0077 – Dungeons & Dragons: Episode 16 – Stab Wars


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Star Wars: Episodes IV, V, and VI (1977, 1980, and 1983)


Twi’leks? Still hot. But then there’s Metal Bikini Leia…

Here we go again. Another super long review because you guys would prefer it to 3 separate reviews. Because of my hatred for reading, this will be the conclusion to my Star Wars review saga. The canon does continue on from here into seemingly interesting places (which I figure from what I can gleam from Star Wars Wikipedia websites), but only in novel form. And fuck that! I don’t read for nobody. Not even Star Wars! I’ve gotten off track … Oh yes! The original trilogy! Here comes Episodes IV, V, and VI. Again, I intend to include spoilers, but if you haven’t seen these movies, I don’t like you. Not at all.

Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)

A slightly less long time ago in an equidistant galaxy, we hop into the middle of a battle between a giant Star Destroyer and a tiny starship. Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) puts the plans for a terrible weapon the Galactic Empire is working on into one of her droids, R2-D2 (Kenny Baker), and sends him and her other droid, C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), to the desert planet of Tatooine. She is then captured by the Lord of the Imperial forces, Darth Vader (David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones). The two droids are captured by Jawas and traded to Owen and Beru Lars and cleaned by their nephew, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). R2-D2 reveals to Luke that he’s owned by Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) and Luke figures out that they must mean the old hermit Ben Kenobi. R2-D2 goes off to find Obi-Wan and Luke follows. Obi-Wan saves Luke from Sand People and tells Luke that he knew his father when he was a Jedi Knight, and that his father was killed by Vader. He tells Luke that he can teach him the ways of the force and presents him with his father’s lightsaber. He tries to get Luke to go with him to save the princess but Luke feels obligated to his aunt and uncle … until he finds out they’ve been killed by Storm Troopers. He then accompanies Obi-Wan to Mos Eisley to find a ship. They find two smugglers, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his giant fuzzy Wookie co-pilot Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), who agree to transport them in their ship, the Millennium Falcon. Back on the Death Star, Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing) tries to intimidate Leia into giving up the location of the Rebel Base by blowing up her home planet of Alderaan. Luke and his buddies show up to find Alderaan destroyed and get captured by the Death Star’s tractor beam. The group splits up. Obi-Wan goes to disable the tractor beam, the droids stay in the Falcon, and the rest go to rescue Leia. They do and eventually return to the Falcon, just in time for Luke to witness Obi-Wan get struck down by Vader, his body disappearing and his robe falling empty to the ground. The group escapes, minus one old man, and regroup with the Rebels to plan an attack on the Death Star. They find that the only weakness of the massive space station is a tiny exhaust port. They mount an assault but everyone fails at taking a shot at this exhaust port because their targeting computers aren’t up to the task. Luke goes in and Obi-Wan’s voice in his head tells him to turn off the targeting computer and use the Force. With the help of the Force and his schizophrenic voice, Luke destroys the Death Star. Everyone gets medals. HOORAY!

Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

A while after the last movie, the Rebel Alliance is still in trouble, even though they blew up the Death Star. Leia is now in charge of a contingent of troops on an icy planet of Hoth. Han Solo and Luke Skywalker are still in the group with her. Luke is riding around on an ugly, horse-like creature called a tauntaun and sees a probe droid land. He goes to investigate it but is attacked by a Yeti-looking mother fucker called a wampa and is dragged back to it’s lair for the purpose of becoming his dinner. Han goes out to look for Luke and finds him laying in the snow, having freed himself from the wampa with liberal use of the Force and his lightsaber. Luke has a vision of Obi-Wan telling him to go to Dagobah and train with Jedi Master Yoda (Frank Oz). Han keeps Luke alive by stuffing him inside the belly of his dead tauntaun. And I thought they smelled bad ……………………………………….. on the outside! The Empire lays seige on Hoth and everyone just barely manages to escape, Luke splitting off from the rest to go train with Yoda. Han and Leia, along with R2-D2, C-3PO, and Chewbacca barely manage to escape, but their hyperspace engine is malfunctioning. Han comes up with the brilliant plan of going to the nearby Cloud City, on the planet Bespin, to get his ship fixed with his old friend Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams). Lando has betrayed Han and they fall into Darth Vader’s trap. Vader freezes Han in carbonite and gives him to the bounty hunter Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch). On Dagobah, Luke has been having difficulty training with Yoda and, to make matters worse, starts having visions of his friends in pain. Against Yoda and ghost Obi-Wan’s wishes, Luke jets off for Bespin to save them, falling into Vader’s trap. With Han on his way back to Jabba the Hutt with Bob Fett, Lando manages to free the rest of the group and take them to the Millennium Falcon to escape. Luke battles with Vader and gets his hand cut off. To apologize, Vader tells Luke that he didn’t kill Luke’s father, but instead he IS Luke’s father. Luke responds by jumping down the trash chute and hanging upside-down from the antenna beneath Cloud City. Hundreds of people’s TV’s shut off in the middle of Game of Thrones. Luke reaches out with the Force and tells Leia where he is, so they swing around and get him. With a little help from R2, they get the hyperdrive working and bounce. Luke gets a brand spankin’ new robot hand, Lando and Chewy go off looking for Han, and Luke and Leia look out a window.

Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)

Luke sets up a plan to rescue Han from Jabba the Hutt (not Jabba the English Bulldog). He first sends in R2 and 3PO as a goodwill gift, with a warning that he does not want to mess with newly promoted Jedi Knight Luke. Lando infiltrates the palace as one of Jabba’s guards and Chewy gets brought in by a bounty hunter named Boushh. At night, Boushh frees Han from his carbonite prison and reveals herself to be Leia in disguise. Luke arrives to try to negotiate (I say “try” ’cause it must be hard to concentrate with Leia in that metal bikini) for Han’s release, only to get dropped into a pit with a giant, awesomely badass creature called a Rancor. Luke drops a door on him and kills him, then is taken into captivity. Jabba decides to sacrifice the lot of them to the Sarlacc, a creature in a pit that eats people. R2 shoots a lightsaber at Luke and Luke proceeds to whoop ass. Han also inadvertently hits Boba Fett in the jetpack, shooting him into the Sarlacc pit and to his death. Leia also strangles Jabba to death with a chain (this time it actually WAS my dog. … I was not pleased). The group goes back to the Rebels and Luke returns to Dagobah to finish his training, but finds Yoda dying. In his last words, Yoda admits that Darth is Luke’s father and that there is another Skywalker. In conversation with ghostbi-Wan, Luke puts together that the other Skywalker is his twin sister, Leia. The Rebels have learned that the Empire is creating another, bigger Death Star and plans to destroy it. A ground party comprised of Luke, Leia, Han, Chewy, and the droids will go to the forest planet of Endor to destroy the Death Star’s shield generator while Lando takes the Falcon and attempts to destroy the Death Star. After a tiny skirmish on Endor when they land, Leia and the others join up with a ridiculously cute tribe of indigenous creatures called Ewoks. At night, Luke tells Leia that Vader is their father, and then leaves to surrender himself to Vader and some Imperial troops, taking him to the Death Star to meet Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), master of Vader and leader of the Empire. Palpatine tries to convert Luke to the dark side by informing him that he is, contrary to what the Rebels believe, on “a fully armed and operational Death Star”. Both Lando and Leia’s teams run into a large group of Imperials and find out “It’s a trap!” It was all a ruse to get Luke mad enough to join the dark side. Han and Leia’s team, with the help of the Ewoks, overcome their trap and manage to take out the shield. Luke tries to strike down the Emperor but is blocked by Vader and engages him in a lightsaber battle. Vader’s boasting of potentially turning Leia to the dark side since Luke won’t makes Luke snap. He disarms Vader (literally), but stops himself from killing him, believing there is still good in his father. Palpatine gets sick of Luke’s goodness and starts to fry him with some Force lightning. Hearing the pained screams of his son, Vader lifts the Emperor over his head and, despite being fried by Palpatine’s lightning, throws the Emperor down into the reactor and to his death. Luke helps the mortally wounded Vader back to his ship as the Imperials scatter because Lando is making his way into the core of the Death Star. Vader (Sebastian Shaw here, but not the villain from Marvel comics) asks his son to take off his mask so he can see him with his own eyes for once and confesses to him that Luke was right; there was good in him after all. Then he dies. Lando manages to get into the MCP-from-Tron-lookin’ core of the Death Star and destroys it, the Rebel forces and Luke all escaping. Celebration breaks out all over the galaxy, Luke burns his father on a funeral pyre, and Luke sees the spirits of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin (either Shaw or Hayden Christensen, depending on the version) proudly watching over them.

A New Hope is probably the worst of this trilogy, but only because V and VI were so gundamn good. The visuals were amazing for it’s time, and, even for these times, they stand up quite nicely. The dumb little things that Lucas went back in and added do nothing to help the movie, but they don’t hurt it in my mind either. Fanboys just don’t like any changes being made to their beloved movies, forgetting that they’re actually Lucas’ movies that we’re just getting to watch. The best thing to me about this movie and the next two is R2-D2. Whoever is to be blamed for this little droid should be applauded for giving a featureless little robot such a personality. I love that little mother fucker. The performances are all good as well. Han is the best of the humans to me. He’s a smug asshole, but he’s charming as shit. If Leia didn’t get him, I’d have tried. Leia’s good as well. Luke was a little grating in this movie. He seemed pretty whiny through the bulk of the movie. Aunt Beru and Uncle Own are fuckers though. They almost ruined the entire movies by telling Luke that Obi-Wan is dead and wanting to keep him at the farm. If he’d done that, he’d be dead like you two and we’d have no Star Wars! Jerks. Vader’s design was great. He looks like the badass that he should. And James Earl Jones’ voice sells the shit out of him. Obi-Wan must’ve been getting forgetful in his old age, acting like he stopped going by Obi-Wan before Luke was born and not recognizing the two droids. Nuh-uh! I saw them movies! The scale of this movie is as epic as it should be. This is first illustrated in the very beginning when the tiny Rebel ship is running from the mammoth Star Destroyer, and it continues throughout. For an off topic note, why does the fat pilot gotta be called Porkins, huh? Also, let’s face it, George. Han shot first.

