We came, we saw - we kicked it's ASS! Ah yes, it felt so accomplished that I did such a feat yesterday when I watched the entire Star Wars saga back to back to back. My initial planning came about this when I heard of the prequels coming about years ago, and with each commentary on the DVD it could be heard in Lucas' voice on how he someday hopeed fans would appreciate all six of the films out. Cause he accredits it as not being six tiny lil films, but one really big film. It's all about the rise, fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker and his quest for power and what consequences came with it to have his soul saved But the films also have this similar touch of 'timeless storytelling" by borrowing aspects/stories and events all throughtou history, legends/myths, literature and film; Lucas took the films and serials that he loved as a kid and applied every sorta lil hint to all of the Star Wars films. Hardcore fans will notice all of the cross genres of other films and literature in the Saga, from Akira Kurosawa's samurai films, The Wizard of Oz, Pirate movies, Faust, Frankenstein , Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials and comic strips, Han Solo being that gunslinger hero of the Westerns, WWII dog fights news reels (in fact the X-Wing fighter pilot costume is the British WWII fighter pilot uniform with a few accessories attached), The Legend of King Arthur, The Birth of Jesus Christ, The Roman Empire, Film Noir Detective aspects, Sergio Leone's bounty hunter of The Man With No Name is Boba Fett, the vile underworld crime boss of gangster films is Jabba the Hutt, Emporer Palpatine looking at all fo the destruction from his New Death Star is like the Gods of Olympus examining all of the mortals' actions, The Mos Eisley Cantina is Rick's Place from Casablanca and A WHOLE LOT MORE!
So my judgement call Were all of the films together one giant "Star Wars" film? In my humble dork opinion - I'd say def not. I'm prob the biggest Star Wars geek that I know, and despite the fact that I watched each one of these films one after the other (excluding an hour and half break I took between Ep. II and III when I hadda get my car at Magnus', run to the post office and wait on the longest line and then dash home to make some spaghettios. But despite the fact that I watched them all one after another, I'd have to say that they are 2 Different Trilogies that together make up one story and both take place in the same galaxy, but I felt that I-III were that different feeling of IV-VI.
I guess the one main decision factor to make my choice was the Digital Age. With the majority of the prequels, Lucas gave up on his old ways and just decided, "fuck it- just make it up on a computer for me." and so they did. THe computer effects alone since Episode II (making it the first Digital Film ever) transcended the market and in the tradition of the Star Wars film, again changed the ways films were made. No longer did Lucas have to heavily rely on stop motion miniatures, puppets, plasticated sets and costumes or men in rubber masks - he just made it up on the computer. Well, Episode I did have some usage of puppets (such as Yoda) back then the computer effects JUST weren't were they needed to be. But afterwards, he's gone mad I tell ya. IN FACT, the animatics of the films of today were the finest computer graphics of twenty years ago. (For those of you who don't know what an animatic is, it's pretty much taking the storyboards for a film and plotting/acting them out to see how things will look when the more finalizing stages will come about) Anybody remember the hit 80's computer film Tron? Well, the finest graphics that Tron offered are now considered the sub par of today's animatics - so you can see how far we come and the computer graphics are ever changing every day with newer programs, faster processing speeds and more geeks willing to do more.
Aside from the digital age, the other major changing factor that I couldn't get over between the two sets was the actors and the acting. Okay, so Lucas just HAD TO direct all of his prequels, so that means the more classic films had better and different techniques to get out of their actors during Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. SO I've really been feeling Hayden Christiansen's over the top acting as of late, Samuel L and his purple lightsaber, the very sexy Natalie and the very cool Ewan McGregor. But I look at the classics and besides always rooting for Han Solo, my mind can only wonder on such things of "what ever happened to Billy Dee Williams ("Lando's not a system - he's a man") and Carrie Fisher?" And we all know that Marc Hamil went on to do the voice of the Joker on all of the Batman cartoons, but he was pretty much type casted after the trilogy.
