Fun with Franchises: Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), Part I — “I Love How This Movie Begins With Two Robots Stealing a Car”

Today we begin another entry in our Fun with Franchises series — we begin another FRANCHISE in our Fun with Franchise series — the Star Wars franchise.

In case you don’t know how this works — a while back, I decided to rank my favorite Disney movies and rank my favorite James Bond movies. And the Disney ones were mostly straight synopses and not too much fun, but when I got to Bond, I enlisted the help of my friend Colin (whose blog is TokyoRemix.com. Fuck yeah, promotion!), who knows everything about the Bond franchise that I do not, for those articles, and along the way, learned how to have fun with it. And, by the end of the Bond articles, we were having so much fun that I said, “Man, we have to do this again with other stuff.” Because I spent about a straight month and a half putting together those articles. That’s how much time and effort actually goes into something like that. And not once did it feel like work. It was so much fun that I knew, as long as we were doing it for comedy purposes and able to riff off of each other — we could do pretty much any film and it would work.

And very quickly, the first ones you come up with are the major franchises, because those are not only the most fun, but also the most universally known. Everyone’s gonna understand all the jokes we make (well… most of them. Some of them might be limited to three people) about them. So that’s what we’re doing. And if you’re gonna have fun with franchises, it wouldn’t be right if you didn’t franchise it. Also, just so we’re clear, this is all for parody. We’re just messing with them because we love them.

And that’s Fun with Franchises. Right now, we’re about to start the Star Wars franchise, and we’re beginning with the rightful first entry in this franchise, Star Wars (technically called Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope — fuck that prequel shit. We start from the source), Part I:

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We begin by appreciating, as we do, the studios involved with the making of the film, which, in this franchise’s case, are 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm:

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And then the most famous title card in movie history:

Star Wars - A long time ago in a galaxy far far away

Colin:

The “long time ago” part always got me as a kid. Cause I was like, “Wait, it’s a long time ago, but they’ve got lasers and spaceships and stuff? We gotta get on our shit!”

Any sentence that begins with “We gotta” should always have the word “Marty” before it.

“Marty, we need to get on our shit!”

“Marty, we gotta beat the terrorists!”

“Marty, we gotta get some more of this cocaine!”

“Marty, we gotta talk about Kevin!”

Colin:

But seriously, when I wrote that comment, I was thinking of the Back to the Future movies. People are being constantly duped on Facebook these days with that stupid post, “This is the day Marty McFly traveled to in the DeLorean when he came to the future!” No, it isn’t that day. That day was October 21, 2015. Actually, it all seems very easy to remember; the first movie is 30 years BEFORE 1985, the second movie is 30 years AFTER 1985. But the point is that here we are halfway through 2013 and I still haven’t seen shoes with fully automatic laces. 

And then BAM! John Williams.

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And then the most famous title scroll in history.

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Let’s break down these scrolls, and what they actually tell us about what’s going on. (I’m doing this now, because I know it’ll be worth it once the prequels come.)

“It is a period of Civil War.”

Simple enough.

“Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.”

Rebel spaceships — strong image to start with, gives us something to picture clearly. Also, this will be our first shot in the franchise.

Also — good versus evil. David versus Goliath. Hidden base, first victory, evil Empire. Striking imagery, sets shit up perfectly. Civil War, big evil empire, small guys trying to fight for their right to party.

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“During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.”

Couple things here.

First — I like the fact that it just says, “During the battle.” Because if this were the prequels, the title would have said, “After a long and difficult battle on the planet Darkknell, located in the Knel’char system of the Outer Rim Territories.” And you’d go, “Who gives a fuck?” What matters here is that they had a battle, and the Rebels scored a victory by stealing these plans.

Colin:

The difference there being that these first three are story based films. Sometimes the writing is bad, sure, but the fundamental building blocks of the plot are intact. The new trilogy is about the universe. They expect you to be a fan already; you’re not there for a good story, you’re there because it’s Star Wars, and you want more.

Also — I like that there’s an Ultimate Weapon. You gloss over it here, but it’s really nice to know that the Empire isn’t resting on its laurels. Sure, they’ve been building this for 20 years, but it’s nice to know that they’re still trying to get an ultimate weapon, even though they basically rule an entire galaxy.

But anyway — why is Death Star in all caps? I’m just curious, more than anything. Is it so people remember it? It’s like that stupid screenplay thing where people feel they need to put every CHARACTER NAME in all caps, EVERY TIME. Or movie titles. I hate movie titles being in all caps. It bugs the living shit out of me. I refuse to do it. But that’s just a question. I don’t really care one way or the other. Because —

I might be contrarian on this, but I really feel like Lucas did his story a disservice by telling us about (and even showing us) the Death Star beforehand. I think they should just have mentioned an Ultimate Weapon, talked about how it has the power to destroy planets, and left it open for us to figure out what the fuck that means. And then, all the scenes set ON the Death Star should have just been kept interior, and we should have not been shown anything about the outside. And then the first time we see the Death Star, it should be the, “That’s no moon” moment, because then everyone would be like, “Holy fuck,” because we’re all seeing at the same time (remember one of the golden rules of writing — it’s less dramatic (usually) to have the audience know more than the characters. If we found out the same time as the characters, it would be so much more effective. For example, “No, I am your father.”). And you can have them destroy Alderaan as the ship is about to be pulled in, so we SEE them see the Death Star in action. And you get the same exact scene, but with more punch. And you then get that moment where we realize, “So wait, all those scenes weren’t on a ship, but on this space station? Oh fuck.”

Just in case people thought this original trilogy was perfect — I just improved it during the opening title scroll.

Colin:

Wow, no — that is actually better.

It’s all yours.

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“Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy.”

It’s the phrase “sinister agents” that tells me why these scrolls work and why Lucas fucked up the prequel trilogy. It starts here. He’s using phrases that read like the back of a pulp novel. This scroll is supposed to get you to want to read the book. And in the prequels, he’s assuming you’ve already bought the book and want to know more. So he’s giving you more. In the prequels, he’d tell us exactly who the sinister agents are (“Sith apprentice Darth Maul,” or, I don’t know… “the greedy Trade Federation”), which is not what these are supposed to be about. The key is to use these buzz words that get us intrigued as to who these people are and what the story is about. If you’re watching a Hitchcock thriller, and you hear the guy is being pursued by “sinister agents,” you want to know what the fuck that’s about. But if Hitchcock told you who they were and what they wanted — where’s the fun in that? If the opening scrolls of the prequels had been written better, I bet I might actually have been a bit more lenient on the movies. (There’s no way to actually test this theory, so fuck it, let’s throw it out there.)

She races aboard her starship, eh?

Also — completely simple story, right? Big guy versus little guy. The big guy is building an ultimate weapon that can eliminate the little guy forever. The little guy manages to steal the plans (and we can only imagine how desperate and fortunate that battle was/turned out), and no they have to run to bring them home, because the fate of these plans will either restore the galaxy or doom it forever. Simple, and we’re interested.

THIS IS WHAT OPENING TITLES SHOULD DO, PEOPLE.

You have no idea how fucking terrible most movies are with opening titles. (And don’t even get me started with opening voiceover…that fucking shit.)

Colin:

Oh man. You guys want Mike to hate your movie? Do a shit ton of unnecessary voiceovers, especially at the beginning. And if you can find some way to incorporate a 3D conversion, that’d be great. Oh, and cast Chris Brown in the leading role.

You’re partially right. I wouldn’t care if Chris Brown were cast in a leading role. I completely separate the person from the actor. For example: Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson. I have no problem with them or their movies, and all the stuff they’ve done or said publicly does not for a second interfere with my enjoyment of the film. That is where I differ from everyone else. I will, however, hate a movie with unnecessary voiceover, movies that are trying to get by with stars or repeated jokes and shit, people screaming “woo hoo” — I have an entire list of movie pet peeves that I’ve been trying to post on this blog for three years now. I’ve never been able to sit down and parse them out enough to get them posted, since I do want to make it look good, as it’ll probably end up being one of those ever-expanding articles.

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And there go the titles.

Bye, titles!

How amazing is that? Titles floating away into space?

Colin:

I don’t care who you are, you have to admit that this opening title crawl is iconic. It also motivated me as a kid to read faster, cause the words get smaller and smaller.

Movies certainly don’t promote reading or intelligence like they used to.

Now’s a good time to get into the disclaimers about this franchise…

I have a couple of things to get out of the way before we start this one, as I’m sure Colin does as well. His will be different from mine, but there will be one overlap.

