Sunday, November 26, 2006

Empires, Dreams

Stayed up late last night, I did.

Empire Of Dreams was absolutely fascinating, to me, and to those with whom I watched it. I'm sure each one of us took something different away from it.

The insight that I appreciate most (at this moment) was the fact that the actor inside Darth Vader's helmet was pronouncing --and acting-- from one script, and Luke was reacting to another.

Now that really was the ultimate in saying one thing and meaning another... or of not being on the same page! I suppose it wasn't really much different from script management for Who Shot JR...? But it seemed deeper to this viewer.

I knew that Darth Vader's voice had been dubbed in later, but how cool it was to hear the difference in soundtrack when the original actor spoke. What a difference the "right" voice makes! Or the right howls. Wasn't it fascinating that Chewbacca originally had lines? Talking of Chewbacca, I greatly enjoyed the revelation that some of the movie makers were worried about the Wookie's lack of underwear. I'd noticed that uncivilized omission only the night before.

On Thursday night I tried to watch The Empire Strikes Back. I have it out from the library too, but it's a VCR and in almost unwatchably bad condition. Imagine my joy when it was on TV on Friday night. I was very pleased to see swordmaster Bob Anderson's name in the credits as a stunt double. (Recently I blogged about the account I'd read in By The Sword of why a genuine swordsman, not an actor, had to perform Darth Vader's fight with Luke.)

The music was something else I'd never really thought about--apart from the "declarative" Imperial theme for whenever Darth Vader stalked across the screen, like the wolf theme in Peter And The Wolf, only much more wicked.

How fascinating that the composer had recently finished the score for Jaws, where the
antagonist got the catchy, sinister theme music! What a twist for those of us accustomed to the Bond theme... the Here Comes The Hero refrain. When the movie music is really, really good, I don't notice it much, apart from the theme tunes. It's amusing what a difference a good orchestra makes to an aerial dogfight, isn't it?

I've watched a lot of The Making Of... documentaries, but I don't think I've grasped how much goes into making a great movie quite as vividly as I did last night, watching Empire Of Dreams.

What did you like best?

Best wishes,
Rowena Cherry


  1. Oh, I love watching 'the Making of' documentaries! It's staggering how much goes into a movie. Hands down, my favorite is the one for 'Lord of the Rings.' It really comes out in the documentary how passionate the entire cast and crew was about making those movies. They really knew they were making something monumental. I didn't see any of the usual shallow self-centeredness typically attributed to celebrities. These were good, hard-working people who turned out three awesome movies back-to-back-to back. The most genius part of it was the screenplay. For anyone who's read the original novels, it really is mind-blowing to think of how the three writers managed to produce a screenplay out of the incredible depth and breadth of those three novels. Their Oscar was well-earned.

  2. Joke...

    Two aliens landed in the Arizona desert near a gas station that was
    closed for the night. They approached one of the gas pumps and the
    younger alien addressed it saying, "Greetings, Earthling. We come
    in peace.
    Take us to your leader."
    The gas pump, of course, didn't respond.
    The younger alien became angry at the lack of response and the older
    alien said, "I'd calm down if I were you" The younger alien
    ignored the warning and repeated his greeting.
    Again, there was no response. Annoyed by what he perceived to be
    the pump's haughty attitude, he drew his ray gun and
    said impatiently, "Greetings, Earthling. We come in peace. Do not
    ignore us this way! Take us to your leader or I will fire!
    The older alien warned his comrade saying, "You don't want to do that! I
    don't think you should make him mad."

    "Rubbish, " replied the cocky, young alien. He aimed his weapon at
    the pump and opened fire.
    There was a huge explosion. A massive fireball roared towards them and
    blew the younger alien off his feet and deposited him a burnt,
    crumpling mess about 200 yards away in a cactus patch.
    About a half hour passed. When he finally regained consciousness, he
    refocused his three eyes, straightened his bent antenna, and looked
    dazedly at the older, wiser alien who was standing over him shaking
    his big green head.
    "What a ferocious creature!" exclaimed the young, fried alien." He damn
    near killed me! How did you know he was so dangerous?"
    The older alien leaned over, placed a friendly feeler on his crispy
    friend and replied, "If there's one thing I've learned during my
    intergalactic travels, when a guy has a penis he can wrap around
    himself twice and then stick it in his ear, you don't want to mess
    with Him!"

  3. Anonymous12:07 AM EST

    Re: the alien joke - ROFLMAO!! I'm gonna have to steal that one and post it to the TOOT list...or somewhere!!

    Thanks for that great chuckle, Rowena!

    Carla : )