Fan Art Friday! My pencils need to be sharpened…

It’s the first Friday of the month and here we are with another Fan Art Friday…a wonderful time where Mei-Mei and I color the same picture – with completely different results.

I chose this month’s picture of Salacious B. Crumb because I love the character.  When I was younger, I found him to be so annoying that I could barely stand the sound of his laugh when I watched ROTJ.   As I transitioned into the “adult” working world, I began to see similarities between Salacious Crumb and those people who suck up to the higher ranks in the company just to be sure of their place.

In my first job out of college, there was a very slimy, sneaky man who I couldn’t stand who had the fakest smile and fakest voice.  He would come up to my desk and ask me to do something for him and when I told him I had no time, he would just stand there smiling…until it got super awkward and I would either a) cave and say okay, or b) he would walk away.  I soon learned that option b wasn’t too great because it would get me in trouble with my boss.  Whenever he was around the EVP or CEO though, he would be all laughs.  It was disgusting. You could hear the laugh so clearly from my desk and it would grate on me, like nails down a chalkboard.  I try not to hate anyone, but this guy came close to trying my patience (there are other reasons, but I won’t get into it here).   So I began to look at him as Salacious Crumb (he was short too!) and it helped me get through the day a bit better.

When I moved on from that company, I realized there are Salacious B. Crumb’s in every office.  There are always those that want to laugh at you on their way up and sit in the lap of the Jabba the Hutt’s laughing at their silly jokes.  But who knows, maybe if you wait long enough, they’ll get blown up in a sail barge and you won’t have to think about them anymore. 🙂

Salacious Crumb Star Wars coloring book

 

I realized as I was coloring this picture that I’ve become immune to a lot of parts of Star Wars, which makes me excited to watch it with ARM and future children.  For instance, Salacious Crumb is ugly.  Maybe I realized that during one of the first few times I watched Star Wars, but whoa, he’s not good looking at all.

Other than Salacious Crumb, the colors I chose for this were the colors that still had sharp points as pencils.  HAHA!  Hence my title…I need to go through and sharpen all the colored pencils again but I am so busy that I haven’t found the time.  Funnily, I think the way it came out was really interesting with the colors!  Maybe I need to stop taking myself so seriously when I do these coloring books. This one is much more lazy and haphazard than my others, but I think it’s really fun.  The only thing that’s funky is the picture I took makes his fur look red…whereas IRL I swear it’s a burnt brown color almost.

Next month we are doing Wicket!  Don’t forget to also check out Mei-Mei’s rendition of Crumb.

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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!

Five Best Feel Good Moments in Star Wars

Yes, I totally stole this from Insider again but I do love these sections they have where they ask someone to list five … somethings from Star Wars.  I did one two years ago with my favorite five visual moments and one in September with my five favorite aliens.

For this Insider (actually two Insiders ago now), they asked Dan Madsen for his favorite five feel-good moments.  He is Star Wars Insider’s founding editor and now publicist for Her Universe.

Here are what I think are the five best feel good moments in the Star Wars saga, listed with number one as my favorite.

 

5. Leia and Han Work it All Out

Leia and Han have accomplished their mission on Endor and look up into the sky to see the Death Star blow up.  Han expresses his concern for Luke but Leia knows he’s safe.  And Han, ever the gallant gentleman, finally concedes defeat in what he thinks is a love triangle and says he won’t get in the way when Luke returns.

Leia’s confused face then gets transferred to Han as she tells him that Luke is her brother.  Han works it all out, has a big smile and kisses her more sincerely.  Ah, l’amour.  Wicket jumps up like a priest officiating a ceremony and even Han doesn’t seem too annoyed at the Ewok.

It’s a small scene but one that warms my heart.

leia han endor

 

4. Han Solo Comes to the Rescue

Han Solo comes to the rescue quite a few times in Star Wars but the moment at the end of ANH definitely takes the cake.  I still get a fuzzy, happy feeling whenever you see him fly down to hit the TIE fighters with that bolt that sends Vader spinning off into space. you're all clear kid

“You’re all clear, kid.  Now, let’s blow this thing and go home!”

Luke then uses the Force and sends the proton torpedoes straight into the exhaust port.  As the Death Star blows up and the ships race away, it was all because Han Solo decided the Rebellion meant more to him than money.

