Jan 27, 2015

Who is Jenny Cresswell and why was her scene cut from A New Hope?

Jenny Cresswell cut from Star Wars with Han Solo
Cute Couple?
In the now infamous Cantina scene of A New Hope, Han Solo was filmed as flirting with a human like character now known as Jenny after the actress who played the part, Jennifer Cresswell.

This brief moment was cut from the final version of the movie however the part was recovered as an extra for the Blu Ray edition of Star Wars. 
Jenny Cresswell in Space:1999
Jenny Cresswell in Space:1999

The moment was cut as part of sharpening up the Cantina scene.

Given her moment of fame is missing from ANH, Cresswell is perhaps more well known as playing several parts in the television series, Space:1999

One wonders how if everyone had first met Han Solo chatting up space chicks rather than being simply introduced as a space pirate to Luke and Ben?

The character of Jenny wasn't the only female that could be found in Chalmun's Cantina, the Tonnika Twins were briefly glimpsed as well!

Jan 22, 2015

The Star Wars Ring Theory proves once and for all that Lucas really knew what he was doing the with Prequel Trilogy

Star Wars has possibly a deeper narrative than you may have previously thought.

George Lucas said to Vanity Fair in February 2005, "The interesting thing about Star Wars—and I didn’t ever really push this very far, because it’s not really that important—but there’s a lot going on there that most people haven’t come to grips with yet. But when they do, they will find it’s a much more intricately made clock than most people would imagine."

This epic essay demonstrates how all 6 Star Wars movies are unified in ways that many people, including myself have quite likely never fully grasped. It's amazing that it took till 2014 for a copywriter called Mike Klimo to put it all together. 

The crux of the essay is that the 6 films have a deliberate internal 'ring' system where the stories flow in rhythmic pattern. 

While this post is reducing the essay to a very basic form, the premise is that the films relate to each other like this >>>

So the cadence of the story of Star Wars follows a pattern of ABC CBA  where each letter relates to the corresponding film in terms of themes and patterns that occur in them. 

The essay is detailed in its thinking. Perhaps a little too smart for its own good in places and may over reaches in others, however it does an extremely fine job of demonstrating the similarities in each of the films, the call backs to each other that they make and the ‘meaningful coincidences’ that permeate the films.

We do really suggest you take 20 - 30 minutes to have a read. If you don’t here’s some interesting takeaways from it that explores the relationships between the films. The essay covers things in way more depth with some great use of comparative images from each movie. 

