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It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy….

 

Star Wars is pretty much a perfect film. From practical effects, to engaging stories, to entertaining characters, this movie has it all. The film opens with the capturing of a space ship and a pair of quirky robots in the thick of an on-board battle. From the get go, it is action-packed enough to gain viewers of all ages’ interest. Princesses, ominous villains, giant star ships, shiny robots, strange creatures and animals, and lasers are more than enough to get any science fiction fan overly excited. The story is a rock solid adventure that has been called “the modern myth” because of the archetypal characters and tropes. With similarities to Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress, the movie is a bit of a buddy-picture and also deals with a princess. The film itself starts off being about rescuing a princess and turns into aiding the revolution that she is a part of. In other words, even the story takes a drastic change mid-movie. To compare Star Wars to any other science fiction film released since 1977 would be unfair as no others went to this depth in regards to story and effects. Most others probably did not rival it in budget either. In the case of television’s Star Trek, it took viewers to odd enough locations with alien species that it suffices for that medium. Star Wars was the first to really take viewers to other planets with characters that are still human at the same time as non-human, and are relatable. The main character, Luke Skywalker, is one of the most relatable characters of any film: he wants is what any teenager wants; to get away and be with his friends. In truth, each of the main characters has different degrees of relatability and that creates many capabilities for the film and the fans of it as well.


The cast of this first Star Wars film was an incredible feat as there were some big names involved in the making as well as some young stars that had not really been in much. Accomplished actor Alec Guinness takes on the role of the wise old sage of Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi. Peter Cushing takes on the secondary villainous role of Grand Moff Tarkin.  Up and coming carpenter turned actor Harrison Ford plays the over confident and somewhat sleazy Han Solo. Finally, James Earl Jones lends his voice to create the intimidating aura that surrounds the main villain of the film; Darth Vader.

While the cast adds a lot to the film, the real appeal in keeping viewers’ attention is the amazing amount of visuals packed into the film. Star Wars starts off in outer space and takes the viewer through so many odd locations from desert landscapes to bar scenes, to ship interiors, to space stations. Aside from the locations in the movie, there are a plethora of alien characters to look at throughout the backgrounds of the films. Many and most appear on the desert planet of Tatooine and in the Mos Eisley Cantina, but, nonetheless, they are all incredibly interesting. One of the main characters of the movie is in fact an alien species. Chewbacca is a creature called a Wookiee and they look something like giant bipedal dog or sloth that seems relatively mild mannered and can only speak in howls and grunts. Along with alien species, there are robots of all sorts of varieties. They are known as droids in the Star Wars universe. Another couple of the main characters are droids. They the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of the story as they are integral, but mostly stay on the sidelines of the story and add comedic relief.

While most everything was great and above and beyond with this film there were a couple small flaws. Some of the acting was a little bit off, but it was okay because it was really covered up by the personality of the character, or at least was played off that way. For example Luke is really whiny and over emotional and Mark Hamill overdid it, but it still came across appropriately and at the same time was a little bit daunting. A couple shots are a little bit iffy in quality and direction, but really nothing in the film distracts from it or ruins it. In fact, to further the cause, the special effects were breathtaking as well. Using models and practical effects really paid off when creating things like spaceships in outer space, never-before-seen alien species and creatures, and making lasers and explosions happen.  Most of the alien creatures in the movie were puppets or actors in costumes and the same goes for the droids (robots) as well. Anthony Daniels, who plays C-3PO, had to get a cast of his body made before the costume was built so that the shape would adhere properly to the contours of his body and help make C-3PO really look skinny and like a robot. Inside of R2-D2 was Kenny Baker, who really just had to move a couple of things while shooting took place to make it look like the droid was active and had personality. R2-D2 would have been nothing without the talented Ben Burtt, who managed the sounds of the film, including the odd beeps and boops of the droids, the roars of Chewbacca, and the hum of the light sabers.

George Lucas definitely lucked out with the amazing and talented people he had working on this wonderful feature film. Star Wars is a must-see for any and all science fiction fans and for all who enjoy good character driven stories in general. Also, since the special effects were practical instead of CGI, the movie stands the test of time and does not really show any age. This movie comes highly recommended by many and for many. It is easy to enjoy time and time again, with people of all types. The force is truly strong with Star Wars.

 

Directed by: George Lucas

Produced by: Gary Kurtz

Written by: George Lucas

Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, and James Earl Jones.

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox/LucasFilm

Released: May 25, 1977

Run time: 121 minutes

Rating: PG

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