Now, I didn’t get to see this when it originally made its debut on the silver screen on May 25, 1977–I was sort of not born at that moment–but I’m assured that it was an amazing, albeit out of the blue, experience.
My first experience with Star Wars came in videotape form after my dad had recorded the trilogy (no, not the special editions, the originally original ones…I’m not that young…). That being said, I did get to see the Special Edition re-releases in the theaters when they came out in 1997 as part of a 20th anniversary celebration, and those movies blew me away. They are seared into my memory and became some really formative moments for my imagination. Since then I’ve loved Science-Fiction and became slightly obsessed with Star Wars for a time.
Following on the footsteps of the prequel trilogy, where the focus remained on Anakin Skywalker’s descent into darkness and becoming Darth Vader. The attention shifts to his children who came into the galaxy at the end of Episode III. The hope of the dwindling Jedi lies with Luke and Leia, twins separated at birth, and Luke (moreso than Leia) must bring balance to the Force once more. He must face his father and restore peace to the galaxy through the destruction of the Sith.
The themes brought up here are significant. George Lucas echoes Joseph Cambell’s The Power of Myth, through the patterns of the story and the manner in which Luke travels his epic journey–(in brief) The call to action from a mentor or deity, Crossing the Threshold and leaving home, Facing the Road of Trials and Temptations, Achievement of the Goal or Quest, Returning Home and to normal life. These are archetypal themes and motifs found throughout mythology and literature, giving weight and credence to the story he puts forth.
This movie is exciting all the way through. From the opening scene of the Corellian Cruiser being pursued by a Star Destroyer, Darth Vader gliding in through the haze left by the firefight between the Stormtroopers and the Rebel Forces, and Leia’s capture;
…the adventures on Tatooine with the introduction of Luke Skywalker, Ben Kenobi (or is it Obi-Wan Kenobi?), and those pesky Tusken Raiders.
It’s all leading up to the encounter of the Death Star and the confrontation with Darth Vader in order to rescue Princess Leia. This is the beginning of a witty repartee and a promising chemistry between Han Solo and Princess Leia which lasts throughout the trilogy.
This film culminates with an amazing space dogfight between the Rebel Forces in their X-Wings and Y-Wings and the Imperials in their TIE Fighters. Finally, Luke learns to use the Force and fires into the one weak spot in the Death Star which will lead to its destruction (Come on, there’s always a weak spot. It’s completely believable!).
The film moves quickly, never dragging, and captures the hearts and minds of the viewers. Our heroes accept their rewards for the brave service. However, the battle against the Empire isn’t over yet, the Empire WILL Strike Back…