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What Makes a Star Wars movie?

Discussion in 'General Movie Discussion' started by Lock_S_Foils, Jan 12, 2020.

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What are the essential elements of a Star Wars movie?

  1. 1. A crawl/scroll setting up the opening of the movie

    6 vote(s)
    40.0%
  2. 2. A sweeping orchestral score with themes for major characters

    13 vote(s)
    86.7%
  3. 3. Starships that emit steam from doorways

    5 vote(s)
    33.3%
  4. 4. Snarky humor

    7 vote(s)
    46.7%
  5. 5. Plucky droids

    8 vote(s)
    53.3%
  6. 6. Cool, interesting species from around the Galaxy

    12 vote(s)
    80.0%
  7. 7. A redemption plot

    2 vote(s)
    13.3%
  8. 8. Geared towards children

    3 vote(s)
    20.0%
  9. 9. Interesting planets and locations

    12 vote(s)
    80.0%
  10. 10. Jedi and Sith

    4 vote(s)
    26.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Use the Falchion

    Use the Falchion Rebel Official

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    Cool, novel ships! I love the new ships introduced in every Star Wars movie (my favorites of the new era being the AT-TE and the U-Wing). Put them in a scene and let them work wonders.
     
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  2. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    What makes Star Wars what and how it is, is that it's a chiastic allegorical fairy tale opera film rooted in non-narrative pure cinema language which passes on a cultural herritage embedded into the film.

    I'm not kidding.

    If you take that out of it, then you just have a science fiction show with laser swords and wizards.
    If you go one step further and remove those from a Star Wars film as well, then you just have a straight science fiction film with Star Wars designs.

    The core that makes Star Wars unique in film history is that line above, which expands as follows:

    Moral and political meanings represented through subjectively symbolic characters, events, imagery, and sound.

    Repeating and refraining themes recontextualized upon each use.

    An improbable children's story involving fantastic forces and beings that is able to capture the imagination of all ages.

    An interwoven melodrama of interpersonal relationships with tragic and clandestined tangents.

    A film language which prioritizes the essoteric visual and musical aspects unique to film as the primary method of narrating the tale and considers dialogue to be a supporting mechanic rather than the primary element.

    And finally, a re-wrapping of films, images, events and thoughts from our culture into the film so to pass them along into the next generation through a giant collage of cultural homage.


    That is Star Wars.

    Everything has meaning. Things like ships, aliens, planets, droids, outfits, what good guys and bad guys are, etc...don't make Star Wars. Star Wars makes them by consequence.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  3. Porco Azzurro

    Porco Azzurro Force Attuned

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    I loved your whole post, but I think this line is the closest to summing up what Star Wars essentially is for me.

    George Lucas once said everything in Star Wars is based on something from our own world. I think it’s a fantastically postmodern mixture of ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture(s), a mythology that embraces its own medium(s) in a wonderfully self-reflexive way - a contemporary fairy tale that tells ancient universal stories and truths through an inventive and inclusive lens, distorting reality both in the narrative and the visual language and designs, whilst remaining connected to it in some way at all times.

    And it’s a blend of battles on numerous levels - conflict inspired drama whether those conflicts are spiritual, physical, or political - notions of and meditations on good and evil, relationships, and power. The Star Wars are literally wars amongst the stars, but also, poetically, wars between universal ideas and beliefs, and artistically (in the Skywalker saga especially) are self-reflexive in structure, introducing ‘wars’ of echoes and parallels, tensions and re-contextualisations that underline and enhance every other element already mentioned.

    It’s a hard thing to pin down precisely, and I think yet many of us feel it intuitively even without analysis. And even the characters in the films express this thing... this “tension” that is the essential part of Star Wars. Like the Force itself... this “feeling”.

    So, to stop my rambling... I’ll try and summarise my thoughts... :
    it’s a contemporary, postmodern mythology that explores universal truths through the distorted lens of fantasy cinema.
     
