Star Wars (1977)

Directed by George Lucas
Cinematography Gilbert Taylor

Star Wars is an American epic space opera franchise, centered on a film series created by George Lucas. It depicts the adventures of various characters “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”.

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The events depicted in the Star Wars franchise take place in an unnamed fictional galaxy at an undetermined point in the distant past. Many species of alien creatures (often humanoid) are depicted. Robotic droids are also commonplace and are generally built to serve their owners. Space travel is common, and many planets in the galaxy are members of a single galactic government. In the prequel trilogy, this is depicted in the form of the Galactic Republic; at the end of the prequel trilogy and throughout the original trilogy, this government is the Galactic Empire. Preceding and during the sequel trilogy, this government is the New Republic.

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One of the prominent elements of Star Wars is “the Force“, an omnipresent energy that can be harnessed by those with that ability, known as Force-sensitives. It is described in the first produced film as “an energy field created by all living things [that] surrounds us, penetrates us, [and] binds the galaxy together.” The Force allows users to perform various supernatural feats (such as telekinesis, clairvoyance, precognition, and mind control) and can amplify certain physical traits, such as speed and reflexes; these abilities vary between characters and can be improved through training. While the Force can be used for good, known as the light side, it also has a dark side that, when pursued, imbues users with hatred, aggression, and malevolence.

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The films feature the Jedi, who adhere to the light side of the Force to serve as peacekeepers and guardians, and the Sith, who use the dark side of the Force for evil in an attempt to destroy the Jedi Order and the Republic and rule the galaxy for themselves. The sequel trilogy introduces the Knights of Ren, an order of practitioners of the dark side of the Force aligned with the First Order.

The Galactic Empire is nearing completion of the Death Star, a space station with the power to destroy entire planets. Emperor Palpatine intends to use this deadly weapon to enforce his control over the galaxy and crush the Rebel Alliance, an organized resistance movement. Near the orbit of the desert planet Tatooine, a Rebel ship escorts a secret member of the rebellion, Princess Leia Organa, who intends to use stolen Death Star plans to help the rebellion find a way to destroy the space station. However, Leia’s ship is intercepted by the Emperor’s deadliest agent, Darth Vader, and his stormtroopers.

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Before being captured, Leia hides the Death Star plans inside the astromech droid R2-D2 along with a message for the legendary Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi. R2, along with the protocol droid C-3PO, escapes to Tatooine. The droids are found by Luke Skywalker, an orphan farm boy raised by his step-uncle and aunt. While cleaning R2, he accidentally triggers Leia’s message. Luke assists the droids in finding Obi-Wan, who has been living in exile on Tatooine as an old hermit called Ben Kenobi. Obi-Wan also tells Luke he knew Luke’s father Anakin Skywalker, a great Jedi who was “betrayed and murdered” by Vader (a Sith Lord who was Obi-Wan’s former Jedi apprentice), and he gives Luke his father’s lightsaber. After viewing Leia’s message for assistance in delivering R2 to the rebellion, Obi-Wan and Luke hire the smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca to provide them transport aboard their space freighter, the Millennium Falcon.

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For the second draft, Lucas made heavy simplifications, and introduced the young hero on a farm as Luke Starkiller. Annikin became Luke’s father, a wise Jedi knight. “The Force” was also introduced as a mystical energy field. The next draft removed the father character and replaced him with a substitute named Ben Kenobi. Later, he realized the film would not in fact be the first in the sequence, but a film in the second trilogy in the saga. The second draft contained a teaser for a never-made sequel about “The Princess of Ondos”, and by the time of the third draft some months later Lucas had negotiated a contract that gave him rights to make two sequels. Not long after, Lucas met with author Alan Dean Foster, and hired him to write these two sequels as novels.

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In 1976, a fourth draft had been prepared for principal photography. The film was titled Adventures of Luke Starkiller, as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars. During production, Lucas changed Luke’s name to Skywalker and altered the title to simply The Star Wars and finally Star Wars. At that point, Lucas was not expecting the film to become part of a series. The fourth draft of the script underwent subtle changes that made it more satisfying as a self-contained film, ending with the destruction of the Galactic Empire itself by way of destroying the Death Star. However, Lucas had previously conceived of the film as the first in a series of adventures. The intention was that if Star Wars was successful, Lucas could adapt the novels into screenplays. He had also by that point developed an elaborate backstory to aid his writing process.

