It's a real phenomenon that George Lucas's Sci-Fi trilogy changed the world and created a fandom that to this day is recognised by millions across the world. A series which combines war, space, imagination, science fiction and most of all, stands out to almost any film series there has ever been. I am thrilled to live in the age where this unique story is so recognisable, fascinating that it can help bring people together to enjoy a blockbuster trilogy plus nowadays it has been stretched, slightly altered and expanded to the point where so much more has happened. But we can't forget where it all began back in 1977 where people were blown away by the story of Star Wars!
First of all, I'm doing a "I'm Talking About" which is where I just talk, spoil and dig deep into the topic instead of just reviewing it (like what Lewis does sometimes on Alt:Mag). So since Episode VII is on it's way, I figured I might as well write up a ITA about the Original Trilogy and then do one for the Prequel Trilogy too.
I will divide them up by films and dive into the story, characters, music, feelings and state differences and most memorable/ powerful scene from each film. So let's start off with A New Hope.
For a kid who spends most his childhood watching every Disney film available on VHS, learning at pre-school and primary school and living in his own head, Star Wars was an instalment that would soon change his life forever. My Dad was most eager to show me this series and I am forever grateful to him! I was introduced to a story that was simple and so intriguing full of sci-fi and jaw-dropping effects and unforgettable characters. I was shown something that I will pass on to my children (I hope they will enjoy it too, too bad if they don't) haha.
Anyway, let's begin.
A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far Far Away... A great conflict between the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance is raging in the galaxy. Above the planet Tatooine, the Sith Lord Darth Vader is seeking the secret plans to the most powerful battle station in the galaxy, The Death Star. Unknown to him that Princess Leia has stashed the plans inside a droid who soon end up in the procession of a young farm boy called Luke Skywalker on the planet below. This boy could be the salvation to this war, he must take up his destiny and team up with allies and help restore peace to the galaxy. This is the story of Star Wars!
One of Dad's proudest moments was being there in 1977 when A New Hope was released in cinemas. He described to me when he showed me Star Wars how:
"I was at the Dominion in Tottenham Court Road, London, I was with one of my friends and we'd heard about Star Wars but we didn't really know what to expect. As the film started and the opening text A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far Far Away... came up, the theatre started to shake with the sub bass. And then the Imperial Star Destroyer just appeared on the screen and we just went "WOW, This is F***in Amazing!" And then enjoyed the rest of the film and we couldn't wait for the next one."It must have been the same for people everywhere like a milestone in their lifetime and I reckon they all tell their children this similar feeling and hope that people and generations to come will all experience the same jaw-dropping, eye raising, heart pounding beginning to such a story. It couldn't have begun any better.
Overtime that opening theme of Star Wars begins in real-life, heads are lifted up in eager (like Meerkats) as this song is just so easy to recognise and it lifts everyone with happiness, excitement and hope that I must credit John Williams for creating such an iconic theme that it's pure genius!
Luckily, he wasn't going to get his hands on what he wanted, as the secret plans for the Death Star had been stashed into an R2-D2 droid by Princess Leia and had managed to escape to the planet below with his counterpart C-3PO.
Once the two droids crashed on the planet, it felt really isolated and deserted (pun intended). Seeing how much of an obnoxious, rude and self-obsessed, cautious personality this robotic humanoid processed (compared to his brown nose suck up to his soon to be master, Luke), it affected my views on him to see how difficult he can be (despite being fluent in over six millions languages since he is a protocol droid). But I think I prefer R2-D2 who is a small rubbish bin looking droid who doesn't speak but instead beeps, whistles and clicks and is most handy when it comes to hacking into doors and other robotic sockets.
One of the most memorable moments in Star Wars, has to be when Luke went to the top of the homestead and watched the 2 Suns set. This moment called "The Binary Sunset" on the soundtrack and is most recognised as the theme of the Force itself. I don't know what I was to feel but I felt something as this magnificent piece of music came on even if the scene was just some kid watching the sunsets (I guess maybe it's a reason why I took like watching beautiful sunsets in real life cause I somehow feel like I am reenacting Luke's moment). Even the Family Guy version is true and humorous and even features John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra.