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  4. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    Great post, and quite so!

    My only additional thought would be:

    "A re-wrapping of films, images, events and thoughts from our culture into the film so to pass them along into the next generation through a giant collage of cultural homage."

    This is not uniquely Star Wars because there is at least one other director who very overtly operates this way.
    Tarantino.

    But, if you interject this idea into:

    "A contemporary, postmodern mythology that explores universal truths through the distorted lens of fantasy cinema."

    So that you get:

    "A contemporary, postmodern mythology that is a re-wrapping of films, images, events and thoughts from our culture into the film so to pass them along into the next generation through a giant collage of cultural homage, which explores universal truths through the distorted lens of fantasy cinema."

    Then we're essentially saying the same thing, and you have a uniqueness that is Star Wars. ;)

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  5. Deukaliwn

    Deukaliwn Guest

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    I'am with Sir Alec Guinness on this :



    "People are going to read too much into it"
    "I had to keep on turning the page"

    That's it. Star Wars movies don't offer some kind of complexity that one can't find in various sci-fi novels. Even the light saber appeared before George Lucas. Then again, like many books you just can't let go. You just have to finish it. If you have read The Name of the Rose, and then go through The Da Vince Code, you know that this ain't groundbreaking, but you end up reading it (and wanting more).

    So, for me it's all about the characters, and their development; not so much the setting. I just want to know, what will happen to these people. The way the three interacted in the OT, the father-son drama, and of course how dad ended up in a black suit.

    Also, in contrast to all the happy knight tales, these people keep making mistakes. They are flawed to the bone, which is very interesting, and I think a fundamental block of any Star Wars movie.

    All in all, a good family drama, with very interesting messed up characters whose choices affect the galaxy, coupled with notions that can be extended in every possible direction. Makes you think about yourself, your family, and your friends. Also, if you are in the mood explore more general concepts, like balance, good and evil etc.

    The pew-pew and the effects surely help, but for me are secondary.
     
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  6. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Jedi General

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    I guess there are a couple of ways to tackle this one.

    Historically, a "Star Wars movie" has included a lot of what's been mentioned here, among other elements: humor, characters, action, redemption, Jedi, sith, troopers...


    But that's really specific, because we're talking about Star Wars "movies", specifically "movies that exist already".

    I think a lot of us know that the series' potential expands far beyond that.

    Is Star Wars for kids? Usually (I'd argue some, like Rogue One, had kids a lot less in mind).

    Is it for adults? Sometimes (though some of the animation and toys seem more primarily intended for younger audiences).

    Is it about the Jedi/Sith? Often. Is it actually about wars? Generally.


    Ultimately, I think what makes a Star Wars movie is this: being set in the Galaxy Far Far Away.

    However, that does come with some complications. While fans seemed to enjoy stuff like the horror-ish episode of The Mandalorian, the focus on Vader in the comics, pazaak in KOTOR... not all elements necessarily are going to vibe with a larger audience. I think there still is something to be said about an audience's expectation of Star Wars, even if I also think such a thing sanitizes the series too much.

    So, I think the obvious solution is to release blockbuster Star Wars movies in theaters that adhere to the overarching Jedi/Sith plot that everyone loves, while releasing TV and smaller budget movies on Disney Plus. That way, we still get our bombastic Star Wars every few years, while allowing for the fans that desire so to delve deeper into the less explored areas and ideas of the universe.
     
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  7. Snazel

    Snazel Rebel Official

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    Our reasons and inspiration for loving this franchise are personal, subjective and varied. Let's be cognizant of this and judge others accordingly when they offer their own personal connection to the films.

    For me, it began in 1977 when a truly revolutionary piece of cinema hit the screen and changed pop culture in America forever. Being part of that phenomenon when I was just 11 years of age, galvanized my love for the movie. I still remember bringing the shiny black record album back home, my first ever piece of Star Wars merchandise. And what a fabulous record it was too!

