Star Wars IV: A New Hope – An Industry Changer

Star Wars IV: A New Hope – An Industry Changer

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  1. Star Wars has shaped American pop culture forever and continues to do so.  People live and breathe for Star Wars.  And it all started with a sort-of science fiction film written and directed by George Lucas called Star Wars.  It has come to be known as Star Wars IV:  A New Hope, but when it hit theaters on May 25, 1977 it was simply called Star Wars.  That year it won 6 Oscars (Best Editing, Best Sound Design, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Visual Effects, and Best Original Score).  It also garnered a special achievment award for Ben Burtt’s work creating the voices of the aliens, creatures, and robots.  But, more importantly, it has forever shaped the way people watch movies and altered the cultural terrain of the United States and beyond.

    What is it about?

    If you have ever seen a film, gone to a theme park, or been outside on Halloween, you probably at least have some idea about what goes on in Star Wars or you at least know the names of some characters.  But, in case you don’t know, it is about a young farmhand named Luke Skywalker who lives with his aunt and uncle because his parents died.  His world is turned upside down when he buys a couple of droids (robots) because one of those droids has a secret holographic message to an Obi Wan Kenobi.  Luke figures it might mean this crazy old man named Ben Kenobi.  It does.  When Luke shows the message to Ben, his life changes forever.

    The quick version of what happens is that Luke joins Ben on a quest to rescue a princess from a intergalactic battle station ran by an evil Dark Jedi named Darth Vader.  This quest takes Luke all over the galaxy and shows him that he has a destiny that is much bigger than he ever thought possible.  And, that "the force is strong with him"… meaning he has the ability to become a Jedi Knight.  His quest also hooks him up with galactic cowboy, Han Solo, and his furry friend named Chewbacca.

    The quest gets much bigger in scope than just rescuing a princess, though.  Luke, Han, Chewbacca, Ben, and the rest of the Rebel forces have to destroy Darth Vader’s intergalactic battle station called The Death Star before it destroys the planet that holds the Rebel’s main base.  You probably already know what happens, but if you don’t… just see STAR WARS already, please!

    Is it any good?

    Star Wars sometimes gets a bad rap because its fans can be rather eccentric at times.  Some brush the film off as not that good, it’s just a cult hit.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  While it’s true that a film can become wildly popular because it is exceptionally bad (e.g. The Room), Star Wars is not one of those films.

    The story is epic and on a huge scale, but it keeps its focus in the right place:  Luke’s internal struggle of chasing his destiny.  At it’s heart, the film is all about a normal guy that must join something WAY bigger than himself and essentially save the world… well actually, the whole galaxy.  Everyone can buy into that.

    Even if you don’t like the science fiction genre, you still may like Star Wars because it is very different from other sci-fi flicks.  First of all, it is set in the past… think about every other sci-fi film you’ve seen and you will realize that they are almost exclusively set in the future.  It is wildly important to this film because the feel of it is very old-timey (it may not be a word, but you know what I mean).  Despite the laser guns, aliens, spaceships, and crazy looking planets, you feel like you are watching history unfold.  It’s a fantastic thing to experience even though you don’t really realize the dichotomy of that experience.

    The only troubling thing about this film is some of the acting.  Alec Guinness is fantastic as Ben Kenobi and James Earl Jones does some amazing voice work as the uber-intimidating Darth Vader.  Harrison Ford captures Han Solo’s arrogance very well, but some of the supporting actors are a bit iffy.  Most films are that way, though.  It’s almost too much to ask for the entire cast to be amazing… but some films pull it off.

    Overall, it is fitting that Star Wars is so popular and widely considered one of the greatest movies ever made.  It is filmmaking at its very best because it does exactly what film is supposed to do.  Film is supposed to tell an amazing story that allows the audience to escape for a little while and immerse themselves into the stuff that dreams are made of.  That is something that Star Wars does better than most.

    Nolan’s Grade:  A+

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