I think the prequels have been out long enough to warrant some “old” cast photos.
Month: April 2020
Whatever Wednesday: Star Wars…in Pancakes
I found this on Starwars.com. Weird, but amazing.
Tuesday Tidbit: Padme or Sabe?
Monday Musings: What I Love About the Prequels
Okay, so I’m going to be upfront about this here: I’ve never been a huge fan of the prequels.
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Let me explain!
So I was a kid when the original trilogy came out, and to me, it was the coolest thing since pockets. Those films engraved themselves on my young mind permanently, and not much else could live up to them.
So when the prequels came out, I was in my late twenties. I went to the movie theater to watch all three films with my young stepson, and he loved them. He was a kid, and like me before him, they impressed themselves on his awe-struck mind. Me? Not so much. Sure, there were great special effects. Dizzying lightsaber duels. And hello? Darth Vader’s backstory. But no “original” characters for me to connect with. And I was a little too old to get the hots for Hayden Christensen. Well, maybe not, but it just didn’t happen. They just didn’t capture me.
Well, it’s been over 20 years, and I think it’s time for a re-evaluation. I’m determined to love everything about Star Wars, and though I may not have adored the prequels, I thought I’d rewatch them and see what I can find to love.
Here’s what I found:
- Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi. If hots were to be had, it’s for this guy. He was perfect as Obi-Wan, right down to Alec Guinness’ accent. I also love that attack stance of his.
- General Grievous. I can’t help it, I get a kick out of this guy.
- Those gold headsets. Anakin and Obi-Wan look like princes with gold headbands. In fact, everything about this world is pristine, slick, and stream-lined. It glitters. It’s a different look from the run-down, cobbled-together look of the Rebellion, and it’s nice to see for a change.
- Padme’s wardrobe.This girl’s got my vote for Best-Dressed out of the entire Star Wars saga. Whether as Queen of Naboo, a Republic Senator, or Anakin’s wife, she’s gorgeous and dressed to the nines. Even fighting and wounded. Even first thing in the morning. Even pregnant. Even dead. GORGEOUS.
- Badass Yoda. CGI Yoda rocks. I loved watching him flit around with his lightsaber fighting Count Dooku, and then Palpie.
- Palpie with a lightsaber. We’re so used to seeing the Emperor just sitting on his throne in his dark hood, cackling, we forget that he’s a Sith Lord with lightsaber skills. So cool to see him batting around that lightsaber against Windu, and then Yoda.
- John Williams’ soundtrack. John Williams is a genius no matter what the trilogy, and we know we’re watching Star Wars with this soundtrack. The choral work in ROTS is wonderful, like a Greek chorus singing the tragedy that is inevitable. Fabulous.
- Revenge of the Sith. Clearly the best of the trilogy. No wincing whatsoever. It’s like the two previous films were throat-clearing, and now we’re finally at the heart of the story. The final battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin is epic, and watching Anakin become Vader is tragic and disturbing. (My only problem with ROTS is the handling of Padme, which you can read about in my Women of Star Wars series.)
So, upon re-evaluation, I have to conclude that I do, indeed, like the prequels. In fact,
Do you have a particular trilogy in Star Wars you’re not a big fan of? Any chance of finding something to love? It’s worth a re-evaluation, because, hey, it’s STAR WARS! Comment below and we’ll talk about!
Saturday Survey: Who’s Your Favorite Alien?
There are a TON of aliens in Star Wars, of course, and these are just off the top of my head and some of my favorites. I could have included Yoda, Chewie, The Child, Grievous, the list goes on and on. Which would you pick? If they’re not on the list, write them in the comments below!
If you don’t know the species of your favorite, here’s a handy list:
Friday Focus: Padme-Casualty of Love
Here is the latest installment of my Women of Star Wars series.
Ah, Padme. I have so many conflicting feelings about this character.
Clearly, she’s an intelligent, capable woman. We meet her in The Phantom Menace as the Queen of Naboo (an elected position, despite its title), at a very young age, perhaps 15 or so. She’s smart enough to have a decoy to protect herself and throw off adversaries. She’s decisive and strong-willed. She’s brave, leading the attack to take back her position and oust the Trade Federation. She can also hold up 50lb headresses–now that’s a tough woman!
We see more of the same in Attack of the Clones, particularly in the Battle of Geonosis. But she’s also a Senator of the Republic, once her term as Queen of Naboo ends. She’s still a woman of importance, a woman to be reckoned with, even though still quite young. Even when she and Anakin are obviously falling in love on Naboo, she’s clear-headed and tries to resist giving in to her feelings. She knows what the consequences will be. Whereas Anakin, impetuous as ever, is willing to give in to his passions and throw caution to the wind. When they get married at the end of the film, you start having a bad feeling about this.
I get it, she’s pregnant and can’t very well go on dangerous missions or adventures. And I’m not saying she needs to be wielding a blaster to be strong or essential. That doesn’t mean she can’t contribute something to the film or do something halfway useful. In conversation with Anakin, she tells him she wants to go back to Naboo and have their baby there, because she doubts the Queen would let her continue as a Senator on Coruscant. Um, why? Because she’s pregnant? Maybe there’s some cultural Naboo thing I don’t know about, but this didn’t make any sense to me, and it kind of offended me.
I feel bad for Natalie Portman, because the filmmakers didn’t give her character anything to do in this third, and pretty damn important, installment of the series. She is now officially just “Anakin’s wife” and “Luke and Leia’s doomed mother”, and really just a placeholder in the story. I hate to say it, but she’s a crying Barbie doll in this movie, and it really pissed me off. After strong, capable Padme in the first two films, this is what she’s reduced to?
