Thoughts & Observations: Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)

It is time. Time to continue at the beginning. Are you ready?

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope 

Alternate titles: None needed from me. It already has plenty of those.

  • Spike has returned to watch with me. So this leads me to believe he’s a Star Wars purist.
  • Feels somewhat wrong to put new logos on an classic movie. Oh there’s the old 20th Century logo. You halfway redeemed yourself. And now the modern Lucasfilm one. I’m so confused.
  • Most of my Star Wars references have originally come from Spaceballs. There. I said it.
  • “There’ll be no escape for the Princess this time.” Hey, cheer up C3PO, you Negative Nelly.
  • C3PO frets about being sent to the spice mines or being smashed. Cool as a cucumber, R2 just rolls away.
  • The Stormtroopers are kind enough to set their lasers to stun for Leia. Leia likely set hers to KILL STORMTROOPER. She don’t take no prisoners. Mostly because she’s going to be one.
  • Darth Vader’s breathing apparatus is not timed to work around the dulcet tones of James Earl Jones. He’s breathing heavily and talking at the same time. Which, I guess if you figure he’s half droid at this point anyway, isn’t a major concern. So why did I have to mention it…
  • R2D2 throws constant shade at C3PO. I love it. C3PO needs to be taken down a notch sometimes.
  • Ah so the weird transition wipes started here. Works in the old movies, not so much in the new ones (prequels).
  • C3PO is rapidly becoming my least favorite character. When he insists on walking a particular way on Tatooine, and inevitably goes the wrong way, he loudly complains that R2 tricked him to go that way. Dude. No one can hear you complain. Save it for later.
  • Double-transition wipe! I get it Lucas. It’s super modern to do transition wipes!
  • R2 is attacked by the Oompa Loompas (Jawas). I’ve heard it said before, but were these guys really waiting around for droids to go through that particular canyon…in the desert? Not the best business model.
  • R2 freaks out as he sees droids that could be his great ancestors. “Am I in heaven?” he bleeps, “Or the bad place?”
  • All these alien creatures were added in the modern movies era and seem out of place. So…what did these scenes originally look like without them?
  • Aunt Beru calls out: “Luke! Luke! Let’s make sure everyone knows you’re the main character, not that totally capable Princess facing down Lord Vader. Cue your theme song, will you?”

  • R2 definitely sabotaged another R2 unit. You conniving little genius. R2 is rapidly becoming my favorite character.
  • What kind of harvest could Luke’s family be getting in the middle of the desert? They have no fields. Do they harvest dust?
  • Aunt and Uncle have a heart-to-heart about their problem-nephew. “Luke’s not much of a farmer.” “He’s got too much of his father in him.” “That’s what I’m afraid of.” FORESHADOWING.
  • Spike is now so bored with Luke that he’s growling at nothing out the window.
  • Luke’s ambivalent about the Sand People. First it’s all, “It’s too dangerous out there with the Sand People around.” Then he’s all, “There’s Sand People? Let’s go have a look!”
  • Obi-Wan: “Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise.” … So….only when not trying to kill main characters, right?
  • The added CG is very distracting in wide shots especially. Everything leading up to the cantina scene is so heavily altered and CG’d.
  • Bartender is racist against droids. Jerk.
  • Limb chopping is business as usual in this bar and in these movies. The “wanted criminals” who make a point of informing Luke they don’t like him get a Kenobi to the arm.
  • Obi-Wan’s one weakness: haggling. Han Solo: “I’ll take you for 10,000.” Obi-Wan: “How about 17,000?” He didn’t even try his Jedi Mind Trick!
  • I want to make fun of Obi-Wan’s “I know a few maneuvers” as his ship lists lazily to the left…but Family Guy beat me to it.
  • Vader feels Obi-Wan’s presence aboard his ship. The bromance is strong with this one.
  • Luke and Han take turns being the whiny one.
  • When they masquerade as Stormtroopers, Luke says, “I can’t see a thing in this helmet!” Which explains a lot…
  • I absolutely LOVE Han’s faux pas as he tries to pretend that everything is fine after their sneak attack. He asks the guy on the other line, “How are you?”
  • I’m half convinced that C3PO is dirty in all these scenes so that the camera can obtain close-ups on him without seeing reflections of film equipment.
  • When Leia is rescued, she obviously gets nominated as the brains of the operation.
  • Stormtrooper 1: “Do you know what’s going on?” “Maybe it’s another drill.” …. Can you imagine the bad guys staging safety drills?
  • Stormtrooper: “What was that?….Must be nothing.” NPC’s in videogames must have been modeled after these guys.
  • Wilhelm Scream! It happens when Luke and Leia are trapped and shoot Stormtroopers off a ledge above them. Fantastic.
  • Did Obi just get himself killed on purpose? What was with that weird little smile to Luke? Is this his sick way of giving the kid motivation? Why must you follow the Hero’s Journey so closely?
  • C3PO: “Help. I think I’m melting. This is all your fault.” R2D2 beeping: “Bitch please.”
  • We expect this random new guy to lead a battalion of Rebel fighters but he pronounces”Leia” as “Leeuh.” We’re doomed.
  • Luke to Han: “We could use a good pilot like you.” Yeah, you’re right. They’d never expect him to list lazily to the left.
  • Random friend of Luke: “They’ll never stop us!” Yeah that guy is so dead now that he said that.  Later… “I’m hit!” I told you. I freaking told you.
  • “Shields to the front!” Which means the bad guys will get you from behind. Shoot. In the rear. I’m done.
  • Vader, in his pimpmobile, chasing Luke: “The Force is strong with this one.” He hasn’t even used it in the battle yet!
  • Han Solo cowboys his way into the scene.
  • 3 Rebel fighters left…where the heck were they when Luke’s buddy was blasted to bits?!
  • C3PO would gladly donate his circuits to help R2. Where was that loyalty before?
  • Finally, the obligatory awards ceremony to close the film. Leia hands out medals that won’t go with any of their ensembles. The other 2 fighters were lame so they don’t get awards. Stay in school, kids!