But there’s something about that line that makes me want to whoop for joy and you feel this surge of hope.  The underdog comes out ahead and there really is nothing more feel-good than that.  (Kind of like when the Patriots won their first Superbowl with Tom Brady and no one thought they would.   Yes, I had to go there.)

 

3. Vader Burns/Ewok Celebration

It’s hard to define Vader’s burning as a “feel good” moment, but for many years it was one for me.  There was a definitive end and peaceful feeling about everything.  Luke knew about his family history, had been faced with the dark side and overcame it, had redeemed his father, and the Emperor was killed.  The burning was symbolic of his past, letting go, and moving forward.

The beautiful transition (with the Force theme) from the funeral pyre to the night sky/fireworks and the Ewoks celebrating gave you this moment of all is right in the world.

As a child, I loved the ending of ROTJ.  It wasn’t until many years later when people complained that it was simplistic and had been wrapped too nicely with a bow on top, that I began to see it differently.

My fear now is that my children will never understand the feel good moments of that ending because they will always know that there is more to the story.  In a way, with Disney taking over, we’ve lost the simplicity of Star Wars that was so clear in ROTJ: it all worked out, everything was okay, and good prevailed.

I cherish the ending though because it reminds me of my childhood when things were more black and white.

 

2. “Chewie, We’re Home.” – TFA Trailer

This instance is too personal for me not to put it in.  I saw this at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim last year.  We had been waiting in line since han chewie TFA6:00am for this panel that included JJ Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, and members of the old cast and new.  Everyone was hoping and praying that they would release a new trailer during this panel for TFA and they did not disappoint.

When the lights darkened and our lightsabers lit up the room, the feeling of intense emotion was inescapable.  We all held our breaths, I think, for the entire trailer and that last moment when Han and Chewie board the Falcon and he goes, “Chewie, we’re home,”…there was an explosion throughout that room at the Anaheim Convention Center.

I was swept up in the passion that you can only get when surrounded by thousands of other Star Wars fans who love and adore the series as much as you do.  When Abrams asked if we wanted to see the trailer again, it was met with a deafening, affirmative roar.

The moment in the movie is good, but it will never replace that moment in the teaser trailer and the feel-good memories I take away from it.

 

1. Yoda Lifts the X-Wing from the Swamp

There’s something about this scene that seems to define Star Wars.

Yoda is so diminutive and up until this point, he had trained Luke and had a lot of knowledge of the Force, but did he actually use the Force?

So I can totally understand when Luke gets frustrated and walks away saying, “You want the impossible.”  What he should have said is, “Oh really Yoda?  If you’re that awesome, why don’t you do it yourself?!”  Because that’s how I would be feeling if my only mode of transportation sunk into the grimy lakes of Dagobah, never to be seen again.  Luke then walks away in frustration, which is quite mature.  I might have “by mistake” kicked the little Jedi Master as I walked by.

Then you see Yoda take a deep breath and concentrate, outstretch his arm, Artoo freaks out, and the crescendo music as he lifts Luke’s x-wing out of the swamp is a moment so magical and makes you feel so good.

It sums up the Star Wars experience for me.  You get it in that moment.

The impossible can be possible.

Judge me by my size, do you?

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

Do.  Or do not.  There is no try.

 

What was most interesting to me is that none of these moments include the Prequels.  I did try hard to think of one from the Prequels, but they are definitely more somber than the Original Trilogy.  The only thing that kind of came close was Anakin winning the Boonta Eve Podrace.  But…with that, I knew it was going to happen, so the feel good moment lost some of its edge when you can predict the outcome.

 

Can you guys think of any PT moments that could make it on this list?  Or is there anything I forgot on this list out of all seven movies?

 

Sorry, I Can’t Relate – I’m a Younger Star Wars Fan

Ever since The Clone Wars came out, I’ve considered myself an “in the middle” Star Wars fan.  I’m not one of the original Star Wars fans who got to see the Original Trilogy in the theaters, nor am I the youngest who have fallen in love with Star Wars through the TV shows and, now, the release of new movies.  I’m smack in the middle…one of the younger fans who grew up on the Prequels.  Maybe we’re not so young now, but I always feel young when I talk to the fans who were there when it all began.

