The story is complete (for now) with The Rise of Skywalker hitting our screens just before Christmas. I’m a fan of the film and a huge fan of Star Wars so I thought I’d give you my list of Star Wars films, in order of preference.
- Rogue One
I’ve always been more of a shootout than swords kind of guy so Rogue One was the perfect Star Wars film for me. The final act with the epic space battle and fight against the odds on Scarif is faultless for me, we get to see how the Rebellion took their first stand against the Empire and how they lost massive numbers. The final Vader scene is superb, people left the cinema absolutely stunned. Special mention goes to K2S0, I love a droid and he is one of the best.
- Empire Strikes Back
The first Star Wars film I ever saw, I remember being five years old when my Dad took me to the cinema and I was just blown away by this world in space with AT-ATs and golden robots and a beautiful princess. Later in life (last year in fact) it was my turn to take my Dad to see the film at Manchester Arena with a full orchestra and I found myself loving this film as much almost forty years later. As a lifelong fan of C-3P0 he is at his finest in this film with brilliant dialogue. The way it is shot is cinematically beautiful. In fact there is little wrong with it.
- A New Hope
For a lot of people, this is where their Star Wars story starts, when that massive Star Destroyer filled the screen. We are introduced to characters that we will stay faithful to for over forty years, the Princess, the Jedi, the Farmboy, the Smuggler and the dark villain. I bet you can name all of them just by those descriptions. That is the power of films like these. It may be looking a little dated now compared to others but the heart of Star Wars beats in this movie and it can never be forgotten.
- The Rise of Skywalker
The ending of the Skywalker saga and a fitting one it is. It took me a while to stop crying after the lights went up. I loved such a lot about this movie and I will admit to being nervous going in. The modern films have had a few bumps in the road and I feel that this movie has a shaky take off but once it’s flying, it’s truly flying. The pace is brilliant, C-3P0 has his best role since Empire Strikes Back, fitting endings are given to characters we love and so much service is paid to fans that I find it difficult to understand the bad feeling against it.
- Return of the Jedi
OK I’m not a massive fan of this movie. Firstly the first act does absolutely nothing for the overall story, it’s just getting Han back from Jabba. Speaking of Han, he contributes hardly anything to this film. Word is that Harrison Ford asked for Solo to be killed at the end of Empire and you get the feeling that he’s totally lost interest in the smuggler, maybe his head had been turned by a certain archaeologist at this point. Add in the Ewoks who are divisive at best and things are on a sticky wicket (pun intended). This film appealed to me as an eight year old but a few (cough) years on, its one that I reach for the least.
- The Force Awakens
How excited were we in 2015 when we learnt that we were going to see a new Star Wars film. I don’t think anything will be as exciting as sitting in the cinema waiting for that one. There was such a lot right with Force Awakens. I loved the new characters, Han was back as his brilliant wise cracking self, Leia had the guts we remembered and their son, Kylo Ren was a fascinating villain with Grand-daddy issues. What annoys me are the huge coincidences we’re supposed to just swallow that start the film, the Falcon just happens to be on Jakku, Rey just happens to know how to fly it, Han and Chewie just happened to be passing when they fly off Jakku and it all serves for nothing. It would have been just as believable to have Han and Chewie selling some parts on Jakku and giving Finn and Rey a lift out of there. As for Starkiller Base, what was the point in that?
With movies released at Christmas for 2015, 2016 and 2017, when May 2018 came around the world was suffering from Star Wars overload which damaged Solo unfairly. The problem with a prequel is that the amount of jeopardy is reduced because we know certain characters make it. The main point of this was Han and co making the Kessel Run, but Solo told us in 1977 that he completed it so was I on the edge of my seat? Sadly not. All the performances are solid but the opportunity of having a female droid is ruined by the sexualisation of her, Emilia Clarke is pretty wooden and if she was supposed to be the reason Han fell for Leia because he saw similarities, it’s an insult to the iconic Carrie Fisher. Donald Glover as Lando is great, the glint of rebellion is unexpected and Chewie is given full rounded character treatment rather than just growling sidekick which is probably the best thing for me.
- Revenge of the Sith
The prequels opened to much fanfare and then took a lot of flak. By the time the third of this trilogy came around, George Lucas was trying to mould them back into Star Wars films but sadly his mis-castings and obsession with green screen still gives this movie a soulless air about it. Samuel L Jackson could have been the best Jedi ever but clunky dialogue just makes him look as confused as us, the chemistry between Padme and Anakin is MIA and the only real standout performance is Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine, the panto villain gleefully finding his plan working.
- The Last Jedi
The most divisive film to come out of a galaxy far, far away. So much hate for this film but to me it’s not the worst one out there. I loved the experimentation that Rian Johnson brings, starting it straight after Episode 7, I like the fact it’s almost filmed in real time and I actually liked the fact that Luke is a hermit, hiding from the Force. But there is so much filler it is ridiculous. Canto Bight is pointless, Phasma’s return is pointless, the whole Poe learning his lesson about acting hastily is lost because he’s back to type in The Rise of Skywalker yet the battle of Crait is excellent and could have gone on for longer.
- The Phantom Menace
The beginning or the middle depending on if you watch in chronological order or filmed order. I loved it, then I hated it and recently I watched it again and realise I don’t mind it. The pod racing has weathered well, Darth Maul is ace if underused, Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor make a good double act and R2 is at his best. I’m not even going to talk about Jar Jar Binks or the gungans, not good. The most mind bending thing for me was that Darth Vader built C-3P0, oh that kept me up for a few nights trying to get my head around it.
- Attack of the Clones
Last place goes to this movie. It could have been so good, a mystery for Obi Wan, new Anakin, a bounty hunter and Yoda coming to the rescue. But what we got was Lucas’s obsession with digital going to new heights and making it look like a cartoon. Anthony Daniels (C-3P0) said in his autobiography that whenever there was an issue (mainly with an R2 unit), Lucas would just say “We’ll add it later”. This left actors bewildered as to where they were supposed to be and what they were supposed to be reacting to. The cast is stellar but their performances are terrible. As for a space diner? Let’s not even think about it.
Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.