Star Wars: Phantom Menace comments and questions

I have heard that making the Trade Federation characters as Japanese was racist- particularly when Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn was extremely dismissive of them, saying “These Federation types are cowards. The negotiations will be short.”
But maybe rather than calling the screenwriter a racist, it is showing the viewer how racist and extremely arrogant the current crop of Jedi are. You go in the movie assuming, with a nudge from the opening crawl, that the Jedi are awesome- but maybe there is nuance in there. Gray areas you didn’t think of before.

Jar Jar Binks is the most annoying character in the Star Wars universe. It goes without saying, but I’m saying it to lead into a favorite fan theory that really he was meant to be a dark side Sith Lord- above Darth Sidius! If it would have played out in Episodes II and III that Jar Jar was either working for or even the master of Sidius, then THAT would have been worth wading through his annoyances. But since his annoying behavior doesn’t lead to any payoff, it has no reason to be. It’s just annoying, and George Lucas is a coward for removing Jar Jar’s reveal as a Zui Quan (drunken boxing) style Sith master from the storyline. Jar Jar is either the true Count Dooku or even the Supreme Leader Snoke!

So when they enter the underwater Gunga City, they just pass through a force field separating water vs air. So…what happens when a fish swims through? This would probably happen every minute. Do they have like an automatic squeegee or something to sweep them back into the water?

Wow, the Boss was really trying to kill them by making them go through the planet core!
It sounds like Sith Jar Jar was trying to kill Boss Nass. It didn’t work. He got off as just clumsy and banished instead of evil and executed.

Why does Lucas do the small fish, bigger fish thing twice in a row?

Is R2-D2 a Zui Quan jedi droid?

These hologram teleconferences always have the audio breaking up to show the large distance involved in transmissions across the galaxy (I guess?), but my experience is the high bandwidth of a hologram video would probably freeze or break up before the audio would.

Are we ever going to see the Angels from the moons of Lego?

So slaves have their own, off-site apartment. Just like me!

What revenge against the Jedi is Darth Maul talking about? What did the Jedi do to the Sith?

Shmi Skywalker has a Swedish accent. Why doesn’t her son Anakin have the same accent? (I know. That’s nit-picky.)

So slaves have their own podracer. Just like I have a car!

What were all those midi-chlorians doing in one of Shmi’s fallopian tubes?

No Jedi has a midi-chlorian count as high as little Ani, but then rather than assume “it’s A Force Miracle!” I would guess there is some technology involved since midi-chlorians are a physical life force measurable in a blood test. The question would be did a Sith Lord do this with a dastardly plan or did a Jedi with all of our best interests at heart and know-better-than-us-what-is-good-for-us do this? They would have made her unconscious (or cause to forget?), kidnapped her, knocked her up in a lab, and set her loose on Tatooine (so-to-speak, relatively- for a slave. Not actually set loose).
Which high level Sith or Jedi keeps tabs on the goings-on in Tatooine? Which one has connections with Gardulla the Hutt and could grab one of her slaves for a lab project? (BTW my money is on Darth Plagueis, who had power over life and death, and Gardulla is mentioned in the book.)

God, this podrace is sooooo long.

So Qui-Gon Jinn can jump up into a moving ship, but Darth Maul can’t?

Having an entire planet turn into one big city is MESSED UP! I’d guess a civilization with such a thing would be messed up also.

Jar Jar telling Ani that the Queen is “pitty hot” is pretty gross. But he is Sith, so…

I don’t understand why Queen Amidala believes Senator Palpatine’s view of the scenario. Why not at least get a second opinion? I’m sure she could even take a meeting with Chancellor Valorum himself since he was already magnanimous enough to send two Jedi to help the Naboo and meet her at her ship when she arrived at Coruscant.

So during this assembly, we can pause for a vote of no confidence in the supreme chancellor, but not introduce evidence of an invasion?

Yoda is a hard-ass.

So if Obi-Wan has to face the trials before becoming a Jedi knight, what did Luke do for this since the Jedi Council was no more?

Huh, they took the photo of Microsoft Windows XP desktop background just before the battle of Naboo started.

The Gungans have HUGE feathers on the back of the mount for the animals they ride. I wonder what ginormous bird they killed to put three feathers on each saddle.

Wait, at the beginning of the movie, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon did some kind of lightning-fast, Force run down a hallway to escape the droidikas, but now Obi-Wan can’t run fast enough to reach Qui-Gon fighting Darth Maul when the forcefield-doors-hallway separated them?

Why is Darth Maul flat footed with Obi-Wan jumps right over him?

Palpatine knew Anikan would have a “career he would watch with great interest.” That tells me he already knew about him, so probably a Sith engineered Anikan.

The actor who plays little Ani is remarkably believable in this role. Good job. What ever happened to his career? (Yes, I could look it up on IMDB before writing this down, but I’m just sayin’ off the top of my head I have no idea.)

