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STAR WARS – The Goosebumps Scenes (Part I)

December 10, 2015



Some of you may have heard…there is a new Star Wars movie coming out on Dec. 18. Trailers for the J.J. Abrams-helmed The Force Awakens look promising, and full of wonder. Hope springs eternal, and the very thought of a new Star Wars episode comes with the palpable hope that we will experience something worthy of the fabled original trilogy.

Speaking of that original trilogy, New Hollywood’s Holy Triumvirate, what is there really left to say about it? Probably not a whole lot, but that won’t stop me from trying. However, instead of the hundred-thousandth traditional write-up for these movies, this will be a space to single out a few key moments from each film. These moments might be considered the greatest cinematic moments in the trilogy—the goosebumps-inducing moments that will never get old. Without further ado…

The 8 best moments from Star Wars (a.k.a. Episode IV: A New Hope)

1. The Opening Crawl and First Shot

The opening crawl and the first shot of Star Wars will always take the cake. This is the first time you hear John Williams’ immortal fanfare, followed closely thereafter by a shot of a serene spatial expanse, hovering near a large planetoid with another looming in the distance. A space ship races into the picture from the top of the frame. This is exciting, but it’s what comes next that really sets the whole thing off. The pointed nose of a second ship follows the first into the screen. It takes a moment to register, but the frame’s sense of scale quickly alerts us to just how massive the second ship is compared with the first. The ships are firing lasers back and forth at one another. They must not like each other. The game is afoot!


If you’re not completely jazzed by the time you meet Darth Vader a few moments later, then you are doing it wrong. Dropping the audience right into the action with hardly any buildup was fairly novel at the time, and remains an iconic opening salvo to this day.


2. The Binary Sunset

The plot is in motion right from the first shot, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for a detour. Said detour takes us to Tatooine, where we meet an obnoxiously obnoxious Luke Skywalker. He may be whiney, but boy, does he ever brood in style. There’s nothing like a binary sunset to strike just the right mood. On paper, there’s nothing too interesting about this scene. It’s just Luke staring off into the distance. Pure characterization. Then Williams’ Force Theme kicks in. With the music, the rich purples in the sky, and that look in Luke’s face…forget about it.


3. “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

This scene is played straight, and sticks out from the hero’s journey/fantasy mashup of the rest of the film. On paper it seems like a boring scene; it’s all telling and no showing. But what we actually get is artful and laced with characterization for Darth Vader. Everything about this scene is great. The expository bickering of the officers, followed by their telling silence when Vader and Tarkin enter the room. The ominous comments about destroying whole planets, and the equally ominous hints about a mysterious Force that only Vader seems to possess.



4. “An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.”

It doesn’t take long for Luke and his new droid friends to run into Obi-Wan Kenobi. Old Ben saves them from an unpleasant fate, and then invites them into his home. Kenobi proceeds to regale Luke with tales of his father, and bestows upon him his father’s Jedi weapon. Luke isn’t a dexterous swordsman, but he does fire up that lightsaber and give it a few elegant waves through the air. If, by chance, you haven’t heard the lightsaber “hum” sound-effect in a while, it really clears your sinuses out.


5. “You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon?”

When Luke, Obi-Wan, C-3PO, and R2-D2 roll up on Mos Eisley Space Port (you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy), you know something great is about to happen. More specifically, this guy:


Han Solo’s introductory scene is one of the great moments in this film. Harrison Ford had a few small roles under his belt by the mid-70s, but he was not a movie star yet. Even in Star Wars, Ford was not yet a fully-formed persona. But he was really close. As you can see by his lax posture and devil-may-care expression, Solo was Ford’s launch pad. After the sequence of him bragging about how fast his Falcon can fly, mocking Luke, and shooting the bull with Greedo, his screen legend was all but cemented. Oh, and these guys were chilling in the background the whole time:


6. “Traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, boy!”

When Obi-Wan & Co. commission Han Solo’s services, there’s no way of knowing that he’s not just a loud-mouthed schmuck. But soon enough, Han proves his mettle by successfully extracting his highly-sought-after passengers in the middle of shootout and evading a star destroyer (remember the big ship that captured the little ship in the first scene?). Also, hyperspace is rad.


7. Obi-Wan’s Sacrifice

When Obi-Wan and Vader commence their geriatric lightsaber duel, we still don’t know much about the Force. We know it can be used to choke people from across the room, and that it can be used to near-Marxian proportions to fool people. And then Obi-Wan lets Vader run him through, but only after portending, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” This comment, in addition to Obi-Wan vanishing upon his death, give us the first evidence that this Force thing may have some pretty grand implications.


8. “You’re all clear kid, now let’s blow this thing and go home!”

This scene is so action-packed that, even re-watching it, it feels way longer than it actually is. Several rebel pilots take a run at the Death Star only to get shot down. Then, it’s Luke’s turn. As he’s barreling down that trench toward pay-dirt in his X-Wing, Luke has the rebel command in his ear, Obi-Wan in his heart, and Darth Vader on his tail. Then, out of nowhere, Han swoops in and chases off Vader’s TIE fighter. Now Luke has all kinds of time. He feels the Force, switches off his targeting computer, and bulls-eyes that 2-meters-wide thermal exhaust port. No big deal.


More coming soon! Stay tuned for the best moments from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.


From → Lists, Star Wars

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