The Curmudgeon's Disturbing Lack of Faith

Nitpicking A New Hope from 36:57 to 42:48
The next scene features Vader, and it's very hard to nitpick any of his scenes. And not just from fear of telekinetic reprisals. He's just so damn cool. Still, I'm a man on a mission. Here we catch our first sight of the Death Star, a battle station that dwarfs the ginormous battleship from the film's opening, and that looks like a mechanical version of Jupiter.
Great visual, but it does beg the question at how much of the Empire's resources went into building this thing (and presumably, looking ahead, its back-up over Endor). As we move inside, we find out the Imperials aren't all on the same page about it. The Death Star officers are sure of its awesomeness, but the fleet officers are pouting and bickering about how they've been left out to dry. I see their point. They've been protecting the Empire with tactics for decades, and here come these new guys who just want to punch planets so the Rebels will just give up. History will prove them right. Twice. The Death Star is so massive, you should wonder whether the Empire only exists only to build, maintain and service it. Does it have resources for anything else? Enter Vader and his boss - WHAT? HE HAS AN IMMEDIATE SUPERVISOR?! - Grand Moff Tarkin.
At least they went and got Peter Cushing. I can believer Peter Cushing could tell Vader what to do without flinching. And if Vader disobeys, I'm sure he'd just take one of his four pens out of his pockets and write down a curt memo c/o the Emperor. Speaking of the Emperor, he's mentioned as having disbanded the last vestiges of the Old Republic, the Senate, which is fine world-building - I do like how Episode IV presents us with a LIVED-IN universe - until the Prequels obviously need to show us a lot of the Senate because, y'know, IT'S BEEN MENTIONED. Lest I think about it too much, please, Lord Vader, choke somebody out.
Ah yes. Awesome. See, Vader doesn't care much about the Death Star either. It's a clumsy weapon and he's too much of a surgeon. So when this Death Star nut starts bashing the Sith religion, well... Doesn't this idiot know that's the Emperor's religion too?! I guess not. And before anyone has the time to take a sip of coffee, he's gurgling his last. Ah no, not his last. Tarkin saves the guy. I guess THAT'S why Vader can't be left in charge. He's go through officers too quickly. And you know how disruptive it is when there's a new guy at the office. Under Vader, everyone's a new guy all the time. Cut--I mean wipe-- to Tatooine:
Luke, Ben and the Droids come upon the Jawa Sandcrawler. It's been attacked and its occupants massacred. It looks like it's the work of Tusken Raiders (racist Luke is quick to condemn them), unless you know your stuff, then it's obvious it wasn't. Ben knows his stuff. He knows stuff like: "Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise." If you weren't sure if Ben Kenobi was full of it or not, this should give you your answer. Stormtroopers are the kind of guys who shave their eyebrows in the morning by mistake. Luke realizes that if the Jawas gave up who they sold the droids to, his relatives will be in trouble. So he jumps into his pink jalopy, leaving the other three stranded in the desert. When he gets home, well, the Stormtroopers have burned his farm down with precision.
I don't think there's another instance of any kind of weapon doing this to a person in the films, is there? And I would like you to keep Owen and Beru's fate in mind when Lucas drops a silly comedy scene for the kids in the Special Edition footage coming up. Because Star Wars was always for the kids. Well Luke is still a kid who plays with toys. And this has just made him pull his Dark Side face:
That's what happens when prospective Jedis have attachments. Right? As if a manifestation of his hate, cue screeching Tie-Fighters.
Next we see Vader enter Leia's cell, so it's like he was on one of those Ties, but no, he was already on the Death Star, so that was just a confusing establishing shot. Vader's brought a big floating ball with him. It has a big syringe. Torture! Because it's for kids! So Luke returns to the Sandcrawler where Ben and the droids are burning Jawa corpses. For kids! #deadspacehorse
So now Luke's all ready to undertake the hero's journey and become a Jedi. I'm sure there's a fan theory out there about Kenobi having Owen and Beru killed so Luke would play into his hands.

Oh man, I thought we'd get to Mos Eisley's today, but the hero's journey is kind of longer than I expected. What with all the pit stops to look at matte paintings and such. But I'll leave you on this. You know what I just realized?
That ellipsis has four periods instead of three. Oh man, that bugs me. I'm surprised I never noticed it before.

