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Best Lightsaber Battle

Discussion in 'General Movie Discussion' started by The Hero With No Fear, Apr 13, 2017.

?

What is your favorite Lightsaber Duel?

  1. Duel Of The Fates

    11 vote(s)
    28.2%
  2. Yoda Vs. Dooku

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Anakin & Obi-Wan Vs Dooku

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Obi-Wan Vs. General Grievous

    2 vote(s)
    5.1%
  5. Mace Windu Vs. Palpatine

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. Battle Of The Heroes

    4 vote(s)
    10.3%
  7. Obi-Wan Vs. Darth Vader

    1 vote(s)
    2.6%
  8. Luke Vs. Vader (Cloud City)

    6 vote(s)
    15.4%
  9. Luke Vs. Vader (Death Star 2)

    10 vote(s)
    25.6%
  10. Rey and Finn Vs. Kylo Ren

    5 vote(s)
    12.8%
  1. Embo and His Pet Anooba

    Embo and His Pet Anooba Rebel Official

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    satele shan and kao cen darach vs vindican and malgus
     
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  2. Meister Yoda

    Meister Yoda Your Little Green Friend
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    I would actually argue that it would be better if Anakin just falls down a pit (maybe just because Obi is defending him) and Obi had to assume he's dead and can't even reach him. That would remove the morally ambiguous decision of Obi wan to leave Anakin painfully dying, which would be more inline with what I think of Obi-Wans character. And we wouldn't see Obiwan beating Anakin at the heights of his power while losing later on the deathstar. Otoh I believe they don't have a real battle on the DS, they are arguing with a bit of playing with their sabres and Obi-Wan sacrifices himself to rescue Luke (being a blueprint for what Vader does later on the DS2, because he learned that it takes a sacrifice to save someone you love).
     
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  3. Lukestarbucker

    Lukestarbucker Rebel General

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    Woah. Please, im just saying that I haven’t seen it around. I don’t think its that popular. Its a real 50/50 type duel for many people. I just don’t see it as people’s favorite duel of the whole saga! ;)

    im not trying to argue especially with this kind of thing...

    I haven’t seen this duel to be people’s favorite duel of the whole saga but if you have, thats great. :)
     
    #83 Lukestarbucker, Aug 11, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2020
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  4. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    It's not a huge thing, but it's up there.
    I personally realized this when I spoke poorly of it. Folks came out of the wood works defending it.
    That and the flashbacks are the only two things in TLJ that I was not really into. If I had an interest button in hand, I wouldn't have been pressing it at all during those parts.

    Personally I think it's a terribly sloppy fight, even just in terms of fight choreography - not even talking Star Wars exclusively. Just as a whole.
    It's really down there. Obi and Anakin are also cringe worthy, even tossing out the ragdoll CGI physics (which we can excuse because that issue hadn't been solved yet - see Matrix 2...*shivers* - and it was the PT that was mostly helping push it forward to get it right - and for the record Obi vs Ani looks a HELL of a lot better than Neo vs Smiths in Matrix 2...no contest at all). It's just the sword play is massively superfluous and screams that folks are swinging for each other's swords, or just swinging at the air, or running into each others hits, doing pointless 360 turns....

    Anyway, back on track to the TLJ throne room. The choreography is just .... bad. Really bad.
    The actors are doing the best they can, and bless them for doing it, but the thing is - no matter how good they got, they were never going to be good enough.
    There's just all sorts of things messed up with it. You can actively see guards just twirling in the background to nothing, and even hitting each other's hits....which is...weird.

    I can't even ...how do I go about this?
    OK, here...let's try this....



    Play this at the slowest playback speed.
    Fight starts at 0.14 seconds.

    Now...I'm not going to go through everything because ... Jesus...there's so much wrong I can't even cover it all in a forum post reasonably.
    I'm just going to pick the highlights of the most ridiculous aspects.

