Star Wars: A Chatwatch

will: Welcome to this week’s Force Visions, where it’s time for a big event: A chatwatch!

That’s right–Z and I have both cued up the original Star Wars on our respective media players, and you will get to see our chatlog of what we say to each other while we watch.

(Yes, we’re continuing to mine the best parts of what previous recap/rewatchers do for more content. Good artists borrow, great artists steal, and all that.)

Before we begin, a couple of points: At this point, I own three different disc versions of this movie. I have the “Star Wars Saga” Blu-Ray set, which has the first six films (I also own the Blu-Ray of The Force Awakens, and I can’t promise I won’t buy an even bigger box set a few years from now), and I also have the 2006 “Limited Edition”–there’s a laugh–DVD releases of the Original Trilogy.

Those are the releases that came with a second disc containing the unedited original-run theatrical version of each film, see. Unless you’re willing to get the “Silver Screen Edition” put out by Team Negative 1, which I can’t actually officially recommend you do because it’s a copyright violation and all, that “Limited Edition” is the only way I know to get a disc of the pre-Special Edition movie–a modern disc, he said, remembering the LaserDisc releases. (It’s completely not cleaned up or remastered in visual or sound quality, is the catch.) As much as I would love to watch that, there’s a problem.

Z owns the 2004 Special Edition DVD release. As such, that’s what she’ll be watching. And since we want to at least get close to time parity, I can’t watch a version that doesn’t at least contain all of the same scenes, even if we’ll inherently have different levels of remastering.

So I’ll watch the Blu-Ray, and she’ll watch the Special Edition, and you’ll get to see if we end up squabbling about timing and synchronization.

(Poor Greedo, whose fate spills out across multiple versions of epic fail.)

(z: I don’t know what you’re even talking about, there.  Greedo tried to take Han on and got what’s coming, period.)

will: That much we know is true.

One more thing before we dive in: today, December 16, is the release of Rogue One. As much as I wasn’t champing at the bit to see The Force Awakens in theaters, well, that was then, and besides, a friend had an extra ticket for an IMAX showing tonight. So I’ll let you know what I think next week.

And now, on with the show.

will: Hi everyone!

z: And hello!

will: For some values of everyone…

Before we hit play, a few words on the stuff we’ve already seen, namely, it just reminded me how weird it was to go see The Force Awakens and not get the 20th Century Fox logo and fanfare…

z: So we cued to the “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” moment and paused to start together, and I noted that there are four dots, which would have been something that would have stumped me in a Trivia Pursuit game.  Until now.  The More You Know (TM).

And it was so, so weird.  Music geeking time–you know a lot of that is coming, right?

The SW main theme is in Bb major.

So is the 20th century fox fanfare.

And I forget which, but either John Williams wrote the main theme to match the key of the fanfare or they re-recorded the fanfare after transposing it to match the key of the main theme.  Either way, Will’s right, and it sounds weeeeeeeird to just launch into the main theme.

will: Heh.

Also, I’m technically still eating dinner, as my wife made a delicious Japanese style curry. I also have a glass of Tullamore Dew. I was tempted to make a drinking game out of “drink whenever there’s a Kurosawa or Campbell moment,” but I would like my liver to survive…

z: I’m well-supplied with a slice of tres leches cake and sweet red wine.  Bring. It. On.

will: On your cue, Z.

z: –aaand go.

That chord–that is the most Pavlovian of all chords.  Ever.  Anywhere.

will: I always forget that it sounds just a bit flat.

You’re right. When I heard the music in the first TFA trailer, my comment was “it sounds like home.”

z: Even when we went to see Revenge of the Sith–which.  Um.  Well.  You know.  Even then, I couldn’t prevent my heartbeat from speeding up.

will: The scroll is a really impressive throwback. I know the title was added to future releases, but the whole setup of basically having previouslies…

z: Anyway, there’s the Evil Empire, there’s Princess Leia running from them, go.

will: It smacks of exactly what it is, reference to the pulp serials like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers.

And here comes the ship, looking cool.

And here comes the other ship, blowing minds.

z: …a friend who saw this opening day told me about that moment: “That ship.  It just keeps on and on and on and we were all “whoa.””

will: “We Brake for Nobody.”

z: That’s a direct quote from a friend of mine whose birthday happens to be May 25.

will: (Spaceballs references…)

z: (Well when you’re an ISD…)

will: It’s the Hidden Fortress Guys!

Yes, Kurosawa’s famous “the two little guys in the middle of a big war” movie.

AKA C-3PO and R2-D2.

z: I’m randomly reminded that I loved this level in the Star Wars Lego Game.  Slashing into those lockers and collecting pieces… and there’s the Mr. Grizzled Veteran, whose name I don’t know and face I’ll never forget.

will: In retrospect it’s really amazing how much in medias res this whole thing is.

You know, the stormtroopers are doing reasonably well for themselves here. Yes they have numbers, but they also do seem to have skill.

z: You’re right.  And that’s partly what makes it so good, likewise The Force Awakens.

will: This shot, of the droids crossing a fire zone, is I believe a shot-for-shot lift from Kurosawa…

z: (except if characters are wearing plot armor, of which R2 and 3PO have the Best Models Ever.)

will: Right. Or if they’re deliberately missing, such as to track someone…

Ah, Vader.