Understandably, with nothing to do and a child on the way, Padme is feeling lost and vulnerable. She doesn’t know what’s going on with Anakin, but feels there’s something off, not quite right. She weeps. She stares off into the distance. She waits for men to come and go to her. This image of Padme disappoints me.
Just because she’s in love and pregnant means she’s falling apart? I’m not sure what I can suggest for a better storyline for her, but surely she deserves better.
And then, at the end of the film when she’s giving birth to the twins, the medical droid states that she’s otherwise healthy, but she’s dying anyway. She’s “lost the will to live.” Yeah, okay, her husband has turned to the Dark Side and it’s broken her heart, but excuse me, you HAVE BABIES that need you. You have something left of what Anakin once was in his children, but they’re not enough? I’m sorry, but this doesn’t ring true for me. Early Padme would NEVER have given up.
I can’t help but conclude that the filmmakers simply didn’t know what to do with Padme in the third film, didn’t have the time, or take the time, to be true to her character, and reduced her to a frustrating stereotype. This is extremely disappointing and kind of unforgivable, considering that Star Wars has done a pretty good job overall with its female characters over the years; even Padme from the first two films is admirable and fairly three-dimensional.
Revenge of the Sith is my favorite movie out of the prequels, but this one thing–the mishandling of Padme–is my one sticking point. Yes, her death is tragic and moving and so forth, but it would have carried more weight if she’d been allowed to be a fully realized human being rather than the starry-eyed girl who thinks of nothing but her lover.
I get it–she’s young and love is blind, but I can’t help feeling that Padme was wasted on Anakin. She’s far his superior in character, temperament, and intellect. She fell in love with his looks, his charm, and maybe even his vulnerabilities–and it proved to be her undoing. Tragic, indeed.
What do you think of Padme Amidala? Did the filmmakers do her justice in ROTS? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!
Throwback Thursday: We love him. He Knows.
Grumpy Harrison Ford sometimes makes me wonder why I ever loved him.
Ah, now I remember.
Whatever Wednesday: Cassian Andor-The Spy
I’ve written quite a bit about Jyn Erso from Rogue One (in my Monday Musings and Friday Focus), but in truth, Cassian Andor is my favorite character from Rogue One. I could listen to Diego Luna talk all day.
(Spy Featurette from Rogue One blue-ray courtesy of mranderson00001.)
Who was your favorite character from Rogue One?
Tuesday Tidbit: Rey hears Old Ben
Clever! I did not know that.
Did you hear it? I’ll have to rewatch and listen…
Monday Musings: Rogue One Novelization (Or, Jyn Part 2)
I just finished reading the Rogue One novelization by Alexander Freed, and I have to say, though I enjoyed it, I’m not sure if “book Jyn” is the same person as “movie Jyn.”
Here’s what I mean. The same events happen to her as in the movie, the same origins, and the same end. Everything’s the same on the outside. On the inside of Jyn’s mind and heart, however, I saw a different person than I saw onscreen.
In the movie, Jyn is an emotionally distant criminal with no allegiances. She’s hurt and bewildered by her mother’s death and her father’s and Saw’s abandonment. It makes her bitter and hardened, distrustful.
In the book, Jyn is not merely bitter–she’s a raging inferno of hate. She hates everyone and everything, but especially her father, Galen Erso. Seriously, if Jyn was a Force user, she’d have turned to the Dark Side almost immediately. She spits anger and hatred and distrust almost constantly, a tensed animal ready to spring into violence.
I was a little unsettled by this version of Jyn. While I perfectly understood it, it was at odds with the Jyn I saw portrayed by Felicity Jones onscreen. Maybe it’s Jones’ lovely face that made me feel there was more hurt and loneliness behind her heart than hatred. A silly tendency, maybe; but Jones is a wonderful actress, and I seriously doubt she misunderstood the character.
That means the author decided to go deep into Jyn’s psyche to tell the story, and what he apparently found there caused him to create a character that constantly wanted to blow things up. Kind of like an unhinged, female Poe Dameron.
Someone who compartmentalizes her pain to survive, and stuffs all her emotions into a “dark cave” that she rarely explores. It’s the cave she hid inside as a child, waiting for someone to find her. Over the course of the book, that cave keeps opening up to her little by little, a bit of light here and there to illuminate everything she’s trying to deny or forget. When she sees the holographic message from her father, it puts her into a tailspin; she doesn’t know what to think of her father anymore:
My father is alive. My father is a traitor. My father is building a weapon to destroy worlds. My father is a hero. My father is a coward. My father is a bastard. Galen Erso is not my father. Galen Erso didn’t raise me…
The girl’s a tad messed up. Who can blame her? However, over the course of the book, that dark cave of emotions keeps getting pried open more and more, until, at the end of the story, when she and Cassian and the Rogue One crew are on their way to get the Death Star plans come hell or high water, it’s wide open and illuminated. She’s accepted everything that’s in there, is at peace with it, and herself–she’s now a woman with a purpose, doing what she’s meant to do. When the end comes,
…The world grew brighter, emerald at first and then a clean, purifying white. In Jyn’s mind, the cave below the broken hatch was illuminated with the strength of a sun, and then the walls turned to dust and there was no longer a cave but only her spirit and heart and everything she had ever been: the daughter of Galen and Lyra and Saw, the angry fighter and the shattered prisoner and the champion and the friend.
Soon all those things, too, burned away, and Jyn Erso–finally at peace–became one with the Force.
At the end, book Jyn and movie Jyn are the same, and the differences don’t seem to matter too much.
I always enjoy reading the novelizations of the movies, because it gives us a chance to see into a character’s mind a little bit more than a movie can do. This one was more uncomfortable than most, but still worth a read.
Check out my Women of Star Wars post on Jyn Erso here.
Did you read the Rogue One novelization? What did you think? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!