Phantom Menace’s Relationship to Jedi
  • Each films beginning scenes are very similar. Menace features Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan delivering the Chancellor’s demands in hopes of settling a conflict between the Trade Federation and the Naboo. Jedi features 'brobots' C3PO and R2D2 delivering Luke Skywalker’s message in hopes of settling the conflict between Jabba the Hutt and Han Solo. Both scene's feature the infamous Star Wars quote “I have a bad feeling about this.”
  • The trap that Emperor sets for Luke and his friends in Jedi is the result of him confirming to himself that his ‘flaw of compassion’ strategy will work as it did when he enticed Amidala to come to him in The Phantom Menace. He learned that compassion and fear can be used for his advantage, and he did the same over Luke in Jedi.
  • Jedi and Menace’s finale both feature a saber fight, a space battle and a land battle. 
  • C3PO's eyes are fixed by Anakin, Salacious Crumb eats one.
  • The pod race in Menace and the speeder bike chase in Jedi occur at the half way point of both movies.
  • In terms of the broader story of Anakin’s destiny started in Menace it is only fulfilled when Luke fulfills his (kind of a ring within a ring moment).
The inverted relationship of Attack of the Clones and The Empire Strikes Back
  • Clones begins with three small ships accompanying a larger ship and Empire features an ending where the Falcon escapes being chased by three tie fighters. 
  • Clones starts high in the clouds, ends in caves. Empire starts low (swamps of Degobah?) and ends high in the Cloud City.
  • Anakin uses Padme as bait to lure out an assassin. Vader users Han, Leia and Chewie as bait to lure out Luke, each trap leading to the intended trap victim blowing out throw a window. 
  • Obvious reference points are the Fetts, an asteroid belt scene, C3PO getting dismantled (Die Jedi Dogs!)
  • The bounty hunter losing her arm in the beginning of Clones mirrors the Wampa losing his arm at the beginning of Empire both moments serve to foreshadow a Skywalker each losing a limb in either movie.
  • Anakin finding his mother and killing everybody in the camp is the same emotional journey that Luke goes through when he enters the cave on Dagobah. Both scenes reflect the both the father and son’s descent into their own darkness of personality.
  • If one considers the first act of Jedi as the last act of Empire (which kinda makes sense) other similarities include the monsters in the arena and Jabba’s pit, a Skywalker using a green light saber for the first time, a Fett dying moments after a jet pack malfunction, Padme and Leia using a chain to kill a beast and a common sexual element in terms of those female characters clothes (the bikini however being more overt than Padme’s naked midriff but sometimes less is more….)
  • The two films are opposites in that Empire featured it’s great battle at the start, Clones the end as the Separatists tangled with the Republic. In a similar manner, Empire’s colour palette changes from blue (Hoth) to red (Cloud City skies) and Clones begins with Blue (Coursucant and Kamino) and ends with Red (Geneonis). 
The pairing of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope
  • The beginning is the end – the Invisible Hand ship serves as Palpatine’s throne room when he orders Anakin to execute Count Dooku and then escapes. Which mirrors the last half of a New Hope when Luke rescues Leia from Vader. 
  • In Sith, a clone pilot gives the order, “Set S-foils in attack position.” In A New Hope, after the X-Wing pilots report in, Red Leader orders his men to “Lock S-foils in attack position.” Many other comments are variants of each other. 
  • R2D2 uses his arm tool while in the trench run in ANH and the space battle in Sith. 
  • At some shenanigans on the Invisible Hand that mirrored the events on the Death Star Grevious mocks the Jedi with “That wasn’t much of a rescue” which practically is dripping the same sarcasm that Leia delivered with “This is some rescue!”
  • Other mirroring moments include Luke realising why the Jawa were slaughtered to rush and find his family dead, and Obi Wan and Yoda encounter dead children as they enter the Jedi Temple, C3PO drives Padme and Luke various places.
  • General Grevious being mostly a robot with breathing difficulty reflects the introduction of Vader and his famous breathing technique. 
  • Both the last act of Sith and the first act of A New Hope famously feature the sword fights between a Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Vader’s late appearance at the end of Sith ties nicely to Vader’s early entrance as he boards the Tantive IV at the beginning of ANH. 
  • C3PO says the last and first line of each movie. 
  • Yoda feeling the death of hundreds of Jedi after Order 66 is given, mirrors Obi Wan feeling the death of the people of Alderaan.
So as we said, these are just some of the elements that we found interesting in the essay. You might like to to read this interview with Mike Klimo - it offers some sweet insight into how he went about writing the essay. 

If this wonderful theory is true, the way George would have done is that he manged to get a strong story going with the original trilogy tales and when he was doing the prequels he would have been able to write the scripts to suit the ABCCBA relationship.

What do you think of this ring theory? It seems pretty strong. George Lucas has never spoken publicly about it - someone should ask him his thoughts on it. 

Jan 14, 2015

Our Top Ten favorite Star Wars moments

There's a lot to love about the Star Wars movies. Here's ten of our favorite moments. 
  1. When Luke beats Vader in their final fight and decides not to kill him on the grounds that he was a Jedi, like his father before him. For me as a child in a movie theatre, that moment was awesome. This moment was then topped by Vader actually being a good guy and killed the Emperor to save his son! You, were right Luke, you were right!
  2. In Empire, Luke gets lost in a snow storm (why did he run out of the cave, he’d already killed the Wampa?) which leads to Han Solo putting Luke’s hypothermic body inside of a Taun Taun – which is a pretty cool trick.
  3. Luke’s Trench Run. This was the epic finale of Star Wars – filled with dog fighting space ships, explosions, noble deaths and WOAH! Luke turned off his camera thingy on the wise advice of the ghost of Obi Wan! Woohoo!
  4. When the Millennium Falcon escapes from the giant space worm. Enough said.
  5. When Darth Maul draws his double sword. You saw it in the trailer and thought it was cool, it didn’t matter you’d already seen it when it happened for real, you knew it was gonna be awesome. And it was. We miss you Qui Gon.
  6. Obi Wan and Anakin fight the fight of all fights of the Star Wars series in Revenge of the Sith. You knew it was coming, you knew Obi Wan was going to win but you didn’t know how – and it was Anakin being blinded to his own arrogance – Obi Wan has the higher ground and with a swift swoosh of a blade, and what this author sees as Anakin’s final transition to being Vader was completed.
  7. The Pod Race in The Phantom Menace was just great fun in a movie. It was a thrilling ride. It topped the race Leia and Luke had against the Storm Troopers on Endor in Jedi.
  8. When Anakin murders the Younglings in Revenge of the Sith. This was the most chilling moment to ever happen in a Star Wars film.
  9. When Lando and Nien Nunb fly the Millenium Falcon right at the viewer in Return of the Jedi. Watch it here on youtube. It's right after the infamous "It's a Trap" from Ackbar. 
  10. It’s a given we have to include the moment when Vader says to Luke, “No, I am your Father”.  That blew everyone’s minds didn’t it?
Special mentions:
  • When Yoda dies :(
  • Pod Race
  • Luke’s flip to catch his light saber as R2 fired it into the air from Jabba’s Sail Barge.
  • “I know”
  • When Yoda steps out of the shadows to fight Count Dooku
This list could have easily been another 90 moments long - what are yours?

