Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Was it really thirty years ago?

Since Peter’s out today, I thought I’d take the liberty of calling your attention to something I wrote over the weekend about the immense positive impact that Star Wars had on my childhood.

Last night the History Channel ran a program called "Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed", which detailed the mythical imagery that made the films so powerful. It was far from perfect; it spent entirely too much time on the vastly-inferior second trilogy, and never even mentioned how profoundly George Lucas was influenced by Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 film The Hidden Fortress. Still, it was well worth viewing, particularly when Steven Colbert recalled how difficult it was at school the next day to describe the movie to his classmates.

Discussions - 7 Comments

Perhaps because I was a bit older, I wasn't ever thrilled by the plot/characters of the Star Wars franchise. Yet, I had always been a big fan of science fiction, and I remember being thrilled that someone was putting some real money into making entertaining SF. I was much happier with what SW's success spawned...movies like Bladerunner, The Thing, (some of) the Star Trek movies, The Terminator, etc.

I TiVo'ed the special...hope to watch it in a few days.

I absolutely agree with your point that American audiences (and probably world-wide audiences) want clashes between good and evil. I think that is why 300 and the Spiderman franchise have done so well. It amazes me that for all their market research, Hollywood is still slow to learn this lesson, though it probably has more to do with the weirdos pushing their crappy scripts than the film execs.

Andrew, on what basis are you claiming that Hollywood directors don't use the "Good vs. Evil" archetype in their films. I'd say a study of successful Hollywood films over time would show that they do.

I thought the special on the History Channel was pretty good. I liked the wide range of people they had discussing the impact of the movie on their lives and on America. Stephen Colbert, Peter Jackson, Joss Whedon, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, Kevin Smith, Newt Gingrich, Nancy Pelosi-- wait, wait... Newt and Nancy? The former Speaker and the current Speaker are, apparently, experts on Star Wars! Who would have thought?

Well... Now that I do think about it... Anyone named Newt would probably be a Star Wars fan. :)

I don't know how much of an expert Pelosi is--I didn't hear her say anything that anyone who's seen the movie even once couldn't say about it. The others seemed genuinely knowledgeable on the subject (and you forgot to mention Camille Paglia). My guess is that the Speaker was asked simply because Newt was asked as well.

I taped the program and will watch it with my son, who is the local Star Wars expert, though he's currently on other fantasy kicks.

I enjoyed the first three movies, though I was already too old and jaded (in grad school, I think) to be moved by them the way some were.

I didn't see the whole thing, but it struck me that a lot of it was second-guessing George Lucas - i.e. they'd pick a story element then research to find an classical allusion that it resembles. Entertaining time-waster, if you ask me.

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