 

  My History With Star Wars

 The very first Star Wars movie I saw was The Empire Strikes Back. I was about five or six, so this was mid 1980s and the wake of Star Wars mania still pretty high at the time. During this decade, networks made the airing of movies a pretty big event. Seeing as how home video was still a few years a way, and cable television still in only a few households, you pretty much had your basic set of networks and UHF channels for entertainment. So when you cracked open your TV guide, you better bet there were ads for the next big movie some network will be showing. This was how my earliest movie watching experiences were handled. I saw Ghostbustes, Back to the Future, ET and a large number of Disney films on televisions first. There really was no other option.

 My family had just moved into a new house and with that we bought a new big television. And by big I mean a whopping nineteen inch screen.

So let's take a look at them,my impressions then and now. These aren't reviews, if you want those you can read them here, so consider this additional thoughts to my reviews.

 

 Thoughts on:


 A New Hope

There's a certain charm to the rather b-movie quality of original Star Wars. It's at the point, now, where we overlook it's goofy costumes, sets, squeaky garbage bins and really awful swordfighting. That's because the "atmosphere" is still certainly there, both on and off the film. By this I mean, seeing the world is great, but actually being convinced it could actually exist is the greatest achievement, one of the best in the history of cinema. This place isn't supposed to be real, but it feels real. It looks lived in and isn't entirely about simple humans passing through. They're a part of it all and their interactions and comfort in the world reflects our own desires to be a part of it.

 The story is pretty simple, but it's told and plotted perfectly. It hits every beat it needs to hit and knows how to hold the audience in the palm of its hand. But it's the characters most will love Star Wars for.

Like many, I was a bit of a "Han Man." Solo was just a great character. He's witty, pessimistic, shoots first, scruffy and may nor may not be a nerf-herder.  He's like The Man With No Name in space, only more talkative and funny. He's kind of the embodiment of everything I love about the original Star Wars films: he just feels naturally a part of it. Luke is our everyman - he's how we're introduced to everything. But guys like Han or Yoda or Lando or even Darth Vader have this sense of "always been" that I mentioned before.  Nothing is ever put out there in the movies where it has this "now look at this!" factor. It never tries to draw too much attention to itself, it has this rather matter-of-fact quality to it and the original trilogy just understood that the experience and wonder will come naturally, let's just worry about telling a great story and characters first.

The first film was completely inclusive, a complete experience. Where could you take it? The Saga was still in its infancy and boy were there more wonders to come.



 The Empire Strikes Back

If you haven't read any of my reviews, than obviously you don't know, but I consider The Empire Strikes Back a flawless film. There's nothing to not like about it. It just has a perfect script, the best directing and way too many iconic moments that absolutely define the series.

The Empire Strikes Back was the first Star Wars film I saw, as I mentioned. Believe it or not, I didn't "get it" right away. That's because I was about six and had no idea there was a movie before it. I just liked the starships and lightsabers. Now, in hindsight, do I and pretty much everyone else on the planet see The Empire Strikes Back for how utterly brilliant it really is. It is the dark tale, the second Act, the time when things are dire and heroes tested. It does all this while tremendously advancing the story of Luke and company but also seriously expanding the world beyond one desert planet and a large floating spaceship.

So in a way, it's the locations of Empire Strikes Back that really grab me on top of characters becoming more well-rounded. Hoth, Dagobah, new alien species, Bespin, meteors hiding creatures we could never comprehend... it's absolutely epic. I also love how it never goes "wow, now look at this, isn't it amazing" - a continuation from the first film. That's just smart scripting and writing. It's about tension and twists, and Empire just knew how to play with your emotions from beginning to end like Han knew how to push Leia's buttons (and like her, we love it). It's certainly the most emotion Star Wars film, mainly because it finds that little element of humanism that, really, none of the other films get as well, though the entire original trilogy manages to find it in some form. I think it's the darker attributes of Empire that allow that.

Of course, as I'm sure you're aware, George Lucas didn't write or direct Empire, just worked on the overall story and concept. It's at this element Lucas is fantastic. He's notoriously a difficult director and his writing dialogue has never felt natural in any of his films, including the first Star Wars. This is just all that taken to a new level by people more proficient in their respective professions. Irvin Kershner just brings an experienced hand to the work as shown in the patience of presentation and scene progression while Kasdan and Breackett show a level of thoughtfulness to the script that A New Hope never had. The art design is a new level as well, and the introduction of Yoda is utterly genius in concept and execution.

