“Star Wars”and “Blade Runner” Comparative Essay
The science fiction movie, a film somewhat removed from dailyrealities, acts as a privileged vehicle regarding ideologypresentation. Considering it is scarcely concerned with the normalsocial reality structure than other film genres, science fiction isin a better position to focus more on the structure of what currentlyis and what it ought to be. Putting it into practice, these filmsvividly and clearly embodies the ideological positions, which meansto compare two or more films belonging to the same era turns out tobe conflicting social analysis of social visions (Pollock 35).
Testing this hypothesis, the paper considers two films, the 1977"Star War" and 1979 "Alien." These two films havea lot in common key moments in the science fiction film renaissancetowards the end of the 1970s until the present. However, "StarWars" creates the kind of ideology with a conservative future,whereas the "Blade Runner" creates the kind of future thatis linked to social and liberally critical ideologies.
Tobegin with, George Lucas` 1977 film, "Star Wars," owes mostof its richness in popularity to its audiovisual intervention, whichrarely is found in science fiction and any other genre, which includethe space wars, space ships, alien beings, and planetary ecology."Star Wars" creates a sweeping and well-detailed universebased on the science fiction (Collins 2). The fact that film`sideology is removed from the present day reality and, in turn,reflects on the prized aspect of science fiction resonates throughdistinctively realized the use of look, sound, and behavioralstandards of the two droids, C3Pio and R2D2. The visualized world in"Star Wars" is packed with an imperfect quality andaudiovisual information, for example, the film`s sound effects usedrepresent the complexity of the natural world, rather than thesimpler synthetic sound of the natural world.
Onthe other hand, Ridley Scott`s 1979 film, "Alien," drawsthe above similarity from the film, "Star Wars." Forexample, the vision in the alternate science fiction film in ScottRidley-directed "Alien," is a development of thecombination of the detailed essence of "world creation" and"mythic storytelling" of the future in George Lucas` "StarWars" (Collins 9). In "Alien," the director takes on asection of the "Star Wars" legacy by creating a hauntingand an intricate portrait of the ancient Nostromo – starship. Thefilm also has a complex Star War buildings project.
George Lucas` "Star Wars" is conservative, even though notFascist or extreme right wing, in regard to its underpinnings inideology (Pollock 47). The men in the film are active heroes, thedamsel in distress is Princess Leia, and the good and evil areseparated clearly. Luke is led forth by a benevolent Obiwan Kenobi,also a father figure. "Star Wars" is a conscious break fromthe anti-genres and anti-heroes of the "Alien" – a late1970s film. According to Pollock (51), "Star Wars" returnsto the traditional morality and family entertainment in which thedirector targeted at presenting positive values to its audience.
Though "Star Wars" is a film by George Lucas targeted atmoving toward an optimistic simple genre, away from critically socialwork, that shift became neither complete nor simple. The differenceis the alternate vision of the period in science fiction, which isanalyzed by Ridley Scott in the film, "Alien" (Orr &Colin 23). Though it appears simple, the premise of the film "Alien"differs from "Star Wars" in that it appears to betrans-generic, which is a blend of a horror film and science fiction.Here, the ideology is that the film – Alien – borrows from atraditional horror movie, which turn becomes the anticipation of theattack by the monster.
Unlike the conservative nature of the film, "Star Wars,"regarding the representation of daily realities, the film "Alien,"on the other hand, represents a postmodern, more contemporary horrormotif. The film links the human body with that of the monster (Orr &Colin 27). The alien creature in the film "Alien" not onlykills humans but also acts as a host for the reproduction process.For example, it is shown in a terrifying way by the scene where analien kills the astronaut by the chest as part of a "birth"byproduct.
The film "Alien" differs from "Star Wars"regarding ideological realities in that it is restricted in space.For instance, Orr & Colin (31) noted that the main set is basedon the human spaceship. A short time is spent in the alien spaceship,and the uninhabited planet (Orr & Colin 32). In the limitedNostromo space the director Ridley Scott present in the film, thetechnology and organization are presented in a matter-of-fact way howthe spaceship work. For instance, the hospital room, hibernationcoffins, gallery, airlock, escape module, control room, and spaceshipcomputer, are all stack together in an effective and simple way.Unlike "Star Wars,"Alien" has a number of wastespace-vents, corridors, crawlways, and corridors, which is essentialin fighting the "alien" creature that exists differentlyfrom the film "Star Wars" about the human and conceptuallogic of the real world.
In"Star Wars," there is cleanliness, morally clear, andwholesomeness in the ideological future it relays, but in "Alien,"it serves all the above three points. For instance, the starship inthe film, "Alien," is dark, dank, and messy. Pollock (56)noted that "Alien" represent an old and used freighter,which is owned by a larger corporation, and thus is maintained forpurposes of utility rather than the pride in "Star Wars"(Millennium Falcon, which is Star War`s version). The socialideological representation of reality in the film "Alien"is that of the unknown planet, which in spite of its portrayal, isfiercely uninhabitable and inhospitable with swirling and strongwinds (Orr & Colin 37). The warship in the film "Alien",unlike a clean future in "Star Wars" is an ideological viewof the future, and is represented as "an organic creatureskeleton with ribs and spines."
Again, a comparative discussion of the differences in ideologybetween the films "Star Wars" and "Alien"requires a return by George Lucas` regarding directive moments. Asearlier discussed, "Star Wars" is a conservative filmhowever, the film presents itself as a representation of a rebelliousact. The story`s rebels have risen against the oppression of theempire (Collins 5). Further, the Empire`s representation of the DarthVader, a disguised resemblance of the "Dark Father,"resulted in "Star Wars" character revolting against thefather.
