Prequel Trilogy,  Revenge of the Sith,  The Phantom Menace

Washington Post ranks the best lightsaber battles in Star Wars; Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan vs. Maul is #1

tpm20

From Washington Post:

“This weapon is your life.” Those wise words about the lightsaber from Obi-Wan Kenobi to a young Anakin Skywalker resonate throughout the Star Wars films, positively glowing with mortal meaning.

And ever since Force-sensitive warriors began wielding their plasma blades in 1977, the lightsaber duel has been a central Star Wars spectacle. From Luke Skywalker to Yoda, from Darth Vader to grandson Kylo Ren, these battles are more than physical showdowns — they are windows into who has greater power or purpose, whether the result is apparent victory or higher self-sacrifice.

There are numerous battles to choose from when debating the hand-to-hand highlights. With this month’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” seemingly wrapping up the great family saga, The Washington Post’s resident Star Wars nerds have ranked the top five lightsaber duels:

5. Darth Vader’s Hallway Rage

“ROGUE ONE” (2016) […]

 

4. Yoda vs. Palpatine

“EPISODE III – REVENGE OF THE SITH” (2005)

Veteran Force warriors Yoda and Darth Sidious go head to head. Will Sidious live to rescue apprentice Darth Vader from his scarring and charred defeat to Obi-Wan — and will Jedi Master Yoda be forced into exile?

Athleticism & choreography

4/5

At last, George Lucas has the technical tools to stage a high-quality duel between a live actor and an entirely CG character — with the freedom to create any maneuver his team can dream up.

Gee-whiz effects

3/5

Force lightning! Yoda levitation! Speed and powers are on equal display.
Use of the Force

3/5

The battle in the empty Senate chamber lets us see just how closely matched these two fighters are, as each tests the highly trained powers of the other.
Story impact

4/5

The Dark Side gains an edge here, leading to the rise of Darth Vader.
Total score

14

 

3. Obi-Wan vs. Anakin

“EPISODE III – REVENGE OF THE SITH” (2005)
Former dear friends, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and apprentice turned Sith Lord Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), square off. Can Obi-Wan prevent Anakin from fully turning to the Dark Side?

Athleticism & choreography

3/5

The lengthy mano-a-mano movement through the mining complex is a flashy mix of flips, kicks, leaps and clashing lightsabers.

Gee-whiz effects

3/5

The appeal of this scene largely rests upon your appetite for saturated green-screen wizardry, as the combatants work their way toward the eye-popping lava.
Use of the force

4/5

The Jedi and the Sith rely on the power — including Force-chokes and telekinetic Force Pull — to gain an upper hand. “You underestimate my power,” says Anakin, who is ultimately not as strong as he thinks, falling to Obi-Wan’s blade.
Story impact

5/5

With the Sith Lord left to die, limbs sliced and body burnt to a crisp, there is only one path forward for the man who will become Darth Vader.
Total score

15

 

2. Luke vs. Vader

“EPISODE VI – RETURN OF THE JEDI” (1983) […]

 

1. Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan vs. Darth Maul

“EPISODE I – THE PHANTOM MENACE” (1999)
In “The Phantom Menace,” Sith villain Darth Maul (Ray Park) travels to Naboo, where he faces off against Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Jinn’s Padawan apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) in what’s been dubbed “Duel of the Fates.”

Athleticism & choreography
5/5

The original trilogy duels look inelegant compared with this massive step up in physical artistry, especially from Park, a trained martial artist who moves like a stalking jungle cat. Stunt coordinator Nick Gillard told Vulture that he had to “invent an entirely new form of sword fighting” for the exhaustively rehearsed scene.

Gee-whiz effects
5/5

The prequels gave Lucasfilm the chance to go bigger visually, and this battle — featuring Darth Maul’s double-bladed saberstaff — is a pinnacle.
Use of the Force
4/5

Darth Maul wields his Force powers to slow the approach of Obi-Wan — but the young Jedi taps new Force abilities to bring the duel to a sudden acrobatic climax.
Story impact
5/5

Obi-Wan enters this fight a green Padawan; he walks away a master.
Total score

19
[…] Yet unless “Rise of Skywalker” gives us something spectacular, the “Duel of the Fates” fight soars like young Obi-Wan, technically and narratively head and shoulders above all others.”

0 Comments

    • archdukeofnaboo

      @Joe

      Yes, but not because it’s in an anthology film. It’s not a light sabre battle for the same reason Anakin’s “Tuskin Raiders Rage” is: it’s a *slaughter* not a fight. People need to understand the definitions.

      Let’s not get hung up on the negatives though, it’s a great list and significant positive promotion of the PT.

