26 February 2008

The Best Light Saber fights in the Star Wars Films

My daughter and I were having a discussion the other day after watching Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. It centered on what must now be one of the more important questions of modern cinema.
What are the best light saber fights in the Star Wars series?
This of course is no small matter and required a great deal of thought. She is still working on her list but I think I have, tentatively made mine. Starting from the bottom and working our way to number one.
7. Yoda vs Palpatine Revenge of the Sith (Okay this isn't all light sabers but still qualifies.)
6. Obi Wan vs Darth Vader/Anakin Revenge of the Sith
5. Qui-Gon Jin + Obi-Wan vs Darth Maul Phantom Menace(It is one of the great emotional edge of your seat moments when Obi-Wan rushes out of the red-whatever-it-is to face Darth Maul. And it seems to me that Lucas never thought to note that when he defeats Maul he has essentially cast aside the Jedi tendency to jettison anger and aggression. He sprang out of that corridor and dropped the hammer. He was angry and he clearly was after a bit of that dish that is best served cold.)
4. Obi-Wan vs Darth Vader A New Hope (It isn't as flashy as any other duel in the series but it is still emotionally engaging and the first time we see a serious fight with the sabers.)
3. Luke vs Darth Vader The Empire Strikes Back (Luke loses the fight, but succeeds in his final trial on the path to Jedihood. And he uncovers the first in a series of lies orchestrated by that little demon Yoda. It will be Luke's first experience with post-modernist thinking. Luke is not unique in finding post-modernist ideas...uh..wanting. Plus we see the first glimpse of Vader's own obsession. I think his offer to Luke, "Join me Luke. Together we can overthrow the Emperor" was absolutely genuine. What we see over the course of the six films is that Vader is a deeply scared, and lonely boy who desperately wants to control those factors that can cause him emotional pain. That isn't all there is to say about Vader's selfish psychology but it will do for now.)
2. Mace Windu vs Palpatine Revenge of the Sith (This is a turning point in the film where it leaves behind its silly juvenile humor, and distressing dialogue and becomes a serious attempt at drama. It is also a unique hint that Palpatine is falible. His keen mind and machinations almost fail him with Windu.)
1. Luke vs Vader Return of the Jedi (I don't know how you can beat at least two aspects of the climax of this film, the other being the space battle led by Lando and his vagina faced co-pilot. Vader's brinksmanship with Luke is something to behold. Does he want Luke to kill him? Luke rejected his offer to overthrow the Emperor and perhaps he knows he won't be able to kill Luke to protect Palpatine. Why goad him on like that if the Emperor simply wants another servant? Clearly it isn't just an attempt to demonstrate to Luke the power in his anger. The subtext of Vader's badgering is something interesting to ponder.)
I could be convinced that 2 and 3 should be switched but I like this list. Ani's is still in progress but so far different than mine. I will post it soon.

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