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What Makes a Star Wars movie?

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

?

What are the essential elements of a Star Wars movie?

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

    9 vote(s)
    32.1%
  2. 2. A sweeping orchestral score with themes for major characters

    18 vote(s)
    64.3%
  3. 3. Starships that emit steam from doorways

    8 vote(s)
    28.6%
  4. 4. Snarky humor

    8 vote(s)
    28.6%
  5. 5. Plucky droids

    10 vote(s)
    35.7%
  6. 6. Cool, interesting species from around the Galaxy

    19 vote(s)
    67.9%
  7. 7. A redemption plot

    2 vote(s)
    7.1%
  8. 8. Geared towards children

    5 vote(s)
    17.9%
  9. 9. Interesting planets and locations

    21 vote(s)
    75.0%
  10. 10. Jedi and Sith

    9 vote(s)
    32.1%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Philo

    Philo Rebel Trooper

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    The simplest criterion to define 'Star Wars': it's set "A long time ago in that Galaxy far, far away". Nothing more, nothing less.

    But this implies the following: it's set in a 'mythical' age and location, the 'sci-fi' aspect is merely in the background: the spaceships, the weapons, the aliens... It's a myth in the first place. And myths are generally stories in a different 'world' mirroring the actual world we live in. No wonder that political, social, spiritual themes recur.

    Good characters? That's part of the success but (luckily) other films have good characters too.
    Great orchestral score? That's part of the game, but (luckily) other films have iconic scores too.
    An opening crawl? The quality of the movie does not depend on it. But it does set apart the 'Skywalker Saga' which is still the main dish on the Star Wars menu.

    A lot of creative freedom is given in this universe, there are a lot of 'worn out' locations and starships like Jakku or the Millenium Falcon but also hypermodern 'clean' Kamino or a Naboo cruiser. There are stories about spiritual knights, but also about bounty hunters or smugglers. Everything is possible. That's why it keeps on going.

    Why the many recurring themes and the reharsments and the rhyming? Because it's simply the 'human condition': good and evil, fall and redemption, coming of age, searching for a purpose in life, family, friendship, compassion, war and peace...

    In the end every human story is but another version of the one archetypal story.
     
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  2. smpreet

    smpreet Clone

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    Good story telling, that is what makes Star Wars good. That for me is what makes the OT stand above PT and ST.

    It's not the plot or characters or world building, though they are good, they are means to an end, that ending being the story in OT of Luke and his journey to become a Jedi. IMHO story is the most important thing, and that is what makes Star Wars work best, when the storytelling is good. I started putting together a video essay series on YouTube, breaking this all down, I'll link below, only done 1 so far for ANH, but working on going through all of them.

    But the basics of it, at least what I think, is that is the main thing that makes OT work so well and newer movies not so much. OT movies had a theme, a narrative goal they were getting at and were focused in getting that across to us. PT had a narrative goal more or less, due to the existence of the OT, but got itself caught up in a lot of world plot stuff, blockades and senate hearings and so on. ST, didn't really have an overall goal, they weren't really telling a coherent story, and that's why the movies end up feeling disconnected.
    --- Double Post Merged, Jan 2, 2021, Original Post Date: Jan 2, 2021 ---
    Here is the link I mentioned,

     
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  3. Embo and His Pet Anooba

    Embo and His Pet Anooba Force Attuned

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    the characters
    or maybe lasers
     
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  4. Ghost of Obi Wan Kenobi

    Ghost of Obi Wan Kenobi Rebel Official

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    1. This is going to sound crazy but the ONLY thing in the list that I think is essential is “interesting planets and locations.” Everything else on this list are elements which have already been taken away and still feel like Star Wars, or I wish they would be taken away (if only just to see if it works for audiences.)
      See below (disregard the random numbers. I messed up on the formatting):

      crawl/scroll setting up the opening of the movie (Solo and Rogue One did it. I consider those Star Wars films.)
      A sweeping orchestral score with themes for major characters (Mandalorian did not, for the most part, and I consider that Star Wars.)
      Starships that emit steam from doorways (I would like to see an entire film set on Naboo, Tatooine, etc.)
    2. Snarky humor (The prequels did not really. I would like to see something a totally serious film).
      Plucky droids (The Last Jedi probably had the least “droid” characters.)
    3. Cool, interesting species from around the Galaxy (Rogue One, apart from a robot and a few side characters in the rebel alliance, not too many aliens.)
      A redemption plot (not necessarily.)
      Geared towards children (This is another one I would love to see. I have argued in other threads that there should be live action films starring children geared for children. Most people disagreed with me, but I still believe Disney should do this.)
      Interesting planets and locations (This is the one I voted for in the poll.
    4. Jedi and Sith (Solo and Mandalorian season 1.)
     