      Well done, Washington Post!

      • jpieper668

        i would have replaced rogue one wiht the first Luke Vader Duel from TESB it was (at the time) a Major upgrade from the Obi-Wan Vader Duel from ANH and of course the shocking conclusion to the Fight(the one from Empire)

      • archdukeofnaboo

        @Joe

        Just go to see it once and be done it with it. It won’t make you any less of a prequel fan. If Lucas can watch this film, then so can you and I.

        Abrams may seem to be an ***hole, but John Boyega (Finn) is a supporter of Anakin and the PT, so it’s not all bad.

      • Cryogenic

        @ Arch Duke:

        “Abrams may seem to be an ***hole, but John Boyega (Finn) is a supporter of Anakin and the PT, so it’s not all bad.”

        A supporter of Anakin and the PT? Where?

        I haven’t seen or read anything like that.

        In fact, in several of his remarks, I get the sense the only prequel he sort of likes is ROTS — much like his boss, J.J. Abrams.

        Very, very little love has come out for the prequels from these Disney cast members. They’ve had plenty of chance to speak to their real feelings, and they haven’t done so. Therefore, one is left to conclude they don’t care greatly for the films. And if barely speaking up qualifies as support, they can all shove it. Hinting once or twice that the prequels are okay is not speaking up — that’s being deliberately careful and weak-willed, in order to not put a target on one’s back.

        The only one I’ll give a little bit of leeway to is Rian Johnson, who at least said, “There was something beautiful about the prequels”, to an an unenthusiastic audience in 2014. He has also celebrated (or perhaps lightly lampooned) Jar Jar on his Twitter account, and piped up on there one time recently, “The prequels are a 7 hour long kids movie about how fear of loss turns good people into fascists.” It may not be resounding, unstinting praise, but it’s better than virtually anything else I’ve ever heard uttered from any of the other staff at Disney/Lucasfilm.

      • archdukeofnaboo

        @Cryogenic

        Show me another actor in Star Wars (on Twitter) who has went completely out of his/her way to stand up for Anakin like this:

        https://twitter.com/JohnBoyega/status/1189682141912809472

        Sure, it’s not a long essay, but there is an artform to short and snappy rebukes like this. I don’t know what his thoughts are on AOTC, but there’s no need to go hard on him if he’s not as a big a fan as you are. Criticise me for that one instead 🙂

        Let’s not pretend like the cast of the Sequels haven’t said anything naughty about the films they’re in. We all know about Mark’s issue, so let’s take a look at Boyega what has said:

        “The Force Awakens I think was the beginning of something quite solid, The Last Jedi if I’m being honest I’d say that was feeling a bit iffy for me,” Boyega says. “I didn’t necessarily agree with a lot of the choices in that and that’s something that spoke to Mark [Hamill] a lot about and we had conversations about it. And it was hard for all of us, because we were separated.”

        Ewan and Natalie may have had a few quibbles about screen screens in AOTC (it was brand new tech at the end, let’s not forget), but they’re a far cry from the remarks coming from TLJ actors. Heck, even Abrams has spoken of differences with the meta approach of that film.

        The best remarks from Johnson on the PT come from a Q&A at a Collider screening of TLJ in January 2018. He talks about the moments he enjoyed and the homages he made. He comes across as genuine and sincere, not mincing words with no sign of that fanboy sneering we might get from another *cough* director.

        You’re quote of Johnson from Twitter, however, sounds to me like an attempt at deadpan humour. Does he think Yoda’s sermons in TPM are a load of codswallop? Is he implying the Original Trilogy weren’t made for kids? I don’t fully know, I could be all wrong, but I do know that Twitter tends to condense people’s thinking into rough sound-bytes.

        Source for Boyega comments:

        https://hypebeast.com/2019/12/john-boyega-star-wars-rise-of-skywalker-interview-cover

      • Cryogenic

        @ Arch Duke:

        Sorry to go hard on you here, because maybe you were just trying to lighten the mood (and we could probably do with that), but you did earlier point-blank assert:

        “Just go to see it once and be done it with it. It won’t make you any less of a prequel fan. If Lucas can watch this film, then so can you and I.

        Abrams may seem to be an ***hole, but John Boyega (Finn) is a supporter of Anakin and the PT, so it’s not all bad.”

        I mean…

        That was your whole post. I’m not selectively quoting from it. So I assumed you were being serious about John Boyega and had quotes you could adduce.

        However, all you have is… a single frivolous tweet. Which is really evidence of very little. Okay, he acknowledges Anakin in the tweet, and…???

