Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Ranking the Movies

Now that I’ve had a week and a half to think about this, I’d have to rank the Star Wars movies this way:

  1. The Empire Strikes Back
    ‘Cause I like Luke and he got his ass kicked in this movie and that was, like, meaningful to me.
  2. Attack of The Clones
    ‘Cause Yoda fucking kicks ass! And Padme was chill. And watching Anakin advocate dictatorships while on a picnic was amusing. And Obi-Wan is sexy.
  3. The Phantom Menace
    The more I watch it, the more I dig Qui-Gon Jinn. That’s my kind of Jedi. The man died too soon. The Darth Maul vs. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan fight is the second best lightsaber fight on screen. Only Vader vs. Luke in Cloud City is better.
  4. Revenge of The Sith
    I can’t rank this higher, since it’s sad. It’s not a movie that I want to watch over and over again. I have the same problem with Return of The King.

    I didn’t like seeing Jedi that I like -- Mace, Yoda, Kit Fisto -- get owned. And they turned Padme into a big nothing. Palpatine was done well, though as Sidious he’s campy. I thought Obi-Wan was very well-rounded in the movie.
  5. A New Hope
    I have to rank this next to last because I’ve seen it so many times I want to hurl. And it’s difficult to watch this movie since most of the best parts -- like the scene in Ben’s hut where he tells Luke about his father -- have been totally screwed up by every other movie in the series.
  6. Return of The Jedi
    This movie bites. The only things I like are the Force Ghosts at the end and the added stuff in the Special Edition with the montage of people partying on various planets and trashing Palpatine's statue. Probably the greatest disappointment for me was that when Vader’s helmet was taken off, the face beneath had no character. Shit, even Joseph Campbell said so! When the “master of myth” says you fucked up, you fucked up. And most importantly, Luke kicked Vader’s ass too easily. Vader threw the fight. Bullshit!

Monday, May 30, 2005

Rendered False

As a result of the prequel trilogy, some key OT dialogue has been rendered false. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lucas goes back and re-edits these scenes in the OT to fix these “mistakes.”

Leia: “General Kenobi, years ago you served my father during the Clone Wars...”

Obi-Wan never worked for Bail Organa. This statement is only true in the very broadest sense -- Obi-Wan was answerable to the Senate and Bail was a senator.

Obi-Wan: “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things.”

In Episode I we learned that it’s a Jedi’s midichlorians that allow him/her to use the Force.

Obi-Wan: “That's what your uncle told you. He didn't hold with your father's ideals. He thought he should have stayed here and not gotten involved.”

Owen didn’t know shit about Anakin or his ideals. They didn’t have a relationship of any kind. One could argue that Owen looked scared when Anakin returned with Shmi’s body, though. It’s highly unlikely that Owen, in the brief time he knew Anakin, told his scary stepbrother that he should move in with the Lars family.

Obi-Wan: “I have something here for you. Your father wanted you to have this [lightsaber] when you were old enough, but your uncle wouldn't allow it.”

As we saw in Episode III, Anakin didn’t trust Obi-Wan enough to have had any discussion with him about his hopes and dreams for his son. And he wasn't supposed to be married in the first place.

As I mentioned in earlier posts, if Obi-Wan really wanted to train Luke, Owen couldn’t have done jack about it. Owen wouldn’t even have had to know. Obi-Wan could have approached Luke in town at any time, gradually established a friendship, eventually invited Luke to drop by his house to find out more about his father, and they could’ve trained in secret. They could’ve left the lightsaber at Ben’s place.

Obi-Wan: “He feared you might follow old Obi-Wan on some damn fool idealistic crusade like your father did.”

I can’t see how anyone would describe the conflict between the Republic and the Separatists as an “idealistic crusade.” The Separatists felt that their throats were being cut by crippling taxes and many worlds in the Republic were probably entirely dependant on goods from the Trade Federation and the Techno-Union or had had their assets frozen by the Banking Clan and were now destitute. Both sides felt they had to win this war.

Obi-Wan: “A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi knights. He betrayed and murdered your father.”

Well, you know the deal with this gem.

Vader: “When I left you I was but the learner. Now, I am the master.”

In Episode III Anakin definitely acted as though he thought he was a Jedi Master when he attacked Obi-Wan. Is this a possible admission by Vader that he was immature when he last clashed with Obi-Wan?

Obi-Wan: “You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.”

How did Ben become more powerful? He didn’t even need Vader to kill him -- he merged himself with the Force through his own will.

Obi-Wan: “Obi-Wan Kenobi? Obi-Wan... Now, that's a name I haven't heard since before you were born.”

Yoda was still calling him “Obi-Wan” at the end of the movie, and Luke was already born.

Obi-Wan: “He was the best star pilot in the galaxy, and a cunning warrior.”

In all three prequel movies we see Anakin do some fancy flying, but “best star pilot in the galaxy” is a stretch. He was on autopilot when he took part in the Battle of Naboo. In Episode II, he didn’t take part in any space battles at all. In Episode III, he scrapes some buzz droids off of Obi-Wan’s starfighter and crash-lands General Grievous’s ship. Impressive, but not fly enough.

Obi-Wan: “You will go to the Dagobah system. There you will learn from Yoda, the Jedi Master who instructed me.”

This is not a total lie, though in Episode I we learn that Obi-Wan was apprenticed to Qui-Gon, not Yoda. Scenes in Episode II with Yoda and the younglings imply that Yoda is the earliest mentor for all students. Everyone is Yoda’s padawan.

Yoda: "Much anger in him, like his father."
Obi-Wan: "Was I any different when you taught me?"

We never get to see Obi-Wan’s youngling days in the prequels, so there’s no way to say for sure if he was thuggish when Yoda was teaching him. We never see him lose his temper around Qui-Gon, but Obi-Wan isn’t exactly shy about expressing anger through sarcasm and mean-spirited comments, such as the infamous “pathetic lifeform” line from Episode I and the “Good job” eye-roll in Episode II when Anakin “rescues” him on Geonosis.

Luke: "Is the Dark Side stronger?"
Yoda: "No. No. No. Quicker. Easier. More seductive."

Is it easier to learn to use the Force if you have a Dark Side mentality dominated by anger, fear and hate? Will you learn to levitate rocks more easily if you’re pissed off? I highly doubt it! You definitely won’t learn to fence more quickly if you like to brawl. A lot of basic Force skills seem to require a "light" touch.

Obi-Wan: “I took it upon myself to train him as a Jedi. I thought that I could instruct him just as well as Yoda. I was wrong.”

The original statement makes it seem like an arrogant young Obi-Wan taught a (presumably adult) comrade how to use the Force against Yoda’s wishes. We now know that a reluctant young Obi-Wan took on a boy he considered dangerous as his padawan out of obligation to his dead master, Qui-Gon. And he was authorized to do so by the Jedi Council.

Luke: “Leia. Do you remember your mother? Your real mother?”
Leia: “Just a little bit. She died when I was very young.”

In Episode III, we saw Padme die minutes after giving birth to the babies. She never even made eye contact with Leia, though she did so with Luke. She even touched his head. It’s ridiculous to think that minutes-old babies could remember their mom, but if either of the twins could, it should’ve been Luke.

Luke: "Come with me."
Vader: "Obi-Wan once thought as you do. You don't know the
power of the Dark Side, I must
obey my master."

Vader’s statement implies that Obi-Wan tried to sway him back to the light after he had already crossed over. In Episode III when Obi-Wan confronted Anakin, it was clear that he didn’t want to fight him or kill him, but at no point did he ask him to surrender or renounce the Dark Side either.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Brothers Will Be With You… Always

Apparently there’s a Star Wars fandom tradition of taking famous quotes from the movies and substituting the word “pants” to make them funnier. Yeah, I know -- what idle asshole starts these things? Nevertheless, some of the quotes really are funnier when doctored:

Darth Vader: “General Veers, prepare your pants for a ground assault.”

Greedo: “Jabba doesn’t have time for smugglers who drop their pants at the first sign of an Imperial Cruiser.”

Leia: “You came in those pants? You’re braver than I thought.”

