Does R2D2 have any brothers?
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Star Wars, Episodes IV-VI are undeniably the greatest movies of all time. We all have our favorites (mine used to be Return of the Jedi, now it’s The Empire Strikes Back, both of which were made before I was even born). As a professional tech blogger, I can’t count on two hands how many viral videos and photos I’ve come across that are Star Wars related. You’d think a daily Internet user would get sick of something so ubiquitous.
But while my jokes may get old, my awesome one piece “Artoo” suit will never go out of style because, let’s face it, Star Wars spoofs will never get old.
Yesterday, we found old, drunk Frenchmen fighting with light sabers. We’ve even seen squirrels fighting with light sabers. Last spring, Improv Everywhere staged a really funny, must-watch Star Wars stunt on NYC’s 6 Train. At the end of last summer, we saw Star Wars Uncut, a project that won former Vimeo developer, Casey Pugh an Emmy, is solid proof that there’s a rather large contingency of Star Wars fans out there who have leapt past fanaticism and into obsession, albeit creative obsession.
Pugh began the online project last year that invited Star Wars fans to submit their own versions of 15-second scenes from the movie and then pieced the scenes together again. First, he divided up Star Wars into 15-second scenes, then compiled the best reenactments of each scene and combined them into a full movie remake of Stars Wars, A New Hope.
What is it about Star Wars that captivates our world in such a way that nearly 35 years later, the Star Wars franchise still dominates our culture, pervading popular advertising and media?
“Nerds got rich, procreated and made nerd babies that then turned into nerd Star Wars kids,” a fellow writer friend, Kevin Smallwood said to me.
After posting LEGO’s recent Star Wars ad campaign this week, it hit me that this 35-year obsession may never die. Did you see the movie “Blue Harvest” with Peter Griffin starring as Han Solo? That’s right, Family Guy put out its very own excellent Star Wars movie. Have you seen any 8-year-olds sporting Chewie kicks and Wookie jackets from Adidas’ 2010 Star Wars collection? I mean, one guy even makes a living selling homemade light sabers. And most recently, the world was hooked on the simply shot VW Super Bowl commercial featuring a little kid dressed like Darth Vader. The commercial has garnered over 31 million hits on YouTube. Watch it here in case you missed it.
In a galaxy, not so far, far away from the TNW’s New York office, advertising agencies and marketing strategists are drinking cappuccinos, saying things like “Feel the word droid as your tongue touches the roof of your mouth” and debating how to best integrate Star Wars into their marketing campaigns. Why? Because Star Wars sells.
The films’ fabulous music, intelligent writing, wholesome sense of humor surrounds interesting, well played characters that evoke a lot of sympathy. It used all the classic storytelling tricks from early filmmaking such as screen wipes and iris ins/outs. It’s a classic plot: Good guys vs. bad guys like cowboys and indians. The Empire is a metaphor for communism; storm troopers representing Nazis. Through that familiarity, although galaxies and eons away, all made for easy consumption of its premise. There’s a nice balance of gravity and lightness…Dark and light…Hope and despair. And all of it was larger than life in a very heroic way.
-Die Hard Star Wars Fan; Age: Baby Boomer
Other hardcore geeks aren’t so thrilled with the endless Star Wars spoofs, and there has reportedly been a bit of a backlash.
The franchise jumped the shark for me the minute those Ewoks toppled an Imperial Walker using little more than a few stones and the power of friendship, says Seth Porges, a tech writer in NYC.
But some tech nerds took a different stance:
All grown men are little boys deep down that secretly want to play “house.” The only difference is that our “house” happens to be a 6-part series. Also, laser swords are AMAZING! – L.A. developer Michael Paek, creator of the iPad Pocket Stand
But what about in the future? My guess is that even when we live in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars spoofs will not get old because humanity will just be laughing at all the funny ways we imagined the future to be. And I wonder how far off the mark famed director George Lucas will be?
So is it the battle between good and evil? The lovable characters? The light sabers? The subtle hints of incest? Yes! Yes! Yes! The fun never ends.
Please share your favorite Star Wars spoofs in the comments and Happy Saturday.