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Star Wars - John C. Kirk

Sep. 30th, 2006

09:41 pm - Star Wars

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Following on from my trip to see "One Man Star Wars" last weekend, I've just been watching Star Wars Shortened on Sky. This is a similar premise, where the three guys from the Reduced Shakespeare Company perform all six films in 20 minutes. I actually liked this better than the theatre performance, due to their different style. For instance, their version of episode V is almost entirely taken up by a dramatic reading of "Ode to a fallen AT-AT". They alternate between performing short scenes and discussing the films in the form of a lecture, although even when they're out of character they still use quotes from the films, e.g. "I've got a bad feeling about this..." It's delightfully low budget, with costumes/props that have been cobbled together, or left over from the toys the actors owned as kids.

After doing the six films separately, they then performed all six put together in 60 seconds, and you can view that on the Sky Movies website (that video uses Media Player). If you're less bothered about copyright issues, I believe that you can also find copies of the whole thing on YouTube, but I won't include any direct links to those here. Oh alright, I'll provide one - here's an interview they did on Sky News. Anyway, well worth watching if you get the chance (based on the people who I think are likely to be reading this).

I never got round to posting a proper review of Revenge of the Sith after I saw it last year, but one question which did occur to me at the time - what exactly did the prophecy mean when it said that Anakin was supposed to bring balance to the Force? I.e. balance between what and what? If it said "He will destroy the dark side", then I can see the Jedi council being all in favour, but if it says that he'll put the Light side and the Dark side at equal strength then this might not be such a great thing...

I've also been pondering which order it's best to see the films in. I started out by seeing Return of the Jedi at the cinema, then saw A New Hope on TV afterwards, and didn't get round to watching The Empire Strikes Back until a few years later. I then watched the prequel films in the order they were released, although I think that I've only seen each one once so far. If someone was completely new to the series, and didn't know anything about it (specifically the Skywalker family tree), which order would it be best to watch them in? The order that they were filmed in, or chronological order for the characters? When I've come to a book series late, I've favoured chronological order (thinking about the Stainless Steel Rat and Miles Vorkosigan series) rather than publication order, so maybe that would be best here too? I re-watched the remastered version of Return of the Jedi on DVD with rjw1 a while back, and I found that it was a stronger film when I could think back to corresponding scenes in episodes I/II.

What order should someone see the Stars Wars films in for the first time?

I-VI
2(20.0%)
IV-VI, then I-III
7(70.0%)
Other
1(10.0%)


I still don't have my own copy of the films, so at least I've avoided the trap of buying 5 different versions like some people I know :) My new plan is to wait for the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD version, so that I can hopefully get all six on one disk. Ditto for Lord of the Rings - even if that's just one film per disk, I think that would be better than the current split.

Speaking of Blu-Ray, what I'd really like to see is box-sets of seasons being released in a condensed form, i.e. going for quantity rather than quality - if you can get 50 hours to a disk, that would cover two seasons of a standard American SF series. I used to say that Babylon 5 would be my "killer app" for DVDs - I didn't buy the VHS tapes because I was waiting for the DVD versions to come out, and although I didn't actually own a DVD player at the time I said that I would buy one just to watch them. As it's turned out, I never followed through on that, but I'll make the same plan now for the next generation. Mind you, I'll wait until the price drops a bit - Amazon are currently selling a player for £999.99! And speaking of Amazon (UK), I was amused to see that searching their site for Blu-Ray returned The Smurfs - Baby Smurf on VHS in its top 10 results.

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Comments:

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From:totherme
Date:October 2nd, 2006 11:01 am (UTC)
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I've always been of the opinion that it's best to read in the order stuff was written, as far as is practical. That way you catch litirary references, etc. Sometimes, if the author is good, you have to re-read stuff in the light of things you discovered later - but this is a good thing :)

As for the prophesy - working on the basis that it's more fun, and leads to a happier life to stitch up plot holes than to prise them open:

I suspect that there's nothing intrinsically good or evil about light and dark. Good and evil are human concepts, but the Force is universal, as is light and darkness. You only get unpleasantness when the two energies are in conflict. So the status quo at the beginning of the prequals is that there is a conflict between those who study light, at the expense of ever being able to express themselves (they're not allowed love, remember), and those who study darkness, and revel in their emotions, at the expense of being very dangerous to be around. The problem is that there's no-one about with the capability to unify these bodies of knowledge. The prophesy expresses the inevitability that someone will eventually figure it out, and thus end the conflict.

Not that the jedi necessarily all entirely understand that prophesy of course ;) It could be argued that Qui-Gon came to understand it after death and that this might explain the more bizzare actions of the likes of Obi-Wan in the original trilogy. Perhaps they deliberately put Luke through that emotional roller-coaster so as to make him understand how powerful and important his feelings were, but in a less Sithy way than the emperor would have...

Just a thought, anyway :)
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From:pozorvlak
Date:October 2nd, 2006 01:45 pm (UTC)
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Or there's the more straightforward interpretation: Vader brought balance to the Force by killing all but two of the Light Jedi, and the Jedi didn't realise this until too late :-) But I like the fourth paragraph in totherme's comment.

Order: how about IV, V, I, II, III, VI? So the Vader's-childhood bit becomes an extended flashback? Of course, it could be argued that the best order is IV, V, VI, stop. :-)
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From:johnckirk
Date:October 10th, 2006 12:03 am (UTC)
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Perhaps they deliberately put Luke through that emotional roller-coaster so as to make him understand how powerful and important his feelings were, but in a less Sithy way than the emperor would have...

There's a comic strip I've just read along similar lines:
http://www.shortpacked.com/d/20050523.html
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