I’m just gonna lay all my cards out on the table right now — I’m not really a fan of this franchise. And before people go nuts about that, what I mean is — I’m not such a huge fan that I’ve seen these films dozens of times. I enjoy the original trilogy like most other people, but I was never really a big Star Wars guy. That’s not to say I don’t have my fair share of knowledge about these movies going on, or that I hate the movies. It’s just — I never watched them. I tried to tally my watches of all six of the movies, and I think I ended on… I must have watched this movie about… five times. Maybe. Total. I watched this original trilogy for the first time around… 1998/1999. We went to go visit a friend of the family, who grew up on the same street as my parents, and he had that new VHS box set that came out around that time. The one with the gold box and Vader’s helmet on it. And I was looking at it and I guess it must have come up that I never saw them, so he gave me the tapes to watch. And it was this whole exciting thing for me, since he lived over the bridge, and I was like, “How are we gonna get them back to him?” So I hurried up and watched them, and that was the first time I saw them.

And since then… I watched this movie, maybe three or four times more. At most. And at least one of those was for taking screenshots for my ever-changing desktop (which has about 25,000 screenshots rotating on it, FYI). And then, Empire I must have seen about four times at most. And Jedi is three at most. And Phantom Menace is maybe three or four times. I saw it in theaters, and at least once at home, and I’ll figure maybe one other time after that. And then Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith I only saw once apiece.

So at most I might have watched one of these movies five or six times. Total, I’ve watched the entire franchise less than I’ve watched The Fifth Element. So I’m not exactly well-versed in anything that goes on here. So I’m gonna let you know flat out that a lot of what I say in these articles is gonna be predicated on the fact that I’ve barely watched these films and am not as familiar with the specifics of the universe as I am with the Potter universe. So, in going through these films for these articles, I honestly had forgotten a lot of what happens. Not necessarily in the original trilogy, but in the prequels. (But even then.) So you’re gonna have to take a lot of what I say in that vein. If I ask a question that is so clearly answered in a later scene or film, that’s why. I barely remember most of them. It’s almost like I’m watching these films for the first time again. (Plus, when you watch the movies the way I do for these articles, it really doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen them before. I’m literally analyzing frame by frame some of the time.)

But yeah — know that. I have a working knowledge of shit (and have enough random knowledge to sound like I know more than I do), but I am by no means an expert on this franchise by any stretch. Colin, however… is. (At least, up to the point you can be, before you start, you know… editing Wookieepedia.) So I’m going to be the person who just rants and raves and says stuff completely off the top of my head, not really knowing what I’m talking about — the idiot, basically (it’s a role I’m quite familiar with and comfortable being in) — and Colin will be the person who explains what’s actually going on. Generally, of course.

Also, the other thing we have to mention, since it’s kind of there and it would be a douche move to not mention it — Colin will go into this a lot more than I will, but — the Plinkett reviews. They’re the Wizard People, Dear Reader of this franchise. They’re the go-to parody analysis of the Star Wars universe. They have to be mentioned. I’ve actually only seen those reviews once. I may have seen half of the Phantom Menace review twice, but it was like three years ago, and I barely remember it, save like, four or five points. So, let me say now — if anything I do say in those reviews that is the same as those — it’s not because I’m trying to copy them. I honestly don’t remember anything that was said in the later reviews, because I didn’t remember anything that happened in the films as I was watching them, so none of it really stuck. But, they must be mentioned, lest people think I’m blatantly stealing from them.

And now here’s Colin’s disclaimer:

Colin:

Okay, before this film even starts, I think I need to preface it with a note about our respective relationships with the franchise as a whole. As a little kid, I was a Star Wars nerd in the most basic sense of that term. (Mike Note: I get it.)  Before the new trilogy came out, I was already a fan of the series because I had it on VHS and since I grew up in a house without cable, movies were it. Mike doesn’t appear to be much of a fan, but he has the sort of familiarity with the franchise that any red-blooded American should. So if it seems like I’m super into it, that’s just because I had a television and video game-starved childhood and had to resort to watching the original Star Wars movies literally dozens of times each. I don’t think of them as masterpieces of cinema the way some people do, but I have a healthy respect for them and think of them as part of growing up; this is what I watched instead of Disney.

Mike and I have both also watched the Plinkett reviews of the new trilogy at redlettermedia.com, and they cover a lot of stuff in all of the films, including the original trilogy. He says a lot of good stuff and gets pretty analytical, so from time to time we (or maybe just me) will be forced to say things that turn up in those reviews. (Mike Note: I may be Forced into doing that. Depends on how weak-minded I am that day.) I won’t forego a comment on the grounds that he already said it – I’ll acknowledge that I’m clearly influenced by his reviews, but I’m going to not say something because he already did. Mike’s only watched them once, I’ve seen them a shit zillion times, particularly the first one.

This is good. Now I can find out where my stuff and his overlaps, since I seriously don’t remember upwards of 85% of those things.

Colin:

One last thing about the title crawl…

The crawl does say that the stolen data plans will save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy, but the plans cannot do that. In fact, even using the plans to carry out a successful attack on the Death Star later is only a setback for the Galactic Empire, and most certainly doesn’t restore freedom. But then, these title crawls have a way of making lofty statements or flat out lying. You just go with it.

Spoken like a true politician!

Huh, huh?

Anyone?

Voldemort knows what I’m talking about.

Colin:

Everyone loves a good pie-us to the face gag.

I was just thinking about his last name, Thicknesse, and thought that would make a great nickname to call someone. “Thickness.” Call someone Thickness once. I feel like it would be entertaining for most people.

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We then begin in space.

Colin:

Fucking really.

And pan down from the stars to:

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Their dick is most definitely bigger than yours.

Colin:

Look at this opening shot. The Rebels are being chased by a Star Destroyer. They have a tiny ship, and they’re being chased by an enormous ship that engulfs the frame. We get a pretty decent idea of who’s powerful and who sucks. The Rebel ship – Tantive IV – is an icon in Star Wars. It’s a CR90 Corvette made by the Corellian Engineering Corporation, which is located on Han Solo’s home world and also built the YT-1300 (one of which was the Millennium Falcon). We first (chronologically) see Tantive IV as Bail Organa’s personal ship at the end of Revenge of the Sith. Presumably, he passed it to his adopted daughter, Leia.

That’s funny. This is basically Leia’s first car.

Now I’m picturing Bail and Mazicia giving her the keys on her 18th birthday. “You go out and do Rebel things, honey!”

“Remember, no drunk driving around the galaxy! Don’t just go out joy-cruising with your friends, either. And remember, there’s always a police checkpoint outside the Karthakk system.”

I’m picturing her, taking some space boyfriend out, going to space drive-ins, losing her virginity in the cockpit (hopefully not like in Watchmen).

Which — do you think space has drive-in movies?

I wanna live in space if it has drive-in movies.

Oh, also — that thing you said about Tantive IV being Organa’s ship at the end of Revenge of the Sith —

This is one of those things I wasn’t even paying attention to during my rewatch of this. I think of the two trilogies as separate, but sort of related. In that, I watched the first three as the trilogy, and then I watched the prequels as their own set of films, but, “Oh hey, they reference shit from the first few.” Kind of like a shitty reboot like Hollywood likes to do nowadays. (I’m not really that far off.) So I never really connect the dots between the two of them in these first three film articles, which, presumably, is what Colin will be doing, since he sees it as a single universe, warts and all, and I say, “Fuck you, it’s one set, and then another set that’s not as good, but I have to accept because it’s the law.”

Kind of like a Three-Fifths Compromise.

(Two minutes. That’s how far we got before I crossed a line.)

Colin:

Yes, a line has been crossed. But also, yeah — Lucas went NUTS with all the stuff in the new trilogy that referenced the old one, so you’re gonna be noticing a lot of parallels. Some of the same people showing up, some of the same places, some of the same ships. Of course, anything like that was added by Lucas in the new trilogy, so he shoehorns it in and you have to go, “Oh, I know about that thing!”

But really, consider that Leia is in fact a princess. What if they did Roman Holiday, but with Star Wars? 

Also, my notes will be all over the place, because I basically only watched the prequel trilogy once, so the last two films I barely remember. So some of my notes will be based on as I’m watching them, and some will be afterward. Not that it matters. I don’t really give a fuck, you don’t really give a fuck. As long as it’s funny.

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I love the colors when things get shot in these movies. This one specifically.

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I like it better knowing they actually had real things they had to use to create these effects.

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Hey, look who it is.

You’d think maybe they’d turn on the “fasten seatbelt” sign when they started getting shot at.

I’m also unclear how that explosion in the previous screenshot did not do irreparable damage to this ship. Pretty sure a shot like that in the later movies (and especially the prequels) would destroy that entire ship.

