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Star Wars Day

Hood

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Ignoring all the later fluff and franchise, if you watch A New Hope, as a standalone film as it was in 1977 its clear its not a stand-out classic.
The special effects are good for the time, but its no 2001: A Space Odyssey in regards to realism (you ain't gonna hear an X-Wing going pewpewpew). Close Encounters came out the same year, takes a different approach but equally some good special effects even if the end is a little cheesy. The sets are reasonably well put together though.
The combat parts are essentially a WW2 aviation film, it has been said the Rebel base scenes were based on USN carrier deck crew scenes. The Allies V. Nazis theme is palpably obvious, perhaps thankfully they didn't make Dart Vader a red costume to make him a Red menace. There is no grittiness though like A Bridge Too Far that came out the same year. Poor Wes gets roasted but Luke shrugs it off. Leila gets frightened by a floating hypodermic but its not like we even have much menace like 1950s Geastpo agents "we vill make you talk with ze hot poker" or the sinister nurse from Where Eagles Dare, she is rescued later and her hair isn't even messed up let alone giving us much impression of her holding out under torture. The ending with the parade is a veritable cheese board.
The dialogue and acting are rather wooden even by the standards of 1970s films, the Han Solo one-liners are pretty dire and the characters are fairly one dimensional. The result is a feelgood knock-about adventure film. It worked and grossed enough profit to make it worthwhile to carry on the series but we can't pretend it was the best film of 1977. It was probably its upbeat nature that made it popular.
Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi were more polished films and really cemented the franchise. A New Hope had to compete with a large number of successful films in 1977, quite a few big names came out that year and its not a bad film but its not cinematic gold.
 

Purpletrouble

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As a fan of 2001, realism isn’t something I’d associate with black slabs and the kaliedoscope of the last section! Years ago I saw a special edition at the National Festival hall with a full orchestra playing the score - it was incredible with the size of the hall, screen and being surrounded by that music. It took someone to explain the last section to me though.

But Star wars, Toy Story explains quite well. Cowboys were exciting. Space cowboys even more exciting!

Compared to a drab, economically failing real world where the West seemed to be faltering - an entire universe of goodies triumphing over baddies, sword and gun fighting elevated to the same level, beatifiul but strong and fighting princess, mysterious powers, advanced technology and yet with western values etc. Starwars is cinema offering escapism at its very best. Hence why the other films haven’t lasted in the same way. Notably Buck Rogers didn’t last yet was doing much of the same thing.

Although I agree a Bridge too Far is awesome, find someone under 40 who has heard of it let alone seen it.
 

chimeric oncogene

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she is rescued later and her hair isn't even messed up let alone giving us much impression of her holding out under torture. The ending with the parade is a veritable cheese board.
It was a movie for ten-year-old kids!

As far as I know, before 1977, no movie ever did the pew pew pew as well as Star Wars. Being able to do a pew pew pew movie well takes talent and care - look at how the sequel trilogy came out. Terrible pew-pew-pew stuff. The Prequels, now those had good pew-pew-pew characteristics!

I watched AOTC over and over and over again as a kid, and still consider it among the best of the saga (rose-tinted glasses five inches thick).
 

uk 75

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I remember watching the first of the new StarWars films in the 90s with a friend of mine and his 8 year old. It is the best and only way to watch a film. Sam's enthusiasm infected both of us, though beer may have helped!
 

Purpletrouble

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True - off topic but I watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with my 6 year old - she thought it was very funny but could not get her head around the idea of wanting to get out of going to school, as she loves it!

So kids perspectives are always illuminating!
 

The Artist

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What Star Wars (not Chapter 4, not A New Hope) had going for it that year was more than just being a feel good movie. Its biggest asset was that it was different from what one expected from science fiction movies. In the mid 1970s, 2001 was still the gold standard for special effects, Planet Of The Apes told a stronger story than 2001, Andromeda Strain also told a good story and gave us believable hints of advanced (for that time) technology, but take a step back and look at the pacing of those movies. The storytelling in each is slow and deliberate. That was the pacing for drama. Even Star Trek (the original series) had that pacing which can be traced back to the stage. Twilight Zone and Outer Limits also had this pacing. Most people point, correctly, to how Star Wars mixed the western with sci-fi, but, it seems, not many noticed that Star Wars had pacing that was closer to the Screw-Ball Comedy. I feel that faster pacing was a big part of why that movie caught the public's attention. With the traditional pacing, the audience has ample time to think about what they are watching - and they were expected to think while watching. Star Wars took the viewers through the story with little time to really think things through in the same way a Jerry Lewis movie took the viewers through a sequence of events that would not have held up with a slower pacing.

