sábado, 28 de septiembre de 2013

Heroes and Scoundrels

When Star Wars was first introduced to audiences in 1977, it became a worldwide phenomenon. Many have argued looking back that it's success is largely due to the fact that it came at the right time. The United States had recently come defeated out of the Vietnam War, and was facing a scandal out of its previous president. The country was in a state of despair. Episode IV gave the public a sense of hope, and most importantly, it gave a group of heroes with a strong sense of morality: the Jedi. 

The Jedi ever since first being introduced, have been the central core to the saga, even if their appearance in Episodes IV-VI wasn't as prominent as in I-III. And part of the reason why they remain so iconic and important to the franchise, has to do with the image they represent: that of the moral hero. 
Part of the appeal of characters like James Bond, Boba Fett, Jack Sparrow and Han Solo has to do with the fact that they reflect a broken aspect of ourselves. When Bond was first introduced in the Ian Fleming novels, he was a guy who could sleep with a woman and later murder her and have no remorse over it (I'm talking about the character of the novels). In some ways, Bond was no better than the bad guy he was fighting against. And this is of course, part of why the audience like the character. 
Bond...James Bond
We live in a society in which several young kids are being raised by the television and the Internet, due to the fact that their parents are too busy working a full time job. Most of these times, these kids grow up to idolize the celebrities that were popular at the time. And it's a real shame, because as Joseph Campbell described it very well in The Power of Myth, ''One of the many distinctions between the celebrity and the hero, is that one lives only for self while the other acts to redeem society.'' This isn't to say that Han Solo is a celebrity per say, but that he is more of a selfish character...at least in most of A New Hope.

However, every now and then a hero becomes noticed by the popular culture, and makes us all realize and see the good within us as humans. Gandhi did that in the 40's. Martin Luther King did so in the 60's, and more recently Pope Francis has been receiving high level of appraisal and respect outside of the Catholic Church. In today's popular films, few characters embody the ideal moral hero better than the Jedi.

That isn't to say that the Jedi are perfect, by any means. But in several ways, they serve as great role models to both young boys and girls alike, in a time in which the world's traditional morals are more desperately needed than ever.

And  I'm pretty sure that more than one Star Wars fan has previously or still, wishes to have been mentored by the likes of Obi-Wan, Yoda and Qui-Gon, because ultimately, many of us wish to become wiser and see the best that is within our own potential. In several ways, I find that to be the reason for Obi-Wan's popularity, and one of the reasons why he is my favorite character: We get to see him mature from a young man into a wise old master. Few other film characters get that type of development, and it's one of the things I hope we can get from an old Luke Skywalker in Episode VII.

So, at the end of the day, even if scoundrels like Han Solo and Boba Fett are popular among the fans, their is a reason why the Jedi are the central part of Star Wars. 

sábado, 7 de septiembre de 2013

Paul F McDonald ''The Star Wars Heresies''

Paul F McDonald's famous blog titled The Star Wars Heresies is a very interesting take on exploring the philosophy, religion and mythology of Star Wars, and is one of the best strongholds over Episodes I, II and III. He is the primary reason I have taken an interest in reading Joseph Campbell. Now several of you can take their first step into a larger world, by purchasing his newly released book.

Here you can purchase the book:

jueves, 5 de septiembre de 2013

In the True Defense of George Lucas

A common ''myth'' that the hateboys have fabricated over the years is about how George Lucas was responsible for absolutely everything in the prequels and how he somehow did nothing in the originals. This is obviously one of the biggest lies manufactured by the Hateboy Nation, and goes to show the level of insanity and immature behavior these haters have. However, it should be clear that not all of them support the same views when it comes to GL and the prequels. One of them being the notorious Mike Ryan from the Huffington Post. 

In his post titled Star Wars Episode VII: In Defense of George Lucas, Ryan starts off with the ''myth'' that it's somehow contrarian to defend GL these days. He further explains below: 

First, let's back up a second. When I say this is "odd," I mean that if we did a smash cut (or, since we're talking about Star Wars, a screen wipe) from 1983 to today, this sort of attitude would seem preposterous. Of course, 30 years have passed, which is quite enough time for a director to erode his relationship with a fanbase -- and, yes, that's exactly what Lucas accomplished with the prequels.

