A wonderful story about growing up and finding out who you are, while saving a planet full of people along the way.
OK, first of all, I will NEVER refer to this movie as “Episode 4: A New Hope”. This one is Star Wars, plain and simple. I’m a purist, and I really hate the new episodes that Lucas is perpetrating…even though I know I’ll have to go see #6, whenever it comes out, if only to lambaste it thoroughly like I did with Attack of the Clones. I am so disgusted with these new prequels…too much money spent on special effects, not enough on script and plotting…but I digress.
Of course, to those in my generation, anytime you mention Star Wars, you immediately get stories about where and how we first saw it, and I am no exception. San Bernardino, 1977. I was in college that year, and was hanging out with people who are still my friends to this very day. I seem to remember that there were 6 of us who went to see it together…but first, we stopped at Woolworth’s and got candy. Even back then, movie candy was way too expensive, so we went to the candy counter and everyone got a half pound of their favorite sweets…and we passed the bags up and down the row, and ate all of it during the movie. We felt so sick afterwards! Ah, to be young again.
And I remember how completely overwhelming this movie was…just the first scene, seeing the HUGE spaceship go…and go…and go…and our eyes got bigger and bigger, and more than one of us said, “Wow…” in a reverent sort of voice…it was amazing.
As was the bar scene, so completely low rent, with aliens interacting and playing music and all kinds of wierd stuff going on in the background, oh man! I remember thinking that for the first time, someone got it right. As The Princess Bride was a perfect fantasy novel brought to the screen, Lucas did the same for my beloved SF novels. Just for that reason, I will always love this movie.
But there’s more to it than that: the movie itself is so excellent. A good basic plot, very clear lines between good and evil (evil has British accents, duh), excellent special effects, a good cast (including a young Harrison Ford, total honey)…what could be better?
And even in outer space, on other planets, in other GALAXIES…all of these characters are instantly recognizable and familiar. We know them, and because we know them, it’s easier to care about them and cheer when the good guys win…like a western, you want the good guys to win, and love it when they do.
If you are one of the three people in the world who has not seen this (and even my friend The Beckster, who dislikes SF on principle, went to see all three of these movies with me when they were rereleased) you must watch it just once. Just to say you did. Just to connect for one second with those of us who love this kind of thing so much. And just maybe you’ll love it too…give it a try.
And now the trilogy (Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) is out on DVD…and it’s the version that Lucas screwed around with. Sigh. Sure, special effects have advanced considerably in 25 years…but DON’T GO BACK AND CHANGE A CLASSIC. Or if you do, offer it as an OPTION on the dvd, not as the only choice. I was VERY disappointed in that, since the scenes he changed just stand out like a sore thumb, and are very distracting. This only lowers my opinion of what George Lucas has become, if that’s possible. Sigh.