I mean, dude.

Just.

z: Vader’s entrance is iconic, but what comes right after is one of my personality-defining moments, so.

will: And Leia, whom we only see in smoke and shadow mostly.

“The spice mines of Kessel.”

z: (little woman’s hand inserting a card… and everything that comes after with her.)

will: A great example of Lucas worldbuilding.

Make shit up, just make it sound good.

Ah, Captain Antilles!

z: Yes, exactly.

Moment of silence for Captain Antilles.

will: *salute with glass*

z: Notice the leitmotif on the oboe, which actually sounds extra-important in how out of place it is in the middle of stormtroopers and fire and smoke.

But that’s Leia’s theme, so…

will: Leiatmotif?

z: WILL

NO

will: “I’m not getting in ther–” *blam*

z: That “damage doesn’t look that bad from here” line makes me laugh every time, still.

will: Indeed.

And the whole “don’t bother blowing up the escape pod, it’s empty.”

I guess it reinforces how weird it is to have a droid do that.

And Leia’s upper-crust Coruscanti accent.

“Only you could be so bold.”

z: Leia: twenty-gallons of sass in a pint-size package.

will: True of Carrie Fisher, too.

z: True  😀

Ah, the two Imperial commanders whose names I don’t know and whose faces I’ll never forget.

will: Oh, let’s not forget the whole “there’s such a thing as one copy of the plans” that was true–ish, anyway–in 1977.

I mean, these days one BitTorrent connection and boom, the plans are everywhere forever.

z: You know, I have never ever thought about that before?  That’s the Natural Way Things Are in the GFFA…

will: Yeah.

Threepio, dude, Artoo has the better sensors. And a clue.

z: And here we get our first real intro to the R2-language.  Which does not need translation.

will: And a heart–look how he actually is sad about Threepio not coming with him.

z: (Heh. “blarrrt.  Blat blarrt.”)

Yup.  But also: Artoo: Twenty-gallons of sass in a half-pint size package.

True fact: This is the first place I heard the word “twerp.”

will: Droid reverse psychology.

z: SW: Educational.

will: Right.

More Lucas worldbuilding: Krayt dragon bones.

No context given, none needed.

z: Yup.

will: Jawas. Did they actually try to distract a droid by throwing a rock?

More embarrassingly, did it sort of work?

z: Either that, or they dislodged one; doesn’t matter much… the environment is foreign to Artoo, after all.

will: Oh, that forlorn squeak.

Sounds like my cat after I’ve been playing with her.

z: When they released the SEs to the theater, everyone in my showing went “awwwwww?!” when he collapses there.  So did I.

Will

will: (No, I do not actually torture my cat.)

z: what do you do to your cat

oh, okay

just checking

will: Mostly I just hold her up in the air and she’s very confused.

“How did I get here?”

I also give her lots of pettings.

z: Mine starts purring, even if she struggles to be put down later.  She likes being up high.

will: And she wakes me up by knocking things off of the tables at 4 AM, so fair is fair.

z: True.

Oh, the vacuum cleaner.

will: Giant pneumatic tube!

Gonk!

z: Another thing that Lucas later forgot how to do: Showing stuff without explaining them in excruciating detail. The restraining bolt the Jawa’s putting on there.  I didn’t understand what it was until way later.  In the prequels that scene would have been prefaced with five minutes of 3PO explaining the thing.

Gonk :D.

will: There’s Threepio with one too.

z: (…and the rest: nightmare fuel.   At least until Jabba’s Palace, which is worse nightmare fuel.)

will: Wow, it’s like the Star Trek Shake, but worse.

z: Completely Unnecessary Dewbacks, 1 and 2.

will: And here’s an edit: the dewback the stormrooper is riding.

z: And 3 and 4, reporting.

will: “Look sir! Droids!”

z: And that grand meme line, which Will beat me to.

😀

will: 😀

They really are an old married couple.

z: Very much so.  And the relief in 3PO’s voice previously when he says “Artoo-Detoo, it is you!” that intonation I’ll never forget either.

will: Artoo even responds, “Yeah, it’s me!”

That’s how I read it anyway.

z: Wide-angle shot: This is what a moisture farm looks like.  (You’re probably right.)

will: No, just the homestead part.

Farmboy!

z: Music cue, immediately following the name–And here we are.

Farmboy.

will: Towheaded, dutiful, bored.

“Etiquette and protocol.” I love how he says that.

And then there’s Threepio’s sales pitch. He has a salesman vibe…

z: (The main theme is also Luke’s theme.  Also, it’s the reason I’m always, always able to get a fifth-interval-jump-up right.  I can mess up fourths and sixths, but never a fifth.)

will: “Shutting up, sir.”

z: Yep. Still laugh at that one every time, too.

will: “Un, deux, trois…”

z: That has no fifths in it  😉

will: And now we see how the restraining bolts work.

z: The malfunction that saved the galaxy: The red R2 unit blowing up.

will: Oh, we missed the Tosche station line.

z: Insert so much speculation about sabotage by R2-D2 here.

will: Which makes a lot more sense when you realize that Luke was lying through his teeth and Owen knew it.

z: I didn’t, but I was babbling about music.  Which.  Well.

will: Well, Artoo doesn’t have a neck to stick out…

z: Luke playing with the model shuttle: Another moment that makes me laugh, smile, and identify at the same time.

will: “Biggs is right” works even though the scenes with Biggs were cut.

z: Yep.

