Film Club: Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope

anewhopeposter

Film Club is an idea that I have been toying with for a while now. Originally it was a feature I was going to do on my own where once a month I would try to dissect a film, whether it be a renowned classic or something more modern. After a while though, I thought this was a feature best suited to multiple reviews, from various perspectives.  With that I emailed a few fellow bloggers who were more than willing to get on board with the idea and help me out, and Film Club was born.

The rules of Film Club are:

1st Rule: You do not talk about Film Club.

2nd Rule: Ignore rule number 1, because I want everyone to talk about Film Club as much as possible.

3rd Rule: We don’t review cinema releases, as not everyone is always able to get to the cinema in time.

4th Rule: If the film is part of a franchise, then we must start with the first in series, i.e. we can’t review Terminator 2 before reviewing The Terminator.

5th Rule: We each take it in turns to pick a film for us all to review, and state our reasons why we picked it.

6th Rule: A score out of ten must be given to help form a general consensus on each film.

7th Rule: Each reviews can be no longer than 600 words.

8th Rule: No major spoilers allowed.

Now that everyone is, hopefully, clear on how Film Club works I will get down to business.

I chose the first film for us to review and I chose Star Wars because I wanted to know if it still appealed to a younger audience. I’m 29 and I’m guessing I’m the oldest person in this group, but I wanted to know how a younger generation felt and if it still stands up for them the way it does for me.

What About The Twinkie:

There’s something I can’t quite put my finger on regarding Star Wars: A New Hope. I enjoy the film, and I always have, but I don’t quite love the film. I wouldn’t regard it as one of my favourite films, and if I had to make a top 2o list of personal favourites I don’t think it would make the cut. That’ not to say Star Wars is a bad film whatsoever, I just don’t think I like it as much as so many other people do.

The film was way ahead of its time when it was released in 1977, and its influence on the movie industry still stands strong today. Just the other day I saw Transformers: Age of Extinction at the cinema and saw plenty of things in that which were foreseen by George Lucas, and have clearly had a huge influence on the directors of today.

The special effects, though dated now, left audiences in amazement at the time and brought a whole new meaning to the term “summer blockbuster.” Jaws may have created the sub-genre back in 1975, but Star Wars completely redefined it a mere two years later. The sight of giant spaceships, alien planets and lightsabers had not been seen before, and definitely not on this scale.

Star Wars pulled in audiences like no film had done before, and was the highest grossing film of all time right up until 1982 when E.T the Extra Terrestrial overtook it. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be a movie fan back in the 70’s and getting to see Star Wars for the first time on the big screen, the term mind-blowing would probably just about cover it.

Having said that, I do have a few problems with A New Hope and some of the other films that followed it. The acting, by some, is wooden, the dialogue can be lousy and at times I find myself a tiny bit bored. I often find that the boredom creeps in early on, but disappears once the film gets going and all the characters have been set up. I put this down to having seen the film so many times, that I can now do without the first twenty or so minutes of building everything up.

Where the film really succeeds for me is in the characters. The film has clearly defined characters who are either good or bad, with no grey areas in between. Han Solo (Ford) is the classic cocky pilot, who soon becomes a fan favourite. While Luke Skywalker (Hamill) is obviously the goody two shoes with dreams of saving the galaxy. While C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2D2 (Kenny Baker) are arguably the films comedy value. It is left to Darth Vader to lead the film as the ultimate villain.

All in all, I enjoyed having the chance to re-watch Star Wars again. I feel like it has been a long while since I last had the chance to sit and watch it properly. Yes, the effects are dated now, the lightsaber duels don’t look as polished as they do in the second trilogy but the original films have something better. They have a simple story and endearing characters and remind us all of why we love to go to the movies.

Rating: 8/10

HC Movie Reviews:

I am one of the few people that Star Wars isn’t drenched in childhood nostalgia for; I simply was never shown these films when growing up.  Whilst my friends held light sabers I was instead grasping 007’s Walter PPK.  Anyway, I am not bitter that I missed out on Star Wars for so long because for me the fact that I only watched it for the first time last year and enjoyed it so much without that nostalgia, for me, showcases its strength.

Sci-fi is probably my favourite genre of film and without a doubt Star Wars has cemented its place in cinema history as the outright leader of this genre. Star Wars so brilliantly combines action, politics and aliens in a way that none other has been able to fully recreate since. One of the things I love so much about Star Wars is the sheer amount of characters that are created and the quality of them does not suffer despite the quantity, something that often happens in modern cinema. This collection of great characters feature; Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Obi-Wan Kenobi, C-3PO, R2-D2 and not forgetting Chewbacca, to name a few! Of course I like these characters in varying amounts but there is no disputing the fact that these are all well-known names and have contributed much to popular culture since their appearance in Star Wars. Each character brings something different but much-needed to this film. Whether it is Solo’s action hero persona, Vader’s fantastic villainy or even Chewbacca’s comedic groans they all enhance this film to make it what it is.

Great characters are one thing but it takes more to make a great film, but Star Wars has these other elements too. Possibly the coolest noise in film history is created in this movie, you know the noise I mean – that one that is endlessly recreated in conversations about this movie; it too has become iconic and just makes an already cool weapon that bit cooler. The variation that is on offer in terms of the props is quite something and should keep any sci-fi junkie happy, the amount of weapons and tech featured is quite something but it never feels overcrowded. I also can’t review Star Wars without mentioning the Storm Troopers, again another creation that has just enriched this film so much, they just have that charm about them even though they, despite Obi-Wan’s opinion are the least precise shot in the galaxy.

