Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Star Wars (1977)

Star Wars (1977) ★★★★★ 5/5

One could e
asily say that movies would not be what they are today if it was not for Star Wars. This is the movie that changed the dynamics of visual effects in every way possible. From the use of tiny scale models to imaginative costume design. From lasers and planets to creatures and weapons. Perhaps no other film has made such an impact on pop culture. The movie spawned everything imaginable including toys, video games, cartoons, Christmas songs, National defense plans, spoofs, parodies and constant homages.

The film
earned a total of 6 Oscars, all in technical categories. It has endured the test of time and the characters and plots have become implanted in the minds of every generation. There is no doubt this is a must see movie and when someone says they haven't seen it, it comes off as shocking.

I recently received the new Blu Ray edition of the entire
Star Wars series and was thrilled to actually see this film restored and enhanced. The clarity of HD and the pure sound was going to be a real treat as it was with West Side Story. However my expectations fell short. Very short in fact and I was disgusted by the film. In the newly released Blu Ray version of the film, there are extra scenes and added effects. To many added effects in fact. There are things flying about Stormtroopers as they walk through hallways. There are dinosaur like creatures being rode by Jawas and other characters in spots where previously you saw barren land. It is distracting and completely takes away from the magic that was created when the film was first made in 1977. There is also an added scene where Han Solo (Harrison Ford) has a discussion with Jabba the Hut. It's vile and left a bitter taste in my mouth. There is a fine line between film restoration and tampering. George Lucas tampered with the film and in essence knocked the revised edition down from a 5 star movie to a three star movie.

Beyond that, the cast is perfect. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo make the perfect trio. Skywalker, a farmer by trade with hints of greatness in him, is led by two loveable driods, R2-D2 and C-3PO in the center of a rebellion against the evil empire. Escorted into space for the rescue of Leia with guidance from Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) and a ship flown by Han Solo and Chewbacca, it's non stop excitement. The group must sneak by guards and imperial troops to make their rescue. All while avoiding Darth Vader (James Earl Jones).

There is action, suspense, comedy and even a little romance as Solo and Skywalker swoon over Leia. There is mystery and intrigue as we want to know more about what has led to these events and what will happen next. The movie is interesting in the fact that it tells a solid story on it's own and would hold up just fine had it been made as a single film. It however went on to generate two sequels and three prequels. Characters unfolded and it essentially became a subtle soap opera. Mystery twin siblings became unveiled, Father/Son relationships were developed, alliances between good and bad were drawn. All this was done while remaining true to what was exposed in other films. No other collection of films so clearly tied all the pieces together so well.

Everyone should see this movie. It is special in every way you can think of. This film has affected pop culture and society in so many ways that if you have not seen it, you are missing more then just a movie.

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