    As time went on, I came to admire some of the subtle political and social commentary embedded within the original trilogy. Lucas was actually SAYING SOMETHING. Something about spiritualism, militancy and perhaps even a comment about American culture here and there. I also came to admire how I could FEEL something, even at age 11, there was a sting of sadness when R2D2 is first shot by the Jawas and falls helplessly to the ground with a deep sigh. A tin can on wheels and here I am feeling empathy for the thing.

    That to me, is magic, it's something only art can do. And when Star Wars is at its very best for me, it's making me THINK and it's making me FEEL.

    The reason why Mandalorian works for me, but TROS does not, is I sympathize, empathize and root for the main protagonists. I feel actively engaged. In TROS the experience is very passive, like a roller coaster I just move up and down the track (plot) and arrive at the end with a few thrills, but the experience seemed largely hollow and meaningless.
     
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  8. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    "There's a lot going on there that most people haven't come to grips with yet. But when they do, they will find it's a much more intricately made clock than most people would imagine." - George Lucas

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  9. Deukaliwn

    Deukaliwn Guest

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    Assesing an artist taking about his work, is an unsolvable problem for me.

    One could say, that here is a dude talking about his work, so what do you expect ? Obviously, he will claim there is phd behind it. Then again, if we follow this line of thought, we deny all artists the right to analyze their work, by considering a hardcore premise that they will lie.

    My approach, which may seem strange, stems from archeologists. If you explore ancient ruins and don't find a wheel, then this doesn't imply that the people living there used flying cars, but you should look carefully for technological advancements consistent to your findings. Also, always consider that there may exists something much more complicated.

    When I hear a simple structured song using 2 chords, I don't think the composer is a Mozart level genius, tacking heavy issues of existence, rather take the evidence for what it is : a simple song. Then again who knows?. Bottom line is that only the artist does, which in turn brings us back to the original and unsolvable problem. Also, crazy little thing called love is a simple song, and Mercury was a genius. Who knows ?

    All in all, Guinness said the logical thing. A highly interesting script, with mediocre dialog that needed to be fixed, allowing for thousands of interpretations. Perhaps this is a multi layered cake. This is what the baker says. Then again no wifi routers in a room, probably leads to no access rather than satellite internet. I for one can't say.
     
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  10. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    My first art instructor taught me my most valued lesson as the first thing taught in the course.

    An artist creates their art with a meaning.
    The audience interprets the art as having a meaning.

    It is not art until both happen.

    Meaning:
    The reality of the artist's intention doesn't remove the audience interpretation from being real.
    What makes an interpretation real is whether there is substance in the art to support the interpretation.
    And the interpretations are only possible because the artist had a certain perspective while making the art.

    With Lucas, this is incredibly appropriate as he is an abstract pure cinema artist at his core, something very visible in his early works.
    And Lucas has spoken of Star Wars multiple times as being rooted in pure cinema and akin to a silent film.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #30 Jayson, Jan 29, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
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  11. Deukaliwn

    Deukaliwn Guest

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    Agreed, but I was mostly aiming at another aspect of the problem. I think, I misguided your line of thought.

    Many times derivative thoughts tend to attach to the initial foundation (the artist's perspective and work), a value that may not be there. This is a different question, than whether the perspective is there to begin with. The latter is existential, and I agree with you "interpretations are only possible because the artist had a certain perspective while making the art". The former is qualitative based on the premise of existence.

    Take F(x)=1. We can write books (literally), examining the derivatives, the integrals, the meaning of a constant function. From sociology to analysis of the cosmos. Does this make F(x)=1 a complex mathematical structure, and the one who wrote it a genius ? I would say no. Obviously work has been put into it, since it is well posed, given that the mapping, the domain and the range are well defined, i.e. we are able to talk about it "because the artist had a certain perspective while making the art".

    Take E=mc^2. Now, we have all the aforementioned + the work of a true genius.

