In many ways, Hollywood and the movie business

In many ways, Hollywood and the movie business

In many ways, Hollywood and the movie business as we now know it were created in the summer of 1977 with the extraordinary success of an unheralded movie by a director named George Lucas, titled simply Star Wars. Why is Star War so Important? eye-popping, special-effects-driven

visuals the epic scale of the sci-fi plot; the abundance of nonhuman characters the massive merchandizing tie-ins (toys, clothes, fast food, etc.) now seem simply a standard part of how movies are made Plot overview Episode IV: A New Hope Far off in a distant galaxy, the starship belonging to Princess Leia, a young member of the Imperial Senate, is

intercepted in the course of a secret mission by a massive Imperial Star Destroyer. An imperial boarding party blasts its way onto the captured vessel, and after a fierce firefight the crew of Leias ship is subdued. The dark, forbidding figure of Darth Vader appears, brutally interrogating the crew and ordering his stormtroopers to search the ship for the secret documents he believes it is carrying: the technical readouts for the Empires mightiest weapona planet-sized battle station called the Death Star. Plot

In the confusion, Princess Leia slips away and hides the secret documents, as well as a recorded plea for help, in the memory of R2-D2, a maintenance droid (robot). Leia is taken prisoner, but R2 gets away in an escape pod, along with his best friend, the protocol droid C-3PO. After crashlanding on the planet below, a barren, desert world called Tatooine, the droids set off in search of civilization but soon quarrel over the way to go. R2 insists that he has a mission to perform, but C3PO wants no part of such an adventure. Plot

The two droids go their separate ways but are soon reunited when they are both captured by Jawas, child-sized scavengers who trade in droids and technological scraps. The Jawas sell the droids to Owen Lars, a moisture farmer on a remote homestead. Owens nephew, young Luke Skywalker, cleans the droids and, as he does so, stumbles across a bit of the message Princess Leia had hidden inside R2.

Plot The holographic message is addressed to ObiWan Kenobi, and Luke, fascinated by the beautiful princess, wonders if she means Ben Kenobi, a mysterious hermit who lives out in the desert wilds. R2, however, refuses to divulge any more of the message. When Luke asks his uncle about the identity of Obi-Wan, Owen is reluctant to even discuss the subject, but he does drop one tantalizing hint: Obi-Wan was a friend of Lukes father, whom Luke never knew. Luke mentions his desire to leave home to

Plot attend the Imperial Academy for starpilots, but Uncle Owen is discouraging, much to Lukes frustration. When Lukes aunt Beru reminds Owen that Luke is too much like his father to stay on the farm, Owen replies that that is just what hes afraid of. During the night, R2-D2 slips away, intent on finding Obi-Wan and completing his mission. Luke sets out in search of the truant droid

the next morning, taking C-3PO with him. Plot They soon find R2 but are waylaid by Sandpeople, barbaric tribal creatures who attack anyone trespassing on their domain. Luke is knocked unconscious but is saved by the timely appearance of old Ben Kenobi, who frightens off the Sandpeople and brings the group back to his humble shelter. There, Ben explains that he was called Obi-Wan back in days when he was a Jedi Knight, one of an ancient order of warriors who fought for peace and justice in the

time of the Old Republic, before the coming of the evil Galactic Empire. Further, he informs Luke that Lukes father was also a Jedi, one of Bens closest friends, and that his father was killed by Darth Vader, a former pupil of Bens who turned to the dark side of the Force. Plot The Force, Ben explains, is the source of a Jedis power. It is an energy field created and sustained by life itself, and it flows through the universe, binding it together. Through training, a Jedi is able to tap into the Force and gain great power and wisdom, but, as the example of Vader shows, there is a seductive, evil

path to the Force as well. Ben gives Luke his fathers lightsaber, the traditional weapon of a Jedi. After viewing the entirety of Leias message, Ben says that he intends to join up with the Rebel Alliance challenging the Empire and to bring them the plans Plot hidden in R2s memory. He urges Luke to join him and to learn the ways of the Force,