As a kid, of course I could never appreciate those things. As a kid, I liked Return of the Jedi better because of Jabba and Ewoks.

 

 

  Return of the Jedi

Let me get it out of the way: Princess Leia in her slave outfit - what growing young boy didn't fantasize about it? I mean...we actually envied Jabba. How in the hell did that happen? Even when she was choking him to death, we were like "that lucky, fat bastard." Then they completely do a 180 and throw her in Endor camo gear covering up all her sexiness, talk about disappointment.

This so wonderfully brings Star Wars to a close. It's the final part of Luke's journey, the classic hero myth, and how the films draw the lines between he and Vader is just fantastic. Make fun of Ewoks all you want, I know I have, but Luke's story is phenomenal here as he has officially grown up from the boy we once knew. Leia and Han do get pushed aside after the awesome opening sequences, but they're still relevant. For the most part, the movie really shows them all as one unit, which we didn't really see in Empire Strikes Back and is a good recall to their time spent escaping the Death Star in the first film. When Luke shows up at the conference, fresh from saying farewell to Yoda, you really get a great sense of old friends reunited. I love that scene, brief though it may be, and really everything between the gang up to Luke's decision to go on his own. When he does that, we see again the change. I suppose that's something each Star Wars movie did so well: show how the characters grow over time. Here they are at their most mature, especially Luke, and is such a fitting end to the little farmboy that could.

Lando's importance is raised, too. He's piloting the Millennium Falcon, still the coolest name ever for spaceship, and you'd think you'd be upset. "That's Han and Chewie's ship," you might say to yourself. But Lando is such a cool, slick guy you sit back and say "nah, you go ahead, it's all yours." (in fact, I think Han says just that).

A great saber battle at the end, with fantastic emotional weight to it that may not be as good as Empires, but still incredible. The pacing and structuring the saber battle here and in Empire outdoes any of the flash and fanciness of the new films. You feel there's a risk here, a compelling fight between two forces, not an expose in martial arts. At the time, I actually preferred it, but now having seen the movies so many more times, the pacing and poetry of Empire's battle is just unmatched. Still, though, it's awesome and Luke's near-turn is truly felt, unlike some certain Prequel movies.

All in all, the original trilogy had far, far more ups than it ever did downs. Only until I was much older did I really come to understand that, and now appreciate far more than ever. All three movies just did so much, so well and with such inspired and relatable characters that few fantasy epics can even touch it, if any at all.



 

The Videogames

George Lucas knew how to market. Toys. Clothes. Memorabilia. You name it.When Lucasarts came into the fold with restructuring of Lucasfilm Games in 1990, a ton of Star Wars videogames arrived with it.

Top Ten Best Star Wars Videogames

 

10: Super Star Wars

Super Nintendo - Lucasarts 1992

I wasn't sure what to really start with, but I decided to boil it down to a handful of the really good Star Wars games that I enjoyed, and as it turns out all three Super Nintendo Star Wars games were on it. At this number ten spot, I had to decide between the first one and the last one (Return of the Jedi). Super Star Wars was not the first Star Wars game I played way back in 1992. The Atari Empire Strikes Back from 1982 was that, but it was the second (I skipped the NES installment due to bad word of mouth at the time). I suppose I should say this: other than the Vector Arcade cabinet, this was the first good Star Wars game I played. It doesn't have as many bells and wistles as Super Return of the Jedi, and is certainly not as polished, but this is my personal list and I'd be hard pressed to not put it on it. 

 

9: Star Wars: Dark Forces II Jedi Knight

PC - Lucasarts 1997

Around 1997, I had dreamed of being a Jedi. Ah, any teenage boy's fantasy, perhaps a bikini-clad princess is also involved. So when my family brought home their first computer in the late 1990s, lo and behold Jedi Knight was a free piece of software included. That old CRT monitor flickered on, and I found myself enjoying a new Star Wars tale for the first time live and in color. I was a huge fan of the comics, Dark Empire Saga especially, and this kind of continued that whole dark world and look of it all. It's not the greatest game in the world, but it set out to do what it needed to do: have you play as a Jedi. And boy did it, with force powers to boot. The FMV sequences come off as cheesy now, but they were amazing at the time and the music and sound effects were phenomenal coming off the CD. A memorable experience from beginning to end.