But I guess since we need them alive, they magically survive.

Colin:

Yeah, it’s a little vague what kind of damage gets done to ships under laser fire. Cause they supposedly have shields, but they also seem to get hit, but then even when they do it doesn’t do crazy damage. Like, the Millennium Falcon getting hit seems to take damage, but not visibly. The lights go out and come back on at one point. But it’s never like, “Oh, they shot off the passenger’s side mirror!”

It’s all right. He wasn’t using it.

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I love that turn. “What the fuck is this shit?”

Colin:

Already, C-3PO has a friend. There’s another protocol droid just like him. From the opening moments of this franchise, I was of the impression that C-3PO’s origins are not important. It’s his personality and the way he gets caught up in stuff that make him interesting.

Personality? He’s a giant cunt. He’s whiny, he complains, and he’s useless. Honestly, the only reason I don’t hate him is because he’s C-3PO. I never liked him as a character.

That’s right, I said it.

Colin:

And that’s fine to say. I don’t like him either, but he’s interesting. He’s the closest to Jar Jar this trilogy has, but he’s so much better cause he doesn’t have as many lines and he does real stuff.

And he’s British. 3PO could be a straight black person, but if he has a British accent, it’s not offensive. Also — I don’t really have a problem with Jar Jar on a conceptual level. He could still have a black voice. Just don’t make him stupid and don’t make him step in poop. He doesn’t have to be bumbling. But we’ll get to that when we get to Phantom Menace.

Colin:

His character is baffling and provides nothing. At LEAST C-3PO does some shit and serves a purpose. We’ll see later how Jar Jar is a nuisance, attracts attention, annoys everyone, and then gets used by Palpatine to further his evil plan.

Him being a translator is barely a purpose that is served. They could honestly have 90% of the people they meet talk in a certain language and have them understand them and it wouldn’t be an issue. Like in Ocean’s Eleven, where they can all understand the Chinese guy. They play it for laughs there, but in this universe, it would be fine. And you can get a translater for the other 10%. Like, “Oh hey, Lando can speak it, or one of his men can.” Take out him being a translator, and 3PO actually serves no purpose in this franchise.

I also don’t think 3PO’s origins are important either. In fact, he doesn’t even really need to be in the prequel trilogy before the second movie. To be honest, neither does R2.

Colin:

No, it’s true. C-3PO really doesn’t have to be around at all in the prequel trilogy, and R2 doesn’t really either, to be honest. They could have been written right out of those scripts easily. R2 doesn’t do much of anything the whole trilogy, except be familiar. Think about it, everything he does could be done by someone else, and sometimes he’s purely ineffectual, like when he lets creepy centipedes crawl all over Padme’s room while scanning for threats. I like R2, but he could have been used much better.

I think the reason it was important for him to be there is cause he’s the only one who ever seems to know fucking everything. He remembers shit from way back and knows exactly what’s going down all the time. C-3PO’s just there to interpret. In the new trilogy, he takes over for Jar Jar as the comic relief on Geonosis, which…why? And why did we need his origin? Just leave it alone. 

(Oh, and the link up there is my doing. The only reason I mention it is because — wouldn’t that be a great theme song for tentacle rape?)

Colin:

Mike really doesn’t need more opportunities to be posting links to Randy Newman. Which reminds me, we’re going to be coming across some short people before long.

Just like the gypsy woman said.

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Goons look the same in every movie.

Colin:

I love how these soldiers are sorta space soldiers, but they’re totally 70s space soldiers.

Remember this, everyone, in about five minutes. Also remember that we watched these movies totally separately.

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“Did you hear that?”

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“Beep boop beep boop.”

(Right, though?)

(Also, I thought for a second about having, whenever R2 “talks” in these movies, just writing “Beep boop beep boop” under every single screenshot. I decided against it. Not because I don’t think it was funny — I feel like that would have been a thing that would have been funny the first few times, then stopped being funny, but then came back around to being funny again because of my complete and utter dedication with it. I just — I felt it would have taken away from my overall joke potential. Not that anybody cares. I just wanted you to know that I almost made that joke and I thought it would have been really funny.)

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“They shut down the main reactor. We’ll be destroyed for sure. This is madness.”

I love writing down what the first words of a franchise are.

(Technically “beep boop beep boop” is the second line of this franchise.)

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Also, two things:

First, I love how calm R2 is about the whole thing. He’s like, “Nah, son. This ain’t nothing.”

You know he’s seen some shit. Seen everything but robo-Jesus no way.

(Imagine The Passion of the Christ but with droids.)

(Imagine The Passion of the Christ but with Ewoks.)

Second – the use of “madness” is funny, given who’s playing Obi-Wan.

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I feel like these guys are just running in circles. With those stupid hats, too.

(Also, if you didn’t get and appreciate my “madness” comment up there, watch more movies.)

Colin:

Get to work on bridging that gap.

Kwite.

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Oh, finally. They found an end to the roundabout.

(I feel like if anyone were to make a parody space movie, they should just have generic space henchmen who do nothing but jog around in circles on the spaceship all day.)

(Also, how awesome would that be, to jog on a Star Destroyer? I’d love to run a couple miles with my headphones on around the halls of a spaceship. What kind of gym set up do you think they have on there? I’d love to just get up at like, 4 am and walk around an empty spaceship. That would be awesome.)

(Also, how easy is it to have sex all over this thing? And what is that? How many miles high is that? And what does simultaneous orgasm at light speed feel like?)

(I guess we should ask Chris Tucker.)

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“We’re doomed.”

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Slow head turn. This is awesome.

Even with robots, reaction shots are still the key to comedy.

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I’ve never noticed this before — is that an Exit sign above that door?

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“What the fuck is that?”

Maybe instead of looking around like morons, maybe get close to that door and get ready to headshot whoever comes through it.

Don’t wait for them, go up there and shoot them in the fucking face.

Good help is hard to find. (Which is almost a Tom Petty song.)

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I like to imagine that’s the ship’s vagina and it’s squatting down to pick up its phone off the floor.

This is why I never got into the really good schools.

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This shot is perfect. C-3PO is all scared and nervous and shit, and R2-D2 is looking straight up the hallway, ready to fuck up some bitches.

Colin:

That’s what R2 does. His schedule is, Wake up, Fuck Bitches, Lather, Rinse, Repeat, Power down.

Fuck bitches, get druggats.

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Sometimes I do this to my door. I just sit there and stare at it with a gun in case someone decides to break in. But only for like four or five hours a day.

Also, I’m glad that ship has air conditioning. That’s nice.

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I love the colors here. (Not here here, but just so far in the film.) Reds, whites, blues, some yellows, some greens – pink. It’s great how this is very sparsely colored yet very punctuated with stuff.

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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?

(Also, how did the blow that door?)

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It’s weird that they didn’t work in places to shoot from into these ships. You know those paintings with the fake eyeholes? There should be places for them to just shoot from behind the walls, just in case people decide to board.

Also, where exactly on the ship are we? Where are they boarding from? Where is this ship right now? How many other rooms did they have to go through to get here? Are they breaking down the front door, or is this the Shrine of the Silver Monkey?

Also — how fucking hard was it to put a three-piece monkey statue together? I mean, my god, Orange Iguanas….

Every movie should have temple guards that randomly show up and drag a character away.

I’m gonna do that. It’ll be my version of the “Exits, pursued by a bear.” I’m gonna have a temple guard come and take a character away in the middle of a movie and we’ll never see them again.

(If you see this in a movie before I do it, it was stolen from here, people.)

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You fucking idiots. YOU SAW IT WAS GOING TO BLOW! Why would you recoil now? You deserve to get shot. All of you.

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Stormtroopers in the hizzy!

I really like how they’re introduced. Out of the smoke, firing away. And not hitting anything. This is the essence of what Stormtroopers are.

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Smoke bomb!

(Also, look at that fucker falling down in the middle. How do you drop your gun and then jump backward after being shot?)

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I see this and think, “This must have been hilarious to watch them shoot.” Just dudes diving all over the floor and shit. Basically what you did when you were six. Making explosion noises and shit.

Did I say six? I also meant twenty-four.

I do like the pink taking up most of the frame, though. You don’t see that anymore.

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Also, how do blasters work? They emit a laser, and whenever people get hit, they’re dead instantly. I feel like these things are better than bullets in that, if they hit you in the shoulder or something, you’re okay, since it’s just gonna burn a hole right through you. Sure… the hole is bigger, and probably you can’t put anything back… all right, fair enough.