but Luke, echoing his uncle, is reluctant to get involved. Meanwhile, Princess Leia has been taken into captivity on the Death Star. There, Leia is repeatedly interrogated by Darth Vader about the whereabouts of the hidden Rebel base, but she stoutly refuses to crack. Plot When Vader is insolently challenged by the Death Stars Commander, he demonstrates his mastery of

the Force by choking the officer into submission merely by raising his finger, until he is restrained by Grand Moff Tarkin, the Imperial governor. Back on Tattooine, Luke and Ben discover that the Jawas have been slaughtered by Imperial troops tracing the droids. Fearing for his aunt and uncle, Luke races home only to find them murdered and the farm in flames. With nothing left to hold him on Tattooine, Luke resolves to join Ben and to become a Jedi. Analysis of major Characters Luke Skywalker Lukes quest to become a Jedi Knight is the main engine

driving the plot of Star Wars Episodes IVVI. Indeed, all of the epic battles and cosmic events going on around him are in a sense only the backdrop before which Lukes inner struggles are played out. When we first meet Luke on Tatooine, he is a callow youth, dreaming of adventure and escape from the backwater setting in which he finds himself. The classic image from A New Hope, in which Luke stands looking out at the horizon as the twin suns of his home planet are setting, captures perfectly this romantic, dreaming quality of his character. Luke

Early in A New Hope, we also see the reckless, impetuous side of Lukes character as he races off after R2 without telling his uncle and as he spies on the Sandpeople, almost getting himself killed thanks to his immaturity. However, Luke is also motivated by a strong sense of duty and a desire to be a part of something larger than himself. In the person of Ben Kenobi, Luke finds this desire answered, as Ben offers to help Luke become a Jedi Knight

Luke Through Ben, Luke gets the opportunity to travel, to help the Rebel Alliance against the evil Empire, to feel closer to the father he never knew (who was also a Jedi), and to grow as a person through contact with the Force. In this way, Ben Luke

becomes a surrogate father to Luke, replacing Uncle Owen, who mainly wants to keep Luke safe, close to home, and, in that sense, in a state of immaturity. Ben is soon taken from Luke by Darth Vader, the man Luke believes killed his real father, repeating before Lukes eyes the act of parricide for which he already hates Vader. The irony, of course, is that Vader actually is Lukes father, a truth that devastates Luke when he learns it. Disappointed in Ben for hiding the truth from him and horrified at what Anakin Skywalker has become, Luke must learn at last to be his own man, moving out of the shadows of his various father figures and even learning to stand apart from the grandfather figures of Yoda and the Emperor, who are also fighting for Lukes loyalty.

Luke . The irony, of course, is that Vader actually is Lukes father, a truth that devastates Luke when he learns it. Disappointed in Ben for hiding the truth from him and horrified at what Anakin Skywalker has become, Luke must learn at last to be his own man, moving out of the shadows of his various father figures and even learning to stand apart from the grandfather figures of Yoda and the Emperor,

who are also fighting for Lukes loyalty. Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker) Darth Vader is one of pop cultures universally recognized figures. His respirator-enhanced breathing, massive frame, and intimidating armored costume, as well as his tendency to enforce discipline in the Imperial ranks by summary execution, combine to make him the baddest of cinematic bad guys. Voiced by James Earl Jones, Vader is a truly awesome presence

onscreen, easily one of the most convincing monsters ever to menace a princess and her rescuers. Vader From the beginning, Vader represents the antithesis of the warmly human Ben Kenobi, who is full of wisdom and slow to anger but quick to defend others. Vader, on the other hand, lashes out casually at those who displease him, though he does so as if motivated by a cool, almost rational anger, rather

than a raging fury. Vaders conscious goal is to inspire fear wherever he goes and to use the anger and hatred this fear stirs up to control those around him. However, the surprising thing about Vader is that the monster turns out to be human after all. Darth Vader For all of A New Hope and most of The Empire Strikes Back, Vader is a static character: the relentless foe of our heroes. At the end of Empire, however, comes the revelation that stunned

twelve-year-old moviegoers everywhere in 1980 namely, that Vader is Lukes father, whom Luke, up to that point, believed to have been slain by Vader himself. Much of the subsequent drama of Return of the Jedi hinges on Lukes efforts to awaken the good that Luke believes, on rather little evidence, to be dormant within Vaders soul Han Solo Han Solo, the brash smuggler captain with a heart of gold, is the character that made Harrison Ford Harrison Ford.

