Thursday, December 17, 2015

Star Wars IV: A New Hope (on DVD)

With Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens opening a brand-new chapter in the history of the Star Wars universe tomorrow, I can’t help but look back at the original film that started it all on May 25, 1977. Simply entitled Star Wars (the subtitle IV: A New Hope didn’t get tacked on until many years later), it was described as the first entry in what was going to be a nine-film saga called The Adventures of Luke Skywalker. By the time the prequel trilogy had completed, the series looked more like the adventures of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, but who’s quibbling? Constructed with many of the same types of elements as the old serialized pulp thrillers, mashed up with the Flash Gordon whiz bang sci-fi elements, this tale of a young farm boy with a special gift, who leads the scrappy underdog rebels in a fight against the monolithic Empire, was groundbreaking movie-making at its best. Star Wars, and Jaws a few years before it, established the benchmark for summer blockbuster films — thrills, adventures, battles between good guys and bad. Little could anyone have guessed how much influence it would ultimately have on the movie-making industry or on pop-culture. But here we are, 38 years later, and several generations of film fans later — the original’s fans are taking their grandkids to the premiere of the 7th film in the franchise, now owned by the Walt Disney Company.

In my opinion, the original has held up very well, even 38 years later. Director George Lucas has tinkered with it — several times — over the years, releasing “Special Editions” with updated or expanded special effects, and/or changed content in scenes — despite what he did, I’ll always hold the opinion that “Han shot first”! But, whether you judge the film on the original theatrically released version or any of the tweaked versions which have followed in the decades since, the story still holds together well. The performances are brash, enthusiastic, or dignified and serious. The special effects were astonishing in their day and still look great, despite the intervening years. All in all, this is STILL the Star Wars movie I would show to anyone if I had to limit them to a single film in the series! May the Force be With You…Always!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try all the other films in the extensive Star Wars series.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Star Wars web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you watched this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

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