The hype over plastic black masks and lightsabers has never made complete sense to me – probably because I'd never actually watched "Star Wars" until a few days ago. With the new "Star Wars" movie coming out soon, I decided that it was time to catch up on the series before spoilers showed up on social media in preparation for the new release.
I was excited to watch “Star Wars” — and actually pay attention this time. When I was younger, I had tried watching one of the movies, only to dismiss it after deciding there weren’t enough girl characters.
I chose to watch “Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, ” the retitled original 1977 “Star Wars” adventure, so I could follow the order in which the movies were released. The foreign universe and unique cultures of the various planets make the storyline intriguing, but the special effects are woefully insufficient by today’s standards; the transitions between scenes mimicked my childhood PowerPoint presentations. And fight scene choreography isn’t too impressive either: stormtroopers fall at random and lack any coordination in handling their weapons. But for a movie that came out in the ‘70s, such trivialities can be overlooked.
The characters are endearing, to say the least. Calling R2-D2 cute is probably inappropriate considering the important role that he plays in the story, but I can’t help it. I found his partner C-3PO a little annoying given the constant complaining, condescending remarks and unnecessary dramatics he puts the audience through, but he is funny nonetheless. Also, without him, the main characters would have perished tragically in a garbage compactor. Han Solo affectionately calls Chewbacca “Chewie,” which I decided is one of the most adorable nicknames I have ever heard for an overgrown bear, or a Wookiee. Darth Vader has a commanding presence, but his mask makes him sound like he is constantly gasping for air from an unfortunate case of asthma. Many of the alien characters’ frightful appearances scared me a bit, and I applaud the imagination that must have gone into creating such horrendous creatures.
As someone unaccustomed to the complex world of Jedi Masters, parts of the movie seem illogical. Stormtroopers follow R2-D2 and C-3PO to a planet in a frantic search of Princess Leia’s plans, but decide the best mode of transportation is to ride an alien animal that walked slower than the troopers could have. In another scene, Luke scans his surroundings for sand people, and it shocked me that in a world of flying spaceships and high-tech robots, no improvements have been made to standard binoculars.
And I was a bit let down by the death of Luke’s aunt and uncle, or in other words, the story’s heavy-handed way of forcing Luke to leave with Obi-Wan Kenobi to learn about the Force. With a plot otherwise so detailed, I had expected Luke’s exit to have more flair than the average Disney movie.
My criticism is probably a little harsh for a movie released almost 40 years ago. Don’t get me wrong — even if its two-hour runtime was a bit long for my taste, I enjoyed the movie. It boasted a compelling storyline and an intricate universe that I’d be interested in exploring further. And I was glad that after finishing the movie, countless “Star Wars” references finally made sense to me.
So, watching “Star Wars” was definitely worth my time. I can’t quite say I’ve joined the cult that obsesses over the series, but at long last, I understand the appeal. There’s something timeless about “Star Wars,” something that allows the 1977 movie to remain as popular as ever. Even now, in 2015, it’s assumed that most people have seen at least some of “Star Wars” — and I’m glad that I can say I have, too.