Star Wars- Thanks to Harmy, I at long last got the chance to see the original again, and goddamn, I’d forgotten. I’d forgotten that Lucas was once a young renegade who’d synthesized David Lean’s epic sweep with Kurosawa and Ford’s clean lines. I’d forgotten how he once put things onscreen no one had ever seen or heard before, I’d forgotten the lean, economical storytelling, brilliant aesthetic, I’d forgotten so much. Thanks, Harmy. Thanks.
The Empire Strikes Back- I’d also forgotten just how good a sequel this was, how slick, how intelligent, and just how brilliant it is. Superb special effects, strong performances, Kasdan’s witty script, Kershner’s sleek direction, the gorgeous cinematography, the expanding mythology, all of it. God, what a great film.
Return of the Jedi- Unfortunately, I’d also let my childhood memories cloud just how disappointing the conclusion was. The Luke-Vader-Palpatine material is decent, but the film does little to follow on almost everything that Empire set up so brilliantly, sidestepping Luke’s temptation by the Dark Side, Han Solo and Lando’s redemption arc, almost everything. Lucas still manages some impressive set pieces, but the whole thing feels like it wastes way too much potential. Ah, well. Like Meat Loaf says, two out of three ain’t bad.
Predator- John McTiernan’s sci-fi action thriller got planned by critics on first release and embraced as a classic by most action fans in the later years. Personally, I’m definitely more inclined to go with the latter. It’s a bit dated in places, especially with some of its sometimes over-the-top macho dialogue, but its iconic cast of movie badasses goes a long way towards selling it. But the real brilliance comes in the final half hour, a superbly constructed, powerfully suspenseful last act with almost no dialogue. Yeah, overall, revisiting this favorite from my teen years turned out way better than I expected.