Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) Movie Synopsis

Movie review coming on 11/4/2020

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)On May 25th 1977, Star Wars, an epic tale of heroes and villains comes to the big screen, and it changes movies forever. The film, along with Jaws, creates the summer blockbuster, and marketers adapt their advertising to mimic Star War’s success.

Star Wars is a sci-fi yarn of rebellion, romance, and a story of a boy, a girl, and a universe. The two are actually brother and sister, but that truth only comes out in the sequels. Everyone likes some incest in their love triangles anyway.

A small rebel blockade runner attempts to flee from a gigantic Imperial Star Destroyer. Unsuccessful, Stormtroopers board the rebel ship, which is under control of the Sith Lord, Darth Vader. At this point Vader is the epitome of villainy in the Star Wars universe, and not the misdirected lover. That dark side turn is best left for the prequels, and not the original.

Vader seeks the Death Star’s plans; a moon-sized space station that lays waste to entire worlds. Many Bothans die to bring the plans to the Rebel Alliance, and Princess Leia Organa now has them. She is a young Imperial Senator from the planet of Alderaan, and a secret member of the Rebel Alliance. She is en route to deliver them to the alliance when the Empire attacks her ship.

She hides the plans into a droid called R2-D2, and he escapes to deliver the plans to a Jedi Knight in hiding, Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Jedi use the power of the Force, but Vader and his Emperor kill all remaining Jedi they find alive. Obi-Wan is one of the few remaining in the universe.

R2, along with effeminate life-partner, C-3PO, escape via a pod down to the desert planet of Tatooine. Once there, Jawa scavengers capture the two droids, and sell them the family of Luke Skywalker. The teenage boy dreams of leaving his desert world, and fighting the Empire with his friends.

Soon, the droids and Luke find Obi-Wan, and he attempts to convince Luke to join him on the space adventure. Luke reluctantly refuses, but quickly reconsiders when Imperial Stormtroopers brutally murder his aunt and uncle. The quartet head to Mos Eisley, and hire smuggler Han Solo and his wookie, Chewbacca, to take them to Alderaan. Han, a former Imperial soldier, now smuggles anything to the highest bidder.

Han and Chewie fly the droids, Luke, and Obi-Wan off Tatooine, and to Alderaan. Unfortunately, Vader and his immediate supervisor, Governor Tarkin, destroy the planet before they arrive. They destroy the planet to set an example of the Empire’s power attempt to get Leia to talk. Leia refuses to tell them where the secret Rebel base is, but her refusal kills what is undoubtedly billions of people on the planet.

Death Star captures Han’s ship on approach, and the wayward heroes then pose as Imperial Stormtroopers to avoid capture. They sneak around the Death Star to find a way off the deadly space station.

Obi-Wan leaves the group to turn off the tractor beam which will allow Han’s ship to leave. Han, Luke and Chewie find where the Princess is, and head off to rescue her. R2 and C-3PO hold down the fort because nobody suspects the droids just hanging out. The boys rescue the Princess, and the trio escape being crushed in the garbage disposal. They somehow avoid every single Imperial soldier on the space station, who are on high alert and looking for them. Obi-Wan then turns off the tractor beam, but sacrifices himself to Vader’s lightsaber so everyone else can make their escape.

After a brief space battle with some TIE fighters, Han takes his ship to the moon of Yavin. He drops off Luke, Leia, and the droids, grabs his sizeable reward, and heads out before the Death Star comes to blow the crap out of the planet. Leia and the rebels organize an attack to destroy the Death Star before it destroys them. Luke joins a group of pilots whose goal is to blow up the lethal space station. They send a torpedo down an exhaust port, and cause a chain reaction that blows the space station to pieces.

Vader and his crew destroy nameless pilots, leaving Luke, Wedge, and Luke’s childhood friend Biggs to complete the mission. During their attack run, Wedge ducks out, and Biggs is killed. Even R2 is shot, and Luke takes on Vader and two other TIE fighters himself. Before you can scream cliffhanger, Han and Chewie return, and they destroy two of the ships. That explosion sends Vader spinning off into space, safe for future sequels. Luke launches his torpedo with a little guidance from the Force, and destroys the Death Star.

The movie ends with a medal ceremony where Luke and Han receive medallions for their heroic efforts. We see the prejudice of the universe as the lone non-human character, Chewbacca, fails to receive recognition for his efforts in the film.

Originally published on February 15, 2014

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