My dad has been a Star Wars fan since childhood when he first saw "A New Hope" in 1977. Since then, he's created the tradition to see each movie in theaters three times. He raised my siblings and me right and we are all Star Wars fans now.
Since the release of "The Last Jedi," my dad is frustrated with some of the Star Wars fan base and how critical they are about different aspects of the new movies. But history repeats itself—people were overly critical about the prequels upon their first release as well. The fact is, there are aspects of each movie that are epic and other aspects that are cringeworthy.
That's how my dad got the idea for a formula to rank every Star Wars movie. As a big fan, he believes each movie is good, just that some are better than others. He also believes that the cringe factor is what hurts the movies the most. The cringe-worthy scenes detract from the epic scenes. "They ruin the flow of the movie," he says. His formula uses the duration of epic scenes offset by the cringe-y scenes. Plus, he's an accountant, so math is his life.
So here's the formula: Total time of epic scenes - total time of cringe-y scenes = net score. Then: Net score/runtime of the movie = Epic Percentage.
To make these calculations, my dad rewatched every Star Wars movie and used the stopwatch on his phone to time the epic and cringe-worthy scenes (I know, nerd alert—but he's actually a pretty cool guy). He wrote the time of each scene in its respective category down on paper and then added the times in each category together so he could plug them into the formula.
And without further ado, here is what he found...
"Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" — 86.0 - 8.0 = 78.0/140 = 55.7%
"Episode VII: The Force Awakens" — 74.5 - 0.9 = 73.6/136 = 54.1%
"Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" — 55.0 - 1.6 = 53.4/127 = 42.0%
"Rogue One" — 57.6 - 1.8 = 55.8/134 = 41.6%
"Episode IV: A New Hope" — 52.7 - 2.4 = 50.3/125 = 40.2%
"Solo" — 60.3 - 6.5 = 53.8/135 = 39.9%
"Episode II: Attack of the Clones" — 67.4 - 21.7 = 45.7/142 = 32.2%
"Episode I: The Phantom Menace" — 41.5 - 19.5 = 22.0/136 = 16.2%
"Episode VIII: The Last Jedi" — 43.1 - 25.5 = 17.6/152 = 11.5%
"Episode VI: Return of the Jedi" — 39.5 - 25.3 = 14.2/135 = 10.5%
Do you agree?
If not, that's okay. The nature of this formula demands that personal opinion becomes a factor. Scenes that my dad thinks are epic may not make the cut for you, or scenes he thinks are cringe-y may be just fine for you.
My dad said he thought the original trilogy would rank higher than it did. But he also thinks it's kind of overhyped in its quality. And that rewatching the original movies again as an adult versus for the first time as a kid made him realize they have different qualities of charm than the prequels and more recent sequel movies. He can't get over the fact that Ewoks essentially defeated the Empire in "Return of the Jedi." He knew "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones" would be lower on the list, though, due to their high levels of cringe-worthy elements (cough Jar Jar cough).
He was actually surprised that "The Force Awakens" was so high on the list. He said that he enjoyed the movie, just not as much as the others. However, it does have lower cringe levels and a lot of epic elements due to the fact that it is the movie that brought Star Wars back into the present. He was also surprised that "Rogue One" scored higher than "A New Hope," it being only a spinoff movie. But the ending, especially with the Darth Vader scene (yeah, you know the one), brought up its epic times profoundly.
As for "The Last Jedi..." My Dad was not surprised that it scored so low on this list. He was unsettled at the quality of the movie from the very first part in which Luke throws his lightsaber behind him. (I mean, come on! What was that? But this isn't a review of the movie so that's all I'll say on the matter.) But this scene, Leia flying through space and the whole casino side story are just some of the aspects that brought the "The Last Jedi" down to a measly 11.5%. He was also not surprised "Return of the Jedi" was last. The Ewoks really ruined that movie for him. "It's like Leia just decided to live life with the Ewoks. What about her mission?" he said. "I mean, she changed her clothes, changed her hair. As an adult, you look at those things, and you're like, 'this is just really corny.'"
I, of course, had to ask what, in his opinion, was the cringiest scene in all of Star Wars. I assumed it would be some part of the Ewok debacle, but it was actually from "Attack of the Clones." He said that the love scene with Anakin and Padme by the fireplace is the cringiest, and after hearing his argument, I'm inclined to agree. Their love story was forced on the audience throughout that whole movie. It was poorly written, but necessary for the central plot of Anakin aka Darth Vader aka Luke Skywalker's father. It could have been so much better. But instead, we get Padme in that unnecessarily tight corset dress and Anakin saying corny lines like he's, "haunted by the kiss," in some poorly lit room for no reason, deciding that they aren't going to pursue their feelings—and then with no further conversation about the matter, they're making out on Geonosis. Like, they just said no, this is forbidden love, we have to be responsible, and then oh well, whatever. Oof.
The only obvious follow-up was to ask what he thinks is the most epic aspect in all of Star Wars. He decided on Anakin's transformation into Darth Vader. Okay sure, this isn't only one scene, but I do agree that it is pretty epic. Over the course of "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith," we see Anakin take steps towards the dark side. There's the Tusken Raider village and his fight with Count Dooku in Episode II, and of course the defining moments in Episode III. "He says goodbye to Obi-Wan for the last time, and then slowly deteriorated into the dark side," he remembered.
This method and formula could also be used to rank other movies, such as the "Lord of the Rings," "Avengers" or "Jurassic Park" franchises. However, for some movies, the criteria of epic versus cringe may have to change to get a more accurate number. For example, "Lord of the Rings" could potentially be classified using a slow-scenes-versus-action-scenes ratio. Basically, find aspects that you enjoy and pit them against the aspects that detract from your enjoyment. It will take some time and effort to rank the movies with this formula, but it's always fun to revisit old favorites!