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There was no way my review of this classic slab of pulp sci-fi was ever
going to be anything but glowing; as a nine year old I saw George
Lucas' space opera on its original release and instantly became one of
a legion of fans who spent the next twenty years worshipping at the
altar of the great turkey-necked director (until The Phantom Menace
shattered all of my illusions).
Thirty years on, and I'm revisiting Star Wars with my two children, hoping that they will fall in love with it as much as I did, way back when all that seemed important was having a bag-full of marbles and a decent sized pile of comics to read.
I'm not going to describe the plot (surely you know that!), nor am I going to go into great detail about how Lucas borrowed elements from the movies he loved to bring us his epic about a farm boy who becomes a legendary warrior; all I can say is that the film has lost none of its ability to astound and my kids sat entranced (despite not being able to follow the story without the benefit of some additional info from their sci-fi geek dad). My son (who is only three and a half ) might not understand what a 'rebellion' is, and my daughter (nearly six) may struggle with the concept of 'the force', but both got a kick from witnessing the whole Star Wars universe for the very first time.
Chewbacca was an instant hit with my boy, whereas my girl identified with Leia, the gutsy princess. Both of them loved the brilliantly realised landscapes, aliens, robots and spaceships that have wowed film-fans for three decades (and who can blame themthe attention to detail and sheer creativity in design, costume, and make-up is staggering).
It has since become evident that old George ain't always the greatest writer or director in the world (the last three Star Wars movies are proof of that); however, when he does get it right, he works miracles (he wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark tooanother solid gold movie).
Star Wars is perfect family entertainment that delivers amazing spectacle, unforgettable characters and enough movie magic to last a lifetime. In fact, why not do yourself a favour: get off the internet and go watch it right now (even if you have seen it hundreds of times before).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
CONTAINS POSSIBLE SPOILERS
What can be said about Star Wars that hasn't already been said elsewhere?
For a start, on its arrival in 1977, it was light years ahead of its time. It is a film from which cinema history can literally be divided into two epochs, kind of like BC and AD. Pre-Star Wars cinema was a very different medium. Post Star Wars, studios became ever more reliant on big blockbusters to remain afloat. This has led to some truly brain dead films and, as Peter Bogdanovitch described the `juvenilisation' of cinema. The success of Star Wars was a two-edged sword. Its fair to say without it there would have been no Alien, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET, Terminator, Jurassic Park, Matrix and Lord of the Rings films. On the other hand there would also have been no Judge Dredd, Lost in Space, Planet of the Apes remake and other assorted drivel that turns up every summer clogging up the multiplexes.
Star Wars (or if you're going to be a purist, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope although the subtitle was only added in the 1981 reissue) thankfully, belongs firmly in the former category. If its legacy means we have to suffer second rate imitators from time to time, I believe it's a small price to pay for such a magnificent film. Star Wars is an unmitigated thrill ride - a heroic, dynamic rush of pure adrenaline that has been known to make grown adults degenerate into thrill-happy eight year olds.
As I have argued many times, Star Wars is not science fiction in the purest sense of the word. It is much better described by writer/director George Lucas as `space fantasy'. It borrows elements from fairy tales ranging from The Wizard of Oz to The Lord of the Rings. It also is very derivative of classic westerns (such as The Searchers) as well as Samurai films like Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress. What George Lucas did was take these elements and stick them in outer space in a way no one had done since the Flash Gordon serials of the 1930s. He then threw in the most groundbreaking special effects revolution of all time and this is what he ended up with.
The story is comparatively simple. Young farm boy Luke Skywalker lives with his boring Uncle and Aunt on the desert planet Tatooine longing to follow in his dead father's heroic footsteps. He gets the opportunity when two droids show up carrying a message from a Princess who has been imprisoned by the evil Darth Vader. Luke teams up with space pirate Han Solo, his `walking carpet' sidekick Chewbacca, and his mentor Ben Kenobi (who is a former Jedi knight guided by the mysterious `Force') to rescue her.