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Wield The Sword Of Light Over The Helpless

6 July 2015 | by Archangel Michael (United States) – See all my reviews

Spoilers Ahead:

The masterpiece, the legend that made people, like myself stand in line for two hours at ten at night for the midnight show. People coming out of the theater were telling us,”You will not be sorry, it was fantastic, you will not believe it.” The first shot of the star destroyer coming across the face of Tatooine provoked loud gasps of awe from the audience. My big brother looked over at me and said,” I told you.” In 1977, this was not a movie; this was a cultural event that enveloped the entire country. In our city, only the Westgate with its 1100 seat cinema had the honor of showing the movie. They had showings starting from 11 AM to Midnight. Whenever you drove by, there were lines out to the street. The movie, after a thunderous opening, takes the time to develop the main character Luke.

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The scene of him looking longingly at the two suns with William’s music captured the quintessence of youth; the wish to go out there and accomplish something blended with anxiety that time was passing us by. What a scene!! It captured Luke’s restlessness that spoke to all the young people in the audience. This is the greatness of the work; the development of Luke. Notice, unlike Guardians Of The Galaxy we do not simply jump into mindless action: Lucas took the time to make us get to know and care about Luke. It gives it its depth.

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Even Solo is drawn with greater depth than modern movies. We get Greedo trying to shake him down, his open contempt for Obi Wan and his patronizing “Kid” addressed to Luke derisively. We cannot see Chewie’s expression but even his grunts sound like they are laughing at Luke also. Lucas knew where he was going with Luke and he purposely draws him as a pathetic, ingenuous, bumbling dolt at the first. Contrast to his entrance in Jedi, look how far the characterization has come. This is the core of why this trilogy worked and the prequel did not. In the prequels, there simply is not characterization. The cast here will not win any acting awards, besides Guiness, but there is development of characters. This is the point of Luke’s humiliation at the Cantina with Kenobi forced to bail his dumb butt out. Lucas wants us to see his development. Even at the end of the movie, Kenobi fires those torpedoes not Luke, he tells Luke to just turn off the computer and use the Force. This, by the way, is what Kenobi meant by,”You can’t win Darth, if you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

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While I prefer Empire, this has the best ending of any movie in the history of film. The audiences I was in, people stood and cheered for five minutes when this ended. The timing, the surprise of Solo’s intervention, the explosion and the victorious procession: what great writing. It ends with a thunderous crescendo of victory that will lift even the most jaded, world weary person to their feet. It has been forty years now; I still love the movie as much now as I did as that little boy staring up in awe at the screen. We all wanted to be Luke; his nobility was a model to my generation and it molded me into the protector of my family for twenty years. Never underestimate the power of the modeling of good.

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The greatest cinematic epic of all time begins here.

10/10
Author: budmassey (cyberbarrister@gmail.com) from Indianapolis, IN
25 April 2005

Here begins the greatest cinematic epic of all time, and arguably one of the greatest stories ever told. Originally conceived as a serialized popcorn movie in the manner of the old action movies that Lucas grew up with, Star Wars surpassed even George’s keen and bombastic imagination to become a central part of movie history.

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There are countless tales of the making of this movie; how Lucas never believed he would get the chance to complete the series, how it spawned an industry and made the name of nearly everyone who touched it a household word. But what that does not reveal, nor do the much diminished prequels, is the sheer joy and excitement these movies generated.

It was a once in a lifetime experience. You could feel it from opening day, earlier if you paid attention to such things. We had never seen anything like it, and we are not likely to again.

"Star Wars" Stormtrooper 1977 Lucasfilm © 1978 John Jay

This episode finds young Luke Skywalker yearning to leave the agrarian life he has with his aunt and uncle, and chase after adventure as his friends before him have already done. And what adventure there is. The galaxy is in the grip of a massive rebellion against a tyrannical and oppressive empire, but on Luke’s home planet, it’s something you only dare speak of in a whisper.

Along come two robots, “Droids” for short, who inadvertently involve Luke in a stellar attempt to contact an old wizard named Ben Kenobi, who lives in the caves near Luke’s home.

