Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
Set 32 years after the original "Star Wars" movie in 1977, creator George Lucas decided to start a new trilogy that would serve as a prequel of the intergalactic space opera, making "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" the first film in terms of the story's chronology. Released in 1999, the movie details the journey of Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) who protect Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) at turbulent times fuelled by the evil Sith known as Darth Maul. The film features a young Anakin Skywalker, who is rescued from slavery when the two Jedi find him unusually strong with The Force, and train him to be one of them. It is also here that audiences were introduced to Jar Jar Binks, a character designed for comic relief but where many reacted negatively to, especially since the previous trilogy had Harrison Ford as the mischievous Hans Solo and his faithful second, Chewbacca. Although this movie lacked the 'Indiana Jones' adventure feel the older trilogy had, the effects and crucial backstory of how Anakin turns into the darker side of The Force forms its basis here. Fans can look forward of the enhanced effects of the film in 3D when it gets its rerelease this 9 February.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones (2002)
As the longest film in the series, "Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones" was released 3 years after "Phantom Menace", but is set 10 years after the events of the last movie. Here we are introduced to a grown-up Anakin Skywalker played by Hayden Christensen in a role which propelled him to fame in Hollywood, and sadly a mediocre one (comparable to Kristen Stewart's acting) that he will always be remembered for. In this movie, the galaxy is at the edges of war, thanks to a rogue Jedi named Count Dooku which frankly, its 'villainous' name doesn't do former Dracula actor Christopher Lee justice. Now a grown up, Anakin is in charge of protecting Padme Amidala and the two spawn a love story that is obviously not as cringe-worthy as the short brother-sister love story of Luke and Leia in the older trilogy. The first signs of Anakin's lunacy is seen here when as he snaps and kills an entire tribe of Tusken Raiders when he finally locates his mother who is tortured to death. On the other end, a wiser Obi-Wan Kenobi delves into his own investigation finding that an army of droids are being trained for battle thanks to Dooku's masterplan aided by Chancellor Palpatine aka. Darth Sedious. Upon finding out the truth, Obi-Wan is then captured and when Padme and Anakin come to rescue him, the trio are pitied against the droids in a medley of lightsaber battle, laser blasters and gigantic beasts. They survive thanks to the help of Yoda and Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) and the end of the movie sees Padme and Anakin marry privately on the Planet Naboo.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith (2005)
The final transition of Jedi Anakin Skywalker into Sith lord Darth Vader is dutifully captured in "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith". The film takes place 3 years after the Clone Wars of the previous film, where the Jedi lead a massive clone army against the Separatists' droids. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker separate to accomplish their individual Jedi duties; Obi-Wan to eliminate General Grievous and Anakin reuniting with his wife Padme who reveals she is pregnant. Troubled by the visions of Padme dying in childbirth, Anakin looks to The Force for answers and at the same time grows close to Chancellor Palpatine who unbeknownst to Anakin, slowly succumbs him to the Dark Side, which according to Palpatine, has the ability to prevent death. Learning of Anakin's treachery, Obi-Wan tries to stop him in a lightsaber duel across the lava plains of Mustafar and severs his legs and left arm. Darth Sidious regenerates Anakin, who is now Darth Vader with cybernetic limbs, black armour and a respirator. Padme dies in childbirth leaving her twins, Leia and Luke to be adopted separately to different planets.
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
The very first "Star Wars" film that propelled the whole saga is chronologically the fourth of the series. Set "a long long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away". We follow Anakin's now grown-up son, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), whose simple yet meaningless life as a farmboy is shaken when he encounters the droids, C-3PO and R2-D2 carrying the stolen plans to the Death Star, a weapon powerful enough to destroy an entire planet now controlled by Darth Vader's evil Empire. Following a band of freedom fighters known as the Rebel Alliance who plot to destroy the Death Star space station, Luke joins Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi on his mission to save the rebel leader, Princess Leia, and save the Galaxy. Along the journey, Obi-Wan and Luke hire the smart-mouthed Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his Wookie co-pilot, Chewbacca to transport them with his ship, the Millennium Falcon. Sneaking their way into the Death Star, Luke, Han and Chewbacca find Princess Leia imprisoned onboard, and a clash between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader ends up with the Jedi's death. The ending sees the rebels, including Luke and Han, who pilot their way in fighter jets to fire at the weak spot of the Death Star (its exhaust port) and finally succeeding in destroying it.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Set another 3 years after the destruction of the Death Star, Darth Vader goes on a mission to hunt Luke Skywalker and the rest of the Rebel Alliance. While Vader goes after Han Solo, Princess Leia and more, Luke seeks out Jedi Master Yoda in planet Dagobah to study The Force in order to be a Jedi Knight. Apart from the fun banter between Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher as well as the Yoda's funny way of delivering wisdom and prophecies, the story also introduces us to the ever-popular line from Darth Vader when he finally tells Luke that he is his father, however not before he severs Luke's right hand during a lightsaber duel.
Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi (1983)
The final "Star Wars" film, it's action upon action upon action and we to our disgust find out that Leia is actually Luke's twin sister. Their rogue father Darth Vader goes on the verge of building another Death Star to cripple the Rebel Alliance, as Luke tries to come to terms with his revelation and bring his father back from the Dark Side of the Force. The final battle is shown in all of its glory here when the Rebel alliance led by Luke launches a full-scale attack on the evil Empire. The movie forms a deserving conclusion when Darth Vader finally repents and becomes Anakin Skywalker, but alas, it is too late as he sacrifices himself to save Luke from Emperor Palpatine, bringing down the Empire with him once and for all.
Cinema Online, 03 February 2012