'Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope' Review By John M
A Flawed Classic
The plot everyone should know by now. It follows a young Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill who lives with his aunt and uncle on a farm on the planet Tatooine. He lives a boring live wishing to leave the farm for adventure. Things change when his aunt and uncle buy C-3PO and R2-D2 from Jawa traders. R2-D2 shows Luke a message from Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) asking for help from Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness). The adventure takes off from there as all of you surely know. The story was written by George Lucas and is generally good. There are a few problems like the main character in Luke Skywalker. As a kid I didn't really pay attention to how unlikeable and annoying the character was, but as an adult you can see it. Then there is the Death Star. I don't understand why the Empire was building it. Talk about a waste of money. They could have just used the money to build enough star ships to overwhelm the resistance. Then there is the flaw in the design. Really they left a little hole in the ship that could take down the entire death star. Finally Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing) and the other commanders didn't bother putting more starships around The Death Star for defense.
Even with the flaws I had with the story the acting was really good. The great actors Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness did an excellent job, and so did the now legendary Harrison Ford (Han Solo). He imbued his great charisma and good acting into the best character of the original Star Wars saga. James Earl Jones was magnificent as Vader's voice. Carrie Fisher did a decent job, but like Luke, Leia wasn't a very likeable character. Then there is Mark Hamill who I think did his best as Luke in the first A New Hope. Trying to show his naivety and slowing to come terms with his fate. Still either the way he acted or the way Lucas wrote the character Luke Skywalker comes out as unlikeable and annoying. I also much mention Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) who brilliantly brought life the Wookiee.
What was and is astounding are the special effects. George Lucas did manage to put in amazing special effects for the time with a tiny budget, and more importantly what Lucas did with little help from Fox, which was to his advantage as he kept many of the rights including merchandizing ones. Lucas nearly perfectly blended genres and elements from movies and films like The Hidden Fortress, Flash Gordon, The Guns of Navarone to name a few. It is remarkable what George Lucas achieved with A New Hope. He wrote the story for the film and his drive to see it created and brought to live in theaters is a testament to him. I'm sure many filmmakers would have given up after being turned down by many movie studios and the limited budget and time he had to work on the film, but he persevered. In doing so he created a universe that through him has brought on a life of its own through the sequels, pop culture references, spinoffs in the form of books and television shows and he inspired would inspire filmmakers, actors, and movie goers for generations to come. I will talk more about Lucas later in my reviews for the other five films.
As a child I think I would have given Star Wars IV: A New Hope 5 stars. Does it live up to my childhood memories? No it doesn't. It has plot holes in the story and flaws with the characters. That being said A New Hope is a great starting point with for a fun adventure with a unique story, interesting characters and great action special effects. I know it's hard to ruin your childhood memories, but I think people need to stop blindly defending the original films over the prequels. I know it's hard to see the flaws in things you loved as a child. It was hard for me. As a kid I loved the old GI. JOE cartoon, but as an adult you see the many flaws in the story, characters and the lack of bloodshed and death in a cartoon about solders who are trying to kill each other. It's the same for a film like Independence Day as a young teenager I loved the film I think I would have given it 4.5 out of 5 stars, but as an adult I saw the flaws in the film and I now have only given it 3 stars. Overall Star Wars is my 5th favorite out of the six Star Wars films and a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.