Star Wars: A New Heap (Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Death Star)

Terrific essay by John Powers on the design and art direction for Star Wars:

A flying saucer had never been a slum before. The immaculate silver sheen of the saucer was reinvented as a dingy Dumpster full of boiler parts, dirty dishes, and decomposing upholstery. Lucas’s visual program not only captured the stark utopian logic that girded modern urban planning, it surpassed it. The Millennium Falcon resisted the modernist demand for purity and separation, pushing into the eclecticism of the minimalist expanded field. Its tangled bastard asymmetry made it a truer dream ship than any of its purebred predecessors. It is the first flying saucer imagined as architecture without architects.

The Millennium Falcon is my single favorite bit of art direction ever. Nothing so fantastic has ever seemed so utterly real. (Via Kottke.)

Friday, 5 December 2008