    Firs thing's first.
    THIS dude.
    Picture1.png

    He literally starts by spinning around so that he can just stand there and do nothing behind the other guy who crossed in front of him...who also does nothing.
    Picture2.png

    Now, then there's this dude.
    Picture3.png

    His first interaction with Rey isn't terrible...I mean, it's not great either, because I don't know how friggen crazy strong someone would need to be to cause a guy to recoil backwards from one deflection swing....but...I'll leave that alone and focus on the REALLY stupid part that happens when he comes back to attack Rey again after she's taken some swings at the other guys.

    Right here is the start of the move....
    Picture4.png

    Thing is....what is this move?
    Picture5.png
    Picture6.png
    Picture7.png
    Picture8.png
    Picture9.png


    The dude literally did a 360 spin to block his own guy's weapon.
    No one was anywhere close to where he was swinging. Rey was nowhere close to where his weapon had to go to block the other guard. Not even close.
    He actually had to purposefully miss taking a swing at Rey to do this. It makes zero sense.

    Following that, everyone Rey is fighting just inexplicably pulls a Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail and runs away for some ... reason.
    Picture10.png

    And then this dude just stands there and...I'm not kidding...turns his head and watches the others run, then looks back at Rey, checks in with his buddy and makes sure they're all in sync for the next three on one attack. It's like he thought he was supposed to be off camera or something....anyway...
    Picture11.png

    When the three do attack, there's the seesaw kick where Rey kicks downward and inexplicably three opponents are recoiled upward and back from a single kick to one dude's thigh.
    I overlayed the following frame after her kick onto the the kicking frame so it's more clear how odd this whole move is - even just the design of it.

    Picture17.png
    Picture16.png


    Then there's this WTF moment.
    Rey goes through this actually pretty cool choreographed grapple escape and slices this dude straight up through the back like a bad a##!
    Picture18.png

    But it ends with Rey flinging the guy's whip across the room and we find that this dude has just been apparently kneeling off in the corner watching his buddy get sun-bladed up the back side like burnt toast. Seriously...watch it. He's not ducking. He's just...sitting there.
    Picture19.png

    This dude inexplicably loses his weapon for...no real apparent reason because Kylo's no where close to him when he just drops the weapon.
    Yes, I get that it was supposed to be that Kylo knocked his weapon out of his hands when he pushed the other two away, but that's not what ended up on the screen...not by a long shot. The camera was in a terrible position for what was captured, and/or the actor wasn't able to pull it off well....either way, should've been fixed.
    Picture20.png

    This dude snaps his weapon into a whip, just to fling it around in swirls at nothing and then rather than swinging, does a 360 to start a whip attack....what? Picture21.png

    This guy spins his weapon, then does a 360 to start his attack again for some reason that doesn't make any sense, so it just looks like he's waiting for his turn in the stage fight.
    Picture23.png

    Aside from this guy for some reason not slicing Rey's stomach open even accidentally when he crosses her midsection with his blade, it magically disappears in the next moment when he could be stabbing her repeatedly in the back with it.
    Picture24.png

    Picture25.png


    And that's not everything that's bad in it...that's just the bigger wtf moments.

    The whole fight is plagued with really bad fight design, and badly blocked shots. There's really bada## moments inside of it, but the it's like bacon stuffed inside of sand and mud.

    It was just a bad idea conceptually as a fight. The idea of having everyone in a wide open stage in a battle royale just isn't a good idea.
    Even Hong Kong films have a hard time pulling that off, and they're the world's kings of fight choreography.
    If there were more physical obstacles in the way, it would go a long way to sell the fight because you could plop people around objects and slow them down more naturally, as well as isolate fighters better.

    So even though I'm saying it was a bad design and choreography, while that's true, ultimately the root of the issue is that the designers and choreographers were handed a nearly impossible set up that shouldn't have been asked of them in the first place.

    Johnson is brilliant, but his interest in making grand paintings looks cool in the mind and sounds good on paper, but sometimes you get weird stuff like this as a result because it's physically impossible unless you really start whipping out some crazy anime physics and time dialation, which wasn't done...so...yeah.

    Just a bad fight. And it doesn't add anything to either Rey or Kylo's narrative. It's just for the action of it.

    I know you aren't invested in this fight, so I'm not really throwing all of this down for you specifically, but man I really hate this fight and this is the saber thread, and I've wanted to rip this thing apart for a long while...so I just decided to do that here while we're on the topic.

