Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Long time ago in a galaxy far far away…

You can most definitely say that Star Wars has been a very big part of my life. In honor of the 30th anniversary and the release of the original trilogy of Star Wars on DVD, I thought I’d give a little history of how these movies have had an effect on me.

When Star Wars (A New Hope) came on in 1977 I was 6 years old. I remember playing it on the play ground in school and having all the toys (witch I no longer have and wish I did because of how much they are worth now.) I saw the second film, The Empire Strikes Back, in 1980 and I was 9. My mother took me to see the film but I did not remember the first movie having been 6 at the time. So she and I went to a special showing of both films at the same time at the Flint Cinema. We then saw Return of the Jedi in 1983, when I was 12. We went with my Family from Milwaukee and my best friend and fellow Jedi Chris.

In 1997 George Lucas re-released these films as Special additions with new footage, for the 20th anniversary of the 1st film. The films were released 3 months a part for a 6 month period. At this point I was in collage and the movies were still very much a part of who I was. Me and fellow Jedi Chris (Obi-Reed) went with a few of our collage buddies we waited many hours to see each film. The movies took on a hole new meaning for us.

In 1999 I was about to get married and George Lucas began to release the prequels. Amy and I saw The Phantom Menace together a cemented our relation ship for life. We ended up seeing the episode 1 a grand total of 7 times some of those were with Jedi Chris. By this time I had started to add collect new Star Wars toys, and other Star Wars memorabilia

The next film, Attack of the Clones (2002), I was less enthusiastic about it once I had seen it. But once the next film, Revenge of the Sith (2005), I was a father and both of my boys had seen the other films on DVD. I just could not image them not seeing the last of the Star Wars Movies in to go to the theater. It was quite an experience for us all.

I now have all of the movies on DVD, in both versions. I have Quite a collection of toys, Books, games and models. Today I even went to Best Buy to perches the 30th anniversary original trilogy special collectors tin that was only available at Best Buy, and limited to 20 per store.

But Star Wars also has a spiritual aspect for me.

George Lucas was the first Hollywood filmmaker to openly credit Campbell's influence. Star Wars was based upon ideas found in The Hero With a Thousand Faces and other works of Campbell. Indeed, the 1988 documentary The Power of Myth, was filmed at Lucas' Skywalker Ranch. During these interviews with Bill Moyers, Campbell discusses the way in which Lucas used The Hero's Journey in the Star Wars films (IV, V, and VI) to re-invent the mythology for contemporary times. Moyers and Lucas filmed an interview 12 years later in 1999 called the Mythology of Star Wars with George Lucas & Bill Moyers, to further discuss the impact of Campbell's work on Lucas' films.

The Force is one of the most recognizable elements of the Star Wars mythos. It is described by Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars film as, "An energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together."

Those who can use the Force, such as the Jedi, can perform feats of telepathy, psycho kinesis, prescience, clairvoyance, and mental control. Two aspects of the Force are emphasized: the light side and the dark side. The light side of the Force is the facet aligned with good, benevolence, and healing. The dark side of the Force is aligned with fear, hatred, aggression, and malevolence; this side of the Force seems more powerful, especially to those who use it, because it is driven by rage and hatred — its effects are more direct and easier and faster to achieve. In reality, neither the light nor the dark side of the Force is stronger than the other, each possessing its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, the dark side conveys an inherent disadvantage to its users, which is arrogance and overconfidence in their own abilities. However, this aggression allows its acolytes to become more formidable warriors — illustrated when Luke is able to finally overcome his father in battle because of his anger at the thought of his sister turning to the dark side. On the other hand, Jedi can occasionally become crippled by their compassion and act "soft." This is balanced by an ability to remain calm even in extreme circumstances.

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