The 30 Best Things About Star Wars

الثلاثاء، 28 مايو 2013
JediPosterThis past Saturday Return of the Jedi celebrated the 30th anniversary of its release. While Jedi is often overshadowed by the first two films of the original trilogy, there’s a lot to love in the formerly final Star Warsfilm. Sadly, I forgot to get Jedi a birthday present, so it’ll just have to make do with this love letter instead. Here are my 30 favorite things about Return of the Jedi.
James Earl Jones
He’s awesome in all three films, but his appearance opens up Jedi, and he is in fine form. It’s amazing how threatening he can make simple phrases like “Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them,” or “The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.” There are plenty of reasons why they should never remake theStar Wars films, but trying to find a better voice for Darth Vader has to be near the top of the list.
How can you not love ‘em? They’re supposed to be guards, but I’m pretty sure a two-year-old could outrun them and kill Jabba five or six times while they’re having a heart attack in the palace entryway. Somebody get those poor guys a treadmill or something.
Jabba’s Droid Torture Chamber
It makes no sense when you think about it for any length of time at all, but I love the over-the-top cruelty of a droid torture chamber. Couldn’t you just program them with a “CONSTANT SEARING PAIN” subroutine and save on labor costs? Not if you’re Jabba the Hutt, you couldn’t.
“Boba Fett? Boba Fett? Where?”
I was forced to suffer through the special edition Blu-ray for this article, and I’d forgotten how much more obnoxious Fett’s appearances are after George Lucas’ latter-day tinkerings. It’s a classic case of “less is more”…which is a lesson I wish Lucas had embraced sometime in the early 1990s. Still, I do love Boba Fett’s ignominious departure into the belly of the Sarlacc. And don’t give me that whole “But in the Expanded Universe he…” nonsense. I don’t care what happened to him later. He got knocked into a giant space vagina by a blind man, and that’s not the sort of thing you can live down.
Pictured: one chump.

Jabba the Hutt
Thankfully I scorched out the part of my brain that remembered Jabba’s godawful retroactive CGI appearance in A New Hope, so in my universe he exists only as a big, gorgeous, amazing, slimy slug puppet, just as the Force intended. The laugh, the diet, the tendency to make passes at chained, bikini-clad human women I’m not even sure he has the correct parts to interface with…he’s all class, that Jabba.
Luke Skywalker: Jedi Knight
It’s hard to believe that the starry-eyed farm boy from A New Hope could ever become a confident, capable Jedi knight, but that’s what we get when Luke arrives at Jabba’s palace. He strolls in like he owns the place, Force-choking Gamorreans here, Jedi mind-tricking a Twi’lek there, generally acting like he grew a pair of shy brass balls in the aftermath of Empire. The badassery of his reintroduction, and the entire scheme to rescue Han, proves how far he has come.
The Gold Bikini
That thing about how a picture is worth a thousand words? I think they may have underestimated.
The outfit that launched a thousand puberties.

Sad Rancor Keeper
Sure, it was trying to eat Luke, but it was just a Rancor being a Rancor! Seriously, when that chubby dude tears up, it’s worse than the end of Old Yeller.
R2′s Lightsaber Toss
The humans may get most of the attention during the fight above the Sarlacc pit, but it wouldn’t have been possible without a single magnificent toss from our spunky resident astromech droid. Plus, you know he held onto the tips he got while impersonating a bartender on Jabba’s sail barge.
Old Yoda
He doesn’t get as much screen time in Jedi as he does in Empire, but it’s still amazing how much life they poured into that puppet. Revisiting these scenes made the CGI Yoda from the prequels look that much more glossy and soulless in comparison. When 900 years old you reach, look as good as Yoda you will not.
Obi Wan Is a Dick
The prequels did a fine job of ruining much of the mystique and grandeur of the Jedi order, but let’s not forget that Obi-Wan was acting the dick long before our eyes bled at the sight of Jar-Jar Binks. When Luke confronts Ben about not only forgetting to mention that whole “Darth Vader is your dad” thing, but outright lying about Anakin Skywalker’s fate, Ben is totally unapologetic. That “from a certain point of view’ line is B.S. and you know it, Kenobi. At the very least you could have done a brother a solid and told Luke, “Hey, don’t make out with Leia. Just trust me.”
Such a dick.

Han Giving Lando the Millennium Falcon Keys
There are a lot of “bad feelings about this” in the Star Wars universe, but the queasy look on Han’s face as he hands his beloved Millennium Falcon over to Lando suggests this one may be the very worst. It’s a feeling anybody who ever handed a friend the keys to a beloved car can sympathize with.
C-3PO in the Jungle
You have to admire the sheer audacity of donning camouflage for a sneak attack on the shield generator…and then bringing along a shiny gold droid.
Han Solo: Comic Relief
Han loses a bit of his rugged badassery in Jedi, because hey, being frozen in carbonite takes a lot out of a guy. Still, even though he spends a lot of time as comic relief here, at least he sells those moments. From “I don’t know, fly casual” to “Hey…it’s me!” Han is the most consistently funny part of Jedi. And it’s not all just down to dialogue, either. Harrison Ford’s smug, almost apologetic shrug after Han’s ruse lures the remaining Imperials out of the shield bunker and into a trap perfectly encapsulates the Han we know and love.
Speeder Bikes
Still one of the coolest inventions in all of science fiction-dom, and the core of a chase sequence that’s still absolutely thrilling even three decades later. Some people want flying cars or starships or hoverboards. Me, I’d be content if I could just get a speeder bike. First thing I’d do? Weld some friggin’ rearview mirrors onto the damn thing.
At least everybody’s wearing a helmet.

