Everyone is geeking out over Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and here’s hoping J.J. Abrams does the series a solid and not repeat pretty much anything from Episodes I through III.
The last three Star Wars installments were CGI-heavy and short on character development. In fact, it wasn’t hard to root for the bad guys, considering how vanilla the good guys were. Those movies gave us plenty of fodder for “worst Star Wars scenes” but even episodes IV through VI provided laugh-out-loud moments, when laughs weren’t what George Lucas was going for.
Consider the scene in Episode IV: A New Hope, when Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, disguised as Storm Troopers, escort Chewbacca to jail. A shootout with real storm troopers ensues, but Luke and Han spend most of the time blasting lights and security cameras, over, and over and over again, instead of the bad guys. The footage of them targeting the inanimate objects was looped, too, making the scene even more ridiculous.
So, in honor of a seventh episode in the serial coming out, here are 7 cringe-worthy star wars scenes.
7. Episode II – Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala Romance Scene
Where George Lucas really tripped all over himself in his movies were the romance scenes. And not many were more cringe-worthy than those involving Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman). In Episode II: Attack of the Clones, the scriptwriters put all the schmaltz anyone could stomach into romantic interludes between Amidala and Anakin. To wit, Anakin spouts this to Amidala: “I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.” Wow, dude, talk about sweeping a girl off her feet, or starting the worst pick-up line ever conceived. And he who ultimately becomes the biggest badass in the universe, spouts this wimpy clap-trap to Amidala: “The thought of not being with you – I can’t breathe. I’m haunted by the kiss that you should never have given me. My heart is beating…hoping that kiss will not become a scar.” Proof that more film should have hit the editing floor.
6. Episode VI – Jedi Rocks
To most Star Wars aficionados, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi is the best of the lot. However, there were some annoying and cutesy additions — Ewoks! — that precluded the marketing-driven films to follow. What made matters worse, regarding the first three films, was Lucas’ insistence on re-booting with new CGI. So the ‘Jedi Rocks’ scene from Episode VI was extended and updated, when it probably should have never graced the silver screen in the first place. The bizarre-looking, big-lipped singer squeaks horrifically in some Tattooine language, all for the approval of a computer-enhanced Jabba The Hutt, who is enjoying a bit of BDSM with a slave girl. She is accompanied by a gravelly-voiced woolly bug, which again was superfluous. The scene ends with Jabba sending the slave girl to her death in the pit below. He should have sent the band too.
5. Episode IV: Greedo Shot First
The ‘Special Edition’ of A New Hope, was Lucas being Lucas and mucking with a story that needed no mucking with. Adding in CGI is one thing, totally screwing a pivotal character development scene is another. In the original, unedited New Hope, Greedo says to Han Solo (Harrison Ford) “I’ve been looking forward to this moment for a long time,” in reference to capping the galactic bad boy’s ass. But Solo responds “I’ll bet you have” and proceeds to shoot the green, bug-like bounty hunter under the table, establishing his intergalactic thug street cred. In the special edition, Greedo spouts the line, then shoots first, but inexplicably misses at absolute point blank range.
4. Episode V: Luke and Leia Kiss
Up until Episode VI, no one had any idea that Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) are actually brother and sister. So in hindsight, it was really, really cringe-worthy for the two to share a big ol’ smooch. Leia, responding to an offhand remark made by Solo to Luke, wants to teach him a lesson, saying “well, I guess you don’t know everything about women yet!” She then proceeds to kiss her brother Luke passionately, in full view of Solo and Chewbacca. She finishes up and sends a “how do you like me now” look Solo’s way, while a completely satisfied with himself Skywalker puts his arms behind his head and grins. Chewbacca says something unintelligible in the background, but we’ve roughly translated it to: “Dude, your girlfriend just stuck her tongue down her brother’s throat. That’s just nasty!”
3. Episode I: Little Anakin
Up to now, we’ve given short shrift to skewering bad scenes from the second triumvirate of movies, but we’ll make up for lost time to the end of this list. We promise. No one character, we feel, was as grating — well, there is one other, later — than pre-teen Anakin. Apparently, before he was the sinister Darth Vader, “little Annie” was just another precocious cherubic kid from Tatooine who likes to take out the Podracer for a spin every once in a while. With all the hype surrounding the continuation of the serial with Episode I: The Phantom Menace, movie-goers were probably expecting a whole lot more from the 16-year interlude between films. But no, Lucas pandered to the marketers, pitting a little dude in a CGI spacecraft against weirdo aliens in a futuristic Daytona 500. “Now this is podracing!” just makes us want to shut the sound off.
2. Episode III: Yoda’s Bad Cliche
Yoda, as weird as he talks and looks, is actually one of the series’ cooler characters. Yes, he looks like a Gremlin crossed with Taco Bell dog, but he gets to kick butt and be the face of the good side of The Force. In Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the Jedi master gets to confront the sinister Darth Sidious, once and for all. Yoda tosses aside Sidious’ minions with ease and has a verbal set-to with the hooded Dark Side baddie. Sidious blasts Yoda with an electric bolt and proceeds to trash-talk the little green man, saying “at last the Jedi are no more.” Sidious gets his come-uppance, but not before Yoda gets to utter the worst cliché Star Wars writers could have come up with, “not if anything to say about it, I have.” He gives Sidious a serious beat down, but all that is lost while the audience laughed at the dialogue.
1. Episode I: Jar Jar Binks
We knew that the re-boot of the franchise was in trouble when Lucas and the writers decided the good guys needed a boost from a thoroughly annoying Rastafarian alien. Yup, he was good for selling a whole lotta toys, but naming a character Jar Jar? Lucas and the script-writing gang must have come up with that after a marathon bong-hitting soiree. Perhaps Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) summed it up best when he says to Binks, “your ability to speak does not make you intelligent.”
The fact that everything he says even has Jamaican people saying “what the heck just came out of his mouth?” is one thing. The other is that he is completely idiotic, sticking out his tongue at the worst of times, like the scene where nearly electrocutes himself with a bolt of electricity. Now that could have been a way to write him out early, but Lucas missed the moment –to everyone’s detriment.