by Ginger Marin
Some movies are just that – movies. Some are great works of film art. But very few rise to the level of social phenomenon.
The Star Wars franchise is just that. I like to call it ‘the new religion’.
In the past, legends were handed down by word of mouth; now they come to us via film. The Star Wars legend has lasted 20 years. It is a social phenomenon because the legend sparks the imagination with adventure, love and daring.
Whereas organized religion has become less important and families have disintegrated over the years, the film legend gives people something to believe in again. People crave the ideals of the legend to fill the voids in their own lives. And as with all good legends, they never die. Star Wars depicts heroism amid cowardice, honor amid betrayal and good defeats evil. Love and virtue rule. Immerse yourself in the film legend and you achieve all those things for two whole hours and when it’s over, you take it with you. “May the force be with you” was a very effective mantra when it was first uttered on screen in the first Star Wars film. I know it gave me something to believe in 20 years ago as I sat mesmerized watching Luke save the galaxy.
The Star Trek franchise is another social phenomenon. It’s lasted even longer than Star Wars. Every show was a tiny morality play and the characters lived in a future world where there was true equality for all beings. The character Spock, having evolved away from emotions, was portrayed as a man who operated on pure reason – no seven deadly sins for him.
Science Fiction exercises the brain to imagine how things could be and the legends that are derived from this genre depict a more virtuous world, if not an all-round better one.
(Sounds great, doesn’t it? – But, read my Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones Review and you will see that all is not right with the “Force”.)