I have tickets for the 7:00 PM show today (So it IS First Day First Show for the third time in a row). Return of The Sith releases only in Sathyam, Madras on May 20th ( simultaneous release with movie halls in the US). Sathyam Cinemas, according to me, has become the pioneer as far as Indian movie halls are concerned. According to today's "The Hindu" - It is the only theatre in India that is screening Return of the Sith in Digital Format. According to my "friends" in Texas Instruments, Dallas, Kiran Reddy of Sathyam Cinemas, visited Dallas to purchase TI's new Digital Projectors. This means the film won't come in a box ( or is it a can?) but it will come in a disk. The major relief when Digital Cinema became a reality in US cinema was the doing away of compressed sound as the digital media did not require sound to be compressed. Sathyam is showing Star Wars III, 4 shows a day and the tickets are available fairly easily. I got mine day before yesterday.
Disclaimer: So here is a recap of those 5 movies. I am extremely lazy today. I dunno why? I can't summon the strength to write/think. So what I have done is write as much about the Star War movies as I could and whenever I felt lazy/bored I took Star Wars story outline ( not opinions but just the raw story) from the web and modified it as much as my laziness allowed me to (About 75-80% of this blog is my stuff the other 20 is web remix). So excuse me if some of this is innacurate or insipid. This is the best I could do under the stupor. Given that I have poured in 100's of reviews to IMDB, I thought taking a few from them isn't a sin. And this is mainly to get novices geared up for the last of the six episodes. If you are new to Star Wars and you find that I am dropping a lot of names and new concepts - be patient and read on everything is explained at some point or other in this blog. Things will fall into place ( remeber "your focus defines your reality" )
Star Wars IV ( The New Hope): The first Star Wars movie, later renamed as "The New Hope" was released in 1977. Its release at a time when sci-fi was going out of fashion and revived the special effects industry. ILM, the team that did the special effects for Star Wars,have now become full-fledged special effects creators in their own right. This movie was released with taglines like "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." and a neat "Coming to your galaxy this summer".
The story briefly goes like - In a distant galaxy, many many years before the creation of Earth, advanced civilizations have evolved. The galaxy is ruled by an Empire. This evil Empire ( led by Darth Vader an ex-Jedi) arose from the ruins of an Old Republic that was in power for generations. Darth Vader and the evil empire seek to control the entire galaxy and destroy the Jedi's. There are local uprisings here and there against the Empire itself as some entities begin to break away from the Empire and waging a rebel war. This is a story of Good Vs Evil. Where the Empire is evil and the good are the rebels led by Princess Leia and supported by whatever is left of the Jedi. There are many battles between the Empire and the rebels. In one battle, a technical blue print of the insides of a space station/ warrior ship, called The Death Star, falls into the hands of Rebel spies. Death Star is a battle ship that can pulverize an entire planet and Darth Vader uses the Death Star to conquer the galaxy. These spies are headed by a Princess Leia( with a really weird hairstyle), who belongs to the Imperial Senate (in other words rebels i.e the good people). She, under the cover of a diplomatic mission to the planet Alderaan (where the blue print of the Death Star is stored), smuggles these plans. She is captured when her space craft is attacked by the Empire. She hands over the plan to R2-D2 and C-3PO, two robots and instructs them to hand over the plans to a person called Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Luke Skywalker stays with his foster aunt and uncle on a farm on a planet called Tatooine. He is eager to leave the planet and join the Academy, but his uncle needs him for the next harvest. R2D2 lands on Skywalkers' farm followed by his friend C3PO. R2 then takes Skywalker into the desert and they eventually meet Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan is an aging member of an anciet order called the Jedi. Jedi Knights were once flourishing and were protectors of the Republic. Now there are barely a few Jedi Knights. Oh! Ya there is Harrison Ford in the mix too. Han Solo (the character that Ford plays) is a mercenary. He is cynical and is a smuggler. His companion is an Ewok ( another species like the Humans) called Chewbacca. Solo's spaceship ( The Millenium Falcon) is specially made. It is one of the few ships that can touch warp speed (as a result of certain modofications). Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi employ Han Solo to take them to Alderran for re-enforcements. Solo first joins them purely for the money and then for Princess Leia and then for the cause. First they plan to reach Alderran to get more men to rebel and fight for them but Alderran is destroyed. So Solo, Skywalker and the robots must rescue Princess Leia Organo on their own. In the process of rescuing Leia, Skywalker finds out that he has "extra-ordinary" reflexes and speed. Obi-Wan Kenobi (who already knows that Luke Skywalker has jedi blood in him) makes Luke aware of his Jedi-capabilities (more on Jedi concept in Episode -1 explanation). Although Luke is too old, Obi-Wan feels he can be trained to become a Jedi. Skywalker in an amazing show of grit and talent almost single handedly blows up the core of the death star and rescues every body. The final scene is extremely good. It is the battle between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader. darth Vader was once a Jedi who falls into the dark side and becomes a bad person. When Darth Vader was a Jedi Ob-Wan Kenobi was his Teacher. Jedi's have a concept of Master-Padwan pairs. Where a master is assigned a padwan (learner) by the Jedi COuncil ( a group of senior Jedi knights). Once upon a time Obi-wan was the master and Darth Vader was the padwan. But now now that Darth Vader has turned to the evil side they are enemies. Darth Vader kills Obi-Wan in the End battle scene thereby bringing the number of Jedi's to a bare minimum. The significance of this scene will be felt even more after seeing Episodes II & III ( infact in Episode II Obi-Wan specifically mutters to his padwan " who do I get a feeling that you will be the death of me" ).
