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.

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


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

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!

The Lonely Teddy Bear

I read a lot of books as a child, some were utterly forgettable, some were just plain stupid but many have left a mark on my psyche. The more that I think about it, the more it strikes me; children’s literature is the most significant form of literature. It leaves a mark on an unblemished mind, it scrawls on a blank slate, it stamps into the warm untouched mind. Everything that we view as cliched now, we only see that way because we’ve heard it a thousand times. As a young boy, first being read to or reading alone, every story is new and exciting. The first cut is the deepest they say.
I’m now 25 years old and one children’s story in particular has really stuck with me. I can’t remember the name or the exact plot, so what i’m going to do is summarise the story or at least what I remember of the story. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to simply describe what I, as a 4 year old boy, took from the story.

The Lonely Teddy Bear (definitely not it’s real title)

There is a young boy who is given a teddy bear as a baby. The big teddy bear shares the boy’s cot, then his first bed. He plays with Teddy during the days and cuddles up to him at night. As the boy gets older, from baby to toddler to child, Teddy goes through life with him, always at his side. Teddy is the boy’s first friend, loyal, warm, cuddly and sympathetic.
They play at camping, cowboys and indians, spaceships. Teddy goes on holiday with the boy and always sits in the seat beside him in the car when they go out. The boy, now five, starts at his first school. Teddy can’t go to school, seeing as he is an inanimate stuffed toy, but every day the little boy gives Teddy a big cuddle, sets him down on the bed and scampers off to school.
Soon the little boy mixes and makes friends with some of the boys at school and one saturday he has two of them come round his house to play. The boys decide to play cowboys and indians but there are only three of them and one of the boys points out that the teams are unfair. The little boy has an idea; Teddy loves playing cowboys and Indians and nanny made Teddy a little jerkin and a feather headdress for the little boy’s last birthday. The little boy brings his new friends into his room and shows them Teddy, all dressed up as a brave chieftain. The other boys laugh at the little boy. They call him a “baby” and “mummys boy”, they call Teddy “stupid” and “a baby toy”. One of the boys even punches Teddy. The little boy crys and his mother, seeing that the children are cranky, takes the other two boys home.
That evening the little boy brings Teddy to mummy and daddy and tells them that he’s a big boy now and he’s too old for Teddy. Mummy tells the little boy he shouldn’t be silly and Daddy doesn’t understand but the little boy crys and yells and eventually Daddy takes Teddy up to the loft and puts him in a box with the little boy’s first clothes.
The next time the little boy’s friends come round they all play games and have fun. The little boy likes his new friends but every night he misses his Teddy. The boys become fond friends and spend lots of time together.
A new boy joins the class and the other boys think he’s pretty cool. One weekend the little boy doesn’t see his friends. They said that they were coming round but they don’t. Back at school on monday the other boys are all laughing and smiling and talking about bowling. The little boy is confused. Confused and sad. He asks one of the boys why they didn’t come round on saturday and they other boy tells him that the new boy is cooler and fun and they do big boy things like go bowling and went to the cinema, not play stupid cowboys and indians.
The little boy is sad and cries all night at home. Daddy sees this. That night, when the boy has tired himself out from crying, he falls fast asleep. Daddy sneaks up to the loft and finds Teddy, Teddy is very cold and dusty but Daddy brushes him down and warms him up on the radiator. Daddy very gently lifts up the quilts and places Teddy, tucked up, in the little boy’s bed. Later on, the little boy puts an arm out and finds Teddy, his first and most loyal friend, who always loved him and never said mean things, warm and laying beside him. They snuggle up.

I hope I’ve managed to convey the story as well as I can remember it. This is why I have separation anxiety with inhuman objects. I can’t even throw out a sweater without sitting up at night and agonising over it. I feel guilty about not playing an Xbox game enough or paying enough attention to my laptop; I need to wear t-shirts an equal amount of times and selling my car was like losing a brother. Children’s stories; far too powerful