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16 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Primitive-Looking By Now, But A 'Must" To Set Up The Series

Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
10 June 2006

After seeing all six episodes of the Star Wars saga several times apiece, I still think this initial entry is interesting but one of weaker ones in the series. Perhaps that's because by now, the special-effects look primitive but also because it's a little slow in parts, slower than the other five films. Sometimes, though, it's nice to have more lulls as these modern-day action films many times overdo the violence. This one, however, is just a bit too slow overall.

The first hour of this film sets up the second hour plus the two sequels that followed in the 1980s, showing how the principal characters were united, who they are fighting against and what mystical powers they have at their disposal. Note: it was even interesting to watch this film decades later after the final installment, episode 3, was viewed. It made this first entry make a little more sense, knowing the complete story (who was related to whom, how some died, etc.). It was also a shock to go back and see the special-effects in here after viewing those final three films issued in recent years.

I always got annoyed, to be honest, at two things in this initial Star Wars film I felt were overdone: the "Rambo" mentality in which hundreds of shots are fired at the good guys and never hit them and the constant arguing between Carrie Fisher ("Princess Leia") and Harrison Ford ("Han Solo"). By the third film, thankfully, that bickering stopped and everyone was "on the same page."

Despite how old this film is, it's a "must" for this collection since it sets up so much of what is to follow. It's also kind of fun to look at this again and see how young everyone looks!

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19 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

The ultimate space adventure!

Author: Stefan Ellison from Canada
5 July 2007

I don't think there's any denying that Star Wars changed cinema history and deservedly so. At the time of its release, science-fiction was considered a dead genre with the only major films from Hollywood's recent cannon being the work from Stanley Kubrick and cheesy, yet still fun flicks like Logan's Run. Yet, no other futuristic movie wowed more than George Lucas's space opera. From that infamous opening scroll, featuring that amazing heart-pumping score, to the end credits, people were gripped and hoping their heroes that had grown to know those two previous hours could come out alive. While, George Lucas did give his Jedi knights more adventures, I don't think any of those sequels and certainly not the prequels have managed to come close to the original Star Wars that practically defined the baby boom generation. Watching the film again recently, I am still impressed by the awesome power of the movie and the fact that even after thirty years after its release, it gets me more excited than the latest Hollywood blockbuster. Sorry, Michael Bay, but you're no George Lucas, that's for certain.

After two droids crash-land on the desert planet of Tatooine, they are immediately captured and sold to a young farm boy called Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who desperately wants to leave the rock he lives on with his aunt and uncle. While fixing one of the droids, he finds a message from Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), requesting the help of Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guiness). Luke finds Kenobi, a hermit living in the mountains, who tells Luke of his family history. His father was a Jedi knight, killed by the evil Darth Vader and now Kenobi decides it is time to teach him the way of the Force. After Luke finds his family's home destroyed by stormtroopers looking for the two droids, they decide to find their way to another planet. They enlist the help of space pirate Han Solo (Harrison Ford), who decides to give them a lift. On the way, they find the Death Star, a giant space station run by Darth Vader, with the ability to destroy any planet of the solar system. Now, they must enter the Death Star, find and rescue the Princess and destroy the station before it produces anymore harm.

George Lucas has been criticised for his so-called lack of direction and screen writing abilities, but I don't think most people can deny that Star Wars packs a mean punch in terms of solid entertainment. While Star Wars is playing, all eyes are on the screen savouring every delicious moment, whether it be a fantastic lightsaber duel or a quiet scene between Luke and Obi-Wan. The visual effects (including those in the special editions) are seriously some of the best in motion picture history as they manage to make the viewer believe they're in space, surrounded by various creatures and flying ships. Lucas has gotten a lot of negative criticism for the fact that he believes that the updated version of Star Wars is the ultimate way to see the film, but I don't mind. The special effects are better and they certainly do add to the experience. Greedo shooting first? It's such a quick, minor scene that goes by at such a fast rate, that I don't really mind. I understand where the die-hard fans are coming from, but for the casual viewer, it's practically nothing. Adding to the impressive technical delight of Star Wars as well is John Williams's magnificent score, the best in any Hollywood film. I seriously don't think the film would be as highly regarded as it is, if it wasn't for the fantastic music. I seriously would probably enjoy the film even less without it.

