On January first, I wanted to write on this blog every day for an entire year. As anyone paying attention (not sure there’s many) but that’s not happened.
Several factors have influenced this: internal conflicts of do I share opinions or touch on uncomfortable subjects, or simply share memories and reminisce about things I love; battling writers block on a couple projects that have diminished my desire to write; and, working through my fixation of my obsessive need for refinement (an oxymoronic statement I’m sure) and my never ending worry with having order in my process of work.
If the last reason doesn’t make sense, it’s probably because I don’t know how to make sense of my mind sometimes. There’s definitely something not right when I worry about every word. I immediately want to take it back. I should have said that differently or the anxiety of judgment due in part to the manner in which I talk or think.
So I failed but I still want to move forward. Confronting weakness or mistakes is the first step, right? Then again maybe artists don’t fire on all thrusters and I need to accept that. I’ll work on it. But realistically, I just want to tell stories….
In 1983, Star Wars was finished with the release of Return of the Jedi. The hero’s journey was complete. The redemption of the father was successful and freedom was restored to the Galaxy.
Ten years passed. In 1993, George Lucas, finally pleases fans, stated he would return to do another Star Wars movie (starting a new trilogy). A couple years later, we got some hard evidence that he’s writing and producing this new movie. History noted that the release of The Phantom Menace (in 1999) was the most anticipated movie of all time. Being part of it, I would agree. George’s new movie could have never made a dollar but he would’ve still come out a billion dollars richer just in food and toy merchandizing. I don’t recall a time, then or since, that I saw the Star Wars logo more – Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Burger King ran promotions that had bobbles to collect while we bought value meals no one wanted. Companies like: Hasbro had action figures, Pepsi had collector cans, and Applause had vinyl statues. Not to mention, bed sheets, coffee cups, toothbrushes notepads, keychains, tennis shoes. I bet there was motor oil, toilet paper and dishwasher detergent.
I saw the movie at midnight. I actually saw it 7 times that first day. I loved it. I couldn’t get enough of it. Maybe I was just so desperate for Star Wars I took what I got and loved it on first sight alone. I watch it often – even 20 years later. It isn’t that bad. But, there are a few flaws in it. There is also several flaws in the other two films that would conclude the Prequel Trilogy.
There’s a Star Wars video that I’ve seen nearly as many times I’ve seen the movies. It’s called From Star Wars to Jedi, The Making of a Saga. For me, it was the quintessential behind the scenes documentary and the inspiration for my own creative theory and projects. It was the first time, as a kid and later as an adult, to get insight on George’s philosophy on the story and production. Honestly, I don’t think there’s a better one even today. The only better historical device for the films is the books written by J.W. Rinzler. I recommend any fan to watch.
Where did George go wrong? Well, ….
(to be continued….)
George Lucas started creating his Star Wars in 1973. After several years, he would finish it with its release on 5/25/1977. He based it on his inspiration of movie serials, like Flash Gordon, and others movies (Kurosawa) as a child living in Modesto California. His enjoyment at the theater is one of the most obvious reasons why George entered film school back in the mid-1960s. He studied anthropology and literature, researched many aspects of mythology, like the works by Joseph Campbell’s Power of Myth and Hero’s Journey, in his quest to tell great stories and the eventual creation of his galaxy far, far away.
Star Wars wasn’t straight up science fiction. It was more fantasy set in a universe with technology greater than our own. The story didn’t go so far as to convenience the audience the believability of the technology. Instead it was a simple story of good vs. evil, family truth and the hero’s journey that just happened to have starships. Star Wars was really just a sword and sorcery tale – the first one on film. We had swords: lightsabers. We had sorcery: The Force. Although we had this concept in literature with the likes of JRR Tolkien, there really wasn’t any movies. Not until the 1980s would films be made in the genre later dubbed: Sword and Sorcery! (the rise of D&D also helped but that’s a different topic)
During the creation process, George created fantastical situations like swords of light, armored troopers riding lizards, and sensing presences and life. We just got them. It wasn’t explained how or why it was. We didn’t care (at least my child self). The creator – the author – saw these things and believed them. The story worked because of it. In a sense, it was magic….
to be continued….