Star Wars / Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)

With Episode VII: The Force Awakens coming out later this year, it provides the perfect excuse to revisit Nostalgialand and watch the original trilogy for the first time since the late 90s, when the special edition VHS (remember those?) were released. I’ve never been a big Star Wars fan, per se. As a young, geeky child it was kind of a big deal for like a year or two before interest waned and I just kinda forgot about it until the prequels came out and it just wasn’t the same. Through the years I have of course read few books there, played a video game or two here, but it was always more of a temporary fancy than a life long love for the franchise. As an adult, I don’t really even know how I feel about Star Wars. It’s become such a giant pop culture construct that I seem to have generated slight apathy towards it. It’s nostalgic, but only slightly. The prequels certainly didn’t help, but by the time Episode II was out, I just kinda felt like I had moved past Star Wars other than some times reading a random comic. I don’t think I even own anything Star Wars related.  Hell, unlike most of geekdom, I could care less about J.J. Abrams’s upcoming sequel. Mark Hamill getting back in shape and returning as an older Luke Skywalker sounds awesome as an idea, but as for seeing the movie itself, meh. I suppose eventually I will see it, but by now I’ve gone entirely out of topic, so let’s realign ourself.

Star Wars, or as we’ve retroactively become to know it with its fancier and extended form, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was pretty much everything I expected it to be: an entirely solid old sci-fi movie, where the style and concepts are cool but upon closer inspection the writing is a bit wonky. The plot relies a lot on coincidences for the story to work and that kinda annoys me. The droids just happen to get away from the ship without being blown up and then land near enough the Skywalker ranch so that they can be sold to Luke when they get captured by Jawas. Luke just happens to activate R2D2’s message to Obi-Wan Kenobi by accident and by sheer luck happens to also know Obi-Wan as old man Ben so he can deliver the droids to him.  Obi-Wan in turn just happened to come by at the right moment to save Luke from the sand people. And wouldn’t know it, Ben used to be bff’s with Luke’s father and Darth Vader just so happened to be the one who killed him. It’s like poetry, it rhymes. Then there’s Luke being such a good pilot that he can fly the X-Wing fighter to combat and by sheer will of the force he’s such a quick learner that he was able to to use the force efficiently enough to destroy the Death Star without mechanical targeting instruments after only like an hour’s worth of how to wave a light saber lessons. Oh, and Han and Chewie just happen to have a change of heart on the whole help the rebels thing at the right moment to be able to come in time to give Luke the  last and final chance to shoot the photon torpedoes or whatever those things were, just before the Rebellion was permanently crushed. You get my drift.

Nostalgia aside, it didn’t blow my mind, but the movie was entirely competent and well crafted technically. It manages to create a very strong and believable world around the movie, filled with dozens of different species and technology all with their own unique design and feel to then. All the main characters are also very likable, not to mention look iconic with their simple designs. It’s a fun movie, and it manages to feel fresh and engaging even when you already knowing the entire plot by heart. Even the incredibly cheesy “Luke saves the day literally at the last second” ending doesn’t feel corny, it’s truly exciting. I do have one genuine complaint though: why doesn’t Chewbacca get a medal, like Han and Luke? Are the Rebellion and Leia secretly speciest again Wookies just like the Empire, that only seems to employ humans? This must have been addressed in the Expanded Universe at some point.

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