Yet, I think the lasting appeal of Star Wars has to be the characters. Every child growing up wants to be like Luke Skywalker, the young Jedi who just wants to save the universe from possible destruction. Meanwhile, the older folks in the audience have the wise Obi-Wan Kenobi to relate and as Yoda shows in the other five films, that old age does not remove one of their abilities. Han Solo represents the coolness of Star Wars and Harrison Ford plays him with enough spunk and gusto to warrant what might be a minor character as a personal favourite of mine. And then, there's Darth Vader, the most famous character and the most chilling villain of the 20th century. James Earl Jones will always be connected with with this constantly breathing menace with a past of many hidden secrets. Even the stormtroopers tremble in his wake, for fear that he will force-choke them to death. With thrilling action, impressive visuals, lovable and both frightening characters and a world full of fascination and adventure, it's hard to go wrong with Star Wars, the epic journey of our hearts and inner wants.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

game changer, but the saga peaked at the start

Author: g-leno
21 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There is no denying that this film was the start of something big, and you cannot take away from it the fact that it changed the face of the sci-fi genre, maybe even the whole film industry, in to what it is today. For its time, the effects, story, characters and detail in this film are are beyond exemplary. Most action and sci-fi films aim to be compared to star wars, a feat that is rare and, in my opinion, has only been achieved by Terminator 1 and 2, the lord of the rings trilogy and marvels: the avengers.

A new hope works brilliantly as a first chapter to a saga, however, I feel that it works better as a stand alone film. Unlike many films that are a 'first part', it has a beginning, middle and end, tells everything that needs to be told and leaves the characters in a satisfying place. I feel that having seen the prequels does not diminish anything about this film like it does to episodes five and six.

The only problem that I have is that the original theatrical release doesn't really exist anymore, you can only really get the version that has been tinkered with by Lucas to put needless CGI extras in. This is the original and best of the star wars saga, however i do feel that many people see this through rose tinted glasses and will not see any faults in any of the three original films, even though they are happy to say that the three prequels do not exist as far as they are concerned. Awesome film, great legacy, and now that Disney has the rights away from Lucas, a great future too.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Cinematic Feat of Imagination, Fantasy & Creativity.

Author: CinemaClown from India
30 September 2013

The ingredients that made Star Wars a revolution at its time of release are clearly noticeable, without a doubt, but the visual encapsulation of this epic space opera has aged very badly & today looks like an unintentionally funny (or stupid) ride than a masterpiece adventure. Still, there is no denying that Star Wars is a cinematic feat of imagination, fantasy & creativity that hypnotized an entire generation with its freshly envisioned & awe-inspiring world, gripping story, first-rate adventure, celebrated characters & legendary score.

Set in a galaxy far, far away... Star Wars lifts the plot structure from Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress and presents a time period in which a civil war has broken out between the evil Galactic Empire & the Rebels. It tells the story of Luke Skywalker who joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee & two droids to save the universe from the Empire's ultimate weapon, the Death Star which is capable of destroying an entire planet, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil lord, Darth Vader.

The film may not look as dazzling & groundbreaking today as it was during its time but its vast influences can be seen in plethora of sci-fi space features that came after it. Nicely crafted by George Lucas from scratch & featuring sweeping visual effects, the outer surface of Star Wars may have degraded over time but the core still hasn't aged a day, resulting in it making an impact in the sci-fi genre, blockbuster filmmaking & marketing even today and will continue to do so for a few more decades.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Favourite Childhood Memory!

Author: ChristinaNicholls from United States
23 June 2013

There is nothing I can type here that has not been covered by previous reviewers so I will just leave it at this:

For those that haven't watched Star Wars; please remedy that if you're a Sci-Fi fan or just a fan of films with a rich story. Star Wars was one of my favourite films as a child and it continues to be a source of both nostalgic wonder and a film that will always hold a special place with a geek/fan girl like me. The reviewer whom stated that Star Wars is a "Kid's Fantasy. An Adult's Memory" was spot on! I was three years from being born when the film was released in theatres but I was lucky enough to grow up with big brothers who introduced me as soon as I was old enough to watch. I cannot thank them enough for that.

There is nothing better than reliving the epic stories of the Star Wars films on a rainy weekend!

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

"The Force will be with you, always."

Author: Al_The_Strange from United States
5 May 2013

In the summer of 1977, during a time when most motion pictures were all about being rough and gritty, Star Wars exploded onto the scene with its fresh take on classic adventurism and epic storytelling. The immense popularity that followed ensured that it beat the odds against a skeptical studio that never saw the viability of the franchise, and ensured its resounding success for decades. It has since become the progenitor of all modern blockbuster films.

