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10 - Special Effects.
The OT ushered in a new era of movie special effects, creating some truly eye popping space battles and funky aliens. There was a joy and imagination to these creations, a child-like wonder, and it helped propel the love of the first three films. Without them, the movies wouldn't have been the juggernaut they are, and they set the bar for sci-fi and fantasy through the next 15 years.
9 - The Force.
While the concept of a good and evil force in nature, balanced and necessary, was certainly not new, it was how it was handled and woven into the fabric of the story through out the films that make it such an important aspect. Every idea they came up with didn't work, and they did tend to over play it - I have a 'force driven' concept on my bad list too - but overall it was the melding of this ancient believe system into a futuristic back drop that made the entire story what it was.
8 - Licensing
Lucas knew what he was doing when he went after the licensing in his deal for A New Hope. While character licensing had existed, it was only the Planet of the Apes that had done it in the same excessive way prior to the first Star Wars film. Thanks to the franchise, we have everything from cereal to dog food, all branded under the name. It's made a lot of people very rich, and it's made a lot more of us very poor.
7 - Who's your daddy?
The plot of the films has never been deep, or complex, or unique. Even the newest installment, while considered 'busy', is still a very basic story. They tried to create some mystery around Rey, but it wasn't nearly as mysterious as I think they expected.
But they did manage to do it once. The big reveal of Vader as Luke's father was a huge surprise at the time, and took most people by surprise, as
did the idea that Luke and Leia were brother and sister. You have to hand it to them - they managed to sneak a little incest into a kid's movie.
Just a little.
6 - The Battle of Snoke
I'm sure there's a better name for it, but I'm talking about the entire scene starting with Rey being brought in front of Snoke, to the defeat of his Praetorian Guards. The whole thing is one of my favorite scenes in the entire franchise, and goes down as the best choreographed light saber fight. And Ren turning on Snoke might not be as big a surprise as Daddy Vader, but it's about as close as they ever came again. Of course, none of this would be possible without...
5 - Lightsabers
For all us big kids who grew up on Zorro and swashbucklers, the creating of a high tech sword was ingenious. It sucked us in, and was undeniably cool. That each one was unique to the user was a big plus, and their design was well thought out and executed. It's one of the coolest weapons ever conceived for film, and Lucas gets massive props from me for it.
4 - The Music.
Too often we take for granted the soundtrack of great films. Fortunately, fans are aware of the awesome accomplishment of John Williams, and his amazing work on the entire series. There are few pieces of music so closely tied to a film and so much a major influence on our very culture. Every time I have sat in a darkened theater and the opening music has swelled, I've gotten chills. That is a big part of Williams' legacy, and a big part of the legacy of the films themselves.
3 - Fett's Armor.
You'll notice I said "Fett's Armor" and not "Boba Fett". Sorry, but the character is lame, hyped up into something he was not by rabid 10 year olds. But the design of his costume is outstanding, bringing together key elements of past and future. There are lots of great costumes in the series, but Fett's tops my list.
2 - Darth Vader.
When film buffs and average movie goers are asked to list the greatest movie villains of all time, Vader is consistently at the top. It's a testament to just how amazing he is that Lucas couldn't ruin him even with the craptacular prequel story. He is the culmination of excellent costume design, terrific voice acting, and an imposing aura. When he steps out in Rogue One, it's total goosebumps. That's an amazing villain.
1 - Han Solo.
While I've only highlighted Vader as a specific favorite character, there were a ton of great ones in the various films. Leia, Rey, Yoda, Mace, Maul, Obi-Wan, Jyn Erso - the list could go on and on. But there's only one that tops my list. Han Solo was always the star for me, and he epitomized a bad ass hero who had a heart and soul. The role propelled Harrison Ford, one of my favorite actors, and with good reason. Batman has always been my favorite 'superhero'. While others has powers, he was just a dude. A rich dude, but just a dude. Han is the Batman of Star Wars. While others get the fancy force powers to save their asses, he has to make do as a normal dude. And he does it with style and class.
While I normally only do Bests, I couldn't resist this time and had to list my ten worst aspects as well. Hey, I couldn't possibly be a Star Wars fan and not bitch about it, could I? So here's my ten least favorite things:
I know I'm going to alienate a whole bunch of folks who saw the OT when they were mere whippersnappers and loved those adorable little Ewoks. But they were easily my least favorite aspect of the first three films, and to my adult brain, seemed like utter pandering to the fuzzy plush toy market. I despised them for many years, but in my old age I've grown to merely find them seriously annoying.
9 - CGI
Remember when I said the special effects were one of my favorite things? To also hate some of the CGI is not a paradox. The practical effects were largely amazing, and most of the CGI, particularly the work in the last three films with characters like Tarkin and Leia, has been jaw dropping. But there's some really dodgy CGI in the prequels, and a bit of it crept into the final three films as well. And nothing takes you out of a movie experience like dodge CGI.
8 - Luke Skywalker.
