“Star Wars”: The excitement awakens

The Oracle’s take on the “Star Wars” franchise.

Adam Whitt, Reporter

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” Aka 1977, the world first experienced the would-be film sensation known as Star Wars. The movie took the world by storm spawning multiple generations of fans. Now, 38 years later, it’s back with “Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens.”

Picking up roughly 30 years after the events of 1983’s “Empire Strikes Back,” “The Force Awakens” is the first movie of a new Star Wars trilogy.

The film will introduce a new cast, as well as see the return of the original rebel scum reprising their iconic roles—Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa and Harrison Ford as the scoundrel himself, Han Solo.

The film will also see the return of the lovable fuzzball Chewbacca, the dynamic duo of droids R2D2 and C3PO and one of the most recognizable ships of all time—the Millennium Falcon.

The Star Wars franchise has spawned multiple generations of loyal fans, countless toys, a prequel trilogy, books, comics, cartoons and even upcoming spin-off films.

In just a few short years, excluding the new trilogy, fans will also be getting two spin-off films from the galaxy far, far away.

In 2016, the Star Wars universe will expand with the spin-off rebel heist movie, “Rogue One,” and in 2018 with a yet-to-be titled movie following the adventures of a young Han Solo.

With “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” coming out in less than two weeks, and the addition of four more movies by 2019, Star Wars has never been hotter.

With that in mind, let’s reflect on the great moments, and the Jar Jar-ring moments of the Star Wars franchise.

The following is a ranking of movies determined by the “All-Critics” percentage on Rotten Tomatoes starting with the lowest/worst and going to the highest/best. In the case of a tie, “Top-Critics” percentage was used as the tiebreaker.

6.) “Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace” (56% AC – 40% TC, 1999)

“Now this is pod-racing!”

Now this is a disaster. “The Phantom Menace” had so much potential. In this film, George Lucas introduced what could have been one of the coolest villains of all time, and instead let him kill off Liam Neeson (also, so much potential), just to die the exact same way two minutes later. What a waste. In lieu of more terrible decisions, I won’t make you guys listen to me rant about pod-racing or Jar Jar Binks—although I 100% support the “Jar Jar is a Sith Lord” theory. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look it up. You’re in for a treat.


5.) “Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones” (65% AC – 40% TC, 2002)

“I don’t like sand. It’s coarse… and rough… and irritating… and it gets everywhere.”

Kind of like Hayden Christensen’s acting ability. “Attack of the Clones” builds on the Star Wars lore with more action and adventure. Sadly, its plot, dialogue and character development still suffer in this terrible script. You have to admit though, seeing Yoda fight was pretty awesome. Also, honest question, does anyone know why it’s called “Attack of the Clones”? They don’t actually attack anything so it’s more like “Star Wars: Episode II: There were some Clones.”

4.) “Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” (79% AC – 67% TC, 2005)

“Power!… Unlimited Power!”

That’s probably how George Lucas felt throughout the course of these prequels. To be fair Episode III is definitely the best of the prequel trilogy. “Revenge of the Sith” is by no means a perfect movie, but it accomplishes its job —showing the audience the downfall of the Jedi, and the rise of the Empire. This movie has many memorable moments including the confrontation of the Chancellor, the fight between Yoda and the Emperor and the epic, heartbreaking conclusion between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Throughout this trilogy, Ewan McGregor has shined as a younger Obi-Wan. It’s only a shame that he had to act alongside CGI Droids like Hayden Christensen.

3.) “Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” (79% AC – 73% TC, 1983)

“The force is strong in my family.”

Fathers, sisters and Ewoks, Oh my! “Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” is a solid movie. Arguably the weakest entry of the original trilogy, it still remains as an enjoyable conclusion for our heroes’ journey; until “The Force Awakens” that is. “Return of the Jedi” sees Luke’s return as a Jedi master in the battle to beat Darth Vader and the Empire once and for all. While the loveable Ewoks take away from some of the tension and action of this movie, it still builds until the epic final battle between Luke and his father, while the evil Emperor watches. The movie concludes with a bittersweet send off for the characters in a franchise that set a new precedence for sci-fi films.

2.) “Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” (94% AC – 86% TC, 1980)

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

“The Empire Strikes Back” does. This movie is great. It builds on every aspect of its predecessor and succeeds. From the opening scenes on Hoth, to the mysterious Jedi master Yoda, to one of the greatest cinematic reveals of all time, this movie has it all. For many fans, including myself, this is the pinnacle of Star Wars. Not much more needs to be said about this film. If you have not seen “The Empire Strikes Back,” you are missing out on one of Hollywood’s greats.

1.) “Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope” (94% AC – 88% TC, 1977)

“But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!”

Do you remember when you were a teenager and would do whatever small task you could do, just to get your parent’s car and go drive? Little did young Luke Skywalker know that he was about to begin a journey that would go on to become the biggest franchises of all time. Originally titled just “Star Wars,” this movie became the biggest deal in the world. Before this movie, people saw a movie once or twice; once “Star Wars” hit, some people saw it an upwards of 30 times. It was a solid space odyssey of which there hadn’t been anything to that level of caliber before. I only imagine seeing that Star Destroyer come overhead on the big screen for the first time.  It must have been striking. It’s for these reasons that the original Star Wars, while maybe not as great as “Empire,” is (arguably) regarded as the best Star Wars film of all time.

“Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens” officially opens Dec. 18, 2015, with showings starting as early as 7 p.m. the day before. If you’re looking to go that Thursday night though, good luck! IMAX tickets for that night have been sold out for months. At some theaters, the earliest standard available tickets available are at 10 p.m. or later. More information about “Star Wars: Episode VII:  The Force Awakens” can be found at www.starwars.com.

No matter how old you are, or when and where you are in the galaxy…


“The force will be with you. Always.”