Star Wars: Special Edition
Entertainment: +4
Acceptability: -1/2

On its 20th anniversary, George Lucas has re-issued STAR WARS with enhanced visual effects and some scenes added from the cutting room floor. The first part of a trilogy, it will be followed by the other films released at three-week intervals. The story begins with the sinister black figure of Darth Vader capturing Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), leader of a rebel alliance battling a great but evil empire. The empire's secret weapon is the "Death Star," a space station capable of obliterating planets. Before she's captured, Leia obtains plans for the Death Star, which could help the rebels destroy this weapon. She hides them inside her robots, R2-D2 and C-3PO, and sends them to a nearby planet, hoping they'll find legendary Jedi Knight Obi-wan Kenobi (Sir Alec Guinness). The robots are captured by junk dealers and purchased by the uncle of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), a young man longing for adventure. Luke discovers Leia's message and tracks down Kenobi. When the Empire's troopers kill his family, Luke joins Obi-wan in an attempt to deliver the plans and rescue Princess Leia. Aided by smuggler Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his beastly co-pilot Chewbacca, they battle the forces of the empire to save the Princess and destroy the Death Star before it's too late. Spectacular air battles and other special effects are awesome and provide plenty of action. Combined with the exciting confrontation between the forces of good and evil, this sci-fi feast will leave audiences cheering.

STAR WARS is almost free of conventional offensive elements. Violence is frequent but not exploitative, mostly limited to laser shots and ships exploding. A burned corpse is shown, and a scene in a futuristic bar shows a severed arm on the floor. Mild crudities appear three times, with no obscenities or profanity. The major questionable element is references to "The Force." Kenobi explains that it's an energy field that fills and surrounds all living things. Solo refers to it as an ancient religion. This impersonal entity has both a good and evil side. Because the film is set "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away," this could be explained as a plot device to identify main characters by their special powers. But similar beliefs are found in many pagan religions, and this "Force" concept is most closely aligned with New Age pantheism, the idea that God is everywhere and in everything. Overall, this futuristic swashbuckler provides good entertainment. But the subliminal New Age message, more prevalent in the subsequent films, prevents us from endorsing STAR WARS.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Distributor: 20th Century Fox Film Corp., 10201 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

Crude Language: Few (3) times - Mild
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: Several times - Moderate and Severe ('laser' gun blasts kill characters, ship explosions, man choked/neck broken, burned body, severed arm shown on floor, planet explodes, sword fight, spaceships explode)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Probable alcohol use in bar sc
Other: Mystical 'Force' part of ancient, New Age-style religion, mercenary smuggler changes for good
Running Time: 125 minutes
Intended Audience: Pre-teens up

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