For those that are unaware, the scene where Han is talking to the bounty hunter Greedo (the scene where I’ve memorized a line that Greedo speaks in a made up language, in case anyone doubts my nerdiness), originally Han shot Greedo under the table before Greedo could shoot. George thought this made Han too much of a dick and added in a blast from Greedo so that Greedo shot first. Fans erupted with anger. As I watched this version on BluRay, I could barely tell who shot first. So calm the fuck down, fanboys. You make me embarrassed to count myself amongst your number.

The Empire Strikes Back is probably what most people would call the best movie in the series, and I’d be inclined to agree. The reason? Vader is Luke’s fuckin’ father! HOLY SHIT! Of course, at this point (whether you’ve seen the movie or not) you probably know that. But I remember seeing that when I was a kid and later having to collect my mind from the wall behind me, on account of how much it was blown! The visuals got better as (I assume) the budget increased, not having a movie studio doubting your quality anymore after the success of the original. Now it’s all “Give us money and back the fuck off.” The performances remain in the same quality for the most part. Hamill gets less annoying as he becomes a badass. Watching Han and Leia’s relationship begin to bloom from bickering to love is great, but damaging to me. Why? Because I intend to ruin a great many relationships by only responding to “I love you” with “I know”. Think about it, it will kill many relationships but the one that gets it is meant for me. The puppeteering on Yoda here is amazing. It had so much more personality as a puppet than they were able to pull off with the CGI Yoda in the prequels. But why come Luke travels all that distance to train with a Jedi master just to ignore almost everything he tells him? Vader’s still a badass here, but it’s funny to me when he tries to hide from Luke in their fight because of his breathing problems.

Return of the Jedi wraps it all up for us. Not the best of the 3 but far from a bad movie. Luke has finally graduated to total awesomeness as his training nears completion. The practical, puppet version of Jabba the Hutt was SO much creepier than the CGI one from the prequels and the added scene from A New Hope. In this movie, Leia makes every nerd in the world fall in love with her by wearing a metal bikini as Jabba’s slave, which is much better than her Boushh outfit with the Sega Genesis on her head. And that Rancor is fucking terrifying. They made Ewoks blink in this one, which is a nice touch and makes them more realistic. And watching those adorable mother fuckers die in the battle is the saddest thing ever. PERIOD. Where’s the Sarah McLaughlin video for them?! The benefit of the BluRay remaster was made clearest to me in this movie, when the explosion of the Death Star 2 literally shook my living room. They changed the most things in this movie; all the things you may have seen the fanboy outrage over. The biggest one was that the originally silent scene where Darth Vader picks up the Emperor and throws him to his death now has a Revenge of the Sith-esque “NOOOOOOOOOOOooooooo!” added on top of it. Fanboys cried out in a much similar fashion. But why? I still think it works. I’ve got no problem with this change. It fits and I wouldn’t even have noticed had I not seen it on the internet because I don’t analyze every frame of the film, I just watch it. The change I had a problem with happened a few years ago. And what is that? I miss Yub Nub. Look it up.

Also, a little cool fact I found out while watching these movies: A character says “I have a bad feeling about this” in each of the 6 movies. Obi-Wan in Episode I, Anakin in Episode II, Obi-Wan again in Episode III, Luke and Han in Episode IV, Leia in Episode V, and C-3PO in Episode VI. I wouldn’t have thought of it had I not been reading the trivia about all the movies on IMDB while watching them.

My prognosis here is: AWESOME. I’ve always loved these movies and I can’t imagine there’s anything that could happen in my life, or anything George Lucas could do to them, that would change that. I probably watch these movies at least once a year as the whim strikes me ever since they came out on DVD. And, now in BluRay, they’re at their best. You don’t notice the difference as much in the prequels because they were filmed in higher quality. But when you get to the original series, all of which came out before I was even born, you can really see a big jump in quality of video and sound. My review? “Buy these movies” out of 3000. I think you should buy the whole saga, personally, but if you hate the prequels so much, at least do yourself the favor of picking up the original saga. Don’t make me come to you and wave my hand in front of your face to make you do it.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.