Let’s rewind the clocks back to how Star Wars originated. During his childhood, George Lucas developed an interest in fast cars as he dreamed of becoming a race car driver. By the age of 18, a car accident occurred, almost killed him. Because of that fatal incident, he decided to not pursue his dream of becoming a racer. Lucas later attended college, while studying literature, he began shooting films as a pastime. In 1967, Lucas directed his first ever short film called “Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB,” which made him win an award at a student film festival. In 1971, (the year my parents were born) George decided to fully expand his short into a full length feature film simply called “THX 1138.” His film debut at the time received mixed reactions plus it was also a box office failure. Over the years, THX 1138 became a cult classic for its depiction of a dystopian world. Impressed by George’s work, Francis Ford Coppola became good friends with him and he taught him the ways of a filmmaker.
Fun Fact: According to George, he based Francis’ personality on Han Solo’s characteristics.
Two years later, George & Francis began their first collaboration on a project based on Lucas’s childhood called “American Graffiti.” The film was notable for many things such as Ron Howard’s transition as an adult actor prior to his directing career, Harrison Ford’s early work before he catapulted to fame as Han Solo. American Graffiti went on to become an eligible Best Picture nominee. Despite earning a profit at the box office, Lucas was having financial problems. Struggling to earn a quick dollar, he decided to reintroduce Flash Gordon to a new generation of movie goers but the idea was rejected, prompting George to create his own unique vision inspired by Flash Gordon, Akira Kurosawa’s movies, westerns, WWII history, samurai culture. Mixed them all together and he concocted his Magnum Opus that we all know in love.
Beginning a three year gap of development, George started to write a film treatment as a homage to Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress, then he wrote four or five drafts as an expansion to his blueprint. By the time he wrote his final draft in 1976, he met producers of Twentieth Century Fox by taking a look at his script. They liked it and they’ve given George a production budget of $8 million. Thus, auditions began with potential unknowns who’ll make it big.
Numerous actors auditioned for my personal favorite character of the franchise Han Solo, such as Christopher Walken, Kurt Russell, Burt Reynolds, Al Pacino, Sylvester Stallone, among many others, until Harrison Ford took the part forever cementing him as an A-List Star. Other actors that won the roles of Luke Skywalker, & Princess Leia, are Mark Hamill & Carrie Fisher. Besides then-newcomers, George needed two famous actors to take role of Obi-Wan and Grand Moff Tarkin. He managed to persuade Alec Guinness to play as Obi-Wan by earning 2% of box office revenue alongside the use of his image of merchandise. Peter Cushing was the last actor George managed to persuade him to take the role of Tarkin, the film’s Main Antagonist. Last but not least, James Earl Jones provided the voice of Darth Vader after Orson Welles turned down the offer to voice everyone’s favorite Sith Lord.
Filming became a problem for The Cast & Crew. Anthony Daniels, who’s plays C-3PO, complained on wearing his suit while filming desert scenes. The film’s’ budget skyrocketed because of production problems with Special Effects. Certain scenes needed to be cut. Mark Hamill had a car accident which left his face scarred without re-shoots. Originally, A New Hope was supposed to be released on Christmas, until a bunch of delays caused it to push back for a Summer release date. All the shenanigans caused George to develop a high level of stress, worst of all, he nearly suffered a heart attack.
After a year long nightmarish experience, George finally calmed down and finished his project by releasing his movie for a release date on May, 25, 1977. Premiering at Mann’s Chinese Theatre, thousands of people waited in line to see the movie, as they wait patiently, characters from the film greeted the public for the first time. After waiting in line for a couple hours. Movie goers instantly loved Star Wars for the very first time and as a result, A New Hope broke box office records earning a grand total of $775,000,000. ($2 billion in today’s money) Critics highly praised Star Wars as a groundbreaking achievement.