Colin:

No, you have a point. Cause it’s totally ambiguous as to what a blaster shot does to you. Aren’t lasers super thin? But then, maybe not. When it’s a battle between grunt soldiers like this, every hit is basically fatal. But when Luke gets hit later on, or Leia, it’s always in a place where you’re like, “Ah, I bet that smarts…but they’re fine.” Blasters are just a gray area.

That’s just par for the course. Your main character can get shot in the head and it won’t be fatal.

(They’ll just wake up in a train station.)

(And I’m actually referring to two franchises there.)

Colin:

I got Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; what was the other one?

Police Academy. Mission to Moscow.

Michael Winslow made all the train sounds. It was awesome.

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Colin:

The Stormtrooper armor doesn’t really seem to protect against laser fire, which is odd, because pretty much everyone in this universe has lasers. And even the Ewoks are able to knock them out with rocks to the head. This uniform is all for show.

I don’t know, because when you say, “If I had a rock…”, that is what the end goal is. I’m willing to go along with it if only for that.

Also, can I just say that I love shots where there’s just a beam of laser in the middle of the frame? This and lens flares are really the only time you can get away with something like this. And I love that. Just random streaks of color on the lens.

Also, the red, blue and yellow lights — this is pretty great.

And the fact that it looks like they’re standing in front of a giant film strip.

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How do you get shot and end up in that position?

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“Pew pew pew, pshsshhssh blrughghahghghg AHHHH!”

Just, trying to make the sounds of them play fighting.

(Actually, that sounds like the noise the radiator makes in Elf.)

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Aren’t overexaggerated deaths funny?

Colin:

(Abraham Lincoln):         =|:-(>

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♫ “We’re gonna hand them a surprise tonight / We’re gonna cut them down to size tonight.” ♫

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The Stormtroopers win.

(You know why? Because they were in fucking formation! You assholes were scared shitless.)

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I love when shots are so perfectly choreographed. It always looks terrible. They literally stopped and turned back around to fire once 3PO and R2 entered the hallway. Despite being in a dead sprint seconds earlier.

Colin:

Those Rebels all knew exactly the right time to turn and shoot back. It’s like they were…directed.

Take a shot, everyone.

(This is the new drinking game. Whenever we say the same thing, independent of one another, you take a drink. When it’s something totally minor that we wouldn’t necessarily both call out, you take a shot. This requires a shot.)

Also, can we mention how they have cargo pants in space?

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The best part of the Stormtrooper uniform is the fact that they bend at the knee.

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These reaction shots are amazing.

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Sure do that. That’ll end well. Who looks at a hallway of people on either side shooting down it and goes, “You know… I think I can get to the other side?”

FUCK THAT CHICKEN!

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At least do a fucking barrel roll or something.

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This is why people say Stormtroopers can’t hit anything. THEY WERE BLOCKING THE ENTIRE HALLWAY FOR FIVE WHOLE SECONDS. And nobody hit anything. Jesus.

Do you know how long it takes 3PO to take ten steps?

But who cares, because oh shit – here he comes…

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I love this guy trying to help up his friend.

“Oh Bubba, no…”

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Darkness.

Is this one of the few cases racism actually worked out? I mean, sure, the character is white and the guy in the suit is white, but everyone remembers James Earl Jones as Vader, and he ain’t have to do shit but read lines. I think that’s a win/win, all things considered. I think people are taking the racism thing from the wrong angle.

Also, this series of shots is awesome:

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“Hmm…”

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“Mmmhmm…”

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“All right, then.”

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Just, surveys the bodies, then – moving on.

Colin:

The first time we see Darth Vader, he says nothing. Perfect. But he can see that they have been inconvenienced.

What’s funny is that when he was younger, he actually did have sex with a rose bearer.

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Well hello, hand.

Or should I say, Aloha, Mr. Hand.

Colin:

Amazing technology on everything, but you still have to use a floppy disk to program the message into R2. Isn’t it funny how old sci-fi is still so confined by what they knew to be possible at that time? They’ve gotten better about that recently. Anytime in a sci-fi movie where you have to stop and be like, “No WAY they’d ever have the technology to do that!” – THAT’S the right amount of technology.

You think they knew how funny the term “floppy disk” was when they came up with it? That feels like one of those things that was invented as a joke that caught on, so now it’s just commonplace and they have to pretend like it was something legitimate. Like Pearl Jam. You know they named themselves after semen, right? And we just say the name because it’s just the name of the band. We don’t even think of the other connotation anymore.

Also, the sad thing about special effects now is that they have technology for everything, so it always looks too good to be true. I feel like it’s not necessarily what the technology is, but how it’s presented. Like, in the prequels, I don’t buy almost anything they show us. But something like Looper — I buy all that shit. Or even Prometheus — I bought the technology they used there. The key is not making it look like you’re playing in a digitally created world and are making digital technology that doesn’t exist and plausibly making it exist in the real world. That’s why I always love 70s special effects (and even earlier), because they’re constrained to physical props and sets. So it’s all gonna look like this, because they physically couldn’t build all this stuff on computers. And even though it’s kind of outdated, the fact that it’s real gives it personality.

Colin:

Yeah, I can definitely appreciate that. I think what I mean is just simple stuff like storage devices. For instance, there’s that great silent-era slapstick scene in Sleeper where he’s messing with the magnetic tape on the wall and getting all tangled up. It’s 2173, and all the computers in this futuristic place work like a giant 8-track. I get that it’s funnier and that it works in that context, but it’s amusing to me when a movie can be dated so easily by the extent of their imagination about what future technology will be like.

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“Motherfucker, where are you?”

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Is he high? He looks high.

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“DAYUMMM!!!!”

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What up, Carrie Fisher?

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I love this shot. Because that’s the moment a lot of balls dropped.

Colin:

Can we notice this color? This looks so much better than the shitty copy I have.

I guess Roxanne did have to put on the red light.

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I see green!

(For some reason I heard myself say that like Louis Armstrong.)

(To be fair, I hear myself say most things like Louis Armstrong.)

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“I must go, the cocaine needs me.”

Colin:

John Belushi was still alive in 1977, cocaine didn’t need SHIT.

I don’t know… John Belushi did tell Carrie Fisher once that she needed to take it easy with the cocaine…

Colin:

Yeah, well she laid off it and now she looks like she ate Kirstie Alley’s drowned corpse.

She’s gonna be in Episode VII.

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He’s just walking with his dick swinging. This is great.

This is the moment a lot of balls dropped.

Also, I love the framing and lighting of this shot.

Remember when they did this in the prequels?

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3PO is kind of like certain women after sex. Soon as it’s over, harping about shit.

(Now’s a good time to remind you all that I once did a Pictorial Analysis of the Lion King sex scene that was just as funny as these articles, and basically an earlier version of them.)

(Fuck yeah, promotion!)

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ANOTHER HEAD TURN! YES!

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“What are we going to do? We’ll be sent to the spice mines of Kessel!”

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And R2 just walks away! This is awesome!

Colin:

Already, we’re hearing about the spice mines of Kessel. And then later we hear about the Kessel Run. You could miss these – the point is that they’re there, so if you want to investigate further, you can. If not, they act as harmless bits of dialogue that don’t need explanation and set tone. Here, it just sounds foreboding, so you know that whatever it is, C-3PO doesn’t want to end up there.

I also want to point out — I was going to work this in as a throwaway joke later, but I felt it was more important to point out how much of a badass I am and how uneven my knowledge truly is — not twelve hours before I put these exact words into this article, I made a joke in an email to Colin about me getting back to work on these where I said, “Back to the salt mines… of Kessel.” Which is really only a joke he would get, since it’s both a Star Wars reference and a Bond reference. But, what’s funny about it (besides the joke itself) is that I remembered this throwaway line about the spice mines of Kessel, and yet, in the next article, I’m literally going to forget the NAME OF AN ENTIRE RACE OF PEOPLE.

So that’s my knowledge of this franchise in a nutshell.

Colin:

People often forget about Mike’s entire race of people (Puerto Ricans), so it all sort of evens out. And ladies and gentlemen, this is the only blog where you’ll get that kind of crossover referencing. Bond-Star Wars isn’t too obscure, but remember when we made a crossover reference to Star Wars and Mary Poppins? Yeah! Admiral Ackboom!

I’m such a huge fan of “Chim-chim-cher-UNLIMITED POWER!!!” And crazy crossover references to stuff.

(Honestly, everyone out there reading these articles — the jokes and references we make in them… if you ever want to figure out our senses of humor and what will make us laugh… this is where you can find out.)

I also love being racially ambiguous.

It’s great that I am somehow both a Jet and a Shark.

Colin:

Don’t even joke about that. If anyone ever figures out how to crossbreed a jet with a shark, we’re all DEAD, D’YOU HEAR?!

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Couple things —

One, what exactly is this shot? She stands there, she pulls down her hoodie. Is she waiting for the po-po to go? What’s that about? Did Lucas just want to show us the buns?

Also, I thought she just walked away. Did she literally walk away and hide in the side over there until R2 left? Did she just not want to see 3PO? (Pun ridiculously intended.)

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I love how all these guys have 70s staches.

(Take that shot now.)

I also love that they have Empire droids.

The one in front looks like a bandit from the 30s, and the one in back looks like a novelty pencil.

Who thought they’d have a droid with an eye patch?

ARRGH-2-D2.

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“Motherfucker, what do you want? Can’t you see I’m choking this guy?”

“The Death Star plans are not in the main computer.”

(Why do you think they’d be there? If you stole an important file from someone, would you immediately upload it onto your system or would you keep a flash drive handy? Or why wouldn’t you do both, so they think they found them when they do, inevitably, catch you?)

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“Man, I know you people have a DVD copy of Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars on board this ship. Where is it?”

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“See, what had happened was…”

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“I don’t know anything about that movie. We only have Balto on this ship.”

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Colin:

Game….blouses….?

This is a great shot. I also love that we have a nice close up of a Stormtrooper’s coin purse in it as well.

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“Do you know who I am? You must not know who I am.”

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“EUUAAHHHHH!

“If I don’t find out what happens with the toasters, I will literally cut every single one of your balls off and make you stand there while I throw them at your mouths like basketballs.”

(Kobe!)

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“Man, do you see anything?”

“Just Air Bud.”

Golden Receiver?”

“Nah, Seventh Inning Fetch.”

“We’re so fucked.”

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What is this, Suspiria? (Same year!)

Also, are those security cameras or gun ports? I will be curious as to why they’re there whichever the answer is.

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These guys sure do know how to tear this ship apart. They look like they’re looking for a fucking contact lens.

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I like how their blasters have a stun function in the event that a rape is possible.

Colin:

The date-rape gun. Stormtrooper, standard issue equipment.

Oh, this was separate. Pretty sure that’s a shot you all have to do.

(Also, this is total Suspiria.)

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“Damn, she got a FAT ASS.”

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She do got a fat ass, though.

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And R2 and 3PO sneak on board an escape pod, all the while arguing like a married couple.

R2 says he’s got some secret plans and shit and he’s gotta break out.

So basically right now he’s Frodo.

(And 3PO is Sam! Ha!)

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I love how this movie begins with two robots stealing a car, essentially.

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I also love the cut of them being like, “Should we shoot it? It broke free, we should probably shoot it.” “Nah, there aren’t any human life forms on it. It’s cool. Prolly just a dud or something. Let’s just watch it go by.”

First, I like the idea that they have some kind of thing on hand that just automatically tells them whether or not there are humans on board a ship and that they actually use it. Whatever happened to shooting first and asking questions later?

Second, I love that they included this, because it’s the best example of completely unnecessary justification. You remember all the shit we gave Rowling back during the Harry Potter articles? That’s because she’d introduce shit and it would create logic problems when you thought about it and we’d be like, “But wait a minute, how exactly does that work?” Here, we have a situation where Lucas was writing this and was like, “Wait a minute… people are gonna question how these two got away. I should write something in.” Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure if they just showed us them peacing and not this follow up, I wouldn’t have said a thing. Wouldn’t have even thought about, “Hey, wait a minute, isn’t someone watching this thing float away?” (Well, I might have. Since that’s what we do here. And because I’m an asshole.) I mean, it’s logical to think that, but I’d have figured, “Well, Vader is the main guy here, and he’s preoccupied, and everyone’s searching the little ship, so I buy that they can just sneak away like that. It’s a giant fucking spaceship. I’m sure it has a blind spot or two.”

Plus this also fits that action movie/western mold of, “Low level guys who exist for shit like this joking, like, ‘Nah, probably not anything important,’ and it ends up being a huge deal.” (Or comic relief. I’m thinking of the cop who refuses to chase Bruce Willis until he’s had his McDonald’s in The Fifth Element. We’re gonna come back to that movie a lot during this franchise.) But it’s just funny to me the way he wrote it. It’s so generically written that it just reeks of bad Lucas writing. Only a hack writer would come up with a scene like this and word it just the way he worded it. (And yes, I’m using the word hack the way in which it was intended to be used.)

Colin:

Why would you hold your fire? It’s not authorized, probably better to just zap that shit. Cause maybe there are some droids in it. Or maybe print-outs of the plans? Seems like you could shoot and it’d be okay, or you could not shoot and risk losing everything. I hope that guy was on the Death Star later when it blows the fuck up.

Maybe he called in sick that day, like Paulie.

(Also, to people who got that reference, isn’t it funny that people in the mob can call in sick?)

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This is a great shot. Makes me pine for the days of models and actual special effects.

Hey, remember when it used to be called “special effects” and not “visual effects”? Yeah…

Tells you a lot, doesn’t it?

Colin:

When you see how the escape pod is twirling around and stuff, it doesn’t really make sense that they’d be able to see the Star Destroyer through one window like that. As a kid, it always looked like that was the hole to the engine nozzle, but that didn’t make sense either. Something that always bothered me.

When I was a kid, I was thinking about sticking my dick into those squeezable water toy things.

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That atmosphere looks like a painting of a woman with her tit hanging out.

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You know what’s funny? This is their first time on this ship. How do they know where to take her? Did they make her tell them? Or do all ships have the same basic layout?

Colin:

It’s pretty small, especially compared to their ships. This is like invading a VW Beetle for these guys. They’re not asking where the front seat is.

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He has a Nintendo controller on his back.

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“You motherfucker!”

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“You have some nerve showing up on this ship like this. I got bills pilin’ up, crying kids to feed, and you’re off down at the titty bar every night.”

Oh, wait… I forget that’s her father.

…meh.

Colin:

I’d be genuinely worried about pissing off Carrie Fisher ever. Remember The Blues Brothers?

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“Bitch, I like lookin’ at titties. Is that so wrong?”

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“Women… am I right?”

(On a side note, this is a really sinister shot, making him look right into the camera like this. Because you can play it off like he’s looking at her, just over shoulder, like the shot normally would be, but with the mask, he’s totally looking right the fuck at you. And it’s spooky. Actually a great job by Lucas.)

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I want you all to freeze frame this image in your head and remember it when she comes back in Episode VII.

Oh, but yeah, she says she’s a member of the Imperial Senate (just like Mom) on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan.

(That’s what I’m gonna say when my girl catches me coming back from the titty bar. “I was on a diplomatic mission!”)

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“Now look here, bitch – I’ve had enough of this bullshit that I’m prepared to take. You and I both know (before we blasted through the goddamn door), that you was out hookin’.”

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“I ain’t got time for you no more. Get this bitch out my sight!”

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“Man, you gotta control your daughter. We can’t have this shit ending up in the papers.”

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I love this. He’s literally just looking at us for the whole movie.

(This is actually game… blouses.)

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Jesus. Look at this fucking guy. (Is he the asshole that let the pod go?)

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“So what are you… gender-wise?”

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“Just between us. You can tell me.”

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Now that’s gotta be one of the most famous shots in all of cinema.

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AND IT’S A ZOOM!

Holy shit, I miss the zoom.

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3PO really looks straight out of Metropolis here.

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“What a desolate place this is.”

Also, just gonna get it out of the way – I’d have killed this motherfucker weeks ago if I were R2.

Colin:

C-3PO can be forgiven because he had his memory wiped. That’s why he has no idea how much of a thug R2-D2 is.

That’s no excuse. He was a prick then and he’s a prick now. He should have had his personality wiped. Even if he did like stool pigeons know who R2 was, he’d still be an asshole.

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“The trick, dear boy, is not minding.”

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For some reason I really like close-ups of R2.

Colin:

These two are great together. I love imagining what R2’s saying and how he’s phrasing it.

It’s funny — you see great, I see, “Annoying comic relief.” Their scenes really start to detract from the overall films after a certain point.

Colin:

But I think that’s R2’s thing, too. He really is a thug, and just gets stuck with C-3PO cause they’re the same. You know, race, or whatever. If C-3PO would shut the fuck up more and stay out of things, he’d be cooler. But R2’s a boss and we need C-3PO to do some important shit later.

See, I can’t buy R2 as a boss because of 3PO. In all those buddy movies… the idiot holds the other guy back. Unless they redeem themselves in some way. Which 3PO never does. So it’s just R2 and this asshole.

(Also, I want to start using that for my marginally racist comments. Just end it with, “You know, their race, or whatever.”)

