Director: George Lucas
Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford
George Lucas created what is arguably the most iconic franchise ever when he introduced the world to the ‘Star Wars’ series. I’m just gutted I missed the first wave back in the 70s. What I would give to be there, among that generation who were so privileged to enjoy ‘A New Hope’ with no idea as to the phenomenon which would follow. Admittedly, I compensated for this with an abundance of enthusiasm as a child in the 90s. I must have been about six years old when my auntie – who introduced me to so many films as a youngster – took me to the cinema to see this film, and I was instantly hooked. I quickly accrued a formidable collection of toys, Pogs (remember those), costumes and of course, the hallowed lightsaber. I watched the original trilogy over and over so many times through my childhood. Now, with ‘The Force Awakens’ getting closer and closer, I decided to revisit the trilogy for the first time in around 14 years.
In a galaxy far, far away…an evil emperor has taken over, and equipped with his colossal Death Star, rules the galaxy with fear and ruthless intimidation. Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), of the Rebel Alliance, has stolen crucial plans to the Death Star and stored them in an R2-D2 droid unit, who she sends to find the mystical Ob-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guiness) along with a plea for help. When the young farmhand, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) finds the droid, he is caught up in the rescue mission and helps lead the fight against the Empire and the menacing Darth Vader.
Mark Hamill is just like any moody teenager, but he soon perks up with the promise of fighting evil and becoming a hero. A little too enthusiastic if anything, with Luke toeing the line between endearing and overwhelmingly cheesy. As Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher is the perfect heroine and idol to the female demographic; a character with bags of attitude and a strong sense of control over her male accomplices. Completing the Harry Potter-esque love triangle of heroes is Harrison Ford, who brings humour and an odd likeability to the cocky pilot Han Solo. He’s got a pretty cool spaceship too.
It is just so uplifting to hear that familiar title music, the sounds of the galaxy and its various spaceships whizzing by. After a disastrous hour spent watching ‘The Matrix’ (don’t get me started), trusty, old ‘Star Wars’ was just what I needed. Guaranteed enjoyment every time. It is just plain and simple entertainment but at the same time, a film which has it all; action, adventure, a bit of humour and a bit of violence and chaos. The special effects might not be premium quality in comparison to the wonders of today’s cinema, but to achieve what they did in 1977 is truly awe-inspiring. And at the end of the day, what does it matter? The proof is in the lightsabers, they may not be convincing, but neither are those wrapping paper tubes we all used to swing around and play pretend with.
I have always said that any film which has an antagonist character, finds its success or failure in the standard of its villain. And they don’t come much better than Darth Vader. The Sith lord is literally the perfect, most fearsome villain the cinematic world has ever seen. In addition to the mighty Vader, you get loveable heroes, a fantastical world of adventure and iconic moments which are treasured by so many people the world over.
To say ‘A New Hope’ is the worst of the original trilogy feels sacrilegious, better to say it’s the “least amazing”. I enjoy these films just as much today as I did when I was a six year old boy first discovering the galaxy George Lucas created for us, and we certainly owe the man a great deal for THE film series of not just one generation, but every generation since. This is the magical film where it all started, and will always be a precious landmark in my cinematic history.