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  5. DarthSkywalker03

    DarthSkywalker03 Rebelscum

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    I fully agree with the locations being essential but too me what makes a Star Wars movie is the fact there will always be conflict of some sort between good and bad. Even when the bad defeat the good(Sith defeating the rebels) or the good defeat the bad(Rebels defeating the sith) they will always have people trying to bring peace or bring chaos and it’s the individuals who have the power to make the right decisions that for obvious reasons have the biggest impact on the movie. Am just expanding my own viewpoint on what’s already said. Might be confusing to read....... :D
    --- Double Post Merged, Feb 5, 2021, Original Post Date: Feb 5, 2021 ---
    And I also fell that’s what relates to a lot of individuals whether they are struggling with themselves or with elements around them it connects me and everyone else to the emend conflict :D
     
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  6. MandoChip

    MandoChip Hate me later. Work now.
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    Lucasfilm, usually.
     
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  7. Use the Falchion

    Use the Falchion Jedi Contrarian

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    Laser SWORDS.
     
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  8. Too Bob Bit

    Too Bob Bit Jedi Commander

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    These guys:

    [​IMG]

    Put one of those wandering around in the background and you've got yourself a Star Wars film.
     
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  9. Embo and His Pet Anooba

    Embo and His Pet Anooba Force Attuned

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    solo?
     
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  10. Use the Falchion

    Use the Falchion Jedi Contrarian

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    Still had a laser sword.
     
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  11. Embo and His Pet Anooba

    Embo and His Pet Anooba Force Attuned

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    damn you maul
     
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  12. oldbert

    oldbert Guardian of Coffee Breaks

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    I would ad "A story about hope and courage" for my self @Lock_S_Foils
    :D
     
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  13. Too Bob Bit

    Too Bob Bit Jedi Commander

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    Stone spiral staircases often glimpsed through arched doorways is something I'm adding to my list of things that I think make something Star Warsy.

    I remember seeing such things in the frames of Al Williamson's classic Star Wars newspaper strips and thinking, "Yeah, those make this seem just like something from Star Wars".

    They're obviously not on the spaceships, but they're down on the planets our heroes often find themselves on, from Tatooine in ANH and through to whatever that planet is where Poe meets his lady friend in TROS, and of course in episodes of The Mandalorian.

    So yeah, I expect to see more stone spiral staircases often glimpsed through arched doorways in future shows and movies, or they just won't feel like Star Wars.
     
    #53 Too Bob Bit, Mar 25, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2021
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  14. Martoto

    Martoto Rebel Official

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    Having been raised on a sci-fi diet of people running down claustrophobic corridors of clearly "affordable" production value in Dr Who. One of the main attractions of Star Wars was seeing people running around rather roomy corridors of considerably higher production value and that actually lead to a different place of interest every few minutes instead of every other week, maybe. To this day Star Wars in my mind is largely that middle part of the movie aboard the Death Star.
     
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  15. Veronica

    Veronica Rebel General

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    How can you have 'good storytelling' without a plot or characters or a world? Without any of that you essentially just have action figures moving around on a screen. Which to me is what the OT was. Luke was essentially just a fan stand in the male hero who can do anything take on all comers without any suffering or hard work. It's why I never liked the OT and prefer the world of Star Trek and Dune. Much more depth and much more sophistication. It comes across as living and breathing thing.
     
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  16. Denal

    Denal Clone

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    For me its the atmosphere. The characters and plot need to be good but that's any movie, star wars feels the most star wars in fleshed out alien worlds with cool and interesting designs. Also the well choreographed fight scenes and trooper designs cause I love me some stormtroopers and clones.
     
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  17. Dryden Valiance

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    The Hero's Journey it's definetely a crucial part of the OT.
    [​IMG]

    But there are a lot of other movies which follow the same path, and no other Star Wars movies follow it (not in the same stricly way).