        “Sure, it’s not a long essay, but there is an artform to short and snappy rebukes like this. I don’t know what his thoughts are on AOTC, but there’s no need to go hard on him if he’s not as a big a fan as you are. Criticise me for that one instead”

        Where does AOTC come into it? I simply said I’d heard him/seen him say something mildly positive about ROTS. That’s all.

        Half-liking a single prequel movie, and the one most people tend to like, hardly makes Boyega “a supporter of Anakin and the PT”.

        “Let’s not pretend like the cast of the Sequels haven’t said anything naughty about the films they’re in.”

        I’m not pretending anything of the sort. Hamill has said plenty and I’ve commented about it previously. That said, Hamill is one of the only people who has stuck his neck out and said anything overtly disparaging — and, if anything, as I commented on before, he may have gone too far. Outside of Mark and Carrie for keeping it real, you can’t really rely on any of the actors to insinuate misgivings. That said, okay, you have something here:

        “We all know about Mark’s issue, so let’s take a look at Boyega what has said:

        “The Force Awakens I think was the beginning of something quite solid, The Last Jedi if I’m being honest I’d say that was feeling a bit iffy for me,” Boyega says. “I didn’t necessarily agree with a lot of the choices in that and that’s something that spoke to Mark [Hamill] a lot about and we had conversations about it. And it was hard for all of us, because we were separated.””

        I always had the sense he was more enthusiastic for TFA than Rian Johnson’s film. Which is fine. But it’s more trendy for him to say it now.

        I must respectfully disagree with the notion that TFA was “the beginning of something quite solid” — maybe for Boyega, as an actor, as part of a larger troupe. But cinematically, it got the Sequel Trilogy off to a very shaky (even crooked) start, and I’ll never forgive it for that (even when I somewhat preferred it to TLJ).

        Boyega is basically defending JJ (unsurprisingly), while throwing Rian under the bus — at a time when TLJ is practically despised by much of the online Star Wars fanbase, while cynicism swirls for his buddy’s second sequel entry, and sequel-closer, TROS. Sort of a little convenient.

        And even here, Boyega gives the distinct impression of being an OT fanboy, implying he agrees with Hamill’s issues with the film, because the main bugbear for many who dislike TLJ seems to be its depiction/handling of Luke: the central hero of the OT. Of course, plenty of prequel fans have turned their nose up at it, too. But in Boyega’s case, he never mentions the prequels in the interview. Not once. So I think it’s pretty obvious where his loyalties and feelings truly lie.

        “Ewan and Natalie may have had a few quibbles about screen screens in AOTC (it was brand new tech at the end, let’s not forget), but they’re a far cry from the remarks coming from TLJ actors. Heck, even Abrams has spoken of differences with the meta approach of that film.”

        Back to AOTC again. Okay. If Natalie has quibbled green screen in AOTC, she might want to button her lip and go back to Harvard — in fact, give them back her diploma. Because going to the beautiful Lake Como in Italy and then to Caserta Palace in Spain isn’t “green screen”. Nor is getting to cavort with and kiss and do scenes with Hayden Christensen. Ewan, who was saddled with that lengthy Kamino sequence, and who never got to go to Italy, Spain, or Tunisia, I can understand better.

        Abrams wouldn’t know “meta” if it came up and bit him on the backside and stole his nebbish media persona and his glasses. The only “meta” he knows is the kind that rips off Spielberg and lines his bank account. Remember, this is the guy that said fans who dislike TLJ have a problem with women. For him to air any criticisms in public, barely a year after saying that, is rich. Understandably, he may have his differences with the film, due to his attachment to his earlier concepts, but that’s barely 1/100th of how Lucas obviously felt when Abrams junked *his* concepts.

        “The best remarks from Johnson on the PT come from a Q&A at a Collider screening of TLJ in January 2018. He talks about the moments he enjoyed and the homages he made. He comes across as genuine and sincere, not mincing words with no sign of that fanboy sneering we might get from another *cough* director.”

        Okay. I think I’ve seen that. Watched and listened to quite a few pieces like that. I’ve little doubt — or less doubt than I had — that Rian Johnson is sincere in his respect for the PT. But it took him a time to warm up to them, and before that, he carefully steered around saying anything. That’s another lens to regard Boyega’s non-comments through. He obviously doesn’t care much for them, or he’d have said something about them, by now — in my opinion, anyway.

        “You’re quote of Johnson from Twitter, however, sounds to me like an attempt at deadpan humour. Does he think Yoda’s sermons in TPM are a load of codswallop? Is he implying the Original Trilogy weren’t made for kids? I don’t fully know, I could be all wrong, but I do know that Twitter tends to condense people’s thinking into rough sound-bytes.”