As such, when I do happen to talk to the Star Wars fans who have known a world without Star Wars, I find that there are some things I just can’t understand in terms of experiences and annoyances.

I compiled this list in my head during the past week of feelings I can’t relate to as a Star Wars fan born post-Original Trilogy.

Midi-chlorians

For some reason, this is one of the strongest differences I find between myself and older fans.  I’ve read articles and talked to people who were absolutely heartbroken that Lucas “scientized” the Force.

qui gon jinn and anakinMy understanding is that when you watched ANH, it gave the impression that the Force was so mystical and anyone could use if they had the proper training.  It spoke to fans because they realized that they could have this power.  By the end of ROTJ, fans realized it could be genetic but it was still something completely supernatural.  It couldn’t be explained why someone had the Force and someone didn’t or if it always gets passed down through generations.

When TPM came out and introduced midi-chlorians as the reason for the Force, a lot of older fans were outraged.  They were, and still are, upset that the Force became something you could track and measure by taking a blood sample.

I’ve never been able to relate to this.  I was 12 when TPM came out and even though I had seen the OT beforehand, I never thought much about the Force.  It was just there.  Luke had it.  Vader had it.  It was implied Leia might have it.  So when Qui-Gon starts telling Anakin about midi-chlorians, I thought, “Ah, okay, that makes sense,” and it became part of my Star Wars knowledge almost instantaneously.  I accepted it and moved on.  When people get upset about it, I almost can’t remember a time before midi-chlorians so it doesn’t get me worked up.

Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s Father

Alas, I wish I could relate to the shock everyone felt when that was revealed.  But I can’t . I knew Vader was Luke’s father before I watched the movies for the first time.  Even if I was never directly told, it’s such a part of our pop culture that the misquoted, “Luke, I am your father,” is almost I am your father vaderomnipresent.

This is one of those things where I really wish I could have had that older fan experience.  I wish I could be in the theater watching it for the first time and think, “Wait, what?  Did I hear that right?  What did he say?”

But nope.  It’ll never happen like that because I was born post-1980.

Jar Jar Binks

Jar Jar binksThis may come as a surprise, but I don’t hate Jar Jar.  Like the midi-chlorians, since TPM came out when I was 12, Jar Jar became accepted into my Star Wars love with no issues.  It wasn’t until I was older and rewatch the movies that I think he’s annoying.  Yet in 1999, he was just a different alien that, in the end, helped the Jedi and Amidala obtain victory over the Trade Federation.

Even now, I can’t relate to the extreme hatred older fans have for this character.  The cruelness at which fans crucify this character and George Lucas for creating him is baffling to me.  I’ve read that people think he’s a Jamaican stereotype and cruelly berate Lucas in articles for it.  Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not, but I don’t get it and I can’t relate to it.

The Feeling That Star Wars is Done Forever

I kind of felt like Star Wars as I knew it was over in 2005 after ROTS was released.  I didn’t know where my love for Star Wars would take me.  But even as it ended, there were rumors of an animated Star Wars TV show being released (keep in mind the original TCW, was an animated microseries,star wars comic 1985 ended in 2005 as well).  By 2008, we had a completely new Star Wars to watch, albeit a very different format, but enough to keep the spark there.

I don’t know what it feels like to feel like there is NOTHING.  Sure, Star Wars continued in the form of board games, comics, and some old school video games after ROTJ, but no one thought there would be new movies, TV shows, etc.  The Thrawn Trilogy wasn’t published until the early 1990s so there was a good 8-10 years where all fans had were comics and games.

Props to the older Star Wars fans.  I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be in a Jakku-like planet with absolutely no knowledge that there would ever be more Star Wars movies.

Practical Sets/Effects vs. CGI

This has become a huge debate in the past few years since Abrams was brought on board for TFA.  Any time he or Kathleen Kennedy was interviewed, they stressed about bringing back real sets, real costumes, real locations for the new Star Wars trilogy.  It’s clear that what they were saying is practical = Original Trilogy = what most fans love and CGI = Prequel Trilogy = what most fans dislike.

coruscantI disagree.   The PT is a large part of my life and I don’t think CGI is bad.  What I could possibly concede on is that a) too much CGI was used, and b) the scripts were not well done in the PT.  If you don’t have a good script or storyline, then the CGI is going to be more noticeable.