With R2D2 being programmed by the Princess with a mission to seek out the legendary Jedi Warrior, Obi-Wan Kenobi and deliver he message. He ended up leaving Luke in the night and made Luke and 3PO go and find him the following morning. But they ran into a rough encounter which even gets me overtime with the vile Tusken Raiders best known as "Sand People" (monstrous men with a scary banshee like cry). Who would have though that a mysterious hermit would come to their rescue and turn out to be the man they were looking for.
I enjoy learning the history behind this old man when he tells Luke about his father, the clone wars and why Darth Vader turned to the dark side when he was Obi-wan's apprentice. It's all very intriguing because it helps fill in the gap whilst still making us feel that something's missing.
When we saw the magnificent CGI/ visual effects for Anakin's lightsaber that Ben bestowed to Luke, it was true eye candy. With every swing, we heard buzzing and whizzing sounds which made this the remarkable weapon to date.
Everyone only option to get off this dust ball was to head for Mos Eisley Spaceport, a place full of scum, thugs, baddies and thieves (basically the capital of Tatooine). Many people in real life love using Obi-wan's most famous quote where he uses the Force to trick the Stormtroopers mind into believing "These aren't the droids you're looking for!"
But once they enter the Cantina, we are all introduced on screen to lots of weird and freaky looking creatures of the Star Wars universe (I know the name of characters that resemble some after having watched the Clone Wars series, but still can't name the species). I wouldn't of taken none of that crap from those two d*cks at the Cantina, lucky Ben had his lightsaber to put them in their place... Death.
But we are introduced to 2 prime characters who are Luke and Ben's salvation for heading to Alderaan to deliver the secret plans. Plus who else still enjoys or is fed up with the Cantina Band song?
After escaping from Stormtroopers on Mos Eisley, the boys got to see what this "piece of junk" called the Millennium Falcon was all about since it can outrun Star Destroyers. I enjoy the moments when everyone is in space since it's a more exciting feeling compared to some more realistic and terrifying moments in space through films such as Gravity, Alien etc.
Too bad for Leia as she had to witness the true fire power of this fully armed and operational battle station and watch it annihilate her home planet of Alderaan. It's amazing and scary at the same time to see how a huge space orb can obliterate an entire planet just like that, it also shows the Empire's intentions for the rebel scum and other opposing systems who defy them. At least Leia was able to resist all of Vader and Grand Moff Tarken's actions to get her to spill the beans on the rebel's current base but it did cost her, her home planet.
Looks like these guys mean business and are proper d*cks...
Our unlikely heroes end up coming to Alderaan too late and soon find themselves caught in the tractor beam which takes them into the very station that they want to avoid. As they got closer and closer, it's overwhelming to realise just how enormous this football station really is. I wonder just how big in measurements or how many floors there are inside that thing. We only see several hallways, locations or floors during the film, but could you imagine working there and having to get from one place to another? They'd need hundreds of elevators, escalators or faster modes of transport.
Han Solo screamingly charges after the Stormtroopers only to be shocked and running away in regret after seeing the quantity in the cantina or wherever that room was haha.
The confrontation after I think it was 19 years since Episode III, is a real iconic moment in Star Wars where Old Ben meets and fights his old apprentice once again.
The clash of red and blue lightsabers is the sign of Star Wars (I don't know how to explain it), it's basically light swords clashing with whizzy sound effects. Two old fellas dishing it out whilst trash talking each other is a sight to see. Only this time, Vader was more superior and was back for a second fight since his loss 19 years ago in III. The fight scene looks a little primitive and lacks a huge amount of choreography in sword play compared to the fight scenes in all the other films. But for a beginners view and introduction to this high level of swordplay is still a treasured moment and sadly ends with Ben accepting his fate as Vader delivers the striking blow. Much to Luke's dismay.
Nothing says Star Wars like a space battle (along with the Lightsaber Duels), as the Falcon is attacked by 4 TIE Fighters (my favourite straighter with an outstanding speech as it moves). Han and Luke man the gun turrets and end up shooting back at the bu**ers like it's an arcade game on a moving seat, now that's Awesome!
I still don't understand why this didn't happen again in the following films especially in Episode V, since they could have gotten rid of the pursuing Tie-Fighters much quicker. But with all the driving and flippedy soaring, I reckon people would get sick very easily.