    This is true, but the definition of "movie for kids" was changed in the past 40 years. When Lucas made the OT we mean that was a movie without sex scene (essentially). Now it means that it doesn't need to make sense, because is "for kids".

    Wow, that's... that's quite interesting. But a lot of your point could apply to a lot of other movies and franchise (especially in fantasy), even Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, or Kubrick's movie and also some Disney cartoon.

    You said Star Wars is different because it's an archetypal story with interconnected characters and a moral lesson. A modern fairy tale.
    You don't explain why it's different, but why it's good. I agree with everything you've said, Star Wars is all of those things, but you have to add those things you try to dismantle: the lightsabers, the Force, the aliens, etc... Because otherwise you have a mythical story not unlike many others. You must have both: the "heavy" stuff (philosophy, morals, etc ...) and the "escapism" stuff (battles, visuals, etc ...). Lucas was able to create a near-perfect balance in the original trilogy, which is why they are the best films in the saga.
    [​IMG]

    This is one of the most truthful things I've read.
    Star Wars means different things because the people who have seen it are different: they have different tastes, different interests, different ages, different experiences, different opinions.

    The question of this poll is clearly uncompleted, should be:
    What are for you the essential elements of a Star Wars movie?
    Because we can make a proper list of things that make a Star Wars movie, because everyone has a different idea what makes a Star Wars movie.



    If location (the distant Galaxy) is the answer, does that mean Holiday Special is a Star Wars movie?
    [​IMG]

    or the Ewok adventures?

    [​IMG]

    I don't think that Rogue One is a Star Wars movie, even if I like it very much (more than the PT and maybe even the ST).

    These are my answers, but not because are essential features of Star Wars, but only because I think are the most recognizable elements of a Star Wars movie.

    However if I had to answer what for me make a Star Wars movie is this:
    [​IMG]
    This is the quintessential of Star Wars for me, and that because I'm a writer and my fovorite stories is Sentry.
    Sentry (1954)
    He was wet and muddy and hungry and cold, and he was fifty thousand light-years from home.
    A strange blue sun gave light and the gravity, twice what he was used to, made every movement difficult.
    But in tens of thousands of years this part of war hadn't changed. The flyboys were fine with their sleek spaceships and their fancy weapons. When the chips are down, though, it was still the foot soldier, the infantry, that had to take the ground and hold it, foot by bloody foot. Like this damned planet of a star he'd never heard of until they'd landed him there. And now it was sacred ground because the aliens were there too. The aliens, the only other intelligent race in the Galaxy ... cruel, hideous and repulsive monsters.
    Contact had been made with them near the center of the Galaxy, after the slow, difficult colonization of a dozen thousand planets; and it had been war at sight; they'd shot without even trying to negotiate, or to make peace. Now, planet by bitter planet, it was being fought out.
    He was wet and muddy and hungry and cold, and the day was raw with a high wind that hurt his eyes. But the aliens were trying to infiltrate and every sentry post was vital.
    He stayed alert, gun ready. Fifty thousand light-years from home, fighting on a strange world and wondering if he'd ever live to see home again.
    And then he saw one of them crawling toward him. He drew a bead and fired. The alien made that strange horrible sound they all make, then lay still.
    He shuddered at the sound and sight of the alien lying there. One ought to be able to get used to them after a while, but he'd never been able to. Such repulsive creatures they were, with only two arms and two legs, ghastly white skins and no scales.

    - Fredric Brown
    A short story about points of view.
    I've always thought that making the reader (or viewer) completely change their point of view in a single scene is the most amazing thing an author (or artist) can do. I think Darth Vader, being the father of the hero, put Star Wars above any other science fiction movie. In Star Wars there is a kind of rhetorical separation between good and evil, but Darth Vader shows that evil is good and good is evil, they coexist in the same person. Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker' relationship makes Star Wars.
    This doesn't mean that every character has to be related, there are no related characters in the Sentry story, it's the fact that it rotates the reader's point of view that I find fascinating. And Star Wars does this many times, even in the first movie, when Han and Luke go to rescue Leia, we quickly realize that Leia is not the usual.damsel in distress: she's a princess who shoot with guns. The same with Yoda, who's not what everyone will consider a "great warrior".
     
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  18. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    Let me walk that back through and try to articulate my point again, because what I said does not exist in any other film in its entirety.

