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one of the most eagerly awaited films of the year.
Welcome to a special edition of Talking Movies, devoted to what for
many has been most eagerly awaited movie of 2015, Star Wars The Force
Awakens. We report on the launch in Los Angeles.
Who came and what they said. This isn't about recapturing what we did
before. It is about making that jumped to hyperspace into the
future. How does the new picture rate, what
to critics make of it? Everybody seems to love this movie.
We also go back to the origins of Star Wars and the cultural impacts
on George Lucas when he was created. -- when he created it.
I want to bring Star Wars intimate everyday life.
And white Hollywood was never quite the same again after Star Wars made
its mark. And two actors at the forefront of
the new film and be explorer Star Wars' long-standing British
connection. All that and more on this special
Star Wars edition of Talking Movies. The force is very much with us. Star
Wars is currently viewable at cinemas across the planet, except in
China where it will be released next month. At the intense, some would
say absurd, levels of speculation, we can tell you everything we know
about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It was given a massive premiere in
Los Angeles, the first... Fans have been waiting for days to
see this extravaganza. The fiction Star Wars act as word beer including
Mark Hamill who played Luke Skywalker.
He cautioned to keep it all in perspective. It is only a movie and
if you think you are going to go into the movie and recapture your
childhood, you're setting yourself for disappointment.
The new film is set several decades after the return of -- the end of
the Return of the Jedi. Rey gets involved in efforts to find Luke
Skywalker, all the while saving the galaxy from the villainous first
order. There are certain things you will
see in this movie that feel incredibly familiar and will be
things that feel new. This is just the next chapter. So you want to see
and experience new places, new characters. But it is also a
continuum and the idea was with the number of years having pasta that
this movie be a bridge that uses the things that have come before, the
history, the characters, the world, and use those elements as the DNA
for telling a news story. The Force Awakens puts a new
spotlight on a new generation of characters and actors. There is
Finn, a storm trooper played by British actor. John Boyega feels at
home in his character's shoes. It is second nature, it feels muscle
memory. It feels good to walk in his shoes. I know that the majority of
fans will love it. And Daisy Ridley is impressed by the
female power in the film. It is wonderful that women are
represented as much as men. It doesn't happen enough yet but it is
wonderful to be part of a felon that it is happening in.
Full Mac is benefiting from masses of fan love and publicity. Some even
try to get a quote from you order. Fans couldn't get enough and the
verdict from the first to see it was positive.
It was amazing, it was everything we had been waiting for.
You want to be disappointed. Critics have been equally buoyant. I
think the initial critical responses over the moon. Everyone seems to
love this movie. Working at the first screening, everybody seemed
positive. Going into it, people have memories of the prequels and what a
disappointment that was for people and critics alike. The bottom line
is that this is a return to what George Lucas created in the first
trilogy and much closer in spirit to those films so that registered with
critics. You can detect that it has been
lovingly put together but it also has the hallmarks of a carefully
calibrated corporate product. Disney and worry. The Force Awakens has
effectively rebooted one of cinema's greatest franchises and handed the
reins over to a new generation of talented Star Wars actors. Star Wars
is in just a film franchise. It is beloved by legions of fans around
the world who have turned it into a merchandising phenomenon. The
franchise makes more money through merchandising than tickets sales.
What is interesting the Star Wars is that the merchandising helps to tell
the story. And how female fans are among the franchise's most ardent.
The merchandising of the Star Wars franchise has resulted in over $20
billion in sales since the first 's film was released in 1977. Now with
hype at an all-time high, it is expected that could reach 5 billion
in sales in the next few years alone.
I am so inspired by Star Wars. It is a story of hope, and overcoming
evil. I want to bring Star Wars intimate everyday life.
Ashley is the voice of on the television animation series and a
super fan in her own right. I have a Star Wars jacket. When I
put it on, it is more than a fashion statement. I feel very empowered. I
feel like I am putting on Star Wars and so throughout that day I am
going to be able to fight off evil and just fight for good and I think
that is what merchandise brings to fans. It is really empowering.
