Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)

As the Galactic Civil War goes on, a small group of people go on a journey to deliver key plans to the Death Star that might give the Rebels a chance against the Empire.

Director: George Lucas

Cast: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness

MPAA Rating: PG for sci-fi violence and brief mild language

Fun Fact: Sylvester Stallone was considered for the role of Luke Skywalker.

Back in the 70’s George Lucas had a vision for a project that he was working on. He was very influenced by the Flash Gordon serials of old and pitched his idea to many studios who turned him down. Lucas kept his dream alive and eventually Star Wars was born. Movie goers couldn’t get enough of what would be one of the most influential movies of all time.

I can’t get enough of this film, as it was very inspirational to me. I had quite a bit of Star Wars toys and my friends and I would act out as our favorite characters and such. To me, A New Hope is a definition in the American Dream of film making. Just like George Lucas, anything is possible when you set your mind to it.

The film is an art of film making that was ahead of it’s time. The special effects alone are fantastic. All the time spent on models of the ships look great and hold up today. Everything from the Millennium Falcon to the Death Star look realistic. The way that the lightsabers and the shots from the guns don’t look fake or have a corny look to them. Back in the 70’s they didn’t have the CGI technology that we do today, so it was a huge achievement to pull off these effects. The sets that were built look fantastic as well. It puts us viewers right into a different world that we had never seen before and have loved ever since.

With the story we get the classic hero’s journey that starts from nothing that turns into the quest. It has a Greek mythology like feel to it and who could better pull it off than the characters that were created for this film. The cast brings their A-Game to the project and the performances are memorable. One of my favorite actors, Peter Cushing, is great as Grand Moff Tarkin. Cushing brings his experience in the Hammer films he was in to play a scary villain. Tarkin doesn’t care for no one and it shows when his character does something big in the movie. Harrison Ford was perfect for Han Solo and you believed that he truly was the arrogant and cocky smuggler. Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher dial in their performances as Luke and Leia. They both have their respective journeys and you want to be on their side. The great Alec Guinness puts together one of his performances of his career as Obi-Wan Kenobi. He received an Academy Award nomination for his role as the wise Jedi mentor of Luke Skywalker. Hamill and Guinness have a great chemistry when they are on screen together.

The climax to this film is one of my favorites. This is where we get our first big space battle and it delivers. It’s well shot, and the tension builds up through the scene. Not only does it have much needed tension that a climax should have, it is also fun and memorable. While not in the climax we get our first use of lightsabers. While the scene isn’t the best in all of lightsaber duels, it was the first steps we get to seeing what a lightsaber was.

Overall, this film is very influential not just in Star Wars, but in film making in general. The effects where ahead of there time and that was in an era that CGI wasn’t in the big time yet. The cast brings their A-Game as all the performances are well remembered and well-acted. We also get a climax that has the right amount of tension and fun that will leave you satisfied. It’s also a great example that when making a film to never give up even when studios are not interested. Eventually someone will come along and like what they see.

Verdict: Hit

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