Archive for lightsaber

Favorite E3 Moment

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , on 15 May 2014 by Megan

For the sake of the fact that I already said the Mustafar Battle is my favorite climax, I will not rehash it, even though it is pretty obvious a favorite is a favorite.

But there is another battle scene in Episode III that made me sit up straight the first time, that I thought about repeatedly because it just came out of nowhere and smacked me with how awesome it was.

Your move!

Your move!

Yeah, this is the fight with Obi-Wan and Grevious, one of the only times in the prequels Lucas let us see that Obi-Wan is a master duellist. It’s frustrating how little George lets us see Obi-Wan own with a saber!

Anyway, Obi-Wan has been sent to Utapau to neutralize Grevious. Sidious doesn’t need him anymore and the Jedi play predictably right into his plans. He rents a giant bird lizard and goes off cyborg hunting.

Hmm, what should I do? I know, go in alone!

Hmm, what should I do? I know, go in alone!

The first time, I was curious about how Obi-Wan would handle the situation as soon as he found Grevious and the council of traitors. I was afraid of Boga sneezing and giving away his position — but no! Obi-Wan leaps down into the thick of his enemies. He instantly neutralizes Grevious’ guards, and Grevious reveals his ace in the hole — he knows how to saber fight, too.

YOU FOOL!

YOU FOOL!

I gasped out loud in the theater when Grevious’ arms separated and he flashed out four sabers. I was terrified when he scuttled like a spider over the floor, and I was thrilled at Obi-Wan’s pursuit that involved that dizzying fall down the Utapauan crater.

Miles of green screen....

Miles of green screen….

I loved Obi-Wan’s final encounter with him, Ewan’s working in his trademark scream, and his grimly displeased use of a blaster. “So uncivilized!” Just everything about this fight is awesome.

Honorable mention: the first shot of the movie. Episode III’s crawl is by far the weakest and dumbest of the six, and the battle quickly becomes improbable and tiresome with squeaky voiced battle droids fresh from a helium bar, but that first shot is one of the most amazing things ever, especially when combined with the soundtrack. That is just awesome, and I will never stop wanting to see it in 3D. (Screw you, Lucas!!)

Boom. Boom. Boom.

Boom. Boom. Boom.

It Makes Me Angry

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , on 17 April 2014 by Megan

A scene that makes me sad or angry — when I’ve already told you the Saddest Moment and What I Wish Didn’t Happen. And yet in the latter of those posts, I didn’t go into much detail about the E2 Atrocities, so allow me to delve! There’s only one moment in Star Wars that made me cry. However, there’s a couple that infuriate me every time I think of them . . .

These scenes are all prequel fight scenes, and most specifically those featuring Obi-Wan Kenobi. This was a problem that didn’t exist in the OT; Lucas only had two people — a good guy and a bad guy — who could use a lightsaber at all, so the fights were very straightforward. In fact, given that one duelist was old, the other had his limbs roasted off in lava, and the third was an untrained kid, these fights aren’t the eye candy they could be.

Lacking eye candy in more ways than one.

Lacking eye candy in more ways than one.

But then the prequels! For the first time, we get to see Jedi in their prime. But here’s the problem — Jedi don’t go anywhere alone. There’s always two of them. Now, a duel with three combatants is even more awesome than one with two, so that’s not hard. But what Lucas becomes utterly incompetent about is when he wants to “showcase” two of them at a time — which requires knocking the odd wheel out. And every single time, it’s Obi-Wan getting taken out like an absolute chump.

Seriously, how many times can you get kicked and not bleed?

Seriously, how many times can you get kicked and not bleed?

In Episode I, that’s all right. Obi-Wan’s a student. He and Maul are both in their physical prime, but they’re still apprentices, and it’s reasonable enough that the hotter (in more ways than one) fighter gets pushed out of the battle.

