Star Wars Special: A New Hope Review
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… The Galactic Empire is hunting down the remaining rebel force. While the evil Darth Vader captured Princess Leia a new hope arises.
Genre: Action / Fantasy / Science-Fiction
Director: George Lucas
Cast: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, Peter Cushing, Phil Brown, Shelagh Fraser & David Prowse.
Run Time: 121 min.
US Release: 25 May 1977
UK Release: 27 December 1977
German Release: 09 February 1978
Welcome to part seven of my extended Star Wars review special. With the prequels now out of the way, I can finally focus on the original trilogy. These are my favourite movies of the saga and one of the earliest films I remember watching as a young boy.
My first Star Wars experience was at the very young age of six years, when my uncle gave me the trilogy in Spanish, on VHS tape. My eyes were literally bombarded with all these grand looking images as I witnessed the fantastic story come to life. I remember how some of the scenes even scared me half to death and coming to think of it, some of the events in Star Wars may have been a little too harsh for a six-year-old boy to witness. Nevertheless, it was these movies, as well as Terminator 2, that sparked my immense interest in cinematography and movies in general. From there on onwards, I woke up early to turn on the TV and tried going to bed as late as possible, so I would not miss one film on Television. So let’s start with my review for Episode IV: A New Hope or as we all know it: Star Wars!
— WARNING, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! —
Lucas had written and rewritten the plot several times to comfort studios, and market his idea better but the basics were always the same. The plot draws strong parallels to the Second World War & the era of the Roman Empire. What truly fascinates me though is the mere idea of including the mystical Jedi Knights, with the ancient but far more elegant form of sword fighting in a science fiction movie. That is a brilliant move!
I love how, apart from a short introductory scrawl text floating out into space, the viewer is thrown directly into the plot of this film; a galactic civil war between a small group of rebels and the evil Empire shown in one simple scene. The audience immediately grasps that this is far more than just a simple science fiction flick, as the soundtrack is blasting in full strength and a dark atmosphere sweeps across the screen.
Star Wars also includes a great form of comic relief, by introducing the two droids R2D2 and C3-PO who are always bickering. It's these two astromechs that finally lead us to the hero of the saga, Luke Skywalker (Hamill). It is also during the scenes on Tatooine, with its never-ending dunes and the stalking Jawas, that this space saga crosses paths with the fantasy genre. Obi-Wan (Guinness) finally introduces us to the mysticism of the force and the tales of the forgotten Jedi Knights. My favourite scene in the whole movie also takes place on Tatooine, which is when Luke and Obi-Wan enter the canteen and meet Han Solo (Ford).
Luke is a young and naive teenager, who wants to leave his uncle’s farm to fly into space and join the rebellion. His wish gets granted, when he is thrown into his own adventure that costs him the life of his Uncle and Aunt and thus cuts all ties to his home planet of Tatooine. His relationship to Obi-Wan becomes a special one, as he not only is the person who knew his father but also trained and fought with Anakin side by side. But those facts are not mentioned yet. Luke sees in Old Ben a father figure and lets Ben teach him in the way of the force.
Han Solo & Chewbacca are two of cinematic greatest characters, depicted brilliantly by Harrison Ford and Peter Mayhew. A lovable scoundrel and his Wookie partner, Solo first takes the job to earn some much-needed money that will help him pay his debts to Jabba the Hutt. His inner hero is revealed once he gets to know Princess Leia Organa (Fisher), who he falls in love with. George Lucas fashioned Darth Vader’s character after “The Lightning” from The Fighting Devil Dogs series and manages to inflict an immediate threatening presence in his introductory scene. He is the epitome of villainy and doesn't just follow his agenda strictly but is also a highly smart individual.
The cinematography in Star Wars is perfect from start to end. Beginning with the incredible shot of Vader’s Star Destroyer following the tiny rebel ship; with just one scene Lucas made the viewer aware of the sheer scope of the Galactic Empire. But it doesn’t stop there. Lucas makes perfect use of beautiful panoramic shots to show us the desert planet of Tatooine, with all of its miracles and dangers, while the dogfight scenes between the X-wing fighters and the Tie-fighters are jaw-dropping.
Finally, the musical score composed by John Williams is what completed this fantastic movie. Star Wars would not be the same without the grand orchestral soundtrack, which gives Episode IV a soul and is one of movie history's greatest compositions.
Verdict: Star Wars is my favourite film of the original trilogy. For some, it may not be superior to The Empire Strikes Back but for me, it is the movie that blew me away as a child and jump-started the whole saga. While it is close to forty years since its first release, the effects still manage to impress me and the story is cinematic gold. Luke, Leia, Han and old Ben are characters I still cherish as an adult and who accompanied me through my childhood. I'll give Star Wars a full 10 out of 10.
So which original Star Wars movie is your favourite? Leave a comment below and let me know about the first time you watched this trilogy. My review of The Empire Strikes Back is going to be uploaded tomorrow, so keep a lookout. Thank you very much for reading and if you enjoyed this review, give it a like and subscribe.