Star Wars

A conversation concerning Star Wars between myself and vlogger Will McD. Will is in bold. I thought that this might classify as interesting or amusing. I’ve been wrong before!

I was talking about the background and universe of Star Wars with my girlfriend last night. She said that she’s read a book on it. I said that’s fair enough but I don’t know how the majority of the public get into the films unless they read the book too

I’ve read a load of the books but they were written post films. The films are hardly complicated to follow.

Well, my problem is this: they will jump from planet to planet.
“Here we are in Jawoo, to meet the Plasbian Mukabugu” and you just go, ‘ok, right’.
The planet Jawoo is a bright glowing orange with huge tropical birds and 6 moons. All the inhabitants are humanoids with ostrich heads. My question is…WHY?!

Because it’s Scifi.
If you can follow the universe of GOT i’m sure you’re intelligent enough to be able to follow Star Wars.

There is no explanation for how this world’s unique climate developed, where these people came from, what their general politics and allegiances are.

Because they’re films

They simply seem to be this way because people will say
“that’s cool”

Most people don’t enjoy 20 hour filmic explanation of the evolution of hundreds of different species and habitats.

I know Game of Thrones the tv show doesn’t give much history either but you’ll at least get some aside like “ah, Lord Frey of the crossing, the late Lord Frey my father called him but his castle is the only way to cross the Trident”

It’s a tv show
They tend to go into more depth
Due to the fact they’re so much longer

I can’t understand how you can get into something if it’s just bright lights and pretty colours.
I would enjoy watching a 2 hour film about the history or the culture of Jawoo
My girlfriend said “nobody would watch that, it would be crap”
I would watch it. Then i would understand it.

I can’t understand how you can watch any film without a week long introduction into the lives of all the characters from birth
But that guy who served him in the shop!? Who is he!?!

When it’s set in our world then its no issue. When the world is alien to us then it is an issue.

I feel he’s just been wedged in there without any explanation!?
Who is he!?
Where do his loyalties lie!?

There is a unique culture that is totally “alien” to us and to understand it we need some background
If there isn’t a unique culture then what the hell purpose does it solve to visit this place?
It would make the alien planet just a pretty backdrop and utterly irrelevant
That isn’t good writing, that’s set dressing

I don’t see how you can’t understand it if you’re not given a complete rundown of their economic structure and religious beliefs

At least a hint at it Will. Even Aliens gives more back story. Star Wars’ popularity just baffles me

Have you seen episodes 1 and 2?
That’s why they were so heavily criticised. They spent half the films going on about trade agreements and levies within the different systems and they were fucking boring

Ok Will, you walk into a business meeting
The meeting is held in a large, triangular shaped room
The man you are meeting is wearing just a thong
His secretary comes in wearing full traditional inuit costume
there is a shark, out of water, rolling about in its death throes on the floor in the corner
Do you accept all this and continue with the meeting or do you ask for just a little background?!

Is the meeting a 2 hour long sci fi film?
Besides i wouldn’t need background as it’s on earth
not in space

No, it is an example of curiosity and reasoning. You need some sort of structure. Are you not even a little curious?!

It’s not an alien planet so i would understand it all perfectly

Ok, all of the above but it’s on an alien planet

Well then i’d go to the toilet during all the exposition and guess my way through
I don’t know, i don’t like it when films feel the need to lead me by the hand when it’s not really necessary.

You could probably just assume you’ve wandered onto a star wars set and be done with it!
Its not leading you by the hand, its crafting a story, not just throwing up some pretty lights to distract from the paper thin plot

Surely you can make assumptions from various cues given by the director?
it doesn’t have to be all meticulously explained on screen during a conversation between two characters?

Its not about explaining or me being too stupid to follow it
Its about moving location in the film simply to show an impressive visual.
That isn’t storytelling.

Ok
so there’s a spaceship dog fight
its a fast paced action sequence
they fly down to the surface of a planet and past some locals who look shocked
should the film pause and gravitate away from the action to watch one of the locals have a cup of tea with his aunt and describe his entire family history?

ok, what is the purpose of introducing us to this planet and these shocked locals?

Because it’s an action sequence
which tend to be made for spectacle

Are the gravity and physics of this planet different to outer space and therefore affecting the fight?
If not then it is simply set dressing
The audience has gotten bored with outer space so lets jazz it up with a jungle backdrop then perhaps change the wallpaper again to a desert.

Well there would be more obstacles and a different landscape to navigate during the fight yes
But action sequences are mostly set dressing surely?
They are visual, isn’t that the nature of them?

