Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Episode IV: The First and Best Remembered

So here we are, coming full circle back to the actual chronological beginning of the Star Wars legacy.  Its hard to believe that its been over 30 years since the original Star Wars opened in theaters and people are still talking about it.  In a way, its almost silly.  The film, while grand in scope in George Lucas' mind, is very much a simple cliffhanger-type film in the vein of Buck Rodgers and classic westerns.  If the film hadn't had innovative effects and a killer score by John Williams, I doubt if anyone would have taken it for more than a B-movie.  I suppose then that that is the true testament to how wonderful the quality of Star Wars actually is.  To be able to fool an audience into thinking that a film made for $11 million was actually made for $30 million is a pretty great feat.  Thanks to that legacy, people can conveniently forget that Luke was a hugely whiny character or that Leia's accent changes at least three times in the film.  I mean, sometimes the feeling one gets from a movie and the legacy it leaves can add up to more than the sum of its parts.  I'm gonna keep this one short since, I mean, do I really have to explain the original Star Wars to anyone?  So lets bullseye some wamprats in our T-16 and watch A New Hope.

It is a dark time for the Galactic Rebellion, who were formed from the remnants of supporters from the old Republic.  The troops of the Galactic Empire, ruled with an iron fist by the Emperor and Darth Vader, now polices the galaxy and the populace lives in fear.  At the start, an Imperial Star Destroyer is chasing a Rebel Freighter from Alderan carrying the Princess Leia and her loyal droids C-3PO and R2-D2.  Leia has stolen the plans for a new ultimate weapon, the Death Star, and she loads them onto Artoo (R2-D2) before blasting him and Threepio out of the ship in an escape pod.  Leia then takes one for the team and allows herself to be captured.  The pod lands on the nearby planet of Tatooine (remember that place??) and the droids are bought by Luke Skywalker, a teenage boy with big dreams and ambitions.  Luke discovers the hidden message inside Artoo and guesses that it was meant for old Ben Kenobi (Kenobi???  Do you mean OBI WAN???  WHOA!).  Upon meeting Obi Wan he discovers that his father was Anakin Skywalker and that Jedi blood flows in his veins.  Obi Wan takes it upon himself to train Luke as a Jedi and offers to take Luke with him on the mission to save Leia and destroy the Death Star (ok, that's not the mission as it starts...but we all know that's what's gonna happen :P).

Wow, this film always manages to entertain me even with its technological shortcomings and its corny bits ("I was gonna go pick up some POWER CONVERTERS (whine!)").  It starts slowly and takes some time to build, but once it reaches its Death Star battle conclusions, you can't turn away from the excitement.  I wish I could be a fly on the wall in a theater on opening night in 1977 just to see how people reacted to the movie.  I can recall having similar experiences in the theater seeing something for the first time and I can only imagine what unified joy was felt at the time.  Nay-sayers can nayyyyyyyy all they want about it, but there must be something there for it to have produced 5 more films, toys, books, comics, games, and everything else that Star Wars has begot.  Sure the later entries in the original trilogy are better, but there is something magical about it that you can't deny.  Go watch it again....seriously.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Seeing this at the theatre back in the day was awesome. It's popularity was passed purely by word-of-mouth all across the country. Truly a phenomenon. The excitement at the end is unlike any I have ever experienced before or since.