A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

by Alan Rapp on May 23, 2007

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Star Wars
  • IMDB: link

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-original-posterIt begins with a captured princess, a villain in black, a young farmboy with dreams for the stars, a hot-shot pilot and his furry companion, a mysterious old man, and two droids.  It ends with a huge space battle, heroic moments, and a ceremony celebrating what our eyes can hardly believe we just witnessed.

This is Star Wars.

Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) is captured by the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader (David Prowse/James Earl Jones) in an attempt to find an old ally of her father’s to aid her in the Rebellion against the Galactic Empire.

Instead she entrusts the information to a small astromech droid R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and his constantly complaining companion C-3P0 (Anthony Daniels).  Escaping to the planet below the two are captured by odd scavengers called Jawas and eventually sold to a farm.  There they meet young Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and later through him find the man Leia was searching for – a former Jedi Knight known as Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness).

With the help of one of the galaxy’s most notorious smuggler’s Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his Wookie companion Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), Luke, Obi-Wan, and the droids escape the desert planet of Tatooine only to find themselves captured on the largest military space station ever built – The Death Star.

From there the group saves the princess, plays in some garbage, shoots up the Death Star hallways, and makes their escape leading to a space battle between the rag-tag Rebellion fleet and the mighty force of the Empire.

From the opening scrawl to the end credits, George Lucas manages to create something truly memorable and completely unique on film.  Think about how many filmmakers you can say that about.  The film, which opened on only 43 screens (two in Los Angeles), became an instant hit, and spawned a fandom as devoted as any that preceded or followed.  George Lucas had struck gold; his space fantasy far exceeded even his own wildest dreams.

Creating a mythology of a mysterious force, an evil empire, a princess, and perhaps the greatest movie villain of all-time, Lucas creates something magical that fans of all ages can enjoy.  For two-hours he captures pure wonder on screen.  This is a film that will amaze you and also touch you deeply.

There’s so much here to enjoy, from the opening shot of the Star Destroyer and the introduction of Lord Vader, to John Williams famous score, to the interplay between Han and Chewie and C-3P0 and R2-D2, to the might of the Death Star, the the mystery of the Force, and the famous scene of the twin suns setting on Tatooine.  This is epic cinema at its best and a film for the ages.

This film created the summer blockbuster we all know (and sometimes enjoy).  It spawned two sequels, three prequels, a host of merchandising, and more than a few pretenders trying to cash in on a big budget Star Wars-type film.  Thirty years later, the film remains one of the greatest cinema experiences ever created.  Thank you George, for the dream of Star Wars realised so perfectly on screen, and for making me a dreamer.

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