But overall, I did really enjoy my dorky expereince. It started at 6:20 yesterday morning and I ended it at 9:30 last night. I've got my dork bragging rights, but I have no prob admitting to you how physically drained I was after just sitting on the couch all of that time analyzing and watching the films - nitpicking and examining every aspect to see if they would def look as one big film (which I believe is what the LOTR have absolutly no prob doing) two sets of three films or six tiny 2 hour films. I collected all of my mental data and I've give you all my theory/opinion at the top of the blog. But here is all of my supporting evidence (to primarily go along with the Digital Age/Different Acting Groups differential that I was speaking about)
A)Mr. Lucas has done everything that he could do that when he was making his prequels that he could to get them "hooked up" with his classical trilogy he'd made some generation earlier. I'd say his primary cause was inserting witty dialogue, sayings/suggestions and occurances that would trickle themselves all throughout the trilogy. Some people may accuse his actions of being cheap and reusing the same bits/techniques he'd done so well with 20 years ago. But we all know how he is trying to milk us dorks for every nickel and dime we got. So he threw in a lot of lil inside jokes to say and some things that the real fans would get and appreciate to help tie up all of the films for us. I'd primarily seen this by having one character say something in the prequels, which another character would same the thing int he sequels. He admits sometimes doing it for a joke and sometimes it makes a universal flow of continiity between all of the films that kinda makes this universal trickling flow of time through it all and still has that sense of 'timeless storytelling".There are also two common elements in each of the films: We'll always have someone to say, "I've got a bad feeling about this," and each film opens up with a space ship flying across the screen directly after the crawling Star Wars chapter text.; But;here is a list of those other occurances that I can think of off the top of my head:
1)Qui Gon Jin trying to apply the "old Jedi mind trick"; we were always treated how well it worked on weak minded fools. Now all of that is thrown out of the window and we get a good lil laugh from Watto who says, "Mind tricks don't work on me, only money."
2)Anakin racing during the pod race of Boonta's Eve races through Beggar's Canyon. During Episode IV, Luke is in the war room and sitting next to Wedge whom complains about hitting the target on the Death Star is too small. Luke replies, "I used to hit Womp Rats in Beggar's Canyon in my T-16 back home - they can't be no more than five meters wide."
3)The Tusken Raider atop on the ledge trying to shoot any passing by pod racers and shooting at them, well that's the first thing we see of the Tusken Raiders in Episode IV when they're trying to shoot Luke as he's traveling by in his landspeeder in the Jundland Wastes.
4) When the boys first arrive in Mos Eisley, Qui Gon gives the similar speech that Obi-Wan gives Luke when they first arrive in Episode IV and say "Mos Eisley space port - you'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."
5)Even though it's a cut scene, a very young Greedo is suppossed to have a cameo int he film.; Anakin crosses him and basically warns him of his dirty deeds and to foreshadow him being greased by Han Solo at the Cantina in Episode IV.
6)C-3P0 mutters something about space travel about how he's never done it before, but in all of the other films he's always complaining about it.
7)Guerrilla Gungan Warfare is just hwo the Ewoks beat the baddies in part VI.
1)The scene at the bar has a few connections: We first off have Obi-Wan pulling the mind trick on the guy trying to sell him Star Wars cigarettes.We also have his quick Saber slinging skills that he does against Ponda Baba and Doctor Evazan ("we're wanted men-we have the death sentence on twelve systems...") inside the Cantina of Episode IV after the two guys are clearly showing how much they don't like Luke.
2) How Anakin loses his right hand because of his hot headed stubborness is just how Luke loses his right hand when not listening to Obi-Wan and Yoda's pleas during Episode V when he dashes off to face Vader. And it comes back again when he's fighting Vader during part VI and sees Vaders' right hand chopped off again and sees the smoldering wires. He knows he's a step closer to the dark side with each piece of humantiy he loses off of him.
3)Foreshadowing of Anakin turning into machine as his right hand is sealed inside the metal plate at the Geonosis droid makign factory.
