I just watched Star Wars for the first time. Take a moment, if you need to, to get over your shock.
I know how beloved the original film is, and how much people love the franchise, in part or in whole. People have been telling me to watch this movie nearly all my life. They nearly always have the attitude that there is no way I could not like it. The person who lent me the DVD is one of few who did not tell me I would love it or that my life was missing something for having not watched it.
I have to say, I’m not impressed. In 1977 the movie may have been amazing, but in 2013? It’s a little bit lacking, and I don’t say that because of the special effects.
For whatever reason, I’m not a huge fan of the cinematography. It’s something I normally do not focus on, but ultimately always leaves an impression. If I could pinpoint what it was, I would share. I cannot, so I’ll just move on.
There were, as I counted, two female (humanoid) characters. If I am wrong about this, it is only because of the tremendous insignificance of any females other than Luke’s aunt and the Princess. That the movie only had two female characters is, quite frankly, ridiculous. I cannot imagine a worse way to make a rebellion look nearly as oppressive as the oppressors than to exclude an entire sex that makes up 50% of the viewing population*.
There is another way to make your rebellion against oppressors look oppressive. Make sure to include second (or worse) class citizens! The droids were like house elves in Harry Potter, except Harry and Hermione realized how creepy it was to enslave an entire race. Sure, the droids were enslaved by those that built them and didn’t seem all that put out by it, but R2D2 got no recognition of his efforts to destroy the Death Star, while Luke and Han got medals. The fact remains that it was slavery, and the droids were bought and sold like old clothes in a flea market (or, you know, like slaves in a slave market).
I’d critique the story itself, but it is hard to do. I necessarily approach this from my life happening in 2013. In 1977 this may have been a new type of story line, but today the entire rebel story has been done so many times, in so many ways, and so very well, that Star Wars doesn’t really stand up.
Perhaps I would like the later films, but the first one is not exactly motivation to keep watching.
*I realize that females of the various species in Star Wars may not make up 50% of the population, but the fact remains that roughly 50% of the human population – the population to which the movie was marketed – is female. I know the figure isn’t 50% on the nose, but it will do for our purposes.