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!

My Husband Insisted I Post This

I got a really cool Star Wars coloring book for my birthday last week.  The only problem is that I don’t have coloring pencils…

A lot of the art is straightforward, but they do have some interesting art that is almost tattoo-like in their designs.  Those are my favorite and they look a little like you are viewing Star Wars through a kaleidoscope.  Mei-Mei also has this book and you can find her post on it here for a better idea.

But when flipping through it, almost my entire family got into a debate on what one of the kaleidoscope pictures was based off of.  My husband is dead set that it’s the Sarlacc Pit, whereas I think it might be something from Tatooine, but not necessarily the Sarlacc Pit.  He makes a good argument though with the rings in the center and he thinks the interesting shapes at the end are part of the appendages that come out of the Sarlacc.

So he wanted me to post this and get your opinions.  I’ve already asked Mei-Mei what she thinks since she also owns the book but she is similarly stumped.

Picture in question:

Star wars coloring book

 

Examples of the other kaleidoscope art in the book that is more easily discernible:

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Does anyone have any thoughts on what the first one is?  You will help immensely with a family debate. 🙂

Haiku Me Friday! Droid Starfighters (and ramblings about AI, losing our privacy, etc)

Not flown by people Similar to BSG This has a droid brain

Not flown by people
Similar to BSG
This has a droid brain

Okay, one of the not-so-great haikus I’ve written, but the Droid Starfighter showed up on my calendar today and I needed a topic.  And then I began to think about jets being flown completely by Artifical Intelligence…and my post formed.

Doesn’t the Droid Starfighter look similar to the BSG Cylon ships?  And the BSG ships are also robots.  Look at them side by side.  Okay, one of them is curved more, but I feel like the concept is the same:

 

This all got me thinking about our real life little Earth…I did some research and currently, the Navy and Air Force are working on their next ships to have AI installed within them.  They wouldn’t have AI completely driving and flying the ships, but instead would have them as a co-pilot.  Their argument is that having the AI as a Chewbacca frees the pilot to focus on fewer tasks, giving them an advantage over the enemy.  The jet will be called F-X (Air Force) or F/A-XX (Navy).

Concept art for the Navy's F/A-XX

Concept art for the Navy’s F/A-XX

Am I the only one blown away by this?  It also makes me slightly nervous.  I feel like there’s a lot that could go wrong.  Obviously, I’m sure they’ll have an override, but remember Hal in 2001?  Yeah, we’re inching towards that.  Further, what if the AI feature can be hacked by enemies?  Oh goodness, that would be horrible!  I feel like that’s always a risk with anything computer oriented.  Even if the AI is just a co-pilot, the enemy could hack in, turn off the override feature and the pilot would have no control.  If the AI is completely in control of the plane and it gets hacked, uh-oh.  In the words of Threepio, “We’re doomed.”

Maybe I’ve been watching too many movies.  I think AI can be a good thing, honestly.  At other times, AI pisses me off.  A lot.  Like yesterday when I was on the phone with Apple support for a client and the robot transferred me to a department that was the wrong one.  Usually not the biggest deal, but when you’re on hold for an hour with crappy music, I thought I was going to break down when I finally reached someone and they told me they were going to have to transfer me.

Do we want AI in our cars, fighter jets, or even fridges?  (Yes they make “smart” fridges now)  At what point will we want our privacy to return?

CortanaMy Surface Pro/Windows 10 has Cortana built into it.  I wanted to use it because I’ve heard great things about it…but in order to use it, I need to let Cortana access my location.  And for some reason, I really didn’t want to.  I’m not sure why I don’t mind so much with my phone – probably because it’s portable and I have a GPS on my weather and maps app so it feels okay.  But on my home tablet/laptop?  Really?  Just so you can spew more ads (“recommendations”) at me?  No, I don’t want that.  I would like to keep my Surface blissfully ignorant of where I am on this planet, thank you.

When is AI useful?  When is AI too much?  I guess I’m not sure of the answer.  I have my limits, clearly.  My fridge and TV are not “smart”.  My phone is riddled with AI and probably knows too much about me.  I refuse to connect my phone to my washing machine or thermostat though both have the options to do that.  Most of the time I don’t even think about it, though occasionally when I’m out, I wish I could turn up the heat slightly so it’s warmer when I get home.

The Trade Federation loved AI.  They were all about droids as were the Separatists.  General Grievous was practically a droid himself.

