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Star Wars: A New Hope

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

What He said:

He

Even though I was not around to see it during its original run, I was still able to grasp the immeasurable impact this movie (and its sequels) had on pop culture. By the time I was old enough to comprehend the movie, all three movies had already finished their original run in theaters. They were still extremely popular. They still are to this day. Books, comics, video games, toys, cartoons, and MORE movies at this point, ha!, It just doesn’t stop and probably never will either tbh. This franchise will exist as long as humans do imo..

Like many others, I am totally captivated by these movies. I remember when I was in my early teens, I would watch these movies almost every night at one point. I’d go out with my friends and do the “cool kid” thing, but the second I’d come home I would pop A New Hope into my VCR. The next night it was The Empire Strikes Back, and after that it was Return of the Jedi. A few nights later I’d start the whole thing over again. I think I did that for an entire summer.

Star Wars: A New Hope

I just recently watched the original trilogy for the first time in quite some time in preparation for the release of The Last Jedi. They aren’t entirely original, but just really good at what they do, which is entertain. Star Wars is your basic story of good versus evil. It’s very simple and innocent in that sense, but it’s also an epic soap opera. There’s some (basic) politics, family drama, romance, and it all unfolds through several different chapters, which take place over the course of six (real time) years. There is action and adventure, but a lot of laughs too. Quite a bit, actually. It's an innocent and simple humor, but these movies make you chuckle. At their heart, they’re fantasy movies. There’s a farm boy, a princess, wizards, and an evil dark knight. However, there is another layer to them because the genre is transported to outer space. There are no bow and arrows, but rather blasters (laser guns). Swords are replaced with lightsabers. And instead of riding horses, our heroes travel in ships - from one planet to another no less! It adds a little something special to the whole experience. There’s so much going on that having reread what I just wrote, it makes me think shouldn’t work, but it does. Seamlessly too. The words “movie magic” were invented to describe stuff just like this.

Plus, like I said, there’s lightsabers! They have got to be one of the coolest things ever imagined. Who didn’t want one growing up? Shit, I still want one. I would use it for all kinds of unnecessary stuff: cutting sandwiches in half, lighting people’s cigarettes, or some other ordinary task that doesn’t require the coolest (fictional, unfortunately) weapon ever invented.

Star Wars: A New Hope is the tale of a young farm boy named Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Luke lives with his Uncle Owen (Phil Brown) and Aunt Beru (Shelagh Fraser) and helps them maintain their farm. He dreams of something bigger though. He wants to leave Tatooine (their home planet) and go off on an adventure. He gets his wish sooner than he expected and is thrust into the heart of an intergalactic war when his aunt and uncle are murdered after having purchased a pair of very high profile droids (robots for you non-nerd types).

Star Wars: A New Hope

These droids are property of Rebel Alliance member, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). While her ship is under attack by Darth Vader – who is a high-ranking member of the evil Empire that rules the galaxy – she puts some very important information inside the memory of one of the droids; hoping they find their way to legendary Jedi Knight Obi Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness). The droids flee the scene in an escape pod. Instead of finding Obi Wan they end up coming into contact with Luke when his uncle purchases them from some scavengers. This seemingly insignificant event is how Luke becomes involved in the epic struggle between the evil Empire and the Rebel Alliance.

Can take a time out for a second? Aside from the chaos and violence Vader and his crew are responsible for when they board Prince Leia's ship in the very opening minutes, the first 20 or so minutes of this movie are hilarious. C3P0 is shitting his metal pants and arguing with R2 like they are an old married couple. It starts on the ship while they are under attack, but continues when they crash land on Tatooine and are captured by creatures known as Jawas, who steal and then sell them.

Luke actually knows Obi Wan, but doesn’t realize it. He knows the old man as Ben Kenobi and wonders if the two are related. Before he gets a chance to ask Ben if he knows Obi Wan, one of the droids runs away. R2D2 (Kenny Baker) sort of has a knack for things like that. He is a very resourceful and helpful little droid, but he often gets himself into trouble. Determined to complete his mission and deliver the information to Obi Wan, R2 flees the farm in an effort to find him. Luke and 3P0 sneak off the next morning to find him. C3P0 is the exact opposite R2 personality wise.. R2 will rush into a situation guns a blazin’ and 3P0 (Anthony Daniels) likes to avoid danger. These two are a regular Odd Couple and they are hilarious. They are both the epitome of a well-executed sidekick (whereas Jar Jar Binks is not).

Star Wars: A New Hope

While trying to locate R2, Luke encounters Ben, who reveals that he is Obi Wan Kenobi. Obi Wan also reveals that he was a Jedi Knight who fought in the Clone Wars with Luke’s father. Luke did not know his father was a Jedi and he certainly didn’t know he was killed by Darth Vader, who was Obi Wan’s apprentice. After some events unfold, Luke decides to go with Obi Wan and the droids and help the Rebel’s cause.