Before Solo, Ford had appeared onscreen in supporting roles exclusivelyafter Solo, he was a bona fide star. Fords Han Solo is charismatic and sexy, the funniest character in A New Hope, and likable despite his apparent arrogance and selfishness. A major key to understanding Hans character is the clue provided by his last name. Han is used to looking after only himself, with the Wookie Chewbacca as the lone exception to the rule. If Luke starts out as the romantic dreamer, still immature but eager, Han is the wised-up cynic, willing to fight but only in it for the money. Han Solo

Solo is temperamental, something of a misfit, and distinctly untrustworthy in appearance. But over the course of the trilogy, Han, the quintessential loner, finds himself drawn into friendship with Luke, into a leadership position in the Rebellion, and into a romantic relationship with Leia. Throughout much of the trilogy, Solo tries to resist commitment, whether to a person or to a cause, but finds his instincts overruled by his affection.

Princess Leia Organa Carrie Fisher was still a teenager when she was cast as Princess Leia, and George Lucas gets a lot of mileage, especially early in the trilogy, out of the contrast between Leias youthful, sweet appearance and her sharp tongue and forceful manner. Leia is a post-feminist sort of princess, equally comfortable firing a blaster or piloting a ship as she is conducting a medal ceremony. Toward the end of the trilogy, we also learn that

Leia has the potential to become a Jedi, just like Luke. Leia Leia is a Senator, a princess, and a leader of the Rebel Alliance, and her devotion to duty and to the cause of freedom is one of her defining characteristics. This devotion prevents Leia from acknowledging to Han her growing love for him, and it even prevents her from admitting it to herself. Leia tells Han that he is needed as a leader and a pilot, but

never that she needs him herself. Han, of course, tries to goad an admission out of her, but his efforts only cause her to bottle up her feelings even more, though she does make some efforts to inspire jealousy in Han by kissing Luke (before she learns that they are brother and sister). Leia finally tells Han that she loves him, just when it is almost too late and he is about to be frozen alive. Star Wars: A Cultural Phenomenon achieved a level of recognition in

American and worldwide culture rivaled only by such classics as The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Gone With the Wind (1939) Star Wars films were throwbacks to this earlier era of resplendent production values, epic scope, and the pursuit of sheer entertainment. Culture Another remarkable aspect of the Star Wars

phenomenon that continues to influence the movie business today is the aggressiveness and pervasiveness with which the films were marketed . When President Ronald Reagan proposed a space-based missile defense program in the 1980s, it was officially called the Strategic Defense Initiative, or SDIbut the program was universally known, to friend and foe alike, as the Star Wars program Culture Reagan

also made a famous speech at the height of the cold war in which he identified the Soviet Union as an Evil Empire, and even if he wasnt thinking of Darth Vader and stormtroopers at the time, everybody else was. Darth Vader became an instant synonym for an evil boss or high school principal Culture With

cultural phenomena come cultural myths. The famous line Luke, I am your father does not actually existthe actual line is No, I am your father, and is perhaps the most misheard movie line since the nonexistent Play it again, Sam from Casablanca (1942). Genre Sci Fi? old science fiction and adventure serials long, scrolling explanatory text, he is clearly trying to evoke that same sense of being

thrown into the middle of the action. The genre that seemed to offer the best combination of high adventure, expansive setting, and classic characters was the western, a genre that includes both serial shoot-em-up adventures and epic tales set in a grand landscape. Western? Han Solo himself bears a strong

resemblance to the classic western gunfor-hire, with Chewbacca, perhaps, standing in for the sidekick. And of course there is a strong whiff of the black-hat/white-hat morality of a generic western in the opposed figures of Luke and Darth Vader, especially in the earlier parts of the trilogy. War Movies? the dogfights and radio chatter of Hollywood fighter-pilot flicks.