        Yeah, but…

        What do you call your Boyega tweet? Just curious.

        I don’t think it’s deadpan humour from RJ. He repeated the remark elsewhere and seemed genuine in his praise. The problem I had with it then — and still now, a little — is that it’s kind of damning with faint praise to say that the prequels are “kids’ movies”. As if they can’t really past muster with adults who need solid presentation and deep and meaningful themes. Now, true, Lucas himself has long insisted the films are for children, but everything Lucas says has a double meaning, and it’s fairly clear he hopes that adults can get a lot from them, too.

        I certainly get what you’re saying, though. Which just heightens the feel Johnson was giving the prequels a backhanded compliment. Well said!!! Exactly. That seems to be the implication. I think he’s one of these Generation OT people who doesn’t notice the childish elements in the originals so much, but instantly sees childishness all over the PT. Which is very ironic. I mean, of the three prequel movies, only TPM can be accused of deliberately creating a child-like tone. You can call it the “Jar Jar Factor”. People from Johnson’s generation tend to see what they want to see and seem to have made up their minds long ago.

        I have one more issue with the Boyega article — sorry, indulge me if you can:

        “Like many fans online, Boyega believes in the themes previously established within the Star Wars franchise, rather than the focus on the realism introduced in The Last Jedi, and would only return to the character if the future story encapsulated those classic characteristics. “The banter, the bickering, the undercover romances that then manifest an epic moment. That for me is Star Wars. It’s not hyperreal or realistic or grounded. Don’t do any of that. It’s like connection, family, friendship. If they’re going to do it in that direction, then absolutely.””

        “Focus on realism” — seems like the author’s fancy to me. There are some more grounded elements in TLJ, arguably, but it still has a fantastical presentation and an operatic construction. In fact, there’s always been a bit of a dialectic in Star Wars between mundane/grubby elements and more ethereal and esoteric ones. This remains at work in TLJ. Rey and Kylo, for instance, plainly share a strange connection, and there is quite the mystical feel to Luke and Rey’s exploits on the island. Other plot strands are also clearly in a cinematic register. Johnson’s film influences are similar to Lucas’: old war movies, spy thrillers, avant-garde science-fiction, and the works of Akira Kurosawa.

        I’m guessing, on some level, Boyega is referring to his own character arc in the film, and his character’s relationship (largely Platonic) with Rose. Or that’s his jumping-off point for making those remarks. Johnson deliberately introduced new character archetypes into Star Wars in TLJ, but I wouldn’t say the film ever strays too far into “hyperrealism”. That seems like a misreading of textures and intentions to me. It does, in some ways, lack the fantastical sweep of the earlier films, and maybe Boyega regrets that. But it’s funny he thinks that TFA is the better film, or “the beginning of something quite solid”, when it blatantly plays it safe and takes fewer risks.

        Heck, it’s old ground, but even the environments in TFA are dull as dishwater — like returning to a “real desert”, and then re-doing Tatooine in a half-hearted way. So Boyega thinks Star Wars is better trading on past glories, with wall-to-wall pandering, but a film like TLJ is (even if he doesn’t put it in these words) a big fat miss? It honestly sounds like he wishes the whole ST could be the OT 2.0.

        Also, there’s a measure of hypocrisy in him calling Finn “the most human guy in Star Wars”, but complaining about TLJ’s alleged “grounded” and “realistic” properties. I thought he wanted Star Wars to go back to its earlier, more mythic qualities? In any case, thanks for providing the article. I do like John Boyega, for all I’ve said, and I enjoyed reading his thoughts.

      • Cryogenic

        Fact-checking myself:

        Said something incorrect here:

        “Because going to the beautiful Lake Como in Italy and then to Caserta Palace in Spain isn’t “green screen”. Nor is getting to cavort with and kiss and do scenes with Hayden Christensen.”

        I meant Caserta Palace in Italy and the Plaza de España in Seville, Spain. Natalie went to all of these locations. Ewan went to none of them. He also didn’t get to kiss Hayden. At least — no kisses we know about…

      • archdukeofnaboo

        @Cryogenic

        I think we have widely different views on what constitutes Prequel support. It’s likely that you’re much longer experience of fighting off the bashers in the trenchers of the internet is a big factor. I tend to be more forgiving of the actors, and we’ve seen this in previous discussions about Ewan & Natalie’s relationship with their films.

