Haiku Me Friday! The Outlander Club

The smoke fills my lungs Creatures of all kinds and shapes What? A lightsaber?

The smoke fills my lungs
Creatures of all kinds and shapes
What? A lightsaber?

I did a little twist this week and tried to imagine what it would be like to be a patron at the Outlander Club when Obi-Wan and Anakin show up chasing Zam Wesell.

I love this scene in Attack of the Clones (yes, I just admitted to loving something in AOTC).  It’s one of the few times we get to see the seedy underground of Coruscant and what everyday beings do when it’s time to unwind.  Apparently, just like on Earth, people like to go out and have a drink, possibly gamble, and watch sports.

In this scene, two Jedi show up which must have been unusual.  I feel like Jedi could have been a little like police – when they show up in their Jedi outfit, you know something is about to go down.  I wonder if the reaction to the Jedi was similar to the reaction people had to Stormtroopers 15 years later, but not *as* harsh, since there was a chance you could live when you encountered a Jedi.

I purposefully ended my haiku where I did because I have not yet been able to figure out if Anakin used a mind trick on the patrons of Outlander Club to make them forget their encounter with Zam or if it was an honest statement that it was “Jedi business”.  It’s not like I stay awake at night thinking about this, but I have always wondered (I bet the novelization would give me more insight).  So for the haiku, I had that be the last quick thought before they either go about their business and don’t care, or if they forget because Anakin used a mind trick.

Can you imagine living in a world where this is kind of normal though?  Injuring/killing people like it’s no biggie?  I remember telling my dad that I loved how Han Solo was able to kill someone, flip some extra money to the bartender, and go about like nothing happened.  I’m not sure why I found that cool, because honestly, I wouldn’t really want that to happen in my everyday life, but when I was younger – it was the bees knees!  Now I see it for what it is – a nod-of-the-head to the old Western movies where similar scenes often happened in Saloons.

I’ve said this over and over again on this blog but – I really hope in future movies to see more of the seedy, other side of the Star Wars universe.  We definitely got to see some with Cassian in Rogue One but it still was part of a bigger picture with a fight of Rebellion vs. Empire.  More individual, interesting stories of average folks that make the universe seem as large as it should be would be a good step for Disney to take.

 

Do you guys have any thoughts on the Outlander Club?  Or seeing something different in Star Wars?  Would you want to see stories that step away from main characters, Jedi, Rebellion, and the Empire? 

Haiku Me Friday! Padmé’s Strength

A young but strong queen A vivacious senator Doomed to love evil

A young but strong queen
A vivacious senator
Doomed to love evil

It’s a long time since I’ve talked about Padmé.  I feel she’s been slightly forgotten with the addition of TFA to the saga.  Rey has taken over as the new, evolved, wonderful main female protagonist and Leia has been thrust back into the spotlight because of TFA as well.  So Padmé has been pushed aside.

Without Padmé, we wouldn’t have Leia, Luke or Kylo Ren (I still think Rey looks so much like her that I believe she could also be a Skywalker).  I know that goes without saying, but it’s something to remember as we head into this new era of Star Wars.  I wonder if we’ll see the future directors looking back at Padmé and using some of her traits to guide Luke, Leia, and Kylo’s actions.  I feel Abrams actually did that strongly with Kylo Ren and his temper tantrums.  They were so similar to Anakin’s that I’d like to believe it was deliberate, though Abrams has been known to shun the Prequels.

Though I didn’t love Bloodline, I did love this one section where Leia referenced going back into records and finding out as much as she could about Padmé so she could understand her birth mother.

padme 3Padmé is an amazing character.  She was queen of an entire planet at 14.  SO young.  What was I doing at 14?  I was a freshman in high school.  I had my first boyfriend who was a year older than me and we talked every day on the phone (he didn’t go to my local high school).  I hung out with the punks, one guy had pink hair and one had a bright green spiked Mohawk.  I only hung out with them because they were different and I was trying to find my group…I didn’t remain friends with them as high school continued.  Needless to say, my daily stresses only included getting homework done and trying to maintain a relationship that was cute at best, it didn’t have any substance (though I can’t imagine telling my 14 year old self that…I would not have taken that well).

