Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Star Wars" (1977) - Movie Review

So I did it. I finally watched the “Star Wars” or its new regenerated title “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”. Apparently it is the cult status of the American culture and all the Television series I have watched so far always has a reference to it. I have seen the film through bits and pieces in a garbled fashion in the cable channels back in India but never had the motivation to see the full feature. With my boss providing the first three of the franchise, it is long due and expectedly not great, yet was an interesting view. Because it has become more than a film and wandered as an element or gag for the conversations. It has become a common language and a bridge for the vacuous silence in different cultures and despite its suffocatingly cheesy ending, this was fun. This would also be a tough film to review as it has attained an enormous status than an ordinary film. But I sure had tons of issues with it.

Going through the story is a wasteful exercise. I am sure there are only few of my kind existing in this universe who have not seen this film. Anyways, to cruise through my qualms and the experience of connecting through the dots of zillions of Star Wars references till this time, I need to venture into the scenes and stories a little bit. So this young dude called Luke (Mark Hamill) is the farm boy been chosen to deliver this droid R2-D2 which has the information of the “Death Star” destructive ship to the rebel force. Rebel force is good as the preface for the film says. Galactic force which owns this weapon is “evil”. How one word suffices to create a villain is mind blowing but understandable.

The greatest thing about this film was the breathtaking effects. Hands down one of the best effects in those times to witness. It is purely a fest for the viewers. The down side though is that it is the only greatest part of the film. It has characters which typically are droids. They do their roles of active kid, outlaw self consumed warrior Han (Harrison Ford) and a spirited lead lady Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). To complete the circle of these standing machines of roles are the deadly killer villain Darth Vader (voice of James Earl Jones) and the wise man Jedi Knight with “force” on his side Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guiness). The fun element for the film are the one liners which I believe seem to have stemmed and planted so strong by the presence of Ford. His molded character does not stop him from wiping that smirk of his face. His arrogant and stubborn pilot would have been a prototype for many many characters to have come after this film.

The Rebel force soldiers are bad shooters with a far more advanced laser gun while the Galactic force fighters are worst shooters. Thus Rebel force wins. But having Keanu Reeves do some of the incredible summersaults while shooting the “Matrix” security guards as he was rained with bullets from twenty people did not bother me. It of course biases me but it is way more cooler than the shooting in this film. It is also unfair to compare a scientific piece with a much more advanced technicality in the graphic department. I do that because “The Matrix” was the most influential science fiction film which bolted me through immense depths of concept in science and philosophy. “Star Wars” has no time for speech. It is an unadulterated piece of entertainment. It is a cookie in chocolate chip. Delicious but sugars you crazy.

George Lucas had a thorough imagination for this distant planets and the inhabitants in it. The planet of Tattooine where Luke gets his new droid friends is like our earth. Which brings me to the question of whether Luke, Leia and Han are humans? Or what are they? That would get many of Star Wars fans to flood my comments but will leave it out here to fill me on my ignorance on this.

There are amusing and reptile creatures loitering amongst the streets of a space port and a bar with strange looking creatures talking, bullying and of course not allowing the droids inside the facility (like not allowing pets). Then they talk money and how does that work? Again, let me leave it to the avid fans of the film to let me know that. The thing though is that it is a film carrying enormous imagination with the effects bringing it out to the screens with perfection. Of course there is nothing for the characters to do than go on with their mission with hollow souls and charged guns. Thankfully the romance track is played subtle. The duo of R2-D2 and C-3PO had the best chemistry visible in the film. Funny and for droids, they are way too close.

All said and done, it was fun. As a film it was not up to par for any classic. “The Day the Earth Stood Still” which came twenty six years earlier to this is a far more better Science fiction film than this in terms of story and depth in the details of the personas. But for the effects of something unbelievably novel and breathtaking, “Star Wars” is the film. It has limitless abundance on its screen with richness in colour, creation and care for action. I liked it for that and I could see how this would have been to be seen in the theaters. Some films are purely great for its experience. “300” was a shallow story but an experience to be seen in theatres. “Star Wars” is something like that. “The Matrix” is both an experience and a great film.

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