Favorite movie scenes-Indiana Jones and the last crusade

Another round of my favorite scenes from various movies. This time, I look at the third (and many feel should have been final) Indiana Jones film-Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

 

Do you believe, Marcus?

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Kind of an interesting scene here, with Indy going to his father’s house for any clues as to his disiappearence, only to find his house in a state of disarray, leaving Marcus and Indy to wonder what he’s been into. Indy quickly realizes that the grail diary has been sent to him from Venice, and almost seems in awe of it and his father’s obsession, and even slightly haunted, with a haunting version of the ‘grail theme’ playing in the background (The theme, in a sense, is also Henry’s-in particular, it’s used when the character is brought up in Crystal Skull-although Henry does have his own theme of sorts, it’s not used that much) It’s also here that we’re sort of given the last of the “serious Marcus” we remember from Raiders, in a way echoing his warning to Indy about the Lost ark in his own house back then, as Indy asks him “Do you believe, Marcus? Do you believe the grail actually exists?”.

The search for the Grail is the search for the divine in all of us. But if you want facts, Indy, I’ve none to give you. At my age, I’m prepared to take a few things on faith.

 

There’s an interesting cutaway here to some black and white photos, showing what looks like an old doctored photo of Sean Connery around the James Bond era with a young Indy. I’m not sure if the photo is a doctored one of young Harrison Ford, although it does sort of have his signature frown look. Indy’s kind of reflecting on his somewhat troubled relationship with his dad, it seems, and then decides to accept Donovan’s tickets to Venice. Marcus, suprisingly, decides to head with him, although apart from the “You’re meddling with powers you can’t possibly comprehend”, he’s largely relegated to a sort of “fish out of water” comic relief for the rest of the film.

Zepellin

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Attempting to head out of Germany after their brief stop-over in Berlin to recover the grail, Indy and his father intend to board a Zepellin; but unfortunately Vogel-aided in part by another guy (Played by Indy’s fight scene opponent in the last two films-Pat Roach-who in a deleted scene, was still on the plane and attempted to catch the Joenses as they made their escape attempt), are trying to search for them. So Indy improvises, probably knocking a ticket guy out and stealing his clothes, once again illustrating Indiana Jones’s slightly clumsy use of disguise, which of course made it’s first appearance in “Raiders”, and was demonstrated as well in the scene immediately before this one as well. Here, it’s kind of clear that like one of the outfits he tried to steal in “Raiders”, it’s not quite the right size.

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Indy’s able to get the drop on Vogel, and of course we have the hilarious “No ticket!” moment. Here’s another detail you might have missed though-The German newspaper Henry Jones is reading is upside-down (possibly part of the reason Vogel spotted him in the first place!).

 

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The Steal Beast

The Climax of the film features one of my favorite Indiana Jones action scenes, as Indiana Jones tries to get his father out of the Mark VII Tank. The first part of the chase is Indy using his horse to quickly dodge the blasts of the tank, literally running circles around it and managing to have the tank accidentally ram one of the other transports-which the very angry Vogel simply blasts off and runs over. Indy then uses the simplest of weapons-a rock-to jam one of the Tank’s smaller turrets, causing a backfire which at least gives him a bit more of an edge.

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Then it’s mano-a-mano with him vs Vogel, although Indy runs out of bullets, and then has to deal with another group of troops, although his quickly procuring a luger leads to a comic moment where he manages to shoot through them like butter. However, Vogel soon gains the upper hand, and we’re treated to yet another pretty brutal Indiana Jones fight, with Vogel smooshing Indy’s head against the tank’s treads. Indy’s accidental knocking out of the periscope guy mocking him, however, allows his father to get the upper hand….using a pen.

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Small note about periscope guy; that’s actually Nick Gillard, the stunt guy probably responsible for a good chunk of this sequence. He’d later become well known for his work on the Star Wars prequels, which, despite a lot of other criticisms, received almost universal praise for their lightsaber battles.

Nick Gillard even had a brief cameo in Episode III, as a Jedi  “swordmaster” who becomes one of Darth Vader’s early victims.

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We get a nice whimsical moment with Henry using a pen’s ink to stun one of the german soldiers, with Marcus remarking “The pen is mightier than the sword”….

