Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away, someone named George Lucas thought of making a film that was set in the future. A future, where interplanetary beings interacted with each other. A future, where an evil galactic empire was fought by a tiny group of rebels. A future, where the whole idea of God creating the universe was reaffirmed, only this time God was known as the Force. Innumerable fandoms, countless detractors, changing philosophies, creating cults and still managing to elicit heated debates among cine goers, forty years after it was released, ‘Star Wars’ is truly a concept that revolutionized film making. It wasn’t the screenplay or the special effects or the unbelievable world beyond worlds that alone made this possible. Whatever it was, one thing was sure. Film making was never going to be the same. It went on to become a cultural phenomenon across the globe.
The original trilogy spawned a life time of discussions and devoted fan base, the prequel trilogy triggered arguments between the loyalists and the recent one, initiated new hope ( aah, cliche!) among the countless fans. We, at The Cinemaholic decided to fan the fire a little more and thus, ranked all Star Wars film from the worst to the best. Enjoy the article but hey! wait for the mother of all cliches. May the force be with you!
8. Episode I : The Phantom Menace (1999)
Chronologically first but as a prequel story developed after 22 years of the original trilogy, this movie saw an unprecedented number of fans thronging the cinemas. The origin story of Anakin Skywalker had everything including the story and a much better VFX compared to the original trilogy. However, the screenplay and a little too much of overwhelming drama was heavily criticised. That didn’t stop the film from becoming one of the highest grossers of the year. Starring Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor, the movie couldn’t live up to the hype of the earlier films and thus, is considered as one of the worst Star Wars movies ever made. If you still don’t believe it, I have three words for you. Jar Jar Binks!
7. Episode II – Attack Of The Clones (2002)
It continues the story 10 years after the events of ‘The Phantom Menace’ and takes the viewers through the journey of Anakin Skywalker who keeps constantly seduced by the dark side. Mentored by the Jedi Obi Wan Kenobi, Anakin becomes the great Jedi he was destined to be, only to be pushed back by his arrogance and impatience. As the Galactic Republic is threatened by a former Jedi led rebellion, it comes down to Obi Wan and Anakin to fight them off. Spooked by the response to its predecessor, the makers put more stuff into ‘Attack Of The Clones’. The resultant was one messy cocktail, with over the top performances and bad screenplay. Starring Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman as princess Padme Amidala and Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker, ‘Attack Of The Clones’ manages to redeem itself in the last 15 minutes or so, by producing a riveting climax.
6. Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith (2005)
Concluding the prequel trilogy and definitely a betterment over its predecessors, ‘Revenge Of The Sith’ links the story to the events of ‘New Hope’ and thus brings us the circumstances under which Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader. The story moves forward from the events of ‘Attack Of The Clones’ as the evil emperor Palpatine continues to draw Anakin to the dark side of the Force, in the midst of his personal crisis. Anakin has visions of Padme, now his wife, to be dying and in order to save her, he succumbs to Palpatine’s evil persuasions. After the spectacular debacle of the earlier two films, ‘Revenge Of The Sith’ somewhat redeems George Lucas with its story telling and ends on a high.
5. Episode VI – Return Of The Jedi (1983)
This marked the conclusion of the original trilogy and continued bringing laurels for George Lucas and his incredible vision. After the incidents of the ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, the rebels gear up for one final battle with the evil Galactic Empire led by emperor Palpatine. One of the many things that the movie became famous for, was princess Leia’s metallic bikini which she wore under the enslavement of Jabba The Hut. The movie explores the relationship dynamics between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker and hits the right note, as the movie inches towards the epic climax between Vader, Luke and emperor Palpatine. Starring Harrison Ford as Hans Solo, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and late Carrie Fisher as princess Leia, ‘Return Of The Jedi’ is a great finish to an epic trilogy.
4. Rogue One – A Star Wars Story (2016)
As part of the expanded world of Star Wars anthology, ‘Rogue One’ is one of the stories that occur between the events of ‘Revenge Of The Sith’ and ‘New Hope’. At a time, when the Galactic Empire is gearing up for the ultimate war weapon the ‘Death Star’, it comes down to a group of unlikely heroes to steal the blueprints of the weapon. Gorgeous visuals, spectacular battle sequences and the concept of ordinary people doing extraordinary things makes the movie immensely watchable. Even if the viewer is new to the world of Star Wars, it still holds potential to make new fans of the series. The climax is of epic proportions and stands out among others. Starring Felicity Jones, this is the start of a series with more such stories to come.
3. Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)
It’s the beginning of a new trilogy, after the events of the ‘Return Of The Jedi’ and the power struggle between First Order, an organisation that shares its ideologies with that of Galactic Empire and the resistance, led by the rebels. The story begins with Luke Skywalker missing and his whereabouts being sought by both the rebels and the First Order. The movie introduces a new antagonist in the lines of Darth Vader, known as Kylo Ren and a mysterious protagonist Rey with a sketchy background. Bringing back ’Star Wars’ to the new generation is no mean feat and taking up the helms from George Lucas, director J J Abrams pulls up a heist with ‘The Force Awakens’.
2. Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
The one which started it all. A perfect story to start an epic, the madness, the hype and the never ending fandom till eternities to come. Originally released as ‘Star Wars’, later it was rechristened as ‘New Hope’, in line with the episodes coming after it. It told the story of an ongoing war between the Rebels and the evil Galactic Empire. By all means, it was a superior film, be it technical or screenplay. The special effects, with respect to the kind produced at that time of movie making put people in awe. In a way, it paved the path for the next generation to create cinematic wonders out of VFX, producing a Lord Of The Rings or a Harry Potter. Receiving ten nominations at the Academy awards, it went on to win six out of them.
1. Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Starting from where ‘A New Hope’ ended, it continues the story of the war between the Rebels and the evil Galactic Empire, led by the charismatic Darth Vader. The movie gives an insight between the relationship between Vader and Luke and while they fight for each of their sides, there’s more to their relationship than meets the eye. A darker and sophisticated storytelling, compared to its predecessor and a cliffhanger climax ensured that the viewers had to wait for the epic climax. It’s mature handling of the conflict between the central characters is perceived as one of the best moments in cinematic history. Darth Vader went on to become one of the most iconic antagonists of all time, with his face hidden behind the mask and a raspy voice, making the bones shiver to their marrows. And who can forget that iconic choke? ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ did something unprecedented when it got released. It let the bad guys win by failing the heroes in their quest, ultimately making their win in the end special. Among all episodes of Star Wars, this remains as the best one to have ever appeared.
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