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Posts Tagged ‘Star Wars

“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself”*…

 

Chiang

 

Traditional “good vs. evil” stories follow a certain pattern: the world starts out as a good place, evil intrudes, good defeats evil, and the world goes back to being a good place. These stories are all about restoring the status quo, so they are implicitly conservative. Real science fiction stories follow a different pattern: the world starts out as a familiar place, a new discovery or invention disrupts everything, and the world is forever changed. These stories show the status quo being overturned, so they are implicitly progressive. (This observation is not original to me; it’s something that scholars of science fiction have long noted.) This was in the context of a discussion about the role of dystopias in science fiction. I said that while some dystopian stories suggest that doom is unavoidable, other ones are intended as cautionary tales, which implies we can do something to avoid the undesirable outcome…

A lot of dystopian stories posit variations on a Mad Max world where marauders roam the wasteland. That’s a kind of change no one wants to see. I think those qualify as doom. What I mean by disruption is not the end of civilization, but the end of a particular way of life. Aristocrats might have thought the world was ending when feudalism was abolished during the French Revolution, but the world didn’t end; the world changed. (The critic John Clute has said that the French Revolution was one of the things that gave rise to science fiction.)…

The familiar is always comfortable, but we need to make a distinction between what is actually desirable and what is simply what we’re accustomed to; sometimes those are the same, and sometimes they are not. The people who are the happiest with the status quo are the ones who benefit most from it, which is why the wealthy are usually conservative; the existing order works to their advantage. For example, right now there’s a discussion taking place about canceling student debt, and a related discussion about why there is such a difference in the type of financial relief available to individuals as opposed to giant corporations. The people who will be happiest to return to our existing system of debt are the ones who benefit from it, and making them uncomfortable might be a good idea…

How we may never go “back to normal”—and why that might be a good thing– Halimah Marcus‘ (@HalimahMarcus) interviews the estimable Ted Chiang.  Read it in full: “Ted Chiang Explains the Disaster Novel We All Suddenly Live In.”

* Albert Camus

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As we put it all into perspective, we might recall that it was on this date in 1977 that Star Wars was released.  An epic space opera directed and co-written by George Lucas, it was both a box-office and critical success.  The highest-grossing film ever at the time (until the release of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982), it is, when adjusted for inflation, the second-highest-grossing film in North America (behind Gone With The Wind).

The film won 6 Oscars for a variety of technical achievements.  As film critic Roger Ebert wrote in his book The Great Movies, “Like The Birth of a Nation and Citizen Kane, Star Wars was a technical watershed that influenced many of the movies that came after.”  It began a new generation of special effects and high-energy motion pictures.  The film was one of the first films to link genres together to invent a new, high-concept genre for filmmakers to build upon.  And, with Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, it shifted the film industry’s focus away from the personal filmmaking of the 1970s and toward fast-paced, big-budget blockbusters for younger audiences.

The film has been reissued many times and launched an industry of tie-in products, including novels, comics, video games, amusement park attractions, and merchandise including toys, games, and clothing. The film’s success led to two critically and commercially successful sequels, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and later to a prequel trilogy, a sequel trilogy, two anthology films and various spin-off TV series.

220px-StarWarsMoviePoster1977 source

 

 

Written by LW

May 25, 2020 at 1:01 am

“Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them”*…

 

Marcus Rosentrater, filmmaker and animator of FX’s amazingly-amusing Archer, has done us the service of combining all six Star Wars films into a single viewing experience:

email readers click here for video

* Obi-Wan Kenobi

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As we hope that the Force is with us, we might recall that it was on this date in 1985 that Universal Pictures released the keystone of another– though very different– sci-fi franchise: Back to the Future.

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Written by LW

July 3, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Myth is much more important and true than history. History is just journalism and you know how reliable that is”*…

 

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Alien and Star Wars art director Roger Christian was given £25,000 by George Lucas in 1979 to make a 25-minute medieval B-feature called Black Angel. This spiritual tale of a knight on a strange quest was inspired by Christian’s near-fatal fever when he fell ill in Mexico making Lucky Lady. Black Angel made a huge impression, not least because it shared the dark tone of Empire Strikes Back. John Boorman showed it to the crew of Excalibur as a template for how he wanted his film to look, and Black Angel went on to influence films such as Dragonslayer and Legend throughout the 1980s and beyond. But it has not been seen by anyone since ‘Empire’ finished its theatrical run. Two weeks ago Roger Christian unearthed a print of a film that was thought lost forever, and in this interview he talks about Black Angel, and provides the only picture from the film that has ever hit the Internet.