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with Henry than blasting away Vogel’s reinforcements.Unfortunately, although it frees Indy from Vogel’s grip, it also knocks him over to the turret he busted up, which his bag also gets caught on….and then against a literal “rock and a hard place”. Like the scene where Indy is dragged by the truck in Raiders, and him trying to slow his mind car in Temple of Doom, this is one of those real “That’s gotta hurt!” moments. Thankfully, salvation comes in the form of Marcus knocking out one of the other guys inside the tank, whose ricochet from a misfire kills the Tank’s driver, steering Indy clear of some really nasty rocks.

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Indy temporarily gets the upper hand again (To the tune of Raider’s march, naturally), managing to check on his pop, who remarks “You call this archaeology?” (As he said before, “The quest for the grail is not archaeology!”)

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The scene ends with Sallah coming to the rescue after Henry Sr. is knocked over by Vogel, who delivers a few blows to Indy via his brass knuckles, with Indy in turn giving him something even worse, smashing his head against the hatch, before Indy realizes it’s time to abandon tank. Vogel meets a pretty bad end, much like Indy’s “sparring partners” played by Pat Roach in the previous two films, both played by Pat Roach (although not quite as bloody). It’s quite a thrilling scene, with some fantastic stunts and also great score from John Williams.

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Chris’s favorite movie scenes: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

When it came out in 1984, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was a bit divisive. A decidely different Indiana Jones movie, while it still featured the character of Indiana Jones and breathtaking actions, it took a somewhat different tone that was somewhat a bit more camp and yet much darker at the same time. It also, unusually, was a prequel, set one year before the events in Raiders. Perhaps most controversial was the added violence and gore-while “Raiders” was no slouch in the gore department-with villains skewered, shot, ran over and melted-Temple of Doom took it a step further with brutal scenes of torture and of course, the famous heart-grab.

Then of course, there’s the opening:

Anything Goes!

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The film opens with a Mandarin langauge singing of “Anything Goes” at a Nightclub sung by Willie Scott, whose enterance even obscrubes Indy’s name for a bit, probably because the name is fairly well known and stuck in pop culture already. The song’s nice of course, and sort of era-appropriate considering the film’s set in the 30’s. One thing I’ve always kind of noticed is that Willie visibly slips and frowns for a second before regaining her composure. I’m wondering, was this intentional on behalf of Spielberg-Willie is of course somewhat clumsy later on-or is it an actual blooper that made the cut?

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Of course soon the action begins. Indy meets with gangster Lao Che, who Indy wants to trade some ancient Imperial ashes for a priceless diamond (The Young Indiana Jones series and a few non-movie sources apparently reveals that like the Cross of Coronado in TLC, the diamond-the Peacock’s eye -is one treasure Indy’s been seeking since his youth).

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However, Lao would rather keep both the diamond and ashes, and despite Indy’s threats to Willie, poisons the archaeologist. What soon follows is a free for all, with Indy literally skewering one of Lao Che’s sons, and with a massive free-for-all with everybody scrambling around, and another presentation of “Anything Goes” starting in the middle of it for no apparent reason (Maybe they thought the chaos was part of the show?) Plus you’ve got Willie trying to get the diamond and Indy trying to get the poison antidote, and he’s kind of just flailing about with half of his wits.

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Noticing that Willie has the antidote, he quickly uses the gong as a massive shield against the machine gun fire of Lao’s surviving son. Really nice sound effects work, I’m assuming by Brett Burtt.

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As the scene ends with Indy crashing into Short Round’s car (which of course leads to another action scene, we learn the name of the nightclub….)

 

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Star Wars reference!

Elephant Ride

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Agreeing to take a look at Pankot Palace for the villagers-and interested in it’s link to the Sankara stones, Indy agrees to help them, taking along Short Round and a reluctant Willie. Although this is a fairly short scene, I really liked the great version of Short Round’s music. Depending on what you think of the character itself, the theme is one of my favorite John Williams compositions.

Fortune and Glory

A pretty cool scene, as after the ceremony concludes, Indy whips across the Temple to get the Sankara stones, with some nice choral music perfectly capturing Indy’s awe.

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There’s also a brief funny moment as Indy notices the snake  on that statue but realises it’s just a fake rather quickly (Does seem to move a bit but I think that’s just part of the Temple mechanism).