Star Wars went to become nominated at The 50th Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, (Alec Guinness) and Best Original Score. John Williams won his Oscar for his Musial Score, Sound Effects were a big win, Visual Effects took home gold, a Special Achievement Award for Best Sound Effects. You’re gonna shocked like me and I swear to god, Woody Allen robbed George’s grand prize for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture for Annie Hall. I think The Academy made a massive mistake. If I had a time machine, I would’ve pulled a Kanye by interrupting Woody’s speech. IT WAS A BEAUTY CONTEST!!!!!!!!!!!!
As you may know, Star Wars went on to become a billion dollar franchise spawning two follow ups, a Prequel Trilogy, two television shows called The Clone Wars, Rebels. Don’t forget action figures, posters, pez dispensers, bobbleheads, comics, video games, etc.
With The Last Jedi coming out this December. I want to share my real thoughts about A New Hope.
The following review contains big SPOILERS. Let’s be honest, we’ve all seen The Original Trilogy countless times, but if anyone who has never ever ever seen Star Wars, get off your lazy butt and start watching them right now!
Balanced: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, James Earl Jones, Peter Cushing, & Alex Guinness, all did an excellent job on their unforgettable iconic roles.
Action Sequences are filled with excitement. X-Wings attempting to destroy The Death Star or Trench Run Sequence, was the marker for this picture.
When Luke questions Obi-Wan about his “father’s death,” look at Obi-Wan’s face as he felt uncomfortable on talking about Anakin/Vader’s backstory. Obi-Wan managed to come up with a false story in order to prevent Luke that he isn’t a crazy old man.
Han is the only protagonist to receive a bunch of Character Development, because he’s the one who’s changed the most. Luke’s Character Arc is way ahead of two more entries for The Original Trilogy. In my opinion, he was The Main Protagonist of A New Hope, rather than Luke himself, he’s just a warm up act until he fully becomes an experienced Jedi Knight in Return Of The Jedi. I call this a Plot Twist on why Han decided to help out Luke destroy The Death Star instead of saying goodbye to him with his money to pay off a debt from Jabba.
The Three Act Structure is based on Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey as a guide to create unique stories spanning one generation after another.
In the days before George developed a fetish for Computer Generated Imagery, Practical Effects were heavily used to create spacecrafts such as X-Wings, TIE Fighters, Millennium Falcon, and last but not least, The Death Star.
Prosthetic Makeup and Costumes were crafted by hand to bring creature designs to life.
Cinematography was very good. No sign of any Dutch Angles nor Shaky Cam.
The first entry contains a bunch of memorable quotes uttered by a variety of characters. My personal favorite line is a tie between “No reward is worth this.” and “In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck.”
C-3PO’s first line is “Do you hear that, they’ve shut down the main reactor, THIS IS MADNESS!” You think 300 was unique for uttering out “THIS IS MADNESS,” well guess again.
John Williams’ Musical Score, contains a boatload of notable tracks.
A Wilhelm Scream is heard and it’s the first to be used in a Star Wars related film in production order not chronological order in the series timeline.
At the 1:22:24 mark, look a the stormtrooper in the right in which he accidentally bumps his head on the door. At least he’s wearing a helmet. If he forgot to wear it, he would’ve gotten himself a nasty bruise.
This con doesn’t effect the film’s merits, but this is played for laughs. Why didn’t Chewbacca get himself a medal? The last line in the film is when he roars on why he didn’t earn a reward like his comrades? He helped out on trying recuse Princess Leia and partaking in sparing Luke from Darth Vader’s attack in The Climatic Battle? Now I know why Trey Parker & Matt Stone came up with “The Chewbacca Defense.”
I couldn’t detect any contrived element or anything to suspend my disbelief within A New Hope. As a token of gratitude, I’m giving it a truckload of Points.
The Final Verdict: A FOR APEX!
A New Hope remains as a balanced equation in cinematic history continuing to influence many film franchises. If it weren’t for Star Wars, many filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Kevin Smith, J.J. Abrams, The Wachowski Brothers, among many others would’ve never had a career in Hollywood for creating fantastic franchises. Thank you George Lucas for building an imaginative franchise for all of us!