So last time, I was writing about the first stories we encounter in life, about “children’s” stories and where we learn how to use those stories to understand ourselves and our world. Cinderella was a good place to start (for the girls at least…) but although it was one of the first stories I heard and learnt it was certainly not the first movie I watched in a cinema.
No, that was Star Wars. The subtitle “A New Hope” didn’t come until later. For us seventies kids that film was always Star Wars and I suspect always will be
(JJ Abrams has a sweet gig bagging the directing duties of Episode 7, but a pretty tough gig at the same time – millions of fans praising you or baying for your blood. He did it with Trek, the latest of which does indeed give me hope for “Wars”. Keep praying folks)
I’m told by those older but not necessarily wiser that at the age of four in a wee cinema in Scotland (yes you’re all furiously calculating my age now….dagnabbit!) that I stood on the seat to scream at the screen “Come on Luke, Come ON Luke!!” Clearly the sheer excitement of adventure had overwhelmed me to the point I couldn’t contain it any longer.
But isn’t that how it should be? And for a story as primal as this one – farm boy, scoundrel and Princess penetrate a fortress and win the day for good – it speaks to hopes and dreams in every one of us, it speaks to the deep down knowledge that when we see something that is plain wrong, we should be standing up.
And it’s Luke’s innocence, sense of Justice and inability to keep quiet in the face of wrong that ultimately drives the story. (Yes, I know it’s popular to say that Han Solo steals the film – Looking at scoundrels is another Blog though.) He rushes home when he realises his Aunt and Uncle are in trouble, without thinking that maybe the stormtroopers could still be there. If they had been, the saga would have been a different one – Obi Wan would simply have apprenticed Leia and she would have been the hero – I’ve always thought she was the stronger twin anyway (am now imagining the “Feminist Star Wars….a short story or novella somewhere down the line ^_^)
Back to Luke – he’s hot-headed, excitable and curious and suffers from what “traditional Jedi” would call attachment. But in the long run of the whole saga, it’s attachment – the bond of father and son, brother and sister, comrades in arms, deep friendship that goes beyond blood, – that gives the “heroes” the strength to eventually drive back the darkness.
But most of all, it’s a friendship between two inanimate objects, one of which doesn’t even use words comprehensible to us, that provides the heart of the story and binds the saga together overall. They might be 2 droids, but it’s a friendship reminiscent of Jonathan and David, Achilles and Patrolcus, Arthur And Bedwyr. It’s because it’s a friendship we can all relate to, a friendship we would all want to emulate, a friendship that goes deeper than any “normal” relationships we see around us. It’s certainly one I’m envious of and aim for. The obvious affection they feel, the joy in each others’ presence, the concern for one another and for me above all the Loyalty (especially on the side of R2D2) they share is actually quite beautiful, and extremely watchable – and Quotable (“R2D2, it is you, It IS you” – and you just read that in Anthony Daniels’ voice, didn’t you 😉 )
So if the only thing Star Wars does is to show you what a truly fantastic friendship looks like (warts and all) and to journey through life with innocence, concern for others and a determination to stand up when you see wrong being done – well, that’s a pretty good job done by one storyteller right there. And that’s just one piece of this story’s glorious picture