Star Wars: Special Edition (review by Doug Smith)
All right, now I get to see just how many people I can manage to piss off. “Star Wars” is what many people feel to be the ultimate space epic. Even though “The Phantom Menace” sucked, the same people who said it was horrible will be right in line for the next installment in the series, just because “it’s Star Wars!” Excluding me, of course, because, well … I have taste. Plus I really have no desire to put up with Jar Jar Binks again. At any rate, as I was saying, tons of people think “Star Wars” is one of the best movies ever made. I’m not one of those people. Now, I’m sure all you little computer nerd Star Wars fans out there are going to bombard me with hate mail. I’m going to tell you something right now. I don’t care. I don’t care what you think. And if you do think something is so important that it can’t take a little ribbing (for her pleasure), you haven’t the foggiest idea of what the real world is all about and are probably still living in your parents’ basement, working part-time at the local House O’ Grease and earning just enough money to pay for that coveted Boba Fett statuette you’ve been dying for since you first saw “The Empire Strikes Back.” Now that that’s been said, let’s get on with the review.
Mark Hamill whines out lines as the adventurous Luke Skywalker, and has ever since been stuck doing cartoon voices and appearances in low-budget sci-fi films. Harrison Ford stars as intergalactic drug runner, Han Solo. Rumor has it, he’s going to be in another Indiana Jones film. That’d be great. He’ll probably be able to outrun boulders faster in his wheelchair. Carrie Fisher plays Princess Leia, who’s almost as whiny as Luke. Peter Cushing steps out of the Tardis to play Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. Man, I hate reviewing these sci-fi movies where every other word is underlined in red, thanks to Microsoft’s anal retentive spell checker. Finally, Alec Guinness plays Obi-Wan Kenobi. Mr. Guinness passed away quite recently (August 5, I believe), probably from a heart attack after having seen the heroin-laced Ewan McGregor butcher his character in “The Phantom Menace.”
Okay, here we go. The movie opens with the rolling story line thing that we’ve all grown to know and love, but you can’t read it, because even though George Lucas decided to upgrade the movie, he apparently overlooked the fact that the first release of the special edition to video was a pan and scan version and not widescreen, thus chopping off the first and last words of each line. So what we end up with is “s a period of civil w el spaceships, strik a hidden base, have first victory agai vil Galactic Empire.” You get the idea. After we read the little story, we pan down and find Princess Leia’s ship running from an Empire ship. No, I don’t know what the technical names of the ships are and, quite frankly, I don’t care. I have a life, see. The Empire eventually overtakes Leia’s ship and captures her, but not before she films a message on R2-D2, in which she reveals the secret to getting her hair to look exactly like Pop-Tart Toaster Pastries. Anyway, R2-D2 and C-3PO escape to the planet below as Darth Vader accuses Leia of being a Rebel spy (which is true, of course.)
Once they’re on the planet, C-3PO and R2 each head their own way. Both of them are interesting characters. R2 sounds like he could use a Beano and C-3PO walks like he has a pant load and is obviously gay. At any rate, they’re both eventually captured and sold by what sound and look like psychotic chipmunks.
Who buys them both? Why, none other than Luke Skywalker and his uncle who are farming … um … something on the planet. As Luke is cleaning off R2, he triggers the message that Princess Leia had recorded, but all he gets is, “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re our only hope.” R2 reveals, through his translator, that he is the property of Obi-Wan and needs to find him and that Obi lives on the same planet they’re on. Luke tries to find out more, but R2 doesn’t want to reveal anything.
Later that night, R2 goes off on his own to find Obi-Wan and once Luke has discovered him missing, he takes C-3PO and goes off to find R2. They eventually catch up to him, but are attacked by the Sand People, who look like Pinhead from “Hellraiser” before his head nails grew out. Obi-Wan finds them and takes them back to his place because even though he’s a Jedi Knight and a master of the Force and is willing to face Empire fighters, he seems to be afraid of simple Sand People. Huh.
Once they’re back at Obi-Wan’s happening pad, Obi-Wan discovers the message. Princess Leia needs his help. He invites Luke along, on the condition that he master the Force, but Luke declines because his uncle needs him on the planet they’re on. Little does he know that Empire Stormtroopers have barbecued his home and his aunt and uncle. Once he finds that out, he agrees to go along with Obi-Wan.
The movie goes on and they meet up with Han Solo and Chewbacca at Mos Eisley. And some stuff happens and they rescue the princess and blow up the Empire’s big-ass planet destroying ship. The end. Well, not quite. There are still two more chapters, not to mention the one that was just released and the two that have yet to be released.
I swear, this movie had more phallic symbols than a Madonna video. Everything from penis-headed space creatures to round shafty vehicles to big pointy buildings and monuments. Either Oscar Wilde was a key designer, or George Lucas has a few issues he needs to work out. Now then, I suppose you’re all wondering what kind of rating this movie is going to get. It was okay. Had you going there, didn’t I? Figured I’d give a yak turd, didn’t you? Nah. It was an okay movie. I really like the music and the special effects really were quite good for their time. I just don’t understand why some people put it on a shrine as one of the best movies of all time. And I don’t understand why some people get so defensive when you point out some of the faults of the film. Ah well. I give it three yaks.