Saturday, May 4, 2013

Star Wars (1977)

It is May 4th! May the Fourth be with you!  Or, in other words, today is Star Wars Day and I hope you are enjoying this most glorious of holidays.

This is truly a fairytale set in space. An unassuming farm boy goes on a daring mission to rescue a princess from an evil lord, and then goes on to save the whole galaxy. My daughter enjoys the fairytale aspects of it, and of course I love anything sci-fi.

The thing I have a problem with is the fact that there is supposed to be no sound in space. However, we hear the sounds of the ships themselves and the weapons firing quite often.  It works because our minds are so used to matching the sounds with the image, that if it were accurate and had the space battles in complete silence, it would feel really weird.

The technology used for this film was amazing.  They didn't have the same computers and high-tech equipment we have today. They managed to have talking robots, spaceships, x-wing fighters (my favorite in the movie) and a really really huge moon. Wait, that's no moon. It must be a space station. Outstanding!

I also love the chemistry between the three main actors, Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Mark Hamill (Luke), and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia). I don't think that this movie or the others to follow would have been nearly as good if it weren't for them. Both Luke and Leia are strong-willed and are determined to get their way, and Han is the very very handsome and lovable scoundrel.

At one point, Han boasts that he made the Kessel Run in only 12 parsecs, a daring feat for a pilot. Wait, aren't parsecs a measure of distance, not time? Did Han misspeak? No, actually, he's telling the truth. (He's probably exaggerating a bit though.)  If you read any of the books, you'll find the Kessel Run is 18 parsecs in length, because it goes around The Maw, a cluster of black holes. Most pilots avoid this area. However, Han flew as close as possible, narrowly avoiding the black holes, in order to reach his destination (and guarantee the authorities wouldn't follow him). He's not bragging about his speed; he's bragging about his ability as a pilot and his ship's maneuvering capabilities.

Star Wars is a great film whose technology paved the way for many other science fiction films. I will give it a 9/10.

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