Our heroes make it to Yavin 4 and meet up with all the other Rebels and use the Death Star plans hidden inside R2 to help them initiate a battle plan. I thought it was the highlight of the film to see lots (roughly 12-15 X-Wings and Y-Wings) mount an attack on the Death Star as it slowly made it's way to the planet intending to blow em all up. After calling out their Red numbers standing by and beginning their attack run on the Death Star, we see some hardcore space fight action. Best part was once several got into the trench and slowly tried to make their way to the end and drop their package in the hole. Sadly a lot of them have close attempts but get taken out by enemy fighters and Vader in his own personalised TIE-Fighter.
The whole concept was excellent since they all couldn't do much damage on the outer shell. To focus for a good 10 or so minutes on a daring attack like this at such a speed was excellent and a perfect action conclusion to the first film.
Surprisingly, a sequel was in the midst...
I loved the first film and a while before the prequels, I bet everyone was wondering why the hell this one was called number IV? We all know why nowadays and I'm giving the first film an excellent 7/10 for a first instalment in the Star Wars saga.
With the Death Star destroyed, the rebels have been pursued across the Galaxy by Lord Vader and his Star Fleet. After their devastating loss on the frozen ice world of Hoth, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and C-3PO escape and are stuck in an endless "Cat & Mouse" chase with the Imperials. Whilst Luke Skywalker and R2D2 head for the remote swamp planet Dagobah to seek the mysterious Jedi Master Yoda who could be the key to helping Luke continue his training to become a Jedi. But Lord Vader is intrigued by young Skywalker and is intending to convert Luke to the Dark Side of the Force, but this trap for Luke will soon have him face a fierce battle as well as discover the terrible truth about the Skywalker legacy.
When I first saw this when I was little, I didn't pay as much attention as I should have (which is why it took another or few views to get into it compared to watching the first or last film). I somehow still don't get how people call this to be "the best Star Wars film ever"? I guess it's because of the dreaded secret that Vader spoils near the end or the whole romance drama included with Han and Leia featured by some space chase and a battle at the beginning? I do praise this film for having a groundbreaking shock which makes perfect sense after everything that old Ben told Luke in the previous film, but now we know the harsh truth.
Anyway, the sequel is set 3 years after the Death Star was destroyed.
It's good when the story starts off with a ground assault on a planet. Shame that this battle was a win for the Empire (though let's not forget that the Rebels have one win by a landslide in the previous film). I really like the design of the Giant Robot Camels "AT-AT Imperial Walkers" and how they managed to push the rebels back like Ants being terrorised by giants. It was smart that the Walker's only weakness was to wrap a tow-cable round their legs and make them tumble down to their defeat (like using Brains against Brawn).
The films consists of Han, Leia, Chewy and 3PO on the run from the clutches of Vader and the Star Destroyers as they failed to rendezvous with the rebels after the loss on Hoth. They are caught in a "Cat & Mouse" chase in the Millennium Falcon and run around the cosmos trying to escape. When we see the view from their eyes, it's quite cool and surprising (from the reality) on how this is all just a screen in front of them with everything projected, sounds blasting around them and the ship shaking and bouncing around consistently.
Luke's journey takes him to the remote swamp world of Dagobah which looks to be mighty uncomfortable, disgusting and dark with lots of wildlife. Seeking the Jedi Master Yoda who taught "old Ben" because Ben returned as a Force Spirit and instructed Luke to search for Yoda in order to help him continue his training. But Yoda wasn't quite the character for Luke to encounter and for the audience to realise so easily who this short hermit really is. Playing the innocent stranger was one thing, but once Yoda ended up revealing himself, it raised both my eyebrows and was a neat surprise to see this creature is a Jedi Master (it helps prove a point that not all Jedi are humanoid or anthropomorphic beings).
One thing was for sure, it was going to take a while for me, is Yoda's dialect which speaks in a manner of splitting a sentence in half and speaking it the other way around like for example "Yoda, I am. Help you, I can." I think it gives off an old sense of wisdom and intelligence to test your patience and understanding but it's not too difficult, right? (I'm much better at understanding whilst growing up).
