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Messages - Muftak

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1
The Force Awakens / Re: Recents Finds and/or Purchases
« on: May 7, 2016, 12:06 AM »
Got Unkar Plutt today. Did I leave the film with an inaccurate impression of his size or is this figure way too small??

He stands on a platform in his booth to give the impression of height. Like Louie DePalma in Taxi. Simon Pegg is 5' 10".

Here's Unkar next to Rey and JJ at Maz's castle with no platform:



So the figure is correct height-wise. I just wish the sculpt of the face was movie-accurate, as opposed to based on the costume (see above) that got heavily CG'ed.

EDIT: The more I look at that picture, is it JJ Abrams or Louis Tully from Ghostbusters?

2
I'll continue to play along in devil's advocate role. To be perfectly clear though, I am not arguing with you at all, Nicklab. Having fun geeking out over Star Wars trivia and analyzing these movies we like enough to be talking about 40 years after the fact. I appreciate the conversation!

The way you've analyzed this is very much from a standpoint of hindsight.  But put yourself in that theater seeing the film for the first time.  Because the scene plays out quite differently when you look at it from the standpoint of a fresh viewer who doesn't know that Obi-Wan has been studying the Force, and how to maintain his identity.

Except for the fact that it is Ben's disembodied voice that Luke reacts to when giving up his "revenge shooting" of the Stormtroopers (and I assume, attempting to hit Vader.) Once the viewer hears Ben's ghost voice, they know Ben isn't "dead." When he comes back during the Trench Run, it's nowhere near as powerful as when Han Solo does. Because we already know he's there, he even told us he would be just before he disappeared: "If you strike me down I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine." So I don't think its hindsight helped along by the shoe-horned explanation from ROTS. To me even at four years old when I first saw it, there was never that thought that Ben had been killed by Vader.

As for the duel?  Ben is having a hard time holding his own.  Both he and Vader are not in top dueling form, and Ben has largely been on the defensive while Vader has been the aggressor.  The only indication we have that the duel is taking a toll on Vader is that his rate of breathing has increased.  Then he sees Luke and the others trying to escape.  He knows that giving himself up and the distraction that may cause Vader might be the only way to ensure that Luke and Leia can escape.

Agree on all points here. He is losing the duel in that he never has the advantage (no high ground on the Death Star...) He turns the duel into a distraction to get the kids out of the Death Star.

I do think there's the potential to make it a heroic sacrifice, Ben redoubling his efforts to actually finish Vader while knowing full well he may be struck down in the bargain, as opposed to how it plays out now (which is essentially Ben pulling out a large pair of spectacles and saying "Look Darth, bet you wouldn't hit a guy with glasses, wouldja?")

When Vader strikes Ben down?  To the audience it comes across as a cold-blooded murder.  Ben stands there defenseless, having given himself up.  It makes Vader seem that much more sinister to the audience to have killed an opponent who has effectively surrendered.  While there's clearly more to the story, we're talking about audience perception in the moment.  We don't know until much later that Vader played into Obi-Wan's hands, and that Obi-Wan had been preparing himself for a moment like that for nearly 20 years.

Again, this is not done to the effect they wanted. First off, Vader's first on screen action is the brutal strangulation murder of a prisoner who is absolutely no threat to him. Vader is established right away as the most sinister, remorseless, unscrupulous villain we might ever meet. That's why we **** a brick when Ben turns the corner to the hangar and sees Vader looming there. We know the guy is going to pull no punches, he's been yammering to Tarkin for the last half hour how much he wants to kill Kenobi. And by God we know he's got it in him to do it.

If they wanted Vader to come across more threatening because of Ben's sacrifice, then instead of him poking around to see where Ben Kenobi went, he should have crossed his arms and sneered something like "Foolish old man!" or something to that effect. His reaction to the duel's end is that he has been tricked. He does not appear satisfied, and I think that actually lessens his villainy.

3
I think it's a cool bit of trivia.  And frankly, had things happened as they were originally written, would we really consider Darth Vader to be anywhere near as threatening of a villain had he just let Obi-Wan escape?  Clearly this was an instance where the re-write improved the story dramatically.

I'd play devil's advocate and really sink my teeth into the scene, here...because I think it could have used another rewrite if the point was to add menace to Darth Vader and the whole Death Star encounter as Lucas explained it.