Yoda: “Judge me by my pants? And well you should not!”

See what I mean?

I’ve discovered something -- these lines take on even more disturbing meanings when you substitute “brother(s),” “negro(es)” or the “N” word for “pants.”

If you are easily offended, don’t read any further!


Luke: “I used to bullseye brothers in my T-16 back home. They’re not much bigger than 2 meters.”

Han Solo: “Lock the door.”
Luke: “And hope they don’t have brothers.”

Obi-Wan: “These aren't the brothers you're looking for.”

Princess Leia: “Alderaan is peaceful, we have no brothers!”

Obi-Wan: “Brothers can have a strong influence on weak minds.”

Wedge: “Look at the size of those brothers!”

Luke: “Fifteen thousand! We can almost buy our own Negroes for that!”

Luke: “Tell them if they don't do as you ask you will become angry and use your Negroes.”

Imperial officer: “How will the Emperor maintain control without brothers?”

Leia: “I happen to like nice brothers.”

Han: “Yahoo!! You're all clear kid. Now let's blow these brothers and go home!”

Obi-Wan: “...As if a thousand brothers suddenly cried out in pain, and then were silenced.”

Bartender: “Your Negroes, we don't want their kind in here, they'll have to wait outside.”

Vader: “I hope so, Commander, for your sake. Brothers are not as forgiving as I am.”

Everyone: “I've got a bad feeling about brothers.”

Dooku: “What if I told you that the Republic was now under the control of a dark lord of the Negroes?”

Padme: “I truly, deeply love brothers.”

Leia: “I'd just as soon kiss a Negro.”

Han: “Lando's not a system, he's a brother.”

Han: “There's no mystical energy field that controls my brothers.”

Han: “Look, I ain't in this for your revolution, and I'm not in it for you, Princess. I'm in it for the brothers!”

Elan Sleazebaggano: “Hey, want to buy some Negroes?”
Obi-Wan: “You don't want to sell me Negroes.”
Elan Sleazebaggano: “I don't want to sell you Negroes.”

Luke: “But I was going to go to the Toshi station to pick up some brothers.”

Anakin: I heard Yoda talking about Negroes. I was wondering... What are Negroes?
Qui-Gon: “Negroes are microscopic organisms that live in our blood cells.”

Bar thug: “He doesn't like brothers... I don't like brothers either!”

3PO: “You will be thrown into the pit of Negroes, where you will be slowly digested over a period of a thousand years...”

Vader: “I want those brothers, admiral, not excuses!”

Yoda: “When gone am I, the last of the brothers will you be.”

Yoda: “Around the Negroes, a perimeter create.”

Jango: “I'm just a simple Negro, trying to make his way in the galaxy.”

Obi-Wan: “This little brother's not worth the effort. Let me get you a drink.”

Vader: “She must have hidden the brothers in the escape pod. Send a detachment down to retrieve them.”

Qui-Gon to Jar-Jar: “You hear that sound? That's the sound of a thousand bad Negroes heading this way.”

Qui-Gon to Boss Nass: “I saved his life; he owes me what you call a life debt. Your gods demand that this brother belongs to me now.”

Holo-Luke to Jabba: “I seek an audience to bargain for Captain Solo's life. In exchange I offer you a gift, these two Negroes.”

Anakin: “I saw your laser sword. Only a brother carries that kind of weapon.”

Watto: “No brother is worth two slaves. Not by a long shot.”

Luke: “Your over-confidence is your weakness.”
Palpatine: “Your faith in brothers is yours.”

Lando: “Attention. This is Lando Calrissian. Brothers have taken control of Cloud City. I advise everyone to leave before more brothers arrive.”

Darth Sidious: “This is my Negro, Darth Maul. He will find your lost ship.”

Obi-Wan: “Your Negroes are very impressive. You must be very proud.”

Yoda: “Mmm. Lost his Negroes, Master Obi-Wan has. How embarrassing. How embarrassing!”

Obi-Wan: “Just relax, concentrate.”
Anakin: “What about brothers?”
Obi-Wan: “Brothers seem to be on top of things.”

[In the speeder, while chasing the assassin]
Obi-Wan: “You know I don't like it when you do that.”
Anakin: “Sorry, master. I forgot that you don't like brothers.”
Obi-Wan: “I don't mind brothers, but what you're doing is suicide.”

Anakin: “You're going to pay for all the brothers that you killed today, Dooku!”

Obi-Wan to Luke: “Don't recall ever owning a Negro.”

TK-641: “Stop those brothers! Blast 'em!”

Piett: “But, sir. The Hoth system is supposed to be devoid of Negroes.”

Yoda: “Always two brothers there are, no more, no less.”

Vader: “Tear this ship apart until you find those brothers!”

Han: “Chewbacca here tells me you need Negroes.”

Luke: “Those brothers are too strong for blasters!”

Mon Mothma: “Many brothers died to bring us these plans...”

Lando: “Someone must've told 'em about my little brothers at the Battle of Tanaab.”

Obi-Wan: “Myself, the boy, two droids... and no Negroes.”

Luke: “Have you been in many brothers?”
3PO: “Several, I think. Actually, there's not much to tell.”

Leia: “Aren't you a little short for a brother?”

Vader: “Your brothers are weak, old man.”

Leia: “Didn't we just leave these brothers?”

Vader: “Several brothers have broken off from the main group. Come with me.”

Leia (or Han): “I love Negroes.”
Han (or Leia): “I know.”

Dooku: “There are no Negroes here that I am aware of. The Geonosians don't trust them.”

Taun We: “And remind them -- if they need more brothers, it will take time to grow them.”

Yoda: “Brothers! Heh. A Jedi craves not these things.”

Yoda: “Luminous brothers are we, not this crude matter!”

Han: “Yeah, but brothers don't tear people's arms off when they lose.”

Queen Amidala: “I was not elected to watch my brothers suffer and die while you discuss this invasion in a committee.”

Mace Windu: “You refer to the prophecy of the brother who will bring balance to the Force?”

Obi-Wan: “The Negro is dangerous; they all sense it, why can't you?”

Obi-Wan: “You were right about one thing Master. The brothers were short.”

Nute Gunray: “Of course you know our brothers are perfectly legal.”

Watto: “What do you think; you're some kinda brother waving your hands around like that?”

Watto: “I'm a Toydarian. Mind tricks don't work on me. Only brothers.”

Watto: “And no one else has Nubian brothers, I guarantee you that!”

Qui-Gon: “I sense an unusual amount of fear for something as trivial as this Negro dispute.”

Jar-Jar: “Monsters out dere, leakin’ in here, all sinkin’ and no brothers? When are youza thinkin weza in trouble?”

Mace Windu: “I do not believe the brothers could have returned without us knowing.”

Ki-Adi-Mundi: “Impossible, the brothers have been extinct for a millennium.”

Qui-Gon: “They have brothers on Malastare. Very fast, very dangerous.”

Qui-Gon: “There's always a bigger Negro.”

Obi-Wan: “Mos Eisley Space Port... You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and Negroes... We must be cautious.”

Han: “I don't think the Empire had brothers in mind when they designed her, Chewie.”

Jango Fett: “Always a pleasure to meet a brother.”

Vader: “When I left, I was but the learner. Now I am the Negro.”

Jango: “Do you like your Negroes?”
Obi-wan: “I look forward to seeing them in action.”

Han: “Still, she's got a lot of spirit. I don't know, whaddya think? You think a princess and a brother like me--”
Luke: “NO!”

Obi-Wan: “You must learn the ways of the brothers if you are to come with me to Alderaan.”

Han: “You tell that slimy piece of worm ridden Negro that he'll get no such pleasure from us. Right?”

Yoda: “Only a fully trained Jedi, with brothers as his allies, will conquer the Dark Side.”

Mace: “You know, m'lady, that Count Dooku was once a brother. He couldn't assassinate anyone. It's not in his character.”

Captain Panaka: “Her highness commands you to take her Negro with you.”

Shmi: “He knows nothing of Negroes.”

Qui-Gon: “Let’s get out of here before more brothers show up.”

