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Star Wars - 30 Year Anniversary


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#41 SDG

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 12:21 PM

Well, you know what a fact-checker I can be. When Obi-Wan sits there and says "he betrayed and murdered your father" and I say nothing to correct this false impression, it kind of makes me complicit in the lie, does it not?

Are you worried for the sake of your own conscience, or for the sake of your children's future confusion about why Daddy didn't tell them the truth?

If it's for the sake of your own conscience, I wouldn't worry. In the first film as it stands I'm not sure there's any reason not to take Obi-Wan's words as truth -- not to suppose that Lucas intended the line to be an actual account of what happened within the context of the film. So you're simply allowing your kids to experience Star Wars as the author can reasonably be presumed to have originally intended.

By the time your kids are ready for Episode V, I think they'll be ready to handle the revelation that you knew all along that Vader was Luke's father and didn't tell them because ... you wanted them to be surprised. As surprised as we all were when we saw it for the first time. So I don't think you need to be worried about their future reaction either.

If it were all one movie and the child was deceived in Act 1 and undeceived in Act III, don't think you would be scrupling here. It's only the postponement of the undeceiving until such time as you roll out Episode V that's troubling you. Is that really a rational difference, though?

Now, if in the interim you wanted to plant seeds slightly undermining Obi-Wan's moral authority ... I wouldn't be averse to that, as long as it wasn't too overt. For instance, when they're old enough you might want to ask them what they think about Obi-Wan becoming "more powerful than you can imagine." But I don't think that's necessary.

#42 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 12:32 PM

SDG wrote:
: By the time your kids are ready for Episode V, I think they'll be ready to handle the revelation that you knew all along that Vader was Luke's father and didn't tell them because ... you wanted them to be surprised.

Thank you.

I just hope they don't find out from one of their friends first, in which case they'll be asking me, "Why didn't you tell me?", and I'll be replying, "Because not ready for the burden were you." Of course, Yoda was wrong about that, too.

: It's only the postponement of the undeceiving until such time as you roll out Episode V that's troubling you.

Yes, exactly.

: Is that really a rational difference, though?

Might be, I dunno. I think this is why the Santa Claus and Tooth Fairy examples came to mind: every parent who tells those stories to their child without clarifying that they are just stories knows their child will grow out of those beliefs EVENTUALLY, and likewise, I know that my children will eventually figure out who Darth Vader "really" is at some point a few years from now. But steering clear of that revelation for the next however many years feels a bit deceptive. Which is why, in the case of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, I haven't bothered pulling the wool over my kids' eyes to begin with. Then again, as you say, the revelation of Darth Vader's true identity is meant to be experienced as a "surprise" -- but I really really hope that the parents who get their kids to believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy don't do that with the INTENT of setting up a "surprise" for their kids somewhere down the road. That's just kind of, I dunno, cruel.

Side note: Last night, at bedtime, I also read the kids one of those old Arch Books about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego ... and a part of me felt slightly ambivalent about that. I mean, I do want my kids to know the biblical stories. But, personally, I waffle on whether some of those stories are historical or legendary (for lack of better terms), and in some cases I'm firmly on the legendary side of the ledger, so I wonder if I can, in good conscience, be reading those stories without qualifiers right now. But of course, I read them OTHER stories without qualifiers all the time. And yet, that's part of the problem, for me: I don't want my kids to think of the biblical stories as being just like all the other stories.

What can I say, it's complicated.

#43 SDG

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 01:04 PM

: By the time your kids are ready for Episode V, I think they'll be ready to handle the revelation that you knew all along that Vader was Luke's father and didn't tell them because ... you wanted them to be surprised.

Thank you.

I just hope they don't find out from one of their friends first, in which case they'll be asking me, "Why didn't you tell me?", and I'll be replying, "Because not ready for the burden were you." Of course, Yoda was wrong about that, too.

:lol:

: It's only the postponement of the undeceiving until such time as you roll out Episode V that's troubling you.

Yes, exactly.

: Is that really a rational difference, though?

Might be, I dunno. I think this is why the Santa Claus and Tooth Fairy examples came to mind: every parent who tells those stories to their child without clarifying that they are just stories knows their child will grow out of those beliefs EVENTUALLY, and likewise, I know that my children will eventually figure out who Darth Vader "really" is at some point a few years from now. But steering clear of that revelation for the next however many years feels a bit deceptive. Which is why, in the case of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, I haven't bothered pulling the wool over my kids' eyes to begin with. Then again, as you say, the revelation of Darth Vader's true identity is meant to be experienced as a "surprise" -- but I really really hope that the parents who get their kids to believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy don't do that with the INTENT of setting up a "surprise" for their kids somewhere down the road. That's just kind of, I dunno, cruel.