Padmé was ruling an entire planet, and on top of that, ruling a planet when it was in a crisis.  The Trade Federation had formed the blockade and she had to escape the planet to plead her case to the senate.  Oh, and her ship’s hyperdrive broke while escaping.  She had to make a large decision to leave the safety and security of Coruscant to return to Naboo and befriend the Gungan race whom had previously ignored each other.

When she ended her stint as queen, she gravitated towards politics and became a senator.  By the time she met Anakin again at 24, she was a full-fledged senator of Naboo, weighing in on issues that effected the entire galaxy and her planet.  When I was 24, I had been married for a year.  The biggest stress I had was making sure we made enough money to save some and also pay all our bills.  Okay, that’s a pretty big stress, but I can’t imagine also having to make and participate in decisions directly effecting Massachusetts and the United States at that age.

So how can someone so smart not see that Anakin was turning to the dark side?

I went to an all-women’s college, Mount Holyoke, and while I loved the college and would go back in a heartbeat, it was sheltered in some ways.  A lot of the women went to a same sex college with the sole purpose of devoting their time completely to their studies with no distractions from men.

I imagine Padmé’s track a little similar…she focused so much on her career and politics that she may have not been completely attuned to the Padme1romantic part of life.  She hadn’t sharpened that gut feeling of when something is not right with your partner.  Sure, she had boyfriends (actually we only know of one other boyfriend other than Anakin) but like my 14 year old relationship, they were not substantial.  Her first serious boyfriend was Anakin, whom she later married.

I think a lot of critics and fan dismiss Padmé because she died of a broken heart.  But by doing that, you negate her amazing life and intelligence prior to her death.  I believe Padmé could have been smarter than Leia and Rey, though they are both quite intelligent.  But when it comes to book smarts, Padmé and Leia were probably on the same page, with Padmé inches ahead of her.

I hope that we see some homage to her in the upcoming movies because she is quite a woman and quite a character.

You Must Learn Control

Icarus left a comment on my blog post the other day that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.  Actually, it wasn’t his comment per se, but was said by George Lucas regarding Anakin’s fall to the dark side from a CNN article in 2002 (AOTC era, pre ROTS):

In this film, you begin to see that he has a fear of losing things, a fear of losing his mother, and as a result, he wants to begin to control things, he wants to become powerful, and these are not Jedi traits.  And part of these are because he was starting to be trained so late in life, that he’d already formed these attachments. And for a Jedi, attachment is forbidden.

“He wants to begin to control things.”  This sat with me – mainly because of my terrible need to control things as well.  We all, at some point or another, want to control our life and our future, no matter who you are.  You can be the most chill person in the world, but there is probably some degree or need to control minuscule portions of your life.  Then there are others, like myself, who prefer to control every minuscule detail if possible and though I think I’ve gradually gotten better, I still fall apart when Plan A, B, and C aren’t quite working like I was hoping.

anakin angry

 

At one point on Dagobah, when Luke is training with Yoda, Yoda admonishes him,

Control, control, you must learn control!

So why does Yoda want Luke to learn control, yet probably wanted Anakin to let go of his control?  Isn’t that contradictory?

What is the difference between Anakin and Luke?  The way I read and think about the situation is that Anakin used his fear as a propeller to learn more and conquer more through his knowledge.  He wanted power to change the situations through his control of the Force.  We see this to be very true later on in ROTS when he wants the ultimate power – to stop Padmé from dying – and apply it to his life.  He believes he’s helping people but he is, instead, digging his own grave.  Would Padmé have died if Anakin hadn’t turned to the dark side?  Ah, the million dollar question.

With Luke, though, it seems a little different.  He wants to go to Cloud City to try and rescue his friends (which, again, would have fared better without his help) but his motivation does not seem to be as rooted in the need for power.  While it seems to be more altruistic in nature, it does also stem fromluke skywalker handstand dagobah this need to control the events around him.  As Yoda says, “If you leave now, help them you could.  But you would destroy all for which they have fought and suffered.”

Obviously I’m going completely off canon by suggesting Yoda would have wanted Anakin to lessen his need to control, but I don’t think it’s that out there.  What I believe is that both had the fear of loss ingrained within them (who doesn’t?) but where Luke needed to control more from a situation of distance and understanding, Anakin needed to lessen his control so that it could also bring him to a place of understanding and distance.

