Time: 121 Minutes
Age Rating: Medium level violence
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker
Harrison Ford as Han Solo
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa
Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin
Alec Guinness as Ben Obi Wan Kenobi
Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
Kenny Baker as R2-D2
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca
David Prowse as Darth Vader
Director: George Lucas
Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) joins forces with a Jedi Knight (Alec Guinness), a cocky pilot (Harrison Ford), a Wookie (Peter Mayhew), and two droids (Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker) to save the galaxy from the Empire’s world-destroying battle station, while also attempting to rescues Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) from the mysterious Darth Vader (David Prowse).
Star Wars (or what is now known as Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope) is an absolute classic, and pretty much everything has already been said about this movie. However, since I’ve been going through and reviewing all of the Star Wars movies again, I still have to talk about it, so I’ll do my best. Even with some issues (from the movie as it was released or some changes made later on), it had such an impact on cinema, even just as one movie before it became a series.
Talking about the movie is pretty hard because so much of the movie practically speaks for itself. I’ll talk more about my personal thoughts, and even some problems about certain things. It was revolutionary for its time, with regards to the story, the world, and the technical execution. I will say that after the opening scenes and R2-D2 and C-3PO land on Tatooine, it does slow down a bit, and there’s a period where I’m not that invested in the story. It picks up when we first meet Obi Wan Kenobi, and picks up even more when we meet Han Solo and Chewbacca. When it’s them on the Death Star, that’s really when the movie shines, all the way to the end with the final attempt to blow it up. From that point forwards, it’s almost perfect and really entertaining. The story is simple but well planned out, and you can really tell why this movie was so influential, especially with the worldbuilding.
The cast mostly do well. Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker wasn’t exactly great in this movie, however he noticeably improves over his next film appearances. Completing the rest of the trio is Carrie Fisher as Leia, and Harrison Ford as Han Solo, and both are great. Alec Guinness as Obi Wan Kenobi is also excellent, he really makes the character believable. With the combination of David Prowse’s physical performance and the iconic voice of James Earl Jones, Darth Vader is an iconic character. With that said, Vader wasn’t anything special in this movie, he has a classic look, can choke people with the force, and has a red lightsabre, but you more or less see him pop in and out of scenes, and you don’t really feel such a presence with him. He only really started being great in Empire Strikes Back.
Considering all the odds and the ambition of the film, George Lucas has directed this excellently. Sure some visual effects haven’t held up, but that’s to be expected, with this movie coming out all the way back in 1977. Ignoring the visually effects, there is the fight between Obi Wan and Darth Vader which wasn’t the best. Of course you know that there it was probably special back then and that they were constrained from being something more than tapping swords. Still, you can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed watching it today. Everything else however is a masterclass on a technical level. The designs for the locations, aliens, costumes, everything is flat out perfect. While the lore of this world hadn’t been fully explored and explained in this one movie, it does very well to immerse you in the one that Lucas has created. Even a lot of the effects hold up today. The action scenes, from the fire fights to the end fighter pilot sequence, are all directed very well. There are some changes that Lucas added in on future versions of the movie for some reason, and not many of them are wanted. When the main characters arrive at Mos Eisley, there are random things passing in front of the camera and things in the background that weren’t exactly needed (probably in an attempt to make the location more active and alive), kind of distracting. And of course there’s the numerous changes to the Han shooting Greedo scene, honestly it doesn’t matter to me who shot first, but it’s fascinating how many times George Lucas kept trying to change this. In the more recent version of the movie (on Disney+), right before Greedo is shot by Han (or they shoot at each other or whatever), he says “Maclunkey”. Aside from that the only other notable change was the random addition of a scene of Jabba and Han, which was originally cut from the movie. Looking at it now, you can really tell that it was cut for a reason. It’s unnecessary already but it’s made worse by the horrible CGI on Jabba. It doesn’t drag down the movie but it does stick out in your mind. John Williams’ score speaks for itself, absolutely iconic and outstanding.
Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope is a classic, and nothing will change that. There are some problems I have with it, but that just affects my enjoyment of the movie. I think it’s impossible to deny the importance and significance of this movie.