Right, right. The Santa Claus lie is told solely for the sake of believing in Santa, which parents enjoy seeing in their kids. No parent does this for the sake of the moment of undeceiving, or looks forward to that moment with positive anticipation; it is not a moment to be desired in itself (from the perspective of the lying parents); it is only the end of the happy Santa Claus myth time, an inevitable consequence of living in a world in which children grow up and can't be lied to forever.

The Darth Vader deception is more like a dark version of a surprise party lie. The justification for a surprise party lie is that the deception is for the sake of its own expiration date; that the moment of undeception will be the reward for the deceived person, who will at that time retroactively accept his/her own deception as warranted for the sake of the surprise. (Of course it doesn't always work out that way in practice, but that's the idea.)

Side note: Last night, at bedtime, I also read the kids one of those old Arch Books about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego ... and a part of me felt slightly ambivalent about that. I mean, I do want my kids to know the biblical stories. But, personally, I waffle on whether some of those stories are historical or legendary (for lack of better terms), and in some cases I'm firmly on the legendary side of the ledger, so I wonder if I can, in good conscience, be reading those stories without qualifiers right now. But of course, I read them OTHER stories without qualifiers all the time. And yet, that's part of the problem, for me: I don't want my kids to think of the biblical stories as being just like all the other stories.

Here I would be guided by two considerations: [a.] How does the Bible present the story in question? and [b.] What questions are my children asking?

I have no qualms about reading my children Bible stories exactly as the Bible presents them. I see no reason to raise critical questions with young children that are raised neither by the Bible itself nor by my children. When my children start asking critical questions, I answer them honestly and provide as much context as seems helpful and necessary. The only sticking point recently is that with kids at different ages during family devotions I've had to table 12-year-old David's critical questions because 7-year-old Anna isn't at the same place.

In a not entirely unrelated way, I might have been content to have Santa Claus be a "story" in our house without addressing his reality or unreality until asked about it -- though I wouldn't have lied to our children -- except, well, I don't know why I used the subjunctive mood, because Sarah did ask me point-blank -- when she was, like, three -- if Santa was real, and I did tell her the truth. She always wanted to be crystal clear about what was real and what wasn't.

#44 Thom Wade

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 02:40 PM

I am planning to show my nephew Star Wars tomorrow. At 3 days old, I think he is ready to have his world rocked. :)

#45 SDG

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 02:42 PM

I am planning to show my nephew Star Wars tomorrow. At 3 days old, I think he is ready to have his world rocked. :)

:lol: I waited till David was four. (Years!) He was totally ready.

Edited by SDG, 12 January 2011 - 02:42 PM.


#46 Ryan H.

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 02:45 PM

I don't when I saw STAR WARS for the first time. I know I had certainly seen it by the time I was four, and I was in full-on obsession mode when I was five. But the only STAR WARS film we owned was the first, and I had no idea that there were sequels. When I encountered a STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK storybook in a public library when I was about six or seven, I flipped a lid.

#47 Buckeye Jones

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 02:51 PM

Public library? I remember, at 5 years of age, maybe 4 1/2, sitting in a theater with mom and dad, and one of them leaning over right before the Wampa whacked Luke and killed his Taun Taun, to warn me that it was going to be a little scary but it would be alright.

My boys, now 5 and 3, have seen the whole trilogy by the time they were 4 and 2. The 2 year old, well, we couldn't help it. He's crazy anyway, so the intensity of Empire didn't bother him. What bothers him is that the AT-AT sequence was too darn short.

They didn't care nor really catch that Obi Wan lied and that Darth Vader was Luke's father. It didn't phase them.

#48 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 01:32 AM

The bulk of this deals with Star Wars, though it touches on a few other films too. (Whoa! I had no idea that that whistling bit from Kill Bill Vol. 1 came from a film directed by Roy Boulting and starring Hayley Mills and Hywel Bennett ... the three people who previously collaborated on The Family Way, my #3 film of all time!)

http://vimeo.com/19447662

#49 John Drew

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 10:05 AM

So, to answer the age-old question, "Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?"... apparently not.

Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) - 5'9"

Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett) - 5'7"

Stormtroopers wear lifts.

#50 John Drew

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 09:48 PM

Available today...

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Anyone up for some Artoo dreidel?

#51 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 05:11 PM

Jonathan Rosenbaum has just posted his review from the Autumn 1977 issue of Sight & Sound, and it's got some interesting and/or eccentric bits, e.g.:

“Rather than do some angry, socially relevant film,” Lucas has said, “I realized there was another relevance that is even more important — dreams and fantasies, getting children to believe there is more to life than garbage and killing and all that real stuff like stealing hubcaps — that you could still sit and dream about exotic lands and strange creatures.” Although garbage and killing are anything but absent from STAR WARS, and stealing hubcaps is around in spirit if not in letter, Lucas’s aspiration is easy enough to comprehend, even after the social interests of his THX 1138 and AMERICAN GRAFFITI. The disconcerting thing for a good many critics about his latest box office monolith is that it doesn’t seem to mean anything other than what it unabashedly is: a well-crafted, dehumanized update of FLASH GORDON with better production values, no ironic overtones, and a battery of special effects.

