The Reel Dad reflects on his top seven ‘Star Wars’ moments
Since we first heard John Williams’ iconic theme, back in 1977, the “Star Wars” films have delivered some of the screen’s most memorable moments. Together, they define what an ultimate movie experience can create. Here are seven of my favorites, among hundreds of choices.
“I am your father,” from “The Empire Strikes Back”
Back in 1980, we didn’t see this one coming. Yes, Luke is a young man on a journey through most of the film. Yes, he is desperate for answers. And, yes, he makes the most of his coaching from Yoda. But the audience in Denver, Colorado, gasped on opening day when Darth Vader made this stunning announcement.
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering,” from “The Phantom Menace”
Yoda was a welcome addition to “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980, and continued to be a most-inspiring conscience throughout the series. The character always finds just the right way, with a minimum of words, to summarize everything the others on screen need to feel and what we, in the theater, need to remember.
“Somebody has to save our skins,” from “A New Hope”
Oh, Carrie Fisher. We love her in our house. Always will. And, when the first film opened in 1977, she became a most accessible icon, a strong woman with a heart, strong determination, and little patience for anyone who would get in her way. In this telling moment, the amazing Carrie realizes that, only she can save the moment for the force. Let the lady through!
“In my experience, there is no such thing as luck,” from “A New Hope”
I think, after I saw the first film, I hoped I would actually meet Obi-Wan Kenobi one day on an airplane so I could gather more of his wisdom. George Lucas’ clever use of this character - perfectly portrayed by Alec Guinness - enabled the film maker to recreate one of the movies’ best traditions (the kind uncle) while effectively advancing the action through this wise man’s eyes.
“Well, if droids could think, there’d be none of us here,” from “Attack of the Clones”
This precise observation again comes from Obi-Wan Kenobi as he celebrates the joy of the very human characters who aren’t really human. In fact, the movie makers’ deliberate use of a range of creatures, some in most important roles, makes this series one of the more diverse franchise offerings we have seen. And some of these creatures get some of the bet lines.
“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum or villainy,” from “A New Hope”
Speaking of diverse collections, the “lounge sequence” from the first film, as it was casually described in 1977, brings a welcome dose of humor to the proceedings that helps prevent the film from taking itself too seriously. And the sequence establishes the selfish, sardonic sides of Hans Salo that make him such a cinema charmer.
“The day we stop believing democracy can work is the day we lose it,” from “Attack of the Clones”
Oh, Queen Jamillia, what meaningful words for this moment in time. Of the shadings we take for granted in the “Star Wars” films perhaps the most interesting is this temptation for the story lines to comment on contemporary politics. With subtlety and nuance in the early films, Lucas let backroom dealings frame the action, a traditional that continues as the franchise evolved.
Yes, everyone who celebrates everything Star Wars has their favorites. And my list goes on and on.