Number of Times Seen – At least 30 times, if not more (twice in Theater in 1982, cable, video, DVD, Special Edition in theater in 1997 and 19 Jan 2014)
Brief Synopsis – A teenager is thrust into a galactic war when two droids show up at his farm with a secret message from a female Senator seeking an old hermit who lives near by.
My Take on it – I was a bit too young to get on the Star Wars bandwagon in ’77 when this came out, but it didn’t take long for me to get caught up.
I first saw this movie in the theater when it was re-released in 1982 and a few months later saw it dozens of times when it debuted on HBO.
The story is somewhat simple, but there are so many levels that in the end it works so well that it has turned into a classic film, if not the best sci-fi movie ever made.
As with all George Lucas films, the dialogue here is pretty crappy and cheesy, but he sure as hell knows how to tell an engaging story.
Because of it’s strange sci-fi spin, most people who knew the story thought that this movie would be a complete flop. Lucas himself thought otherwise and was even willing to fore go part of his salary in order to retain rights to the movie and any merchandizing. Not many people have taken such a gamble that paid off in full.
The characters are iconic (and also normal stock for an adventure).
The young idealistic boy, the princess who needs to be rescued, the swagger hero who helps the boy, the old wise man giving advice along the way and the sidekick (droids here) and of course the menacing villain hellbent on capturing the heroes.
Many people deride Lucas for creating the Special Edition of this movie 20 years after its original release, but I think it was a wise choice (besides the Greedo change).
I love the changes made in Mos Eisley. The effects are much better and shows a more alien-feel of the Tatooine city. Adding Dash Rendar on his motorcycle was also cool to see 🙂
The Jabba scene finally gave a bit of closure to the whole “price of Solo’s head” issue. That scene was important to the story and was truly missing in the original versions. I give Lucas much credit for deciding to keep it out instead of going against his own instincts and having either an unfinished special effects shot or by using the scene without the special effects at all especially since he didn’t know at the time that it would be such a hit and that he could “tinker” with it 20 years later.
As I mentioned previously, the one change that did bother me was the Greedo scene. In order to be more PC, Lucas kowtowed to detractors that Solo shouldn’t have fired first, so they added a silly special effect where Greedo shoots first and misses and then gets fried by Solo. In the Blu-Ray version in 2004, this scene was “touched up” once again making the shots simultaneous. However you look at it, nothing should have been changed in that scene and they should have left it where Solo shoots Greedo and that’s it. As annoying as this scene is, it still isn’t as bad a change as Spielberg made in E.T. (1982) where he changed shotguns to walkies-talkies. 😦
This was the first movie that ILM worked on and it paved the way for them to make a name for themselves and for them to still be considered the best Special Effects Company in the business.
Watching this movie now after having seen the Prequel trilogy changes everything because it gives new meaning to the fight between Vader and Kenobi. Obviously, the fight now seems pretty lame compared to what we got to see in the Prequels, but memories of the days of yore still make it enjoyable to watch.
A young composer named John Williams was hired to write a score for this movie and this helped propel him to stardom also. The music is truly iconic here!
This movie also features my favorite scene EVER in a Star Wars movie and that happens to be when the Stormtrooper bumps his head coming into the control room where the Droids are hiding while the others are trapped in the garbage compactor. When I heard about this, I couldn’t believe it and even had trouble finding it since the viewer is focused on the lead Stormtrooper instead of the one to his right. It’s great how they added that into Jango Fett’s personality in Attack of the Clones and had him bump his head when entering Slave I.
Now, I laugh out loud whenever I watch that scene, no matter how hard I try not to. 🙂
Bottom Line – Great movie that changed the face of movies for years to come. Very innovative special effects for the mid-70’s. Great soundtrack. Highly Recommended!
Rating – Oscar Worthy
Check out my *updated* movie stats here
To see my reviews of all Oscar Best Picture Winners click here