Star Wars. I first discovered this movie one night on television when I was about ten or eleven. And it blew my mind. A life? Out in Space? I didn’t get to see any of the original films at the movies, but I did buy them on VCR, and I watched them, and watched them, and watched them until the tapes stretched and I had to buy new ones. By then DVD’s were popular and George Lucas, in his infinite wisdom, had touched up and added scenes into the original movies, making them even more exciting – so I got the DVD set, and then purchased the next set of movies. They weren’t anywhere near as good as the original three (which became the last three…???!).
But then… they decided to further the franchise and Disney (who brought the rights) have decided to make, perhaps, another 4 movies. I did see the Force Awakens at the movies. Fu@king WOW! That was a visual feast of luciousness if ever I saw it.
Since there are 7 movies currently out, which are my top 5? Here we go.
5 – Episode One – the Phantom Menace.
I really didn’t like any of the first three. Why? Because they were too computerised. George Lucas pioneered a lot of CGI work in the Star Wars movies, but they took them to an extreme in the first three movies and most of the movies were CGI generated, giving them an almost cartoon-like quality. While it is interesting to get the backstory to the original movies (Episode 4, 5 and 6), they were too fantastical and far fetched. However, I did like the concept of learning about the original Anakin, and in this movie he was a boy. The story concept is great, and the start of the tension within the empire / republic / senate / whatever else you want to call it is very interesting, and political.
Good things about the Phantom Menace – Ewan McGregor as the young Obiwan Kenobi and Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn
4. Episode Five – The Empire Strikes Back
I liked this movie, but it wasn’t a stand alone like Star Wars was, but then Star Wars was only meant to be one story. I didn’t like the way they ended it with Han being frozen in carbonite (or whatever it was), because Princess Leia was in love with him, and it just wasn’t fair (I have a strong sense of injustice!). However, we learnt more about Luke and his father, Anakin Skywalker – or Darth Vader as he now was. And we learnt that Luke had a sister.
George took what he learnt in Star Wars and created more high tech computer graphics and this movie was more sensational than the first. The special effects drew most people, because it hadn’t been done on such a grand scale as it was being done on this movie.
3. Episode Six – Return of the Jedi
A triumphant ending to the original three movies. All the lose ends were wrapped up in a tidy bundle while providing lots of action and excitement. Vader died, and the Rebel Alliance won. The republic / empire is overthrown! Yay. We meet Jabba the Hut (who eventually appears in the original Star Wars movie) and we learn more about the complicated relationship that is Luke, Leia and Vader (which we learn about in the first three movies. Confused yet?)
The special effects were amazing. There were sand monsters, vehicles that hovered over the sand, and who can forget Leia in a bikini (probably more memorable than the bagel bun hairstyle).
2. Star Wars (or Star Wars: Episode Four – A New Hope)
The original movie that started it all, with bagel bun hairdoes, long flowing outfits, gungho desperadoes, a despondent boy, a jedi master in hiding, and a cast and crew of aliens. This movie was the start of a whole new life for me. A life of intrigue, space, science fiction and everything in between. What I loved about the movie was the originality, and even when George Lucas re-edited it for the 25th anniversary, it was still so damned original and good. It was essentially a story about good vs evil, and good always win. It was a story about a young man who takes on a large empire and took it down. A man who was learning about his own destiny, and mostly it was the creation of The Force, a power that surrounds us and makes us and using the force could control things around you.
1. Episode Six – The Force Awakens.
30 years after The Return of the Jedi, a new story is coming together. Two people, so distant from each other are joined together – and they discover things about themselves.
What did they do right with this movie? The producers / directors went back to the basics. They concentrated on human actors, not CGI. We see the return of Han and Leia, and Luke – but there is tragedy and sadness in this movie. I can’t talk about it here, but I am looking forward to seeing how Kylo Ren, Rae and Finn all fit in together. There have been comparisons with A New Hope, there is a canteena scene, there is a “Giant superstation” just like the death star – except larger – but the story is different. We don’t know who Rae is, or how she is connected to any of the original characters. My son and I have theories, and we disagree with each other.
I can’t wait to see how Disney is going to progress this story – and sadly they have only just started filming the Eighth episode – but I am definitely going to see it. Lets hope it lives up to its hype.