I also have other reasons for not being able to buy R2 as a boss (and I’ll try to remember them as we go along), because he feels more like a manufactured badass to me than an actual badass. He seems like someone they want you to see as a badass, and so you do. I’m just not fully there. He has his moments, but I just don’t see him as a badass the way he’s made out to be one.

(By the way, it’s my goal to take as big a shit on this franchise as I can, because I really think people start to hold this shit as religion, and I really don’t think it’s that good. I mean, I like it, and I’m totally exaggerating for effect, but these are actually my opinions, and I think people are way too precious about this entire franchise.)

Colin:

It’s old, they grew up with it. People have a general respect for them, but I don’t think many people call them their favorite movies. I’d also say that there’s more of a case to be made for these older films than a lot of the franchises today. I think a lot of people are like me — fond of these movies, but also unwilling to put them anywhere near a list of “favorite movies.” I was going to say near a top ten list, but these don’t even make my top 50. Probably not even my top 100. But I still like them a lot. It’s like how if you have shit to say about The Land Before Time, we gonna throw down.

The problem with it, as it is with almost everything — it’s not people as people — it’s people in a group. The American public is fucking stupid. The 50 people I’m talking to are probably not. But when the sample size grows, intelligence shrinks and complexity disappears. The bigger the group, the dumber they are, and the worse their opinions get. And that’s what it is with this franchise. If I surveyed 50 people, Family Feud style, I’m sure I’d get different answers than if everyone were surveyed. See IMDB, and the fact that the original three movies are all higher rated than (and I’ll only go by the top 100 as it stands right now): Chinatown, Singin’ in the Rain, The Sting, The Apartment, Raging Bull, and… I’m so glad this worked out… and The Bridge on the River Kwai. Now, I never listen to anything IMDB says that isn’t trivia-based (and even then, trivia is to be treated as trivia and not fact), but that’s a very telling statistic, is it not? That’s what I feel I need to go against. Because that’s where these movies ultimately sit in society. I’m not railing against people’s individual opinions of them, I’m railing against how easy it is for them to rate them so highly without any kind of critical thought.

I feel like this franchise, more than most, has so many built-in excuses attached. And I want to cut through all that bullshit, so we can actually come to the realization of, “The first movie is more novelty than anything. The whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. The second movie is really good, and it’s probably by accident, because the director thinks it’s the worst one, which should speak volumes about things. And the third one is great for 30 minutes, and then becomes an unholy fucking mess. And there are only like fifteen salvageable minutes in the last 2/3 of that movie.” But so often to people just give the entire trilogy a pass and are willing to make excuses for it. And that’s not okay to me.

Try to talk negatively about Star Wars to anybody. See how many times you get, “Yeah, but…”

That’s my point.

Colin:

I’ll never agree with those people. The people who are saying that these movies are somehow the greatest. Then again, you have to keep in mind that most people have seen like…eight movies. That’s the sad part. So it becomes about imagination, universe, novelty, and some basic excitement — which these movies have. You’re a film person, which is like being a wine sommelier — of course you’re going to have a problem with morons drinking Franzia. But the unfortunate reality is that the average film consumer’s tastes and motivations are exactly the same as a 19 year old party goer. They have neither the knowledge nor the inclination to even discern between Merlot and Pinot noir. They just…consume.

This is how I feel about people’s shitty cars. Nobody HAS to drive a Chevy Aveo or a Kia Rio or a Hyundai Elantra. Those people CHOSE a car like that out of dozens of potential choices in the price range and HUNDREDS of choices of used cars. I tend to think that anyone driving something like that should receive electroshock therapy, but people just care about different things. I tell people with shitty cars that regardless of fuel economy, interior trim, trunk space, insurance fees and maintenance costs, I could have found them something better looking, more fun to drive and generally cooler than what they have. And the inevitable answer? “Yeah, but…”

I think that’s my ultimate issue with this. This is a $20 bottle of wine that has, through posterity, raised its value to a $50 bottle of wine, that people treat like it’s a $100 bottle of wine. And, to be fair, I do enjoy the first two movies like they’re… I don’t know… $60 bottles of wine. I just don’t like how easily people treat them as something better than they actually are.

And I bet I would have been one of those people had I not watched them closely for these articles.

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3PO looks like he took two in the chest.

What is that? Is that sweat? Did Joel Schumacher get his hands on the designs?

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Maybe it’s the film geek in me, but watching this shot, all I could think was, “Man, it must have been a bitch to get R2 to move on all that sand.” You can even see the track they laid down for him to move across when you watch it. They did their best to hide it, but it’s there. (That’s not a bad thing, either.)

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Anyway, 3PO gets pissed because he thinks R2 is going the wrong way.

Again, he’s a complete idiot. R2 literally programmed an escape pod to go to this place, and he knows exactly where he’s going. Why the fuck would you doubt him?

(Also, he totally has an old man ass. The women reading this know what I’m talking about.)

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Wow. This looks like a painting. Gotta hand it to Lucas. Good job on this.

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There he goes.

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Oh my god, a wipe! This is incredible!

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No plants, no birds, no rocks, no things.

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I’m sure that’s normal.

Colin:

Is that a basilisk skeleton?

It looks like someone ripped a dinosaur’s head and spine out and just laid it out on the sand.

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Of course flag down the first thing you see.

Colin:

You really have to wonder…since there are countless planets out there and spaceships that will take you anywhere in a jiffy, why stay on this awful rock?

This is what I say about New Jersey.

Colin:

What was I talking about?

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Wipes are amazing.

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This remains one of the creepiest shots in all of cinema.

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“I’m the droid who broke the bank at Monte Carlo…”

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Also a creepy shot.

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Colin:

This is the white guy strolling through a black neighborhood after dark. Just playing it cool.

I love the broken ground. This is either a great location or great production design. Or both. Either way — this is what the prequels are missing. You know… real locations.

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These shots of R2 look amazing.

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This series of shots is amazing.

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These things are like Zubats.

Colin:

Jawas are funny little creatures, but as a small child, I always sort of equated them with the lepers from Ben-Hur. Cause look at them and tell me that’s not what they are.

They have red eyes, though. Very similar to the Jew.

(I wrote that in an Iron Sheik voice.)

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WEST SIDE, MOTHERFUCKER!

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His gun shoots purple!

Prince Mist.

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“I never saw Venice!”

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This is something that went away after the 80s… people being covered in lightning like this.

When’s the last time you saw it after something like Super Mario Bros.?

(I’d also like to point out that the chick in Super Mario Bros. who gets electrocuted is Fiona Shaw, who played Petunia Dursley. So, one degree of separation there.)

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Just like Don Corleone.

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♫ “Come out, come out, wherever you are…” ♫

Let the joyous news be spread, that wicked old droid at last is dead.

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Honor him.

Colin:

It’s sad that I didn’t even have to click this. I even read the words in the Connie Nielsen voice in my head.

It’s not sad. It’s expected. The only reason I put the link is because I felt like people might not immediately know what I was talking about.

Plus the song is pretty great.

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This looks like something that wouldn’t exist past the 80s in movies.

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Jesus, everyone be looking at the camera in this movie.

Colin:

This insect-headed droid is creepy as hell. Who would make one of those?

Ivan Ooze?

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Just tentacles everywhere in this place.

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“Oh, fuck man, how much did I DRINK last night?”

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“Oh… my head…”

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Number Johnny Five!

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What is this, Sid’s room?

Colin:

One droid is clearly a garbage can with a guy inside it. What function would it serve?

Oscar the Grouch:

:(

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Of course you got captured too.

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This is actually a badass transport. It’s like Wall-E’s thing. Perfect for bad conditions.

Colin:

Nice tank they got there. And don’t forget, brown was an “in” color back in the 70s. For cars, not people.

“I need a make on an Ewok pimpmobile!”

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Sure you brought enough guys?

(Also, fuck you with the added shit, Lucas.)

Colin:

Looks like you’re just arriving, since the shuttle’s taking off. But you’re already covered in shit. And what’s with the planetary localization, riding the lizard thing? Think the Galactic Empire can afford a little speeder or two? I guess these are Sandtroopers, who were already on Tatooine. But this begs the question – why did Vader need to send the detachment down? Maybe Sandtroopers are low-quality rejects and he wants this operation being run by higher-quality troops from the Devastator.

“The Devastator” sounds like what you’d call a lightsaber shaped dildo.

(I already know those exist. I don’t even have to look, Euphoria.)

Also, I feel like they sent a ship down to be like, “Look, here’s what happened, you people look.” Usually when a ship comes down, it’s a C.O. coming to take command of things.

