Monday, July 22, 2013

617. STAR WARS (1977)


Running Time: 125 minutes
Directed By: George Lucas
Written By: George Lucas
Main Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing
Click here to view the trailer

A NEW HOPE...LITERALLY

I'm back, I'm back yadda yadda yadda, let's not make a big thing out of it. Do you want to know the real news of this post: I don't like "Star Wars"! There I've said it. Well, let's say I never did like "Star Wars" and in fact, I was excited for this viewing of the trilogy, as it was going to be the final chance I'd ever give these films to win me over. If I didn't like them this time...oh well, because I wasn't going to put myself through them again.


In fact, the plot is quite simple really. You know, I can still remember watching these movies for the first time (I was probably something like thirteen or so) and thinking they were SO confusing. Watching Episode IV last night, I realized that it's plot is really, really simple. Basically you have the Empire, headed up by Darth Vader (David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones) and they're trying to take over the whole galaxy. One way they plan to do this is with the construction of the DEATH STAR, which can be used to blow up entire planet's with the push of a button. Then you have the Rebel Alliance, which, in this episode, is represented by Princess Leia (Fisher). In the beginning of the film, the Rebel Alliance has stolen blueprints to the Death Star. Darth Vader and company board the Rebel ship and demand the plans be returned. Before they can be discovered, however, Leia loads the plans into a droid (R2D2) along with a message to Obi-Wan Kenobi (Guinness), a former Jedi knight, telling him the he's the Rebels only hope. Through the use of an escape pod, R2D2, along with fellow droid C3PO free themselves from the compromised vessel and land on the desert planet of Tatooine. There they are captured and sold to farmer Owen Lars, uncle to Luke Skywalker (Hamill). Luke is living with his aunt and uncle, following the death of his parents. While cleaning up the droids, Luke finds the message from Leia and remembers an old hermit named Ben Kenobi and thinks that he may know Obi-Wan. Luke eventually finds out that Ben and Obi-Wan are one in the same. After meeting with Obi-Wan, Luke realizes that the Empire have tracked the droids to Tatooine and when returning home, finds that they've killed his aunt and uncle. Since he has nothing now, Luke Skywalker accompanies Kenobi to Alderaan, Leia's home planet, where she's instructed Kenobi to deliver the plans. The duo (along with the droids) track down and pay a pilot, Han Solo (Ford), to fly them to Alderaan, along with his co-pilot Chewbacca. When they arrive they find that Alderaan has been destroyed (by the Death Star, in fact) and then discover the Death Star and are tractor beamed inside. For a while, they are held captive, but ultimately escape and try to find Leia, while Obi-Wan confronts Darth Vader, his former pupil.


On paper, "Star Wars" really never should've been as popular as it ended up being. I mean, just watch the trailer that I linked to and tell me THAT movie doesn't look like a stinker and a half. However, in 1977, for some reason the entire world went bananas for George Lucas' fictional space world and people flocked to the theaters to get a glimpse of what everyone was surely talking about. Surely this movie had to have been relying on word of mouth to get it's recognition, because that trailer looks like total crap and surely people weren't going on the merits of the advertising alone. People were obviously seeing this, telling their friends and so on and so forth, until it earned a butt-load of dough, got two sequels, three prequels and in fact, three more sequels on the way. Look, I don't know what it was like to grow up and be a part of the Star Wars frenzy, so maybe I will just NEVER really get it. Plus, I'm just NOT a science fiction guy. I just don't care for the genre and the idea of evil empires and rebel alliances doing battle in space just doesn't do anything to peak my interest. However, with that being said, I will say that I enjoyed this viewing of "Star Wars" better than any other time I've watched the film and I can now say, definitively, that it's NOT BAD. I'll even go further and say that I'm kind of looking forward to "The Empire Strikes Back". I wasn't gaga for it and I probably never will be, so all of you "warsies" are just going to have to settle for "not bad".


If I had to criticize (which I do) I'd say that the acting was horrendous, except for Peter Cushing and maybe Alec Guinness (who, honestly, really wasn't onscreen that much). It's easy to see why, despite the success of "Star Wars" Mark Hamill still couldn't get any work. Even Harrison Ford was pretty bad if you ask me, but to be honest, I'm not crazy about the guy as it is, so there's that. The plot was fine, but as noted, I'm just not a sci-fi guy, so it was never going to light my world on fire. I liked the fact that despite being not my type of movie, they still managed to put me on the edge of my seat with scenes like the one in the trash compactor and, of course, the final scene with the air fighters. Darth Vader was pretty bad-ass too and I'm just glad he wasn't killed off too early and am hopeful that he'll have more appearances in the other two installments (I've seen them, but can't remember). I was also quite amused by the antics of C3PO and R2D2 and as prominent as they were here, I hope they continue to be just that.