Ewoks. You heard me.
I used to hate on the Ewoks, like every fanboy did before being exposed to Gungans and realizing how good we’d had it. Even if they did foreshadow the madness that would overcome Lucas and give birth to the worst aspects of the prequels, I still have to appreciate the fact that they were cuddly, adorable teddy bears…who attempted to cook and eat Luke, Han, and Chewie. If they weren’t easily distracted by shiny objects, the Rebellion could have met a very, very embarrassing end.
“It is…too late for me, son.”
The first time Luke and Vader face each other after the events on Bespin is a quiet and tragic struggle between Luke’s faith that there is still good in Vader, and Vader’s resignation that he is too far down the Dark path to be saved. It’s the first moment we see doubt or vulnerability in Vader, and it perfectly sets up the climactic events to come.
Ian McDiarmid
He chews the scenery with gusto as Emperor Palpatine, alternately sadistic, mocking, and condescending, but always having a great time of it. Sure, there’s that old maxim that nobody ever believes they’re the villain, but McDiarmid’s Emperor is the exception. You get the impression that this guy has no illusions whatsoever about the nobility of his cause. He’s capital-E Evil…and he’s loving every minute of it. Plus: one of the best evil laughs in the business.
He enjoys his job.

The “You rebel scum” Guy
It’s amazing how a performance can lodge in your brain with the tiniest of actions. I couldn’t tell you the name of the actor who sneers the above line at Han after the Imperials recapture the shield generator. But if you quoted the line, I’m pretty sure I could draw his face from memory.
The Three-Pronged Third Act
While the scenes on the Death Star between Luke, Vader, and the Emperor are the emotional heart of the movie, they’re interspersed masterfully with the rousing ground battle on Endor and a multi-stage, all-out space battle up above. The pacing as the three settings interweave is perfectly handled, never staying in one spot for too long, and keeping you invested in every element.
That Thing’s Operational!
“I am your father” gets all the attention when it comes to Star Wars twists, but the Emperor’s reveal of his Death Star Surprise was pretty great the first time around too. And again, it comes back to McDiarmid: he spits that line out with such delicious evil glee, you almost want him to win.
It’s a trap!
It’s a friggin’ meme. What more is there to say?
We know, we know.

Chewie Hijacks an AT-ST
I don’t know why he brought the two Ewoks along, but the sight of him yelling Wookiee profanity at them after they start futzing around with the controls of a newly vacated AT-ST always makes me laugh. And you’ve got to love the moment where Han and Leia think they’re boned, onto to have Chewie pop up out of the hatch.
“I love you.” “I know.”
Leia and Han’s exchange before he’s frozen in carbonite is one of the most iconic moments in movie history, and scientifically proven to melt the hearts of many of my fangirl friends, but nobody ever mentions the nice little reversal the couple has in Jedi. It’s a small note that lets Leia shine as a strong, capable character, the sort who you believe could verbally dress down a Wookiee, and you totally get why Han fell for the Princess. Aside from how well she pulls off the gold bikini, I mean.
Han Blows Up Everything
The final moment when Han and the rebels blow up the shield generator doesn’t disappoint, with the building going up in a truly massive explosion that seems to consume a huge swath of Endorian forest…while Han watches from like ten feet away.
“Intensify forward firepower!”
I don’t know what that random Rebel pilot was thinking as his fighter spun out of control into the bridge of a Star Destroyer…but I like to think the last thing he saw was the surprised looks on the Imperial officers’ faces as they soiled themselves.
Like a boss.

Lando Makes It Out…Just Barely
I’m sure Han was glad to see his buddy alive and everything, but you know there’s gonna be some fire damage that he’s never going to let Lando live down.
Vader vs. Luke vs. Palpatine
There’s too much brilliance in the climactic scenes on the Death Star to single out one or two or even a dozen. It is, stem to stern, one of those perfect cinematic experiences that excels on every level. The saber battle in Empire might be more impressive from an action standpoint, but this sequence has all the emotional weight of the trilogy weighing down on it, and it positively sings. The moment where Vader taunts Luke with his discovery of Leia and Luke comes unhinged is one of my favorite on-screen moments of all time. John Williams’ score swells as Luke’s rage erupts, and we see Luke truly losing control, hammering Vader over and over he takes the Sith Lord’s hand…only to stop short of falling completely. The long seconds as Vader watches his son writhe beneath Palpatine’s lightning, the way you can see the internal struggle purely through the body language of David Prowse inside the suit. The final point of decision where he lifts his former master overhead and tosses him to his doom. There are no misfires, no jarring notes; it’s simply perfect. (So perfect I could almost forgive Lucas for the added “NOOOOOO!” line for Vader in the most recent special editions. Almost.)
Luke Meets Anakin
Sebastian Shaw had a lot to live up to during his brief screentime in Jedi. He had to literally put a face to the name “Anakin Skywalker,” and wrap up the final, cathartic redemption of Darth Vader. He’s so good during his brief moments with Mark Hamill, it’s all the more unforgivable that his beautiful coda as a Force ghost alongside Ben and Yoda has been replaced…with Hayden fucking Christensen. George Lucas, I can forgive a lot of things, but I can’t forgive that.
Hayden Christensen can suck it.

Vader’s Funeral Pyre
Let us all take a moment to thank whatever higher powers may exist that Lucas hasn’t tampered with this scene yet. It’s simple, it’s understated, and it’s a touching end to the story of Anakin Skywalker.

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