Skip to comments.How 'Star Wars' ruined sci-fi
Posted on 05/04/2014 2:13:54 PM PDT by Dallas59
Now that the cast of the seventh "Star Wars" movie has been announced, you can imagine the anticipation among the millions of fans of the film franchise. And why not? The six "Star Wars" films have been enormous successes: they have grossed over $2 billion domestically at the box office, spawned scores of books, comic books and merchandise (how many kids have their own light saber?) and made household names of characters like Darth Vader, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker.
(Excerpt) Read more at cnn.com ...
Of course it is, among other timeless plots laced with sciency-things. "Star Wars" has a particularly aristocratic Space Western origin, since the writer of "The Empire Strikes Back," Leigh Brackett, also wrote a couple of classic John Wayne movies ("El Dorado," "Rio Bravo").
She was also a very successful science fiction author in the 1930s. The "science" is dated - nobody thinks humans could survive on Mercury anymore - but a good story is a good story, and a good story can be made into a successful movie.
Star Wars is Science Fiction Fantasy. Star Trek is more Science Fiction as in “it could happen”.
Just time travel, race and lots of kinky sex.
This somehow being more science-y then light sabers and space ships.
Time for something new! How about doing a movie of the great book “A Mote In God’s Eye?”
All literature, and I consider movies as literature, is based in a handful of grand themes. “Wagon Train” is “Silk-Road Caravan,” if you want it to be, or “Star Trek.” Leadership vs. rebellion, order vs. chaos, how romantic relationships bollux everything up, etc.
Michael Hurst, “New Zealand’s most successful Shakespearean actor,” said of his co-star turn in “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” that the themes were no different from the themes of Shakespeare, because people are always the same, only settings (and quality of writing ;-) change.
“Star Trek” did race, “Star Trek” did time travel, “Star Trek” implied kinky sex.
Look at what we have today that was used in Star Trek, the original with James T. Kirk. The flip phone for one. Flat screen TV for another.
Butler’s main themes are race and sex, and in “Kindred” she wrote about a modern black woman who travels back in time to the antebellum South, where she is enslaved. The novel is regularly taught in classrooms and has made at least one list of “Great Books By Women.”
But Hollywood has yet to adapt it for the screen.
“How many of those white people are evil movies are they going to make”
Interesting article, though I disagree with the premise. As much as I loved the original Star Wars films, I never thought (even as a kid) they were the end all, be all for science fiction.
Consider some of the really great sci-fi made during or just after the original trilogy of Star Wars flicks: Alien, Blade Runner, John Carpenter’s version of The Thing, Starman, etc. Later on, we’d also have the likes of Dark City, Gattaca, and so on.
Now, I *do* think there is a trend towards on over-reliance on action in the sci-fi genre. But that’s what sells summer movie tickets these days, and I don’t think Star Wars is to blame or even that sci-fi is the only genre to have this trend.
As for the author’s assertion that The Matrix is the most original movie of the last 25 years, well, each to their own. The first film was visually impressive, but I’ve never found the films that deep or inspiring. Gattaca left a much bigger impression on me than Matrix. And in the vein of virtual/alternate reality, I like Dark City and the low-bugdet eXistenZ (a birthday IS a special occasion) just as much, if not more, than Matrix.
Star Wars owes a lot to Jack Kirby, too. It’s not difficult to see the influence of The New Gods in the Star Wars mythology, and Dr Doom clearly influenced aspects of the Darth Vader character.
I don’t think Lucas ever owned up to that, but I confess I don’t know for sure
But this article was a whine fest about Star Wars, which I submit, that the author has his panties in a wad over because there were "white" heroes in the story.
But Hollywood has yet to adapt it for the screen. Maybe if the lead character had a Wookie by her side...
Who knows, maybe Moochelle Obama is available?
Seriously though, that's his example of thought provoking science fiction? Sounds like Uncle Tom's Cabin with a time machine.
Star Wars is a story about a farm boy, an old wizard and a pirate who rescue a princess from an evil sorcerer in an impregnable castle. The sci-fi part is just window dressing.
Flat screen for viewing monitors on decks but in the rooms they had bulky consoles.
Ah, now I see! (John Wayne movies had white heroes, too ;-).
In addition to action, the science fiction genre in movies and television (and associated books) has produced a lot of thoughtful exploration of many themes. Even the current fad of comic-book based movies raises important questions that can generate interesting discussion.
Perhaps this article was generated because today is Star Wars Day. One has to agree that Star Wars is not the most sophisticated exemplar of the genre; aside from the visuals, the various movies stand or fall as “Westerns,” without much more to be said.
Lando was black. Chewbacca a thing. Droids don’t have a race. Lots of weird aliens in the alliance.
Don’t know what this guy was watching.
You almost exactly described “The Princess Bride”! (The “old wizard” part in that movie is distributed among several characters.)
‘How ‘Star Wars’ ruined sci-fi”
It certainly increased the % of people who first think of movies or TV shows when they hear the term ‘sci-fi.’ I think of books first for sci-fi, but I think of movies and TV shows when I hear the term ‘western,’ as opposed to Zane Grey or Louis L’amour. I still think of books for the term ‘mystery.’
Never cared for sci fi but I’m starting to feel a little embarrassed that I’ve never seen ‘Star Wars’ or any of it’s progeny.
What color was Chewbacca?
This is silly. Star Wars is classic pulp magazine SF,aka Space Opera, in concept, if lately clumsy in execution. Space Opera WAS SF, or most of it, in the 1930s-50s.
This stuff was aimed directly at geeky boys and still is.
Some of the boys never grow up of course.
And some of the Space Opera did approach actual literature, as with Dune. But SF never needed to be great literature to be authentic or appealing to its target audience.
Octavia Butlers stuff is come-lately chick-lit junk.
Also Oath of Fealty, but it's pro-corporate message would detonate minds throughout Hollywood.
No prob but you need to see Lord of the Rings to be cool
Never got why no story by Niven ever got
made into a movie.
Ringworld would be a hoot to see on the
big screen.Always been fascinated by the protectors
Guess I`d rather see the Motie movie tho
Kind of a golden-retriever shade.
Now there’s a space western.
Chewbacca is a ginger. :)
Yes, it is.
That WAS SF in the old days.
Burroughs Mars books for instance are just that, wild adventures in a more exotic setting. He could have set them as Caribbean pirate tales just as easily, or as Louis L’Amour westerns, or redone medieval fantasy in the setting of Orlando Furioso. Its just that in his time Mars, Aliens and super-science were cooler.
I don’t know how old you are, but if you didn’t see the original, “Episode IV,” as a child, you might never get into the whole setup. If you like old John Wayne movies, you’d probably like the first couple of Star Wars movies.
The first Star Wars was epic, the sequel....trash.
Green alien chicks....hmmmmmm.
what? no reference to babylon 5?
Regarding the “white heroes”, at the time I don’t think the audiences would be drawn in by non white heroes.
Today? No problem with men and women of color. The number of headlining African American actors and actresses would be widely accepted: Jamie Foxx, Denzel, and Samuel l Jackson come to mind.
We HAVE grown in our acceptance of a good story and good filmmaking. Think of the biggest summer hits in the past ten or twenty years. Lots of actors of color carrying movies.
Don’t agree that Star Wars ruined anything, but I ‘d get a lot of agreement that CNN ruined news reporting.
The name of the space shuttle prototype too.
what? no reference to babylon 5?