I have to talk about that other franchise to explain how I feel about the Star Wars movies.

I, in my younger days, had bought into the new Star Wars look of science fiction movies. I was one of those who referred to Star Trek: The Motion Picture as Star Trek: The Motion-Sickness. My views have changed over the years. Over the last year, I've worked my was through all of the Star Trek movies and I found that The Motion Picture was a much better film than I had given it credit for back then. I've come to see that of all the Star Trek movies, The Motion Picture has the closest feel to the original series though, most of the other movies tried to hold onto keeping thought in Star Trek. That, I'm sure, is why so many Star Trek fans hate the Kelvin Timeline movies. While I can enjoy the Kelvin Timeline movies, I do not consider them proper Star Trek movies. They became more like the kind of storytelling that evolved from Star Wars - We don't want you to think, we just want you to sit back and watch the pretty things explode. I've managed to hold onto thinking while watching movies. That's why I'be become bored with the Star Wars universe.
 

uk 75

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A great film producer obviously agreed about the Screw-ball Comedy
The original Star Trek (TOS) is the only one I can bear to watch again (and not just because of the ladies). Its homilies are packaged with the right amount of surrounding warmth and humour. The succeeding attempts to reproduce the mix of Shatner and co have all been pale copies of Kirk and his crew.
As for special effects. How I hate CGI with its over dark or too bright graphics and characters making leaps that owe more to a DC Comicbook than a realistic sci fi film.
 

The Artist

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A great film producer obviously agreed about the Screw-ball Comedy
The original Star Trek (TOS) is the only one I can bear to watch again (and not just because of the ladies). Its homilies are packaged with the right amount of surrounding warmth and humour. The succeeding attempts to reproduce the mix of Shatner and co have all been pale copies of Kirk and his crew.
As for special effects. How I hate CGI with its over dark or too bright graphics and characters making leaps that owe more to a DC Comicbook than a realistic sci fi film.
A side comment about CGI. It's been said that Jim Henson's biggest technical disappointment with The Dark Crystal was that the Gelfling puppets could not give a convincing performance. Early on in the development of The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance, the Jim Henson Studio experimented with doing the Gelfling characters in CGI while the Skeksis, Uru, and Podlings were still puppets. Part of an early test was shown in the making of Age Of Resistance feature on Netflix. Granted, it was an early test, but it was clear from the first frame that the Gelfling was CGI. They said they never could get the CGI to match the look and movement of the puppets. In the end, they used CGI to enhance the expressions and give characters more realistic eye blinks.

Now. To bring this back to topic, but continue the screw-ball comedy idea, I give you this well done joke I found on line when Rogue One was new.

rogueone-jarjarbinksposter.jpg
 

CJGibson

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You might be interested in a forthcoming issue of The Aviation Historian.


Chris
 

chimeric oncogene

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K2SO beats C3Po any day of the week! Felicity Jones is way grittier than whoever that other gal was in the Disneys.
No, C3PO is funnier - especially in the OT, where he has more speaking lines.
K2SO's literalist dialog is funny, but his jackassery is less entertaining that C3POs because of his position - he's an equal, a participant, not a butler trying to stay out of the way.
C3PO's accent and phrasing is what sells his self-important jackass butler schtick, which works better because he's not trying to be involved.
 

Orionblamblam

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Ignoring all the later fluff and franchise, if you watch A New Hope, as a standalone film as it was in 1977 its clear its not a stand-out classic.

I watched Star Wars in the theater three times in 1977 as a member of the precise target audience, and I coulda told you right then and there that it *was* a stand-out classic.

All of your issues with the movie are true: the FX weren't quite what 2001 had, and so on. But what Star Wars *did* have was enough of *everything.* It was in a sense cinematic perfection, even though every aspect of it could be picked at. It told the "Hero's Journey" correctly, it had clear good vs evil (in an era when that was passing away into a fog of post hippie moral grayness), it had heart, it had just plain damned interesting and likable characters. Sure, Luke was a plank, but every kid I knew wanted to be Han Solo... except for those that wanted to be Darth Vader.

