Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Journl of Whills: Part 20 - Star Wars Review

 ‘Star Wars’ is a difficult movie to review today. For me it is among a select group of films that cannot be judged objectively, we all have films like that, they transcend impartial criticism and simply hold a place within our souls that will never be replaced. But then again how do you judge a film that holds such a collective consciousness within everyone. Even people who have not seen ‘Star Wars’ will know what it is, and just walking into my local Tesco’s I can still find a pile of ‘Star Wars’ merchandise from action figures, LEGO’s or Blu-Ray versions of the movies. Can you find Blu-Ray editions of any other films that were released as long ago as ‘Star Wars’ in a local store?
You know the plot, a young farm boy called Luke Skywalker who dreams of reaching the stars stumbles upon two droids carrying vital information to assist the Rebel Alliance against the evil Galactic Empire. Along with his dead fathers’ comrade Obi Wan Kenobi and small time crook Han Solo they set out to return the plans to the Alliance and restore freedom to the galaxy.
But contrary to what I said earlier, I must at least make some effort to view this film objectively. I explained how brilliant that opening shot was in the last article, so at least I don’t have to spend valuable space writing about it.
The fact that it instantly captivates your imagination and hurtles away with it is also so integral to the success of the entire film. The good nature of it allows the high octane action to blend ancient mythology together in order to create a film that above all else, is so much fun. It asks that you simply go along with the ride and not worry too much over how you got there and where everything else is in comparison. Lucas set the film not in the distant future, but simply ‘a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away’.
One could say the characters are simplistic and I would say that for the first film in the franchise that is fair. But they are so well defined that it simply does not matter, nothing is worse than a character that is simple and inconsistent. In most blockbusters characters serve the plot, not the other way around. But here it is their defined decisions that lead to the events that unfold, Luke decides to undertake this journey, he chooses to make a difference to the galaxy and confront evil. They are also so memorable, I’ve said this before but anyone can recognise the names Obi Wan, Princess Leia, R2-D2 and C3-P0 as names from ‘Star Wars’.
Aesthetically the film is remarkable, the Cantina scene is a conglomeration of bizarre alien beings as is the Jawa’s robot dealership, but scenes like that are drawn into sharp contrast by the clinical and ordered nature of the Imperial ships and their soldiers. The Imperial forces are of course led by Darth Vader, the menacing warrior, shrouded in dark armour and mystery. Even if at this point he seems like a one dimensional villain the questions one must ask about him demand curiosity, what function does his helmet serve, what does he look like beneath it, how did he betray Luke’s father? (because that’s what Obi Wan told him at the start). His hollow breathing just evokes a deep seated fear and curiosity, only given extra stature by James Earl Jones’ voice of doom.
To this day the effects in ‘Star Wars’ hold up to astonishing brilliance. But not only that, it is the ability for those effects to be so wonderfully melded with elements of fantasy and mythology. Where Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ strove for realism in its depiction of space, ‘Star Wars’ allows the sounds to permeate the environment, call-backs to history are rife as Han Solo operates a gun turret similar to one from a World War 2 era aircraft. The climactic assault on the Death Star, and its famous trench run scene utilizes a method from Kubrick’s space door sequence from ‘2001’, it creates a genuine feel of hurtling through space. Then there is the fact that every object and spacecraft has a weight to it, they seem fully realised in every way.
Are their faults, probably. But for me they all fade into obscurity. ‘Star Wars’ is film at its simplest form, pure narrative. Yet somehow it is analysed and examined more than nearly any other movie. Why? Because it captivates imaginations, it inspires people on a wide scale and tells a story that is about good and evil, accepting there is more to the world than what we see and the ever present desire to reach beyond what we know.
So that is my impartial, objective and unbiased review of ‘Star Wars’. It’s perfect in every way.  
Result: 10/10

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