I’ve mentioned many times that I don’t think the Jedi had it right when they tried to rid their pupils from attachment.  In fact, most of the time I think it was just wrong.  As we saw, Luke used his attachment to his father to save Anakin from the dark side and also help the galaxy.  However, there is also a point where life needs to be played out for what it is without our involvement because sometimes when we mess around with it too much, we look back and realize that maybe we shouldn’t have tried to control it like we did.  Luke had to learn to take a step back and realize he couldn’t run to help Han and Leia with everything in their lives because it could just make it worse.  He had to control his need to always help and rein it in.  Anakin needed to learn that he couldn’t be all-powerful and that controlling everything too much could backfire.  The main difference I’ve found is that Luke’s control was rooted in love whereas Anakin’s control was rooted in fear.

The reason that quote has been bothering me so much is that I believe I lean more towards Anakin than Luke.  It’s when I get the most scared, the most fearful, the most anxious, that I begin to try to control events and people around me.  I use all the power that I have to influence what happens around me to make sure it happens the way I want it to go.  Unlike Luke, whose need for more control stems from a caring, kind, thoughtful place; instead, I feel like I completely understand Anakin.  I don’t want life to “just happen”.  I want life to happen according to my rules.

 

What about you?  Do you need more control because you always want to jump and help someone instead of letting them work it out on their own?  Or are you more like me and you need to lessen your control because you always want to make things go your way?

10 Reasons I Like Attack of the Clones

attack of the clones

I had only one New Year’s resolution when it came to this blog.  In 2015, I was going to watch AOTC and find 10 things I liked about it.  I never watched it on my own, but I did watch it a few weeks ago with the friends when I worked through the saga with prior to TFA (another post on that soon!).

To find 10 things I liked about AOTC was great up until number 8.  Then I really struggled with the last two items.  I eventually came up with them, but I had to rack my brain.

Here is my top 10 list for AOTC, therefore fulfilling my New Year’s resolution a month from the end of 2015.

10. Kamino. Out of all the new planets introduced in the Prequel Trilogy, Kamino is one of my favorites.  The weirdest thing is, I’m not a big fan of rain, but I love the visual element of it.  Plus, we’ve all had Kamino days before where you kind of feel bad for Kaminoans and the constant battering of rain…though with their skin, I’m not sure they’d last long in the sun.  Regardless, Kamino is one of the coolest planets in AOTC with the city on stilts, their transportation on the Aiwha’s, and their impressive cloning facility.  Super modern for a place that must experience a lot of power outages.

9. Puns. No Star Wars film is as rife with puns as Episode II is.  Part of me groans and hates how corny they are, but the pun-loving side of me rejoices in seeing so many in one movie.

2 Examples:

-Threepio’s head being dragged by Artoo to be put on his proper body: “Oh, this is such a drag!”

-Anakin worrying about Padmé and Obi-Wan says: “She seems to be on top of things,” as she climbs up the pole.

8. “This party’s over.” This is an example of a corny line in Star Wars this party's overthat is done so, so well.  Every time Windu utters that line I just want to woop.  Then all the Jedi start igniting their lightsabers across the Geonosian arena and it looks amazing.  It’s classic good versus evil.  The Jedi show up to save the day and you can’t help but think, “This is how it should be.”

7. The Geonosian language. I had some big debates on this when I was reading my list out loud after watching the movie but I have always loved the language of these critters.  All the weird sounds they make with clucks, clicks, whirring noises, and slightly human sounds in it is super interesting.  It’s my favorite language of species out of the entire Star Wars saga.  In case you ever want to listen to 10 hours of it, someone has granted your wish:

6. Seismic charge. The asteroid chase scene, while an homage to ESB, did not come close to matching the magnificence of the Empire chasing the Falcon.  What it did do was give us two well-equipped adversaries battling it out with lots of obstacles.  So in a sense, it was very different from the chase in ESB as this was not so much of a “chase” but a seek-and-find.  Out of this, resulted the seismic charge, a cool new addition to the Star Wars universe.  My favorite part is the silence when it’s released, followed by the explosive electric sound and the flat horizontal destruction it creates.  According to the Wookiepedia page, the reason I love this so much is actually because it defies science:

