Charlie, Charles, Cameron, and Collin Grade the Star Wars Movies: Original Trilogy Edition


Episode IV: “A New Hope”

Collin: B+

“A New Hope” is easily one of the best films in the series. It could easily be boosted by nostalgia but it really holds its own and is still very entertaining. Meeting all of the main characters is a real blast and they all are extremely memorable. This movie does a good job showing us their aspirations and goals. Luke Skywalker is very relatable in this one compared to the others due to his goal of getting off of Tatooine. The scenes on the planet feel barren and desolate compared to the other places they visit later on in the movie. The main problems lie in the re-released versions that add in CGI creatures and objects that break the immersion because the contrast is so different. Other than that the movie is very solid. There are some strange things that pop-up like the rematch between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader, but it only sticks out due to the Prequels showing us more intense and interesting fights. Overall, it’s a very memorable slot in the series that set the standard for everything to come. 

Cameron: A

“A New Hope” is heralded as one of the greatest Star Wars movies of all time, and that is totally fair. This film is so authentic, considering a good part of this movie takes place on Tatooine. They filmed a lot of the Tatooine scenes in a real desert, which you do not see in modern movies. I also appreciated the coherent and engaging plot. In a lot of the other Star Wars they struggle to do just that. This movie also is able to tell all of the characters’ stories interestingly, while other Star Wars movies struggle to do this. At no point during the movie am I skipping past one character’s story to get to another’s. I find Luke Skywalker’s story just as engaging as Leia Organa’s and vice versa. My only complaint about this movie is its lack of interesting lightsaber and ground battles. But, they do compensate with the awesome attack on the Death Star.  

Charlie: A

“A New Hope” was my introduction to Star Wars. The storytelling is amazing and I became attached to the characters. I remember being a little kid and always rewatching this movie. The graphics were ahead of their time and it introduced us to a never-ending universe that still is getting expanded upon today (see: Disney+). My favorite parts of this classic include the opening scene where we get introduced to the iconic villain Darth Vader, the garbage compactor scene, the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi (-___-), and of course taking down the Death Star. The scenes on Tatooine are very authentic and give us a sense of Luke Skywalker. This was the first time we saw “A galaxy far, far away,” and got introduced to the classic characters we have come to love. This movie holds a special place in my heart because it introduced me to one of the first stories I came to love. 

Charles: A-

Kicking off George Lucas’s soon to be world renowned space series, “A New Hope” was a great intro into the world of Star Wars. Giving life to what may be considered a very general plot outline, this movie immediately kicks off great character development with the unmatched Sith power of Darth Vader. Using long stretches of desert to create the remote sand world of Tatooine, and visual effects for the space battles, as well as the Imperial Death Star, this movie gave rise to a certain feeling that only these movies can possess. From the cantina scene, to Alderaan being destroyed per the order of Grand Moff Tarkin, there are countless memorable scenes in this film. The only reason this is not a straight ‘A’ film, is mainly due to this movie being quite ahead of its time, especially for the standard that Star Wars movies are held to this day. It lacked great fight scenes, in the sense of the Kenobi/Vader fight, which to today’s standard, has trouble matching other great fights such as Palpatine/Yoda and Anakin/Kenobi. Mark Hamill has trouble capturing the full character around Luke Skywalker, as he’s written as a sort of moronic farm boy who seems to channel all of these abilities in the force and in piloting so easily. Besides that, the movie flows together perfectly in a formula that would go on to be recreated in several later movies.


Episode V: “The Empire Strikes Back”

Collin: A

Empire is the best Star Wars film, come at me. It includes the most memorable line and the craziest ending and twist. All three planets in the movie are iconic: the snowy Hoth, the floating Cloud City, and the swampy hiding place Dagobah. It also ends with probably the most interesting ending in a movie period, even though it is common knowledge nowadays. It took everything great about “A New Hope” and cranked it up. The acting is way better than “A New Hope” and seems a little more realistic and less like space mumbo jumbo. The story arcs make sense for the characters unlike what some of the other installments do to them. Luke Skywalker, after becoming a hotshot pilot hero after the attack on the Death Star, is cocky and impatient and after not heeding Yoda’s warning he learns to be patient and to think things through before jumping into action. Han Solo grapples with being a hero and his criminal past which culminates with him being caught by the empire and frozen in carbonite, which may be one of the coolest scenes in the series. Leia Organa is fleshed out more and grows from just being a princess who was captured to a super competent general. The action scenes are evenly paced throughout the film and it never feels boring. Unlike its successors “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens”, it does not reuse the Death Star which helps it stand out among the Original Trilogy.

Cameron: A- 

I think this movie is a bit overrated. Too many people say this is the best Star Wars movie out of all of them. I am not saying it is a bad movie, I am just saying that it is not the best. One thing this movie struggles with is balancing the storyline between Luke Skywalker’s Jedi journey and the adventures of those on the Millennium Falcon. When Luke Skywalker goes to Dagobah to meet and train with Yoda it feels like the movie just slows down and that we have to watch a dragged out story which does not really advance the plot because Luke Skywalker does not heed Yoda’s advice. I know that the point of the Dagobah scene was to show that Luke Skywalker is far from being a Jedi Master, it just lacks engaging dialogue or action. (To be honest if Yoda had a normal way of talking it might be a little more interesting, at least for me). Whilst, when we are with the Millennium Falcon there are awesome action sequences and interesting conversations that keep us wanting more. The Millennium Falcon scenes seem to carry the movie until both groups get to Cloud City. Once at Cloud City it seems like both stories have a good and logical end. Cloud City is probably the strongest location of all the movies with a lot of good dialogue and great action scenes.

