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Friday, September 16, 2011

BLU-RAY SPECIAL: TOP 10 STAR WARS MOMENTS

STAR WARS is THE greatest pop-culture phenomenon in the world (or the galaxy)! I grew up on Star Wars (the Original trilogy) and have been a devoted fan all of my life. No other movie has had such an impact on my life. While the prequel trilogy may not match by far the original trilogy, it does hold some merit in the Star Wars Saga as a whole. Today marks the release of Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray in the U.S., which includes 9 High-Definition Blu-ray discs and features over 40 hours of bonus material including deleted, extended and alternate scenes, documentaries and archive footage! The Star Wars movies have some of the greatest and most memorable moments in movie history and any Star Wars fan would have a hard time choosing their favorite. In celebration of the release of The Complete Saga on Blu-ray, Chernobog's Blog Presents: The Top 10 STAR WARS Moments!

#10 The Rise of Darth Vader (Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) - While fans have been awaiting to see the origin of Darth Vader for 30 years, the events leading up to Episode III was not without disappointment. After Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) joins Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), he helps him to destroy the Jedi, (even killing younglings) and the ultimate duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan leaves Anakin severely injured. The Emperor makes Anakin him into a half-man/half-machine. Upon reviving him, the Emperor tells Anakin that he inadvertently killed Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) in anger and thus he responds with the now infamous "NOOOOOO!"

#9 "It's a Trap!" (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) - During the final battle between the Rebellion and the Empire over the moon of Endor, Lando Calrissian in the Millenium Falcon, leads a squadron of fighters to attack the new Death Star. Under the command of Admiral Ackbar the fleet soon realizes that the deflector shield is still operational because Han and his team have so far been unable to deactivate it. When the fleet start to retreat, they realize that the Empire has surrounded them with Star Destoyers. Ackbar says one of the most famous and overly done quotes in the whole Star Wars saga: "It's a trap!"

#8 The Death of Qui-Gon Jinn (Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) - While Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) may have seemed like an ancillary character in Episode I, he remains a fan favorite. His death causes Obi-Wan to reluctantly take on the training of Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), who had previously been denied by the Jedi Council. While Qui-Gon is seen as a very wise Jedi Master, he is apparently very rebellious in his decision to take Anakin from his home and train him as a Jedi. Even Yoda, Master Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson), and the council knew that Anakin possessed many qualities of the Dark Side, Despite their warnings, believing Anakin is prophesied to bring balance to the force,Qui-Gon defies the council and trains him anyway. His training is cut short as Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) encounter Darth Maul (Ray Park), a Dark Lord of the Sith. In a desperate duel with the dual-lightsaber wielding Sith, Qui-Gonn is killed and later Obi-Wan vows to complete Anakins training.

#7 Escape from Jabba's Palace (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) - By the final chapter of the Original Trilogy, our heroes are in the worst situation possible! When Han Solo (Harrison Ford) was frozen in carbonite, Boba Fett took him to Jabba the Hut. While Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) had already been undercover in Jabba's palace as a guard, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) also comes to Han's rescue, disguised as the bounty hunter Boussh with Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) as her captive. Although Leia tries to free Han from his frozen prison, they are discovered! Han is thrown in jail with Chewbacca and Leia is chained to Jabba's side and forced to wear a scanty slave outfit (many a fanboy's dream)! Finally Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) arrives, now a full fledged Jedi Knight, He attempts to bargain for his friends lives, but is fed to the Rancor. When Luke defeats the Rancor, Jabba then decides to feed all of them (except Leia) to the Sarlac! Ultimately, Luke escapes being eaten by the Sarlac, Han unwittingly defeats Boba Fett and Leia strangles Jabba. It all ends when Jabba's sail barge is destroyed in a magnificent explosion and our heroes escape with C-3PO and R2-D2 in tow!

#6 The Trash Compactor (Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) - When Han Solo and Luke Skywalker go to rescue Princess Leia disguised as Stormtroopers, they are cut off by Imperial troops and their only escape is through one of the Death Star's trash compactors. While trapped, they realize there is a creature living in the compactor which almost kills Luke and on top of that the compactor is activated and slowly begins to crush the three of them. If not for the bumbling efforts of C-3PO and R2-D2 they surely would've been crushed to death!