Star Wars V - The Empire Strikes Back :
This is my favorite Star Wars movie till date ( I dont know what it is with me and part-II's). Released with tag lines such as "The Adventure Continues...", "The Star Wars saga continues" and "The battle continues...". Hans Solo, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker and the robots are now living in the Ice Planet called Hoth. Skywalker receives a premonition-telepathy kind of message from Obi-Wan Kenobi to go to Dagobah. While others flee Hoth when the Empire attacks them, Luke flys with R2D2 to Dagobah. Here he is introduced to Yoda for the first time. Yoda, a senior Jedi, talks english in a sexy-cool way ( backwards actually). Meanwhile, Han Solo and Princess Leia go to planet Bespin, to seek help (the idea is to rebel against the Empire by getting more help) from Han's old friend and gambler named Lando Calrissian. Here they are ambushed by the Empire and are imprisoned by Darth Vader. Luke leaves Dagobah in mid-training to rescue his friends. While Luke fights Vader in a Light Saber ( the weopon that Jedi's use - there is a separate cult following for the light saber) battle he learns that Vader ( the " I am your father" dialog) is his father. Hans Solo is given as a gift/payment to crimelord Jabba the Hutt. Han Solo owes money to Jabba The hutt and Jabba has sent out Bounty Hunters to search and bring Han Solo back to him as a prisoner. Lando Calrissian (whose father was killed by Obi-Wan in Episode II) is one such bounty hunter. He strikes a deal with Darth Vader that if he gives Darth vader Princess Leia, Vader will allow him to hand over Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt. Meanwhile Darth Vader uses Princess Leia as a bait to make Luke Skywalker come to him so that he can convince Luke to join the dark side. The key dialog in this movie is when Luke leaves Planet Dagaboh. When it is suggested that if Luke dies or falls into the dark side (as a result of him meeting his father) the Jedi order will become extinct. At that time Yoda says " No! there is another"
Star Wars VI - Return Of The Jedi
So The Jedi, after years of hiding make a come back in this movie. Released with taglines like " The Empire Falls....", "Return To A Galaxy... Far, Far Away" Luke's father is Anakin Skywalker, who underwent Jedi training under Obi-Wan Kenobi. Anakin Skywalker was brain-washed by the Dark Lord of the Sith and became the apprenctice of the evil emperor. The Sith, who are the evil Jedi'a, also have a Master apprentice pair concept. Luke learns this secret and also understands that Leia is his sister. The "another" Jedi is Princess Leia. Thereby the competition between luke and Solo for the love of Princess Leia ends. When the movie begins Darth Vader and the Empire are building a new Death Star. Han Solo is a prisoner in the hands of Jabba the Hutt. Luke Skywalker, R2D2 and C3PO try and free him. Princess Leia - disguised as a bounty hunter - and Chewbacca go along as well. As the Emperor ( The Senior Master of the Sith Order - which is the evbil side of the Jedi Order) himself oversees the construction of the new Death Star by Lord Darth Vader and the evil Galactic Empire, smuggler Han Solo is rescued from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt by his friends, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Chewbacca. Leaving Skywalker Jedi training with Yoda, Solo returns to the Rebel Fleet to complete his battle with the Empire itself. Hans Solo is put in charge of a group of soldiers to take out the shield generator protecting the Death Star. Luke, however, surrenders to Vader's soldiers on Endor, and is taken in front of Vader's boss - the Galactic Emperor - on the Death Star for final corruption to the Dark Side of the Force. Luke, unlike his father, refuses to be lured into the dark side and kills off Darth Vader in a glorious final battle scene.
The Whole Prequel Thing: After making three movies in 1977, 1980 and 1983 George Lucas decided to make something called as the "prequel". Where prequel, as opposed to the "sequel", talks about events before the original movie's timeline. The life of Anakin Skywalker becomes the central theme of the prequels. At the end of the Star Wars magnum opus - the 6 movies essential talk about the life and death of a person called Anakin Skywalker. A person who was born without a father, one who had extra-ordinary potential to become a jedi and one who unfortunately was lured into the dark side.
