A proposal to make Star Wars more interesting

If the logic of education applied more broadly:

It is well known that movies are intrinsically boring. This is because they lack the element of participant choice. Once you have decided to watch a particular film, your options are taken away and you simply have to sit and listen as you fulfil your role as the receiving end of a one-way communication. It is a form of ‘transmission’ that does not draw upon the experiences of the movie-goer or recognise the movie-goer’s vocation to become more human. 

This lack of options is compounded in the example of a family or dorm-room movie night where a viewer may be compelled to watch a film chosen by others. In this scenario, movie-goers are coerced into watching something that may have no relevance at all to their own lived experiences. Country-dwellers may be forces to watch a movie about life in the city or in a foreign state. This distantification amplifies ambivalence and a sense of alienation, providing a wellspring for anger and the embrace of extremist perspectives.

Well, here is my modest suggestion. Let us take a typically boring movie such as ‘Star Wars’. Let’s face it, Star Wars suffers greatly from a relevance problem given that no potential viewer can to relate to life in a galaxy far, far away. Setting this obvious flaw aside, what could be done to relieve the tedium?

Well, self-determination theory offers us a possibility. In Star Wars there is a scene where the characters have to destroy the Death Star. Instead of allowing the movie to simply tell viewers how this is done – a typically transmissive model – there is an opportunity here to workshop solutions amongst the audience. We could pause the film, give out big sheets of paper and some coloured pens and ask the viewers to get into small groups and suggest their own strategies for Death Star destruction.

A suitable facilitator may then move around the various groups, nodding sagely, asking questions and provoking interactions before the session concludes with a gallery walk and the opportunity for facilitator and participants alike to voice a variety of non-committal and vague thoughts about what has been presented.

Of course, this is likely to take far longer than intended and so the end of the movie will never be shown. Perhaps this is for the best.


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