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Science Fiction Film Star Wars Breaks Box Office Record
The science fiction film Star Wars: The Force Awakens broke a box office record to become the biggest opening movie in U.S. history bringing in an estimated $238 million over its first weekend.
The film adds another episode to its repertoire of an ongoing sci-fi fantasy epic made popular ever since its inception over 35 years ago. People seem to like this kind of movie. But why ? How can there be yet another episode of Star Wars ? Won’t film makers run out of ideas in keeping a forty-year-old franchise alive ?
As much as fans acclaim the return of another Star Wars episode, some critics remark it needed five to seven scenes fixed and the length shortened by at least twenty minutes, and that The Force Awakens was over-promoted media hype. Part of the reason may be that the main creator and director of Star Wars, George Lucas, has left the project and there is some indication that it is struggling with self-preservation and sensible content as it continues to play out at the will of its fans.
However, part of its continued popularity, it seems, is still the awe and yearning over sci-tech gadgets and wizardry that could possibly exist if there were another civilization in another time. For instance, the robot androids C-3PO (“See-Threepio”) and R2-D2 (“Artoo-Detoo”) were introduced in the first episode of Star Wars and have remained a fascination to fans ever since. Imagine your own mechanical servant complete with adept mannerisms and speech. It makes Asimov’s bold and pretentious definition of robots appear antique. A new addition to the Star Wars “droids” is BB-8 (“Beebee-Ate”) which can roll in any direction at any speed and keep its “head” straight-up as if it were floating somehow on its revolving body. This could pose a puzzling challenge to a earth-tech-genius or budding-engineer who may find time to flounder over such things. (It might be possible with air-jets, magnetic fields, and directional-gyros).
In the realm of space travel, it was the “Millennium-Falcon” that first “jumped to hyperspeed”, meaning the created-for-film spacecraft accelerated to a rate approaching light speed, and as the character Han Solo cited, it made the route “in less than 12 parsecs”. Scientifically, a ‘parsec’ is a unit of length to measure large distances outside the Solar System, and is one astronomical unit (AU) that subtends an angle of one arc-second, equal to about 3.26 light-years or 19.2 trillion miles.
Another technical amazement is the famous ‘lightsaber’, which is passed on to “Jedi Knights” and cautioned that it must fall into the right hands of “The Force” (the binding metaphysical and ubiquitous power of the universe within the Star Wars galaxy – “It is all true”). It generates a "blade-like controlled plasma flow" which could parallel what a high-energy laser beam could appear like in real-life. However, it is still doubted if a battery could ever be made to energize such device.
Some of these technical wonderments may explain the ongoing popularity of the Star Wars epic, which takes one on a voyage anywhere and at anytime through the Universe, making it possible to conjure up any kind of culture and civilization unimaginable to our earth-laden ways. Within these newly created civilisations come the wizardry and techo-gadgets that challenge our imagination. (Lest you be the fool who thinks they are actually possible or the fool who thinks they are not). And as open-minded as the story of Star Wars tends to be in testing our imaginations, it is not without the sanity of a mysterious and all-permeating “Force” - a metaphysically and binding power that echoes a familiar theme thought to parallel major religious beliefs and often the central topic of theologians and philosophers. To think how the open galaxy would be without such metaphysical force – it would appear as merely an empty desolate void of meaningless space. Therefore, people like Star Wars because it resolves a viewpoint about our quest into space; that it can be met with a certain familiarity and adventure that is yearned for, that our soul will remain integral with an intelligence that is beyond ours, and pave a way of hope and meaning.