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The rest is history, and there isn’t a person alive in the civilized world who doesn’t have at least some awareness of the epic story that unfolds. Luke’s rise from adolescent obscurity on Tatooine to a leading role in the greatest struggle of all time is told with humor, action, adventure, and always a sense of story that is unmatched on the screen or on the page.

With the completion of the prequel trilogy, these films are enjoying a renewed popularity among a generation that never saw the films on the big screen, and the theatric revivals are almost guaranteed. Go. Get some popcorn. And may the Force be with you.

"Star Wars" Peter Cushing 1977 Lucasfilm © 1978 John Jay

Could this BE any better? (Har. Har.)

10/10
Author: DancingPotato from Jonquiere, Canada
30 March 2001

When you ask casual movie fans (read: any of my friends) what their favorite movie is, you might get an answer like this: “Uh..I dunno…Jurassic Park 2 was cooler than the first… but Gladiator had people getting their heads cut off… and Scary Movie rocked, man… that movie is so funny.” So what the hell do they mean? Well, beats me. Not too long ago, we were having a “philosophical” conversation about movies, when the subject came to Star Wars and the quels. (Pre and se.) We were arguing which one was the best. One of my friends said, “Well, I gotta admit, the first one is a classic, but the prequel has its moments.” I swear a tear came to my eye. I never thought I’d have this kind of conversation with one of my friends.

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My point here is that Star Wars is a classic even to people who don’t know Casablanca from Scooby Doo. It has everything you could possibly want: action, romance, midgets, cool creatures, quotable dialogue, midgets in bear suits, a great score and many more midgets. (Seriously, though, I don’t mind midgets.) All this in a non-violent, non-racy, perfect-for-your-wee-ones package.

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For those of you who haven’t seen this movie (yes, all 20 of you. I’m watching you.) I’ll describe the plot. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is a young man who lives with his uncle and aunt on a desert planet. See. Luke’s parents are dead. One day, as Luke is… outside, something crashes and he checks it out. It turns out there were two robots in there, namely C-3P0 and R2-D2. They have a message to give to some guy named Obi-Wan Kenobi (which turns out to be Alec Guiness!) from Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). Luke goes off to find old Ben, who lives close to his uncle. Old Ben gives Luke a long story about how his father was a Jedi and he will be one too, etc. When they come back, Luke’s uncle and aunt are dead and now, he’s not safe. So Luke and Ben and the robots head to Nar Shadaa, a hole, basically. There they meet up with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his big, uh, ape-like thing called a Wookie.

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There’s a lot more plot to this movie, and I would pass the limit of 1000 word before I could explain it all. The fact of the matter is, there’S a lot of backstory to this movie. There’s probably more backstory to this movie than there is to your LIFE. (Don’t feel bad…) I used to be a fanatic. I used to know everything there was to know about Star Wars. And you will notice that I didn’t start my review by saying I was blah blah blah in 1977. Why is that? Because, I wasn’t at all in 1977. I saw every movie in its special edition form, in 1997. I had seen the movies on TV before, but they never held my attention. Until they were re-released. Just type in Star Wars in a search engine. You’ll see that this movie has a rabid following and a detailed history to boot.

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The acting here is not what’s important. It’s about on the same level as old adventure films of the 30’s and 40’s except for a few notable exceptions (Guiness, Ford and a few supporting actors). What makes this movie exceptional is the whole spectacle that unfolds. This is never boring, rarely violent and always a treat to watch. All the creatures, all the characters, all the action scenes, all of this movie is basically perfect. People criticize it as being a kids’ movie, as being just stupid mindless action. Well, you guys are right. But that’s what this movie was set out to be, that’s what it is and that’s why I like it.

Lucas borrowed from Kurosawa and Ford to make this movie, and consequently, many have borrowed from his work. This movie deserves to be borrowed from. It shaped American cinema, it shaped the way people think about “action-adventure” movies, it spawned dozens of books, two sequels, one prequel, two TV movies, comic books, action figures and legions of fans. If you haven’t already seen this… Well ,you probably haven’t seen much anyway, so rent this. If you have seen this, watch it again. I think I will. 10/10

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