Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and featuring the voice of James Earl jones.
Directed By: George Lucas
Where I Watched It: Disney Plus
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
Description Provided By: Media Access Group
Narrated By: Miles Neff
I’ve seen A new Hope so many times, definitely the most of the Star Wars films. However, I’m not of the generation that experienced this upon release. My first official encounter was the Special Edition rerelease in theatres in the 90’s, as was my introduction to the entire original trilogy. I could have seen Return of The Jedi in original theatrical release, as a toddler. I wouldn’t have remembered it. Oddly enough, I remember having Star Wars toys, playing with other kids who had Star Wars toys, long before actually seeing the film.
But once you see it, it’s like a can of worms, that can never be put back together. Pandora’s box, but in a good way. A New Hope continues to impress me on each viewing for how well, especially for its time, the effects were, how well crafted the universe is, and how the first film sets up this whole world so not only do we understand this world that’s just been created for us, but we also are dropping in the middle. in progress. Starting with Episode 4 was a decidedly risky move by Lucas, but one that paid off in spades. It allowed him to tell the story before, and then later a new generation continued the universe beyond Episode 6.
But it all started with Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Obi Wan Kenobi, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and even R2D2 and C-3PO. A New Hope always has been great, and still is great, even if I can’t see the Death Star explode.
The Blind Perspective: So now, this is my first time through this with audio description. It’s also now the 5th Star Wars film I’ve watched with audio description, following The Phantom Menace, Attack Of The Clones, Revenge Of the Sith, and Solo.
In all of those films, I noted that the film just expected you to know who these preexisting characters were for the most part, giving character descriptions to characters like Jar jar Binks and General Grievous, but not to the more well known characters like Yoda, C-3PO, R2D2, and Chewbacca. In A New Hope, all of this is course corrected and makes sense.
It’s now obvious, that if a blind individual came to me and asked “I’ve never seen any Star Wars films before, which film do I start with?”, my answer would be to watch them in order of release, not chronological order. All of the character descriptions, and entrances, happen in this film. Well known Star Wars figures are not given a name until the film names them. There’s no moment of “It’s Chewie!”, but rather a dramatic build up to a character reveal, which ends up being important if you don’t know that Ben Kenobi is Obi Wan.
i also loved the description of the Death Star. I really appreciated using the term of “equator” as the line where the ships fly in and out, because the word has that attached feeling of planetary proportions, so it leads you in a “so that’s how big it is” direction. If someone described your waist line as being your equator, you’d feel like it was a fat joke, not just a cute word substitution.
Miles Neff (RIP) does another excellent narration, reading like a super fan of Star Wars. Someone who is just as excited to be narrating it as you are to be watching it. I can’t believe what it must have felt like to be chosen to be the narrator for Star Wars, especially if you were a lifelong fan. To be the chosen one, I’m sure felt like a heavy weight, but it’s one he carried very well.
Final Thoughts: A New Hope ranks as my favorite Star Wars films. I do also really love The Empire Strikes Back, The Force Awakens, and to a lesser extent Return of the Jedi. But A New Hope started it all for me, and for that, it earns a rare grade.
Final Grade: A+