Jan 10, 2015

Two Sith Lords and a Jedi walk into a bar...

This is no joke, here's three of the key characters from Revenge of the Sith and their stunt / body doubles:

Freedom - Freiheit

Before George Lucas was George Lucas, he was simply George Lucas, film student.

As he studied film making he did several things that incorporated his love of cars in the short film 1:42.08 (which presumably translated into American Graffitti) and fairly notably the first version of his film, THX 1138 which was titled ELECTRONIC LABYRINTH: THX 1138 4EB.

Why are we discussing this? Merely because Lucas also made a simple film called Freiheit, a short story that features a young man seemingly attempting to escape some form of tyranny – this is suggested by frieheit being the German for freedom and the voice overs at the end of the short.

 The only point I’m really making is that the actor, Randal Kleiser in this short film when on to direct some pretty popular films in his own right, yer know like Grease, The Blue Lagoon the totally awesome White Fang. Kleiser was a class mate of Lucas so it seemed natural for him to appear in a class mate’s project.

One wonders who else from Lucas’ class had similar successes in the film industry?

Anyways, why don’t you grab a glass of water, kick off your sneakers and watch the original short version of THX 1138. It stands up thematically in the modern age.

Jan 8, 2015

Spotted in a coffee shop in Wellington, NZ

It's a long way from Skywalker Ranch but this lamp shade I spied is pretty cool. 

Reminds me off the Star Wars pillows my brothers and I had as kids.

Poor pix quality due to a window being in the way of the subject! 

Jan 4, 2015

Did Jerjerrod double his efforts ?

If you were to ask a casual movie watcher what first scene of The Revenge of the Jedi was all about, they might offer up the rescue of Han Solo from his carbonite coffin at Jabba's Palace on Tattooine. 

A more seasoned Star War fan would probably tell you it's when Darth Vader arrives at the Death Star II and puts the frightners on Moff Jerjerrod, the man charged with building the planet killer. 

Jerjerrod and Vader have a lovely discussion about his progression:

Moff Jerjerrod: Lord Vader. This is an unexpected pleasure. We are honored by your presence.
Darth Vader: You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander. I am here to put you back on schedule.

Jerjerrod: I assure you, Lord Vader, my men are working as fast they can.
Vader: Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them.
Jerjerrod: I tell you that this station will be operational as planned.
Vader: The Emperor does not share your optimistic appraisal of the situation.
Jerjerrod: But he asks the impossible! I need more men!
Vader: Then perhaps you can tell him when he arrives.
Jerjerrod[alarmed] The Emperor's coming here?
Vader: That is correct, Commander, and he is most displeased with your apparent lack of progress.
Jerjerrod: We shall double our efforts.
Vader: I hope so, Commander, for your sake. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.

This is a charming conversation. When Vader clearly enunciates that he could motivate Jerjerrod is placed under pressure but he stands his ground only to be informed the Emperor will be making an appearance to which Jerjerrod affirms their efforts will be doubled. 

Did they though? Well the truth appears to be they hardly had time to get cracking on the Death Star's completion cause Lando and his friends blew it up..... 

Here's a cool piece of triva - while Micheal Pennington played the role, Alan Rickman auditioned! Old School movie watchers will know him as the bad guy from die hard, everyone else will know him from Harry Potter!