        I stand by my remarks on John Boyega. I’d love to provide with you an essay cataloguing all his thoughts on the PT, but I’m afraid I don’t have to energy to do so right now. I’m very happy with his comments on Twitter – as most PT fans I’ve noticed are – and which amongst the furore from sequelists, he’s bravely refused to back down from. That is far from “a single frivolous tweet” – it is a put-down of a clickbait geek media article that you should be well proud of.

        Allow me to make myself clear about Twitter. I think it’s a fine format for quick, humorous rebukes like in Boyega’s case, but when it comes to discussing matters of substance, like say three films George Lucas spent most of a decade making, it is not adequate, and forces one to oversimplify and/or reach for polemics when nuance is more needed. I also don’t believe Tweets are immune from the consequences of Poe’s Law either.

        “I think he’s one of these Generation OT people who doesn’t notice the childish elements in the originals so much, but instantly sees childishness all over the PT.”

        Now here I can completely agree. That is a fundamental issue with how the older generation interpret the prequels, and cannot be said enough. It goes hand-in-hand with an ignorance of a viewer demographic of the 70s that now seen to have “died off” or, more malevolently, been written out of history: the people who disliked the original film. The OT generation perpetuate the notion that ANH was beloved by all, when the truth is that many people, such as my own father, never cared for it. And why is this? I would point to things like the dialogue, which objectively isn’t adult in the way the writing of a Western was, or to be more contemporary, the crime genre. That, however, is not to say it was a mistake or a bad thing, and far from it in fact: by focussing on a younger audience Lucas was able to cast the widest net. Those viewers who were adults in 1977 and enjoyed the film, did so by overlooking stuff like the “Dark Side”, C3PO and the clumsy footsoldiers of what’s supposed to be a terrifying regime.

        It is indeed quite ironic then for the OT genner to declare the Battle Droid or Jar Jar Binks as recklessly childish. And you can forget the Ewoks, which of course lead to some of of them disliking the whole of ROTJ (that one has been harder to cover-up), because the elements that appeal to a younger audience have been there from to very start, with the two droids.

        “only TPM can be accused of deliberately creating a child-like tone”

        Spot-on. I would argue that Revenge of the Sith is the only adult-natured Star Wars that’s been released to date. And that’s not to say all future films should strive to be this way either: it only works in Episode III because its two predecessors had worked so hard to depict a time of innocence and greater altruism – think of Padmé and the Gungans. So ROTS can indulge in all the depravities of a human civilisation because it is the payoff to those many seeds that were sowed – whether you noticed or not – in TPM and AOTC. If it had been brutal from the beginning, then audiences would surely have been numb to the tragedy in the end. In other words: less is more.

        Is ROTS privileged then? Yes and no. It has the luxury to go full-on Greek tragedy as the final instalment of Lucas’s epic, but it has also earned the right: AOTC has muddied the waters and shown a Galaxy that has gravely sinned, and in jeopardy of facing the consequences. I delight in Episode III’s Shakespearean arsenal, but am also convinced it has used those tools to extraordinary effect. In the first act it cements the great friendship between Obi-Wan and his pupil, in the second it portrayals a wicked seduction to evil and a couple undergoing the constant stress of ceaseless war, and in the third act the director is fearless is his depiction of betrayal, ruin and death. Ian, Hayden, Ewan and Natalie are at their very best in this film, and it is all too noticeable in Opera boxes, the hills of Mustafar and the corridors of Coruscant.

        Themes like “Anakin’s Betrayal” and “Anakin’s Dark Deeds” are as melancholic as they are unflinching, “Padmé’s ruminations” is deeply haunting, whilst it is “Battle of the Heroes” that sets the stage for an emotional roller-coaster with promises of triumph for the forces of good. And of course the music from Qui-Gon’s funeral is reintroduced to tremendous effect, as a lament on the demise of democracy.

        I’ve gone on a detour on ROTS, haven’t I? I think I’ll shut-up now.

      • Cryogenic

        @ Arch Duke:

        “I think we have widely different views on what constitutes Prequel support. It’s likely that you’re much longer experience of fighting off the bashers in the trenchers of the internet is a big factor. I tend to be more forgiving of the actors, and we’ve seen this in previous discussions about Ewan & Natalie’s relationship with their films.”

        Yeah. That makes sense. He gave the prequels recognition in the supplied tweet, which is something, but I don’t personally read it as support. Then again, I was a little tougher on some of Rian Johnson’s comments before, so maybe I should take the tack of “any support is good support”.

        “I stand by my remarks on John Boyega. I’d love to provide with you an essay cataloguing all his thoughts on the PT, but I’m afraid I don’t have to energy to do so right now. I’m very happy with his comments on Twitter – as most PT fans I’ve noticed are – and which amongst the furore from sequelists, he’s bravely refused to back down from. That is far from “a single frivolous tweet” – it is a put-down of a clickbait geek media article that you should be well proud of.”

