Star Wars: The “Holy” Trilogies

In the extended entry I talk about the effects of the Star Wars series, and the forthcoming final chapter of the prequel series.

À propos of nothing, the Guardian list for the Top 10 Best Sci-fi films of all time is, in my humble opinion, about as perfect as such a list can get.

When the original Star Wars came out, I was at an age that was completely captured by the phenomenon. Young people today just can have no concept of the extraordinary feat of visual and auditory effects that Star Wars delivered. Until the release of Star Wars, there had been no film that had appeared so incredibly vast and engaging, no sound that had rocked the very floor of the theatre, no sense of “being there” so rich. And beyond the effects, the reworking of the old Arthurian tale – a prodigal son with a crystal sword of light, who trains with an old magician and battles against incredible odds to bring order and democracy to the realm – this was a story that was both heroic and happy. We loved it because it was a tale so hauntingly familiar, and so exquisitely presented. Then when the later films first shattered our belief in happy endings, and then rebuilt them again, the true impact of the Star Wars phenomenon – the development of the sci-fi “Holy Trilogy” – emerged.

The prequels released from 1999 have in no way had the impact of the original trilogy. Fans generally have been disappointed in the revelation of a biological tendency for jedi abilities, the annoying computer generated characters, and the rather moralistic perspective taken on relationships. Interestingly, the prequels actually get the politics inherent to the story right, but the difficulty with communicating the complexity of the political situation often left audiences confused and disconnected from the core story of the main characters. But there is always one last chance for redemption. The Revenge of the Sith represents for the Star Wars franchise, the last chance to redeem the prequel trilogy when it is released in 6 weeks’ time.

We all know the story because we know what follows; Anakin Skywalker will become Darth Vader. But it is absolutely vital to the entire series that this story is about as emotional as you can get. This has got to be a film where the fans won’t emerge enlightened and in raptures, but devastated and heartbroken. Without such an ending, the true spirit and the redemption of Anakin Skywalker achieved in the original series will be lost.

I, for one, am looking forward to this final chapter of the prequels, and I am hopeful that it will indeed deliver the emotional punch necessary for the extended story. I’m not confident, given the commercially conscious status of the first two films of this series, but (somewhat ironically) I will be satisfied if I walk out of this film feeling gutted.

The trailers are now released and they look spectacular. Now the countdown to the end of the series begins.

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