Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

Revisiting Star Wars

And so I end my Star Wars rewatch at the beginning: Star Wars, the one that started it all. Let’s take a look.


Highlights

  • One thing I love about Star Wars is how complete the story feels and how classic of a tale it tells. Sure its a very straight forward hero’s journey, but what’s wrong with that? A lot is packed into the time frame of this movie, including all character introductions, establishing the world and conflict, learning the backstory of the Jedi, a daring rescue, and a final battle.
  • I love how much focus is on the droids. The first 20 minutes or so is mostly just the two of them, and they are the plot drivers. Artoo and Threepio getting their due.
  • One of the reasons this movie works as well as it does is because of the interactions of the characters. In my Force Awakens write up I talked about how the characters felt like they instantly bonded, and we have the same situation here. I really do think this plays a large yet invisible part in the movie’s success. Luke, Han and Leia all have instant chemistry with each other and is ultimately what endears us to them.
  • I love the sets in this film. The most obvious is the interior of the Falcon, which is beyond iconic now. But I also love the death star interiors, the cantina, Luke’s homestead, the rebel cruiser at the beginning… it really helped build this world. Sorry, galaxy.
  • I really paid attention to the strangeness of all the creatures in the cantina this time around and tried to put myself in the shoes of an audience member in 1977.  Must of been so bizarre.  There are some really out-there designs. Love it.
  • Alec Guinness really brings a lot of weight to the film.  I love his conversation with Luke about the history of Vader and what the Force is.  As a kid this used to be “the boring part”, but I appreciate it so much more now.
  • I know it doesn’t really need to be said, but the music and sound effects are amazing.
  • Darth Vader is a really well-established villain. I know Tarkin sort of seems like the leader here, but Vader has such a commanding presence its easy to see why he’s become the most recognizable movie villain ever.
  • There are so many iconic frames in this movie, from the twin suns, to Leia giving Artoo the files, to the Falcon flying down for the last minute rescue.

Downfalls

  • One thing that has always bugged me is the lack of impact that two of the main tragedies have on the central characters. One is the death of Luke’s aunt and uncle, and the other is Leia and the destruction of Alderaan. I know you don’t want a movie of this vein to be too bogged down with tragic fallout like that, but I do think it needed to be a little more impactful for both of them.
  • I guess it does seem a little weird that the rebels just let Luke fly with them in the battle.  But whatever.
  • No medal for Chewie.
  • Boy, I really can’t think of much else. At least not until I get to the special edition parts.

Special Edition Alert!

  • Lets talk about the worst one right off the bat: the Jabba scene.  First, it looks terrible.  Jabba looks plastic and not very organic.  And having Han walk around and step on his tail makes no sense: as if the biggest gangster on the planet would just let that go.  Second, its a completely redundant scene as the dialogue is just recycled from the much better Greedo scene before this.
  • A lot of the background scenes of Mos Eisley are “enhanced” with background creatures and the like. This is fun on a certain level but also distracting, especially since the effects are so incongruent. There’s one part where they are in their speeder and a bunch of stuff walks in the foreground that is really annoying.
  • Dewbacks are added digitally.  Same problem as above.
  • I actually don’t mind adding the deleted scene where Luke meets up with Biggs. For one thing, its basically just a reinserted scene and still feels of a part with the time and rest of the film. It also provides a little more closure on Luke’s desire to join his friends and gives more context to that idea.
  • They changed to sound of Ben’s fake out krayt dragon call for… absolutely no reason whatsoever.
  • And just in case you are wondering where I stand: Han shot first.

Final Re-ranking List
And so we come down to the question “what is the best star wars film?”  I tell ya, its a tough one.  On one hand, Star Wars feels like a more complete story than its sequel.  Yet while Star Wars is top notch storytelling and one hell of a film, Empire just feels like its slightly better paced and goes a little deeper with its themes and ideas.  So… I’m going with Empire, but only by the slightest of margins.  These two are very, very close together at the top.

  1. The Empire Strikes Back
  2. Star Wars
  3. Return of the Jedi
  4. The Last Jedi
  5. The Force Awakens
  6. Revenge of the Sith
  7. Solo
  8. The Phantom Menace
  9. Rouge One
  10. Attack of the Clones
  11. The Rise of Skywalker

Thank you for joining me on this journey back through the Star Wars saga. We recently just had a bunch of announcements from Disney on new Star Wars projects coming up, and the world really seems like its going to get huge. I think we can say Star Wars is definitely going to change going forward, so lets not forget where it all started.

After 10 years, this is my 700th blog post. I’m going to be taking a break for a while, so thank you for those of you who still come to read my ramblings. Hopefully we all have a great 2021 and that our lives can get back on track. Happy New Year!

5 Responses to “Revisiting Star Wars”

  1. Do you think that the movies should be rereleased with more modern soundtracks? Like, star wars is 40+ years old, maybe new soundtrack by Adelle?

  2. Hey Ian, fun revisit of a classic. Y’know, because of The Mandalorian, I’m interested in revisiting the original trilogy too. Darth Vader is such an iconic villain, few franchises have a character that stands the test of time like him.

    • Yeah, his presence is definitely something that stood out for me this time around. I do suggest a rewatch, always a great time. Though it would be nice if the originals were available first, but who knows when/if that will happen. Thanks for stopping by Ruth!

  3. Rouge one?
    Did you watch it in french?


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