Thursday, June 21, 2007

Look at all the pretty spaceships....

I was just reading a message board thread somewhere -- never mind where, not important -- where several folks hold forth on the notion that the opening space battle in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is hard to follow because there's so much visual stuff going on. I can only read that and wonder if they bothered trying to pay attention, or if they just closed their eyes and thought of England or something.

I saw that thing twice in the theaters on opening day, and even on DVD at reduced size, I've never had problems following that space battle. In fact, Lucas makes it easy to follow by putting his two hero Jedi in spaceships that are totally unique in the entire battle, designing those ships so their cockpits resemble those of the TIE fighters we know so well from the original trilogy, giving those two ships helpful little tongues of blue flame jetting from the engines (possible because the battle takes place in upper atmosphere), and he cuts to dialogue that explains what the hell's going on. Anakin says something like, "We're heading for the ship that's crawling with vulture droids!", and then the very next shot shows a ship that's crawling with droids, and so on.

What I actually admire most about that space battle is that it seems to correct a problem I had with the spaceship effects in The Phantom Menace, in that too often the ships appear to move in a way that's independent of the fact that the ships have mass. Compare the Queen's starship lifting off from Naboo with, say, the Millennium Falcon lifting off from Mos Eisley or Hoth and you see what I mean. However, by the time of Revenge, the ships all seem to have quite a bit of weight involved. If that makes sense.

Anyway, geek moment over.

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