Sio Bibble: “A communications disruption can only mean one thing. Brothers!”

Lando: “We'll last longer than we will against that brother! And we might just take a few of them with us.”

Leia: “But these are my brothers! Threepio, tell them they must be set free!”

Qui-Gon: “The ability to speak does not make you a brother.”

Luke: “You’re wrong, Leia. You have those brothers too. In time, you'll learn to use them as I have.”

Threepio: “I do believe they think I am some kind of Negro!”

Luke: “Your thoughts betray you. I can feel the Negro in you, the conflict.”

Lando: “Now lock onto the strongest power source. It should be the brothers.”

Moff Jerjerrod: “But he asks the impossible. I need more brothers!”

Yoda: “Through the Force, things you will see. Other places. The future… the past. Old brothers long gone.”

Vader: “If you only know the power of the brothers!”

Han: “Well, if they follow standard Imperial procedure, they'll dump their brothers before they go into light-speed and then we just float away.”

Han: “No, but he has no love for the brothers, I can tell you that.”

Luke: “But Master Yoda! How will I know the good brothers from the bad?”

Luke: “I'm not looking for brothers, I'm looking for a Jedi Master!”

Admiral Ozzel: “My lord, there are so many uncharted systems. It could be Negroes, it could be...”

Han: “Flying through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, Negro!”

Obi-Wan: “That's no moon, those are brothers.”

Threepio: “He says he's the property of Obi-Wan Kenobi, a Negro of these parts.”

Owen: “But the harvest is when I need Negroes the most.”

Grand Moff Tarkin: “Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate these brothers!”

Owen: “I have no need for a protocol Negro.”

Obi-Wan: “Your father’s Negro. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or as random as a blaster. An elegant weapon, for a more civilized age.”

Obi-Wan: “Brothers frighten easily, but they'll soon be back, and in greater numbers.”

Vader: “You are part of the Negro Alliance and a traitor! Take her away!”

Luke: “I've never seen such devotion in a brother before.”

Obi-Wan: “The brothers will be with you... Always.”

Obi-Wan: “Anakin's the Negro, isn't he? I'm so sorry.”

Obi-Wan: You were supposed to destroy the Negroes, not join them.

Obi-Wan: You were my Negro, Anakin, I loved you.

Obi-Wan: “Chancellor, Negroes are our specialty!”

Mace: “The Negroes will decide your fate.”
Palpatine: “I AM the Negro!”

Obi-Wan: “Anakin, my allegiance is to the brothers...TO DEMOCRACY!”

Youngling: “Master Skywalker, there’re too many brothers. What should we do?”

Padme: “Are you allowed to love? I thought that was forbidden for a brother.”

Padme: “To be angry is to be human.”
Anakin: “I’m a brother. I’m better than this.”

My favorite:

Han: “I think my eyes are getting better. Instead of a big dark brother, I see a big light brother.”

Most disturbing quotes:

Obi-Wan: “Why do I sense we’ve picked up another pathetic Negro?”

Obi-Wan: “If Negroes could think, there would be none of us here would there?”

Leia: “Why you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy looking Negro!”

Anakin: “I killed Negroes. I killed them all. They're dead, every single one of them. And not just the men, but the women and the children, too. They're like animals, and I slaughtered them like animals. I HATE THEM.”

And the best quote:

Obi-Wan: “Why do I get the feeling you'll be the death of a n*****?”
Anakin: “Don't say ‘n*****,’ master.”

Saturday, May 28, 2005

"I HATE YOU!" and Other Fun Things to Say

Obi-Wan to Palpatine: “Chancellor Palpatine, Sith Lords are our specialty!”

God, poor Ben probably spent many sleepless nights on Tatooine thinking about that ignorant statement. Sigh.

Obi-Wan: "Wait a minute, how did this happen? We're smarter then this!"
Anakin: "Apparently not."

I liked the role reversal between Obi-Wan and Anakin early in the movie.

Padme to Bail Organa: "So this is how liberty dies... with the thunderous sound of applause."

This line is the only decent thing Padme said or did in the whole movie.

Mace to Palpatine: “The Senate will decide your fate.”
Palpatine to Mace: “I AM the Senate!”

Poor Mace. He didn’t know what the hell he was dealing with.

Obi-Wan to General Grievous’s corpse: “So uncivilized!”

The irony of Obi-Wan killing Grievous with a blaster, not a lightsaber was lost in the movie. They could’ve edited the scene better.

Obi-Wan to Anakin: "Don't even try it, Anakin. I have the higher ground."

This line is indicative how much Obi-Wan did not want to fight Anakin. All he did was defend himself in the fight. His heart wasn’t in it.

Anakin to Palpatine (re: Obi-Wan): "His fate will be the same as ours."

So true. Anakin, Palpatine and Obi-Wan all died violently and all died at the hands of someone they once trusted.

Padme: “...I love you!”

Vader: “LIAR! You're with him! You brought him here to kill me!”

Then he chokes his pregnant spouse. He’s Vader at this point, not Anakin.

Vader: “I do not fear the Dark Side as you do. I have brought peace, justice, security to my new empire!”

Obi-wan: “Your new Empire?”

Vader already thinks he’s the one running things. He totally underestimated Palpatine. So foolish.

Obi-Wan to Vader (sliced up): “You were the Chosen One! You were supposed to destroy the Sith, not become one! Bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness!”

Vader (on fire): “I HATE YOU!”

Obi-Wan: “You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you.”

The best lines in the movie.

Friday, May 27, 2005

This is how it feels

An excerpt from the novelization of Revenge of The Sith:

This is how it feels to be Anakin Skywalker, forever:

The first dawn of light in your universe brings pain.

The light burns you. It will always burn you. Part of you will always lie upon black glass sand beside a lake of fire while flames chew upon your flesh.

You can hear yourself breathing. It comes hard, and harsh, and it scrapes nerves already raw, but you cannot stop it. You can never stop it. You cannot even slow it down.

You don't even have lungs anymore.

Mechanisms hardwired into your chest breathe for you. They will pump oxygen into your bloodstream forever.

Lord Vader? Lord Vader, can you hear me?

And you can't, not in the way you once did. Sensors in the shell that prisons your head trickle meaning directly into your brain.

You open your scorched-pale eyes; optical sensors integrate light and shadow into a hideous simulacrum of the world around you.

Or perhaps the simulacrum is perfect, and it is the world that is hideous.

Padme? Are you here? Are you all right? you try to say, but another voice speaks for you, out from the vocabulator that serves you for burned-away lips and tongue and throat.

"Padme? Are you here? Are you all right?"

I'm very sorry, Lord Vader. I'm afraid she died. It seems in your anger, you killed her.

This burns hotter than the lava had.

"No... no, it is not possible!

You loved her. You will always love her. You could never will her death.


But you remember...

You remember all of it.

You remember the dragon that you brought Vader forth from your heart to slay. You remember the cold venom in Vader's blood. You remember the furnace of Vader's fury, and the black hatred of seizing her throat to silence her lying mouth—

And there is one blazing moment in which you finally understand that there was no dragon. That there was no Vader. That there was only you. Only Anakin Skywalker.

That it was all you. Is you.

Only you.

You did it.

You killed her.

You killed her because, finally, when you could have saved her, when you could have gone away with her, when you could have been thinking about her, you were thinking about yourself...

It is in this blazing moment that you finally understand the trap of the dark side, the final cruelty of the Sith—

Because now your self is all you will ever have.

And you rage and scream and reach through the Force to crush the shadow who has destroyed you, but you are so far less now than what you were, you are more than half machine, you are like a painter gone blind, a composer gone deaf, you can remember where the power was but the power you can touch is only a memory, and so with all your world-destroying fury it is only droids around you that implode, and equipment, and the table on which you were strapped shatters, and in the end, you cannot touch the shadow.

In the end, you do not even want to.

In the end, the shadow is all you have left.

Because the shadow understands you, the shadow forgives you, the shadow gathers you unto itself—

And within your furnace heart, you burn in your own flame.

