Star Wars (1977) / Fantasy-Adventure
aka Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
MPAA Rated: PG for violence
Running Time: 121 min. (The special edition runs 125 min.)
Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, James Earl Jones (voice)
Director: George Lucas
Screenplay: George Lucas
Review published January 22, 1997
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away -- oh, you know the rest.
A couple of robots shuttle to a desert planet after their rebel spaceship is taken over by an Imperial starcruiser, capturing everyone on board including the rebel princess, Leia (Fisher, The Blues Brothers). Leia has sent the robots to convey a message to a man named Obi-Wan Kenobi (Guinness, Mute Witness), who she claims is the only hope left for the rebels to beat the evil Empire.
A pair of farmers buy the droids after they are captured by some scavengers to use on their farm, and after the farmer boy, Luke (Hamill, Corvette Summer), discovers the princess' message, he heads to Obi-Wan to deliver it. While he is away, his family is killed by the Empire seeking the droids, as they make their escape from the planet with the aid of a space pirate named Han Solo (Ford, American Graffiti), and make their way to help the princess, who is now aboard a space station powerful enough to destroy an entire planet in seconds, the Death Star.
Star Wars is truly one of the all-time greatest cinematic experiences ever created. A modern day equivalent of a fairy tale, masterfully and lovingly created by writer-director George Lucas. Combining elements of narratives of the past with modern-day westerns and Japanese cinema, it is a breathtaking endeavor, with an absorbing universe of richly-defined characters. It's bolstered by a memorable score by John Williams (Jaws, The Eiger Sanction), beautifully created costumes and sets, and a tightly constructed plot that never strays off course, this is nothing short of a sci-fi/fantasy masterpiece.
Oh, should I mention that I recommend viewing this movie to everyone?
-- Followed by the sequels The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983).
-- Re-released with enhanced special effects and some additional scenes in theaters as Star Wars: Special Edition in 1997. This is the version that exists on DVD.
-- Three prequels were made over two decades later: The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), and Revenge of the Sith (2005).
-- Another sequel (of sorts) was made for TV called The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978), but has been subsequently buried by Lucas, although degraded copies do exist.
-- Spin-offs include the TV cartoon series "Droids" (1985-6) and a short mockumentary, R2-D2: Beneath the Dome (2001).
©1997 Vince Leo