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  Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

rating: (out of 4 stars)

United States; 1977
Directed by George Lucas; produced by Gary Kurtz; written by George Lucas
Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing, Frank Oz, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, James Earl Jones (voice)

'Star Wars' is one of the biggest things in film history and that is not without a reason. Before watching it I thought it was all a little ridiculous, which it basically is. But now I have seen it many times and admittedly I am entertained, amazed and moved every time I see it. Starting to watch 'Star Wars' means starting to watch the whole original trilogy. Again and again, these are six hours well spend.

Now, what is so great about 'Star Wars' and its two sequels? Of course we have the technology. Most special effects look better than we see in films today and that is quite an achievement for one released in 1977. But there is so much more. In most films everything you see on screen would be silly, but George Lucas creates a world on its own where all those things are normal, not unlike Tolkien did in his most famous book, The Lord of the Rings. The characters grow on you every time you see it, especially Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). It plays like a brilliant soap opera in a galaxy far, far away.

The story exists like classical epics do, with a clearly defined good side and a clearly defined bad or dark side. The seemingly chanceless good side relies on its three heroes, the already mentioned Han Solo and Princess Leia, and of course Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Leia seems to be the love interest for both characters. Of course an epic on this scale needs a very wise person (Gandalf in Tolkien's book) and so we meet Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), who happens to know a lot about the most famous villain in film history, Darth Vader (David Prowse, voice by James Earl Jones). Of course we need sidekicks. Skywalker has droids named R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Han Solo has Chewbecca (Peter Mayhew), a creature called a wookie.

There is just too much to admire here. Consider the number of classic scenes, the famous lines of dialogue, John Williams' score. Although Mark Hamill is not a great actor he finds the right note for the young Skywalker. There is the already mentioned villain, voice and body. Han Solo and Princess Leia make every scene together wonderful; this film shows why it is Harrison Ford who turns out to be the real moviestar. Since this is officially 'Episode IV' there is quite some fun in the dialogue about the past, falling into place with 'Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace' and its sequels, over twenty years later. I may not be a fan of the new trilogy, as a whole you have to admire saga.

Even if you think you could never be a fan of something like 'Star Wars', just try it out. I thought it to be too ridiculous, but it is not. It finds the right way to present itself and for me it has become the first part of the greatest trilogy ever made. As a whole, it is one of the best film experiences I have ever seen. Time after time.

  Review by Reinier Verhoef