Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have gotten past the prequels and started into the original trilogy, which whoops the ass of every single prequel (no matter how much I loved Revenge of the Sith). Anyway, moving on. A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, a man named George Lucas (amongst a team of many other people) created a world full of unique creatures and memorable characters that will never be forgot by the science fiction community and the film community in general. That world was the world featured in A New Hope, one of the best science fiction movies of all time. The sequel is definitely better, but this is still fantastic and without it, the sequel wouldn't exist.
A New Hope is a masterpiece of space opera and science fiction, as well as being a masterpiece of special effects. The first installment of the series tells the story of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), a farmboy who wants to join the space academy and fight the empire, but his dreams are stifled by his Uncle Owen. After the acquiring of two droids, the iconic R2D2 and C-3PO, imperial forces track the droids to Luke's aunt and uncle and kill them. After their tragic deaths, Luke leaves with the also iconic Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) to learn the ways of the force and deliver R2D2 to Alderaan. They come across Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and get him to take them to Alderaan, but those of you who know the Star Wars universe know what happens to Alderaan. This is pretty much where our plot threads intersect.
Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) is being held hostage on the Death Star and Darth Vader (as well as an army of stormtroopers) are trying to get her to reveal the location of the base. They use the fate of her planet as leverage and Leia leads them on a wild goose chase. I won't reveal any more of the plot, but this film is very good at telling its story and it doesn't shroud the story with action scene after action scene. I wouldn't call it a masterpiece of storytelling, but it is pretty damn close.
The entire trilogy shows the battle between the Allied forces and the Empire, so of course they have to have action scenes. May I say, the action scenes are terrific and well done without muddling the story at all. The action scenes in the other films are much more iconic, but the critics consensus was definitely right. The action and the special effects are top-notch. However, the action can't really be talked about much more, so I'll move on to the special effects, which are certainly ahead of their time, coming out of the 1970's and all.
The special effects are wonderful, and the best words that can describe them are revolutionary. The greatness of the special effects is one of the reasons that I am opposed to their 3D rerelease. I suppose rereleasing the prequels in 3D might be okay, but for rereleasing the originals, it would not be a good idea because you need to respect the special effects of the time so as not to wreck it with today's technology. Everything from the creatures to the cityscapes and the Death Star looked absolutely perfect and that's pretty much all that can be said about the special effects, so lets move on to the acting.
I know that one doesn't exactly watch Star Wars to see the performances, but I feel that they are worth noting because this film features some wonderful ones. Of course there's the iconic characters played by Alec Guinness, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher, plus the iconic voice of James Earl Jones as Darth Vader, and they all do wonderfully. However, my favourite character was always Han Solo, not just because he's wonderfully badass and one of my heroes from childhood, but he (and Harrison Ford) was one of my first loves. There, I've admitted it. I was kind of in love with Han Solo, and kind of still am. Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher were also impressive despite my lack of belief that they were twins (due to the fact that Mark Hamill looked about 16 and Carrie Fisher looked about 30). Anyway, this film did feature some wonderful performances.
I don't care if science fiction isn't your thing, one probably can't consider oneself a cinephile unless they have seen this original trilogy. I don't mean to offend anyone by saying that, but just take it as a very strong recommendation. All in all, this is a masterpiece of science fiction, space opera, special effects, and just about everything else. I would consider the entire trilogy a must-see and some of the best movies I have ever seen.