Movie Review - Star Wars
Imagination still triumphs
Restored 'Star Wars' shines bright 20 years after 1st release

BY MARGARET A. McGURK
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Star Wars The return of Star Wars to the big screen in a restored, remastered and slightly expanded version raises a fascinating question: What if this were a new movie?

If we had never seen these characters, never heard of ''The Force,'' never played with a Princess Leia figure, never waved a make-believe light saber, never cracked up co-workers with a Darth Vader imitation, would the movie look as magical today?

The question, of course, can't be answered. Our tastes and expectations have been too firmly shaped by Star Wars itself. I can't conceive of what the past 20 years of fantasy, science fiction and adventure films would look like if George Lucas had not scrounged up $10 million to make the Star Wars we first saw in 1977.

Still, seeing the film in the theater again is more than an exercise in nostalgia. It's more than a special-effects thrill ride. It's an experience, a visit to an imaginary world that draws the audience in as effortlessly as the words ''Once upon a time'' can throw a hush over a roomful of kids.

The analogy is significant. Star Wars is very much a children's tale, a plain story told in plain terms: The good guys represent peace and freedom. No matter how outnumbered, they always win over the evil foe, who wants to extinguish all that's worthy in life. Faith and courage are stronger than any machines.

The dialogue is as simple (even silly) as anything from Flash Gordon or the other old-time adventures that inspired Mr. Lucas. Yet it is delivered with whole-hearted spirit. In fact, it is that earnest conviction, the lack of ironic distance, that makes the movie so endearing.

The movie's stars -- Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford -- all look shockingly young, and in fact none had much experience at the time. Yet in the hands of a filmmaker with a genuine vision, they convey the energy of true believers.

It works, because it is now what it was then: a triumph of the imagination.


Better restorations to come, producer says
MOVIE REVIEW
Star Wars
****
(PG; battle scenes, mild language) Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness. 123 minutes. At National Amusements, Showplace 8, Danbarry.