Amazingly, even in 1977, critics like Rosenbaum were making comments about computer-programmed storylines:

Consider the plot, which any well-behaved computer fed with the right amount of pulp could probably regurgitate . . .

And I love the description of Grand Moff Tarkin here:

All this is very clean and bloodless. Vader crunches a few audible bones; aunt and uncle are burned to black cinders in homage to THE SEARCHERS; Kenobi executes a smooth forearm amputation with his saber in the Mos Eisley saloon, and meets his own saber death by vanishing into thin air, to be absorbed within the Force; the rest is mainly fireworks and pinball machines. The smirking idealism of Luke, the sullen cynicism of Han, the shrewish irritability of Leia, the growls and whines of Chewbacca, the fussy chattering of C-3PO, and the electronic chirping of R2-D2 are all set up as “cute” objects of delighted audience ridicule. Hamill, Ford, and Fisher are made to look like surfers at an s-f masquerade ball; Cushing, the only visibly human villain, comes off as a rather improbable blend of Ming the Merciless and Jean-Luc Godard, in physiognomy as well as emotional tone. And apart from the steadfast Alec Guinness, who is respectfully allowed to assume a vaguer and more benign flatness as archetypal father figure, nearly everyone else is a monster, whether lovable (domestic) or disgusting (threatening), with the borderline between human and nonhuman often indistinguishable. (The gibbering, scavaging Jawas on Tattooine are a striking case in point: brown-robed and black-gloved, their only visible features are firefly eyes.)

And remember that sexual analysis of Star Wars posted on Metaphilm several years ago? Rosenbaum doesn't get into anywhere near as much detail, but there's a hint of that in his review too:

The deliberate silliness of all this — like the intricate silliness that has always been part of Disney’s stock-in-trade — leaves the audience free to react from a safe voyeuristic distance, enjoying “pure” sensations that are unencumbered by any moral or emotional investments. Indeed, the cursory treatment of “romantic interest” (with Leia still prevaricating at the end between both male leads via bored winks) leaves the way open for a very different sort of titillation. In the exhilarating space battles, with their odorless ecstasies of annihilation, and the various space-gun skirmishes, with their fancy dismemberings and eliminations, this essentially becomes an occasion for sexual release devoid of any partner. Like the remote-control TV channel selectors that children love to play with, and the mechanical shooting games found in arcades, STAR WARS offers solitary, narcissistic pleasures more than communal or romantic myths to keep its audience cheering.

And remember how everyone complained that The Phantom Menace lapsed into too many ethnic stereotypes? Rosenbaum was already sounding the alarm when the first film came out over 20 years earlier:

One would probably have to go back to the 40s, as Lucas did, to find such a guiltless celebration of unlimited warfare, but one needs to escape history entirely in order to set up oppositions of good and bad — reflected in black-and-white patternings of costume and decor — as unambiguous. On the level of racial ideology, this knowing mindlessness is even shrewder. While the original 1936 FLASH GORDON serial could allude to the “Yellow Peril” directly through Ming the Merciless without any sort of embarrassment, the styling of the Jawas as stingy Jewish merchants — “Munchkin Shylocks,” in Richard Corliss’s apt phrase — is much more oblique and subtle; one might even have to see the relationship of “Jawa” to the Hebrew “Yaweh” in order to catch the clue.

He also makes a compare-and-contrast with 2001: A Space Odyssey that had never occurred to me before:

Following the fashion set by 2001 in some aspects of its design — robots programmed to be more “personable” than any of the actors, in-depth trajectories of slablike missiles entering the lower foreground of shots and sliding away diagonally (including the three long paragraphs preceding the action) — STAR WARS postulates itself as the anti-2001 in nearly every other respect, and not only because fantasy is systematically substituted for technology. If Kubrick’s central subject was intelligence, Lucas’s is predicated on blind instinct: Luke’s initiation into the Force, like the spectator’s into the film, is basically a matter of surrendering to conditioned reflexes and letting the cosmic mise en scène take over. And where 2001’s sense of spectacle was contemplative, STAR WARS’ is near-Pavlovian in its careful measurements of give-and-take, making it impossible on a practical level to isolate many of the special effects from the editing.