#5 The Death of Emperor Palpatine (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) - During the final battle between the Rebellion and the Empire, Luke Skywalker has been held captive in the Emperor's throne room watching the battle alongside his father, Darth Vader. As tensions rise and Luke feels the need to kill the Emperor, battle ensues between Vader and Luke! Luke, in a fit of rage, then cuts off Vader's hand and still refuses to join the Dark Side. The Emperor responds with bolts of Force lightning, nearly killing Luke if not for Vader's ultimate sacrifice! Vader intervenes, picks up the Emperor and throws him down a long shaft but not before receiving a fatal dose of the Emperor's power. Vader soon dies as Luke finally sees the real face of his father.

#4 The Duel between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) - Probably one of THE darkest moments in the Star Wars saga, the ultimate duel between friends is the final step in turning Anakin to the Dark Side of The Force. It is a shock to see Anakin and Obi-Wan, who had become very close as Master and Padawan, locked in such a violent battle on the volcanic planet of Mustafar. It is one of the most powerful scenes and a dramatic moment for Obi-Wan: "You were the chosen one! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them! You were to bring balance to The Force, not leave it in darkness! You we're my brother Anakin, I loved you..."

#3 The Freezing of Han Solo (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - While there are several scenes in the Original Trilogy that deal with narrow escapes, the climax to The Empire Strikes Back is not one of them. When Han Solo, Leia, Chewbacca and C-3PO travel to Bespin and Cloud City to seek refuge and repairs from Han's old friend Lando Calrissian, unfortunately Lando has already made a deal with the Empire and turns Han over to them! While Vader wants to use the heroes as bait for Luke, whom he intends to freeze in Carbonite for his journey to the Emperor. First, he tests it on Han. As Han is prepared to be lowered into the freezing device (which is one of the most dramatic and romantic moments in the Star Wars saga) Leia kisses Han and says "I love you", to which Han responds: "I know" and he is lowered into the freezer.

#2 Luke Vs. Darth Vader (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - The first battle between Darth  Vader and Luke Skywalker in the climax to The Empire Strikes Back is one of the most pivotal moments in the Star Wars Saga. Luke, having left Yoda's training prematurely to save Han and Leia at Cloud City is met by a trap set by Vader. As he is lured into the Carbonite Freezing Chamber he is met by Vader and the battle ensues. The fight is taken outside onto a platform overlooking a bottomless shaft in the bowels of Cloud City where Vader ultimately cuts off Luke's hand and then drops one of  the biggest WTF moments of all time: "I am your father!" The rest is history...

#1 The Battle of Yavin, a.k.a. the destruction of the first Death Star (Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) - The ultimate battle between the Rebellion and the Empire is fought by a small squadron of Rebel fighters and the enormous Death Star! (That's no moon!) With the knowledge from the secret plans from Princess Leia stored in R2-D2 the Rebels were able to find a small thermal exhaust port along a trench. Against insurmountable odds the small squadron manages to fend off defending TIE fighters and Death Star gunners until only Luke Skywalker's X-Wing remains and with only the power of The Force at his side (and a little help from Han Solo) he manages to fire a single proton torpedo into a 2-meter wide hole and BOOM! The Death Star Explodes! The Rebels win, Luke and Han get medals from Leia (but not Chewbacca?) and the galaxy is safe again...but don't worry The Empire will build another one soon!


My thoughts on the Blu-ray release: While the video releases of the Star Wars Saga have always met with some controversy, the release of the new Blu-rays is not without some debate. The THX remastered editions of the Original Trilogy released in 1995 and the Special Editions in 1997 included some subtle and some very bold changes to the films made by George Lucas himself. While some of the changes have sparked discontent and controversy in many fans (including me), any changes are remotely minor to the saga as a whole. With the release of the new Blu-rays it is obvious there will be even more changes along with even more added, deleted and altered scenes, but I hope will not "damage" the saga further! May the Force Be With You!
LINKS: Star Wars Official Site, The Official Star Wars Blog, Star Wars Blu-ray on Facebook