“I see, Sir. ” “Just Luke.”  “I see, Sir Luke.”

will: Threepio’s speech.

“Not very good at telling stories.” Liar.

The Call to Adventure!

z: Bad liar, too.  And he jumps up immediately as soon as Threepio mentions the Rebellion.  Aaaand, right after that, Artoo sets the bait.

Call: accepted.  Also: hook, line, and sinker.

will: Threepio must have a memory block going to not know who Leia is.

z: I remember speculation about that, too, several theories, but I’m going to skip those here.

will: “Old Ben Kenobi…kind of a strange old hermit.”

z: “I guess you’re too small to run away on me if I take this off.”  Oh, Luke.

will: Luke, this is not your smartest play.

Note: “where’d she go.”

Are droids really made out of material that can rust?

z: But, hey–this is the start of A Boy and His Droid…

will: “No, I don’t think he likes you at all.”

“No, I don’t like you either.”

Heh.

z: (technically cars aren’t either, but if the coating gets scratched…)

Awwwww, Artoo’s whine there at “I don’t like you either.”

Dinner scene: More lying-through-teeth about to ensue.

will: Nice look between Owen and Beru.

“Oh, shit.”

z: Yup.

will: You know, it was fanon that Owen and Obi-Wan were brothers, before Episode 2.

“He knew my father?” Oh, how perfect.

z: Yes, I recall that.

will: And here we have Luke, making a pitch.

z: and failing.

will: …how do you have a harvest season for water?

“That’s what you said when Biggs and Tank left…I’m going nowhere.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of.”

And now, John Williams, gentlebeings.

z: Moment of silence, moment of the binary sunset, and moment of the best musical cue in any movie ever.  The Force Theme. Just.

will: “It wasn’t my fault” number 1!

z: …insert deep sigh here.   No, I’ll never get over that moment, and I never want to.

You’re right, I hadn’t noticed that before  😀

will: “Sandpeople” is a nice touch, since they probably have their own name.

But they’re just The Raider Aliens, to the Human populace.

z: Threepio advertising Artoo’s talents.  “He excels at [causing trouble.]”

will: And Threepio would know!

Beru Stew?

z: This is the one digital edit that I’m actually happy about: Making the landspeeder really float.

will: Eh. I liked the fact that there was a cloud. I mean, it’s an old piece of junk.

Good Cop, Bad Cop.

z: But Threepio is so bad at being the Bad Cop….

will: Yes, you can see a Sandperson, Luke.

z: Actual LOL.

will: The wide shots of the desolation are…an interesting style.

And here’s Artoo, worried.

z: I always figured that was some reference to old movies.

will: …you know, I don’t think I’d ever heard the Blu-Ray version with the krayt dragon roar.

z: Who’s this old man?

will: It’s serious overkill.

Enter the Mentor.

And Ben already knows Luke’s name, so they’ve crossed paths before.

z: …you know what, I think I’d rather skip right over the “How would Obi-Wan not remember Artoo, like, seriously” debate.  Artoo is lying through his… uh… speaker grills, and Obi-Wan always has his own reasons for imparting information or not, so let’s leave it there.

will: And here’s Ben going “…oh, shit” himself.

z: …yep.

will: “Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

This really is the “samurai gave it up to become a monk but now he has to take up the sword again” story writ perfect.

z: That “not yet.”  Alec Guinness, you hated this role, and yet you were amazing with it.  Respect.

will: No, you never owned a droid. Ah, Jedi Truth.

z: ow, arm!

will: Mostly armless.

And here’s Artoo, rocking slightly.

z: WILL

NO

(Another actual LOL at that Jedi Truth line, though.)

will: Oh, Threepio, you melodramatist.

“My father didn’t fight in the war…”

My wife is in a shouting match with the cat.

She won!

z: Yay!

Lightsabers come in chests.

will: Ah, Obi-Wan, you Jedi Truthteller.

That is to say, liar.

“Some damn-fool idealistic crusade, like your father.”

z: the acting choices of Sir Guinness in this scene did enable so much, later.

will: And the lightsaber noises.

Ben Burtt, respect.

z: Yep.

will: And now the thousand generations, Before the Dark Times.

z: (Again about Sir Guinness’ acting choices: Especially that almost-audible beat before his answer to “How did my father die?”)

will: And the ultimate Jedi Truth.

And now the Force Theme on–what is that, French horn?

Maybe trumpet?

And now Artoo, going “dude, message!”

Now here’s the real Call to Adventure.

z: Enter the Force theme, as Ben describes the Force.

will: And here’s Ben’s “just when I thought I was out…”

z: And here’s the first refusal.  Wait wait what Alderaan who I’m already late home.

will: How you know this was the real Call: Luke Refuses.

