As Good As Star Wars

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Fr4gm3nt

As Good As Star Wars

Postby Fr4gm3nt » Oct 25, 2010 2:33 am

Hi,

I'm new to this Forum and new to all forums in genral, i am an aspiring Screenwriter/Director, currently studing Film in Australia.
One thing I always ask people is "do you think something can be made today that could capture audiences like the original Star Wars movies did and has?
And what where the little or big things that made these films so loveable?

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Re: As Good As Star Wars

Postby Chris Huntley » Oct 26, 2010 4:15 pm

George Lucas had his pulse on the American psyche (consciously or not I don't know and it doesn't really matter) at least twice: American Graffiti and Star Wars. Both films caught the zeitgeist and started huge new trends in our culture. He even extended it a bit as producer Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Besides that, the technical bravado with the use of "computers" (more like step motors), combined with good ol' showmanship gave the world SciFi and Fantasy imagery it had never seen before in motion pictures. While 2001 was technically more elegant (and accurate), the prevailing FX technology was more like that seen in Logan's Run, the "grand" SciFi movie released approx. six months before Star Wars. The differences between the two, technically and style-wise, is immense.

I think "Avatar" went a long way toward matching the technological leap forward that Star Wars did. Where it fell short was in the story, a thinly disguised version of John Smith and Pocahontas. Where the 1970's, particularly the late 1970's, were about celebrating life (Disco was king), partly in response to the end of the Viet Nam war, the culture wars, the skyrocketing gas prices, and the new sexual revolution, we are in a darker place right now. Today is the world of violent video games, wars, and severe recessions. I think if Avatar had a meatier center to it, it might have done much more than titillate our senses.
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Re: As Good As Star Wars

Postby AlabasterCole » Oct 27, 2010 8:13 pm

Hiya, Fr4gm3nt,

I'm new here, too. Learning to write scripts is quite a journey! I'm learning that a script of even a very 'base' movie like 'Bad Santa' is actually a complex construction like the engine of a car . . . I never would have imagined . . .

I absolutely agree Lucas hit a sweet spot sytlistically, too - and utilized the latest effects to show Sci-Fi in a way it never had been before.

I'd like to recommend the book 'Hero With a Thousand Faces' by Joseph Campbell. George Lucas has often said he drew heavily on Campbell's work with the 'mythic archetypes' and 'the hero's journey' when making 'Star Wars.' Dramatica uses these archetypes, too, so it all goes together really well.

Fr4gm3nt

Re: As Good As Star Wars

Postby Fr4gm3nt » Oct 28, 2010 6:39 pm

Thanks guys for your replies.
Yeah i should have a look at that book some time. I agree with both comments that Avatar visually and stylistically that was heading the the direction off the time that Star Wars did, and what was lacking compared to Star Wars was the story. That is what I'm really interested in, is the idea of creating a story that could capture so many people and over time grow as a story, into its own full world.

I have always wondered what these story elements are that can capture people as such, so i reckon i might have a read of that book and maybe look into more of what were George Lucas used as references when creating it, also i might look into Timothy Zahn and other Star Wars novel writers to see where they where coming from.

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Re: As Good As Star Wars

Postby forty » Nov 26, 2010 3:19 am

AlabasterCole wrote:I'd like to recommend the book 'Hero With a Thousand Faces' by Joseph Campbell. George Lucas has often said he drew heavily on Campbell's work with the 'mythic archetypes' and 'the hero's journey' when making 'Star Wars.'


True. But this makes it sound like Campbell and George were the first ones to come up with this, which is untrue. Hitchcock used what is now called the "hero's journey" pattern. So did Shakespeare. And all movies follow the pattern, not just Star Wars. I am a big fan of the "hero's journey" and I refer you to http://www.clickok.co.uk/index4.html which I think is a superb analysis and the associated youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/clickokDOTcoDOTuk ; it's just gold for any screenwriter.
Screenplay Structure: http://www.clickok.co.uk/index4.html
Online Formatting: http://www.plotbot.com/

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Re: As Good As Star Wars

Postby auggybendoggy » May 06, 2011 7:27 am

I happen to love Lucas’ work regarding allegories and mythology. I think it’s these parallels, which also draws from the bible, help people relate both to the antagonist and protagonist, in all of us. I recall in an interview when he stated that the reason why Vader has such an emotional appeal to everyone is because he does not represent just the bad guy we see on the news, but it’s us and our very struggle to make right choices. He’s tapped into us psychologically just as Luke does as he accomplishes what Anakin could not. But in the end it’s the love between a Father and a son (biblical parallel) which defeats evil.

I applaud Lucas.

As to the original question, yes I believe it’s possible but now without massive work. Star Wars is complex in philosophy and psychology and delivered in an intelligent way.

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Re: As Good As Star Wars

Postby FreeRangeAuthor » Jun 09, 2011 4:51 am

I would contend that a late movie that brilliantly uses mythological elements and structures is "Perfume: The Story of Murderer" (2006).

It conforms beautifully to the "hero's journey", who seeks his bliss. Although, in the end, it is how the hero really fails his quest.

