Watching ‘Star Wars’ for the primary time on Disney Plus

Watching 'Star Wars' for the first time on Disney Plus

Rey and Kylo Ren face off in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”


For 38 years, I averted all 9 motion pictures in the primary “Star Wars” saga.

I might heard the references — “I’m your father” and “Assist me, Obi Wan Kenobi, you are my solely hope.” I do know they’re probably the most commercially profitable leisure franchise of all time, grossing greater than $10 billion from field workplace receipts alone, to not point out billions extra from toys, motion figures, T-shirts, amusement park rides and each different possible industrial tie-in.

However in some unspecified time in the future I made a decision I’d simply be a man who would vaguely nod and smile when somebody referenced the films with out actually understanding what they have been speaking about. If something, avoiding them utterly turned my private badge of honor. After I’d inform most individuals I might by no means seen any of the films, the response sometimes ranged from shock to contempt. 

Then the quarantine, two younger boys and a model new child that wanted night time feedings offered me with a possibility: I might zip by means of all 9 motion pictures. All of them — The Skywalker Saga — can be found for on-demand streaming with my $6.99-per-month Disney+ subscription. “Watch them along with your youngsters,” folks would inform me. “Your youngsters will love them! And you’ll too!”

So, I made a decision I might. My editor, Matt Rosoff, got here up with an thought: evaluate every film as you go. 

Earlier than I start, some caveats: I’m not an expert film critic. I’ve by no means learn any opinions of “Star Wars.” I’m going in to this about as blind as may be whereas additionally functioning in society for almost 4 many years.

Additionally, clearly, I am not naturally drawn to sci-fi motion motion pictures. If all these motion pictures have been my factor, I might have watched them already. I do know many individuals studying this can be tremendous followers. I do not need dying threats. I’ve additionally heard “Rogue One” and “Solo” are completely different in tone and value watching. However that is for an additional time.

Lastly, a number of of my colleagues informed me the order wherein I watched the films was vital. I opted to observe the films within the order they have been made. Having executed that, I might wish to rewatch the films within the storytelling order, beginning with “Episode I” and going to “Episode IX.”

Then once more, there are many issues I might love to do in life. And I might love to do most of them greater than watch these motion pictures once more. 

Let’s start.

(**SPOILER ALERTS AHEAD** Simply warning you. I do not wish to wreck any surprises from 43 years in the past.)

“Episode IV – A New Hope” (1977)

To cite “Arrested Improvement,” I’ve made an enormous mistake. “Insurgent spaceships, hanging from a hidden base, have gained their first victory towards the evil Galactic empire.” Lasers! Over-acted deaths! I am too outdated for this. 

There he’s! Darth Vader! “That is CNN!” “Simba, I am very disillusioned in you!”

I am impressed with the particular results, particularly for 1977. [Editor’s note: The current version on Disney+ includes many significant updates that were added for the theatrical re-release in 1997 and DVD release in 2004, including dramatically improved special effects.]

However there’s an excessive amount of airplane preventing and never sufficient character improvement. I am undecided why I am purported to care about any of those folks…or no matter you name them. Are they known as folks? When are they going to delve into how the characters be taught all of the languages? Do the multilingual aliens scoff on the English-only ones like how Europeans mock Individuals?

My six-year-old is complaining, “THIS IS BORING.” I had actually hyped this experiment as much as him — that we would watch all the films collectively. He misplaced curiosity after 15 minutes. 

Who’re these folks on the ship with Darth Vader? Wait, Darth Vader is not even probably the most evil man on this film? He is a No. 2 to the Emperor? 

Did the Dying Star simply casually blow up Earth half manner into the film? Oh, wait, Princess Leia is not from Earth — this takes place “in a galaxy far, distant.” Man, Leia is taking the destruction of her planet properly. 

So, all of those folks within the film reside on different planets? Do the entire folks with the British accents reside on the identical planet? Or are all of the humanoids dispersed and someway have the identical British accent? 

I am confused by the ending. Nobody is upset all these folks on the fighter jets died? Star Wars: we do not mourn dying! 

“Episode V: The Empire Strikes Again” (1980)

How on earth is the Luke/Darth Vader plot twist regarded as one of many biggest in cinematic historical past? We barely even know Darth Vader! Is he even within the first hour of the film? If I might watched Episodes 1, 2 and three first, perhaps I might care — however this twist supposedly left generations of individuals surprised with out these motion pictures in existence. Actually? There is no character improvement in any respect! Somebody get George Lucas a Martin Scorsese film. It’s important to make the viewers care! You have to clarify backstory!  

