Top Summer Movie #1: That’s No Bigger Than A Womp Rat
Release Date: May 25, 1977
Tickets Sold: 169,469,393
Total Box Office (Adjusted): $1,289,662,081
After a series of unfortunate events on his home planet of Tatooine, Luke Skywalker decides he has a name too great to waste as a farmer, and joins Ben “Obi Wan” Kenobi and the rest of the rebellion forces in the fight against Darth Vader and the evil Empire.
Wow Factor: Going to see this in the theater was an experience. Unlike today, where a new big budget blockbuster full of special effects comes out every weekend, these movies were fewer and further between back in 1977.
Re-Watchability: You know that feeling when you come across a movie on HBO 20 minutes after it started, and you really want to watch it but aren’t sure if you already missed too much? That’s the feeling that most people got when they first saw Star Wars, except they didn’t have the choice of flipping to E! for a rerun of Keeping Up with the Kardashians instead. As soon as the movie opens, you’re thrust right into a battle between the rebels and the Empire and suddenly things are happening and droids are escaping and characters are being introduced. People needed to watch this movie several times just to fully grasp everything that was happening.
Improvement: As the #1 movie on the list, Star Wars should get a pass here, but I do have one small gripe. They never really explain the origins of the Empire, or why it has become a “period of civil war” as the opening crawl states. Granted, this doesn’t really diminish one’s enjoyment of the movie, you just know the Empire is bad and the rebels are good because that’s what they are. But for a movie that was so meticulous and well thought out, I always thought it could have given people a little bit better idea of why this was all happening.
Lessons Learned: An epic drama set in space? Lightsabers? Wookies? This movie had a little bit of everything, but it all comes down to the story. The reason that people loved this movie so much is that when you take away all the aliens and spaceships and strange looking sets, there’s a really interesting and engrossing story being told. All the special effects in the world can’t make up for a movie with no plot, so before you start rigging explosions and scouting locations for that big car chase, make sure you have a story worth telling. If all the special effects went away and all you had left were the characters and their goals, would people still want to see this movie? If the answer is no, might be time to take another look at things (…again, Michael Bay is nodding sadly somewhere)
armovieguys score: 9.5 out of 10.
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