And of course, Rosenbaum was already comparing the success of this franchise to the Empire's domination of the galaxy even then:

For a film so devoid of any dialectic, one is tempted to speculate what its absolute antithesis might be. Would the recent films of Grand Moff Godard — low-budget, experimental, pleasurable to the mind rather than to the reflexes — be far off the mark? Yet if any parallel can be found between the film world and Lucas’s Manichaean universe, it is the blitzkrieg of media fanfare celebrating STAR WARS and its countless spinoff industries — not the trifling efforts to get Godard’s films seen or acknowledged anywhere — that corresponds to the Empire’s efforts to snuff out every form of resistance. And the consortium that is currently contriving to inundate everyone’s mind with a few profitable monoliths and assign the rebel forces of cinema to cheerful oblivion is not merely a group of big business men, but a movement composed of critics, editors, and media programmers and broadcasters — all of whom collaborate with other consumers in making STAR WARS (which is already threatening to topple JAWS as the all-time moneymaker) more than a simple movie, but an appreciable dent in the landscape.

And so on. Fascinating.

#52 Overstreet

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 04:58 PM



Edited by Overstreet, 11 April 2011 - 05:01 PM.


#53 John Drew

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 07:46 AM

From Richard Cumbow's 1977 review, reprinted today at Parallax View.

Star Wars is not just about a heritage of film on film, either. As its hero’s first name implies, it is a thoroughly personal film of its director—in a sense, his first-person fantasy. From his own THX-1138 Lucas reprises and refines one of his favorite motifs, the interrelation of names and numbers: not only the obvious See Threepio and Artoo-Detoo, but also the sound of other names: Obi-Wan (OB-I?) and Chewbacca’s nickname, Chewy (2-E?). The film also bears the ubiquitous Lucas trademark: “Prisoner for transfer from cell block one-one-three-eight!”

It isn’t easy to mount a pure fantasy like this, avoiding tiresome, esoteric self-indulgence on the one side and heavyhanded relevance on the other. Lucas hasn’t escaped all the pitfalls. In inventing a world with its own logic, history and order, the creator of space opera trades the obligation to be consistent with observable reality for the equally stringent obligation to keep his fantasy world consistent with itself. Why do no nonhumanoids participate in the rebellion against the Empire, though we know the galaxy is full of them? Why doesn’t Chewbacca the wookie get a medal in the end, as Luke and Solo do? Why are Chewbacca and the two robots on the one hand given positions of great dignity, clearly calling for intelligence and judgment, and on the other used condescendingly as essentially comic devices to set a scene, punctuate a cut, or end a sequence on a light note?

These are piddling objections, pointing out only that, if Star Wars is the first major step taken in sf since 2001 (and that the first major step since Forbidden Planet—”once in a decade,” a blurb-writer might pen), there is still further to go. Chiefly, though, Star Wars succeeds not just as the pinnacle of a genre but also as a skillfully crafted tour de force of sustained stylistic excitement. The film is a thrilling event not because of a few memorable moments (the first shift into hyperspace drive: drifting stars begin to streak: points become lines; or what happens in the music and in the picture as Luke melancholically watches the setting of Tatooine’s two suns), but because it is filled with moments like that. It’s a feast for the eyes and ears, and you just can’t say that about very many movies.



#54 CrimsonLine

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 09:04 AM

From Richard Cumbow's 1977 review, reprinted today at Parallax View.

...Why do no nonhumanoids participate in the rebellion against the Empire, though we know the galaxy is full of them? Why doesn’t Chewbacca the wookie get a medal in the end, as Luke and Solo do? Why are Chewbacca and the two robots on the one hand given positions of great dignity, clearly calling for intelligence and judgment, and on the other used condescendingly as essentially comic devices to set a scene, punctuate a cut, or end a sequence on a light note?

These are piddling objections, pointing out only that, if Star Wars is the first major step taken in sf since 2001 (and that the first major step since Forbidden Planet—”once in a decade,” a blurb-writer might pen), there is still further to go.


...to become Star Trek. :)

#55 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 09:25 AM

Richard Cumbow wrote:
: As its hero’s first name implies, it is a thoroughly personal film of its director . . .

Not just his first name, but his first name and last initial: Luke S. I remember noticing this way back in 1977, myself. :)

: From his own THX-1138 Lucas reprises and refines one of his favorite motifs, the interrelation of names and numbers: not only the obvious See Threepio and Artoo-Detoo, but also the sound of other names: Obi-Wan (OB-I?) and Chewbacca’s nickname, Chewy (2-E?).

OB-1 had occurred to me, but Chewie = 2-E sounds like a bit of a stretch.

#56 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 03:08 AM



#57 Overstreet

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 03:48 PM

If I didn't love my current avatar so much, I'd be switching to this:

Attached File  skywalker avatar.jpg   10.63KB   19 downloads

#58 Andrew

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 05:05 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-uQWNd540I


That's hilarious!

#59 John Drew

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 09:59 PM

Now I want a Tom Tom...



#60 John Drew

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 10:08 PM

Revealed today at Comic-con - The R2D2/C3PO inspired Xbox 360...

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