Last night, my brother was kind enough to take me to the latest installment in the Star Wars saga (even though it is not an official part of the canon – filling in events between the third and fourth episode). Here is how I rank all of them thus far (NO SPOILERS)…
- Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda: You must unlearn what you have learned. No surprises here. No other movie (to date) can compete with the Yoda-lessons and father-son duel. Sequels can be better than the originals.
- Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. C-3PO: We seem to be made to suffer. It’s our lot in life. The original. Lucas didn’t even believe that this movie would be a success – let alone a franchise. Look beyond the breakthrough special effects and you will find a soap opera that starts a spiritual conversation.
- Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. Maz Kanata: I have lived long enough to see the same eyes in different people. I see your eyes… I know your eyes! I was concerned. Would Abrams begin the next trilogy by sacrificing the story in the name of special effects? I could not be more pleased. This chapter paid respect to the original storyline without becoming a mere replica. Honestly, I would probably rank this one as tied for second with New Hope had it not been that I want to avoid being captured by the moment. A fitting introduction for a new generation.
- Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. What if democracy we thought we were serving no longer exists and the Republic has become very evil we have been fighting to destroy? Absolute power, once acquired, is rarely ever relented. Villains are not born as much as they’re created. The conclusion to the first trilogy is powerful – full of deception, regret, hatred, and hope.
- Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. Luke: I’ll not leave you here. I’ve got to save you. Anakin: You already have, Luke. Darth Vader is the center of the story from the beginning. But is he the Chosen One? A fitting conclusion (at least we thought) to a thrilling adventure.
- Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. Be mindful of your thoughts Anakin. They’ll betray you. Progression of weaponry – droids, clones, storm troopers. Arrogance and anger go unchecked.
- Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Mom, you said that the biggest problem in the universe is no one helps each other. Horrible acting and over-saturated effects. This one is tough to watch. Jar-Jar Binks is Lucas’ attempt at making a character more obnoxious than the Ewoks. Horrible actors look even worse when sharing scenes with Neeson, McGregor, and Portman. CGI is clearly overused and unfortunately while the technology is in it’s infancy. However, there are two really good reasons to watch Episode One. First, origin stories are just cool. Darth Maul is one of the coolest villains in the series.
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Saw Gerrera. Save the Rebellion! Save the dream! Quite frankly, this story didn’t need to be told. But, Disney. The bright side? Surprising cameos, amazing effects, and quite possibly the best battle scene in the series. This movie is a reminder that the universe is far bigger than the characters we know thus far. I’m still trying to decide if this is a family-friendly film.