February 6, 1997 -- "Star Wars" is back with some extra footage and better special effects, but since we've seen it so many times there are no real surprises. I envy those people who are now seeing it for the first time.
I saw this Sunday night at the Fox Theatre. The print was very sharp and clear. The colors were bright and dazzling. I don't know if this film is brighter than most movies, or if the projector light was set brighter for this film. The special effects were better than ever, having been reworked by director George Lucas' own special effects house, Industrial Light and Magic.
Some of the extra footage, like the scene with Jabba the Hut, should make the series flow together better, filling in some of the gaps, but several of the added scenes were not really needed.
Several people in the audience laughed at Mark Hamill's squeaky voice. I'd forgotten how young he was back in 1977. He really grew up during the series. I'd also forgotten about the solid acting by Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels and the others in the supporting cast. What's best about the film is that is ambitious. It is a sweeping epic with classical themes lifted from the teachings of Joseph Campbell, but it maintains strong central characters. "Independence Day," released last year, shares some of those virtues.
Audiences have always loved those kind of movies, but until "Star Wars" came out, Hollywood had always relegated them to low-budget films "B" films like "Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers." When "Star Wars" first came out, I remembered thinking, "Finally, somebody made the movie I've been waiting for!"
There are those who hate the fact that Hollywood makes films that people want to see. They want every film to be an "art" film. They can't stand the idea of people having fun at the movies. A recent Newsweek article even made the argument that Lucas and Spielberg "ruined" the movies. What self-centered bunk.
I think art films are fine, but I'm very fond of entertaining movies like "Star Wars," "Forrest Gump" and "Independence Day" as well. I'm glad to see a few million people agree with me on that. "Star Wars" rates an A.
Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.