Movie Review: Star Wars – The Original Trilogy (1977-1983)

Watch the collective trailer for the trilogy here:

I knew I was missing out on an experience that was one of its kind because I hadn’t watched the Star Wars movies. Things came to a head with the impending release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and I finally knew I had to watch them. I know I am late to the party, almost gatecrashing it. But what a party it is!

So in honor of the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I will be uploading reviews of all Star Wars movies, one a day. However, I will be clubbing my movies of the original and prequel trilogy movies as follows:

  • Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, and Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi under Star Wars – The Original Trilogy (1977-1983), which is this post.
  • Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith under Star Wars – The Prequel Trilogy (1999-2005), which will follow this post.

The remaining movies, Star Wars: Episode VII –The Force Awakens, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will have reviews of their own.

*

I went in to the Star Wars trilogy with a lot of expectations. The hype surrounding the franchise was great. The most I knew of the trilogy was a few characters’ names, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo being the most prominent. I was also confused as to what sequence I should follow while watching these movies. But then, it’s as simple as learning the alphabet. You start from the first movie that was released. A no-brainer, really.

Thus it was that I began watching Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with Star Wars. The first one was enough to influence me to a great extent.

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977):

Following Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, R2-D2, C-3PO, and Chewbacca through this unexpectedly successful movie was an absolute delight. When one movie in a franchise makes you want to watch more, you know it is a resounding success.

The Rebellion has the Death Star plans and must now escape the Empire whose army is led by Lord Darth Vader. But Vader and his storm troopers capture Leia, just before she sends a holographic message to Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi and the plans through an astrotech called R2-D2 and a droid called C-3PO. Obi-Wan now lives on a planet called Tatooine where Luke Skywalker also lives with his uncle, and the arrival of R2-D2 and C-3PO sets into motion a series of events that being Luke to the forefront of a galactic battle against the Empire.

The first thought that came to me when I started watching this movie was related to the effects. Star Wars: A New Hope released in 1977, but the effects the makers used were so good, everything looked as close to reality as today’s CGI can make them look. The first movie itself was absolutely jaw-dropping for me. So imagine my delight when I started on the second one, which is supposedly the best in the series.

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back:

The Empire obviously doesn’t take well to being slighted by Luke Skywalker and his friends. So they start hunting the rebels down, resulting in them needing to evacuate the planet of Hoth where they have taken refuge. While Han leads his friends to Cloud City, which is now under the governance of Lando Calrissian, who Han believes to be a friend, Luke Skywalker, after a request from Obi-Wan, heads to the Dagobah system to receive Jedi training from Yoda, the exiled Jedi master.

Before Skywalker completes his training, he comes to understand that his friends, thanks to Calrissian’s betrayal, have been captured by Darth Vader. He decides to head out to save them, despite Obi-Wan and Yoda’s warnings that he shouldn’t leave his training incomplete. What follows are revelations that are so mind-numbing, they gave me a joy that I cannot quite explain!

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is so much more engaging as they say it is. I loved every part of the movie, from the evolution of the characters to the effects, and the intriguing plotline that gets more compelling with every frame.

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi:

The third instalment in the Star Wars franchise and the sixth episode, when compared to its predecessors, is a little ridiculous, mostly because of the Ewoks.

Han Solo is in Jabba the Hutt’s palace on Tatooine, but his friends, masked, infiltrate the place and free Solo after a brief battle. Luke heads to Dagobah with R2-D2 to find that Yoda is dying. The revelation from The Empire Strikes Back as to Luke’s ancestry is confirmed by Yoda, who adds that there is another Skywalker. Luke realizes who it is, receiving confirmation from Obi-Wan’s spirit.

When the Rebel Alliance gets wind of the new Death Star that’s being built, they build up an army to bring it down. Luke surrenders to Darth Vader, who takes him to the Emperor, who in turn tries convincing Luke that he belongs to the dark side. What happens next will literally blow your mind.

Star Wars: The Original Trilogy – My Thoughts:

Finishing this trilogy was one of the easiest things I have ever done. I say this, because there are very few films that manage to instill the level of awe that Star Wars does with such ease. With its stunning effects, a feat that was accomplished in the late seventies, a time when technology in movies was only getting started, Star Wars established a hold that is quite difficult to beat. George Lucas was way ahead of his time when he set the ball rolling for this out-of-the-world (literally) franchise.

But it is not only the effects that the movies boast about. A gripping storyline, evolved characters, each of whom have their own quirks, and a star cast that made us believe the characters they played – all of these made sure that Star Wars became the most engaging franchise to be ever made.

Popular opinions dictate that Luke, Leia, Han, and Darth Vader count among the most loved Star Wars characters. But I have a different opinion. I think the protocol droid C-3PO has the most brilliant lines of all characters. C-3PO is all of us, thinking, fearing, and talking like a person who wants to be where the action is, but is also scared of taking a misstep. I personally think the character is underrated, because C-3PO has a certain knack of bringing out the truth inside all of us.

So when Han Solo smirks and makes a sarcastic wisecrack, Leia is exasperated at his cockiness, Luke Skywalker is his noble self, R2-D2 beeps away incessantly, C-3PO airs his thoughts without a filter, Chewbacca makes known his feelings with his utterances, and Darth Vader bites out another of his commands to bring the Rebel Alliance down, you know you have the characterizations memorized. You almost see everything coming, but then again, you don’t!

So when I say I am now officially in the Star Wars fandom, I know what it’s all about! It’s the madness, it’s the largesse, it’s the characters, it’s the characterizations, and most of all it’s the futuristic effects that make the franchise what it is! And despite my being late, I am thrilled to be here. Because the party’s just getting started for me!

 

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Picture Courtesy: thelongcenter.org, anakin022.deviantart.com, and europalace.com!

P.S. The half star that I took away was because of the minor annoyance that Ewoks created in Return of the Jedi. But it’s all in jest because it could well be 5/5 once they’ve redeemed themselves. 😉

P.P.S. My chronology of reviews of the movies (as explained in my review of the original trilogy) will look something like this, based on timeline:

  1. Star Wars – The Original Trilogy (1977-1983) – (This post) Because it all started from there.
  2. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – Because it is the chronological sequel to the original trilogy.
  3. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi – Because it is the sequel to episode 7.
  4. Star Wars – The Prequel Trilogy (1999-2005) – It is here that the series jumps back before the events of A New Hope.
  5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Because it is the chronological sequel to the prequel trilogy.

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