When this series was first broadcast on National Public Radio in 1981, it generated the largest response in the network's history: 50,000 letters and phone calls in a single week, an audience of 750,000 per episode, and a subsequent 40-percent jump in NPR listenership.
This landmark production, perhaps the most ambitious radio project ever attempted, began when Star Wars creator George Lucas donated the story rights to an NPR affiliate. Writer Brian Daley adapted the film's highly visual script to the special demands and unique possibilities of radio, creating a more richly textured tale with greater emphasis on character development. Director John Madden guided a splendid cast, including Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels, reprising their film roles as Luke Skywalker and the persnickety robot See Threepio, through an intense 10-day dialogue recording session. Then came months of painstaking work for virtuoso sound engineer Tom Voegeli, whose brilliant blending of the actors' voices, the music, and hundreds of sound effects takes this intergalactic adventure into a realm of imagination that is beyond the reach of cinema.
© and (P)1993, 1996 Lucasfilm Ltd.
The storyline: great! The performances: great! So, why only 2 stars? Because of the %&*@$ mixing of the music with the unending credits . between . every . single . chapter/episode. Instead of getting 5+ hours of story, I would imagine its barely 4 hours worth of storyline, and interspersed another hour of music and credits. The music itself was wonderful, just at a volume MANY levels above the dialogue. And full, (I mean full) credits were narrated between each and every segment of the story. It was beyond irritating to have to constantly turn down the volume from blowing out your ears with John Williams wonderful music, to having to readjust the volume to hear what was being said in the radio play It was also beyond irritating to hear multiple times the full credits that no doubt took up a fifth of the length of the entire purchase. I would NOT recommend this version because of the bad mix edit.
This was really a great listen for Star Wars fans. Even though only a couple of the actors are originals, the dramatized format does a good job of replicating the excitement and drama of the movie. All the great lines from the film are maintained though many scenes are elaborated to give more depth to the interactions and to make up for what the listener cannot see. I particularly enjoyed the extra material concerning Luke's piloting at home and his jedi training with Ben Kenobi. In nearly all cases, the extra material filled in gaps and explained actions that were largely inexplicable in the movie. It really felt like watching an extended cut of the movie in my car as I listened during each day's commute to work.
Keeping the original score in this audiobook and playing the relevant bits during vital scenes helped to remind me that the biggest star of the original movie was John Williams' music. The story would be much diminished without it.
The only downside was the lack of editing, as many other reviewers have complained, to remove the end credits and intro for each episode of the original 30-minute long programs. Perhaps there was some contractual reason to keep it in, but it is quite annoying to have the action stop every 30 minutes for 5 minutes of filler. Still, the overall experience is worth overlooking this.
The overall experience is comparable to seeing the original film. If you don't care for the movie, you probably won't enjoy this. If you do like the movie, you probably will.
Only a three star rating here... the sound effects are superb, direct from the big screen (X-Wings, TIES, lightsabres, droids etc.). However... the characters voices just didn't always work (for me at least). I was the most disappointed in Solo and Leia. Star Wars was THE movie I grew up with, so maybe I am a little prejudiced - If you're a Star Wars fan, the best thing to do is to check for yourself !
The story in and of its self is well done. What isnt done well is the repetitive re-announcing and ending of where this was done. You could easily cut 35 min of this Star Wars dramatization by taking out the NPR announcements and chapter endings and Star Wars theme music at every start and end of every chapter...
This is the second Dramatization I have listened too. In theory they should be good, in reality... ugh. I really don't like them. I like strait books, and I like it when there are multiple narrators for a book, but the whole acting an book into audio I don't like. I think it is probably the same reason I don't like abridge versions, I want to decide what to read and what to leave out. if its a dramatization I want to watch it not listen to it, all the background noise is distracting when its not visual at least for me. this one I can't even finish.
All and all its not bad and if you enjoy Star wars and dramatization you will enjoy it. But the style is not for me.
I'm a web developer based out of Sacramento, I listen to books while I work, and love audible.
This is the best Star Wars audio book I've every listened too. Made me remember how magical the first three movies are too me. Episodes I-III and that bad Star Wars books had left me jaded.
Heard this many many years ago on the PBS radio station and was hooked immediately. The narrator was perfect and the work from Anthony and Mark expanded their movie work. This radio drama series enhances the movie and gives more detail to the characters and story. If you love Star Wars get this as well.
