OPINION: Ranking the “Star Wars” Movies

//DAVID ROBINSON//

“Star Wars” is one of the most iconic and successful movie franchises of all time. The special effects, set design, action, costumes and dramatic story are what make fans wait in Disneyland-long lines at the newest film’s premiere. I, like many others, grew up with George Lucas’ timeless story and never get tired of the films no matter how many times I watch them. However, which of the “Star Wars” movies are the best? Which are the worst? I am going to rank all eight live-action “Star Wars” films (the “Clone Wars” cartoon will not be featured) and determine what the best and worst are.

#8. “Attack of the Clones” (2002)

Almost everything else about this movie sucks. Many people love to bring up the Yoda/Count Dooku lightsaber battle as a positive aspect of this film and although it is really cool to watch, it completely contradicts everything Yoda taught Luke Skywalker in “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi”; Yoda says that the Force is not about tapping into all of your power and showing off, yet Yoda literally starts bouncing off of walls in this scene. “Attack of the Clones” did, thankfully, crack down on Jar Jar’s appearances, but it introduced us to Hayden Christensen’s annoying and whiny performance as Anakin Skywalker. Add in the fact that “Attack of the Clones” is nothing more or less than a drawn-out Anakin/Padme love story and you get the worst “Star Wars” movie of all time.

#7. “Rogue One” (2016)

“Rogue One” had what I consider to be the best visual effects in the entire “Star Wars” series, it contained plenty of comedic appeal through K-2SO, it served as a great introduction to the franchise for those who have never seen “Star Wars” before and Darth Vader’s brief involvement was extremely satisfying. That being said, there is really no dramatic appeal in the story; it is almost impossible for anyone to relate to the characters because the film does not take the time to dive into anyone’s backgrounds or motivations. The only characters I cared about in this movie where K-2SO and Vader; everyone else felt completely expendable. Oh, and the fact that this film contains no opening crawl or John Williams score also puts it low on this list.

#6. “The Phantom Menace” (1999)

This movie deserves 70 percent of the hate it gets. It is definitely not perfect; Jake Lloyd’s portrayal of a younger Anakin Skywalker is atrocious, the infamous Jar Jar Binks was introduced, it is heavily reliant on green and blue screen effects and the political mumbo-jumbo that takes place on Coruscant is extremely boring. However, there are some things that “The Phantom Menace” got right; the film’s soundtrack by John Williams is my personal favorite of all the “Star Wars” soundtracks, Ray Park infused eerie and awesome power into the character of Darth Maul, Liam Neeson did a fantastic job as Qui-Gon Jinn, the lightsaber battle between Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon and Maul is still considered to be the best lightsaber battle of all time and there was an emotional look at the childhood of Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker.

#5. “Return of the Jedi” (1983)

“Return of the Jedi” is receiving a relatively low spot on this list because it lazily reused the Death Star plot device from “A New Hope” and the painfully annoying (some people think they are cute, but I can not stand them) Ewoks are featured. That being said, we get to witness massive turning points for Leia’s, Luke’s and Vader’s characters and it perfectly wraps up the original trilogy. If “Return of the Jedi” had taken the Ewoks out and found a different plot device to use other than another Death Star, this movie would have been much better.

#4. “Revenge of the Sith” (2005)

No “Star Wars” film touched the emotions of audiences more than “Revenge of the Sith” did. This movie perfectly explains the mystery of how and, more importantly, why Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. Every major character in this story is being torn apart by extreme emotional conflict which helps keep fans invested. Christensen does have some whiny and annoying fits, it is still heavy on the green and blue screen effects and General Grievous’ role is, arguably, unnecessary, but this is still one of the best “Star Wars” movies of all time.

#3. “The Force Awakens” (2015)

Critics’ and audiences’ consensus on “The Force Awakens” was very split, but I believe that J.J. Abrams did “Star Wars” justice. Long and wide takes during action sequences, brilliant performances from every member of the cast, humor, powerful emotional conflicts and the unexpected use of practical effects all make “The Force Awakens” an amazing sci-fi film. It does have it’s faults (Maz Kanata, Starkiller Base basically being a third Death Star, Supreme Leader Snoke and some minor plot holes), but it’s positives far outweigh its negatives. The Force is most definitely strong with this one.

#2. “A New Hope” (1977)

Here is the one that started it all. George Lucas changed the world with this timeless and substantial story about a farmer, a smuggler, the smuggler furry friend, two droids, a kidnapped princess, an old hermit and a guy with raspy breathing and a bucket on his head. “A New Hope” is flawless. This film’s iconic story, visuals, set design, costumes and score will never be forgotten.

#1. “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980)

“The Empire Strikes Back” is considered to be the best sci-fi movie ever made. This film contained the biggest plot twist ever in film history, it boasts some of the best dialogue ever written, it is virtually flawless, it had a dynamic ending and it holds extreme turning points for Han Solo, Luke and Vader.

“I love you, ‘Empire Strikes Back’!”

“I know…”
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