Thanks to taking refuge inside a massive Asteroid in an Asteroid field, our heroes were safe for now but had some work to do with repairing the falcon (as always). Boy were they in for a big surprise with teeth when they made it out barely from taking refuge in some giant worm's throat...
But the thing that people saw coming and makes sense is the love romance blossoming between Han and Leia. Han teases and annoys the Princess while she tries with effort to deny it, but inevitably she'll end up falling for this scoundrel (despite sharing a passionate kiss in the beginning with Luke).
One thing that's certain in this film and on the set is that everyone is sh*t scared of Darth Vader onboard his Super Star Destroyer and dread the day that they fail him and suffer the consequences (mainly being force choked to death). When Vader prances around, seeing the Imperials look up in fear is a clear sign that their boss is terrifying. I wouldn't want to be the poor Captain/ Admiral who fails him because the outcome is always the same, only then will Lord Vader accept your apology but it's not all bad, someone else gets a promotion. Every Vader scene consisted like OCD with the famous "Imperial March" theme which is Vader's theme overall and is one of the most recognisable themes ever.
I saw my friend Jimmy last weekend and we got talking about Star Wars and one thing that he pointed out and I want to share is an important scene (when we see Vader under the helmet). Jimmy pointed out that:
Admiral Piett, interrupts Lord Vader's preparation, he witnesses briefly Vader's burnt pink bald head flesh under the black helmet as it's being inserted back on (even Vader knows that he saw it). That small moment is a good scene for everyone to remember. And we actually see the Armour construction and Anakin's transformation in Episode III which is really sad anyway."
Yoda is an honourable teacher but Luke is not the student type. Like his father, he doesn't follow rules easily. Yoda guides Luke through quotes about the Force including "Beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan's apprentice."
"Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship."
"No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try." Sorry I got carried away.
Luke is soon tasked with a test which back then I never understood because to me, it made no sense. Seeing this similar but false doppelgänger of the Dark Lord appear to him on this planet of all places and end up being decapitated so easily by the young Padwan was too fake to believe. But once Vader's helmet exploded and revealed not someone else's but Luke's face in it, it's a subtle hint that someone is behind Vader's mask and for Luke to see this, it was like an examples of what can happen if you fall to the Dark Side so easily.
Han and co. soon learn that they can escape the empire by landing secretly on the back of a Star Destroyer, that was pure genius. But they still need some place to go and Han discovers the name "Lando". Not the "Lando system" as Leia mistakes it for, but an old friend that Han knew so they head for the planet he's on called Bespin where a City in the Clouds "Cloud City" holds a mining colony. Not before being tailed by the infamous Bounty Hunter Boba Fett whom was ordered along with several other Bounty Hunters to find the Falcon by Lord Vader.
As Luke slowly begins to show promising results with his connection to the Force, he eventually sees visions of the future (like his father used to have). These visions ultimately lead him to put the training on hold and head for where Han and Leia are and to save them from the pain they were yet to fall into. Good thing, Yoda helped pull Luke's sunken X-Wing out of the bog (that was an excellent moment to show off Yoda's true strength), but Yoda and Ben advised against Luke leaving to save them.
It's a shame when friends sell you out, too bad Lando had to for our Rebel friends thanks to Vader's grip over Lando's city and work. Han and the others encountered Vader at dinner time who surprised the hell out of me and somehow but epically stopped all of Han's blaster shots with his bare hands.
This dinner was to become a night of torture for Han before soon becoming his tomb in carbonite.
Vader intended to freeze Skywalker after capturing him so he could be taken to the Emperor, but to make sure he'd survive the freezing process, they would test it on Captain Solo.
It was a sad moment to see Han and Leia confess their love for each other during Han's final moment and soon after to be taken by the bounty hunter Boba Fett back to Jabba The Hut (a vile gangster who Solo owed money to since A New Hope).
Luke found his way soon into Vader's trap in the same room that his friend had been frozen in, a short while ago. The fight that everyone knew was coming took place in the dark, cold smokey room between the young hero and the dark lord.
The clash or red and blue lightsabers was incredible with lots of surprises. When things got more intense as the hair raising song "The Clash Of Lightsabers" begun playing when Vader begun to overpower Luke, but that was only just the beginning. Luke's undeveloped Jedi skills were no match for Vader's experience.
