Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope
That 70's Show Star Wars
Director: George Lucas
Writer: George Lucas
Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Phil Brown, Shelagh Fraser, Jack Purvis, Alex McCrindle, Eddie Byrne, Drewe Henley
Voice Cast: James Earl Jones
Synopsis: Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sci-fi violence and brief mild language
The Emperor's Phone Call (Warning: May contain mild spoiler)
8.5 / 10
- Great special effects that still hold up to this day, even if you take out the changes made from George Lucas over the years.
- Actions scenes were pretty good. Although it may not have the flashy ninja like moves that the prequels had, but they're not that bad. Plus, they feel like actual fight scenes rather than choreographed staged ones.
- Acting for the most part was pretty good. Nothing amazing, but it was decent.
- Direction was solid.
- Characters were complex, diversified and interesting. Plus, they complimented each other quite well. Han Solo's straight man cynicism balances out Luke's wide eyed optimism, while Chewie's subtle humorous actions lighten up an otherwise serious story.
- The characters were developed well, which makes one of their demise all the more tragic at the end.
- Cinematography was great
- Art direction was fantastic
- John Williams' epic musical scoring for this film was simply a work of art in itself.
- Costume and makeup designs were great
- The homage this film pays to various movies of the past is both interesting and engaging if you have a true appreciation for the history of movies in general.
- Dialogue feels a bit stilted, but it's forgivable for the most part.
- While the script isn't necessarily bad, it's still very predictable from beginning to end. Even if you never seen any of the previous films, it's not hard to figure out what happens, after watching the first hour of it. Although to be fair, they do leave you a few surprises to keep you guessing.
These are not the droids (Warning: Spoiler if you haven't seen this movie)
The Force Is Strong With This One
Like the 1939 classic, "Wizard of Oz", this is one of those movies that I honestly never thought I'd review. What could I honestly say about it that many of you probably haven't heard about it before? The movie is great. It holds a special place in cinematic history. It pays homage to various classics like Akira Kurasawa's "Hidden Fortress", Errol Flynn's "Robin Hood", and the infamous "Flash Gordon" series. Not to mention the fact that it was one of the first science fiction epics that showed Hollywood how big the genre could be with mainstream audiences. Therefore, I don't think I need to tell anyone how great this movie is because everyone already knows. However, I'm going to throw in my own two cents anyway.
For those few people that don't know the story already, it's essentially a classic good vs. evil story set in the backdrop of a galaxy far far away. The film starts off showing Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) being pursued in a chase through space by the evil empire. She inevitably gets captured by an evil tyrant named Darth Vader (Voiced by James Earl Jones).
Cue in the young boy named Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who dreams of leaving his farm to do bigger and better things in his life. And through a series of unlikely events, Luke finds himself set on a journey to rescue the princess, while learning the mystical ways of the force.
Without jumping too far ahead of the story, the force was originally more of a mystical concept. Nobody knew too much about it, or even how it worked. If anything, you could argue that the force was some form of magic if you forget about any of the other films that would follow years later.
As I mentioned earlier, the original "Star Wars" was based on various other sources, and it definitely shows. You have the mystical samurai warrior concept with Obi Wan Kenobi, who has something of a mysterious past that trains our young protagonist, which heavily references ancient samurai films of the past. You see the handsome young hero saving the princess as he swings her to safety; reminiscent of the classic "Robin Hood" film starring Errol Flynn. And of course, there's the serialized way this story was presented back in it's earlier days that's heavily inspired by "Flash Gordon." Although I'm sure most mainstream audiences won't care for influences like this, but it's quite a treat if you're a movie buff that holds a deep appreciation for cinematic history.
While I do agree with some of the critics that the dialogue, while not quite as bad as the prequels, is still a tad stilted at times, but it's forgivable because the story knows how to straddle the line between taking itself too seriously to just allowing the audience to have fun getting lost in it's immersive world.
The special effects surprisingly still hold up to this day; even if you take out the changes Lucas made to the original version.
While the original movie might seem a bit dull to fans that grew up with the prequels, the original "Star Wars" takes us back to a time where movies were more simpler, and filmmakers didn't have to worry about balancing out the action and the narrative. In this film, it was mostly focused on the narrative of the characters, and it works quite well as an introductory into this epic space opera. Even if you don't see any of the other films prior to this one, you still get a general idea on who these characters are, and it still develops them enough to where you start to care about them.
And unlike the first prequel that didn't flesh out one of it's characters before his untimely demise, you can at least feel the plight and pain of the character that does in this one. Sure, it's nowhere near as gut wrenching as the epic plot twist that you'll find in the next film, but it's definitely packs an emotional punch because the story takes the time to not only establish who the character is, but it also takes the time to show why he's so close to our main hero, Luke Skywalker.
Granted, it doesn't have quite as many action scenes as most science fiction epics of today, so I doubt seriously it'll appeal to the younger generation of "Star Wars" fans. However, it's still an interesting film to check out if only to see where it all began.
Whether you love or hate the original "Star Wars" film, nobody can deny it's impact on American pop culture, and cinematic history. While not the most original movie that I've ever seen, it's certainly a great love letter to various Hollywood classics of the past, while defining it's own niche in the movie industry.
© 2016 Steven Daniels