 

8: Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II- Rogue Leader

Gamecube - Factor 5 2001

Everybody loved Rogue Squadron on the Nintendo 64. I know between that and Shadows of the Empire and the number of PC Star Wars games, my Star Wars gaming satisfaction was pretty fulfilled during those years. Then the new breed came, and it was good. I still find this title graphically impressive, and I'll be damned if I didn't have the urge to replay it every so often. It lends itself well to "pick up and play" with it's arcade approach and this was, at the time, one of the Gamecube's "killer apps" for good reason.

 

 

7: Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy

All Systems - Traveler's Tales  2006

The most recent game on the list, and really one of the most enjoyable titles you could ask for. Star Wars and Legos were already a popular marriage, now you have them in videogame form. The concept sounds stupid, the execution is perfect. It's how it carries itself, a series of pantomimes and comedic scenes in the vein of silent comedy legends. It's a parody but not an overdone one and, more interestingly, translates across many ages and sexes just as the Star Wars movies themselves tended to. People of all ages tend to really, really enjoy these Lego titles and I'm one of of them.

 

 

6: Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

PC/Xbox/Mac/Gamecube - Raven Software 2002

The sequel to one of my favorites, Dark Forces II Jedi Knight, dropped the "Dark Forces" moniker and just went with the far more appropriate "Jedi Knight" title. But this isn't just a Jedi Knight...it's a Jedi Outcast. Between that and the box art, it exuded "cool." This pretty much took Jedi Knight and streamlined it. Naturally, the graphics are better, but more importantly I found the controls more intuitive and environments more interesting. What's best, though, is the atmosphere, something that 1997 couldn't quite get down with those early 3D years. The 2000s really saw a lot of great Star Wars titles visually emerge to their full capacity on PCs and consoles alike.

 

 

5: Super Empire Strikes Back

Super Nintendo - Lucasarts 1993

My love it and hate it game, but I love it more than hate it. I remember having one hell of time with this thing, dying numerous times in the first few levels that made my life a living hell. Eventually, though, I plugged through and made it all the way to Bespin for one of my most iconic gaming moments from my youth. Not the easiest game in the world, or even most polished Star Wars game certainly, but one that's memorable.

 

4:  Star Wars

Arcade - Atari 1983

 The original and still one of the best, though now it's more for nostalgic reasons than necessarily upholding to today's audiences (see number three if you want that). Back when arcades, you know, actually existed, this thing was in just about every arcade out there, even the little crappy movie theater arcades, it seemed. What's more, is it was in a lot of those for seemingly years. I think the small arcade in my town (right next to the skate rink and putt-putt...that part of town rocked) had this thing sitting in there until at least the early 1990s before the place (and the skate rink...and the putt putt) eventually closed down. I caught it again a few years later at a mall arcade in Kansas City then, eventually, the newer Arcade version (the one that was also ported to the 32X which actually got me to buy one of those useless things) pretty much came in and wiped out the old Vector units from the face of the earth. You can really go with either this one or the one with the updated graphics (and a few extra levels before hand), but I still have a bias to the original incarnation.

 

3: Star Wars Trilogy Arcade

Arcade - Lucasarts/Sega 1998

 

This is like the "Greatest Hits" of a Star Wars game. You not only get the iconic moments like the Trench Run and Endor Battle, but you have the addition of saber duels as well. One second you're skimming along the Death Star, the next you're facing off with Darth Vader. This was just a great experience. The variety of levels and polished presentation just made it a lot of fun, though I tended to be pretty awful at the boss fights. It was a big cabinet (obviously) with a big screen, flashy graphics, surround sound and a major injection of baddassery thanks to Sega. 

 

 

 

2: Star Wars X-Wing v TIE Fighter

PC - Lucasarts 1997

1997 was a big year for Star Wars. It was revitalized ten fold with two PC classics (and coming off a big N64 hit as well). I didn't play X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter until much later, though. In fact, I didn't play it until about three years ago. Guess what? It still holds up and plays amazingly. It's just a great, polished game that everyone should at least play at some point.

 

 

 

1: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

PC/Xbox/Mac - Bioware 2003

I have played a lot of Star Wars games. I don't consider this an objective list, just a list of my favorite Star Wars games. However, I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone in disagreement that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (or KOTOR for short) in being the best Star Wars game ever made. It's a full realization of the world, its gameplay is still felt influential to this day (in fact, Bioware has more or less done a copy paste with the Mass Effect games because it is so brilliant, and it exudes everything Star Wars. Hell, it did the prequels by a considerable margin in its realization, respect and overall thoughtfulness put in to it. 

