STAR WARS: THE LEGACY REVEALED (PART ONE)
title of the upcoming History Channel Star Wars special “Star Wars – The
Legacy Revealed” is a bit misleading . . .
The title immediately makes one believe that it will be about
how the Star Wars movies changed both contemporary popular culture and Hollywood itself.
books, CDs, TV cartoons and the original films imprinted themselves upon
impressionable ten-year-olds back in 1977 and how the summer
blockbuster became a fact of the movie industry.
The Special’s slogan is however more accurate: “Star Wars: why it endures,
why we need it . . . and why it’s still much fun.”
Yup, Star Wars – the Legacy is more hagiography than objective
Here are some sample quotes:
resonates out of the best of our classics: Beowulf . . . Homer
. . . the Bible.” - Journalist Dan Rather
Or how's this for
“The legacy of George Lucas fits very comfortably among the classics of
all time, whether ancient or modern . . . the genius [who took] a story
told over and over again in history, in the Bible, in fairy tales, now in
- Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
I mean, come on! Have
they even seen The Phantom Menace?
At least directors Kevin
Smith and Peter Jackson
— even though they
too get a bit carried away
— at least seem to
realize that we're after all just talking about movies:
“It is bad guys versus good guys and everyone wants to see that story.
That story will never grow tired, never grow old.”
- Filmmaker Kevin Smith
“You don't even have to ask, 'Will it stand the test of time?' It has and
- Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson
“Relax, they're just movies!” one wants to tell these excitable
interviewees. . .
If you want commentators arguing both for
— and against
— the “Holy Trilogy”
as Kevin Smith so memorably dubbed Star Wars,
Empire Strikes Back and
Return of the Jedi then you’d be better off checking out the recent
Star Wars on Trial book edited by famed Star Wars basher and
Postman author David Brin.
"'Relax, they're just movies!' one wants to tell the excitable
interviewees in this History Channel documentary . .
Or make that “Holy Decalogue” or whatever
— just what does one
call as series of six flicks or books in any case? Star Wars: The Legacy also throws the
so-called “prequels” namely Phantom Menace,
Attack of the Clones and
Revenge of the Sith into the mix, even
though the emphasis is more on the original films than the later prequels.
There are no bookends with Liam Neeson's character in
Phantom Menace, but there is one on Han Solo.
The Special spends a lot of time on how the
Star Wars movies draw heavily on
ancient myths and even 20th century events such as the rise of Hitler and
so forth. It however skirts controversial issues such as commentators
pointing out that dialogue from Revenge of the Sith actually echoes
recent events in American politics such as George W. Bush infamously
declaring that if “you are not with us, you are with the terrorists.”
To show that it is completely unbiased the documentary throws in
interviewees as diverse as current Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi
and former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Gingrich of course prefers to compare the Empire to the Soviets, even
though Lucas recently admitted in interviews that he got the idea of a
David battling it out versus Goliath scenario from the Vietcong taking on
the powerful U.S. military. Watching Star Wars – The Legacy one of
course often wonders how many of the comparisons with ancient mythology
— both Christian and
— George Lucas
actually consciously intended.
After all, the first Star Wars movie started life
as a substitute for Flash Gordon
— Lucas wanted to do
a full-length big screen Flash Gordon movie but he couldn’t secure
the rights. So instead he stole the plot of Kurosawa’s samurai flick
The Hidden Fortress outright and threw all kinds of diverse visual
cues into the final mix. Anything from Marvel’s Dr. Doom villain and Snow
White to bar room showdowns in Westerns got nicked in the process . . .
"Star Wars – The Legacy
hints at Lucas’ 'homages' (or is it just plain plagiarism?)"