This is posting the day after a terrific weekend that started with Free Comic Book Day 2014 and ended with Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you).
The very first movie I ever saw in the theaters was Star Wars (back then it was not referred to as Episode IV: A New Hope). This movie left an indelible impression on my life that has stuck with me for many years. It was fun, exciting, well written, and something very new that paved the way for all science fiction movies to come.
I will give just a brief opinion without spoilers (not sure if there is anyone left who has not watched these movies or at least knows all the details about them) of all six movies starting with the original trilogy.
Episode IV: A New Hope – Simply WOW. As a little kid my parents figured this movie kind of “flew” over me since I did not react much to our first viewing. When we went to see it a second time I was giving a scene by scene replay of the majority of the movie before anything even occurred on the screen. This movie impacted a lot of ’70’s/’80’s kids in a positive way and I was no exception. I actually feel this movie led to my eventual love of Star Trek since it really opened my eyes to the excitement of science fiction.
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – For most original trilogy fans this is the best in the series and I can see why. It really delved in to the background of this universe and gave us some very shocking and impactful moments. From beginning to end it was exciting and getting to meet Yoda and Lando Calrissian was the icing on the cake.
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi – This was my absolute favorite of the 3 original movies and one of my favorite movies period. It was exciting from start to finish and I do not find the Ewoks annoying at all. It had a great ending that really wrapped up the storyline and was a very fitting conclusion in my opinion.
One brief aside…the above opinions are based on the original, un-bastardized versions of the movies. The repeated Special Editions were unnecessary and blasphemous in my not-so-humble opinion. Especially when they added in a Force-Ghost version of Hayden Christensen to ROTJ.
Which leads me too (drum roll please)…the recent trilogy.
Hmmm…I was very excited when these movies were announced, but overall disappointed. And no, it is not because of some wistful look back at when I was a child (I feel the two recent Star Trek remakes are terrific), it is because they are not as good as the original movies.
Episode I: The Phantom Menace – I was so excited to see this. I just knew it was going to be great. Oh well, that is what I get for blind faith. The extreme CGI took out the organic feeling of Star Wars that made it so appealing. The acting was overall wooden. Jar Jar Binks was just plain stupid. Jake Lloyd’s Anakin Skywalker was an embarrasment and almost destroyed Darth Vader’s mythos. That kid is the worst child actor in history and should be shunned for all time. I liked Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jinn, but thought the character was wasted. Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi was so-so, but that will change in the next movie. Ray Park’s Darth Maul was the best thing in that movie, but still felt wasted. Not a good start to modern Star Wars movies.
Episode II: Attack of the Clones – Better than the first, but still not as good as any of the originals. Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Queen Amidala got increasingly better in these movies, but was overall wooden. For such a good actress she did not really seem to give any effort in this trilogy. Hayden Christensen as an older Anakin is better than Lloyd, but still made the future Darth Vader look like a pansy. McGregor really owned the character of Obi-Wan in this movie. He really seemed to understand the character better and did a great job. I enjoyed learning more about the future Boba Fett and how the Stormtroopers came to be. Overall, it was better than Episode I, but still not worthy of the Star Wars name.
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith – The best of the new trilogy by far. Christensen was much more convincing in his role. Obi-Wan got to kick some serious butt and we got to witness some key Star Wars lore that was hinted at in the original trilogy. If the effort that was put in to this film was put in to the previous two, we could have gotten a trilogy that may have rivaled the original films, but that was not meant to be.
I for one cannot wait for Episode VII. I feel that J.J. Abrams will do an excellent job with the franchise and make us forget about Episodes I-III. If he does not, he should be banned from making movies ever again.