What’s my favourite movie? I have to say “Star Wars,” the George Lucas science-fiction classic, of 1977. It led to one of the biggest movie franchises. It also redefined movie making and special effects. I’ve bought the entire six-movie saga, in different formats, thus it’s easy to “Star Wars” is my favourite movie.
“Star Wars” isn’t just great only for revolutionary special effects, which remain great. Nor is it only great for the action scenes, which include some of the best sci-fi space battles on film, before and after recent revisions. Nor is “Star Wars” only for its comedy and drama, which add human elements to a story about technology.
What draws viewers is the story. Lucas uses classic storytelling themes and techniques, which date to “Poetics,” by Aristotle, to create a modern myth. These themes and techniques work across time and space, but remain lost on most makes of movies, in Hollywood.
The most obvious theme is the Hero’s Journey. In “Star Wars,” Luke Skywalker goes from being a simple farm boy to discovering his destiny is to restore the Jedi Order. A second theme, of every movie in the “Star Wars” franchise, is the journey of Anakin Skywalker, that is, Darth Vader: his rise, fall and eventual redemption.
“Star Wars” makes use of many classic character archetypes, such as the mentor, Obi-Wan aka Ben Kenobi; the rogue, Han Solo, the lone gun of “Shane”; comic relief C-3PO and R2-D2. In some cases, “Star Wars” puts new spins on the archetypes, as characters, such as Princess Leia and Padme Amidala aren’t typical damsels-in-distress. Granted, “Star Wars” isn’t the first or last movie or story to do this sort of thing, but it is one of the more recognizable examples and probably one of most analyzed examples.
Probably the best thing that makes “Star Wars” so great is the story is infinite. Six movies, eight if you count the combined “Clone Wars” micro-series and the CGI-animated, “The Clone Wars,” aren’t enough; many more movies are possible, without stretching too much.
Through the “Expanded Universe,” the “Star Wars” story continues in novels, comic books, video games and television shows. In this sense, “Star Wars” shares the potential of “Star Trek.” There are endless possibilities for stories across media, unimagined, today.
New characters emerge, such as Mara Jade and Galen Marek. The “Expanded Universe” delves deeper into the history of the “Star Wars Universe.” Backstories abound, such as the recent “Darth Bane” novel trilogy or the upcoming online game “The Old Republic.” Many stories set between the movies, such as the “Force Unleashed” video games or the current “Clone Wars” television series. Side stories take place off-screen, during the same time, if not space, as the core movies. Sequel series, post movies, such as “Legacy,” appear in comic book form or novellas, such as “New Jedi Order.”
With few exceptions, Lucasfilm approves every all “Star Wars” related products. Comic books, novels and television series are part of the continuing “Star Wars” story. Continuity is thus important.
Many fans are on the fence about the “Expanded Universe,” whether or not it really is part of the saga. Some “Expanded Universe” material has been hit or miss with different fans. Still, it’s undeniable that “Expanded Universe” adds to the effect of “Star Wars.”
It’s easy to see why “Star Wars,” without a doubt, is my favourite movie.
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