Sunday, December 13, 2015
Status Of The Force: Some Personal Thoughts
I hadn't initially planned to spill anything about my thoughts on next week's events, but since many are airing out how important the Star Wars saga has been for them, it suddenly felt right to place them into a snug place like this. Like so many kids of the seventies and eighties, the original trilogy holds a powerful sway upon my relationship to all things genre. And as I grew older, discovering just how much it carried within it legacies of mythology enriched my appreciation for them more. Be it through the mountains of merchandise even young first generations experienced throughout the early 1980s, or those hopeful days before the release of Episode I in the latter 1990s, the flirtation with longer exposure to the world of space knights, hyperdrives, and galactic empires seemed more like a junkie's promise than an organic and necessary expansion of a beloved universe.
But to hold them in such high esteem while the medium of film has evolved into a sort of mass production machine, coldly aiming for those nostalgic nerves in hopes of igniting a new generation, parts of me grapple with the notion that we have moved so far beyond this spark, that it often feels redundant. And to that end, rife with the ability to strip thin bones that would sooner provide the blood cells necessary to spur further discussion between kids. Talks that even a small me was willing to have with fellow kids, and even adults about the nature of good and evil, themes of fate, and questions about revolution. Perhaps this isn't the most common person's view of Star Wars, but it was mine as far back as grade school. I wanted to know why our relationship with nature decided where we were as people. A notion fathoms beyond the average kid who often found themselves enamored with fantastical tech, and grand scale space warfare. The mystery of the force, and how it binds all things was what granted a pull for me in the wake of spiritual chasm that were the revelations at the end of Empire Strikes Back. Where even the wisest could find themselves in the wrong for lying. Coming out of a separation after parents divorce, and seeing in both film and in real life how adults couldn't hold to their word despite their assumed station was a pivotal door for me to walk through at an early age. And perhaps this granted the series more depth than I was able to comprehend at the time.
That's right. A part of me feels like there's little else more Star Wars can truly offer except for new variations of the same thing. And unless the model is willing to take some bold leaps away from the tired and gunshy positioning the departed George Lucas undertook as far back as Return Of The Jedi, it may be a venture unwilling to do more than cycle endlessly. What made the films so special to me, were the operatic touches, the relationships, and a clear understanding that heroism can quite easily morph into villiany. It's meat and potatoes grand myth. So perhaps the only real way to acknowledge the most important updates the saga, is to look sharply at the new cast, and to celebrate the shift in focus that potentially will reside. It's true that there is real, hard hitting possibility in the series' new heroes.
But what I'm truly hopeful for, is a glimmer of revolutionary honesty beyond the blasters and destruction of machines. That our heroes will indeed observe a new world with unprecedented potential. To see past the demographics, and offer up means to respond to mythology of the past. Star Wars, served as an important window to what became my love for anime, classic westerns, samurai cinema, as well as the works of Joseph Campbell and Carlos Castaneda. So a part of me is not sure we were ever meant to linger in one place. New myths can offer new bents to classic tales, and perhaps illuminate truths that often the most rudimentary stories often find themselves unequipped to explore. Which isn't to say that I don't believe this is possible. But there is a doubt that there is enough room, or hook in one universe to do so. I would very much like to be proven wrong, but as it stands, Star Wars has become more a place of comfort, rather than a means to challenge. It's a reliable old pal at this point.
But just because a friend invites you over, doesn't mean you should overstay your welcome.