Rant: The Best and Worst of Star Wars

EW recent ran an article showing its picks for the best and worst of Star Wars. Star Wars Insider ran a similar article with its best moments (of course, being propoganda for the Star Wars empire, the Insider would never run a "worst moments" article). As can be expected, there is much in both articles that I agree and disagree with, and I thought I'd share my take. Like the recent Insider article, I'll avoid the obvious moments like the Star Destroyer attack in Ep. IV (good) and the Anakin/Padme love scenes (bad). But unlike the Insider, I'll avoid any non-movie moments. They just don't count in my book. So without further ado here are my picks for:

The 10 Best Moments in Star Wars History

Episode I: The Phantom Menace

They should have never been brought into this. Kill them immediately.

After this great line by Darth Sideous, the Nemoidians proceed to nuke the Jedi's transport. I love the quote, the explosion, and the audacious cruelty of Sideous.

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Obi-Wan vs. Jango

I struggled to find a great moment in this movie, but I wanted to be all inclusive. I think the Obi-Wan/Jango fight is probably the best this movie gets. It's kind of cool to see a Jedi fighting someone competent who has no Force capabilities, and I really liked seeing Boba Fett in action... even if he wasn't really Boba Fett.

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Order 66

The cynical jerk in me likes this scene because we finally see all these crappy Jedis get their asses handed to them. But it's actually kind of an emotional scene too. And I like how it shows a bunch of different and prominent Jedis in a myriad of different environments.

Episode IV: A New Hope

Get behind me, get behind me!

Han yells as Stormtroopers burn through the door at the detention center. The door blows open, revealing a carnage of blaster fire. Sweet.

Here they come!

The TIE Fighter attack in ANH is not only great because of the action and explosions, but also because it has the greatest music in all the Star Wars movies. And I always wished there was a sit-down arcade game of this scene, ala G-Loc.

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Luke reaches for his lightsaber in the Wampa cave

Luke, hanging from the ceiling of the Wampa cave, realizes his predicament and reaches out for his lightsaber with the Force. The scene is tense with a great build-up and a release of arm-chopping action. However, this moment is only truly great in the pre-Special Edition ESB. The addition of the SE Wampa footage really took away from Luke's important exploration of the Force by concentrating attention on the Wampa.

Never tell me the odds!

Han precariously pilots the Millenium Falcon into an asteroid field to elude the Empire. I spent many a play session mimicking the Falcon's movements as I piloted my B-Wing through the "asteroid field" of my living room.

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Greetings exhalted one!

Our first encounter with Jabba was as he sat in his throne room smoking up and enjoying the entertainment of his minions. Back in the day, Jabba was weird, alien, and cruelly powerful. Other iterations of Jabba in the ANH:SE and TPM kind of watered this down, but the ROTJ Jabba was as cool as aliens get.

Luke Jedi

This was our first glimpse at what a Jedi could really do: take down an entire skiff full of bounty hunters. The scene showcases the cool powers of a Jedi, and it first shows us that a lightsaber can deflect blaster fire. And that blasting Luke's robo-hand really pisses him off.

Intensify forward fire power!

Too late! An A-wing on a suicide run smashes into the Super Star Destroyer, sending it careening into the surface of the Death Star. The scene was actually cut from the Hoth AT-AT battle (a snowspeeder gets hit and spins into the head of an AT-AT, hence, the exploding head you see in ESB), but it works here too.

The 10 Worst Moments in Star Wars History

Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Anakin's Stall

The pod racers are at the starting line... the engines are roaring as the pods inch up, anxious to be let loose... the bell sounds and... NOTHING. Anakin's pod racer stalls, thereby stalling the action and robbing an excellent build-up from living up to its full potential. Despite Jar Jar's antics, this is by far the worst moment in this movie because it essentially destroys the flow of what could have been a great action sequence.

Anakin is Threepio's Father

In TPM, Anakin reveals that he is Threepio's father. Wha..? Not only is this nonsensical, it pretty much flings poo in the faces of Star Wars fans everywhere by forcing weird inter-relationships amoung pretty much everyone in the Star Wars universe. And if you think this is bad, just wait until ROTS...

Anakin's accidental starship battle

Anakin accidentally flies a Naboo starfighter out of the hanger bay. Then he accidentally joins in the space battle above the planet. Finally, he accidentally blows up the droid control ship. Ugh. This scene destroys Anakin's character by making him rely on coincidence and chance instead of the Force.

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Heh heh heh...

Young Boba Fett snickers when he thinks that he and Pappy Fett destroyed Obi-Wan's Jedi Starfighter. Not only was this young Boba Fett a horrible idea (couldn't Jango have been eliminated all together and replaced by a 20-something Boba?), but making him into this moustache-twirling little shmuck was too much.

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Goodbye, Chewbacca.

This continues the "everyone in the Star Wars universe is interrelated" theme from Episode I. "Good relations with the wookiees Yoda has" and apparently he's best-buds with Chewie. These two characters in no logical way have any business interacting: Chewie's from the smuggler's world and Yoda's from the Jedi world. Is the universe so insanely small that everyone's histories cross? Yes it is, as shown in ROTJ...

Padme dies... of a broken heart

Padme's death was pivotal in Anakin becoming Vader. However, Padme dying because of a "broken heart" is cheesy and (as my wife correctly says) sexist. Also, her death so early in the lives of the Jedi twins then makes Leia's later claim that she knew her mother totally inane. Way to stick to continuity.

Episode IV: A New Hope

The celebration out of the cockpit

After blowing up the first Death Star, Luke jumps from his cockpit, hugs Han and Leia, and jumps around with glee. This is the only time in ANH where I cringe. Not only are the actors goofy, but there's absolutely no concern for Artoo, who looks like he's totally blasted to pieces.

Episode V: Empire Strikes Back

Cloud City tour

I love the Cloud City aeiral approach in the Special Edition, but the interior is so drab! Where is the cool "used universe" look that we're used to in Star Wars? Instead, we're subjected to an environment that looks like it's straight from Logan's Run. Yawn.

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Luke reveals he's Leia's brother

What a weird moment in ROTJ. Luke reveals to Leia that he's her brother, and we have to sit through the awkward and cheesy acting that follows. Not only that, but the fact that they are siblings means that Luke not only had romantic feelings for his sister in ANH, but also that he smooched his sister twice. And he LIKED it. Weird. Making Leia and Luke siblings was not a very well-thought out idea.

And I saved the worst for last, which comes from:

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Yoda Jumping Jedi Frog

I'm not ranking these per se, but for me this is the absolute worst atrocity of all 6 movies and deserves to be singled out. Yoda decides to fight Count Dooku with a lightsaber and it turns out that despite his age, Yoda is more nimble than any Jedi alive. The fighting style is goofy with Yoda hopping like a frog on speed, while he screams in his Miss Piggy voice. Hoo boy. I had previously supposed that Yoda was above the need for a lightsaber because he was so powerful with the Force that he had different methods of fighting. But alas, that would be cool, and we certainly don't want anything like that in AOTC.

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