Over the next month Cinerama Film is going to explore The Greatest Moments from Star Wars history, starting with The Prequels. A set of films often criticised, but deeply important in the history of Star Wars on screen. The imagination, wonder and technical achievement of each film finding a whole new generation of fans. And while some may still sniff at these additions to the Star Wars legend. As time has progressed the prequels have found a whole new legion of fans and a well deserved reappraisal of their role in the wider saga.
Few film franchises have had the cultural impact of George Lucas’ Star Wars. Its cinematic legacy spanning 42 years, 9 episodes and a range of spinoff films and TV shows. Its stories and characters embedding themselves into modern pop culture like no other saga in film history. While it’s new worlds and visual artistry furthered cinematic storytelling and imagination. Encouraging multiple generations to dream of a galaxy far, far away through film, toys, role play and video games. Ultimately creating a cinematic force like no other, changing the very fabric of technology, sound and the big screen experience. While creating moments of joy, imagination and excitement that live on forever in the minds of every person who has visited its worlds.
So as we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of what is undoubtably one of the finest science fiction films ever made: The Empire Strikes Back. Join us as we take a look back at the greatest moments of Star Wars on screen. From the opening crawl of A New Hope through to the Anakin and Obi Wan’s final conflict in Revenge of the Sith. These are the moments that created a legend, while ensuring Star Wars became a film saga like no other.
May the Force be with you – Neil Baker (Editor)
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
The Pod Race
Excitement, speed and a whole host of species race through the deserts of Tatooine. Whats not to love in this breathtaking nine-minute action sequence that could only have come from the imagination of George Lucas.
Duel of Fates
Undoubtedly one of the best lightsaber battles in Star Wars history. The meeting of Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul is mesmerising and enthralling. Its energy single handily raising the bar of the lightsaber duel for every movie since. While John Williams score rings in the ears of the viewer, upping the tension with every beat.
Meeting the Jedi Council
From the start we all knew where the prequels would eventually lead us. To the destruction of the Jedi Council and the Republic as the Empire rose and Vader was born. However, The Phantom Menace beautifully reflects the slow workings of the Jedi Council, including its stubbornness and occasional arrogance in its core beliefs. Never more so than when a young Anakin is presented to them. Their own misgivings wrapped in cloak of belief that will ultimately lead to disaster.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Anakin Slaughters the Tusken Raiders
In one of the darkest scenes of the prequel trilogy, Anakin’s slow fall from grace is compounded when he decides to rescue his mother from a band of Tusken Raiders. His anger overflowing as he rips through each one them with his lightsaber. In a pivotal scene that sets in motion the final events of Revenge of the Sith. But also sears itself into the viewers memory as the innocence of the boy is replaced by the anger of the man.
Yoda vs Dooku
Ever since his first appearance in The Empire Strikes Back, fans had longed to see Yoda in battle. However, this had remained a mere dream until Attack of the Clones. Where Lucas finally gave every fan what they long hoped for. Following the fateful slicing off of Anakin’s hand in a beautiful echo of The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda rides to the rescue of both Anakin and Obi Wan. In a whirlwind of acrobatics and energy that sends a shiver down the spine, while leaving a beaming smile on the face.
Another milestone of Attack of the Clones lay in bringing together the Jedi in battle. Finally allowing them to fight side by side on screen in defeating the battle droids on Geonosis. A united front of coloured lightsabers and tunics that feels almost biblical in its spectacle.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
The Opening Battle and the Death of Dooku
Easily the most spectacular space battle of the prequels, the fight above Coruscant’s atmosphere is both energetic, colourful and riveting in scope. Setting the tone of the film to come, with glimmers of darkness threading through each scene. But that darkness truly finds its feet in the death of Dooku, with Anakin taking a head in revenge for his lost hand. While Palpatine encourages his actions with “Do it” ringing in the young Jedi’s ears.
Where did Anakin’s true acceptance of the dark side begin? In battle? Or killing Tuscan Raiders? No, although these scenes established a darker side to his character, one overflowing with anger and revenge. The true acceptance of the dark side took place during a night at the opera with Palpatine. The possibilities of the powers he had been shielded from, proving too enticing for the young Jedi. This beautifully scripted moment, plays out like a scene from a spy thriller. While cementing Anakin’s future in a moment of calm yet dangerous discussion.
Its what the whole prequel trilogy had been leading up to, and boy it doesn’t disappoint. As Anakin is torn between his new found respect for the power of the dark side and his commitment to protect the Jedi order at all costs. In a confrontation that leads to Palpatine’s mask finally slipping and the entrance of Darth Sidious. While the conflict that ensues not only leads the death of several Jedi. But the ultimate and impossible choice between justice or revenge.
Execute Order 66
The purge of the Jedi is upon us, as they are slaughtered where they stand, with only Obi Wan and Yoda escaping the dreaded order 66. But it is the destruction of the Jedi temple and the slaughter of the younglings that haunts this traumatic sequence of events. As Anakin finally embraces the dark side to its full, becoming Darth Vader in all but costume.
Sidious vs Yoda
In a battle for the very survival of the Jedi, Yoda takes on Darth Sidious with every bit of strength left in his small body. The true power of the dark lord finally unleashed as the Galactic Senate becomes a playground of battle. And despite the difference in size, the pair are more than equally matched in skill. But alas Yoda’s efforts cannot fully save the day.
Obi-Wan vs Anakin: The end of the Republic and the birth of Empire
In the history of Star Wars, few lightsaber duels have carried such importance as this one. And apart from being epic in location, delivery and emotion. The one on one duel on Mustafar is also the end of the Republic and start of the Galactic Empire. An ending that leads to the creation of the iconic Lord Vader and the birth of Luke and Leia. Setting the scene for A New Hope and the start of the Rebel Alliance. This is Star Wars at its most powerful and iconic and without doubt the highlight of the prequel series.