The magic of the original Star Wars trilogy

Things that were truly great about the original Star Wars trilogy.

A New Hope:

The droids stranded seemingly in the middle of nowhere, on a desert planet and the innovative storytelling of seeing things through the droids eyes

The weirdness and variety of the strange robots on the Jawa vehicle, and the weirdness and variety of strange aliens in Mos Eisley.  The mystery and WTFness of this really makes the Star Wars Universe seem like a real place – like there’s a lot more going on than we know about.

Han Solo is cool.

The sneaking around inside the Death Star disguised as stormtroopers.  Not exactly original, Sam and Frodo disguised themselves as orcs inside Mordor.  But it’s still cool.

The garbage disposal – both monster and walls closing in are truly tense moments that are pretty cool.

Empire Strikes Back:

The whole film is awesome.  Unlike A New Hope (which has moments of true magic but is overall quite a hackneyed good v. evil, sword and sorcery in space kind of tale) and Return of the Jedi (which has moments of magic but a lot of very cheesy padding around it).  Empire Strikes Back however is total Star Wars magic from beginning to end.  There is literally nothing bad about the film.  But here are some of the best things about it:

  1. Ice and snow.  I don’t know why but the whole Hoth setting is pretty awesome in itself.
  2. AT-ATs!
  3. Mysterious, weird and varied bounty hunters.  Again, signs that there is a lot more to this universe than what we see in the films.
  4. The cool, enigmatic, silent but deadly, uncaring business-like, totally kick-ass, man of few words, absolute awesomeness that is Boba Fett.
  5. Betrayal
  6. Han Solo put into carbonite – tragic and dark
  7. “I am your father”
  8. The absolute peril of Luke falling, falling, falling and then hanging off that weather vein underneath Cloud City
  9. The melancholy ending

Return of the Jedi:

The weirdness and variety of creatures in Jabba’s Palace  – do I need to explain why again?

The Raancor.  OMG the Raancor!

The Emperor is pure evil.  He’s like the Devil or something

The scene when Luke is captured and talks with Darth Vader.  There are so many undercurrents going on.

Everything that happens between Luke, The Emperor and Darth Vader, but especially:

  1. That wonderful cathartic moment when Luke loses it and chops off Vader’s hand
  2. The moment of declaration when Luke says “I’ll never turn to the dark side, I am a jedi, like my father before me”
  3. Vader looking back and forth between The Emperor and Luke when the Emperor is killing Luke.  You can almost see the cogs working in his mind as he weighs up where his loyalties lie.  (remember that Vader offered that Luke could destroy the Emperor and they could “rule the galaxy as father and son”)

And I quite like the reconciliation between Luke and Anakin/Vader too.  We’ve been built up to it, it hasn’t come out of the blue.  Possibly his ambition to topple the Emperor led him in that final moment to realise he loved his son after all.  It’s entirely plausible and it reminds us that good and evil aren’t absolutes and that people can change.  Probably that’s why you shouldn’t “give into your hate” and why the dark side is wrong.  A spiritual, moral lesson for all of us.

Yes, Star Wars was pretty  magical in the old days.  I do feel some of that was lost in the prequels.  Hopefully the new films will bring that magic back.