Friday, May 25, 2007

A New Hope

Today, in case you missed it, is the 30th anniversary of the release of Star Wars.

So much has been written about the cultural effects of the film: we can begin with the introduction of Buddhist concepts imbued in The Force to a western audience in palatable form, to the reintroduction of old mythological icons along with a revival of Joseph Campbell's career.

We can talk about the linguistic effects it's had: "I have a bad feeling about this," or "May The Force be with you."

We can talk about the dreamery that was incubated by George Lucas and all those marvelous toys, set against the backdrop of what is essentially a western (basically, The Searchers). If Star Trek's communicators brought us flip cell phones, one can only imagine what Star Wars lightsabres will bring us!

Actually, that's a chilling thought, what with Republicans hel-bent on world domination.

We can talk about how filmmaking changed, going from a story-driven, reasonably cheap medium to an overblown, special effect laden blockbuster crap shoot, just in time for the VCR. Star Wars might actually have saved Hollywood. How this movie spawned Raiders of the Lost Ark, Terminator, even Titanic is the stuff of a history of filmmaking course.

Me, I'd rather talk about how the film changed my life, coming as it did just as I was leaving adolescence for adulthood. The ultimate "good versus evil" film, it showed me that good is not always pure, and that evil is not always it's own creation (indeed, the arc of the story from film #1 through #6 bears this out: evil is as evil does, and sometimes, one can renounce evil through sheer force of will). Thus, A New Hope.

It helped teach me to trust my own feelings, even when the world around me whispers urgently into my ear that something else is right, just because it's more popular.

It helped me, just after Vietnam and Watergate and the cancellation of the moon landings, to see that there could be a bigger future for this world, not just this country, one where science and faith live side by side. Mankind would survive, no matter the forces arrayed against it.

Most important, and a theme that keeps popping up lately for me, it shows me that one man in the right place at the right time can make a difference.

Even if that place is the voting booth or a office holder's Inbox.

Good luck today, and hey, may The Force be with you!

Oh, before I forget....the story ain't over, it seems...(hat tip, yet again, to MissCellania for pointing this out)