The Most Pointless Scenes in the Star Wars Saga

The end of pregnancy does weird things to you…for instance – everyone is telling you to “get your sleep” while you can, but yet, you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, uncomfortable, and unable to fall asleep again for at least an hour.

And what do I do during that hour+? Obsess about the weirdest stuff.  Not stuff that makes sense like, “Will I be a good mom? Will I bring my child up safely and politely? Will my relationship survive the strain?”

Oh no.  I obsess about stuff like, “I wonder if I’ll remember to take the trash out when I have the baby,” or “Why is my dog making those weird sounds?  Did he throw up?” in which I promptly jump up, shine a light on him, wake my husband up, and see my dog is just in a funny sleeping position so semi-snoring.  Yes, this happened once.

Last night I woke up and obsessed about my  ideas for Star Wars blog posts and how I haven’t written any yet.  Then it evolved into how I could expand on one of my ideas and write an entire blog post about pointless scenes in the saga.

So here we are!  The fruits of last night’s pregnancy insomnia.

I define scenes as “pointless” if it could have been cut entirely and/or gotten to the point of the scene a lot faster.

 

The Phantom Menace

I think the most pointless scene in TPM would be the bongo scene.  After arriving in Otoh Gunga with Jar Jar who was exiled, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon bongo phantom menaceJedi mind trick Boss Nass into giving them a transport out of there.  He gives them a tribubble bongo and they head off to Theed through the planet core.

What ensues is basically a fish chase.  They almost get eaten multiple times, Jar Jar freaks out too many times and everyone has some pretty dumb lines (“There’s always a bigger fish”).

This entire scene could have been cut.  Instead, we could have seen them get on the bongo then appear in Theed.  Funnily – it’s the scene right after this one that Lucas decides to keep when they arrive above water and have to escape being almost pulled down a waterfall.

If you want to add a little tension and excitement to the movie, that cut scene would have done a better job than the exceedingly drawn out bongo trip.

 

Attack of the Clones

Two scenes come to mind here: 1) the droid factory scene where Padmé and Anakin are on some kind of weird obstacle course and Anakin’s lightsaber dies, and 2) the gladiator arena scene at the end.

The droid factory scene is more pointless than the gladiator scene.  I think this entire segment could have been cut out and replaced with something a padme droid factorylot more interesting.  The point of this scene was to catch Anakin and Padmé somewhere they weren’t supposed to be, therefore giving an excuse to have them in the gladiator scene with Obi-Wan.  Well, why not pick something that made the two main characters look a whole lot less foolish?  Maybe spying on Count Dooku, or, even trying to rescue Obi-Wan right away and failing.  And the whole thing with the lightsaber dying in the droid factory really rubbed me the wrong way.  It took the mystique out of lightsabers that there is a possibility it could fail like anything else mechanical.  Let’s not even go into Threepio in this scene and how must stupider it made the scene look with his horrible puns.

The gladiator scene is a harder to argue against but in this case, I think it was drawn out a little too long, similar to the bongo scene.  I understand it was a convenient setup to have Obi-Wan, Padmé, and Anakin in one place for when the Jedi and clone troopers save the day.  But it was unnecessary to have it be so dramatic when we had both the battle between the Separatists/Clones and Yoda/Count Dooku on the horizon.  I think we could have cut out the entire part with the animals and got rid of the similarities to Gladiator (the blockbuster and Oscar winner that came out around the same time as AOTC) and been a lot better for it.

 

Revenge of the Sith

The General Grievous versus Obi-Wan lightsaber fight.  Way too long and how in the world was General Grievous good enough to last as long as he did?  Again, this is one of the areas where Obi-Wan is so awesome that the fact that he had to keep chasing Grievous and have a weird showdown in order to kill him was yawn-worthy.

general grievous vs obi wan

We all knew that Grievous was not the main nemesis of the movie and there were so many other interesting aspect to get to that the corny lines (“Army or not, you must realize you are doomed.” “Oh, I don’t think so.”) and constant cat and mouse chase got to be too much.  Obi-Wan is one of the best Jedi Masters out there so just kill him already.

It would have been SO much cooler if it was like an Indiana Jones scene where the guy is doing all the tricks with the whip and Indy just takes out his gun and shoots him.  Something like that would have been way better for the Obi-Wan vs. Grievous show down.

 

A New Hope

Surprisingly – I can’t think of any pointless scenes in ANH.  This is one of the things that kept me awake longer than it should have last night because I think every scene in ANH is there for a reason, makes sense, and none of them are pointless.  This could be why I enjoy ANH more and more as I get older.

