The Secret History of Star Wars: The Art of Storytelling and the Making of a Modern Epic (英語) ペーパーバック – 2008/11/30
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Star Wars is one of the most important cultural phenomena of the Western world. The tale of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and the fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker has become modern myth, an epic tragedy of the corruption of a young man in love into darkness, the rise of evil, and the power of good triumphing in the end. But it didn't start out that way. In this thorough account of one of cinema's most lasting works, Michael Kaminski presents the true history of how Star Wars was written, from its beginnings as a science fiction fairy tale to its development over three decades into the epic we now know, chronicling the methods, techniques, thought processes, and struggles of its creator. For this unauthorized account, he has pored through over four hundred sources, from interviews to original scripts, to track how the most powerful modern epic in the world was created, expanded, and finalized into the tale an entire generation has grown up with.
Everything about Star Wars- The love of fast cars, the Saturday matinee influences, the Kurosawa influences, the Joseph Campbell influences, the daddy issues, the editing style, all of it- this is George Lucas’ life on screen. Star Wars is what happens when you take his life experiences, things that he absorbed and that inspired him, and throw them in a pot together. The stew that happens is Star Wars.
This is how any work of art happens, really. Film is of course an especially collaborative medium, but in any work of art, even a novel, every person that enters the artist’s life directly or indirectly has an effect on the person that they are and the life experiences they are drawing upon to create their art. This does not mean that the novel doesn’t have an author. Those other people are influences, but the artist is the final arbiter, the lens through which those experiences are combined into a piece of art. Little here is revolutionary - And many points are made without even trying to secure them with proof of any kind. Even the description of how people waited for the released are described very well in the books "Anticipation: The Real Life Story Of Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace" and "Revenge: The Real Life Story Of Star Wars Episode III Revenge Of The Sith". Read Rinzler's excellent books on the making of the original trilogy instead. Or Paul F. McDonalds great book "The Star Wars Heresies: Interpreting the Themes, Symbols and Philosophies of Episodes I, II and III"
The most common criticism of this book is that it is repetitive in the quotations offered (i.e., will provide multiple quotations for the same point). Maybe its a combination of my interest in the material and my history of legal writing, but I for one enjoyed that aspect of it where the quotations and citations supported the author's point. At times I felt that certain quotations presented as "inconsistencies" in Lucas' statements made tenuous assumptions about what Lucas was actually saying. In other words, sometimes I think the quoted statements were subject to interpretation, and while the author is certainly free to draw his own conclusions (and does so with great skill), more than once I found myself finding the author's point to be a little thin compared with the premise presented. However, there are certainly examples offered by the author that in turn drive home the point effectively and unquestionably show that Lucas has made statements about the development of the story contradicted by earlier ones.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It is very well-researched and well-written. I am a huge Star Wars fan and this presents a (mostly) balanced assessment of the development of the underlying narrative. I would recommend it strongly.