It finally happened. With a new Star Wars movie fast approaching (I have tickets for Sunday afternoon), I finally gave up on holding out for a (legal) “de-specialized” blu-ray edition of the original trilogy. I bit the bullet and bought the blu-ray editions for both trilogies. Between yesterday and Sunday I will (try to) watch the movies in Machete Order. I’m working on a truncated time table (God, I love saying that) and I was scarred enough after seeing the first prequel in the theaters that I still haven’t seen Episodes II and III, so I feel ok skipping I for now. I will try to keep these short, because God knows enough digital ink has been spilled over Star Wars lately. (This is also the first time I’ve seen the original trilogy since it was Lucas-fied, so I will comment as I feel appropriate.)
Everyone has seen this one. You loved it as a kid. You love it now, even if you have to say The Empire Strikes Back is better to look cool. A few thoughts:
Certain revisionist reimaging going on in the darker corner of the Internet notwithstanding, Leia is a badass here. She stands up to Vader. She does something other than curl up into a ball for the rest of the movie after her home planet is destroyed (is she even super rich and in a position to richly reward Han after losing her tax base?). She grabs a blaster and starts blasting immediately after meeting Luke and Han. Hell, she carries the movie. Luke is still too whiney and Han still too cool-for-school.
The scenes in Mos Eisley were the only place where the changes really bugged me or even were noticeable. The alien-filled entrance to the town clashes with the relatively low-budget look of the rest of the film. The scene with Jabba the Hutt is entirely extraneous. Actually watching the infamous Greedo scene, it’s ok. It happens pretty quickly. And we (i.e., those of us who watched the old version) already know Han so it doesn’t change our view of him. But it really derails a great arc for the neophyte.
A New Hope continues to hold up very well, low budget and dated FX notwithstanding. I still love Tatooine with its Jawas and Sand People and sandcrawlers and banthas and two stars. The Death Star ain’t no small moon and the Imperial Star Destroyer may be my favorite space ship ever. Darth Vader looks a little hokey but is absolutely sold by James Earl Jones’ voice (and it’s not like James Earl Jones hasn’t looked hokier).
And why didn’t Chewbacca get a medal? Chain of command, chain of command. Luke would be back there too if Old Ben Kenobi hadn’t bit it.