It may have been a long time ago and in a galaxy far, far away, but “Star Wars” became an instant classic by feeling so close to home, so human, despite that. In all the intricacies of its universe that fans and not fans everywhere can indulge in to whatever level they choose, it’s really the basic story, the longing for adventure and the never-ending quest to discover one’s destiny that makes “Star Wars” more than just the first real intergalactic science fiction film.
Of course it all starts with the science-fiction. We are captivated by the world that creator George Lucas begins forming around us as the film progresses and we are instantly curious about all the lore that surrounds it. From the origin of the mysterious Darth Vader, lord of the Galactic Empire, to the stories of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Clone Wars, there is so much we want to know about. In addition, the special effects, stylized space crafts, lavish costumes, and excessive rubber that make up for a galaxy’s worth of creatures all expand our imagination beyond what we thought was possible.
Most importantly, we see it all through the eyes of a naive, baby-faced farmboy named Luke Skywalker, a soon-to-be hero in the making, a boy ready to be whisked into a world that we all wish we could be whisked into. Luke is our access point to learning about this world that we are awed by but do not yet understand. It is his character and his journey that makes “Star Wars” universal, and not just in the intergalactic sense.
Topping it all off is a score by John Williams that simply redefined the role of music in film. His various themes and variations help draw yet another bridge from the film to our emotions. Though what we see in “Star Wars” is foreign, what we hear is somewhat familiar and comforting in a way.
“A New Hope” is far from perfect, seeing as George Lucas can’t write anything but plot-driven and emotionally bland dialogue, but the “Star Wars” universe and the colorful cast of characters he put in it is something so special that some of those generally elemental things can be excused for the sheer creative genius. While what truly makes “A New Hope” special are the films that follow it, the seeds of brilliance were planted and well-cared for.
Published October 2008
Written and Directed by George Lucas
Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness