It has been a few years since I watched the original Star Wars film. This is partially due to the idiocy of George Lucas in “fixing” things in the film and not making the original version available. I am firmly in the “Han shot first” camp, but I decided to watch all three of the original films in preparation for Star Wars – The Force Awakens coming out in December.
As Star Wars has been out for nearly 40 years, I will not worry too much about spoilers. Pretty much everyone who wants to see this film has seen it by now. If you haven’t ever watched the film, I strongly encourage you to do so.
The story begins with Luke Skywalker and his uncle obtaining two droids to work on their moisture farm on the desert planet of Tatooine. After his family is killed by Imperial Stormtroopers, Luke and the droids leave with Ben Kenobi, Han Solo, and Chewbacca to deliver the secret plans for the Death Star, and the adventure really begins.
As the first real blockbuster film, Star Wars has a lot of strong points as well as a couple weak points. Lucas added a couple more weak points with the Special Edition version, too. The film wastes no time throwing the viewer right into the action, and the ride doesn’t stop until the end of the film. Luke, Leia, and Han Solo are great characters and invest you into the story immediately. You care about the main characters, and even the secondary characters like C-3PO, R2-D2, Obi-Wan, and and Chewbacca become close friends to the viewer fairly quickly.
This is the strongest part of Star Wars, and the main reason the film series has lasted so long as a beloved part of science fiction culture (as well as the culture at large). The characters become family, the viewer cares for them, is interested in what happens to them, cheers for them, and there are “feels” all around. Very few films (or film series) have ever accomplished this feat, especially when paired with a story that isn’t the strongest one out there.
That’s not to say the story is a bad one. It isn’t. It has its flaws, but because the viewer has so much fun watching the film, all those minor flaws are swept aside by the sheer enjoyment of the entertainment. Star Wars does an excellent job balancing the flaws with a decent story, the strong characters, and a fantastic musical score. This is what makes it so great.
Speaking of the score, John Williams knocked it out of the park with his soundtrack. This soundtrack will (and already has, to an extent) go down in history as a prime example of how a soundtrack should be done. The music swells at just the right moments, is quiet at just the right moments, and so enhances the film that it becomes one with the film. It is impossible to imagine the film without the soundtrack.
Star Wars is one of my favorite films of all time. I remember seeing it when very young, I remember playing with the action figures, and having T-shirts, lunch boxes, and other merchandise with favorite characters on them. I am so looking forward to the rumored original, unaltered version Blu-ray release, and I am excited once again for the franchise. J.J. Abrams, do not ruin this chance to redeem us from the horror of the prequels. In the meantime, here is the latest trailer.
Release Date: May 25, 1977 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (brief scene in a bar with drinking and smoking)
Language: 1 (brief, mild)
Violence: 3 (space battles, lightsaber fight, planetary murder, death, brief graphic death scene)