While I have seen Star
Let me start by saying Star Wars IV should have won an award for the most preposterous cover art of all time. The rippling chest of the Luke Skywalker with the light saber held aloft like an Olympic Torch is some kind of bad joke. The supposedly sexy exposed leg of Princess Leia is more like looking at nude pictures of your sister (and fitting considering how the movie pans out… but NO SPOILERS!) Not a single picture of the Death Star, the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo or Chewbacca. But,I’ll try not to judge a movie too harshly on its cover.
The story is really good, possibly one of the best. The plot traces the beginning of the classic “Hero’s Journey” by Campbell adapted into a well-conceived Sci-Fi universe. The history and mythos of the Star Wars universe was developed before this small story of Luke Skywalker and Friends, and that adds a richness and depth the the story seldom seen nowadays. This is the kind of plot movies used to have before the Hollywood Writer’s Strike, and the advent of ‘reality’ media.
The characters are all strong, and interesting with their own motivations, and distinctive personalities that develop quite well. (For instance: The tension between Skywalker/Leia/Solo.)
Don’t get used to this.
Unfortunately, the pacing is something George Lucas will fight with through the remainder of this series and never perfect. Some parts drag on forever, and then some parts blast by so fast that you will look to see if someone isn’t sitting on the remote control, and mashing the FFWD button. Plot jumps in this movie would set Olympic records. The time between Princess Leia’s rescue and the arrival of the Death Star at the Rebel Base is about, oh, thirty seconds or so. And how exactly does the Death Star follow the Millennium Falcon through hyperspace? No time to dwell on that, Scramble the X-Wings!
The CG is top-notch for a movie made in 1977. What was the competition? Dr Who? Lost In Space? They had nothing on this movie. Any glitches in Episode IV are negligible when compared to what it must have taken to make the FX in this movie happen. This is exactly why it is hard to rate this movie now, because it was so ahead of it’s time then, but the technology is so outdated now. I heard an interview with George Lucas where he said one reason he started with the fourth movie in the series was that it was the least technical in terms of FX, and that the technology just wasn’t there to pull the other movies off, but that’s a load of donkey bollocks. I suspect that Episode IV was just a better plot than Episode I (come to think of it, I’m certain of it.) and more likely to pull in producer funding.
If I time-warped back to 1977, I would have given Episode IV a 10 out of 10. The minor issues are heavily outweighed by the originality of the story and the good use of FX. If this movie were released today, probably an 8, mostly because it would lose it’s +2 bonus for being ahead of its time.