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QUICK GLIMPSE INTO THE STAR WARS ORIGINAL TRILOGY

Short and Concise Reviews of the original STAR WARS Trilogy
A long time ago... in this galaxy, the STAR WARS franchise was a perfect thing... So let's return to the sublime past when George Lucas ruled the universe... Although, wedged between the first two films, there was one rotten holiday egg Lucas still can't believe he green-lighted... but let's start with the great stuff... 

1977 rating: *****
STAR WARS: What makes this stand out from the others, including the progressed follow-up THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, is the introduction to the thoroughly addictive universe and those wonderfully involving characters, as well as writer/director George Lucas's sublime use of building suspense in every frame. Almost there is not only a line muttered by a pilot in the final battle, but an underline throughout a film that continually keeps the viewer entranced in what's about to happen: From the doom-awaiting soldiers in a captured spaceship; to a frightened droid rolling along a shadowy canyon; to a distress call from a trash compactor; to those delicate moments as the Death Star aligns to blow up the Rebel base...

A young George Lucas who, years later, would abandon precision and timing for billion dollar green-screen computers, was a master at creating his own galaxy and keeping the audience completely enthralled within.

1980 rating: *****
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: Perhaps the greatest science-fiction adventure ever made, this, the follow-up to STAR WARS, replaces introduction with non-stop action: pitting our heroes against a much stronger Empire, using, instead of the Death Star, a fleet of formidable Star Destroyers.

This time the black-masked baddie has a personal agenda: to capture Luke Skywalker who, after battling Imperial Walkers on the ice planet Hoth, trains under a brand new (and thereafter iconic) character, Yoda, brilliantly voiced and maneuvered by Frank Oz.

The story, written by George Lucas, was, before Lawrence Kasdan took the helm, scripted by Leigh Brackett, author of classic Sci-fi Pulp novels which this is a slick replica of: including masculine bravado, seemingly doomed characters fighting impossible odds, vile thugs, betrayal, budding romance, and a cliffhanger ending while EMPIRE is not a film, it's a visual symphony... and then some.

1983 rating: ****1/2
RETURN OF THE JEDI: Don’t let the Ewoks ruin what’s an almost perfect science-fiction yarn... Mark Hamill, better than ever, along with Darth Vadar and Ian McDiarmid as the Emperor, are the real focus while Harrison "Han Solo" Ford and Carrie "Princess Leia" Fisher provide the essential B-story...

Having landed on the Forest planet of Endor, they must shut down the Death Star's shields so that the rebels, led by Billy Dee Williams, returning as Lando, can blow up the new, under-construction Death Star in a dogfight like no other, even surpassing the original... While the light saber battle between Luke and Vader – Luke resisting the Emperor's temptation... is what really shines, capping the timeless series in an almost Biblical fashion. And the first act in Jabba the Hutt’s palace of goons... all created by Jim Henson... look better, and seem more real, than any computer animation.

year: 1978 rating: *1/2
STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL: Before the horrid prequels it seemed impossible for George Lucas to back a travesty. Yet despite the sought-after camp legacy, this TV special, aired only one time in 1978, is downright boring.

Overlong "comedy" and/or musical skits featuring Harvey Korman as a robot, Bea Arthur as the Cantina bartender, Art Carney as a chummy mechanic, and Chewbacca's family: consisting of wife, son, and dad...the latter having a virtual reality "experience" with hologram Diahann Caroll... make for the longest ninety minutes ever filmed... And perhaps the worst skit has Bea Arthur as the owner of the Cantina, singing a melancholy song after closing time. Not forgetting a wimpy Jefferson Starship video and Carrie Fisher crooning to red-robbed Wookies about "Life Day": a Christmas type celebration the Empire wants to stop. Meanwhile, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and the faithful droids provide embarrassing cameos. But throughout the immense torture, a ten minute cartoon introducing Boba Fett is actually pretty cool. So click this link to actually witness this infamous catastrophe that, before the Internet, was very difficult to find... Lucky us!
May The FORCE AWAKEN us, with our fingers and lightsabers crossed, on December 18th, 2015.
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