CGB Review of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) (With Special Appearance by Leia the dog)

Welcome to Part I of the Catholic Girl Bloggin’ Star-Wars-a-thon!

This is my review of Star Wars: A New Hope!


A civil war between the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance has put the galaxy in turmoil.  Princess Leia Organa, one of the leaders of the rebellion, has been taken captive by Darth Vader.  A series of coincidences bring together a Tatooine resident named Luke Skywalker, two droids named R2-D2 and C-3PO, a wise Jedi named Obi-Wan Kenobi and Han Solo, captain of the Millennium Falcon, as well as his companion Chewbacca “Chewy.”  This group of odd souls must rescue Princess Leia and help the Rebel Alliance destroy the Galactic Empire’s secret weapon, the Death Star.

The Star Wars saga has been a part of my family since I was a kid.  We have the Star Wars DVD collection on Blue-Ray (yes, this includes the prequels).  My brother and future sister-in-law even named their dog Leia and they brought her home on May 4th (May the 4th be with you)!

My “fur-niece” Leia Amidala!  🙂

However, this is my first time watching Star Wars as an adult.  So after watching the movie that started it all, let’s see how this cinematic game-changer holds up after all these years.

The Hits
I now see why Han Solo is such a popular character.  The guy is just so freaking cool!  Harrison Ford steals the show as the suave, confident pilot with a ton of heart.  His rapport with Chewbacca is charming and entertaining.  I love how he goes from stubborn smuggler to protective friend in a natural way without the use of cliched lines or plot contrivances. I adore the relationship between the nagging but well-meaning C-3PO and the little rascal R2-D2.  I like their parent-child camaraderie.  As for Leia, I like her spunk and resolve.  She is a capable, strong-minded leader and I’m glad my “niece” bears her name.
I will admit, when we first meet Luke Skywalker on Tatooine, I had to text my brother and ask him about Luke’s age.  Luke starts off with a few whiny lines of dialogue that made me question how old he is supposed to be.  Luckily the movie makes him believably naive, yet good-hearted and only uses the few whiny lines he has to establish his youth.  From then on, we see Luke mature into the role he was born to play: warrior and hero.  By the way, when I asked about Luke’s age, my brother answered back, “19-21.” Personally I think that Episode IV Luke is 19, which is a realistic age to have your main character be if you want him/her to be going on perilous death-defying adventure.
I love that the plot gets going right away.  Within the first five minutes, we’re already in the Death Star, watching Leia confront Darth Vader.  I prefer the storytelling method of getting the main conflict started right off the bat and then develop the characters throughout the story. It seems that nowadays, the storylines of American films either explain too much (Ex. Jupiter Ascending) or explain too little (Ex. Tomorrowland).  A New Hope has the right balance of showing us the exposition instead of having characters spout off expositional speeches.
Yes, Darth Vader is intimidating in every way, shape and form.  James Earl Jones’ authoritative voice demands your attention while his mask makes him more monster than man.  Faceless villains are always frightening because if you can’t look into the eyes of evil, you have no idea if you’re dealing with a rational human or a terrifying creature.

The Misses
Okay, maybe my fellow Star Wars mega-fans can answer this for me: Exactly what is Darth Vader’s role in Episode IV?  I know that in Empire Strikes Back, he’s commander of the bad guys, but that’s not the case in New Hope.  This movie has other people ordering him around while at the same time, everyone is afraid of him.  If I didn’t know anything about the other films, I would be confused as to what Darth Vader’s role is.

I can see why Star Wars: A New Hope was a groundbreaking game changer for American cinema.  It is a fun, exciting space opera with fully-realized characters, an engaging story and a plethora of lore and imagination.
I love the world-building, the loyal fanbase that this franchise has, and I want to see more of these characters and ideas as I continue on with the saga.


Saint Luke the Apostle, pray for us.

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