Compare Star Wars to what else was on offer at the time. Fox made two big sci-fi films for 1977. Star Wars was the one that the Fox suits had little faith in; they expected far bigger things to come from "Damnation Alley." Other than a cool truck, DA has been largely lost to time. Just a handful of months before Star Wars, the biggest thing in sci-fi was "Logans Run." Sure that had a semi-naked Jenny Agutter, and that's nothing to sneeze at... but the rest of the movie is just plain goofy, with miniatures and sets and props and costumes that are *painfully* "pre-Star Wars" in halfassery. Before Star Wars, my favorite sci-fi film was probably "The Land That Time Forgot," with its dodgy miniatures, cheap rubber suit dinosaurs and lazy ape-man makeup. Go ahead and chew on *that.*

That's the things about Star Wars: it was blisteringly obvious that in every area, from FX to costumes to props to sets to cinematography to score, Star Wars *didn't* half ass it. This was basically a first for what is sort of a kids sci-fi movie. And for the kids at the time, it was a revelation.
 

Orionblamblam

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Yikes. Logan's Run looks even *worse* in trailer form. The beginning of it with all the floaters in "carousel" looks like something out of the Star Wars Holiday Special.

The way to think about the importance of Star Wars isn't to compare it to the movies that came after... but to the movies that came before. Sure, there was the occasional "2001," but there were far more Logans Runs and Rollerballs and Them and Omega Man and whatnot. Stuff that today just look truly awful, thanks to the effect Star Wars had on not only the movie industry but the audience. The real classics of sci fi pop culture cinema are largely post-Star Wars... Blade Runner, Alien, Ghostbusters, Terminator, Back To The Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET, etc.
 

uk 75

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Age is everything. LR was awful but Ms Agutter was closer to the ideas of this 21y student than Carrie Fisher.
Star Wars is not really Sci Fi, it is its own genre, Sci Fi Opera or Fantasy. It is this breadth and imagination which gives it timelessness. Like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings it creates a whole new world for people to get lost in.
Knowledge of this world is part of the appeal. Young and not so young fans can discuss the qualities of characters or the merits of Tie Fighters or C3PO.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Its amazing how terrible trailers were in the 1970s..
Yikes. Logan's Run looks even *worse* in trailer form. The beginning of it with all the floaters in "carousel" looks like something out of the Star Wars Holiday Special.
ALL trailers from the 1970s are uniformly awful. Its a wonder anyone ever went to see a movie.
 

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Time is the test - Star Wars went on to become legend. Nothing else came close?

2001 is still a bit niche even now, and the last 3rd of the film makes you feel you should be (or are?) on drugs! I still don’t feel I understand it.

I’ve just spent 2 days watching “Cinema Wins / Sins” on youtube thanks to that link btw!!!

I also watched Rogue One and it is awesome. Tempted on a whole 1-9 binge...
 

Arjen

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I've seen 2001 three times or so in the cinema, got it on bluray, I think it's great. Alien scared me more than Jaws, the trailer alone gives me the willies.
 

Purpletrouble

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2001 is awesome, but I wouldn’t describe it as an accessible film. I’ve watched it loads of times and read and discussed about it, I still am not convinced I really understand the plot!

Alien still scares me! The later ones as the numbers of aliens increased changed from an overwhelming sense of scary omnipotence to the very mundane “whack a mole” feel.
 

robunos

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I remember, when Alien first came out, that I bought the associated 'Production Notes' book, and in that, the film was described as a Horror movie, set on a spaceship, rather than a Sci-Fi film. Indeed, an early version of the script was supposed to set on board a steamship, and set in Victorian / Edwardian times . . .

cheers,
Robin.
 

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Or probably that the idea of Ripley wearing skiny leather outfits and bigger guns made up their mind for the change ;)
 
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The Artist

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Wow - I wonder if the space “effect” created by Star Wars influenced thet change :)
It is usually more the box office than the space (or whatever) effect that causes such a change in a story treatment/script. The following is quoted from the liner notes for the KRULL soundtrack.

