A Hyperspace Ride Through The Star Wars Saga: A New Hope (1977)
A classic story of good vs evil which takes narrative roots from early Asian cinema and mythology; young heroes siding with mystical wizards and gunslingers to battle an evil Empire, headed by a haunting, powerful masked figure with legions of troops at his disposal. It sounds crazy on paper, but works perfectly for a classic sci-fi adventure with that B-movie feel and fuels the imagination for fans young and old to experience nothing but escapist adventure. Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han Solo and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia lead the charge against the evil Galactic Empire and a roster of characters as memorable as the performances that bring them to life.
A cast of veteran support show the conviction Lucas had in bringing this story to life and the faith he gave others that this was something special. Alex Guinness as “space wizard” Obi-Wan Kenobi, the physique of David Prowse and voice of James Earl Jones bringing to masked nightmare Darth Vader to life and the acting prowess of Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin were but a few names that easily caught people’s attention.
With passionate performances from all the actors taking what they do and say so seriously, it adds to the charm and the fact you can believe they are all existing in a world so fantastical and alien it doesn’t look or sound false; a factor missing from the early prequels. Every character is full of fun, be it good or evil, and they are so iconic in every way it’s almost too good to be true. The heroes are heroic, the villains and villainous and the practical effects, set design and matte background work is something of a lost art we can fully appreciate here. There is bare minimal blue-screen work and digital effects, with everything being done by Lucas and his talented crew using miniatures, models and good old fashioned stunts.
With a truly rousing score by John Williams and some imaginative production design that takes you to places you could only dream about before CGI dominated the screens and removed the heart from works like this. The charm is evident from this low-budget sci-fi film, from the lighting to the sound design, props and costumes. As nothing like this had ever come before in mainstream cinema, ‘Star Wars’ (as it was originally known) was a breath of fresh air for film fans and captured the heart and minds of young and old audiences.
Featuring exciting space dog-fights thanks to the Rebel and Imperial fighters, deadly shootouts where laser blasts fill the air and a pioneering lightsabre showcase scene, this ticks every box for action, adventure, fantasy and sci-fi that it’s hard to compare. It’s so simple, but works so well, and thanks to the lack of CGI or wooden performances it’s a cut above the prequels like nothing you’ve seen before. A talented cast, a talented crew and bucket loads of understanding and passion for adventure really give us something never seen before, or since. A true classic and defining piece of cinema magic.