Obi-Wan Murtaugh, too old for this shit.

z: Luke even says “I can’t get involved” in as many words.

Hehe

will: You know, the whole “I hate it but there’s nothing I can do, I’m just one person” thing…

Extra resonance, these days.

z: <nod>

will: “You must do what you feel is right, of course.”

z: Ah, the cautious Imperial general whose name I don’t know but whose face I’ll never forget.

will: And here we have the Death Star. Which made the Star Destroyer look tiny.

The admiral who’s about to get Force choked is Motti, I believe.

z: Another moment of silence for Peter Cushing, who is perfectly cadaverous, perfectly enunciating, and just… perfect.

will: We’ll get to his best line soon.

Tagge! That’s the commander’s name.

(The joys of Wookieepedia.)

Note: choked before he can actually say “hidden fortress.”

z: Excuse me while I enjoy the “I find your lack of faith disturbing,” accompanied by an audiovisual demonstration.

will: Man, Cushing is just glorious. Even his accent.

Especially his accent.

z: “One swift strrrrroke.”  Yep.

will: And now we get the line that actually does work but gets a laugh every time.

“Only Imperial stormtroopers are so precise.”

Luke puts it together…and he has his own “oh shit.”

z: Ben Kenobi the detective.

will: Note, Luke has the lightsaber on his belt.

z: The Force theme, now militarized and on harsh brass…

will: And the skeletons.

z: …and low strings, at the moment of the reveal of the tragedy.

will: As much as Luke wanted to get off of this backwater, he loved his uncle and aunt.

TIE fighters!

z: Wipe-transition, following the TIEs’ movement.  Is that the official name for that technique, by the way?

will: Screen wipe? Yeah.

And some proto-Imperial March, just as much riffing on Holst.

z: Oh hai torture interrogation excuse me while I look away.

will: But of course they cut away.

We don’t even hear screams.

Threepio giving the Jawas a cremation.

z: the novelization has the guards in front of the room surreptitiously moving away after the door closes, because of the sounds, which is a detail that has always haunts me.

And… Accepting the Call.

will: And now, Luke Accepts.

z: Incoming: Another best line!

will: “I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like my father.”

“Mos Eisley Spaceport.”

z: Say it…

will: You know, I love my quotable movies, but this one even tops The Princess Bride.

Ah, more unnecessary CG.

“Pation.”

Wait, wrong line.

🙂

z: Much more.  I’m going to lose the Unnecessary Dewback Count here.

will: Force use incoming!

I like the little hand gesture.

z: Obi-Wan playing the grifter for a line before *forcewave*

will: “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

z: And for nearly forty years, everyone has known that these aren’t the droids we’re looking for.  Just as we’ve known of wretched hives of scum and villainy.  Yes, this really tops Princess Bride, too.

will: “This place can be a little rough.” “I’m ready for everything.”

Yeah, Luke, no.

Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes!

z: So, guess what just made me grin with all my teeth on display?

will: Same thing that has me bouncing in time with the beat?

z: Yep!

Oh look, nameless X-Wing pilot whose name I don’t know but whose face I’ll never forget.

will: Not an X-Wing pilot.

BoShek is his name.

(That one’s from the years I spent playing Decipher’s Star Wars CCG.)

z: (Didn’t know it until I read Tales from the Cantina though.)

will: And here, we see the birth of thousands of makeup artists.

And puppeteers.

z: Chewie Chewie Chewie yay

will: Of course they gave the boastful wanted man a Scottish accent.

And now, Obi-Wan Badass.

That’s what I call disarming your foe.

z: WILL

NO

Moment of silence, then everyone back to business.  And music.

will: And here he is.

The man, the myth, the liar.

z: Hi Han.  Hi, Millennium Falcon.  Hi, Chewie (his intro is here.)

will: Obi-Wan giving Han absolutely no fucks.

“And no questions asked.”

z: “Myself, the boy, two droids, and no. questions. asked.”  Another great line delivered perfectly.

will: And here Luke is, jumping into the deep end.

z: Luke: Major fail at bargaining.  The contrast between the three characters at that table is so lovely, when I think about it.

will: “Handiwork.”

Heh.

z: Enter stormtroopers, exit Ben and Luke quietly stage right.

will: “I’m never coming back to this planet again.”

“Oota goota, Solo?”

z: Ow, the retroactive foreshadowing anvil…

will: Han, gesturing with the left hand while his right sneaks under the table.

First rule of magic: misdirection.

“Over my dead body.”

OK, in this version, they fire simultaneously, the blaster bolts are far more visible, and I still hate it.

z: and there’s a moment of him drawing his blaster, too, still shown before the shots. He’s obviously preparing to do exactly what he did.  Seriously, that attempted retcon was so so very so very very stupid so I don’t know what I’m talking about let’s move on.

will: “Sorry about the mess.”

z: Major. Evil.  Incoming.

will: And now Tarkin–yeah.

z: And I mean Major, as in even Darth Vader didn’t think about it Major.

will: And now we get a moment where we see that the Empire apparently has search and seizure laws.