Evidenced by how hard it is to find pics of this

Evidenced by how hard it is to find pics of this

However, when this happens in Episode II, it’s flat out disgusting. Lucas wanted two things: a confrontation over blades between Anakin and Dooku, and a chance to use newfound technology to make the “wars not make one great” muppet a warrior. So once again, Obi-Wan gets kicked out of the fight. Like a puppet with its strings cut, he is completely flattened by two minor burns and is reduced to lying on the ground helplessly throwing his saber to Anakin. Anakin, by the way, who has never been an object of fantastic swordsmanship in the canon, only a brilliant pilot. Obi-Wan is far too good a Jedi to be taken in by Dooku’s mad baiting: “You disappoint me! I thought you would be better!” But Lucas needed Obi-Wan to move over. He  is supposed to be the master duelist but he spends more time on his back in Episode II than Ewan McGregor’s other movies combined (there’s a joke about his infamous sex scenes in there…).

Old habits, amiright?

Old habits, amiright?

And then the Yoda fight. What can I say? It’s sick. If I accidentally see any of it, it infuriates me to the point of nausea. It is idiotic and pointless. It’s out of character, looks foolish, and makes no sense in the arc of the story. And Obi-Wan suddenly can’t even use the Force to keep a pillar from landing on them — Yoda has to “interrupt” his fighting to do so — which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I always fast-forward this scene. When E2 was in theaters, I used to get up and stand in the lobby while it was going on. If it ever comes out in 3D (SCREW YOU GEORGE) I’ll do the same. It’s not hyperbole to call it disgusting; it fills me with overwhelming disgust.

Not lame at all...

Not lame at all…

High hopes for Episode III notwithstanding, the first thing Lucas does is have his Jedi General, this ultimate warrior do is get Force-choked, knocked down some stairs, and unrealistically squished under a fallen balcony. Seriously, the shot clearly shows him getting a broken femur, the way his leg collapses under that thing. And all this so Anakin and Dooku can exchange a few threatening words, and then have no one around to stop Anakin from killing him. There were so many other ways to handle this. Like having Obi-Wan send Anakin in after the chancellor alone while he goes to help another Jedi, perhaps?

Yes, Obi-Wan gets a brilliant fight with Grevious, and I’ll talk about that in upcoming weeks, but even skipping the slightly disturbing fact that Obi-Wan gets kicked over a ledge there too — ledges are obviously his kryptonite — that fight is totally incongruous with his fighting seen up to that point.

Let's face it, this is AWESOME

Let’s face it, this is AWESOME

Lucas wanted a brilliant duelist . . . but the brilliancy of his dueling was getting in the way of cheap story points the man was determined to crowbar in. All of this leads to the inevitable conclusion that, had the Hutt with the Death Star-sized ego been willing to let the PT be as collaborative an effort as the OT was, these later movies might have been just as awesome. Instead, however much I love these movies, however high their highs and scintillating their special effects, they remain the stiff efforts of a movie maker well past his prime and motivated by money more than the story he used to want to tell.

I have a fantasy where, in another parallel universe, Lucas didn’t try to make the PT into a one-man show. In this fantasy, they are collaborative as the originals were. As writing prep, Lucas sat down and watched the OT back to back and wrote down every potential inter-reference. Gore Verbinski directed Episode I to critical acclaim, Baz Luhrman brought Episode II to its full potential, and Christopher Nolan made Episode III gleam darkly. The special effects are eye-popping, but not expected to carry the entire show because the actors themselves — with appropriate feedback and directorial support — do what actors do best. And in those fights, those amazing, breathtaking fights, Obi-Wan doesn’t get taken out like a chump within 34 seconds every time just because Lucas wants someone to say a dumb line.

In some cases, this improves the dialogue

In some cases, this improves the dialogue

Favorite Climax

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , on 11 July 2013 by Megan

Weird question. But I have an answer, and it doesn’t even involve Return of the Jedi!

Come on, admit it, you can hear the soundtrack!

Come on, admit it, you can hear the soundtrack!

I mean, come on. As most of the internet seemed to agree as I was searching for images for this, no matter what your opinion is of the prequels, you have to agree that this is epic. One of the reasons this is one of my favorites is I had looked forward to it for so long: I remember borrowing a “Star Wars Scrapbook” from my Star Wars friend when I was about 13 and discovering that Darth Vader’s suit was necessitated by his falling into lava during his and Obi-Wan’s final climactic showdown. And at that moment, even though Obi-Wan was just this boring old guy and Vader was Vader, I wanted to see that fight.