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However, Indy hears screams in the next chamber over, where he discover the Thugee mine, using the children of the impoverished town from earlier as slave labor. However, as Indy hurls a rock in disgust at the chief Thugee guard, he also alarms the whole temple, resulting in the characters getting captured.

 

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One thing about this scene, you might notice that Willie seems to escape the Thugees by running back towards the caverns. In a deleted scene, she actually makes it back to the palace, where she then tries to warn Captain Blumburtt, but is instead captured by Chatter Lal (Who she didn’t know was part of the cult) and possibly the possessed Indy as well who assure Blumburtt everything’s hunky-dory and Willie’s just freaking out for some reason. It explains why Lal is very eager to silence her in the next scene.

 

“Right.All of us.”

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Although the mine cart chase which follows this scene is often said to be the film’s signature set piece, but I’ve always preferred the scene before it-more action, that fantastic music, Indy’s smile as he helps the kids escape by unlocking their chains, a fight with Pat Roach again (with him once again facing a grisly death) a lot of great uses of Raiders March as well (as well as the film’s other motifs), plenty of whip swinging, and less slightly dodgy miniatures and blue-screen work. Plus Indy’s bad ass pose here looks like it definitely inspired the teaser poster (or vice versa).

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The highlight here is Indy facing the chief Thugee guard. Ford is once again fighting Pat Roach again(Roach played the mechanic in “Raiders” when Indy unsuccessfully tries to commandeer the Flying wing plane, as well as the Sherpa who doesn’t like Toht’s command to “shoot them both”…and is also well known as General Kael in Willow). The fight also looks somewhat more painful…not only is Indy getting hit pretty rough here-such as this shot:

 

But there’s also the possessed Maharaja at the same time stabbing his doll at the same time. Pretty brutal. Thankfully, Short Round manages to knock him out of it and Indy gets some punches in.

 

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“It’s not the years, but the mileage” indeed…

Thankfully, Short Round manages to knock him out of it and Indy gets some punches in (with the help of a saw and two buckets), to the tune of the Raider’s march almost synched to them.

 

Funny thing is, it actually looks like Indy tries to briefly help the guy from getting crushed-He seems to be pleading for his life, and it’s possible that like the Maharaja and (briefly) Indy, he was simply under the “Black sleep of the Kali Ma”.

 

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Chris’s favorite movie scenes-Raiders of the Lost Ark

Same as the “Star Wars” ones, here’s my thoughts on my favorite scenes from the movies.

 

The Idol/The Boulder

 

Up to this point in the movie, Indiana Jones has pretty much been portrayed as highly component and badass; sort of supporting the feeling that some Indiana Jones fans have that the last two films were too ‘soft’ with the character of Indy. However, this scene pretty much proves the opposite-while Indy is of course a professional, he does occasionally make clumsy mistakes. Misjudging the weight of his sandbag to replace the golden idol, he triggers a series of events that sets off pretty much every trap in the place, puts his trust in the wrong place with Satipo, mistimes a jump and the support of a weed; and to add further insult, a massive boulder then starts to hurtle toward him as well!

 

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Although he’s further humiliated by Bellog who steals the idol and then sets the Havitos on him, Indy is able to make it to the plane, but is extremely agitated when he learns there’s a Snake in his seat. Jock tells him to ‘grow a little backbone’. It’s an interesting take-down of the character, and sort of defines the series’s approach between action and comedy, as well as despite Indy being kind of cool and all, he’s also prone to embarrassing mistakes-and of course his iconic phobia.

Explaining the Ark

This scene is pretty much a great deal of exposition, setting the main plot in motion, but it also reveals Indy being somewhat giddy at the thought of the discovery of the Ark, and gives the Army intel men a sort of enthusiastic school lecture on the Ark and the Staff of Ra

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but what also find striking about this scene is that Indy’s friend, Marcus, actually comes across as somewhat ominous and creepy as he describes Tanis’s sandstorm and later, the powers of the Ark, even unsettling the Army guys.

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And then of course it also introduces’ the film’s haunting ark theme as well, when Indy opens the huge illustrated bible.