4)On Kamino as the Fetts are trying to fly away, Jango runs into the back of the ship as the door of the Slave I is closing in on him. Well, Jango hits his head on the top and continues to run in. This was purposely done because there is a scene in Episode IV when a bunch of stormtroopers are trying to enter the room on the Death Star that the droids had selaed themselves off in. Well, one of the stormtroopers hits his head as the door is opening because he is too tall. And this scene has become such a cult hit, that through the various re-releases, they have now accented that sound effect when he hits his head on the door. And of course we all know that storm troopers are clones of Jango Fett and apparently there is a door hitting gene in him that Lucas had to do lol. Yes I know how extremely dorky this is, but you gotta ask yourself - "who's more the dorkier, the dork or the dork who insists a scene be created based on a film blooper his extra did 20 years ago"
5)Jet packing into trouble. A malfunctioning back pack gets Jango into trouble twice during this film once on Kamino and the other when the rhino creature runs him over on Geonosis. The malfunctioning back pack of Boba Fett when Han Solo accidentally hits it with a staff during part VI on Jabba's skiff in the Dune Sea is why he falls to his death into the Sarlacc monster where "he'll surely be digested over a 1,000 years"
6)Fetts are being pursued by Ob-Wan in the asteroid field and they think they killed off Obi-Wan, but he really parked his Jedi Starfighter on the back of an asteroid. This same bit is done in Empire Strikes Back when Solo parks the Millenium Falcon on the back of the Star Destroyer. When the Destroyer dumps all of it's garbage prior to light speed, Solo floats away with the trash. Boba Fett is able to hunt him down and follow him to Bespin only because he'd seen this trick before with his father.
7)Count Dooku has to save the Death Star plans, well we all know how big the Death Star plays; a bit part in the classic trilogy.
8)Thank the Maker! C-3P0 always says this in the classic trilogy, but it's not until we see Anakin and 3P0 see one anotehr for the first time again when they're reunited on Tatooine. 3P0 says, "The Maker!" so for now one whenever we hear the droid proclain his maker's greatness, he's unknownilgly blessing Darth Vader ;)
9)The Lars estate set was reconstructed for this film. We have the dining/kitchen area that we see in Part IV (along with Aunt Beru's blue milk) and we also see the garage area where Luke first discover's the holographic Leia message inside of R2.
10)Yet again 3P0 mutters something about space travel, but funny how much he hates it by the classic trilogy even though he had his mind erased by the end of III ;)
11)When Anakin and Obi-Wan enter the bar on Coruscant, Obi asks him, "why do I have the feeling you'll be the death of me?" Which is true when Anakin chops down in the old bastard in part IV.
12)Amidala's hair do at the fireplace in her bondage outfit his reminsicent to her daughter's in part IV.
13)The Clone's walkers are synominious with more advanced AT-AT's in Empire. The same goes for the Star Destroyers that you see fly off are just the lesser advanced Star Destroyers and Super Star Destroyers in the other classic trilogy.
1)"Your father was the best space pilot..." Obi Wan telling Luke about hsi father's actions during the Clone Wars in part IV are clearly seen right at the beg of this film;
2)Reconstruction of the Emporer's throne room in Part VI is seen where Palpatine is held captive on Grievious' ship. Palpatine is even sitting in the same chair as he slowly spins around to see Anakin adn Obi.
3)Palpatine tells Anakin to kill Dooku just like the Emporer urges Luke to "strike him down" in part VI.
4)Grievious breathing is just like how Vader breathes with his new appartus in the classic trilogy
5)Even though it was all cut, there was a whole sub plot about the Rebellion being born the same time that the Empire was. Mon Mothma was one of the main people behind it, and she was a main character in part VI as she was trying to destroy the second death star. "Many Bothan spies lost their lives delivering this information..."
6)When Palpatine first tells Anakin of his knowledge of the dark side, he senses how much Anakin wants to kill him. This is just how Palpatine treats Luke aboard his throne room in Part VI.