Whether you start the series here or with the modern prequel The Phantom Menace, you'll be immediately submerged into a unique and original universe. Great care and consideration is placed into every person, place, and thing in the series, with an exceptional level of background and detail. Entering the Star Wars universe is one of the deepest and most lively franchises, even to this day.

The story kicks off right in the middle of a big space pursuit, and maintains steadily fast pacing throughout. The original special effects have always been impressive, with loads of quality models and matte paintings that still hold up. There are a number of added CGI scenes from the '97 update, which haven't aged that well. But what really matters is the spirit of the movie; whether lurking around the seedy underbelly of Mos Eisley, or storming the decks of the Death Star, the movie is loaded with action and comedy, and it takes itself seriously only when it has to. The resulting thrill ride is as lighthearted as it is exciting and memorable.

Borrowing directly from Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, and with some influence by classic sci-fi serials like Buck Rogers, the story for this is not terribly original, but it is a solid and fresh take on the genre, with a cast of fine characters. The biggest and most original contribution is Luke Skywalker's journey from being a humble farm boy to being the hero of the Rebel Alliance (featuring themes that echo Lucas' previous film American Graffiti). The film's structuring allows for a steady introduction to all the characters and concepts, making it easily digestible and continuously iconic.

The film is competently-made, with solid photography and editing. Special effects are groundbreaking for its time. At times, I feel that the imagery with the given camera angles, lighting effects, costume and set designs, are like an evolution of THX1138, lending the film a slick futuristic appeal. Acting tends to be a bit hammy in all the Star Wars films, but are probably at their best here; Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Sir Alec Guinness bring the characters to life in a vivid and memorable way. Writing can be quite nutty, but the dialogue is memorable. All of the film's sets, props, costumes, and special effects are swell, even if they do show their age a little. And the music is excellent; John Williams' original score matches the movie perfectly, and is exceptional.

5/5 (Entertainment: Perfect | Story: Perfect | Film: Perfect)

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Fairy Tale Set In Space

Author: DJ Zurn from United States
3 May 2013

May the fourth be with you everybody! Today, on Star Wars day, I figure it only fitting to review the film that started the whole starry craze, Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress! Nah, just kidding, it's Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope of course. It has been said countless times that Star Wars was based upon the Kurosawa samurai films as well as the Flash Gordon serials of the 1930s and 40s, but in my eyes, it's an all around fairy tale in space. Think about it, you've got the dashing, optimistic hero in Luke Skywalker, the wise, old mentor and hermit in Obi-Wan Kenobi, the damsel in distress mistress in Princess Leia, and the terrifying wizard with black attire in Darth Vader. It's like a Brothers Grimm tale or a tale written by L. Frank Baum, who you all know as the mind behind The Wizard of Oz. But what makes Star Wars great is something I can't sum up in one single review, but I'll certainly give it a try for your sake. This is 1977's Star Wars, the film that changed cinema forever.

I can relate to this film on so many levels. I see a lot of myself in the characters of Luke Skywalker, C-3P0 and even the cocky Han Solo, a rebellious lad with a devil may care point of view. I can also look up to Obi-Wan Kenobi, who has become a lot like his master Qui-Gon Jinn by this episode. He has gone from a brash, outspoken padawan who viewed many creatures as useless to a wise old man who saw the potential in all creatures. I love Obi-Wan's wisdom and it's wisdom I live by every minute of everyday of my life. My favorite line of his is "Who's the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?" He has such a rich perspective of everything and his knowledge of the Force can give you the push you need to go about even the deadliest of tasks. It's his guidance that finally allows Luke to demolish the Death Star at the film's finale and it's probably something that will carry onto mentor Luke in the upcoming Star Wars Episode 7. Obi-Wan is the kind mentor we all wish we could get knowledge from so we could become wiser souls.

Darth Vader is a menacing entity and is up there with the Wicked Witch of the West as one of film's greatest foes. The emotionless mask and deep dark voice of James Earl Jones really makes him ever more terrifying than he already is, but if you saw what he once was in Episodes 1,2 and 3, you tend to fear him less and less. It's hard to believe that underneath that breathing helmet is the charred face of Hayden Christensen, a once proud hero with a charming charisma. Little did we know that it would take him two more films until he finally reached his redemption and even than, it was before his untimely demise. Darth Vader is a motion picture icon, not only because of his wickedness and evilness, but because of his tragic past and his fight to gain back what he lost all those years ago. That's what makes an incredible villain, a villain that never wanted to be bad, but was thrust into badness because of one fatal decision.

