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In 1977, George Lucas and 20th Century Fox released “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”. This movie was revolutionary in terms of special effects and it paved the path for one of the most iconic trilogies of all time. Star Wars is set in a dystopian universe where inter-galactic travel is routine and aliens from different planets communicate and befriend each other. The Star Wars franchise has always set a high bar in terms of special effects and they always outdo themselves.
So, what is a Jedi? A Jedi is a member of a mystical knightly order who have sworn to preserve peace and justice in the Universe. A Jedi possesses the ability to manipulate the Force, which is a metaphysical and ubiquitous power in the universe. Also, a Jedi has a lightsaber, which is an elegant weapon of a more civilized age. It can be used to cut through blast doors or enemies alike. The prop itself was built by John Stears from camera flash battery packs. However, onscreen, the props were bright and had a laser-like look giving a futuristic effect. This was done by introducing a glowing effect during post-production
In Episode IV, the audience introduced to Luke Skywalker who is the farmer. Luke is ambushed by the desert folk but is saved by Ben Kenobi, who introduces himself as a friend of Luke’s father, who had been a Jedi warrior. He, then, shows Luke his father’s lightsaber and this is the first reveal of the lightsaber. The lightsaber effect was pixelated and blurry but at the time it was revolutionary. Everyone marveled at the genius of Nelson Shin, the animator who created the effect. Towards the end of the movie, Ben Kenobi fights Darth Vader, the antagonist who seeks to destroy the light side of the force. This fight is very slow and there is no action at all. After a two minute fight, Darth Vader strikes Ben Kenobi down. This fight revealed a few details that contradicted the information the audience receive later on. This is because Darth Vader is later revealed as Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s father, who was a very agile Jedi, who was fluid with his lightsaber. A perfect example of Anakin’s superior lightsaber wielding skills is in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2006) where Anakin battles his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi. This battle is action packed and all motions are agile. The difference in fighting skills is purely because in 1977, the special effects were not well developed and as a result the subtle motions could not be post-produced. Furthermore, in Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015), a scavenger named Rey becomes the new protagonist. While Luke trained with Master Yoda, who was the greatest Jedi master who ever lived, his fighting in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) was much inferior to Rey’s ability with a lightsaber even though Rey received no formal training.
Throughout the trilogy, there have been various fights and the Jedi fights have always been more exciting every time. The franchise has always been ahead of the curve in terms of the innovation in special effects and they continue to amaze the world with visual effects.
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