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Well, the only way to begin this review is to mention when I saw "Star
Wars" for the very first time. I was merely a baby, from what I recall
my parents telling me before their divorce. I wasn't even born when
this first feature film hit theatres. I'm nineteen now, but I must
admit that "Star Wars" was one of the many things that decorated my
childhood. I always adored it, and always looked-up to Luke Skywalker.
It was the type of view I can only assume all boys had; we all wanted
to be a Luke Skywalker. We wanted to be the cool hero with a
lightsaber. In this review, I will do my very best not to give you a
biased review. However, forgive me, for I have always been a "Star
Wars" fanatic. This was my first re-viewing in quite a while, so at
least I'm reviewing the film with a clear set of eyes.
When two droids, C3-PO and R2-D2, escape the clutches of a shoot-out on a spaceship, they land on a desert-covered landscape, only to find themselves captured as slaves. They are reunited among the slavetraders, called Jawas. The Empire realizes that Princess Leia Organa had sent a message along with one of the droids who managed to escape the attack, so they begin to hunt for R2-D2 and C3-PO. Little does the Empire know that a young man, Luke Skywalker, and his uncle, Owen, had just purchased the two droids from the Jawas. While cleaning the two droids up, Luke stumbles upon the message Princess Leia had left for an "Obi-Wan Kenobi". Luke considers "Obi-Wan" a possible relative of a man named Ben Kenobi and goes on the look for him. For now, I will end my synopsis for the fact that I just described the first half-hour of the film. I want there to be more for you. All you need to know is that Luke is taken on a journey that changes his entire life and purpose, helping him make a transfer from a teen who longs to leave the ranch he is stuck living on to a man seeking the fall of the Empire. This film isn't just a film; it is a true adventure.
When it comes to the acting in "Star Wars", I truly don't believe it could get any better whatsoever. Mark Hamill was born to play Luke, Harrison Ford dominated his role as the swift Han Solo (a bounty hunter Luke ends up traveling with), Carrie Fisher is courageously independent as Princess Leia and doesn't fall into the shadows of her co-stars, but Alec Guinness was exceptional as Ben (or Obi-Wan) Kenobi. There is something magical and hopeful about the way Alec portrays Obi-Wan in this film. Also, Anthony Daniels is perfect as C3-PO! He may have been the simple comic relief, but I promise you he was the perfect choice for this character. I truly cannot see anyone ever playing this golden-plated character, who has practically become the symbol for any outsider who may have not seen the films. Without a doubt, the acting was exceptional in all respects. I believe the trickiest had to have been David Prowse, seeing as how Lucas ended-up not using Prowse's real voice for Darth Vader. With that thought, I must say that I enjoy James Earl Jones' voice much more for the character.
Anyways, moving along! The writing of each character was phenomenal. I feel that the banter was so well-done that it brings these characters to life even more, seeing the situations each of them are in within the duration of the film. "Star Wars" was also plotted very well, with all events and scenes not feeling out of place once.
The special effects, I must say, are top-notch, even if they have aged a bit in 2013 viewer's eyes. At some points, the effects look fantastic, while other scenes look like a "Star Wars" fan film from YouTube. That's common with classic cinema, so I don't mind it. I sincerely believe that people aren't the only ones to age.
This "Star Wars" film is definitely not my favorite, but it runs right behind "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi", on my list. Overall, it is still very enjoyable with set designs that look like legitimate places amongst the galaxy. The detailing of the sets in this film are just shockingly realistic.
"Star Wars" deserves the eight stars that I have rated it. I like it, hold it as a memory in my heart, but find it to be an action-fantasy film, for the most part. It is brilliant, it is intelligent, and it is worth a try. I highly recommend the film.
May the force be with you all! God bless, and Merry Christmas!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the early 1990s when I was about 8 or 10, I had a VHS copy of "Star Wars: A New Hope" that I watched repeatedly. It was a recording from a television broadcast and was missing the first few minutes, so the opening shots were of C-3PO and R2-D2 walking over the dunes of Tatooine. That planet is not, of course, named in the movie; strange as it is to think, there must have been a brief span of time when I knew the movie pretty well but didn't know the colossal amount of trivial information that I permanently internalized during my teen years. For a while I had no idea there were sequels. But the details and backstories that books and games and movies and TV shows have filled in over the decades were in a way already present, at least implicitly, at the outset. It is well-known that George Lucas was inspired by old sci- fi/adventure serials, and that he tried to give this "episode" of Star Wars the feel of belonging to a far grander saga whose beginning and end were far off. It was an audacious, brilliant move, and it worked on my younger self exactly as intended. I was able to conjure images of Luke's heroic father, supposedly killed in the off-handedly mentioned Clone Wars, and I was able to get a sense of what those conflicts were like from the way that Alec Guinness looked and sounded when he talked about the past. I could feel the long history of Obi-Wan and Vader's relationship in the way they appraised each other during their showdown. I could imagine, vaguely, the previous ups and downs of the rebel alliance and the off-screen machinations of Imperial Senate. That these things were planted in my imagination made the movie feel big and epic, though it is probably the "smallest" installment in the Star Wars franchise in terms of the size and number of sets, the number of characters with speaking roles, and other metrics. The series has not always benefited from trying to depict on-screen the people and events that were at first only evocative allusions. I sometimes wish I could forget everything I've learned from the ever-expanding Star Wars universe (and that, believe me, is a lot) in order to feel again the way I felt when all I had to go on was "A New Hope," and it was more than enough.
