Friday, November 21, 2014

Fight Scenes: Armies

A couple more points on the fights at the end of the Episode 2, which we discussed somewhat yesterday. Star Wars has fights that can roughly be broken down into three categories: fighter focused spaceship battles, light saber duels, and armies versus armies.

Like Episode 1, it can’t escape our notice that once again, Episode 2 ends with two armies clashing where neither side is composed of normal humans. We saw droids and gungans fight it out (and die) for their human masters before, and now we see droids and clones fight it out. Lucas has a pretty good handle here on imperial dynamics, and who dies for who.

We can contrast this with the Original Trilogy, where the major army conflicts (Hoth in Episode 5 and the Sanctuary moon in Episode 6) involve (on the rebel’s side) humans and aliens working together, but most definitely many humans giving their life for the cause alongside their alien brothers and sisters.

(The Ewok-Rebel-Droid interactions are so layered and complicated that I doubt this blog will be able to get to them and explain them fully. You could ask me directly if you wanted an analysis of their ambiguity. But suffice to say, at least their complexity is superior to the Gungan lambs that have been sent to the slaughter in Episode 1.)


I'm particularly struck by the armies at the end of Attack of the Clones.

The artillery and ships that the Clone Army come with are suddenly reminiscent of designs we've seen before: the Star Destroyers and AT-AT's of the original trilogy. Between them and the clone trooper outfits, we're gradually blending in the design cues we know of the Empire.

But I particularly like the contrast here. The droid artillery rides inside giant wheels, that recall the destroyer droids at the beginning of Phantom Menace. The mechanical people use wheels and continuous movement.

Whereas the Republic forces use craft with articulated joints that move like organic creatures. 

The look and elements of these tools are very thought out. They are meant to evoke certain feelings from us. Which is why I give them so much credit when they make us feel uncomfortable, or that something is wrong.

For one last piece of evidence, what does this artillery cannon make you think of?


  1. Also, as Star Wars Ring theory points out, the Republic entering the scene from the right is classic film language for aggressors/bad guys (see the Empire coming in from the right at the Battle of Hoth). Subtly wrong indeed.