Darth Vader: "Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
Luke Skywalker: "He told me enough! He told me you killed him!"
Somehow Luke manages to telepathically contact Leia who manages to rescue Luke with Lando and Chewy's help. Landon had previously double-crossed Vader and ended up helping the Rebels to try and save Han from Boba (but they were too late). Lando had sorta redeemed himself but soon ends up joining Leia and the others from then which I think was a nice fill in for Han (until they eventually save him).
They all narrowly escaped from almost being caught again by Vader as Luke was still trying to comprehend the devastating truth he had recently learned.
After rendezvousing with the Rebel Fleet, Luke is constructed a new robotic replica right hand whilst Lando and Chewy plan to go on ahead to save Han from Jabba back on Luke's planet, Tatooine.
I gotta admit that Brian in the Family Guy version points out a big fact in this last scene which is just weird and it's best shown through the link I've provided.
Anyway, the ending to this film looks sad but it's clear proof that the story is far from over. As Leia, Luke, 3PO and R2 watch Lando and Chewy take off in the Falcon and shoot across space, they know they will return to set things right and that someday, the Empire will fall.
Find out in the conclusion!
So the second film, sure had a jaw-dropping surprise which changed the whole look on Star Wars forever and nobody saw it coming (I hope, not). It sure had it's fill of drama with an epic fight at the end. I'm giving the second film a good 8/10 and I bet everyone back in 1980 were eager to see the epic conclusion.
I hope that many others won't spoil anything until then! I really do!
In this epic conclusion to the Star Wars saga, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia must travel to Tatooine to rescue Captain Han Solo from the clutches of the vile gangster lord, Jabba The Hut. Now the Rebels will plan their new attack on the second Death Star before it's construction is complete and becomes operational. They mount a secret attack on the forest moon of Endor to help sabotage the Death Star before the fleet arrives. However Darth Vader and the Emperor still have plans to convert Luke over to the Dark Side but Luke believes he can rekindle the spirit of the Jedi within his father once again.
The battle for the fate of the Galaxy concludes...
Vader arrives on the second uncompleted and more powerful Death Star, and orders a new Moff to double the construction because the Emperor Sheev Palpatine is coming himself. Awe, soon we will see the actual being behind the tyranny of the Empire, good start already.
3PO and R2 are back on the dust ball, Tatooine intending to head into Jabba The Hut's Palace to seek out the captured and frozen Captain Solo. Seeing Jabba for the first time (in the original VHS version), was something repulsive, this big worm like gangster who spoke in a language which required subtitles proves that this powerful and lazy slug is something.
With no lightsaber, Luke still defeats Jabba's precious pet by throwing a rock at the controls and the gate cuts through the Rancor's neck and kills it. Now that's the way to beat a boss battle!
With Han, Luke, Leia and Chewy all reunited in the same room after 3 years, Jabba sentences the boys to death by being thrown into the Sarlacc Pit where they will be digested over a thousand years... pleasant enough, right?
Everyone on the Death Star got into formation to look smart and in order for the Emperor's arrival (even Vader how to kneel down in front of everyone). Might as well have prepared the "red carpet" or polished his Helmet, while he's at it. Seeing this cloaked old man step out of the Imperial Shuttle was a tense moment to see the true villain of Star Wars at last. Both Siths still had their eyes on Skywalker and planned to capture him to turn him over to their side, everything was going as planned and the Emperor had no worries as he cackled away before the scene changed to Dagobah.
Scout Troopers on these unbelievably fast speeder bikes. To travel at such a blazing speed in an endless forest was awesome, I read up somewhere that they recorded that whole camera moment by walking on for like 3 hours with cameras then just added in the bikes near a screen or something, it makes much sense and is genius!
Nien Nunb who was from the planet Sullust only during this year), and what made the attack weird but funny it was the fact that the admiral of the Rebellion fleet was a big talking fish called Admiral Ackbar (the actor also played Jabba's servant Bib Fortuna).
Bespin, Tatooine, Naboo and Coruscant. But I do like the new song "Victory Celebration" played at the end as we see our heroes reunited and celebrating with the Ewoks back on Endor. I must admit this because I guess that now that we've seen the Prequels by this time, might as well show the celebration across the galaxy, right?