This is how it feels to be Anakin Skywalker.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

If Star Wars Comes to the WB

From Penny Arcade

This is what we can expect if Star Wars: The TV Series comes to the WB:

Posted by Hello

This Party's *Not* Over!

For all y'all who believed Lucas when he said he was done, peep this:

From Moviehole.net: A Prequel to The Phantom Menace?

"Nope, not the adventures of young Jar Jar Binks building an underwater haven - but the tales of the Jedi regaining control of the universe from the many Dark Lords some 88 years before Anakin Skywalker's bowl cut ever graced the earth.

"Yoda - who was instrumental in the effort - would apparently have a headlining role."

How Jedi Are You?

:: How Jedi Are You? ::

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Kolchak is Back

Night Stalker (2005) - TV Series - TV Tome: "As of 5/17/05, ABC has announced that the remake of the 1970s cult series Kolchak: The Night Stalker, which starred Darren McGavin, is part of their fall schedule."

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Two hurt in mock lightsaber duel


"Two Star Wars fans are in a critical condition in hospital after apparently trying to make light sabres by filling fluorescent light tubes with petrol."

Monday, May 23, 2005

A Thousand Generations

"For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times. Before the Empire. A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights."

Obi-Wan Kenobi
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

Darth Sidious, though he didn’t possess the raw power of the Sith of previous generations like Exar Kun, managed to do what no other Sith had done -- utterly destroy the Jedi order.

But how does one eliminate in a single generation the reputation and deeds of a thousand previous generations? What would it take to eliminate thousands of beings not only trained in the martial arts from infancy, but also possessed of extrasensory powers?

My first reaction, especially having been treated to seeing traditionally trained Jedi in the prequel trilogy, is, no way. Thousands of Jedi would've been in hiding.

And yet…

In The Phantom Menace novel it is mentioned that there are approximately ten thousand Jedi. It’s not clear if this figure lumps together both Jedi and padawans, but let’s say that it does to make the math easier.

At the battle of Geonosis in Attack of the Clones, 186 Jedi and padawans were killed. That’s almost 2% of all the Jedi, dead in just the first battle of the Clone Wars!

We’re now down to 9,800, roughly.

It’s difficult to say what the ratio of padawans to knights may have been in the last days of the Republic, but if the Jedi training program is at all like present-day schools or military institutions, students surely outnumber masters. The Jedi probably have a very high retention rate, but they would still need to “over recruit” in order to compensate for the on-going loss of older Jedi and for padawans that may not make it through the program for a variety of reasons (injury, failure to adhere to the teachings, death, inability to pass the Jedi trials, etc.).

Let’s say there are two padawans for every full knight -- six thousand padawans or so. Let’s split the padawans up 50-50 -- three thousand are paired with a knight (these are "padawan-learners") and three thousand are too young to be paired up ("younglings"), have not yet been chosen as an apprentice, or whose master has died, etc.

Although it makes poor tactical sense to have the entire future generation of your organization housed in one training complex, this is apparently exactly what the Republic-era Jedi did. So, when Anakin marched on the temple with several thousand clone troopers in tow, it is conceivable that three thousand padawans were put to death. These padawans must’ve had some adult supervision, but it’s a safe bet that any adult Jedi that were at the temple instead of out in the field were injured, were scholars, or were past their prime. I’ll go with a ten to one ratio of students to staff and instructors at this time when staffing must've been inadequate.

From our initial 10,000 figure:

186 dead at Geonosis
3,200 padawans killed in the Temple Massacre
320 Jedi instructors killed in the Temple Massacre

We’re now left with about 6,300 Jedi and padawans in the field.

In the novelization of Revenge of The Sith, Mace mentions that some Jedi joined the Separatists. I’ll give Jedi training the benefit of the doubt and say that only 1% of the original 10,000 would’ve rebelled against the order and defected -- 100 Jedi. Ironically, these defectors were probably more likely to survive the first wave of the Jedi Purge than their counterparts in the Republic -- they would not have been in the proximity of clone troopers when “Order 66” came down. However, I still think the attrition rate for the defectors would be high. The Separatists would likely think they were spies and they would be given deadly assignments. Moreover, their former comrades in the Republic would be gunning for them. Let’s say 80 of them were dead by war’s end.

6,220 left.

Of these, a certain amount would be undercover, or involved in civilian endeavors of some kind. 500 sounds like a fair number, though it may be high. Undercover missions are dangerous, but as with the defectors, these are the people most likely to survive Order 66. Let’s give a 50% death rate to the undercover Jedi -- 250 dead.

5,970 left, some of whom are padawans. Let’s say padawans are more likely to die in the field. I’m going to say that the 2,860 padawans have a 75% death rate -- about 2,145 dead.

3,825 left. Now comes the big question -- what percentage of Jedi were caught unawares by clones when Order 66 came down? This is supposed to be a tragedy, so let’s say 80%.

That still leaves 765 Jedi who, through the will of the Force, escaped the first strike of the purge. Of these, 20 are former Separatist sympathizers, 143 are padawans and 50 are deep cover agents.

You’re Darth Sidious. In a 13-year period you have killed 92% of the Jedi. How do you get the remaining 8%?

More to come…

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Fear is the path

"Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Before Attack of The Clones came out, I knew that Anakin's turn to the Dark Side would obviously be wrapped up in his relationship with Padme, but I didn't see what form it would take. I had this idea that there might be some riff on the whole Camelot thing, either with both Anakin and Obi-Wan vying for Padme, or Anakin misinterpreting a friendship between Obi-Wan and Padme with tragic results.

Instead, Anakin's conversion to the Dark Side hinges on fear, which, in retrospect, should have been obvious. After all, Yoda warns us about the final destination of those on the path of fear in all five movies in which he appears.

Anakin's overriding fear is that of losing a loved one. In Episode I he loses Qui-Gon, a surrogate father. In Episode II he loses his mother, Shmi, but saves Obi-Wan, another father-figure, from dying at the hands of Count Dooku.

In Episode III Anakin has a vision that Padme will die in childbirth and it is this that drives him to make a deal with the devil Darth Sidious. But why does he think her death is a done deal without magical intervention? If Anakin had been consistently depicted as a luddite that shuns the advancements of the galaxy around him, that would be one thing, but he's the ultimate technophile. He lives in a time and place where droids have human emotions, severed limbs can be replaced with fully functional (arguably superior) prosthetics and human clones are being bred by the millions without the benefit of any woman's womb.

Why would he feel that a doctor couldn't save Padme if there was something truly wrong with her? Why wasn't consulting a doctor or a medical droid an option?

This brings up another oddity -- Padme, previously depicted as an intelligent, proactive, strong young woman -- clearly had absolutely no prenatal care during her pregnancy. If she had, her response to Anakin's, "You're gonna die" would be "But the doctor says I'm fine! The pregnancy is going well! Oh my God, let's get a second opinion!"

Another clue that she never saw a doctor is that she keeps saying "baby" instead of "babies" throughout the movie. She wasn't hiding the fact that she was having twins -- she didn't know! Even with our level of technology, which is arguably thousands of years behind theirs, an ultrasound at seven weeks can detect twins. And Padme was at least seven months pregnant at the time of her death.

Was she unable to find a single trustworthy OB on all of Coruscant? Not even on Naboo, where she is loved and respected? What about Alderaan? What's up with this? Didn't this deserve one line of dialogue to explain why she's sought no medical advice for a first pregnancy? Is it against her religion? Perhaps the audiobook will shed some light.

But I digress.

If it's not something in Padme's background that makes death in childbirth plausible (i.e., if she previously told him her mom almost died having her, or her sister's pregnancies were both life-threatening, or Padme suffered a pelvic injury when she fell out of that troop transport on Geonosis, etc.) I have to assume this fear of Anakin's about women dying in childbirth goes back to something in his childhood. Maybe he's never been to a doctor, so seeing one with Padme to ease his fears would never cross his mind. Maybe doctors on Tatooine in general are hacks, or the ones who plied their trade in Mos Espa's slave quarters are. Maybe his mom's best friend died in childbirth.



Again, one line of dialogue would have cleared this up.