But then why did Palpatine decide to move to human intelligence?  What are the advantages?  The disadvantages are clear – as we saw with FN-2187.  But the advantages could be that there is common sense and the ability to sense when something is not right/gut feelings.  The Clone Wars did an excellent job in showing us why human clones are a better choice than droids, especially with the camaraderie they build making a better team.  Living beings can’t really be “shut down” or hacked like robots can.

 

What are your thoughts on AI?  Is our American society striving too hard to have everything become easier, but instead, we are only losing more of our privacy?  Is it something we should just accept and let it assimilate into our daily lives?

Book Review: A New Dawn

a new dawn book cover

First of all, if anyone wants my copy of A New Dawn, I will gladly send it your way for free.  Yup, I’ll pay for shipping too.  If I’m not going to read a book again, I like to share the love and give it to someone else who may appreciate it.  And from there, I hope the book karma continues.

A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller follows the life of Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla before they had formed the crew of Ghost as we know it in Star Wars Rebels.  The novel shows how they met and how they decided to stay together as a team.  Watching SWR, I always loved Kanan and Hera’s relationship.  They have a great friendship and my hope is that Disney does not take it in the direction of a romantic relationship only because I think that it’s so rare to see examples of male/female friendships on TV and in movies…so I love seeing this one that works.  And it works so well.

But how did it get to that point?  When did they first meet?  That’s what A New Dawn goes to show us.  The novel has its moments, and I enjoyed some of it, but there were parts that really bothered me as well.

**Spoiler Warning**

We start off by following Kanan and learning that he’s kind of this lone ranger guy (didn’t see that coming).  He works hard at very standard, physical jobs but doesn’t stick around in a place long enough to make lasting friends.  At one such job, there’s a man named Skelly, a former Clone Wars veteran who knows how to build explosives and understands the workings of the planet Cynda and the damage the Empire is doing to it by mining out thorilide.  Kanan realizes it’s finally time to start leaving this planet because he’s been there too long when the Empire starts showing a special interest in its raw material and sends Count Vidian (cue bad guy music) there to make use of it.  Skelly makes a mess of things and Kanan is forced to stick around a little longer than he would have liked, and by mistake, gets attached to Skelly as the story goes on.

Hera enters the story because she is already part of the Rebellion and they want her to find out what Count Vidian’s up to.  Now, it might not officially be the Rebellion yet, but let’s keep it at that for simplicity’s sake.  As she follows around Count Vidian, she inevitably meets up with Kanan and Skelly where they have a bunch of adventures trying to stop Vidian from destroying Cynda.  Skelly dies, as does Vidian (naturally), and Kanan and Hera go off and form a team together.  Though reluctant to have Kanan as her partner, as she also operates alone in missions, Hera does eventually give in and see the advantage of having Kanan with her due to his personality, ethics, and quick thinking in tight spots.  Having the Force probably helps too.

There’s the basic story.  My real thoughts are:

Pros:

  • Kanan and Hera’s relationship stayed strictly as friends. You can tell Kanan wants something more and finds her SloaneKananattractive, but Hera keeps him at a good distance.  Going into this novel, I was most worried about a romantic back story, but none of that happened.
  • A good amount of female characters. We see a female commanding officer of a Star Destroyer in the Empire: Captain Sloane.  There’s also Hera, Lal Grallik (a woman Besalisk manager who mines thorilide), and Zaluna, a Sullustan Imperial spy, but not by choice. She ends up turning on the Empire and helping out Kanan and Hera.  She was my favorite new character in the novel.  Oh yeah, and there are female stormtroopers. Not sure how I felt about that one as I’m not sure it makes sense.  I always assumed the Empire was largely misogynistic at that point in the timeline.
  • Weirdly, you kind of root for the Empire in a strange way towards the end. Miller does a good job at showing the reader that it’s not always cut and dry, good and bad.  When Sloane plays a part in stopping Count Vidian, despite all the promises he threw to her, you cheer for her even though you have a moment of, “Oh wait – but the Empire is bad.”
  • Kanan does a good job at hiding his abilities in the Force. I think as an author, it can be tempting when you have a character with “superpowers” to bring these into the story consistently.  If I remember correctly, Kanan only showed his Force abilities 3 times in the novel, and twice would make it seem questionable to an outsider.  The last time, he saves him and Hera from impending death (of course) and it makes her see him in a new light. Though the last instance was somewhat predictable, I didn’t mind as much because I knew it had to happen eventually.