        Hang on — comments, plural? There are others? What am I missing here? You seem to be alluding to material I’ve never seen. All I really know about, when Boyega was directly asked to rank the Star Wars films, is the following Collider interview in December 2015:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9H3yVGCUcQ

        In the above video, he does make brief mention of the Jedi Council (obviously: a prequel concept) before being asked the question. Though he also firmly states that he believes “Han shot first” when the interviewer brings that subject up. So that seems to be him signalling his geek stripes — as in, he knows how contentious the topic is, and deliberately says nothing in support of Lucas’ artistic choices. Indeed, he jokingly protests: “What kind of a question is that?” He’s entitled to his view, but it’s definitely the playing-it-safe answer.

        Now, the key part:

        The ranking question is asked at 1:45. Boyega replies that TESB is his favourite, followed by ROTJ. Then he hesitates slightly and says: “I did like the end of Revenge Of The Sith. I did like Revenge Of The Sith. It’s hard to rank all of them.” The only other film mentioned is the original, since the interviewer brings up the classic ANH vs TESB dilemma. The other prequels are never named by either party. In fact, Boyega laughs loudly when the interviewer quips that he only really wanted to know if Boyega prefers TESB or the original — as if relieved that the interviewer was in on the joke (i.e., let’s avoid discussing the prequels) and now rescuing them both from a tight spot.

        Now, you could simply charge that I’m taking all of this too seriously, but Boyega somewhat self-consciously stating he likes ROTS — after making clear, with much less trepidation, that TESB and ROTJ are his favourites, along with his Han-Greedo response — is basically nothing that couldn’t have come from the lips of JJ Abrams or a moderately tolerant OT fan. No stated support for the prequels in particular. No mention of two of them: the lowest-ranking two on most fan polls. No defence of any of the characters, the plots, the themes. Not even any mention of the word “prequel”.

        This, to me, is like hearing Elon Musk proclaiming himself to be a socialist, or Dean Cain — hardcore Republican/Trump supporter — stating he’s in support of abortion and gay rights after making an abortion-bashing film and promoting it at a right-wing “family values” conference. Or some randy “moderate” ideologue claiming to be a feminist after visiting a strip club and harassing one of the dancers in a private performance box the day before his wedding to an attractive young woman (I won’t name the individual in this case). People can claim to be fans or supporters of something, and have other people defending them on that basis all they like, but that doesn’t mean their behaviour is actually consistent with support. I’ve had people tell me Donald Trump isn’t racist or playing to racist sentiments in his voting base.

        I know you’re looking at it differently, but in my world someone actually has to at least talk the talk in order to actually be a supporter of something. Words mean things. I think it starts to look like a mangling of the English language to say that John Boyega “supports” the PT when he can’t even utter the names of two of the three films. And that Collider interview would have been a good opportunity for him to do so. He was meant to be starring in a major role in Episode VII: a film intended to follow on from six other movies, not three of them. It’s okay for him to have his own tastes and opinions, but it just so happens that his communicated tastes and opinions align strongly with a typical PT basher mentality, or a dogma that sprung up from that mentality: i.e., ROTS is alright, even compelling, but Episodes I and II are beyond the pale and shouldn’t be brought up in polite company.

        Even in the up-to-date article you earlier supplied, Boyega rambles on about the original films, still saying nothing about the prequels. In fact, he indirectly admonishes them by stating: “The banter, the bickering, the undercover romances that then manifest an epic moment. That for me is Star Wars.” Many people would read that as dogwhistle in support of the OT movies. After all, many complained that the PT lacked noticeable tension and humour between its leads, along with lamenting the fact that Anakin and Padme’s romance takes place in relaxed, idyllic settings. Perhaps you can pull a drop of support for the PT in his term “undercover romances”. Anakin and Padme’s romance is, after all, a “forbidden romance”, although his ambiguous meshing of that term with OT-associated concepts (“banter”, “bickering”) seems to suggest his love for the prequels is itself an “undercover romance” — or, in LGBT terms, “the love that dare not speak its name”.

        ““I think he’s one of these Generation OT people who doesn’t notice the childish elements in the originals so much, but instantly sees childishness all over the PT.”

        Now here I can completely agree. That is a fundamental issue with how the older generation interpret the prequels, and cannot be said enough. It goes hand-in-hand with an ignorance of a viewer demographic of the 70s that now seen to have “died off” or, more malevolently, been written out of history: the people who disliked the original film. The OT generation perpetuate the notion that ANH was beloved by all, when the truth is that many people, such as my own father, never cared for it.”

