Thursday, March 10, 2011

Star Wars

While the first of the three films in the original Star Wars trilogy was released in 1977, the second two were both films of the 1980s.
For me, this three year gap is interesting as in this short space of time, some big changes are made in how the characters of the film are percieved by the audience.
In the 1977 film, A New Hope, we see our hero Luke Skywalker set off on an adventure across the galaxy in order to rescue the damsel in distress, Princess Leia Organa. This idea is present throughout the film, we constantly see the dominant male characters exerting their power over her, and she always has to rely on the men around her to help her.
However, things start to change in The Empire Strikes Back, released in 1980. Princess Leia takes a more dominant role, and starts to get into her role as a leader of the rebellion. However, even in this film there are still some racial issues at hand. Is it pure coincidence that one of the few coloured people in the film, Billy Dee Williams, who plays the character Lando Calrissian, is being payed off by the evil Empire? He is shown as untrostworthy and a traitor, although he does eventually come to the side of good.
In 1983 when Return of the Jedi was released, more changes are made to the roles of the different characters. Near the start of the film, we see Leia infiltrating Jabba the Hutt's palace in order to rescue Han Solo from his prison. This is a complete reversal from the first film, where Han Solo helped to rescue Leia from her prison. However, Leia is caught and is forced to revert to a more old-fashioned view of women, and is dressed in a scanty gold dress while being forced to serve as Jabba's slave. Lando Calrissian shows up again to help, and this time he shows himself to be much more trustworthy than he was before.
Overall, I think that the original Star Wars Trilogy was a positive step forward in the portrayal of gender and race issues. It is still relevant today, as more Star Wars films have recently been released, and the old ones are still very popular.

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