The sound from an explosion of this weapon is an interesting take on the Star Wars “ignorance” of the fact that there is no sound in a vacuum. There is no sound at the start of a blast, but there is still the impossible phenomenon of sound in space afterward. The idea during the production of Episode II was that the charge would suck in and absorb all the sound around it (such as the sounds of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jango Fett’s ships during their fight in the Geonosis asteroid belt), and then release them in a sonic explosion, resulting in the shockwave effect heard in the explosion sound.

Maybe that’s why I love Star Wars so much…it’s always defying science and reality.

5. The 2nd to last scene. When the Imperial March starts playing and you all the ships are starting to look like Imperial Star Destroyers…I get chills.  Then you see some of the senate members staring out and Palpatine is looking out at everything and you know he’s just maniacally laughing in his head.  Then you see Organa’s head bow down with one hand in a fist.  His misgiving is clear.  And those rows upon rows of clone troopers – amazing.  Begun the Clone Wars has.

AOTC 2nd to last scene

4. Imaginative planets. There’s no denying that the locations and scenery on Naboo are stunning.  Geonosis had the interesting hive of swarming bugs as a planet, and most of the scenes took place within the hive of the Geonosians, with the exception of final battle.    I felt like we really got to dive into Coruscant with the Zam Wesell chase scene that culminated in the underground nightclub.  We got to see the life of an average civilian with the Dexter Jettster diner scene.  As a whole, the film brought us to new planets that were multi-layered and showed us more depth than we had seen before.

3. Sound effects. This plays into my #6 reason, but at a larger level.  You could argue that the sound effects in every Star Wars movie are amazing, and they are, but I’m not a big sound gal.  Yet every time I watch AOTC, I notice the details of sounds and the minute way the play into the scene at a brilliant level.  Some of my favorites include when Padmé’s ship first flies into the scene (I feel like it sounds different than the other ships), the seismic charge, the sounds of Coruscant in the Zam Wesell chase scene, the Obi-wan/Jango fight, and the final battle.  In this movie, I think the sounds play as an important a role as the visual element. 

2. Padmé’s costumes. Beautiful, so beautiful. I would like to put in a caveat that I am not referring to her stupid white costume during the latter part of the movie that was strategically ripped right at her abs.  The rest of them are stunning though.  Not just the lakeside dress, but her sexy leather dress, her picnic dress, even the ones she wears on Coruscant when Anakin is pouting.  I love her nightgown and scoured the internet until I found one somewhat similar and bought it (note: it’s not very comfortable to sleep in, but I don’t care).  I even like the one on Tatooine that we see so little of that also strategically shows her abs…it has a nice feminine flow to it.  Trisha Beggar should have gotten an Oscar instead of Colleen Atwood for Chicago.  Unfortunately, she didn’t even get nominated for this film which I see as a real shame because it wasn’t just Padmé who had beautiful costumes, the others had a lot of detail in them as well.

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1. Across the Stars. Oh man, oh man, this was really close with #2 but I just couldn’t deny putting it at number one. This is one of the greatest tracks John Williams has ever created and it kills me that it’s not more recognized.  It’s beautiful but tragic all at once – which sums up Padmé and Anakin’s relationship.  Even though logically, if you don’t know the story of Star Wars, the ending of AOTC should be happy (a wedding! True love! Yay!)…from the music you can tell it’s doomed.  There are notes of triumph but it’s so overshadowed by the lower notes of heartbreak.  The harp at the end is just a cherry on top.  The music is poignant, it’s crucial, and it evokes so much emotion from me even when I listen to it 13 years later.  Sometimes I feel like this track makes the whole movie worth it. Bravo, John Williams, bravo.

 

What are your top moments from Attack of the Clones?

I Tip My Hat to You, Joel Edgerton

I thought it would be nice to pay special attention to Joel Edgerton, if only because out of all the Star Wars actors, I think he’s had the most interesting rise.

