Lightsaber Battles Part II – The Prequels

We are now at the prequels, where the lightsaber fights are more dazzling and fast-paced than the Original Trilogy, but the dialogue is lacking.  And is emotion present within these scenes?  After reviewing the Original trilogy battles, I realize that they had so much emotion seeped into them, and the Prequels really lack some of that human touch.

Lightsaber Battle #4 – TPM – Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn vs. Darth Maul

This lightsaber fight is beautiful and I just LOVE it.  Darth Maul is terrifying.  Think about it – we hadn’t seen his cloak taken off so we had no idea he had those horns, but his face enough is a mixture of Satan and a nightmare.  Then, of all things, he has a double bladed lightsaber.  Double whoa.

Just watching the technique in this fight and the clarity of the lightsabers is amazing.  It picks up the pace extremely well from the Original Trilogy and I remember being in awe of how good this fight was.  I even had a poster up in my room for many years of this fight because it was my favorite part of the movie.

But really, what makes this fight for me and what I love the most is the music.  Duel of the Fates is an amazing track, and if you don’t own it, buy it off of iTunes!  However, as a disclaimer: try not to drive with it playing in the background…I find it makes my driving more reckless.  The music has a different feel from the OT, and it enhances the fast paced battles of the prequels, while it combines enough emotion and amazing choreography by Nick Gillard.  It has the tension that I love as well; when Obi-Wan sits there behind the laser shield trying to exhibit the patience of the Jedi but inwardly hating that he is stuck behind this impenetrable shield and can’t help his friend.  As an audience, I feel the angst building within me as Darth Maul duels Qui-Gon alone.  Qui-Gon is good, but you also know that it’s been years since the Jedi have fought opponents and rivals like this.  When he’s stabbed through the stomach, I remember wanting to yell that horrific “Noooo!” just like Obi-Wan did.  Ewan McGregor also nailed that “No”.  How many times have I wanted to mimic that word in my life exactly as he portrayed it in the movie?

The greatest part of this fight is when Obi-Wan is unleashed from the laser shield.  Oh, he definitely uses his anger and the fighting is full of hatred and power.  Mr. Reticent believes the fighting in this whole battle is so good because Ray Park is actually trained in martial arts, which I’m sure makes a huge difference.  Oh man, I just can’t say enough good things about this fight because I love it.  Perhaps I like my battles to be more technically and visually appealing versus having emotion behind them.

My vote on this battle: 1/6.  Obviously.

Lightsaber Battle #5 – AOTC – Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Yoda vs. Count Dooku

Oh, the dialogue in Attack of the Clones.  Why?  Why do you have to hurt my eardrums with the corny, melodramatic lines?  I forgot there was a reason I hadn’t watched this movie in a long time…

You know, this battle could be quite good if it wasn’t for Anakin or the dialogue.  I have to admit, I really didn’t mind both times Anakin’s butt was whooped and he ended up on the sidelines.  The only reason why this lightsaber fight takes precedence over ANH for me is because the flow of the moves is actually done quite well.  Not so much with the fight against Yoda because I thought some of that looked fake and like they were helicopter twirling their blades around, but when Dooku was fighting Obi-Wan individually or Anakin individually, I thought it looked like a well choreographed dance.

However, it doesn’t make up for the fact that Anakin is annoying and the battles of Dooku against Obi-Wan and Anakin are actually quite short.  The only battle of substance/length is when Dooku fights Yoda, but I am not a big fan of Yoda fighting with the lightsaber.  He reminds me of a monkey jumping from tree to tree.  I feel like they did that to make it seem like Yoda has real skill, but to me it just looks like he only has skill at running away and avoiding the blade since he’s so short.  I actually don’t need to see him fight; I would have been fine with how the end of ROTS played out with Yoda vs. Palpatine and no real lightsaber battle.

My vote on this battle: 5/6.  After writing this review, I’m tempted to bump ANH up a slot and move this down to last.  Will have to sleep on that.

Lightsaber Battle #6 – ROTS – Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Anakin Skywalker

Every time I watch this, I think, “Now why isn’t this my favorite duel again?”  And then I remember.  I don’t like them going over the lava on those dumb lava droids (DLC-13 mining droids) and the dialogue, though not heavy in this duel, still leaves much to desire.

However, the technique and actual fight is really good.  It combines the emotion of the Original Trilogy with the great clarity and fighting skills of the Prequels.  Part of me aches to see both friends going at it, knowing that if Anakin could – he would kill Obi-Wan.  Obi-Wan, being a softie, doesn’t kill Anakin when he has the chance.  In a nutshell, that kind of sums up both sides of the Force: I think Obi-Wan knows there is still good in Anakin, despite his yell of “Then you are lost!” and I hope that is why he didn’t kill Anakin…not because of their friendship.

I love the battle when it takes place in the Klegger Corp Mining Facility.  It’s a good combination of excitement and dread.  Seeing all the dead bodies litter the room as they fight their way through it is haunting.  It was essentially a massacre in there done by one person and that’s a frightening thought.  When Anakin tries to strangle Obi-Wan, he is out for the kill and if I was watching just this battle, with no knowledge of the other movies, I would be surprised that Obi-Wan came out ahead.  Anakin does lose the battle because of his arrogance in his new powers, but his lightsaber skills are clearly better than Obi-Wan’s.  In fact, after reviewing each battle, I feel like Obi-Wan comes up short in almost every battle he’s in.  Even within TPM when he ultimately is the victor, he almost falls to his death.

I don’t like when they are on the lava field because it’s full of shots that seem a little useless.  I have also stood next to lava and know that you cannot fight that close to it without burning…they would at least want to take off all their clothes at that point and it’s hard for me to suspend my disbelief for those moments.  I feel like there could have been a better way to have Anakin jumping from a lower ground than have them floating and fighting through the lava river.  It’s a small part of the battle, but I could have done without it.

My vote on this battle: 3/6.  The speed of the lightsabers within the fight more than makes up for the dialogue and lava sequence that I dislike.


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