01/09/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: BFI/Palgrave Macmillan. 96 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 9.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84457-277-9.
check out website: www.palgrave.com and www.bfi.org.uk
This is another in the BFI Film Classics range of pocketbooks. Considering all the other SF films that have been covered so far, it does seem a little strange that it's been so long in coming to cover 'Star Wars'.
If you're buying this book purely to get some hidden fact from within or about the film's story specifically, this might not be for you. Will Brooker's treatise is more on creator/writer/director George Lucas himself. It explores his avant-garde background and how he really made 'Star Wars' to show he could create one commercial film.
Makes you wonder what he would have done if that was how he saw commercial films as his main occupation. He might have given that other director, Spielberg, a run for his money. Looking objectively at what I just wrote, forgetting his earlier material, Lucas' directing career became a one-trick pony, so it's a shame he never went back to doing smaller features.
Lucas' main interest concerned itself with how films are put together, especially in regard to their emotional content. In many respects, the imagery of 'Star Wars' is based on a variety of films. We all know that the space battles were designed around the way films like '633 Squadron' and 'The Dambusters' played out but this extends throughout the film. Author Will Brooker also compares with photographic evidence to films such as 'The Searchers' and 'Lawrence Of Arabia'.
If you're familiar with these films then the transposition into a Science Fiction film explains something about any familiarity we get with the situations used from the Lucas template. It is only the SF gloss that hides its origins. One could well think the film was an equivalent to rap music where a source is used and openly hidden as regarding its originality but just liking its transformation.
There's a lot more concerned Lucas' background with his earlier films and his views on them. I found this book an informed read and certainly learnt something from it. Whether you want your own myths about the original 'Star Wars' film disturbed is up to you but it will certainly make you think.
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