Vader doesn't win the duel. Ben stands there in a non-defensive position while Vader swings his lightsaber to cut him down. But, before he connects, Ben Kenobi "disappears." Then we hear Ben's disembodied voice instructing Luke to run 2 seconds later. It is clear to the audience Ben didn't die in the commonly understood sense.

The last we see of Vader during the escape he is stomping on Ben's empty clothes cluelessly. He clearly has no idea what is going on, and certainly doesn't feel victorious. He looks like a chump.

Ben sacrifices his corporeal body in a tactic to keep Vader and the stormtroopers occupied while the kids escape. More weight could have been given to his death had it been written so he was trying to win the duel and had been overwhelmed by the stormtroopers joining the fight. But that's not what happened. He pulled a Jedi magic trick that never even looked like he got cut down (except to Luke, who grieves for him on the Falcon for a couple seconds before the TIE battle.)

It is a better story point than Ben making it back to the Falcon as if he had just been toying with Vader. It does take care of his uselessness for the rest of the movie (and led to the introduction of Yoda in ESB, which was a great character and great concept in and of itself.) But I can't honestly say I ever felt Vader won the duel.

4
Obi-Wan not dying in original versions of the Star Wars script is not new news.

I recall at least reading it here http://www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-The-Annotated-Screenplays/dp/0345409817 nearly 20 years ago...and something tells me it wasn't new information even then.

Funny to read the replying tweets to Mayhew's "shocking" revelation though.

Boy am I a bitter old man.

5
This is really, really great stuff.

A collection of themed action figures, and a "playset" that is really just a display for those specific figures?!

It's like they actually took the time to figure out what modern toy collectors really wanted and gave it to them. I hope they make some money off the effort.

I had no interest in this line at all, though I love the books and the show, but now I find myself wanting to collect them just to be able to support the idea.

Only thing missing is a "stream of urine" accessory to snap onto Tyrion so he can complete his mission to the Wall.  :D

6
Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Indiana Jones 5
« on: March 19, 2016, 11:36 AM »
I think that movie and the other Indy movies are a product of their times, along with the nostalgia that Lucas and Spielberg had for saturday matinee serials and the 1930's.  But does that 1980's meets 1930's sensibility work in the 21st century?  Obviously something was not working when KotCS came out.  Was it the story?  Or is this a type of film whose time has passed?

This.

I think KotCS was ill-received because it followed the Indy formula Nicklab points out, but you have to bump it up the 20 intervening years. There is no denying KotCS is intended to be a cheezy 50's sci-fi movie (as opposed to cheezy 30's adventure serial) updated to the standard of moviemaking in the 200X's (as opposed to the 80's.) I think everyone was expecting more 30's serial stuff. I respect the update for what it was, but then I was never a huge Indy fan, and my favorite is still Temple of Doom.

And following the formula, Indy 5 will be a 201X version of a cheezy late 60s/early 70s movie. If they go back to the 30's serial vibe, then they will be acknowledging the failure of KotCS and cashing in on the nostalgia.

Either way they have my interest.

7
 :D

"You still say 'Hello."

8
Han I love, but I'd take Han in any outfit from any film in the SA line.  Speaking of, was his coat blue in the movie?  I can't recall.  If it was, cool nod to the vinty figure.

There is a theory that his coat changes color from blue to brown intentionally during the movie, but I can't confirm that because my eyes are terrible for gauging that kind of thing. (Where's Scott? He's the one who started all this...)

When they are getting ready to leave the Starkiller Shield Generator and go to the Capacitor, Chewie hands Han his coat, and Han definitely does a double-take when he sees it.

9
The Sequel Trilogy / Re: Star Wars Episode VIII (SPOILERS possible)
« on: February 26, 2016, 11:54 AM »
If Luke and Leia have a scene together, the music I feel would be appropriate would would be the Luke and Leia theme from Return of the Jedi.

Unless they wind up for some reason having to swing on a rope across some kind of chasm or between two vehicles. Then we just need the straight-up version of the Main Theme.

10
Watto's Junk Yard / Re: The Walking Dead
« on: February 24, 2016, 08:45 AM »
You could always check your local library for the big compendiums or the TPBs. I read way up into the 100's of issues without ever buying a thing. probably behind by a couple dozen issues by now...it might be time for me to check those out again as well.

Many modern libraries have extensive "graphic novel" sections in the adult fiction section. Its all comics to me!