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Two interesting “Star Wars” connections here as well (apart from Harrison, of course). William Hootkins, who plays one of the G-men, is also known as ill-fated pilot Porkins in the original Star Wars (Hootkins played a variety of roles in the 70’s and 80s in genre films such as “Flash Gordon” and the first “Batman”.)

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And the bible illustration? By Ralph Mcquarrie, one of the most prominent concept designers of Star Wars.

The original rendering for the bible page drawn by Ralph McQuarrie

 

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Map Room at Dawn

With the proper instructions of the Medallion, Indy lowers himself into the map room at Tanis (somewhat vandalized by the Germans who have written on the ‘false’ Well of the souls) and quickly assembles the staff of Ra and using the proper slot. The music of the ark keeps building up, and there’s a nice choral moment when Indy realizes it’s almost to the right time of day.

 

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The way Indy is framed and shot in here is pretty cool, sort of looking a bit Lawrence of Arabia or some figure out of a Cecille D Mille Biblical epic in robes here. The “map room” music is particularity incredible as the sunlight runs across the miniature city.

There’s some slight goofiness with Sallah drawn away from the site and having to quickly improvise an alternate escape for Indy, but that’s no big deal really.

The music swells and Indy’s look of wonder is great as the Ark’s beam reveals the Well of the Soul’s true location.

 

“I’m Making this up as I go!”

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The truck chase is really the film’s last major action sequence, and it’s actually about thirty minutes or so before the film’s actual ending. The line above kind of goes with my point above about Indy not being quite as sure of himself as he appears to be in the film’s opening few minutes…he’s mainly just improvising a lot of this.

The scene of Indy boarding the truck by jumping from the horse is so iconic (and owes a bit to some older films like Zorro) that it was replicated 8 years down the line in “Last Crusade” with a younger Indy and a circus train.

 

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What follows is an interesting chain of events, as Indy commandeers the truck, uses it to bump some other bad guys off the road (and some unfortunate workers too) gets shot a bit, and then faces off against one last German who throws him through the hood….

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with Indy holding on to a very unstable hood ornament and grille for dear life….

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and then after that begins to fall apart, uses his whip to anchor himself to the truck, in a scene that was probably really rough for the stunt guy….

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…finally managing to kick the other guy out, who also attempts to hold on to the grille, but Indy mangled the thing so badly he quickly loses his grip. After shoving Belloq/Tot/Dietrich’s car off the road, Indy makes a clean getaway thanks to Sallah’s friends.

“I’ve found him.”

Where?”

“There!”

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Although it’s a short scene, of Indy boarding the U-boat to salutes and cheers from the Bantu Wind crew, I’ve always like the triumphant and patriotic sounding version of the Raiders march that plays here. How he manages to stay afloat when the sub descends unfortunately is left out of the film. Here’s a bit of trivia on that…

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(He doesn’t board it, although one of the boat crew does have a resemblance to Ford, but more of a 90’s era, clean shaven Ford)

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We clearly see Indy wet and looking for dry, incognito clothes when they reach the base, so it’s pretty obvious he was above. Here’s how though.

Both production photos and the comics adaptations reveal that Indy tied his whip to the periscope.

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Chris’s favorite movie scenes-Star Wars original trilogy

Here’s another break down of some of my favorite movie scenes, this time from the Star Wars original trilogy. As noted, some of these choices might be a bit different than a lot of other ‘top’ lists.

 

Episode IV: Star Wars-A New Hope

You must do what you feel is right, of course….

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This scene really gets the movie rolling, and generally expands on the nature of the Star Wars series itself. Here, we get our first mentions of the force, the Jedi, lightsabers, the origins of Darth Vader (although Obi-Wan distorts the truth, as he said later, “From a certain point of view”) and the Clone wars-and we get the full message from Leia as well. Alec Guinness really sells this scene, and almost seems to relish the opportunity to train Luke and help Leia, although Luke is somewhat reluctant due to his responsibilities on the moisture farm. Ends with a great line of Obi-Wan, and then cuts dramatically to Vader’s Star Destroyer approaching the Death Star, with the “DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN!” that would later make a comeback in Rogue One.

 

Situation normal!