Clearly, it doesn't matter if a Jedi's fear is rational or not -- it's his response to fear that determines if he goes dark. Still, I find Anakin's fear of Padme dying in childbirth a bit surprising.

More observations to come.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

MPAA Blames BitTorrent for Star Wars Distribution

Gee, this is terrible!

Slyck News - MPAA Blames BitTorrent for Star Wars Distribution: "On Wednesday, May 18th, approximately 3 hours before Episode III officially debuted in theaters, a release group named 'ViSA' uploaded this film to the Newsgroups."

Oh, the humanity!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Revenge of The Sith: Synopsis


I’ll start by saying the following -- I don’t agree with the rave reviews that this movie has been getting. This is not a great movie. This is not even the greatest Star Wars movie. It is not, however, a shitty movie like the last two Matrix films.

In short:

  • If you like science-fiction, you will probably think ROTS is at least okay.
  • If you have a deep nostalgic attachment to the original trilogy, you will probably like this movie more than Episodes I and II, but you will probably not like this movie.
  • If you like Obi-Wan, you will probably like this movie.
  • If you liked Episodes I and II, you will be pleased with this movie.
  • If you like comedy and light-hearted action-adventure movies, you will hate this movie.

On to the synopsis:

The movie starts where the Clone Wars cartoon and the novel Labyrinth of Evil left off: Palpatine has been “captured” by General Grievous and Obi-Wan and Anakin have been dispatched to rescue the Chancellor. There is a dizzying space battle as the pair work their way towards General Grievous’ ship. Some insect-like “buzz droids” attach themselves to Obi-Wan’s fighter and Anakin does some delicate maneuvers to shoot them, then brush them off Obi-Wan’s fighter.

The pair crash into Grievous’ docking bay and there are some mildly amusing moments involving R2 attempting to control the turbo lift that the heroes are in. He also takes out some super battle droids.

[Note Obi-Wan smiles and jokes a lot (well, a lot for him) early on in the movie. He clearly likes fighting alongside Anakin. He is looser now, while Anakin has become a little more patient.]

They find Palpatine shackled to a chair. In comes Dooku. The fight is short. Obi-Wan gets taken out quickly by a Force Push from Dooku, but Anakin slices off Dooku’s hands. Anakin hesitates before his helpless foe, but when Palpatine urges him to kill Dooku, he scissors off the Count’s head.

Over Palpatine’s objections, Anakin picks up the unconscious Obi-Wan (“His fate will be the same as ours”) and they flee. They are captured by droids and brought before Grievous, but the ship starts falling apart and Grievous escapes after ejecting all of the escape pods. Anakin is able to guide the ship to a fiery landing on Coruscant.

They are greeted by Mace, Bail Organa and others. Obi-Wan excuses himself, saying he’s “not brave enough for politicians,” but he urges Anakin to enjoy the accolades he’s receiving for rescuing the Chancellor and killing Dooku. Obi-Wan thanks him for saving his life for the ninth time. Anakin smiles and credits the success of the mission to Obi-Wan’s training.

While Bail is congratulating him, Anakin spies Padme lurking in the shadows. They embrace and she tells him she is pregnant. He’s stunned, but claims to be happy. Later, at her apartment, he wakes from a disturbing dream and tells her that he has had a premonition that she will die in childbirth. She says they should ask Obi-Wan for help, but he doesn’t want that.

Anakin goes to Yoda for counseling about his dreams and Yoda’s advice is that he must learn to let go. Death is natural, he says. We should not miss those who have gone on to join the Force.

Anakin is summoned to a meeting with the Chancellor and is told that he will be the Chancellor’s representative on the Jedi Council. Yoda and Mace are not happy with the Chancellor appointing members of their council. Mace tells Anakin he’s on the Council, but they do not grant him the rank of Master. Anakin is livid, but takes a seat when ordered to by Mace.

The Council reviews the status of the war. It is agreed that Yoda should go to the Wookie homeworld Kahsyyyk, which is of strategic importance.

After the meeting is over, Anakin seethes at the insult of not being named a Master. Obi-Wan points out that his appointment to the council was unprecedented in the first place and his friendship with Palpatine has paid off. Anakin denies asking for the appointment.

Obi-Wan then gets to what he has been tasked to ask – the Council wants Anakin to report on the Chancellor’s doings. Anakin is not pleased. He says it’s treason.

Later, Obi-Wan and Mace accompany Yoda to the ship leaving for Kashyyyk. Mace says putting Anakin and the Chancellor together is dangerous. “I don’t think the boy can handle it. I don’t trust him.”

Obi-Wan says, “But isn’t he the Chosen One destined to destroy the Sith?”

“So the prophecy says,” Mace says skeptically.

Yoda muses that the prophecy of The Chosen One may have been misread and all three seem to agree.

Anakin goes to Padme’s apartment. He expresses his unhappiness with not being named a Master. He says that the war has made the Jedi compromise their principles. Padme unexpectedly asks Anakin to ask the Chancellor to stop the war. He reacts angrily and says she sounds like a Separatist.

Later, Anakin attends an opera with Palpatine. Palpatine tells him that intel reports say Grievous is in the Utapau system. He says if the Jedi don’t send Anakin on this mission, he would question their wisdom. He also says he knows that the Jedi want Anakin to spy on him. He says the Council wants to take over the Republic.

Palpatine’s conversation segues into talk about the Sith lord Darth Plagueis The Wise, whom he says had the power to use midichlorians to create life. He could also save others from death. Palpatine says that Plagueis taught everything he knew to his apprentice, who slew him in his sleep.

Anakin asks if it’s possible to learn the power to cheat death.

“Not from a Jedi,” Palpatine says.

Yoda arrives on Kashyyyk, where he helps the Wookies against the droid army.

Obi-Wan is selected to go after Grievous on Utapau and Anakin is disappointed that he was not chosen. Nevertheless, he goes to see Obi-Wan off and they part amiably. Obi-Wan tells him how proud he is of him and tells him to be patient – he’ll be made a Master soon.

At Padme’s apartment, Anakin has a vision of Obi-Wan bending over Padme and telling her to “save her strength.” Frowning, he asks her if Obi-Wan has been there. “Yes,” she says, “He came by this morning because he’s worried about you.”

Anakin is not happy about this. Again he expresses his frustration with the Council. He also tells her, “I’m not the Jedi I should be – Something is wrong. I want more.” He says he’s found a way to save her from his nightmares.

Obi-Wan lands on Utapau. He is greeted by the leader, who whispers that they are being held hostage and Grievous is on the 10th level with thousands of battle droids. Obi-Wan sends his ship back up with R4, sneaks into the shadows and he takes a giant iguana. He rides up to the level where Grievous is speaking with the Separatist leaders about the planned move to the volcanic mining planet of Mustafar.

Obi-Wan drops down in front of Grievous and the fight is on. Obi-Wan quickly severs two of the cyborg’s arms, but Grievous flees in a wheeled vehicle. Obi-Wan pursues on his lizard. He loses his lightsaber in the race.

[Obi-Wan shows a curious lack of detachment in this fight. He is very pumped up. He’s almost as exuberant as he was when fighting in Episode I.]

In another meeting with Anakin, Palatine comes out and tells Anakin that he can use his knowledge to save his wife. Anakin draws his lightsaber, realizing that Palpatine is the Sith Lord they’ve been looking for. Anakin chooses not to strike him down. Instead, he goes to Mace.

On Utapau, Kenobi battles Grievous. Having lost his lightsaber he uses a polearm, then when he is flipped over the side of a platform he picks up a blaster and shoots him four times in the chest. “So uncivilized, “ he says with disgust, throwing the blaster aside with disgust.

Anakin tells Mace that Palpatine is the Sith Lord. “I sense confusion in you,” Mace tells Anakin. Mace tells Anakin to wait in the council chambers and he takes Kit Fisto, Agen Kolar and Saesee Tiin with him. Anakin is frustrated again. Anakin waits for awhile, but he keeps thinking of Padme and finally he races for the Chancellor’s quarters.