11
The Force Awakens / Re: TFA Takodana Battle Pack
« on: February 12, 2016, 08:08 AM »
This set actually reminds me a bit of the Resurgence of the Jedi battle pack from the TSC line.  We only got one really new figure in that set with the Luke.  Obi-Wan, R2 and C-3PO were all reissue figures, but damn did people go ga-ga over that Luke?  And coincidentally, that set also featured the chest that had the lightsaber, and the table from Ben's hut.

I bought that set for Artoo more than Luke...I don't think we'd gotten a "vanilla" Artoo based on the ROTS sneak-preview Astromech mold up until that point. They had just kept rehashing the chromedomed VOTC Artoo. That was what put the Resurgence pack over the top for me.

Maz looks really good, and I haven't bought any of the other figures yet so the value is definitely there for me with the Takodana pack. I didn't trust the Force Friday releases because of traditionally bad paint on early "new line" stuff. Heard the BB-8 in the three pack is of lesser quality. Haven't seen much but oddball characters on the pegs since November (though it's not like I hunt anymore...)

So all that adds up to a bit of interest in this pack, even if it would be mostly for my son to play with. If they are trying to get some of us old collectors off the fence, this sort of thing is a step in the right direction for us.

12
Jocasta's Reading Room / Re: The Force Awakens - Novel
« on: February 6, 2016, 08:04 PM »
Finished this up recently.

The book was very verbose, especially for something under 300 pages. Lots of descriptive text except where you'd really want it--like the X-Wing assault or the Duel in the Forest. I've always liked Foster's writing, but this go around seemed...off.

That said, there were some interesting additions to the story. Unkar Plutt and Rey have much more interaction than in the film. He seems like a creeper with an eye on Rey that reminded me of Jabba and Leia. After implying his intentions during the Jakku scenes, he and his goons follow our heroes (via the same tracker that Han used to find the Falcon which is, apparently, the same one Tarkin and Vader installed when it was aboard the ol' Death Star) to Maz's castle, where they try to nab Rey...

...but Chewie follows them in to rescue Rey, and rips Unkar Plutt's arm off in the process. This all happens between Finn leaving and Rey being called down to the vaults. Pretty neat addition, I thought.

By contrast, the scene of Poe getting off Jakku was pretty forgettable. The humor just doesn't play in the novel, and Poe spends the whole time joking, so it all falls flat.

We get more Resistance with Leia sending her envoy to the Republic capital to ask for more help...and it is through her that we witness the Starkiller's killer shot. Threepio is responsible for finding BB-8 and he reveals that he forgot to activate a tracker built into the droid. Instead he consults with the powered-dpwn Artoo and devises a plan to send out a galaxy-wide droid "Amber Alert" which explains why it is a droid at Maz's Castle that reports back to the Resistance when BB-8 shows up.

Snoke and Ren's relationship gets a bit of fleshing out as well. Snoke spells out the need for Ren to cut ties with Solo (pun intended) because it was Vader's emotional attachment that led to the Empire's defeat. Leia talks to Han about Snoke at depth, saying he had been watching their son for a while in his youth. To me this implies a relationship between Luke and Snoke before the rise of the First Order.

Ren's interrogation of Rey leads to his discovery of a mental block in her brain denying him access. Working against that is what allows her into his mind to discover his Vader obsession.

The infamous cut scene where Ren takes snowtroopers to the Falcon underwhelms in the book. I was expecting some reflection/introspection on Ren's part, but he just looks for people aboard and then gets distracted by the start of the X-Wing assault.

Ren expects the power of the Dark Side to increase in him when he deals with Solo, but he immediately feels weaker.

When Ren and Rey both summon Anakin's lightsaber and it goes to her, he exclaims "It is you!" but does not elaborate further. After Rey bests him, she resists the impulse to kill him, and recognizes that she is being called by the dark side.

Rey (and therefore us as well) witnesses Hux's shuttle landing and taking Ren away before Starkiller becomes a sun, which at least clears up the ambiguity of the movie. In his orders to Hux, Snoke agrees that Ren was "right about the girl." Again we don't get any elaboration on what that means exactly.

Rey finally meets Poe while randomly hugging him after the map is assembled.

Chewbacca insists that Rey sit in the Captain's chair on the Falcon when they ship out to get Luke. We don't get any kind of insight once we get there.

Like I said, the book is kind of a slog for how short it is, and IMO misses the beats of the action sequences and the crucial scene between Ren and Han. And the humor continually falls flat.

