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Star Wars Original Trilogy
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The original Star Wars movies were some of the very first movies to spark my imagination.  I imagined myself on far off planets or strapping myself into the cockpit of an X-wing starfighter, all thanks to this brilliant trilogy.  Even now, after I had "grown up", I still catch myself wishing I was a Jedi or that the Force was real every now and again.  The Star Wars movies were leagues ahead of their time concerning special effects.  Unlike the newer Star Wars movies, there weren't snazzy computer graphics available to George Lucas for the older Star Wars.  The original Star Wars created an entire universe using models and puppets.  But I find this approach to be far more believable than using computer graphics.  The battles seemed to possess energy, drama, and soul that the battles in the prequel movies lacked.  Who can deny the excitement of the battle over the very first Death Star in the first movie or the awesomeness of seeing the giant trampling feet of the Imperial Walkers for the first time?  However, it's not the special effects that made these three movies some of the best movies ever made but the characters.  Even though some of the acting was campy, the characters were easy to identify with and grow attached to and weren't prone to failed one-liners like some of the characters of the new Star Wars.  At its very heart, the Star Wars movies were about good-natured-boy-turned-warrior Luke Skywalker and his slowly unraveling relationship with the villain Darth Vader.  While considered by many to be the weakest entry in the series, Return of the Jedi had one of the most gripping climaxes and the most heart-wrenching endings ever.  Which isn't to say that the other two movies were devoid of just as much emotional impact.  But even character and story take a back seat to what Star Wars is really about--a sense of scope and imagination and universe that few have touched.  The majesty, the feats of bravery, and the music.  Star Wars is the series that defined and inspired several generations, not just one.
 
A New Hope Grade: A++
The Empire Strikes Back Grade: A+
Return of the Jedi Grade: A+

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