 

The Empire Strikes Back

This may be a little controversial, but I think one of the most pointless scenes in ESB is the cave scene where Luke sees his face in the mask of luke-dark-side-caveVader.  It’s not that I don’t understand what Lucas and Kershner are trying to do and say.  However, I think it could have been brought up totally differently if they wanted to make that point.  Or, do we even need it?  Was our Star Wars viewing experience enriched by that scene?  Isn’t it something that if you know Luke and see the training he is going through with Yoda, you can kind of figure it out on your own?  It’s a pointless bit of fake foreshadowing that leads the audience to believe and think something else.  Star Wars is also not known for its symbolism, even if it’s blatantly slapped in your face like this scene.  So why pull it in now?

 

Return of the Jedi

Honestly, I had a few scenes in my mind but then when I started to write about them, I realized that they didn’t quite hit “pointless” on my radar.  They did, in the end, have a point and they didn’t need to be cut either.

Therefore, I’m leaving ROTJ as another movie that was pretty well done and not too many scenes that I thought could have been left out.

 

The Force Awakens

Oh c’mon, do I even need to go here?  We all know the scene that should have been cut.

rathtar tfaThe freaking Rathtar scene.

Whhhhy is it in the movie?  As I thought about this, the only reasons I could think of was to a) alert Han that the First Order was looking for two fugitives and a BB droid, and b) to show that Han Solo still has trouble talking his way out of things, albeit in a funny way in that he thinks he can talk himself out of dire situations.

This could have definitely been done differently.  Being a smuggler again, Han probably would have known the First Order was looking for two fugitives and a BB unit…he probably would have had that come in on a priority signal or something.

As for the second part, we didn’t need it.  Han had plenty of time in the movie to show that he was still the same guy.

This scene is up there with the droid factory scene in AOTC as something that could have been completely cut.  It was childish, out-of-place in the Star Wars universe and was thrown in only for the action element.

 

I love Star Wars, as you all know.  But there are some parts of it that drag on too long or don’t seem to have a reason as to why they are in the movie.  More of the fault lied with the Prequel Trilogy than the Original Trilogy as I feel that gratuitous action scenes were thrown in to keep up with other summer blockbusters, when they really just made the movie look a little silly.

 

Let me know if you guys think of some pointless scenes in ANH and ROTJ…or if you disagree with my assessment!

Advertisements

Haiku Me Friday! Dagobah Cave Edition

The cave on Dagobah is one of the few moments in Star Wars where it bangs you over the head with its metaphors and deeper meaning.  Think about it…we don’t see much of this in the OT where the characters have to face their fears in this strange, almost out-of-body way.

He looms into sight Remember your failure, Luke The cave reveals much

He looms into sight
Remember your failure, Luke
The cave reveals much

When Luke confronts Vader in the cave, he defeats Vader, but the mask falls off revealing Luke’s face.  Essentially we are supposed to come away with the fact that if Luke goes to the dark side, he’ll will end up similar to Vader.

But there’s so much more going on here.  For instance, Yoda tells Luke not to bring his weapons, but Luke does anyway.Luke Vader dark side cave  What would have happened if he hadn’t and saw the same vision?  Or is it by bringing the weapons, Luke creates this vision and it would have been different had he not brought them?  (Lucas says he would not have had this vision if he had not brought his weapons)

Regarding my haiku, Yoda reminds Luke “remember your failure at the cave”.  Was it really a failure?  Or was it this “failure” that taught Luke a lesson before it was too late?  Did it speak more in volumes than Yoda’s teaching ever would?

We go back (or go for the first time, depending how you look at it) to the cave in TCW where Yoda also confronts his own fears.  This time he sees some tidbits of what is to happen in ROTS.  Does Yoda learn from it?  Does he face his fears and say, “This is what could happen.  If it does, then I’ll be prepared and face my fears to make sure I do all I can to be the best Jedi I can be”?

Most importantly, this sequence shows how close Luke teetered to the dark side. Did he actually use the dark side briefly? By bringing his weapons, he automatically puts himself on the offensive mode.  My third line in the haiku “The cave reveals much,” puts into light the fact that perhaps Luke does draw on the dark side.  I know that Hamill wanted Luke to fall to the dark side in ROTJ and have the movie with a darker twist.  Will we see this in TFA?  I thought the trailer had a slightly foreboding air about it when we saw Luke’s hand touching Artoo.   It was…dark to say the least.  Will the directors maybe pull on this cave sequence to go into an explanation on why Luke turns to the dark side?  (This is all speculation on my part as you guys know…I’m pretty spoiler free)

Dark side? Or light side?

