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A movie essay is where you review a particular movie and analyze or critique the artistic tools used to convey a message. You can focus on a particular character or theme. You can also write about a particular theme or motif that is included in the film. Consider the movie essay example below on Star Wars: Return of the Jedi:
Return of the Jedi focuses heavily on the mystery and power of the force in a way far beyond the other films. It offers new insight into the Force and reveals how it aligns with many Eastern philosophies rather than a Western religion. This film uses the Jedi and the Sith’s seemingly magical powers as a way to showcase the development and complexity of the Force.
As Ben and Yoda begin to explain the Force to Luke it comes off as an energy field which is created by and sustained by all living things in the universe. The Force is considered omnipresent and has the ability to bind everything and everyone in the universe together. A well trained Jedi can manipulate and control the Force as can their counterparts: the Sith. But the Force is also the source of power for Jedi’s which can take an active role in guiding the actions of a Jedi. This is demonstrated when Luke allows the Force to help him destroy the Death Star.
In this film The Force is represented as a benign and otherwise nurturing force with a dark side that is downplayed. And yet this dark side is home to hatred and aggression and is what empowers the Emperor and Darth Vader. The Force offers a spiritual dimension to this film and remains controversial to fans because of the way George Lucas did not spell out specifically what the Force was or what the Jedi believed. The ambiguity feeds the film.
The Force is presented as a vague entity which serves as a way to explain the otherwise magical powers that the Jedi have. The Force is not identified with any particular religion as it is impersonal and created by life itself rather than being the creator of life. The Force as represented in this film coincides more with philosophical sources such as Taoism which is a non-theistic and ancient Chinese religion. It focuses on simplicity and conformity to nature. The “light” and “dark” sides mirror the ancient eastern religion of Manicheism which claimed that the physical universe in which we live was the result of two matched spiritual forces: a good force and a bad force.
While these are only a few examples of the connections that the Force has to eastern philosophies what remains true is that the force is central to all action within this film and remains a mystery even at the end. George Lucas intends it to be a general life force with which one can live in conflict or in harmony.
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