Mace and the others come to arrest Palpatine, who whips out a lightsaber. Agen and Sasee never get a chance to raise their sabers before being cut down. Kit dies soon after. Mace holds his own, then starts to press his advantage. Anakin arrives to see Palpatine on his back begging for mercy. Each man tells Anakin that the other is a traitor. Palpatine starts to use his Force Lightning on Mace. Mace raises his saber to kill Palpatine, but Anakin tells him, no, he must stand trial. Mace hesitates. “He’s got control of the courts and the senate!” “When it looks like Mace is going to slay Palpatine, Anakin lops off his arm and Palpatine, whose face has become wrinkled and hideous, blasts Mace and flings him through the shattered window to plunge to his death.

Anakin cries, “What have I done?” but Darth Sidious reassures him that he’s “fulfilling his destiny.”

Anakin bows before Darth Sidious and says I’ll do anything you ask, just help me save Padme. Sidious christens him “Darth Vader” and far away on Kashyyyk Yoda clutches his chest and feels a disturbance in the Force.

Darth Sidious tells Anakin to destroy all the Jedi, then go to Mustafar to kill Nute Gunray and the Separtist Leaders.

Anakin leads thousands of clones to the temple.

Palpatine sends a message to clone commanders across the galaxy: “Execute order 66.”

Ki-Adi-Mundi is gunned down on a snowy world

Aayla Secura is surrounded and shot to death by her troops in a meadow.

Yoda feels all their deaths.

Plo Koon is shot down in his star fighter.

Adi Gallia is shot in the back while leading some clones on speeder bikes.

But Yoda is ready. When they come for him, he beheads two clones. Tarful and Chewie get him to the safety of a tiny starship.

In the Jedi Temple, padawans are fighting for their lives. Anakin enters a dark room where some younglings are hiding behind chairs. Recognizing him, one boy of about six comes out.

“Master Skywalker, there are too many of them. What are we going to do?” he pleads.

Anakin answers by igniting his lightsaber.

From her apartment, Padme sees the temple in flames.

Bail goes to the temple, but the clones won’t let him enter. “There’s been a rebellion,” they say. One lone padawan somersaults out of nowhere and races to Bail’s aircar. He parries many shots from the clones, but he is cut down before he can reach safety. “No!” Bail screams, but he is forced to flee. The clones do not pursue.

Bail boards his starship, the Tantive, and resolves to intercept any Jedi enroute to Coruscant to save them from the catastrophe unfolding at the temple.

Anakin comes to Padme and tells her that the Jedi tried to overthrow the government. She is appalled and confused. He tells her his is going to Mustafar to eliminate the Separatist leaders.

Obi-Wan has a rendezvous with the Tantive. Yoda is already on board. Yoda says a coded signal is telling the Jedi to return to the temple. Obi-Wan wants to go back to shut it off to save any stragglers.

Anakin arrives on Mustafar. He seals the room where the Separatists are waiting and kills them all.

[His eyes have turned yellow.]

On Coruscant, Obi-Wan and Yoda fight their way into the temple.

In the senate, Padme and Bail listen as Palpatine tells the assembly that the Jedi attempted to assassinate him and left him disfigured. He assures the senators that all Jedi will be hunted down. He declares the formation of the Galactic Empire and the assembly cheers.

In the temple, Yoda and Obi-Wan examine the bodies of the dead and see that some were killed by a lightsaber.

Obi-Wan insists on viewing the security tapes and sees Anakin cutting down younglings. Yoda tells him that they must destroy the Sith. Obi-Wan begs him to let him go after the Emperor, but Yoda tells him he is not powerful enough. Obi-Wan tells him he can’t kill Anakin. He insists that he doesn’t know where to look, but Yoda tells him to examine his feelings.

Obi-Wan goes to see Padme and asks her when did she last see Anakin. He tells her that Anakin has gone over to the Dark Side and that he killed younglings. She doesn’t want to believe it. She won’t say where Anakin is. When he asks her if Anakin is the father of her baby, she doesn’t answer. He says, “I’m very sorry,” and leaves.

She boards her private ship and goes in search of Anakin on Mustafar. Unbeknownst to her, Obi-Wan has snuck on board her ship.

Yoda goes to Palpatine’s office. He casually takes out two crimson guards with a wave of his hand. Palpatine slams Yoda against wall with a Force Push, and briefly knocks him out. Yoda gets to his feet and slams Palpatine back and over his chair. Palpatine ignites his lightsaber and boasts that Vader will be more powerful than either of them. Yoda warns him that he should not be so sure about his new apprentice.

On Mustafar, Padme lands and Anakin rushes to greet her. She tells him that Obi-Wan told her about the younglings. He says Obi-Wan is lying. She says Obi-Wan wants to help them and Anakin bristles. “The Jedi turned against me. Don’t you turn against me too,” he warns.

Then Anakin sees Obi-Wan standing on the ramp of the ship.

“You brought him here to kill me!” Anakin shrieks, and he Force chokes her.

Obi-Wan tells Anakin to release her and she falls down, unconscious.

Anakin starts to rant that Obi-Wan turned Padme against him. Then he starts to rant that he’s brought peace to the galaxy and his “new empire.” Obi-Wan says, “I stand for the Republic.”

Anakin says, “If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy.”

Obi-Wan ignites his saber first, but it is Anakin that starts the fight by springing in the air and attacking Obi-Wan. The fight is fast and furious. They force push each other away. In their fight they wreck the controls of mining station and the whole structure starts collapsing.

The fight between Yoda and Palpatine spills into the Senate hall. They seem evenly matched with saber skills, but Palpatine has a slight edge with telekinesis. Yoda loses his lightsaber and is forced to cling to the edge of a saucer and Palpatine hurls other saucers at him. Palpatine gains the edge with his lightning. Yoda falls from great height and decides to run. He ducks into a vent shaft and signals Bail, who appears under a hatch and catches him in speeder, much like the Falcon caught Luke when he fell off the bottom of Cloud City in TESB.

On Mustafar, the building Anakin and Obi-Wan were in totally collapses and each is left on floating debris on a river of fire racing toward a waterfall.

“I’ve failed you, Anakin,” Obi-Wan admits, “ But the Chancellor is evil!”

“From my point of view, the Jedi are evil!” Anakin screams.

Obi-Wan seizes the opportunity and somersaults to the relative safety of an embankment.

“It’s over,” Obi-Wan says, not wanting to fight anymore. “I have the high ground.”

[Morally and literally, of course.]

“You underestimate my power,” Anakin growls.

“Don’t try it!” Obi-Wan shouts.

Anakin launches himself in the air, but he doesn’t get high enough. With one stroke Obi-Wan slices off his left arm and both legs.

Sickened, Obi-Wan switches off his lightsaber.

“You were the Chosen One,” he says, anguished. “You were my brother. I loved you.”

“I HATE YOU!” Anakin screams as he slips closer and closer to the river of lava. His eyes are bright yellow and filled with rage. His clothes and hair catch on fire and are burned away.

Obi-Wan picks up Anakin’s light saber and head back up the hillside. When he reaches the ship, 3PO tells him to hurry. The droid has taken Padme into the ship. Padme regains consciousness and asks Obi-Wan if Anakin is all right. When he doesn’t answer, she loses consciousness again.

Anakin pulls himself back from the edge with his droid hand.

Palpatine sensing trouble, comes with troops to rescue Anakin.

Obi-Wan brings Padme to an unknown rocky planetoid where Bail and Yoda await.

A droid tells them that medically she is healthy, but she has lost will to live and is dying. The droid says they must work quickly to save the babies. For the first time it is revealed that she is expecting twins.

Simultaneously, on Coruscant droids conduct painful surgery on Anakin, transforming him into the black helmeted Darth Vader we know.

Padme gives birth to a boy she names Luke and a girl she names Leia. As Padme dies she whispers to Obi-Wan, “There is good in him.”

Vader regains consciousness. He asks Palpatine what happened to Padme, and Palpatine tells him that in his anger he killed Padme. Vader breaks free of his bonds and howls in pain. Things implode.

Yoda, Obi-Wan and Bail take Padme’s body to Naboo. Bail offers to take the girl child. He and his wife have talked previously about wanting to adopt a baby girl.

