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Early on in the new Star Wars film, one quickly realizes that, in twenty-two years, George Lucas still hasn't learned to write dialogue. Whether this will affect a person's ability to enjoy A New Hope, or the individual in question has already been pre-conditioned to accept a universe where people say things such as "I've got a bad feeling about this" with aplomb, is something everyone will have to decide for themselves.

Our story picks up twenty years after the events of the previous trilogy. Young farm boy Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) dreams of adventure among the stars, going so far as to pilot a toy ship around the shop the way young boys have been doing in bedrooms and backyards across America for the past twenty years. Even little Anakin wasn't so far gone in the original Star Wars. He, of course, didn't need to pretend. He had the real thing out in his backyard: a podracer. That podracer is sadly missing in this film, but more on that later.

Two droids (the familiar and fan-friendly R2-D2 and C-3PO) have escaped the evil Empire (managing a lot better than all the Jedi could, apparently) with the plans to an awesome space station called the Death Star. As the familiar opening scroll tells us, this space station has the ability to destroy an entire planet; which we witness up close and personally. And if parents have any qualms about taking their children to see this movie, this element will doubtlessly be the deciding factor. Though we do see an entire planet blown up, it is not exactly in gory detail. Michael Bay doubtlessly would have shown close-ups of the citizens cowering as the evil ray burrowed through the sky, burning a path through the clouds, into the earth, and slowly, chaotically obliterating all life. Die-hard fans of the original trilogy will doubtlessly be missing said close-ups, as it would provide one last glimpse at familiar faces. But, thankfully, Lucas spares us this ultimate sadness, which is perhaps just as well. This is not your father's Star Wars movie. On the other hand, the fact that an entire planet is destroyed certainly qualifies this film as having the highest body count in film history, and is something that parents should keep in mind.

On the technical side, there is very little here that sustains the tension or impressive duality of the original trilogy. There is no podrace. The geriatric lightsaber duel is so slow and tedious that fans will likely be squirming in their seats, longing for the good old days of Darth Maul. The vocal barbs that Darth Vader and Obi-Wan (oh, I'm sorry, Ben) Kenobi hurl at each other during their anti-climactic duel carry more weight than any swing of the saber.

The performances are sadly lacking in the film as well. Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, coming off as a combination of a short Katie Holmes with a Janet Reno attitude, does a fine job, but anyone looking to deck whiny Luke Skywalker will likely be forgiven. As Ben Kenobi, Alec Guinness, not even trying to sound like Ewan MacGergor, also turns in the standard work we've come to expect from him over the years, but for him this performance is merely adequate. His late entrance and quick departure from the film is also odd, considering the character's strong presence in the original trilogy. It's as if Lucas were deliberately trying to distance himself from those films to the point of erasing everybody.

Gone is Yoda. Don't even bother to search for him. He isn't here. Gone is Jar Jar. Instead we get something even worse, a large, shaggy "walking carpet" named Chewbacca who barks in a language only Dr. Doolittle could understand. You'll long for the days of Jar Jar's broken English. Gone is the Emperor himself: he is only once vaguely referred to in passing. Gone, also, is Amidala, and her absence, nor very existence, is ever once referred to. Nor is the fact that Luke and Leia are byproducts of the big bad guy himself, Darth Vader. Which leaves one wondering why this film was made at all. It does nothing to progress the story. (The one brief moment of semi-contact between Vader and his son is wasted. Indeed, the very fact that Luke is Vader's son is never once referred to, except in a vague allusion that could easily qualify as a lie.) You have Luke incestuously chasing after his sister; a rogue named Han Solo (a wasted Harrison Ford) who, while interesting, comes in too late to save the dragging Tatooine sequence (if you thought you saw too much Tatooine in the original Star Wars film, you haven't seen anything yet. The first half of A New Hope is spent almost entirely on the characterless planet); and Obi-Wan is unceremoniously tossed aside as if Lucas had suddenly become bored with the character. Perhaps the only good thing to come out of the film is that we get more screen time with the droids, but that's hardly worth $8.

The effects are also particularly lackluster. The big opening shot of a Star Destroyer cruising past overhead seems underwhelming compared to some of the effects we saw in the previous films. The end battle goes on for much too long as well, leaving one wishing for the short, to the point space battle of the original film. Gone, also, are the beautiful fashions and the magnificent art direction of the original trilogy. Here, everything is sparse, cold, antiseptic. Princess Leia's lone white robe leaves one desperately longing for the golden olden days of Amidala's 12+ costume changes per picture. The donuts strapped to Leia's head don't exactly help matters.

Whomever Lucas was trying to please with A New Hope, the end result can only be that he has pleased himself. It is not entirely Lucas's fault. In today's crowded marketplace where every other weekend features a new event movie, a new Star Wars film just doesn't carry the same impact that it did twenty years ago, when everything looked so new. The amount of emotion a person takes away is equal only to the amount he puts in, and, in this day and age, we may all either be too jaded or perhaps are expecting too much to be anything but disappointed. Still, it would have been nice if Lucas could have put a little more thought into the story and worked on pleasing some of the old fans. At least then someone would enjoy the movie.

