Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Reviews
thrills, exhibits extraordinary practical effects and absolutely captures your imagination. Arguably worthy of the inevitable six dozen sequels to come.
George Lucas's epic 1977 blockbuster started off my favourite movie franchise of all time. Groundbreaking special effects made a great story, starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and the late Carrie Fisher, come to life, launching arguably the most popular movie series in the world.
The story is simple. A farm boy stuck on a desert planet meets two robots and an old wizard. They get a holographic message for help from a princess located in one of the robots. They embark on a mission to save her. In their adventure, they link up with a scruffy space smuggler and his furry friend to help them leave the desert world. In space they encounter a huge battle station that can destroy planets with a superlaser. On the battle station, they find the princess and rescue her. However an evil figure in black cuts down the old wizard. The others escape and join the rebellion against the evil empire that built the battle station. The farm boy becomes a pilot in the rebellion. In the fight to destroy the battle station, the evil figure in black tries to shoot down the farm boy, but fails because the smuggler fires and hits him at the last moment and sends him spinning into space. Then, using a mystical power, urged on by the ghost of the deceased wizard, the farm boy destroys the battle station. In the end, the two become heroes and are awarded medals.
The best thing about Star Wars is the characters. My favourite character in this movie is Han Solo, the space smuggler/scoundrel, played by Harrison Ford. He has the best personality - he is selfish, funny and charming as well as brave and smart. Mark Hamill as Luke the farm boy turned hero is great but also can sound whiney. Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia is both charming and independent. She picks up a blaster and joins in the fighting which is rare for most damsels in distress. Alec Guinness as the Jedi wizard Obi Wan Kenobi is wise, full of surprises and confident in his opinions and in his mission. The side characters, R2-D2 and C-3PO, the robots, and Chewbacca, the Wookiee, are fun to watch and add comic relief to the story. Darth Vader, voiced by James Earl Jones, is ruthless, evil and the killer of Obi Wan who was his Jedi teacher many years before. The late Peter Cushing, the former star of Hammer horror movies, plays his partner on the Death Star, Grand Moff Tarkin.
But the real star of this movie and the franchise itself is George Lucas. It is his vision and ideas that created this amazing film and film series. This heroic story is made possible by breakthrough special effects. Making Star Wars with his own passion and determination, Lucas is largely responsible for creating this movie. A large crew of specialist technicians who became Industrial Light and Magic - the teams that revolutionized special effects and digital filmmaking, supports Lucas.
It's not entirely perfect. Some of the special effects, especially in the end battle sequence don't hold up too well to today's standards. Lucas improved these in later releases. His tinkering with these movies, starting in 1997, however took away certain elements from the original and added ones that didn't make sense, such as the bounty hunter Greedo shooting before Han in a crucial scene for the smuggler's character. Some of the new effects like the CGI Jabba the Hutt (who we didn't see until the 3rd installment in the franchise) looked bad. Some of the lines in the script, especially lines from Luke and Obi Wan are sometimes weird and unrealistic. But these are small quibbles.
I starting watching Star Wars movies when I was 9 years old, and I can see myself enjoying these movies for the rest of my life. For any film fan, this film launched a franchise that is crucial to watch.
But before I get into any of that stuff, I thought i'd kind of want to talk about the struggles that came to making this film real quick. To put it short, Geroge Lucas & producer Gary Kurtz, after winning it big with American Graffiti, wanted to make a film that payed homage to both the cheezy sci-fi shows of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. During the script stage, when it was just called 'The Adventures of Luke Skywalker Taken From The Journal of the Whills Episode I: The Star Wars', George had a...fairly ludicrous direction approaching the story and had ludicrous that never made it into the film (Such as Han being a frog, Luke as a old aged wizard, and C-3PO as a used car salesman). But as the film got its budget from Alan Ladd Taylor Jr. (who was the president of Fox at the time), when making the film the whole thing went through a production nightmare. The actors thought the film sounded ludicrous and never took it seriously, the budget was almost waisted and the production caused many accidents on set, and the first cut of the film was quoted as being: "An unmitigated disaster." But soon after, Kurtz, Ben Burtt (the sound designer of the film) John Williams, and the editors of the film Paul Hersh, Marcia Lucas and Richard Chew came in to fix the film. And thus, as a result of all of this we have the popular pop culture icon we have today.
What can i say about this film that hasn't been said? Well, looking back on the film and marathoning the whole original trilogy I can see where a lot of the flaws come in. But not necessarily flaws that break the film. Despite a very noticeable lack of budget, underwritten and very standard characters (come on let's be real they are), George's dialogue and especially directing often being bland or really cheesy, the script filled with too many coincidences and conveniences,and a story that's about as standard when it comes to hero's journeys as it gets, that doesn't mean the film is bad. Oh dear, far from it. Because really, it doesn't break nor distract the film. Because for me, and I think most others, I was invested enough in the likable and well acted characters, outstanding and well implemented practical effects and action sequences (noticed i didn't say the CGI special edition changes), well executed editing, very grand score by John Williams, fantastic sound design by Ben Burtt, and fun toned pace that Star Wars just ends up being forgivable for it's shortcomings. So in short, Star Wars does enough of a good job standing well on it's own and being simple and easy to follow that despite its flaws is enough for you to not be invested in it. Which that and especially Force Awakens in my opinion, definitely share the most in common. And a film i'm gonna keep going back to for influence for years to come.
Score: 8.5 / 10