What makes Star Wars special
Everybody knows what Star Wars is, an epic science fiction franchise so fascinating that became an obsession for the public and engaged masses of people so much that they have never stopped showing their support for the several movies, even after 38 years.
The saga began filming in 1977 by George Lucas, a filmmaker and entrepreneur. His idea was to create something new that nobody before him had ever tried to do. He didn’t know he would create a worldwide phenomenon that would influence people’s lives still 40 years later. The old movies were created without the modern equipment, Lucas experienced his new ideas and made them epic even if the times were not ready yet. When he decided to shoot episodes I, II and III he believed that the technology had evolved enough that he could create some great movies. But these movies didn’t like so much as the first three, this because he chose to change things and he preferred to include more political issues than the Star Wars fans were used to. Because Star Wars was loved so much, doing the new movies different caused a diffuse disappointment among the fans and a felt lack of the Star Wars movies’ favorite characteristics. The new movie, Episode VII, just came out on December 2015 and was directed by JJ Abrams.
The original movies changed the movie industry, they felt real in a way that no other movie had ever done before. Their universe is well-defined, for this reason it feels like it existed before the movies had started and it doesn’t end with the end of the movies, it continues to go on after them. The way the movies create a new universe had influenced also every other movies after them, from Harry Potter to Game of Thrones to Hunger Games. The movies showed that it’s difficult to reproduce an illusion like theirs even after a few years and with the same producer, in fact the original trilogy is not considered the same success, it has not the same atmosphere. One of the features of the Star Wars scenario is the temporal anomaly, it should be a science-fiction movie set in a future universe where there are droids and aliens but it feels like an old past, as if these adventures already happened long time ago. In addition, is both the story of a world of humans and aliens together and the story of the characters’ fight. In fact, we see humans and aliens living normally together without a defined social distinction. Also, the characters are strong and they are the ones that have a role in their universe’s politics, nobody else does anything for it. We get to know them so much that we care for them, we know their strengths and weaknesses and their history. The movies also give us hope, we all hope for the doom of the protagonists and we feel something not only for them and with them, but also for their universe, we hope the good will win against the evil. Hope is a central aspect in the movies, especially the hope that ethic will be respected and the right path will be the winning side at the end. The success of the movies is given also by our identification with the characters anin their dimension, it’s a different type of world but not so different that we can’t picture ourselves in it, it is different enough that we have elements we recognize and new elements that we would want to try. We have never seen the earth in the movies, this is another noticeable aspect of them, they don’t try to give us a place we can recognize, the setting wants to be new and far from us. Another important thing is that physical objects in Star Wars get dirty, one of the most radical aspects in 1977 was that things weren’t clean: everything felt used and old. That goes for every movie, for example in the new one when Finn’s shuttle ground on a desert it is full of sand and so are Finn’s clothes. The dirt give everything an extra dimension in time, the objects had an history, and that counts also for clothes, when they have been worn quite a bit it is more realistic.
The new movie was really similar to episode IV, the first of the movies. The plot is similar, there are new characters and also old ones. We see the new protagonist, Rey, a normal girl who think to be no one, who is similar to Luke Skywalker at the beginning, she lives on a desert planet and she finds a droid. There are lots of the first trilogy’s elements. An enemy with a dark mask, two droids and two friends, the discovery of the force, the discovery of a parentage with the enemy. In the movie are present also new aspects, like the fact that the co-protagonist, Finn, is a former Stormtrooper, but he changes side after he feels that what he is doing is wrong; plus, both the protagonist use the Jedi swords and one of the three principal characters is an old character. The movie is innovative in the choice of the cast itself: if the old movies were leaded by white men, this is the story of a girl and a black boy, time has changed and the new movie looks more the way our world does now. The new director is well-known and has a precise idea: to satisfy the fans and made an accurate movie. There are new techniques, because now movies can be shot using CGI, the application of 3D computer graphics to create scenes or special effects in films and television. But JJ Abrams wanted to use it to the minimum. He preferred to preserve the emotional experience a human can identify with, in fact, when I saw the movie I did not noticed so many changes from the other movies, it wasn’ so different. The waiting for the movie is been long, from the announce of the sequel fans from all over the world went nuts, they couldn’t wait to see another Star Wars movie, simply because they waited very long to see something similar. Even who wasn’t a crazy fan before the new movie was dragged in the vortex of excitement of the other fans. The fandom is reborn, every fan had such a great deal of excitement for the movie that the expectation was really high and it became a international film-event, like it recently happened for Hunger Games and Divergent. In every part of the world people were seeing again the old movies and commenting about the new one on social media, in little time it became known by whoever has a social network or watches TV. It won’t be a new world but even without having seen it, people already love it. In addition, it became the year’s event, in the period before the movie’s release every commercial was about it. This movie is both a new world and a long-awaited homecoming.
