There’s so much to talk about within this scene, that I’m going to go over little parts of it individually – but not with much cohesion to this post.
First time we meet Luke Skywalker and he’s described as Uncle Owen’s “slump-shouldered nephew.” Haha, I love this description as it reminds me of my younger brothers (or any younger boy really). Can’t you also see him dragging his feet and hoping that this process doesn’t take too long so that he can go to Tosche station? Those power converters are the most important thing to him right now and dealing with these droids is like having to clean your room on a Saturday. People really like to rag on his line of power converters/Tosche station, but honestly – I think Mark Hamill does an excellent job of playing the whiny teenager who just wants to hang out with his friends. It’s nice to watch this scene and see how much he changes from the very first point where we meet him to the end of the trilogy.
My memory is drawing a blank…but is this the only time Artoo is ever on “sleep mode”? And just shut off by himself? I don’t think the Jawa’s turned him off, sounds like he did it by himself, especially as C-3PO tells him to “Wake up” and Artoo comes on pretty fast.
Does anyone know what R2 did to the red droid? I assume he did something, correct? Wookiepedia states:
“Aboard the sandcrawler, the new arrival R2-D2 sabotaged R5-D4’s motivator, acting under the orders of Princess Leia aboard the Tantive IV to find Obi-Wan Kenobi by any means possible, even if it involved modifying other droids, an action usually prohibited by basic droid programming laws. Eventually, the sandcrawler arrived outside the Lars homestead. Owen Lars purchased the inexpensive R5-D4, but within seconds of the transaction, the droid’s motivator malfunctioned.”
But from the movie, and I definitely remember the first few times I watched this, it looks like R2-D2 was doing something from afar. It looked like he was angry to be left behind and damaged Red’s motivator from where he was sitting…but the EU explanation is saying he did it beforehand. Is this one of those hazy moments where George knew the endpoint but didn’t know how to get there? I feel like it might be. Did anyone else get that impression when they watched the movie for the first time?
One of the greatest things about this scene, and often overlooked, is how believable it is. I think we had/have a tendency to think of aliens as this other type of evil species that may just be out to destroy us. And before this scene, maybe we would think it would be another sci-fi movie like that. The Jawas are hooded, have glowing eyes, and captured the only heroes (thus far) in the movie. They could be evil. But with this scene, we see that they’re just shady businessmen, like the used car salesman that we’ve all met at least once in our life. They interact with Lars and Luke as if there is no problem that they’re a different species though they are even speaking a different language and look so different. Even the way that Owen speaks with C-3PO help you realize that maybe you’ll understand this movie after all since it seems so natural to be interacting with a Protocol Droid.
And I love that about this scene – that George Lucas takes you to this galaxy far away yet you feel at home and it’s so relatable.
EXTERIOR: TATOOINE — DUNES.
The Sandcrawler moves slowly over the rocky terrain.
Threepio and Artoo noisily bounce along inside the cramped prison chamber. Artoo appears to be shut off.
THREEPIO: Wake up! Wake up!
Suddenly the shaking and bouncing of the Sandcrawler stops, creating quite a commotion among the mechanical men. Threepio’s fist bangs the head of Artoo whose computer lights pop on as he begins beeping. At the far end of the long chamber a hatch opens, filling the chamber with blinding white
light. a dozen or so Jawas make their way through the odd assortment of robots.
THREEPIO: We’re doomed.
A Jawa starts moving toward them.
THREEPIO: Do you think they’ll melt us down?
Artoo responds, making beeping sounds.
THREEPIO: Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot! Will this never end?
EXTERIOR: TATOOINE — DESERT — LARS HOMESTEAD — AFTERNOON.
The Jawas mutter gibberish as they busily line up their battered captives, including Artoo and Threepio, in front of the enormous Sandcrawler, which is parked beside a small homestead consisting of three large holes in the ground surrounded by several tall moisture vaporators and one small adobe block house.
The Jawas scurry around fussing over the robots, straightening them up or brushing some dust from a dented metallic elbow. The shrouded little creatures smell horribly, attracting small insects to the dark areas when their mouths and nostrils should be.
Out of the shadows of a dingy side-building limps Owen Lars, a large burly man in his mid-fifties. His reddish eyes are sunken in a dust-covered face. As the farmer carefully inspects each robot, he is closely followed by his slump-shouldered nephew, Luke Skywalker. One of the vile little Jawas walks ahead of the farmer spouting an animated sales pitch in a queer, unintelligible language.
OWEN: Yeah, all right, fine. Let’s go.
A voice calls out from one of the huge holes that form the homestead. Luke goes over to the edge and sees his Aunt Beru standing in the main courtyard.
BERU: Luke, tell Owen that if he gets a translator to be sure it speaks Bocce.
LUKE: It looks like we don’t have much of a choice but I’ll remind him.
Luke returns to his uncle as they look over the equipment for sale with the Jawa leader.
OWEN: No, not that one…(addressing Threepio) You, I suppose you’re programmed for etiquette and protocol?
THREEPIO: Protocol? Why, it’s my primary function, sir. I am well versed in all the customs-
OWEN: I have no need for a protocol droid.
THREEPIO: (quickly) Of course you haven’t, sir — not in an environment such as this — that’s why I’ve also been programmed-
OWEN: What I really need is a droid who understands the binary language of moisture vaporators.
THREEPIO: Vaporators! Sir — My first job was programming binary load lifter…very similar to your vaporators in most respects…
OWEN: Do you speak Bocce?
THREEPIO: Of course I can, sir. It’s like a second language for me…I’m as fluent in-
OWEN: All right; shut up! (turning to Jawa) I’ll take this one.
THREEPIO: Shutting up, sir.
OWEN: Luke, take these two over to the garage, will you? I want them cleaned up before dinner.
LUKE: But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters…
OWEN: You can waste time with your friends when your chores are done. Now come on, get to it!
LUKE: All right, come on! And the red one, come on. Well, come on, Red, let’s go.
As the Jawas start to lead the three remaining robots back into the Sandcrawler, Artoo lets out a pathetic little beep and starts after his old friend Threepio. He is restrained by a slimy Jawa, who zaps him with a control box.
Owen is negotiating with the head Jawa. Luke and the two robots start off for the garage when a plate pops off the head of the red astro-droid, throwing parts all over the ground.
LUKE: Uncle Owen…
LUKE: This R2 unit has a bad motivator. Look!
OWEN: (to the head Jawa) Hey, what’re you trying to push on us?
The Jawa goes into a loud spiel. Meanwhile, Artoo is moving up and down trying to attract attention. He lets out with a low whistle. Threepio taps Luke on the shoulder.
THREEPIO: (pointing to Artoo) Excuse me, sir, but that R2 unit is in prime condition. A real bargain.
LUKE: Uncle Owen…
LUKE: What about that one?
OWEN: (to Jawa) What about that blue one? We’ll take that one.
With a little reluctance the scruffy dwarf trades the damaged astro-droid for Artoo.
LUKE: Yeah, take this away.
THREEPIO: Uh, I’m quite sure you’ll be very pleased with that one, sir. He really is in first-class condition. I’ve worked with him before. Here he comes.
The two robots trudge off toward a grimy homestead entry.
LUKE: Okay, let’s go.
THREEPIO: (to Artoo) Now, don’t you forget this! Why I should stick my neck out for you is quite beyond my capacity!