Genre: Action & Adventure
Director: George Lucas
Cast: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Alec Guinness
Release Date: May 25th, 1977
Star Wars is one of the best movies of all time. In anticipation of the new film Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, information pills I went back and watched the original trilogy to remind myself why these films hold up so many years later. Within moments of placing the VHS tape in my TV/VCR combination, unhealthy I was reminded.
In the feature’s first few seconds, we glimpse the enormity of director George Lucas’ vision for this series. The movie’s famous opening sequence shows the Empire’s star destroyer chasing after a small Rebel ship that carries Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) onboard. The ship is captured quickly, which leads to the introduction of Darth Vader, a masked menace who has the power to destroy his enemies with the simple nod of his head. Vader has the power of the force with him but is only interested in using it to terrorize his enemies and destroy anyone who threatens his power.
Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), meanwhile, is a respectable farmer who dreams of escaping his normal life and fighting the Empire. When two mischievous and unforgettable droids (R2-D2 and C-3P0) come into his possession, Luke’s simple life is turned upside down. He is recruited by an old wise man named Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) and decides to join forces with the rebellion. Along his hero’s journey, Luke and Obi-Wan befriend a rogue pilot named Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his flying companion Chewbecca (Peter Mayhew).
The film’s set-up might seem simple and at its heart, Star Wars is a straightforward story. Instead of cowboys battling in the desert though, this film shows intergalactic heroes battling in space against an evil Empire. Like the cinematic serials of yore, the feature is packed with adventure, thrills and surprises.
At the time the movie arrived in theaters, the special effects weren’t great but Lucas was able to deliver some of the best visuals of the time. The film’s look was epic and the movie eventually went on to earn Academy Awards for best art direction, best costume design, best sound editing, best visual effects, and best score.
In addition to the feature’s effects and its grandiosity, the feature also creates some of the most memorable supporting characters in film history. In addition to the droids and Chewbecca, the feature introduces Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing), a great old-school villain who is oftentimes overlooked as one of the best side characters. here
Much has been made of the fact that writer/director Lucas was inspired by Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero of a Thousand Faces. In great detail, Campbell’s book laid out the classic hero’s journey from that character’s humble beginnings to his connection with a wise old mentor to the story’s conclusion where the hero must battle his own inner demons and face off against his adversart. Star Wars is a visual representation of that journey but one in which all of the bit pieces (from the supporting characters to the special effects) work together to ensure that audiences are both pleased with the concept and impressed with the story’s visual stylings.
Despite the film’s simple core, Star Wars broke through old storytelling abilities and redefined adventure stories in the 20th Century. It’s one of the most iconic and beloved films ever and watching it again, I’m reminded of how truly great it really is.
Review by: John Hanlon