May 19, 2005, a day I waited for for six years, was full of disappointments just like every other day of a person’s life, and the higher the anticipation, the greater the need to not have disappointments, the more disappointments flock in. This is so true that when the film broke just as it was about to start, I almost started laughing in the theater. Yes, no joke: two theaters, midnight showing, rabid Star Wars fans, movie anticipated for minimum six years, and the film broke just as it started. I kept quoting the line from Galaxy Quest, “I mean, this is unreal! They’re going to start eating each other out there!”

Anyway, as we got close to 3 AM, as the camera swept in to Mustafer, I began easing closer and closer to the edge of my seat. This was it. This was the moment I had wanted to see since I was thirteen. I had imaged it,  pictured it, satirized it: the fight over lava. And it was an entire planet (moon) of lava! Awesome! “You will try,” Anakin intoned like a death demon,  and suddenly the soundtrack burst into life. To this day, “Anakin vs. Obi-Wan” is my favorite track on a soundtrack, ever. It’s just thrilling. And the fight was thrilling.

That was one thing that did not disappoint me that night. The lightsaber duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan was exactly how I had imagined it. (Even, frighteningly enough, including a sequence of rope-swinging, which I had put into a song parody about the fight two years before.) And that crash of sabers in front of the volcanic geyser — I’m almost convinced that’s exactly what I saw in my mind’s eye the first time I read about their final confrontation. Obi-Wan’s final monologue and picking up of Anakin’s saber just completes it. This is a fight I can never watch without my pulse racing, without leaning closer to the screen. Which makes it all the more irritating how they spliced in fights of Palpatine and gross Yoda fighting! So enjoy this masterful YouTube cut that has the entire Obi-Wan/Anakin scene without any green trolls to bother you.

The Moment That Made You Fall in Love

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , , on 10 January 2013 by Megan

I described last week how the first time I saw A New Hope, it was just another movie, albeit a good one. And albeit the fact that we watched it again the next day, around 10 AM on a Thursday during the school year — unheard of! — and that I was in to it enough before the next two films that Mom let me watch Oprah to see Artoo and Chewbacca with Billy Dee Williams. I’m probably the only person alive who heard Billy Dee interviewing about his experiences as Lando (driving his kids to school and being yelled at by schoolchildren because he betrayed Han) before I even got close to seeing the movie.

But Return of the Jedi made me fall in love. Unlike A New Hope — it took me years to see the 1977 theatrical cut of that — we didn’t own ESB and ROTJ. Mom rented them, actually going into the actual video rental place to get them. I remember this clearly, sitting in the car while she ran inside and came back with the cataract opaque box holding the VHS tape. Just one. See, she hid the fact that she got Jedi at the same time — after we watched ESB, I was freaking out over having to wait until next week’s trip to town to see ROTJ. Playing The Island of Dr. Brain that afternoon, I called Mom in to look at one of the Sierra company’s click-jokes — when you right-clicked on Dr. Brain’s hut on the island level, it popped up saying, “Don’t mess with Jabba the Hut!” And I said, “I never got that before!” And Mom got a downright mischievous look on her face and said, “You want to see what he looks like?” And she brought the ROTJ tape out of the closet where she’d hidden it! Eleven-year-old MIND BLOWN.

Return of the Jedi just somehow took over my heart in a way the others had not.

org_noj_19

Maybe it was this moment.

perso_skywalker_luke_19

No, no, I bet it was this moment.

perso_skywalker_luke_18

THIS. THIS MOMENT RIGHT HERE.

When it got to the final showdown, the Emperor’s form revealed, Luke’s unconditional love for his father and determination to save him despite Vader having done nothing to warrant the saving . . . I don’t know if I was on the edge of my seat, but my pulse was probably racing by the end. Maybe it’s because I’d never watched a trilogy before, or even a movie where everything didn’t get tied up by the credits. The resolution was so drawn out, and the happy ending so out of reach — and I knew all about Greek myths and probably unconsciously recognized the signs. Greek myths don’t end well. Did I really think Luke was going to die? I don’t think so, but I really thought Lando and the Falcon were.