23 comments:

Jean-Sebastien Levesque said...

Coolest thing about the Death Star is that it's basically one big giant lightsaber (so I'v heard).

Siskoid said...

I never thought of it that way. It's more like a giant version of the little ball Luke blind-fights with.

snell said...

"...and here come these new guys who just want to punch planets so the Rebels will just give up.

So the Death Star is the Superboy-Prime of Star Wars universe?

Andrew Gilbertson said...

"If you weren't sure if Ben Kenobi was full of it or not, this should give you your answer. Stormtroopers are the kind of guys who shave their eyebrows in the morning by mistake."
'Only Imperial stormtroopers are so precise' is, to me, the most glaring error in the entire Star Wars saga. (Well, perhaps tied with the Emperor's 'an entire legion of my BEST troops' in ROTJ).

"That's what happens when prospective Jedis have attachments. Right?"
Now you're just trolling... :-)

"That ellipsis has four periods instead of three. Oh man, that bugs me. I'm surprised I never noticed it before."
Well, thanks- now I'll never be able to unsee that, either. You know, it's all fun and games until you drag someone else down with you...

Siskoid said...

Of all the things never to fix and to keep repeating, eh?

Green Luthor said...

Ah, see, I think you may be judging Obi-Wan too harshly here. He says that only Imperial stormtroopers are so *precise*. He doesn't say *accurate*. Precision, from a technical standpoint, really only requires *consistent* results, but they don't actually have to be the *correct* results. So they could all miss the broad side of a barn, but as long as all their shots land in the same general vicinity, they'd still be "precise".

Hey, it's a better asspull than Lucas would have come up with.

And, yes, I'm pretty sure I've seen the "Obi-Wan killed Owen and Beru" fan conspiracy theory before. (But I've also seen Kevin Rubio's "Troops", which has a slightly... different take on things...)

Siskoid said...

The line that precedes it is "And these blast points too accurate for Sandpeople."

Green Luthor said...

Ah, dagnabbit, I always forget about that line. (You'd think I could recite the script verbatim by this point...)

Er... um... see... what Obi-Wan is saying is that the Sand People are even *worse* shots than the Stormtroopers. Yeah, that's it. When Luke says "I've never heard of them hitting something this big before", what he's actually saying is that they're such lousy shots, Luke assumed they would have missed even something the size of a Jawa Sandcrawler. Right, then. Carry on.

(Yeah, I'm not gettin' a No-Prize for this one, that's for sure...)

Siskoid said...

And now you know why Marvel had to be the one to publish the original Star Wars comics.

Hm, any chance J.J. will adapt the giant bunnies to the new movies?

Andrew Gilbertson said...

I live in hope. Jaxxon forever!

JDJarvis said...

The problems with "a New Hope" is it just don't make sense considering the prequels. The Jedigo from being The League of Superheroes and the U.N. rolled into one and then a Mystical order of Space Knights only kooks believe had any powers in the time it takes Luke to grow up to learn how to drive a sandspeeder?

Siskoid said...

But is that a problem for A New Hope, or for the prequels?

Toby'c said...

Keep in mind that the last time Obi-Wan encountered Stormtroopers or anything close to them, they were still all Jango Fett clones.

Siskoid said...

Good retroactive point.

Brendoon said...

We know the death star works.... (ellipsis extended) Japan called it quits after the Atomic Bomb was given its debut. Between ROTJ and TFA..... some kinda long time ago, far away cold war? TFA hopefully doesn't feature "a war on being frightened" (sorry, on Terror. Wouldn't it be better to make war on terrorists?).
There's a new gif floating about which has replaced the Hayden Christensen ghost at the end of ROTJ with a Vincent VEga (pulp fiction) ghost. Haha!
You're right about Vader being cool. I wish younger Ani took a book out of that leaf.

And of course, Tarkin was able to be so cool around Vader because in his past (2150, Earth, to be precise) he'd faced off an entire Dalek invasion. That's gotta give ya big googly mooglies.

Brendoon said...

Dang, I shoulda put more paragraph breaks in that. Can't understand a WORD in rereading!

Brendoon said...

Let me Rephrase.........

We know the death star works.... (ellipsis extended)

We know Japan called it quits after the Atomic Bomb was given its debut.

