Written by Dylan Deppe. Media by John Freeman.
There’s been an awakening. Have you felt it? There’s a bunch of new Star Wars movies that are going to keep coming out. There’s something more: you may have missed all the other ones. “I think it’s stupid, and I don’t really care [about watching them]” is what I’ve heard multiple people on campus either say or imply. Star Wars movies have had (and still do have) a gigantic impact on art and culture for a reason: they’re great and intelligently-crafted films with cool stories, loveable characters and cover a vast array of dramatic elements and emotions.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Without Star Wars, there would probably be no Jurassic Park, Alien, Batman, Harry Potter, Terminator, Lord of the Rings, Hunger Games, Back to the Future, Avengers, Fast and the Furious, Pirates of the Caribbean, or etc. movies. Basically, no Star Wars, not too many good, fun action/adventure franchises.
If you’re looking to find some smart ideas in a blockbuster franchise, Star Wars has some great movies to analyze. Take the first film, A New Hope, for example. All you need to know about the characters is in their wardrobes. Vader is obviously a bad guy (wears black), Luke is obviously a good guy (wears white), Obi-Wan is a good guy who plays low key (wears a brown robe over his white clothes), Han Solo is a hard baller looking to lead a better life (wears white shirt under his black vest jacket), and the Stormtroopers are the military force of an evil Empire “maintaining the peace” (they wear white pads on their black suits). That might seem obvious, but at the time it was ingenious. If you want more examples, go watch the movies.
Star Wars has great underlying themes relating to religion. Star Wars creator George Lucas, a self-described Buddhist-Methodist, himself said in a 1999 interview with Time magazine, “I see Star Wars as taking all the issues that religion represents and trying to distill them down into a more modern and easily accessible construct [for young people]” and that it’s about, “more a belief in God than a belief in any particular religious system.”
Don’t forget the characters, and their emotions. Ultimately, those are the biggest things audiences are looking for when they watch a movie. Star Wars isn’t just techno-babble, and the characters deal with things other than escaping bounty hunters, and awesome lightsaber battles or learning the ways of the Force. We love to see R2D2 and 3CPO bickering, Vader saying, “I find your lack of faith disturbing”, the whole gang having a party at the end of Return of the Jedi, Han saying he knows and hearing the wise words of Master Yoda. On the other side, it hit us straight in the feels when we saw Obi-Wan leave Anakin, Vader own Luke like a noob in The Empire Strikes Back, and that conversation between Han Solo and Kylo Ren. Star Wars is about family and features characters that deal with the troubles of temptation, redemption, and longing.
But maybe you just want to turn your brain off when you watch a movie. A New Hope, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens, and Rogue One are all great action/adventure movies that don’t get “boring” when you turn your brain off. Besides, it totally doesn’t (definitely shouldn’t) take a genius to appreciate snappy dialogue, impressive set pieces, cool costumes, hair-raising stunts, great special effects, a breath-taking musical score, and that plot twist in The Empire Strikes Back. Star Wars has all of that.
There is a lot more you can say about Star Wars, and there are many more reasons why you should watch them if you haven’t already. It’s more than sci-fi and action; it’s got drama, romance, adventure, mystery, humor, relatable characters, and a dense mythology. At the end of the day, if you don’t watch the movies, you’re the one who’s missing out on all of the fun. But you can totally skip The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, because they kind of suck.