Comparative Essay

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TheStar Wars film by George Lucas is a 1977 science fiction movie whoseplot is based on space. It focuses on the Rebel Alliance led PrincessLeia try to demolish Galactic Empire’s space station i.e. the deathstar. The arising conflicts are quite detrimental to the normallifestyles. Another science fictional movie that is to be consideredis A Space Odyssey. The film was directed in 1968 by Stanley Kubrickand involves an intelligent computer named “HAL”. A United Statescrew comprising of mission pilots and five scientists head to Jupiteralong with “HAL”. “HAL” controlled all the ship’soperations.

Thispaper will give an in-depth analysis of the two films and outlinetheir correlation in terms of characteristics. Fictional films tendto have some common aspects. For instance, believable characters oreven narratives are used to assist in convincing the audience themovie is real. By looking at various facets such as cinematography,language, costumes, sound, and music, this paper will establish howthe films correlate in that respect. Additionally, the aims of thefilms will be discussed to establish whether they differ or aresimilar in that aspect. Before outlining the various characteristicsentailed in the films, a short summary of the same is appropriate.

of the Stars Wars by George Lucas

Theplot is based on Rebel Alliance headed by Princess Leia. The groupwas trying to demolish death station which is the Galactic Empire’sgalaxy station. Luke Skywalker, an isolated farmhand tends to bedisrupted by the conflicts. Skywalker would unintentionally comeacross a pair of droids that contain death plan’s architecturalplans. The Empire would later initiate a vicious search for thedroids. After Skywalker realizes this, he and Jedi Master Obi-WanKenobi accompany each other with the aim of returning thearchitectural designs to the Rebel Alliance. Luke Skywalker wouldthen join the rebel assault unit to the battle death star. Thoughthey face numerous losses in the hands of death star, Luke wouldsuccessfully dismantle death star thus saving the rebel base.

of A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick

Thefilm is based on an expedition to Jupiter with an intelligentcomputer “HAL” center of the action. The journey is initiated bya mysterious black monolith that tends to be affecting humanevolution. In that respect, Dr. Heywood Floyd rides on a moonbus toinvestigate an aircraft that had been buried millions of years ago.Months later, another U.S. crew comprising of mission pilots and fivescientists among them Dr. Poole and Dr. Bowman head to Jupiter. Thecrew has a computer named “HAL” that controlled all the ship’soperations. During the mission, the crew would realize “HAL” hadsome errors and plan to deactivate it. “HAL” overhears theconversation and reciprocates Killing Dr. Poole in the process. Dr.Bowman, however, manages to escape and deactivate HAL. While doingso, he comes across a pre-recorded film from Dr. Heywood Floyd. Thefilm reveals the existence of a monolith whose origin is unknown onthe moon. The film ends as Bowman is transmuted into a fetus aftercoming across the monolith. The entire movie is drawn from aprehistoric ape’s discovery of tools to futuristic human’sexploration. It presents an ambiguous yet stunning portrayal of alienintelligence and hostile technology [CITATION ASp68 l 1033 ].


Sciencefiction movies tend to have unique features when it comes tocinematography, language, costumes, sound and music. They also tendto define certain goals which keep changing, setbacks and thenresolutions. In that regard, the two films tend to have somecorrelation with the above aspects.


The costumes in the Space Odyssey constitute of spacesuits that allowastronauts to walk on the moon and other bodies outside earth. Thefilm depicts actual attires used by astronauts while in space. Likeany other fictional movie, the Space Odyssey utilizes the costumeaspect to clearly visualize the film. On the other hand, in StarWars, costumes resemble some of the historical armies in an effort tooutline the acts of war. For instance, uniforms worn by Imperialofficers resemble German Army uniforms. The security and politicalofficers resemble black-clad. Generally, the costumes try to bringabout a resemblance with World War II. Costumes are also used toportray hope, danger among others. A good example is an all-whiteattire worn by Luke that could be symbolizing hope in contrast to theall-dark worn by Vader [ CITATION spa16 l 1033 ].Costumes,therefore are a means of engaging the audience and showing the actualmeaning of the films. Audiences can conform to the real meaning ofthe story/film through costumes. The two films correlate in terms ofusing costume to help viewers understand the film i.e. significanceof the film.

Soundand music

Sciencefiction films tend to have some distinctive kind of music in thebackground. There has to be a proper fusion of happenings within thefilm and the background music. In the Space Odyssey, the soundtrackscomprised of classical music like Sprach Zarathustra and Blue Danube.The sounds were fused or rather integrated with minimal dialoguedepicting traditional narrative mechanisms. It is an appropriatemechanism used to draw excitement or fear among audiences. Star Warsalso combines the events of the film efficiently with thesoundtracks. The soundtrack was composed by John Williams, whorevolutionized the art of contemporary movie music. The soundtracksare one of the best for quite a while. They are in unison to thehappenings in the film clearly enticing the audience. In both films,the cinematography facets are rightly fitted. Though the films differin the meaning or rather theme of the stories, both blend theirsoundtracks in an effective manner to leave the audience in awe.Being fictional films, the fictional events ought to be well balancedwith the appropriate soundtracks. Both films thus achieve thisrequirement.


