Now that I’m done with the Marvel Cinematic Universe reviews (except for a few more surprises…) it’s time to move on. A while ago, I promised I would give the Star Wars series another go, and give it a fair chance this time.
I was never a Star Wars fan, and skipped several of the movies for this reason. However, I realize how huge the series is for many people, and I want to give it more attention, watching it alone without distractions, in an attempt to see what makes it feel special. I also want to watch the movies that the fans don’t love all that much, as a non-fan, to see if they are really so bad.
So I’m going through it one movie at a time, in a somewhat unusual order I think will work best. I decided that I’m not going to go in either chronological order or production order, and certainly not machete order, skipping the supposed “bad” films. All the live-action theatrical films will get their chance, and I’m going with a modified production order with some movies shuffled to other locations based on how I think they will affect the way the sequence feels.
Full explanation of my ranking system is here. Summary: C is average, A/B is recommended, D is badly made, F is something to avoid.
I’m starting with…
Star Wars IV: A New Hope
When I first saw this, I thought “OK, reasonably good movie. Didn’t hate it.” I might have given it a C+ back then: not something I’d pay for to watch alone, but entertaining enough and maybe fun to watch with friends.
Watching it again, alone, and focusing on how it’s made and its emotional impact, I think it’s a better movie than I gave it credit. I don’t think it’s an A-tier movie, because in a way it’s too breezy, not really dwelling for long on anything or exploring what the characters feel, although there is a brief emotional moment or two. It’s at least B-tier, though, a movie worth recommending. It moves at a pretty steady pace with just tiny moments where the pace changes for effect.
I gave the movie a B+ instead of just a B because I recognize how influential this movie turned out to be. It should get a slightly stronger recommendation. I considered marking the grade down because I don’t like the design of some of the aliens, mainly in the cantina scene. I decided that (1) That’s a personal preference, not inherently bad, and (2) It happens only in a few short scenes.
(I did see the film before Lucas went back and digitally enhanced it, but watching it now, I’m actually OK with the CGI Jabba. I know that’s an unpopular opinion, but I imagine I’ll have a few unpopular opinions as I work through the series.)
Side Note 1: I was surprised that Darth Vader turned out not to be the main threat in the film. I tried not to think about what I know about the rest of Star Wars, but I still had this impression of Vader as the person in charge, the hand of the Emperor himself. But no, he’s not in charge, just a really powerful subordinate. He didn’t design the Death Star, doesn’t seem to have a high opinion of its usefulness, didn’t order the destruction of Alderaan, and seems a tad reluctant when carrying out some of Peter Cushing’s plans.
Side Note 2: At one point, Vader says Obi-Wan doesn’t plan to escape. Ironically, that was his original plan. Obi-Wan has no idea that Leia is on board or that Luke decides to save her. He doesn’t change his plan until after he disables the tractor beam and encounters Vader.
Side Note 3: I know Stormtroopers are the butt of many jokes because of their marksmanship, but really, in this movie, the heroes are hardly any better. They hit a tiny bit more, but not much.
Next Up: I’m heading a different direction than you’d expect.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
(CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.