Ah, Star Wars. Like it or hate it, you can’t deny the movie’s impact on the entertainment industry. The original 1977 classic forever changed movies. It made science fiction/fantasy popular. It changed how movies are paced and edited. From the opening shot that explains everything you need to know about the civil war to the medal ceremony, it’s full of iconic shots. It brought us Darth Vader, the most iconic movie villain in existence. And with a career full of legendary music, the soundtrack John Williams created for Star Wars might actually be the greatest movie soundtrack of all-time.
Whenever a new Star Wars trilogy begins after 10 or so years of absence, it’s not just a new release – it’s a cultural event. You could argue that there are individual movies with more of an influence on the movie business, but no franchise influenced movies anywhere nearly as much as Star Wars.
Writing about the movie itself is pointless. So much has been said about the original Star Wars that there’s really nothing I could add. There’s no point in talking about the movie’s backstory because there’s so much information out there, a lot of it is common knowledge. It’s easy to find full documentaries on YouTube, or just watch the special features on pretty much any Blu-ray or DVD release available today. And all of the official documentaries are worth watching. Most fans of the franchise know how much of a struggle creator George Lucas faced when directing the original movie. Most people know about how most of the cast didn’t take it too seriously while filming.
So what else is there to say about this movie? Well, I’m only going to briefly talk about my introduction to Star Wars and how it impacted my life. And don’t worry, I will be looking at more behind the scenes information on the more obscure Star Wars movies coming up. Just not the main movies because their creative processes are so well documented and discussed that I really have nothing to add.
I first saw A New Hope shortly after my father received the Star Wars Special Edition for Christmas way back in 1997. Right away, I was captivated by this strange adventure. It was my introduction to Science Fiction, Fantasy and action movies all at once. We ended up completely wearing out that VHS set. It didn’t take long for my brothers and I to start collecting Star Wars toys, hunt down the Super Star Wars trilogy of games on our Super Nintendo, and in my case, imagine up a sequel trilogy. In fact I’ve imagined up multiple sequel trilogies over the years.
I won’t bother mentioning my more recent ideas, but my original sequel trilogy idea was just brutal. Not only was the Empire still around, but the Battle of Endor didn’t seem to affect them all that much to begin with. They ended up being led by six Darth Vader clones, and there was a scene where Luke Skywalker fought all of them at once. On his own.
Even worse, there was a Death Star like station the size of an actual star. Come to think of it, the physics behind a space station like that are mind boggling. How would the empire be able to control the gravity within a station of that size? How could they possibly cool and ventilate its inner levels properly. Where would they find the resources for such an undertaking? How much fuel would they need to move it, and would they accidentally just pull planets with them just from its gravity field? And how could anyone possibly destroy it?
Star Wars opened my mind to a whole new world, and I know I’m not alone on this. It’s a very well-crafted movie, with everything flawlessly building up to the climactic Battle of Yavin. Sure, some of the performances by the mostly inexperienced cast are a bit questionable at times. Sure, some of the Special Edition changes are controversial (I’m on the train that Greedo shouldn’t have shot at all in that cantina scene). Sure, thanks to the tight budget, the actual Battle of Yavin doesn’t feel that epic or intense by today’s standards. Although the pacing and the tension behind the battle is still the greatest in the Star Wars franchise. But the thing is, this is still an all-time classic. It’s still just as special of a movie as when it first released. It’s still a great movie to introduce children to the realm of science fiction/fantasy.
The only problem is that I’ve seen this movie so many times, it’s sometimes hard to actually pay attention when I turn it on. I often find myself doing something else at the same time, only to turn back to the TV to realize that Luke Skywalker is already on the Death Star.
Please feel free to tell me how you were introduced to Star Wars in the comments below. I want to hear about your introduction to this monster of a franchise.
I’m going to spend the rest of this blog post talking about how the rest of this blogathon is going down. Like I’ve said before, I’ll be looking at more than just the episodic movies. In fact there’s going to be at least one movie between each of the other original trilogy entries, and several between the original and prequel trilogy. Next up is the Star Wars Holiday Special, and I’m both excited and dreading talking about that. Then we’ll look at The Empire Strikes Back, often considered the greatest sequel of all-time. Before Return of the Jedi, we’ll be looking at the documentary short, Return of the Ewok, that’s easily available online but never received an official release.
I’ve actually got 16 movies planned for this blogathon, and that doesn’t include the upcoming Han Solo movie, any parodies, or any foreign ripoffs.