I bet I have your attention with this one. Yea, I love Han, and Leia, and Vader...but Luke is a character that I never connected with. He's such a whiny putz in ANH and ESB, who barely redeems himself in ROJ. Barely. And the three latest films haven't really done him any favors either. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with how he was portrayed in Episodes 7, 8, and 9. But that's because being a putz is exactly what I expected of him.
7 - Flying Leia.
I'm a bigger fan of the latest movies than a lot of people, including TLJ. But even I have my limits. Bringing Leia back from a seemingly impossible situation by having her force pull herself back to the ship? Yea, that was one of those limits. It's a groan inducing moment, and the character deserves much, much better. Thankfully, she got that in ROS.
6 - The Jedi Afterlife.
One of the greatest weaknesses in the series is the reliance on some repetitive tropes. People tend to get out of situations the same way over, and over again. One of my least favorite of these devices is the 'mystical Jedi popping by to chat'. It's cute in the OT, but it gets ridiculous by the time we get to ROS. Seriously, if everyone just keeps popping back up, there's a whole lot less impact to their death.
5 - Midichlorians.
There have been a fair share of stupid plot devices, goofy concepts, and silly missteps. Hey, when you have 11 movies, it's bound to happen. There's really only one that I can't let go - midichlorians. I have no idea what possessed Lucas to screw with the simple concept of the Force, but thank God he figured out right away what an awful idea it was.
4 - Prequels.
Speaking of George, he's also at fault for the prequels, which is pretty hard to forgive. While you could argue their quality, there's a bigger issue. Rather than give us additional sequels starring the characters we loved from the OT, he waited years to give us a prequel story that none of us really wanted. Sure, had Anakin not been a whiny, annoying brat, it might have been an interesting tale, but sadly, it was not. And our chance to ever get the story of the three heroes we all loved was lost.
3 - Jar Jar.
In the course of almost 20 years, I really thought I'd never reviewed a Jar Jar figure. Imagine my surprise to find I did, way back in 2001. Yes, he is the most annoying character to ever appear in a Star Wars movie, hands down. If Abrams and company were really just doing whatever the fans wanted, he would have included a gruesome, horrible death for Jar Jar.
2 - The Edits.
Let's say your mom gives you a new shirt. You love it. It's your favorite shirt ever. She made it for you with her own little hands, and it's marvelous. You wear it and love it for years...then she grabs it and throws it in the tie dye, because she thinks it looks better that way. Yea, you'd be pretty pissed.
That's what George did to the beloved OT. Mucking around with the only real success he ever had instead of working on new concepts, tinkering because he thought he could make it 'better'. What he never understood is that once you give your art to the world, it is no longer yours. It becomes the property of all those fans that love it. And for those that disagree, I have but one thing to say to you - "maclunky".
1 - The Fans.
I've just spent many paragraphs telling you all the things that suck about Star Wars. And I'm going to top that list off by putting the complaining fan base in first place. Is this a paradox? Irony? Nay nay I say!
There's a huge difference between normal disagreement on the direction of a story, the characterization of beloved characters, or the annoyance with a director or writer, and the sickening vitriol we've seen spew out of the Star Wars fan base. It's one thing to believe Jar Jar is annoying, and another to attack the actor that voiced him. When you can name multiple actors who have fled social media, all because of the harassment of these so called 'fans', you realize this particular group is unique. Other franchises have rabid fans, but none reach the heights of hate and animosity that this group does.
Sadly, it's been bleeding into other areas over time. Newer hits, like Rick and Morty, are starting to see this same crap happening. It's disappointing - and yes, ironic - that the movies which expressed choosing the light over the dark have given birth to such a nasty culture.
If you're enjoying this top ten concept of Captain Toy Picks or have a suggestion for a future list, drop me a line and let me know! I've added a section below with links to all the past Captain Toy Picks... features:
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Ten Action Figure Packages!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Female Sixth Scale Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Statue Series!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Defunct Toy/Collectibles Companies!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Original Action Figure Lines!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top 'Remakes Required' Sixth Scale Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Sideshow Sixth Scale Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Hot Toys Portraits - Male!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Robot Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Animal Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Action Figure Vehicles!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Television (Live Action) Action Figure Lines!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Movie Based Action Figure Lines!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Underrated Action Figure Lines!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Action Figure Play Sets!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Ten Smart Purchases!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Ten McFarlane Lines!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Ten Bad Action Figure Ideas!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Ten Toy Fair 2017 Reveals!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Ten Unproduced Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...The People's Picks for Best of 2016!
Captain Toy Picks...Best/Worst of 2016!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Poppies Winners of the Past Ten Years!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten DC Universe Classics Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Christmas Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Joker Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Superman Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Animated Action Figure Series!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Toy Things I'm Thankful For!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Premium Format Statues!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Horror Sixth Scale Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Horror Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Sixth Scale Disappointments Over $100!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Sixth Scale Disappointments Under $100!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Palisades Muppets!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Wanted Licenses in Sixth Scale!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Batman Black and White Statues!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Masters of the Universe Classics Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Female Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Prop Replicas!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Simpsons World of Springfield action figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Batman action figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Sixth Scale Grails!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Sixth Scale Figures!
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