I wanted to take the time to write about one my favorite fictional universes — Star Wars.
Many of the positive memories during my early childhood revolved around these epic films. I was exposed to the films at a fairly young age. I can remember sitting in front of my home’s small television, and spending hours watching the first Star Wars movie. I also remember watching the movies in theaters when they were re-released in 1997. I am trying to avoid spoilers, but the moment in the Empire Strike’s Back where Luke Skywalker loses his hand I vividly remember turning away even though I knew it was coming having seen the film many times at home. Then the prequel movies soon appeared in theaters, and there I got to experience Star Wars fandom first hand. I am not here to debate the quality of one trilogy over the other as I like to view Star Wars as an entire sage. I felt the anticipation, and the passion of the fans feeling that I have never felt for a movie before or perhaps since (Lord Of The Rings is comes close). It’s still the only set of films I ever experience in which people are waiting days in long lines, and I’ve seen some pretty hefty movie lines for movies such as Planet Of The Apes, James Bond, and Star Trek. I remember people cheering during the film when an iconic character appeared, or when a spectacular event occurred, and with the new Episode 7 coming out in December I fully expect the same. It’s the only film I’ve experience perhaps bar Lord Of The Rings in which the people would give a round of applause during the credits. To me that’s the special aspect of this fictional universe once you are hooked you are hooked for life. Even people who hate the “newer” films have watched them, and have a strong love/hate relationship.
So the fictional universe of Star Wars is beyond the movies. Having read multiple books, and played numerous video games from the 1990’s onward. These experiences only enhanced my love of Star Wars, and to this day my favorite video game is Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic, and to not get too far off the topic I will just say this was this game that made me truly love Bioware beyond Baldur’s Gate , and Mass Effect. So I think I’ve expanded enough on what Star Wars means to me, and to so many others. It’s a rich universe, and a profound place full of places to explore. If you have never experienced Star Wars at all I encourage you to do so.
I like to view the story of Star Wars as a story of hope, and redemption. There are many other themes in the films, but to me that’s the emotional basis of the films. So I never liked to view the films as one separate trilogies but instead as one epic story. This is why when introducing the films I am a fan of the Machette Order, but if it’s a first viewing for a newbie I will insert Episode 1: The Phantom Menace instead of skipping it.
Now I will rank the films (remember this is merely my opinion), and I will give some reasons why it’s placed in that slot. Granted this list will change with the upcoming trilogy.
6. Attack Of The Clones – This movie is the worst one. I have no idea why Lucas cast who he did for the role of a teenage Aniken, but I always felt his acting was forced, and perhaps to be fair the writing may have been poor, and even the greatest actors can’t fix that. The lightsaber battle in this one is the worst out of the three prequels films. Unfortunately for such a poor film it can’t even get that aspect right. I am not even going to touch the cheesy romance that was the focus of the film, and the less said about that the better. The whole clone army I thought was interesting, but let’s be honest seeing Yoda’s scenes at the end is a big plus for this movie.
5. Phantom Menace – This film has it’s strong points. The epic lightsaber duel, and a decent amount of action. The world building is more profound than the original trilogy which helps the development of the film. It allows you to see the Star Wars and the vastness of it. The big criticism is the character Jar Jar Binks as he may be the worst character ever designed in the Star Wars universe. Also the movie can be a tad predictable, but what can you say about Star Wars is that it is predictable.
4. New Hope – Most people hold this movie in high regard, and that’s for a good reason. There are many iconic scenes, and phrases that have shaped modern American culture, and in a grander scale shaping human history. Let’s be honest here there are many plot holes in the film, and for instance specifically the Stormtroopers for trained soldiers they are pretty poor (they miss everything). Also keep in mind that the duel between Vader, and Kenobi was pretty tame. Granted in the film’s defense for the first lightsaber duel in history it’s actually decent.
3. Return Of The Jedi – The grand conclusion to the story. Thematically the epitome of what Star Wars is all about hope, love, and redemption. Darth Vader and Luke duel again it isn’t that great compared to the Empire Strikes Back, and other duels in the movie series. I rank Jedi in my top 3 because of what the movie means, and in Star Wars lore it means a great deal.
2. Revenge Of The Sith – The best film of the new trilogy. Epic battles and game changing moments that we all knew were coming, and being the film pertaining to the birth of Darth Vader you know it’s going to be big. The scale was so grand, and the duels were so invigorating that it truly touches your heart, and mind. Granted the movie still has many issues, and to be honest most Star Wars films do.
1. Empire Strikes Back – To me this is my personal favorite. This one had the biggest twist in movie history, and amplified that cultural phenomena that was Star Wars. Seeing Darth Vader in his full fury, and as a kid I will tell you this I was scared of Darth Vader. He was like the narcissist bad guy I got to grow up with. Vader in a sense was scarier than the Emperor. I mean when Luke was convinced there was good in him I partially wasn’t exactly convinced, and was a bit surprised that I turned out to be wrong.
Now for a little shout out for the Movie/TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. At first I thought it wasn’t going to be that good, but the more I watched it the more I liked it, and it’s a good treat for any true fan of the universe. Can’t speak for Star Wars Rebels because I haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet, but I am optimistic on that front as well.