        Right. My own father doesn’t care for the series, either. He took me to see the original on its Special Edition release in 1997, but he doesn’t respect the films a great deal. The only time he seemed somewhat interested was in 2005, when I bought the soundtrack CD for ROTS, and it came with a bonus DVD item: “Star Wars: A Musical Journey”. One day, I put one or two prequel pieces on (it’s a serious of musical vignettes set to saga movie imagery), and he was a bit intrigued by the whole idea. That’s the only time I caught him suddenly falling for the series’ charms. Didn’t last. I was watching TESB on television some years later and he just chuckled. He thinks the whole thing is pretty childish. Which is a bit ironic, since he loves some of the newer Marvel movies, and he eagerly purchased LOTR on DVD when those films were a must-have item. He also has an affection for animated movies like “Finding Nemo” and “A Shark’s Tale”. People are all different.

        But yes, staunch OT fans are in complete denial of history. They like to write off negativity toward those films, especially the first two, as some fringe phenomenon, because “everyone loved those movies, unlike the rotten prequels”. That’s… completely not true. I’ve told fans before to go to IMDb and filter to the negative reviews of the original for a bit of an education. Unfortunately, people like their tribal thought-bubbles entirely too much, and contrary information is normally dismissed as fake or irrelevant. I hope that isn’t happening here with me and your John Boyega tweet! It could be, of course…

        Here’s a painful example: It was difficult for me to convince hardcore Corbyn supporters (I tried once or twice) that maybe he didn’t have the best stance on Brexit, and that he has always opposed the EU — but no, “that was years ago”, “he campaigned vigorously for Britain to remain in 2016”, etc. Again, people aren’t rational and constantly deny reality. Of course, Brexit’s also a complex issue. But there’s plenty of complexity in most things, when you really start taking those things apart.

        “It is indeed quite ironic then for the OT genner to declare the Battle Droid or Jar Jar Binks as recklessly childish. And you can forget the Ewoks, which of course lead to some of of them disliking the whole of ROTJ (that one has been harder to cover-up), because the elements that appeal to a younger audience have been there from to very start, with the two droids.”

        Yup. This is very true. Droids, Jawas, clunky humour, the whole “black hat vs. white hat” dialectic of the OT… Lucas had a perfect quote on this when TPM came out and got backlash:

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/394542.stm

        “There is a group of fans for the films that doesn’t like comic sidekicks. They want the films to be tough like Terminator, and they get very upset and opinionated about anything that has anything to do with being childlike. The movies are for children but they don’t want to admit that. In the first film they absolutely hated R2 and C3-PO. In the second film they didn’t like Yoda and in the third one they hated the Ewoks… and now Jar Jar is getting accused of the same thing.”

        “Spot-on. I would argue that Revenge of the Sith is the only adult-natured Star Wars that’s been released to date. And that’s not to say all future films should strive to be this way either: it only works in Episode III because its two predecessors had worked so hard to depict a time of innocence and greater altruism – think of Padmé and the Gungans. So ROTS can indulge in all the depravities of a human civilisation because it is the payoff to those many seeds that were sowed – whether you noticed or not – in TPM and AOTC. If it had been brutal from the beginning, then audiences would surely have been numb to the tragedy in the end. In other words: less is more.”

        Let me return the compliment! You have a great reading here. ROTS is the big pay-off to the brighter, more colourful, more open-hearted, and somewhat more innocent chapters that precede it. Think Jar Jar. ROTS is broadly analogous to the final act of every SW movie (if a trilogy is itself comprised of three acts), which tends to erupt in fireworks and epic drama. Obviously, Lucas did this quite deliberately, and may even have made TPM more child-like (on the surface) to create a bold contrast. Jar Jar, for example, was not quite so extreme in his rough drafting phase. Even Qui-Gon was barely in the rough draft, only coming to the forefront as a powerful and mysterious protagonist later on. Even more than the OT (I’ll leave the ST out of it), the PT is a meticulous triptych, reminiscent of this famous painting:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Garden_of_Earthly_Delights

        “Is ROTS privileged then? Yes and no. It has the luxury to go full-on Greek tragedy as the final instalment of Lucas’s epic, but it has also earned the right: AOTC has muddied the waters and shown a Galaxy that has gravely sinned, and in jeopardy of facing the consequences.”