The much-maligned acting of Mark Hamill as Luke is actually often so bad its good, particularly in the Death Star scenes. He makes a very appealing naïve hero. Harrison Ford's career was launched on the back of his performance as dashing rogue Han Solo, and Carrie Fisher's witty performance as Princess Leia portrays her as anything but a damsel in distress. Elsewhere the droids C3PO and R2 D2 provide superb comic relief. The banter between all the heroes is extremely funny, a factor largely (but not entirely) lacking from the current, more sombre prequels. Gravitas is added with the scenes between Ben Kenobi (the superb Alec Guinness) and the mysterious and evil Darth Vader (wonderfully voiced by James Earl Jones). Vader is, in my opinion, the single best screen villain in cinema history. His frightening and dark presence (helped by his menacing breathing and mask) gave children everywhere nightmares. Vader's character is not developed a huge amount in this film, but in the subsequent installments he proves the most interesting character in the entire Star Wars saga. The other villain worthy of special mention is Peter Cushings' brilliantly nasty Grand Moff Tarkin, the arrogant governor of the Death Star.
The special effects, as I've already mentioned, were light years ahead of their time in 1977. In my opinion nothing equalled Star Wars effects wise until 1993's Jurassic Park. Even now, the effects still look fantastic. From the unforgettable opening shot to the final exhilarating space battle, the film is a triumph. The Death Star battle remains the best space dogfight ever put on film. Even though we've all seen it hundreds of times, as the pilots are picked off one by one until only Luke remains we get closer and closer to the edge of our seats. As, the odds are piled up against our hero, Han Solo's last minute intervention and Luke's triumph is, in my opinion, the second most exhilarating scene in cinema history (after the flying bike scene in ET).
The production design, costumes and look of the film are terrific (with Imperial greys, whites and blacks contrasting nicely to our more colourful heroes). The outfits spawned millions of nerds wanting to buy full Stormtrooper regalia for ludicrous prices. Also, the editing and ground breaking sound effects are all nothing short of landmark cinema (eg, the breathless space battles and the lightsabres respectively). Also, John Williams' thundering music score is magnificent. The staggeringly epic main theme, the Luke Skywalker theme, the Leia theme and many others have all become touchstones for other composers to imitate.
The special edition released in 1997 made some changes to effects shots (which were OK changes on the whole) and added a new, unnecessary scene with Jabba the Hutt. Nevertheless, it doesn't really matter which version you see, the effect is the same.
The spiritual overtones in Star Wars are fascinating. From the Christ allegory of Kenobi to Luke's choosing to have faith in `the Force' rather than trust his computer, this film is chock full of interesting interpretations about God, the Universe, and the triumph of faith, love and courage over faceless technology. Star Wars is a reassuring film. That more than anything I believe accounts for its success. People may be cynical, but underneath they desperately want to believe in absolute good and absolute evil.
That's why it's as timeless today as it was in 1977.
This is quite simply a masterpiece.
By far the film that has progressed the film industry the farthest. This is the breakthrough in films. This film set raised the benchmark for standard of films that is still not being reached by many films today, almost 30 years on.
This introduces us to our characters and sets the story for out trilogy. A little slow to get started i grant you. An exciting opening scene is followed by what to my mind is a little too much of Threepio and Artoo traipsing through the dunes of Tatooine. After that though it is a non stop ride of action, adventure, drama and comedy. The excitement of learning about the force will never be surpassed and never has an idea been so gripping.
Watch this film if you only watch one film in your life. Of course if you are only going to watch one film in your like then after seeing this i am afraid that will drastically be changed into only watching 6 films in your life!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What 2001 did a few years earlier for serious sf films, Star Wars did
in spades for the genre of space opera. I remember sitting in the
theater in 1977, glued to the screen, wishing it would never end.
Star Wars was a transition for the genre, the first such film that required no, or at least very little, suspense of disbelief. I am not referring to perfection of the plot here, but to immersion in a world sufficiently well simulated to seem real. There are gigantic rusty tanks run by desert creatures peddling junk; dark oily corners in space ships that have seen better days; elevators going into an abyss in gigantic space docks; robots with dings in their exoskeleton; and evil storm troopers that in contrast are white, and shiny, and new.
As became clear with the later films, Lucas is not the best director or scriptwriter, and given too much money, he over-gadgeteers every shot. But on a budget, and gathering together his best material, he put an awesome vision to the screen. He had a vision of a world, expanding over the years, within reach of other sublime universes such as Tolkien's Middle Earth or Gene Roddenberry's Federation Universe.
