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Star Wars Prequels Media Movies

How Yoda Became an Action Star 769

Posted by timothy
from the he-used-the-force dept.
fexter writes: "This article at Entertainment Weekly talks about Yoda's transformation from a puppet to a completely-CG character, and talks about the animators' horror at Lucas' transformation of Yoda: 'When Coleman and crew first saw them, they were appalled. They thought it was unseemly and undignified for Yoda to bounce through the fight like a Superball loose in a toy store.'"
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How Yoda Became an Action Star

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  • Fight Scene (Score:4, Funny)

    by fidget42 (538823) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @07:50PM (#3682877)
    A friend of mine said that the fight scene reminded him (sound wise) of a battle involving Miss Piggy. Unfortunately, now I picture her in the fight instead of Yoda.
    • Re:Fight Scene (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sc00ter (99550) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @07:51PM (#3682892) Homepage
      Considering the person that does the voice of Miss Piggy is also the person that does the voice of Yoda (Frank Oz) it's no suprise.



      • Have you seen the new Denny's TV commercial? She and Kermit are ordering breakfast at Denny's. They order a Grand Slam breakfast and go ape-shit because they are overjoyed to be eating pancakes, sausage, and bacon. Man, there is some sick shit on TV these days...
      • Well, according to imdb [imdb.com] Frank Oz didn't do Yoda's voice in this one, he was on the set only as a consultant.

        Triv
        • Re:Fight Scene (Score:3, Informative)

          by Gid1 (23642)
          According to imdb, he did do the voice. He was only required on set as a consultant to fill in the voice of Yoda he did (before or after) in the recording studio for the benefit of the real life actors.

          The imdb trivia entry is misleading... the full cast list clarifies it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @07:53PM (#3682901)
      But Miss Piggy would have knocked him out faster
    • by Artifice_Eternity (306661) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @09:27PM (#3683323) Homepage
      This was the most interesting part of the article for me:

      At first, anxious to demonstrate CG's full photorealistic power, the animators took Yoda far beyond his crude former self, having his mouth form full phonemes and moving his body around faster. They also ironed out all the wrinkles: No more jiggly ears or shaky arms or broadly pantomimed walks. But these initial results ''looked creepy,'' says Coleman. ''It looked like a little green man. It wasn't Yoda.''

      So they ''dirtied up'' the animation, aping all of Yoda's limitations. When original puppeteer (and voicer) Frank Oz saw the footage, he freaked. ''He said, 'You're even matching my mistakes! Those ear wiggles -- you've got to get those out!''' But Coleman, and especially Lucas, vetoed Oz's request, arguing that the evident puppet-ness of Yoda is in fact what audiences remember best about him, and they still expect it.


      They were right. I was impressed by the fact that Yoda still moved like he used to, and didn't suddenly have overarticulated lips. I also noticed his ears trembling occasionally as his head moved. This was essential to selling us on the CGI.

      I much prefer the more organic look of puppetry and stop-motion to some of the poorly done CGI in the last couple SW movies (and the "Special Edition" of the 1st trilogy). Two examples: In Star Wars: SE there was a lot of crap that was supposed to "enhance" Mos Eisley, including a Stormtrooper (I think) falling off of a beast he was riding. It looked stupid and fake. In ATC, there was the Sound of Music scene where CGI Anakin fell off of his giant snail, or whatever the hell that thing was. Also incredibly fake. Clue to Lucas: put REAL people on horses, or even on big stuffed models of the creatures you're portraying (like the Taun-Tauns in Empire), and film them falling off. Looks much better.
      • Clue to Lucas: put REAL people on horses, or even on big stuffed models of the creatures you're portraying (like the Taun-Tauns in Empire), and film them falling off. Looks much better.

        I dunno... some of those stop-motion tauntaun shots are some of the worst effects in all of Star Wars. Not sure I'd use those sequences as a model to emulate in any way.

  • by ObviousGuy (578567) <ObviousGuy@hotmail.com> on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @07:51PM (#3682891) Homepage Journal
    From the first paragraph:

    We're talking, of course, about the most crowd-pleasing scene in a movie so far this year, wherein the little green Jedi Master summons the Force to bounce and whoop and haiiii-yah!

    No... The most crowd pleasing scene in a movie so far this year was Kirsten Dunst giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to Spiderman in the rain with her nipples hard from the cold.
    • by Mike the Mac Geek (182790) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @07:59PM (#3682938) Journal
      May you live long, good sir, for putting that particular image back into my head. I had nearly forgotten the perkiness of that moment. Never again.
    • Why is it some kids get so carried away by such a thing? Unless you are the cause; who cares!
    • Filthy (Score:2, Funny)

      by thelen (208445)

      The Filthy Critic's [bigempire.com] take:

      "Kirsten Dunst is a very good actress, and each of her tits under a wet shirt is worth a quarter the price of admission. I mean, this is the kind of stuff that makes a man sitting alone in a theater instinctively squeeze the Hamm's he smuggled in."

