Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope |
1977 & 2004 Versions, 2-Disc Widescreen Edition
Actors: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing
Director: George Lucas
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Cult Movies
For the first time ever and for a limited time only, the enhanced versions of the Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi will be availabl... more »
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Learn about the inspiration for George Lucas' "Star Wars"
Michael A Neulander | VA | 08/24/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was a freshman in college when I took my new girlfriend, (now married for over 30 yrs.) to see George Lucas' 1977 film "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope." This movie literally blew our minds!!! Audiences were not used to the great special effects this film introduced to the world! Even more compelling for me was the story. The movie had a visceral magnetism that took hold of me. It was only years later when I found out why that was, and the answer that I found is going to be the basis for my review. Let me first say that I love finding out about the "back story" of the great works of artists, the answer I found to this work of art filled me with joy and a sense of satisfaction beyond my dreams!!!
I saw a several part series on PBS moderated by Bill Moyers talking to George Lucas about the inspiration for his "Star Wars" story. Lucas gave most of the inspirational credit to a book he read by one of the world's preeminent scholars on religion and myth, Joseph Campbell; his book is "A Hero With A Thousand Faces." I gained a whole new perspective on religion after reading this book and understood why it was so compelling to Lucas. What Campbell was able to ascertain by studying religion and myth is that in every culture there is a foundational "monomyth" describing a "hero's" journey that is at the center of every culture's belief system. I am going to describe the "monomyth" cycle within the "Star Wars" movie to make the point.
Campbell discovered through extensive research that humankind shares a universal monomyth in its various religions and legends especially pertaining to the creation of the world and humankind. Campbell borrowed the term monomyth from James Joyce's book Finnegan's Wake. Campbell's intuitive insight in human myth proves that for thousands of years these myths display a certain standard structure, which he summarizes beautifully in his book.
A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back
from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man (Campbell 30).
There are at least four major stages that a monomyth has however, in his book, Campbell goes on to describe seventeen stages that some monomyth's posses. The four stages making up the cycle of a monomyth are "passage: separation-initiation-return:" In the first stage, known as the passage stage, the hero is summoned to journey or embark on an adventure by some kind of event that takes place or from a message, he receives. The hero may embark on this passage willingly or reluctantly. For instance, in the movie, the young Lukeskywalker returning to his farm from performing some errands finds his aunt and uncle killed by shock troops of the Empire. He had been itching to leave the farm to go to the flight academy, so faced with this tragedy he finally has a reason to leave the farm, to start his "journey."
Campbell says that during the second stage, the separation stage, the hero meets with a mentor or wise man who gives the hero either an amulet or some words of wisdom to be of help to the hero on the adventure. In the movie this is where Luke meets with former Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi who gives him a light saber and starts to teach him the ways of the "force."
During the third stage, the initiation stage, the hero goes through several trials or tests. The hero will go through his first transformation, also known as "crossing the first threshold," as he crosses over to another world or dimension leaving behind the old world. The hero often receives help in these ordeals along the way by allies or from a supernatural force. In this case Luke is helped by Han Solo and Princess Leia on his quest to fight against the Empire's dark force Darth Vader.
As the hero completes these ordeals successfully, he proves himself more worthy to continue the adventure. Most importantly, during this stage the hero must pass through a major ordeal that will expand his consciousness, and thereby change his character forever. Often, this ordeal entails the death of an ally or enemy.
This is where Luke's mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi meets his death at the hand of Darth Vader, which enrages Luke and will eventually cause him to fight Vader in a duel with light sabers.
In the fourth stage, once the hero successful accomplishes his ordeal he is rewarded with a gift, it could be intrinsic like the "holy grail, or it can be new found knowledge to better the world with.
This last stage the hero travels is that of the return whence he came. Often the hero will undergo further trials on his return before he is permitted to cross the threshold back to the world he left. During his return journey, the hero will use his newfound wisdom or gift to make a safe return home. Once home the gift is used to cure some ill in the hero's home or to impart new wisdom to his neighbors.
In the case of Luke he will continue with the help of other mentors like Yoda, to become a Jedi master, completing his last stage wherein he receives "enlightenment" the gift that he can bestow on his world.
Campbell points to the significance of the monomyth in the fact that it describes the cycle that Moses, Jesus, Buddha, and the Mahavira had gone through according to their religious adherents. This is not to mention the hundreds of other monomyths told throughout human history. The monomyth proves that humankind shares a common creation DNA in a sense. No wonder Campbell's monomyth was the perfect vehicle for Lucas' "Star Wars" story!!!
I hope you enjoyed the journey!!!
Not the 1977 original theatrical version, but it's still A N
Joker | Michigan | 08/26/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My review is of the 2004 enhanced version of this movie.
