I was two years old when the original Star Wars: A New Hope was released theatrically. So, the only exposure of Star Wars, and the subsequent additions to the story, for me were by video. That is until the Special Edition of Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of The Jedi was introduced to the big screen. And because I’ve been a Star Wars fan ever since I saw the Death Star trench run on video when I was six or seven, I was ecstatic when I heard that the Special Edition of the Star Wars Trilogy was being re-released to the big screen.
To try to tell or synopsize the Star Wars story would be a waste of time. The story of Star Wars is so ingrained into our culture that it’s hard to find someone who is not familiar with the story and the characters. Everyone knows about the Death Star, the Millenium Falcon, X-Wings, Tie Fighters and Star Destroyers. Everyone knows about Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, C-3P0, and R2-D2. And who can forget the familiar words, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” right before the fanfare music by the great composer John Williams?
George Lucas, on the 20th anniversary of the original release of Star Wars: A New Hope wanted to “complete” his work. He always felt that his original release was somewhat “incomplete” because he could not achieve what he wanted with the technology in 1977. So, now that the digital revolution has taken Hollywood by storm, Lucas has taken advantage of this new technology and completed his work.
There are far more additions into Star Wars: A New Hope Special Edition than into either of the other two. Rightfully so because the original a much older film than the other two following it. At the time that the original was being made, Lucas and company had to invent most of the special effects technology to accomplish much of what was done in the original film. And to that effect, Lucas and company was also limited to what they could do with this new technology. With STSE, Lucas is able to go back and fill in what he could not have done at the time.
Star Wars was more than just special effects though – unlike most modern day special effects driven films out of Hollywood – Star Wars was a film that balanced the special effects with a story so well told that by itself, the story could hold the audience’s attention. Maybe it is right that STSE is being re-released 20 years after it originally set the stage for so many sci-fi special effects driven films. STSE shows how a good sci-fi film does not need to rest on its special effects, rather a good sci-fi film should rest on the story.
Star Wars is a classic film that will outlive its creator and the hard working people who made it happen. And it does deserve this, for it is a classic film that everyone should see. If you’re one of those who hasn’t already seen Star Wars, don’t miss this film, in its Special Edition or original form. Cheers to George Lucas for introducing the world to such a wonderful set of characters and to such a great timeless tale.