The other characters are also worthy of mention. Mark Hamill prevails as the adventurous, yet good hearted Luke Skywalker who would become the galaxy's most acclaimed hero towards the film's conclusion. Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia is a lot like Dorothy Gale or Alice in Lewis Carroll's classic Wonderland stories. Sure, she gets captured, but she's perfectly capable of defending herself and even defending her companions. She's a fearless woman who is not even afraid of kissing her long lost brother straight on the lips. Harrison Ford's Han Solo is probably the film's most memorable human character and with his headstrong and hipster attitude, he was what a lot of children wanted to be like when they first saw Star Wars back in 77. He's the ideal punk, but he's also the gallant hero and tough guy who's not scared to shoot down some green aliens (Who cares who shot first!) or stormtroopers.

Personally, I became more fascinated with the non human characters like Chewbacca (Why didn't he get a medal!), R2-D2 and C-3P0, for like the humans, they were always trying to get the spotlight and give their share to the story. I feel like C-3PO is the most underrated character in all of Star Wars, for he is often seen as a symbol of homosexuality and annoyance. But Star Wars has a timeless story first and for most and this story gets better and better every time you experience it. Every time you experience it, you spot things you never spotted beforehand and that adds to the film's overall charm and magic. Even though it was made in the 70s, it still has the touch of a story that will last forever and never wear out. With all it's grand special effects (no matter what version of the film it is) and alien lifeforms, Star Wars is a storybook with a grand scale and a powerful, prudent moral that all creatures have a force flowing through them, allowing them to reach out and achieve the impossible.

I'm not quite sure but I think that's why we love it so much. That's the reason I love it at least.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Another experience I delayed far, far too long

Author: Steve Pulaski from United States
23 March 2013

George Lucas' Star Wars is a project unlike one I've seen before, as cliché and as empty as that statement might sound. It's a monumental achievement in the cinematic world, arguably the biggest one ever, that pioneered special effects work and accommodated for other science-fiction projects to follow in the next decades. When released in 1977, with sufficient hype and outstanding reviews, it was a movie-going experience; thousands of showings were sold out (something you never hear about anymore), universal audiences were captivated, cultists and enthusiasts were born, and the eye-popping technology was cherished and admired by many.

Watching Star Wars today (now called Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope with the release of the three prequels), there is still a uniquely affecting vibe that it sends with its compelling visuals and wonderfully articulated characters. It's over thirty years old, but it effectively holds the torch that makes it timeless. No matter how far technology progresses, and even with the onset of computer-animation and a heavy reliance on digital cinema, the look and beauty of Star Wars will likely never die out.

Since it appears that everyone has seen the Star Wars movies except for myself, I will spare you the boredom of hearing the plot reiterated for the umpteenth time. Besides, I'm not sure if I could explain it accurately. The film is fast-paced, dynamic, and just works so competently, that after a while, I began to dissolve any questions I had about the plot and just go along for the ride. Consistent readers know what I think of constant cinematic evaluations, and that I find them to often be without a reward and potentially lethal to the likability of a film. Things happen in Star Wars; crazy things, logical things, smart things, frightening things, but above all, enthralling things.

Speaking of enthralling things, I must admit how often I felt tension build and suspense become prevalent during the course of this film. For one thing, it's blatantly obvious to people who haven't even seen the series that these characters will make it (hence the two sequels). Yet, during several sequences, I found myself tense and extremely worried for these characters (most notably the scene in the trash chute). When a film can make you fear when you know the outcome is when you know true filmmaking tactics are at hand.

Something I have notice happen with older science-fiction films is that one of their downsides is their length due to their special effects showcase. Let me explain; Star Trek: The Motion Picture was a visual marvel when it first came out, but its story was extended out about twenty-five minutes longer than it needed to be because they were showcasing the technology, which was breathtaking at the time. It appears, too, that many fans even recall this fact with a bit of sourness, which is why when people refer to the "original trilogy" of the Star Trek films, they usually mean the second film through the fourth one. Star Wars doesn't bear that same quality; it doesn't need to turn the story into a methodical plod just to show off its creative design and visuals. It doesn't feel like a showcase. We get a perfect feel for the environment without having to stare at for an upwards of five minutes.

One thing that disheartens me greatly about this series is how controversial it has become. With numerous releases on DVD, and a new one on Blu-Ray, to my knowledge, the only original cuts of the Star Wars films you can see are on the Laserdisc/VHS versions. Because of this, fans have found themselves lambasting decisions made by Lucas, criticizing all the changes he has made to the series on the new releases of the DVDs, his re-releases of the movies in theaters, and lucrative branding/licensing of the figures in the money that, in 2013, continue to flood the store aisles of a Wal-Mart and Toys-R-Us near you. I believe that's one of the contributing reasons to why I never saw or even felt like seeing the original films until now; I felt alienated and bullied, with the series seemingly shoving itself down my throat.

