It's time for the movie that started it all! A New Hope, or as the OT fans would say, just Star Wars. Most people would agree this movie is nearly perfect, so here are my meager thoughts about it.
A few thoughts:
-I don't think I could recount the number of times I have seen this movie, and it never gets old. It is hard to say that about many movies in history.
-Thanks to Disney+ I transitioned right from watching Rogue One into the beginning of A New Hope. The continuity is perfect, but the difference in film making style is quickly apparent.
-I am actually a fan of many of the changes made in the Special Edition. The addition of more fighters at the Death Star battle and the establishing shots of Mos Eisley on Tatooine add a lot to the movie. On the other hand, I do not love the silly CG shots of rontos and droids in Mos Eisley and that heinous scene between Jabba and Han in Docking Bay 94.
This scene is not terrible until Han walks behind Jabba and steps on his tail. The reason for the weirdness is because Jabba was played by a human originally and Han walks around him. When digital Jabba was edited in, the only way to solve the problem was have Han step on the tail. The edit is terrible and ruins the whole scene.
-I use this movie in my classes to help teach the Hero's Journey because it aligns so closely with Joseph Campbell's research. It is always interesting to watch students react who have never seen it before.
-I had the privilege of watching A New Hope with a live symphony orchestra earlier this year, and it took my appreciation for the music and sound design to an even higher level. The experience helped me think about the conscious choices that had to be made about when to include music and when to let the sound take over.
-There are lots of X-Wings, and if you read my previous post, you know I love X-Wings.
-The march at the end of the movie is one of my favorite pieces of music in all soundtrack history. Everything about it gives me joy.
A few memories:
-Many people can share their first Star Wars movie memory, but for me I cannot pinpoint any specific moment when I first watched it. I mainly remember having picture books around the house and playing with my older cousins' toys as an introduction to the saga.
-So much of my childhood (and let's be honest, my adulthood also) was wrapped up in Star Wars. We hunted for used toys at garage sales or got hand-me-downs from my cousins. I poured over the storybooks with stills from the movie and waited to watch it when we could record it on a VHS tape from the broadcast airing. I was technically born outside of the prime range of the first wave of Star Wars fans, but I caught a lot of it second hand through my dad and cousins.
-Now, I am building my own memories with my kids surrounding the movies and showed A New Hope to my son this past spring. There is definitely a joy in sharing something you love with the people you love.
It is hard to believe that this movie is over 40 years old and still holds up so well. In 40 more years, I am confident people will still be talking about it and praising its many merits. Next up, the greatest sequel ever to grace film!
If you don't know me or haven't figured out from various parts of this website, I am a huge Star Wars fan. I do not shy away from wearing it proudly on my sleeve (and socks, ties, shoes, belts, watches, etc.). With the final episode in the Skywalker saga coming soon, I of course have to celebrate somehow. AMC Theatres are doing a 27 hour marathon starting the day before release day, but I am getting too old to sit through that much time in a theater, let alone go through the pain of taking a day off of work. What I can do, however, is an 8-week movie marathon, starting with Episode I and working my way one movie per week leading up to release day. On this space, I will share some of my thoughts and memories associated with each movie at the end of the week.
All images are courtesy of www.starwarsscreencaps.com
First up: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
A Few Thoughts:
-The design work on Phantom Menace is incredible, and I really enjoy the visuals on a lot of the scenes that involve the juxtaposition of the technological Trade Federation with the idyllic green scenery of Naboo.
-All of the establishing shots of Naboo and the capital city Theed are a fantastic use of CG animation.
-Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor are a great combo and make this movie watchable.
-Harrison (5 yo) watched this movie for the first time with me, and I noticed that the pacing is strange for a supposed kids movie. The beginning and end are action packed, but the middle is full of politics and lots of talking. He was definitely starting to check out in the middle of the movie.
-Jar Jar Binks is still goofy and kind of annoying, but I respect the actor for doing the best he could with the role.
-The podrace is still one of the best scenes in the movie, especially as I see more and more direct correlations between this scene and the chariot race scene from the original Ben-Hur movie.
A Few Memories
-I mostly remember that I got the privilege of seeing this movie before the rest of the general population. A friend of mine worked at a movie theater and invited me to the employees and family preview show a couple hours before the first official show. I was his "brother." As we walked out of the theater, the line to get into the midnight show went the length of the whole parking lot.
-I left the theater feeling mostly positive about the movie and did not see all the negative reaction until later. The internet was still in its very early days and news/reviews did not travel as quickly as today.
-I was very excited for Star Wars merchandise to hit stores again, and I have distinct memories of eyeing the pre-movie release Battle Droid and STAP deluxe action figure. I still have that toy.
Next week: Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Is it good? Have my thoughts on it changed? Check back to find out!
I love my family and this is the place to find all of the adventures we experience.