ROTJ has everything, but the last 45 minutes are what really did it for me. Most specifically: there’s that part, right after Luke stops short of killing Vader, and he looks at his hand and realizes Vader’s hand was also mechanical. He sees the road he is on, and he stands up and throws away his saber. It makes the most incredible, final clunking sound. “No,” he says, with the weight of every world in the universe in the word. “You failed, your highness. I am a Jedi. Like my father before me.” And he indicates Vader as he says it. His father is a Jedi, he affirms, not the irredeemable machine-monster his teachers told him Vader was. Luke stands, defenseless, prepared, adrenaline filling his eyes with brightness, and the Emperor just looks at him with  enough cold hate to fill a black hole. “So be it, Jedi.” He spits each word as though it is a hot coal. The scene cuts back to Endor, the tension almost at a breaking point.

That — that was the moment. There was no escape from that point, from being a dedicated Star Warrior for life. After the credits started, I remember going to walk back upstairs and stopping to look at the moon, just coming up over the horizon at the end of our front acreage; I looked at it through the cut glass of the front door, and then — we had the telescope in the living room with the green filter on — I went and just stared at the moon for a long time, unable to stop thinking about the movie. It took me close to a year to love Luke (like every fanboy, I spent my early obsession on Han before realizing he was too unreachable), but even without my knowing or understanding, it was Luke in the last 45 minutes of Return of the Jedi that made me fall in love with Star Wars — not all that it is, but all it could be.

Lightsaber

Posted in Spotlight with tags , , , , , on 6 January 2013 by Megan

Since I am trying to revitalize some life into SWL, allow me to copy this post from my main blog, Hundredaire Socialite, and tell you all about the greatest purchase I have ever made, which came in last month. (I have trimmed the post for relevance; there is a link to the original at the end.)

I’ve been waiting for days now, breathless with anticipation, for the mail lady to get to the door and deliver, finally, my package! And now it’s here! It finally came! I’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting . . . and ta da!!

IMG_3623

The long awaited-for package!

IMG_3624

Reveals official ThinkGeek AAA’s! WOO HOO!

Okay, yes, that joke was funnier in my head when I did it in realtime for Mom earlier as well, but I wanted to keep it anyway. And I will keep it and there’s nothing you can do about it! Anyway, official ThinkGeek batteries are cool, despite your petty skepticism that I could possibly have this level of excitement over a couple of AAAs. Well, you’re probably right about that. All right, I won’t tease, although the batteries were part of my order: here is the actual package that I’ve been waiting for.

IMG_3625

It’s short for a stormtrooper, but still nearly as tall as I am.

Between being depressed about my life not being where I wanted it to be by now, and just generally hurting over Zoë not being around, and after all the disappointments and pains and nothing going right this whole stupid year, I wanted to do something awesome. I wanted a pick-me-up. Yes, the last two years have been rotten, particularly this one, but at least! And maybe ThinkGeek’s free shipping and a $10/off coupon and their super epic clearance sale were not a good combination, but I have no regrets. Now that my oversized package is here, open, assembled, played with, photographed, photoshopped, etc., I definitely know I don’t have the slightest fragment of regret and will say with confidence: best. hundred dollars. ever.

I tore into the five foot long package eagerly while Mom stood by with a bemused expression.

IMG_3633

So — much — shiny

It is even more glorious than I ever thought it would be. Now, naturally, I’d have preferred Luke’s ROTJ saber, but this one does technically double as Anakin’s (even though they sell two models — they sell this as Luke’s ANH saber, Anakin’s E3 saber, and also Darth Vader’s saber, which are all practically identical). It came assembled, but by the time I took this picture, I’d already dismantled it.

IMG_3628

Basement Cat: The True Lord of the Sith

Haiku came in to investigate what was going on and she was nowhere near impressed, although she did briefly get excited over the styrofoam. Other than that, it hasn’t earned her seal of approval. She sat watching me with annoyance for just about the duration of my sorting out battery insertion, blade attachment and removal, removing stickers, polishing the surface . . . She left by the time I really got camera happy.

IMG_3630

Not the most photogenic room ever, but I believe you get the point.

