The time is long ago and far, far away. The beautiful Princess Leia, a leader of the rebellion against the evil Galactic Empire, has just been captured by an imperial starship. She is now aboard the Empire's mobile command station, the impregnable Death Star, able to destroy whole planets with a single energy burst, and at this very moment she is being interrogated by Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, and the Grand Moff Tarkinprobably the nastiest pair of villains in the thousand worlds. What, they want to know, has she done with the stolen secret plans of the Death Star? If those computerized blueprints reach her rebel friends, the corrupt Empire might falland freedom be restored to the galaxy.
But wait! Princess Leia does not have the plans. She has entrusted them to a little robot, Artoo Detoo, in the hope that they will reach a former general of the rebellion on the planet Tatooine. Artoo Detoo and his delicate robot friend Threepio have landed on Tatooine. As luck would have it, they have been picked up by Luke Skywalker, a handsome young farmer. Though Luke does not know it, his father also fought the Empire before he was foully murdered by Darth Vader. Luke, Artoo Detoo and the ungainly Threepio have been attacked by Tatooine's native nasties, the sand people, and they have only just been saved by an old hermit.
My gosh! No hermit he, but that former rebel general, Obi-wan Kenobi, for whom they had been looking. Together, the four of them are even now setting out to deliver the secret plans to rebel headquarters, light-years and parsecs away. But will they be in time to save the lovely Leia? And, anyway, what can a punk kid, a has-been general and a comedy team of robots do against the dark, illimitable powers of the Galactic Empire?
A universe of plentyas audiences can discover beginning this week in Star Wars, a grand and glorious film that may well be the smash hit of 1977, and certainly is the best movie of the year so far. Star Wars is a combination of Flash Gordon, The Wizard of Oz, the Errol Flynn swashbucklers of the '30s and '40s and almost every western ever screenednot to mention the Hardy
Boys, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Faerie Queene. The result is a remarkable confection: a subliminal history of the movies, wrapped in a riveting tale of suspense and adventure, ornamented with some of the most ingenious special effects ever contrived for film. It has no message, no sex and only the merest dollop of blood shed here and there. It's aimed at kidsthe kid in everybody.
"It's the flotsam and jetsam from the period when I was twelve years old," says Director George Lucas, 33. "All the books and films and comics that I liked when I was a child. The plot is simple good against eviland the film is designed to be all the fun things and fantasy things I remember. The word for this movie is fun." For once, a director is right about his own work. Star Wars has brought fun back to the movies and glowingly demonstrated they still can make 'em like they used to.