“You watch your language.”

z: I actually laugh at that one too.  “Door’s locked, too bad, next door.”

will: Wow, the crack about how the old stuff isn’t worth much since the new hotness came out…

And now, the Jabba Scene.

z: Some things never change  🙂

will: It’s mostly unobjectionable, but it is completely unnecessary.

Though the fact that the word for “fry” is “crispa” is funny.

z: That… actually I don’t mind this scene that much, if you consider this a Trilogy.  In a self-contained movie, which this one is, it is so very unnecessary.  Otherwise, okay, so maybe introduce Jabba now.

will: And yeah, Jabba’s face when Han walks on his tail.

“Fifteen, Jabba, don’t push it.”

“Jabba, you’re a wonderful human being.”

Nice.

z: Yep.

will: And we have the dark horse character, who should be beaten.

z: Now please don’t notice the highly noticeable spy in the highly noticeable dark cloak.

will: GFFA fashion.

And now, we get told just how cool the Falcon is.

z: …in terms that will launch a zillion words of fan rationalization, before West End Games (I think?) finally makes sense of them, but lookit me now caring.

will:

Because Luke calls it junk.

And any ship that looks that cool and gets called junk is even cooler.

“Point Five past lightspeed.”

Quick-Draw Solo.

z: Well, yes, he is, we already saw that in the cantina, remember?

will: And whoosh, away we go.

That wasn’t a quick draw, that was a short con.

z: That cockpit  😀

will: And the “calculations” for the jump to lightspeed. Ah, the Seventies.

z: That view from the front viewport  😀

will: “Ain’t like dusting crops, boy!”

Han slapping Luke’s hand away. Heh.

And boom, we’re off!

z: And the lead-ear Lucas dialogue, where Han explains things in sixteen times more words than anyone would naturally use.  But, hey.

That transition to lightspeed  😀

will: I really do need to introduce Trilogy Time into my life. It’s been too long.

Fisher doing her best British.

And there’s Cushing’s best line.

“Charming, to the last.”

z: Yep.

But this scene still hurts to watch.

will: And one of Leia’s many: “the more you tighten your grip…”

z: There’s no music until Alderaan is named and targeted, only hum of machinery…. and Vader’s breathing.

will: “Dantooine. They’re on Dantooine.” She sells it perfectly.

And then…

“You may fire when ready.” Love how he gives so much H in that word.

z: Death Star OSHA violations, vol. 1.

will: What are they even doing there?

Wow, the way Ben puts hand to chest, it’s like he has heartburn.

I’m reminded of how Mike Stackpole will give us more of an internal view of how that feels.

Which we’ll discuss in what, a decade.

z: He completely sells the almost physical feeling, though.

will: Han’s “don’t everybody thank me at once.”

z: This is another digitalization I don’t mind, the dejarik table revamp.

will: Here it comes…

z: Say it with me: “Let the Wookiee win.”

will: And now the training remote sequence.

z: Did they… forget… to colorize the lightsaber here?

will: FSVO forget.

I think they didn’t want to be too perfect.

Which is good and right.

z: <nod>

will: “Hokey religions and ancient weapons…”

Note, Han is exactly where he’ll be thirty years later for “it’s all true.”

z: Hey, I just realized that Han’s standing in the same room when he says “It’s all… ”

…oh

okay

will: *grin*

z: <high five>

ow ow ow the remote ow

will: Note, Luke moves his saber into the first block position a solid half second before the remote fires.

It’s not reactive, which is the point.

z: Yep.  He is learning to feel whatever it is a Jedi feels.

will: And now we find out just how good a liar Leia was.

“She lied to us!”

z: “She lied to us!”  And I’ve always enjoyed that Vader sounds amused (and satisfied) when he says “I told you she wouldn’t break.”

will: “The entire Starfleet couldn’t destroy a whole planet.”

Note that Han was an Imperial pilot, he’d know.

z: More work for West End Games

will: I like Chewie’s headset.

Here come some key lines.

Ben!

“That’s no moon…it’s a space station.”

z: That’s no moon…

will: Luke!

“I have a very bad feeling about this.”

z: 😀

will: Chewie!

“Graaargh.”

z: Han!

“Lock in the auxiliary power!”

(Also first place where I heard the word “auxiliary.”)

will: Ben: “There are alternatives to fighting.”

The brass section!

With a Holstian riff.

z: Vader, why would they try to return the stolen plans to the Princess

will: And now, Leia gets a reprieve.

Well, to Alderaan.

It does make sense.

He just misspeaks.

And Vader has a fooled-me-once with droids and escape pods.

z: Ah, Imperial captain whose name I don’t know but whose face I’ll never forget.  Or lieutenant.  I don’t know his rank either.

will: They’re all commanders, really.

Han, did you really just admit to smuggling?

z: More magnificent lines.

Of course he did!

😀

will: “Who’s the more fooling, the fool or the fools who follows him?”

Foolish.

z: Scanning crew goes in…

will: Note how a scanner setup is a huge box that needs two people.

