Thursday, April 28, 2011

Week 4: HU121 Film In Society (North By Northwest)

Discussion Question
North by Northwest is an espionage thriller about life in Cold War America. The Cold War ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communist Russia (the USSR), but America has new enemies and faces new threats. Think of the films you have seen in the years since 9/11. Which of those films offers a plot structure and/or theme(s) similar to those of this week's assigned film?

Discussion Answer:

The only post 9/11 film that comes to my mind is The Bourne Identity. It is different from because Jason Bourne has amnesia and needs to find out who he ACTUALLY is as opposed to Roger Thornhill is searching for who he is SUPPOSED to be. In both films he is being pursued my an opposing force and has a sexy companion on his journey. 

Other great mistaken identity films are DAVE, The Big Lebowski and The Great Dictator.


For this paper, I’d like you to write an essay in which you discuss this week’s assigned film, Star Wars:  Episode IV.  Your essay must include an introduction and thesis statement, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion, at minimum. It should be 500 words, at minimum.

A strong thesis statement will guide your discussion. It should include your opinion of the topic at hand, and should consist of one single sentence.

The introduction of the paper should identify the film and its director, summarize the plot in your own words, and state which character in the film you felt was the most interesting to you (this is your thesis statement).

In the second paragraph of the paper, you need to describe the character and explain his or her role in the film.  How do you find out about this character?  Do you learn more about the character based on his/her actions or his/her words? 

In the third paragraph of the paper, you should discuss in detail why you found this character so interesting.  What did you like about the character?  What did you dislike?  What do you feel made this character “tick” or what motivated the character you chose?  

In the fourth paragraph of the paper, you should address the actor’s portrayal of the character and how that particular person brought life to the role.  How would your perception of the character have changed if another actor had been selected to play that part?  What if the actor had been famous at the time the film was made?  (The only “famous” actor in the original film was Sir Alec Guiness—Harrison Ford had not become a household name yet). Be sure to offer specific examples to support your statements.

Your fifth and final paragraph should offer a restatement of your thesis and a graceful conclusion to your essay.

Assignment Answer:

Luke Skywalker is the core character and main narrative of this amazing journey, in which we share in his growth, his pain and his journey.

Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope, released in 1977, directed by George Lucas, is about a simple farm boy named Luke Skywalker. George Lucas created an amazing scape of events for all the characters but non broader and fantastic than Luke’s. Luke intercepts a distress signal for assistance, meant for Obi-Wan Kenobi, one of the few Jedi left. The intercepted distress signal is from Princess Lea (who find out later is his twin sister), a rebel leader, who needs to be rescued  from Darth Vader and helped to overthrow the evil Empire who has a very destructive weapon. I feel that farm boy Luke is the most interesting character in the film (and the other two films) because he makes the broadest journey of all the characters.

Luke begins the journey as a farm boy, then becomes a Jedi Knight in training under Obi Wan and ultimately the major force against the evil Empire. When first encounter Luke, we observe him experiencing his everyday day life living with his aunt and uncle on their farm and fulfilling his chores. One day, his uncle purchases two driods, setting the events into motion. One which directly lead s luke to Obi Wan Kenobi. Our learning about Luke and his past surfaces through his conversation with Ob-wan as they discussed Luke’s father. 

The main reason I found interest in the character of Luke was because he is someone I could relate to. He is basically stuck living and working in a place that he’d rather not be, dreaming of leaving and making a difference, and the frustration of being unable to do so. I very much did like Luke’s hunger for knowledge and willingness to help but disliked his disrespectful whininess towards his aunt and uncle. Luke is motivated by his passion to be a pilot, the brutal attack on the farm and his family, as well and his willingness to help others. 

Mark Hamill, an unknown actor at the time (like most the cast), brought a very real and realism to that portrayal to the character of Luke. He played Luke as a simple, meek, scared but eager and driven farm boy. I honestly cannot picture any other actor playing this character, this well.  Anyone “famous” playing the role, I feel would have been a major distraction and audience would be “star watching” as opposed to feeling the span and scope of the amazing story. 

In conclusion, the character Luke Skywalker is the focus of this film and the entire “classic” trilogy and his experience and drive should be inspiring to us all as we do out best on our own farms, fulfilling our all of our dreams and make the best out of any tragedy and possible destruction. 

May the force be with you. Always.

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