But yes. I finally, finally have my very own lightsaber. After years of covering broomsticks with construction paper and duck tape, my aluminum-foil covered paper towel tubes with scrap metal and plastic gems inside, my corny plastic collapsible children’s toys, I finally have a saber. It’s not a prop replica because the electronics means it has to be slightly larger — and it is an awkward size to hold — but it is generally as accurate to the film as possible. Plus it came with its own stand and belt hook, and the stand has a compartment where the cap (for when the blade is detached) or the belt hook can go when not in use. The saber makes all sorts of sounds — igniting, deactivating, idling, swinging, striking, plus, if you try to switch it on while the blade is removed, it makes a sputtering short circuit noise. And when the blade is removed or put back into place, it makes quiet connection noises. Yes, I spent about 20 minutes waving it around. It is far more than I had even thought it would be, and, for your information, I am completely comfortable walking around wearing it for the rest of my entire life.

via Batteries are the Best. To see the complete gallery of lightsaber images, click here.

Quick-n-dirty DIY Lightsaber

Posted in Fun with tags , , , , on 18 November 2011 by Megan

What’s more fun than building your own lightsaber? That’s right. There isn’t anything more fun! cjanson, clever and brilliant individual that he is, has put some instructions online for a $33 lightsaber you can make in 33 minutes if you’re reasonably dexterous.

Anyway, check it out guys, ’cause it’s fun, and it’s never too early to start planning next year’s costume, amiright? This is one of the better / least involved lightsaber DIY projects I’ve encountered, so it’s totally worth it.

For $33? I'll take it!

For $33? I’ll take it!

  • 33-minute lightsaber (here)
  • Sweet cheap Boba Fett helmet (here)
  • A gorgeous Jawa ion blaster (here)
  • And a Sand Person costume you’ll enjoy (here)

I didn’t have time to do a lot of digging, but as you can see, there’s some sweet and/or exciting stuff out there, so check it out! And remember you can send me pics of your cosplay ;-)

The Cake and Cakes

Posted in Spotlight with tags , , , on 15 May 2011 by Megan

Well, happy this First of the Month that is Star Wars Month. I hope you plan to enjoy it. Today, I’d like to talk to do my spotlight on cakes, because we associate cake with celebration, and what’s worth celebrating more than Star Wars?

My source for these cakes is the great Cake Wrecks blog. I’m not going to show you wrecked SW cakes today, it doesn’t seem in the spirit, but you can see some (here) if you want. The rest are just awesome, worthy of the name, definitely.

This is one of my favorites.

A Star Wars birthday cake

This sweet treat is by Donna Makes Cakes.

The lettering, the gumpaste figures, it’s all adorable! I could go for a birthday cake like this. The only thing that could improve it is if it had galactic blue velvet cake inside.

Now, I’m not planning to get married anytime, well, ever, but if I did, I’d have to seriously consider this awesome wedding cake.

Star Wars Wedding Cake

Delicious and made by the Cake Company

As we all should know, the Episode II Tenth Anniversary is coming up next year, and the year after that is Return of the Jedi‘s Thirtieth. By then, I should probably have gained enough skill to execute a similar cake to this awesome one dedicated to the joy of Jawas . . .

Awesome Jawa Cake

This adorable goodie was made by Sweet Libertine Cakes

I do like a nice Jawa. Plus, when I finally open my Star Wars-themed bookstore/cafe (Jawa Java . . . or Jawas & Java), it can be the ribbon-cutting cake! I love the black candles that look like debris, and the Graham cracker sand.

Onto some spacecraftery . . . Here’s a great Star Destroyer.

Star Destroyer Cake

This delightful Destroyer was made by Charm City Cakes

Lastly, I’d like to share with you with a very special cake, which is one my friends and I made for the Episode I Tenth Anniversary.

10th Anniversary Cake

The Episode I Tenth Anniversary Cake

We made this cake out of your standard store mix, cut it into sections, then dyed cream cheese icing to use for the detail. The Haiku, by the way, is from another Star Wars site I used to hang out on, and I’ll detail that again sometime.

Other details of our celebration are as follows.

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To eat, we had yummy Jawa eyes (peach jello in an illuminated bowl), plus various chips and candies (mynock eggs), plus Yoda-sausage-in-a-blanket and Quarren arm fries. Entertainment consisted of watching Episode I, and then playing Star Wars Life. We had Tatooine Sunrises to drink (ginger ale and orange juice) and listened to the E1 soundtrack. That was a good time. If you’d like to mimic our cake-making ability, haha, here’s a great little video I made of the process.

And that’s all for now! May the Force be with you!