Hypermediacy Part 1: Star Wars and Medieval Beast Books

This post is an introduction to a series of posts film, hypermediacy, and text-technologies.

Hypermediacy Part 1: Star Wars and Medieval Beast Books

Jesse McDowell

I walked out of Star Wars: The Last Jedi thankfully awestruck and immensely satisfied. Both its stunning cinematography and storytelling were adept in creating what the saga originally aimed for: a narrative wherein we need a visual vocabulary to interpret its meaning. It blurs Western lines which so heavily demarcate art and war; both battle and naturalistic scenes contribute meaningfully to the transcendent, (and finally) subtly profound wonder of the Force. It is this spiritual glue, deeply deriving from nature, that is surprisingly, to the discovery of our most beloved characters, intensely dynamic. The film is a metacommentary on its own place in the greater canonical saga as much as it is a part of it: we could take the burning tree to doubly acknowledge the characters’ need to identify the need for change, but also the film’s homage to its precipitating role as Empire Strikes Back 2.0 – or the film that changed everything.

I am realizing now is that my viewing of the film quickly became an experience, one where I was easily able to shut down my critical faculties in order to become immersed in a highly engaging set of moving images coupled with a compelling storyline. This is not to say that the film did not have flaws, as all do, but it is one that completely immerses the viewer in a different set of movie-going phonemes: where the multi-modal and ekphrastic components, once seen in their critical nexus, open the movie up to a wide world of eco-critique and Eastern philosophy. However, I am not a film critic, nor will I ever be one. Such as that is, I do not know the typifying and pioneering films that pushed these aforementioned boundaries or solicited these film-making traditions. Different contributors will comment on these important features of the film in the more skilled language of traditional film criticism, but for now I’ll focus on two rather fun aspects that aided my experience in the hypermediacy of the film: art and animals.