Thursday, 8 October 2009

57: Twelve Movies - A New Hope

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

12 Days: 12 Movies – Special Edition
Day One: A New Hope
(1977, 116mins, Dir. George Lucas)

In the mid-to-late 1970's, the BBC used to show a programme called Clapperboard on a sunday afternoon. It was a film review show, like some before it, and many afterwards. I remember being at my grandparents house as a small child and watching one particular episode, where they were doing a preview of a film called Star Wars.

There was one particular clip that held my attention and fascinated me. It made me want to watch the movie and find out more about this story. I seemed to relate instantly to the enigmatic characters on screen, and even as (what must have been) a three year old, I knew I wanted more of this. That clip wasn't Darth Vader storming the Tantive IV, surrounded by white-armoured troops. That clip wasn't a young farmboy, holding his father's lightsaber for the first time. It wasn't even the Mos Eisley Cantina, full of exotic aliens and silent menace. And the clip wasn't the frenetically paced battle over the surface over the Death Star.

The clip that captured my imagination, was of two robots walking through a desert, bickering with each other. I can't explain it either. Tatooine. Like most children who loved Star Wars, I spent a lot of time drawing my favourite characters, but all I actually 'remember' doodling was scenes from Tatooine. Maybe it's because we spend half of the first film on that planet that it's so burned into my brain? Whatever Star Wars I'm watching/playing/reading, when we go back to Tatooine, it feels like going home.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. It's difficult for me to actually "review" my favourite film of all time as I no longer see it objectively. The horrible old '77 version, the '97 Special Edition and the '04 DVD Edition are all etched into my psyche and I love them all equally (yes, even CGI Jabba).
Besides, you don't really need me to give you a plot synopsis for this film, do ya? So I'll just list the points I'll be marking for every film over the next twelve days. Bear in mind I’m watching the old, ‘untouched’ version.

The Good: Just about every moment we spend on Tatooine. Oh, and the Death Star interior is great as well. The production values seem a little dated in the exterior Mos Eisley shots, but even so, they still hold up pretty well. Chewbacca’s make-up/costume is flawless.

The Bad: Why does Walrusman's (okay, 'Ponda Baba') arm bleed when it's chopped off when every other saber-cut in Star Wars instantly cauterises the wound? Thinner blood due to the Aqualish's aquatic ancestry? But then how come he's quite happily living on one of the dryest planets in the GFFA without any visible apparatus to keep him hydrated? I don't know. Don't think George does either, mind.

The Ugly: Why is Anakin's/Luke's lightsaber green on the Falcon? Excusable in 1977, but not in 2004. They fixed the ones in the duel-scene, so what gives?

Best Line: “Red Five, standing by”,
Luke Skywalker

My biased rating: 10/10

My absolute favourite film of all time, which includes the other Star Wars movies.

Tomorrow: The 1978 Holiday Special

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.


  1. That "bloody" part was the first and the last appearance of that kind at the same time and I think it's because of some kind of negative feedback. I mean it's a children's movie basically so it's not suitable there. Lucas just stopped putting such visuals into the movies, I guess.

    Remember, the first film is quite different from the others, different in type, different in realization and you can even feel it when you are watching it. The others films are directed by others, too. They are much more professional films with different aspects in mind when made. (There's a name for what the first episode's type is but I don't know the English name for it -- you know, when the director makes everything, the script and so on).


  2. I know what you're saying with regards to the blood, but George has had plenty of opportunities to change it if he didn't like it that much.

    Most things like this get retconned by the EU, but I don't recall reading an explanation for it.