A Certain Point of View (Star Wars essay)

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Title: A Certain Point of View
Creator: Helen Tidswell
Date(s): 1995
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Wars
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A Certain Point of View is a 1995 essay by Helen Tidswell, a Scottish fan.

It is about Tidswell's recollection of seeing the original three Star Wars movies, and her opinion about them.

Some Topics Discussed

  • the long wait between movies allowed fans to fill in the gaps which was something that may account for fan disappointment in the "real thing" and being jossed
  • the cinematic feel of the films
  • the delight some fans take in all of the background supporting information in magazines and such
  • dislike of Ewoks


In 1977 I was only six when A New Hope appeared. I still remember the film, although I found it rather confusing at the Death Star battle with all the ships flying around. I must have been a thick kid! Six years later, I became whirled into the pre-Jedi media build up despite not seeing The Empire Strikes Back. I went to see Return of the Jedi time and time again. My family could not understand the fascination and said I would grow out of it. Well, I never did; I've just grown along with it. Caught by the bug in 1983, I started to read avidly for any information, learning as much as I could about the SW universe. I delighted in magazine articles which are still my favourite thing to collect, as I love discovering about behind the scenes during the filming as much as I love the actual events in the universe. The interaction between the cast and crew, the way the SPFX were integrated into the live action, the music, sound effects, costume design, the models, the mishaps etc... all fascinated me and still do. Any snippet of information is gobbled up with glee

The intervening years since Jedi have been a trial of time for any SW fan. In the last few years with new material becoming available, there has been an increasing interest in the universe once more. A lot of the old fans are coming out of carbon freeze, while a new generation of fans is being created. The long absence of official SW caused many fans to create their own universe of events prior to, during, and after the films. These gaps are now being filled in by approved sources which has brought some wanted and unwanted information.

The only events which we can be sure of are contained in the films. Contradictions and mistakes exist in many of the written sources of information. This is inevitable when so many people are involved, especially if some do not have the same degree of background knowledge which the fans have. If you think about it, we have lived SW for over a decade and during that time a lot of information has percolated into our brains, sinking into such depths that much of it is instinctive. We know when something is out of characterisation or the wrong basic facts are given. Things which aren't obvious without a good working knowledge of SW.

Out of the trilogy, my favourite film is ESB and my least favourite ROTJ. I do not know how this compares with you but I can remember reading somewhere a critic commenting on ESB that it was unusual for a sequel to be different from the original. Normally the sequel would contain the same kind of elements which made the first a success except that second time around they are not so novel. I remember this critic mentioning that Lucas so easily could have given us another cantina scene, another Death Star and space battle. It seems ironic that there are these repetitive elements in ROTJ. I still enjoy the film but I have various niggles about the film which stop me enjoying it as much as ESB. I am not keen on Ewoks, the cartoon version makes even more of a mockery with these cute furballs running around doing good and speaking English. Come on George! These fellows were going to eat our heroes! I know Lucas originally wished to end SW with a primitive wookiee society battling with the Imperial troops, but did he have to cut them in half, cutesify them and then scramble the word wookiee to become ewok?

ROTJ is the big dramatic ending; one of the most awaited films in cinematic history. It gave you fancy aliens, brilliant SPFX, the dog-fighting scenes contained more ships in one frame than you could have ever believe, a mellowing Darth Vader, an unsubtle Emperor, a dying Yoda, a lost Lando, another bigger, brighter and more deadly Death Star (minus trenches) and a Skywalker family reunion! Okay, okay, maybe I am going over the top but one or two things do irritate me. Let's start with the Emperor. Apart from having a sex change since ESB, we see him in the flesh for the first time. He is meant to be one of the most cunning, powerful users of the Dark Side of the Force, so please could anyone tell me WHY he shows a distinct lack of subtlety in edging Luke Skywalker towards the Dark Side?

Another thing that bothers me is that with the relationship between Luke and Leia, how come Vader never felt anything about Leia during his questioning of her during ANH? He senses Luke fairly quickly during the trench run.

Do not get me wrong; I do enjoy ROTJ but the things I mention above mar the film for me. I do appreciate ROTJ for the huge cinematic feeling it creates, good does triumph after all and it makes us feel so good again when we come out of the cinema unlike ESB! Whereas in ESB, the darkest days of the Rebels have a totally different feel. The way Kershner directed the sets was near genius, the use of lighting in the scenes is so subtle and the way it progresses through the film, the action in the periphery - I just love it! ESB shows a good insight into Rebel life, the hounding from one place to another, the camaraderie despite the bleak situations. I love ESB as a movie but I think it would have been very frustrating having to wait for ROTJ to be released. The cliffhanger ending would have killed me if I had been a fan at that time.