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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope - Movie Review


Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope


Star Wars Episode 4 A New Hope

The first time I watched Star Wars (Episode 4), that I can remember, was with my friend Ben and his family. Packed into the Griswald Family Truckster at the tender age of 6ish, we traveled the oh, so many miles to the drive in to watch this new phenomenon that was taking the nation by storm - Star Wars. Yes, even before it was retitled A New Hope, we got to watch it in all it's original glory, from the back seat of some jalopy, the metal drive in speaker hanging at an odd angle from the drivers side window, AM music blaring through the static. It was summer time, during the 70's, everyone was out, having a few drinks, relaxing. The drive in was like a tailgate party, everyone arrived early to set up and let the kids play in the "jungle gym" sand lot, while the adults did whatever adults did.

I can remember, vividly, playing with the other kids before the movie. It was also the first time I saw a person do a handstand walk through the rows of cars before the movie started. I also remember seeing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid played with Star Wars, but I may be making that up in my head. Although, I have looked up the history of those two movies and they did play together occasionally during that time.

It doesn't matter the nostalgia or the set up, what matters is is that when the movie started, the real world disappeared around me. I didn't hear anyone talking or eating popcorn or get distracted by what was happening around me, all that mattered was the movie. And what a great movie it was. The arrival of Darth Vader in those opening moments, the Star Destroyer chasing after the smaller ship that Princess Leia was on, Luke meeting Obi-Wan for the first time and getting his father's lightsaber.

I was sucked in to this movie. Gripped by the action as the X-Wings attacked the Death Star or the cantina scene when Solo shot Greedo and then casually flipped a coin to the bartender "sorry about the mess" and strolled out of there like it was no big deal. This is what I wanted to do. I wanted to make movies like Star Wars that had the super cool Han Solo type and the evil as can be Darth Vader.

That movie set me on course for being the nerd/geek I am. Though, it's weird that it's easy for me to write it, but in public, I'm still uncomfortable with such things. It's because of the way I am, feeling as though that's a more private part of me that I'm not willing to let go of, because it's mine and I don't want to share it with anyone else. But, this is not a psychological profile, it's a movie review.

To me, Star Wars was the movie that got me going down the path of wanting to write and draw and be creative and get into computers and learn about filmmaking. All pursuits that I didn't go after in a serious matter, but still love to this day. It's the movie that launched a million careers and it's still the movie that set the standard for what filmmakers (and studios) are trying to achieve to this day. Unfortunately, they are missing the bigger picture when it comes to the modern day blockbuster, which is, character and story come first, the special effects are there to enhance it, not be the main point.

Yah, we can argue all day about the special additions and all that jazz. To be honest, the only things that ever bugged me was when Lucas added the NOOOOO part to the final battle in Return Of The Jedi and the awful CG of Jabba the Hutt in the first one, but there is a rumor going around that the reason that Jabba looked so bad, was because the animators weren't happy with Lucas and did it that way on purpose. Most of the other special edition special effects weren't that problematic for me. But, that's me. Star Wars was Lucas' baby and he can do whatever he wanted with the films. Still, I would like to see a DVD of the original cuts. There are plenty of fan made stuff out there that are truly wonderful, but an official version, cleaned up and released to us would be great.

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