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Friday, May 20, 2005

Eye Candy

Here, for no particular reason (and, therefore, in no particular order), are some of my favorite visuals from the Star Wars movies. I'm thinking of individual shots here, mostly, or scenes whose visual flair I found particularly appealing.

1. Sunset on Coruscant, from The Phantom Menace. I know I said no particular order, but this is actually my favorite pure visual from any of the films. Just after young Anakin is quizzed by the Jedi Council, there's a wipe to a brief series of shots -- we're talking fifteen total seconds of screentime here -- depicting dusk on Coruscant. We see the sun's final edge slip beneath the horizon, then a couple of the tallest buildings falling into dusky shadow. That moment is just pure visual gold.

2. Luke departs Hoth, from The Empire Strikes Back. We get our only real glimpse of the entire Hoth system here, as Luke's X-Wing fighter rockets away from the planet, and then his four thrusters, each shrouded in red afterglow, as he roars away from the camera. I've just always liked that little shot.

3. The "GAHHHH!" Star Destroyer captain from The Empire Strikes Back. As Vader's fleet moves through the asteroid field, one Star Destroyer's conning tower is hit dead-on by a particular large asteroid, destroying it; cut to the bridge of Vader's ship where he's meeting with his captains via hologram. The one on the left is apparently the captain who's currently getting a really close look at an asteroid, because he suddenly throws up his arms in terror and then his hologram winks out. Nice touch.

4. The "orchid planet" from Revenge of the Sith. During the Jedi purge, one female Jedi Knight is killed by her accompanying clone troopers on a planet that appears to be the homeworld of three-story tall orchids. I liked that.

5. The binary sunset from A New Hope. An obvious one; an iconic image from the film that started it all.

6. Anakin versus Dooku in Attack of the Clones. I love how Lucas made the set go dark here, so that the only light was the lightsaber blades, and they flash across closeups of the combatants' faces. I found it an interesting composition, unlike anything else in any of the other lightsaber duels.

7. Shuttle Tyderium versus the Super Star Destroyer in Return of the Jedi. As General Solo's rebel squad is trying to infiltrate Endor, their stolen Imperial shuttle flies really close by Vader's Super Star Destroyer, with the Death Star looming beyond. The sense of scale in this scene always impresses me.

8. The Gungan City, in The Phantom Menace. I love it when Jar Jar swims over a rise, and there beyond is this city of golden bubbles.

What are yours?

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