Prompted by my recent viewing of the 2003 Clone Wars series, I rewatched the first movie of the original trilogy, just to see how it would hold up. I’ve only seen it a few times in the past and it has been some years since then. There was a time when I thought it was the best thing SF movies had to offer (though my first foray into the Star Wars movies came by the novelizations, not the movies itself).
Who could not love big spaceships, moon-sized battle stations and knights in space. Interestingly, the aspect of the movie I expected to feel most dated, the special effects, still felt cool, even in comparison which all the things that can be done with CGI in this age. But the rest doesn’t work as well anymore.
That’s not to say the content somehow became bad in the intervening years or I suddenly developed better taste, just that the things I liked then have changed. What struck me about the movie was how silly it really was and how much it pandered to kids. The violence is very dumbed down, the secondary characters like C3PO and R3D2 are as annoying as Jar-Jar and the whole setting felt like Disney World in space.
Especially in comparison with the Clone Wars I realized how much this is not an action movie. There’s action, but the overall pace is rally slow, the action very limited in scope and mostly not very well done. At times I was really bored and considered to stop watching the movie. I heard some people have watched this movie over a hundred times, which I have a hard time imagining.
But it’s not without qualities. Like I said, when I was younger I really liked it. It’s pure, distilled adventure with a marvelous look (to younger eyes) and easily discernible good and bad guys (and the bad guys are marvelous at being bad). While it may have lost its appeal to me, it is very effective when it does work for someone.