Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ranking The Lightsaber Duels

There are a couple of reasons why I will be writing this piece of shit post. One, I saw Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Plot Hole on TV the other day and marveled at the light saber duel at the end and two, I can finally admit I'm a big fucking nerd (my wife agrees). I watched American Splendor on IFC (why do they call it independent film channel? There is nothing independent about it) and I was compelled to write this because of one of the characters named Toby who is a self proclaimed nerd, and he is really fucking proud to be one. Revenge of the Nerds is to him as Malcolm X is for blacks as what Beastmaster is to me.

(Awkward silence)

Anyhoo I thought I would flex my nerd muscles and rank the light saber duels from worst to best. If there is anybody still reading, enjoy.

The Movie: Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope
The Jedis: A very geriatric Ben Kenobi and Darth Vader
Analysis: This was the first ever duel in the Star Wars series so I should give it a little slack but seeing this duel is just painful to watch today. Not only does Kenobi look like he's about to break a hip (which is weird because in the Star Wars world he is only 57) but Vader looks as graceful as an arthritic donkey doing yoga. I think that Kenobi lets Vader kill him in the end not only because his mission is done but also because all the excitement probably caused him to crap his pants. Better to make a disappearing exit then explain why such a foul stench not named Grand Moff Tarkin has entered the Death Star.

Cool Points: Kenobi's little twirl in the beginning of the fight.
Points Taken Off: Both of them looking like they haven't used a light saber before. They look as awkward as a two teens on prom night.

The Movie: Stars Wars Episode II - Attack of the Clones
The Jedis: Count Dooku, Obi Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker
Analysis: This was horribly disappointing for a couple of reasons. Kenobi (probably my favorite Jedi) gets taken out by a horrifically geriatric Jedi and he is then saved by his douchebag apprentice. It looks like they spent like 10 minutes before the shoot practicing the choreography. The duel between Obi Wan and Dooku lasted roughly six seconds and the duel between Anakin and Dooku was a total fucking cop out because Lucas decided for the first time to be artsy. It's not as bad as say shaky camera action in Batman Begins but it is pretty annoying, because Batman Begins has a hell of a lot better script.

Cool Points: Anakin gets his arm chopped off
Points Taken Off: Dooku is much too old to actually fight so he miraculously turned into a 25 year old stunt man right before any of the action started.

The Movie: Stars Wars Episode II - Attack of the Clones
The Jedis: Yoda and Dooku
Analysis: The green man finally decides to get into the action. For some reason he has to toddle around on a cane but somehow can jump and fight like a Peurto Rican kick boxer on cocaine when needed. Again the choreography is crap because the stunt man doing Dooku was probably told to just swing his rod around wildly and they would CG in the Yoda later. I'm pretty sure that's how most Lucas films work. Plus the lines before the fight were painful to listen to. I forget, is this 2002 or 1922? We don't need to be told what's happening or what is about to happen, were pretty smart like that.

Cool Points: Yoda fights
Points Taken Off: Yoda fights

The Movie: Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
The Jedis: Yoda and Emperor douchebag
Analysis: Again Yoda kicks some major ass, but this time around it isn't as cheesy. The newly disfigured Emperor decides to show off his moves to the aging green guy. At one point they decide to take the fight from the emperor's private quarters to the Senate floor. This is how I imagine Nancy Pelosi would take on George Bush except there are no good guys in that fight so I wouldn't give a frog's fat ass who would win.

Cool Points: The lightning battle at the end.
Points Taken Off: The whole twirling of the podiums by the emperor in an attempt to knock off Yoda, fucking lame.

The Movie: Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
The Jedis: Mace Windu, the blinky guy, ugly jedi guy, the Emperor
Analysis: This is a pretty cool fight except for the fact that the Emperor takes out two highly trained jedi in a matter of like 0.5 seconds and can't take out a very old Mace Windu. One must wonder if the Emperor knew that little bitch Anakin was going to save him and was kind of toying with Windu or that the bad mutherfucker that is Windu is that good. Who knows? Either way, I hate Hayden Christenson. Completely sucky actor.

Cool Points: Great moves by the emperor.
Points Taken Off: Horrendous lines, overacting.

