Saturday, November 01, 2014

Book Review: William Shakespeare's Star Wars, The Empire Striketh Back and The Jedi Doth Return

Author: Ian Doescher
Genre: Fantasy Reimagined
For: All ages who will take the time to understand Shakespeare-like language.
You might like these books if you loved the original Star Wars trilogy AND love Shakespeare, if you think there is room in this world for The Bard to have a little fun, or if you're just curious.
I listened to the audiobooks, which had a cast of voices playing the different characters.

I love Star Wars. I love Shakespeare. Both have been important to me since I was a child. These audiobooks intrigued me from the minute I saw them show up as recommendations on Audible and finally I had enough credits to listen to all three in quick succession. I'm so glad I did. This version of the beloved IV.V.VI trilogy was good fun in the very best sense. It satisfied my geeky fantasy-loving side and my geeky classic-literature-loving side. And several other sides. I love drama and plays, acting on a small scale, and comparing literature to find common ground between genres. I've also always thought part of the brilliance of the Star Wars cycle was its Campbellian Power of Myth.

The performances are based entirely on those of the original actors (the whole project was made in cooperation with Lucasfilm Ltd) and are good enough for me. It was so enjoyable, as I got through some busy days, then embarked on a drive to Tennessee to see my sister, to have these stories as my companions. I remembered that it's important to be brave. It matters that good wins over evil, and sometimes I wish that the heroes and villains in this world were a little more starkly drawn and easy to identify.

I loved that the author added in commentary and hilarious scenes that would mostly resonate with those of us who watch special features and read companion novels, but also remind all of us Star Wars fans not to take ourselves too seriously.

Perhaps most importantly, I remembered how much I loved Han Solo. He really was so much more interesting than Luke. To listen to him, as a classic dark horse, soliloquize about Leia with depth and subtlety, was truly a delight. I always knew he had it in him.

Give these a chance if you meet any of the above criteria. And even if you don't. Let go.  reach out with your feelings. 

1 comment:

Thank you for sharing your insights!