Entertainment

#TBT: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope Movie Review

Oh boy! Check out that trailer! I don’t know if that would have gotten me into the theater in 1977. It’s crazy to think how far we have come. Anyways, it is Throwback Thursday once again, but it’s not just any Thursday. This is one of my most anticipated Thursdays of my life. All I can say is that I’m excited. Ten years since Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Sixteen years since the last time a new trilogy started. Thirty-eight years since the original Star Wars. These movies carry more than a fan base. They carry a culture. They have inspired not only everyone who produces movies today, but everybody in the world. There are some must-see movies in life, and everybody knows that the Star Wars saga is among these movies. When someone tells me that they haven’t seen Star Wars I look at them like they just told me they were growing another arm out of their chest. These movies are legendary. I don’t need to say it because if you are reading this, you know they are. Where would we be without these movies? You could kiss the sci-fi genre goodbye without them. Why does every young child go through  a “Star Wars Phase?” We all remember that phase. Some of us are still in it. Being captivated by the world that these movies put you in. It feels like you are flying through the twists and turns through these movies, and they brought about films that today are considered some of the greatest of all time. I remember when I was eight years old, I was going through my “Star Wars Phase.” I had a Star Wars themed birthday party, a Star Wars themed room, and everywhere I went, a Luke Skywalker action figure with a missing hand was in my pocket. I succumbed to the belief that Star Wars was the greatest thing ever invented, and little did I know, I wasn’t far from wrong. Eight year old me could have told eighteen year old me that I was going to grow up to love movies, and the most epic space operas in the history of cinema had more to do with that than I can even comprehend. I will not spoil anything in case you haven’t seen the movie, but if you haven’t, WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN LIFE?

Storm Trooper (left), a rebel soldier (middle), and Darth Vader (right) in Star Wars

Star Wars begins with a new innovative introduction giving us the perfect amount of background information, the scroll text. This was really a clever way to paint the background for movie watcher and give just enough information to both suck us in and keep us in the loop. It continues with perhaps the most famous robots in cinema history, C-3PO and R2-D2. To this day it is argued that these two characters could make or break the Star Wars movies. Luckily, they made the series. Using these two characters to explain what was going on through C-3PO and R2-D2’s relationship and understanding of each other is absolutely brilliant and maybe the most clever way to give exposition in film. The back and forth banter between C-3PO and R2D2 shows us the chemistry between these two characters as well as just how likable they are. In the opening scene we see the battle that is ensuing between the Rebels and the Empire. We are also introduced to one of the greatest movie villains of all time and the #9 movie character on Empire’s Top 100 Movie Characters, Darth Vader. As soon as he is on-screen and you hear the score you feel the uncertainty and ominous tone with this character. He has one of the coolest entrances, and as soon as he kills a rebel soldier, it is easy to see how big of a threat he will be toward whoever our main character is.

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia (left) and Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker (right)

We soon find out who that character is. His name is Luke Skywalker, portrayed brilliantly by Mark Hamill. When we are first introduced to Luke he is very immature and obviously doesn’t understand what his role will be in saving the universe. He isn’t ready to take on the Empire. He has lived with his aunt and uncle his entire life and has never met his mother or father. He has heard plenty of stories about his father, but it still remains a big mystery in Luke’s life. This makes him such an interesting character and gives him room to learn, grow, improve, and go through a character arc throughout the trilogy that has yet to be matched by another franchise character.

Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi

Next we have the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Obi-Wan Kenobi is able to save Luke’s life, and in the process, he becomes Luke’s mentor by showing Luke the ways of the force. The force is a mystifyingly obscure presence in the world of Star Wars allowing the strong-willed characters to connect with all living things in the galaxy and it’s cool, and awesome, and confusing, and……………then the prequels ruined it with midi-chlorians. But it’s okay because it’s still awesome in the original trilogy. Obi-Wan speaks very cryptically and in code, and while teaching Luke the ways of the force, he also leaves so many of his questions unanswered. Alec Guinness gives an incredible performance as Obi-Wan, and he really inspired the young actors around him to put their hearts and soul into the film. The next character to be introduced is yet another cool character, Han Solo. Han Solo is cool, calm, and collected and is the bad-boy of the franchise. He acts like he doesn’t care about anything except, himself, money, and his furry best friend, Chewbacca. We first get to see Han Solo interacting with bounty hunter Greedo. It is an awesome introduction that shows you exactly what you’re going to get from Han Solo, and the entire time you watch this scene, all you can think is, “This guy knows what he’s doing.” Harrison Ford plays Han Solo so brilliantly, and it was the absolute perfect casting. Harrison Ford first got to work with George Lucas in the 1973 film American Graffiti. Ford gave such a great performance in that movie, and it is likely the role that told George Lucas that Harrison Ford was the man for the job. Solo also has an incredible character arc as the rebels become his family, and we really get to see him change the way he cares for others. He stays the cool and exquisite character that he is and has become famously known for, but he also goes through turns and becomes even more likable than he already was.