Cons:

  • Not enough time with Hera. We did get into her point of view occasionally, but didn’t find out much about her background. There was a lot more of that with Kanan and I felt that though the author could have set out to make this a Kanan/Hera story equally, it felt like there was WAY more emphasis on Kanan.  So in the end, it was a male driven story.
  • The story line as a whole seemed like it was trying just a little too hard and playing a little too safe. Miller wanted to make it as Star Wars as possible, but instead it got boring at times and felt predictable. The plot was very convenient and set up in a way that things fell nicely into place.  He wrapped it up in a nice little box that says “Star War Novel”, when instead, the stories that stand out in the EU are the ones that broke new ground and gave us something different, but felt similar.
  • Speaking of predictable, the main nemesis, Count Vidian was not that interesting. I felt like he was General Grievous all over again.  Intelligent, cyborg-ish, and ruthless.    Whenever we were in his point of view, I realized I just didn’t care.

My main gripe with this book is that I wanted more Hera involvement.  I wanted to understand her character, what drove her to ANewDawnbe so passionate about getting rid of the Empire, and what her past was like.

The best thing out of this book is getting to know a lot more about Kanan and understanding that while the Empire is evil, there are some beings within it that make it even more evil.  And sometimes you have to pick between a lesser evil and greater evil, which was what happened at the end of the novel.  You may not be able to take out the entire Empire, but maybe taking out one horrible Count is enough of a small victory.

I’d give A New Dawn 3/5 stars.  It’s a solid book and there are parts of the novel that felt really Star Wars to me, but there were also quite a few times when I thought Miller was trying a little too hard.

Want to read this book?  Let me know.  I’ll mail it to you.

Darth Tyranus vs. Darth Maul Showdown!

In April, I promised a post on the Sith. I started writing it and got bored writing it, and left it alone, and went back to it, and got bored again, so I realized that if I can’t even be interested in my post, nobody else would be.   Then this past week I started thinking about pitting Jedi against Jedi and Sith against Sith and I thought…actually, this is a more interesting way to think about my post.

I was planning on writing an entire post on the four Sith we see in the saga, including Vader vs. Sidious, but it’s too long! So I’m cutting it up and today’s excerpt will just be Darth Tyranus vs. Darth Maul. And yes, I am also planning on doing a Jedi Showdown at some point, I just need to get to it.

So introducing our first pair in the rink! (They can’t be paired with Sidious because of the different weight class. Sidious is obviously much heavier with the Force and would ruin them as soon as the buzzer went off)

This is ranked on a point basis: 10 means they exhibit the qualities to the extreme, 1 being that they show too many Jedi qualities 😉 Points will be given based on intelligence, ruthlessness, experience, and lightsaber combat.

 darth-maul-vs-count-dooku

DARTH MAUL VS. DARTH TYRANUS SHOWDOWN

Presenting Darth Tyranus! A formidable fighter, but can he withstand the brutality of his Dathomirian counterpart? 

Darth Tyranus comes into the ring:

  • Intelligence: 8/10. As someone once respected by the Jedi (known as Count Dooku), I’m sure he was able to get away count dooku sidiouswith a lot more before anyone caught on that, hey, wait a minute, you’re no longer a Jedi. Tyranus took over the clone army project and erased Kamino from the Jedi Archives. He also was a leader of the Separatists and trained quite a few chilling opponents of the Jedi. This guy was pretty organized and intelligent – helping Sidious pave the way for an Empire ruled by Sith. He lacks two final points because he was not quite smart enough to realize that he was just a pawn in Sidious’ game.
  • Ruthlessness: 6/10. Once turned to the dark side, Tyranus had no qualms killing those he loved. Looking at his backstory, you can see that he was once good friends with Jedi Sifo-Dyus, and murdered him in order to become a full Sith and take over the clone army project. He also took on Asajj Ventress as a pseudo apprentice but ordered her killed as well. Though he didn’t succeed, it shows that he has no problem abandoning those he should also have some sort of attachment to. The only reason I don’t give him more points is because he seems to be a bit of a coward. He ran away from Yoda in AOTC and sent someone else to try to kill Asajj Ventress.
  • Experience: 9/10. Tyranus was pretty formidable even in his older age. All those years as a Jedi and now a Sith leads to one thing: he knows his stuff. He knows how the Jedi fight and also how to outmaneuver them, as we saw in AOTC. He is experienced in politics and the Force, which makes for a deadly combination. He trained Jedi and then went on to train leaders in the Separatist Droid Army: Durge, Asajj Ventress, and General Grievous. Plus, he knows how to create Force lightening and you can’t do that as a rookie.
  • Lightsaber combat: 8/10. Wookieepedia says that Dooku was a well respected instructor at the Jedi Temple and “one of the most renowned swordsmen in the galaxy”, up there with Yoda and Mace Windu. I think that was pretty obviouscount dooku vs yoda when in AOTC, he took on Obi-Wan, Anakin, and finally Yoda in a battle where he bested 2/3 of his opponents. He even did pretty well in ROTS when he again took on Obi-Wan and Anakin. Though he lost his life, he held out for quite a while. It’s clear that Obi-Wan wasn’t much of a match for him. I almost gave him 9/10, but the fact that he ran from Yoda and died at Anakin’s hands shows that he wasn’t the best.

