Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars (also known as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, but only to those pretentious jerks who like to pretend they know about Star Wars but don't even care about the real Star Wars like I do) is a 1977 American epic space opera film directed by George Lucas and salvaged by his wife Marcia in editing. It is the first film to be released in the Star Wars saga and the first of the original trilogy, yet the fourth in terms of the series' internal chronology. Confusing, huh?
Star Wars takes place "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away," if you are slow and didn't quite get that the first time I mentioned it. Yes, George Lucas was such a mastermind, he didn't have to set his story in the future, which is clearly a sci-fi cliché. Instead, Star Wars takes place in the past, completely ignoring every law of science and common sense about technology there is to ignore. The movie also takes place in an alternate galaxy, because it seems like it should. Really, look at the Milky Way. BORING! Unless you throw in an extra dimension or two, you just can't make our humble galaxy interesting.
So, the movie begins, with Lucas, in his eternally laudable sense of storytelling, giving us a bit of background info on the story. Apparently, at the start of the movie, it is a period of civil war. Also, it is a period of galactic unrest, and um.....Princess Leia's ship....yeah, anyways, the bad guys are after the good guys. There are lasers, badass guys in white suits called stormtroopers, and cool explosions and stuff, so....yeah.... I forget exactly what happens next, since I went upstairs at this point to grab my popcorn. Anyways, a couple of these robots (I know, robots in a sci-fi movie! Who would've thought?) wind up on a desert planet, apparently Yootapootapowpow, or some such creative name, where they're captured by hooded creatures called Jawas. Princess Leia, meanwhile, is captured by the heavy-breathing Darth Vader, who apparently is not a very nice person. Presumably both characters are lonely and would like friends. He and Leia pass the time by staring menacingly at one-another and threatening to blow up planets.
Meanwhile, the two robust robots are sold to moisture farmers Owen and Beru Lars, and fall indirectly into the hands of a spry, rather whiny young lad named Luke Skywalker, who's Owen and Beru's step-nephew (Yes, that means Skywalker was the real family name of both Luke and his father. Whom Luke was hidden from. By really smart Jedi. With his father's family name. On his father's home planet. Why didn't Owen and Beru just rename him "Luke Lars"?). Luke's robotic companions lead him to the humble abode of three Sand People, who proceed to beat the living shit out of Luke, until an old man comes along and asks them to leave. The old man, after revealing himself to be Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi, takes a shot at Luke as well. Luke takes this opportunity to whine, and is again punched, this time by C-3PO, one of the droids. They reach Ben's hut home, where Luke is told of his father, one of my personal favorite parts of the movie. Ben speaks to Luke: "Uncle Owen... never told you about your father..." Luke says that "He told me enough. He told me he died while navigating a spice freighter!" "No," says Ben. "I was once a Jedi Knight who fought in the Clone Wars, same as your father. Search your feelings, boy! You know it to be true!" Obi-Wan then gives Luke his father's lightsaber, which he totally didn't use to kill ten kids, and tells him about the Force, some kind of magic substance that apparently binds together all living things and has a "light side" and "dark side".
At this point, Luke's hand is chopped off by Obi-Wan's lightsaber, and the entire Cantina goes silent. Luke, now with one hand less than before, recruits the help of the rugged and manly space captain Han Solo, whose gruffness hides his soft spot for soap operas and kittens. Put simply, Han Solo is not a stock character, nor is anyone else in the Star Wars movies, and anyone that says they are is obviously not an expert on the movie like me. Along with Han, they meet Chewbacca, the lovable yet internally tortured companion of Han. His greatest dream was always to be a spaceship-piloting smuggler-mercenary-type thing, but his father always wanted him to be a baseball player. "Someday I'll make you proud, dad," sighs Chewie as he boards Han's spaceship.
At this point, the movie moves into space, territory previously uncharted by science fiction, which Lucas bravely opted to venture into. Han Solo, Chewbacca, Obi-Wan, and Luke take off in Han's spaceship, the Centuryhawk, or some such device. There are a couple space battles, but they all get to the Death Star and rescue the trigger-happy Princess Leia, who proceeds to somehow wind up with a firearm and shoot nearly every human, alien, and droid in the station. This clears the way for her, Han, Luke, and Chewbacca to escape the Death Star while Obi-Wan wanders away and apparently gets lost, being the senile old man he is. Darth Vader finds him, and he is not really the nicest of people. A downright meanie-head, if you'll excuse my fucking language. Yeah, he kills Obi-Wan. It really didn't take him very long, either. Obi's last words are..... irrelevant, really, because he comes back later as a ghost, anyways.