Darth Vader: “I…am your father!”

Alex, watching: “OK.”

Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford on the set of “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Again.”

Sundown Boulevard | Corbis | Getty Pictures

Lucas hit a house run casting Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, clearly. Their dialogue remains to be pleasant, executed in that breaking the fourth wall, we’re in on the joke, campy type of manner that is refreshing and desperately wanted amid all of the particular results. 

Why did nobody inform me Yoda was simply altered Grover?! I saved ready for him to say: “NEAR….FAR!” I assume I am not the primary to the make Luke/Yoda coaching comparability with “Rocky,” however these scenes felt like I used to be watching a distinct parallel film.

This movie is meant to be the spotlight of the sequence? Oh lord.

“Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” (1983)

Now we’re speaking! The primary 30 minutes of this film is excellent — the Jabba The Hutt scene the place the gang tries to rescue Han Solo. The thought to arrange an elaborate debauchery scene because the setting for a what’s in impact a well-paced heist is **chef’s kiss.** I used to be riveted. Very cool technique to begin a film.

I want the film stopped after that scene. C-3PO’s Debbie Downer act is an excessive amount of. The inexperienced display screen utilization is an excessive amount of. And the plot is manner too skinny. This film is a slow-motion Brooklyn G practice to the Luke vs. Vader/Emperor battle, which is foreshadowed 5 occasions however would not really (predictably) occur till the film’s finish.

Vader turns his again on the Darkish Facet! Callooh! Callay!

Vader is not the worst man in these motion pictures, after which he turns into an excellent man in the long run, and the American Movie Institute ranks him because the third biggest villain in film historical past. He is not even notably scary — a lot of his strains are compliments!

“You will have managed your worry.”

“Spectacular. Most spectacular. Obi-Wan has taught you properly.”

“Luke, you don’t but understand your significance. You have solely begun to find your energy.”

Thanks, Tony Robbins! I will take a look at your Ted Discuss.

I assume we’re simply celebrating the redeemed Anakin now that he turns to the sunshine? Obi-Wan, Yoda and Anakin! The three heroes! We’re simply going to disregard all of the folks he savagely murdered? Cool. 

“Episode I: The Phantom Menace” (1999)

I have been staring on the display screen for 10 minutes attempting to provide you with probably the most acceptable analogy for Jar Jar Binks on this film. I bear in mind folks complaining about him on the time that this got here out. For those who’ve by no means seen him, right here he’s. I suppose it is vital for generations to know that characters like this have been nonetheless being made in 1999. In order that’s one good factor.

Structurally, this isn’t a horrible film! I do know it is universally panned. However not like the primary three, it has a richer, coherent narrative. I loved the again story of Anakin, even with the horrible performing from Natalie Portman and Jake Lloyd. 

However there’s a lot Jar Jar Binks within the film that it is unwatchable for lengthy stretches. Actually unwatchable for me — I needed to quick ahead. 

The very best analogy for Jar Jar I can consider is waking up and instantly stepping in a bucket of vomit you did not know was there. It doesn’t matter what else occurs after that, you possibly can’t assist however take into consideration the vomit bucket. Why was it there? Who put it there? Tweet @sherman4949 you probably have a good higher analogy for Jar Jar Binks — one thing so outrageous, so mystifying in its existence, so vile, and so annoying that it ruins the entire, it doesn’t matter what else is there.

Jar Jar Binks is the phantom menace of the remainder of my life.

“Episode II: Assault of the Clones” (2002)

Awwww, it is a love story! 

Why is the dialogue so stiff? Like, each character! (Hmmm, perhaps Jar Jar Binks wasn’t so unhealthy! Not less than he had inflection in his voice!)

Is Hayden Christensen attempting to sound like Christopher Walken? Somebody actually ought to have reminded Lucas that the unique dialogue between Luke/Princess Leia/Han Solo was mild and snappy. This film might have used that.

A fast apart on C-3PO: He was comedian reduction in Episode IV, and someway the writing for him misplaced its manner. We get it, he is a robotic worrywart. I’ve come to despise him.  

