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My 4 Favorite Things About Each Star Wars Movies

"May the Fourth be with you," my friends. Since everyone is required to talk about Star Wars every May 4th, even if they don't want to, here you go. 

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
01. "I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board..." Carrie Fisher in all her royally bitchy double-bunned glory
02. "These aren't the droids you're looking for." Sir Alec Guiness (in general) and those delicious British intonations 
03. The opening scrawl and in media res Storm Troopers / Vader attack. This is how you start a movie/trilogy. Death to backstory - just throw us in!
04. The trash compactor sequence. As a child I was obsessed for some reason so it's merely a nostalgic choice.


Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
01. Love Yoda and the existential mysteries of the Dagobah swamps, you must.
02. That it inspired this cartoon (above) about my youth. "Luke, I am your father"
02. "I love you" / "I know."
04. The perfect mirror of Star Wars opening planet, a hot dry desert (Tatooine), in the unforgiving freezing ice planet of Hoth.

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
01. The entire Jabba the Hut opening act (my favorite complete act in any Star Wars film). Love every fucking second of it (especially Jabba the Hut) and that it fully earns the wonders of that immortal gold bikini.
02. That the movies kept finding new weird things to do Leia's hair that seemed organic to Princess Organa. 
03. That speeder bike race on Endor
04. The teaser highly graphic poster art with the red and the purple/blue lightsabers. One entire wall of my bedroom (!) was Return of the Jedi posters/stills.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
01. The release of the trailer. It was so exciting that even a glimpse of the Gungan (Jar Jar Binks and crew) seemed rife with possibility. The horror being yet to come!
02. "The Duel of The Fates" three-way lightsaber battle: great scoring, great choreography, great everything
03. Any glimpse of Darth Maul. And there are only glimpses.
04. Princess Amidala's Kabuki/Geisha/WTF costumes (designed by Trisha Biggar)

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
01. The title had a certain cheesy B movie grandeur about it
02. Um... shots of the Storm Troopers had a kind of military fetishistic panache. 
03. Yoda's bouncing lightsaber fighting style had a big memorability factor despite being stoopid.
04. Ewan McGregor

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
I don't remember anything other than that I was so glad Star Wars was over. But then... (gulp)...

the cast of Star Wars Episode VII at their first table read last week

Star Wars Episode VII: Title To Be Determined (2015)
01. Hamill & Fisher & Ford. Oh my.
02. Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca (oh please let him have grey fur now! That'd be hot and funny) 
03. Andy Serkis as someone or other or possibly multiple others (because you have to respect that he completely monopolizes that whole new wing of film acting: CGI/actor creations)
04. John Boyega. Finally someone using him for something big and poppy after Attack of the Block.  

Your turn!


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Reader Comments (13)

Interesting parallel (or disjuncture?) in this post: you admire films that jump right into the world and action, back story be damned, and then share an interesting and bizarre personal anecdote about how frustrating it was to go to movies with your parents because you had to wait see the beginning of the movie at the end of the movie. Maybe your parents were instilling in you the virtues of finding your own narrative within a movie... And this childhood story also captures the enthusiasm and horror of Star Wars and its prequels (the beginning comes late, and no one is pleased by the wait!)...

May 4, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets

Episode 1:

-Pod racing is cool, damnit. It inspired the awesome N64 racer.
-Darth Maul
-Darth Maul
-...Darth Maul

Episode 2:

-The drinking game you play whenever Padme switches to another ridiculous costume for no reason
-Padme in that white outfit near the end
-"This party's over", the one line reading that feels like Samuel L. Mothafuckin' Jackson said it and not a robot
-Ewan McGregor, bless his heart

Episode 3:

-The opening adventure sequence is a lot of fun.
-That one scene where Padme and Anakin just shut the FUCK up while John Williams works his magic and does the talking for them.
-EVERYTHING about Palpatine, including the way "my little...green...friend" slithers off his lizard tongue
-Order 66

Episode 4:

-"What a piece of junk!" never fails to make me laugh
-"Uh, we had a slight weapons malfunction, but uh... everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?"
-Leia's here now, gone tomorrow British accent
-Alec McGuinness in general

Episode 5:

-Darth Vader. Not just a wonderful visual, but a completely iconic movie villain, with a more controlled walk and confident vocal performance from James Earl Jones.
-Cloud City. I have a thing for floating civilizations in the sky thanks to Miyazaki, and a thing for gorgeous sunsets. Its like it was made just for me.
-Lando. Suddenly Han isn't the coolest dude in this movie.
-That wonderful lightsaber duel, the best in the series, and just one of the best duels in cinema history.

Episode 6:

-The Battle of Endor
-The Emperor/Vader/Luke confrontation, the best scenes in the series. When people talk about Space Operas, this is the apex.
-Leia's hair
-Jabba the Hutt

May 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohnny

FYI - you are missing 02 for return of the jedi.

Given what a let down the most recent three were and the grand inconsistency of JJ, is it weird that I am so excited for these upcoming films?

A couple of notes:

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) - Easily the best of the 'new' trilogy and the only one that I would actually recommend to a friend (although doesn't touch the glory of the originals), I recommend you re-watch as there is good stuff in here.

