Thursday, December 17, 2015

Movie (Sort of) Review - Star Wars - A New Hope

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, James Earl Jones, and Alec Guinness
Directed by George Lucas
I have gone 35 years without watching any of the Star Wars films.  It was "my thing."  As a college student who graduated with a concentration in film, I made in known when asked that I'd never watched Star Wars. Whenever I said that, people were always blown away.

And now that Disney owns the franchise (and for another reason which I'm unable to currently reveal - edit: which is now "revealed" in the comments below), I had to give in and watch.  It is what it is.  There was no inherent opposition to the's just that I'd waited so long, the "not watching" was more comedic than anything else.  

And now "my thing" is over.  Rather than write actual reviews of the series (and I'm only watching episodes IV-VI at the moment), here are my random stream of consciousness thoughts (not necessarily "reviews") that occurred while watching the film.  

10:00pm - A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

10:04 - I've always heard that Stormtroopers can't hit anyone...They're shooting people down in this opening scene, though!

10:05 - It's tough not to see Darth Vader and not want Rick Moranis to be under the suit.  (Go Spaceballs!)

10:09 - There was not much of a budget spent on casting these minor actors...Yikes!

10:15 - One of those robots in the robot dump looked like Wall-E!

10:16 - Oooh...a clock wipe to change scenes...

10:19 - Luke Skywalker's a whiny little runt here initially.

10:27 - Teen Idol Luke with the wind whipping through his hair as he stares at the two moons as the music swells...the gals all swoon...

10:29 - The hovercraft special effect was kinda cool.

10:35 - First lightsaber...and first mention of "The Force" - and, also, finally getting into some actual story after thirty minutes of what felt like nothing much...

10:41- I can't say that I'm too sad that Aunt Beru is dead as her acting skills left a little to be desired...

10:44 - The new CGI is so noticeable in this scene as they hovercraft into some stood out to me right away...

10:46 - Chewbacca!  And droid racism abounds at the cantina!  And chopping off of legs!

10:49 - And Harrison Ford!  Showing more charisma onscreen in mere minutes than most everyone else other than the stoic Alec Guinness!

10:51 - Even I know about this infamous "Han Shot First" scene...

10:58 - First light speed!

11:00 - There's something to be said for villains who are able to implode an entire planet...

11:08 - "I sense something.  A presence I have not felt since...(trails off)..."  Some of Lucas's dialog...sheesh...

11:13 - We haven't had a wipe to change scenes in a long time!  I missed them!

11:14 - Chewy reminds me of a very hairy Rebecca Romijn as Mystique...

11:21 - Sure, it was kinda cool that something grabbed Luke in the garbage chute, but it just disappears?  "It just let me go?"  And all is good?  Why even add that?  Why not just have the chute start compacting right away which is tense enough...

11:30 - The Stormtroopers really are ineffective.

11:33 - I feel like I should be more affected by Obi Wan dying...but the scene feels so sillily thrown away.

11:37 - Honing beacon!  I should've seen that coming!  Intrigue!

11:48 - His name is Porkins!  Porkins?!?!

11:51 - This end action scene is actually surprisingly effective.

11:56 - At least Vader's a good shot to make up for the inadequacies of the Storm Troopers.

11:58 - "Remember...the force will be with you always."  (As a Catholic, every time I heard "The force is with you," I wanted to add, "And with your spirit.")

11:59 - One final wipe to change scenes!

12:01 - And a kaleidoscopic transitional wipe inward to end!

Listen, Star Wars isn't bad.  Were I an eight year-old kid watching this for the first time, I'd think it awesome.  As a thirty-five year-old adult, it's decidedly less exciting.  Yes, I can place myself into the time it was made and I'm able to recognize it's quality of special effects for the time, but Lucas does have some story problems.  Let's be honest with each other -- the first thirty minutes really goes nowhere as it rather lullingly starts off.

I'm gonna admit that I'm not quite sure I understand the huge fandom yet.  Maybe it will become clearer with subsequent films.

The RyMickey Rating:  B-


  1. Does "unable to currently reveal" imply "able to later reveal?" Of course am curious. I'm not sure that I've seen all three of the earlier films. I've only seen what we had on VHS growing up. So probably only one or two of them, watched many times over, and likely with a confused plot from TV-editing.

  2. It doesn't sound nearly as exciting now, but I was chosen as THE ONE person at the theater to screen the film. I wasn't allowed to tell anyone until the day of, so I was keeping things close to the vest if you will.

    It initially started out that two people were allowed to watch - one per format - and I was told that it was going to be me. So, seeing the irony in this - that the guy who's NEVER WATCHED STAR WARS was going to be the one to see the most highly anticipated movie of the year for many people - I felt that the only way I would ever enjoy this experience was if I had somewhat of a base to build upon while watching the movie.

    In the end, I'm glad I did. It was inevitable. Disney owns them now and I know I'll get more out of whatever experiences they make in the theme parks. That said, I don't get the fandom. I understand the allure of it in the 1970s. For kids/teens nowadays who watch Star Wars for the first time? Where's the passion coming from? I imagine it has to be a generational thing as their parents loved it as their parents loved it and it's just passed down. As I've said, part of the reason the original trilogy didn't quite work for me - I mean, it's not bad, but by no means fan-worthy - is that everything in them was virtually spoiled in some way or another. There were no real surprises. Which is probably why I like the new one the best as nothing was spoiled for me.

  3. I opted not to screen it when asked if I wanted to do it. Person that asked me was very excited to do so, and it didn't mean anything to me. Besides, I think Greg wants to see it. You're right about the generational/fandom. Perfect period of time for people who grew up with those original ones in late 70s and early 80s to take their kids.