And now we get to the original series. Which is… interesting.
A New Hope: things that were quite good
- James: “listen to that analogue sound. Beryllium bells!”
- Ah, the childhood reminiscences. For a very long time, I thought the trumpets for 20th Century Fox were actually for Star Wars.
- That opening, with those starships? SWOON.
- At least you didn’t retcon the voices of the stormtroopers.
- Feisty Leia!
- You managed to convey so much emotion from a rolling rubbish bin and a few beeps. Bravo, George.
- The prequels made me feel far empathy for Owen and Boru than I had previously experienced (this may also be due to Age).
- I am totally fine with the idea of Ewan McGregor growing up to be Alec Guinness.
- Most of the additions to Mos Eisley are basically ok.
- The cantina song. Which was nearly our wedding processional.
- Han Solo!
- Who totally always shot first.
- And is responsible for a lot of ladies (and not a few fellas, I would guess) having their first ‘scoundrels are swoon-worthy’ moment.
- Alec Guinness.
- Darth Vader v Obi-wan is surprisingly more poignant coming right off the back of the prequels.
- Han Solo.
What were you thinking, George?
- You FRIDGED Owen and Boru, George. That was callous.
- Even though the additions to Mos Eisley are mostly ok, I still don’t know why you bothered. Seriously. Leave well enough alone, George.
- Stormtroopers are really bad shots.
- Luke is So. Whiny. “But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!” said every self-absorbed adolescent ever.
- Which I get, there has to be some development, but does he have to be SO mopey?
- The throne room scene. So cheesy. So very cheesy. Grins for everyone! Teeth out in the hope of a sequel!
Movie whose name I couldn’t initially remember: things that weren’t too bad:
- The opening fight scene is quite nice.
- Christopher Lee. Again.
- Anakin’s robotic arm is nicely styled.
- Samuel L. Jackson
- Samuel L Jackson fighting with a light sabre.
- Ewan McGregor is way better in this film.
- You gave General Grievous four light sabres. That was a stroke of genius.
- Ian McDiarmaid is scenery-chewing good, for most of the film.
- Yoda’s suffering as the Jedi are killed. True pathos – and in a puppet. Very nice.
- A Wookie army!
- Jimmy Smits!
- Your classics is showing, George, moving from republic to empire.
- I finally realised that Anakin’s costume journey parallels Luke’s (ooh, spoilers). That’s quite a nice touch.
- Anakin and Obi-wan fighting is really pretty cool.
- The parallel of the twins being born with Vader being born is obvious, but still kinda cool.
- James Earl Jones.
- Jimmy Smits.
What were you thinking, George?
- In the opening credits you say there are heroes on both sides. Why are you confusing the young people with this even-handed post-modern crap?
- Your droid general sounds like he has emphysema. Or possibly TB. If he was in an 19th-century dress and sounded like that, you’d know there was a death scene coming up. DROIDS DON’T COUGH, GEORGE.
- ETA: Thanks to Grant I’ve discovered that Grievous is actually a cyborg, who coughs because Windu shot him. In the Clone Wars cartoon. Which just transfers my annoyance: nice little plot point for those in the know, but for the rest of us it’s just confuses. Bad, George; bad.
- Why wouldn’t a queen let a female senator continue to act in a role she’s clearly been good at just because she has a baby? No, seriously George, why is this a problem?
- Tell me, George, how exactly is destroying the Sith going to bring balance to the Force? Balance implies, well, balance – stuff on both sides. Without the Sith doesn’t that mean it’s going to be all one-sided? I’m not saying I like the Dark Side, but balance is not the word you’re looking for here.
- Anakin’s petulance moves his well-founded angst and concern for his mother away from Macbeth or Hamlet and more towards many ten-year-olds I know (and, let’s be honest, Luke in Episode 4).
- Ian McDiarmaid’s make-up after being beaten up is really, really bad.
- Anakin goes Total Evil way too quickly.
- You reduced Padme to weeping and fretting. From elected queen to senator to weeping and wailing. This is not an adequate plot arc, GEORGE. Very disappointing.
- Also Anakin treats Padme as property. I understand he’s evil but that’s still not cool.
- “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” Do you even see what you did there, George?
- I wrote “No respect for traffic patterns” in my notes. I don’t remember what I meant, but still, TRAFFIC PATTERNS, George.
But finally, my biggest gripe, George, is that you did not include Han Solo anywhere in these prequels. You included Boba Fett for heaven’s sake, and Chewbacca, and ANTILLES, but no Han. No moment in a bar where a grizzled man claps a hand to a young boy’s shoulder and says “this is my nephew, I’m teaching him about smuggling”? Why, George? Why?
In honour of The Force Awakens coming out… whenever that is, we’ve decided to rewatch Star Wars. All six. In in-universe chronology.
Yes, today we watched The Phantom Menace.
The Phantom Menace: things that weren’t too bad:
- The references to the original trilogy were mostly kinda cute, and not all of them were over the top. The “I have a bad feeling about this” is meant to immediately make someone like me feel at home, and I liked that. Also going through a ventilation shaft was pretty funny.
- The meet-cute of C3PO and R2-D2 is, indeed, quite cute.
- The cameo from Warwick Davis: weird! But cool.
- Samuel L. Jackson.
- A nod to diversity: at least two noticeable black humans and two female pilots! Amazing.
- Liam Neeson’s hair.
- The fight between Qui-Gon and Darth Maul is fantastic.
- Double-ended light sabre!!
- James: the music. At least they got John Williams back.
What were you thinking, George?
- It’s a film about trade negotiations going wrong. I mean really.
- TOO MUCH CGI GEORGE. This is why we can’t have nice things.
- Qui-Gon’s use of mind tricks as soon as things are slightly difficult is just repulsive.
- Darth Maul. Not his existence, his lack of one. What a wasted character, man.
- He has basically no dialogue!
- He has no motivation!
- His fight with Qui-Gon is too short.
- The pod race. I did not need to see all three laps, George.
- The Gungans. I am all in favour of ignored/oppressed people showing they have something to contribute, but did it have to be in such a racist and boring way?
- Jar Jar Binks. Everything about him.
- I do mean everything.
- Ani? Really? For the boy who grows up to be Darth Vader? Seriously.
- Why did you make him so young?
- Why did you make him so petulant?
- Didn’t your casting call throw up any other options?
- Ewan McGregor’s hair.
- Qui-Gon is a master Jedi and he’s fooled by some make-up as to who actually has the power in the entourage of women? Really?
- George, you made Anakin the product of a virgin birth and only spent ten seconds thinking about it. I mean, seriously, man, what the hell?
- James: the visuals reminded of Bedknobs and Broomsticks. It just looked plastic.