“Star Wars A New Hope” was the very first film of the most popular and successful franchise of all-time. “Star Wars” came out in 1977 to wide spread critical acclaim and introduced fanboyism to the world. George Lucas brought a modern retelling of classic mythological heroes of old, and set them in a space opera-like story, taking place in a galaxy far, far away. Like all hero stories we begin “Star Wars” with the every man’s character Luke Skywalker. Luke Skywalker is called to an adventure with an old Jedi Knight, Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. Luke and Obi-Wan are joined by Han Solo, the space cowboy and his co-pilot Chewbacca, as they set off on a dangerous mission to the Aldaraan system to rescue Princess Leia Organa from the clutches of the evil Empire. But with the dangers come a terrifying reality. The Empire has built a space station called a Death Star, a single planetary unit that has the destruction capabilities of blowing up other planets. Luke and his friends must join the war and rebel against the Galactic Empire to save their own galaxy from destruction. Blood will be spilled, sabers will be crossed, and a new hope will emerge from the remnants of evil.
“Star Wars” is not only a great movie, but it was the film that changed cinema and is still changing our culture. The fact that George Lucas took ages old tales and put a fresh science fiction spin on them was brilliant and it was a way to tell stories that people all over the world could relate to. I remembering seeing the first “Star Wars” film as a young kid, and my imagination was littered with ideals, dreams and adventure that I wanted to be a part of. The character of Luke Skywalker is such a relatable character and his development progresses beautifully throughout the films. I heard a reviewer talking about how it’s hard to review “Star Wars” today because it’s like reviewing a landmark. I really agreed with this statement. “Star Wars” has become a landmark in cinema and to say it’s not or by talking bad about the film is completely ignorant of what this movie has done. Now I get some people may not like “Star Wars” or any of the subsequent films for that matter and I understand. Film is completely subjective. My grandparents hated “Star Wars” and that’s fine. These films aren’t for every one. But there is no denying that George Lucas made these films for all ages and audiences regardless of race, religion and political views. “Star Wars” impacted the world and is still impacting the world in more ways today than ever before.
I recently was in a heated argument with someone who said they don’t know why kids today love “Star Wars” so much. The person said that they don’t know how kids are educated with these movies when the original films came out over 30 years ago, before they were born. My reply was simply this: Why do kids today know Shakespeare, or Macbeth, or Homer or The Odyssey? How do they grow up loving “The Lord of the Rings” or biblical stories. The answer is simple. It’s because these stories are grounded in mythology that has been around for thousands and thousands of years. These stories are orally told and then passed down to new generations. So the parents, myself included who grew up with these “Star Wars” films loved them so much, that we are now passing these stories onto our children, who eventually will pass them down to their children. That’s how kids today are so enamored with “Star Wars.” They are relatable stories and have something in them for everybody.
Now getting back to the film itself, I have to say that re-watching this again, I absolutely adore this movie. All nostalgia aside, “A New Hope” is a well told story, with good actors and a certain campiness to it that doesn’t feel too cheesy and/or forced, no pun intended. Regarding the campiness, the original intent of George Lucas’ “Star Wars” saga was to have that somewhat cheesy Buck Rogers/Masters of the Universe feel to it. George Lucas said that “Star Wars” was always intended to be a B science fiction film. And that’s exactly what we get. Now the original 3 films maintain that B campy status but it works because the technology was so great and the actors made the corny dialogue work. It didn’t work however for the prequels because the actors didn’t have any chemistry nor a lot to work with.
The biggest thing that angers me most about “Star Wars” is the special edition cuts more so than the prequel films. At one point, George Lucas went back and changed a lot of the character situations, the special effects and added scenes that shouldn’t have been in those original films. The constant tampering of these films not only was completely unnecessary, but it kind of ruins the original prints. The most controversial of the changes takes place in this film, when Han Solo is sitting in the Mos Eisley cantina. In the original film, the one that I saw as a kid, Han Solo shoots Greedo in cold blood, murdering him. This was changed many years later by Lucas because he didn’t want a hero killing someone without reason. In my opinion that’s what helps give Han Solo his character arc, and in my eyes Han will always shoot first.
Revisiting this film brought back so many memories from my childhood, as it as been many years since I have seen this movie. From Darth Vader vs Obi-Wan Kenobi, to the banter between Han and Leia, this film has such a great sense of humor, mixed with amazing action and adventure. “Star Wars” is a complete fun, emotionally engaging story with relatable characters and weird aliens that introduce audiences to a new world with familiar tropes that we have seen for thousands of years in ancient mythological stories. As a critic, I could find little things here and there to pick apart from “A New Hope,” but at this point it’s like trying to review the Grand Canyon. It’s a landmark that has been around for such a long time and it has literally shaped the landscape of film and pushed the boundaries of what technology could do for storytelling. “Star Wars” is pure cinematic escapism that will continue to be enjoyed for many generations to come.