 

 

  



 

 Top Ten Things I Learned From Star Wars

 Star Wars taught us many things, even if it was another galaxy on the other side of the universe, some stories and lessons we find in it, we end up finding in ourselves as well. That's the universal appeal of Star Wars, and here's ten lessons that I (and surely you) garnered while enjoying them.

 

10: Either Do Something, Or Don't

 

Basically it boils down to this: grow up, make decisions and act on them. While I don't agree with "there is no try" I do agree with shutting up and taking action and then dealing with the consequences on whether you did it or didn't do it. Put your mind towards something and you'll get it done, and as we saw Luke's arc develop over three films, we watch him grow from the horizon-gazing farmboy to a full-fledged Jedi ready to take on the Emperor himself. Why? Because that's what he finally decided to do, and he did it. He dealt with success and failures which molded him into a hero, and we can take from this with our own dealings of success and failures: how do we deal with them? Do we just dwell on them or do we grow up, move on and become better for them? Luke boldly made his decisions, through trials and tribulations, and with the help of little green Jedi masters of course.

 


9: Love Isn't Obvious (Opposites Attract)

 

I saw Star Wars far before I saw the likes of Casablanca or Gone With The Wind. In fact, the Star Wars movies are some of my earliest memories of seeing "love" portrayed on screen. Han and Leia taught me, though, that love isn't something that shows up and you quickly recognize it. It grows (some would say like a cancer) and eventually both parties realize they can't live without each other. It took a good two films before Han and Leia finally realized it, and so sprung one of the cinema's great romantic fairy tales and in classic form to boot (the swashbuckler and the princess). 

 

 
8: Respect Your Elders
 
 
 
Old wise people are just that: old and wise. you know them when you see them. Whether you agree with them or not, or maybe can't even understand their reasoning (or they start rambling about the good ole days when they would buy a comic book for a nickel and play 'poke the dead dog') they still command respect.  How has society and our world advanced over the centuries? By looking at what those before succeeded and failed at. They paved the way, so, in kind, next time they want to talk or feel they have something to teach you, show them some respect.*
 
*Note: respect is relative to the given situation. If they're old crotchety bastards or Evil Sith Lords, tell them to piss off.
 
 

7: Always Shoot First

 

Initiative is everything. Planning, anticipation, good instincts, trusting your gut. Star Wars taught me that a lot of trouble can be avoided if you just take care of business. Who cares about the other guy? It's all about you, and you need to jump at any opportunity given to you even if it means that, in the future, you have to correct yourself and revising your historical prowess into shooting second (or shooting at the same time). Plus, that's the entire focus of the Rebellion itself, isn't it? Planning and scheming, getting the jump on that dastardly emperor and his wacky Empire. Han knew it best and knew it early: shoot first, then you don't have to worry about the questions.

 



6: Fathers Don't Always Know Best



Or, really, parents and adults in general. An entire generation of people, especially those that grew up in the 1960s, did nothing but question the old regimes and those in power. In a way, Star Wars is a lot like that, and considering George Lucas was a film-nerd hippie, it's no surprise either. The Rebellion - those who see the problems of the Empire, and the Empire - the old guard that must be dropped. That all starts with questions, and from that stems the realization that just because someone is older, a parent or a person in control doesn't mean they're untouchable. Their decisions and actions (or offers) should be scrutinized and rung through the ringer from the very beginning, not just taken at face value.



5: Trust is Fleeting

 

Aw, look at Han and Lando there, looking all friendly. Lando is even pointing at the woman he slept with the night before. Probably telling Han, "she will rock your world, buddy." Too bad Lando had to go and be an asshole. Though, in fairness, he did get a second chance to redeem himself, so all ended up good. But let's not mince words, trust is a commodity we really take for advantage. Who can you trust? Should you trust them? We probably don't realize it, but trust is something we can lose pretty easily, whether it be a 'surprise' dinner guest or even knowing who has your back in a cantina fight. I've come to the realization that nobody trusts anybody and everybody should be questioned at any given time. Thank you, Star Wars, for making me paranoid and naturally distrusting of everyone and everything.