The producer, JJ Abrams, is famous for his movies like Star Trek and Mission: impossible, and he is a genuine fan of Star Wars. He took a great inheritance, tens of millions of fans share ownership with him in a moral and emotional sense. He wanted to try to reproduce the Star Wars atmosphere by putting lots of elements present in the old trilogy in the new movie. He managed to make a good movie that satisfied the expectations of the fans. He made it better than the prequel trilogy by George Lucas in the fans’ opinion. He went back to the techniques George Lucas used the first time made it like an earlier era movie. There still are new elements that are possible to create only with the modern tools, but he tried to use them as little as possible, he shot as much as possible on film. The protagonists of the original cast helped him with this aspect. He chose the new protagonists trying to cast not famous actors, because it feels more real to see new faces, they, in fact, became their character.
The connection between the old movies and the new one is the similar plot but also the universe they share. It is full of adventures and different creatures, indeed we can distinguish a message of acceptance of others. All the movies have this and another main ethic message: the fight against evil. Luke Skywalker fights with all his heart and he faces lots of trouble to win against his father’s dark side, to help him make the right choice. The same goes for Ray, she feels in her heart that to fight for what she believes in is the right thing to do, even if it would be easier to just stay in her far and quiet planet and ignore the call she received. Other messages are the choice of the easiest path that brings to evil, and the way evil can be fascinating. In the movies it can be seen, in fact, that the dark side is always choosing the easiest path, this because it is complicated to do the right thing and can hurt somebody or cause troubles, but that is why people should go for it; difficulties always brings out the best of everyone and are worth it, they help people in the future teaching them lessons, it is always better to choose the difficult path because it means waiting more but finding satisfactions. Star Wars shows us that evil can be fascinating, when Kylo faces his father, instead of giving him a second chance, he chooses the dark side for the second time, not forgiving him, because it’s the easiest thing to do and the choice that allows him not to think too much about the problem, it gives him an immediate satisfaction allowing him to have revenge. In addition, evil seems to make people powerful, this is another reason why it is so fascinating, dark has always existed in the world and has always brought power to those who used it, but Star Wars shows us how a normal person can be tempted by power and give up the other good things to their selfishness. Star Wars demonstrate that evil is not only in troubled people, it is in every one of us, it is not a far reality that affects only the ones that are already bad, it is a choice that everybody has to keep making in their lives, in fact we see Anakin Skywalker choosing the dark side even if he was a Jedi. In all the movies a common theme about family can be seen, the characters are orphans that discover each other, they learn that they can trust and love each other. While they missed a parental figure in their youth, they find important people they will become attached to in their adolescence. There are other important themes: the relation between humans and technology, there’s a lot of technology, being science fiction movies, and the characters just know how to relate with that and how to fix things; the inner world of the characters it’s important, they are complex and they are not perfect or superheroes, they represent all the people that want to feel like somebodies.
Here’s the list of the movies for a more complete understanding:
- Episode I: The Phantom Menace, released in 1999, Prequel Trilogy
- Episode II: Attack of the Clones, released in 2002, Prequel Trilogy
- Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, released in 2005, Prequel Trilogy
- Episode IV: A New Hope, released in 1977, Original Trilogy
- Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, released in 1980, Original Trilogy
- Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, released in 1983, Original Trilogy
- Episode VII: The Force Awakens, released in 2015, Sequel Trilogy
Interview to Morrison Field, a Star Wars fan:
- How long did you wait for this movie?
Basically I waited for it from the end of the third episode, the last movie shot, but since I heard about the production, i waited for it impatiently
- What do you expect from the movie?
I expect it to be more like the original movies because the new director would prefer people to enjoy the movie.
- Do you think it will be worth it?
Absolutely, I say this based also on my love for the director, because I know his previous movies.
- Do you think it will be like the old movies?
Yes, similar, I think it will be a nod.
- Where and why do you want to go to see it?
Anywhere with a reclining chair. I want to see it because I like the old movies, I am a fan from many years and I am excited to have a new movie of the franchise.
- What do you already know about the new movie?
I know that some members of the original cast are gonna be in it and that it’s going to set up the original movies, it will be followed by the 7th and 8th episodes.
- How do you think the movie will be different from the old movies?
I think the story will be better and maybe a little darker. The special effects obviously will be way better.
- Which of the movies do you like the best? Why?
Return of the Jedi, because we see Luke as a more powerful role, he has more Jedi powers and it’s interesting to see him that way.
- Why do you think people like the movies so much?
Probably because it’s a good escape, a fantasy where almost anything is possible and they can dream about it and maybe about being in that reality.
- Why should people watch the movies?
Because they are a classic story of good vs evil but always with a surprise in them.
- What is your opinion about the message of the movies?
It’s a good message of unity, of different races, aliens and humans, working together. I think it’s a strong message of peace and mutual help.
- Would you like to live in the Star Wars universe?
Yes, it will be quite an adventure to live in a space galactic world and it would definitely be fun and engaging, it’s a complicated world.
- Which character can you identify yourself with? Why? What would you change about his personality or actions?
Obi Wan Kenobi, because he is wise and the most powerful Jedi. He should have killed Anakin Skywalker when he had the opportunity.
- Why are the first three episodes different?
Because they are more political, Star Wars is supposed to be fun and about battles between light and dark side but the first three episodes were more about politics and serious problems that had to be followed very much by the spectators.