Harrison Ford is the only other actor who has had a similar rise to fame situation that Edgerton has had, but with Ford, he shot up fast with leading roles in Indy and Star Wars and has never turned back.

joel edgerton

He’s actually kind of cute…

Edgerton, on the other hand, has had a slow and methodical rise in Hollywood since Attack of the Clones.  He’s worked hard to build his reputation in the film industry and I’ve begun to see him in more critically acclaimed films and stronger roles.

Now, I’m not a big movie watcher but I have definitely seen Joel Edgerton in more movies than anyone else in the Prequels, including Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, and Natalie Portman.  Note that I have seen him in more movies, not that he’s necessarily been in more movies than those three.

For instance, looking at his acting history on IMDB, here are the films I’ve seen him in (chronological order based on when they were released):

  • Ned Kelly
  • King Arthur
  • Smokin’ Aces
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Zero Dark Thirty
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Exodus: Gods and Kings
  • Black Mass

Look at the rise of the movies, the directors, and their reputation.  When glancing at IMDB, he is in an average of 3-4 movies a year.  3-4 movies A YEAR!  Do you know how tiring that must be?  Plus he recently directed a movie as well.

What got me thinking about Edgerton was how he completely transformed in Black Mass.  Being from Boston, it was a

Joel Edgerton playing opposite Johnny Depp in Black Mass

Joel Edgerton playing opposite Johnny Depp in Black Mass

must-see for me, but I was so surprised at how transformed Edgerton was.  In most of the movies I have seen with him, I have had a flicker of recognition, thinking, “Hey, there’s young Uncle Owen.”  But with Black Mass, I couldn’t figure out if that was him.  Every once and a while, I’d think, “But is it?  Is it young Uncle Owen?  Nah, maybe it’s just someone who looks a lot like him.”   It really bothered me.  When I saw his name in the credits, I began thinking about writing this blog post and tipping my hat in his direction to say, “Hey dude, I’ve noticed how far you’ve come from your AOTC days and that is awesome.”

Think about how small a part he played in AOTC.  He was hardly in it and barely talked.  Most of his work prior to Star Wars had been in single episodes for TV shows, made-for-TV movies, or shorts.  After Star Wars, he did another movie, a few episodes in TV series and then – bam – Ned Kelly.  (For those that don’t know about Ned Kelly and who aren’t Australian like Yours Truly, it’s an Australian movie with all the big named Hollywood accented (English or Australian, mostly Aussie though) actors like Heath Ledger, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, etc. It’s a fun watch, if only to learn about the most notorious Australian gangster of all time – Ned Kelly.)

I’d like to see Edgerton in more leading roles, but he seems unconcerned about that.

I think part of my obsession is, “How far is the spectrum of what you can play?” Looking for the edges of that spectrum. Not to be stuck playing a hero all the time. I don’t feel comfortable in that role, so much. Looking for those weirder, quirkier, edgier parts. They just become more fun. Often times, they’re not the leading role. I think it’s good to be able to not be the star of the movie. The upside of that is getting to play really interesting questions.

The few movies where he does play a leading role have not done too well box-office wise, but I think his acting has still been stupendous.  It may just be more about getting his name out there and getting it recognized…though again, he doesn’t seem to care about the leading role as much as I do, haha.

Finally, what made me really want to write this quick post, was when I read an article that Jane Got a Gun is finally getting released this upcoming February.  The movie has been plagued with quite a few difficulties and though I love the premise, I had kind of written it off as a never-going-to-happen.  Well, it sounds like it will be!  And guess who stars in it?

Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, and Ewan McGregor.

You’re making the connection right?  All three of these people have met up separately in the Prequel Trilogy.  Portman interacted with Edgerton when she goes home with Anakin to Tatooine to find Shmi.  Portman and McGregor obviously have a lot of interaction from TPM through ROTS.  And Edgerton and McGregor meet up at the very end of ROTS (kind of) when he gives them Luke to take care of.  I fully acknowledge Edgerton and McGregor may not have actually met up and it could have been filmed separately, but I like to believe they were all there at the same time.

How about them apples?

So even if the movie isn’t very good, I’m still going to see it if only for the fact that it’s got 3 Star Wars PT actors back in the same arena.

I’m sure Edgerton will shine as he always does and I just hope I see him in many more movies to come.