We have decided to re-watch and review our favorite films in anticipation of The Force awakens. I’ll be doing a modified machete order which is 4,5,1,2,3,6. So lets jump right into it!
This shot is pure awesome. I didn’t understand how great it was until I saw it in the Theater in for SE in 97. The rebel ship comes and you can’t help bu think “That’s a big ship” then the Star Destroyer comes in and it just keeps coming. This works on the TV but its just not the same as it was on the big screen. We spend almost all of the next 20 minutes following two droids around. In today’s terms that would be like opening the first Iron Man with 20 minutes of Happy and Pepper doing stuff and bickering. I don’t people really get how unusual that is. We do meet Princess Leia and Vader during that 20 minutes but their importance isn’t known yet.
Finally we meet Luke and he is kind of a dork that works on the family farm. Honestly I’m glad they cut the scenes they shot of Luke at Tosche station because they make him look even worse. However John Williams score really helps you relate to Luke when he’s looking out at the setting suns of Tatooine. Finally the plot starts to cook when Luke and C3PO take off after R2D2 and meet the crazy old wizard Ben Kenobi. At the same time we see Vader display the power of the force by chocking a rude imperial from across a table. The intrigued but non nonchalant look on Tarkin’s face is awesome. Back with Luke and Ben, Ben looks uncomfortable when he describes how Luke’s father died which is great because at this point I don’t think George Lucas had Vader as Luke’s father.Luke wants to go with Ben to save the princess but he is weighed down by trying to do right by his Uncle. Fortunately the Empire gets rid of that obstacle in the worst way possible and Luke decides to follow in his Father’s footsteps to become a Jedi.
As we enter Mos Eisley we see yet another force power as Ben influences a couple of Storm Troopers. Luke shows us who he really is, a naive young man that is putting on bravado to compensate. His line “I’m ready for anything” shows us who he wants to be or at least thinks he should be. He is quickly shown that he is not ready for anything and Ben has to bust out his lightsaber to put some punks in their place. Ben and Luke are then introduced to our final protagonist Han Solo. Solo is a bit of a braggart here but there is a confidence there that is sincere. I’m watching the special editions so Greedo shot first but whatever Solo is still cold as hell as he tosses the bartender a coin “Sorry about the mess”. Then Han talks to Jabba, once again Han acts like a tough guy. I hate the walk on Jabba’s tail part. Just have him walk behind Jabba and disappear for a second. He has no dialog as he walks behind him so keeping his face in frame is dumb.
Han and crew escape headed to Alderaan and Luke gets some Force training with his lightsaber. Han is looking for approval and doesn’t get it so he mocks Luke. Ben ups the ante and basically shuts up Han and gives Luke a confidence boost. We learn a lot about Leia and the Empire in the destruction of Alderaan scene. Leia is willing to lie even with the death of her home planet and billions of lives are in the balance to keep the rebellion safe. Tarkin and the Empire by proxy is willing to destroy billions of innocent lives to keep the Empire safe. Same goals but yet completely different and you just know it. Great scene. Next we have the Millennium Falcon pulled into the Death Star, finally all of our players are in the same place. Ben goes to ensure they can escape and Luke plays to Han’s weakness(Money!) to get him to help rescue the princess.
The scene depicted above has always been a favorite. When Han shoots the com panel and say “Boring conversation anyway” its funny, shows us more about Han, and seems real. Finally all three are in scenes together and you see who they are. Leia is more mature than either of them, you see she is used to being in command and expects people to follow her orders. Han is independent and has no idea what to do when someone challenges him especially a younger woman that acts like he is an idiot. And Luke is idealistic he came in with good intentions and isn’t quite ready for how the best laid plans fall apart. The way they interact and their dialog for the entire death star sequence and escape is fantastic you see there is more to Han than he lets on. The fight between Ben and Vader is simple but good. They never really seem fully into the fight though. I wonder if Vader is concerned that Ben might beat him again. Either way Ben came into the fight ready to die and once he has Luke as an audience he sacrifices himself. One final push for Luke to accept the role of Jedi.
And finally we have the big battle. Han has taken off to save his skin and Luke uses a little pity to get a kiss from Leia. Once the battle starts its all action all the time. After two failed attempts on the reactor shot Luke, Biggs and Wedge go in full steam ahead. Luke was given the go ahead to lead the final assault by Red leader. He must have impressed because Wedge and Biggs were both part of the rebellion forces before Luke even left Tatooine. As he approaches his final shot Luke loses both R2 and Biggs who he was obviously friends with. Vader is bearing down on him recognizing that the Force is with Luke when Han comes out of nowhere to save the day. Luke makes the perfect shot and they all go back to celebrate though Vader lives to see another day.
A New Hope definitely starts slow but once Luke and Obi-wan get together the plot picks up the pace and never slows down. The stakes get higher and problems get more difficult. Its an absolutely fantastic piece of cinema.