Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Top Ten Favorite Star Wars Moments

Figured it was time to introduce a new segment. Well, steal actually. Hell, everyone else has some kind of 'Top Whatever' Lists, why not me? Besides, Top Ten lists can actually be entertaining and truthfully they force me to actually think a little and shift my focus to something other than Work and Life.

Brain candy with some vitamin supplements added, nothing serious. Truthfully I have been sitting on this and a host of other very cheesy blogs for quite some time, and I need to have more of this because I have to find a place away from all the OTHER, Bennett-related stuff.

So it's pretty much a forgone conclusion that the Star Wars movies are the single greatest thing that ever influenced my life. So let's start with something I am very familiar with. Fuck the Prequel Trilogy. I dig some of it, I'll be honest with you, but if I had to choose twixt the two, I will always, without question, go with the original 3 films.

Now there are TONS of things I could choose to do a Top Ten List from those three movies, but let's keep it simple and just go with those single MOMENTS that, for whatever reason, are my favorites from the films. I'm not talking scenes here, or whole segments, I'm talking about those few precious seconds of a particular part of the film that I have some kind of connection to, that I often think about when I think of the story that unfolded and the power of those movies over me.

My Top Ten Favorite MOMENTS from the Original Star Wars Trilogy

NUMBER 10
The Millennium Falcon Shows It's Stuff
from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back


The Millennium Falcon was the ship that, as a kid, you thought was the coolest thing in the world, but in Star Wars you didn't see it do a whole helluva lot. The X-Wings and TIE Fighters were flying around with what seemed to be awesome maneuverability, but the Falcon was a fairly straight-flying craft.

Until this moment, shown above, where Han dives the ship and then it starts rolling toward the viewer as 3 Star Destroyers nearly collide with each other behind it. That, and the following sequence with the asteroid field, was unreal to watch. The Falcon finally showed us what it could do.

NUMBER 9
Han Solo says 'I Love You Too' in His Own Unique Way
from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back


The line itself...'I know.' is one for the ages, speaking volumes about the man and his character. That alone earns it a spot in my top ten, but what really secures its legacy is that there you are, watching a sequel to Star Wars, and THE BAD GUYS ARE WINNING. Most of us as kids debated who was cooler, Luke or Han, and for me it was Han, and after he and Leia finally tell each other how they really feel Vader turns my favorite hero into a Popsicle. I remember glancing at my watch and thinking...how in the heck are they gonna free him before this movie ends? I was thirteen years old and until that time I had no idea there was even a word 'cliffhanger'.

NUMBER 8
Emperor Palpatine Shows Us the AWESOME POWER of The Dark Side of The Force
from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi


We saw some strange, mis-shapen older dude who Darth Vader actually KNEELED down to in The Empire Strikes Back, but only briefly. The Emperor didn't really make his true 'debut' until the third film. And I did as most people did, I did just what Luke did...I underestimated him. I mean...here's this feeble old fart telling Vader what he should and shouldn't do, hanging out in a dimly lit lounge with other people who look more dead and weathered than Keith Richards? Then he unleashed holy blue lightning Hell all over our hero...and I almost gasped out loud. Now THAT'S some nifty power!

NUMBER 7
It's a Trap!
from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi


Everybody loves Admiral Ackbar. And his immortal line is that signature moment in Return of the Jedi when we all realize that we've been had just like the Rebels were. Tricked into thinking that we were sneakin' in to blow up another Death Star with ease. Not so...and after Ackbar finished stating the obvious we sat there in AWE as waves of TIE Fighter hell broke loose and so began what is still, even after all the digital technology in the world, one of the greatest spaceship battles of ALL TIME.

NUMBER 6
Darth Vader Makes His Choice
from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi


We've learned to despise the Dark Lord of the Sith, to hate him for the evil he's unleashed and the fear he inspires. And yet, after losing a lightsaber duel with his son and standing alongside his MAster as the Emperor attempts to finish what Vader could not, something amazing happens. You SYMPATHIZE with Vader, you HUMANIZE him. Even under all that black metal, there is a real emotional quality to the moment that I still, to this day, find difficult to describe, because there were no facial expressions, no 'acting' per se. And despite that you cannot help but feel the tension build and almost jump up and shout for joy at that single moment when Vader finds redemption.

NUMBER 5
Luke Skywalker and Ben Kenobi enter Chalmun's Cantina
from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope


Oh sure, there's been some cool spaceships and some robots and stuff, even little Munchkins dressed in bathrobes with glowing yellow eyes, and some other weird guys who look like they have a sphincter mouth, no eyes and fight with sticks in the desert of Tattooine riding hairy elephants. But when Ben and Luke stroll into Chalmun's Cantina, you were transported to a totally new world, filled with some very weird looking aliens. It was a visual feast of the bizarre in those days, and still one of the great moments of the Trilogy.

NUMBER 4
But You Are Not a Jedi, Yet...
from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back


Everybody knew it. After Star Wars, everybody talked about what was gonna happen in the sequel, and we just KNEW, even before the trailers came out (and remember, in those days we had no real Internet), that Luke and Vader were gonna have to fight each other with lightsabers. What we didn't realize, what we couldn't realize, at the time, was that he was gonna lose. That wasn't supposed to happen. But when Vader's voice appears out of thin air as Luke enters the trap, I think everybody in the audience was definitely chilled to the bone.