Charlie: A+

“The Empire Strikes Back” is the greatest Star Wars movie ever, and I do not think that will ever change. There are so many things that make this movie legendary. First and foremost, there is the greatest reveal in cinematic history. That aside, this movie has an amazing balance of dark and evil with a slight hope for rebellion. I love the opening scene with Luke Skywalker getting kidnapped and using the force to get his lightsaber out of the snow. We also got introduced to Yoda for the first time, which was so bizarre when I first watched it. Han Solo is in peak form, and we also got introduced to a legend in Lando Calrissian. This film hardly takes a breath and is always entertaining. I am also of the belief that this episode has the best variance and group of planets of any of the films. The only part of this movie that is hard to watch is the old graphics that look like bad puppets. But, that is part of the charm. A+!

Charles: A

Going toe to toe with what would soon be “Revenge of The Sith”, “The Empire Strikes Back” provides a new and original storyline that somehow managed to captivate all kinds of fans to want even more from George Lucas and his series. Beginning on Hoth, with the Imperial invasion of the newly found rebel base, this spawned the snowspeeder/AT-AT moment, in which the collapse of the giant robotic legs of the vehicle is a memorable moment for any viewer. This movie also does take Luke Skywalker’s maturity by the reigns and forces his lessons with Yoda to get him to grow as a person, as well as a Jedi. The setting of Cloud City helps create the most appealing aspects of the movie, as two storylines intervene to create one, in which Luke Skywalker departs his training early to save his friends, which is shown to affect him in his later fight with his father, Darth Vader. The character development becomes second to none in this movie when compared with the rest of the original trilogy, and the massive revelation of Luke Skywalker learning who is father is sets up the next movie nicely, and is a great way to end this film. With so many great characters, settings, scenes, and all around production, “The Empire Strikes Back” is a timeless classic. 


Episode VI: “Return of the Jedi”

Collin: B-

“Return of the Jedi” seems to be the one in the Original Trilogy that everyone either forgot about or did not rewatch. Compared to its predecessors, it barely stands on its own. The movie is decent if you do not think too hard about what is happening. The opening scene in Jabba the Hutt’s Palace is repetitive and just confusingly complex for someone who apparently has matured and become much wiser like Luke Skywalker. They also kill off one of the coolest characters in the series, Boba Fett, very unceremoniously. The characters also take weird turns. Han Solo is pretty pointless in this movie and is just there. Darth Vader is really wimpy in comparison to the other movies as well, as he is pretty much Emperor Palpatine’s pet in this one. Another thing that does not really make sense is a second Death Star, especially after the first one was destroyed when our main characters were technically weaker. The Battle on Endor is also arguably bad since it is between militarily trained soldiers and some ragtag groups of rebels and little bears. Overall, this one is an alright finale to the trilogy but could easily be much better with some changes. 

Cameron: B+

I have changed my mind on “Return of The Jedi.” I used to think it was the greatest but when you re-watch it seems like the movie has problems with staying on track. Despite this, I think that a lot of the scenes hold up. All the Endor scenes drag out a bit long and at the end of the day it is just not believable that a bunch of Ewoks and a couple of Rebels could defeat a whole legion of Stormtroopers who knew that the rebels were going to be attacking them. But, I do think that the opening scene is in Jabba the Hutt’s palace is engaging and demonstrates how Luke Skywalker has changed into a Jedi master which is important for the rest of the film. Because this movie is younger than its predecessors (obviously), it looks more refined and uses the CGI better than other films. This is evident when you watch the speeder bike chase on Endor, with a lot of the scene seeming more modern than it was. Overall, the movie might not have much rewatchability on its own unlike the other ones, but it provides a good conclusion to the trilogy and can be enjoyable in a marathon.

Charlie: B-

“Return of the Jedi” gets a decent grading from me because it still has all the classic characters that I love and has a poetic death for Darth Vader, but other than that I have never been a huge fan of it. The Ewoks are corny and this episode kind of dragged compared to the previous two episodes. Even if I remember this as worse than it actually is, it is never on the top of my list for Star Wars movies that I would want to watch. If I get the pick of the litter on watching Star Wars movies, I would choose Episode IV or Episode V, then probably move toward the sequels, and then Revenge of the Sith. At least for me, this is the forgotten Star Wars movie. 

Charles: B

The final film in the original trilogy does not muster as good of a rating as the first two, mainly due to the lack of results from the hype that “The Empire Strikes Back” created in the previous film. “Return of The Jedi” is a good film nonetheless, however, it seems to flop when it comes to the action that is compared in the last movie. Having new unique places to visit such as Jabba’s Palace, and Endor, it gave way for some new settings for the audience to immerse themselves in. The final battle on the second Death Star is a great scene, and gave a nice conclusion to the trilogy with the (supposed) death of Emperor Palpatine. However, “Return of The Jedi” fails to capture the same greatness that the previous two movies had. With big revelations such as the destruction of the second Death Star, and the reveal of the man under Darth Vader’s mask, this movie just has a few gaps that it seems to stumble on in its way to becoming an A movie. The battle of Endor, the land speeder chase, the idea of a second Death Star, all just seemed a little cliche, and not like a normal Star Wars movie. Definitely the least appealing of the original trilogy.