Star Wars 1 - The Phanthom Menace (1999): This movie was released with taglines such as "Every generation has a legend. Every journey has a first step. Every saga has a beginning." and "The Force Returns May 19th ". I saw this in Columbus, Ohio. Standing in line for close to 2 hours to get a seat in the movie hall on the first day. I did not like this movie very much. People say "Attack of the Clones" was the worst of the series. Somehow to me this character called Jar-Jar completely sucked the fun out of the movie. Plus I found the movie too serious and less "human" than the earlier installments.
An IMDB patron narrates the story of Phanthom menace in a nice way so I will save myself the typing and reproduce it - It is a distant galaxy ,much before the origin of the planet Earth. Advancements in technology and science have allowed the evolution of millions of worlds that are otherwise in many respects still primitive. These worlds are somewhat loosely allied into an intergalactic Republic, whose capital world is the planet Coruscant, a planetary city. Upholding order for the Republic are the Jedi, an order of warriors endowed with near-super power derived from self-generated fields of energy known collectively as The Force. Within the Republic, dissident worlds have banded into an alliance known as the Trade Federation, and the Trade Federation is locked in a dispute with the peaceful world of Naboo. Two Jedi knights, Qui-Gon Jinn and his youthful apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, have been sent to Naboo to help mediate an end to the dispute, but Nute Gunray, an alien viceroy, orders them to be killed, and the two Jedi discover upon their escape that the Trade Federation will launch an invasion of Naboo. With the help of a well-meaning but hopelessly subliterate alien native of Naboo, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan land on Naboo to rescue her ruler, Queen Amidala, a ruler whose rule is a mixture of monarchy and republican democracy. Escaping Naboo, they are attacked by a Federation base star and are forced to land on the distant planet Tatooine, where in seeking parts to complete their journey to Coruscant they encounter a young boy, Anakin Skywalker, a slave who possesses a gift for the savagely dangerous sport of podracing - a gift that Qui-Gon deduces is part of a genetic makeup perfect for the Jedi Order. Anakin eventually joins with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, and in the process attracts the attention of one of Queen Amidala's handmaidens with a dramatic secret, and all reach Coruscant, but endless and pointless debate within the Republic's Senate leave them no choice but to strike out on their own to liberate Naboo, a task made all the more difficult because a traitor within Coruscant has at his command a dissident Jedi warrior who seeks the death of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan. - End IMDB narration.
While Qui-Gon wants to train Anakin Skywalker to be his Padwan learner ( Apprentice),the Jedi council is much against this. Qui-Gon persihes in his battle with Darth Maul and Obi-Wan Kenobi takes up his Master's dying wish and decides to tutor Anakin ( Even though Obi-Wan was initially unimpressed with the idea of tutoring Anakin.
Star Wars II - Attack Of The Clones (2002): I stood in the queue in Dallas, Texas Cinemark movie halls from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM for seeing the 8:30 show. The movie hall atmosphere resembled a Rajinikanth movie atmosphere with people inside bringing their own light saber's plastic balls etc. There were soo many people dressed as Jedi for this movie. This movie was released with the tag line " A Jedi Shall Not Know Anger. Nor Hatred. Nor Love". This essentially says what the story is about. Once inducted into the Jedi order, the Jedi's cannot marry, cannot fall in love. They should not succumb to extreme emotions like anger etc. Like Master Yoda says " Fear is the path to the dark side. For fear leads to anger. anger leads to hate. hate leads to suuuffffeeeerrrring". Yoda was right - Anakin Skywalker - was not cut out to be a Jedi. He falls in love with a girl much older than him, Padme Amidala. I don't blame Anakin though. Natalie portman who plays Padme is quite a chic. Man is she beautiful. I would renounce my Jedi oaths in no time for a chic like Natalie Portman.
Again some queen or other is in danger in a Star Wars movie. Padme Amidala is a senator now ( according to Naboo laws - A queen retires after some age) and someone tries to kill her - again. While Padwan ( and now grown into a boy)Anakin is asigned to protect her, Master Obi-Wan goes in search of the killer. Just to cover the parts that are relevant to the story line. Anakin falls in love with Padme and she responds to his love after resisting initially. He also find out that his mother ( who was shown as a slave in Episode -1) has brutally murdered. So he experiences anger and emotion. And so becomes ripe for corruption.
The other aspects of Episode -II story is ornamental. There are people with names like Dooku ( come on!). Dooku was once Yoda's Padwan and later on was lured to the dark side. The fight between Dooku and Yoda was the higthlight of the movie. Dooku has built a clone army large enough to attack and kill the republic. At the end of the movie the Jedi are fighting the army of clones, Yoda predicts bad future and Anakin marries Padme Amidala.
Star Wars III - Return of the Sith: This part should logically connect Anakin's fall from grace and his slipping into the dark side. He should obviously have 2 children ( Luke and Leia Skywalker). He should become Darth Vader and then take over the republic and destroy it to the state where we found it in Star Wars IV.