2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Social psychology 101
Blueghost from The San Francisco Bay Area
3 May 2013
The first Star Wars film had outstanding high production values. State
of the art special effects, a top classical film composer to score the
film, and capable actors who could act the parts, verse an all star
cast that might detract from the film itself. My big question at the
time I saw Star Wars was how come other sci-fi films weren't like this?
Why were all those other sci-fi flicks from the 50s and 60s mostly
B-grade projects with spaceships hanging from wires?
Well, the big secret behind the American film industry is that it's a
social psychological tool, but in a good way. The films you see are
there to help improve society, and you get to see some very fantastic
films of which Star Wars is one of the most incredible. And so it was
that Star Wars hit America during a dreary time in our nation's
societal history, and it proved to be an uplift for people's spirits,
young and old alike. Vietnam had ended, which was a war with a lot of
criminal activity and just plain savagery, the president in the 1960s
had been assassinated and paranoia regarding it were rampant; we were
squaring off with the Soviets around the world, and race riots and
demonstrations were cropping in heated portions of America. Compared to
the pastoral yet industrious America of previous generations, where
people were polite and did their job, you'd think the nation was coming
It wasn't, but there was concern that the United States might find
itself in another social crisis from which it couldn't return. Star
Wars was a fantasy that took you away from Vietnam, Kennedy's
assassination, memories of the Cuban missile crisis, the race riots in
the south and in LA, and the other social upheavals that manifested
here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Star Wars said that there's the
thing called the fairy tale, and for those of you who are tired of
princes, dragons, and the derring do to the benefit of nobility, here's
a tale that doesn't look back but looks beyond.
The spaceships, the music, the characters, the setting (not just being
in "outer space" but with good people fighting an evil social machine
that was the Evil Galactic Empire), and, like I mentioned, the high
production values; i.e. well shot, well staged, well acted, and just
put together with a lot of care. How could anyone not like Star Wars!
And that's what this documentary shows.
We hear a lot about all the positives and human stories in regards to
the Star Wars phenomena. We see and hear Harrison Ford talk about his
experiences with the character of Han Solo, and what he observed in the
public eye. We see and hear Mark Hamil and Carrie Fisher talk about
their perspectives while both on the set and in public, and they all do
it with a smile and lots of energy as they recall the good experience
that was being part of Star Wars.
Carrie Fisher herself says it succinctly; "they picked a princess, a
pirate and a farm-boy" (or words to that effect), and we the audience
just instinctively tuned into that; rescuing princesses is part of the
human drama. Pirates? Who hasn't thought of being a pirate, or seen a
pirate film with tall ships slugging it out on the high seas before the
dashing Errol Flynn swings over with cutlass in hand to take the
princess for himself! Or the kid who grew up down on the farm and is
introduced to the world via his taking up the mantle of, not ironically
enough, rescuing a princess. This is the stuff of legends, folks.
The down shot of the documentary is that it's more of a "reality"
vignette of anecdotes, as opposed to a semi-serious look at the Star
Wars phenomenon when it first exploded into American culture. That
being said it is a nice piece of retrospective, though I have to admit,
as much of a "fan" as I was of the films, I'm hard pressed to nod in
agreement with people who dressed up like the characters and lived out
their fantasies so publicly. I'm sorry, but that's just nuts (though in
a good way, I guess).
Star Wars was designed to be a social experience for the American
public, and it achieved that. In this doc you see all the good things
that flowed out of film's cultural impact. I can't say that I really
found it too informative, but the piece certainly does give you the
emotional gist of what it was like to be on both sides of the movie
screen; cast to fan. I enjoyed watching it.
If you come across it online somewhere, see it once.
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