Academy for Success

Ep23 Positive Cinematic Spotlight #26: Star Wars: A New Hope

Ep23 Positive Cinematic Spotlight #26: Star Wars: A New Hope

Welcome, Wolf Pack, to another Positive Cinematic Spotlight! This week, we celebrate Star Wars, May the 4th. In 1977, George Lucas changed the face of the sci-fi genre and movie making with Star Wars. Despite having a full epic plotted through the first three movies, and with elements and ideas that would be spread out into the prequels released later at the turn of the century, Star Wars was presented as a standalone movie, uncertain about what seems like inevitable success. Lucas’s space opera was well received and to this day the special effects Lucas helped develop for his film changed what passed for acceptable special effects in science fiction for all time. But something we tend to forget is the nature of the narrative he told, and the heroes of his space opera. Before 1977, science fiction tended to focus on alien invasions with a horror tone, or bleak dystopian futures. Most of these movies involved cerebral protagonists and while action may not have been absent, it wasn’t a major focus for the films. On TV you could find a shirtless Kirk fighting Gorn, but most science fiction involved outwitting enemies and analyzing the causes for the dystopian future they are found in. The science fiction action characters were pretty interchangeable, as Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon were strikingly similar in personality. But the characters Lucas gave us in his adventure broke the mold: A young farmer boy who dreamed of a more exciting life, an elderly hermit, an outspoken and opinionated princess who played a significant role in her own rescue, and a criminal who just wanted the money. Science fiction heroes now didn’t have to be serious, noble, strong, and morally two-dimensional. They could be flawed, they could be weak and uncertain, they could shoot first. While the chapter title A New Hope refers to Luke, Han Solo, and Chewbacca joining the rebellion and Luke learning the ways of the force, the first to do so in many years, the chapter title also captures what Star Wars did for the science fiction genre. Science fiction soon became a significant storytelling genre making movie studios lots of money and getting critical acclaim. The genre was no longer just a means to get money from kids, but also became appreciated by the more discerning adult audience. Similarly, this year, we have had to reinvent the classroom. We’ve brought in new technologies, experimented with new methods, and reached audiences, I mean students, who otherwise would have been lost. These are developments which, as  things return to normal, we don’t abandon. Returning to normal should not lead to us abandoning the wider array of methods students have had for the past year to participate in class. Imagine suspended students still able to view the lesson while at home, students on homebound no longer being limited to 5 hours a week, because now they can watch the lesson live, or rent the video tape. Sorry, I mean stream the video. Going back to normal, for schools, should only refer to being able to not wear masks, not having to worry about how far apart everyone ism

Duration: 14 min

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