Lucas pushed the envelope of hard sf realism as it had been pushed before only once. No surprise that he created venues such as Industrial Light and Magic, or Skywalker Sound, as the technological side of movie-making and the vision of the general universe were is greatest strengths. Much bedeviled and much emulated (by WETA et al.) over the years, the photorealistic special effects movie and the special effects houses that make them are much indebted to him. Mark Hamill once said, to paraphrase, if someone could shoot films without actors, Lucas would be the man. Unfortunately, this prophecy has come too close to the truth in modern action/effects movies, including Lucas' own subsequent second trilogy. But eventually things will settle in, and special effects will be so ordinary that they can be used continuously without becoming the centerpiece of the film. One of the more embarrassing moments of my life was watching Space Balls on an airplane, and bursting into frenetic laughter about a minute into its opening special effects scene, until I realized that the whole plane was looking at me in that mixture of engine rumble and total silence you can only get on a night flight. The scene was not about special effects. It was just silly funny. We need more of that.
The story of Star Wars is endearing: a young farmhand is recruited by an ancient knight to save a princess in distress from a dark lord who can destroy entire planets to bend the galaxy to his will. The rebels whom the princess represents eventually manage to destroy a gigantic battle planetoid through a clever attack, assisted by a mercenary with a heart and a pair of bumbling robots. Unlike many modern action movies, this one takes some time to develop its characters, especially the pair C3PO and R2D2. So what if the idea is derivative of Kurosawa, and John William's fantastic music of Dvorjak! Dvorjak also copied a thematic opening of his best symphony from Beethoven's 9th, Scherzo, for 6 full emblematic notes. If you're gonna steal, steal from the best! And many have since taken this to heart by stealing from Star Wars.
The film remains great in its remastered version, except now Lucas' heavier hand of later years can be seen: Mos Eisley is virtually tumbling with creatures put there to fill the screen with effects. It took until LOTR a few years later for effects to develop to the point where they are just present, not overwhelming. But Lucas had already achieved that ultimate goal with much less money and just as much heart in 1977.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Believe it or not, I saw this movie at the age of 12, maybe a little
older than most kids were when they saw it for the first time. I
understood very little of what was going on because I hadn't seen the
three prequels, which I made a mental note to watch after seeing this
I like the movie because it's a great opening for the second three movies. It starts out with some great comedy from our two robot friends C-3PO (voiced wonderfully by Anthony Daniels), and R2-D2. After a little bit of this, we get to know Luke Skywalker, and the story truly takes off from there.
I like how the plot clicks along at what I'd call a steady pace. We meet all of the characters in scenes that were set up quite amazingly, and it all leads up to the duel at the end, where Obi-Wan Kenobi meets his unfortunate end, which was the saddest part of the movie for me.
One thing I love about this movie is Darth Vader's voice, provided quite magnificently by James Earl Jones. You can feel the tension when his voice is coming out through that mask.
If you haven't even heard of Star Wars, I recommend you start here if you want to go in production order. However, if you want the entire story, start with Episode I.
Before the genius George Lucas was about to go help Spielberg make the
majestic " Raiders", he decided to do something, something that many
were surprised when it was announced and didn't take a lot of faith on,
which after his release was an absolute success both at the box office
and critical, and today the masterpiece of Lucas is a classic that will
live forever in the history of cinema!
"Star Wars" (not Star Wars IV A New Hope, please), begins with the yellow title suddenly appearing on the screen with an amazing soundtrack from the master John Williams giving us a resume of the history we are about to watch. It all starts with a small spaceship full of rebel soldiers start being invaded by imperial troops led by the sinister and cruel lord Darth Vader (David Prowse). Suddenly the film transports us directly to another side of the galaxy where we have the story of the young Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), a simple machine repairman teenager who lives with his uncles. A day after his uncle buy two servant robots, R2 - D2 (Kenny Baker) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), which inadvertently bring Luke the chance to realize his dreams of becoming a rebel and fight against the tyrant of the empire, a mission that will take him to the ends of the galaxy and will bring new friends but at the same time extreme dangers.