Return of Jedi Comments and Questions

Jabba the Hutt in the desert.

I watched Return of the Jedi again for the first time in about 20 years. I have some thoughts and questions:

  • If R2-D2, an “R2” unit, goes around telling people that’s his name, does that mean there were only 260 R2 units ever made? From R2-A0 to R2-Z9?
  • I feel like the aliens weren’t given enough thought.
    • How do those bipedal, green-skinned hippo guards survive in Tatooine? Their drool alone would require its own Hoover Dam!
    • What is the natural food source for a very large, immobile sarlacc nested in the middle of a big sand dune?
    • What are the chances of a squid species eventually becoming bipedal?
  • There must have been several hours of conference room meetings about how to portray Jabba’s place as super sleazy, but still retain a PG mpaa rating.
  • How is being threatened to die by digestion over a thousand years a threat when your typical lifespan is <10% of that?
  • R2-D2 was SELLING drinks aboard the sail barge. Jabba is a cheap bastard.
  • Since Jabba is apparently also a sex slave trafficker, and he was killed by choking…did he find it pleasurable? I am not familiar with hutt anatomy and physiology.
  • I believe we saw Jabba’s wife in Episode 1 at the pod races. Where is she in Episode 6? What does she think about Jabba’s bipedal, chained sex slaves?
  • I am not attracted to hutts AT ALL, so why would Jabba be excited by humanoids?
  • Luke is introduced as a jedi knight in the opening title crawl and at Jabba’s palace, but then he talks with Yoda and THEN realizes that he is finally going to be a Jedi Knight after facing Vader? Continuity problem?
  • What real mom is Leia taking about? Another continuity problem, psychology snafu, or Mandela effect?
  • If you ever think the Ewoks are adorable, just remember that they worshiped as a god the 3rd-most annoying character in the Star Wars universe.  (The first goes without saying. I think the second is that Rizzo-the-rat-like creature that pecks out C3PO’s “eye” aboard Jabba’s sail barge.  Wow, Threepio is a pansy.)
  • Ewoks are boring. I am falling asleep.
  • Sorry, no way the emperor survived that.
  • Come to think of it, I am not familiar with the sex anatomy of Ewoks and Wookies. I presume their anatomical textbooks have multiple instances of prefixes beginning with “crypto” and “endo.”
  • The music is the best thing about Star Wars.
  • Bipedal is a fun word.

optoblog movie short #001: The Air Puff

Title: The Air Puff

Author: David J. Langford

Contact: editor@optoblog.com

Fade in.

INT. – OPTOMETRIST PRE-TEST ROOM – DAY

DR. LANGFORD, an optometrist that smiles like a clown, tosses his clipboard on the adjustable table behind three items of ophthalmic instruments. He lowers the table as JANAE, pretty and wholesome, sits down on the stool on the other side of all the machines.

DR. LANGFORD

So...Jay-Nay? What brings you in for an eye exam today?

JANAE

Juh-Nae. Oh, just a check up.

DR. LANGFORD

Okay, then. Let’s start with this machine.

JANAE

Oh, no. Is this that puff of air thing?

DR. LANGFORD

Yeah. This one is not too bad.

JANAE

Really?

DR. LANGFORD

It’s the most gentle non-contact tonometer on the market.

JANAE

‘Kay...

Janae puts her forehead on the rest. The doctor clicks the button. The machine whirs, and we hear a PUFF of air.

JANAE

(high, almost squeal)

Oh!

She sits back and rubs her eye.

DR. LANGFORD

Ready for the next one?

JANAE

I guess...

The machine whirs again then PUFFS. Janae recoils the same way.

JANAE

(rubbing second eye)

I’m glad that’s over with. What does that machine do, anyway?

Dr. Langford tries to repress his wierd smile.

DR. LANGFORD

It checks eye pressure, which is important to know because if it’s outside the normal range, you could have a serious eye condition.

Janae blinks a lot.

JANAE

My eyes feel dry now.

DR. LANGFORD

Okay, let’s move on to this machine. It gives me a close idea of any glasses prescription you might need. Chin on the chin wrest.

She puts her head up to the autorefractor. It beeps and then-PUFF!!

JANAE

Ah! Hey! I thought we had already finished the puff of air thing!

DR. LANGFORD

Did that puff at you?

JANAE

Yes!

DR. LANGFORD

Huh, let’s try the other eye then.

She puts her head back to the machine, but the monitors shows that she’s squinting in anticipation.

DR. LANGFORD

Okay, for the machine to take the measurement, you’re going to need to open your eye wider.

JANAE

But I don’t want it to puff at me.

DR. LANGFORD

Just a little wider...

Janae’s eye opens just barely more and...PUFF!

JANAE

Ow! It did it again.

DR. LANGFORD

(holding up the print-out)

Well...it printed out these glasses prescription numbers, so it can’t be broken.