"It was a time of epic fantasy. During the late 1970s and into the 1980s, the major Hollywood studios were producing films such as STAR TREK II, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, POLTERGEIST, and ET
Columbia Pictures' studio president decided that it was time for them to make an entry into the arena and so in 1980, a script was commissioned which became THE DRAGONS Of KRULL and a budget was set at $20 million. During pre-production, the Disney studio opened with DRAGONSLAYER which proved to be such a box-office disaster that Columbia decided to drop the 'dragon' idea. The film became simply KRULL and filming started at Pinewood Studios in March 1981."

And this brings to mind something that I heard Frank Kelly Freas say during a talk at a Star Trek convention in 1976. When a fan in the audience asked who made the decisions on what art appears on a cover, he said (and I am paraphrasing from memory) "More and more, these days, it is the so called experts in Marketing. One of these experts put out a report once saying that yellow was the best color for the cover of a magazine. So, that publisher went with a predominantly yellow cover. It outsold everything else. Gradually, over the next few months, the other magazines followed suit then yellow dominated the magazine rack - until one magazine appeared with mostly black on the cover. That issue outsold everything on the rack that month. Therefore I think your aim should be to be eye-catching by being different from everybody else."
 
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Purpletrouble

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Or probably that the idea of Ripley wearing skiny leather outfits and bigger guns made up their mind for the change ;)
I suppose Cowboys vs Aliens kind of went there in the end. Notably they used a lot of alien weapons iirc.

They had Bond though so he as always going to be au fait with tech :)

Hmmm Ripley vs Bond. She’s not really his type though, and vica versa...
 

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Rogue One is my favourite of the lot. Maybe I’m slow but the realisation very late on that this was the true prequel if you like, directly setting up the first Star Wars, blew me away.
The acting was great, the plot great, effects great and they all died (GoT like!).
And Vader there at the end. . .damn.
 

sferrin

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The hyperdrive attack was foreshadowed in Rebels. I belive the reason it wasn't done before was 1) Needed very precise timing, too soon and you miss, too late and you hit the shields 2) Needed very large mass to cause damage, no one is going to waste a battleship as a missile unless complete last resort.
The *real* reason why the hyperdrive attack wasn't use before was because it makes every cargo vessel a superweapon. Something the size of the Falcon could split a Star Destroyer in half (as the "Arrowhead" did in the canon-adjacent "Freemakers" series), and one of those ramshackle cargo barges the rebels seemed to have in abundance would probably burrow so deep into the Death Star that its reactor would detonate. Consequently, why didn't anyone use this before? Because it's entirely too lazy. It's about as exciting as having a superhero with actual godlike powers and invulnerability, or having an actual god show up and set things right at the last minute. Feh. No competent writer would spring that on an audience late in the game.
Like, why didn't they just beam a photon torpedo onto a Borg cube? Why didn't they make a Genesis Torpedo? Why didn't they put a phased cloaking device on a Genesis Torpedo (and their ships). etc.
 

Orionblamblam

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Like, why didn't they just beam a photon torpedo onto a Borg cube?
As you'll recall from the historical documents, Captain Janeway, Destroyer of Worlds, did exactly that.

Why didn't they make a Genesis Torpedo? Why didn't they put a phased cloaking device on a Genesis Torpedo (and their ships). etc.
Because Genesis technology bad and banned. Lame, but there it is.
 

Purpletrouble

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To be fair Star Wars has never got too into explaining the tech in the way Star Trek does. I like that but the cruiser hyperdrive kill was just lazy, as was most of that plot. Indeed, arguably what I disliked about TLJ and ROS was perhaps a more Trek style reliance on tech.
i guess perhaps they just aren’t that good films - it’s the idea and the Universe they created that gets the interest. Arguably Game of Thrones succeeded similarly because it created an incredible world - did something new (killing key characters and genuinely surprising twists) as Star Wars did with its tempo.

After-all you watch 2001, a long film and man is it slow. Some black things, a guy goes to the moon, there is a spaceship, a real time battle between AI and a spaceman, and then a dream (aka LSD!). 2hrs 44mins - for what, 5 things?
I’d be typing all night trying to summarise A New Hope!
 

Orionblamblam

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Not explaining magitech is better than badly trying to explain magitech.
I have a *vague* recollection of reading that Gene Roddenberry pointed out that nobody explained the functioning or physics of a phaser in the original Star Trek for the same reason that a cop doesn't stop to explain how his .38 works.
 
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