7)When Mace Windu is shocked and you can briefly see his skeleton, well that's the same of Vader getting shocked on part VI and you see his skeleton by the Emporer as well.
8)Amidala says, "I shouldn't have come," Luke says the same thing in part VI while he rides the Shuttle Tyderian with his friends and says, "I shouldn't have come, I'm endangering the mission."
9)As Amidala is dying, she mutters to Obi Wan "there is still good in him," again Luke says this line a few times to both Vader and Leia along the lines of "there's still good in you, I can sense the conflict."
10)Even though it was cut, there was suppossed to show a scene of Yoda escaping to Dagobah in his lil shuttle.
11)Reconstruction of the Tantive IV set - the rebel blokade runner is used by Bail Organa in this film, but it's Leia's ship at the beginning of part IV when it gets raided by Vader and "Vader's Fist" as they're searching for the death star plans.
12)Bail giving the droids over to Captain Antilles which is why c-3P0 talks about, "I don't know what he's talking about Master Luke, our last master was Captain Antilles," Which I can totally understand as far as the movies go but this whole thing would prob throw out the entire Droids animated series out of the window. THe droids cartoon was all about the adventures of C-3P0 and R2, 15 years before part IV. So unless they're saying they were giving to Captain Antilles, then 5 years later went from one various master to the next only to arrive back to Captain Antilles where they were mind wiped again?! Rubbish I say.
13)When Obi-Wan first appears on Grievious and crew at Utapau he says, "hello there," this goes along with Obi Wan first seeing R2 in the Jundland Wastes during part IV and he says, "Hello there, come here my little friend...oh he'll be alright."
14)When Obi-Wan gets done shooting Grievious to death he says, "how uncivilized," that's because he is trying to explain to Luke during part IV when he talks about the lightsaber being meant for a more civilized age.
15)Vader chopping off Mace Windu's hand at Palpatine's place is just like Luke lossing his hand at Bespin in Part V.
16)When Yoda is grabbing his chest feeling all of the Jedi die is just what Obi Wan does after Alderann blows up in Part IV and he says, "it's as if a hunderd voice cried out in terror and were suddenly ceased."
17)Reconstuction of the Star Destroyer set at the end of this film, this is pretty much the same set you'll see in part V which Vader likes to cruise around in called "the Executor" ;)
18)Cameo by Grand Moff Tarkin, at the end of the film - Palpatine and Vader are looking over the progress of teh Death Star. A funny looking guy walks over to them, and walks away. In part IV, Tarkin plays the quintessintial bad guy in the film who is all about harassing Leia and and just itching to blew up something with his new toy. Which Leia responds "Moff Tarkin, I thought I noticed your foul stench when I was brought aboard."
19)THe main ships that the Jedi and Clones primarily fly around in will eventually evolve into T.I.E fighters and X-Wings into the classic trilogy.
20)The Wookies swinging on vines and yelling like Tarzan on Kashyyk is the same thing that Chewbacca does during the Battle of Endor in part VI.
21)Obi storing himself aboard Amidala's ship is the same idea he has getting himself smuggled aboard on the Millenium Falcon in Part IV just before the ship is tractor beamed inside the Death Star. "They are alternatives to fighting"
22)Anakin proposes to Padme about conjoining themselves to rule the galaxy with his newfound power. Anakin does the same thing to Luke during episode V when he says, "we can rule the galaxy as father and son and end this bitter conflict."
23)Padme's hair right at the beginning of the film is again is a direct tribute to the Leia bun's in part IV.
IF ANYONE ELSE CAN THINK OF ANY OTHER OCCURANCES, PLEASE LET ME KNOW SO THAT THEY CAN BE POSTED HERE!