The story moves along perfectly, the film starts well avoiding any long-winded introductions and presents the villain almost instantaneously. We then follow Luke’s origin story and gain vital pieces of information and new characters as the story moves along. Although I always feel that the escape from the Death Star seems a better finale than its destruction, this is only a minor personal issue for me though.  Accompanying this story is probably the best score of all time, John Williams’s theme song for Star Wars delivers that perfect tone that is essential to lift this film into the brilliance that it is known for. As I write this review I have left the DVD Menu running simply because it features this theme and how can you turn off something that good?

I wonder if George Lucas was aware of what he was creating as he wrote and directed this film, because he has given the cinema world something quite special here and its influence has been substantial over the years but it all boils down to the fact that Star Wars simply a fantastic movie!

Rating: 10/10

The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger:

This is a prime example of an old school film that is just fantastic and has held up so well over the years. I am a massive Star Wars fan, and grew up watching these movies. I love them. I love everything about the universe. I love the story. I love the characters. It’s all just great. Star Wars showcases some pretty good acting (especially considering the genre), and is fun all round to watch. Luke recently bitched about Mark Hamill’s performance, and I was glad to see myself and my other half are not the only two people in the world that feel he is sorely lacking in the movie. My DVDs are remastered, so there is some sketchy CGI in places where things have been added, but it is not too distracting. Han Solo is just awesome, and he really brings some of the best humour to the movie. I don’t think anyone could have done with him what Harrison Ford did, and there were absolutely no complaints from my side getting to watch the incredibly looky younger Ford on-screen again. C3PO is also really high up on my list for entertainment in the movie seeing as he is so doomsdayish about everything, but it works for him. Naturally John Williams provided a damn fine score to accompany the movie, which does nothing but complement the film every step of the way.

I don’t actually know what more to say about this movie. Classics and extremely loved movies are always hard to review because so many people have said so many more amazing things about it than what I could possibly conjure up. All you need to know is that I absolutely loved this and had fun with it, flaws and all, and feel that it is essential movie watching for everyone in the world!

Rating: 8.5/10

Film and Things:

Star Wars is well-known as one of the firsts of its kind. While many sci-fi films before it were unimaginative, Star Wars introduced all sorts of technology, effects and weird and wonderful creatures to the big screen. Since its release in 1977 it has been a favourite of many sci-fi fans and still holds a firm place in many lists of the top films of all time.

Many of us, no matter what generation in which we were born, at some point in our childhood went through the Star Wars phase. People lucky enough to see it in cinemas when it first came out would share it with their children and generation after generation would grow up loving the film and its sequels. And somehow, even with todays advanced technology and fantastic special effects, Star Wars still holds its own.

Watching it now, having not seen it since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, its age and its flaws are glaringly obvious but there is still some kind of magic about it. There has yet to be anything that quite matches it, even with the technology and quality visual effects available to filmmakers today. The costumes are all so intricate, the storyline and the characters are all incredibly imaginative and even if it does look completely fake now, you are still launched into this fascinating sci-fi world. Except this time around it is slightly funnier, and often unintentionally so.

You simply can’t criticise Star Wars. It has such a dedicated following that there’s just no point trying, but also there just isn’t anything worth criticising it on. For its time it’s a masterpiece and the fact that it is still so well-loved 37 years after its release is a testament to its awesomeness. It has become not just a film in everyone’s list of ‘childhood favourites’ and ‘best films of all time’ but it has become a cult icon with t-shirts and other memorabilia being churned out by the bucket load. Harry Potter might be the only film of recent years that comes anywhere near close to that level of fame.

While unconvincing by today’s standards with a storyline that’s probably flawed in many ways (although I’m no scientist!) Star Wars is still a great watch and an admirable feat in filmmaking. Without it, cinema today just wouldn’t be the same.

Rating: 8.5/10

The Oracle of Film:

Occasionally, I will find something new that really annoys me about A New Hope. The wooden acting, the annoying sound effects, the very idea that some of the things I hate about the prequels are actually hidden in the original trilogy as well. It is this kind of thing that makes me begin to doubt one of the most critically acclaimed movies out there. But then I will find something new that I absolutely love about A New Hope. Even today I am discovering new things that make me fall in love with Star Wars all over again.

My current craze about A New Hope is the very fact it exists. Who comes up with Star Wars? Everyone in the film business criticised George Lucas for piling all of his money into this film. No one but him thought this movie was a good idea, yet he stuck with it and definitely proved everyone wrong. The production of A New Hope was a disaster and no one actually thought it would make any money at the end of the road. Yet Lucas had so much blind faith in this project that he stuck with it and made one of the most influential movies in cinematic history. That very idea is mind-blowing to me. Star Wars very nearly didn’t even exist and that thought really depresses me. So despite the bad acting and dated effects, A New Hope will always have a treasured place in my heart.

Rating: 9/10

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Average rating: 9/10

General consensus: Star Wars is a film that still stands up strongly even today, 37 years after its initial release. Despite some clunky dialogue and some stiff acting, the essence of the film and the fantastic characters carry the film and still entertain fans of all ages. Along with an iconic score by John Williams that takes this space opera to another level, the films influence is still being felt today.

 

 

 

 

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26 thoughts on “Film Club: Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope

  1. Cool review man, not only from you but everyone else as well. Star Wars I watched when I was young but didn’t properly appreciate it until my early teens. I’m not obsessed with it like a lot of older people but I do have a lot of respect for this and the sequels especially Return of the Jedi.

    1. Thanks man. Everyone did a great job this month.

      I think I was more obsessed with the films when I was younger than I am now for some reason, but they’re still highly enjoyable.

  2. I watched Star Wars for the first time at a drive-in and on the way home, sitting in the back seat of my dad’s station wagon, pretended I was in an X-wing. I think a lot of the reason this film is so loved is because of that nostalgia. No, it’s not my favorite film either (even of the series) but it is forever special. Your review is wonderful and thought-provoking. Well done.

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