Friday,26 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1323, (8 - 14 December 2016)
Friday,26 April, 2019
Issue 1323, (8 - 14 December 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Star wars rage on

It was officially over. A decade ago in a galaxy far, far away their wars had ended after 30 years of battling the forces. But, down on Planet Earth, wars know no end, so The Force was awakened and the drums of war started rolling again, in the Star War saga.

The Force Awakens is the unexpected 7th episode in the famous saga and fans are more than delirious. Within 24 hours the trailer of the new saga was viewed 122 million times and advanced ticket sales in the UK reached an unprecedented 220,000, in one day. The film will be released in the US on December 18, in Egypt January 15.

Nothing in the history of our galaxy or in the 100-year history of motion pictures comes close to the operatic saga known as Star Wars. It was 30 years ago that the stellar wars exploded on our planet, instantly assuming mythical proportions. The force was definitely with the movie, lifting it to heights never before reached by mortal filmmakers.  Star Wars became the most spellbinding, successful, moneymaking science-fiction, adventure, fantasy film ever made.

Why has Star Wars endured for decades with all generations? Where did it come from? What does it relate to? It was totally alien in every sense. At least we know where the Hobbits and the Lords of the Ring came from… from the pen of J R R Tolkien. Vampires have been around in Eastern Europe since the 17th century.  Harry Potter was the creation of a frustrated English single mother by the name of J K Rawling.

What is the origin of Star Wars? This shattering fantasy was also the product of one man’s fertile imagination, combining his talent of story-telling, with that of filmmaking. His name… George Lucas. His inspiration… like others before him was also drawn from his own safely-guarded memories of fantastic childhood tales, of wondrous adventures, amazing comic – books, matinee movies of cowboys and Indians, the wild, wild, west, the tale of King Arthur as well as more modern lore like Flash Gordon, A Space Odyssey and even James Bond. 

One day, he took pen and paper and blended all his fantasies together creating an all encompassing saga which he called Star Wars.

The eternal fight between the forces of good and evil at any stage in human history cannot be condensed.  Lucas perceived of six episodes, starting with a sequel of episode 4, 5 and 6… and a prequel of episodes 1, 2 and 3. The sixth and last film, which is prequel 3, finally answered the hanging questions, tied the loose ends together and why Luke Skywalker succumbed to the dark side and to the inevitable fate of becoming the terrifying Darth Vader.

And so ended the mesmerising story of the ‘Force’, which according to its author, Lucas: ‘is the cosmic power that balances the universe’.

A job well done no doubt after 21 Academy Award nominations, seven Oscars and a total box-office take of $33 billion. Not only had George Lucas made the greatest film ever made at that point, but he also created Industrial Light and Magic Division, empowering the usual effects of movies like ET and Jurassic Park.  He had finally reached his goal… making an entirely digital film. LucasArts brought movies into the video-game world and even to PIXAR technology, which he ended up selling to Apple’s Steve Jobs. The consummate filmmaker, had his hands in so many of the major technological advancements in Hollywood.  He had done it all. It was time for a break. Now his desire was to bring up his young son.   

Disney came along and bought Lucas Film for $4.5 billion, in October 2012, and the re-awakening of the galactic wars instantly started.  It was immediately announced that a new Star Wars trilogy was in the making.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The project ended in the lap of director, writer, composer, producer, actor, J J Abrams, known for the same genre of action/ science-fiction films such as Star Trek and Mission Impossible. Abrams co-wrote The Force Awakens with original writer Lawrence Kasdan.

The action takes place 30 years after the Rebel Alliance’s victory over the Death Star in Return of the Jedi, (1983).  That was a smart move.  All our favourite characters are back:  Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2D2, C3PO, all a little older, but still fighting the resistance.

New characters are introduced such as Daisy Ridley as ‘Dey’, and John Boyega as ‘Finn’, and an adorable rolling-ball droid, BB8. Maxx Von Sydow, Lupita Nyongo and Alan Serkis, are delightful additions.

Can there be a Star Wars film without the vibrant sounds of John Williams’ music?  He is back and even the poster has Harrison Ford showing his prowess. 

While the creator of the intergalactic wars is our ‘auteur in absentia’, his vision is ever present and dominant in the new episode of his old Star Wars.

Fans cannot wait to be electrified once again by the 7th episode of the wars of the galaxy far, far away, with all its cherished characters of heroes, villains, robots, droids and wookies.

Lucas will not be quiet for long.  He plans to produce “small films that please me”.  Will Star Wars be a religion after 100 years?  Lucas believes it shall be nothing more “than a footnote in the pop culture of our time”.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein (1879-1955)                                                

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