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Heart of Dorkness: Star Wars Celebration IV, Day 3

26 May 2007 by Chad 6 Comments

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Happy Birthday, Star Wars. Today you turn 30. My condolences. I did that last year. It’s not great.

CIV kicked into lightspeed today with the first full-on general admission day of the ‘Con. More people! More stormtroopers! More shit to buy! More men who have never felt the touch of a non digital woman!

You know what I learned today? Well, I already knew it, but bear with me. You know what I learned today? Geeks like to wait in lines. They are perfectly content to queue hours upon hours outside of an event to make sure that they get in. They sacrifice entire days of their lives. They bring folding chairs, pack lunches, and satellite dishes. They paid $100 (American!) for passes to a convention, and then spend all their time in line for one or two events.

I am not one of those geeks.

I have been guilty of overactive waiting a few times in my life, and some line time is to be expected. Nature of the beast and all that shite. But here’s the thing. I am writing this sentence waiting in line for tonight’s opening ceremonies.

They start in 3 hours.

Not only am I in line this early, but there are easily 500 people ahead of me. They started lining up today around noon. Noon. For a 7:30 event.

Why would anyone do this? Why am I doing it? I don’t fucking know. I sure as hell don’t want to be. But I don’t want to miss this event. It’s gonna be hosted by Steve Sansweet, geek extraordinaire, and maybe there will be some special guests. Don’t know if it’s going to be any good, but it’s something I had planned on seeing. I don’t want to miss it, and neither does anyone here.

So the line starts.

Early.

But what they don’t get is that it doesn’t have to. By lining up so early, they force others to do so. And as the line gets bigger, the more pressure there is for people who want to see that event to go ahead and join. It builds and builds until someone like me happens to walk by THREE HOURS before the show and sees a line down around the building, making me realize that if I want to get in, I have to get in line. Now. So here I am.

Fuck.

Call me a self-hating geek if you must, but, fuck.

So while I’m waiting here…for 3 hours. Did I mention that? The 3 of the hours? While I’m waiting, what did I see today at CIV?

I sat in on a panel on the upcoming Star Wars multi-media release, The Force Unleashed. There will be a novel, comics, toys, and, most importantly, a next-gen video game.

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And if they’re not bullshitting us (and that’s always a possibility), it’s going to be the greatest Star Wars game of all time.

On the panel was Haden Blackman, who is the head writer and director of the game. Haden is well known to Star Wars geeks from both the world of video games and comics. He was one of the lead guys on Knights of the Old Republic, widely regarded as the best Star Wars video game since the original Tie Fighter. He was joined by Unleashed’s lead designer, sound designer, and also two of the actors from the game. Some British chick named Natalie and the guy that plays the lead in the game, who is also the guy that plays Crashdown on BattleStar Galactaca. He plays Darth Vader’s secret apprentice in a game that takes place in between Episodes III and IV.

The game promises to use next-gen graphics and computing power to offer a full-interactive environment in which Vader’s student will be able to let loose with the Force in a staggering, destructive way that we’ve never seen before. No pictures were allowed during this presentation, but if you look around online, a lot of the concept art and some sample footage have already been released.

The thing that encourages me most, though, is Blackman’s promise of a full, gripping story that will open up a new chapter in Star Wars. The things they are trying to do in this game, with its brand new game engines, are staggering. We’ll see if they pull it off.

The game will be available for the Xbox 360, the PS3, the PS2, the PSP, and the Nintendo DS. Not, at this time, for the PC.

Which means, if the game delivers, I may have to buy my first console since my old Super Nintendo.

Let’s see. What else? OH. I broke down and made my “big purchase” today. I’m sure you’re sarcastically chomping at the bit to know what it is, but I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.

I got more shit I want to talk about later, so I’ll leave with some pictures of the Lucasfilm Archive, the best of the always-running exhibits here. A variety of select props and costumes from all six films are on display. There aren’t tons of them, but the ones there are choice. My favorites include Han’s Hoth jacket, the inner workings of Luke’s mechanical hand, and this:

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This is the helmet that was burned in Darth Vader’s funeral pyre at the end of Jedi. It’s bigger than a normal Vader helmet to make sure the silhouette read on film. Pretty cool if you ask me, although I’m sure when you’re talking about stuff like this, there’s a cap on cool.