Before Star Wars came along, film merchandising that exist. Charlie
Chaplin argue blue launched the concept of products and toys related
to his character in the 1920s. Disney followed suit but Star Wars
went deeper, extending the story is any series of novels and comics.
With guidance from what is called the story group, who helped in the
original franchise, they have helped plot out the developments in the new
film. They frequently appear on the New York Times bestseller list.
The characters and stories are so flexible that it can appeal to a
mass group of people. Annie stall is an associate director
I have been a Star Wars fan all my I have been a Star Wars fan all my
life. I love the clothes and the design and the artwork.
She perched designs for Star Wars products to Lucasfilm and they
accepted them, meaning you can see her work on various items. Star Wars
is unique in allowing that kind of fancy back but for a long time
e-mail fans felt like they were not being represented in Star Wars
merchandise that female fans. Star Wars a trailblazer for ...
The idea that Star Wars is a boys club is being rapidly dispelled. Not
only by the makers of the films but also the producers of merchandise.
As a little kid, I never had the sense that it was a boys club. Me
and my dad and my brother played together. I never felt that it
wasn't for girls. I duly little short for a storm
trooper? I started doing my research and
found out that half of all Star Wars fans are women and 85% of consumer
purchases are made by women. Ashley started to run company which
sells Star Wars inspired fashion to female fans along with apparel
inspired by other geeky franchises like Dr Who and Star Trek. Her
business has expanded rapidly in recent years. A fashion labels are
now getting in on it as well. Bloomingdale's recently hosted a
fashion show with Star Wars inspired designs for both men and women when
major designers, including Giles Deacon. It is the latest sign that
Star Wars fandom is not only something that is cool to flaunt but
something that everyone can enjoy together.
Star Wars has brought fans more than just a movie-going experience. It is
a collection of characters and adventures that have made an
unusually strong connection with audiences. Why has it been such a
successful narrative? We have gone back to the origins to see what was
influencing the mind of George Lucas when he was creating Star Wars in
the mid-19 70s. George Lucas is now 71 years old and
was 33 when the first Star Wars film was released. In fashioning the
picture, he was inspired by brought range of cultural influences like
Flash Gordon and the Japanese picture the Headon Fortress. --
Headon he lives and breathes Star Wars. The
lamb war also find expression in the Star Wars film.
The original conception of the Emperor was very much a Nixon like
politician. Something that was largely discarded as the cycle moved
along. This man is a philosopher who use of
Star Wars. Western traditions. It will be sort of reduced to what he
calls the heroes journey. There is something universally fanatic and a
great success of Star Wars I think is that it draws on that. Whatever
George Lucas did, Star Wars had an energising and spellbinding effect.
There is something about the timeless struggle of light and dark
and swords, it is everything put together. It is so many different
types of genres melded into one thing, it appeals to some people.
Some film critics claim Star Wars had a destructive impact on movie
culture. going to bury what movie culture had
been into an unreality zone where movies would now be about fantasy,
comic books, et cetera. Star Wars fans are not concerned, they are
happy to buy into the unreality, they don't think they are being
harmed, far from it. They believe there is something sacred in this
saga, which is to them a cultural unifier. The believers, George Lucas
gave himself a gift to the ever expanding universe. With the novels
and comic books and role-playing, people love playing in that world.
It is sacred to them, and that is what great sci-fi films provide. The
film itself was shot largely in the UK, as was the original trilogy. Al
Maloney has been exploring the Star Wars British connection.
The title card may read a galaxy far far away, but for many the UK is the
spiritual world of the universe. It goes back almost 40 years to when a
young George Lucas was desperately searching for a location to film his
space opera. This is where it all began, Elstree Studios, the home of
the shining, the Indiana Jones films, Dambusters, and many others.