On a final note, another impressive element is the charisma and talent of a young Mark Hamill, portraying no one else but Luke Skywalker. Hamill seems like the kind of guy who, after breaking out in Lucas' trilogy of films, would have gone on to do unprecedented projects, but alas, no. Hamill has only acted in either small roles or cameos in films, and hasn't really worked on any other mainstream picture aside from the Star Wars trilogy. While this fact is slightly depressing, as one can only imagine what he could've done, it's fortunate we weren't burdened of seeing him in anything atrocious.

Star Wars is, in short, an incorruptible masterpiece on film. A film that launched the genre of science fiction, propelling films about outer space to unheard of heights. It's just incredibly unfortunate to see what dismal treatment it, and its fans, have had to endure since its release.

Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. Directed by: George Lucas.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Perfect adventure movie

Author: seansworks
24 February 2012

How many influences did Lucas bring together for the first truly big sci-fi (ish) box office smash? Classic Samurai films, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Buck Rodgers. He took a clash of the greatest adventures of the first half of the twentieth century and brought them all into a single, sublime movie.

Read/seen/played a kid with his parents/guardians murdered by the bad guys? Or a slightly mysterious/wise/cooky old teacher to teach the protagonist the "ways" of whatever? Or perhaps a grinning, sarcastic buddy that gets the protagonist out of trouble? Odds are if it was made sometime past 1977 you have Star Wars to thank for that.

Heck, the very idea of background characters being named and rising to prominence is thanks to this movie. Or more specifically thanks to the toys eventually born out of it. Lucas negotiated the toy and merchandising rights and went right to work putting out every character there was, and since they had to have names in order to sell they were given names. Thus birthing the idea that characters once thought totally unimportant might be more than they seemed for fans of an IP.

Oh, and as for the movie itself? One of the best scored movies in history, there might not be another movie in history with music more easily or widely recognizable than Star Wars. It was also written in a way so easy to wrap your head around that much of the dialogue can be recognized even by people that have seen it maybe once or twice.

But the biggest claim I would make for the original Star Wars is that its the best edited and paced movie in history. Every movie study and screenplay writing example I've seen (and having taken college classes, and seen quite a few I have wide sample) has the original Star Wars as its perfect example of how to pace a movie. If you want to look for the perfect example of "the roller-coaster" of movie excitement, rising action spaced out with occasional dips, rising to a peak and then falling as the story ends are tied together; well, you're going to find its the original Star Wars.

Like with any category of product or scientific field, forms of entertainment have things that shove them forward, that innumerable people after the fact owe a lot too. "Standing on the shoulders of giants" as it were. And Star Wars is one such thing, a giant of entertainment that so many works after it have stood upon to reach for their own heights.

But even more important than that, it's just a damned fun movie. I've seen it more times than I care to admit. And yet even years later, years after the rabid Star Wars fanhood of my preteens has long faded, after I've grown bored and have little interest in seeing most any movie a second time I can still watch the original Star Wars and by the end have a huge grin on my face.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A classic tale of heroism, of magic and revenge

Author: itamarscomix from Israel
24 September 2011

Before there was a trilogy, before there were prequels, before there was an expanded universe with hundreds of books, comics and video games, before Greedo shot first and before Jar Jar Bink was a speck of light in George Lucas' eye, there was Star Wars. Even if it's not the best film in the series (it's not), Star Wars deserves its own place in the history of cinema, as a work that changed Hollywood forever. It brought back the grandness of the epic cinema of the 30's and 40's and multiplied it, creating a new era of spectacle and excitement.

Unlike the rest of the films, there's absolutely no need for an expanded universe or a complete saga to appreciate the original Star Wars by its own right. It's a complete tale, a classic saga that takes its queues from historical epics, samurai films and serials, and contains every aspect of the timeless hero's journey. The fact that it takes place 'in a galaxy far, far away' is trivial - though it did help the film have a bigger impact.

Star Wars has very little to do with science fiction; not much of the science in it makes any sense, it might as well be magic. But that's what made it so powerful, and what made the prequels - that tried to explain everything away - so disappointing. Luke Skywalker's story is a classic story of the simple farm-boy who leaves his home and becomes a hero, and for that reason exactly it's timeless, and resonates with audiences even now.

Now go see The Empire Strikes Back.

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