Happy Star Wars Day! Don’t be alarmed, I WILL be reviewing all of these movies separately somewhere down the road. However because it is May the 4th, I figured it would be fun to do short little paragraph reviews of all 6 movies. There will be no summaries, no major talk on characters. Just general movie talk. How does it fit in with the rest of the saga? What are my overall thoughts?
Some background: I’ve seen the original trilogy countless times. I was brought up a Star Wars fan, and in the midst of the newer trilogy, I was always in the theater watching them (for better or worse). Star Wars is in my blood.
My Husband and I are watching them in what I believe is called the “revised” order (if we decide to cut out Ep. 1 it will be called the “Machete” order). It’s designed to be an order that doesn’t ruin the surprises and magic of the original trilogy. A lot of die-hard Star Wars fans say that this order makes the saga better, and is a good way to introduce the saga to children. What you do (if you’ve never heard of this) is watch IV and V first: you still get the surprise of Vadar being Luke’s father, Yoda existing, etc. Then, after, you watch (I), II, and III as a flash back on Vadar’s life, with I being optional. Then you watch VI as a wrap up. Any questions?
Good. Here we go!
Episode IV: A New Hope
What a great start to a great saga. This movie is exciting, quirky, fun, hilarious and full of adventure. We get introduced to some great characters, have some epic one-liners, and I have to say the banter between Han, Luke and Leia is still great in this movie. Although made in 1977, it holds up quite well. I don’t mind the changes Lucas made in this movie in adding in a few CGI characters and backgrounds to Mos Eisley and other parts on Tatooine. Personally, I think they add to the atmosphere and make it seem like it really is another planet vs some random desert in Africa. I do have to say this movie always feels a bit long to me. I always manage to lose my attention after they escape from the Star Destroyer and rescue Leia. I dunno if I’ve just seen it too many times or what. Still a great start. On to the next!
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
I love that in this movie the empire gets vengeance. If the good guys were on top all the time, it wouldn’t be as interesting. We’re left not with a happy ending like A New Hope, but loose ends that need tying. I love that. Personally, this movie is much better than the last. I know more of the lines, and for me it’s more memorable. Sure it doesn’t have as much banter between our characters, and Luke has a different storyline than the others, but it’s just as enjoyable. We get world building and mythos building with Yoda(!!) and of course the brilliant reveal of Vadar as Luke’s father. Again the changes with CGI aren’t distracting, and in fact they add again to the worlds, especially at Cloud City. I love that this movie is darker, but still not super serious. Great great great. Next up!
Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Ah yes the black sheep in the Star Wars world. I don’t have the same issues with this movie as everyone else seems to have. Yes Jar Jar is annoying and pointless. Yes Jake Lloyd is wooden, but I don’t think he’s that bad. My biggest qualms with this movie are that 1) Dear sweet lord this movie feels SOO long. 2) It’s not as funny 3) The characters are not as good in general, 4) The plot is actually very difficult to completely understand. There are choices that are stupidly done. The few stand outs in this movie are Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor, and the animation. this was 1999. This CGI is stunning. Other than establishing a few random things like Anakin’s mother and how Palpatine was elected, it’s sort of pointless. It could have been the start of something so interesting, but nothing builds. Everything is happy at the end and nothing really carries over (i mean come on, they could have let darth maul get away at least to tie the two movies together and have a sort of central threat besides the chancellor/sith lord. I think I’m definitely going to cut this one out when I show them to my kids. It’s pointless.*
Episode II: Attack of the Clones
This one is so much better than Episode I. We have better action, it seems to move quicker (although it’s actually longer in running time), and we actually seem to get to know our characters a little better, and there is better development for Obi Wan, Anakin (especially) and Padme. It has a few good humor moments, and a few REALLY bad ones (oh dear sweet lord the puns!). This plot is still really all over the place, although it is easier to follow. We have two story lines: one with Obi Wan, and one with Anakin and Padme. The dialog is only horrible in certain parts of this movie (Any scene with Anakin and Padme almost makes me cringe… almost – it’s worse in Revenge of the Sith though…). It has a lot of good action and there are moments when I feel it comes close to the original trilogy. Plus, Yoda using a light saber is freaking awesome. Next one!
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Finally. Lucas actually knew what he was doing with this movie. This plot is finally cohesive. We get amazing feelings. Anakin becomes a tragic tale. You actually understand why he does what he does. It’s for love. I either cried or was at the edge of my seat almost the entire movie. Sure some of the dialog is awful. My god, it’s like nails on a chalkboard every time Anakin and Padme have a scene together and have to talk about love. But honestly? I don’t care. This is freaking Anakin turning into Darth Vadar. So many things had to come together in this movie, and they did. It’s depressing and scary, because even though we always saw his dark side, we actually grew to like Anakin. We grew to root for him, all the while knowing what would happen. This one has no humor, but it’s not supposed to. It’s different. It’s dark. And it’s good. Let’s go, next!!
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
This is arguably my favorite movie out of all of them (Yeah I know i’m in the minority on that). I’m probably one of the few people alive who doesn’t hate the ewoks. This movie doesn’t have as much banter and arguments as the other two in the original trilogy, but what it lacks in that it makes up for with a great feeling of the bond these characters now have. Don’t get me wrong, there is some banter, and there still are a ton of dark moments, but this movie is a bit more dark than Episode V. That being said this is much lighter than the Episode III by far. I’m also extremely struck how well this movie works after Episode III. Early on we have Yoda die, and the talk with Luke and Obi Wan about Vadar and his sister. This means so much more now that we know Yoda better, and Anakin better. It’s actually kinda cool. I can’t really explain why I like this movie the best. Maybe it’s because it’s the end, and it’s happy. Maybe it’s because Vadar is redeemed. I don’t know. It’s just fun, and I thoroughly enjoy it.
This day has been extremely long, but my husband and I both thoroughly enjoyed our Star Wars marathon. This order really is a good order to watch them in. I think next time, we’ll ditch Episode I completely. It really doesn’t fit in, and you wouldn’t miss much if anything at all*
I’m really interested to see what Disney does with Episode VII. I actually think it has the potential to be really good. The cast seems awesome, and now we have people who watched these movies as execs in charge and as writers. I think it’s going to be great. I can’t wait.
Up Next: The Rescuers (1977): Back onto Disney Animation!
* While my husband and I were talking about the prequel trilogy and how much Episode I does not fit in and how Episode II really just feels like a parade of bad guys, an idea for how Lucas could have fixed it struck me. So in my mind I rewrote the first and part of the second movie. Really, it’s just one change: they needed to have a central bad guy for the whole prequel trilogy other than Palpatine. So what I thought was that we could have a character like Darth Maul. Let’s say he doesn’t die at the end of the first one. He kills Qui Gon and escapes. Obi Wan is left with hatred in his heart and in the 2nd one, he has to deal a little with staving off the Dark side while hunting down Darth Maul. This leads him to Camino, where he finds the clones, and eventually to Geonosis. Here, he meets Darth Maul again, where we find out he’s actually a disfigured former Jedi. Let the movie continue, and Darth Maul takes the place of Dooku and doesn’t die until the beginning of Episode III. Sure there’s issues, but it was just an idea I had. Because honestly? in episode II, the whole Jengo Fett thing seems really random and pointless. Like he included him just because he could. So what do you y’all think?