STAR WARS : THE FORCE TOOK YEARS TO AWAKEN – EPISODE II : THE STORY OF RALPH MCQUARRIE

In fond memory of Kapadia Senior – an erudite gentleman of the old school with an exquisite sense of refinement – who was gracious enough to walk me through his unique little library and share his mine of information  on the Golden Age of Hollywood . You’ll always be in my memories sir.

(Contd. From Episode I – An account of what it felt like to see the Star Wars Trilogy  the very FIRST time it was let loose in India on an unsuspecting public )

Star Wars A New Hope Poster

 

EPISODE II

The Story of Ralph McQuarrie

 

Ralph Photo

 

In 1974, George Lucas was in trouble. Universal Studios , which had made a small fortune from his film, American Graffiti, had turned down his next proposal, Star Wars. United Artists, too, had said  No. There were few flickers of interest at 20th Century Fox , but George Lucas couldn’t seem to build that flicker into a flame of enthusiasm.

Nobody at the studio could quite understand his vision for the film.  He needed to show them in concrete terms what he had in mind. George’s friends introduced him to Ralph McQuarrie, a commercial illustrator, who had earlier done work for NASA.

George and his producer Gary Kurtz gave Ralph a script and arranged for four to five paintings.

When George next saw Ralph, the artist had prepared sketches for the characters R2D2 and Darth Vader.

Ralph had perched R2D2 on a large  ball-bearing but George decided to give the now famous droid three sturdy legs. However, he decided to keep the mask Ralph had given the evil villain, Darth Vader. Ralph created the mask because he felt Vader would need something with which to breathe when moving between spaceships. But George didn’t care for this so much (after all – this was fantasy not fact).

He just liked the mask’s sinister appearance.

Mcquarrie 1

Design for R2D2

 

Mcquarrie 2

Mcquarrie 6

Ralph’s Designs for DarthVader

 

It was clear that Ralph saw the potential of George’s script better than anyone else had to date.

With five of Ralph’s paintings, George returned to 20th Century Fox.

Mcquarrie 5

Mcquarrie 4

Mcquarrie 3

This time Fox gave George the seed money to get the project started and a month later after seeing more of Ralph’s designs, the studio gave full approval and Star Wars went into production.

 

Though Ralph loved the concept of Star Wars, he did not expect it to be more than an average hit – Science fiction films after all didn’t have a history of breaking box office records.  So after completing his work on Star Wars he moved to England to work on another assignment.

He was out of the country when the movie released (this was ages before the internet ! )  and therefore missed the sensational excitement generated when the movie released in the theatres.

Shortly after returning to the country, he checked out a theatre in New York City while exiting a subway station. There was a long line outside though it was the middle of a week day. People were lining up to get in. He quietly got in line himself.

The picture didn’t surprise him but the audience’s reaction was exhilarating. It was an incredible experience to see his designs and paintings hit such a responsive chord in the young audience.

 

LucasFilm

George Lucas was a member of the pack of actors and directors known as the “flower children” of American cinema. Like ‘Godfather’ Francis Ford Coppola, he was a protégé of the new wave director, Roger Corman, who mentored many of the subsequently famous actors and directors of the period.

A frail, sickly and introverted youth, he found solace in the TV episodes of the Flash Gordon shows on TV in the sixties. He would watch them for hours with his pet cat perched on his shoulder and the vision for Star Wars took seed.

He was a confidant of Francis Ford Coppola who directed The Godfather and like our own Bharathiraja closer to home, he even shot a movie about Coppola while Coppola was shooting  a movie (Rain People), which was a film about a film maker making a film ( Whew ! )

While at university in Hofstra his graduation film THX1138 was later made by Fox into a full blown movie about people surviving in the tunnels of a city. This was during the recession of the sixties and seventies mind you.

 

The Sequel

For Indians, paradise existed on earth and it existed in the U.S of A – the Land of Milk and Honey.

