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Home > Star Wars > Ten Things I Like About Windu (Part One)

Ten Things I Like About Windu (Part One)

July 25th, 2006

I haven’t written about Star Wars for a while. That might not be unusual for most people, but most people did not just receive a “George Lucas in Stormtrooper Disguise” action figure in yesterday’s mail.

While mowing the lawn this weekend, I started to put together the following list in my head. It occurred to me that while the prequel trilogy may not inspire the same love I have for the original films, there are certainly characters, creatures and moments that are just as awesome. Here, in movie order, are ten of them:

#1: There’s Always A Bigger Fish

The Star Wars universe is populated by vehicles and creatures of truly tremendous size. During a perilous journey through the watery deep of the planet Naboo, the submarine piloted by Qui-Gon Jinn is snagged by the sticky tongue of the Opee Sea Killer. Rescue comes at the claws of an even larger predator, the Sando Aqua Monster. An awe-inspiring long shot sells the scale of this 700-foot-long leviathan as it snaps the Opee in two.

#2: Start Your Engines

Sound effects provide not only the ambiance of the Star Wars films, but define the character of its mechanical and biological inhabitants. One of my favorites occurs during the Podrace that provides some much-needed action during the slow second act of The Phantom Menace. During the third and final lap of the Boonta Eve Challenge, young Anakin’s tiny pod is overtaken by the huge, orange monster machine piloted by his rival Sebulba. I love the terrible thrum of its engine as it threatens to engulf Anakin.

#3: Two Blades, No Waiting

Sure, every fanboy loves Darth Maul and his twin-bladed lightsaber. What I love about Maul’s battle against two Jedi is the acrobatic, ballet-like choreography of performer Ray Park. His manic, spinning attacks give the impression that limbs are about to go flying, and one can only wonder how Maul has managed to retain his own.

#4: Sinister Celebration

Composer John Williams played some wonderfully subtle tricks with his score for The Phantom Menace, hinting at the darkness to come in subsequent chapters. For example, Anakin’s sweet, melancholy theme incorporates a few notes from the familiar Imperial March. Even better is the happy celebration music honoring the heroes of Naboo and the newly-elected Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. A joyful children’s chorus sings an upbeat, peppy version of the Emperor’s Theme from Return of the Jedi, eerily foreshadowing Palpatine’s rise to power.

#5: The Sound Of Silence

Sometimes it’s not the sounds, but the spaces between them, that make the moment. In Attack of the Clones, Obi-Wan Kenobi tracks bounty hunter Jango Fett to an asteroid belt surrounding the factory world of Geonosis. The wily mercenary notices Kenobi’s pursuing fighter and drops a nasty surprise: a rock-shattering seismic charge. The sound effect is cool enough by itself, but even better is the half-second of absolute silence that precedes it, as if the bomb is sucking all surrounding energy into itself before detonation.

More to come!

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