‘Star Wars’

I am not calling it ‘A New Hope’

Star+Wars

Niko Pavletic, Movie Critic

Since I’m very original I’m going to waste my time rewatching and reviewing all 9 main saga Star Wars movies in order of release.  Now the only real reason I’m doing this is that I’m familiar with most of them and it is good practice for future reviews on other and better movies.  Now I’m not really a big fan of Star Wars and I’m not a Star Wars hater my view on the franchise is neutral even though they’re some of the first films I’ve ever seen.  Now for these reviews, certain sections in some of the reviews will have spoilers as for a lot of these movies I need to list an example for some of my points even if it’s a spoiler, but I will put a spoiler warning before talking about the said spoiler.  Enjoy my nonsensical rambling and praising (mostly rambling). 

 

Star Wars (1977)

 

Runtime:2 Hours 1 Minute

 

Rating: Pg

 

Genre: Action Adventure

 

Director: George Lucas

 

Main Cast:

 

Mark Hamill-Luke Skywalker

 

Carrie Fisher-Princess Leia

 

Harrison Ford-Han Solo

 

Alec Guinness-Obi Wan

 

What?  I’m already out of ideas.  I need to buy more ink for the ideas printer, because when I say I’m going to review all 9 Star Wars movies then you know there is a dangerously low supply of ideas.  Well, I was actually going to review 2001 a Space Odyssey, but I felt like ranting on about Star Wars so I figured might as well do it on a document no one is reading.  I have some very strong feelings about a lot of these movies, and overall I view the saga as an overrated disaster, but the original one from 1977 is one of the good movies.  I would even go as far as to say that it’s great, and that’s the film I will be talking about.  Now I know its name has been changed to “A New Hope” but honestly that’s the lamest name it could have been called.  I view it as simply “Star Wars”.  Now I have to make one thing very clear, I am talking about the original unaltered edition of this movie from 1977, not the Special Edition.  I am lucky and have a VCR (something most of you haven’t even heard of) and was able to watch the good version of this film, but the very unfortunate majority is stuck with the terrible CGI versions.  I will be talking about the special edition at the end of the review after I have given my final rating.  

 

Now the plot of this movie is great despite being so simplistic.  The whole plot of the movie is to rescue Princess Leia from the empire and destroy the death star which is just a giant ball in space that can destroy planets.  There is also this tension that is always present in the movie and is slowly built up until the climax.  The story also flows in a very realistic and engaging way, and there are no real scenes of pointless exposition.  If you know me you know I hate when films shove in scenes of dialogue that add nothing to the plot or characters.  Don’t waste screentime, and this film doesn’t.  And for a movie with talking robots and a giant furry dog, there aren’t any moments where I said “well that’s stupid.”  I mean there are space ships, but it feels grounded, and that is where the other two Star Wars trilogies just fall flat for me because it just becomes so cartoony and isn’t believable at all.  Take a scene like the Mos Eisley sequence.   There’s a bunch of weird aliens in the cantina but there isn’t any stupid stuff happening it’s just aliens sitting in a restaurant.  And that’s why I find the special edition version of Mos Eisley to be so appalling as it adds so much dumb pointless stuff (I’ll talk about that later.)  What I’m trying to say is the movie can balance many elements some being allegedly ridiculous and still come off as convincing, not to mention the great plot.

 

Now that characters in this movie are some of the most iconic characters from any franchise and for good reason.  The characters succeed in connecting with the audience.  They’re all enjoyable fun characters with a lot of personality.  All the characters have very distinct personalities making them more memorable.  I mean if you have seen Star Wars what does the name “Han Solo” bring to mind?  A lot of things because the character is so memorable but manages to stay grounded, and as I said before that is the problem with the newer movies specifically the prequels.  The characters are either out of control ridiculous, or they’re about as interesting as dishwater.  If there was one character I might have a problem with it would be Darth Vader.  Now he’s an iconic character and everyone knows who he is.  But in this movie, he does feel somewhat like a prop.  What do I mean by that?  Well, he doesn’t have much of a character.  There is one line in his duel with Obi-Wan that hints at a past between him and Obi-Wan, but that’s really it.  Besides that, he doesn’t have much of a character besides being the bad guy.  Although they do add a lot and I mean A LOT of character to him in The Empire Strikes Back.  Another thing in this movie that isn’t great is the dialogue.  It’s not cringey, and is definitely tolerable but there are some corny lines.  “I was going to Toche’s station to pick up some power converters” being a prime example.  But the actors do repair a lot of the bad dialogue.  And yes Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker is a little whiny in this movie his acting is very energetic and exciting so I don’t really care about some of the bad lines.  All the actors do a great job and all of them bring an extraordinary amount of personality to the characters they’re playing.  Especially Harrison Ford as Han Solo.

