13 Nov

Star Wars: A New Hope


The Setup

With the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens approaching at lightspeed, we thought we should revisit all of the Star Wars movies. Well, all the Star Wars movies except Episode I because it’s just a bunch of crap about Jar Jar Binks and midichlorians and boring trade embargoes and is so thematically different from the rest of the Star Wars movies that we didn’t think it was worth reviewing. So, if you were waiting to see if we were going to review Episode I, sorry, it just isn’t going to happen. And why are you so interested in Episode I anyway? No one else is. And it is very weird that you are so into Episode 1.

Anyway… Star Wars! We’re watching II – VI in Machete Order, since it is supposedly the best way to watch the series in one go. It provides a more logical story, in that you learn who Vader is, then you go to the earlier films to dive into the backstory of the Vader character, and then you finish out with the dismantling of the Empire and the final celebrations with the ghosts of Yoda, Obi Wan, and Anakin (Vader). Basically, you watch them in the following order: IV, V, II, III, VI. After we watch VI, we will get back to you with our thoughts on whether the Machete Order is truly better than watching them chronologically (whether that be in the order they were released or in episodic order).

The Food

We’ve been talking about what food to do for Star Wars for nearly a year now, and it’s been challenging. Anyone could come up with one Star Wars themed dinner, but we have to do five of them. Trying to come up with five different dinners themed around a single sci-fi universe is not easy, but we managed to invent some pretty great menus.

We have been meaning to do breakfast for dinner for a while, so we decided to try making an A New Hope themed dinner breakfast. We started with smashed potatoes topped with a little sour cream, salt, and thyme, meant to represent the horrible destruction of Leia’s home world, Alderaan.

We followed the Smashed Alderaan Potatoes, as we’re calling them, with one of the most ambitious Munch meals to date: a soft-boiled egg baked inside a muffin with the yolk still runny, inspired by Craftsman and Wolves’ “The Rebel Within.” We thought about changing the name to A New Yolk, but decided that was too cheesy. We kept the original name, since it works for the Episode IV theme: after the Empire killed Luke’s aunt and uncle, he discovered that he, like the muffin, had a “rebel within.”

The muffin itself was moist, with a wonderful savory flavor of a variety of cheeses, bacon, and caramelized onion (in bacon fat!). The soft-boiled egg added a nice texture to the muffin, in that the muffin tends to be dense and the addition of the egg adds some textural variety to your dining experience.

You should not only be impressed by the fact that we were able to cook a muffin around an egg, or by the fact that the yolk remained runny, but by the fact that we managed to essentially fit a slice of bacon and half a cup of cheese into every single one of these muffins. Yes, they were as good as they sound.

For dessert, we had ourselves a stone fruit tart. Like the trash compactor scene on the Death Star, we compacted butter, sugar, and flour to form the crust. It’s a loose connection to the film, sure, but it gave us a reason to utilize our tart pan, and it just sounded absolutely delicious.

The Drinks

Inspired by Luke’s large helping of Bantha milk at the beginning of the movie, we made some Bantha milk of our own. We added Blue Curacao to milk to get the color just right, and threw in some Amaretto and Malibu for added sweetness. It tasted like candy. Bonus Star Wars fact: Bantha milk is extremely high in nutrients and it fortifies the citizens of Tatooine.

The Rules

We have decided upon three rules that will span the entire Star Wars series. We feel that these will keep us drinking enough and at times maybe too much. So, use the rules sparingly.

  • Drink whenever someone says “The Force.”
  • Drink whenever someone fires up a lightsaber.
  • Drink whenever a Stormtrooper/clone dies.

The Movie

A New Hope stands the test of time better than most classic movies we’ve watched for this blog, despite being a nearly 40-year-old movie, George Lucas’s best attempts to ruin his own film with more and more postproduction CGI, and two of us having seen the movie so many times we knew the plot inside and out, and most the lines. A New Hope is just really impressive after all of these years.

The universe George Lucas set up in A New Hope is just excellent. On the surface level, Star Wars is just a movie about Good Guys vs. Bad Guys, and while there are plenty of different races and planets and political motivations in the Star Wars universe, it’s impressively accessible. You can dig as deep as you want into the universe, but if you aren’t a sci-fi nerd and would rather not, you won’t be lost at all.

The reason so many people can enjoy A New Hope is because it is largely character driven. You don’t need a bunch of exposition about Greedo’s alien race to know he’s bad news when he is talking to Han Solo. You don’t need to know the ins and outs of The Force to know that Obi Wan Kenobi is the wisest man around. Rather than falling in the trap of doing a bunch of sci-fi exposition, George Lucas just focuses on writing great characters.

But on that note, we have to address the elephant in the room… George Lucas seems to have lost sight of that goal sometime over the last 40 years. He keeps adding unnecessary CGI into his old movies, which honestly takes away from the experience. The CGI has aged worse than the films themselves have, and on multiple occasions, it really broke our suspension of disbelief, especially in the Mos Eisely scene. We felt like it took away from a lot of scenes that previously had a sense of minimalism and added to the sparse nature of Tatooine, which now appears almost offensively busy.

TL;DR: A New Hope is still a fantastic film in 2015 (despite George Lucas’s best efforts), and we can’t wait to watch the rest of the series.

The Reviews

Andre: The Force is strong with this one. Is it too early to call it and say A New Hope is my favorite Star Wars movie? I haven’t watched the movies since, like, 2008 or something, so I don’t really remember which movies I like best, nor would I trust my 17-year-old-opinion if I could remember. In any case, I really enjoyed A New Hope. It had a great balance of action, drama, comedy, and sci-fi imagination. I don’t often buy movies, but damn am I glad I own this one.

Leanna: 9 lightsabers out of 10. I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw this movie, but I know that I have watched it at some point. That being said, I hardly remembered any of the major plot points and it was almost like watching A New Hope for the first time, again. The moment when Obi Wan Kenobi (spoiler alert) is killed by Darth Vadar was truly surprising to me, and I’m not sure who enjoyed that moment more: me for still being surprised by a re-watch of movie that’s nearly twice my age, or Ben and Andre for getting to witness my surprise. It was a great movie to watch from start to finish, and I only deducted that point because of the crappy George Lucas postproduction CGI. Shame on you, George Lucas.

Ben: 95%. Wow is Episode IV incredible. It sets the groundwork for such an impressive franchise that had me enthralled as a young kid. In addition, the costumes and storylines in the film stand up after all of these years. Their vision of the universe is still visually compelling and beautiful. I loved the story as a kid, and watching through it all again has only gotten me more excited for The Force Awakens. It is worth mentioning, however, that this series is pretty white-washed, with an extremely large majority of the characters being white in A New Hope.