Sunday, May 29, 2011

Side by side we wait the might (Led Zeppelin)

While watching The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, I was again struck by its similarities to Star Wars.

George Lucas was clearly influenced by the Tolkien fantasies. It was nice to notice how Peter Jackson has in turn been influenced by Star Wars. After the Emperor is killed in Return Of The Jedi, Luke removes his father's mask and says, "I've got to save you'. To which Anakin replies, 'You already have, Luke'. Almost the same dialogue in Return Of The King before King Theoden dies and Eowyn says 'I'm going to save you'. Theoden replies, 'You already did'.

Here are some other connections that I found from a Google search.

        Star Wars      

      Lord of the Rings    
Yoda Gollum (greenish, pointy-eared, raggedy midget with a speech impediment)
Obi-Wan and Luke's lightsabers glow blue. Darth's lightsaber glows red. Gandalf and Bilbo's magic swords glow blue. The Balrog's magic sword flames red.
Obi-Wan Kenobi Gandalf
Darth Vader The Witch-King
Emperor Palpatine Sauron
Obi-Wan digs Anakin's lightsaber out of an old wooden box, gives to Luke Bilbo digs his magic sword out of an old wooden box, gives to Frodo
Darth cuts off Luke's hand, which plunges into the abyss with Luke's lightsaber Gollum bites off Frodo's finger, which plunges into the abyss with the One Ring
Yoda foretells the future, and Luke must decide whether to help his friends or not. Yoda warns that he's seen only one possible future. Galadriel foretells the future, and Sam must decide whether to help his friends or not. Galadriel warns that she's seen only one possible future.
Darth tries to convince Luke to join the dark side, thereby bringing order to the galaxy Saruman tries to convince Gandalf to join the evil wizards, thereby bringing order to Middle Earth
Mysterious figure throws back hood of robe to reveal that he's Obi-Wan Mysterious figure throws back hood of robe to reveal that he's Gandalf
Luke: "I shouldn't have come, I'm endangering the mission." (Because Darth can sense him) Glorfindel: "It is you, Frodo, and that which you bear that brings us into peril." (Because Sauron can sense the One Ring)
Luke watches from across a chasm as his mentor Obi-Wan duels with Darth Vader using blue and red lightsabers Frodo watches from across a chasm as his mentor Gandalf duels with a Balrog using blue and red flaming magic swords
Heros are walking through a forest when they're surprised by ewoks, captured at spear-point, then taken to a village in the trees Heros are walking through a forest when they're surprised by elves, captured at arrow-point, then taken to a village in the trees

I have been fascinated by the concept of the hero's journey for a long time. It's why I love road movies so much.

The hero's journey is a great concept from one of my own great heros - Joseph Campbell. He traces a number of stages in the journey that can easily be related to Frodo Baggins in The Lord Of The Rings and to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars episodes 4 to 6.

1. THE ORDINARY WORLD. The hero, uneasy, uncomfortable or unaware, is introduced sympathetically. The hero is shown against a background of environment, heredity, and personal history (Luke on Tattoine and Frodo in the Shire). Some kind of polarity in the hero’s life is pulling in different directions and causing stress (Luke initially rejects Obi Wan's idea of becoming a Jedi but wants to get away to the academy and Frodo is comfortable with life in the shire but envies Bilbo's previous adventures).

2. THE CALL TO ADVENTURE. Something shakes up the situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change. Luke has to deal with the death of his uncle and aunt. Frodo is left the lord of the rings by Bilbo.

3. REFUSAL OF THE CALL. The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly. Alternately, another character may express the uncertainty and danger ahead. Sam wants to return to the Shire after they get to Rivendell. C3PO is constantly reminding Luke and others of the dangers ahead.  

4. MEETING WITH THE MENTOR. The hero comes across a seasoned traveler of the worlds who gives him or her training, equipment, or advice that will help on the journey. Or the hero reaches within to a source of courage and wisdom.Yoda and Lady Galadriel are the obvious mentors met along the way.

5. CROSSING THE THRESHOLD. At the end of Act One, the hero commits to leaving the Ordinary World and entering a new region or condition with unfamiliar rules and values. Frodo makes the decision to take the ring to Mount Doom and thereby creates the fellowship. Luke has to rescue the princess on the Death Star.

6. TESTS, ALLIES AND ENEMIES. The hero is tested and sorts out allegiances in the Special World. Frodo uses Gollum as a guide and has to deal with the giant spider and is then captured by the Orcs. Luke has to free his friends and then confront Darth Vader to become a Jedi.

7. APPROACH. The hero and newfound allies prepare for the major challenge in the Special world. For Frodo it is destroying the ring, Luke must destroy the Death Star. 

8. THE ORDEAL. Near the middle of the story, the hero enters a central space in the Special World and confronts death or faces his or her greatest fear. Out of the moment of death comes a new life. Luke confronts himself and learns the ways of the force in the Dagobah system with Yoda. Frodo decides to leave the fellowship and confront his greatest fears - the Ringwraiths, the Witch-King and that giant spider (ick).
9. THE REWARD. The hero takes possession of the treasure won by facing death. There may be celebration, but there is also danger of losing the treasure again. Frodo loses the ring when captured by the Orcs but regains it from Sam. Luke allows himself to be captured on Endor and loses his light sabre but reagains it from the Emperor.

10. THE ROAD BACK. About three-fourths of the way through the story, the hero is driven to complete the adventure, leaving the Special World to be sure the treasure is brought home. Often a chase scene signals the urgency and danger of the mission. This is effectively where the movies have to end. Frodo chucks the ring into the molten lava and Luke destroys the new Death Star after the Emperor is killed. There is no emotional room after these climaxes for a resurrection.

11. THE RESURRECTION. At the climax, the hero is severely tested once more on the threshold of home. He or she is purified by a last sacrifice, another moment of death and rebirth, but on a higher and more complete level. By the hero’s action, the polarities that were in conflict at the beginning are finally resolved. This final test has become a cliche in horror films where the poor hero has to overcome one more final attempt on their life. In most films, though, Star Wars and TLOTR included, the climax is reached and then we move straight to the coda.

12. RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR. The hero returns home or continues the journey, bearing some element of the treasure that has the power to transform the world as the hero has been transformed. Frodo decides to leave the Shire, after finishing his book, and goes off on fresh adventures with Gandalf. Luke has 'saved' his father and is ready for new challenges. Unfortunately George hasn't yet go around to episodes 7, 8, and 9 (they were initally planned).
Phew - a lengthy post this one with it's own coda:

I wrote in the previous post that those movies didn't make me miss NZ and I should have explained why they didn't.

Those Middle Earth (a.k.a. New Zealand) scenes in The Two Towers of misty mountains, snowy ranges, green pastures, rocky outcrops etc are etched into my memories, filled away in drawers labelled 'wonder'. Like William Wordsworth, it only takes a little effort for me to access those files. I carry them with me.

Love and peace - Wozza


Greg. said...

Carrie Fisher!! I hadn't thought about her for years-you remember her, the gal from Star Wars with a bun stapled to either side of her head. Then, I was in Melbourne quite a few months back and her show, Postcards From The Edge was on.
It caused me to find out more about her than I knew. All I knew is that she was married to Paul Simon and almost married Dan Ackroyd.

And, I discover that, like so many stars and creative people, she has spent the past few years fighting her demons. Primarily bipolar disorder and addiction to prescription medicines. She even admitted to being hooked on cocaine while filming Star Wars.

And she is a celebrity spokeswoman for Jenny Craig - who'd have thought it, eh!


dawn marie giegerich said...

The "gal" from Star Wars is a gifted journalist and comedienne, get with it.