Friday, July 18, 2008

Under the Hood: Star Wars, Episode Four

Alright, maybe it's my inner child speaking, but the movie is nearly perfect as is. The only things I'd change, script-wise, in all of 'Star Wars: A New Hope', involve Greedo and Obi-Wan.

No, no, not the "Han shot first" thing. That's a given. But that scene could stand to make it clearer that Greedo is acting on a private grudge and exceeding the orders Jabba gave him, and that Jabba's still got some mercy left in him. Otherwise Han has no motive to flee the Battle of Yavin--why would he go back to Jabba if he's been explicitly told, "It's too late [to give him the money]." Plus, it makes the scene with Jabba less redundant--if you leave that scene out, Han should just stay the hell away. If you leave it in with both scenes as scripted, you're being told twice in ten minutes that Jabba's pissed, and that Han needs to get back in his good books. The Greedo scene is all about Han's willingness to play dirty if he has to in order to win the fight, nothing more. (Which is why it's even dumber to make Greedo shoot first.)

The other thing I'd change? The fight scene between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader now looks radically out of place next to the elaborate, choreographed sequences of the other movies. Every other film, Jedi are hyper-acrobatic wuxia masters who dazzle us with epic fight Episode Four, it's two guys anemically clashing sabers together. Sure, they're both well past their prime, could use work.

Other than that, every frame is perfect.


Anonymous said...

Personally, I prefer the 'dignified' lightsaber fighting style for Jedi Masters (the young 'uns can keep the exciting stuff, that's fine). In fact, Yoda turning into Sonic the Hedgehog was my single least favourite moment in the prequels!

The deliberate style gives lightsaber duels a "I know exactly where everything in the universe is via the Force, I don't need to flail around wildly" gravitas.

Unknown said...

I'd actually like to see a single-stroke Jedi Master duel. We're told in the films that part of their combat skill lies in precognitive reflexes - seeing what's going to happen before it does, and responding. So what happens when two people who can each anticipate the other on that level duel? What if the Masters reach a level where they can follow minute-long chains of events? When Darth Vader and Obi Wan square off, they squint their eyes at each other, and maybe (cuz it's film, and there's got to be something visual) we get ghost-images of several fights overlaid on the very solid, still figures, showing possible battles they're each seeing... battles they're each actively choosing not to fight... until... STRIKE. One of them chooses the path that looks best to him, and just that quickly, it's over.