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Film Review: Star Wars

Updated on March 24, 2017

Background

In 1977, George Lucas released Star Wars, starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness, David Prowse, Anthony Daniels, Peter Cushing, Kenny Baker, and Peter Mayhew. The film grossed $775.4 million at the box office

Synopsis

Following the death of his aunt and uncle, farm boy Luke Skywalker leaves the planet Tatooine to learn the ways of the Force from Obi Wan Kenobi. When the two hire smuggler Han Solo to take them and the droids R2D2 and C3PO to the planet Alderaan, they get caught up in the affairs of the Empire and the rebellion fighting to take it down.

Review

A film which practically defined a subculture, Star Wars holds up and remains a great and enjoyable film, with its effects being a major player in its success both then and now. It starts off with a grandiosely memorable sweeping title crawl followed by the shot of Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer chasing after Leia’s fleeing Tantive IV. Used with an intent to hook audiences, it continues to impress. Yet what makes the shot great is the contrast between the Star Destroyer and Tantive IV, which came first. The latter flies by and staring at its underside looks magnificent and remarkable, but when the audience sees what’s chasing it, what was grand and remarkable pales in comparison to the monumentally powerful Star Destroyer. It continues to be one of the most notable cinematographic shots in cinema, but isn’t the only noteworthy visual. There’s also Luke standing and staring at the binary sunset. Though it’s a simple shot, much less ambitious than the first shot, it’s beautiful and helps the audience to realize this simple farm boy has dreams beyond the moisture farm and he’s going to achieve them.

Speaking of Luke, Despite his path throughout the film being the basic Hero’s Journey, the way it’s carried out is what makes it memorable. He receives the call to adventure from a pair of robotic heralds, one of which his carrying a message with a plea for help. Following this is him meeting Obi Wan, who gives Luke his father’s lightsaber, his aunt and uncle’s death setting him on course, meeting Han and Chewbacca who become his companions, rescuing the princess after navigating the Death Star, losing Obi Wan and eventually rising to the challenge and destroying the Death Star by using the skills learned from Obi Wan. The fascinating part of this in how the aforementioned message was nearly never given to him by said robotic heralds. Luke nearly missed the call to adventure numerous times, such as C3PO and R2D2 going off in separate directions before being picked up by Jawas, a different droid being chosen alongside C3PO before R2D2, their minds almost being wiped, and then Luke only finding the message because he decided to mess around with the droid’s interface.

As good as the plot is, the film has a very well done villain, so memorable that he leaves a lasting impression after only nine minutes of screen time. His first scenes establish his character well, marching into Tantive IV to ominous music and then crushing Captain Antilles’ neck with his bare hands in his next appearance a few scenes later. He’s also shown as not caring who he kills. Whether it's an enemy or ally, if someone insults and mocks him, he’s going to make them a demonstration of his powers, seen during the scene where he’s choking Admiral Motti with the force, stating he finds his “lack of faith disturbing.” This scene also demonstrates the idea of Darth Vader in this film not having the amount of power he would enjoy in later films, shown in how he's taking orders from somebody other than the emperor with him actually listening and obeying Tarkin’s order to release Motti.

5 stars for Star Wars

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

Awards won

Academy Awards

  • Best Art Direction-Set Decoration
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Sound
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Effects, Visual Effects
  • Best Music, Original Score
  • Special Achievement Award (Ben Burtt for sound effects)

Golden Globe Awards

  • Best Original Score - Motion Picture

BAFTA Awards

  • Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music
  • Best Sound

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best DVD Collection (as part of "Star Wars Trilogy)
  • Best Science Fiction Film
  • Best Supporting Actor (Alec Guiness)
  • Best Director
  • Best Writing
  • Best Music
  • Best Costumes
  • Best Make-Up
  • Best Special Effects
  • Outstanding Editing
  • Outstanding Sound
  • Outstanding Art Direction
  • Outstanding Set Decoration
  • Special Award (Outstanding Cinematographer)
  • Special Award (For its 20th Anniversary)

DVD Exclusive Awards

  • Best Menu Design (For "Star Wars Trilogy")
  • Best Overall DVD, Classic Film (For "Star Wars Trilogy")

Evening Standard British Film Awards

  • Best Film
  • Best Actor (Alec Guiness)

Golden Schmoes Awards

  • Second Place - Best DVD/Blu-Ray of the Year ("Trilogy")

Golden Screen Awards

  • Golden Screen

Gammy Awards

  • Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special
  • Best Instrumental Composition (For the "Main Titles from 'Star Wars'")
  • Best Pop Instrumental Performance

Guiness World Record Award

  • Most Successful Book Series Based on a Film Series
  • Highest Box Office Gross for a Screenwriter
  • Highest Box Office Film Gross Average for a Director (Male)
  • Most prolific Video Game Series Based on a Licensed Property
  • Largest Fortune Made from a Film Frnachise
  • Most Spoofed Film Series
  • Most Successful Action-Figure Range
  • Biggest Opening Weekend Ever for a Re-released Film
  • Best Selling Single of Instrumental Music

Hochi Film Awards

  • Best Foreign Language Film

Hugo Awards

  • Best Dramatic Presentation

IGN Summer Movie Awards

  • Best Movie Blu-Ray (For the "Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I - VI)" on Blu-Ray)

IGN People's Choice Awards

  • Best Movie Blu-Ray (For the "Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I - VI)" on Blu-Ray)

Kinema Junpo Readers' Choice Awards

  • Best Foreign Language Film Director

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Music

MTV Movie Awards

  • Lifetime Achievement (For the Star Wars trilogy)

National Board of Review Awards

  • Top Ten Films

National Film Preservation Board

  • National Film Registry

Online Film & Television Association Awards

  • OFTA Film Hall of Fame (Motion Picture)

People's Choice Awards

  • Favorite Motion Picture

Satellite Awards

  • Best DVD Extras (Star Wars: The Complete Saga)

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

  • Special Award


Nominated for

Academy Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Alec Guiness)
  • Best Director
  • Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Golden Globe Awards

  • Best Motion Picture - Drama
  • Best Director - Motion Picture
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Motion Picture (Alec Guiness)

BAFTA Awards

  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Film
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Production Design/Art Direction

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best DVD Collection (For "Star Wars: The Complete Saga")
  • Best Actor (Harrison Ford)
  • Best Actor (Mark Hamill)
  • Best Actress (Carrie Fisher)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Peter Cushing)

American Cinema Editors Eddie Awards

  • Best Edited Feature Film

Awards of the Japanese Academy

  • Best Foreign Language Film

British Society of Cinematographers

  • Best Cinematography Award

Directors Guild of America Awards

  • Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures

Golden Schmoes Awards

  • Best DVD/Blu-Ray of the Year ("The Complete Saga")

Golden Screen Awards

  • Golden Screen

Golden Trailer Awards

  • Most Innovative Advertising for a Brand/Product (For Star Wars: The Complete Saga: "Every Moment :30"

Grammy Awards

  • Best Pop Instrumental Performance (For the "Star Wars Trilogy")
  • Album of the Year (For the album "Star Wars (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)")

Golden Satellite Awards

  • Best Overall DVD (for the Star Wars Trilogy)
  • Best Classic DVD (For the Star Wars Trilogy)

Writers Guild of America Awards

  • Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen



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