    Take F(x)=Book about good and evil, dad and son. Tons to think and write about it, because the subject inherits all the great work done, it affects us all, and because it's universal, much like F(x)=1 inherits all the analysis that would be done to any function. Obviously, one must write something of value, and deal with the topic in a fruitful way, but that doesn't make the artist unique, as F(x)=1 ain't something special.

    In other words, I'am not so sure how we can backtrack from the derivatives we create in our heads, and come to some conclusion about the artist's talent. What we have an answer for, is whether he is skilled enough or not to create a attractive universe, which Lucas obviously he is. Also, his story telling is extremely attractive, as is his willingness to press technologies forward.

    Beyond that, one can delve into the theological interpretation of Star Wars, as one can write a thesis about traffic light management systems by viewing Sex and the City; doesn't mean any of these were in the writers head.

    As I posted earlier, I can't tell whether Lucas had multi layered volumes in his head or not. He comes across as highly intelligent, very thoughtful, and doing his research. Then again, I think it's prudent to examine critically anyone, especially an artist talking about sand getting everywhere.
     
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  12. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    With Lucas, it is much easier to show intention.

    Even if you put aside Star Wars, you only need listen to him talk of it, talk of his philosophies of film language (which, they are bad###), talk of the pure cinema films he loved, and watch his early student film work.

    Now, adding Star Wars back in, the chiastic form (using the term loosely because what Lucas does is FAR beyond simple chiastic form - he's mixing in things like essoteric collage art philosophy, and pure cinema philosophy into his employment of criss-crosses inverted refrained themes - aka: "chiasm") is overtly present in these saga films.
    Any student of exegesis or textual anthropology can easily spot its pressence. It's not at all hidden.

    And Lucas full well knows the style, as he was a student of anthropology, sociology, and literature (before becoming a student of film)
    This form would be very well covered as it's a very common narrative form of the Bronze Age literature and texts. Most of the Bronze Age myths have this style present in varying degrees of complexity.

    It's so apparent, yet such an obscure and dead narrative form, that critics of the films have been saying that Lucas is just copying his previous films since ESB came out (critics said it took ANH and just hit the opposite button on everything). ROTJ was smeared for being even more directly a copy of ANH with extra glitter and cute bears.
    TPM got slammed for the same thing.

    Even TFA was plastered as just being a copy of ANH (it's not - it's ANH and ROTS).
    TLJ had some say this, but folks were too distracted being offended by Johnson "ruining" their Star Wars to notice that it was refraining scenes and themes from TPM, ROTJ, ESB, and AOTC in one film.
    And TROS refrains scenes and themes from every film in the saga that came before it.

    What these things mean is quite subjective, but that the refrained scenes and themes exist, and that they have both a chiastic and collage style of form to them is just not a debate.

    If someone can't see that Maul, Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon is a refrain of Luke, Vader, and Palpatine, and that Rey, Kylo, and Snoke, as well as Kylo, Rey, and Palpatine are also refrains of the same scene and themes...
    ...or that Anakin vs Obi-Wan is a refrain of Obi-Wan vs Vader, and that Rey vs Kylo on Starkiller, as well as Kylo vs Rey battling on the 2nd Death Star are refrains of the same scene and themes...
    ...or that Palpatine asking Anakin to join him in AOTC is a refrain of Vader asking Luke to join him in ESB, and that Kylo and Rey asking each other to join the other in TLJ, as well as Kylo asking Rey again to join him in TROS are refrains of scenes and themes...
    ...or that Gungans vs Droids is a refrain of Ewoks vs Troopers, and that Falthier's vs the elite Canto Bight, as well as the Orbak invasion vs Star Destroyers are refrains of scenes and themes...
    ...etc...

    Then it's really quite astonishing.
    It's far more likely that someone complains about these things being annoying because they want something new than it is that folks are ignorant of these refrains and their interwoven connections.

