Happy 40th Birthday to Star Wars

May 25, 2017 – Forty years ago today, Star Wars hit theaters with a “Bang” and dramatically realigned the movie industry and our lives in numerous ways.
sw40-logo Star Wars woke up sleepy-eyed cinephiles and movie producers to some exciting truths:

That sci-fi flicks didn’t have to be clean, sterile and have a rational scientific basis – pure fantasy, mystery and dashes of humor could be supremely entertaining;

That the classic theme of the Hero’s Journey still made for compelling storytelling;

That visual and aural effects could make a good story great and, if Hollywood’s old studios or Pinewood Studios didn’t have the means or technology, you could push technical boundaries and create your own special effects (thank you, ILM and Ben Burtt);

That a grand orchestral score was not to be treated as an afterthought to a film, but as an integral part of the story, setting the mood, the tone, and adding emotional resonance throughout (thank you, John Williams);

That poor editing could ruin a potentially great film (looking at you, first rough cut of Star Wars) while skillful editing can keep the audience on the edge of its seat (thank you Paul Hirsch, Marcia Lucas and Richard Chew);

That while George Lucas is the acknowledged visionary who conceived his grand space opera, it has required many hundreds of talented people – artists, technicians, actors, producers, designers – to make Star Wars a polished reality.

That box office receipts aren’t the only way to realize a return on investment – merchandising and sequel rights can pave the way for staggering yields (smart move, George Lucas).

And so to celebrate Star Wars‘ remarkable accomplishments, why not treat yourself to a very well done retrospective by U.K. reviewer Oliver Harper. And, as always, May the Force Be With You.


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