Notes on the original Star Wars trilogy

Alright, I’m going to write about the original Star Wars trilogy.

I just watched Harmy’s Despecalized Edition of the original trilogy. Basically, it tries to be as HD as possible while removing a lot of the distracting CGI and color correction mistakes made in Special Edition of Star Wars. The movies look fantastic.

I’m not a gigantic Star Wars nerd but here are my observations in light of how the new trilogy turned out. I’m only going to consider the films and none of the books or expanded universe or whatever.

I can see why George Lucas tried to “fix” all the special effects
The special effects look pretty dated. The puppets are super obvious. If this were my creation, I’d feel an uncontrollable urge to go back and fix everything with the best of modern technology. It’s an admirable goal but ultimately short-sighted because any modern special effects you add in 1997 are still going to look dated years later. Plus a lot of the stuff he added was just plain bad and distracting. The original trilogy could have used some polish but it didn’t need to be made into a brand new thing.

So Jedis are basically extinct
At the beginning, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Darth Vader and the Emperor are the only practitioners left. Jedi are basically just an urban legend on this point. It doesn’t make sense that the new trilogy shows the Jedi were wiped out around the same time Luke was born. You mean in 20-something years, everyone has already forgotten about this mass genocide of the galaxy’s peacekeepers?

What does make sense is the shitty Jedi fighting. These guys haven’t had a reason to use their lightsabers for the past 20-odd years, I can see why they’d act like decrepit old men waving their canes around. And why a young upstart like Luke could take down the “Chosen One”.

Obi-Wan doesn’t talk from the afterlife until Empire Strikes Back
In A New Hope, you hear his ghostly voice but it’s more like Luke remembering his training than an actual conversation. In the following two movies, he just flat out converses with Luke and Yoda. It’s weird and not really explained. One could imagine that Luke would be able to talk with Yoda and Anakin more afterwards too.

Yoda is basically comic relief
He Is hilarious when he appears in ESB. He’s like Rafiki from The Lion King; very mischievous and speaks in riddles. Why did the prequels turn around and worship him? He should have remained a crazy hermit librarian instead of this Jedi war hero.

Darth Vader feels a lot like The Hound from Game of Thrones
He’s strong and silent and most importantly: he’s a follower. He takes orders. He doesn’t aspire to be the #1 guy. But he wants to rise to a position where he can exert his power over things. The high-ranking officers on the Death Star fear him but also think he’s a pious asshole. Conversely, Luke and Leia feel a lot more like natural leaders.

C-3PO is basically Jar-Jar
Ok well that’s unfair. But he is really annoying and chatty. But we accept him because he’s not packed into a movie with an annoying kid and it’s funny to hear only half of the conversation he has with R2-D2. Also, he grows in later movies to be less of a scaredy cat.

Han shows the most character development
Speaking of characters growing, I feel like Han does the most growing. Han and Leia’s little love story is actually really fucking good compared to the Anakin/Padme mess in Episode II. Han learns to fight for things bigger than himself and allows himself to be vulnerable to Leia. Leia softens to him in kind. No need for bad poetry.

R2-D2 has a lot of robot sex
Seriously, dude will stick his probe into anything.

Nowhere do they prove the light side is stronger or equal to the dark side
Vader slays Obi-Wan. Luke only defeats Vader when he succumbs to his anger. I don’t recall Yoda saying anything about the light side being stronger, just morally superior. Maybe using the Force is like using performance-enhancing drugs. Like the light side guys walk this very fragile grey line and use all sorts of stupid logic riddles to justify it. I’d actually like a universe where the Jedi have a love/hate relationship with Force usage.

Return of the Jedi is improved if you think of it as a parallel to Anakin’s story
See: Machete Order. It’s kind of cool to watch Episodes II and III after ESB but before ROTJ. It makes it far more evident that Luke is being seduced by the dark side. The internal struggle at the end is far more believable and Vader’s redemption is so much more satisfying.

Leia looks incredibly hot dressed as a bounty hunter
Too much has been said about the gold bikini and not enough about this. I just love the dynamic of this scene, Han is sick and blind and Leia has hatched this elaborate plan to bust him out of Jabba’s palace.

Princess Leia as a bounty hunter in Return of the Jedi
Seriously. So freakin’ hot.

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