I rated "Perfume" 10 of 10 on IMDB. It's a brilliant film. :shock:

-- Seattle

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Re: As Good As Star Wars

Postby Chris Huntley » Jun 10, 2011 10:52 am

If you haven't already done so, I recommend reading the short story/novella on which it was based. Also, there is an audio recording of the story that aired (I think on KCRW in Los Angeles, a PBS station) that was fantastic.
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Re: As Good As Star Wars

Postby auggybendoggy » Jul 06, 2011 12:04 pm

Thanks for the tip. I'm excieted to see it. Also Chris any idea if the audio is available in a MP3 D/L?

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Re: As Good As Star Wars

Postby Chris Huntley » Jul 06, 2011 1:36 pm

None that I know of, though there are audio book versions of the novel.
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Re: As Good As Star Wars

Postby LLou » Jan 23, 2012 9:17 pm

Bill Moyers did a superb set of interviews with Joseph Campbell years ago. They are on podcasts & video somewhere--perhaps on the JCF.org website. Campbell thought that there was a new modern mythology evolving that had something to do with Gaia (mother earth) but I don't know that he defined it before he died. i wonder if Avatar was somewhat of a failed attempt to explore that idea?

I think the current world environment of incredibly fast technological evolution and change and communication, the convergence of functions from multiple devices into one (e.g. a smartphone is a TV, radio, record player, telephone, calulator, book, movie theater, game, typewriter, dictaphone, credit card, killing device -- yes you can kill someone with a computer -- and more) and the convergence of computers into refrigerators, cars, insulin pumps, pacemakers, etc is overwhelming to even the most sophisticated. i don't think Campbell forsaw the whirlwind of technological change. I think a Star Wars equivalent now would have to deal with how to Outcome/Judgement - success/good have humans triumph over technology. Terminator was kind of an attempt at that.

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Re: As Good As Star Wars

Postby Robb6669 » Jan 15, 2013 7:49 pm

I agree that Avatar did push the bounds of special effect cinematically but the story was non-existant. For a better example I would have chosen Titantic. I think that the film did make some strides in special effects perhaps not as bold as Avatar but the story was there and I think the story was as good as Star Wars, in the heighten dramatic sense. The film was also directed by James Cameron who is part of that 70's film students who came out and made films based on ideas that they bounced off of each other. I think now film making has become so individualized that the community aspect of it has disappeared. Which I think makes finding the next Star Wars much more difficult.

Rob

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Re: As Good As Star Wars

Postby RoboButler » Jan 22, 2013 6:37 am

If I may offer my two cents to the original question. There are several reasons why Star Wars affected the way that it did.

First was that Lucas employed the archetype of archetypes, both in his story and his characters that made it accessible across generations. Another is the cultural milieu that it landed in. It was a throwback to the hero-saga, of the hero matinee of the 30's. In the despondent, depressive cinema that dominated the 70's (particularly in the dystopia, and disaster movies) Star Wars gave everyone something triumphant to be excited about. Part of that was the black and white morality that Lucas presented, and the clear representation he gave to the two sides visually. Evil was dark, the legions called Stormtroopers and were an interchangeable collective, while all the good guys were individuals. This sort of symbology was infused throughout the film.

It was a spark of brightness in a fog of drab gray. It inspired, it excited.

Add to that John William's score which utilized the same symbology that was employed visually. Of course the special effects, but, I would have to say, that was icing on the cake. And simply cool ideas - the Death Star, lightsabers etc.

Also Lucas was inspired by the godfather of space opera, E.E. Doc Smith's Lensmen series. That influence cannot be understated.

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Re: As Good As Star Wars

Postby RoboButler » Jan 22, 2013 6:41 am

Oops, hit post too early. There can be another Star Wars. But it would take an individual will like Mr. Lucas' for it to happen again.

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Re: As Good As Star Wars

Postby RobertS » Oct 09, 2013 4:49 pm

Chris Huntley wrote:I think "Avatar" went a long way toward matching the technological leap forward that Star Wars did. Where it fell short was in the story, a thinly disguised version of John Smith and Pocahontas. Where the 1970's, particularly the late 1970's, were about celebrating life (Disco was king), partly in response to the end of the Viet Nam war, the culture wars, the skyrocketing gas prices, and the new sexual revolution, we are in a darker place right now. Today is the world of violent video games, wars, and severe recessions. I think if Avatar had a meatier center to it, it might have done much more than titillate our senses.


I'm working on a scifi story, outlining, setting up reveals, self-revs, etc, according to Truby's 22 steps. I'm wanting pretty much just three things from my story.

1. For it to be received well critically and popularly.
2. To retain IP rights.
3. For it to be a growing, living IP.

Of course I want money, but I will setting for the success with fans as it can still translate to income as a popular and living IP. It would be real nice to be able to have a good solid income off it so I can continue to write without having to work in a sweatshop.

Another reason I want to retain the IP rights is because I will still want to develop the story without interference. I've spent a year or more laying around, dreaming of it, what if, whats and whys and now I'm putting it to paper. I'm not wanting to let it go.

thinkingcaps

Re: As Good As Star Wars

Postby thinkingcaps » Oct 13, 2013 10:06 am

I think what made the Star Wars series so successful was the element of surrealism. It makes people THINK ( which is crucial ).People WANT to be presented with things that provoke questions/thoughts that may be embedded in their minds. Humans are intrinsically curious and adventurous, however the typical viewers are shackled by rules and regulations. The Star Wars series "liberates" viewers by presenting them with a "temporary alternative reality". This series appeals to people of all ages and backgrounds as it appeals to the innate curious nature of people.


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