Ranking Star Wars
Ever since the first Star Wars movie arrived in the motion pictures in 1977, it became a landmark in cinema history. Fans have long debated on the best Star Wars movie, with it usually being one from the older trilogy. In my opinion, the following list is how I would rank the Star Wars movies based on the story, acting, dialogue, technical aspects and the characters. (Spoiler Alert!)
6. Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
Plot Synopsis:Ten years after the events of The Phantom Menace, the Republic votes on the enlistment of an army of clones to assist the Jedi against the Separatist army. Meanwhile, senator Padme Amidala becomes the target of an assassination plot. Two Jedi, Padawan Anakin Skywalker and Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, are assigned to protect the senator from another assassination attempt and to subdue the attacker. Anakin falls in love with Padme, violating the Jedi code and leading him to a much darker path.
Why: This ranks the lowest out of all the movies, because of choppy dialogue, awkward romance scenes, and a lack of an engaging plot. Although the special effects and action scenes were entertaining, the overall movie lacks immersion. The romance between Anakin and Padme lacks chemistry and felt forced at certain parts. Cheesy dialogue and weak delivery hurt the seriousness of dramatic scenes, taking me out of the movie. Being a war movie in the Star Wars universe, several scenes did not fit the movie.
5. Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
Plot Synopsis: The Trade Federation leads a movement against the Republic and two Jedi, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn, are sent to resolve the dispute. Treachery from the leaders of the federation leads the Jedi to escape to Naboo and warn the queen of an invasion. Later, they find their way to the desert planet of Tatooine and meet a young boy named Anakin Skywalker. They befriend him and eventually he is destined to become a Jedi padawan. After leaving Tatooine, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan try to end the trade dispute.
Why: The computer graphics were impressive at release, and even by today’s standards it still looks amazing. The choreography of lightsaber duels are well planned out and are entertaining, but lacked the dramatic tension from the older trilogy. The characters lack a connection with the audience, being so distant towards each other. The themes of the movie, and in the prequels were more politically charged with values of democracy. Even though it had deeper and more complex themes, the presentation of the story and the characters themselves were lacking.
4. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Plot Synopsis: Three years after the start of the Clone Wars, Droid leader General Grevious has kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine aboard his ship. Anakin and Obi-Wan encounter Sith Lord Count Dooku on their mission to rescue the chancellor. During the battle, Obi-wan was rendered unconscious and Anakin defeats Dooku. After Palapatine is saved he starts to become closer to Anakin. He proceeds to manipulate Anakin against the Jedi Order and to cause him to turn his back on everything he once fought for.
Why: The soundtrack was amazing and defined the atmosphere of tragedy and betrayal. The final duel was phenomenal, watching two former friends fight each other to the death was heart breaking. Although there were many great things about this film, there was one thing that hindered the it from being as great as it could’ve been. The turning of Anakin to the dark side wasn’t as developed as it could of been. It seems like he goes evil extremely quickly, being stuck in the middle of light and dark one moment, then proceeds to kill kids and destroy the Order he once fought for. Once Anakin loses his wife after becoming a Sith, it feels like he has no motivation to keep on being one.
3. Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
Plot Synopsis: The Republic has fallen and an Empire has risen to take its place, oppressing the people of a once free galaxy. A group of rebels obtain plans to destroy a crucial battle station and Imperial forces pursue the rebels. Luke Skywalker, a young farm boy from Tatooine, finds the droids containing the plans, leading the Imperials to his home. Losing his home to the Empire, he follows a former Jedi Master along with Smuggler Han Solo out of the planet. After Luke and his friends leave the planet, Imperial forces trap them on their battle-station known as the Death Star. On board the space station, they rescue Princess Leia and meet up with the rebel alliance to plan an attack against the Death Star.
Why: Although the special effects are outdated, the story and characters are timeless. All the characters feel original and have a purpose to the plot. From start to finish, the movie is full of action and adventure. Probably the most light-hearted of the Star Wars movies, it holds a special place in my childhood memories.
2. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
Plot Synopsis: After the destruction of the first Death Star, the Empire creates a new one, with the Emperor overseeing the construction. Meanwhile, Luke and friends rescue Han Solo from a notorious gangster known as Jabba the Hutt. The rebels plan an assault against the Death Star, in attempt to end the war. Luke confronts Darth Vader and the Emperor aboard his star ship, following his path as a Jedi Knight.
Why: Concluding the Star Wars saga, the revelation Vader goes through was spectacular. When Luke watches his father die in his arms after redeeming himself was the only time where I felt sympathy for a villain.
1. Episode V: Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Plot Synopsis: Han Solo and Princess Leia escape on the Millennium Falcon after the destruction of the rebel base on Hoth. Luke follows the advice of his old mentor, and leaves for training from the Jedi Master Yoda. While Luke trains on the planet of Dagobah, Han and Leia are captured by Darth Vader. Luke confronts Vader in attempt to rescue his friends, and learns of the shocking truth about his path towards a Jedi.
Why: The plot is simple but the storytelling was what made this movie into a classic. Being the darkest of the original trilogy, it had some great dramatic moments. The scene where Leia watches Bounty Hunter Boba Fett fly off with Han’s carbonated body, not knowing if she would ever see the man she loves alive again, was one of the saddest moments I’ve seen when watching a movie.