At this point, there is a final, climactic, frantic, conclusive, final, climactic battle. In space, of course, as Lucas's aforementioned genius permits the aforementioned battle in the aforementioned movie to take place in the aforementioned setting, space. Space, of course, being aforementioned, like many other aforementioned aforementionings. Essentially, Luke is flying through some evil-looking canyon-y thing, when Darth Vader has locked onto his spaceship with his lasers. Darth is dramatically pausing before finishing his opponent, which he knows will certainly happen, because all the odds are in his favor and at this point nothing could possibly go wrong to stop him. Suddenly, and completely unexpectedly, Han Solo appears in his spaceship, which was apparently not around for any of the actual battle and just showed up at the end to serve as a deus ex machina. Either way, he shoots Darth Vader's ship, and Luke shoots some shiny things down a hole, which was apparently important, because it makes the Death Star explode.
At this point, I assumed the movie was over, because only a filmmaker with such brilliance as Lucas could think to end a page with an explosion. Still, there was more! An awards ceremony where Han and Luke get medals from Leia, presumably for being in what is without question the greatest fucking movie of all-time. But being the biggest fan ever, I noticed that Chewie seemed to be sad at the ceremony. Then it hit me. Those nerf-herders don't give him a freakin' medal! After all he does, he gets nada. Zilch. Zippo. I mean, c'mon, he's the pilot! All Han does is shoot a couple of TIE fighters and save Luke. But no one ever realizes how hard it is to steer the ship while being shot at. So, nothing. At least he gets the last line in the movie.
In 1973, George Lucas had an idea. Not an idea as simple as one that you or I might have, of course, as the idea was not had by you or me. It was had by George Lucas. Yes, George Lucas, already the brilliant mastermind behind such works as American Graffiti, but who really cares about that, anyway? He made fucking STAR WARS!! Lucas was watching re-runs of Star Trek on a UHF TV station from San Francisco and had an idea. In a galaxy far, far away where paragraphs floated in space. Where big teddy bears growled at people and where the star wars began.
Well, he made six of them as to separate all this into chapters of a serial since this way, he realized he could make more money and draw a larger audience if he stretched this out. All he wanted to do was special effects, and making movies was his way of making BILLIONS along with his special effects. This six-part saga was going to be a NINE-part series, but even Lucas himself got fed up with this damn thing.
Well, he had this idea, and he made his movie(s). A movie which took place a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base have... etc., etc., DEATH STAR!!, etc., Princess Leia, etc., save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy!!
As soon as Star Wars was released, it instantly fell under a constant waterfall of acclaim and praise. Of course, the movie came out in 1977, so no evidence of this praise actually exists today. Still, anybody who was anybody went to see Star Wars, and then went home to tell everyone how awesome it was. Star Wars is also considered one of the first "high concept" movies, which, despite having absolutely no idea what that means, I will mention here. Even today, it is praised as one of the best science fiction movies of all time, by critics such as myself, as I am now an expert on the movie, having just watched it.
One of the things critics praise about the movie is its intricate symbolism. For example, did you know that the seemingly outdated 1970s special effects are actually symbolic of the internal, emotional battles of man? They are. Not only that, note the numerous, supposedly unintentional holes in the plot, where the movie seems "inconsistent" to the untrained eye. These represent the chaos of modern society, and indeed the entire universe, as Lucas saw it in his artistic mind's eye at the time.
Still Star Wars's symbolism proved to be accessible enough for both the "Average-Joe" moviegoer and the wolf-like critics, who gaze intently at the screen, waiting... waiting for a flaw to exploit, and an excuse to destroy any chance the movie had for ever making any money and ruining a director's credibility, all in one fell swoop. Damn you, critics! Why? WHY??? Luckily, Star Wars was basically perfect on every cinematic level, so no critics anywhere disliked it, and Lucas's credibility remained intact. Well, until the sequels, at least...
....DUNH DUNH DUUUUUUUUUUNH!!!
Legacy and the Other Stuff
In the beginning, there was only one Star Wars. Of course, after a success such as Star Wars, fans, and the faceless Hollywood corporations are left wanting more. The fans want more movie time so that they can pretend that their boring life is action-y and explosion-riddled for a couple of hours. The faceless Hollywood corporations want more so that they can leech money off of said fans until there is nothing left to take, and they control all the money. This is because if they control the money, they control the spice, and if they control the spice, they control the universe. Still, this left Lucas with only one option: numerous sub-par prequels and sequels!
Well, the next two original trilogy movies, also known as the second and third movies made, also known as the fifth and sixth episodes, weren't really that bad. It was the first and second prequels, also known as the fourth and fifth movies made, also known as the first and second episodes, that really sucked. The third and final prequel, also known as the sixth
and final movie made, also known as the third episode, was largely unnoticed. Supposedly it didn't suck, but by the time it came out, everyone had lost all faith in the Star Wars franchise, and none of my friends ever even mentioned it at lunch. Then you have Disney's first, second, and third sequels, also known as the seventh, eighth, and ninth movies made, also known as the seventh, eighth, and ninth episodes, which have ultimately desecrated the corpse of this beloved franchise, and none of my friends even mention Star Wars anymore period, now they're more into Marvel movies.
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