Star Wars Film Festival: Star Wars (1977)


In preparation for the release of  The Rise of Skywalker, I am rewatching all of the previous Star Wars films in episode order.

Here’s my review of Star Wars, originally published February 16, 2016.

Title:  Star Wars
Release Date: 1977
Director:   George Lucas
Summary/Review:
Rating: ****1/2

What can you say about this movie in 2016?  Most people know and love the movie and our popular culture is steeped in its motifs.  But this was the first time my children watched the movie and  the first time I’ve watched it in a long, long time (but still within this galaxy).  The kids generally claim not to like movies, but they liked this one and asked to watch it again, which is always a good sign.  I wonder what it’s like to watch Star Wars for the first time when it’s something that’s always been around and references are wound into our culture like mythology as opposed to when I was a child and it was brand new?  I was impressed that the movie holds up very well.  There are many things from the 70s, 80s, & 90s that seem to have dated much more than this.  Of course, I’m an old fuddy-duddy and prefer the somewhat slower pace and practical special effects of Star Wars to many of today’s blockbusters.  But really the stories and the characters are what made the movie what it is and what makes it persist.  So simple, rooted in older stories, yet so fresh and new at the same time.

Some Stray Post-Rewatch Thoughts:

  • I’m pretty sure the opening scenes on Tantive IV features the only time in any Star Wars movie that a blaster is used on stun setting.
  • Captain Antilles: A Star Wars Story
  • A distinction of this movie is that it really allows scenes and settings unroll slowly.  For example, we spend a lot of time just following the droids through the desert, panning through the Jawa sandcrawler, looking around the cantina. Maybe modern filmmaking considers this “boring” but I think a lot of the success of later Star Wars media is that it provided such a rich background for creators to fill in the blanks.
  • It’s often said that R2-D2 and C3PO are the point of view characters for this movie but that’s only true up until the point when Aunt Beru calls Luke to dinner.  From that point, Luke is the point of view character, with cuts to things happening on the Death Star.
  • From the dialogue, every indication is that Uncle Owen and Anakin Skywalker are brothers. I’ve been re-writing the prequel trilogy in my head and think that a tense relationship between a teenage Anakin and a disapproving older brother would’ve been a good place to start. I suppose, alternately, Beru could’ve been Anakin’s older sister.  Either way it would be a much less convoluted family dynamic.
  • I unironically love “Maclunkey!”
  • So TK-241, another stormtrooper, and the scanning crew are all killed by Han, Chewie, and Luke.  Do they fly off from the Death Star with four dead bodies on the ship?
  • Leia recognizes the name “Ben” Kenobi and calls Han a “flyboy” when she shouldn’t know these things yet.
  • I want a supercut of all the scenes in Star Wars movies where stormtroopers are just chatting.
  • Chewbacca doesn’t get a medal, but he gets the last word in the movie – “ARGH!”

 

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