Like Special Agents Johnson and Johnson. (No relation.)

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So what exactly is the guy with the binoculars doing all day? Droid watching?

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Hooray, computers!

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“Someone was on this pod… and they’re still alive.”

(He looks like he’s humping it.)

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“Lieutenant Dan, I got you some ice cream!”

What a great moment. I want all my crime scenes to be like this. The hard-boiled detective saying something and then some other fuck just rising up into the frame from below to say something stupid.

Colin:

That’s a pretty good-sized washer. Who lost that, and what’d it go to? If something that big fell off of me while I was walking, I’d probably notice.

How the fuck did they find it? There’s a lot of sand movement in deserts. You’re telling me that by the time they figured out the plans weren’t on the ship, and that an escape pod got sent out, and that it landed on Tattooine, and they actually got to Tattooine, the washer that fell off (whatever it fell off… R2’s cock ring) when they landed there wasn’t buried by sand? The only way you’d find that is either by searching the pod or following the track of sand. (Which doesn’t appear to be there anymore.)

Which — there’s a fucking escape pod here, and TRACKS FROM DROIDS. What kind of detective does it take to figure out what’s going on?

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Colin:

That’s a huge vehicle, and you know there’s a little Jawa dude up there driving it. Got his license from Tatooine Tractor Trailer Training School (TTTTS).

Personally I’d rather it be the Tatooine International Tractor Trailor Training and Imperial Etiquette School.

Amirite, guys?!

(Cause… TITTTIES.)

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This is great, they just pick up droids and sell them to people. Straight gypsy shit. Going to people’s houses, (Stephen) hawking shit.

Colin:

Slave auction!

Is there any other kind?

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Colin:

We get to see a lot of random droids kicking around. That one looks like a sex torture device. And that one looks like a Kabuto.

The Jawas really do look like lepers here.

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And there’s Luke Skywalker.

Colin:

Oh, yes, film. We hear Luke’s name twice and then a theme starts to play. And whether you noticed or not, that theme is now his. You can say what you will about these movies, but the music is always good. John Williams knows what the hell he’s doing. You want some leitmotif? Boom.

You’re tearing me apart, leitmotif!

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Do people really take that pose in life?

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That’s a pretty awesome house design. Could I do that? Could I make a house like that? I probably could. Dig out some ground and built inside. It’s kind of like Bilbo’s house. I like shit that’s built inside earth, rather than on top of it.

(This is why I need to get rich. I’d make a great rich person. I wouldn’t waste it on cars and shit. I’d build me a badass house, and just live in it until I’m dead. That’s all I need.)

Aunt Beru tells Luke to remind Uncle Owen some shit. It doesn’t matter. It’s meaningless dialogue. It’s just establishing a relationship.

Colin:

They need a translator that speaks Bocce. It’s an interplanetary language that was used primarily by pilots. But since pretty much everyone understands Basic, I don’t see why it’s so important. It’s like Esperanto. You wanna be like, “Hey Esperantists, you know about English right?”

You know what makes this scene better than modern films? Modern films would give her a close-up here, and probably give her that lingering glance of, “Oh, that boy…” You know they would. The wide shot is a lost art, and it’s fucking sickening that nobody uses compositions anymore.

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That’s great. The front door is upstairs and the rest of the house is in that pit thing.

It’s weird the type of shit I’m most interested in with this franchise.

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This is totally a slave auction.

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“I suppose you’re programmed for etiquette and protocol.”

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“Why, yessuh, I’s a protocol droid, suh.”

(Too much?)

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I know.

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“I don’t need no protocol droids. I need a droid who understands the binary language of moist pussy.”

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“Of course, sir. It’s like a second language to me.”

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“Luke, take these two and clean them up.”

“But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters.”

He says. Like a whiny little bitch.

Colin:

I never understood this power converter thing. Even online sources don’t really enlighten us as to what they do beyond acting like an electrical transformer. Why would going to Toshe Station to get some of those constitute wasting time with one’s friends? Sounds like something you’d need on a farm full of heavy machinery. From the tone of the scene, it sounds more like something you’d use to give yourself powers temporarily or whatever. But that is not the case.

Unlimited power converters?

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“What the fuck is this thing?”

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And he buys the red one.

Colin:

What purpose will this droid serve? Seriously. They seem useless.

Most droids are pretty useless. They seem to be able to hack into computers, fix machines (I guess that’s what it is?) and transmit secret messages.

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What do you think that thing’s backstory is?

He must have been a leftover from here.

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Aww… it’s sad.

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You know when they say it’s creepy because you can see a chick’s ribs sticking out of her chest?

Yeah.

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That’s what happens when you buy Korean.

Colin:

Man, that thing blew a fuse at just the right moment, huh? Speaking of buying Korean, I may or may not have pissed on parked cars at 3am in Seoul after getting HAMMERED on makgeolli and soju. I say ‘may or may not’ but I’m pretty up front with my feelings on Korean cars.

If I had a nickel for every time a woman said that…

(I wouldn’t.)

(Also, is it weird that I’ve drunkenly peed on police cars in three different states?)

Colin:

Like, solid, liquid and gas?

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Oh, I see they’re dealing other shit on the side, too.

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“This R2 unit has a bad motivator.”

Guess he didn’t have this guy.

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Perfect pose. “Hey, how was I supposed to know?”

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“Well that one’s not so bad, I guess.”

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“I think you’ll be really pleased with that one, sir. I’ve worked with him before.”

Which is funny, since – he totally will be. (Pleased with him. And probably by him.) It’s weird how 3PO is the one responsible for this. Also that he was built by dude’s father. (Which – why did he run, then, when on the ship? Don’t you think Vader would have seen him and been like, “Are you still alive?” and given him a pass, for old time’s sake?)

Colin:

Actually, yes. That happened once. C3PO’s had his memory wiped so many times he wouldn’t remember who made him, and of course he doesn’t know that Anakin became Darth Vader or anything, so he wouldn’t recognize him anyway. But there was one time in extended universe where Vader runs into them, recognizes C3PO and instead of destroying him, he sends him to work somewhere for a year. But all being said and done, the fact that Anakin built C3PO is both confounding and idiotic.

You say extended universe as if that’s a thing.

To me, extended universe exists to explain history and relationships, like, “Hannah Abbott marries Neville Longbottom” and “There’s gonna be a set of wars fifteen years after this that will alter the course of stuff for a while.” One random moment in which one person meets another one — that doesn’t count. The movies are the only thing that matter, but I will accept certain bits of extended universe for certain discussions. But “Vader ran into 3PO once in a random book” — that doesn’t count. 3PO probably blows Vader in Star Wars fan-fiction. To me, that’s the same thing.

Colin:

See, I was on that bandwagon for awhile and used to argue this with Shiho, and the truth is — a lot of it really IS better than Lucas’ shit. Obviously the movies are what matter to me, too, and if they can’t stand on their own, there’s a major problem. But the extended universe (including video games and TV series, etc) actually covers some more shit and provides perspective in a cool way. Plus, the stuff that’s licensed is still canon. It’s good for explanations, like you said. But some of the guys writing the books these days would have done a better job than Lucas on scripts for the new trilogy. And while 3PO might blow Vader in fan-fiction, these are the legit books. It’s not Lucas writing them, but they’re in the fold. It’s not some asshole on a forum somewhere uploading random stories.

Yeah, but, now we’re getting into something totally different. Why am I here? Because I love movies. I don’t want to have to read other books to make sense of movies. I want the movies, and then if I love the movies, I’ll read the books. These are, first and foremost, movies. So the fact that there’s this logic gap between the prequels and the original trilogy can’t come back to, “Rowling fucked up,” like the Potter movies did, since there, it’s either a book problem that carried over or the filmmakers cutting shit out of the book. This is a movie first. You can’t point me to a glossary and say, “It makes sense when you know this,” because that’s not how this works. So we’re back to my original point of — extended universe is meaningless if it’s required to explain logic gaps within the original source material. That seems like a patch job. I can understand if it was expanding on shit. This is not that. Therefore, it does not count in my mind for this purpose. (Though, from what it seems, it does actually sound a lot better than Lucas’s shit.)

Colin:

And that was my argument with Shiho. That you can’t have the movies be full of holes and then just point to some shit after the fact to explain them all away. I totally agree with that. But it’s come to a point where many people feel like Lucas was the creative spark that started this all going and that it’s moved beyond him. That the Star Wars universe has gone Skynet and will continue growing and developing independently of Lucas. Honestly, I think that’s a good thing; that’s why I’m generally optimistic about Disney taking it over — I sincerely doubt they could fuck it up like Lucas did.

