Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
Written and Directed by George Lucas
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness, James Earl Jones
Luke Skywalker (Hamill) longs for a chance to escape his life on the moisture farms of Tatooine. His opportunity comes when he stumbles across two escaped droids with a message from Princess Leia (Fisher) for Obi-Wan Kenobi (Guinness). The message leads Luke to Obi-Wan who invites Luke to travel with him to Alderaan. There Luke might be able to learn the ways of the force and join the rebellion against the tyranny of the Galactic Empire. To make the trip, Obi-Wan hires a renegade smuggler named Han Solo (Ford) and his partner Chewbacca. After leaving Tatooine, the group finds themselves in the middle of a battle with the Empire’s new weapon, the Death Star, which is being wielded by the ruthless Darth Vader (Jones). Now Luke must find a way to defeat the Death Star and save the innocent people of the galaxy from its destructive powers.
This is perhaps the best known science-fiction film ever made. The 1977 release exceeded expectations and became one of the biggest box office successes of all-time. The movie was born out of the creative mind of George Lucas (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), who wrote and later directed this film. This would be the first of a trilogy of films that included The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The film featured a cast of unknowns, new talent, and established actors. Among these actors were Mark Hamill (Corvette Summer), Harrison Ford (42), and Carrie Fisher (When Harry Met Sally). The film also features Oscar winner Alec Guinness (The Bridge on the River Kwai) and the voice talents of James Earl Jones (Field of Dreams).
This story is very nicely written. Lucas did a good job weaving a sense of fantasy into this science-fiction film. The characters are unique, and Lucas showed that his vision had no limits as he created a galaxy filled with unique people and places. It seems as though every opportunity to introduce something new was capitalized on. The dialogue is very straightforward in this one, allowing the action and visuals to take the lead. Overall, this movie was wonderfully written.
The acting in this movie is really good. The best performance comes from the talented Alec Guinness, who brings a sense of fantasy to this science-fiction film. His ability to keep a mystical nature within his character allows the concept of the force to work nicely. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford all do a good job in this one also. Finally, James Earl Jones does a wonderful job lending his voice to the character of Darth Vader.
Visually, this is a wonderful movie that has aged nicely despite the change in technology since it was released. George Lucas pulled together a team of inventive and intelligent creative minds to make his visions come to life. The work done with models, puppets, and other devices never feels cheaply done or obvious. In addition, the set design really works to create new worlds. This includes the wonderful work done bringing the spaceships and the Death Star interiors to the screen. Overall, this is a wonderful movie from every technical aspect.
This is a great movie that has earned a place amongst the classic American films. The movie earned 11 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor (Guinness). The movie earned wins for Best Set Decoration, Best costume Design, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects, and Best Score (John Williams). Additionally, the movie earned a special achievement Oscar for Ben Burtt’s work in creating the many sound effects used in the film. All of these awards might be secondary to the success this film has found among generations of fans. With re-releases, this film has been seen on the big screen by new fans many times over almost forty years. Unlike many science-fiction films, this movie has endured the aging process in ways that have kept it relevant and enjoyable.
I can’t think of anyone who shouldn’t see this film. It’s a classic movie that has so much to offer. If anything, this is one that you should watch again if it has been a while. I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.
Great review Jeff. This is MUST SEE for any movie fan!
I agree. Thanks for checking out my review.