As a huge fan of the movie and the book, it was great to have the extra scenes brought to life with sounds and music from the movie. Voice acting by some of the original actors was a great touch. The full in actors do real justice to the original actors. The radio show format is a fun, and in no way takes away from the high production value, and format. If you want to be in the Star Wars universe while driving, hiking, or flying, grab this and hit the hyperdrives!
"Could of done with more stars"
The added content and some scenes told from a different angle i.e. the Death Star run at the end, concentrates on Princess Leia on Yarin 4 while all the action come in over the radio communications.
Could of done with some more stars of the film, Mark and Anthony wasn't enough, but it was recorded a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...
Mark Hamill was the better of the two.
"Total immersion into another world"
The direction and performances are utterly compelling, you just want to listen all day long.
"Great rendition but..."
Great version just wish you could select not to hear beginning/end credits I each chapter. Otherwise great rendition of a classic.
Too different to compare Star wars as a novel to the display. Both hugely enjoyable, gotta love the effects though.
Darth Vader, always has been, always will be, can't say anymore on the case.
Well we all know that one don't we.
"An Audio Masterpiece"
Certainly a great production, adding depth and colour to an already vibrant piece. Since it cannot be said that anyone listening to this can have failed to have seen the original movies, what you have here is rather an expansion upon the established themes, more detail of plot, character and development of the whirlwind adventure that is Star Wars.
The background scenes, cut from the original movie, are lavishly expanded upon. From Luke's feeling of isolation amongst the earthy farmhand companions of his youth, to Leia's burgeoning association with rebellion and the double life it entails, to Han's shady past, all are further wrought out in entertaining, touching and exciting scenes.
I would recommend this production to anyone who enjoyed the adventure, drama, and sheer wonder of Star Wars.
"star wars a new hope"
am a new member so the 1st book I went for is my all time fav star wars .I like the audible book because it has so much more story to hear you just get drag into the story .The best part of the story is the starting part as you get an insight in luke life on tatooine and how it will change for all time .You can put you head phones on and close your eyes and think your there with all luke ups and downs .so keep up the good work and I intend to get lots more books from your site and will tell all my friends
"Disappointed, as I wanted to like it."
I genuinely love Star Wars, the original movie, sometimes titled "a new hope", and was really pleased to see this audio book title for sale. I noticed that it was an audio book version of a radio serial, which had aired very successfully on NPR, which appeared to be a point in the audio book's favour. Unfortunately, it really, really, isn't. There is a quite lengthy introduction, both musically and as voice over to each episode, and having to hear each time that the radio adaptation was 'based upon stories, characters and situations created by George Lucas' quickly became irritating. Hearing a little plot synopsis at the start of each episode is fine for a radio serial, but again, as an audio book, it annoyed me.
Most surprising of all, the lovely music of John Williams is so overused that it feels like padding, between relatively short snatches of action. The incidental music at the same time as dialogue irritated me, as it distracted me from the dialogue.
In the interests of balance, I would add that the voice performances are fine, and it was nice to hear Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels reprise their roles, but the actor playing Han Solo just didn't sound quite right to my ears, he was a bit too 'american cowboy'.
I eventually got irritated enough with the audio book to skip to the end to hear the rebel alliance battle against the death star, which was hugely disappointing and anti climactic, perhaps because its just such a visual sequence, it was never going to translate well to audio.
In synopsis then, I am disappointed, perhaps because I expected too much that the audio presentation just couldn't deliver.
"A must for star wars fans!"
If you love star wars then you're sure to enjoy this. Yes, I agree with one of the earlier reviews that the opening credits are quite long but you soon forget about them once the adaptation begins. Listening to the familiar voices of Mark Hammil and Anthony Daniels really immerses you back into the world if star wars again. Not being restricted to screen, this really let's your imagination open up to the complete story.
Overall a highly recommended listen.
A great download which fills out the original Star Wars movie with additional scenes. Really fun.
"This reminded me why I loved the original."
Fantastic to hear the story with extra parts about Biggs/canyons etc. I really enjoyed this version and with the next months credit bought empire strikes back.
The quality is excellent & original casting for many parts makes it really worth getting if you are a fan of the film.
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