Can you imagine what it would be like if Star Wars had never existed? The whole world might be a little darker, less imaginative and with fewer openly proud nerds. When meeting someone named Luke, there would be no “I am your father” response to break the ice or annoy him. Backwards Yoda sentences would only be heard in mental wards and giant danishes would not evoke a hairstyle. Hell, my brother was named Lucas because we were trying to figure out a name for him while watching Star Wars. Who knows who he would be today without it. Like it or not, we have all been affected by the film giant the Star Wars saga has become.
I’m sure there are nerds out there still fuming over the film’s loss in the Best Picture category, but my goodness people, this weird little sci-fi film came so far. There are plenty of documentaries out there about the story behind Star Wars and all the odd obstacles that were in its way. You watch a half an hour of any of those and you will learn more than I can recite on my little blog.
Now I’m not that old, but I’m proud to say that back when I was first being introduced to Star Wars, we didn’t have all that CGI Special Edition junk just added in for the sake of ten seconds of new footage. Those puppets are still more lifelike to me than any computer rendered character. The Cantina scene is one of my favorite examples of the creativity behind Star Wars. There’s such a wide variety of puppets, robots, people in odd masks and even the music is something out of this world. Does anyone know the proper term for the race of the Cantina band? Every set, from Luke’s farm home on Tatooine to the Death Star are full of meticulous details. Every little thing has a new space-aged twist to it. Swords are lightsabers, chess has holographic monsters, sixth gear is light-speed.
For a kid first being introduced to Darth Vader and the Empire, it can be scary. Just visually, Darth Vader has an intimidating presence. but that breathing raised the hairs on my neck. When Darth Vader double crossed Princess Leia, after she gave up the information to save her planet, and they still blew up Alderaan with the Death Star, well that was just terrifying. Right away, we realize the power of the Empire and the dangers of being a rebel.
Then there’s The Force, that mystical energy that binds us all together. Suddenly, we have a film with a new mystic interpretation of religion within a science-fiction/fantasy film about revolution and coming of age. It may sound like a mess, but these moments with Obi-Wan explaining the ways of The Force to Luke may be a moment of clarity for those spiritually seeking and losing faith within conventional religions. And what Star Wars presents isn’t anything controversial, it’s good advice to be mindful of your feelings and trust your instincts.
At the Oscars Star Wars won most of the technical and artistic award, but the Academy also awarded Ben Burtt an honorary award for his amazing work with sound effects. Think about all the noises we just associate with Star Wars now: the hum of light sabers, Chewbaca’s Wookie growl, R2-D2’s excited digital babel. The phrase, “You sound like a Tuscen Raider,” is completely understood in my family when describing a cough. Burtt was the man behind the noise, mixing bears and walrus growls into a new breed of sidekick and turning a baby’s coo into a robot’s worried sound byte. The imagination and ingenuity behind all the sounds, all the little details in Star Wars is simply amazing and deserved some extra recognition.
With Star Wars, there’s no concern about people missing out. Everyone has seen it and future generations undoubtedly will too. The real question is how do we present Star Wars to kids today and in the future. With no plans or concern for spawning little film nerds anytime soon, my husband and I have already decided that Star Wars will be shown to any future offspring before the age of three, but none of the second trilogy until they’re old enough to understand the original. This video may be a joke, but I find it has some good advice, especially on how to make sure children develop an appropriate attitude towards Jar Jar. And parents, please don’t make the mistake of thinking Star Wars is only for boys. Your daughters need to be exposed to more than the Disney Princesses. Leia is one of the strongest female role models on film you can give your daughter while also filling in the term Princess.
“Darth Vader. Only you could be so bold.”