A Whole New World
Space ships and laser swords and doomsday weapons! Magic evil wizards in cloaks and goofy bumbling robots! A princess and a farm boy and a big walking dog alien. Let’s face it: this was a Sci-Fi B-movie waiting to happen. But that didn’t happen. In fact, it became the movie that changed the world.
Anything can make for a good movie. Gangsters, aliens, elves, and toys. The subject matter doesn’t determine the quality of the film. But, let’s face it, until the 70s, a good amount of sci-fi films were looked down upon. Save for a handful of straight-laced think pieces, the genre was considered more of a medium for children. And, up until its release, that’s what Star Wars was considered too.
So how did Star Wars avoid becoming a B-movie? How did it subvert everything and become a classic? By staying very…human.
It’s the hero’s journey. A classic story that is told over and over again in one form or another in pretty much every culture. The archetypes are timeless…Luke as the modest hero from humble beginnings, Obi-Wan as the wise old mentor, Darth Vader as the dark, shadowy villain, Han as the rebellious loner who shoots first and asks questions later, that annoying boob as the naysaying pessimist who always complains and ruins everyone’s good time.
Star Wars‘ greatest strength is its underlying humanity. We all have these people in our lives, in one way or another, so the fictional element feels real because, well, the human core is real. You can slap whatever genre plating you want on the story, but at the end of the day these are real people. After all, have you ever felt like you were stuck where you were, longing for more but afraid the opportunity will never come?
Star Wars conveyed emotion in a way that, until then, hadn’t been conveyed in such a universal way. No matter who you were, no matter where you lived, the story struck a chord with you deep down and it rang out across the world. The strangeness of the hooded aliens, otherworldly weapons, mystical religions, and blue milk didn’t get in the way of relaying an emotional core. In fact, it enhanced it. The movie is universal. The movie is real. The movie is human.
AND THE MOVIE IS AWESOME. DARTH VADER HAS THIS RED LASER SWORD THAT MAKES A REALLY COOL NOISE WHEN HE TURNS IT ON A SWINGS IT AND THE MILLENNIUM FALCON IS REALLY COOL SHIP AND ITS GOT GUNS ON THE TOP AND THE BOTTOM SO WHEN TIE FIGHTERS ATTACK THEY CAN SHOOT THEM DOWN AND THE X-WINGS ALL GO IN THE TRENCH TO BLOW UP THE DEATH STAR BUT DARTH VADER GOES TOO AND HE’S GOT HIS TIE FIGHTER AND HE’S GOT LUKE IN HIS SIGHTS BUT LUKE BLOWS UP THE DEATH STAR ANYWAY AND THEY ALL GET MEDALS EXCEPT CHEWBACCA BECAUSE Princess Leia is racist.
Star Wars completely changed the industry because it proved the capabilities of film. Yes, you can have a gorgeous spectacle of a space opera that captures the imagination of kids AND you can have a personal, human story that adults relate to on an emotional level AND you can have a timeless story with relatable characters AND you can have a dazzling new adventure.
You just…can’t have it on Blu-Ray….
Alex Russo loves to talk about movies. You can read more of his insane ramblings on Twitter.