Photos of our NRI relatives would invariably show case the big gas guzzling cars with V8 engines in the super large garages of their suburban homes and everything was so CLEEEAAAAAN !!

And what about the U.S ?

Paradise existed – but not in the U.S of the recessionary sixties and seventies – it existed on the planet of Alderaan, the home of Princess Leia.

While the first Star Wars was an introduction to a new  world in a galaxy far, far, away, the second edition, The Empire Strikes Back was more assured, more verbose, more emotional and had more conflict –great story telling but still a  story without an end – that would come later.

It was left to my uncle again to take me to see it when it finally released in Madras in 1982, close to 3 years after the first inter-galactic voyage at Safire.

This one was a very different experience.

The pace was brisk, the story moved assuredly, the opening battle on the ice land of Hoth took your breath away.

 

There was something else.

 

The sound track seemed to have been subjected to a major operation by the light sabres the movie displays.

It took me quite a bit of time to get used to it and the speed of  the conversation happening on the screen.

Only L.K.Advani comes closest with his laser sharp diction (You know what I mean “Rraaajdeeep !!!   Thuh BeeeeeJaaayyPeee !!  is NOT a Commyooonulll PAAAAAZHTEEEE !!! The BeeeeeJaaayyPeee is not an OppORchooonissssticcc PAAAAAZHTEEEE !!!).

Our own James Earl Jones…….

The Empire Strikes Back’s greatest contribution to popular culture was the 1000 year old Master Jedi  knight Yoda. His mentoring of Luke is the key chapter to this odyssey. When asked to levitate a space ship and bring it out from under water, Luke fails. Yoda steps in finally and does the needful .

MSDEMST EC002
STAR WARS: EPISODE V – THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, Frank Oz, Mark Hamill, 1980. ©Lucasfilm Ltd./courtesy Everett Collection

“‘I Don’t Believe it !!” exclaims Luke.

Yoda’s cryptic response “THAT ……is why you Fail”.

“Yodaspeak” as a form of communication is still going strong thirty years later – a form of speech where the  subject is positioned at the beginning of the sentence and the conjugated verb at the end of the sentence

Sample this.

When my  friend, a social media averse oncologist, was browbeaten into joining an online community, his reaction of resignation “Log on to the dark Planet of Facebook, I must.”

“Increase my number of likes, it will

Or

In a lecture by a top flight athletic coach to his wards on how to run the 400 metre race.

“When you get to the crucial 250 metre mark and you are running out of gas, start doing your Jedi mind tricks – imagine you’re running uphill – drive  hard with your arms and bring your knee as high as you can before the home stretch”

Yoda

This was easily the best crafted, best plotted (sic), stand out episode of the trilogy.

But back then it didn’t seems so

When the show started, my 8th grade eagerness turned into edge of the seat despair since the plot was less fairy tale and more Hamlet type conflict and Sicilian type treachery -iInterspersed with wonderfully choreographed asteroid space chase sequences on the Millennium Falcon and a memorable light sabre duel between Luke and Darth Vader ending with Luke losing his hand and hurtling into the vast bottomless tunnel into space but rescued in time by Princess Leia.

Contrary to a New Hope, the movie ends with Leia and Luke looking out of their craft into the galaxy hoping that their would be Hope.

Empire Strikes Back Light Sabre Duel

Total despair at the end – Han Solo consigned to carbon freeze, Luke loses his physical hand and the Dark Side gains the upper hand….the craving for a sequel and a resolution had already been planted.

 

I was dazzled but also somewhat crestfallen. Also for some strange reason, there was No airconditioning during that period in any of the theatres in Madras. I still don’t know what the reason was. That made the experience more depressing.  We seemed to take the whole experience priced at Rs.2.90 for the galleries and Rs.4.50 for the balcony for granted. Barring Bombay, no other city could boast of an equivalent experience.

At the end of the show my uncle looked in my direction and could sense something amiss.

He seemed to sense my thoughts as well as console me at the same time.

