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December 4, 2017

Star Wars IV: New Hope (1977) --- "Nothing Can Prepare You For This Farm-Boy Who Will Blow Your Mind."

Plot Summary
The Imperial Forces -- under orders from cruel Darth Vader (David Prowse) -- hold Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hostage, in their efforts to quell the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford), captain of the Millennium Falcon, work together with the companionable droid duo R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) to rescue the beautiful princess, help the Rebel Alliance, and restore freedom and justice to the Galaxy. (1) 

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Now what really made Star Wars hugely successful? Was it the casting, the music, the imagination, the ingenuity or was it the luck? The music score by John Williams is a masterpiece and the special effects were pretty great for 1977 as well as ensuring the success of the film for many years to come. The answer varies on personal opinion but one things that is for certain, George Lucas started a new kind of sci-fi films that offers excitement and joy while introducing new worlds, creatures, and cultures. The story went beyond everyone’s expectation that no one was prepared for the aftermath of a genuine legendary film. Essentially, Lucas dropped audience members into the middle of an intergalactic war between Light and Dark that has lasted for years and left a universe on the brink of destruction. And everyone, including Lucas, expected the film to fail but instead, it is an iconic timeless classic with a deep level of symbolism. The entire movie is like a sci-fi version of a WWI or WWII documentary film. The Force symbolizes faith and hope, as well as dedication and commitment to a purpose greater then oneself. The Empire represents the Axis forces (Nazi Germany, the Empire of Japan, and the Kingdom of Italy [until 1943]), mainly the Germanic Nazi’s in the form of storm troopers. While the Rebellion is the Allied forces (mainly the "Big Four": United States [from 1941], Soviet Union [from 1941], United Kingdom, and China) who later become the United Nations & NATO.

     Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) is the beginning of one of the greatest cinematic franchises in film history. Writer/Director George Lucas never believed that he would be given the opportunity to finish a series. In fact, the studio gave Lucas the ultimatum: out of the 9-book series he had to choose one of the three central books (4-6) and either trash the rest or trash the whole concept altogether, and I admire what he did. Now he didn’t cave into the studio’s demand per say but he did what he needs to do in order to adapt his vision to the big screen. At the time audiences were happy with Episodes 4-6 but I am glad that he did not stop there. I enjoyed the prequel trilogy (Episodes 1-3) and I can’t wait to see the rest of the ending trilogy (Episodes 7-9) with Episode 8 being released later this year. Episode IV: A New Hope will always be the first Star Wars plain and simple with no pretensions for deep film making or high visual content. This is where we first meet our iconic characters:  Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, an older Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C3PO, R2D2 and, of course, Darth Vader. Overnight they became instant pop cultures and household names.
     The most anticipated character would have to be Darth Vader (David Prowse and James Earl Jones [voice]) because while he was a threatening villain he was a pretty cool guy. The instant he enters a scene you immediately know that this is the galaxy’s ultimate villain. You can see it in his posture, hear it in his dialogue, and you can feel a chill go down your back when he strides down the corridors or stares at you with silent discontent. This is a guy who knows he is the baddest of the bad and he’s not afraid to demonstrate his reputation. Of course, many believe that he is only second to or under the control of Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing) but as the story evolves you start to realize that he’s just waiting for the most opportune moment to take control of the galaxy. There is no guide, before him, for Vader to follow and afterwards no villain comes close his iconic presences. In Episodes 4-6 Vader is at his best because there is still a whole lot of mystery surrounding the back story of his dark and fearsome form. Not to mention his penetrating and imposing voice can make even child’s lullaby sound threatening.
     A New Hope was also the film which catapulted Harrison Ford’s career into superstardom, as the iconic Han Solo. Here he portrays Han as being both childish and charismatic, and it is this kind of professional charm that makes Han Solo so memorable. There are times when his reckless bravado seems to be from some sort of space opera with laser guns blazing and snide remarks at every turn. And yet his character help carry the story, something that Luke (Mark Hamill) cannot do alone. By being both humble and overconfident, Hamill characterized Luke as the center of destiny for the galaxy and as a result, this makes him perfect for the role. However, Mark Hamill’s film career pretty much started and ended with Star Wars, he played in a few TV shows (Spider-Man, Transformers: Rescue Bots, etc.) and films (Silk Degrees, Slipstream, etc) but for the most part there were no really big named films after Star Wars; unless you count the recent Star Wars trilogy. Carrie Fisher portrayed Princess Leia in a way that suggested she was more than just some prim-&-proper princess. Most princesses characters before her were all whining damsels in distress who were more reliable in twisting their ankles during moments of peril or escape but Leia is like a Powerpuff Girl, she’s got sugar, spice, and overall she’s nice. There is a uniqueness to her that says, “I’ve got this” and as a result, she has created a new kind of princess. She’s a bold and brazen, yet sophisticated and educated woman who refuses to wait around for some knight in shining armor to save her. There were two minor characters worth mentioning, a much older Obi Wan Kenobi (Alec GuinessLawrence of Arabia) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). Alec Guinness was wonderful as a much older Obi-Wan Kenobi. And although he is in hiding you almost believe that this old warrior could topple an empire if given the right resources and adequate time. But not only that he is great in portraying a man who has lost so much and for some reason still holds out hope for a better future. Chewbacca is a great supporting character who unfortunately dose not receive as much recognition in reviews as he deserves. It’s not easy portraying a walking shag carpet that acts as a great supporting character to Han and yet holds the attention and admiration of millions of fans. I was very pleased that Peter Mayhew returned to play the iconic character in the recent Star Wars films.

