May the Curmudgeon Be With You

Nitpicking A New Hope from 1:33:25 to 1:45:20
Obi-Wan is dead, and Luke is falling prey to the Dark Side. Well, at least the Emo Side.
But obviously, the Death Star is gonna launch fighters against the Millennium Falcon, so mopey Luke will have to jump into action and help Han out with the gun batteries. He still has time for some comforting by the Princess who brings his blanky over, however. But then we have a cool dogfight/70s video game, which I have very little to gripe about. I don't mind that its scope is limited by the ship's POV. This isn't any kind of climax, after all. But I AM surprised Lucas didn't decide to add a few exterior shots to make it more exciting. In fact, he left this sequence mostly alone, and didn't even fix THIS particular glitch until the 2011 Blu-ray!
Now, you'd think a station as big as the Death Star would send more than those few tie-fighters to intercept the Falcon, and you'd be right. They cause minimal damage, barely a scratch to the surface of the hull, a small fire for R2 to extinguish, and some wires to somehow come undone and cover C-3PO like a web.
He says it's R2's fault again. Pretty sick of that one. Unless R2 spent half the battle spinning wires around him. I mean, it's possible. There's a whole EU novel about R2 pranking C-3PO during the battle. (There isn't? Well, can you blame me for thinking there is?) No. Point is, the Death Star LET them go because they put a tracker on the ship. Either Vader was confident the Stormtroopers were no match for these few rebels, or all the jeopardy our heroes were in was manufactured (Stormtroopers told to miss, firewalls dropped for R2, etc.) - which explanation do you prefer? They both make our heroes less competent - but the Empire really just wanted the Falcon to lead them to the true Rebel base. Leia knows it was all too easy and guesses the plot (not that they'll do anything not to be tracked, and they'll head straight for Yavin). Cue Han thinking he's the greatest and calling her "sister". I guess he's wrong on both counts. Luke doesn't fare much better, acting all happy that Leia doesn't like Han so he can have her all to himself. (This is fine at this point, but Lucas' solution to "there is another"? Gross, George. Just gross.) Anyway, Yavin:
The Rebels clock the Falcon going way above the speed limit, and the ship lands inside an Aztec pyramid. Everyone who cares about more than money is brought to a under-pyramid hanger full of X-wings and Tuning Fork-wings, and where Leia gives a great big hug to a guy she then calls Commander. I don't know whether that's too familiar or too formal based on available evidence. They immediately start to download the Death Star plans as the battle station itself comes bearing down on the planet. Come on, Leia! You saw this coming! Maybe she said something and they didn't listen to her. After all, the general here calls her LEE-a. Royal faux pas!
At this briefing - attended by, among others, a still unpaid Han Solo (or why else would he still be on Yavin) - we learn that the Empire's massive ego can be found in everything. So the Death Star? Invulnerable to everything you send at it, except the tiniest of ships which can blow it up with a torpedo or two. Uhm... Those architects/engineers really SHOULD be shot if they built an exhaust pipe that's a direct line to the Death Star's vulnerable gooey center. Two-meter-wide target, which is still a pretty big 6 feet across (glad to see the Metric System being used a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away, i.e. Europe). Apparently, that's too small even for a targeting computer! Well, geez, time to upload a patch for your software, guys. It can be done manually, anyway, cuz Luke used to shoot Womp rats with his BB gun all the time, and they're not much bigger than 2m. Luke Skywalker - Great White Hunter.
Hey you know what would prevent a photon torpedo from getting a direct hit? SOME BRIDGES INSIDE THOSE STUPID SHAFTS. I'm just giving the second Death Star's engineers some tips here. And if you're tracking the Special Edition absence of the Latin alphabet, you'll be interested to note that the Empire does use Arabic numbers:
Well of course it does. All those droids have numbers in their names. Of course, it's still not expected to be written the same way. What the Empire DOESN'T use, however, is our Earth-centric time measurements. We're told Yavin's moon will be in range in 30 minutes, but those "seconds" spin by so fast, it's actually 30 seconds. And such an easy audio fix, Mr. Lucas. Back on Yavin, Han is loading his boxes of cash on the Falcon, cuz he has to pay his debts to Jabba before bounty hunters come a-calling, and Luke isn't so happy he hasn't turned a new leaf. Han thinks saying "May the Force be with you" will make everything okay, but he's wrong. What Luke actually need is a kiss on the cheek from his crush/sister. And up his dander goes. Insert deleted scene here that proves Luke really DID have friends to go buy power converters with:
That means Biggs Darklighter (really?!)/Red Three is more meaningful as part of the squadron when he shows up in the battle, but Lucas did NOT also restore his scene on Tatooine where he says he's going to join the Rebellion, which perhaps would have given him more, and clarified that Luke didn't want to join the Academy to become an evil tie-pilot, no matter how many innocent Womp rats he massacred. How Biggs can vouch for Luke as the "best pilot" on the Outer Rim isn't clear, as there's no real evidence that Luke's ever been to space before A New Hope, but it seems a bit late for the commander to ask with Luke mere feet from his X-Wing. (And for nitpickers, watch R2 being magnetically loaded aboard the fighter in the background, when a figure swipes across the screen, he jumps ahead of the scene to hide an edit. Oops!)

And we're off! It's almost over (for the first of several times).


Anonymous said...

I assume you mean 'slick' not sick:)

I never thought about the idiocy of the Falcon going straight to Yavin. It should have been a no-brainer. Go to planet X, get on ship Y that's not being tracked. Death Star Blows up wrong planet...

This must be explained in the EU somewhere.


Siskoid said...

No, I really am sick of C-3PO blaming Artoo. He's either doing that, or saying they're doomed, or both. Bah.

Green Luthor said...

I think the explanation as to why the Falcon went straight to Yavin is that Leia didn't want to make another planet into a target, and would rather have the Death Star follow them so they could plan an attack on it. Probably not the soundest of plans, since the Rebels didn't even know there was a vulnerability they'd be able to exploit until Leia got there with the plans. ("We've analyzed the plans provided by Princess Leia, and... yeah, we're f***ed.")

And I brought it up before, but... seriously, what did they do with that scanning crew and the two stormtroopers? Did they kill them, or just knock them out? If they didn't kill them before... did they either chuck 'em out the airlock, or did they take them to Yavin? (That latter option wouldn't seem the wisest course of action, but the airlock option doesn't make them seem very heroic, either...)

I did like the addition of Biggs' scene here (one of the very few net positives from the Special Edition), but I really wished he had put the earlier one back in, though that probably would have thrown off the pacing of the first act. Ah, well.

From the EU and whatnot, the X-Wings are made by the same company as the T-16 Skyhopper, which Luke flew on Tatooine ("I used to bulls-eye womp rats in my T-16 back home"). (When he's cleaning the droids in the garage, that's the model he's playing with; you can also see part of it in the background.) Since Luke was such a great T-16 pilot, and since the cockpit and controls are so similar to the X-Wing, it's only natural that Luke should be a great X-Wing pilot, right? (I mean, once you ignore the fact that the T-16 doesn't go into space, but how much difference could a little thing like that possibly make, right?)


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