“Superman I is better than Superman II, Godfather I is better than Godfather II, Enter the Dragon is better than Return of The Dragon……Conclusion : Star Wars I is better than Star Wars II…..” he offered.

The next 2 editions after the first Star Wars were released at Pilot, a theatre known for its kick ass sound system and hit our shores within a year of its worldwide release (vow ! our government was getting less bureaucratic and more efficient ! ). Years later, the old  Safire theatre had become defunct and I could see the grass growing on the tract of land out of sheer neglect.

Its said that in the 19th century it would take Americans a week atleast to know whom they had elected President.

The Indian government’s restrictive regime compares very well.

It took Star Wars a whole 3 years to reach our shores and by then the next edition had already been released in the U.S.

 

The Grand Finale

A few months after watching The Empire Strikes Back, the pre-release excitement for the final act in the trilogy ‘Return of The Jedi” had already started.

Fortunately, our school subscribed to Time magazine and since George Lucas was featured on the cover we didnt miss any of the pre-release excitement. I even knew what a cinema ticket cost in 1984. It cost 5 dollars because THATs what Lucas said viewers wanted to be blown away for…….. their FIVE dollars.

I got to watch Return of the Jedi only after I switched schools after the 10th grade. Pilot was walking distance from my new place in Mylapore and   I watched it with a classmate in high school – not with my uncle this time.

In this grand finale of the trilogy, everything headed relentlessly towards the final resolution – Han Solo came out of carbon freeze, Leia it turns out is Luke’ sssiiissssstteeeer (as Darth Vader pronounces it) ,it also turns  out Darth Vader is their father who returns to the good side from the Dark side, the holographic images and galactic battles including one super long, super fast, continuous shot moving miles and miles in REVERSE.

Return of The Jedi Final Space Battle 2

http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/ol1rssapekhmcbt7cjut.gif

This sequence was also shown at the Oscars ceremony.

 

For our Rs.4 and 50 paise, ( and airconditioning !!! YIPPEEE !!) we decided to make every bit count. After the final party on screen a la Asterix with all the winners celebrating around a bonfire including the spirits of Darth Vader and Obiwan Kenobi, we stayed put in our seats and let the rest of the audience amble out of the theatre.

 

 

At the end there was that deliciously chilly feeling that only Hollywood can manufacture with John Williams title track, the medley of the entire background score being played and watching the visuals dissolve into   black nothingness,  while the ending title credits for 3rd Assistant Cameraman and Stunt Director  were still rolling and then slowly strolling back home at 1 am yet again on a  cloud, still replaying the lovely spectacle in our minds, past Ayyappa’s bakery, past YMIA, past Sanskrit College and then my classmate cycled back to St.Mary’s Road …………….AND  the tea stalls were still OPEN !!.

 

(Sigh) They make them only in Madras.

 

The Players

The Players 1

 

The Players 2George Lucas termed the experience of producing the sequels akin to running downhill in front of a fast locomotive. “After 3 years of back breaking 18 hour days I want to walk away. I don’t want my daughter to turn around and say “Hey Dad. Where have you been all my life ?”.

The trilogy made the lead players rich beyond their dreams  ……….and impatient to do other things.

Mark Hammil (Luke Skywalker) who earlier played a fanatic cyclist in ‘Breaking Away’ described it as a nice experience but “more often I find myself talking to a lobster in a flight suit and wondered what  I am doing with my life”

Ironically, Harrison Ford (Han Solo) who was put in carbon freeze was the first to break out of the mold and play other significant starring roles which would send his career into orbit.

Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) used to crib about the bulky flight suit she was having to wear and asked for something more comfortable. She was taken at her word.  Immediately her wardrobe was transformed from the flight suit to the itsy bitsy slave costume thereby reinventing the princess into a 4L – Lissome Leggy Lass Leia. “Would you look at what they are making me wear now” she asked ruefully. The Slave Leia line of clothing  inspired a whole new legion of artists and still does.

