erik lundegaard


Star Wars (1977)

A bizarre experience seeing Star Wars as an adult. What's the time frame within the movie? Two days? Four at the most? This is what happens to Luke Skywalker during that time: He and his Uncle Owen buy some droids, one escapes, and after chasing it down he runs into Ben Kenobi. Returning home he discovers his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru have been turned into baked goods. That same day, Ben charters a spacecraft to Alderaan, they run into Imperial trouble, and, at the Death Star, Luke rescues a princess while Ben is "killed" by Darth Vader. Finally, Luke joins a rebel attack on the space station and, using the mystical powers he's learned from Ben, succeeds in blowing it up.

Written byGeorge Lucas
Directed byGeorge Lucas
StarringMark Hamill
Harrison Ford
Carrie Fisher
Alec Guiness
Peter Cushing
Anthony Daniels
Kenny Baker
Best Art Direction
Best Costume Design
Best Visual Effects
Best Film Editing
Best Musical Score
Best Sound

As Dorothy said when she landed in Oz, "Things sure move fast around here." In movie theaters, they haven't slowed down since.

Question: Why does Luke seem more distraught over the death of Ben Kenobi — whom he's known, what, two days? — than the death of his aunt and uncle, with whom he's lived his whole life? Is it because he and Ben are bonded by the Force? Or do the depth of his feelings depend more on audience perceptions than his perceptions? In screen time, Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru barely register, and when they do it's often pejorative. Ben Kenobi takes up the middle portion of the movie, and in some ways is its most memorable character. Luke misses Ben more because we miss Ben more. Still, when Leia has to console Luke about Ben's death, it would have been nice if he'd added, "First my aunt and uncle and now this. Everyone around me is dying." Something to that effect. Some indication that he still remembers his 18+ before R2-D2 strolled into his life.

Still, Star Wars has one helluva imagination. "Sand People always travel single-file — to hide their numbers." The bar scene. Jawas. The snake in the trash compacter. The Force. Perhaps the most imaginative thing we see is the first thing we see: The words "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away." This allows George Lucas to come up with anything his imagination desires. He does.

—October 26, 1996

© 1999 Erik Lundegaard