They Don't Serve the Curmudgeon Here

Nitpicking A New Hope from 42:48 to 47:52
We finally get to Mos Eisley's spaceport. You'll never find such a wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must find our two remaining heroes there. Also, CGI rat things, one of several additions and fixes from the original print of the film:
I don't agree with a lot of the additions, but this is obviously better. The port is bigger, the ugly shadow softer, R2 isn't falling off, and C-3PO doesn't have his arms in a completely impossible position for him. The chittering rats, well, what are you gonna do? Still better than the stupid squeaky "nyah nyah" robot comedy routine that comes next:
Or the glide into the city apparently designed to make it look like a video game cut scene. Or the fact that they cloned (haha "cloned") Stormtroopers who exactly mirror each other on the street:
For a guy obsessed with "fixing" his masterpiece, that is a pretty terrible additional error! And then we have ANOTHER slapstick comedy bit for who knows who, with a conehead almost hitting a dinosaur, throwing some Jawas off. Hilarious!
Scum and villainy and pratfalls! Am I right?! And then George Lucas decides his perfectly good shot of the landspeeder coming to a stop in an area patrolled by Stormtroopers would look better if a dinosaur walked into frame.
It's not like the original wasn't already very busy with people and droids going past the camera all the time. Stepping into dino-dung now, I guess. It's really annoying given it leads us into one of the most rightfully famous scenes in the film, where Obi-Wan performs the Jedi mind trick and makes the troopers go away.
Now of course, when you cut to the lead trooper, you've got an annoying CG Skeets looking for Booster Gold in the background. It's very distracting. They move along through more video game terrain and finally come to a stop in front of the Cantina in time for C-3PO to utter a racial slur against Jawas. And only then does Luke ask about the mind trick. It seems even more delayed than before now that Lucas has added an entire digital road trip in between scenes. Ok, fess up, Star Wars fans: Who else really wants Luke to repeat what Obi-Wan says when he's told the Force has an effect on the weak-minded?

Cue Cantina interior and all those crazy aliens that will become action figures and Dark Horse Comics specials. I want to talk about the Wolfman, okay? Because he was in the original film, and was cut out of the Special Edition onward, replaced first by this froggy guy:
And then by this elephantine thing:
So if he's been cut out, if Lucas has apparently decided he has no business being in his movie, that they filled the Cantina will all sorts of crappy monsters they found in Pinewood Studios' storage, then what is he doing in the very shot of the Cantina's interior?
The Wolfman LIVES!!! Wolfman no, but Satan yes? I'm not gonna make fun of this sequence except to say it's where it's really established that Tatooine's two native peoples (and R2) aren't the only ones who speak in noise. The aliens here are a sound designer's wet dream. It's a wonder anyone understands anybody in this universe. At least Obi-Wan understands Wookie because we see him talk to Chewbacca at the bar. Now we know who he is, but in the film, he could be any alien, really. (Wolfman no, Big Foot yes.) So it's perhaps a surprise when he turns out to be important.
"Hey, we don't serve their kind here." Meaning the droids. Well, no, you don't. They're unlikely to consume alcohol or peanuts. Why the ban? More of that accidental and awkward slave/black person symbolism, or does the establishment hate non-drinking droids for taking up room? Sending the droids out to the landspeeder doesn't seem like a good idea with Stormtroopers walking around. They won't have their Jedi mind trickster there if another patrol comes around. Maybe Obi-Wan could tell the barman these aren't the droids he wants to kick out. Anyway, Luke buys a drink (it's not like they're carding) and we get several more shots of aliens including my favorite, Hammerhead. Then some bullies decide to pick a fight with him.
That's the Walrus-Man in the back, and whoever this badly dubbed jerk with the half-assed vampire bat makeup is supposed to be. Obi-Wan intervenes and shows he also has the accuracy of a Stormtrooper:
That is to say, it's bat-face who goes for a weapon in one frame, but it's Walrus who gets his arm cut off in the next. Is it possible the weapon changed hands in between shots? Here's where bat-face makes a move for the weapon. See how Walrus is just standing there like a doofus?
We cut to Obi-Wan getting his lightsaber out, and when we pan back to the villains, the gun is in Walrus' hand!
Whatever. Either way, you know what this means: OBI-WAN CUT FIRST! Of course, what's really cool is that as soon as the skirmish is over, the music starts up again and all these badasses go back to what they were doing. They see this all the time. Meanwhile, outside, looks like I was right.
Stormtroopers are getting off a Giant Gila Monster (now there's a science fiction film classic) and C-3PO says "I don't like the look of this." It's a CG addition. Neither do I, Threepio, neither do I.

Oh man, we haven't even met Han Solo yet at the 47½ minute mark?! Well, you'll just have to come back next time, eh? (Can you believe that was just 5 minutes of film?)

21 comments:

Andrew Gilbertson said...

I agree with you about the silly special edition changes- but c'mon, Siskoid- get your eye on the ball! Those are two different wolfmen- a light-warping Defel, replaced by the amphibian, and a Shistavanen wolfman (Lak Sivrak; and the bloody-hand-looking thing across from him is his lover, who dies in the Battle of Hoth) replaced by the Elephant guy. And, just like the rocks earlier... replaced very inconsistently. :-) Personally, I *like* the wolfmen- at least better than their replacements- and the latter wolfman's species is what my wife played as for several years in our Star Wars RPG.

Nerd-accuracy; it's all I ask. ;-)

Dug the Booster Gold ref!

Siskoid said...

The Wolfman has a kind of charm that CG creations don't. As for the rest, I thought I made is clear I wasn't EU-compatible.

Brian said...

Glowing alien eyes make for a lovely ambiance in a darkened cantina...

Siskoid said...

Saves on the lighting bill.