 

ILM – Industrial Light and Magic

A couple of years later I learnt from a fellow cinephile and college mate that George Lucas had formed a company solely for the purpose of  providing special effects to inhouse as well as other movie productions. The company was called ILM – Industrial Light and Magic.

I chanced upon a lovely illustrated book on ILM while browsing around in the newly opened Landmark bookstall and leafing through its contents was pure magic. I wanted to chuck everything and do this for a living. But reality bites – I may as well have booked a trip to Alderaan.

Few months later, I landed my first job light years away from Madras – in Baroda to be precise.

When my first salary of 4000 Golden ducats was credited  to my account (30% lower than what Chemplast was paying a freshly minted  Chartered Accountant at that time) I wanted to get my hands on it. But how do I do it 2000 miles away from Landmark bookstall ?

A classmate who was always quick on the draw with everything new whether it was discovering that there was a new concept floating around called the Internet or buying a PC on loan, suggested a simple solution. He’d swipe his card and buy the book (Rs.2500/- or two-thirds of my salary at that time) and send it by parcel to Baroda and I could pay him later. A parcel was a big deal…even in the year 1993.

I’ll always love him for it.

 

Stop Press – Surprises never Cease – Just learnt that my high school classmate’s uncle was honoured with a Technical Oscar award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for developing a laser film reader system which was used by Lucas’ company in special effects for Return of The Jedi and the Indian Jones series.

(Link below)

http://wap.business-standard.com/article/technology/ice-people-bala-manian-105011201018_1.html

 

Star Wars – Epilogue

The summer vacation of the middle years are always a peacefully enjoyable era.

The time when children are in primary school – each new word uttered a discovery and source of never ending merriment. There’s ofcourse  the struggle to get them to school on time in the morning and the odd homework assignment where parents struggle desperately to meet school homework deadlines (which have been communicated only the night before by our offspring ! ).

But exams are yet to make their appearance so its still  peaceful.

The family used to pack off during the summer and December vacation to peaceful Trichy.

And I took a few days off to spend the December “cold” Christmas vacation to enjoy the pollution free air and escape the increasingly shark like existence of namma Chennai.

I used to take the overnight bus and at day break, the crossing over the bridge, over the river Cauvery, hailing the conductor to stop at Thillainagar, hop on to an auto and to  reach my in-laws place at Woraiyur. Next, the ritual would be playing with my son while he was still asleep till he woke up in delighted surprise.

(Sigh) That was the lovely routine for a few years.

But on this occasion it was different. Few months back, my classmate of many years  had just mailed me the entire boxed set of the Star Wars trilogy  via Amazon and my son, Adithya, got to watch it for the first time. He didnt seem to react – Harry Potter was more attractive – or so it appeared.

http://www.amazon.com/Trilogy-Empire-Strikes-Widescreen-Edition/dp/B00003CXCT

 

The coming December vacation I again boarded the overnight bus to rest a few days and bring back my family.

Only this time – when I reached my in-laws’ and sat my travel bags on the floor, a scrawny little figure tiptoed out of the bedroom.

My mother-in-law was mildly surprised.

 

“Yayndaa yezhundhunday ? Innum konja nayram thoonga vayndiyitththaanay ?” she asked my son (“Why did you wake up ? You could have slept a bit more ?”).

 

His face lit up with an impish grin as if he had just recalled something.

“I felt a disturbance in the Force….”, he said, the sly grin firmly in place.

I chuckled at his precociousness and that innocently mischievous look. It was then that I rejoiced…………..