Interview to Kate Staudenmayer:
- What do you think about the movies’ message?
It shows that while it’s not always easy, good always prevails and it’s a right thing to teach.
- How many movies did you watch?
I watched just the first three that were shot and the new movie.
- What’s your favorite? Why?
Return of the Jedi, because I liked the little ewoks, I found them funny and sweet.
- What is special about these movies?
There are lots of twists and turns, you never know what could happen.
- What do you think about the people that are obsessed about the movies? Why are they so obsessed?
I think they are intense and nerdy. Probably they are so obsessed because the movies provide an escape from reality and we like things that gives us hope to have a different future and a different life that it is more adventurous than the one we have.
- Would you like to live in the Star Wars universe? Why?
No, because there is a lot of unrest and I wouldn’t like to live it myself.
- Did you like the new movie?
Yes, better than most of the others.
- Do you like the movies? Why?
Yes, because they are good movies that keep you on the edge of your seat.
Interview to Sofia Mariano:
- How many movies did you see?
All seven, but I’m not a big fan, I watched all of them only because I think they are pretty good movies.
- What is your favourite? Why?
I have two favourites: the first and the fourth. I love Episode I because you can see how Anakin grew up and the presuppositions of his future love story. I like, instead, Episode IV because it’s the beginning, where everything has an origin: “da dove tutto ha avuto origine”. Furthermore I like the way Harrison Ford’s character makes its appearance.
- Why should people watch the movies?
For those who love science fiction movies is the perfect saga, there is a bit of everything: from the classic love story to one somewhat less traditional, from the fight between good and evil to the one between past and present.
- What is so special in them? Why are people so obsessed by them?
“Ossessionati?”, obsessed? Every character is unique and the innovation of the special effects combined with a reality where progress goes together with tradition I believe made addicted a lot of people.
- In general, do you like the movies? Why?
“Sì”, the franchise is well-done and original, I found the figure of Darth Vader above all very interesting and the successive relationship with his son. I also like Yoda, he is my favourite green alien, “Yoda è il mio alieno verde preferito😍.”
- Why do the movies feel so real?
Because, even if their background is of science fiction movies, they debate modern themes: unrequited loves, “amori non corrisposti”, loves against the law, corruption and complicated family relationships. Furthermore, every character is extraordinarily real, “tremendamente reale.”
- Would you like to live in the Star Wars universe? Why?
Yeah, why not? At least I could have my space shuttle and flutter freely in the galaxy, “svolazzare liberamente per la galassia”, hunting for new systems.
- What do you think about the Star Wars fandom that loves the movies so much?
I think that people should avoid to live in a movie or in any other human invention. A thing is good if moderate and basing our happiness on some movies doesn’t seem reasonable or smart to me.
- What did you expect from the new movie?
From the new movie I expected some twists, “colpi di scena,” maybe the meeting with new worlds and some clarifications on what happens after the dark side’s defeat, “la sconfitta del lato oscuro.”
- How was the expectation in Italy?
I have no idea, “non ne ho la minima idea,” everything I know is that people talked about new characters and a big twist, “un gigante colpo di scena.”
- Did you see any people dressed like Star Wars characters?
No, no crazy dressed like a Jedi, “nessun pazzo vestito da Jedi.”
- Did you find lots of Star Wars things and advertising before and after the movie in your city and in TV?
No, we didn’t have many advertising about it or Star Wars stuff, it was pretty much like a regular new movie on movie theaters.
- When did you go to see it and with who?
With my family, “con la mia famiglia,” at the movie theater and then I met lots of friends I knew there.
- Did it satisfy your expectations? How?
Not completely, I found the movie very similar to Episode IV, I would say almost identical in terms of chain of events, but in general it wasn’t bad. Let’s say that it wasn’t really innovative and somehow I expected Ian’s death, “me l’aspettavo in un certo senso.”
- What was in the new movie different from the old ones and what was similar?
Well, the actors are different, “di diverso ci sono gli attori,” the special effects are more sophisticated, the settings, the droids and the new supervillain are different. While the events are similar.
- Was the plot too similar to Episode IV? Was it boring in some parts?
Yes, I found it, as already said, almost identical, “quasi identico,” in the organization and structure. And boring…. Not really, mostly I had a constant perception of deja vu.
- How were the framings?
I liked them, obviously the initial framing of the starry universe, “l’inquadratura iniziale dell’universo stellato,” is legendary.❤️
- Did you like the new characters? Which one, in particular, did you like the best? Do you identify yourself with her/him? Why?
I like the new supervillain, “mi piace il nuovo super cattivo,” I find him intriguing and tormented at the right point. I don’t mind the protagonist too, even if we don’t even know whose daughter is she. I don’t identify myself with anyone, even if my worship will keep staying toward that cool robot that is R2D2.
- Would you recommend the movie? Why?
Yes and no: on one hand is necessary to see it, “è necessario vederlo,” because for someone that is passionate is necessary to follow the entire sequence of events, but on the other hand in my opinion it wasn’t so engaging.