“Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” Movie Review

I figured my reviews of the older movies are long overdue, so if I’m going to do it, I’ll have to include spoilers and all. This epic space opera debuted on May 25th, 1977, quickly becoming the highest grossing film of that time against an $11 million budget. Influencing countless generations in the years that followed, the film spawned two sequels, three prequels, numerous spin-offs, and a recent sequel trilogy. I have to assume there are some who have never seen or even heard of Star Wars before; for all three of you, here we go. A cinematic watershed, the first film opens up with a space ship of the Rebel Alliance being chased by an Imperial Star Destroyer. After getting boarded, the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO escape the madness with the hidden plans for the Death Star, a super-weapon with enough fire power to decimate entire planets. They land on the desert planet of Tattooine where, after a little squabble with slavery, get sold to Luke Skywalker, arguably the most relatable protagonist in movie history. We’ll touch on that later, but he takes these two droids in and eventually meets up with Obi-Wan Kenobi, an old hermit who turns out to be one of the last Jedi Knights remaining from the Clone Wars. After seeing his Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen murdered on their family ranch, he agrees to accompany Kenobi on his mission to the planet Alderaan to deliver the Death Star Plans to the Rebel Leaders, and consequentially learn the ways of The Force. All the while, they’re being escorted by smugglers Han Solo and Chewbacca and chased by Darth Vader. As I said, Luke is a super relatable character, and that’s because he is. He starts out as this average, kind of whiny guy on a desert moisture farm and evolves into a selfless hero who hatches elaborate escape plans for galactic Princesses. Darth Vader is perhaps the greatest villain in cinematic history, featuring a strong introduction and a menacing presence. But what many often forget is that he’s actually under control from the Imperial officer, Grand Moff Tarkin. When he was choking a man because of his lack of apparent belief in the Force, Tarkin ordered “Enough of this! Vader Release him!” So Vader is more like the worst case scenario you never want to meet in space. Which brings up The Force, which is essentially a ubiquitous magical power that brings the entire galaxy together. The idea of it is kind of beautiful (unless you believe in the elitist midi-chlorians). It also makes a commentary on philosophy and religion. Han Solo is the best character in the movie, yet even he states, “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” Admittedly, some of the dialogue feels corny and outdated. And there feels like more than just one convenience in certain situations. But that’s nothing compared to the CGI changes in the Special Editions. Apparently, the original theatrical versions of the movies no longer exists in the world. But easily the most insulting change made was that during their confrontation in Mos Eisley Cantina, Greedo is now the one who shoots first, not Han Solo. George Lucas’s excuse was that he wanted to model Han after John Wayne, and no one would really sympathize with someone who shot first. Whatever. You also get the impression that this Death Star means serious business. The first planet it ever destroys is Alderaan, which forces our heroes to hide out in the iconic Millennium Falcon space ship until they can save Princess Leia. Then there happens a lightsaber battle between Kenobi and Vader on the Death Star, which was one of the best parts of the whole Saga. It was intense and entertaining, and killed off a great character of Kenobi in a satisfying way. It’s the best case scenario and he has to make sure his death is worth it because hey, the term Boba-Fetted hasn’t been invented yet. In the end, the original Star Wars movie was science fiction game-changer unlike anything anyone had ever seen or experienced before. It had a great villain, it had a timeless story, and it had one of the greatest musical scores ever put to film. John Williams made so many iconic tracks, it’s impossible to name them all. May The Fourth Be With You, my fellow geeks and nerds!

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