WHO’S EXCITED FOR THE NEW STAR WARS MOVIE?!?!?!?!
Actually, I think a better question would be: who’s NOT excited?
Well, as much as I’d like the answer to be “nobody,” I have slowly begun to accept that not everybody likes Star Wars (or has even seen it). It’s hard. But I’m learning to live with it. *sigh*
Regardless, the new Star Wars film is coming in less than a month! So, in preparation, I’ve decided to write a post describing my thoughts on the saga so far, one episode at a time.
So, let’s hop into it!
I saw the original trilogy first, and I still think every newcomer to the films should do the same. I vividly remember seeing the first one (now called A New Hope) when I was about five years old. I was completely and utterly mesmerized. Everything about it — how it looked, how it sounded, the story, the characters — my mind was blown. It was unlike anything I had ever seen or could have imagined at the time.
In fact, as soon as the movie was over, I remember going absolutely nuts. I ran upstairs shouting “THAT WAS SO COOL!” And then I proceeded to run around pretending to shoot things, going “pew pew!” until my parents insisted that I and my siblings go to bed.
To this day, I still think the original film is one of the very best (#2 on my list, as a matter of fact). Sure, it’s not perfect, but that doesn’t stop it from being a rousing, funny, laser-brained adventure that I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of.
I saw the first film when I was five, but I didn’t see the next — The Empire Strikes Back — until I was about eight. Honestly, I don’t really remember the first time I saw it. I don’t remember my reaction to the big reveal (you know the one). What I do remember, though, is that Empire Strikes Back was never one of my favorites of the films when I was younger. Oh, sure, I liked it — it was Star Wars, for crying out loud — but it just wasn’t my favorite.
Then I got older.
And now, Empire Strikes Back is my personal favorite of all the films so far. I think it’s the most well-constructed and well-plotted, improving on the original film in many ways. Also, despite being the darkest of the original trilogy, it’s also probably the funniest (I blame Han and Leia’s banter and C-3PO’s whining for most of that).
Next up is Return of the Jedi. I saw it not too long after I saw Empire Strikes Back, if I recall correctly. In contrast to that film, I actually like this movie a little bit less nowadays than I did when I was younger.
Oh, it’s not bad. Not by a long shot! It’s a satisfying conclusion to the original trilogy, with plenty of action and humor as well as some emotionally intense scenes (particularly the climax of Luke’s battle with Vader and the Emperor). However, I do think it suffers from cheesiness, sometimes in the dialogue but mostly due to those darn Ewoks. They’re fine, but I really just can’t take them seriously anymore. (Please don’t hurt me.)
Also, the second Death Star was a bit . . . lazy to me. It’s still exciting to watch them blow it up and all, but still. Couldn’t they have come up with something a little bit different? Anyway, despite its flaws, Return of the Jedi is a good film, even if it is the weakest of the original trilogy.
Now on to the topic everyone loves to argue about: the prequels! Whoo boy. Well, I don’t think I need to elaborate on why there’s so much conflict about the newer trilogy, so I’ll just get right into my thoughts on each of them.
I think I saw The Phantom Menace fairly soon after Return of the Jedi, and I remember having a little difficulty explaining to my dad that it was “Episode I” but not the first movie they made. It was one of the “new ones,” which he and my mom were unfamiliar with. Thankfully, he brought the correct VHS tape home from the video rental store (blast from the past right there), but it was late at night, so I and my siblings needed to wait until the next day to watch it. Even when the next day came, though, I remember my mom insisting that we spend a certain amount of time outside before watching it (it was a rather gorgeous day). So we drew with chalk on the driveway for a while (maybe an hour), and it was probably one of the longest hours of my life. I was that excited to watch a new Star Wars movie.
And when I watched it (cue drumroll), I was not disappointed. Not in the least. In fact, for a while, Phantom Menace was one of my favorites of the Star Wars movies.
*collective outraged gasp*
Well, can you blame me? I was younger then. I easily looked past the wooden acting and wonky script. I thought Jar Jar was funny. I loved the battle droids. I loved the podracing. I loved seeing the younger Obi-Wan, and Qui-Gon was cool. I loved Darth Maul (and I even dressed up like him for Halloween when I was six — three years before I even saw the movie). It was awesome!
In fact, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I finally realized it wasn’t quite as good as I remembered it being. I saw it when it was re-released in theaters in 3D a couple of years ago, and that was when I was first really bothered by the acting and script.
To this day, I still don’t hate the movie like a lot of people do. I acknowledge that it’s flawed, of course, and I think it’s the weakest of the movies. But I still enjoy it for what it is.
Now, strangely enough, the next one I saw was Revenge of the Sith, not Attack of the Clones. I forget why exactly. I was ten years old, and I thought it was awesome — one of my favorites.
Even to this day, it actually still is! I rank it at #3 for the six movies. I think it does an overall good job of portraying the tragedy of Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader. It’s got less awkward writing and acting than the other two prequels; sure, it’s not phenomenal, but it’s better. I can think of just one scene with cringe-worthy romantic dialogue between Anakin and Padme, although I might be forgetting other scenes. And while Hayden Christiansen’s performance as Anakin could definitely have been better, I thought he generally did well (although some lines here and there feel off). And the “Execute Order 66” scene hits me with the feels every time.
Overall, I think Revenge of the Sith does more right than it does wrong, which is why I think it’s easily the best of the prequel trilogy.
And that leaves Attack of the Clones. A definite improvement over The Phantom Menace, but still not without problems. The number one offender, of course, is the love story for Anakin and Padme. While the concept of it is intriguing — you know it’s doomed from the start — the execution is, well . . . not great. Often laughable, actually. There’s not much real chemistry between the two, so their romantic scenes often feel forced.
On the plus side, though, there’s plenty of action to go around! The speeder chase through Coruscant is pretty cool, as is the whole arena scene. Seeing Christopher Lee as Count Dooku was neat. There’s also better humor at work here than in the previous film, mostly from Obi-Wan (“You don’t want to sell me deathsticks”).
Oh, and Yoda’s fight with Dooku cracks me up (in a good way) every time. Sure, it’s over the top, but it’s awesome.
So, Attack of the Clones is one of the weakest of the movies, but there’s still plenty to enjoy about it.
So what’s next? The Force Awakens, of course. I don’t know about you, but I am beyond psyched for it. I haven’t watched the trailers, but I’ve seen some screenshots here and there, and I read an interview with J. J. Abrams that made me really hopeful. He really sounds like he knows what he’s doing. And everyone I’ve talked to has told me that the trailers look incredible.
Just to whet my appetite a bit, I actually found the music from the trailer on YouTube. Just the music. And just listening to the music made me more excited than I’ve ever been!
Anyway, time to wrap this up. I love Star Wars. I hope you do too. I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on the saga. And I really hope you’re as excited as I am for the new movie!
Just a few more weeks, guys. We can make it. We’re getting close. As Obi-Wan would say: “Patience!”
See ya in about two weeks! I’ll be posting my hopes and expectations for The Force Awakens then.