NUMBER 3
The Millennium Falcon Moment
from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope


I often refer to this moment in my real life. When all things have gone wrong, and when all hope seems lost, when you feel the most alone and unable to face the troubles of this world...in swoops [INSERT WHOEVER HERE] to help you make things all right. In this case, when Han Solo finds his own redemption and puts friendship and loyalty over money, we ALL cheered. And still do.

NUMBER 2
Darth Vader Reveals His Secret to Luke Skywalker
from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back


Beaten, exhausted, and drained. You think I'm talking about Luke after getting his ass handed to him by Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. I'm talking about the audience! It was a grueling battle, with passion, with anger, and our hero didn't win! Instead he's trapped on the edge of some chunk of metal, with nowhere left to run, and Vader, sensing his victory, drops his final bomb and reveals to Luke that HE is his father. Most of us in the audience were already shell-shocked. Now we were speechless. Debate raged for THREE FREAKIN' YEARS between me and my friends about whether or not it was true or if it was a mind-job by Vader to 'F' with Luke's head.

NUMBER 1
The Never-Ending Star Destroyer
from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope


I was a ten year old kid. I'd been to some movies, sure. But nothing, NOTHING, ever prepared me for what I was walking into in the early summer of 1977. I'd heard a little about the movie, but only a little. Gotta remember, at the time, I didn't even know what e-mail was. I don't even think we owned a VCR yet. There were no cel phones, no chat rooms, no fan sites. A lot of it was word of mouth...hey this really incredible movie is out and it's got spaceships and robots and it will blow your mind.

It did all that and more, and I will never forget how my eyes got wider and wider as the Imperial Star Destroyer in the opening shots of Star Wars kept moving overhead chasing a smaller ship. It seemed as if it would never end, and by the time it finally passed I was shaking with awe and delight. It marked the transition from one phase of my life to another, and it changed the way I viewed my world, my life, and of course movies, forever.

OUT...


9 comments:

  1. Awesome list. When the first Star Wars came out and all the "talk" came along with it i couldn't understand it. i refused to see any of the movies... Space movies are stupid!
    Until last year, my husband, who by the way is from Poland and saw the first movie, and obviously loved it, got this bright idea to get all the movies so the kids and we) could watch them.I almost cried, I thought it would be a slow boring death with freaked out kids.
    YEAH!!! OK I'm now a fan!!!! I "saw" the light!!!!
    And there were no freaked out kids, they loved it too!

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  2. This is an incredible list! I'm gonna make sure my husband reads this, because he's the true fan between the two of us.

    These movies molded the childhoods of so many and you really captured that here.

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  3. Totally agree with numbers 1-3. That opening scene with the Destroyer was amazing.

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  4. the first time one of my exes said "I love you" to me, I said "I know." She wasn't that impressed, though.

    I, however, thought it was pretty bad-ass :D

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  5. Excellent top ten...but what about R2 and C3PO: "No, I don't think he likes you either." so classic.
    Or Han's "And I thought they smelled bad...on the outside!"

    Wait, I guess I could make my own top 10...

    Enjoyed this post!

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  6. Not the world's biggest fan myself, but I am raising one in my 5 year old son Ben. When he was 4 and we were bringing his 3 day old brother home from the hospital (whom he had named Luke after you-know-who) and baby Luke dared to cry a little, Ben looked at him and said "Jedis don't cry Luke. Use the force!" So that's my favourite Star Wars-related memory :)

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  7. In the interest of accuracy...I realize that I misquoted R2 and C3PO's exhange there. I think it went:
    "Beep Beep Boop Boooop?"
    "No, I don't think he likes you."
    "Beep Boooop?"
    "No, I don't like you either."
    "Booooop?"

    (Oh my heavens, what a geek!-)

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  8. Why did the Sith felt they needed revenge?

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  9. 1) ‘You are not a Jedi yet’ the most aesthetically pleasing fight scene in cinema history.
    2) ‘My little green friend’, this is a moment that every star wars fan fantasised for before the newer 3 movies were released.
    3) ‘I know’, romance made no sense for guys before this line, this saved romance for men and women so thank yourselves lucky every man and women post star wars.
    4) ‘Qui gon v darth maul’, this was the first time we saw lightsabers used to there full destructive potential for the first time.
    5) ‘Every single Jedi’, the dark side was not fully realised before we witnessed the true evil that drives the dark side.
    6) ‘I am your father’, storytelling can go nowhere after this genius of writing.
    7) ‘Obi wan v Jango’, just awesome, lightsabre v twin blaster, all the special effects and action anyone could dream of.
    8) ‘I want to be a Jedi’, the start of something so great…
    9) Never ending star destroyer, this was the scene that drove and drives imaginations wild over and over again and keeps us wanting anything and everything star wars.
    10) ‘I’m a Jedi, like my father before me’ the moment we and Luke had been waiting for!

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