Gender Roles - Women
Self-Esteem and Body Image
Gender Roles - Women: 5 Stars
Leia is more of a warrior than a princess. She is dedicated to her mission and fearless in the face of danger. She withstands Vader's multiple attempts to coerce the location of the rebel base from her, and doesn't hesitate to take up arms against storm troopers or make command decisions during her own rescue. In many ways, Leia is a far more seasoned fighter than the unproven men who come to her rescue. When the film opens, Leia has been deeply involved in the rebel mission for some time, whereas Luke and Han have been able to steer clear of the fighting and the influence of the Empire for most of their lives. Leia may be a beautiful princess in need of a savior, but it's worth noting that she was only taken prisoner because she put herself in harm's way - in allegiance to a better way of life and freedom of governance, something that Luke and Han have yet to learn.
Self-Esteem and Body Image: 3.5 Stars
From her first lines of dialogue it's clear that Leia is meant for leadership. She's secure in her convictions, comfortable making hard decisions, and never seems to second guess her role. Despite the "princess" moniker, it's immediately clear that Leia isn't the leader of the Rebel Alliance based on title alone, but because her words and actions are the sort to inspire men to acts of courage and heroism.
Despite all this, she still finds herself in a flowing white gown and a somewhat ornate hairdo - not exactly practical for long action sequences. On a number of occasions she's forced to borrow someone else's weapon in order to defend herself. But despite the traditional princess costume, it's easy to argue that Leia's hard-hitting personality eclipses her deceptively demure appearance.
Plot: 5 Stars
Leia's role is indispensible to the Rebel Alliance's victory over the Empire. She may not be a fighter pilot, or a Jedi in training, or the hero that launches the fatal blow to the Death Star, but on a number of occasions she provides the crucial support and guidance to make the final mission a success. It was her quick-thinking that preserved and protected the plans for the Death Star in an innocuous droid, and her firm resistance to Vader's threats that made it possible for the Rebel Allliance to remain hidden until they could find the flaw in the Death Stars design. She may have sat out the final battle as Luke and Han became the heroes that we remember today, but not due to lack of bravery or skill. To the contrary, Leia seems to understand that her role is as a leader, and that sometimes her duty is to monitor the situation from afar, while she sends others in harm's way.
Room for Improvement:
Gender Roles - Men
Gender Roles - Men: 2.5 Stars
Luke Skywalker is an appealing sort of hero in every way. He is humble and gentle enough to be considered an underdog, and yet there is something compelling and strong in him. He has the sort of supernatural heart that can take down an empire, if only he can tap into it and learn to control it. He is far more respectful and deferential to Leia's position than is Han Solo, and it is just this sort of mild strength and patient persona that instantly endears him to us.
Han Solo on the other hand, is a more traditional sort of hero, who tries to charm us with his arrogance and bravado. Audiences warm to him because he is down to Earth, funny and relatable, and because we can easily deduce that there is more to him than greed and boorishness. Unfortunately, for today's audiences, a lot of Han's brash male ego can come across as more chauvinistic and rude than endearing. But Han still has his moments. He is, at times, both intimidated and impressed by Leia, and the fact that he can humble himself just enough to be attracted to a strong woman like her helps to redeem him from some of that off-putting swagger.
Character Development: 2.5 Stars
Star Wars: A New Hope doesn't spend a lot of time developing its characters through long speeches or troubled histories. We get a fair sense of Leia's character through her smart, terse exchanges with Vader and others, but there isn't a deep exploration of the experiences that shaped her. We know nothing about the parents who raised her or how she ended up heading a rebellion against such a powerful enemy. She isn't even given more than a moment to grieve when her home planet is destroyed. She is ever focused on the struggle in front of her, never looking backward or forward, and certainly not inward. We know enough about Leia to love her for who she is, but certainly wouldn't mind a little more flesh to what we've been given.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, the commander of the Evil Empire, Darth Vader, aims to secure his hold on the galaxy through the use of the ancient Jedi religion and a newly constructed battle station known as the Death Star. But the Rebel Alliance, headed by Princess Leia, has stolen the plans for the Death Star in the hopes of finding and exploiting a weakness in its construction. When Leia is taken prisoner by Darth Vader, it is up to two unknown heroes, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, to rescue the princess and destroy the Death Star.
Kelly is a labor law