I was a little disturbed at the picture below. The gentleman to the left snapped an inordinate amount of pictures of the original Slave Leia costume. I really do think he wanted to take it home and make sweet Hutt-like love to it.

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Here are more pictures of the archives. All the props/costumes are the real deal.

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And just for fun, here’s more pics of mostly grown people playing dress-up.

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sith

Thoughts and Reflections: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

First Seen by Me
: Opening Midnight Show. Century City AMC 14. Los Angeles, CA.

Known Aliases: The Least Sucky New One, the One with the Coolest Title, The PG-13 One, The One Where Jar-Jar Doesn’t Talk, The Last One Ever

Favorite Image: A burned and dismembered Anakin lies on the lava banks of Mustafar, his Lord and Master kneeling beside him. An image I’ve wanted to see my whole fucking life, and, for that moment, ROTS reaches perfection.

Runner Up: Anakin and Palpatine together at the opera. “Not from a Jedi.”

Favorite Line: “You were my brother, Anakin! I loved you!”

Best Obscure Character: A tie between Captain Antilles and Kit Fisto

Biggest Sins: See below.

The O’ Williams Factor: During the film’s closing moments, we hear reprises of Luke and Leia’s themes as Williams builds a perfect bridge to Episode IV.

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I was in the room when they announced the title for Episode III. Steve Sansweet, famed Star Wars collector and, I admit begrudgingly, head Star Wars geek, wrapped up his State of Lucasfilm presentation at San Diego ComicCon two years ago with the big reveal. It was met with much praise and applause.

As a title, Revenge of the Sith works on two levels. One, it’s easily the best title out of the prequels (not that that would be hard to do), although I’d guess your average movie-goer still has no idea what a “Sith” is. And two: it’s a call-back, an in-joke to the original Return/Revenge of the Jedi name change. Lucas may have decided in 1983 that Jedi don’t seek revenge; Sith definitely do.

ROTS is really the Star Wars prequel we had been waiting for. All the shit we really wanted to see would be covered in this installment. Anakin’s fall to the dark side. The extermination of the Jedi. The creation of the Empire. The birth of Luke and Leia. All the shit that we knew had to happen, happens in this film.

That is both a plus and a minus.

Because, really, every prequel to any film ever made suffers from the same flaw: we know what comes next. We know who lives and who dies. We know where the story has to lead, and we know where the story canNOT lead. Despite Sith’s much deserved place as the best of the Prequel trilogy, it does have that flaw. The last hour of the film plays out with a certain inevitability. It’s cool to see it play out, but there’s no real drama in watching Anakin struggle with turning to the dark side. We know what he chooses. I think the depictions of the Jedi Purge are well done and beautiful, but I cannot help but watch them with kind of an academic detachment.

Padme has twins? Shocking!

Yoda survives? Get out!

The Republic falls, giving way to Empire? You’re fucking kidding!

There are no surprises. And there really couldn’t have been any. How pissed would you have been if Lucas revealed that Obi-Wan was actually Luke’s father? We would have burned the theaters down. Or if Yoda would have died, and that it was a clone living on Dagobah? We would have shown up in Marin County with pitchforks. In a way, any prequel corners the makers of it into a damned if you do/damned if you don’t dilemma. Which is why most prequels throughout history have been kind of lame.

But I’ll argue this. If you had never seen the Original Trilogy, if you had no idea how the thing was going to end, Revenge of the Sith would be pretty fucking cool.

There are still some missteps with the storytelling. Anakin and Padme continue to talk in a way that no lovers in history have ever talked to each other, and for good reason. Palpatine is played a little over the top for me. I know they’re going for a B-movie, cackling bad guy kind of thing, and I like it, it’s just…a little too much. Hayden Christensen’s voice is still grating and whiney, although I think he looks fucking tough in all black with the scar and his shaggy hair. But that might just be a me thing.

