Director: George Lucas
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science-Fiction
Runtime: 121 minutes (original cut), 125 minutes (Special Edition)
MPAA Rating: PG
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, originally just titled “Star Wars” when unleashed in theaters (despite the “Episode IV” in the title, this is the first Star Wars flick), is perhaps the most famous movie of all time. A moisture farmer on the desert planet of Tatooine named Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is recruited by a wizard-like Jedi named Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) to help him aid Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) in her rebellion against the evil Galactic Empire. Yes, this is one of the best motion pictures ever released, and the best in the Star Wars series.
This flick was dismissed by many critics back in the day who simply believed that audiences had fallen under the spell of its action and special effects. However, there is so much more to the appeal of the first Star Wars film than just its mind-blowing visuals and thunderous action sequences. It has countless lovable characters that have become fan favorites, insanely well-done sound effects, and what just might be the best musical score for any movie ever (done by John Williams, of course). Its story is timeless, playing out like a pulpy fairy tale. An unlikely hero is called upon to rescue a princess from an evil king’s castle. In other words, it has the same plot as your typical Mario video game.
This refreshingly sincere and ridiculously fast-paced motion picture also taps into the universal desire to break free from one’s boring world and escape on an adventure of great consequence. Look at the scene of Mark Hamill’s character, Luke Skywalker, gazing off at the two setting suns of his homeworld as he thirsts for something more. It’s only a matter of time before he’s “taken [his] first step into a larger world,” to quote Alec Guinness’ character, Obi-Wan Kenobi…and what a world! The imagination behind the world-building in this movie (look at the Mos Eisley Cantina scene for example) is overwhelming.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, or just “Star Wars,” is still a pleasure to watch after all these decades. It works perfectly well as either a standalone treat or as a member of a larger franchise. This is just about as good as movies get, and is my favorite non-Indiana Jones picture of all time. You definitely should watch this one, and make sure you watch the original 1977 cut of the film, rather than one of the various Special Editions that tinker with the special effects/visuals and add new, unnecessary sequences.
My rating is 10 outta 10.