“Star Wars” (aka “Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope”) stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, and Alec Guinness. Released on May 25, 1977, the film is about a young farm boy who joins forces with the Rebel Alliance to take down the Galactic Empire.
The film is directed by George Lucas, who also directed THX 1138 and American Graffiti. It is the first film in the Star Wars franchise and the fourth film in chronological order. Normally, I would review some of the classic holiday-related films to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year, but this year, I wanted to do something different. Since The Last Jedi is coming out in a few days and I already reviewed the Star Wars prequel trilogy, I thought that I would give the much-beloved original trilogy a shot. It has been more than 40 years since Star Wars blasted its way onto the big screen and wowed audiences around the globe, giving birth to one of the most successful and memorable film franchises in Hollywood history. Even though I was introduced to Star Wars via the prequel trilogy and the Lego Star Wars video games, it didn’t take me that long to find out that it actually began way before I was born. This film has been deemed a cultural phenomenon for many reasons, including the characters, the score, the visuals, and the concept. Everything that has made Star Wars one of the biggest influences in filmmaking is in this movie, and after all this time, I am finally sharing my thoughts on it to all of you fellow Star Wars fans.
The film features a simple good-vs-evil storyline, with the Galactic Empire attempting to conquer the galaxy with their powerful weapon, the Death Star. With the Death Star plans in the hands of a farm boy named Luke Skywalker (portrayed remarkably by the young Mark Hamill) and a couple of misfit droids, C-3PO and R2-D2, they must team up with a Jedi Master (Guinness) and a space smuggler named Han Solo (Ford) to rescue the princess (Fisher) and deliver the plans to the Rebel Alliance. This is the type of story that has been told many times, but it’s also the type of story that’s filled with excitement and imagination. The version that I watched was the 1997 Special Edition re-release that was digitally remastered with plenty of reedits and extra CGI elements. While some of the CGI were either distracting or unrealistic, the storytelling still delivers on its simplicity and its strong sense of adventure. The entire cast did a solid job bringing the characters to life. While they do have some simplistic characteristics, most of the characters in the film were either fun to watch or nicely developed, with Hamill, Ford and Fisher as Luke, Solo and Princess Leia respectively being the main examples. The way Carrie Fisher portrayed Leia is one of the reasons why I really appreciate strong female characters in film. Princess Leia is the type of character who’s courageous, smart, and fearless and not just some damsel in distress. I think Carrie Fisher may be the only actress who’s worthy enough to depict someone like her, and the fact that The Last Jedi is her final role before her tragic passing last year makes me want to see that film even more. The main antagonist, Darth Vader, was played by David Prowse in costume while James Earl Jones provided his speaking voice. First off, I really like the design of Vader. Simple, yet effective. Secondly, James Earl Jones was the perfect fit for Vader’s voice. Remember how Jones voiced Mufasa in The Lion King as a wise and kind character? Well, for Darth Vader, it’s the complete opposite, and it’s pretty darn cool. Going back to the visuals, the film used most of the practical effects to create this imaginative sci-fi world, including costumes for the alien creatures and actual set pieces. Despite the fact that some of the effects looked a bit dated, the visuals offer a remarkable and immersive experience of being in that cinematic world as well as making the film’s action sequences thrilling. The musical score by John Williams also did its part in enhancing the galactic adventure with its memorable tunes that are so infectious to the ears (in a good way).
Overall, the story in “Star Wars” is pretty simple to understand, but the main joy of watching it is its unique blend of science-fiction and imagination. Filled with fun characters, great visuals, entertaining action, and memorable music, the film still remains as a superbly-crafted sci-fi masterpiece that’s suitable for all ages. If you’re new to the franchise or just wanted to catch up before The Last Jedi hits theaters, I would recommend starting with this one along with the other chapters in the original trilogy. May the Force be with you.