I know there's a movie thread, but I think it's better to have a seperate thread, just in case this generates posts. Yes I am a Star Wars geek. And even if you don't like Star Wars, chances are you have an opinion on how good each movie was. How can you not? Star Wars movies are the result of more pop culture references than anything else. Anybody watch Family Guy, for example?
Here are my rankings for the Star Wars movies...
1. The Empire Strikes Back
- These days most people select it as the best Star Wars movie. I love it for so many reasons.
Luke Skywalker is such a great character to me – a young, impatient, bright-eyed innocent. It’s great to see his impatience and eagerness lead him away from Yoda and into Darth Vader’s temptations. Luke is the good guy, but he’s like so many young people.
The first confrontation between Luke and Vader was great. I remember watching this in the cinema and feeling Luke is out of his depth. I like Mark Hamil’s acting here too. I remember early on in the fight Vader dislodges Luke’s lightsabre and points it at him. You can see Luke shaking and trembling, and you really feel how afraid he is.
I had the good fortune of seeing this movie before the prequels, so the, “No Luke, I am your Father” moment was incredible for me. Do people realize how shocking that was? I remember that being a storyline twist I NEVER SAW COMING, and nobody else did. And when it happens, it worked. It didn’t seem stupid at all, but it was so shocking.
The dialogue between Luke and Yoda was really interesting. It’s almost a religious dialogue encouraging him to have faith. Luke doesn’t think he can get his ship out of the swamp, and Yoda says, ‘Do or do not, there is no try.’ And then there’s the famous, ‘That is why you fail.’
Yoda telling Luke there’s impatience and anger in him, and it’s interesting. I enjoy it how Yoda stresses that fear leads to hate etc. It seems the main focus of Yoda’s training is to get Luke to control his fear and his emotions. He fails when he faces Darth Vader, and but for Vader being his father, he would have died.
I love the DVD commentary on the scene where Luke goes down the hole in Dagoba (sp?). Yoda tells him whatever he fears is what he’ll find, and that he won’t need any weapons. Luke, because he hasn’t been able to control his fears yet, takes weapons anyway. He faces Darth Vader, beheads him, and sees himself – a foreshadowing of what will happen if he doesn’t control his fear.
An interesting thing about Yoda in this movie was his backwards talk didn’t annoy me as much, and he says many sentences correctly. In that way he came off as wise when he talked, and not gimmicky. In the new movies literally everything he says is backwards, and it gets tiresome and annoying.
Darth Vader was never more entertaining than in this movie too. He’s such a dictator. I love the way he talks to Lando, “Perhaps you feel you’re being treated unfairly?” And then there’s, “I am altering the deal, pray I don’t alter it any further.” And, “Apology accepted, captain Neidard”… you know, after he choked him to death. It’s great at the end of the movie when the Millennium Falcon escapes the tractor-beam and Admiral Piet (?) looks so scared of what Vader might do to him. Vader just stands there, breaths his deep breaths, and calmly walks away. I love that scene because Vader does nothing, but he instills so much fear in Admiral Piet (sp?).
Harrison Ford is the best Star Wars actor, and I love how he character develops and evolves. He’s a fun Star Wars character. At first he’s so self-centered, but as the movie develops you see how become a better person, which is good. I’ll always love the dialogue:
Leia: “I love you”
Han: “I know”
Listening to the terrible dialogue in the prequel movies make me appreciate why I didn’t notice this in the second movie. The romantic dialogue between Han and Leia is pretty poor, but the actors make it work. It doesn’t bother me one bit. The way Han and Leia keep trying to escape the empire by going into asteroid fields etc… it’s all entertaining.
Pretty much this movie has everything a Star Wars movie can be.
2. A New Hope
- There’s so much to like about this movie if you ask me. Like I said, Luke Skywalker to me is just a great character. We don’t see the impatient bright-eyed character as developed as we see in Empire, but his beginning stages are fascinating. It’s nice see him jumping into a world he never dreamed of going, but always wanted to go. He always wanted to be a pilot. It’s nice at the start of the movie how upset he is with his aunt and uncle because he just wants to be young and get away a bit.
Little bits in the movie are magic to me, like the scene where Luke first discovers himself using the force, by using the blast shield to cover his eyes. And then there’s the big leap of faith at the end of the movie which he needs to take to destroy the death star. I enjoyed this progression with Luke more in the next movie because for all Luke’s progress, he had much to learn.
Gran Marf Tarkin (spelling?) was a great dictator, and I enjoyed his arrogance too. “Evacuate in our moment of triumph, I think you overestimate their chances.” Other things were good too, like how he destroys Alderan anyway, despite Leia giving him an answer. A very underrated character.