Yoda says the boy should be sent to his family on Tatooine. Obi-Wan vows to watch over him.

The three agree that they must disappear until the time is right. After Bail leaves the room, Yoda tells Obi-Wan that he has training for him in his exile. Qui-Gon has found a way to retain his consciousness after death, and Obi-Wan can learn this as well.

Bail puts 3PO and R2 in the care of a young Capt. Antilles. He tells him to clean up the droids and to wipe the protocol droid's memory. R2 seems to laugh at this.

A massive funeral is held for Naboo on Padme. Her body is made to look like she was still pregnant. Jar Jar Binks and Boss Nass are in attendance, as is the new queen, who looks even younger than Padme was when she was the queen.

Palpatine and Vader stand on the bridge of a star destroyer with a hatched faced Governor Tarkin. Visible through the viewport is the Death Star, in a very early stage of construction.

Bail arrives on Alderaan, a mountainous but not very spectacular world, and places a very alert baby Leia into his wife’s arms.

On Tatooine, Obi-Wan arrives at the Lars homestead. He places a sleeping baby Luke into Beru’s arms. Smiling, she takes the baby and shows him to Owen. Together, the young couple watch the twin suns setting. Satisfied that the boy will be cared for, Obi-Wan mounts his eopie and departs for the wastelands.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Revenge of The Sith: First Impressions

I saw ROTS this afternoon and I wanted to jot down some quick first impressions. I’ll talk about it at length on a later date.


Things I liked:

  • It’s explicitly stated why Obi-Wan and Yoda are able to transcend death while other Jedi cannot.
  • It was nice to see Chewie, though he did nothing.
  • The purge of the Jedi Temple was foul, as it should be.
  • Obi-Wan’s relationship with Anakin is much better. They seem like friends, in sharp contrast to the way they butted heads in AOTC.
  • The debate over why 3PO doesn’t recognize Obi-Wan, Tatooine or the Skywalker name is put to rest.
  • Obi-Wan has matured from the cold padawan in Episode I to the wise, soulful Obi-Wan of ANH.

Things I didn’t like:

  • Anakin’s reason for going to the Dark Side is flawed.
  • The Obi-Wan vs. Anakin fight was too short.
  • Yoda gave up too easily against the Emperor.
  • Darth Sidious looks silly when his hood is down.
  • Darth Sidious doesn’t seem as powerful or as menacing as he did in ROTJ.
  • No new Force powers were revealed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Musings on Vader

One man's love for Darth Vader, from MSNBC.com

"The purity ends with "Empire." The planets stay pure (desert, ice, swamp, forest), but light (Luke) and dark (Darth) are forever intertwined. Back then I was against it, and felt betrayed by George Lucas. I was a whiny teenager myself who craved absolutes. As an adult I appreciate the revelation. Luke's dilemma is every boy's dilemma. You mean my father's not a great man? You mean my father's a dick? You mean I might become like him? Purity is for children, and first films."
All I can say is, "Word."

By the way -- it's not just boys who wonder this.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Sith TV Spots

Yeah, I probably ought to be appalled at all of the promotions and tie-ins for this movie, but if you’ve got a product people like, so what? Why be a hater?

Lego’s Revenge of the Brick short film is cute. It’s amazing that Anakin, even as a Lego toy, looks evil. The best part is when Chewie takes a picture of Anakin and Obi-Wan chillin at a bar (that would be cool if they did they hung out at least once -- as if they’re friends, you know?) and when it’s printed he sees a future image of the fight between old Obi-Wan and Vader.

Yoda’s Diet Pepsi commercial is okay, but Chewie’s cellphone commercial (“I love it -- now make me hate it.”) and the Dark M&Ms are more amusing.

My hands down favorite is the Dodgeball commercial for the ROTS video game where a geeky kid destined to be pummeled by two thugs in gym class whips out a lightsaber and turns the tables.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Ode to Obi-Wan

From MSNBC, an article on Obi-Wan, "Jedi sex symbol":

Kenobi seemed to realize, for instance, that things were not going to go well when young Anakin and his L.L. Bean backpack first skipped into the Jedi Temple. "That boy is dangerous," he snapped. He knew -- he knew -- that the child would grow up to be the type of person who used "Sand is rough" as a pickup line, a person who Kenobi actually had to remind that use of one's Jedi powers to feed fruit to one's girlfriend qualifies as an outrageous case of Force abuse.


Read more

MSNBC - Star Map: Guide to the 'Star Wars' galaxy

Who would think MSNBC could come up with this comprehensive
Guide to the Star Wars galaxy?

The best part is the "classic line" attributed with each character. They messed up with Mace, though. Surely his best line is, "This party's over."

Sunday, May 15, 2005


The new season of Battlestar Galactica won’t start until July. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe isn’t until December. I’ve run out of audiobooks and I have to suffer a few more days till Revenge of The Sith.

So, I’m killing time watching some TV.

I've been following Deadwood since last season. It's basically a soap opera, but the best thing about the show is hearing white people use vile language like a town full of Def Comedy Jam comedians. Actually, that’s not true – there’s more cursing per sentence in an episode of Deadwood than in any black movie or standup show I’ve ever seen. That’s quite an accomplishment. And the writers are inventive about it too. You don’t hear a sentence like, “I would never impugn that cocksucker,” every day.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Negotiations with a Lightsaber

Posted by Hello

Anakin: ...we got into aggressive negotiations.

Padme: Aggressive negotiations? What's that?

Anakin: Ah, well, it's negotiations with a lightsaber.

I'm stylin' with my Force FX Anakin Skywalker lightsaber!

It sounds like this.

Friday, May 13, 2005

"Tales of The Jedi" and other audio comics

I picked up three new Star Wars audio books to tide me over until ROTS drops next Thursday -- Tales of The Jedi, Dark Lords of The Sith and Dark Empire. They're produced in radio show style with full casts and lots of sound effects.

Unfortunately, the stories are a bit lame. All three are based on comic books, and you really feel that something went missing in the translation to audio. I felt a lot more dialogue was needed to paint a full picture.

I was particularly underwhelmed by the ease with which seemingly sane people went over to the Dark Side. More on that some other time.

Five days and a wake up, as we used to say in the Army.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Review of The Revenge of The Sith Soundtrack

I got the soundtrack for The Revenge of The Sith yesterday. Below is my review.

