Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Concerning Star Wars

Calvin had this Star Wars questionnaire on his blog and it looked like fun, so here goes:

1. Who is your favorite character from the original trilogy?

I waffle between Han and Chewie, but usually decide on Chewie. I admire his loyalty, his strength, and his bravery (made so obvious by his occasional struggle with cowardice), but especially important to 10-year-old me was the way the human characters accepted him in spite of how different he was. In fact, one of the most endearing things about Han is that he’s chosen Chewie as his best friend.

2. How would you rank the original trilogy, in order from favorite to least favorite?

Star Wars
The Empire Strikes Back
Return of the Jedi

I used to say Empire was my favorite until I realized how forced the idea is that Vader is Luke’s dad. It’s obviously a mid-course correction. Technically, it’s a better movie than Star Wars, but it’s got nothing on the sense of wonder and excitement of that first movie.

Jedi goes to the bottom because of the Ewoks. They’re the Jar Jar of the original trilogy. Not that I hate them (or Jar Jar, for that matter), but they’re overly silly and cutesy. The jawas, in contrast, are cute, but there's some mystery about them that keeps them from being goofy.

3. What are two of your favorite action scenes from the original trilogy?

Tops is the TIE Fighters chasing the Falcon through the asteroid field in Empire. All that ducking and weaving is still thrilling to watch.

After that, I guess it’s the fight at the Sarlacc pit where you first realize how awesome Luke has become.

4. What do you consider the most emotional scene from the original trilogy?

Han’s going into the carbonite chamber. Especially Chewie’s being willing to sacrifice himself and everyone else to keep Han out of it. His having to restrain himself because Han asks him to watch over Leia is heart-breaking.

5. Do you have any favorite toys or collectibles based off the original trilogy?

The huge Millenium Falcon that fits the action figures and has all the lights and noises. I wanted that so badly as a kid and my parents couldn’t afford it. As soon as they rereleased it – when I was grown and could buy it myself – I went and got one. Childhood dreams: fulfilled.

6. Which character had the most unsatisfying death in the original trilogy?

This isn’t even an opinion. The objective, correct, factual answer is Boba Fett.

7. What’s your favorite ship or vehicle from the original trilogy?

The Falcon. Easily.

8. Who is your favorite character from the prequel trilogy?

Qui-Gon. That’s mostly love for Liam Neeson, but I also appreciate how much of an outsider he was to those stuffy Jedi. His defining moment for me is after the Council refuses to let him train Anakin, but he tells the boy to stay close and observe. It’s obvious to me that he’s still planning to train Anakin unofficially without the Council’s permission.

9. How would you rank the prequel trilogy, in order from favorite to least favorite?

Phantom Menace
Attack of the Clones
Revenge of the Sith

They’re all deeply flawed, but Phantom Menace feels least so. Even though events are set in motion in a confusing way and Lucas is still obviously making things up as he goes along, it’s got Qui-Gon and Darth Maul and a decent start to Anakin’s story. As the series progressed, it became more and more apparent that Anakin’s seduction to the Dark Side wasn’t going to be convincing, but in Menace that hasn’t become a problem yet.

It’s hard to decide which I dislike least between Clones and Sith. They both have crappy plots and character development highlighted by some very cool action scenes. Sith tries to move ahead of Clones by reminding me of the original trilogy at the end, but loses by making Padme suck so very, very badly as well as proving conclusively that Anakin’s descent into evil was totally unnatural.

10. What are two of your favorite action scenes from the prequel trilogy?

My favorite is easily the arena pit before the Jedi show up: Padme, Anakin, and Obi-Wan versus giant monsters. The Jedi's arrival is cool and all, but the battle gets too busy from there for me to enjoy properly.

Second has to be Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan vs. Darth Maul. I love watching Ray Park move.

11. What do you consider the most emotional scene from the prequel trilogy?

Obi-Wan’s disbelief at how far wrong things have gone in his relationship with Anakin. Ewan McGregor’s delivery of “You were the chosen one!” gets me every time. I hate that Anakin’s turning to the Dark Side is so weak, but once he gets there, the fallout between him and Obi-Wan is real.

12. Do you have any favorite toys or collectibles based off the prequel trilogy?

Nah. I was wise to Lucas’ game by then. We’ve got some Happy Meal knick-knacks, but nothing I especially like.

13. Which character had the most unsatisfying death in the prequel trilogy?

It’s tempting to say Darth Maul, but really it’s the fact that he died that’s disappointing, not how it happened. Mace Windu is another lame death, but my for-real pick is easily Padme, who died of...sadness.

14. What’s your favorite ship or vehicle from the prequel trilogy?

Padme’s shiny Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. I just wish we could've seen Rogue fly out of it once, carrying Wolverine into battle against Magneto and his acolytes.

15. If you could get a personalized Star Wars themed license plate for your car, what would it say?

Ew. I would never do that. But if I had to get one, I’d settle for SLAVE-1. [Calvin's SLAVE-3 idea is far more clever than mine. Wish I'd thought of that.]

