Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Star Wars Revisited

(In case you’ve never seen any of the Star Wars films, WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!)

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Most of us grew up watching Star Wars from episode 4 to 6 (those are the ones with Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and a muppet Yoda) before watching episodes 1 to 3 (the ones with Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and a digital Yoda).

So when I found out that DocMike had not seen any of the Star Wars films, I decided to make a little experiment. I lent him the DVDs of all six Star Wars films but I asked him to watch them in order (from episodes 1-6) instead of watching them the way most of us did. You see, my nephew Migo, who’s a very sharp nerd, once commented that he found it weird that the older the Galactic Empire became, the more technologically-backward looking their ships became (meaning, the ships of episodes 1-3 looked technologically spiffier than the ships of episodes 4-6). But he too saw episodes 4-6 before 1-3; he just realized the production design “discrepancy” on hindsight. (Another discrepancy he noted was how physically more adept the Jedis were at lightsaber duels in episodes 1-3, but got a lot slower in episodes 4-6.)

So I wanted to find out what the over-all effect will be if someone went on a Star Wars movie marathon in proper sequential order.

After watching all six, DocMike’s assessment was this: he liked episodes 1-3 more because 4-6 moved a lot slower and had a much simpler plot (Will Darth Vader get Luke Skywalker and turn him to the Dark Side of the Force?) driving the three movies. But what bowled me over was the more interesting observation DocMike had: if one watches 1-3 first, then the surprise twists and revelations of episodes 4-6 are rendered useless and unsurprising.

Toink! D’uh.

I remember how shocked we were in the movie house when, in episode 5, Darth Vader held out his hand to a defeated, one-hand-less Luke Skywalker and declared, “I am your father!” So if one watches the whole saga from the beginning, that surprise revelation is spoiled (also with the revelation that Leia is Luke’s sister).

So, memo to me: to maximize the enjoyment of the Star Wars saga for future generations, it’s best to preserve the effects of the narrative devices of episodes 4-6 by showing them first before episodes 1-3. After all, the latter was made as a grand flashback to support and further enhance the experience of watching 4-6. Also, what makes watching 1-3 fun is in the referencing of certain characters from 4-6; for example, Bobba Fett’s story becomes more interesting when one sees his origin in a flashback.

Yeah, the return of the movie nerd in me strikes back.

6 comments:

Rygel said...

but episodes 1-3 suck

MkSurf8 said...

star ware geek ka din pala. i have a complete set too

joelmcvie said...

@RYGEL: Yeah well, that goes without saying. =)

@MKSURF8: Oh I am a Star Wars fan! But I never liked the Ewoks.

Lito said...

mcvie - i also recall lucas saying that the aftermath of the clone wars made the jedi world smaller. everything broke down, technology and skill. which explains the "backwardness" of episodes 4 to 6.

caloy said...

i never really liked star wars..haha! pero maganda naman siya..no doubt about that..badtrip lang talaga kasi paurong siya..whaha! :D nice nice.

the spy in the sandwich said...

but 4-6, 1-3 is really the proper order. it follows the old greek play formula of media res.