I loved seeing the planet of Coruscant, the ships in space, and all the interesting planets we got to see because of Lucas’ work with CGI.  One of my favorite scenes is when Artoo fixes the hyperdrive on Queen Amidala’s ship.  Can you imagine how crude that would look without CGI?  I also loved Utapau and the scenes with Obi-Wan riding the Varactyl.  That would not have been possible without CGI.

So I can’t understand where this aversion of CGI comes from.  It also baffles me that KK and Abrams went to such lengths to talk up their practical sets when the movie has a lot of CGI in it.  I’ve said this before, but if you are going to go in one direction or the other, go all the way.  I thought Snoke was one of the most out-of-place characters/moments/scenes in TFA and I know it was due to the CGI.  He might not have looked so out of place in the PT because our minds were used to the special effects.

 

If you’re an older fan, do you disagree with some of what I said?  If you’re a younger fan than me, is there something that perhaps you can’t relate to that I’ve written about?  If you are close to my age, do you agree with what I’ve written?

Backed Up Update on Kylo Ren

I have been knocked out.  Seriously.  I got the flu over a week ago and haven’t been able to recover.  I haven’t been that sick in a long time.  Even now, I’m still coughing quite a bit.

 

My post on Kylo Ren got quite a bit of traction two weeks ago.  It sparked an interesting discussion in the comments and I’ve learned that some people really, really don’t like him.

I also learned that in the novelization of The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren and Snoke are aware that Vader turned to the dark side at the end of ROTJ.  I assumed they didn’t, or at least Kylo Ren didn’t, because I couldn’t imagine why Kylo would be so obsessed with Vader if he knows he ended up on the light side of the Force.

So – I posed the question to Pablo Hidalgo on twitter to confirm that a) this is canon and b) how he accepts that in his mind.

kylo ren pablo hidalgo twitter

(If you don’t know who Pablo Hidalgo is, he basically knows anything and everything Star Wars and was hired by Lucasfilm to keep them in check.  He also helps with making sure everything goes into one reliable story line moving forward, officially part of the Lucasfilm Storygroup.)

Hidalgo is suggesting that the way Kylo Ren and Snoke rationalize Vader’s turn is that they almost split Vader into two personalities.  We have Anakin (light side) and Vader (dark side).  Almost a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde conundrum.  When Vader turned to the light side, he was betrayed by Anakin.  “Or something.” Lol.  He’s saying that Kylo is hoping he won’t be betrayed by Ben. kylo ren

Unless you were born to the dark side, which I’m not sure how that could happen, being on the dark side sounds awful stressful.  It sounds like you’re always watching your back on yourself.  Especially someone like Kylo/Ben.  I feel like he might have major issues keeping Ben “in check” with his conflicted nature.

Secondly, during the time I was sick, the latest Star Wars Insider arrived and there was a whole section devoted to Kylo Ren and what different authors thought of him.

Paul S. Kemp is the author of Lords of the Sith, and he wrote a little excerpt on why he liked Kylo Ren.  I thought I would transcribe it here because maybe it’ll help with some of the comments where people thought he was a whiny teenager, as opposed to a 30 year old:

…We don’t know all of Kylo’s backstory but he appears in some ways to have been a failure, as both an aspiring Jedi and perhaps also as a son.  That sense of failure and the insecurity it creates festered, and to overcome both he turned to Vader who – to Kylo – embodied strength, confidence, power, and maybe even served as a kind of proxy father figure since Han, obviously, did not.  That’s all relatable, right?  We can understand that.  Of course, emulating Vader doesn’t actually fill his emotional holes, so he piles frustration and rage onto his insecurity and boom, we’ve got this emotionally rich character who vacillates between a rage-filled teenager and a frightening Sith Lord.  He’s a character on the edge – or bridge, if you prefer – and we’re watching his formative years.

I think this helped my view a little bit on why Kylo Ren was so temperamental, especially as a late 20s/early 30s year old.

There you go…an update I meant to post at least a week and a half ago.  Ah well.

Have a great weekend and hope you don’t get the flu!