After shooting up the Detention block guards, Han quickly tries to bluff by telling the people on the other end of the commlink that everything’s ok, it was just a weapons malfunction-and even asking “how are you” with him visibly cringing at his own performance. When the bluff doesn’t work, he makes a second lie, which doesn’t really work either, and just blasts the thing, saying it was a “boring conversation, anyway”. A very funny scene, showing the fun nature of the OT in general.

He certainly has courage!

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As they try to get to the Falcon, Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie run afoul of some Stormtroopers, and Han goes kind of goes nuts and charges the Stormtroopers, telling Luke and Leia to get back to the ship, causing Leia to remark that he “certainly has courage” although Luke wonders what good it’ll do them if he gets himself killed.

Harrison’s expression and yell here is pure gold.

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Although the special edition has many questionable edits and changes, I actually found the added hanger to this scene an improvement over the dead-end corridor, even if it’s really only made as a sort of comic moment.

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Trench run!

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The trench run of course is a pivotal scene in Star Wars, and one that has a ton of tension, and would inspire future ‘obstacle course’ chase scenes in the future films, such as ESB’s asteroid chase, ROTJ’s speeder bike chase, TPM’s Pod race and AOTC’s Coruscant speeder chase. The editing is really sharp here, creating a lot of tension as Vader picks off both Biggs and Wedge (Wedge however survives, as his engine is still good enough to escape)…and Luke, although about to make his good shot, is almost in Vader’s sites until Han saves the day. Plus there’s of course there’s Luke surrendering himself to the force, with his trusty buddy R2 incapacitated and told to let go of the Targeting computer, letting himself “act on instinct” instead of on technology.

 

Star Wars Episode V-The Empire Strikes Back

Imperial fleet-and March-revealed

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After the rebels discover the probe droid, they figure their secret is out, and we go to a large fleet of Star Destroyers, and suddenly we see something overshadowing even these mammoth ships-an even bigger Star Destroyer, Vader’s personal command ship, the Super Star Destroyer Executor. We also get our first good look a the inside of one of the ships, in this incredible shot (done partially through the use of matte painting).

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Noticing Admiral Ozell squabbling with his first officer, Captain Piett, about a discovery by the probe droid that could indicate a rebel base, Vader quickly agrees with Piett, despite Ozzel trying to reason it’s just a settlement or smugglers…but Vader is adamant. I love the expression Ozzel gives Piett here-he’s clearly been embarrassed, but he doesn’t live long after this to really reflect on this humiliation anyway….and Piett quickly gets a promotion.

 

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Asteroid chase

The Millennium Falcon’s escape from Hoth doesn’t go as smoothly as Luke’s and the rebel transports-his hyperdrive’s not working and he’s being pursued by three Star Destroyers. This scene really shows how much a lot of the film’s special effects have advanced, as we see the Falcon and TIE fighters do a number of tricky manuevers, including one which causes the Star Destroyers to nearly collide with each other. We see the Falcon and TIE fighters flip, something it wasn’t able to do in Star Wars that much-they mostly just moved in a straight line most of the time.

 

 

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Han ultimately decides to seek cover in a nearby asteroid field, causing several of the TIE fighters to collide with nearby asteroids as the Falcon outmaneuvers them.

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One of the best things in this scene is the score-a triumphant theme plays as the Falcon maneuvers between the asteroids, culminating in the destruction of the last two-and then quietly reverting to the Han/Leia love theme as Han does a roll into the asteroid cavern itself.

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The Carbonite scene

This is probably on a lot of other lists-as Han makes his exit from the film-well, at least in human form-as Vader freezes him to test out the carbon facility-and also give Boba Fett a trophy to deliver to Jabba the Hutt. The scene’s probably one of the more horrifying in the film series, with the steam and orange glow making Vader seem even more scary than usual.

Plus there’s the kiss and love declaration, which was partially improvised by Harrison and Carrie on set.

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Han in Carbonite-his face seemingly trapped in anguish-is one of the most haunting images in the series. Billy Dee Williams really sells it here. He’s really horrified about what he’s done and this is pretty much the turning point for him.

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I never doubted you for a second! Wonderful!

Lando, Leia and Chewie, along with the droids, are trying to get to the Falcon to escape cloud city-but the door is having some problems, as R2 tries to ‘hack it’, the theme builds up until the Han/Leia theme builds to an explosive crescendo. Threepio’s pretty much insulting him the whole way, and ignores a pivotal clue that the hyperdrive on the Falcon might not be quite fixed yet….and then after R2 opens the door, kind of tries to cover up his insult. The music when the Falcon lifts off is quite good too.