I was curious to see how things had changed between the original 1977 film and the modern version I watched. And I was mind boggled. There’s not even one modernized version. There’s at least two (1997 and 2004 AND a slightly different Blu-Ray version). I urge you to take two minutes to Google: Star Wars IV original vs remastered.

For fun, a video series by YouTuber HelloGreedo details the differences between the original Star Wars and the re-made, CG-added version of Star Wars IV: A New Hope. True to form, I started with Part 4 of 7.

This article is another great resource to see the before-and-afters of many scenes.

Also, update after some research: Luke’s uncle is a moisture farmer!? So why does his crop have “seasons?”

I also now understand Han Shot First. This …this is interesting. I may even get into the ethics of changing classic films to “fix” errors at a later date.

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Thoughts & Observations: Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)

The plot thickens! Mmm plot…

Possible Alternate titles: Darth Vader Begins

  • The TL;DR intro clearly is to cover scenes that the director just didn’t feel like shooting.
  • At least they didn’t cheap out on the “War!” part of the intro. A daring battle between good and bad. Young Anakin and his Master Obi-Wan pilot their little ships thorugh clouds of enemy ships. “Missiles! Pull up!” And of course instead of up they go to the side.
  • R4 meets a heroes death; decapitated and screaming.
  • The Destroyers (little pod things with gun-wielding arms) definitely look like characters I’ve fought against in video games.
  • Anakin and Obi in the elevator. Elevator freezes. Obi: “Did you press the stop button?” Ani: “No, did you?” C’MON GUYS. The fate of the galaxy rests on your shoulders and you have this exchange? Ani, were you expecting Obi to be like, “Just kidding bro, you should have seen your face!”?
  • With the oil and fire trick setting enemy droids ablaze, R2D2 has become the most badass character in this movie.
  • Except for Episode II, in which we have a bit of a reprieve from this, Jedis appear to be unable to cross or enter a room without doing a flip.
  • Anakin dresses all in black all the time, while other Jedis are usually in neutral, earthy tones. Subtley in the production design department. Evidence that Anakin is Going Dark Side #4.
  • Dookie’s hands are chopped off! His hands! What is with Star Wars and hand chopping?!
  • Wilhelm Scream when we return to seeing the fight. I should have marked these on the other ones…
  • Our Jedis are trapped in a light bubble that looks suspiciously like the field that keeps Zod, Ursa, and Non at bay in Superman (1978), and Superman II (1980).
  • Padme Amidala looks resplendent in LEIA BUNS. I count her hair/costume change at around 6. It  was a lighter movie costume-and-hair-wise for her.
  • Padme is also preggers, so now Anakin can finally go Dark Side without upsetting the space-time continuum.
  • Anakin has prophetic dream that Padme will die in childbirth. Reason for Anakin to Go Dark Side #4.
  • Noticeably, General Grievous has a Darth Vader-like wheeze.
  • There is DEFINITELY a Tarzan yell in the Wookie fight scene.
  • Every time I hear “May the force be with you”  I always expect to hear “And also with you.” But that would be too overtly religious. Hollywood probably had to stop that out.
  • Obi-Wan’s Komodo dragon/feathered lizard mount definitely leads my internal poll on what creature I’d love to see in real life. It’s cool and dragony, has a coyote bark, and is low in gas mileage.
  • Obi-Wan drops down behind the bad guys. Nobody notices him, so he happily announces “Hello there!” Hilarious moment for sure, but I couldn’t help thinking how he had plenty of time and the element of surprise on his side to behead Grievous right then and there.
