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How Star Wars Changed Moviemaking Forever
“May the force be with you!” If you are a Star Wars fan, then you have probably heard that phrase many times. If you are not a fan, you are still likely familiar with these words. So many characters, devices, and phrases from the movie have become well known. But you might be surprised to find out how much this science-fiction movie has changed how movies are made.
“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” is how Star Wars begins. Its plot was not revolutionary. In fact, it was quite old-fashioned. The story was typical science fiction with lots of drama, corny characters, and good battling evil, in space and in hand-to-hand combat.
It was the special effects that made Star Wars stand out from other movies. People still talk about the lightsabers that hummed and slashed. Spaceships zoomed through space and landed on huge, realistic-looking space stations. Moviegoers had never seen anything like it.
Those incredible special effects were created on computers by a company headed by George Lucas, Star Wars’ writer and director. That company continues to change movie-making because it is still one of the top special-effects companies, using computer graphics to create many of the effects that you see in movies today.
Movie Theatres Expand
Star Wars was so popular that people flocked to movie theatres to watch it. Some returned to see it again and again. The movie quickly set box office records. Suddenly the owners of the movie theatres had lots of money.
When Star Wars first came out in 1977, most movie theatres were stand-alone buildings, with just one movie screen. Using the money the film had made for them, movie-theatre owners built more theatres, leading to the multiplexes that are common today.
Theatres needed more movies to show on all the additional movie screens and in all the new multiplexes. So new movie companies sprang up, including small organizations that created experimental movies trying out new techniques. Some of these methods became popular and some failed but, thanks to Star Wars, people got to see new types of movies.
Another way Star Wars changed moviemaking is that it was one of the first modern special-effects blockbusters. Other moviemakers tried to copy it. It also was the first really successful movie trilogy. There had been movie sequels previously, but they were often just poor imitations of the first movie. The Star Wars movies were all popular. There have been two trilogies so far, with more planned.
Star Wars continues to influence and inspire people. Inventors have even tried to create some of the things you see in the movies, including the hologram images and the huge AT-AT robots.
Movie Robots Versus Real-Life Robots
Star Wars featured two memorable robots called R2-D2 and C-3PO. R2-D2 was a small, handy robot. It had tools stored in its body and could help to maintain and repair starships. It communicated using sounds such as beeps and whistles. C-3PO looked and behaved like a human. It was programmed to speak many languages so that it could help life forms from different planets communicate with each other.
Real-life robots are not as intelligent as robots in Star Wars or other movies. In real life, robots can do a few specific tasks. We have robots that can vacuum a room, assemble a car, explore the ocean, and search a disaster site, but none of these robots looks or behaves like a human.
Scientists are working to make robots smarter and more versatile. One of the most advanced humanoid robots is ASIMO. It can walk, run, turn smoothly, climb stairs, and understand simple voice commands. It can use its camera eyes to create a map of its environment and avoid obstacles that are in its way. Another humanoid robot, REEM-A, can hold objects and play chess. Scientists with the Nursebot project want to help older people live better. A Nursebot could remind people to do important things, such as take their medicine. It could help them open doors or cupboards if they have trouble using their arms and hands.
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1. What sentence in the text tells us that Star Wars has inspired inventors to create new inventions?CorrectIncorrect
2. Who is the director of the Star Wars movies?CorrectIncorrect
3. List two things that the Star Wars movies have done to help change moviemaking.
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4. ASIMO and REEM-A are two robots from Star Wars.CorrectIncorrect
5. What made Star Wars stand out from other movies?CorrectIncorrect
6. Have you seen any of the Star Wars movies? If so, which one is your favourite, and why?
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