JANAE

But it blew air at my eye!

DR. LANGFORD

I’ll have a look at it later. Let’s move on to the last machine in this room.

He holds out a clicker for her to take.

DR. LANGFORD

It’s going to test your peripheral vision. Every time you see a flicker in your side vision, just click on the button. It takes about a minute per eye.

JANAE

Okay, that doesn’t sound so bad...

She takes the clicker from Dr. Langford and puts her forehead up to the machine. She SEES THE FLICKERING SQUARES on the screen.

JANAE

So when I see those dealies I just click?

DR. LANGFORD

Yup, but don’t move your eyes around just look straight ahead. Okay...begin.

She presses the clicker and- PUFF! She sits back.

JANAE

What the...

DR. LANGFORD

Keep clicking!

She gets in the the machine again. She clicks, and...

.MONTAGE OF GETTING PUFFED

PUFF! Janae clicks, puffs, and yelps over and over. Dr. Langford looks on with a sly grin.

INT. – OPTOMETRIST PRE-TEST ROOM – DAY

JANAE

Doctor, every time I clicked on the button, it gave me a puff of air in the eyes!

Dr. Langford looks at his display.

DR. LANGFORD

Oh, you know what? I had it set to the serial tonometry setting. Sometimes it’s helpful to take multiple readings to see what your eye pressure is over time. Oh well, no harm done. Let’s go into the exam room.

INT. OPTOMETRIST EXAM LANE – DAY

Janae enters rubbing her eyes and sets her things down. As the doctor enters, she looks in the mirror on the wall to see that her eyes are bright red.

JANAE

My eyes are really red!

DR. LANGFORD

Don’t worry, that will go away in a minute. Have a seat on that dentist-looking chair.

JANAE

I hope you’re right.

DR. LANGFORD

Of course I’m right.

He scoots a big Phoropher up to her head.

DR. LANGFORD

Now, which is better? One or two?

We see an eye chart, and switching between one or two, WE DON’T NOTICE ANY DIFFERENCE.

JANAE

Um..

Black Screen

SUPER: 20 MINUTES LATER...

INT. OPTOMETRIST EXAM LANE – DAY

DR. LANGFORD

And now which is better, one or two? One or two?

JANAE

I don’t...uh..

Dr. Langford pulls the machine away.

DR. LANGFORD

Okay, it looks like you don’t need glasses still.

JANAE

All that just to find out-

DR. LANGFORD

Okay, one last thing, I’m going to look inside your eyes with my microscope.

He swivels a slit lamp over. It looks kinda’ like those other machines in the pretest room.

JANAE

Doctor, look...I’d rather not do this one.

DR. LANGFORD

Well, I need to look inside your eyes to complete the exam.

JANAE

But couldn’t you do it with something...else?

He pulls out an ophthalmoscope, an innocent-looking flashlight.

DR. LANGFORD

I guess I could use this.

JANAE

Let me see that.

He hands it over. She twists it apart, looks, and reassembles it.

JANAE

Yah, I guess that’s okay.

He takes it back and gets...uncomfortably close to her face.

JANAE

(pushing back)

Whoa, whoa!

DR. LANGFORD

With the ophthalmoscope, I have to get in close. You chose this one. Don’t worry. Nothing touches you.

Janae still has a defiant look of doubt.

DR. LANGFORD

Just a quick thing, and then we’re done.

JANAE

(a look that says don’t cross me)

Real quick.

DR. LANGFORD

Yes.

JANAE

It won’t hurt.

DR. LANGFORD

No.

JANAE

Fine. Get it over with.

He brings the “flashlight” in again, still uncomfortably close.

We SEE ALL THE BRIGHT LIGHTS that she sees.

And then... PUFF! She recoils.

JANAE

That’s it! I’ve had it!

She stands up from the exam chair.

JANAE

I’m not paying for this!

She starts to walk out.

A BLACK SPOT BLINDS her central vision and full view of the doorway.

Janae hits the wall. She holds her forhead.

JANAE

You are sick!

As she exits she has fire in her red, red eyes.

EXT. PARKING LOT – DAY

Dr. Langford strolls to his car. As he gets out his keys.. WHACK! A force of nature- a flash, which vaguely looks like Janae, body checks him onto the car. His limp body then slides to the ground.

Janae brings around the car a big air compressor on wheels. She holds open his eyes while pressing the trigger. Air whooshes his hair and then her aim corrects to his eyes.

JANAE

(as she alternates the aim between his eyes)

Which is better now, doctor? One! or Two!

Dr. Langford whimpers, eyes red. Now Janae has the weird smile.

FADE TO BLACK and ROLL CREDITS

INT. OPTOMETRIST EXAM LANE – DAY

Dr. Langford gets really close to Janae with an ophthalmoscope...and steals a kiss.

FADE TO BLACK