    Star Wars, the first six, are about the only films out there that are driven by an Eisenstein approach to movies.
    You glossed right over the most important part of that sentence: ...rooted in non-narrative pure cinema language...

    For example, Star Wars was made in the manner in which you would normally make a documentary; not a narrative movie.
    Lucas very specifically wanted to put the camera, in the original trilogy, in the position of fly-on-the-wall documentaries because he supposed that the juxtaposition of such an extremely passive camera against an exotically packed set would cause the fantasy of it to be more tangible.

    As another example, just for the moment, take the first film made.
    Every sequence is a sort of pure cinema tone poem - a form of filmmaking dearly close to Lucas' heart, and what he had actually expected his foray into film to be consumed with instead of major motion pictures.

    Here's an image that shows what I'm talking about. Specifically, look at the moments where the image map collapses down to one single image in a row.
    These are a sort of bookends, and they regularly overlap one tone poem sequence to another.
    You'll need to click the link and then zoom in to see everything.
    The image is too big to fit here.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/b3ufi6dwhjvexpr/Star_Wars_Reverse_Storyboard.png?dl=0

    Let's make it simpler.
    Let's look at one single tone poem within that.
    Picture1.png

    These sort of little pure cinema poems work by following a visual language of ideograms in a very esoteric, yet effective, manner.
    In an incredibly condensed amount of time, in this example, we go from a very large picture down to a very narrow one without ever losing moment by moment hand-off, like a baton race, that never stops linking the previous to the next by virtually little more than employing the Kuleshov effect to a fine degree of Eisenstein heights.

    That is, this movie cannot be any other medium and iterative version than what it is.
    If it is ever something else, then it won't be this film. It is not translatable outside of itself. It relies entirely on the medium of film and its nature to communicate its identity.

    That may sound like something you can say about any film, but it's exactly few which that can actually be said about. Few films leverage their medium in such a way that the movie becomes inseparable from the medium upon which it is laid.

    With Star Wars, this is found in every single moment of any of the films Lucas was involved with.
    Every movie was for him, a high art experiment to push pure cinema film theory further.

    So, yes, things like chiastic allegorical fairy tale opera, and passing on a cultural heritage embedded into the film exist in other films.

    However, the most critical part is not a part of any of those which apply to that set: a rooting in non-narrative pure cinema language.

    And there are other films out there that do this to varying degrees, but there are none that are all of this combined together:

    A [chiastic] [allegorical fairy tale opera] rooted in [non-narrative pure cinema language] which [passes on a cultural heritage embedded into the film].

    Name one other film that is all four of those combined.
    Beyond that name one that is Science Fantasy.

    Even Star Wars doesn't do that anymore without Lucas (and don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean I think they are bad - quite to the opposite).

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #58 Jayson, Oct 30, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2021
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  19. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Dungeon Master

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    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Dryden Valiance

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    ;)

    I'm really glad you take the time to explain me further. Because I now better understand what you are trying to say (I felt you're first post was a bit too generic, but it's probably my fault).

    I'm 100% agree with you, the George Lucas approach to movies is unique and fabolous (and it is something that many people tend to gloss over). How he constructed the scenes and narrative of the story transcends language (many people complain about is clunky dialogue, but it's not really an issue the scenes often speak for itself).

    I don't know where I saw that someone removed all the sounds from Raiders of the Lost Ark and the film worked just fine. Lucas is a master of visual storytelling.

    But, again I think we interpret the poll in two different manners. You describe why Star Wars is different, why is unique, why you liked, etc... and I get that, but I'm focus on what's make a Star Wars movie for me, what are the qualities and features that make me decide if a film could be called "a Star Wars movie"
    I know it sounds very confusing (English is not my language). However I admire your passion and I envy your knowledge. I hope we can have more conversations and a better understanding in the future.

    Well, I agree to disagree. For me those are not Star Wars movies.

    For me Cowboy Bepop and Firefly are more Starwarsian
    [​IMG]

    In some way even Starcraft is more similar to Star Wars than the Holiday Special!!!
    [​IMG]

    But... fine...


    If you don't get this "old" reference could be very "odd".

    In the end I think that this:
    It's the most reasonable answer, because I don't think exist an actual checklist of "Star Wars elements" on everybody can agree with (and this discussion prove it).
    So the only way for me to answer is to make it personal: don't try to find the "secret formula" of Star Wars success but share my personal opinions and preferences.





     
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