But I’ve been waiting to see the last hour of this movie my ENTIRE FUCKING LIFE. And there it was. Anakin becoming Vader by helping kill the head of the Jedi Order. Vader marching on the Jedi temple, killing everyone, including the little kids. Clonetroopers everywhere turning on their Jedi Generals, executing Order 66. And Kenobi v. Vader I, otherwise known as The Spar on Mustafar (sorry, I know that was bad, but you find a synonym for ‘fight’ that rhymes with Mustafar. If the fight had been on Chandrilla, then I could have done a whole “Thrilla on Chandrilla” thing. Whoever can tell me what famous side character is actually from Chandrilla, you get a nerd cookie. A nerd cookie is worth exactly the amount of an old Marvel Comics no-prize.).

And finally, the splitting up of the twins. Our first glimpses of pre-Tarkin Alderaan. And Obi-Wan, failed teacher, handing a baby boy over to a moisture farmer and heading off into the desert for 20 years.

Beautiful.

Three things do manage to screw up this glorious hour:

1. Padme dies of a broken heart. What? Losing her will to live? There Lucas shows that he is, despite the PG-13 rating, still shooting to make a family film. She should have died from Anakin choking her. C-H-O-K-I-N-G H-E-R. She should be the first recorded case of Ozzelitis. Lack of oxygen = brain damage + strain of child birth = dead Mathilda.

2. Vader’s now infamous “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” We know what they were shooting for. Vader is a movie monster and Lucas gives him a movie monster moment. But it’s just bad. And silly.

3. Not showing Yoda arriving on Dagobah during the end montage. Really, there’s no excuse for that. They shot it. Finished the effects and everything. It’s on the DVD. Bad choice, especially given how big of a role Yoda had in the prequels.

Luckily, all 3 of these things can be fixed in a simple fan edit. Not that I’m encouraging something like that. Wink-wink. Nudge-nudge. And so on…and so forth.

But the image that will stick with me the most from ROTS is a great one. After Obi-Wan has defeated Anakin and left him to die, the newly crowned Emperor arrives on the lava planet. This was not part of his plan. His apprentice has been filleted and charbroiled. Palpatine, in his very Return of the Jedi looking robes, kneels down next to Anakin in a moment of disappointment and affection. It is probably THE moment I have been waiting to see, and I was not disappointed.

ROTS is the best film of the prequels. To a lot of people, I know that’s not saying much. It’s like saying Himmler was the least bad Nazi. But I have chosen to embrace the prequels, and I find much to love in them. If you don’t, I understand. You should feel free to call me a moron, an apologist, or dipshit

You would not be the first.

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Tomorrow, more from CIV. Ben Burtt! Irvin Kirshner! Dennis Muren! And…Seth McFarlane? WTF…

I’ll also start my thoughts on the Original Trilogy. Can you guess? Does A New Hope get a thumbs up from this guy who is spending an entire six days to revel in it and its sequels? Maybe. Tune in to be sure.

Plus, an actual person in my actual life has an actual non-Lucas related birthday.

6 Comments »

  • Nils said:

    I’d say Speer was the least bad nazi. But it probably was someone we’ve never heard of.
    That being said, the prequels kind of suck.

  • dillopod said:

    There’s no such thing as “least bad Nazi”. All of them were cool.

  • ChadShonk (author) said:

    Like I said in my TPM post, I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind on the prequels. I completely understand not liking them. I just happen to like them.

    I’d probably say Schindler was the “least bad” Nazi, if I am to believe the movies (and I ALWAYS believe the movies). The Himmler thing was this thing called a joke.

  • dillopod said:

    I wasn’t even’t talking about Star Wars. I was just saying Nazis are cool. Except Illinois Nazis.

  • Star Wars Stuff » Star Wars Rots Interactive Story Telling Yoda said:

    […] Movie Criticism for the Retarded » Blog Archive » Heart of … […]

  • Emily said:

    Wow! Great site. You have an awesome collection of Star Wars Pics. I am a great fan of Star Wars Costumes and movies. Princess Leia is one of my favorite character from Star Wars movie. I really love your site, good work.

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