Dark side? Or light side?

Read my other blog post on it here.

Read some fan speculations on the cave scene.

Watch it here.

Scene it on Friday – ESB Scene #51

Luke Vader dark side cave

Symbolism. Star Wars does not often come to mind as a movie ripe with symbolism.   It’s no On the Waterfront, that’s for sure. But this scene is (still) one of the most talked about scenes within the Star Wars saga.

It deviates from Lucas’ normal way of telling his stories and instead takes you on a journey of facing what is inside of you.

The most obvious and simple explanation for this cave scene is that when Luke sees his own face staring back up at him from the mask, it represents his greatest fear of becoming evil like Darth Vader.

But I want to take this a step further and it’s impossible to analyze and look at this scene without knowing about the previous scene. Usually I am able to look at a scene as a standalone, but in this case, it would be silly to do that.

After training, Luke and Yoda end up near the tree cave where Luke senses, rather than sees, the cave.

He says, “I feel cold, death.”

Yoda replies, “That place…is strong with the dark side of the Force. A domain of evil it is. In you must go.”

Luke replies with the most natural question: “What’s in there?” Hell, if I felt cold and death, I would definitely want to know what I am facing as well.

Yoda: “Only what you take with you.”

Luke picks up his weapon belt and begins to strap it on when Yoda says, “Your weapons…you will not need them.” And Luke straps it on anyway.

Which begs the question…do you think Luke’s vision would have been different if he had followed Yoda’s advice? What if he had not taken hisLuke dark side cave weapons? Yoda does not specifically say, “Do not take the weapons,” he only says that Luke will not need them. Does that mean he believes Luke is strong enough to conquer whatever is in the cave without weapons, using only the Force? Does this relate back to Luke’s inability (at this point) to rely only on the Force?

 

Lucas does mention this on the ESB commentary track. He says that if Luke continued down the road that he was on in ESB, (reliance on weapons, too eager to jump into situations, etc.), he would have turned to the dark side. But he also mentions that if Luke had gone into the cave with no weapons, he would not have met Vader. He remarks that it was a teaching moment – showing Luke what the dark side can bring out of a person.

If we think about Lucas’ comment, and that Yoda says that what is within the cave is “only what you take with you,” then we can surmise that Luke has the dark side within him…and probably pretty strongly. In fact, being Anakin’s son, we know that he is probably always straddling the line. This is most likely Yoda’s fear, that he will lose Luke to the dark side, like they lost Vader (a point Obi-Wan brings up at the end of Luke’s stay in Dagobah).

And to bring this scene to the next level: Yoda says in ROTJ, “Remember your failure at the cave.” Ergo, Luke failed in this scene.

This is the only line from Yoda that even hints back to this scene in the future movies. So did he fail because he brought his weapons into the cave? Or did he fail because he has the dark side within him and he couldn’t control it?

Much to think about, mmm?

Gosh, this always creeped me out when I was younger.

Gosh, this always creeped me out when I was younger.

 

INTERIOR: DAGOBAH — TREE CAVE

Luke moves into the almost total darkness of the wet and slimy cave. The youth can barely make out the edge of the passage.

Holding his lit saber before him, he sees a lizard crawling up the side of the cave and a snake wrapped around the branches of a tree. Luke draws a deep breath, then pushes deeper into the cave. 

The space widens around him, but he feels that rather than sees it. His sword casts the only light as he peers into the darkness. It is very quiet here.

Then, a loud hiss! Darth Vader appears across the blackness, illuminated by his own just-ignited laser sword. Immediately, he charges Luke, saber held high. He is upon the youth in seconds, but Luke sidesteps perfectly and slashes at Vader with his sword.

Vader is decapitated. His helmet-encased head flies from his shoulders as his body disappears into the darkness. The metallic banging of the helmet fills the cave as Vader’s head spins and bounces, smashes on the floor, and finally stops. For an instant it rests on the floor, then it cracks vertically. The black helmet and breath mask fall away to reveal…Luke’s head.

Across the space, the standing Luke gasps at the sight, wide-eyed in terror.

The decapitated head fades away, as in a vision.

EXTERIOR: DAGOBAH — CAVE — DUSK

Meanwhile, Yoda sits on the root, calmly leaning on his Gimer Stick.