 

Now I want to talk about the effects and action sequences which are an iconic staple of this film.  The effects for this movie are incredible for 1977, and hold up surprisingly well 45 years later.  And I am talking about the theatrical cut and all the effects when the film was first released.  All the aliens still look real in the entire cantina sequence.  The stormtrooper costumes look like they could be actually uniforms in the space military.  And the entire death star battle while the shots of the ships flying around are incredibly simplistic looks really good.  I find it insane how the trench run at the end of the movie was filmed on a track that ran alongside a miniature, not to mention they had real explosives going off.  The whole movie feels very authentic and that is one thing I love about this movie.  

 

The action sequences in this movie remain timeless.  They are simple and don’t overstay their welcome.  They’re exciting and as I said before they’re grounded which makes it so much more investing.  And something that I don’t hear people talk about much is how one of the reasons the action is so good is because of how the characters interact with each other during the scenes.  Take a scene like the tie fighter chase after our protagonists escape the death star.  The way Han and Luke interact with each other adds a lot more investment and gives the audience a reason to care.  If you don’t care about the characters then the action is significantly less interesting.  Not only do the character interactions make these action scenes great but the simplicity and realism make them iconic as well.  Take a simple scene like the chasm shootout on the death star.  It’s just a scene in which Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia shoot at some stormtroopers across a trench.  There isn’t really anything standout about this scene, but it’s just an exciting scene that gets your heart pumping, the music, and the fact that the characters are likable make the scene enjoyable.

 

And how could I talk about this movie without talking about the soundtrack?  It is one of the most if not the most iconic film scores of all time.  You can hear any piece of music from this movie and instantly recognize it as Star Wars even if you have never seen the movies.  And that is because John Williams is a master at his job.  I mean just look at how many iconic tracks he has made in his career.  Jaws, Indiana Jones, Schindler’s List.  But Star Wars is his most iconic and maybe even his best and I don’t have to explain why.  Even in the bad Star Wars movies, the music is still great even if the scene it goes with is quite the opposite.

 

So it may sound like I’m a huge Star Wars fanboy after this review because I did have a lot of nice things to say about this movie.  But as more of the Star Wars reviews come out you will be able to see that I am barely even a fan anymore.  This original movie though is one of the only movies in the franchise that even keeps me interested in Star Wars anymore.  It is up there with Citizen Kane as one of the most influential films of all time.  I didn’t have many bad things to say about this film so overall I’m going to give it a 9/10.

 

And as promised (several times) I was going to talk about the special editions.  Well, what do I think about it?  Yeah, they’re terrible.  The special editions ruin a lot of things I praise in this movie.  Remember way back like 3 paragraphs ago when I praised the special effects.  Well, now those effects are ruined as of all the CGI everywhere.  Just look at the Mos Eisley sequence.  The original Mos Eisley sequence was quick and to the point.  It was a few simple shots of a fairly simplistic and small city before getting back to the protagonists.  What does the special edition do?  It shoves several shots of CGI creatures walking around, and even edits shots from the original cut by shoving CGI into the frame.  There is a shot in the special edition in which some animal just walks in front of the camera and completely blocks the frame, and that kind of stuff takes me out of the movie instantly.  Then there is an added Jabba the Hutt scene right before the heroes leave Mos Eisley.  NOt only does it ruin the surprise of Jabba the Hutt in return of the Jedi, I mean you hear about him for two films before you finally see him in the final chapter of the trilogy, but here he’s just shoved in so there isn’t any surprise.  And it just repeats dialogue from a previous scene.  The Jabba scene was originally cut out of the movie, and for a reason.  I always give this movie credit for not wasting time with pointless exposition but that is exactly what this scene is.  Now all the other special edition changes range from minor to somewhat major, but none of them are really harmful to the movie except for maybe Han Solo’s confrontation with Greedo in the cantina, but I am not going to talk about that so you can do your own research on that.  But those are my thoughts on the special edition, and as much as I hate it I can still watch it and ignore most of the changes besides Mos Eisley.  But that is the end of the review.  My review for Empire Strikes Back should be out in late January if anyone actually is interested or is reading this.  But I can’t talk much longer I have things to do.  So with that, farewell.