RATING: 6.5/10  A little blogger rust forcing me to wrap this one up quicker than expected. I look forward to "The Empire Strikes Back" and continuing my journey through the pages of the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" book.

MOVIES WATCHED: 702
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 299

July 22, 2013  7:18pm

6 comments:

  1. Hey Andrew I Finally figured out what was wrong with my computer.

    Very glad to see that you made it to Star Wars. I must tell you in advance that while I don't consider myself a "Warsie," I do have great affinity for the first two films made (4/5). This is probably because I first saw the film when I was five, and I've now seen the films around a number to times that is more likely to be in the triple digits.

    I feel you're put off a little by this franchise for several reasons. The first is that you saw the film at a less impressionable age. From my own experiences nothing was as cool as the seeing the Star Wars films when I did. I was at an age where I was able to suspend disbelief to the point where I was completely immersed in the world. Recently a friend of mine saw this franchise for the first time and was confused as to why they didn't have a completely positive reaction. The reality is that seeing it at 17 meant that she was going to have a much harder time being able to immerse herself in the world than an impressionable five year old would be.

    Second would probably stem from the fact that things that are popular have to be twice as good to impress us. This is one of the issues with the 1001 films book, as it feels as if it is designed to be a copy of the greatest 1001 movies of all time. This is simply not true, as while there are plenty of good movies (the vast majority of the book), there are also a plethora of films that are given a place within this book because of cultural significance. Something like In The Realm of Senses may not be one of the greatest films of all time, but deserves a place on this list as one of the most provocative adult movies ever made. I've found within my own experiences, that things with huge cultural followings (like The Perks of Being a Wallflower a film which I loathed) have an uphill battle because I often find myself saying, "that's it?" at various intervals. Star Wars probably has a "meh," feeling for you for a similar reason.

    I do have to say that Five is a totally different film from Four, because Five is a lot darker. What you have to remember when you watch this series is that there was never planned to be any sequels there was only planned to be one film at a time. Even after they green lit and made five, there was never supposed to be a six. Five in my opinion has some of the greatest set pieces in film history, especially at the beginning. On the other hand I loathe six almost more than the prequel trilogy, because of how big it tires to be. I've personally taken to calling that one "The Plot Hole One," because of the various WTF moments that result from revelations present in the film.

    Very glad that you had a good experience and I am looking forward to reading the rest of your reviews.

    Keep up the awesome work
    Thomas Wishloff

    P.S. That trailer is a work of art. I mean the fan base for American Graffiti is the same as this film right :)

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    Replies
    1. Hey Thomas, welcome back. Thank you very much for the well thought out reply, I appreciate it greatly. You're very right and I agree with you on all points. I feel that the core fan base, the real, die hard "WARSIES" are ones who saw this film in 1977 and were either children or teenagers. As far as the "meh" factor, absolutely - I agree. But then again, if this film had bombed and I'd seen it, I feel like I'd be giving it the same rating, except instead of saying "That's it?", I'd be saying "Wow, why didn't people like this more, it really wasn't bad".

      Anyway, I'm glad I had a more positive reaction to it this time too. I DO look forward to the other two and I may even take the time to see the prequels too, just so I can say I saw em.

      Thanks again for your comments.

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  2. Fantastic!
    A great review, and a pleasure to find someone prepared to risk a Fhatwa from the 'warsies' to say 'Star Wars' is not the acme of western civilization.
    .. But all respect to Thomas for his superb reply.. as you say, very well thought out and presented.
    OK, I enjoyed watching the 3 when they were re-released a few years ago. An evening well spent.. but, well, that was it.
    I did even go and see the first two of the prequels, but was so dis-interested, i didn't even bother with the third one when it came on TV.
    PS.. on UK TV last night.. the first of 2 1 hour docu on Woody Allen. I haven't see it yet, other than snatches, but it looked good.
    Ray

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Glad to know people aren't giving me too much flack for not being in love with Lucas' "masterpiece".

      I think that Woody Allen doc youre talking about is the same one that aired here last year on PBS. IT was on for two nights here and I think it was either one hour or two hours per night. It was a pretty good watch, they go through all of the major Allen pictures and talk about them all for a bit. Really good stuff!

      Thanks Ray.

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  3. I think you are right.. I got round to watching them, and found they were a lot longer than i thought..
    Made me realise I had somehow missed 'Stardust memories'.. must try and find that sometime.
    Ray

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    Replies
    1. Not one of my favorite Allen films, but I've only seen it one time and that was probably 5+ years ago.

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