3. Revenge of the Sith
- I perhaps had ultra-high hopes on how Anakin would turn to the darkside.
To me the best movie for watching a good person go bad is in The Godfather. Michael Corleone starts off as a good guy. He wants nothing to do with his family and says to Kay, “That’s my family Kay, that’s not me.” He goes to law school and against his families wishes he fights in World War II. He’s a hero. His father gets gunned down but survives. When he visits him in hospital he has to protect him from assassins, and in that way gets somewhat mixed-up in the family business and with the Turk and Police Officer. He guns them both down and absconds to Sicily. To me that’s when he turns to the darkside, but it seems seamless to me. Michael kind of inadvertedly gets mixed-up in the family business, and wants to protect his father. He even says in The Godfather III (a horrible movie) to Kay, “They were coming after my father, what could I do?” I love watching that movie, seeing Michael go from being a nice boy to this horrible mafia leader who kills his brother in law, orders so many hits, and does it so coldly, with no emotion.
I guess that’s the standard to which I held the Star Wars movie.
But in hindsight Anakin’s turning wasn’t too bad. You saw him use his anger when you saw him lose his mother, and then he becomes obsessive about making sure his wife doesn’t die in childbirth. The temptation is there and he turns when Palpatine is about to be killed, because or else his wife might die. It makes sense.
The action in this movie is better than any Star Wars movie. The opening starship battles were good. The early lightsabre fight disappointed me a bit, but it was good seeing Anakin kill Dooku, unarmed! Everything up until they land their ship is pretty entertaining.
Anakin’s turning made sense, while it wasn’t great. The romantic dialogue was hideous, but not as bad as in Attack of the Clones. Watching the Jedi’s get hunted down was interesting.
The final lightsabre fight was incredible. I’ve watched it so many times. And I remember being so shocked when Obi Wan severed Anakin’s legs from his body. One of those, ‘Wow I knew something was coming, but not THAT’ moments for me.
4. Return of the Jedi
- For some reason I don’t like this anywhere near as much as I did when I first saw it. I watched this recently and it seemed a poor movie at times. People knock the Ewoks, and I’m not a fan, but the movie’s problems are a bit deeper than that. The start of the movie doesn’t entertain me that much – you know the scenes surrounding Jabba’s Palace. It kinds of feels like an annoying diversion.
It’s interesting, Harrison Ford once said he thought it would be a good way to go if his character died in Empire Strikes Back. It might have been a good thing if he did. You’d see Han, normally selfish and self-centered, go out as a better person, and die. And we wouldn’t have this diversion at the start of Return of the Jedi.
Watching the Ewoks destroying the Empire with a little comedy (throwing rocks on Stormtroopers etc) reminded me a little of the dumb comedy you saw in Phantom Menace.
But if there’s a great redeeming aspect of this movie is the Emperor’s dialogue with Luke. The way he ensnares Luke and entraps him, and the way he tempts him… there’s no way Luke can’t react. The Emperor was never so evil and never more entertaining as a villain. I won’t go into the dialogue, but it’s incredible to me. And the final lightsabre fight… there’s something I really like about it.
5. Attack of the Clones
- This movie is better than people give credit for, but duuuuuuuuuude that romantic dialogue is hideous. In fact there are so many problems with the dialogue throughout this movie I can’t stand. It brings the movie down tremendously for me. Instead of being a character I can take seriously at point, Anakin acts like a child not getting his way.
The story of Obi Wan chasing the trial that leads to Count Dooku is terrific and entertaining. There’s great action too. It’s good to see a bit of Darth Vader in Anakin when his mother dies.
An underrated movie that could have been excellent if they fixed up those words.
6. The Phantom Menace
- The obvious choice for last. There’s a lot I dislike about this movie. Take the final battle scenes for example. Aside from the awesome Darth Maul v Obi Wan/Qui Gon lightsabre fight, you have an eight-year-old child saying, ‘Let’s see what happens when I press this button’, before a starship blows up. You have Jar Jar Binx killing droids by accident too – sometimes by juggling explosive devices. Too much comedy and coincidence. I hate the catchphrases ‘Oh I have a bad feeling about this’, which Lucas inserts so many times in all the movies. I hate the stereotypes in the movie. The movie could have been better if Anakin was a young teenager, or even a young man like Luke Skywalker. The movie was at times childish, and I hated that. The actual story was weak too.
Only the lightsabre fights salvage this movie for me.