Directed by: George Lucas
Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. When the opening crawl comes on the screen and we see the words ‘A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…’, we know this is going to be a different style of film, due to its unique combination of time period and setting. Then the opening crawl continues and is a very effective tool for giving us a lot of information in a very short time.
During the crawl, we learn that the galaxy has been struck by a massive civil war, between the fascist dictatorship of the Galactic Empire and the civilian-based Rebellion. The Empire has built a weapon, the Death Star, capable of destroying planets in a single blast. The Rebellion has managed to steal plans to the Death Star, and Princess Leia is safeguarding them. The Empire is in hot pursuit of both her and the plans.
In the opening scene we get a really good sense of the size of the Rebellion compared to the Empire. The Rebellion has a small space ship, while the Empire is chasing it with a giant Imperial Star Destroyer. The special effects are amazing in this scene.
Here we also get our first sighting of the evil Darth Vader, dressed from head to toe in black. From the moment he first appears on screen, he is dripping in pure villainy. We get some insight into Princess Leia, as when she and Darth Vader confront each other she shows no fear whatsoever and stands her ground with Vader quite well. She was very impressive in this scene.
Throughout the rest of the movie we are introduced to many other characters, places, and technologies that make up the Star Wars universe. The main story is rather commonplace as it is simply a battle between good and evil. The way George Lucas decided to fill in the other parts of the story makes this movie fascinating.
We have interesting characters, fantastic special effects, battle scenes, and humour sprinkled throughout. The alien creatures are first rate and very diversified. The cinematography is superb, and the movie does a good job in making me believe I was in a whole different galaxy.
Many of the concepts, such as, lightsabers, Jedi, the Force, TIE fighters and X-wing craft are original and have stood the test of time. Lastly, the score by John Williams is outstanding. It sets the mood in many scenes, and will have you humming some of the melodies long after you have finished watching!
Alas, this movie isn’t perfect - the acting is suspect at times, but is pretty good considering the inexperience of the main cast. While the plot is not revolutionary, it is functional enough to not distract from your enjoyment of the film. My biggest complaint with the movie is that many things are not explained in depth, although many of my questions are answered in the other movies in the series.
This movie has it all and any fan of science fiction should enjoy this movie. George Lucas has changed this movie many times, but the basic concepts are always the same. He may make the special effects better, when allowed by technological innovation. Regardless of what changes Lucas makes to this film it still gives us a wonderful world full of colourful and unique characters, while giving us a shining example of a classic good vs evil battle.
Written by Tom C.