“Assault of the Clones” is saved by Lucas realizing Binks is an atrocity and making him a bit participant. So, I did not need to fast-forward by means of massive chunks of the film. I appreciated the dance-like choreography of the sunshine saber scenes. These introduced my four-year-old again into the fold, who has been persistently complaining about this task as a result of he needs to observe “Octonauts” on Netflix, and I am taking on the TV. However he grabbed his toy mild saber whereas Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi fought Rely Dooku. And we each cheered when Yoda confirmed up — a really nice shock that should have elicited applause within the theaters when the film debuted.

(One other apart right here: my four-year-old loved the sunshine saber scene with Obi-Wan and Qui Gon preventing Darth Maul in “Phantom Menace” too. “DOUBLE LIGHT SABER,” he yelled. For the following two weeks, he harassed me to purchase him a lightweight saber that shot mild out of each ends as a result of the conventional mild saber I purchased him wasn’t adequate. Because of this Disney purchased Lucasfilm.). 

Anyway, “Assault of the Clones” drags and is shockingly low on motion scenes…is not that why these motion pictures are made? 

“Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” (2005)

I appreciated this film! I actually did. It was undoubtedly my favourite of the center three. It was so good, in actual fact, that I briefly thought-about going again and watching boring Episode IV once more simply in order that I higher understood who Darth Vader was. 

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.”


I imply, let’s not go nuts. The film opens with one other prolonged “High Gun”-like scene that’s interminable and looks as if a technique to burn time whereas saying “see? It is a Star Wars film.” (NOTE: I assume “High Gun” was really only a rip off of the primary “Star Wars,” however that did not daybreak on me till now.)

After that, we get proper into Anakin’s descent into the darkish aspect, prodded by some mildly plausible performing by Ian McDiarmid‘s Empire Palpatine. And the scene the place Anakin wipes out the younglings — highly effective! I used to be moved. What is that this salty discharge? 

The plot is a bit heavy handed to ensure all of the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed to arrange for Episode IV. As a aspect observe: Obi-Wan is fairly damned nonplussed to see Luke when he first discovers him in Episode IV, seeing that he was the primary particular person to carry him after he was born, and on condition that Luke’s father was the seminal determine in his life.

The ultimate scene is intense — although befuddling. Why does Obi-Wan simply go away Anakin to die? He is probably the most highly effective Jedi ever … however, eh. Let’s roll the cube and see what occurs! What might go incorrect?

“Episode VII: The Power Awakens” (2015)

I used to be prepared for a brand new solid of characters, however identical to with Episode I and Episode IV, I discovered it tough to attach emotionally with any of those folks. (Is there air on all these planets? Extra American vs. British accents! Within the distant galaxy, do the British folks reside on a planet the place the steering wheels are on the opposite aspect of their autos?)

I totally loved the opening scene — the blood-marked storm trooper having an existential disaster was instantly gripping. However I discovered … wait, what’s that man’s identify? I watched this complete film, and I nonetheless do not know this man’s identify as a result of he was that unappealing to me. Maintain on, I’ve obtained to Google it.

{Google’s identify}

Poe Dameron?? Are you critical?? That was his identify? I wasn’t even shut!

Anyway, I discovered “Poe Dameron” completely uninteresting. 

They’re establishing the defector Storm Trooper — Finn — to fall in love with Rey, who seems to be solid as the following Luke Skywalker….however that total plotline kinda disappears when Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher return, which is nice from a fan standpoint however not nice from a “film construction” standpoint. 

Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren is meant to be … an actual duplicate of Darth Vader? Similar voice, identical No. 2 unhealthy man who will clearly flip good in the long run, identical father-son battle? Man, they did not wish to stray too removed from what labored the primary time. 

Ren killing Han Solo was affecting if simply to listen to Chewy’s anguished scream. However the next mild saber battle between Ren and Rey falls a little bit flat as a result of … properly … I’ve seen too many mild saber scenes in too in need of an period of time. I might higher tolerate these if a few years handed between motion pictures and I used to be watching these on an enormous display screen. Maybe these motion pictures aren’t made for bingeing. (Narrator: They don’t seem to be made for bingeing).

Then once more, cool ending! I do not wish to wait years to see outdated Luke Skywalker, and now I haven’t got to!

“Episode VIII: The Final Jedi” (2015)

This one was superb! Even good! To illustrate good.

