Directed by George Lucas
Quick synopsis… Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) guides intrepid Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on a valiant bid to save the captured Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) from Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones). With his trusty droids and smuggler Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Skywalker must also destroy the Galactic Empire’s all-powerful weapon: the Death Star. George Lucas cemented his status as a pop-culture legend with this classic battle between good and evil.
- Retroactively titled Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope.
- But it’s the one that started it all.
- That opening crawl…
- That score…
- That ginormous spaceship that practically takes up the entire screen.
- I can only imagine how impressive that was in the theater, since I wasn’t born until three years after this one was released.
- Now, I don’t claim to be the biggest Star Wars fan in the galaxy, so there are some things I don’t know and some things I’m unsure of…
- But I’m pretty sure I heard at one point that George Lucas created this galaxy far, far away as an homage to the old school serials, like Flash Gordon.
- So the opening crawl giving us information about what’s going on throws us into the middle of the story.
- Stuff has already been happening.
- Those movie-goers in 1977 had no idea this was Episode IV.
- Though, I’m a little skeptical as to whether Lucas himself really thought of this as Episode IV.
- That Episode IV wasn’t added to the top of the crawl until the movie got a home release.
- I think…
- Anyway, whether he intended for this to be the middle of an epic saga or not, it definitely wasn’t intended to be the beginning.
- Even if George had no intention of filling in the gaps with prequels, the whole point was to throw the audience into the middle of a story that has been ongoing.
- Just like those old serials would have done for the kids who spent a nickel to spend all Saturday at the theater.
- Sorry… that was a lot of insight for one little detail and I’m not even sure it’s right.
- Darth Vader’s entrance…
- Just look at this guy.
- We don’t have to know how powerful this guy is to know that he is obviously an intimidating force for the Empire.
- Ha… force… didn’t even mean to do that.
- Leia hides the Death Star plans with R2-D2, then he and his droid best friend, C-3PO, use an escape pod to head down to nearby Tatooine.
- Some imperial gunners on the Star Destroyer decide not to shoot at the pod, since there are no life forms.
- Why not shoot? Are we running low on laser beams?
- I mean, having seen so much from the franchise at this point and understanding what terrible shots the imperials are, they’d have probably missed anyway.
- Tatooine is a desert planet… all desert… all the time.
- But it has two suns, so I guess that helps to dry things up.
- Threepio and Artoo are quickly snatched up by a group of creatures known as Jawas, who like steal droids and resell them at low, low prices.
- The two droids are soon sold to Owen Lars, a moisture farmer whose nephew, Luke Skywalker, likes to whine about life being unfair and how he hates being stuck on this planet.
- Luke is assigned to clean up the new droids and finds a piece of Princess Leia’s message to Obi-Wan Kenobi, but can’t get Artoo to play the whole thing.
- Luke brings up the message and the name Obi-Wan to Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, wondering if Obi-Wan is related to Ben Kenobi, a nearby hermit.
- Owen shuts him down, telling Luke to wipe the droid’s memory.
- Luke angrily walks away, complaining again that he’s going nowhere.
- Owen and Beru briefly talk about Luke’s nature… that he has too much of his father in him… which is what scares Owen.
- Artoo insists that he belongs to Kenobi and takes it upon himself to escape during the night to find the old Jedi.
- Luke and Threepio set out the next morning to find Artoo and are ambushed by the seemingly savage Tusken Raiders.
- Old Ben Kenobi shows up and saves Luke and the droids.
- Artoo shows the old man the full message and Ben admits that he is Obi-Wan and that he was once a Jedi Knight, like Luke’s father, Anakin Skywalker.
- Kenobi gives Luke a vague history lesson, claiming that Luke’s father was killed by Darth Vader…
- If you ever want proof that Lucas didn’t have the whole thing mapped out from the start, listen to that line.
- Obi-Wan gives Luke his father’s old lightsaber and insists that Luke leave Tattooine with him to rescue Leia and join the fight against the Empire.
- As much as Luke would like to do just that, he allows his uncle’s voice in his head to decline Kenobi’s offer.
- But it’s already too late…
- Heading back home, they discover the Jawas’ Sandcrawler destroyed by imperial stormtroopers.
- When they figure out that the stormtroopers were looking for Threepio and Artoo, Luke determines that their next stop would be his home.