Hmm, them maybe the time BETWEEN ROTJ and The Force Awakens..... some kinda long time ago, far away cold war?

The next historic parallel, TFA hopefully doesn't feature "a war on being frightened" (sorry, on Terror. Wouldn't it be better to make war on terrorists?).

You're right about Vader being cool. I wish younger Ani took a book out of that leaf.
There's a new gif floating about which has replaced the Hayden Christensen ghost at the end of ROTJ with a Vincent Vega (pulp fiction) ghost. Haha!

And of course, Tarkin was able to be so cool around Vader because in his past (2150, Earth, to be precise) he'd faced off an entire Dalek invasion. That's gotta give ya big googly mooglies.

Ah! That must read better.

Brian said...

There's a very real sense that the Empire operates at a massive scale, trying to prove just how futile any rebellion is against it (certainly the image of a machine like the Death Star, and even the size of Star Destroyers – in terms on nomenclature and number, the initial suggestion is that they're the equivalent of naval destroyers and effectively therefore the base-level capital ships; we just somehow never see the transition from that to the equivalent of a battleship or carrier aside from Vader's flagship in the next movies – the TIEs, recall here, are coming from the Death Star, not any hanger on the destroyers – probably partly as the full name "torpedo destroyer" (ships running escort to less-armed carriers) just isn't in the popular understanding the way the shortened "destroyer" is...)

As for the ellipse issue, that's actually the proper period-followed-by-an-ellipse style of a sentence ending with the paragraph cut off, so that it LOOKS like four dots: notice the extra spacing between the first and second dots. Too often, we're just used to seeing writers not use punctuation at the end of a sentence or clause prior to an ellipse (or capitalization following an initial ellipse).

Siskoid said...

Yes, it's nevertheless punctuation that is abhorrent to me. Maybe it's my French-language upbringing.

The Empire is all about intimidation. They've just bullied people for so long, they've pushed people to the point where they'll start throwing punches and be called in to the principal's office.

Brendoon said...

"full name "torpedo destroyer" (ships running escort to less-armed carriers)"

Wow, cool! I am chuffed to have been told that.
But DID GL (George Lucas, not Green Lantern, yeh?) follow that pattern in the films?

LiamKav said...

That "A long time ago" text has been reformatted several times in the various versions, with different colours, spacing and even fonts. But they've always kept in the 4 dots. I guess that's just a Star Wars "thing" now.

There's a nice bit in one of the novels where one of the scientists who was working on the Death Star was approching it purely as a scientific task, ignoring the moral ramifications. She refused to believe that the Empire was really "that evil". When it was pointed out to her that the weapon was called the "Death Star", and that their main ships were called "Star Destroyers", she changed her mind. I do find it interesting that the Empire in no way hides the threat behind these ships.

(Although as a side note, at no point during ANH does anyone say "Star Destroyer", "X-Wing" or "TIE Fighter", due to the model shots taking place after the filming. They make up for it in the next two by saying "Star Destroyer" and "TIEs" constantly, but "X-Wing" is only said once in all three original trilogy films. In one of those things I throw at people who say that kids don't like complicated things or to be thrown useless statistical information, I point out how popular Top Trump cards are and the fact that almost any child with a passing interest in Star Wars knows X-Wings, Y-Wings, and probably B-Wings and A-Wings too.)

Andrew Gilbertson said...

Not to mention the (less-than-they-used-to-be) ubiquitous Ewoks; never named onscreen.

Brendoon said...

" at no point during ANH does anyone say"

Ha! It took me ALL DAY to figure out what th' heck ANH was!
"The movie formerly known as Star Wars" of course.
It'll always be SW in my book. "A New Hope" is a bit... floral to my mind. Not to mention, being the FIRST movie there was no "old despair" (namely the prequels) to put it in context, so it couldn't haver been called "ANH" at the time.

Also I recall it used to say"from the adventures of Luke Skywalker". It never occurred to me at the time that any prequels would fail to fit into the "from the adventures of Luke Skywalker" framework, it couldn't be extracted from his journals if he hasn't been born yet.

When Douglas Adams wrote Hitchhikers Guide he made no attempt at connecting up or fulfilling continuity, putting his randomised, anarchic finger in the air to people who need their boxes ticked.

that's so bad ass!!

 

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