Four favorite things -
- Emperor Palpatine - was a GREAT villain in this.
- Order 66 - Excellent and emotional sequence
- Yoda's defeat and retreat - Both a great action sequence and emotional as we love us some Yoda.
- Anakin vs. Obi Wan - Their final face-off was effective (if hampered by some cheese). Overall the turning of Anakin to the darkside was done well.

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
- '04. Ewan MacGregor'
umm? I think your love blinds you. Ewan was atrocious in these films (although I guess may have looked good in comparison to unholy trinity of bad acting of Christensen, Portman & Jackson).
Actually I think the only thing I really remember being good about this one was that arena fight with the monsters.

May 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

The Jabba Act is my favorite part of the series too! Whenever I said ROTJ was my favorite movie people would kind of stare at me funny. But I knew better!

May 4, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertom

I like Adam Driver. His brand of crazy has unlimited possibilities in this early half of his career. What will the director do with them? What will the role allow him to operate under his full intuitiveness?

May 4, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Where did you find that Shaun Cassidy-styled haircut of Luke Skywalker's? Beauty!

May 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterErik

catbaskets -- i love being psychoanalyzed. Keep up the fine work.

Erik -- RIGHT? The 70s get such a bad rep in terms of aesthetics but the shaggy longish feathered hair was so hot (on some men)

Tom -- fans of Jabba, unite.

Anonny -- yes everyone does bad acting in the modern Star Wars movies. so it's not so much that love is blinding me as that i have to find SOMETHING to appreciate and Ewan MacGregor might as well be it.

May 4, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Episode I

-Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn
-Duel Of The Fates
-The Art Direction and Costumes
-The Corusant scenes

Episode II

-The new planets
-John Williams "Across The Stars" Theme music
-The ending
-Ewan McGregor

Episode III

-The Score
-The Palpatine/Anakin Scenes
-The Art Direction

Episode IV

-The Death Star Attack
-Obi-Wan telling Luke about his father
-Luke finding Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru's bodies
-The Score

Episode V

-Too many things just to choose four

Episode VI

-Luke Vs. Vader
-The Score
-The Emperor's Throne Room

Episode VII (so far)

-The fact that they'll be more Star Wars films.
-The originals returning... except for Lando :-(
-The new cast
-The fact that they could go in any direction they want in terms of story and plot.

May 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Armour

We can't talk about Revenge of the Sith and not mention Ian McDiarmid's *gloriously* over the top portrayal of Emperor Palpatine. The shit-eating grin when he turned Anakin against Mace Windu, "I AM THE SENATE", deliciously wicked caclklng and more. Ugh. I loved every single one of his scenes. Plus, Order 666 and Anakin slaughtering the little Padawans was pretty tough to watch.

Revenge of the Sith was the best of the recent trilogy even if the bar wasn't really that high. It had some of the oddest WTF lines and acting. Honestly, i think the only two who rose above it all were McGregor and Diarmid.

May 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck.

Daniel -- "the fact that they could go in any direction they want in terms of story and plot". I think they'll miss that opportunity with the old cast coming back. the same as the "new old" trilogy 1-3 missed it by feeling like it had to fill in back story when what you needed for dramatic tension was characters whose fates we didn't know tied up in the drama (preferrably peripheral) of Darth Vader becoming who he was.

May 4, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

For me, Star Wars IS Luke, Leia and Han. So I don't really want Episode VII to go too far afield of them. Episode VIII and IX? Sure. After you've set up the new cast in Ep7, go somewhere else. I feel like Luke will remain the mentor figure throughout the new trilogy. And I'm going to hang my hat on the idea that the new girl in the series is Han and Leia's daughter, so there will be a connection.

But at least being a sequel, it can introduce new villains, new worlds and new stories.

May 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKeith Gow

Nathaniel - Obviously, they're gonna have to fill in some holes about what happened in the last thirty five years between Jedi and this new film; and it'll definitely play off of story elements that came before. However, it would be in Disney's best interest to move the new story in its own direction. I don't imagine 7-9 will be the end of this saga and it'll need to stand on its own two feet after the original cast falls into the background to keep the general public's interest. Therefore, simply from a greed standpoint, it can't use the original trilogy as a crutch.

May 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Armour

Thank you for this post! My greatest movie going experience was seeing Empire in the cinema in 1980 so Nathaniel I feel for you missing the opening. As someone who gets anxious waiting outside the cinema for the light to turn green indicating that the cinema is now ready, I really can't understand your parents. I love all things Star Wars including the cheesy dialogue and bad acting. When the bad reviews came out for TPM I just shook my head: "That's Star Wars "I thought "what are you all crying about?!" I was 10 when Star Wars was first released in 1977. In 1999 I took my then 6 year old daughter to see The Phantom Menace in an absolutely packed cinema. She loved Jar Jar!!! The only think that disappoints me about the idea of Star Wars VII is that it's too soon! After the Prequels I knew they couldn't leave Star Wars alone but I always imagined I'd be taking my grandchildren.

May 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoanne

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