– Via Slashdot (2010)

As obvious above, Black Angel is now on YouTube.  What was once thought lost is found.  Enjoy.

Joseph Campbell (one of George Lucas’ most important influences)

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As we transport ourselves to a time a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, we might recall that it was on this date in 1999, after 22 years, that Star Wars officially returned to the big screen with the release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the first of three prequels to the extremely successful original Star Wars trilogy.  Despite mixed reviews and much fan criticism of the character of Jar-Jar Binks, The Phantom Menace was a massive box office success, earning over $920 million on a $115 million budget.

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Written by LW

May 19, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Words, words, mere words”*…

 

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Welcome to Star Wars as you’ve never seen it before. Arst Arsw takes every English word from George Lucas’ classic movie and rearranges them alphabetically. If you can make it past the 201 “a”s that start the video, you’re in for a treat, as long sequences of words are punctuated up by oddly therapeutic and memorable words from the movie. The eighth “battlestation” is especially rewarding.

The video’s maker, Tom 7, provided some interesting facts garnered while cutting Arst Arsw manually. A total of 1695 individual English words are uttered in Star Wars, the most common of which is “the,” with 368 mentions. The word “Lightsaber” is only said aloud once (at 19:20 in Arst Arsw).

Watch every word from ‘Star Wars’ sorted from A to Z.”

Special lingui-bonus:

letters_brown_words_15

Click here for background (and larger version of chart): “Graphing the distribution of English letters towards the beginning, middle or end of words”:

*William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act V, Scene 3

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As we hope that the Force is with us, we might recall that it was on this date in 1914 that Wyndham Lewis published the first issue of Blast, a literary magazine championing Vorticism, a movement related to Futurism and Cubism in painting and to Imagism in literature, chiefly concerned to extoll the virtues of mechanization and the machine.  The inaugural number was edited and largely written by Lewis with contributions from Ezra Pound, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Jacob Epstein, Spencer Gore, Edward Wadsworth, and Rebecca West, and included an extract from Ford Madox Hueffer’s novel The Saddest Story– better known by its later title The Good Soldier (published under his subsequent pseudonym, Ford Madox Ford).   The second issue, which was publish a month later, had more work from Pound and two poems by T.S. Eliot.  But at about the same time that issue came out, Britain entered World War I.  Several of the Vorticists were called up; and machines– deployed all too lethally in the conflict– lost some of their romance.  The Vorticist movement did not survive the war.; still, it is remembered as a seminal step in the evolution of 20th century Modernism.

The cover of Blast #1

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Written by LW

June 20, 2014 at 1:01 am

“I *am* big. It’s the *pictures* that got small…”*

 

Russia, in “Goldeneye”

Rub al Khali Desert, in “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark”

More movie magic at “24 Famous Miniature Movie Sets That Will Blow Your Mind.”

* Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) in Sunset Boulevard

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As we keep everything in perspective, we might send epic birthday greetings to Carrie Frances Fisher; she was born on this date in 1956.  An actress, novelist, screenwriter, and performance artist, she is surely best remembered for her central role in some very big movies indeed:  the original Star Wars trilogy.

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Written by LW

October 21, 2013 at 1:01 am

Huis Clos, Edition Galactique– avec pop-corn!

Existentialist Star Wars (in French!)

Star Wars with a French Existentialist twist. Almost all the subtitles (except for little things like “Despair!” and “I die!” and a few others) are actually quotes from Jean-Paul Sartre. And obviously this will make no sense if you understand French. If you do know it, hit yourself in the head repeatedly before watching this. And then hit yourself repeatedly when you’re done watching.

More from creator OneMinuteGalactica here (Do be sure to check out “Luke Skywalker- Worst Scout Ever“)

As we steep in ennui, we might recall that it was on this date in 1889 that the Eiffel Tower opened to the public.  The spire, now iconic of Paris, was designed by Gustave Eiffel (who also created the armature for France’s largest gift to the U.S., the Statue of Liberty) and served as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair.

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Rotten Tomatoes: the Epistemological Edition…

Special cinematic bonus from Doug and Savage Chicken:  All of Chewbacca’s dialogue from Star Wars on a large Post-It Note.

As we remark to ourselves that it’s all just so real, we might recall that it was on this date in 1498 that Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was commissioned to carve a statue for the funeral monument of French cardinal Jean de Billheres, a representative in Rome.  We know the result, which was completed in 1499, as the Renaissance masterpiece “La Pietà.”

La Pietà

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