 

The light sabre had  truly been handed on to the next generation.

https://www.google.co.in/search?q=i+felt+a+disturbance+in+the+force&biw=1600&bih=799&tbm=isch&imgil=QSkYfoLfSQyThM%253A%253BTCK0HfGbHmkWzM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.memes.com%25252Fimg%25252F659321&source=iu&pf=m&fir=QSkYfoLfSQyThM%253A%252CTCK0HfGbHmkWzM%252C_&usg=__mY7P4YyiTrD_YYMTEleP_J34GuM%3D&ved=0ahUKEwiVubnoi7DKAhUCUo4KHceSBn8QyjcIKw&ei=qyObVtW3OYKkuQTHpZr4Bw#imgrc=QSkYfoLfSQyThM%3A&usg=__mY7P4YyiTrD_YYMTEleP_J34GuM%3D

 

(Concluded)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STAR WARS : THE FORCE TOOK YEARS TO AWAKEN

MANY MANY THANKS FOR THE BIRTHDAY WISHES ( JANUARY 14TH) GUYS !!

 

(This is an account of what it felt like to see Star Wars the very FIRST time it was let loose in Madras on an unsuspecting public)

Star Wars  A New Hope Poster

 

EPISODE 1

My friend tore the parcel open impatiently. All of us – his hostel mates –  with tongues hanging out in anticipation watched him  open it in excitement and half in reverence. He pulled out what looked like a small cylindrical contraption with a semi circular rotating dome on top, of ankle height. It had few attractive  black and blue squares  minutely painted against a backdrop of white. He instinctively figured out that it needed to be cranked and it came to life emitting a low whirring hum and walked across a few inches with the top cylindrical portion rotating periodically. We were puzzled and excited and didn’t know what the hell it was. Apparently the packaging had been removed before sending it by parcel. Even for some of the ultra rich kids who received the latest Hardy Boys and Three Investigators adventures by post at the hostel, a parcel was costly and a big deal.

This was my first introduction to a  new world lurking out there.

 

Star Wars Moment 1

 

The parcel from England (my friend’s father was a journalist based there) contained other stuff.  In a separate pack there were pant patches with mysterious labels – “The Force (Capital F)” and “Jedi Knights”. For the uninitiated, a pant patch was a rectangular piece of velvet with a fancy inscription to be stuck on to one’s pant, preferably at the knee cap – this was the post bell bottoms era – at the boarding school I attended near Madanapalli, bell bottoms worn by Telugu cine icons like Krishnam Raju were considered superior to the vayshtees worn by Tamil cine non-icons like B.Muthuraman.

A couple of days later, a high school senior came by Green House, the  6th standard boys hostel, and enquired after the parcel’s contents – news travelled super fast in the small school community of 300 students.

“This is great ya. We’re going to Bangalore on excursion next week. We’re scheduled to see Star Vase (sic)  at Symphony theatre. I’ll let you guys know how it is” he concluded waving us incredulous juniors away.

What did he mean “Star Vase” ? The way he said it, it sounded like a relative of Keith Vaz, our own Labour MP of Indian origin.

What the hell is this Star Vaaazz anyway ?

A “knowledgeable” girl senior (by 2 years) in the neighbouring Blue House with three-fourths of her khaandaan settled in Michigan said “ I th-i-i-i-n-n-k its about a war between one tribe from the earth  and another tribe from the heavens and both have a war somewhere inbetween….” She trailed off.

 

It sounded maha ridiculous. Being fed on an unending diet of Ram Waeerkar’s live wire Amar Chitra Katha illustrations, all I could visualize was an army with spears and swords marching on air into the heavens and being met by their opposite number , close to where Trisanku took his evening stroll. I would have put it out of my mind immediately but in the ensuing weeks, my friend’s journalist pop kept sending despatches and promotional material on the aforementioned warring tribes.

The  decisive strike came when my brother in 5th grade back home in Madras, mentioned how my father had taken the family to see Star wars on New Year’s eve. That got my goat – I was far away in “Reddy” land and the folks back home were living it up in civilization while I was consigned to watching the weekly Childrens Film Foundation film screened at our auditorium sitting on a bench and then walking back in the cold back to our common dormitory – no Hoggwarts this.

After school closed for the summer vacation and after soaking in the balmy air of  home, I proceeded to set things right.

It was left to my first maternal uncle to take me to see it.

