I don’t have very much memory of myself at the age of seven. I’ve been reminded of school experiences from when I was that young, very few of which I remember. What I do remember is loving Star Wars when I initially viewed it at that age, and then moving on to glorify the film and its sequels as if it were a religion. You could say I praised it just as very many absurd cult fanatics praise films such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Within these past twenty-four hours, I re-experienced Star Wars for the first time in about three, if not four years. I certainly do not worship it as I did when I was half my current age, but my mind is still blown by how well-made this massive production is. Please enjoy my review.
Bottom Line: High quality source of inventive, brilliant science fiction entertainment.
“I find your lack of faith disturbing.” –David Prowse and the voice of James Earl Jones as Darth Vader
Directed by: George Lucas
Starring: Alec Guiness, Anthony Daniels, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Harrison Ford, James Earl Jones, Kenny Baker, Mark Hamill, Peter Cushing, Peter Mayhew
When looking upon a tale as brilliantly and elaborately crafted as STAR WARS, it’s almost inconceivable how small a seed the story was when it first began. I’ve heard from various diehard fans of the franchise that the story came to writer-director George Lucas in a “dream”. Don’t ask me whether the term is intended to denote that this was a vague story he was envisioning overnight, or that it was a “what if?” that occurred to him at the most unexpected moment, because it does not matter. What truly does matter is that Lucas’s dedication and preoccupation with the premise evolved into one of the most intoxicating, unforgettable tales ever presented on film. The epic introduces Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), an adolescent who has been living with his aunt and uncle for as long as he can remember. He has little knowledge of his mother and father, and is brought up with the decency to not mention them in conversation. Luke meets Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guiness), a man who is known a hermit named Ben, but apparently fought in the Clone Wars and trained Luke’s father to adapt to the powers of a universal bond know as “the Force”, and thus become a “Jedi”, a warrior who uses the Force for purposes that promote justice rather than darkness. When Luke’s two guardians are murdered by Sandpeople, he comes to a conclusion that he must follow in his father’s footsteps. While being trained by Obi-Wan to manipulate the Force, he pursues a journey to save a beautiful young woman known as Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) from the evil Darth Vader (portrayed by David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones), as well as the entire galaxy from a highly destructive, moon-shaped weapon called the Death Star.
Watching back several films from the mid-’70s era, we typically find one or two lines to laugh at. Though STAR WARS struck the public back in 1977, not one ear of corn and not one morsel unintended humor can be possibly harvested after the passing of three and a half decades. R2D2 and C3PO (voiced by Kenny Baker and Anthony Daniels, respectively) often draw a few chuckles in their characterizations as Luke’s “droids”, but they are indisputably meant for the purpose of comic relief, aside from the occasional points in which they save the rest of the characters during the climactic points in the film. It’s rare for such a straightforward, perfectly paced script to intertwine so well with such astonishing visuals. The film was made on a budget of $11 million, which inflates to a value just short of $40 million in today’s money, yet it was the big-budget sci-fi picture of its time, about as costly and successful as the more recent AVATAR. Yet unlike AVATAR, this film uses visuals to invent rather than to innovate. James Cameron’s most recent picture had a plot too familiar to be reignited by dazzling visuals. As for STAR WARS, we’ve never seen anything similar to the way the plot presents a futuristic mythology (though curiously placed far in the past), allowing the visuals to improve on that standard and vividly enhance the mint-fresh environment developed by George Lucas. It’s another mystery to the film as to how the special effects seem as if appearing in a film produced a decade ago, not three and a half.
“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; you’re my only hope.” –Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia
In the eyes of a skeptic, STAR WARS is a film strongly fit for those who are just as much fascinated by comic books and the marvels of science. Those skeptics should be ashamed of themselves, every last one of them. Not only are such statements downright hateful to one of the Seven Wonders of the Cinematic World, they are uninformed by a refusal to witness such a beloved science fiction classic. I’m sure there are some who find distaste in the film even after experiencing it, and I honestly hope those people plan on receiving lobotomies. Looking at its accolades, you can find proof that the Academy sees no reason to award a science fiction film the Best Picture Oscar, by just looking at the film’s notorious loss for Best Picture. I say this with not the slightest hesitation, even though I strongly regard the director of the eventual winner as my all-time favorite filmmaker. Again, I (have some serious trouble trying to) understand that some people find STAR WARS silly and absurd, an interpretation that requires much explanation. The film is merely too much a timeless phenomenon, a cinematic breakthrough, and a fascinating cultural influence to carry any sort of hateful burden. That being said, I bid you all farewell until my next review. May the Force be with you.