Perhaps it is the result of my own bias that I’ve given this film an imperfect score. It has few flaws if any. Then again, all three films of the Original Trilogy are classics, and yet they are not equal. As they are often compared directly, I was of the opinion that my own favorite should stand out among the rest.
Now that I’ve mentioned that, I can get on with my review.
Star Wars, or as it was later subtitled A New Hope, is one of the most significant films in the history of cinema. It featured an instant classic soundtrack by John Williams, as well as landmark special effects and one of the most bankable narratives of all time. And yet, I still know scores of people who haven’t seen it (I question their parents’ rearing).
It revolves around Luke Skywalker, raised by his uncle Owen on the sandy Tatooine. When he encounters droids C-3PO and R2-D2, they wind up leading him to an elderly Obi-Wan Kenobi. After Luke discovers his uncle’s farm destroyed by the Empire, Luke goes with Obi-Wan to find smugglers who might help deliver a set of plans to Alderaan.
It’s only when they get to Alderaan that they discover it obliterated by the very device they hope to destroy, the planet-killing Death Star. It is then up to the Rebellion to uncover and exploit a flaw in that device so that peace in the galaxy can be restored once more.
It’s a foundational motion picture, setting a template that has been copied by many films since, and it is phenomenal. It features several iconic, infinitely relatable characters, and one doesn’t feel like it was made on such a low budget ($11M in 1976). Writer-director George Lucas went to great lengths to tell the story visually, rather than verbally, and ultimately that it was made it successful. Anyone, anywhere in the world, could understand what was happening.
Star Wars is the rare film that completely justified a sequel—and ultimately many more. I will admit I have never seen the theatrical edition of this film, only the “enhanced” versions made by Lucas afterward. I don’t know what it looks like. What I do know is there was no need to mess with this film, as it was great already.
The first six Star Wars films are airing on TNT and TBS this week. Check your local listings.
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