Director Rian Johnson deserves credit score for getting on the crucial generational shift theme by linking the brand new characters to Solo, Leia and Skywalker in an inexpensive manner, permitting the viewers to slowly shift their allegiances from the outdated guard to the brand new guard. However the parallels of Snoke/Ren to Emperor Palpatine/Vader are a bit infantile to me — a thinly veiled try at replicating the identical dynamic for a brand new, youthful era, however with much less poignancy or weight as a result of we have already seen this. 

Clearly, it is depressing for a lot of causes that Fisher handed away. She’s criminally underutilized on this film, regardless that apparently she’d ended manufacturing by the point she died. Carrie Fisher is humorous! Let her be humorous! You have obtained Michael Jordan, why do you retain making him move?! 

For some cause, they deserted the Finn-Rey romance thread and moved on to Rey-Ren as an alternative. I really feel like that wanted to be defined. That was undoubtedly being teased within the final film. And now, Finn has a brand new love curiosity in Rose? Or not? Why will we care about Rose? This all feels very compelled and weirdly scripted, like studio executives obtained concerned and altered the unique script. 

Had been we purported to be stunned that Ren turned on Snoke? Generally I believe perhaps I am judging these motion pictures too harshly — they’re clearly for teenagers…or very immature adults. 

Nonetheless, there is a nice outdated vs. new theme that runs by means of the complete film, giving us Yoda-Luke scenes and Rey-Ren battles that really feel related. And the final 30 minutes of the film is great, that includes the final word outdated vs. new Luke-Ren faceoff with a beautiful backdrop on the salt fields of Crait — and a twist ending, revealing Skywalker was by no means there to start with. I appreciated it! 

“Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker” (2019)

Perhaps this film was good? I do not know. My overwhelming feeling was reduction this challenge ended. I am prepared to start out watching “Ozark.” I heard my six-year-old say to his pal on a Zoom name, “My dad is watching Star Wars!” (at 2 p.m. on a Saturday) and his pal stated “AGAIN?!” Her mother and father are going to assume I am an incredible dad! 

Oh goody, extra flying scenes! I’m wondering if our heroes will get away, regardless that it is simply 10 minutes into the film and so they’ll clearly be superb. 

Palpatine’s again, and he says to Ren, “Kill the lady, destroy the Jedi and change into what Vader couldn’t!” … But when the Emperor remains to be alive and might apparently cheat dying, why does he want somebody to do that in any respect? Cannot he simply do it? That is probably defined someplace earlier within the sequence. I might in all probability Google it. I can’t.

So, Rey has change into the following Luke Skywalker as the longer term face of the Jedi, clearly symbolizing the galaxies shall be in good fingers for “the fortunately ever” after crew that buys lots of of hundreds of thousands of theater tickets. And it is fairly clear she’ll flip Kylo Ren to the sunshine (the sunshine aspect? Is that what you say?), after which Ren will kill the emperor, after which he’ll be celebrated, as a result of who cares how we reside life so long as we repent in the long run? I’ve obtained 90 extra minutes to go!

For the ultimate film in a nine-part epic sequence, there’s A LOT of fluff within the first half of this film. 

Whoa, Rey is Palpatine’s granddaughter! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT. This adjustments every thing. 

Oh good, Harrison Ford got here again for this one! That is one thing. “I do know what I’ve to do, however I do not know if I’ve the energy to do it.” Oooh, an homage to the primary two motion pictures! The Coen Brothers can be pleased with the dialogue repetition. 

Did they simply write Rose out of this film? Oh, there she is. 

God, this film is so somber for the finale of the sequence. Many of the film is darkish blue and black. 

OK, so Rey killed the emperor, not Ren. However first, they fell in love. I WAS WRONG. Form of. 

Chewbacca, Poe Dameron, Finn and Rey pilot the Millenium Falcon in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”

Disney | Lucasfilm

Rey, Finn and what’s his identify hug in the long run. I am overwhelmed with emotion. Wait, is emotion the appropriate phrase? The phrase I am searching for means “absolute nothingness.”

In the long run, I am glad I watched these motion pictures. However I do not assume they’re worthy of the mass cultural sensation they’re. If you are going to watch a sequence of PG/PG-13 fantasy movies, I believe the “Harry Potter” motion pictures are a lot better. However now I will perceive everybody’s references for the remainder of my life. Or, at the very least, till I overlook what occurred in every of those motion pictures.

And guess what?

I have already got.

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