Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Translated from the Japanese

Star Wars (A New Hope): Watching this again now, after having done a lot of relevant re-reading and viewing, the thing which strikes me the most is the fact that this movie is, in all its elements, mainly a clever pastiche. The core of the story is indeed "The Hidden Fortress" (with at least one scene almost shot-for-shot identical and Leia clearly the American cousin of Kurosawa's princess), but the sequences on Leia's ship and the Death Star owe the most to Flash Gordon, particularly as regards dialogue, and Lucas was actually sued over the resemblance between his cute droids and the ones in Silent Running. Meanwhile, on Tattooine, substitute "Confederate Army" for "Academy", "cotton plantation" for "moisture farm" and "slaves" for robots, and you've got a Civil War coming-of-age drama, which then morphs, rather logically, into a Western the moment Obi-Wan turns up to pull everything sideways into The Searchers. There are a few elements of Die Nibelungen (the quest of a young blond hero, whose mentor is keeping some rather important secrets from him), and of course 633 Squadron and Fifties angry-young-teen-makes-good movies, just to round things out. Between this and Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, I would argue that Lucas' best films are inherently postmodern.

Movie count for 2011: 94