16. Do you have a favorite Star Wars based video game?

I’m not much of a video gamer, so the last time I played a Star Wars video game was probably on an Atari system. I sort of remember trying to get my pixilated Luke Skywalker to jump past bomb-throwing jawas in order to get inside their sandcrawler. It wasn’t that fun.

Slightly more entertaining was the old arcade game that simulated an X-Wing as you tried to blow up the Death Star.

17. Have you read any of the Star Wars books (expanded universe), and if so, what are your favorites?

I used to be really into this until they started coming out with them faster than I could read them. I have a special fondness for Brian Daley’s Han Solo Adventures: Han Solo at Stars’ End, Han Solo’s Revenge, and Han Solo and the Lost Legacy. I also deeply appreciate AC Crispin’s Han Solo Trilogy (The Paradise Snare, The Hutt Gambit, and Rebel Dawn) for not only filling in more details of Han’s early life (how he became an outlaw, how he met Chewie, etc.), but for also including Daley’s books and even the weird, but entertaining Lando Calrissian Adventures by L Neil Smith as part of its backstory.

I also remember enjoying Timothy Zahn’s trilogy: Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command. Kevin J Anderson’s Jedi Academy Trilogy (Jedi Search, Dark Apprentice, and Champions of the Force) had its moments too, but by then I was starting to see diminishing returns on this whole Expanded Universe concept.

18. Are you a fan of the “Clone Wars” cartoon series?

I am, but not of their habit of starting a new season before the previous season’s been released on DVD. For that reason, we’re watching them on DVD only, but we really enjoyed Season One and I understand that Season Two is even better. As far as I’m concerned, Clone Wars rescued Star Wars from total lameness.

19. What (or who) do you hope to see in upcoming Star Wars TV series?

Totally new characters, during the time between the trilogies, preferably focusing on rogues and scoundrels. With occasional appearances and cameos by younger versions of familiar characters like Han and Chewie or Boba Fett.

20. If you were stranded on a desert island with one Star Wars character, who would you want it to be and why?

Chewie. Once I learned to understand Wookiee he’d be cool company and his engineering genius would come in very handy for survival and eventual escape. Artoo would also be an excellent choice for similar reasons.


Daniel said...

I love this saga, and it`s a little difficult to me to choice the best action sequence from ANY of the 6 films;however, i have always root for the battle sequences on planet Hoth in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK only followed by Luke rescuing his friends in RETURN OF THE JEDI.

snell said...

"...Lucas is still obviously making things up as he goes along..."

Wait, you mean this wasn't actual history??

Kal said...

The questions are great but that only leads to better answers and knowing the Star Wars Universe as I do, as we all do, it makes it very interesting to see how individuals respond - how parts influenced them the most or not at all.

Michael May said...

I know what you mean. It's fascinating to see what people latch onto.

Michael May said...

Wait, you mean this wasn't actual history??

Wiseacre. :)

Siskoid said...

I never post about Star Wars on my space, but I might on yours:

1. Lando, but probably more because of novels I read as a teen.

2. Empire, Jedi, Star Wars (I'm fine with Ewoks, but think the first film is unbearably slow)

3. Space battle in Jedi, while Luke and Vader talk.

4. I think you nailed it with the carbonite.

5. I only had a robot building set that included an R2-D2.

6. Boba Fett of course.

7. Yes, the Falcon it is. It's the only ship with actual character.

8. Qui-Gon is the only prequel character with any kind of gravitas.

9. Clones, Menace, Sith (and Clones is on top only because of the Obi-Wan subplot; Sith is terrible).

10. I think I'm with you on the pit. The problem with the prequels' action scenes is that they are overdone and overlong. They annoy me sooooo much, and an action scene shouldn't do that.

11. That scene in Spaced in which Simon Pegg finally stops defending the prequels and torches all his stuff.

12. The prequel DVDs, esp. The Phantom Menace. Why? Because of the excellent documentary that shows positively how Lucas has not idea what he's doing.

13. Lots of choices. I'll go for Mace.

14. Just the more rounded look of "primitive" shîps that evolved into those of the original trilogy.

15. I don't own a car, nor even a driver's license. But say I did and I was that tacky... JEDIDNT (it's even a pun in French)

16. I don't. Not even any love for the vectorial original arcade game of my youth.

17. I read some early ones. The three Han Solo and two Lando prequels and the odd Star Wars sequel that contradicts Empire. My favorites were the Han and Lando books (probably Lando the most).

18. Never watched it though I'm a Samurai Jack fan.

19. I likely won't watch it anyway.

20. If the idea is to get off of there, then a powerful Jedi like Yoda would come in handy. Pull my boat out of the reef already!

Michael May said...

Now I want to go watch those prequel documentaries. I skipped those before.

I thought about Yoda too for the deserted island for the same reason as you, but wasn't sure if we were supposed to get free or get along. If we're supposed to stay there and get along, I'd quickly get tired of the way he talks.


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