Special Effects digital matte painting blue screens (when the actors perform before an empty screen only to be edited into a painted or filmed background later on) stop-motion animation computer-generated images Effects/Visual Design

Practically every frame of a Star Wars film has some sort of effect added in, whether as part of the main action or merely in the background. latest high-tech effects with classic Hollywood techniques, such as elaborate creature costumes and even puppetry. Yoda, for example, is performed and voiced by the master puppeteer Frank Oz, who worked for years with Jim Hensons Muppets.

Uniqueness A typical scene in the trilogy could feature a relatively normal-looking actor interacting with another actor in costume, with another being operated by an off-screen puppeteer, and with yet another who was added in later with a computerwhile the scene itself takes place before a matte painting giving the illusion of an alien landscape.

Critics there have been those who have condemned the films as little more than eye-candy or as coldly technological artifacts with a lot of spectacle but little in the way of true wonder Lucas continues to improve As

the technology has improved, Lucas has continued to tinker with the films, adding more creatures and more detail to the backgrounds and even reshooting certain scenes to get them closer to his ideal vision. Key Facts full titles Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope Star Wars Episode V: The Empire

Strikes Back Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi Directors A New Hope: George Lucas The Empire Strikes Back: Irvin Kershner Return of the Jedi: Richard Marquand Actors leading

actors/actresses Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill supporting actors/actresses Kenny Baker, Peter Cushing, Anthony Daniels, Alec Guinness, James Earl Jones (voice), Peter Mayhew, Ian McDiarmid, Frank Oz, David Prowse, Billy Dee Williams Key Facts

type of work Feature film genre Science Fiction language English, various extraterrestrial languages time and place produced 19771983, EMI Elstree Studios, England awards A New Hope: Oscar for Best Visual Effects; Special Achievement, Sound Effects The Empire Strikes Back: Oscar for Best Sound Effects; Special Achievement, Visual Effects Return of the Jedi: Oscar for Special Achievement, Visual

Effects More facts date of release A New Hope: 1977 The Empire Strikes Back: 1980 Return of the Jedi: 1983 producer A New Hope: George Lucas, Gary Kurtz The Empire Strikes Back: George Lucas, Gary Kurtz

Return of the Jedi: George Lucas, Howard Kazanjian Where did this take place? setting (time) A long time ago . . . setting (place) A galaxy far, far away ... Characters summarized protagonist Luke Skywalker, a young farm boy from an out-of-the way planet, who discovers that his

destiny is to become a Jedi Knight and save the galaxy from the evil Empire, and to redeem his father, Darth Vader, from the dark side of the Force. major conflict The conflict between the brave but outgunned Rebel Alliance and the mighty Galactic Empire serves as the backdrop to the struggle within Luke: should he remain true to the noble but difficult way of the Jedi, or give in to his anger and desire for revengegive in, that is, to the dark side of the Force? Literary Elements

rising action As Luke grows in power and understanding of the Force (and of his own past), he and his friends take part in the struggle against the Empire, first rescuing Princess Leia from captivity, then leading the assault on the Death Star, then fleeing from the ice planet Hoth as the Empire counterattacks, and finally regrouping, after a detour to save Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, for a final assault on the Emperor and his rebuilt Death Star.

Literary Elements climax As Luke faces his father, Darth Vader, before the Emperor himself, in a battle of wills over Vaders soul, Vader at last remembers the Jedi Knight he once was and destroys the Emperor, saving his son but losing his own life. falling action The new Death Star is destroyed, the friends are reunited, the galaxy is freed of the Empire, and Luke gets a glimpse of his fathers spirit, now freed from captivity to the dark sideDarth Vader no longer, and once

again Anakin Skywalker. Literary Elements themes The mystery and power of the Force; the superiority of nature over technology; the myth of the heros destiny motifs Color used for characterization; orchestral soundtrack; speed symbols Lukes cybernetic hand; lightsabers; the Death Star

What will happen next? foreshadowing C-3PO calls Luke Sir Luke; Obi-Wan tells Luke that their destinies lie along different paths; Luke sees his own face in Vaders helmet in his vision on Dagobah; Yoda reminds Obi-Wan that if Luke fails, there is another

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