Tag Archives: Alec Guinness

Throwback Thursday- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

The Cold War is often used as the backdrop for some of fiction’s greatest spy stories.

In the 2011 film, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, (based upon the novel of the same name by John le Carré), George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is a former spy who thinks that his working days are behind him. Then a Soviet spy is found within MI6 and George is called back to work to discover the identity of the spy.

I’ve never read the original novel nor had I seen the 1979 adaptation starring Alec Guinness. The only reason I went to see the film was the cast, most of whom are British and have starred in adaptations of Jane Austen novels. As I recall, I didn’t quite get the intricacies of the narrative and by the end of the film, I remember being confused.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

 

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Filed under Books, History, Jane Austen, Movie Review, Movies, Throwback Thursday

Star Wars Character Review: Obi-Wan Kenobi

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the original Stars Wars trilogy. Read at your own risk if you are just now discovering the original trilogy. For this post, I will also be briefly delving into some of the narratives in the prequels.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from the original Star Wars trilogy to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In previous posts, I have examined Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan (the late Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford). In this post, I will be writing about Obi-Wan Kenobi (the late Alec Guinness).

There are two perspectives in life: one of youth and one of maturity. If Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) represents youth, then Obi-Wan Kenobi (the late Alec Guinness) represents maturity. Known to Luke as Ben Kenobi, he seems like an old man who has chosen a life of solidarity. But, Ben or Obi-Wan, has a secret. He is the one of last of the last surviving Jedi, going into hiding after watching his brethren killed by Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. After watching his former pupil turn to the dark side, Obi-Wan separates Anakin’s motherless twins, Luke and Leia and watches Luke grow up from afar.

A generation later, with the Empire closing on her ship, Leia contacts her adopted father’s old friend, Obi-Wan. She is in peril and needs his help.  Taking Luke and the droids, R2D2 (the late Kenny Baker) and C3PO (Anthony Daniels) with him, they meet up with space pirate Han Solo (Harrison Ford)  and his lieutenant, Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), who agree to help them with the rescue.

While Obi-Wan dies at the hands of Darth Vader in Episode 4, he lives on in spirit, watching over Luke and guiding him in Episodes 5 and 6.

Obi-Wan is to Merlin as Luke is to a young King Arthur. While Obi-Wan is briefly in the narrative in physical form, his presence and memory as Luke’s mentor/father figure remains throughout the entire narrative of the original trilogy.  Every hero needs a guiding hand, someone who can help the hero to overcome the obstacles in his or her path. Obi-Wan Kenobi is that guiding hand.

To sum it up: Sometimes in life, we need someone older and wiser to guide us. In creating the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi, George Lucas paved the way for Luke Skywalker to become the Jedi that he eventually becomes. We may not appreciate the mentor characters in the short-term, but in the long-term, we begin to see how important they are to the growth and destiny of their student.

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Star Wars Character Review: Luke Skywalker

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the original Stars Wars trilogy. Read at your own risk if you are just now discovering the original trilogy.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from the original Star Wars trilogy to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When the audience is introduced to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), at the beginning of A New Hope, he introduced as the average boy next door. On the cusp of manhood, he lives with his aunt and uncle on their moisture farm on Tatooine. Like most boys his age, he would rather do anything but work on the farm. A chance encounter with the droids C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2 -D2 (Kenny Baker) will forever change his destiny.

R2-D2 is looking for Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness). Princess Leia Organa (the late Carrie Fisher) has been captured by the empire and seeking Obi-Wan’s help in rescuing her.

They hire space pirate Han Solo (Harrison Ford) to help them rescue Leia.  The rest is movie history. Over the course of the three original films (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi), Luke grows from a boy to a man. He is a Jedi, the son of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader and Queen Of Naboo/Republic Senator  Padme Amidala and the twin brother of Princess Leia. In A New Hope, he discovers his fate. In Empire Strikes Back, as he begins to seriously learn the ways of the Jedi, he is tested time and again. In Return of the Jedi, Luke must face not only his own darkness, but the darkness that turned his father into Darth Vader.

In the fantastical world of Star Wars, Luke is the every man going on the hero’s journey. The young man who at the beginning of adulthood who doesn’t expect much at the outset of the story will become the hero. But not before overcoming multiple obstacles and facing his own demons. Luke is interesting because even in a galaxy far far away, his journey feels very human and normal.

To sum it up: The audience needs a focal point. They need a character who they can root for and who they can see themselves in. Luke’s journey is about growth and change, while dealing with the sometimes painful reality that is life. In creating an every man or woman character who goes on a hero’s journey, the writer is reflecting ordinary life and ordinary struggles that we all face everyday. When these characters are created successfully, the writer is engaging the audience with the every day humanity that hooks the audience and keeps them coming back for more.

 

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Filed under Character Review, Star Wars, Writing