Tyranus total points: 31/40 or a 78% chance of winning in the rink.

And now we have…Darth Maul! A formidable, rage-filled opponent, but does he have enough experience to defeat the older veteran?

dooku vs maul

 Darth Maul comes into the ring:

  • Intelligence: 5/10. I always got the impression that Darth Maul was more of a mercenary than an intelligent being valued for his input and ideas. Reading up on his history in Wookieepedia, I see that I was kind of right. Apparently he was trained while Sidious was still an apprentice to Plagueis. Plagueis was aware of Maul, but agreed to train him to be “expendable”. You don’t train intelligent people to be expendable, because they will catch on and turn on you. Also, Maul failed to see that Obi-Wan was using the Force to jump up and grab Qui-Gon Jinn’s lightsaber. Do you remember his baffled look as he slowly tried to figure out what Obi-Wan was doing? Not the brightest bulb.
  • Ruthlessness: 10/10. Yes, I give Maul a perfect score on this. This dude is legit crazy. Not only was he trained as a Sith, he was also trained as a Sith Assassin, where horrible torturing techniques were used on him to hone him into a skilled, heartless warrior.darth maul tcw Maul survived his encounter with Obi-Wan Kenobi by living off of his rage (I like to pretend this storyline doesn’t exist but alas, it’s part of canon now) as his “mental equilibrium slowly became undone.” If you watch these TCW episodes, you’ll see how ruthless he really is. When he is brought back to some sort of normalcy (well, “normal” for him) he goes off on a mad hunt for Obi-Wan, killing multiple people in the process in bloody rage. He is cray cray, and that leads to him being a ruthless Sith.
  • Experience: 7/10. When Maul starts out, he doesn’t have much experience other than his training. He almost dies on Naboo (okay, he totally does, grrr), but then goes on to lead his bloody rampage. When we last see Darth Maul, Sidious has kidnapped him and plans to use him for his own purposes once more. Darth Maul built his way up from almost being killed, to gaining more experience battling Jedi, pirates, Nightsisters, and even dabbles in the politics of Mandalore. He definitely does not have the same amount of knowledge as Tyranus does, but given time, he may be near indestructible when his rage is combined with his experience.
  • Lightsaber combat: 7/10. I struggled with this ranking. We only see one fight from Maul so it’s almost unfair to rate him.darth maul fighting However, from this one battle we can see he did manage to kill Qui-Gon, but in the end was bested by Obi-Wan. But to be defeated by Obi-Wan means that your lightsaber combat skills cannot be the best of the best. I only say that because, well, we’ve never actually seen Obi-Wan kill any Sith Lord other than Maul. He failed against Tyranus, Anakin (though that may have been emotional), and couldn’t even really hold his own against Grievous who doesn’t even have the Force. I’m not saying Obi-Wan is easy to fight, I just don’t think he’s the best. Maul does a much better job in lightsaber combat in TCW, so I upped his points, but he still can’t manage to beat Obi-Wan.

Maul total points: 29/40 or a 73% chance of winning in the rink.

And the winner is…drumroll…

darth tyranus

Darth Tyranus! Also known as Count Dooku, this man possesses the right combination of experience, intelligence, and combat skills to defeat one who relies primarily on his rage.

I really enjoyed writing this post and learned a lot in the process about these two Sith. We all know I’m a Jedi girl, but this was just pure fun. Personally, I like Darth Maul better than Dooku and I wish he hadn’t died in TPM. The lightsaber battle is one of my favorites of all time.

Do you guys agree with my little assessment? Think Tyranus would win if he was placed against Maul?

Also, Rebels finally has a release date!