Star Wars Movies Ranked
December 16, 2016
Released in 1980, The Empire Strikes Back (TESB) came out three years after Star Wars and was able to get darker, while also keeping the wit and humor of Star Wars. Bringing on writer Lawrence Kasdan (who stuck on for Return of the Jedi (ROTJ), and The Force Awakens (TFA)) and director Irvin Kershner, fixing the dialogue problems of the original, the characters becoming less robotic, and adding one of the greatest twists in film history. TESB is the rare sequel that surpasses its predecessor.
Perhaps one of the most influential films in the history of cinema, A New Hope (ANH), launched the sci-fi genre as we know it today. The film established one of the most famous actors of all-time, Harrison Ford, as an A-lister. ANH also had one of the most iconic scores of all-time by John Williams. The film is unfortunately not as great as TESB due to the weakness of George Lucas’ script.
Most likely the most anticipated film of all-time, The Force Awakens smashed box-office records left and right and resonated well with critics and fans alike. The overall story of the film seemed eerily similar to ANH but was pulled off with magnificent performances from Harrison Ford, and newcomers Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Adam Driver.
The main flaw of Return of the Jedi (ROTJ) is that it feels like two separate movies. The first half takes place on Tatooine and centers around the reviving of Han Solo, while the second half takes a completely different direction and feels rushed. (This was due to George Lucas’ decision to not make an extra trilogy).This coupled with the Ewoks’ defeat of the Empire’s strongest legion of soldiers, keep ROTJ from meeting the standards of the higher films. However, there are still masterful parts to this film such as the conflict on the Death Star between Luke, Darth Vader, and the Emperor and the jailbreak sequence at Jabba’s Palace.
There is a line between ROTJ and the rest of the films in this ranking. The Watchability Line. The rest of these films are unbearable and virtually unwatchable. I wouldn’t recommend these to my worst enemy.
The third film in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Revenge of the Sith (ROTS) is the best of the three, but that isn’t really saying much. Paired with a script by George Lucas, the best parts of ROTS are when no one is speaking. The lightsaber battles, while entertaining are overlong and over-choreographed. The only great parts of the film are Ewan McGregor’s performance and John Williams masterful score. But the main reason that ROTS is placed above the other two prequels is that Jar-Jar Binks has no lines.
Releasing 16 years after ROTJ, fans were expecting another story about love, loss and hope and instead got Jar-Jar Binks stepping in poop. Jar-Jar is definitely the worst part of the whole Star Wars series. Along for the ride is 9-year old Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker, giving one of the worst performances by a child actor ever. The film is more boring than waiting for three hours at the post office, with a plot centered around trade disputes and a blockade. The “film” doesn’t get exciting until about an hour and twenty minutes in. The only engaging element of The Phantom Menace (TPM) is Darth Maul, who of course, only gets three lines.
After seeing TPM, fans thought that it couldn’t possibly get worse. Long story short, it did. Lucas tried to make Attack of the Clones (AOTC) redeem TPM, making it faster paced, and eliminating anything resembling competent storytelling. We have a new actor as Anakin Skywalker, Hayden Christensen, who is a better actor than Lloyd but his portrayal as Anakin is somehow worse. However, a large portion of that performance can be attributed to Lucas’ writing and directing. (See Shattered Glass) Not even Orson Welles could turn in a great performance while giving monologues about sand. Throughout AOTC (and the other prequels), it seems as if Lucas has no idea how love works or how normal people interact with each other. Lucas also decided to completely abandon practical effects, instead going for CGI that makes the film look like a Playstation 2 video game. Overall, AOTC is an atrocity that should never be seen by anyone.