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Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)

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NOTE: A different commentary track was available on the "Definitive Edition" laserdisc box set.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Screenwriter/director George Lucas, sound designer Ben Burtt, visual effects artist Dennis Muren, and actor Carrie Fisher Rating:7.8/10 (27 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by directorscut on September 27th, 2004:Find all reviews by directorscut
No doubt any commentary for this classic film would not be “good enough”, but (and despite repeating a lot of information on the “Empire of Dreams” doc) this is an enjoyable and informative listen. It is certainly a better commentary than the two prequels thanks to less commentators and less emphasise on CG effects. Lucas dominates the track and I found his comments to be the most interesting. He is an intelligent, eloquent talker and he discusses the many mythological ploys and themes he used in the film. He also talks about the genesis and evolution of the saga, which will interest any fans of the films. An interesting comment to note that he never intended to make the prequels. One disappointment is that the added scenes and effects for the Special Edition are not referred to. Only Muren acknowledges them once and there is no explanation of why they were done. There are a few dry spaces, but the track is generally well paced and I found it went by quite quickly.
Reviewed by mikl on April 12th, 2005:Find all reviews by mikl
A very interesting track with comments mainly from Lucas. He talks a lot about his inspiration for the different characters, their meaning to the plot and how they fit in the classic hero-tales. The comments from Burtt and Muren are also interesting if sound stuff and the making of visual effects fascinates you. Fisher is not much present, but she supplies some good trivia.

The weekness of the track is that the comments are not recorded simultaneously, but are edited together. Also, it would be nice if Lucas could comment on his decisions to change and add scenes. He doesn't mention it at all.
Reviewed by hairmetalman on June 26th, 2006:Find all reviews by hairmetalman
Droll -- too much discussion on mythos and set-up. The way the track is edited also creates a "narrative", which is exactly what commentaries aren't to be! Also, a lot of back-patting.

The new making-of featurette, Empire of Dreams, offers far more interesting insight into the film -- skip the track and head to that.
Reviewed by zombking on May 5th, 2008:Find all reviews by zombking
Obviously, the focus is on Lucas here, as it should be. Although I am not a big fan of Lucas in most cases, it is important that he be able to set up his own movie and give credit to his many sources. All in all, he does a great job of getting everything in.

As for the other people on this track, they do have their interesting moments, but the sound guy especially drones on and on about his own particular field. For a far more interesting take on sound commentary, try the track for Raging Bull.

Carrie Fisher barely speaks, but when she does it is usually a good anecdotal story. For those interested in that, they might be somewhat let down by the fact that there isn't much from her.

I do have to mention one thing in regards to Lucas: he automatically loses one point for his "explanation" of the lightsaber fight near the middle of the film (between Obi-Wan and Vader.) As if the audience is completely unaware that the film had a lower budget and the lightsaber fights weren't as refined as they are today, Lucas tries to tell us that the "real" reason was because they were old and thus not as good at fighting. Sorry, but this was simply insulting to the fans who are willing to accept a few inconsistencies over the 30 years it took to make all six films.
Reviewed by Agressor on August 2nd, 2012:Find all reviews by Agressor
This is an entertaining and informative commentary, well edited together to take benefit from the different speakers particular expertises. The benefit with a "cut & paste" commentary like this is that it's very pragmatically efficient, you get scene specific comments and it basically follows the movies read thread. The disadvantage is that you lose the spontaneity that comes with a group commentary. Either is fine with me, the latter usually brings more in the way of humor but the former is more informative so if that is what you want I think you'll be content with this commentary.

If you're a big Star Wars fan chances are you'll already be familiar with most of what is said here but the stories are still interesting to listen to. The making of star wars is so interesting it could be a movie in itself.
Reviewed by Pineapples101 on August 28th, 2012:Find all reviews by Pineapples101
A fascinating commentary. Ben Burt is full of great information and Carrie Fisher is hilarious.
Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Station51 on March 5th, 2017:Find all reviews by Station51
For some reason I'd listened to this commentary before but forgot how interesting George Lucas was on here. He comes across and very honest, personable and down to earth, divulging as much information as he possibly can. I actually found myself getting slightly annoyed when others appear on the commentary because they seem to interrupt Lucas' flow of thoughts. He offers a new dimension to the whole work regarding his conceptualized approach to it and ends up making it look even more like a well crafted masterpiece of filmmaking. He also tells a few interesting stories from the shoot.