        Wow! Great! Loving it. I’ve long loved the following analysis/review, and the following observation, too:

        http://checkingonmysausages.blogspot.com/2009/05/examining-star-wars-saga-via-revenge-of.html

        “The audience is crying out for Anakin to be included but is powerless. The film begins to slip away from us vertiginously, as thrillingly as a rollercoaster.”

        How about you try something like that sort of analysis/celebration for your new blog? Such an article flows really well. Moreover, it probably wouldn’t be too hard to write up (you could perhaps take notes next time you sit and watch a PT movie), and your prose style, I think, is a good match. You certainly have the insight required.

        “I delight in Episode III’s Shakespearean arsenal, but am also convinced it has used those tools to extraordinary effect. In the first act it cements the great friendship between Obi-Wan and his pupil, in the second it portrayals a wicked seduction to evil and a couple undergoing the constant stress of ceaseless war, and in the third act the director is fearless is his depiction of betrayal, ruin and death. Ian, Hayden, Ewan and Natalie are at their very best in this film, and it is all too noticeable in Opera boxes, the hills of Mustafar and the corridors of Coruscant.”

        Awesome! You’re definitely a big fan of this movie. I’m not going to rain on your parade. I only find, many years later, after innumerable watches, ROTS seems to be over before it’s begun. Not sure that’s even a criticism. There’s a lot packed into it. Wonderful exegesis.

        “Themes like “Anakin’s Betrayal” and “Anakin’s Dark Deeds” are as melancholic as they are unflinching, “Padmé’s ruminations” is deeply haunting, whilst it is “Battle of the Heroes” that sets the stage for an emotional roller-coaster with promises of triumph for the forces of good. And of course the music from Qui-Gon’s funeral is reintroduced to tremendous effect, as a lament on the demise of democracy.

        I’ve gone on a detour on ROTS, haven’t I? I think I’ll shut-up now.”

        Go on as many detours as you like! I think you’ve just written — or laid out the framework — for a future blog article. Excellent work. I love the reprise of Qui-Gon’s funeral theme at the end of ROTS. Stunning work, especially the final time it is played as Padme and Anakin are shown “encapsulated” in their ultimate end-of-trilogy fates.

        Lucas couldn’t have gone out on a more devastating — or satisfying — note. That’s how you end an epic mythological yarn! If ANH was a great beginning, TESB an intense middle, and ROTJ a pleasing end, then TPM is a fantastic overture, AOTC a surreal in-betweener, and ROTS a rousing (if gut-wrenching) conclusion.

  • maychild

    Didn’t John Boyega stand up for Jar Jar at one point? Maybe it’s not great praise for the PT as a whole, but him standing up for the most viciously maligned character in it has to count for something.

      • Cryogenic

        @ Arch Duke:

        Wow! That was very awkward and super cringey!

        Gotta love the comments underneath, though. 😀

        My favourite part is probably JJ’s extremely pronounced and sudden raising of his eyebrows, like he’s just had an electric shock up his backside, when the translator utters the word “midi-chlorians” at 1:16. OMG…

        I’ve literally never seen that sort of hyper-gobsmacked/crazily-awkward expression from him before! Bizarrely hilarious.

        Then, at 1:25, he suddenly pulls his eyebrows down and grimaces in pained irritation and angry confusion. So very awkward again!

        Meanwhile, Kathleen Kennedy, at that same moment, is sat there looking really cheesed off, lightly jigging her leg while raising her eyes to the sky, like she’s saying, “Get me out of here now.”

        As for her response:

        “Well, actually, George never wrote a script for [Episodes] Seven, Eight, or Nine.”

        That is technically true, though as another commentator says, it’s essentially lying by omission. They had treatments handed to them, and Michael Arndt was, of course, working on a screenplay for Episode Seven.

        To not even mention the treatments is extremely dishonest. After all, even Kennedy has said previously that they “made some departures . . . exactly the way you would in any development process”:

        https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/05/star-wars-the-force-awakens-vanity-fair-cover

        Here, four years on, and with much that has emerged since, she seems to be taking the audience for fools. I also get the sense she seized on the patchy translation to quickly dodge the whole issue. That’s Disney’s loving diversity credo in action. If you don’t speak the same language, we’ll just stream over what you said, to wriggle out of being held to account. Nothing racist or imperialist in that whatsoever…

        Also, the ice queen doesn’t answer the last part:

        “Will it be part of Star Wars canon in the future?”

        Grrgh…

        These people.

        Credit to that guy for bringing up the whole topic and trying to elicit a reasonable answer. Kennedy was obviously in no mood to entertain his curiosity. She embodies much of the calculation and the coldness we’ve seen from Disney/LFL since Lucas sold his creation to them. Really quite sad.

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