A New Hope (IV) – Majestic storytelling; one of cinematic history’s most influential blockbusters. 9.3/10. /// The Empire Strikes Back (V) – Dark & chilling work-of-art, redefined sequels. 9.7/10. /// ROTJ (VI)-Mixed trilogy finale; Ewoks & paradox. 6/10
Ep. IV: A New Hope – 9.3/10
Review: The movie that started it all. Theorized as a one-off that would never get enough of a following to warrant even a sequel, but kick-starting one of the biggest franchises in history making over $37 Billion, A New Hope changed cinema with heartfelt, bold, clean-cut, & meticulously crafted storytelling magic brought to life by Hamill, Fisher, and Ford.
Synopsis: 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.
Most Memorable Moment(s): 1. Opening fight on the ship, 2. Ending ceremony
Pros: Great CGI even for the time, phenomenal score and opening music by John Williams that remains one of the best and most universally recognizable scores of All-Time, deft storytelling with richly-written, developed, and acted characters and a simplified but still magical tone, pacing, and motif fantasy films have been trying to replicate ever since, Mark Hamill steals the show as our charismatic and investable-in hero Luke as well as Vader of course, Carrie Fisher’s gorgeous and captivating Princess Leia, and the most intriguing character and one of the most intriguing characters in film history in Harrison Ford’s cocky, grinned, complex Han Solo, sheer impact and importance – this movie changed cinema and kick-started the entire fantasy film genre as we know it today and the entire Star Wars franchise that was theorized to never even get a following big enough to warrant a sequel – if this movie failed no one would probably even know what one of the most instantly recognizable names in the world in Star Wars is which is crazy to ponder and alone catapults it to All-Time legend status for how much it changed history and still stacks up today even 40 years later, Leia, Luke, and Han the original dream team and one of the greatest and most iconic main character trio with believable interactions and great team chemistry and teamwork, epic ending and thrilling action in the starship scene, great feel-good ending with John Williams’ hopeful, magic score that leaves you smiling uncontrollably and feeling like a kid again leaving the theater/when the credits roll,
Cons: Guinness’ Obi-Wan good but not as perfect as McGregor-less charismatic, energetic, & captivating, Sand people a little childish & of course the Han Shot First fiasco, some ponderous plot points like Obi-Wan strolling the Death Star unnoticed and Vader actually doing the dirty work of shooting in a starship & having an awkward lightsaber fight style
Overall Rating: 9.3/10
Ep. V: The Empire Strikes Back – 9.4/10
Review: Chilling, dark, & unforgettable, The Empire Strikes Back is the ultimate Star Wars experience and delivers everything we go to the movies for: drama, romance, spectacle, emotion, shocking reveals, impeccable scoring, chilling cinematography, atmospheric tension, and the bold decision not to play it safe and shake things up forever
Synopsis: The adventure continues in this “Star Wars” sequel. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) face attack by the Imperial forces and its AT-AT walkers on the ice planet Hoth. While Han and Leia escape in the Millennium Falcon, Luke travels to Dagobah in search of Yoda. Only with the Jedi master’s help will Luke survive when the dark side of the Force beckons him into the ultimate duel with Darth Vader (David Prowse).
Most Memorable Moment(s): 1. “Luke, I am your father” of course, 2. Luke’s Jedi training with Yoda, 3. Encounter with the yeti in the cave, 4. Starship fighters with the Walkers
Pros: Chilling cinematography in an even wider palette of location settings like Hoth’s ice world to asteroid caves to Yoda’s home planet, thoroughly developed characters as the interplay between Han, Luke, and Leia further explored, some of the other most iconic Star Wars moments of All-Time like the starship fights with the walkers in the snow (still absolutely thrilling to this day), Luke’s encounter with the yeti in the cave, our first encounter with Yoda, and of course “Luke I am your father” (one of the biggest and most respectable plot twists in the history of cinema for how much it shook up the franchise and turned the story on its head, delivers really everything we go to the movies for: drama (this is a space opera after all), romance in a fascinating triangle between Luke, Leia, and Han, spectacle and spectacular visuals and locations, emotion and shocking re eals especially in the big Luke revelation, atmospheric tension, impeccable scoring again by John Williams with not only the iconic Star Wars theme but an equally iconic Imperial March, and the bold decision not to play it safe and shake up the story completely with a dark ending reinventing both what Star Wars could be and should be setting a precedent that many (countless) sequels have tried to replicate with sequels darker and more out for shocks in response to how well it worked for ESB, hopeful and rich storytelling with things like Luke’s Jedi training and learning the ways and mystery of the Force, more diversity with thankfully at least some people of color making the screen like Lando, Vader much darker and more powerful not holding back and fights better in lightsaber duels correcting some of my biggest problems from the A New Hope as he seemed weaker there, thrilling action scenes like the Vader vs. Luke duel, technically wondrous in things like its camera movement and shot set-ups as well as using its somewhat limited-by-the-times resources to incredible lengths, dark ending still achieves chills decades later & even after it’s spoiled 2-3 movies earlier – testament to the skill of the directors/writers and one I can imagine turned the world on its head in 1980
Cons: Yoda a little goofy & weird in this iteration (especially after seeing how much of a badass he was in prequels), Luke falling after the reveal & surviving pretty unbelievable
Overall Rating: 9.4/10
Ep. VI: Return of the Jedi – 8.5/10
Review: Ending the original trilogy in mostly satisfying (albeit less majestic) fashion, Return of the Jedi, although sometimes overly childish & distracted in storytelling, does justice to the Star Wars mythology & completes one of the greatest movie trilogies ever.
Synopsis: Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) battles horrible Jabba the Hut and cruel Darth Vader to save his comrades in the Rebel Alliance and triumph over the Galactic Empire. Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) reaffirm their love and team with Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), the Ewoks & the androids C-3PO and R2-D2 to aid in the disruption of the Dark Side and the defeat of the evil emperor.
Most Memorable Moment: 1. Forest speedracing, 2. Ending with the ghosts, 3. Final Luke vs. Vader rematch
Pros & Cons will be filled in soon
Overall Rating: 8.5/10