Star Wars (1977)
Directed By George Lucas
One Upon a time in a galaxy far far away, a young filmmaker called George Lucas had an idea. To take his teenage angst ridden words and style of American Graffiti and to mix it up 2001: A Space Odyessey. 30 script drafts later, he had written the blueprint for one of the most succesful and influential movies of all time. Star Wars.
Star Wars is many things, but one thing it isn’t, is simply a movie, it’s a series of philosphical ideas that all jumble together perfectly, with influences ranging from Japanese cinema and the second world war (X Wings and space dogfights are just planes put in space) Not only that, it changed cinema. Forever.
I could talk about it as a series for absolutely hours, but I’m not. I’m going to talm to you about the one that started it all. Star Wars (later retitled Episode IV: A New Hope) is the tale of a farmboy, Luke Skywalker, as he leaves his home planet of Tatooine on a daring rescue mission at the heart of Imperial rule, the Death Star. With the assistance of Han Sol, his co-pilot Chewbacca and old friend Ben/Obi Wan Kenobi, they rescue Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan from the Death Star, escaping with the stations plans, so the rebel alliance, a group of freedom fighters hell bent on destroying the Empire can destroy the Death Star.
The film is amazing because of 2 things. Right from the get go, you’re absorbed into this universe, which already has tons of history more than the film, from Obi Wan mentioning Luke’s father and discussing the Jedi (which will come in to focus in the later films) and you’re desperate to find out who were the Jedi, what were the Clone Wars and who is Darth Vader?
Of course, as a series, these questions are answered, but it’s the mystery that surrounds the film that makes it compelling. Not only that, it’s a layer of Sci-fi and fantasy that is always up for debate. As previously stated, the series is full of debatable influences and philosphical questions that just add to the appreciation. (See here)
Star Wars also has that added addition of iconicism by it’s simplicity as well. Darth Vader is an obvious villain because of his breathing, his deep booming voices and that he’s entirely dressed in black. It’s because of that when most people think of cinema villians, he’s the first on the list, not to mention Stormtroopers, TIE fighters, lightsabers and the Death Star are pretty much synomonous with Pop culture. It’s also got brilliant (to a point) dialogue, most of which is quotable and just a delight.
In conclusion Star Wars isn’t just a film, it’s an experience. It’s fun, it’s serious, it has almost everything great about cinema. After it’s release it changed it forever. It became one of the first blockbuster summer releases, selling millions and inspiring zillions. I wouldn’t be a writing if it wasn’t for Star Wars. It’s a concept that’s simple enough for kids (Basically a good vs Evil story with explosions) yet deep enough for adults to enjoy (It’s basically the beginnings of a revolution) and it’s a work of genius.