The march of progress.

z: “Clunnnnk”

the TK-421 officer with the awesome sideburns and ouch, Chewie.

will: Sorry, was a bit distracted. My wife needed a kiss.

z: 🙂

You didn’t miss anything, Luke walked into the room and told Han and Chewie off for making too much noise.

will: Yeah, I know.

z: Is there a name for this?  Last words from the mentor?

will: “The Force will be with you. Always.”

There probably is.

z: Not that we need anything beyond that line itself.

Han and Luke get in on the bickering act, and Artoo interrupts .

will: Luke, idealist and troublecatcher.

z: Hey, I just realized that this is Han’s Call to Adventure, in a sense…

will: Greed, more like.

“She’s rich.”

Chewie: “Han, don’t you do it…”

z: Han: “I can imagine quite a bit.”

Luke discovers The Book of Oldest Tricks in the Book.

will: Luke tries to put handcuffs on a Wookiee. Yeah, smart.

“That isn’t very reassuring.” *whistle*

And Chewie frightening the mouse droid.

z: It’s still cute…

will: Did Chewie just check out the black clad figure’s ass?

He tilts his head.

z: …ooooor something.

will: “This is not gonna work.”

“Why didn’t you say so before?”

“I did say so before.”

z: Kenobi sneaks.  Vader senses.  We cut back to the elevator, and wow, it’s obvious in that shot how short Luke really is.

(Yes, they did immediately get on the bickering act, and very well too.)

will: “Look out, he’s loose!” *hands off a blaster and starts shooting cameras and locks and guards*

z: Yeah, well, he’s new at this subterfuge thing.

And now, the Greatest-Report-Ever.

will: And so is Han, judging by this…

His wince at “how are you” is priceless.

“Boring conversation anyway.”

z: Leia: From asleep to sass in about 2.6 seconds.

will: Luke’s “huh?” is golden.

z: That’s my princess.

will: Yes, I’m quite fond of Leia’s sass.

z: Interesting detail: Tarkin considers Vader a Jedi.  “You, my friend, are the only one remaining of their religion.”

will: “I must face him, alone.'”

z: Another me-personality-defining moment coming up, in the detention block.

“Gimme that.” <yanks blaster out of Luke’s hands and shoots out an escape route. …of sorts.>

will: You know, the recent revelation that Fisher and Ford were sleeping together during the filming really adds a nice note to it all, as messy as that was now.

z: <nod>

will: “Either I’m going to kill her, or I’m beginning to like her.”

And Han’s “Yahoo!”

z: Her exasperated look at Han complaining about the smell…

will: Every yell here is priceless.

“Could be worse.” *groan* “It’s worse.”

z: Since I am a very easily scared scaredy-person person, I Hate.  This.  Scene.

Hate.

will: It is somewhat tonally askew, too.

And now, we find out what can scare the dianoga away,

Bad feeling number 2!

z: “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” #2.

So I hate this part of the scene?  Even more than the first part and the dianoga.

will: Brace a wall smasher with garbage. Brilliant.

Luke actually has the better idea.

Stormtrooper hitting his head. Nice.

Threepio actually being clever.

z: Threepio conning stormtroopers: Still *facepalm*ing after all these years, though.  About the stormtroopers.

will: Yup.

z: But still, full credit to Threepio.

will: Han helping Leia climb up the garbage.

z: (At least until Artoo has to remind him to turn his comlink back on.)

will: “We’ve had some problems…”

z: Mark Hamill’s voice cracking at that “Threepio?!?” is actually perfect.  His entire voice acting there is so.

will: Threepio confusing shouts of relief for screams of pain. Heh.

z: I love that the last moment when the walls stop we see Leia stretched between them full-length, actually, because… you know what Leia’s full-length is like.

will: Not a lot, that is?

z: Yep.

Unnecessary Chasm, #1; Death Star OSHA Violations, vol. 2.

will: In this version, the wording on the power meter has been rendered in Aurebesh.

And Han’s “female advice” line.

z: That look between Han and Luke when Leia says “You’ll do what I tell you to.”

In particular, Luke’s “what can I do”ness.

will: And now, Kenobi with more Force manipulation. Especially after the “just another drill” line.

z: The same stormtrooper misdirection that we saw Luke use in Dark Force Rising.

will: “You came in that thing? You’re braver than I thought.”

z: That charge-hangar full of troopers-charge back scene… yeah, still funny.

will: And now, Luke with the trooper utility belt…

z: Unnecessary Chasm #2!  Although this one results in Errol-Flynn-Moments, so maybe not that unnecessary.

will: Wilhelm Scream!

z: And Leia laying down covering fire. If I’m pointing all of these Leia moments out one by one, it’s because I noticed them all.  I had to.  It was the first time I’d seen a woman do anything active.

will: And with a nice riff of Luke’s theme, and a kiss for luck, we get classic swashbuckling.

z: Representation: It matters, folks.

will: It does.

“Close the blast doors!” *they make it through* “Open the blast doors!”

z: Also still funny.  But the scene right after…

will: Kenobi saying “Darth”–clearly at the time that was thought of as a name. But I kind of like it as a taunt too.