Back in 1997, to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the release of A New Hope, an enhanced version of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope was being shown in theaters. This enhanced version contained extra scenes, alternate takes that replace the original takes, and added CGI effects. The reaction from fans was mixed. Some liked the added scenes and effects, while others didn't. Myself, I had mixed feelings about it, but my way of thinking is this: As long as the original theatrical version is still available to the public, that's the main thing. Thankfully, it is, but I heard it was pressed from the old laserdisc version from the 1980s and hasn't been restored. In 2004, the enhanced versions of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return Of The Jedi were included in the 4-DVD Star Wars Trilogy set (which includes the bonus material documentary DVD). This is the set I own. I like these enhanced movies as well as the untouched originals, especially if they would be restored one day.
I was the perfect age to be when A New Hope came out in 1977. I was seven, and I remember going to the theater in May 1977 to see the movie. I remember the beginning of the movie when the star destroyer came overhead that was chasing the rebel ship. The sound was so powerful and the special effects were so good. I was immediately drawn into the movie. Then a short time later, C3PO and R2D2 appeared, then the stormtroopers, then Darth Vader. The characters blew me away. I was fascinated with C3PO's gold costume, the Tusken Raiders, the Jawas, and Tatooine in general. Chewbacca was also a favorite of mine, as was Han Solo. I also liked Greedo. My first action figure was the Tusken Raider, then C3PO. I collected Star Wars trading cards. I had the first set with the turquoise border, then the set with the red border, then the orange border, then the green border, and so on. I was hooked on this stuff. A New Hope is what started it all. I was equally fascinated with Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. Back in '77 I rooted for the rebellion. By '80 I had turned to the dark side and liked the Empire.
While this 2004 version of A New Hope is not the original theatrical version, it does retain the same feel of the movie I saw in the theater in '77. I must say, though, that the scene where Han Solo shoots Greedo is ridiculous. Greedo fires at Solo from close range and MISSES and Solo barely flinches as the laser bullet goes past him and hits the wall behind him. The scene with Jabba The Hutt by the Millennium Falcon slows down the movie somewhat, and Jabba seems too nice in the scene. The CGI stuff that was added at Mos Eisley was too childish-looking. It LOOKS like CGI and doesn't match the rest of the movie and really was unnecessary. It would fit in more with The Phantom Menace. The only exception is when the Falcon blasts out of the docking bay when stormtroopers are shooting at it. That was a good scene. Some of the creatures in the cantina were changed. Example: the werewolf was eliminated and replaced with another creature.
Once in a while there are alternate takes used that replace the original takes. An example is when Ben Kenobi, Luke, and the two droids are in the landspeeder and are stopped by stormtroopers at Mos Eisley. An alternate take was used when Kenobi says, "You don't need to see his identification". Another example is when Kenobi is talking about the cantina and says to Luke, "This place can be a little rough".
All in all, the original theatrical version from '77 is certainly one of the greatest movies of all time. There's an old saying - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The 2004 enhanced version is fine and I like it, but it really was unneccesary because Episode IV - A New Hope was a classic to begin with. George Lucas took advantage of modern CGI technology so he could finally make the movie as he originally envisioned it to be back in the '70s. Unfortunately, it angers some people that he tinkered with it (including myself to a certain extent). The argument can be made that he wanted the original trilogy (Episodes IV, V, and VI) to be more like the prequels (Episodes I, II, and III). If you ask me, I think the prequels should have been more like the original trilogy as far as their overall look and feel, and the technology in the prequels should have been either lower than the original trilogy or at most at the same level. I do like the prequels, though.
Even though I like these 2004 enhanced edition releases, I must say that George Lucas is not only disrespecting the fans who like the original releases and made them the massive hits they were, but he's also disrespecting the hard work of all who were involved in the making of those fine films by replacing certain scenes with either CGI or what he "originally envisioned". For example, a lot of people worked very hard on the special effects for the X-Wings and TIE fighters blowing up during the Death Star battle. What did Lucas do? He replaced those explosions with CGI explosions that he felt looked better. I think the original special effects in the original movies were awesome, especially for that time period. It was groundbreaking. George Lucas needs to offer untouched but restored versions of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return Of The Jedi to satisfy the fans who loved those movies and made them the classics they are, not to mention bought all the merchandise associated with the movies, such as trading cards, action figures, and Halloween costumes.
This 2004 DVD has audio commentary by George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, Dennis Muren, and Ben Burtt as a special feature.
I highly recommend both the untouched original theatrical version (especially if it's restored in the future) and the enhanced version of A New Hope. The choice is yours. Are you nostalgic or are you open-minded?"