I know, i hate action sequences anyway

Right

But you used the example
My point was when they visit other planets
To talk to people

So your ideal film would just be back story?
Lets not show these massive battles but listen to people talk about them in the past tense?

Yeah i would like that

Hmm then don’t watch films i suppose
Read

To be fair, i don’t like that many films
Top Gun is one of the few action films i like

Well cinema is a visual medium predominantly

I like rich story
Action takes away from that

You don’t care about the action if you don’t care about the characters and their development i agree
but a film has 2 hours to develop a story
so it tends to concentrate on the characters in the main frame. otherwise they don’t get any development and no one cares about your main guys
so you could expand on the whole universe at the expense of damaging your main characters
you hint at things
hint at civilisations as you don’t have time to expand on the whole thing

I agree with you but i don’t think Star Wars does develop anything when they planet hop
i don’t think Star Wars films hint at the civilisations or develop the main characters
maybe because Anakin is a shallow creep
and the old films are typical 80’s action films where “explosion” is a good substitute for story
and i spose you enjoy them for what they are, like Terminator. Then again, Terminator developed a back story

I disagree with your point on the older films
But the newer ones weren’t amazing

To be fair i’ve only seen the old ones once or twice

They do have decent character arcs
thing is they’re so famous and old

Ok, for my final point: Imagine if you were watching Game of Thrones
and in king’s landing Cersei says “i’m going to visit Jon Snow”
in the next scene she appears at the Wall and talks to Jon Snow
Nobody mentions the cold, the massive wall or the dire wolf
they talk about the matter at hand and then go their separate ways
that is what star wars is like to me

Well it’s a film not a 45 hours series

Or they go to see Daenerys
“Is that a dragon? What is the dragon about?”
Shuttup Will! Watch the movie. They don’t have time to explain story to you. Now watch this 6 minute space bike race which will inevitably end in either an unlikely win for the hero or some major trick that has been hinted at several times

I couldn’t possibly watch the space bike race without first viewing a detailed schematic of the workings of said bike and watching a 24 hour biopic on the guy who last cleaned it at the space bike wash!

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Writing

I’m currently waiting for a major, scheduled, event in my life. I have very little to do with my time at the moment so I decided to turn back to writing to keep myself entertained. This idea came to me when I was recently assigned a “speed typing” task. I set about splurting out a short story about a young pregnant woman whose partner had left for unknown reasons and whom she hoped to see again shortly. I focused on her optimism, her hope and her longing. A quick glance at my neighbour’s screen reminded me of how my mind worked differently to others, they were writing about what they had done that day. I was so exhilarated by my creative endeavour and was reminded of how much I used to enjoy writing. So, in order to avoid boredom as I wait for the event, I have decided that I will channel my energies into three separate creative outlets;  this blog, a novel and a sitcom script. This blog will be about anything and everything I think up, things that annoy me, points I wish to address, replies to comments on previous blogs, what I am eating, the progress of my novel, the concept behind my sitcom etc.

My novel is one which I have long been planning to write; a modern ‘epic’. I don’t mean ‘epic’ in the way which most people have begun to use it, it has no positive or negative connotations. The word ‘epic’ doesn’t necessarily ascribe value to a work. I am using it to mean a long, sprawling, classically influenced opus. Ideally I want to capture the essence of humanity in the early twenty first century, the despair of youth, the hopelessness of our finite existence and the realisation that we have all been mislead and deluded by Hollywood and it’s idealisation of life. It might suck. As a first attempt it is probably ambitious. I’m enjoying writing it, so that’s important.

Finally, the sitcom. I have been writing sitcoms for about 7 years. I have written, and performed, in two radio sitcoms for my university radio station and one televised one for their online tv channel. These experiences taught me two things; firstly- I cannot act, secondly- a surprising amount of university drama students cannot read or cannot correctly enunciate and B- I am inconsistent. I have also written a full 30 page episode for a tv sitcom which was sent to, and duly rejected by, the BBC. At first I flattered myself into thinking that this rejection was because my wit and wordplay could not be sold to the mainstream but now I realise that writing a 30 page script over the course of four years and with dozens of edits and thematic changes can only lead to a bit of a mess. So this new script is completely original and is flowing nicely. I’ve always had a problem with plot and story arcs, being more at home with wordplay and joke writing but this one actually has a direction.

I may feature excerpts from the script and novel or discuss them further in later blogs. I’m gonna get out of my dressing gown now. It’s 1:32pm.