    I really love this film, but this fight sticks out as the big blunder of the film (every Star Wars has at least one big blunder in it).

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #84 Jayson, Aug 12, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2020
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  5. Lukestarbucker

    Lukestarbucker Rebel General

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    Holy god. You are too smart. You need to teach me your Star Wars ways master! :)
     
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  6. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    lol
    I'm just really analytical by nature, love the art of filmmaking since I was a toddler, and have an unhealthy interest in Star Wars filmmaking specifically (it was the first film in my life that I saw behind the camera when I was about 5 years old - blew my mind).

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  7. Lukestarbucker

    Lukestarbucker Rebel General

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    Maybe you should direct a trilogy. You have so many ideas. Lol. I wish you could. :)
     
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  8. DarthSnow

    DarthSnow Master of Coin
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    I like to think that at least Obi-Wan wasn't really trying to be lethal throughout that fight, and at times maybe Anakin wasn't either. After such an emotional start to the duel and with a saber fight being an intimate battle to begin with, he had to have doubts at points... "What am I doing?? Am I really going to kill him if I get the chance?" ... Not that that explains away everything, but it certainly does for some parts.
     
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  9. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    Fair enough.
    My only complication with interpreting it that way is that neither the fight design nor the camera communicated that way, so it's not a straight forward read.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  10. Embo and His Pet Anooba

    Embo and His Pet Anooba Rebel Official

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    my interpretation of the part where they spin their lightsabers back and forth multiple times (you know what im talking about) is that they are constantly predicting each other's strikes at the same time leading up to that stalemate.
     
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  11. DarthSnow

    DarthSnow Master of Coin
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    Yeah, thats definitely part of it too. I liked the way they showed that they were essentially each other's equals when it comes to combat on a level playing field. (See what I did there.)
     
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  12. Meister Yoda

    Meister Yoda Your Little Green Friend
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    Doesn't it actually increase the expectation that Ren would switch sides, through letting them fight together (and even helping each other) for a while?
     
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  13. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    Kylo's whole narrative arc, even back in TFA, is a constant ratcheting of expectations that he'll switch sides. Kylo's practically the Tantric Vader in that regard, as we spent longer watching the, 'Will he/won't he flip?' narrative than we did in the PT (2 movies) or in the OT (one movie), and he just killed Snoke...
    So to me; not really.
    If anything this was a climax of expectation that had been rising all film.

    And even if it were hugely helpful in ractheting expectation, I would see this as useful to egging on the audience, but nothing in regards to Kylo or Rey's narrative growths themselves.

    It was super useful and functional to the film's narrative, just not to Kylo and Rey's growths. Everything for their growths happens before and after the fight - not during it.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
    --- Double Post Merged, Aug 14, 2020, Original Post Date: Aug 14, 2020 ---
    Yeah...I can piece together an idea abstractly about a sort of 'Jedi Equilibrium' moment, but the thing is...that was never foreshadowed, and never built before hand, and never directly communicated during the fight by the camera.

    It's "Jedi Equilibrium" in the same way a toddler understands why their parents are arguing.
    That is, it's missing the connection to the motive of the action we're witnessing.

    If there was at least one scene previously ever in the films about kata, form, moves orders, etc... then you could go with it much more easily.

    Still, it would have benefited from being shot differently, choreographed differently, or edited differently. At least one of the three. It's only odd because there's no narrative set up, the camera stay on medium full body shot with no movement, and there's no intercutting. It's straight fly-on-the-wall documentarian, which is Lucas' style, but it makes this kind of moment really hard to translate over well.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  14. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    A follow up.

    Youtuber Jill Bearup broke the TLJ Throne fight down and discussed the technical aspects of it in an apologetic disposition.
    Even though I'm going to disagree with her, really, you should watch it - it's just a good breakdown of how to think when looking at fights in film in general.

    I think her review goes a very long way to help drive my view home, even though on the surface of it she's basically saying just the opposite.


    What do I mean?
    Well, firstly, let's be clear. Jill does an amazingly good job breaking this down into its technical aspects of design, choreography, and serving the narrative.
    She really does. She also, I think, wins the Star Wars super fan award for going out and training in theater combat for three years because of loving the fight so much.
    That's some serious fandom appreciation right there.