- He rushes home and discovers the charred remains of Owen and Beru.
- With nothing left for him on Tatooine, Luke decides to leave with Obi-Wan and the droids.
- Meanwhile, on the Death Star, Princess Leia is interrogated by Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin as they try to determine the location of the hidden Rebel base.
- Leia’s a lot tougher than they give her credit for, though, and she gives up nothing.
- Luke and Obi-Wan head to Mos Eisley, one of Tatooine’s spaceports, where Obi-Wan gets to show off his Jedi mind trick with some stormtroopers who stop them the inquire about the droids.
- “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for…”
- Later that night, that poor stormtrooper was eating dinner and realized… Those were the droids I was looking for!
- Looking for transport off the planet, Obi-Wan connects with Chewbacca, the Wookiee, and Han Solo, captain of the Millennium Falcon.
- They arrange a price for passage to Alderaan, Leia’s home planet, then agree to meet at Han’s ship.
- Before that happens, Han is confronted by an alien bounty hunter named Greedo, who is looking to cash in on the bounty that’s been put on Han by the notorious gangster, Jabba the Hutt.
- This is a point of some controversy for fans of Star Wars…
- In the original theatrical cut of this movie, Han shot Greedo… no questions asked.
- Greedo never even got a shot off.
- In the “special edition” released in the ’90s, Greedo and Han have a brief but quick shoot-out where Greedo still ends up dead and Han dodges a laser blast from Greedo’s gun.
- Personally, I like it better the original way…
- Because it shows Han Solo as a despicable human being with little to no scruples.
- It also makes his character arc throughout the film that much more poignant, as he proves himself to be more heroic than expected.
- Back on the Death Star, Tarkin decides to test the ultimate weapon on Leia’s home planet of Alderaan, threatening to destroy the entire world unless she gives up the Rebel base location.
- Leia gives in and names the planet Dantooine as the Rebels’ secret location.
- But since Tarkin says that’s too far away, he’s going to blow up Alderaan anyway.
- On the Falcon, Obi-Wan senses the planet’s destruction through a disturbance in the Force.
- When the ship comes out of hyperspace, they seem to have emerged in an asteroid field.
- Really, it’s the remnants of Alderaan.
- They approach the Death Star and are soon caught in its tractor beam.
- They manage to sneak on board the Death Star…
- Obi-Wan goes by himself to disable the tractor beam while the others go to rescue Leia.
- Leia and Luke get separated from Han and Chewie…
- While trying to escape a bunch of stormtroopers, she gives Luke a kiss “for luck.”
- If you ever want proof that Lucas didn’t have the whole thing mapped out from the start, watch that scene.
- ‘Cause, dude… that’s your sister…
- Before they escape, Obi-Wan confronts Vader and allows himself to be struck down.
- Obi-Wan vanishes with Luke watching from afar, becoming one with the Force.
- The Millennium Falcon hightails it to Yavin IV, the true home of the Rebel base, knowing that the Empire is likely tracking their movement.
- Using the Death Star plans stored in Artoo, the Rebels determine the station has a weakness.
- A precise torpedo shot could cause a chain reaction that would destroy the entire Death Star.
- The Death Star arrives and prepares to destroy the Rebels once and for all, while the Rebels launch their last ditch attack.
- Lots of starfighters are shot down, with Darth Vader himself joining the fight in his own modified TIE Fighter.
- Vader senses the strength of the Force in young Luke Skywalker, who pilots the X-Wing that fires the Death Star’s killing blow.
- Vader very nearly takes Luke out before he can fire, but Han swoops in out of nowhere to take out Vader’s wingmen.
- Vader’s ship is damaged and he flies away, out of control.
- I can only assume that Vader watches helplessly as the Death Star explodes.
So that’s Star Wars. And as close as we are to the end, it may surprise you to discover that it’s not the last movie in the franchise that I’ll come to before we reach the top spot. Next week’s movie will make you question your reality… Okay, not really. But it is confusing and if it’s your first time watching, you may have to watch the first half hour or so a couple of times. Paul recently watched it for the first time, but didn’t like it quite as much as I did. So you’ll get all my thoughts next week…
3 thoughts on “My Favorite Movies #6 – Star Wars”
The big one! Doesn’t get any more influential than Star Wars.
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