Friday, December 18, 2015

Star Wars (1977) Review

I love this film. The innocence and the fun mixed in with themes of responsibility plus the mysticism of the Force came together as a concoction of legendary proportions that is still felt to this day. And watching it again for the first time in years, it hasn't lost any of its fun.

Truth be told, George Lucas did have the right idea when he started tinkering with his movies. As magical as they are, there's no denying they're quite dated in special effects. That's not to bash Star Wars... this was groundbreaking work on every level. But time has gone by, guys. It's okay to call it a bit silly now. Also, when I say he had the right idea, I mean I can see his viewpoint. I don't think the Special Editions are necessary in the slightest. These films deserve to age gracefully.

Star Wars is about... well, a war that takes place in space. Where there are stars. It's about an evil Empire that dominates the galaxy and prepares to completely crush it into subordination with their new space station: the Death Star(I guess the wars or rather battles are about the Star in this movie, so the title sort of makes sense). However, the brave rebels have managed to steal the plans to the Death Star that contains its one weakness and in a last ditch attempt to smuggle it to their base, dispatch it with droids(robots) named R2-D2 and C-3PO to the desert planet of Tatooine where they come into the service of a brave farmer boy named Luke Skywalker.

Luke discovers that R2's contact on the planet is his acquintance, old eccentric Ben Kenobi and delivers the droids to him only to find that his family has been killed by the Empire searching for the droids and that Kenobi is one of the few survivors of the mysterious Jedi who practice the Force: an energy field that connects all living things and can be used to manipulate reality physically and mentally.

Kenobi, Luke and the droids employ the help of smugglers Han Solo and Chewbacca to flee Tatooine before the Empire finds them, only to end up flying into the Death Star itself...


The acting in Star Wars is underrated, to be honest. Mark Hamill has an inherent likability about him, but it's the dialogue makes him into a bit of a whiner, particularly during the scenes where Luke and Han disagree about Han's departing from the Rebellion. Why is everyone so mean towards Han anyway when he decides to leave? He's a grown man and he's not exactly an idealist. Do they give the speech to every single non-Rebel person who visits the base?

Harrison Ford is instantly awesome as the coolest character in Star Wars - Han Shot First Solo. Unfortunately, he also has the cheesiest lines in this movie. Or maybe his Harrison Fordness just magnifies how inherently cheesy the script actually is. Whatever the case, he oozes enough cool to slip by any hilarious piece of dialogue and is for me, the highlight of the movie, acting wise.

Carrie Fisher, despite again, some unsavory dialogue that makes her all Princess-y(which she isn't) is cute and charming as Leia and the perfect foil for the Luke-Han bro team.

David Prowse and James Earl Jones join together to create the second best villain of all time, Darth Vader(topped only by his master in the upcoming flicks). Vader's design is so perfect, I can't even... the black skull mask, the covering hood-esque helmet, the cape, the buttons on the front, THE VOICE... I'm amazed at just how right they got this villain.

But let's not forget the legendary Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin, the only Imperial officer we've seen in the series who earned Vader's respect beyond the Emperor himself. Tarkin is cold-blooded as hell and methodical, yet has his own British charm to him. Great performance(fun fact: he was wearing slippers throughout the whole production since there was something wrong with the boots).

R2-D2 and C-3PO are a wonderful duo, with 3PO's fussy personality and R2's unspoken snark creating so many perfect scenes. In later films, they sometimes got too carried away with this, but here, they hit all the right notes.

Alec Guinness is wonderful as Obi-Wan Kenobi. I usually find it hard to watch actors whom I know to dislike the production, but Guinness takes his job so seriously that you can't take your eyes off of him. He is kind of like Dumbledore and Gandalf combined. Humble, but with an edge to him.

The supporting cast are great too. Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru are perfectly natural, the Stormtroopers come across as slightly goofy, yet also kind of scary to be honest. They don't seem like the mockery they've become in pop culture, but the tough soldiers they really are supposed to be. All of the Imperial officers are given a personality, which I really appreciate and I can see the backstory just appearing in my head, almost subconsciously.


Though I mentioned that the special effects were dated, I never said they weren't impressive. And indeed, by dated I only mean "you can see how they did this". And even that only half of the times.

But I don't think it takes you out of the movies at all. Children watching won't be able to tell and adults will think "wow, it's so cool how they did this". It's a complete success on every level.

My particular favourite effects would be the lightsabers, which were a stroke of genius if ever there was one. They were built out of three-sided tubes, each reflecting light to create the illusion of a "light sword"(which was later colored in with computers).

I also have to give a shout out to the endlessly creative alien creatures such as fricking Satan in the Mos Eisley Cantina. Seriously. That dude knows how to live. My point is, never before or since has a universe felt so diverse and alive as Star Wars.


In conclusion, Star Wars is a clunky film that reeks of the 70s, but within those boundaries it manages to accomplish so much, have so much fun and present so many good ideas that it becomes timeless and managed to touch my heart as if I was seeing it for the first time.

No comments:

Post a Comment