Although "Star Wars" represent as series of alien races,the film assumes human pre-eminence. In the film, both the rebels andthe Empire are led along by humans, unlike in the film "Aliens"where the aliens represent humans and are relegated to thespacefarers` "freak show" bar (Collins 6). Even Chewbacca,for example, "Star Wars" has a single alien among manyheroes as shown by Han Solo`s sidekick. In George Lucas-directedfilm, man is a represented measure of many things.
"Alien," on the other hand, entertains the"not-quite-human, “differently human," and"more-than-human" ideas. For instance, the elusiveborderline existing between humans and machines is visually revealedby animated toy scenes. This film differs from "Star Wars"in that the replicants, in some ways, appear to be superior tohumans. The film affirms the replicants` validity, thinking, andfeelings. "Alien" project the institutions` oppressivefuture, which in turn is critical to the society`s future (Orr &Colin 35). It is far different from the ideological hue and optimismregarding the vision represented in "Star Wars."
The difference in ideological conflicting approaches discussed abovetriggers the second part, a general exposition on one aspect (sciencefiction), which is different in the two films: sex. In his article,Collins (8) suggests that a science fiction film is normallycharacterized by the absence of sexuality and women. He furthersuggests that the astronauts are made up of males, wear unisexclothing, and has spacesuits and that their environment is asexualand technological a typical "Star Wars" film scenario.This ideological is different from the film, "Alien," inthat it present a penetration of both space itself and the spaceshipacting as a womb and is treated as asexual and female-like.
In "Star Wars," there is ideologically no sex. The film`ssociety is essentially male or neuter (droids) regarding technology.It is only Princess Leia who is the sole prominent female characterin the film but does not appear to appear in sexual terms (Pollock61). The character is simultaneously desexed and protected by herposition socially and also be her pragmatic and acerbic criticalattitude. "Star Wars," unlike female-like "Alien,"was a film conceptualized to appeal to a ten-year-old boy (Orr &Colin 36). It is also a film emerging from a latency period, and thatit eludes the adult sexuality problem. This is confirmed in a curiousmanner by the revelation made by "Star Wars" trilogy thatLuke sister is Princess Leia.
Unlike "Star Wars, “Alien" is specifically concernedabout female`s sexual threat. The film`s alien creature symbolizesrounded spaces, darkness, slime, and eggs. The temple-like spaceshiphas doors shaped like vaginas. The offspring belonging to the alienmay be phallic or male, for example, the film highlights a thingwhich springs almost immediately into life from the chest of a maleastronaut, but with the original threat being a female (Collins 10).This is made more sound in the film in that the human expedition ismade to confront a huge alien queen laying eggs.
In a reversal sense of the science fiction films, the Alienprotagonist is a female. The toughest, most resourceful, mostsuspicious, is Ripley, a female astronaut in the Nostromo crew.Ripley, and not the other crew members, becomes the sole focus forhuman survival. From the start, this reversal is incidentallyimportant regarding ideological consequences in the film (Orr &Colin 38). The female astronaut, Ripley, was initially scripted to bea male, and essentially, Ripley is coined as asexual among otherasexuals in the spaceship. Incidentally, towards the end of themovie, "Alien," Ripley strips down while preparing to bemechanically added to hibernate, and, in turn, reveals a clearpicture that she is a human female. At that very moment, she nolonger represents an asexual rational functioning, but rather potent,irrational sexual subject of being a woman. Here, the ideology isthat she starts to truly threaten the alien as a repressedmale-dominated and conceived genre under study for the future world.
Politically projective, "Star Wars" discusses the renewedharbinger of a conservative environment, a reflection of the Americanpresidency. Pollock (29) noted that it represents a part that istargeted at simple and optimistic films genre of the late 1970s. Thewell-spoken and clean-cut youth emerge as the film`s idealizedversions of the years before and the good and evil that the societyreflects. Additionally, when compared to the "Alien,"StarWars" is a film whose phrases borrows key ideological viewswhereby the director, George Lucas, is not responsible for what makesthe governments and political reflections and impacts of his film onthe future society.
"Alien" is clearly descendent of the film, "StarWars," a film that builds on the revelations that its audienceswould support the mythic and world-generating science fiction movies.However, Ridley Scott`s film "Alien" does not follow the"Star Wars`" political line. While the "Star Wars"advocates for a return to traditional morality and heroism since themovie shows openness and authority in character outside traditionalheroism definitions, for example, Ripley and other replicants. Whenboth films, "Star Wars" and "Alien" are looked attogether, they trigger a kind of argument and debate regarding animagined future.
The director, George Lucas, in "Star Wars," views thefuture in the form of a revision based on the past. He also views itas an opportunity to acquire moral concepts the right way at thatparticular time. For Ridley Scott in "Alien" represent afuture, as discussed above, that provides an opportunity to viewother important issues, for instance, the place of a woman in thesociety, acceptance of others, handling the unexamined rationalism,technology, and the merging of life and humanity. In summary, "StarWars" is traditional and backward-looking, for instance,conservative in nature. "Alien," on the other hand, acceptsdiversity and is forward-looking, for example, liberal in nature. Theaudiences fascinated by these two films are, therefore, engaging inpolitical dialogue with other societal ideologies.
Collins, Robert G. "Star Wars: the Pastiche of Myth and theYearning for a Past Future." The Journal of Popular Culture.(1977): 1-10. Print.
Orr, John, and Colin Nicholson. Cinema and Fiction: New Modes ofAdapting, 1950-1990. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1992.Print.
Pollock, Dale. Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas.New York: Harmony Books, 1983. Print.