'Star Wars' (1977) Review

As we get closer to the release of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens', let's take a second to look back on the movie that started it all and see if it still actually holds up on its own merits.

Well, yes, of course it does. Watching 'Star Wars' again I could not help but feel like I should watch these movies more often. I am a strange creature in that I rarely find myself rewatching movies to instead make room to expand my knowledge with films I haven't seen before. Going back however reminded me just how entertaining and rewatchable it still is. 'Star Wars' is pretty much the perfect amalgamation of all the tropes you see in classic boy-turned-hero tales. Not everything works from a logical perspective but purely as a hero's journey story - this is pretty much a perfect movie. It has a very logical progression from a simple and grounded environment, to a huge and epic space adventure.

Now what kind of a Star Wars review would this be if I did not mention the score. One of the very few things that has remained consistently great in all of the Star Wars movies is John Williams' epic music. Whether it is the opening titles, the individual themes for all of the characters or even just the music that is played in Mos Eisley Cantina. Practically all of the different scores are some of the most memorable and greatest ever composed for a movie and I can without a shadow of a doubt say that this franchise would not be what it is without it.

One of the main strengths of this movie is just how many levels it can be enjoyed on. It is a blast for both kids and adults for many different reasons whether it is the really tight editing to keep you engaged or the different themes that are present. This is how the original trilogy (or at least the first two) has survived this long and remains on many people's favorite movies of all-time lists even after growing up. I cannot entirely sympathize and say this is one of the greatest of all time but it is definitely a masterful starting point for what was to come.

Now to some negatives about the movie that I discovered (well more like rediscovered because I was already aware of them but whatever) while watching the movie again. We have a rather weak leading performance from Mark Hamill (who of course was only like 25 at the time of shooting) who overacts in places and comes across as whiny in others - which can also be attributed to the script. And speaking of the script, people seem to have this weird notion that George Lucas changed drastically when you compare the original trilogy to the prequels. I respectfully disagree in that I feel like he is very much the same man - just without all the money in the world and a whole bunch of yes-men around him who will do whatever he wants. Many lines in this film ranges from being cringeworthy to almost terrible.

Governor Tarkin, I should have expected to find you holding Vader's leash. I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board. 

All the bad lines, stilted performances, pointless story detours and the soulless exposition were all there at the start. Thankfully we got three heroes (there is literally no other way to describe them) in the names of Richard Chew, Paul Hirsch and Marcia Lucas who took footage of what would otherwise have been a disaster of a film - and made it into what it is today. You can really see in the deleted scenes that this could have been a very different film if these three did not come in and "fix" it. What was originally just a mess of a story - got turned into one of the most influential movies ever made and for that we must applaud these editors. In fact, other than John Williams' amazing score - the editing is the most important reason why this movie works and why it is so good. The pacing is pretty much flawless (unless when it is being tampered with by the special edition changes) and there are multiple brilliant and effective cuts scattered throughout. If there is one minor nitpick I had to mention it is that this was of course a very messy script before a large chunk was taken out and sometimes you can definitely see that in the way it jumps around at times.

Overall, 'Star Wars' is still a great movie with an overwhelming amount of creative designs and memorable moments. This truly was the starting point for were the summer blockbuster was going and judging by the anticipation that has loomed around the world for the past three years about 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' - I think it is pretty safe to say the franchise has not lost its fanbase despite the very valid attempt with the prequels.


- Lucas


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