    But, here's the thing. I'm going to toss her amazingly well constructed discussion into the garbage can because though she spends 16 minutes talking about all of the reasons for her position, her actual position is a false dichotomy and appears at 16 minutes.

    "This (fight) is a bold choice. And whether or not you like that choice is going to affect how you feel about the whole thing. More accuracy and flashiness means more stunt performers, more of the actors faces means more emotional connection - longer shots means more connection."
    - Jill Bearup​

    I'm going to highlight the specifically relevant premise she's leaning on and takes the entire video to build up to.

    "More accuracy and flashiness means more stunt performers, more of the actors faces means more emotional connection - longer shots means more connection."

    This is a false dichotomy.
    It basically asserts that the TLJ throne fight had two choices and two choices only:
    1. Make the fight flashy and accurate.
    2. Make the fight more about emotional connection.

    The resulting conclusion, for herself, is that the right choice was made because it wanted to make a fight more about emotional connection than being flashy and accurate.

    But that's just not the case here.

    Firstly, this is one VERY flashy fight. It's flashy as just about anything in the Prequels. There's stuff going on all over the screen and it's a straight battle royale.
    It didn't have to do that, but it chose to.

    Second, she either/or-ing the idea that if it wasn't THIS choreography, then it wouldn't have been as emotional.
    That's just untrue.

    Look at ROTJ's throne room. Regardless if you like it or not, it's almost entirely emotionally driven and the choreography looks nothing like the TLJ throne room's choreography.

    The problem here is in the design.
    No one forced anyone to build the set as a wide open arena with no barriers to design the fight around and isolate individual pockets of fighting.
    No one forced anyone to quire the fight to be a "Kung-Fu Royale".
    And this fight is far from the only way you can show the narratively emotional points - of which, there are at best, about three. None of which are incredibly remarkable because there's just so much noise going on.

    By far more people love this fight because it's flashy, and not because of the highly emotional points it slammed into their heads.
    Scores of commentary have been made about the lightsaber ignition through the head, or the drop catch of the lightsaber.

    There's not a ton of commentary about Rey leaning on Kylo's back, Kylo zooming his focus over to Rey, or Rey trusting Kylo enough to throw her saber to him.

    This isn't the emotional fight of the film.
    This is:
    Picture4.jpg

    And this fight doesn't suffer from nearly the issues that the TLJ throne room fight suffers from.

    Let's look at the examples of emotional meaningfulness in the TLJ throne fight that Jill offers.
    1. They are concerned for each other.
    2. They trust each other.

    1) They are concerned for each other.
    We already know that. They've been concerned for each other the entire film.

    2) They trust each other.
    We already know that. Rey flew to Kylo and handed herself over to him in trust that he would do the right thing.
    And he did. He killed Snoke to save her by slicing Snoke and snapping the saber into Rey's hand.

    Those concepts were already covered. The fight didn't gives us that information as new. It just gave it to us again, but in a different way than before.
    And I would argue, needlessly.

    The emotionally narrative meat and potatoes of this meeting between them isn't that they trust each other and care about each other.
    It's that because they trust and care for each other, their disagreements at the end of everything are painful and wounding - arguably more than any wounds from fighting.

    Let's just imagine there's no guards in Snoke's chamber because he, like the Emperor in ROTJ, told them to take a hike.
    Kylo kills Snoke.
    Rey catches the saber.
    Rey stares at Kylo.
    Kylo stares at Rey.
    Kylo turns his back to Rey and starts pacing.
    Rey shuts off her lightsaber.
    Kylo and Rey have the conversation that happens after the guard fight (just without the prelude of a fight).
    Kylo and Rey end their conversation in force pulling for the lightsaber.

    You still get all of the emotional hits. Nothing changed.

    This would then become a "saber" battle quite literally. A battle over a saber, and the saber would represent whose position wins - who has the power.
    They are circling each other before hand and debating - trying to win each other over.
    It's basically a ROTS Anakin vs. Palpatine 2.0.