That’s true. It has grown beyond him. I just… I can’t, for these articles, use extended universe logic to explain plot holes for something that existed before the extended universe did. Especially when I’m trying to show people that a lot of their defenses of this universe come from all the patches that were put in after the fact. That’s what I’m getting at.

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“Motherfucker, I will never let you hear the end of this.”

Star Wars - 235

This is a family that looks like they’ve spread lamb’s blood on that door once or twice.

Colin:

Isn’t it nice how they fade out just a second before we see how R2’s gonna manage these stairs?

Just like FDR.

Colin:

FDR2-D2?

3PO is totally Eleanor.

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“Thank the Maker. This oil bath is going to feel so good.”

Is he talking about God or Anakin? I feel like each one carries its own set of questions.

Star Wars - 237

Is that seriously what you do in this place? I mean, I remember a day before the internet, where there was shit to do otherwise, but sitting there and doing this all day – fuck, man.

He must do a lot of jerking off.

Colin:

First, that face he’s doing is only appropriate while playing a badass guitar solo. But actually, he didn’t used to do this all the time — that’s a model of a T-16, which he used to have before he wrecked it. He WAS the guy who flew around raising hell and racing people, but it got crashed, so this is him at home being a loser cause he totaled his car.

“Oh, man, I can’t believe Bobby made me wreck my car! Now I can’t take Tracy to the dance!”

For some reason your comment made me think of the 50s.

Ha ha… Luke is a Rebel Without a Cause.

Star Wars - 238

“Biggs is right, I’m never gonna get out of here.”

Wow, I forgot how awful this acting is.

Star Wars - 239

Luke cleans up R2. Says he’s “seen a lot of action.”

I’d like to thank the internet.

Star Wars - 240

Luke gets all excited and shit when he finds out they were involved with the Rebellion.

Which is the equivalent of finding out that your horse was once ridden during the taking of Fort Ticonderoga.

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R2’s staying silent as a motherfucker.

But then 3PO’s like, “Nah, we just interpreted and shit.”

Speak for yourself, motherfucker. R2 was on the front lines.

(I’m not even gonna get into the memory wipe bullshit now, because I’ll only pop blood vessels.)

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“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”

Star Wars - 246

*zip*

Star Wars - 247

He’s gonna go rub one out in a sand dune later.

Star Wars - 248

Oh yeah. That burka’s got him all jihad and bothered.

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He knows. He knows who she is.

Star Wars - 251

“Yeah… send that shit real slow.”

And then she disappears, because R2 knows this is creepy.

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R2 won’t tell him what that’s about.

Colin:

“He says it’s nothing. Just some old holoporn that one of our old masters put in his memory.”

Always wipe a droid’s browser history before sending him off.

I’d love to see someone walk in on someone else jerking off to holoporn.

Or having hologram phone sex with those digital calls they have.

Oh, but then 3PO says —

“He says he only answers to Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

So call him Obi-Wan Kenobi. Call him Martha if it gets you the hologram again.

3PO also says that their last master was Captain Antilles. Which is funny how small this universe actually is.

Colin:

Captain Antilles was the captain of the Tantive IV. No relation to Wedge Antilles, the legendary Rebel pilot.

That’s kind of hard to believe, seeing how tightly Lucas wants to connect everything.

Colin:

That was my reaction too. But apparently there’s no connection, and it’s entirely coincidental.

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Luke figures he must mean old Ben Kenobi.

Colin:

Kenobi’s a pretty common last name, though, so it’s probably safe to assume they’re talking about two different people who live in “these parts.”

What are you talking about? John Smith — that’s the motherfucker that lives on 8th Street.

Obi-Wan Kenobi — The Motherfucker That Lives on 8th Street.

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R2 then tells Luke he can play back the entire message if he frees him. And then Luke does, and R2 is like, “Message? I don’t know no Message. Does he roll with Nato?”

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REAR PROJECTION!

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He’s gonna do nasty things to her later.

(Also, why is their ceiling painted like Adobe? And why isn’t it finished?)

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Luke comes in for supper (remember when people had supper together as a family? When’s the last time you saw a movie do that and it wasn’t a dumb comedy scene where someone does something ridiculous or it ended in a huge fight?) and says about Obi-Wan Kenobi.

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It’s looks like this that are the reason I don’t tell people shit about what I find out. Because you think it’s all cool – “Oh, yeah, he mentioned some Obi-Wan Kenobi, I’m gonna go see that Ben Kenobi guy and see what it means” – and they give each other these looks, and next thing you know you’ve got a bag over your head, a taser in your kidneys and a one way ticket to the bottom of the river. You don’t tell people shit.

Watch any mystery or detective/cop movie. You don’t tell people anything. Because you end up stumbling onto some shit, and next thing you know you’re framed for a murder or someone’s trying to kill you and then you’re in on some conspiracy that’s bigger than anything you ever imagined. Woodward and Bernstein, for christ’s sake.

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Motherfucker, you ain’t safe. How do you know they’re even related to you? Remember Total Recall? Have you seen that movie, Luke? Have you seen Total Recall?

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Of course he’s drinking milk. Of course he is.

Colin:

Mmm. Blue milk. Probably comes from a blue tit. HEY, THAT’S A BIRD.

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Uncle Owen also says that Obi-Wan died “around the same time as your father.”

Colin:

This shot is hilarious to me, cause look at Luke’s lower lip. “Mmhmm, that’s some tasty ass blue milk!”

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“My father?”

Good job, Owen. You could have ended it right there, and now you got the kid curious.

You’re gonna have to kill him. That’s the only way.

Colin:

Even as a little kid, I had two problems with this exchange. First, how are you so sure he doesn’t exist anymore after feigning ignorance about that name just a second ago? And second, why does Luke jump to this conclusion that Kenobi knew his father based on the premise that they died around the same time? My grandfather died the same day as Sir Edmund Hillary; that doesn’t mean they knew each other. This feels weird.

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Anyway, they got on about some shit – Luke wants to join the “Academy” (which I assume is his version of Starfleet, which is funny, since I’m even less of a Star Trek person than I am a Star Wars person, and I know the name of their academy but not this franchise’s), and Owen’s like, “But harvest time is soon. I need you.”

(Harvest time?)

Luke can go to the academy next year.

Colin:

We’re getting some good establishment of the character here. He wants to go off and fight the Rebellion, but his uncle needs him at home. He complains, but at least he doesn’t have to cook breakfast and live in a closet. We also find out that there’s something not so great about Luke’s father, but we don’t know who he was.

I don’t know about “good” establishment, but we’re certainly getting “establishment.”

I also kind of get this whole thing, since it’s the basic World War II argument. “I wanna go and fight.” “Fuck you, sit down and finish your peas.”

Colin:

This is a moisture farm, by the way. They’re harvesting moisture.

I feel like as men all we try to do is harvest moisture.

Colin:

How…is this profitable? Seriously, with the ease and scope of space travel, I’m finding it hard to believe that you could make more money harvesting water on Tatooine than transporting it in. In fact, I find it hard to believe you could make ANY money harvesting water.

I get it. I’d rather go die in a space battle than be stuck on a moisture farm. Or any farm, really.

Not a pussy farm. Like that ranch with all the hookers on it. I’d stay on that farm.

Also, if I lived on a farm, I’d make sure all my doctors came to the house. That should be the first rule for anyone living on a farm — doctors must make house calls.

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This planet exists behind the James Bond titles, apparently.

Colin:

The two suns, Tatoo I and Tatoo II. Hah. Tatoo II.

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Camera doesn’t move once here. Amazing what your film can look like when you don’t do fucking handheld all the goddamn time.

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The amount of restraint I’m showing from making a horrible Tattoine puns right now is saintlike.

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♫ Nants ingonyama bagithi baba! ♫

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Also, you know what’s great about this moment? It’s four shots. Hut, him walking out. Close up. Shot of the two moons. Him looking at them. You know exactly what you need to know about this moment without a goddamn word, and it’s just the four shots and John Williams’s score.

Again, this reminds me of how awful and simplified moviemaking is today. You don’t get this anymore. When’s the last time you had a big, sweeping score like this in a movie?

And, before you say shit – when’s the last time you had a big, sweeping score like this without unnecessary complex camera movements meant to evoke a big, epic feel?

I rest my case.

This is where we’ll END PART I, as well. Since it feels like the right moment.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is Part II, and sand people. Ugh… the worst.

(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)

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One response

  1. Jeff

    Enjoyable read as always, though I should mention a couple of shots up it’s the two SUNS that Luke is watching, not moons. He’s watching the sunset, yo. (Or would that be suns-set?)

    April 20, 2014 at 3:05 pm

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