Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
What if an alien in the future stumbled upon Star Wars? Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once-proud culture and try to understand what human lives were like before their planet was destroyed. I’m your host, Garyx Wormuloid.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) | Directed by: George Lucas
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Written by: Ben Steiner
Analysis & Directed by: Jared Bauer
Starring: Mark Schroeder (https://twitter.com/mark_schroeder)
Edited by: Ryan Hailey
Original Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Opening Animation by: Danny Rapaport
Producer & Additional Artwork by: Jacob S. Salamon
Additional notes by: Tommy Cook
Star Wars: A New Hope
Analyzed by Aliens – Earthling Cinema
Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is Star Wars, a documentary about life in our galaxy, just with all the names and dates screwed up. For instance, it should start “A long time from now,” not “A long time ago.” And we don’t have The Force, we have big eyebrows that link us to a shared consciousness. But other than that, pretty accurate.
Star Wars tells the story of a whiny teenaged humanoid named Luke who just hangs around at home and doesn’t have any friends. His family buys two of the least helpful appliances on the market, and before you know it their house is destroyed.
Later, they run into Obi-Wan, Luke’s nosy neighbor who won’t shut up about how he knew Luke’s father, which Luke somehow didn’t know despite living next to this guy his entire life. Also, how does Luke not know what the force is? The Jedi were basically running the galaxy like twenty years earlier.
They hit the club together [cantina] and meet Han Solo, an intergalactic party boy who either shot first or didn’t shoot first, who cares. Next, they go to an even bigger club [Death Star] and fight over a girl. Obi-Wan forgets his ID, so the bouncer kicks him out [Darth Vader killing him], and the rest of them get all worked up about it and come back to trash the place.
Finally, they have a very long, wordless ceremony where Luke and Han get medals, but Chewy doesn’t, and neither do the other surviving pilots or anyone else who helped plan the attack. Tough break, losers.
￼ Storywise, Star Wars has many influences, most notably Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, or hero’s journey, featuring steps like the call to adventure, crossing the threshold, and hitting on your sister. It also draws from previous films, like Akira Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress, which uses two lowly characters to propel the story forward, and numerous Westerns, such as The Searchers, in which a guy sees a thing on fire.
The film also has religious and metaphysical overtones. The force is something that requires faith, a human concept necessitated by crippling mental insufficiencies [Han: “hokie religions are no match for a good blaster” – 1:01:14]. The ethos of the Jedi is reminiscent of Earth’s Taoism, which teaches that there is a force called the Tao behind everything in existence, from trees [tree from The Lorax] to toxic waste [Mountain Dew] to seahorses [mermaid] to horses [seahorses] [Obi-Wan: “The Force is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds and penetrates us and binds the galaxy together” – 34:45]. Lao Tzu wrote in the Tao te Ching of an energy that “gives people life yet claims no possession… it is the steward yet exercises no authority.” Kind of like me with my kids. Obi Wan tells Luke to trust the force instead of technology, since when have old people ever trusted technology? In contrast, the Empire puts all their faith in the Death Star, and rallies behind a guy who is more machine than man. This cold reliance on technology leads to chaos and destruction [Alderaan], whereas living in harmony with the natural world leads Luke to victory, and a more heart-warming kind of destruction [Death Star].
The Empire can trace its roots back to Earth’s most successful ideology, fascism. The imperial generals wear clothing [37:43] that resemble Bavarian Chevaulgers, which were all the rage in the spring of 1915, as seen in Nazi Cosmo. Many communist and fascist regimes used black and red [1:08:29] as their colors, most notably the Third Reich and the Miami Heat. Also, “stormtroopers” is what German dictator Alfred Hitler called his personal bodyguards during World War Z. And spoiler alert: “Vater” means “father” in German. Visually, Star Wars is a pioneer, combining influences like Metropolis and 2001 to create rich tapestry sewn together with state- of-the-art special effects [R2D2 falls down]. It also makes great use of color, often using it to express duality, because what else are you gonna use it for? As if mirroring the film’s moral structure, Vader and the Empire’s upper-echelon members all wear black, whereas Luke and Leia wear white. Han wears black and white together because he’s a bit of a bad boy. The stormtroopers have a white outer shell, but underneath you can see the black, suggesting the “facade of benevolence” that hides the Empire’s more sinister motives.
The film’s legacy is monumental. It marked the end of 1970s cinema, which was more focused more on pointless frivolities like substance, nuance, experimentation, theme, irony, etc. After Star Wars, the movie industry shifted its focus toward special effects, explosions, action, and butts. It went from complex conflict to stories that had a very clear and elementary distinction between good and evil.
The difference is that good people are super serious and evil people laugh all the time. Furthermore, Star Wars ushered in a new era of capitalization, with sequels, merchandizing, clothes, toys, spinoff novels, comic books, and video games, all of which directly led to the extinction of the human race.
The moral of the story is: if at first you don’t succeed, just keep at it. The first three Star Wars movies were a pile of hot garbage. But by the fourth movie, the series finally hit its stride.
For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid. To test your midichlorian levels, click the subscribe button.