“I’m not calling you by your name. Just the thing you are.”

z: That’s really nicely shot, the relative non-showiness of the lightsaber battle choreography nonwithstanding.  Especially the first moment of Vader, just waiting.

(Yep.)

will: And unlike later where it’s a dynamic fight, this is far less.

The sabers look like they have a lot of weight.

z: They definitely move like that.

will: If nothing else, the props would have.

And the sacrifice, complete with a bit of Leia’s theme.

z: Interesting musical choice there, yes.

will: “Run, Luke, run!”

z: And immediately after the sacrifice, too.

will: There’s a comment here about Leia needing to comfort Luke, though she just lost her whole planet. I’ve seen it pop online a lot.

z: the Force theme on woodwinds and French Horn as Leia consoles Luke, but we don’t have time for that either…

will: I think it’s a simplification, especially since Ben was the name that got Leia to trust Luke anyway…

z: Hmmm.  I hadn’t seen that one before.  I have thoughts about it, but… maybe later.

will: Gunnery sequence!

z: The antique targeting systems which, they pointed out in The Force Awakens, are antique.  I approve.

will: “Hear me, baby, hold together.”

z: R2-D2, the fire control unit.

will: “Great, kid! Don’t get cocky.”

Clear reuse of the shot of the blasters walking up the TIE.

Threepio tangled in wires, blaming Artoo.

z: I always notice those then ignore them  😀

The reuses, I mean.

will: And now, the reveal. Yeah, this was a setup.

z: “Sometimes I amaze even myself.” “That doesn’t sound so hard…”

You know, it’s actually striking me that Han the Snarkmaster realizes that he’s met his match right about now…

will: “I ain’t in this for your revolution…”

z: …suuuuure you ain’t

will: And here’s Leia with a minor guilt trip, and Luke with “I care…”

“You think a princess and a guy like me–” “No.”

z: Han baiting Luke is also still funny, even with all the awk.ward. that later caused.

will: Ah, Han, riling up Luke.

And now, we land in Guatemala.

z: Yavin, and my first actual “I want to visit there!” in the Trilogy itself.

will: See, everybody’s a commander.

z: Gotcha.

On both sides.

will: Yup.

General Dodonna!

And…

z: Fighter pilot briefing…

Hobbie!

will: Han’s eyeroll.

z: the mispronunciation of “Leia.”

Everyone’s exasperation at “two meters.” except… Luke.

will: And, though this isn’t Denis Lawson…

z: Proto-Wedge!   😀  😀  😀

will: Ah, bullseyeing womp rats.

z: And Luke’s response about how that target isn’t impossible is actually impressive.  It’s not showing-not-telling, but it’s showing-not-telling-by-telling-if-you-know-what-I-mean.

will: Vader, getting into the pronouncement game.

z: Either way, I like it, and it works for me.

Wait, what?

will: Right.

“This will be a day long remembered.”

That whole bit.

z: Ah.  OK.

Han Refusing the Call… ish… and then spoiling it immediately with “May the Force be with you” and the “what are you looking at” at Chewie.

will: And a few “may the Force be with you,” including from Dodonna and now Han.

Indeed.

z: X-Wings  😀

Biggs!   😀

will: Yup!

z: (and his mustache!)

will: “Sir, Luke is the best bush pilot in the Outer Rim territories.”

And now, we get all the context we needed from before.

z: Again, showing-not-telling-by-telling.

will: Yup.

And Artoo as the inevitable navigator.

z: And my room getting dusty at Threepio’s “you’ve got to come back.”

will: And now, George starts stealing from WW2 movies.

z: I think the helmets are the first time we see the Rebellion crest clearly…

will: (The entire trench run is heavily adapted from The Dam Busters.)

Yup.

And here’s real Wedge.

z: We both fell silent, folks, because that was the Red Squadron roll call.

will: And all the others–Porkins, Biggs…

z: And yes. “Red Two, standing by.”

will: And the Battle of Yavin music.

z: 😀  😀  😀 Some more  😀

will: “Look at the size of that thing!”

z: So true story: I can put on this soundtrack, close my eyes, and watch the attack.

will: And now we see what a bunch of model makers and experimenters started with to create ILM.

Anyone for barbecue?

z: Miniatures: better than pure digital.  Too bad that lesson was forgotten for a while, until Peter Jackson and WETA reminded everyone.

WILL

will: (Porkins just got fried.)

z: NO

will: And now, enter the TIEs.

Let’s have ourselves a furball.

z: The “enemy fighters, coming your way” guy sounds more like someone saying “your aunt is very ill” rather than “I’m warning you of imminent trouble.”

will: Professional.

z: Vader decides to take a hand.

will: My cat is saying hello.

z: Ah, Wedge’s big moment coming up, I think?

(Hi, Eowyn.)

will: Yup.

And the trench runs begin.

z: Yes.  And it’s not only very good shooting, it’s the moment that sold Zahn and Stackpole on “hey, actually good pilot here.”

(By the way, I hated this level in the Lego SW games, by contrast.)

will: The guns stop, which is not a good thing.

“Stay on target…”

z: Who sent Y-wings there, I mean I know they’re bombers but they have no shields and no speed and …ow.

will: “They came from…behind!”

