Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Star Wars Prequels: What do they add?

My love for films makes me question; "What is this film really about?" and "Can that message enrich our lives"? For example, the "Kill Bill" films are mostly about Passion, Hatred and Revenge. Fun as this is to watch, how does it enrich our lives? Very little then, in Tarantino's case; unless perhaps to decide to forgive instead!

I will now apply this reasoning to my favourite film ever, Star Wars. I was quite happy from the earliest age till my teens to watch and enjoy solely the original trilogy. It was a visually exciting space drama! But perhaps really memorable to us because of the resonant themes laying in our hearts: Heroism, Maturing, Friendship, Personal history, Temptation and Redemption.

So then, what did the prequels add?

Perhaps nothing. They played into all those themes well, but ultimately is not as self-contained in a trilogy in the same way as the 1977-83 films.

The Prequels' central premise expands upon "Redemption" by exhorting innocence as being something which is laid waste by bad circumstances and temptations.

Many arguably concur that the New Trilogy (the 'Prequels') from 1999 - 2005, are really subtractions from what we had: both chronologically, and in their failure to evoke empathy for the wellbeing of its characters. For a start, we are too eager to see Anakin turn into Darth Vader; the villain we all love to hate!

Really, though, the theme of fall from innocence, and subsequent redemption, is epitomised in just one scene: The removal of Vader's mask. A short piece of dialogue and barely 5 minutes of film-reel simply show an amiable yet pitiful old man, who experiences peace. He even says "you have [saved me]" regards his offspring, giving a glimpse of the reciprocal role of Father.

A few minutes after, in the final shot of the Sex-rilogy, we see Anakin Skywalker again, redeemed and restored as a spirit "at one with the force".

My final word would be that George Lucas did what he always intended and practised: created an artificial world as wild as he could imagine. The problem came when film technology caught up with him, and strangled his hours of real-life (predominantly green-screen) footage into a laborious but exciting spectacular.

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