Updated: Dec 21, 2021
On today’s episode of Duel of the Ranks, we discuss the one that started it all: A New Hope. Imagine seeing for the first time the words “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away….” and then a big, loud, gold crawl to catch you up with a never before seen galactic civil war. How do you honestly rank this episode and pay it the respect it deserves? We’ll evaluate this film and all Star Wars media content with these five categories in mind: Story, Characters, Cinematography, Music, and Immersive Universe. But first, here are some things we can agree on.
"Chewie deserved a medal" - Amanda
We all agree, it's a stand alone story with an inseparable score by John Williams. The music is what makes Star Wars so grand and epic. However, Amanda mentioned this film drags on a bit, and we kind of agree. With scenes like droids walking in the desert, the quiet rebel alliance meeting sandwiched between Obi-Wan's "death" and before the final assault on the death star, it's an understandable point of view. Also, Luke is kind of a Mary Sue. A kid with a whiny tone, "but I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!" is quite a contrast to the Luke we all end up loving in Return of the Jedi. Though, Charley justified this trait and said it best, "Luke inherited his whininess from his deva father." One might also liken this complaining to C-3P0 (also a sub-creation of Anakin) and his discontentment. Though, we appreciate the protocol droid feeding the audience with relevant info...but I digress. Check out our hot takes!
"The best part is the end credits, because then it's done." - Brody
It's the funniest Star Wars - best comedy
Luke is a brat
The end credits are the best part
These are 2-dimensional characters
This is Darth Vader's best movie
The video-edited transitions make this feel like a powerpoint
Han shot first
With those takes in mind, below are the numbers (literally) we assigned according to the categories previously mentioned. Is Brody crazy for giving the characters a 2? Are Charley and I too generous in giving 5’s almost all around? How would you rank the film that started it all?
"Part of me doesn't want to like Luke at all" - Charley
Overall Score = 82.5
Sure, this may not be the best story with never-before seen character types. Some might even call them two-dimensional, campy, or basic. The clunky dual between Vader and Obi Wan, the desert-wandering of C3P0 and R2D2, and other slow and scoreless scenes peppered throughout the film can be a turn-off if wanting a faster-paced sci-fi. There's a lack of black people in this galaxy, and George Lucas restricted Carrie Fischer from wearing a bra. He also went edit-crazy in post releases of this film that can interrupt the flow of the cinema.
"I give the characters a five for all the reasons you gave them a two!" - Charley
Despite our critical eye, we all have our favorite moments that we love sharing. The binary sunset, practical effects, and death star explosion are must-see moments for Brody. Amanda's highlight is the score by John Williams. She also points out the first time Vader chokes someone it's physically, while later on we see him use the force. And what better way to spark our curiosity of the force than with Charley's favorite moment: when Luke first turns on his lightsaber while listening to Obi Wan tease historical lore of the clone wars. Those moments coupled with Christian's favorite scene: Han coming back to finish the fight with the Millenium Falcon and his iconic, victorious cheer while holding his headset...these are the reasons why we love A New Hope.
Without question, A New Hope is the first of its kind, influencing not only cinema but the world as we know it, set as a stand-alone but laying the groundwork for the vast lore to come. Tusken Raiders, Darth Vader, Cantina creatures, lightsabers, and X-Wings all leave you wanting more. Well, maybe not Brody. There may yet be a new hope for him. But if there’s one thing we all agree on, it’s the magic of John Williams. Cue the end credits.