There are so few movies that have such a massive fan following so, in celebration of May the 4th, we’re going to talk about one of the most loved films of all time, Star Wars: A New Hope. This flew onto our screens in 1977 and still holds tight to so many of our hearts with a force choke like grip. But, is it still any good?
I really can’t say that enough! A million times, yes. George Lucas’s amazing creation is so iconic, so beautifully crafted, and absolutely transcends time. Audiences back in the day loved it and the epic amount of merchandise that is still available in stores is a testament to how well it has stood the test of time. It hit screens in October ’77 and by the end of November, it had taken the metaphorical Lightsaber to Jaws on the all-time box office charts.
For those of us amongst us who have been living under a rock, A New Hope centres around the story of Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), being taken hostage by the Imperial Forces, under the orders of the evil sith lord, Darth Vader (David Prowse), to try and put a stop to the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Enter the heroes, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and the captain of the Millennium Falcon (Harrison Ford), Han Solo, along with droids R2-D2 and C-3PO who attempt to rescue the princess, aid the rebel alliance and restore freedom to the galaxy.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t remember a time before Star Wars. Admittedly, I was born nearly 10 years after the release of A New Hope, but I would love to go back and watch myself watch this movie for the first time. I think I would look something like this:
In essence, this is a film with universal archetypes – the hero’s journey – it has good guys to love, bad guys to hate, a hot princess who needs to be rescued, and, thanks to its constant updates by George Lucas (hands off dude!), it looks more and more CGI enhanced every time it’s re-released so the graphics do get better the older you get. Fans are begging for a digital copy of the original print to be released because sadly, there isn’t one to be had, so I watched the “despecialised” edition for this (more information here) to get as close to what I would have seen back in the day.
Thankfully, it’s not about the look of the film but the characters, and, importantly, the performances of the actors behind them that make this film stand the test of time. Who knew a droid could have such emotional range?!?
It’s not just the characters that make you love this film though – every time I watch it, I’m struck by how beautifully scored the movie is, and that music is almost as iconic as the film itself. It’s epic, it’s perfectly timed and without the timeless work of John Williams, I’m not sure that A New Hope would have held up as well as it has.
Since 1977 there have been so many imitators, so many players in the sci-fi genre but none have come close to how amazing this film was and still is. If your kids haven’t seen it, show it to them. If you’re an adult and you haven’t seen it, we can’t be friends. Do yourself a favour – see it immediately.
Oh, and Han totally shot first.