13
LEGO / Re: LEGO 2016 (possible TFA & Rogue One spoilers)
« on: February 1, 2016, 07:33 PM »
It's the latest "LEGO Star Wars made for TV" thing (like Yoda Chronicles or Droid Tales) - The Freemaker Series

Neat thanks!

My son loved the Yoda Chronicles and (especially) Droid Tales. They were fun to watch together for sure. He's gonna be pumped for this.

14
LEGO / Re: LEGO 2016 (possible TFA & Rogue One spoilers)
« on: February 1, 2016, 04:14 PM »
I'm more interested in the "TV Series" that is slated for August. I don't think it's referring to Rebels since that is referenced elsewhere.

Boba in Rogue One? I don't see why not. A fleet of Firespray-class ships? That would be cool too. A placeholder until they can show us what's really slated for fall? Most likely. Isn't a new Slave I lego set coming out in spring already?

15
The Sequel Trilogy / Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (SPOILERS)
« on: December 26, 2015, 01:11 AM »
Really liked the movie. Conflicting because as much as I grew up with the OT I came of age with the EU stuff. These new movies may be more like the pretend stories to me than the books were, at least until I see how this is all meant to come together (which is the one advantage this series could have over the abandoned EU--it may yet congeal into something cohesive in a way the patchwork process of the books never could.)

Enjoyed the humor so much...Threepio's intro as a great example. "You may not recognize me..." it's been so long moviegoing-wise since something he said was genuinely funny from his naiveté and self-involvement and not forced. My favorite moment in the whole movie was probably Finn's desperate thirst driving him over to that dog bowl, and only quitting because the dog chased him off!

Enjoyed the general theme that what we believe about ourselves is what we become. Finn's arc epitomized it--he began as a stormtrooper, lies about being in the resistance as a means to escape, and in the end becomes a resistance fighter so thoroughly he is willing to give his life for the cause. Han and Leia too, you have to figure at some point they were happy together in parental roles, but after the Jedi training tragedy they both reverted to their earlier roles of smuggler and freedom fighter rather than deal with their loss as parents. Luke too, he gives up on the obvious growth of becoming a Master to a new generation to settling for life as the last of the Jedi. And Kylo Ren...the catalyst of everyone else's arc...struggling to believe he can be a fully-realized Vader (Not even Vader was strong enough to "pause" a laserblast!) to the point that he will kill his father to prove the completeness of his fall, even though he hasn't actually made that fall completely yet. It all harkens back to my favorite prequel quote: "Your focus determines your reality." That's the real message of Star Wars, it seems to me.

When I try to plug Rey into the themes, we just don't have enough pieces of her story yet to see what exactly is going on. She resists the lightsaber's call, insists she needs to return to Jakku to find her family, and in the end is the only one who goes to Luke...for training as a Jedi, one must infer. What are the implications of that from a storytelling point of view? I mean, it says something that Leia didn't go to recruit him into helping the Resistance, but Rey went.  Always been more of a Luke fan than a Han fan, so I am very interested in what lies ahead.

Every moment with Chewbacca rang true to the character as we knew him. On the flip side, while I take issue with Luke turning his back on everyone, I can not accept that Artoo just shut off for 20 years. Even if Luke had some grand plan he was in on, Artoo would've been the first one to stop him from such a selfish move. Artoo was always the biggest hero and risk taker of the gang, him sitting in the corner on pause just doesn't ring true.

I liked that it was a Han Solo movie more than anything else as far as tying into the OT. Han dubbing Finn "Big Deal" was great and felt right. Han and Rey--again, we'll be able to look at that better as her mysterious origins are explored. I can see her being his daughter, his son's cousin (if she is Luke's daughter...since I never heard marriage mentioned, I am assuming the galaxy just isn't civil enough to have time for wedding ceremonies anymore) or some random stranger who impressed him with her raw talent and was offered a spot on the crew the same way Luke was in the original. And honestly, I have no preference at this point. I am happy with how it all played out, even if Han's death genuinely tore out my heart.

My wife really liked the movie but couldn't get past the fact that a stormtrooper's lifetime indoctrination ought to make Finn's immediate revulsion at his first deployment not believable. I like the idea that if he is force sensitive then that is what could have enabled this in him (and now that I've mentioned it to her so does she.)

And it blew my 6-year old son away, too. He was at turns laughing, excited, scared, and sad in the end. I was 6 when I saw ESB in the theater, and I could tell he left feeling exactly the same way I did back then. He had to know what happens next! Can't give it a more positive endorsement than that!

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