A dyed in the wool Tamil chauvinist (he insisted on teaching our dog to respond to “UKKAARU !!” instead of “SIT DOWN DIANA!!”), he was also a rabid movie connoisseur. But strangely he enjoyed the Rajesh Khanna songs immensely (probably because he never understood the meaning) and used to frequent the film festivals showcasing their wares form Poland to Iran.

(Sigh) They make them only in Madras.

He also ran a  drama troupe in addition to his duties as lecturer at the Central Polytechnic – he died on stage when he was younger than my current age.

It was a happy coincidence that when the next instalment of the Star Wars saga was released, (and after I was THREE years older), yet again, he was the one who took me to see it.

Nothing replaces  the experience of seeing it as a eleven year old at the old Safire theatre –that treasure house of the heyday of Hollywood films.

 

If the Safire theatre was located in New Haven, Connecticut, it would have been designated a heritage monument.

 

I soaked in the white inscriptions on the wooden signboards, wide eyed.

Cleopatra – 365 Days.

My Fair Lady – 125 Days

Sound of Music – 175 Days (was this a Tamil Movie ?).

Always multiples of 25 or thereabouts.

 

No mention of Guns of Navarone – that was the preserve of  Devi 70 MM A/C (my classmate in High School Commerce group used to read it half-in-jest as “Devi 70 MM  Account “ (the italics are mine)

At the snack counters , in addition to the “puPPs” (puffs) and Thums Up (Coke was asked to pack up three years before) small water colour painting books with scenes from the movie were being sold – Star Wars merchandise, even of the non-electronic kind, was  everywhere it seems.

 

After the mandatory Films Division newsreel and the Censor certificate (U), the now staple “Long  Time Ago….In a galaxy , Far Far away…” flickered across the screen. It gave me goose bumps.

Long Time Ago in a Galaxy

 

Star Wars Moment 2.

 

After that the cherry  was hit relentlessly….  not out of the park , but out of the galaxy.

After the now mandatory opening title crawl, the camera brought us down from the height of  a giant ferris wheel down onto  Planet Alderaan where action was happening beyond the camera’s reach.

Title Crawl

A huge  starship destroyer ambushed  the top of our heads and we were introduced to never before seen pyrotechnics of feisty X-Wing fighters maneuvering in an out of the destroyer’s nooks and crannies.

Star wars Moment 3

 

It helped that the Safire’s sound system was upto date.

 

Planet of Alderaan

This was an intro to a new world out there where the world was less complicated. You had the good guys and the bad guys behind the Iron Curtain.

Barely did we recover when Darth Vader stepped in – the mother of all masked villains with his sinister breathing and golden diction.

After taking in the sequels, if you go back to see  this first edition, it would look slow moving and not as exciting.

But the pace of the movie was also dictated by the audience’s lack of familiarity with this new world.

It was  Lucas’ deliberate slow way of taking the audience into his private world which had its origin in the Flash Gordon episodes he used to watch as a sickly teenager with his pet cat sleeping on his shoulder.

The audience needed time for each  new concept to sink in, whether it is that marvelous energy field called The Force or the weapon called the light sabre, before he unleashed the final climactic battle for the Death Star.

The hero, Luke Skywalker is introduced as an orphan working on his uncle’s farm on the planet of Tattooine (that’s great ! we still need farming and agriculture !).

On Tattooine, we are momentarily shown 2 suns setting at the same time – a set piece similar to Spielberg’s shot of the typewriter, seen through the rim of Roy Scheider’s spectacles in ‘Jaws’. The latter shot got more claps in the theatre.

(Sigh) They make them only in Madras.

 

Tattooine 2 Suns

Luke (like all human superheroes) has no inkling of his destiny till he buys the droids, C3PO and R2D2 at the droid market.

The story seems to be lumbering along when Luke accidentally triggers a message – a cry for help – from Princess Leia to Master Jedi Obiwan Kenobi stored in the droid R2D2.

