Were the Original Star Wars Movies Certified Fresh When They Came Out?

Tuesday, 15 December 2015 - 5:22PM
Star Wars
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 - 5:22PM
Were the Original Star Wars Movies Certified Fresh When They Came Out?
When the original Star Wars movies came out, filmmakers didn't have to worry about Rotten Tomatoes. And once the site came on the scene, the movies were already considered classics, so the newer reviews would have indicated a positive reception no matter what. But would the original trilogy movies have been "certified fresh" when they came out decades ago? According to Star Wars historian Mike Klimo, the answer is yes- but barely, and they weren't better-reviewed than the prequels. In fact, the best-reviewed film of the series based on original reviews is- wait for it- Revenge of the Sith.



To be fair, many reviews from that time would be lost, so there are fewer reviews for the original trilogy than the prequel trilogy. According to Klimo, there were only 50-60 reviews for each, which may have skewed their percentages a little. But still, it's interesting to see that many critics didn't take to Star Wars at first (it takes a lot more guts to admit that now). The first film, for example, was well-reviewed by pop culture critics like Time, who called it "the best film of the year so far," while more avant-garde critics like Pauline Kael disdained the juvenile sensibility that has now defined most blockbusters. 

Opening quote
"It's an epic without a dream. But it's probably the absence of wonder that accounts for the film's special, huge success," wrote Kael. "The excitement of those who call it the film of the year goes way past nostalgia to the feeling that now is the time to return to childhood."
Closing quote


She also wrote about the sexism inherent to the mythology of Star Wars. The Force Awakens reportedly passes the Bechdel test, but there's no denying that the franchise as a whole has not been too friendly to women (slave Leia, anyone?). 

Opening quote
"Is it because the picture is synthesized from the mythology of serials and old comic books that it didn't occur to anybody that she could get the Force?"
Closing quote

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters on Friday, December 18.

Via Indiewire.
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies
Star Wars
Star Wars: The Force Awakens