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the enduring appeal of star wars

The enduring appeal of Star Wars

Star Wars is a popular science-fiction film series which depicts ongoing intergalactic conflict between opposing members of a subset of the universe's inhabitants that all share a special power known as "The Force". If you are thinking to yourself, "that sounded a bit strange", you are perfectly right - it did! But why did it sound strange? The answer is simply that no one needs to explain what Star Wars is because almost everyone already knows!

There is no doubt that Star Wars is extremely popular and almost universally known all around the world. A quick glance at the overall box office takings for all six films will confirm that. Star Wars made over $4 billion from box office sales which is only beaten by the James Bond franchise (which has 16 more movies to it's name than Star Wars) and Harry Potter (well, he is a wizard after all). So how can that level of popularity be explained?

Perhaps it is because of the graphic portrayal of space and the adventure of travelling to other planets that is "every child's dream". However, even if everyone did hold the dream of travelling into the unknown depths of space, how come other space-related TV shows and films cannot manage to gain the mass popularity of the Star Wars Saga? One reason could be that the Star Wars films are very easily accessible, none of them have high enough certification to prevent children from seeing them at the cinema, so families are not precluded from seeing the films together.

The original Star Wars movie (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) conceived by George Lucas was released in 1977 and is widely regarded as the best movie of the series. Upon it's release, Star Wars Episode IV was entirely ground breaking, boasting tremendous never-before-seen special effects and a very strong set of characters. For any science fiction movie that depicts a story line in space, the quality of the visual representation of space needs to be plausible and realistic in the minds on the audience. Episode IV did an extremely good job on this front and delivered an immediate "wow factor". Many in the industry acknowledge that the techniques employed in the making of Episode IV gave rise to much of the vast special effects industry we see flourishing today, not least of which is George Lucas' own firm, Industrial Light & Magic, providing the special effects for innumerable blockbusters ever since.

Leaving the special effects aside for a moment, Episode IV had the classic good versus evil story line, an underdog trying to over come a higher power that was seemingly unstoppable. Many of the greatest films of all time have revolved around essentially the same plot which appeals to something deep in the human psyche. When you add futuristic technology battling it out in dream-like locations; the development of life skills; special powers; and even a strange hairy Wookie who couldn't speak English but could pilot a space ship with the best of them, the whole thing becomes a heady mixture.

Three sequels and two prequels later and the franchise is as strong as ever, with an immense merchandising industry now surrounding it. Who knows what will happen next . . .or before.