The Movie: Star Wars Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
The Jedis: A newly touped Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader
Analysis: Luke isn't a bitch anymore and can take on his pops. Right from the beginning we know Luke has improved by how he kicks the shit out of dad and he tumbles down the stairs yelling like a wookie who just got kicked in the nuts. The choreography is decent up until the end, then it looks kind of crappy, like 1983 crappy, but having a light saber fight with the biggest fucking battle in history as a backdrop is pretty freaking cool.

Cool Points: Luke going nuts and severing Vader's hand.
Points Taken Off: Luke's yell (which will be visited again later) and his subsequent swatting of the ceiling tiles.

The Movie: Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back - Episode V
The Jedis: Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader
Analysis: This was a great fight, from start to finish. The only problem is Vader is just toying with the lad and could have lopped off his head at any time during the fight. But Vader is just trying to capture Luke and deliver him to the Emperor, which is weird because there can be only two; one apprentice and one master not three; one master, one mechanical freak and an incredibly short and wounded jedi. But we didn't know about this rule until Episode I, when George Lucas decided to change the rules of the Star Wars universe. So who knows what Vader was up to, maybe he was sick of his job and wanted Luke to kill him, maybe he wanted to hang out with his son. Anyways it was a great fight.

Cool Points: Luke doing a cannonball into the void.
Points Taken Off: His horrific overacting and yell right before that.

The Movie: Star Wars Episode III - Return Of The Bad Acting
The Jedis: Obi Wan and Anakin
Analysis: Anikan is obviously serious and deranged because he just killed off his hot and pregnant girlfriend right before fisticuffs with Obi wan. As much as Natalie Portman is a shitty actor and annoying as hell she still is a pretty hot little thing. So we know Obi Wan is in trouble because 1) He's not as powerful and Anakin and 2) Anakin is about as mad as Reverend Wright and 3) Anakin just killed a pregnant women, a women he's completely obsessed about so it will take all of Kenobi's experience to not get his head lopped off by his robotic acting apprentice. We all know the end, but it was one hell of a fight.

Cool Points: The choreography and how serious and intense the fight was.
Points Taken Off: Again, shitty lines at the end and the fact that while both Anikan and Obi Wan were inches from hot lava they didn't burst into flames. Only when Anikan was turned into the dude from One by Metallica did he then catch on fire.

The Movie: Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Penis
The Jedis: Qui-gon, Obi Wan, Darth Maul
Analysis: Let's be brutally honest, this was a pretty shitty movie. It sure did look purty (like the upcoming Speed Racer) but the script was just complete shit (like the upcoming Speed Racer). The ONLY thing that saved this movie was this fight. Darth Maul was cool not only because he had limited lines but because he was pretty scary and intense. I try to understand why Lucas decided to kill him off and replace him with a geriatric Jedi with a crap bag, oh the wonder. But this fight was great because of 1) The choreography 2) The athleticism of Darth Maul 3) The hippie Qui-gon is offed and 4) The young Obi Wan gets pissed and hacks Darth Maul in two. If it weren't for the fight I would have throw the DVD of Episode I into fire bin, then I would have pissed on it, then I would have boarded a plane to San Francisco to bring down George Lucas for ruining my childhood for the good of his bank account. I actually want to do that anyways because he keeps ruining good movies from the past (the upcoming Indiana Jones movie).


Michael Maier said...

Great commentary.

I have to agree that the Qui-Gon / Obi-Wan / Darth Maul duel is the best.

I have to disagree about the EPI III Obi / Anakin duel. I felt that it had zero dramatic tension. It was too fast and they didn't look as though they were really fighting. More like they were just going through the motions.

And you forgot the Obi / Ani / Dooku reunion duel in EPI III! Two lightsaber duels where Obi-Wan gets taken out like a little bitch with no effort! How can you not love that?

Prime Mover said...


I think I purposely forgot that duel just because it was so anti climatic and over within like 2 seconds. It was just kind of weird that Dooku can take out Obi with no effort and Obi can take out General Grievous with little more than a pistol.

CloudsRest said...

What about the mini-duel in the desert between Maul and Qui-Gon? It was sweet how Maul leaped off his bike and flipped into battle. Used only one side of his saber too. How the duel ended was lame, however.

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