     Overall, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) far exceed our expectations and are far more successful than George Lucas or Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation could have ever anticipated. With the completion of the prequel trilogy and the recent additions of Episode 7, Episode 8 later this year, and Episode 9 in the coming years it is safe to say that the original trilogy (Episodes 4-6) are receiving some much need re-watching from fans. A New Hope is not only the start of one of the biggest franchise in film history but it is also a pioneer in sci-fi films and special effects technology. The actors portray and fit their characters seamlessly in a galaxy that very much believable. Guiness is flawless as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Hamill is great as Luke Skywalker, Ford is awesome as Han Solo, and Fisher is beautifully strong as Princess Leia. Of course, my favorite character is Darth Vader who is not only an imposing sight physically (David Prowse) but his commanding voice (James Earl Jones) will haunt the memories of countless of star-struck fans of both children and adults. As always, Star Wars is a highly recommended must see film and even if you’re not into sci-fi films it is still a classic worth seeing.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Film (2016)
Star Wars Episode IV: New Hope (1977)
Star Wars Episode V: Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Star Wars Episode I: Phantom Menace (1999)
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clone Wars (2002)
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)

Star Wars Episode IX (TBA)

"The Force is strong with this one."
- Darth Vader 

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  4.5 of 5 star
Worth Buying:  4.5 of 5 stars

I hope you liked this post, subscribe to my blog via email HERE, send in your comments, and watch Star Wars IV: New Hope (1977),

Movies Similar 
John Carter (2012)
Rogue One (2016)
Star Trek 1 (2009)
Star Trek 2: Into Darkness (2013)
Star Trek 3: Beyond (2016)
Star Wars I: Phantom Menace (1999)
Star Wars II: Attack of the Clone Wars (2002)
Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Star Wars V: Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)

Cast & Crew
Directed & Written by George Lucas
Music by John Williams     
Cinematography by Gilbert Taylor
Production Design by John Barry         
Art Direction by Leslie Dilley and Norman Reynolds
Set Decoration by Roger Christian         
Costume Design by John Mollo  

Mark Hamill                            ...        Luke Skywalker
Harrison Ford                        ...        Han Solo
Carrie Fisher                           ...        Princess Leia Organa
Peter Cushing                         ...        Grand Moff Tarkin
Alec Guinness                         ...        Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi
Anthony Daniels                     ...        C-3PO
Kenny Baker                            ...        R2-D2
Peter Mayhew                         ...        Chewbacca
David Prowse                         ...        Darth Vader
Phil Brown                               ...        Uncle Owen
Shelagh Fraser                       ...        Aunt Beru
Jack Purvis                              ...        Chief Jawa
Alex McCrindle                       ...        General Dodonna
Eddie Byrne                             ...        General Willard
Drewe Henley                         ...        Red Leader 
Denis Lawson                         ...        Red Two (Wedge)
Garrick Hagon                        ...        Red Three (Biggs)
Jack Klaff                                 ...        Red Four (John D.)
William Hootkins                  ...        Red Six (Porkins)
Angus MacInnes                     ...        Gold Leader
Jeremy Sinden                        ...        Gold Two
Graham Ashley                       ...        Gold Five
Don Henderson                     ...        General Taggi
Richard LeParmentier         ...        General Motti
Leslie Schofield                      ...        Commander #1

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