 


4: Know your Heritage

 

If your family or parents are strangely quiet about your lineage or your past, it's wise to just out-right confront them and get it over with. Sure, in their mind the truth can be hurtful to you, but ignorance is never bliss when it comes to these things. It ranges from knowing if your family has a criminal history, hereditary heart diseases or helped form a dark alliance with a Sith Lord and took over the galaxy. In the end, though, you just don't want to accidentally make out with a sibling.

That's just an awkward family reunion waiting to happen. You know, one of those once-every-ten-years family reunions where you don't know two-thirds the people there and you say to your girlfriend "I'm going home for a reunion" and she says "oh, I'm meeting my family for a reunion too," then the gears start working and you're afraid to ask but don't want to because you know the answer but she's figuring it out too and you find out you're third cousins as you show up at Uncle Phil's ranch at the same time....

Yeah, you don't want that to happen. Seriously, just know your family's past.

 


3: Everyone Deserves a Second Chance

 

Every person wants a chance to redeem his or herself. We all make mistakes, and the quicker we all accept the fact that we are all in the same boat, the quicker we can forgive others and give them a second chance to correct their mistakes. A third chance...maybe not...but at least a second. Just offering it, even, is a great step.

I've found that second chances, often, will help bring people closer together. It shows humility on the person who screwed up and forgiveness on the person allowing a second chance. It really shows both parties at their most exposed and at their most understanding, and maybe one more shot to right the wrongs is all they need. It's better to let them have that shot and find out than to not give them a shot at all and never know.

 


2: Life is Beyond What We Merely See

 

As I've mentioned, The Empire Strikes Back was the first Star Wars movie i saw, so I had no idea what was going on with the strange old ghost, the "training" on some swampy toilet of a planet or anything like that. It was all just "magic" to me and that's about it. 

Then I saw the first film, then the third, and it all came to my understanding that The Force, in essence the spiritual nature of Star Wars, is more than just ghosts and throwing objects across the room. It developed into the appreciation of life itself, which further developed into the hope and desire of each person to find comfort knowing there is more to our existence than merely what we see day-to-day. There's a whole other "idea" going on around  us at all time, which stems from our innate human ability to be curious and always question the things we know, the things we fear and the things we are merely told or merely see. Life isn't the years that go by, but the effort put in to those years and the solace found in the idea that those years aren't the end. What awaits, nobody can say (that's where faith and so forth comes in), but we can at least be wishful in knowing that maybe there's something else waiting for us beyond this little thing we call "living."

 


1: Appearances Can be Deceiving

 

"Judge me by my size, do you?"

Little green creatures that could destroy you with a thought, elderly men with the power of Zeus in their fingertips, warrior teddy bears. Star Wars loved playing with perception, and did a great job in every single Episode (including the Prequels, believe it or not - they do a good job pretending to be good movies) where we question everything and how they may appear. Nothing is at it seems in this universe, and simply assuming things is the first step to absolute failure.

I suppose you can just say "Yoda" for number one, to be honest. Through Luke, we learn a ton of valuable lessons. We are being taught alongside him with valuable information and dyslexic one-liners. The first lesson, though, is appearances as Yoda "tricks" Luke into thinking he's some weird Dagobah creature but is really a Jedi Master. Luke scrambles to save face, you can see it in his eyes when he realizes he pretty much failed the first test (way to go Skywalker, see you after class). Then you throw in others: Ewoks, cute teddy bears, are actually warriors,  decrepit old men in robes are actually lanky batteries that shoot lightening, evil villains are actually fathers and that hot girl you liked turns out to be your sister. You then have friends betraying you thus making them not-friends, moons that are no moons, shields that aren't actually down to the dismay of Squid Captains and their fear of traps and Tauntauns that are actually mobile heated sleeping bags. Yes, this one lesson is the singular thing in the original trilogy, from beginning to end really, that nothing is always at it appears and you shouldn't take anything at face value.

Especially if you see a cute Teddy Bear with a spear in its hand. 


 

  Oh, but we aren't done yet. I've only skimmed the surface of Star Wars like an X-wing over the Death Star. We're diving into the trench* in a week to look at the movies a little closer with Part 2: The Best Things About Star Wars.

(*you may send hate mail for bad metaphorical Star Wars references to jsconrady@gmail.com)

 Part Two will arrive in a couple of weeks, and thanks for reading.

 

 

 

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