Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Darth Vader

I think Darth Vader is one of the coolest villains every created. The design of the costume alone was so cool that Hanna-Barbera pinched it for the Legion of Dooms headquarters underneath the swamp.

The HB artists can say what they like, but The Hall of Doom is obviously Darth Vader. I mean look at it. Lex Luthor and his cohorts are all living in Darth Vader's helmet.

The helmet alone is such a unique design. And when you thought it couldn't possibly be any cooler, then you look at Ralph McQuarrie's original design for the costume and the helmet and it really could have been cooler.

But with that said, the final product we first see in Episode Four (the first movie) as Vader comes striding through the carnage aboard the Rebel ship was not half bad either.

As a bad guy, Vader has everything going for him. He's over 6'5", he dresses all in black, he's completely ruthless, he's got that creepy breathing going on while he speaks, he can kill people with his mind (yes, yes, yes! The Dark Side of the Force! I know!)and he's got James Earl Jones doing the voice.

And then George Lucas takes the coolest villain ever created and turns him into a complete sniveling wuss:

Here's my opinion. He could have still done that scene and made it work a lot better by having all that happen before Anakin puts on the Darth Vader armor. Had him lying on the operating table saying in a weak voice, "Where's Padme? Is she safe?" and then have the Emperor whisper to him "I'm afraid in your anger you killed her." Then have his little Darth hissy-fit.

This would show despite looking like a pound of bacon that was left out in the sun for a week or two and being in a weakened condition because of his injuries, the Dark Side of the Force is so strong in him he's still able to destroy things.

Then they could go through the whole putting the armor on him and first speaking in the James Earl Jones voice.

What the filmmakers would accomplish then is showing the divide between the emotionally driven and somewhat idealistic Anakin Skywalker and the completely remorseless Darth Vader who is now lost to the Dark Side of the Force.

And having read the series Heir to the Empire written by Timothy Zahn, I was somewhat disappointed with the way they handled the Clone Wars. Not entirely disappointed, mind you. But I thought Zahn's idea of having the Jedi's fight clone versions of themselves was actually kind of an interesting concept.

I think they could have woven that into the storyline along with the Clone Army. It could have been one of these things at the height of the Clone Wars, to try and besmirch the Jedi's reputation, the Sith and their Seperatist allies create clones of the Jedi's which the Jedi's have to try and defeat.

But that's the problem when you don't have enough outside input from other people being put into your scripts. You tend to become the master of your own little world and sometimes having a few outside opinions might help you to write a better script.

However, there's the downside of too many cooks adding to the soup as well. Either extreme can be bad.

There are enough great writers like Timothy Zahn out there who could have made the prequels so much more interesting. I was somewhat disappointed Lucas didn't utilize them. And that was the reason a movie like Empire Strikes Back is so remembered as a great film. Because Lucas did put his trust in an outside writer. And the result was probably the best movie in the series.

I did like Return of the Jedi. Despite the fact that the Empire was defeated by the Care Bears.

And when I talk about liking the original series, I mean the original versions of the movies. And not the CGI enhanced version that George Lucas has been inflicting upon the public since the mid 1990's.

But with all that said, I would never let one NOOOOO! ruin my thoughts on Darth Vader being one of the coolest villains ever created. Despite what he has done recently, George Lucas has created both a memorable series and a memorable character. And that's the reason Star Wars remains so popular.


Andy said...

Darth Vader Rules-- and you're 100% right about the McQuarrie versio-- I have an action figure of him with the cooler mask and a bat scalloped cape-- which you don't notice in the paintings.

For me, there is STAR WARS, EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and the opening scene of JEDI. That's it. I've seen most of the other films and they aren't worth the time. I also agree with them doing everything they could to make kill Vader's Bad-Ass image-- and it shows how cool he is in that they failed.

There's a point where sci fi just gets stupid-- and not just fun stupid-- and my feelings is once Boba Fett went down the monsters, uh, mouth (?) the whole series was done. They should have incorporated the green rabbits of the comic book version from Marvel-- that was only SLIGHTLY more dumb.

PS- My secret Google Word is Urnitali-- I believe that's in the mens room in Salerno.

Bret M. Herholz said...

Is that the figure where you can take off Darth Vader's mask? I wanted to get that one when it was in the stores but I missed my chance :-/

I was watching some clip on Youtube and apparently one of the designers actually made a full costume based on the McQuarrie design. Sadly I think most of it got ruined.

That sounds about right for that word. I've had some really weird ones. I wonder if Google just throws scrabble letters on the table and sees what they come up with ;-)