Fictionmovies use some imaginary terms just to bring about the fictionalfeatures. Both movies are characterized by fictional language orrather terms/words. For instance, in the Space Odyssey, the Moonbusis used as a means of transport. Utilization of the Moonbus fortransport is a fictional move. The scientists use the Moonbus inwhile in space in their quest to figure out the existence of themonolith. In Star Wars, the language used is quite diverse hencecharacters do not understand each other. However, the most common oneis the Galactic Basic. Due to the diversities involved in language,people do not clearly understand each, a major constituent of wars.Science fiction movies tend to rely on the different aspect oflanguages such as alien language to show a difference in characters.


Apartfrom the different features, the two movies also portray similar anddissimilar themes. The ideas embodied in the films tend to correlatein some aspects yet differ in others.

Technologyis one core theme entailed in Space Odyssey. The theme clearlyillustrates the dangers of creating machines whose functionality areintricate. The machine “HAL” is tasked with controlling theoperations of the ship. It is granted so many responsibilities andalso has emotions just like humans. Once the machine exhibits someerrors, it jeopardizes the entire mission. The machine exhibitsemotions that make it retaliate against humans and in the processkills some scientists. In that respect, as much as humans seek tomake technological advancements, there are perils involved just likethe film illustrates. In addition to that, nature/humans tend tosupersede any technological advancements [ CITATION Spa16 l 1033 ].

Thetechnology theme is replicated in Star Wars. Just like Space Odyssey,this film illustrates how nature supersedes technology. A goodinstance is shown when Luke is left with one shot to demolish theDeath Star. Instead of relying on technology, Luke is encouraged toutilize his senses, intuition and connection to the Force rather thanhis computer. Darth Vader, on the other hand, is more machine andtends to rely on technology more than his human sense. The generalmotive of the theme is to point out the fact that humans are superiorto any technology advancements. The surrounding machines should notmake humans feel belittled in any aspect [ CITATION spa16 l 1033 ].

Realismis another characteristic entailed within the Space Odyssey. Themovie seems to be quite realistic as per the events entailed in it.Throughout the scenes, events tend to exist in a physical as well asrationalist realm. The monolith for example which symbolizesextraterrestrial intervention could be interpreted differently tosignify a physical body that is dangerous to the ones it transformsand molds. The Star Child which appears towards the end tends tochange the film from a documentary to a more surreal experience. Aviewer can be confused but still enjoy the film. That aspect ofrealism makes the film quite interesting [ CITATION Spa16 l 1033 ].

InStar Wars, mystery and force power are greatly embodied in it. Theforce is ever present and happens to bind the cosmos includingeveryone within it together. The force is naturally benign but alsoposes some dark or rather evil side in it. The evil side includeshatred, anger, aggression and is the one guiding Darth Vader. Theforce also give the spiritual element of the film, drawing a wedgebetween right and wrong. Viewing the force from a philosophicalperspective, it remains a mystery on the origin of right and wrong,but they exist. People are guided by the force of doing right orwrong [ CITATION spa16 l 1033 ].

Inphilosophical dimensions, the Space Odyssey portrays ideologies thatrelate to Nietzsche’s Ascent of Man proposition. There is acyclical development of events i.e. stasis in succor, decay andradical alterations. Humans then progress as a result of generalexistence principles. When the film starts, the apes and moon-watchertransform into the beginning of humans. Humans are then transmutedinto the Star Child at the end. Evidently, the steps seem to signifythe start of this cycle.

Asportrayed in the themes above, similar facets can be drawn from thefilms though with different meanings. Another vital element offictional films involves setting goals. Most of them seem to setgoals, encounter setbacks, before getting resolutions. In the processof achieving the goals, they keep altering them. The characters inSpace Odyssey had set a different goal while veering off to space.However, after encountering setbacks they fail in their prospectedgoal but unearth another mission in the form of the Monolith. On theother hand, Skywalker tends to encounter various setbacks whilebattling death star. In the process, he alters the approach and isable to defeat death star with his last shot.


Thoughthe two films are meant to entertain the audience, their objectivestend to differ. The Star War is more of action packed with battlesentailed within it. Apart from keeping the audience glued due to theactions, it has some imaginary aspects of the universe interesting tofollow. The film is science fictional yet action packed. It tends tobe more of an entertainment one rather than educative. It requiresone to analyze it deeply to get the themes entailed in it. The firstimpression drawn by watching the film, at first, is anaction/entertainment one.

TheSpace Odyssey is more of a documentary that educates viewers onvarious technologically related things. The computer “HAL” is thecenter of the film. A viewer is hence more educated on theadvancement of technology apart from getting the normalentertainment. The core objective of the film is to outline thenecessity of technology as well dangers of over depending onmachines.


Comparingthe two films, “A Space Odyssey” and “Star Wars” shows acorrelation in a number of aspects especially related sciencefiction. Technology, as exemplified by the two films, should not beentirely relied on. Human sense should be superior to machinedependence. This is because machines may fail or give flawed resultswhen one is in dire need of accuracy. It does not, however, mean thatmachines should be faced out since they are quite vital in theimprovement of lifestyles. Instead, they should not make human feelinferior in any way. As per scientific fiction movies, aspects ofcostumes, language, sound and music are vital in drawing out themeaning the film. The two films in consideration, rightly typifythese elements to assist viewers to understand them effectively.


Kubrick, S. (Director). (1968). A Space Odyssey [Motion Picture].

Lucas, G. (Director). (1977). Star Wars [Motion Picture].

Sparknote. (2016). Analysis of Space Odyssey. Retrieved from Analysis of Space Odyssey:

sparknotes. (2016). Star Wars Analysis. Retrieved from Star Wars Analysis: