Star Wars: The battle continues

Prequels

The fourth installment in the Star Wars series took the audience back to the beginning and began a new prequel trilogy. “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” follows the story of a 9-year-old boy, Anakin Skywalker, after he is rescued from slavery by Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

New characters were introduced into this universe along with returning characters playing key roles as well. Jar-Jar Binks, the new comedic character, acted exceptionally idiotic, but falls short in trying to replace Han Solo’s classic comedic dialogue.

The special effects in this series switched to CGI instead of the practical effects used in the first trilogy, which allowed for improved fight scenes, such as the lightsaber duel between Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Jinn. Darth Maul’s horns and dual bladed lightsaber were a definite highlight. However, the switch to CGI downplayed the sense of realism and style found in the original trilogy.

“Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” features all the drab traits of a never ending soap opera. Anakin is reunited with his childhood love, Queen Amidala, who he has to protect from an assassin.

They return to her home planet, Naboo, and fall in love, while the Senate, a major political force, was being threatened by an unknown army. The plot line was mostly defined by the love interest between Anakin and Amidala, which, while it was not butchered like Jar-Jar’s script, felt a bit like it was recycling themes from the original series.

The darker tone found in “Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith” was uncharacteristic of the series. The movie’s depiction of the descent of Anakin Skywalker into his new form as Darth Vader is a very gloomy journey, but it turns out to be the best of the prequel trilogy.

This movie is successful by pulling out of some of the tropes that held back the other two prequels. The CGI was more effective and less jarring than Episode I and II, and there seemed to be more of an emphasis on actual actors, objects, and practical effects. It avoided the bad attempts at comedy that came with Jar-Jar Binks and other similar characters and events that occurred in episodes I and II.

This episode offered some awesome scenes such as the execution of Order 66 and the battles between Yoda and Darth Sidious, along with the fateful duel of Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi. “Revenge of the Sith” proves to be the best installment of the prequel trilogy. However, as a whole the new series was limited by having to fit the already told storyline of the original series.

 

Original Series

“Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope,” originally known simply as “Star Wars,” was the movie that started the craze. It launched the Star Wars universe into the center of popular culture, where it has stayed for decades, and it is not hard to see why.

Moments such as the Death Star trench run or even scenes as simple as a stormtrooper bumping his head on a door in the background of a scene are ingrained in viewers’ memories and have become objects of pop culture. There is no wonder that this film introduced a universe that has lasted the test of time for almost 40 years.

In addition, the deep storytelling, epic battles and great use of practical effects all helped this film become the icon it is today.

“Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” is one of the rare cases when a sequel is better than its predecessor. From the ice of Hoth, the swamps of Dagobah, to the clouds of Bespin, “The Empire Strikes Back” has proven time and again why it reigns supreme. Luke Skywalker meets Yoda, beginning his formal training as a Jedi. Meanwhile, Han and the rest of the crew are being chased by the Empire across the galaxy.

This episode is arguably the best of the series with its cinematic fight scenes, and amazing practical effects that still hold up well today. It culminates in an epic showdown between Luke and Vader, and this scene is the first with lots of stunts and lightsaber effects, and it ends in the one of the most famous Hollywood lines ever: with Vader saying, “Luke, I am your father.”

“Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” is the ending of the battle between the Rebels and the Empire. It is a great movie, and delivers with action duels between Luke and Vader for the fate of the galaxy, epic space battles around the Death Star, and on the planet Endor with Han and Leia against the stormtroopers.

This movie is a cinematic classic. From the Sarlacc pit to the speeder chase the movie delivers amazing scenes. The epic climax comes when Vader saves Luke by killing the Emperor and ending the Empire. “The Return of the Jedi” provides an awesome ending to a great franchise.

 

Episode VII and Beyond!

The future of the Star Wars franchise is a bright one! On October 30, 2012, Disney bought Lucasfilm, the company behind Star Wars, to mixed reactions. Some felt that the studio known for their animated films and theme parks would lessen the quality and depth of the franchise, while others felt that they would breath new life into an old property. After the trailers and Disney’s focus on it in the recent years, however, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opens in theaters today as one of the most anticipated film of the year. This is the first time that audiences have seen Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and the entire original Star Wars crew share the silver screen in a new adventure since 1983, making this exciting and new for both original fans and the upcoming generations alike. Disney has also chosen to go back to Star Wars’ roots by using as many practical effects as possible, including puppets and models, to give the series a feeling of contingency.

However, this is not the only film that is in the franchise’s future. Disney is planning to continue with a complete new trilogy including episode VIII in 2017 and episode IX after that. In addition, the films are to be accompanied by a series of anthology films. The first, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, will take place between Episodes III and IV and will tell the story of a group of rebels and will set the stage for the events of episode IV. This will be released in 2016, while a second anthology film, focusing on a young Han Solo, will be released in 2018.

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