Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford
Director: George Lucas
Running Time: 121 mins
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope is an American film, and is the first film in the Star Wars saga. In a period of galactic civil war, young Luke Skywalker rises from obscurity to take on the evil Empire, helped by a wise old Jedi Knight, two smugglers, and a pair of droids, one of whom is carrying information vital to both the Empire and the Rebels.
There’s just nothing like Star Wars. This isn’t just one of the most imaginative and enjoyable blockbusters of all time, but it’s a perfectly-executed adventure story that’s filled to the brim with fantastic action, characters, drama and tension, and makes for a viewing experience that is rivalled by almost no other film.
The most striking thing about this first film is how majestic it is. It covers a huge scope, both in regards to the importance of its story, as well as the vast universe it creates so convincingly. Rarely do we see an original film that begins with such self-confidence, and despite the infamous production problems that the film faced, it came out with a truly magnificent final product.
Of course, the visual effects are astonishing, and still hold up almost perfectly today, even though this film is now nearly 40 years old. The use of practical effects in combination with groundbreaking CGI and blue screen allows this film to tell a story like no other, and also provide a beautiful visual spectacle along the way.
One of the most noticeable and integral parts of this film, perhaps more so than most, is its score. John Williams did such an incredible job to give this film its iconic tone. The music, in all its iterations, gives you a real sense of adventure, it’s awe-inspiring and exciting at every moment, and without its majesty, this film just wouldn’t be the same.
Despite the criticism that George Lucas has faced for the duller prequel trilogy, there’s no denying his brilliance in creating some of the most iconic and compelling characters ever seen on screen. From the fascinating and inspiring story arc of Luke Skywalker, to the unpredictable anti-hero Han Solo, and even the two droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO, it’s always an absolute pleasure to ride along with these characters on their epic space adventure, and the way they develop over the course of these two hours really is enthralling.
Simply put, though, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope is a textbook example of what cinema can accomplish. It’s a technical triumph, but it stands up there as one of the few films that has captured the imagination of all generations, and will likely never lose its appeal as one of the greatest motion pictures of all time, and that’s why it gets an 8.8 from me.