And another Tarkin line.

“Evacuate? In our moment of triumph?”

Note the lack of music.

z: Quite tangentially, I really like the design of the Imperial officer hats.  Origami hats!

will: It is a bit odd that Red Leader would tell Luke to take Biggs and Wedge.

z: Yes, and it’s going to stay without music until Luke enters the trench I think.

Or starts his attack, at least.

will: The perfect formation flying of the TIEs is always impressive.

z: About that personnel choice, there were many theories there too, but no time to cover them now either.

will: Indeed.

z: Vader personally takes out Red Leader, which I had not noticed before.  😕

will: After Red Leader orders Luke not to help him.

z: And a) Luke’s in charge by default, and b) Music’s back.

will: Ah, music cue at the death of Leader.

Wedge referring to Luke as “boss.”

z: “You worry about those fighters, I’ll worry about the tower.”  Luke does take command, too.

will: Yup.

Note all the “point” for positioning. It’s all made up.

And Wedge has to bail out.

z: The explanation is mostly that there is an explanation.  But I think a lot of it does come down to “job to do no one is really interested in staking territory.”

And that’s the moment for years of survivor’s guilt.

will: Right. And a way of confirming that thanks to Red Leader, Luke is in charge, full stop.

Biggs Darklighter, RIP.

z: <moment of silence>

will: And now, moment of Force.

“Use the Force, Luke!”

z: ….and in that moment, enter Obi-Wan, and the Force theme on strings again.

will: With Vader–Vader–unable to get a clear shot.

z: …blending immediately into Luke’s theme.

ow, Artoo!?

will: Artoo!

Threepio’s look.

z: The minor modulation of the main theme and… what?!

will: And now, Big Damn Heroes!

z: 😀  😀  😀

will: “You’re all clear, kid!”

Leia looking up.

z: Torpedoes away…

and BOOM

will: Boom!

Remember, the Force will be with you. Always.

And Vader, surviving to return in the sequel.

z: Two X-Wings, one Y-Wing, and one Corellian freighter.

will: Han and Luke’s hug.

z: Threepio offering circuit donations.

will: And now, the Throne Room.

Han looking somewhat embarrassed.

z: I still want to stand to attention when the Force theme enters on brass that way.

will: A military brass version of the Force/Luke’s themes. I figure that’s the military anthem of the Rebels.

Han’s wink.

z: This entire musical cue, actually… yeah.

Artpp!

–too, too.

will: And Threepio all shiny.

Leia’s laugh at Artoo.

z: It is complete bahooney that Artoo doesn’t have a medal, buuuut… anyway.

will: Plus, Leia at her most regal.

Chewie too.

And the cheers, and…

Iris out!

z: Poster shot, and–we’re out; main theme, in.

will: So we’re going to do Empire after we do another book or two, right?

z: What comes is an astoundingly short list of names in the credits, followed by an astonishingly long list of names for the Special Edition credits.

Yes, of course.

will: Excellent.

Note that the film editors include Marcia Lucas.

As in, George’s first wife.

“Special Dialogue and Sound Effects: Ben Burtt.”

z: (But that short list of names is such a Who’s Who.  John Dykstra, Ben Burtt, Ralph McQuarrie…)

will: I’m reminded of hearing how many descendants of this crew worked on The Force Awakens.

z: The ostinato runs on the strings….  🙂

will: Vader, credited as Prowse and Jones.

z: Leia’s Theme.  The soundtrack has a recording of an arrangement of just that, which is atonal, eerie, and utterly lovely.  (It’s not a direct cue in the movie; Williams wrote that specifically to perform in concerts and for the recording.)

will: And Motti’s listed as a General. Yeah, no. Admiral.

Skywalker Sound and Industrial Light and Magic get their grand debuts.

z: <nod>

Who’d have known, indeed…

will: “Novelization available from Ballantine Books.”

Heh.

z: …which, frankly, I think my friend whose birthday is on May 25th and who walked out of the theater after the first showing that day and dragged everyone he could find to two more showings that day on 1977?  I think he did know.

will: Likely.

And with final chords…it’s all over.

z: So one more remark: There are movies that, by themselves, just make me Happy.  The first Pirates of the Caribbean.  Stardust.  The Princess Bride.  And you know what?  A New Hope is in that list, in and of itself, beyond even what it means as, well, as Star Wars.

will: Some time I should watch my Blu-Rays with commentary. A new one with Lucas, Fisher, Burtt and Dennis Muren (he did the SFX), and there’s another that’s just archival interviews.

With freaking everybody.

Including Bushing, Guinness, McQuarrie…

Cushing.

z: I think I would like to see that; maybe I should look to acquiring those Blu-Rays…

will: OK. PS4 is back in rest mode, and this is almost certainly our longest post already.

z: Can you copy-paste this into a document?  I’ll do the typo-editing and make names italic where they need to be etc…

will: Oh yeah.

Later.

z: Thank you

This was fun  😀

will: Yeah!

Thanks to all our two readers for reading all this, and we’ll see you next week.

z: Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed doing this!

And may the… no.  The Force will be with you.  Always.

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