  • Grievous wields 4 lightsabers and behaves like a video game boss. And thus, he must be defeated like one, one hand at a time (Seriously, what’s with the hands?)
  • Also, in the tone of CinemaSins, “The Force is a d*ck to hands” DING!
  • These prequels have such weird pacing. They cut right from Obi’s death-defying battle to ….a calm and collected Jedi counsel. I imagine a frantic writer in a Star Wars writer’s room, pulling his hair out saying, “No time for easing into another scene, people, we’ve got to move, move, move!”
  • Chancellor Palpatine is obviously evil. Like, seriously, is he even hiding it?
  • What came first, the Jedi or the lightsaber? Because according to Episode I, only a Jedi can wield a laser sword. So…have there always been Jedi? Or did someone create a useless handle for a sword once, got all disappointed, and then suddenly the knights of the Round Table..I mean Republic were born?
  • “I’m tired of these MF’n Siths on this MF’n Council!” –Samuel L, probably.
  • Anakin doesn’t get to choose his evil name? Seriously, that should be Perk #1 of going to the Dark Side–picking your own villainous alter ego.
  • Chancellor Palpatine transforms into a gross live-action version of those stop-motion California raisins from the 1980s. Handsome devil. So he immediately goes from looking like a somewhat normal guy with a stunt double into an obviously evil, malicious dark lord…that looks like What’s His Face from the earlier movie. Is this what happens to them all? Dude, Vader, check out your potential future.
  • When the Stormtrooper-lookin’ dude chats with Palpatine via hologram, he should appear to Palpatine as having to no han, since he’s holding the communication device in that hand. Which fits with Star Wars unsung War Against Hands policy.
  • The betrayal of the Stormtrooper-lookin’ guys on all our good guys is so well executed, it’s kind of beautiful.
  • Anakin. Tell me you did not just kill a room full of children. TELL ME YOU DIDN’T.
  • The editor just used a blinds-wipe transition, like freaking Windows Movie Maker. Seriously?
  • Kinda surprised Anakin’s lightsaber is still blue when he KILLED A ROOM FULL OF FREAKING CHILDREN. …ahem. I mean, don’t they act as mood rings, and change colors with the bearer’s allegiance? Maybe that’s dumb, but I’m sorry, my mind is clouded because ANAKIN KILLED A ROOM FULL OF FREAKING CHILDREN.
  • When Anakin Force chokes Padme, I have to wonder–Did he forget his whole reason for going Dark Side in the first place? It was to save her and their baby(ies)! Not this rebellion against Jedis, or to continue the war or what-have-you.
  • The lightsaber battle between Obi and Vader is so awesome…. they are surrounded by lava, literally melting everything they stand on. Epic.
  • Obi-Wan: “It’s over. I have the high ground.” Both moral, and physical!
  • Anakin must want to show off, because he doesn’t lose one hand (previous movie) but now both hands and his legs! He always was a bit of a show off.
  • Anakin is the reason Padme dies! I think I knew it would happen (him being the cause of her death somehow) but I didn’t expect it in this order (aka him going evil before her death).
  • Vader’s iconic helmet is lowered, he rises a new, half machine man. And James Earl Jones’ incredible voice comes out. And he asks for Padme. Holy crap, the feels. Why are their feels here? HE KILLED THOSE CHILDREN.
  • Also, the Chancellor is all happy about Vader’s grief. Dude. Vader. Look at that smug bastard. Realize your horrible mistake.

I did not expect these feels, you guys. Now it’s onwards to the classic films (IV being a re-watch, but still necessary after seeing the lead up to it).

Thoughts & Observations: Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

There’s not a ton of clone attacking in this Attack of the Clones.

