"Star Wars" isn't the best film ever made, but it is universally loved. Hamill's Skywalker is a wuss, the plot wanders all over, and only Harrison Ford gives it any real fire, but it means more to many people than the national anthem or Shakespeare.
Somehow it's bigger than just the story of backwater hick Luke Skywalker discovering his true destiny and joining Princess Leia and Obi Wan Kenobi in an epic struggle between the good Rebel Alliance and dastardly, powerful Empire. "Star Wars" gives the viewer a whole universe with its own history, mythology, clunky 'realistic' spacecraft, and faith in the almost courtly value of honour in a galaxy gone mad.
The special effects are slick and it's easy to find yourself lured into a world you want to believe in. Although none of the new 1997 special edition re-release scenes (Han Solo's meeting with Jabba the Hutt, Luke Skywalker yakking about the good ol' days with Biggs) contribute much to the narrative, they do add extra colour and develop the spectacle.
Maybe some of its success was down to timing. Just as the creeping shadows of war, race-riots, and superpower stand-offs threatened to swamp the late 1970s, George Lucas lit the world with this operatic science fiction fairy story full of spectacle, special effects, and above all hope.
Despite being over-hyped, over-marketed, and fairly flawed, "Star Wars" remains one of the most memorable and glorious fantasies ever made.
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