    What did we miss? Some fighting by really technically talented folks doing their best to pull off a terribly designed sequence.

    That's it.

    So if you want a fight in here, clearly it doesn't have to be this fight to accomplish the same emotional points.
    There's scores of ways that you could go about having a fight that's focused on the actor's faces, their emotional connection to each other, and not require a massively wide open area and a pile of guards in a set up that was always going to be far outside the ability to control well.

    ============

    Further, I don't agree with Jill's other main point about why all of the sloppiness is fine.

    To paraphrase, because she phrases it backwards in order:

    "The vast majority of the movie going audience are not professionals, so they probably won't notice - at least not the first time."

    Yeah, no. Sorry, but no.
    More of the audience is savvy now than ever, firstly.
    Secondly, even if that weren't true, this is Star Wars.
    The films will be watched dozens of times over over the course of years by the same people.

    They won't watch it a few times and call it good, and eventually watch it again some years later when it pops up in their streaming suggestions.
    No, folks purposefully buy subscriptions to Disney's streaming services just to watch these films...repeatedly.

    They will notice, and with the advent of Youtube, they will notice faster because every non-professional suddenly gets to effectively have the eyes of one thanks to a youtube video they watched which pointed out every nuance of every detail that they personally missed, and youtube bingeing opinions, reviews, and breakdowns of these films is a really, really common social behavior.

    I mean...that is the very premise of her own video. That: A) You like Star Wars. B) You know this fight. C) You want to take a deep dive into every detail of it.

    It's not a simple matter of whether anyone will notice every mistake or just general oddity in the fight on opening night at the theater.
    It's whether or not the fight will hold up over time as a hugely emotionally memorable moment.

    It's not really that important if it's hugely flashy. Cool if it is, and that definitely gets you a lot of milage, but if the argument is that it's sloppy because it wanted to be more emotional and no one is likely going to notice the trade offs, then...it failed.

    It failed because you could be far more emotional with far less, as Jill herself puts it, "NOISE", on the screen, with fewer chances for oddities and mistakes, and yes...folks did notice the flaws...a lot...It doesn't matter how many times it was watched before someone notices. Films don't exist once like a live performance.

    ============

    And lastly, the very thing that Jill uses to defend the overall array of mistakes is the very thing at the core of why I don't think very well of the fight itself.

    "Most of the stuff around the sides is just atmosphere."

    Right. That is entirely the problem.
    There's a bunch of ineffective motion happening in this fight for no reason.
    I don't mean the folks are doing things that themselves have no real reason in terms of motion.
    While that may be true, I mean that there's no narrative reason for all of the motion.

    It's JUST NOISE.

    Having extras doing stuff for just noise is one thing. Having a needless amount of characters just providing general background noise in a fight that you allegedly want to make emotional narrative points with is entirely another thing.

    It's just a bad decision. It's not a fault of anyone, exactly.
    It's just a really bad idea that looked great on paper, but really didn't work out in camera.

    It was ambitious, certainly, but it was also sorely not up to the task because everyone involved - including the camera technicians and Rian Johnson, aren't tenured Kung Fu film actors, camera technicians, and director.

    Even Jackie Chan would have a hard time doing this scene solidly. He'd most likely do it, but the outtake reel would be a massive pile of screw ups all over the place.

    And for what?
    Emotion?

    No. Sorry. THIS isn't REQUIRED to show the emotional narrative points.
    The reason was simply to be bold, big, and flashy.

    I really love TLJ a lot. It's the only second act film in the entire saga that's in my top 6 films. I don't like second acts, or second act films usually.

    So while this may read like I'm just thrashing TLJ, I'm not.
    I've written extensively about what I love about TLJ in sizable volume and almost have nothing written in regards to what I dislike.
    This fight is actually the only part of the film that just openly sticks out as a sore thumb and weak spot for me.
    It's not a game breaker, but it definitely is a problematic saber fight.

    It has really cool costumes, cool weapons, cool characters, cool set design imagery, sharp contrasts, and some reeeeally cool friggen moves tucked inside of this battle, but it's just a bad saber battle to me.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #94 Jayson, Aug 20, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2020
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