Possible Alternate Titles: How I Met Your Mother.

  • The John Williams music makes reading fun! I mean, I like to read anyway, but think of the children.
  • “I guess I was wrong. There was no danger at all.” Exact words you should say if you want an explosion to happen.
  • “Y’know, My lady, Count Dooku was a jedi.” I misheard this, and thought he said “My Lady Count Dooku.” Where are the lady Jedis? Do I have to wait until Episode VII? (I might also have heard “Count Dookie”)
  • Theory that Jar Jar knows more than he lets on still going strong. He appears at the elevator right before Obi and Ani walk through, then acts surprised to see them. I’m on to you, Binks.
  • Forced love story between Amidala and Anakin in 3…2….1…. The word “intoxicating” is worrisome. Are we sure Ani isn’t just her needy stalker? He was like, 8 the last time she saw him. That’s creepy.
  • Obi-Wan prefers hanging from a tiny flying robot to Anakin driving. Damn teenage drivers.
  • Obi denies the offer of death sticks (aka cigarettes). This has been a Public Service Announcement from George Lucas. Carry on.
  • Saying something doesn’t exist (a planet in this case) in a movie universe almost guarantees that it does. Space Aunt May is lying.
  • Anakin’s first kiss is cut short by Amidala’s hesitation and a sudden stop to the soundtrack music. Reason #4 for Anakin to go Dark Side.
  • Possible Kiss attempt #2 story-blocked by a cross swip in the editing. That’s Reason #5 if I ever saw one.
  • Anakin takes Amidala’s space-pear and only shares a small piece. Evidence the kid is going Dark Side #3.
  • I question the physics of lightsaber battles in the rain.
  • The space ship sound effects in the asteroid belt were definitely derived from Indy car races.
  • Shmi Skywalker is gone. Reason #6.
  • There are a lot of wipe transitions in this movie.
  • Shmi dies. Reason #7. But at least he exacts some fiendishly awesome vengeance.
  • “You’re not all powerful.” “Well I should be.” Cue Hans Zimmer soundtrack. This is…Darth Vader Begins.
  • Amidala is a boss in this movie. She’s the one to decide to save Obi-Wan.
  • R2 gives C3PO the business. Sassy little robot. He’s the pants in this relationship.
  • Amidala is the only one with a lockpick when they’re all being sentenced to death. Riding a freaking alligator-beast. LIKE A BOSS.
  • HEY LOOK, LADY JEDIS!
  • “Such a drag.” “I’m beside myself.” “Have I got my head on straight?” C3PO must have fried some circuits when he misplaced his head. He’s only able to speak in puns.
  • Kid of Fett (mini-me clone) holds the helmet after his “dad” dies. Boba Fett Begins.
  • Holy crap, that’s the Death Star they’re designing! Wait a second, you mean Vader didn’t come up with it? Such a poser.
  • Anakin has disposable light saber powers.
  • ARM SLICE-ATION. Count Dookie feels bad for a moment, because now Anakin will have a tough time trying on shirts.
  • Why does Yoda need a cane? He was doing backflips a second ago.
  • Darth Vader theme! Too soon?
  • Awww, Anakin marries Padme Amidala anyway. Reason #4-5 obliterated.
  • But, you do see he has a robot hand now right? No good guys get a robot hand unless they’re Robo-Cop, or reprogrammed death machines from the future. Our star crossed lovers will have to find out the hard way in Episode III.

Thoughts & Observations: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)

Intro: I’ve been wanting to do something like this for some time.

I’m a scifi/fantasy aficionado, but even I haven’t seen a number of integral films and series associated with those genres. Now I’m going to start watching these movies I’d never found the time to watch before….and list my thoughts and observations as I watched the movie.

A juggernaut of a franchise, the Star Wars movies never held too much interest for me. During college I finally watched the original, Episode IV – A New Hope, to learn about the Heroes Journey as used in screenwriting.

Note: I’m watching in chronological order because I’m more interested in seeing the older movies, so I’m making myself watch the prequels.

So, let me dip my toes into Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

(Alternate titles: Anakin’s Wacky Adventures; Jar Jar Binks’ Rise to Power; C3Po’s Gone Wild)


 

  • My puppy Spike and I started watching the movie together. We got halfway through the intro when Spike got bored, stepped on the Playstation controller, and rewound it. I guess he wanted to see that STAR WARS logo splashed across the screen again. He left me to go bother the cat.
  • I have a feeling some people in the movie theater were all TL;DR with them Star Wars intros.