  1. Star Wars and The Revenge of The Sith: Very martial – snare drums and trumpets dominate. Snippets of the Force Theme show up early on, but the theme has a desperate quality. Overall, the mood is very tense.
  2. Anakin’s Dream: Echoes of the love theme from Episode II are heard in the background, but slow syrupy strings are laid on top. A bit overdone, though the sense of dread is effectively communicated.
  3. Battle of The Heroes: A disturbing piece, Battle of The Heroes is a natural progression from Duel of The Fates from Episode I. Like Duel of The Fates, it contains chanting of incomprehensible words, which creates a creepy feel. You definitely get the feeling that heinous acts are being committed on the screen while this track is rolling. The Force Theme valiantly tries to make a comeback near the end of the track, but it is drowned out by the ugly chanting, which is probably the Emperor’s Theme. I can’t listen to this for long. It seems inspired by Hector Berlioz's Marche au supplice from Symphonie Fantastique.
  4. Anakin’s Betrayal: A slow piece with more chanting. Contains elements of Battle of The Heroes, but it has a regretful feel.
  5. General Grievous: Disappointing. It sounds like a rehash of the Zam Wessell speeder chase in Episode II. There are tom-toms on the track. I would have expected something with a more mechanical feel. The Force Theme appears again, but as always on this soundtrack, it gets overwhelmed by other melodies.
  6. Palpatine’s Teachings: Also disappointing. The track starts with low-pitched droning and segues into The Imperial March (Vader’s Theme). Once again, the Force Theme is surrounded by darkness. There is a strangely bright and triumphant phrase at the very end -- a victory for a good guy?
  7. Grievous and The Droids: A return to the martial feel of the first track -- lots of snare drums. Surprisingly, Luke’s Theme is faintly heard in the opening minutes. The Force Theme is here, too. A somewhat standard piece. Not very memorable.
  8. Padme’s Ruminations: Eerie and droning. Let’s face it, the whole album is dark, but this is a very non-John Williams piece. This sounds like something from the Aliens soundtrack.
  9. Anakin vs. Obi-Wan: Contains a mix of Battle of The Heroes and Vader’s Theme. Disturbing, but very exciting. The pacing is almost exactly the same as the track from Episode V containing the Luke vs. Vader fight in Cloud City. This is the best cut on the soundtrack. Surprisingly short.
  10. Anakin’s Dark Deeds: Starts out low and melancholy, picks up volume and tempo, then slows down again. Lots of creepy chanting. There’s a sense of conflicting emotions as if there is hesitation about the acts to be committed, exhilaration while the acts are taking place, and then horror in the aftermath.
  11. Enter Lord Vader: Another martial piece. Triumphant, with a bit of mystery. Vader’s Theme, surprisingly, doesn’t show up until the last 45 seconds. The Force Theme is here, too.
  12. The Immolation Scene: Another piece filled with regret. The fact that there are two tracks which presumably involve Obi-Wan’s duel with Anakin leads me to wonder if they possibly fight twice?
  13. Grievous Speaks to Lord Sidious: Another martial piece. Urgent, but dignified. More chanting.
  14. The Birth of The Twins and Padme’s Destiny: Some bells and harps. At first the melody is deceptively soft and dream-like, then the chorus starts chanting and deeper bells are tolled, signaling Padme’s death.
  15. A New Hope and End Credits: Starts with Leia’s Theme, segues into Luke’s Theme and culminates in a pure untainted version of the Force Theme. The end credits music starts too abruptly, but after the darkness of the prior fourteen tracks, A New Hope sounds pretty good. The end credits include Leia’s Theme, followed by Battle of The Heroes and a darker, slower rendition of the Throne Room melody from Episode IV. This is followed by a beautiful woodwind and strings version of the Force Theme. The soundtrack is brought to a close by a reprise of the throne room music and Luke’s Theme, which is stretched out to give a real sense of finality.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


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Original artwork by me. (Poser 5 and Photoshop CS)

Monday, May 09, 2005

The Alchera Project

Well, I'm still hoping that someone wants to participate in the Flash Fiction Challenge, but it doesn't look good.

So, I went looking for some sites with writing prompts. So far The Alchera Project looks promising. Seven topics are posted and you have about a month to get something together. I just skimmed it, but I'll take a closer look tomorrow.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


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Original artwork by me. (Poser 5 and Photoshop CS)

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Trouble with Harry

I suffered through Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to see the Narnia trailer.

Before I get to the trailer, I have a few comments about Harry Potter. I fully realize that it’s unfair of me to judge the Harry Potter books by the movies.

But I’m going to do it anyway.

I really only have one complaint about him – he’s a walking violation of the “show don’t tell” rule found in every good writing book. Throughout the movies people come up to him and say, "You're the great Harry Potter!" I don't want to hear that you're great -- you better show me you're great by your deeds. Your ancestry means jack to me -- what have you done?

Harry is alternately bullied or praised, not because of what he’s actually done, but because of his pedigree and potential. Bad guys hate him because they hated his parents. Good guys like him because they think he’ll be powerful one day. People assume that he’s intelligent and is a good student, but time after time, his female sidekick studies harder, works harder, knows more spells and saves everyone’s ass. Frankly, the story ought to be about her. Unfortunately, she's somewhat irritating.

Harry gets special treatment from his school’s administrators because he’s blessed. When he breaks a rule, he’s not punished, since rules shouldn’t apply to him. Oddly, Harry seems to be unaware of the special treatment he receives from the headmaster and others. He acts as if he actually expects to be punished or expelled when he breaks rules; however, he doesn’t seem ashamed when he gets a free pass. You would think that being showered with undeserved props would bother an individual who isn’t, you know, an insufferable asshole.

Anyway, enough about Harry.

The Narnia trailer was a disappointment. Mind you, it didn’t suck. The film quality looked good, the kids didn’t look haughty, the cgi looked decent. However, there was no freaking dialogue! I was really hoping that it would be like the Revenge of The Sith trailer shown during The O.C. -- a teaser that really whets the appetite. Instead, there were a lot of brief flashes of images that give the uninitiated no clue what the movie will be about.

They’re going to have to do better than that.

Aslan looked a little too cgi (something about his movements) and the White Witch didn't look "icy" enough, though her flat black eyes did look evil. Actually, she looks a lot like Galadriel. The battle scenes appeared to be of the quality of Lord of The Rings.

Friday, May 06, 2005

What Kind of Jedi Are You?

According to TV Guide Online I'm a Tainted Jedi:

You are a Tainted Jedi.

You walk to the beat of your own drummer, and whichever side of the Force serves to your advantage is the side you will use. Many may not agree with your methods, but you still get the job done. You have the potential to be the greatest at whatever you do. You are the chosen one.

Your destiny is in your hands. It's up to you to choose the path you will walk.

Take the quiz

Save The Flash Fiction Challenge

I sent an email out to the previous participants in Grimace's "Flash Fiction Challenge" in the hope that we can get it started again. Two people have responded so far, so I decided to send out the following challenge:

Flash Fiction Challenge #7:

  1. Maximum length: 250 words.
  2. The theme is: Resignation
  3. The year is: 1975
  4. Within the story you must use this text: "on a pedestal"

I can't wait to see what they come up with!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Narnia "Roadblock": Trailer on TV May 7

From darkhorizons.com:

"The worldwide 'roadblock' will be anchored by the U.S. broadcast debut of the 'Chronicles of Narnia' trailer on Saturday, May 7th during ABC's network premiere of 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets'... along with online visitors to America Online Web sites. The trailer will also air simultaneously on Disney Channel, and on four channels across the Starz Entertainment Group network. "

Read more

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


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Original artwork by me. (Poser 5 and Photoshop CS)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

How Old Is…?

I keep forgetting how old everyone is supposed to be, so I made the following list. People in brackets are alive at the time of a given movie, but don't appear in the movie.

The Phantom Menace:
Anakin: 9
Padme: 14
Obi-Wan: 25
Mace Windu: 45?
Qui-Gon: 57

Attack of The Clones:
Boba Fett: 10
Anakin: 19
Beru: 19?
Owen: 22?
Padme: 24
Obi-Wan: 35
Jango Fett: 41?
Bail Organa: 45?
Mace Windu: 54?
Count Dooku: 80 (at least)

Revenge of The Sith:
[Han: 12]
Boba Fett: 13
[Lando: 14]
Anakin: 22
Beru: 22?
Owen: 25?
Padme: 27
Obi-Wan: 38
Bail Organa: 48?
Mace Windu: 57?
Count Dooku: 83

A New Hope:
Luke: 18
Leia: 18
Han: 30
[Boba Fett: 31]
[Lando: 32]
Vader: 40
Beru: 40?
Owen: 43?
Obi-Wan: 56
[Bail Organa: 66?]

The Empire Strikes Back:
Luke: 21
Leia: 21
Han: 33
Boba Fett: 34
Lando: 35
Vader: 43

The Return of The Jedi:
Luke: 22
Leia: 22
Han: 34
Boba Fett: 35
Lando: 36
Vader: 44

Monday, May 02, 2005

Transformers Movie Coming in 2006

They're making a Transformers live-action movie. I'm trying to decide if this is a good thing or not. Isn't this twenty years late? Is there any possibility that this will not be shitty?

Having said that, I always liked the DinoBots. They had poor self-esteem, they were incredibly strong, and they were very, very stupid. Especially that T-Rex. Very thin-skinned. And you thought Anakin was bad.

Read more

Get this -- they're saying the Transformers have lived on Earth as far back as biblical times. What the hell? I must've missed the episode when Optimus Prime transformed into the Ark of the Covenant.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster

Some guy is doing a blog from Vader's POV:

The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster

I did my famous corpse of Mace Windu imitation, which made Fett snort wine through his nose. "This party's over," I quipped, and Fett howled.


Why didn't I think of that?? DAMMIT!