Movie Review – “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”

Yes, there are spoilers in this review. If you
haven’t seen this movie, I don’t know why you’re even
reading this site.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker

Harrison Ford as Han Solo

Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa

David Prowse and James Earl Jones as the body and
voice of Darth
Vader

Sir Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi

Kenny Baker as R2-D2

Anthony Daniels as C-3PO

Written and by directed by George Lucas

Music by John Williams

Complete information is available from the
IMDB
.

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past movie reviews can be found here.

Premise

A naive farm boy gets caught up in a galactic
rebellion.

High Point

There are a lot of fun moments in this movie. Still,
the first minute
or two, with John Williams’ fantastic score blaring,
the scroller
moving across the screen, and that Star Destroyer
zooming past are
pretty incredible.

Low Point

Greedo still shoots first.

Comments on the DVD

The Special Editions didn’t look this good on the big
screen. (The
originals probably didn’t either, but I don’t
remember them well
enough to judge. I was in the womb when this was
originally in
theaters.)

Oh, and Babbster needn’t worry. Not only does the
Jabba the Hut scene
end at a chapter stop, it starts at one, too. There
are 50 chapter
stops in this movie, and that scene is chapter 24.
(That’s an average
chapter length of about two and a half minutes.) I’ll
watch
and review the
other two movies later this week. (Hopefully, I’ll
have time
Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday will be a late
night at work, so
Jedi might wait until Friday.)

The Scores

On one hand, this feels original. The
effects were
revolutionary in its original incarnation, and it
showed Hollywood
that there was a completely untapped genre out there,
but it did it by
combining elements that were around for decades but
Hollywood just
forgot how to use. Still, watching this doesn’t feel
like watching
anything but a Star Wars movie. I give it 5 out of
6.

The effects are a mix of models and CGI, and
they don’t mesh
well. Some of the CGI looks better than the Special
Edition stuff,
but it’s still clearly CGI. Also, there seems to be
three distinct
shots (all in the duel with Vader) in which Kenobi’s
lightsaber blade
is purple instead of blue. There’s a lot of great
work here, though,
including the first-ever effect by Industrial Light
and Magic (when
the life pod is ejected at the start of the film.) I
give it 5 out of
6.

The story is simple, but well told. I give
it 4 out of 6.

The acting is weak from Fisher at times, but
the rest of the
cast does well this time out. (Too bad Hamill’s work
doesn’t last
through the sequels.) I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response is marred only by
Greedo pulling the
trigger. The shots are so close together that it’s
probably less than
Han’s reaction time, so you could claim that Han was
going to shoot
anyway. I’d rather see Han shooting just before
Greedo, though. Then
you could argue that he saw Greedo getting ready but
was faster on the
draw, and that Greedo missed because he’d been shot.
(This assumes,
of course, that “Greedo doesn’t shoot at all” isn’t
an option.) I
give it 5 out of 6.

The production was well done. We’ve got
some classic wipes
coming back, and the editing is great everywhere but
when they first
get to Mos Eisley and we’re hit with a series of
“look what we can do
now!” special effects. John Williams’ musical score
is a part of this
category, though, so I don’t think I can give it less
than 6 out of 6.

Overall, this is Star Wars Episode IV: A
New Hope
on
DVD. It’s a better edition than the 1997 one, and in
some ways
superior to the original. I’d love to see a deluxe
package with all
of the versions on the day that home theater
technology can deliver
the same resolution as film, but until then, this
will cover what we
need. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
recieves 35 out of 42.

UPDATED: The first version of this article had the
math wrong on the average length of a chapter. It’s fixed
now.

7 replies on “Movie Review – “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope””

  1. Eldhrin says:

    You missed a mistake or six
    Other than the apparent reversal of the stereo channels for the music in the rear speakers (which you may well miss unless you’re an audio expert or you’re listening for it or like me you just noticed something was odd – or indeed you may miss if you haven’t got a surround sound rig), there were some very dodgy mixing decisions, some of the dialogue shifts quality halfway through sentences and apparently spatial position as well. Fun. Other people have written far more comprehensive complaints about that than I could ever do, but they’re perhaps getting a little silly.

    Major mistake nobody else seems to have noticed though (maybe I’m hallucinating) – in the scene on the Falcon, I’m sure Luke’s lightsaber is green!

    Happily, I only spotted one mistake in Empire Strikes Back, and it’s fairly minor (a sound effect that happens a second or so early, or possibly a visual effect that shouldn’t be there). ESB was put on DVD much, much more effectively. I hope ROJ was too! We shall see…

    • fiziko says:

      Re: You missed a mistake or six

      Other than the apparent reversal of the stereo channels
      for the music in the rear speakers (which you may well
      miss unless you’re an audio expert or you’re listening for
      it or like me you just noticed something was odd – or
      indeed you may miss if you haven’t got a surround sound
      rig), there were some very dodgy mixing decisions, some of
      the dialogue shifts quality halfway through sentences and
      apparently spatial position as well.

      I did notice the dialogue shift, which I attributed to ADR
      masters being of a different quality, which is where it
      usually happens. As for the rear surround, my DVD player
      doesn’t have surround sound output, so I couldn’t tell.
      I’m pretty sure they tweaked Alec Guinness’ first
      pronounciations of “Obi-Wan,” too.

      • Eldhrin says:

        Re: You missed a mistake or six

        I did notice the dialogue shift, which I attributed to ADR
        masters being of a different quality, which is where it
        usually happens. As for the rear surround, my DVD player
        doesn’t have surround sound output, so I couldn’t tell.
        I’m pretty sure they tweaked Alec Guinness’ first
        pronounciations of “Obi-Wan,” too.

        Well I didn’t notice the music in a way I could pin down – I just thought it sounded a bit odd. The dialogue could be explained by the masters being of differing quality, but it’s a shame it’s so obvious to the ear.

  2. y42 says:

    Jabba the rug
    Does Han still walk ON Jabba in the extra CGI scene?

    In the 1997 version, that was particularly horrible…

    • dcheesi says:

      Re: Jabba the rug

      Does Han still walk ON Jabba in the extra CGI scene?

      In the 1997 version, that was particularly horrible…

      Yes, he does. This one thing makes the scene unbearable for me, rather than simply unnecessary. Personally I don’t even think the “new” new Jabba looks better than the previous one, but if he’d removed this one ricidulous element then I would have welcomed the update. Alas, ’tis not to be.

      • Timeshredder says:

        Re: Jabba the rug

        You know, I hated Greedo shooting first, hated Jar Jar, was baffled by the new aliens in the cantina and felt the overly-animated dewbacks were unnecessary (I like the sleepiness of the dewback outside the cantina in the original, even if it resulted from a low budget)–

        But I thought Han walking over Jabba was kinda funny.

  3. Babbster says:

    Watched Yesterday, Mostly Pleased
    I am indeed appreciative of all the chapter stops. More movies and TV shows on DVD need to take note. It’s a little more work during the mastering, but people like me really appreciate it (with TV shows, the main chapter stop I look for is the one right after the title credits – TV shows that don’t do this get annoying when watching multiple episodes in a row).

    Yeah, Greedo still shoots first, but the timing now is such that Han can now be interpreted as planning to shoot regardless.

    Some of the audio was indeed weak – it’s probably been weak all along and it’s just more and more noticeable as the reproduction approaches the ideal. I didn’t notice the music surround reversal despite listening for it and probably wouldn’t have cared anyway – so, the score just sounds fantastic to me.

    I’m very happy to have Star Wars on DVD. It’s been too long coming. :)

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