 

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Episode VI-Return of the Jedi

Sail Barge battle

The film’s second main action sequence after Luke’s fight with the Rancor has our heroes in a bit of a tight spot, but thanks to Luke smuggling his saber in R2, a well-placed somersault jump, Luke is quickly able to get the other hand and help free his friends. Although Luke’s skills as a fighter and combat pilot are of course evident in the other films, it’s pretty clear he’s taking the lead here and definitely isn’t a kid anymore. We also get to see his new lightsaber-a green one, the first in the series, with the handle modeled on Obi-Wan’s-in action here. The music is also great, mixing in of course the classic Star Wars theme with other action cues. The editing in the scene is a bit chaotic, but I think that’s really reflecting the nature of the scene itself- Jabba and his co are a bit out of their league, although Luke’s friends are at a somewhat similar disadvantage-Han’s still somewhat blind, Lando has accidentally fallen near the Sarlacc, Chewie’s a bit wounded, and Leia is still chained up-although she uses the confusion to throttle Jabba.

 

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The scene of course culminates with a nod to the original, with Han and Leia once again doing the rope swing (although with Leia in a lot less clothing and without the now iffy semi-kiss), an image also used in multiple marketing for the film.

 

 

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The Emperor arrives

What initially seems like just another Imperial transition of just a few TIE fighters moving around, soon turns out to out to be a massive swarm of the fighters outside a hanger bay….and then we see what’s inside.

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A massive Imperial gathering of all sorts of troops (including a probe droid and a few Imperial R2s to the right there) showing us the arrival of the Emperor.

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We then get our first good luck at the Emperor, a character briefly seen in holo in ESB. One wonders how this shorter, frail old man could somehow make the more imposing Vader kneel. There’s also some nice body language with David Prowse’s Vader here, with Vader momentarily hesitating as Palpatine senses he wishes to continue his search for Skywalker.

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I’m going in! Here goes nothing! Intensify forward firepower!

A very, very fast paced scene as Lando and Wedge dive into the innards of the second Death Star to take out the massive battle station, in another scene that looks even dangerous than the trench-at least the trench had an opening at the top-here, our heroes are boxed in on all sides. The music during this scene is kind of a mix of the “Here they come!” music from the original, with some of the trench run music.

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Here, we see the Falcon lose it’s circular radar dish, a detail that isn’t missed in “The Force Awakens” where it has a new more rectangular one.

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The second part of this scene has Admiral Ackbar-hoping to buy the fighters some more time by taking on Vader’s Super Star Destroyer, currently run by Piett. Two A-wings managed to hit a direct hit on the big globes on top, causing the bridge shields to fail.

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Piett orders that the “forward batteries” be intensified so that any fighters can make their way to the bridge.

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However, said forward firepower damages an A-wing, which then spins out of control directly into the bridge. Despite calling once again to increase the firepower, the A-wing smashes into the bridge, killing Piett and his crew and causing the whole ship to spiral out on control, crashing directly on the Death Star’s surface.

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Plus there’s some nice body language here by Ackbar, sort of giving a sigh of relief that he no longer has to deal with the big ship.

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Chris’s favorite scenes from Movies: Star Wars Prequels

Thought I’d run down some of my favorite scenes from movies in a new blog series. For this, I’ll start with the 8-well, 9 if you count the Clone Wars (or 11 if you count those Ewok TV movies). Here’s a rundown by episode number. I’m also going to try to stay away from scenes that everybody pretty much already likes and that have had a lot more written by them-some of these choices therefore might be a bit different than one might think. I’ll start with some think are either the worst films ever made or somewhat underrated in a few ways, although they could’ve been better-I’m pretty much of the later persuasion-The Star Wars prequels.

