Friday, November 27, 2015

"These aren't the droids you're looking for": 8 questions about Star Wars

We've been watching Star Wars otherwise known as Episode IV--A New Hope (1977) in its unrevised version in my science fiction class. Here are some questions that come to mind:

1) What exactly happens to the Stormtroopers or the Rebel Alliance fighters when they get hit by a laser from a laser gun? What does violence mean in the Star Wars universe?

2) When we see Anna Kendrick and others vanish from their clothes as Obi-Wan Kenobi does when hit by Darth Vader's light saber, are we supposed to think that the Star Wars Battlefront video game being advertised is part of some rapture-deranged cult? Is a basic part of the appeal of the Star Wars franchise that we can escape the burden of the flesh after we perish? Or are we just subconsciously happy to see that someone as classy as Alec Guinness escapes from the movie?

3) Why is there a room-sized trash compactor in the Death Star?

4) Why are there so many men in their 40s who view the whole Star Wars phenomenon with such childlike religious fervor? I have seen grown men in their thirties bizarrely "fighting" with their light saber iPhone apps. What was the exact sweet spot age--10? 8?--to have first seen Star Wars in the theaters and then worship Han Solo from thereon?

5) Why haven't the three deplorable Star Wars prequels (Revenge of the Sith, etc.) done anything to dampen public enthusiasm for Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Has the failure of those movies somehow enhanced the franchise through some sort of media herd hypnosis reverse psychology?

6) Is Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) likable because she's peevish and idealistic?

7) When Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia find themselves trapped on the edge of an abyss and fired upon by Stormtroopers, why does Luke happen to have a Batman utility belt around his waist complete with a rope and a grappling hook? Did he need this stuff back on the farm on Tatooine? Was this detail prepared for in some way?

8) Is the Force, as loosely practiced by Luke, a reference to the Zen practice of eliminating the self to attain fluid motion?  Is Obi-Wan's advice to Luke to do away with his conscious mind when seeking the Force a practical suggestion for the consumer of the ever-expanding Star Wars universe? Does the non-thought of the Force help explain the extraordinary fervor of question 4? When Obi-Wan uses the Force to hypnotize the Stormtroopers to let him and the droids go by ("These aren't the droids you're looking for,") is this yet another example of the submissive behavior that the consumer unconsciously emulates? Did George Lucas intentionally include cult-like practices of mind control in the franchise?

4 comments:

DeadSpiderEye said...

I know the mining of that which is the endless bounty of Japanese graphic literature and animation, Peckish Games, Specific Rim, really kicked off with The Matrix but take a peek at Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind vs Phantom Menace, for an insight into Lucas's Magpie habits.

FilmDr said...

Thanks, DeadSpiderEye. I had heard about how Lucas borrowed from Kurosawa, but not Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

Here's a link:http://www.openculture.com/2014/05/how-star-wars-borrowed-from-akira-kurosawas-great-samurai-films.html

That first Star Wars mostly makes me laugh. I kept giggling at inopportune moments during the class screening.

kenchan13 said...

The grappling hook luck pulls out was on the belt of the stormtroopers. They had just ditched the stormtrooper disguises but both he and han keep the belts on cause they are super awesome ala Batman?

FilmDr said...

Okay, but why do the stormtroopers carry them? Also why, at the end of the movie, is there nobody to celebrate aside from Luke and Han? Did all the other pilots die? Why didn't Chewbacca get a metal?