You know things are bad when your own film crew tells you a movie is going to be a disaster… yet George Lucas persisted with his Star Wars project. The first film was released on May 25, 1977, and the galaxy has never been the same.
All six of the Star Wars films were nominated for Academy Awards, and one news article reported that the film series grossed over $4.38 billion, making it the fifth highest grossing film series of all time! Of course, this is a big year for fans, since the latest film (featuring many from the original cast) is scheduled to come out in theatres in December 2015.
What was the secret behind this film, which quickly became a pop culture phenomenon? First, it pushed the envelope in regard to special effects, changing the world of moviemaking forever. Many scoffed at George Lucas for attempting to use a toy-sized model of a spaceship to create the illusion of a gigantic spacecraft flying through the stars, but no viewer will ever forget the massive Star Destroyer from the original film’s opening scene. Lucas took creative risks, and they paid off. The special effects used in these films truly paved the way for modern computer-generated visuals.
Not only this, but Lucas took everything that made French Grand Opera a worldwide success and placed it in the unique setting of outer space. These films contain colorful characters based on old archetypes (the princess in distress, the wise old mentor, the young boy in search of his father), elaborate costumes, exotic locations, stunning visual effects, and memorable musical themes which develop and grow as the characters do. The result was the invention of a new genre – space opera – which has taken the world by storm. In essence, Lucas took a highly successful art form (opera) and made it accessible for a more modern generation. The results, as we all know, were simply out of this world.
While I love the Star Wars franchise, I’ll be the first to admit that its view of the divine falls far short of reality. In these stories, the destiny of the galaxy and its inhabitants is controlled by an impersonal presence of some kind known as “The Force.” While this makes a fun story, I am so grateful that the God I serve is not impersonal at all, but knows my every thought (Psalm 139:2), is able to be known (Philippians 3:10), and is intimately involved in my life (Genesis 28:15; Psalm 121:5). And instead of a very human savior such as Anakin Skywalker, who falls to the dark side and reveals a deep rage that becomes a fatal flaw – it’s comforting to know that the true Savior (Jesus), had no sin, which is why He was able to deliver us from the consequences of our own wrongdoing (2 Corinthians 5:21).
These stories are an incredible adventure which take our collective imagination on a thrilling ride, but the awesome reality of who God is leaves us with a sense of wonder that causes the divine presence of Star Wars fame to pale in comparison.
Sneak Peek: The “May the 4th Be With You” Star Wars Giveaway!
Each spring, The Artistic Christian features a giveaway. This year, in honor of the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I’ve decided to host a Star Wars Giveaway!
The details are simple: between now and midnight (CST) on May 4, 2015, simply post a blog article that is somehow related to Star Wars. Then leave a comment on this post or my “Contests and Giveaways” page to let me know. All participants will automatically be entered into a blind drawing for the Grand Prize.
What is the prize, you ask? It is a Star Wars collector’s item – the radio dramatized version of Return of the Jedi. This sound recording (still in the original box) features a talented cast of actors, music, sound effects, and additional scenes not found in the movie. Want to peek into the thoughts of Luke Skywalker as he crafted his new light saber? Enter this contest by May 4, and this epic radio production can be yours!
A Final Question: What was your favorite moment from the Star Wars films?