Green Luthor said...

Even disregarding the EU, the two wolfmen are actually two different creatures; the easiest difference to spot is the ears; the first one's ears stick up more, while the second's are angled back more. The teeth also appear different, and they're wearing different clothing, although the lighting can make that harder to notice.

Honestly, the entire Mos Eisley section is probably where Lucas screwed up the Special Editions the most. (Although the musical number in Jabba's palace in RotJ is also a contender.) Just so much unnecessary garbage thrown onto the screen, and all of it screaming "Hey, look at me!!!". Tweaking some of the effects that didn't come out quite right (like the landspeeder) wasn't a bad idea, but Lucas *really* needed someone to teach him the meaning of the word "restraint"...

Siskoid said...

Ah yes, I sort of see it. So one Wolfman is fine, the other is heinous and must be excised.

But yeah, by the time of the prequels, it became quite obvious that George had lost all restraint. Watching the DVD extras is almost painful, as he walks around cluelessly admiring various technicians' work and puts little stickers on the ones he likes, as everyone treats him like royalty. Surrounded by adoring yes men, there was never a point where someone would suggest such restraint.

Brendoon said...

Narf Narf! You guys totally crack me up.
I remember seeing the extensive cutting floor stuff from the cantina (where did THAT lot originate from? Is it still online?) And recall the US Astronaut featured in that a bit(Hmm, the guy from Hitchhikers guide, 2001 or Farscape??).
I don't remember, did he make it to the final cut?

Compare your cantina shenanagins with the 70's Country and Western Bar on Hardware Wars (youtube "hardware wars special edition") Luke stands at the door and says "Hey, it's too weird in here! I can't go in there!" Brillo!!

Brendoon said...

Lucas and restraint: I blame the Ewoks. That's where it started....

Green Luthor said...

There are some guys wearing flight suits and astronaut-like helmets in the cantina; not sure if those are the same ones you're thinking of (or, offhand, if they survived the Special Editions; I *think* they did, but I'm not positive).

Anyhoo, those flight suits (or nearly identical ones; they were modified from actual flight suits) have actually been reused in numerous productions (including by Bossk in TESB). But Star Wars itself would also have been such a reuse; they were previously used in Doctor Who! (1966's "The Tenth Planet" - the storyline that saw William Hartnell's Doctor regenerate into Patrick Troughton - and 1968's "The Wheel in Space"; possibly others for all I know.) (Mentioning this irrelevant trivia on the off chance that Siskoid might fight Star Wars reusing Doctor Who props of interest. Carry on.)

Anyhoo the second: it's been mentioned that one of the best things about Star Wars is the world-building; characters just casually drop references to in-universe things as if everyone around them understands what they mean, leaving the viewers to imagine what a rich backstory it all must have (the Clone Wars, for example). And the cantina scene may be the greatest example of world-building in the entire trilogy. Just a room full of weird-looking aliens, and they're all just... there. What are they? What are their home worlds like? What brought them all there? Doesn't matter. They're just an accepted part of the scenery to the characters. (Luke looks around like he hasn't seen creatures like these before, but Luke also doesn't appear to get out and meet non-humans much, and probably not so many different species all in one place.) It's one of the series' iconic scenes for a reason...

Also, if there's one thing we should all be glad was probably (hopefully) excised with the EU: the style of music played by the band in the cantina was called "jizz wailing". Really. How that got past anyone at Lucasfilm is beyond me.

Brendoon said...

Maybe the slang developed after that?
Who would have ever named their line of whiteware "SMEG" after seeing Red Dwarf?


But I forgot SW was filmed at Elstree! Of course! The spare costumes will reappear in UK productions rather than US based.

Siskoid said...

Luthor: Yes, I've posted about the oft-used astronaut suit before.

You are of course right about why the Cantina scene is a good bit. Barring any jizz on the bandstand.

LiamKav said...

You don't need to have seen Red Dwarf before deciding not to name your product "smeg". It's a real word (that Grant Nylor claimed they had no idea about when they first started using it.)

Siskoid said...

What about Spume? Can I call my product Spume?

Green Luthor said...

Ah, sorry, didn't realize you had posted about the astronaut suits in the past. Oh, well, no harm done, I guess.

Siskoid said...

You didn't go through 6700+ posts to make sure before you commented?! UNACCEPTABLE!!

;)

Green Luthor said...

I've made myself look like a jerk in front of millions of people, and brought shame and disgrace to my family name for generations to come. (Okay, maybe not.)

Siskoid said...

Don't go all full-Klingon on us, now!

Brendoon said...

Ha, you guys crack me up.
Abbott and Costello of the Blogsphere.........
(ellipsis enhanced for reasons of anarchy)

Siskoid said...

Who's on Bespin?

Brendoon said...

Heh, I'm not even gonna reply to that.
No wait..................................

Brendoon said...

I'd been thinking if Hayden Wassname ACTUALLY became Vader. Lucas should have dubbed out James Earl Jones voice with deepified voice modulated Anakinisms taken from the prequel, he should whine and complain a lot more than the cool and calm current Vader version does.

Today I discovered somebody had ALMOST done exactly that... but with baby Anakin outtakes.
At times it's a HOOT! I love the bit where Vader goes to check out the Falcon and the troopers are sniggering behind his back becasue he keeps telling them he's a pilot too....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_H3_g9PhnM

BTW, it's amazing how ideas seem to float about in the atmosphere and if you don't use 'em, someone else eventually will... for about a decade I've been sitting on an idea for a novel about an immortal with a finite memory who has to look back on his roomful of diaries to remember what he got up to at any particular time. It was a surprise when just such a character appeared in this season of Doctor WHO! I was never gonna write that novel anyhow, the idea was really wasted on me.

 

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