074: “Take ‘Em Men!” Docking Bay 94
Such an exciting scene in the film! I loved it when I was a kid. They showed a clip of it on the 3rd of April 1978 Academy Awards show (I think). Fleeting but intense! But I first saw it on a British Kids ‘TV show in 1977 and it made such an impression!
I probably couldn’t sleep after the Oscars show. It was so exciting that I sat through the whole boring thing a year later, in the forlorn hope they’d do it again (why would they?). Can you believe that? Or did you do it too? Of course, nowadays, you simply pop in a DVD or go to YouTube and watch an illegally uploaded video of it before it gets pulled back down.
Brevity was was this 9 year old’s strong-suit. Observe my approach:
NO TIME FOR TALKING—OR PLOT—OR CHARACTER-DEVELOPMENT
SO: GET BLASTIN’—AND BLOWIN’ UP STUFF—AND JUMPIN’ OVER EXPLOSIONS!
For me, the 2 best bits are:
No. 1: Solo doing a little whistle. The kind you did in the 70s in comics just before you said, “Phew – that was too close for comfort!” Did you ever use that line when you were playing soldiers and stuff? The little puff from his lips is lifted straight from The Dandy and The Beano comics!
No. 2: The other bit I really like is the panel of Chewie’s legs, running, with blaster fire exploding at his feet. When we were kids playing soldiers – and Star Wars, it was fun to pick up lumps of dry earth and throw them at the ground near your feet while you ran for cover – Ka-Pow! If you were standing in a puddle or stream, you might also have thrown a load of pebble or grit at the water by your feel while trying to make a machine-gun sound
‘BRAAAAAP!’ p-chew! p-chew! p-chew!
“Phew – that was too close for comfort!”
“What’s that mean?”
“I’m not sure – they always say it in comics and films.”
Brevity – again
Seriously though, do you see just how brief the action-packed part of this scene is? Star Wars was like that. Apart from a couple of exceptions, like the TIE Fighter/Falcon battle, and the action-fest Final Battle against the Death Star; most of the action os over pretty quickly. So quickly in fact that you’d have killed to go outside the cinema, get inline and see the film again.
Oh yeah… people did.
It’s about the story
But George wasn’t just emptily trying to sound like a serious film-maker when he maintained that it was all about the story, the characters and their psychological underpinnings. Yes, the budget and schedule were tight and he didn’t manage to shoot a lot of what he wanted – but he must have had an intention, or instinct to not overdo the action sequences. Shooting, and lightsaber swinging and deflecting lasers, and force-pushing gets boring after while.
No Time for Boredom!
But in this film, nothing gets enough screen-time to become boring. Lucas himself says that “At the time, this was considered to be a very fast-paced film. These days it’s a pretty slow film.” Now, he does qualify that by saying that it’s partly due to the ‘unfamiliarity of the environment’; that people were struggling to keep up with so much new stuff. But actually, it still feels pretty fast. There are lots of good set pieces, it has emotional dynamics, the action sequences are ‘blink and you’ll miss them’ affairs, and the characters and story are so interesting that the time flies. He was an impressively mature young film-maker