    So, yes. Theory of mind through art is a paradox of sorts, yet in the case of Star Wars there is a wealth of blatantly obvious material in the art, let alone the artists talking about the form employment itself.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #32 Jayson, Jan 29, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
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  13. Meister Yoda

    Meister Yoda Your Little Green Friend

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    I wouldn't say ignorant per say, but a lot of people don't love Star Wars for it structure, put for other things, so the "rhymes" look like being unoriginal rehashes.
     
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  14. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    Sorry if the wording was confusing.
    It was supposed to convey two different types of outcomes:
    A) Someone is annoyed by the refrains.
    B) Someone is unaware of the refrains.

    Result (A) is more likely than result (B).

    Neither result removes or adds the possibility of liking SW for other reasons. That would make it:

    A) Someone is annoyed by the refrains and likes the movies for other reasons.
    B) Someone is annoyed by the refrains and does not like the movies for other reasons.
    C) Someone is unaware of the refrains and likes the movies for other reasons.
    D) Someone is unaware of the refrains and does not like the movies for other reasons.

    In this setup, (A) & (B) are more likely than (C) & (D)

    Hope that makes sense...or perhaps I missed your point.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  15. Lock_S_Foils

    Lock_S_Foils Red Leader

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    So I am away on a business trip and have been unable to get into the Cantina until today....wow my thread has taken off!!

    Hey @Snazel great to meet someone else here who saw the original in the theater in '77!!! I have you by a year, I was 12....

    I have to add something to this discussion - don't forget Lucas' inspiration from the old '30's space operas....
     
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  16. Phil J

    Phil J Clone

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    I am hesitant to respond to this question as this implies there is a 'set' formula or rules to follow which can ultimately be damaging to the creative process. However, at a push, I would say that what constitutes a Star Wars film is:
    • Ordinary people caught up in a cosmic struggle between two diametrically opposed forces
    • The central theme of hope
    • Destiny and self determination
    • A commentary of the current socio-political climate
    • Philosophical exploration through dialogue, actions and symbolism
    • Technologically and aesthetically 'retro' but futuristic if that makes any sense- just look at those cyberpunk anime series from the 1980s
    A Star Wars film is also something that is influenced by a range of media from Classical Plays and Kurosawa films to the works of Clark Ashton Smith, Asimov and Frank Herbert. It is something that is also capable of inspiring a new generation of philosophers and science fiction writers.

    But it should also be something new and creative rather than endlessly following the same tropes it helped to create and tread new ground.

    Star Wars means different things to different people so I am unsure as to whether there is a definitive answer.
    --- Double Post Merged, Feb 12, 2020 at 1:15 PM, Original Post Date: Feb 12, 2020 at 1:00 PM ---
    When you realise Star Wars was heavily influenced by the Dune series, this does make a whole lot of sense and there are plenty as the tab;e below illustrates.

    upload_2020-2-12_13-14-26.png

    Source: http://www.moongadget.com/origins/dune.html
     
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  17. jitara

    jitara Clone

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    The next movie trilogy is a gaping unknown. Rumors about a timeframe of when it takes place in the GFFA timeline are all we have.
     
  18. jitara

    jitara Clone

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    So many of the issues people have with post-OT Star Wars is character related. In the PT I think people struggled to find characters to relate to or to love. They were all either a******s or so wooden it was impossible to connect.
    In the ST it's about how old characters were treated as the new came into focus. I think this is the ultimate crux for people on liking or not liking it. (It's one of my biggest issues with TROS)

    So no matter where or when the story takes place, no matter what themes are set into order, no matter who is writing or directing....they need to nail the characters just right so people will care and forgive the flaws elsewhere.

    Mod Edit: Edited for profanity
     
    #38 jitara, Feb 15, 2020 at 11:17 PM
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 15, 2020 at 11:50 PM
  19. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    I don't think that flies as an absolute there because folks who love these films love them because of the characters....so clearly this disconnect with not feeling the characters is not an absolute case.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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