*** 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.
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!
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.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
George Lucas spent four years developing and working on the galactic fantasy Star Wars. This was after he directed the dystopian science-fiction film THX 1138 (1971) and the rites-of-passage American Graffiti (1973). Star Wars was inspired by the Flash Gordon cartoon strip. It cost $8 million to make in Britain with three little-known Americans in the leading roles, supported by British actors. The story is a simple adventure yarn, and Lucas draws on samurai films, Westerns and every kind of myth, ancient and modern. The dogfights are based on a close study of World War II films. Star Wars was an immediate success. It became one of the great phenomena of cinematic history. It spawned two sequels, three prequels and endless imitators, creating a demand for spectacular blockbusters that has not yet ended. Industrial Light and Magic, the special effects unit that served the film, became a multi-billion dollar organization. Lucas himself also became and has remained one of Hollywood's most powerful figures. The film certainly struck a nerve in an America recovering from the humiliations of the Vietnam war. Ronald Reagan, elected president three years after Star Wars was made, spoke of the Soviet Union as 'the Evil Empire' and gave his proposed space-defense system the title Star Wars. The original Star Wars trilogy contributed to the worldwide renewal of the filmgoing habit, but in creating an appetite for child-like blockbusters that depend on special effects rather than on character and subtle narrative, the film unfortunately played a key role in what was to be called 'the dumbing down' of America and popular culture.
I grew up behind the iron curtain in Hungary. We hardly had the chance
to see Western movies. I was 8 when I saw it, in 1982. I remember we
were late from the movie (I went with my brother and grandmother) and
we arrived to our seats when R2D2 was trying to find a way out from the
icy base of the rebells on Hoth.
I started to watch the film in awe, as I have never seem anything like it in my life. It's difficult to describe what impacts it gave me. Yes, on first level the special vision complex of the movie, the freedom fight against dictatorship, the novel landscapes and then the modern technology, but also the Asian (Buddhist, New Age) philosophy, that I had never encounter until then.
I couldn't get out of its spell for several years. (I think I was in love with Han Solo for several years, too.) And with the movie - even now.
Thanks Gorge Lucas and the Hungarian Distributor, who dared to bring it it in!
I was never a "Star Wars" guy growing up. I wouldn't say that I was a
"Star Trek" guy growing up either ("Doctor Who" was my sci-fi franchise
of choice growing up, and still is, even though I'm not a big fan of
Russell T. Davies' version of the show), but I would definitely choose
my favorite episodes of the original series or "Deep Space 9", "The
Wrath of Khan", and "The Undiscovered Country" over any "Star Wars"
film. I've seen the original trilogy a couple of times previously, once
as a kid, once in my mid-teens, and now I sit down to watch "Star Wars"
again, having been inspired by catching half of "The Empire Strikes
Back" on TV recently and being enthralled by it.
The first thing that struck me is how great the opening shot is, just after the scrolling text that is. The rest of the movie was pretty much how I remembered it being- a collection of great set-pieces and memorable characters, and a great mythology, but with a story which wasn't nearly as grand and great as "The Empire Strikes Back". Although a point of criticism aimed at "Star Wars" by its (relatively few) detractors is that it doesn't quite match the real feel of a 30's/40's serial, I think that it really does, and not only in the way it is shot and the transitional wipes and all that, but in the writing, the acting, and just about everything else. It has that same sense of adventure, and although this particular film is nowhere near as good as some of my favorite serials, it remains something which very accurately captures the feel of watching one of those, and its popularity (and the popularity of "Raiders of the Lost Ark") is hence quite understandable, as very few of even the big summer blockbusters have the same sensibility and sense of adventure, and well, fun.
Watching "Star Wars", in spite of it not being my favorite of the original trilogy, serves as a reminder of the talent which George Lucas had at one point. I don't think this film is as good as his previous effort, "American Graffiti", which is the greatest 'coming of age' film I've ever seen, and one of the most beautiful films ever made from a visual standpoint, but it's still got spirit and energy which his later efforts just don't. It's quite sad, really.
There's really nothing I can say that hasn't been said already (which is true, certainly of many popular films, but this is freakin' "Star Wars", so trust me, I have NOTHING to add to what has already been said). There are "Star Wars" devotees who swear it is the greatest of the trilogy and one of the best movies ever made, there are detractors who think it's cheesy nonsense, and then there are others like me who like it quite a bit, but aren't sure where all the extravagant praise comes from. "The Empire Strikes Back"... Well, that's a whole other story.
When Episode IV came out I was not even born. I guess I was too young to see Episodes V & VI. So my brother and grew up with it on the TV screen. When The Special Edition was getting released into theaters my brother and I were like "We HAVE to see them!" So on opening day my brother and I got in line at Tinseltown 290 in Houston to buy four tickets. Standing behind me is a Cinemark employee dressed as Darth Vader. I don't know why I laughed at that moment. We originally wanted the 10:45pm showing but it was sold out and they added an extra showing at 1am. So at 1am myself, my brother, our Dad and our aunt went to see it. The lights went out and some guy behind us yelled "Chewie!". You those familiar drums then the Fox logo. Then Lucas Film Ltd the people applauded. Then "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away." There was silence for that. Then the "Star Wars" came on the screen the theater applauded loudly. It was great. My brother and I agree George Lucas is a genius. Such imagination. He deserved that AFI Life Acchievment Award this year. George Lucas joins the ranks of Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Peter Jackson among others as a great director. Way to go George!
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