Thereís more to storytelling than a bunch of SFX, says
Andrew L. Urban, and thereís less science fiction in Star
Wars than you think.
Itís a great scene in star Wars: a band whose members
resemble your worst trip on hash, jam it up with great soul. In
the cacophony of that intergalactic bar, what you hear is black
American music: jazz is what they play. And on the four CDs that
make up the ultimate music collection of Star Wars (and that
includes a whole CD of music NOT used in the trilogy), the music
is sophisticated European orchestral, thanks to Australian
composer John Williams.
What am I driving at? Simply this: the musical references that
play such an integral part in our reception of film - even Star
Wars - are all well coded into our psyche. George Lucas did not
ask Williams to invent a new musical idiom or to attempt a
music of the intergalactic future for Star Wars. Lucas and
Williamson agreed to go to the very roots of our western cultural
heritage. If you listen to Williamsí stunningly
orchestrated music away from the film, youíll readily
appreciate its heroic grandeur and sense its power. That music
has as much to do with our total immersion in the world that Star
Wars creates as Michael Nymanís score did with The Piano.
Both scores work at our subconscious, in tandem with the images.
All this is by way of suggesting that Star Wars is only
superficially science fiction: it is really about the deepest of
human values. It is about good against evil, about heroism and
loyalty, about honour and courage: it is about moral
responsibility. Good grief, I hear you say. Well, have a look
(again?) and form you own opinion. And share your views with us
in due course.
The setting is crucial only because Lucas has created a fairy
story and a fairy story needs a magical setting. Instead of
dragons, castles and an old fashioned princess, he gave us a
Force with good and evil sides, the mystery of "outer
space", fantastic vehicles, devices and dangerous new powers
- and an old fashioned princess.
We like to imagine that we all can live up to the moral of a
good fairy story, and in Star Wars we can do our dreaming to new
sensations and new images. All with old fashioned (deep seated)