This was a moving blue-white holographic image of   the ravishing Princess Leia clad in her chaste white robe which could have only come out of the senate of Ancient Rome and a  hairdo resembling 2 giant headphones.

“Who’s she ? …..She’s beautiful….” croaks Luke. An unnecessary observation since the audience is playing out the same line in their heads. Captivating stuff.

Obiwan You re Our Only Hope I

Obiwan You re Our Only Hope II

But for all its futuristic technological wizardry, where was the science fiction here ?

It is  a rocket propelled fairy tale with knights, dragons and a damsel in distress (clad in chaste white).

Once Luke’s uncle and aunt are disposed off in Marvel – DC comics fashion, the tale gains momentum.

Enter Han Solo, the space buccaneer, played by Harrison Ford. An itinerant carpenter (in real life) from Los Angeles who could go from mending a child’s hurt finger to saving a galaxy (in reel life) with the minimum of fuss and expression.

Like Rick C.Blaine of Casablanca’s Café Americain, he is a soldier of fortune who sticks his neck out for nobody and he is the only cause he is interested in.

In short, he is the right person to ferry the rebel group to Alderaan on his space ship, the Millennium Falcon.

Han Solo

On Board The Milennium Falcon

 

While on the Falcon, Luke’s Jedi training begins under old hand, Obiwan Kenobi, and who better to play a Jedi knight than an actual  knight ! Sir Alec Guiness,,   who had great instincts and extra sensory perception even in real life.

A quarter of a century earlier, he had told James Dean, the star of Rebel Without a Cause, “Please don’t drive that car. I don’t feel good about it. Its dangerous”. Dean was a racing aficionado. A week later James Dean died in an accident in the same car.

 

The New Toy

If there was one thing, teens all over the world desired to own above anything else, it was a light sabre.

The light sabre had a peculiar electric drill like hum (more like an OM) which seemed to send the combatants AND viewers into a trance. And when  2 light sabres rubbed against each other in combat, they really didn’t touch – they seemed to rub over each other like 2 magnets repelling each other and therefore slipped off each other’s blades.

No friction in this fiction.

 

Star Wars Moment 4

 

Light Sabre Duel

The captivating choreography of the final battle, when Luke gets rid of his sensory helmet is almost like the boy jockey  getting rid of his riding gear when he rides the Black Stallion (a visual treat produced by ‘Godfather’ Francis Ford Coppola and directed by Carol Ballard)   to victory on the home stretch – with now dead Obiwan Kenobi’s reassuring voice ringing in his head “The Force will be with you…..ALWAYS.”

So far so good. Lucas visualized something never  seen before and  translated it brilliantly onto the screen.

It would have been just an outstanding  visual spectacle – like an outstanding imax show  plus a cute story.

 

But what really churns the inner core of our being and blasts our guts into outer space is John Williams background score.

The opening trumpets literally herald  A New Hope (what Star Wars was labelled after the sequels made their appearance).

 

The legend “Long Time Ago…” seen for the FIRST time elicits some curiosity but  taken together with the knowledge of the opening bars of the score to come, the tag line induces a fever of excitement.

 

The  title track and background music which has sailed down the years, still serves as the theme music for every other event.

The final march composed by Williams when Skywalker and Solo are feted by Princess Leia after winning back the kingdom of Alderaan could’ve been the national anthem of any small nation.

Only one thing frustrated me.

The space ships flying from under the audience  into the middle depth of the screen towards the planet seemed to disappear into the distance. I could still see the planet but I could never see the space ship zoom into the docking station – it just seemed to get lost in the vast black galactic expanse.

After THE END, I floated out of my seat on an intergalactic cloud.

After coming out of the theatre, we picked the wrong auto to get back home.

Our   auto driver apparently  had also gone for the same show because he went hell for leather  trying to mimic the X-Wing fighters on the screen.

(To be concluded)

Next Episode : The Story of Ralph Mcquarie