Along the way he meets the sleazy, but likable smuggler Han Solo (played perfectly by Harrison Ford) and his Wookie sidekick Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). For a variety of reasons, this group begins on a quest to rescue of princess from the Empire. These differences in philosophies lead to all kinds of chaos (and fun for the viewers) for this rag tag group. Han just wants to get paid, which drives Luke crazy. Luke is really buying into the cause. Han thinks Obi Wan is a crazy old man, but doesn’t care as long as he gets paid. This is the most action Obi Wan has seen in years and he's making the most of the opportunity. The group eventually makes their way to Princess Leia is being held prisoner. It just so happens to be the biggest, baddest, most intimidating thing ever built in the entire galaxy: the Death Star!

The Death Star is a space station the size of a small planet, with the firepower to destroy one. They are outnumbered about 5,000 to 1. With a little stealth and a lot of luck, the group makes its way through the bowels of the space station and finds the princess. Leia and Han hit it off real well, something which unfolds in more detail in the next two movies. Luke seems pretty keen on her, as well as the Rebel cause. He’s really buying into the whole thing.

The group gets away, but barely. Not to mention the Empire is still in power. All they accomplished was rescuing Leia. After making their way back to the Rebel leadership, Han and Chewie split, and the rest of the group prepares for a big showdown with the Empire.

Star Wars: A New Hope

Every so often, I run into someone - usually a stupid young person who thinks the prequels are good - who says A New Hope is boring. I scoff at the very mention of this. This is the one that started it all. It launched a world-wide phenomenon. Personally, I find it to be the most all-encompassing of the entire series. There are space battles, a lightsaber fight, gunfights, and an awesome scene in an alien bar.The cantina scene was mind-blowing because it showed us that there is a whole lot going more going on in this galaxy far far away than what we were seeing. The story so far was a great one, but the cantina scene was a sign of just how big and grand it all was. We see lots of new and alien things before this point, but this was always the unofficial introduction into Star Wars universe.

The whole experience is helped by the acting, which is very appropriately done. People mock it, but it is completely in-line with the type of movie this is. It's SUPPOSED TO BE melodramatic. Harrison Ford is absolutely perfect as Han Solo, who seems interested in noting more than self-preservation, but he’s also just a cool guy, so you want to root for him even though he's a dick. Alec Guinness is just the right mix of mysterious, annoyingly confident, and a cool old dude who has kick-ass mind powers. Hamill really encompasses the conflict and emotion of a young man thrust into a larger than life situation. He wants to help, but the whole thing just feels so above him. Carrie Fisher simply perfected her portrayal of Princess Leia. The fire and passion of this tiny and determined little woman is palptable. She is small, nice to look at, and either extremely stubborn or determined (maybe both?). James Earl Jones struck fear into the hearts of moviegoers as the voice of Darth Vader. His voice portrayal of the character is so iconic, people don't even talk about the guy who was wearing the costume, LOL. I have to give credit to David Prowse as well. All too often we give Jones credit for the voice work, but Vader’s appearance and mannerism are intimidating as hell, and it’s because Prowse own the physical part of the role as much as Jones did for his vocal work. The walk, the body language, the gesture he makes when he's about to choke you out with The Force. Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, and Peter Mayhew are all excellent as the sidekicks who come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and personalties.

Star Wars: A New Hope

So if you haven’t seen this classic in some time or are one of the few people out there who live under a rock, I encourage you to give this movie a viewing. Simply put, it’s a lot of fun. It’s a classic fantasy movie that is guaranteed to make you feel like a kid again.

I think the only complaint I have about the movie is that some of the effects are extremely dated at this point. I laughed a few times because I thought some of the ships looked like models on strings, which they were, but what do you expect from a 42 year old movie?

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was originally written a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, but was recently revised on December 18, 2019.

Note: I own the 2004 version of these films on DVD. Lucas started toying with the original trilogy when he re-released them in theaters in 1997. He obsessively tinkered with the movies many times until around 2005 (when the prequels finished). The ones I own are different from what was released in theaters in 1997. That version alone wasn't necessary, but they've gotten worse with each release. I don’t even remember when the unaltered versions of the movies look like anymore, which is sad. Most of these additions add absolutely nothing to the storyline at all. They are just background scenes meant to "show off" effects; which not only look worse, but extremely out of place. The Jabba scene was the only one that attempted to add any any depth to the story. The scene itself could have worked if Jabba had simply looked better. Jabba himself looks truly awful. Plus, they really missed the mark with his personality. And George? I’m sorry, but Han shot first. If you want to view all the changes, you may see them here.

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