Star Wars: The Pop Cult of Personality
Star Wars, Star Wars, everything is Motherfucking Star Wars!!
As of recent, this sudden re-renaissance is happening thanks in part to Disney acquiring the license and as a result, developed the hotly anticipated sequel The Force Awakens.
(For the life of me, I have no idea what the hell TFA‘s plot is all about however, there were some parts of the trailer that looked to be “most impressive”.) We’ll see if the film actually live up to the hype but allow me to digress a bit.
In honor of all the current “hoopla” I would like to point out a few things that put made this venerable franchise such a Pop Culture phenomenon! (From my perspective of course.)
Something old, something new!
Yes it’s your typical Good vs. Evil tale, but still something very unique!
Although the first film had borrowed elements from The Wizard of Oz, Flash Gordon, DC Comics’ The New Gods and of course Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress. But therein lies original content that set this movie apart from the other influences, thus Star Wars is unique enough to be an idea of its own .
When you throw in space dogfights, mysticism, amazing ship and weapon designs, yes I would say it’s ahead of its time even for the cheesy Seventies! Influenced, yes! But very influential.
When I had first seen A New Hope, as a Gen-X child, I was floored by the incredible special effects since the beginning of the film the minute I saw the rebel’s cruiser being pursued by the empire’s Star Destroyer. The underbelly shot of the triangular battleship looked very intimidating on a giant screen to say in the least. The scale models of ships and satellites such as the Death Star were highly detailed and “most impressive”, so that they practically had a life of their own thanks to amazing wizardry from the special effect team.
Whether its models, blue screen imagery or those lightsaber sound effects, without a doubt, Star Wars has revolutionized the magic of special effects and in doing so inspired many film makers and so forth.
John Knoll who worked as ILM’s Visual supervisor had his hand in developing the venerable Adobe Photoshop software. That’s just a minor example of how far SW has inspired many to dare and to dream.
Then there were the other techniques utilized that made for very convincing effects at the time such as…
- Luke’s Land Speeder
- The Death Star trench run as well as the assault within the new Death Star
- Empire Assault on Planet Hoth
- Bespin Cloud City
- Binary Sunset
( The Tauntaun effects didn’t hold up, sadly.)
Johnny be (Damn) good!
The other “special effect” is the incredible soundtrack of the films courtesy of legendary composer John Williams. If the visual effects were the heart of the movies, then Williams’ score is without a doubt, the soul! The orchestral tones range from whimsical, majestic, adventurous, calm menacing and even haunting in a few examples. To be honest, I can’t think of any other composer who would have done such an amazing soundtrack as Johnny. Close Encounters, Jurassic Park and especially ET, pfft!
It’s Star Wars that will be Williams’ most memorable contribution ever!
That’s right, I said it!
- The Asteroid Field
- Cloud City
- The imperial March
- Duel of the fates
- The Battle of Yavin/The Battle of Hoth (Tie!)
Drama for your Jawa!
The Star Wars films were epic in scope and introduced modern day Greek tragedy within the confines of science fiction hence, the term- “Space Opera”.
Themes of Love, Betrayal, Death and Sacrifice gave what would have been a paint by the numbers SciFi an impeccable storyline. Needless to say that there were moments of mindfuckery throughout.
Seriously, who knew that the bad guys would earn a win-win for a change?
- “Luke, I am your Father”
- Obi’s death / Yoda’s Death
- Order 66
- Darth Vader’s sacrifice
- Those poor Younglings
(Real, shit has got !)
Blockbuster Merchandising Machine
It would be an understatement of I said that the Star Wars films are a pop culture- phenomenon. I have never really seen a series that has reached popularity of this magnitude as the movies not only extended to comics and “Christmas” specials, but when it came to merchandising, it was all about those damn toys!
It’s been often said that 20th Century Fox shopped around various toy companies in order to market and promote their films via toyline. Iconic Toy manufacturer Mego, was the first choice but due to the success of Their Micronauts line, Mego had declined. However, Kenner accepted and the rest was history and so was Mego, due to the magnitude of sales that stemmed from the licensed Kenner toys.
The irony is that Kenner adapted Micronauts 3′ inch scale figures and play sets as well as GI Joe’s 12 inch figures only to outsell both franchises! Talk about beating them at their own game…
Of course it didn’t end there, there’s bed sheets, clothing, model kits, videogames and even animated series!
- Clone Wars animated series
- Super Star Wars (SNES trilogy)
- Star Wars Battlefront (XBO & PS4)
- Knights of the Old Republic
- Star Wars 1313…oh wait, this game is still in development. Hell thanks to those fuckbags at Disney!
Like it not, Star Wars is here to stay and will most certainly outlive each and every one of us.
Ole “Georgie” had no idea of how his very ambitious movie would reach the pinnacle of pop culture throughout the entire world!
The Force is certainly strong with this one.