B)Mr. Lucas then had to adjust everything he did with the prequels to better meet up with his sequels that he made originally. SO on top of just re-editing and releasing the Special Editions to the original trilogy during the late 90's - he again changed around some things in his films to match up better with things he was saying in the prequels. But there are things that not even the special editing programs can fix, plot holes to say that no matter how you look at them - there's something fishy here. My theory is that Lucas never had this whole story planned out. I think he just wanted to milk us (the fans) even more by creating the prequels. Granted, I'm very thankful to get an insight into a time even "longer" ago to see the times of the old Republic and the ways of the Jedi, but I think this whole Anakin transcendance thing is full of shit. I'd heard rumors during while they made Empire Strikes Back, that the man inside the Vader costume (David Prowse) initially told Luke that "Ben is your father!" Not Vader, and it was still Luke's expression captured on film. But there is no clear written evidence, even in the initial shootting script for Empire, this whole piece of dialogue is omitted for secrecy purposes. Makign Vader the father makes it more gripping, but I just don't think Lucas had this all laid out like he says; I've read his original Star Wars script (and it was even a few drafts before final final completion) and there is def some dif things going on in here that don't match up with his story.
So it's these lil plot holes that all he can connect to is that when Luke accuses Ben to lying to him during part VI, Obi just says, "well, from a certain point of view." He totally changes the subject and tries to lay out what he can for us.I believe it's all consiparcy if you ask me.So that when we were treated to Episode I, more questions popped up.Why does Obi tell Luke to find Yoda, "he was the Jedi master who trained me," whereas it was really Qui-Gon? Well Lucas covered his tracks there to say Yoda trained everyone. But if Qui-Gon had found the secret of immortatlity, why couldn't he just train Luke as a ghost like he trained Obi-Wan to also find the secret of immortality betwen Episodes III and IV?! Or how's about when Luke asks about his father initially, Obi tells him that "when I first met your father, he was a space freighter," or something like that. Why not just say, well he was a lil kid my master wanted to train. Is that also from a certain point of view?! And now I have my new droid rant, like Lucas just HAD TO throw that in that 3P0 needs his mind wiped. So that should prob throw the animated series out the window as well. And if so - I want my money back for buying that 10 dollar dvd at Wal-Mart :( lol Or why does Leia say in her initial hologram, "you served my father during the Clone Wars..." Obi Wan didn't pull that shit, he was workign for the Jedi Council and Organa only gave him a suggestion not to go there or he'd die - c'mon now; OR how's about how the Hell does Leai remember so much about her mother if mom died about 1 minute after she was born?! "She was sad...."
Well, now that my rant is done with that, let us focus now on the numerous adjustments that Lucas had to pull off during his DVD release of the classic trilogy which would link up with his sequels and have a closer "visual" connecting piece (and sometimes that the computer technology of the later 90's couldn't have done what they do now) between all of them now:
1)Jabba has been re-reanimted much better than his first special edition relase and now looks closer to a blend between the Jabba we see during Episode I and the Jabba we see in Episode VI.
2)The Lightsabers have been re-fixed,shaped and re-lit a bit better to look closer to the original lightsabers in the prequels.
3)The animation of Luke's landspeeder with the crew riding back enters a lot better now into Mos Eisley.
4)Okay Han Solo vs. Greedo at the Cantina, "Yes - I bet you have!" Yes, you have seen this scene altered a bit through history with much dispute. Even Holden gets into it during Jay and Silent Bob strikes back. So let's retrace this scene through history:
i)In 1977, Greedo confronts Han and Han shoots him first. Which sets Solo up for a dirty ice pirate and has no problem being treacherous and immoral. Which makes him all the more better at the end of the film because he cares for Luke enough to forget the bounty on his head, and save his freind from peril.
ii)In the 1997 Special Edition release, even though Greedo's gun is directly pointed at Solo he fires his gun FIRST which bounces off at an angle. Then they use some shotty special effects at the time to computer-wise shift Han's head off to the right and then fire SECOND at Greedo. Now we no longer have that aspect of Han being dirty, but lucky (cause in my expereience there's no such thing as luck)
iii)FINALLY at the DVD release of the Special Edition, Greedo now fires just a HAIR BEFORE Han and again Han shoots SECOND. But now they've changed the unnaturual head nudge away from a laser shot, and they digitally shift his whole upper body away from the blast instead.