And also the original Star Wars trilogy. It could have all been so
different, at the time Elstree was closed and the movie producers were
close to agreeing a deal to film in Rome, that is until they found out
that he Italian sound stages weren't soundproof. George Lucas had further
negotiations with Elstree, owned by EMI at the time. We were having
discussions with EMI to see if they would give a discount, and I am
believed we were turned down because they didn't think there was much of
a future for science-fiction films. The deal was agreed eventually, and
why it went over budget and over schedule, on its release it became a
phenomenon. Record box office takings in short a sequel and a
return to Elstree. On the set of the Empire strikes back in 1979,
director Irving Kirsch was full of praise for the British troops. The
technicians I'm working with now are extraordinary. They are willing,
able, and they are highly motivated. I think they liked the
picture they are working on, and I find it very easy to communicate. It
was in English, and it has been a good experience. But it wasn't just
the British locations and crew that helped to turn Star Wars into a
global industry. While the three main actors were American, the rest
of the cast was largely made up of British acting talent. Giving
gravitas to an otherwise fantastical tale. It continues to this day, with
relative newcomer Daisy Ridley and John Gwynne acre taking centre
stage. And in 17 and laugh and cry and was
just so wonderful. I got an open a little bit and we were lucky to find
all these actors. Filming on Episode VII has
contributed $220 million to the UK economy. The franchise is a massive
boost to the UK film industry. What Star Wars did was establish the
industry as the place to go for a collar Road productions. It has
stayed that way ever since. Were such a universe to explore, UK
fans will be keeping their fingers crossed hoping fans are tuned in to
a galaxy far away for a long time. When the first film arrived in 1977,
it didn't just mesmerised audiences, change the film industry forever. It
had a major industry and Holyrood in of technology deployed and on the
kinds of films that got made. Richard Taylor reports from San
Francisco. A long time ago and movie-making galaxy which by today's
standards seem so far away, movie-making history was being made.
Quite literally handcrafted. Teams worked they and night for months on
end to bring light to George Lucas' vision. The scale was unprecedented
and so was the success. With this lovable characters,
multifaceted story team and pace, it became the highest grossing film
ever seen. George Lucas had been a renegade who had escaped the evil
Empire of the oppressive studio system 400 miles south and come here
to northern California. It was an irony that has single creation had
such a massive impact on Hollywood, unwittingly creating
special effects laden blockbuster. Phil Tippett led the team making
Star Wars creatures. Today he runs is on special effects studio. He
told me that although Star Wars turned into a commercial juggernaut,
there was something special about working on the first one.
We were like heads at the candy store. It was fun. I didn't look at
it like a huge opportunity. We get to work on a feature film for once.
George did not know what he had when Star Wars came out. He was as
surprised as anyone else to see those lines around the block. It was
incredible. George explained to me like when you write the wild
elephant, you go with the elephant goes. He wanted to be a mogul and
call his own shots. He has said and so many of words that he feels like
he became Darth Vader because he went where it took them.
I'd buy the success of the franchise, the effects department
became a powerhouse, not just a its own hurts but for other productions.
It kick-started the entire computer graphics and video games industries
and was the breeding ground -- breeding ground for Pixar. By the
late 90s, Star Wars was continuing to pioneer, now with digital
technology. Creating characters in a blue screen environment was
arresting and more cost-effective. But it was challenging for actors
and the prequels were criticised as digitally rendered style over
substance, also measure that modern movies. This man worked at eight
graphics supervisor on the scene. We used to computer graphics to
realise the vision of this huge universe and as such there was the
sense that the grandeur of what were trying to do distracted from the
essence of Star Wars and I am afraid I was along with them.
They are now insuring that the Star Wars legacy is to be continued.
Working on a massive audience interaction and shaping the
movie-going experience. That brings this special star Wars
edition of Talking Movies to a close. We hope you enjoyed the
programme. Remember you can always reach us online and can find us on
Facebook. From me and the rest of the Talking Movies production team,
it is good by as we leave you with these sounds and images of Star Wars
over the decades.