BP’s Top 100 Challenge #35: Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, by Sarah Brinks
I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen. The Battleship Pretension Top 100 list provided such a challenge.
I grew up watching Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. In fact, it is one of the first movies I remember watching that wasn’t a cartoon or a children’s film. I grew up in a very sci-fi friendly house where Star Wars or Star Trek could often be found on the TV or in our VHS collection. As a child, I wanted to learn the force, have an Ewok for a pet, and fly around space in the Millennium Falcon. As a result, the original Star Wars trilogy is so much a part of who I am as a person and a film fan that I don’t think I can separate them for this article. Instead I’ll examine why the film works for me and how I feel about it now.
A New Hope is our first step into this world of galactic rebellion against the Empire and the Force versus the Dark Side, so a certain amount of exposition and world building is necessary. But I like that the director George Lucas drops us right into the action after the opening scroll and we see Princess Leia’s ship being boarded by the ominous Darth Vader. You know immediately from Leia’s white robes that she is the good guy and from his black metallic armor that Vader is the villain. Plus, we get the delightful antics of C3PO and R2-D2. But we also don’t learn the whole truth from this first film. The story Obi-wan Kenobi tells Luke about Darth Vader and his father is a lie but won’t know until The Empire Strikes Back.
Diverting slightly from A New Hope, this was the first time I had seen it since Rogue One came out. I found Rogue One a very compelling film but the ending, in particular, was very effective for me. Admittedly I saw it right after Carrie Fisher had died and the shot of young Princess Leia talking about hope had me in tears. But the whole Rogue One story added real stakes and consequences to A New Hope. In fact, the rebellion doesn’t really take possession of the Death Star plans until about thirty minutes from the end of the film, up until then the Empire is still searching for them. That added layer of story really elevated my viewing of A New Hope this time.
I know some people hate the ending of A New Hope, and I understand why but I never had a problem with it. I like that we get a happy ending and we see all of our characters back together. It works as a nice break before you head into The Empire Strikes Back, it’s about to get really bad for this band of characters and the New Hope ending is a little padding before we hit those bumps.
Even after 40 years, the film still looks great. The computers in the film are a little silly but the space battles still look great and are very engaging to watch. No matter how many times I see it I am still on the edge of my seat when Luke has to hit the one meter gap and blow up the Death Star with Darth Vader on his tail. I had a lot of fun watching it again for the Battleship Pretension Top 100 challenge.
I’ve decided to rate each film using an arbitrary scale based on the board game Battleship (lowest: Destroyer, Submarine, Cruiser, Battleship, highest: Carrier)
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope ranking: Carrier