5)When Obi Wan is de-activating the tractor beam on the Death Star, it used to say the words "Power" and "Tractor Beam" on the label and it was the only time you could see English in the Star Wars films. But they don't use English in this Galaxy, so the proper Star Wars language (which is called Aurebesh)was put in it's place.
6)The Dianogah (yeah, that slippery tentacle thing in the garbage compactor on the Death Star) well it doesn't so much look like just a persecope with an eye attached on the front, but more like a quick moving sleak beast now.
7)Obi imitating the dreaded Krayt Dragon (you hardcore dorks will notice the skeleton of one when C-3P0 and R2 are shuffling out of their esacpe pod through the desert. Now, they have re-dubbed Obi imitating the dragon because the other recordigns sounded too much like a Dewback (those lizard things the stormtroopers rode on to look for the droids, y'know "Look sir, droids." )
1)When Vader initially wants to talk to the Emporer via the hologram, there's this really cheesy looking Emporer with a lot of plastic on his eyes and sounds like a voice actor of Scrapper (Clive Revell)from the Transformers. The original was played by a woman, and they thought she wasn't creepy enough so they super imposed these like chimpanzee eyes on her. Well, now it's been reshot using Ian McDirmind (who plays the Emporer in all of the other films besides part IV) and this is also where Palpatine informs Vader of his son being the one to blow up the Death Star. If you ever wanted that info before, you hadda get this cool Dark Horse Star Wars comic that tells you about how Vader captured this X-Wing pilot to get that info out of him and then Vader's Quest to find Luke.
2)All of Boba Fett's lines (which were initially supplied by Jason Wingreen) are now re-dubbed by Temeura Morrison to match up with Jango Fett's and have a constant flow of continuity between them. Personally, I prefered Boba's old kinda raspy and dying voice better
3)Luke no longer screams as he plummets down through the middle of Bespin. He does scream when he gets his hand cut off, but now he plummets with dignity into the bottomless abyss of Bespin and away from Vader.
4)At the end of the film when Vader is meeting up with his Imperial dignitaries, in all previous versions their insignias where on the wrong side of their unifroms. Well, now THANK GOD that Lucas adjusted to better fit our continuity problems - geez
1)Sebastian Shaw, who plays the much older Anakin when Vader requests to see Luke "with my own eyes," Sebastian looks much more pale and his eyebrows have been digitally erased since Anakin turned into a blackened marshmellow by the time of Episode III ended. They also digitally colored Shaw's eyes to match up with Hayden's.
2) In the Special Edition, they got rid of the hilarious Ewok song and now it's a more peaceful kinda. There are various shots across the universe of everyone celebrating the death of the emporer. The new one added to tie in with the prequels was Naboo, and you can hear a gunga (possiably Jar Jar?) saying "weesa free!"
3)When Luke sees the astral force forms of the old Masters Yoda and Obi Wan, actor Shaw is suppossed to appear as well. But he's now been replaced by Hayden just before his fight with Obi-Wan took place. Which makes sense that he should be honored before he went to the Dark Side, but whose to say Luke has ANY idea who that is next to Obi- Wan lol.
4)Also during the celebration of the planets, the shots of Coruscant had been re-edited to now feature the Galatic Senate and Jedi Temple buildings in the background of shots.
And so, that is it for me. I'd like to give a very special thanks to my friends and family that tried to stick it out with me throughout the marathon. Especially to my sister Jolene whom not only told me that Return of the Jedi was her favorite, but she only didn't sit through Empire or the first 30 min's of Jedi - so Kudos to you Jolene!
And if you think this is the end, then you are wrong folks. I will be doing this agian, but more planned and with more people. I will also be inserting the Clone Wars animated series (because it too has lines and visuals that play throughout the saga), the animated piece of the Star Wars holiday special when Luke and the gang first meet Boba Fett and perhaps even the Ewoks films: Caravan of Courage and The Battle Of Endor
Thanks to everyone for participating, and May the Force be with you all -
Your Dork Knight,