27 September 2011

Star Wars: A New Hope

Although it is the fourth of the six Star Wars films, Star Wars: A New Hope, directed in 1977 by George Lucas, is the first film of the franchise. The film begins with Princess Leia, a diplomat, being captured by Darth Vader. A member of the Rebel Alliance, she has stolen technical plans to the Empire’s new weapon. By chance, a boy named Luke Skywalker finds out about her capture after unknowingly purchasing her two droids, C-3PO and R2-D2. Before being captured, Princess Leia gave a message to R2-D2 to be transmitted to Obi Wan Kenobi. With Obi Wan Kenobi’s help, Luke is able to hire Han Solo and Chewbacca, captains of the Millennium Falcon, to transport them to a distant planet in hopes of rescuing Princess Leia. In the struggle to rescue Princess Leia from the clutches of Darth Vader, will Luke be able to get the stolen information needed to destroy the Empire’s new weapon to the Rebel Alliance?

Along with the action of the plot, colors play a particularly vital role in this film. Colors can either help to blend characters into their environment, or they can help differentiate a character from his or her surroundings. Well, George Lucas does both. When we first meet Luke, we meet him as a boy wearing a soft off-white tunic living in the desert of Tatooine. Quite frankly, nothing stands out in Tatooine. The hut that Luke lives in matches the desert sand, Luke’s pod is a deep auburn color, and even C-3PO and R2-D2 blend right in. It’s not until the suns begin to set that we see Luke wishes to break free from the desolate wasteland he lives in. The stark contrast of the vibrant colors of the setting suns against the soft, dull colors of the desert portrays the different life Luke wishes he could have. He can be nothing special on this planet. In the next scene when Luke meets old Ben Kenobi, he is given a lightsaber which glows vibrantly against the dark insides of Ben’s hut. This also helps symbolize Luke’s desire to stand out and to become something different, someone important.

On the other side of the spectrum, the color contrast helps differentiate Princess Leia from the wickedness of the Death Star. The Death Star is dark and filled with people who wish to inflict suffering and death onto the Rebel Alliance. Princess Leia is dressed in white and she captures and reflects what little light is given in the hallways and rooms of the Death Star. Her courage to not give away information against the Rebel Alliance radiates through the stark contrast she has against Darth Vader and his followers. 

And perhaps the most obvious color contrast lies within the lightsabers. Obi Wan Kenobi is a trained Jedi sworn to fight against evil forces. On the other hand, Darth Vader is trained in the ways of the dark side of the Force. The classic “good versus evil” is distinctly portrayed through the green lightsaber of Obi Wan Kenobi and the red lightsaber of Darth Vader. This battle between good and evil will clash throughout time and space in a galaxy far, far away but always accessible in a theater near you.

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