Let's settle down a couple of things here. George Lucas has not eroded his relationship with the fanbase. If I recall correctly from Celebration VI in Orlando, and the various public appearances he's had over the years, George has been very warmly received by the crowds how have seen him. Sure, Lucas's relationship with the hateboys is one that eroded a looong time ago, but that is more related with the lack of decency these people tend to have than anything else.  Not to mention the fact that with Episodes I, II, III  and the Clone Wars, Star Wars has gained a new generation of fans, most of which have a high degree of respect and admiration of GL. Oh, and did I mention the complaints of people who where clearly worried when George wasn't going to be very involved in the upcoming Episode VII? People who asked if it would be Star Wars without George Lucas? Exactly.

Now if you keep reading his article, you notice that Ryan has at least some level of respect for Lucas. He clearly sees him as a ''big ideas man'' responsible for the story that came to happen in Empire and Jedi. His view that George is a great storyteller however, crashes if you remember well something Ryan wrote back in June titled Jedi Are Boring. He ended this article with this outrageous statement:

The original Star Wars movies worked because we related with Han, Luke and Leia. It's impossible to relate with a Jedi. Also, who would even want to relate to a Jedi? They're boring.

So on one hand Mike Ryan says that George is a good storyteller but on the other he pretty much says that the most important characters of the Star Wars saga are boring? Of course, both ideas are completely contradictory to each other. What this illustrates the most is the truth of why the hateboys hate the prequels and in turn, aren't really fans of Star Wars:

The truth is plain and simply, the hateboys had a very different view in mind about what Episodes I, II and III would look like. However, once the films were released and they didn't live up to those expectations, ideas, dreams or whatever, they were disappointed. So in the course of the years, they have ransacked every argument in the book, while not realizing that the real problem is themselves, not a filmmaker who has become one of the most financially successful and most influential in the past 30 years.
So, in The True Defense of the Maker and Master himself, George Lucas, we can say that he has created a very popular space opera that has spanned 6 films, countless books,comics and games, and a very popular TV Show. Not only is he highly influential as a filmmaker and a storyteller, but also he is widely admired by the fans. At least, by the ones who truly love Star Wars.

P.S.: Oh, and by the way, at the end of Mike Ryan's Defense of George Lucas article, I checked to see the comments section, which typically attracts hateboys like how a shark is attracted to blood. However, to my very delightful surprise, Bryan Young stood up for the prequel supporters, and posted this comment:
Thanks Bryan for the support!! We need more of this type of defense in hateboy territory!!

lunes, 2 de septiembre de 2013

Benedict Cumberbatch in Episode VII?

Sorry friends that I haven't written in a very long time, but moving into starting college life in the US from another country isn't exactly the easiest thing to do. Now that I have some free time on Labor Day, let's talk about Star Wars. 

Of all the rumors that have been circulating, in particular when it comes to casting and the return of dead characters, most have zero to zero chance of being true, in particular when they all come from Latino Review. In all honesty, who in their crazy minds thinks that Zac Efron has any chance of appearing in Episode VII? And what is the deal with the return of dead characters? People need to stop obsessing over the least common denominator. 

However, one interesting rumor that has surfaced as of recently is that Benedict Cumberbatch will be part of the cast of the next Star Wars film, and is supposedly one of the ''big casting announcements'' Lucasfilm has yet to make. Now, does this have any chance of being true? 


Let's remember that the casting call needed an actor in his 30's who would be an ''intellectual''. Several fans have wanted Cumberbatch to play as Thrawn, but since the EU won't be visited this time, it's extremely unlikely Thrawn will make an appearance. Benedict fits in the role of the ''intellectual'' very well, as we know from his appearance as Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek: Into the Darkness

Wait, what did I just say? 

You heard correct folks. JJ has already worked with Cumberbatch in the past, so on that part of the show, it's possible he might be cast again now that he knows the actor. But on the other hand, having an actor who played in the Sci-Fi franchise of Star Trek making an appearance in it's space opera rival isn't exactly the most wise thing to do. So, who knows?

UPDATE!! UPDATE!!: Their is no truth in the rumor, according to a representative of the actor. This is the statement: 
"There is no truth to the rumour Benedict has been cast in Star Wars."