 

Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

 

Prime of the Jedi

While certainly one of the less popular entries in the series, The Phantom Menace does have it’s moments. One of them pretty much happens right away, as the Jedi quickly evade being poisoned by gas and plow through battle droids to get to the Trade Federation bridge. The Star Wars theme kicks into high gear, and we really get to see the Jedi more in their prime here, although the battle droids are largely ineffective…

 

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One of my favorite moments in when Qui-Gon attempts to saber his way through the blast doors-and almost suceeds in getting through, astonishing the cowardly Trade Federation bad guys. However, he’s forced to beat a hasty retreat when their cornered by the TF’s “Droidekas” (Or “Destroyers” as Obi-Wan calls them)….and we get one of the few uses of “Force speed” in the series.

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Unfortunately, the film does go a bit downhill from here, but there’s a few more good points.

 

Don’t look back. Don’t look back….

 

A pretty emotional scene with some okay dialogue and even some decent acting by Jake Lloyd (although Pernilla August certainly carries this scene too. A lot of Vader’s downfall hinges on him losing his loved ones, and of course we know the consequences of him not following his mother’s advice and attempting to return to her on Tatooine. The scene closes with a nice rendition of the force theme as well.

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Now they will elect a new Chancellor. A Strong Chancellor.

 

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Although Episode I-and the prequels in general gets a lot of flak for being a bit too much about politics (Although the concept of the senate goes back to the first Star Wars of course). I still like this scene, with Palpatine sort of using Amidala as his instrument to bring down Chancellor Valorum-a man who is really powerless to do anything. Palpatine uses a lot of the manipulation here-sowing mistrust between Amidalia and the overly bureaucratic Republic leadership-that he’ll later use on Anakin to turn him against the Jedi.

And yes, I like the end duel of course, but pretty much everybody does….

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

 

Fett vs Kenobi

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As cool looking as Boba Fett was, he didn’t really get to show off much of his toys, apart from a brief fight scene with Luke in “Return of the Jedi” which ended with his jetpack getting jabbed by Han and him becoming Sarlacc lunch. Jango Fett here get considerably more screentime, and a lot more demonstrations of his ‘toys’, such as the rocket from his backpack actually being used (something that-although depicted in some toys-never happened in the OT), his gauntlet’s blades etc. and Obi-Wan is no slouch here either, especially when he briefly loses his saber and has to fight Jango hand to hand. The scene’s CG is also pretty OK compared to some of the dodgier points of the movie later on-maybe because it’s a darker scene?

Empire in all but name

Although the proto-Stormtroopers (Clonetroopers) Walkers (AT-TE) and Star Destroyers (“Jedi cruisers”) have already been seen, this really sells it with a full-blown Imperial march, with Palpatine looking out at his newly formed army-and the weapon he’ll use against the Jedi and to enforce Sith rule on the galaxy.

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The shot of Bail Organa looking defeated is pretty perfect. Although he isn’t aware of the Empire to come, as Leia mentions in the original film, Alderaan is a peaceful world with no weapons….and well, these are a lot of weapons.

 

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The Jedi come home, Anakin goes seperatist hunting, Empire declared….

A pretty interesting set of scenes as Palpatine’s masterplan starts to gel together and bring the Clone Wars-that he started-to an end. There’s some great John Williams music here, as the Jedi return to the Jedi temple and Bail to the senate to find out what the heck’s been going on back home-while Anakin takes on the Seperatist leaders, who are powerless before him.

 

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Plus Yoda’s takedown of the Clone Trooper, although the kind of smug look on his face kind of is a bit in conflict with his “Empire” persona (But then again people could say that about a lot of Yoda’s scenes in the prequels).

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And of course the whole “Sith eye” look Anakin gets (Wonder why we never really saw Dooku with these outside of the Clone Wars? Then again Anakin doesn’t always have them in later scenes, except of course when he’s burning. Maybe it’s when he’s particuarly strong with hate or something.

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Anyway, my final choice….

 

Birth of Vader

Although of course he’s called Vader earlier in the film, Vader is of course born as the masked icon when the suit actually snaps into place. Intercut with the birth of his kids-and the death of Padme-it’s quite an effective scene.

We get a brief look at what Vader sees-basically, red.

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Anakin’s expression here is a bit interesting-at first he looks kind of scared, but then seems to just accept it with a hardneed expression.

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This shot of Vader’s helmet clicking into place (complete with the ESB “thunk!” sound effect) and Vader’s breathing is *perfect*.

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Of course the follow-up scene is a bit silly with the “NOOOOO!”

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But you’ve got to love Palpatine’s expression here.

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