A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a franchise was born…
Written By: Andrew Lowe
Date: 22nd December, 2014
In 1977, a $10 million budget film was released that changed everything in the movie industry. Not only did it become the highest grossing film at the time, but it also revolutionised the use of special effects within the industry and started what now is considered normal for movie merchandising. That film was Star Wars.
The plot of Star Wars is a very simple good vs. evil story. Two droids are picked up by a farm boy named Luke Skywalker and find that one contains the plans to an advanced space station with the ability to destroy a planet called the Death Star, built by the evil Galactic Empire. After which, Luke is thrown in to a rescue mission to help Princess Leia, who stored the plans in the droid’s memory banks, and help stop the Empire.
The film has some fantastic elements, which demonstrate some excellent filmmaking skills and imagination. The ships look fantastic and the space battles look superb even after nearly 40 years (yes, I am actually reviewing the original version and not the revised special editions). Sure there are some elements that look dated, but for the time it was released nothing had been seen like this, especially with this much action.
However when you look at the film as a whole, there are numerous problems. The story starts with two ships having a space battle, one quite obviously outmatching the other. Yet we have no idea who these people are. We see many of both sides being killed and we have our introduction to the droids. The first real indication of who is good and who is bad is the appearance of Darth Vader. That soon puts everything in place.
Another problem is that apart from the initial gunfight and small space battle, no action really happens for the first forty minutes. It is all slow and defining characters. Then when Han Solo makes his appearance the entire pace of the film changes up a gear. Everything is a far more action oriented and I would say much more enjoyable to watch.
Another major problem is the dialogue itself. Now George Lucas has gone on record by saying that his weakest area of filmmaking, and there is that infamous story that Harrison Ford said to him, “you sure as hell can type this shit, but you can’t say it“. But the dialogue does move the plot where it should go so it does what you need I suppose.
With these flaws though, we must remember that this film is meant for young kids. But somehow it managed to pass through to other demographics. That is why it seems to keep being shown for new generations to come and just never seems to be forgotten.
I grew up watching the saga and pretty much being obsessed with the films. I loved every aspect of the film as I grew up. Everything just seems amazing, and I find new elements within the films that I hadn’t seen before.
Although many films afterwards tried to imitate Star Wars, nothing has managed to quite match it. Not even the prequel trilogy managed to recreate the originals. Let’s see what happens with the new films…