 

  • The infamous Jar Jar Binks makes an appearance. The almost universally hated character I knew about before, and since my friend Kelly defends the poor guy, I figure I’ll give the lovable doofus a chance.
  • Must keep reminding myself that the visual effects were good for the late 90s.
  • The fan theory that Jar Jar Binks is secretly an evil Sith dude is starting to make sense. Send help.
  •  “There’s always a bigger fish.” aka Screenwriting 101: How to get your characters out of a situation when they are hopelessly outmatched.
  • Spike starts growling and barking at R2D2. Wonder if the dog can speak Droid. Also wondering if all these people responding to R2 as if they can understand him are acting like cat owners who respond to cat’s meows with “Yeah, I know!”
  •  
    • Reason #1 for Little Anakin to go Dark Side: Life as a slave under this creepy flying lizard dude.
    • R2D2 tells C3PO that he’s naked. I’m starting to think that little bugger can be a jerk sometimes. I LIKE IT.
    • “There’s something about this boy…” Uh, Yeah, because he’s going to be Darth Vader.
    • “I find that Jar Jar creature to be odd.” Uh, yeah, because he’s secretly an evil Jedi Sith dude.
    • Why did this cute little kid have to go evil?
    • Also, acting coach for Anakin needs a few lessons. Some of his dialogue is so halting and unsure, I’m almost certain he’s being fed lines through an earpiece.
    • Reason #2 for Anakin to go Dark Side: Fricken cheaters during the Pod Race. Seriously, why does Crawfish guy (Sebulba) think he needs to screw up an 8 year old’s racer? Isn’t being 8 years old fact enough that he’s not going to win? (Note: in the movie universe, usually the main character wins anyway, no matter how ridiculous it is).
    • Also, WHERE IS HIS MOTHER–oh in the stands. Good mothering means your mom might not dissuade you from doing a hilariously reckless act, but she will watch you do it. Gotta let the little bird fly, Momma.
    • Kid is obviously on performance enhancing drugs, or using autopilot. CAN YOU NAVIGATE THROUGH ALL THOSE CANYONS WHEN YOU’RE BARELY LOOKING STRAIGHT AHEAD? That blatant cheating is Evidence of Kid Going Dark Side #1.
    • Points to Jar Jar. If he wasn’t there, messing things up and being hilariously awkward, this movie would be too serious with Mr. Qui-Gon commanding attention in droll tones. Clearly he rebelled against this Jedi lifestyle, because after this movie he turns into Taken Liam Neeson. True story.
    • Anakin leaves the planet without finishing building C3P0, and casually mentions that the droid, once his friend thing, is now going to be sold. What a callous…. Okay, Evidence Of Kid Going Evil #2.
    • Queen Amidala is way too monotone. If she enthused over anything, her makeup would crack.
    • Also, I’m super distracted by her lip makeup. That red dot is so vivid but I feel like I’m supposed to entranced by her fake dimples instead. Wait, what’s happening again?
    • Queen Amidala’s costume changes are sudden and extreme.
    • Reason #3 for Anakin to go Dark Side: Hoighty-Toity Jedi masters won’t let him into their clique. That’s soo high school, you guys.
    • I kinda wish I kept track of Queen Amidala’s costume changes now. There’s another one! Costume designers were kept busy by this little lady.
    •  And another one! Seriously, with all these affairs of state and death-defying odds, you’d think she’d scrimp on the overly decorative hair styles for once. That sh*t’s gotta take a day to style
    • I truly cannot tell the difference between Amidala and her hand maiden (Padme, right?). During that whole switcheroo scene, I’m just thinking, “Nah, you played me. That’s your hand maiden being a boss protecting her Queen.” But uh…yeah so that was confusing. But then I find out that Natalie Portman and Keira Knightley looked so much alike than even Portman’s mother had trouble telling them apart, so I guess I’m not alone on this. (Thanks for the trivia, IMDB!)
    • The Queen in plain clothes talks with a little more personality. WHAT IF THE MONOTONE WAS BECAUSE SHE COULDN’T CRACK HER ROYAL MAKEUP?
    • Darth Maul is sliced and diced. Kinda thought that dude would last through the prequels.Now he doesn’t even last through a classic villain speech. Does he even talk? (3 lines. Thanks IMDB!)
    • Annnnd one more costume change by the Queen and it’s over.

THE END…?