The new Star Wars movie is quickly becoming the most important cinematic event of 2015. Not only did Disney release a trailer last night that managed to get nerds to watch a football game (or football fans to be interested in Star Wars), it also released pre-sale tickets for the movie’s release on December 18th. And then the internet crashed every movie ticket site in the country.
So what’s so special about Star Wars? It seems like every single 80’s and 70’s movie franchise is revived or rebooted these days. We live in the era of nostalgia where everything five years or older needs to be brought back. Just yesterday Netflix announced it’s reviving Gilmore Girls!
Star Wars is basically the “hero’s journey” retold in space. A young boy has a destiny to fulfill, so he follows a wise old man, and thanks to his help defeats the forces of evil. Luke, Obi Wan, and Darth Vader, right? The thing is the hero’s journey is incredibly appealing when it’s done well. It’s been done thousands of times in history (from Beowulf to The Lord of the Rings), but what makes it work is that there is a world that’s at stake. The hero’s journey is about a youth who can save the world. So we need to care about this world!
Star Wars blows away any child who has never seen a movie in space. In fact, it blows away children used to Avengers-styled CGI. The world and its characters are written and directed in a way that makes you think that this world wasn’t created for the audience, but rather that we’re getting a glimpse into that world. So while the story might be familiar, the world feels so new and vast, that we are immediately drawn to it. There’s something magical about the amazement of seeing the Millennium Falcon for the first time, and then hear Luke Skywalker say: “What a piece of junk!”
What makes the new Star Wars sequels so appealing is the way it seems to blend the old with the new. The story isn’t too original. In fact, from what we get from the trailers, I feel I’ve seen it before. It’s about a youth living in a desert planet who finds an unexpected friend from outer space and immediately their adventures begin.
Along the way, they meet an old man who tells them about the Force.
And then they use it to fight a masked evil warrior.
This is a story we’ve heard before. Like Luke’s. In a world that seems old and new at the same time. It’s all lining up like in that movie in 1977. The similarities between the original Star Wars and this one? Let’s call them echoes of the Force.