From the beginning, "Star Wars" revolutionized cinema forever, especially the genre of sci - fi that at the time was just "Star Trek" with great success. Lucas of course certain elements form "Trek", since the crew of a spaceship with name style and friendship among the crew, but everything else was a tremendous attack of originality. Unlike "Star Trek" Lucas took the story and the great adventure with a lighter and fantasy tone, not childish but humorous, fun and even a certain religious point when the Jedi Obi - Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) appears in Luke's life with secrets of him and Luke's father past.
And just like "Star Trek", Lucas gave his masterpiece unforgettable characters, of course: Luke, R2, C-3PO, Obi-Wan. But also the unforgettable Han Solo (Harrison Ford), the bounty hunter from space who ALWAYS shoots first and asks questions later, giving the film a great humorous touch and a lot of fun (never one character caused such influences as Han Solo did), and even Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) no royal woman before her in a film had never taken up arms showing she knew very well how to take care of herself. Not only the good guys who stand out perfectly in the story, but also the great and unforgettable antagonist ever put to film, Darth Vader, no villain was so cruel and yet so adored by fans.
Characters and stories fitting perfectly, but the adventure to be full completed it needed the huge Galactic scenario, which is not lacking in this film. I think Lucas should have thanked Kubrick about "2001" because if it were not for this film, visual effects would never be the same. And thanks to that Lucas gave the film with beautiful scenery and a vast galaxies and an unforgettable and thrilling final battle.
The classic that redefined cinema forever with a story well-crafted and told, full of suspense, humor and adventure thanks to its unforgettable characters and stunning visual effects , the legendary George Lucas gave the world a film with tremendous quality and early one of the best trilogies ever made.
This first "Star Wars" film(though now retitled 'Episode IV') was a groundbreaking, box office shattering breath of fresh air to the cinemas, and science fiction in particular, which had gotten bogged down in bleak Dystopian futures. Nothing wrong with that in some cases, but moviegoers craved more, and got it with this extremely exciting tale of youth rebellion against an evil galactic empire led by Darth Vader(I though he was a robot at first viewing as a youngster!) a memorable creation, whose entrances were punctuated by the grand music of John Williams, who created an unforgettable score here that kids imitated endlessly! Fine cast includes Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing and Sir Alec Guiness. Climax is truly exciting, though film has a few lulls at times, this is still great fun.
"Star Wars" was the start of something new, something different,
something extraordinary for those times. Until today "Star Wars"
considered the best Star Wars movie of all times. Personally I liked it
very much and I can compare it with the other two movies of the classic
trilogy: "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back" and "Star
Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi".
George Lucas makes a great direction (nominated for the Oscar of Best Director in 1978) such the writing and screenplay (nominated for both for the the Oscar of Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) and that great job seemed during the whole movie. Gary Kurtz also did an extremely good job for the Picture of the movie who is also nominated for the Oscar of Best Picture.
The theme of this movie is that Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) are going to save Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) from the evil Darth Vader (David Prowse) and they are also want to save the universe from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station.
This was the very first movie I was allowed to see on my own. I
remember that the movie theater I was taken to was one of the finest at
the time, which made the experience even better.
I had the chance to see the action figures even before the movies, so by heart, I was a natural fan. I remember all details, from the entrance with the scrolling story, the ship pursuit, the first Tatooine scene. I just loved everything about it, including the fact that it was our very own Tikal that served as scenery for the rebel base in Yavin IV.
Star Wars changed my life, brought to my eyes a world of wonders that I dream of, and allowed my child imagination to be transported to what I still consider the best place in the world: fantasy.
For the time that the movie was made at, the effects were incredible, from the ships, the blasts, the use of The Force, and the light sabers, everything was just amazing, it is a jewel of the cinema history.
For sure, is a film that I will introduce to anyone I can (and I speak of the young-lings) and make sure to keep alive in the tradition we keep with my brother, watching them all every year.
This is how big of an impact it made on me.
I don't even know how to review this. This movie is a timeless classic. The special effects are fantastic. The acting is great. The plot is great. Nearly everything about this movie is great. I think that anybody can enjoy this movie. I give this movie such high praise. This movie isn't my favorite Star Wars movie, but it is close. It is one of my favorite movies of all time. I've seen this movie probably 75 times in my life and it never gets old. This movie is a masterpiece. All of the characters are great from Luke Skywalker to Han Solo to Leia to Darth Vader to Grand Moff Tarkin to Chewbacca to Wedge Antilles to Ben Kenobi and so on. I love this movie.
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