Star Wars 4: A New Hope

[This review includes spoilers.]

Leia: "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."

I feel somewhat inadequate to the task of reviewing a movie whose impact has been felt for decades all over the world. Those are pretty big shoes for a melodramatic science fiction movie with aliens and robots, but let's face it, Star Wars is very, very special.

The big thing that works about the original Star Wars is that, even though it gave us a brand new science fiction universe, the story is as old as the hills. Every character and situation comes from a common literary archetype: the powerful changeling raised in secret; the young man on a quest; the wise man who trains him in mystical powers and sacrifices his life for him; the princess torn between the good man and the bad man.

One thing the original trilogy has that couldn't have been predicted was the young Harrison Ford. Han Solo is the ultimate in dashing, romantic hero, and Harrison Ford is the ultimate classic, hot leading man. The brash charm and humor he injected into his portrayal of Han Solo just jumps off the screen. How many directors luck into a superstar in the making? Unfortunately, Mark Hamill spends way too much time whining, particularly in the beginning. He improved in Empire and Jedi, though. And although I'm very fond of Carrie Fisher's Leia, her lack of acting experience is obvious.

Let me weigh in on the fan controversy about the alterations George Lucas made to the original trilogy. Personally, I liked all of them. If someone else had come in and fooled around with Lucas' creation, I would have been outraged. But it was Lucas himself, and I think he had every right.

I think the main reason he did it was to make all six movies flow together more smoothly. Lucas was exceptionally careful to make the prequel trilogy match the original. Even Obi-Wan's Jedi duds have a hole and patch in the same spot. Plus, he must have longed to put details and bits in the first three movies that he had imagined, but technology hadn't supported at the time. And the original versions are still out there, aren't they?

Bits and pieces:

-- When I finally got around to writing reviews of the six Star Wars movies, I decided to watch them in episode order for a change. When you do, they fit together like puzzle pieces. I was impressed. You should try it.

-- Note from later: even better than episode order is the Machete Order. Seriously! Best way to watch Star Wars, hands down.

-- From a technical and special effects standpoint, when you look at all six movies, this one is the weakest and most primitive. Which is understandable, considering.

-- I have many favorite scenes: "These aren't the droids you're looking for." The cell block rescue of Princess Leia. The trash compactor. The Tarzan rope-swinging scene. The final raid on the Death Star is classic, but it's never been a favorite.

-- Dismemberment again. C3PO lost his arm, as did one of the bar patrons.

-- Obi-Wan: "Mos Eisely. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." One of the great things about Alec Guinness is that he can say a line like this, and we all believe it.

-- Luke and Han both said. Luke: (when he first glimpses the Death Star) "I have a very bad feeling about this." And Han, in the trash compactor: "I got a bad feeling about this."

Four out of four stars,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

4 comments:

Mark said...

You might find this interesting. (I've only read this web page, not the book.)
http://secrethistoryofstarwars.com/natureofthebeast1.html

Billie Doux said...

Tom, you were absolutely correct to point out the spoiler in my review, and I've removed it. Please do post your comments. And thank you.

Tom L said...

;)

I watched Star Wars today for the first time. Next week a professor of mine is showing our class The Empire Strikes Back, so I thought watching the first movie would be a good idea. I loved it, obviously.

The three main characters were awesome, but the androids made this movie for me. They were so great together and cracked me up several times. I hope they are part of the entire saga.

It's weird watching Star Wars so late, as it's such a must see for geeks. I used to think that not having watched Star Wars was a huge betrayal on my geek calling. Well, now I'm on a mission of redemption.

Billie Doux said...

Enjoy the rest of the movies, Tom! I envy you, getting to watch them for the first time. I'll look forward to your comments.

And I realized why I posted spoilers in my original review (since removed) -- I reviewed all six movies in episode order instead of release order. My bad.