Harrison Ford as Han Solo (right) with Chewbacca

Another thing that Star Wars has garnered so much praise for is its score composed by the one and only John Williams. John Williams composed the score for Steven Spielberg’s Jaws two years prior to Star Wars, and he goes right from one of the most celebrated scores of all time to perhaps the most celebrated score in Star Wars. Right from the scroll text, John Williams absolutely nails down the emotion in the film and ties the instruments together to portray this epic space battle. Throughout the film, the sound is mind-blowing. The sound effects tying in with the score give Star Wars just an incredible feel and draws your attention and imagination toward the screen and the characters. Star Wars also gets much of its praise due to its visual effects. You can look at this movie that is almost forty years old and you would never know that it is that old. Star Wars is timeless and has not aged, and I can’t say that I see a time in the future when it will look dated. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is twenty-two years younger than the original Star Wars, and it looks much more dated than Star Wars does. From the opening shot to the last shot, every effect is seamless. The shots of space, the shots of the TIE Fighters and the shots both inside and outside of Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon are phenomenal, and the effects put you right in space with our heroes.

The Millennium Falcon

I don’t need to sit here and tell you about how much Star Wars means to film fans and film in general. At the time, it overtook Jaws as the highest grossing film of all time, and stayed there until 1982 when Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra- Terrestrial came into theaters. Adjusted for inflation, Star Wars still stands at #3 in the highest grossing films of all time. It was an eye opener and a revelation in film, and the entire world took notice. Despite competing with Academy Award juggernaut Annie Hall at the 1978 Oscars, Star Wars still took home six Academy Awards from eleven nominations. When The Empire Strikes Back came out, it was a huge hit with fans, and the then twist ending was so shocking that it tore fans to pieces having to wait three years for Return of the Jedi.

Luke Skywalker (left), Princess Leia (middle), and Han Solo (right)

Overall, Star Wars is an absolutely magnificent film, and it is easily one of my favorites. The combination of everything coming together to make this film was perfect, and that is not something that gets to be said often. It inspired a culture of fans with characters who are still alive today, literally as we will see in theaters on Friday, and figuratively as you can see in the soul of every movie fan. When this movie was in production, everyone told George Lucas he was crazy and that his vision was an impossibility. Nobody was blown away by the idea of this movie. It was expected to be a very below average film. Even the cast and crew put forth very little effort until they realized what they really had their hands on. Star Wars is a classic movie for all film lovers and is recognized in all genres of film. The Empire Strikes Back is regarded at a higher level than the original Star Wars, but I often find myself thinking that this is my favorite. I am, without a doubt in my mind, going to give Star Wars a perfect 10/10.

I already have my tickets for tonight to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the seventh installment in the franchise, and I am beyond ecstatic to be able to see it. As soon as I see it I will come home and jot down my thoughts if I can contain myself, and I will have the review out as soon I can express my thoughts on the movie, which is ideally going to be tonight once I get home from my 7:00 pm showing. So are you going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens? What am I thinking? If you read this review, you are probably going to see it very soon. Which of the first six Star Wars movies is your favorite? When are you going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Don’t worry. This is a safe environment for those of you who like the prequels. I’m not afraid to admit that I find enjoyment in them. Star Wars is definitely one of the most fun topics to discuss in life because it is something where we can express theories, and it connects us and brings us together through a mutual passion, so let me know any theories you have about Star Wars: The Force Awakens or even the rest of the trilogy. Please stay tuned for my review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. So far, 2015 is two for two with seventh installments in franchises in my book with both Furious 7 and Creed, so bring on number three. As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

PHOTO: 20th Century Fox Movies

Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at [email protected]