Star Wars: an Intergalactic Joyride

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Star Wars: An Intergalactic Joyride

"Star Wars" is the highest grossing movie of all time. It is also one of my favorites. It was released in May 1977 and re-released in a restored and enhanced Special Edition just last month. There are many different criteria that can be used to describe ŒStar Wars' appeal. Gary Arnold and Edward Rothstein, two movie critics who had the opportunity to review this great movie, explain its appeal in very much the same way. There is a difference though. Arnold reviewed the original ŒStar Wars' twenty years ago and Rothstein reviewed the recent Special Edition. While they reviewed slightly different versions, they both came to the conclusion that Star Wars is a great movie based on similar criteria. They judged ŒStar Wars' on its ability to draw on classic styles and timeless stories to create something new and absolutely original.

The main factor in both of their positive reviews is the skill of writer and director George Lucas to blend the old with the new. They were both impressed with his miraculously fresh configuration of many different themes from classic film and mythic origin into a cohesive and entertaining movie. He has achieved a witty and exhilarating synthesis of themes and cliches from the Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers comics and serials, plus such related but less expected sources as the western, the pirate melodrama, the aerial combat melodrama and the samurai epic. The movie's irresistible stylistic charm derives from the fact that Lucas can draw upon a variety of action-movie sources with unfailing deftness and humor. He is in superlative command of his own movie-nurtured fantasy life. Gary Arnold, Washington Post Staff Writer Mr. Rothstein along the same lines as Mr. Arnold, mentions that Œthe plot line of Star Wars follows the mythic archetechture outlined by Joseph Campbell in his study of myth, "The Hero with a Thousand Faces," which has influenced Mr. Lucas.'

Another aspect, unique...
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