Guest Editorial by Dehrian
January 11th, 2001


04/08/03 - Christopher Knight - Oscars Give Short Shrift to Fantasy
03/17/03 - Joshua Griffin - Put the REAL Classics on DVD
01/29/03 - Joshua Griffin - Imagine a Star Wars HALO Videogame
01/14/03 - Michael Potts - Clone Wars: Expanded Universe Editorial


09/03/02 - Joshua Griffin - Digital Pirates Sink Ships
05/17/02 - Chris Knight - Digital Projection: The Audience Is Watching... And Waiting
04/11/02 - TFN Staff - Thumbs Up, Tumbs Down for SW2 Marketing
03/08/02 - TFN Staff - Clone War Trailer Reaction
01/13/02 - TFN Staff - TFN Reaction to SNL N'Sync Skit
01/03/02 - TFN Staff - Boy Band Jedi Reactions


12/12/01 - Chris Knight - Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
12/07/01 - Jeff Yankey - All I Want for Christmas
11/17/01 - Guest Editorial - Ritual and Romance of Episode II
10/04/01 - Guest Editorial - Why Episode I is Brilliant
10/02/01 - Guest Editorial - Episode I is Star Wars
09/30/01 - Guest Editorial - Why I Loved Episode I
09/25/01 - Joshua Griffin - Episode II: Make It or Break It Time
08/21/01 - Chris Knight - SW2: Attack On The Soul?
07/13/01 - Joshua Griffin - Special Time for SW Fans
05/14/01 - Joshua Griffin - AlphaCon is Finished
05/09/01 - Chris Knight - In The Beginning... Star Wars Comes To A Wired World
04/17/01 - Joshua Griffin - Global TFN - International Outlook on Star Wars
03/14/01 - Chris Knight - Palpatine vs. Hitler: Prequel Speculation Runs Amok!
02/13/01 - Chris Knight - "The Force" of Love: A Valentine's Day Editorial
01/17/01 - Chris Knight - Star Wars Could Continue... As Television Anthology
01/11/01 - Guest Editorial - A Review of A New Hope After the Prequels
01/07/01 - Guest Editorial - No - We Want the DVDs Now!
01/04/01 - Chris Knight - New Digital Disciple Says "Lets Wait On Star Wars DVDs"


12/21/00 - Joshua Griffin - Is George Lucas Really a Genius?
11/18/00 - Joshua Griffin - To Spoil or Not to Spoil
11/06/00 - Joshua Griffin - The Power of the Election
11/01/00 - Chris Knight - Why Isn't There A Star Wars Postage Stamp?
08/17/00 - Jason McCabe Calacanis - The SW2 Fan Trailer (guest editorial)
07/14/00 - Joshua Griffin/Scott Chitwood - TFN's Spoiler Policy
06/20/00 - Chris Knight - Star Wars and the Saga of Life
05/13/00 - TFN Staff - Wish List
04/08/00 - Special Guest Editorial by Skybaugh - Worth the Wait
03/30/00 - Joshua Griffin - What Star Wars Has Won
03/19/00 - Joshua Griffin - The Next Denver Celebration
03/14/00 - Joshua Griffin - Fair Weather Fans
03/07/00 - Joshua Griffin - Predicting the Academy Award Winners
02/22/00 - Joshua Griffin - Who should profit from Star Wars?
02/16/00 - Joshua Griffin - Episode I and the Academy
01/27/00 - TFN Staff - Flaming TFN over DVD
01/25/00 - Chris Knight - Motivations of the Sith
01/20/00 - TFN Staff - Leonardo DiCaprio as Anakin?
01/10/00 - Joshua Griffin - World-Wide Star Wars
01/03/00 - Joshua Griffin - Mass Merchandising Menace


12/13/99 - Joshua Griffin - Questioning Star Wars
11/22/99 - Joshua Griffin - Trusting Internet Rumors
11/11/99 - Paul Davidson - Rise of the Empire: China and TPM
10/28/99 - Scott Chitwood - Signs There Probably Won't Be a Sequel Trilogy
10/18/99 - Joshua Griffin - Why not Episode I DVD?
10/15/99 - Joshua Griffin - What Makes SW Fans Special
10/01/99 - Joshua Griffin - The PG Rating of TPM
09/07/99 - Scott Chitwood and Paul Ens - Comic and Book Wishlist
08/18/99 - TF.N Team - Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down on Episode I Everything
07/11/99 - Joshua Griffin - Parody Site isn't that funny
07/10/99 - Brian Linder - The Jar Jar Factor
06/08/99 - Joshua Griffin & Chris Knight - Why is Jar Jar in Episode I?
05/06/99 - Darin Smith - Return of the Child
03/09/99 - Scott Chitwood and Paul Ens - A Chat with LFL
02/07/99 - Amy Pronovost - Convention Romances, Can they Work?
01/23/99 - Scott Chitwood - What's up with Prowse?
01/01/99 - Scott Chitwood - Uncle George and Episode 1


11/23/98 - Scott Chitwood - What Lucasfilm is doing right
11/05/98 - Scott Chitwood - Prequel Spoilers
09/28/98 - David Coates - First thoughts on the the Episode 1 Title
06/19/98 - Scott Chitwood - How Godzilla affected Episode I
04/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - The Art of the Space Battle
04/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - DIVX SUX
02/26/98 - Scott Chitwood - X-WING TV Series Should Fly
02/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - Xerox Sites
02/03/98 - Scott Chitwood - Canon Issue, Part 2
01/07/98 - Terrence Daniels - Canon = Personal Preference


12/17/97 - Darin Smith - Everything I need to know...
11/15/97 - Chris Kivlehan - Six Episodes or Nine Episodes?
11/07/97 - Scott Chitwood - How do you solve a problem like Ewan?
11/03/97 - Scott Chitwood - How we get our Prequel 'Spy' info
10/22/97 - Paul Davidson - Trek vs. Wars

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