    • by Nighttime (231023)
      The most crowd pleasing scene in a movie so far this year was Kirsten Dunst giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to Spiderman in the rain with her nipples hard from the cold.

      You didn't notice that Natalie Portman had a twin nipple-on in the cockpit scene on Tatoonie. Who'd have thought it was that cold in the desert? :)

      (No, I wasn't deliberately looking out for it, but it was one of those things that once you'd noticed it, you couldn't stop noticing it.)

      • Ahh yes... they must have had some good air conditioning in that spaceship.

        That and the fireplace scene were my favorites. The only thing the fireplace scene was missing was some "porn groove" music.

        (off-topic: I still don't understand how a queen is elected, but a senator is appointed. It just seems like a stupid thing that Lucas made up so that Natalie Portman's character wouldn't need $100,000 costumes).

  • by Anonymous Coward
    but he forgot to take a few minutes to warm up as stretching cold muscles can cause injury.
  • Appalled? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MightyPhil (567571) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @07:54PM (#3682909)
    Why, I thought this was one of the best scenes in the movie. All my life, I wanted to see Yoda as a real Jedi, rather than just a frail wise old master. This fight was what I have been waiting for from Star Wars for a long time.

    Finally, you understand that Yoda, although frail physically, has the ability to channel the Force in ways that no other Jedi can, at least as far as we have seen.

    I don't think that the fight was in any way a detriment to the character, it actually just enhances his mystique. Besides, the irony of him finishing up bouncing off the walls, only to pick up his cane and hobble around again was priceless.

    • Indeed. One man's trash is another man's treasure, as they say. I'd have to say that scene is tied for favorites (in Episode 2) with the juxtaposition of C-3PO and a battle droid; details left out in case readers haven't seen the film, but those who have know what I'm referring to.
    • When 875-or-so years old you reach, look as good you will not, eh?

      Of course, the bits that really make that scene come immediately before and after the fight, not during, but half the posters on this thread have spoiled the joke for anyone who hasn't seen it yet anyway... :-(

    • Re:Appalled? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by GuyMannDude (574364) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @08:23PM (#3683065) Journal

      Well, I am of similiar mindset to you in someways and not in others.

      Finally, you understand that Yoda, although frail physically, has the ability to channel the Force in ways that no other Jedi can, at least as far as we have seen.

      I've always thought that the Jedi are a pretty clear reference to martial arts and that The Force is similar to the chinese concept of "chi". Chi is meant to be some kind of biological energy force that flows through the body of an individual (in fact, acupuncture is designed to reroute the chi through meridians in the body -- if you believe in that sort of thing). Chinese martial artists believe their superior fighting ability comes from being able to channel their chi into an opponent and use the opponent's chi against them. In a book by B.K. Frantzis entitled "The Power of Internal Martial Arts," he describes studying under several chinese kung fu masters. One of them was so old and frail that he walked into the dojo with a cane, after warming up was able to toss strong men around effortlessly, and then had to leave again with the assistance of a cane. So the idea that The Force can help one overcome their age-induced physical limitations isn't exactly new.

      I don't think that the fight was in any way a detriment to the character, it actually just enhances his mystique.

      I don't think that people object to Yoda fighting, it was the way in which he fought. Movies have somehow perpetuated the idiotic notion that martial arts is about jumps and flips. I think it would have been far, far, more impressive if Yoda moved around a lot less and demonstrated his skill with the speed, accuracy and ability to rapidly change his sabre strokes. He expended a lot of useless energy bouncing around. Remember, when you're doing a flip, you're basically defenseless and not doing any real attack. You would think that a wise old Jedi like Yoda would be able to use some pretty efficient moves on Dooku.

      Just my two cents,

      GMD
      • Re:Appalled? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by FFFish (7567) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @08:45PM (#3683159) Homepage
        I think it would have been far, far, more impressive if Yoda moved around a lot less and demonstrated his skill with the speed, accuracy and ability to rapidly change his sabre strokes.

        Damn straight. Imagine him fighting with an economy of motion and energy. Defeating enemies by using their movement against them; parrying their attack by using their attack against them; using the subtlest shift in weight to completely alter a situation to his advantage.

        It'd have been a thing of beauty.
      • Agreed.

        I had chills as Joda drew his sabre. In that instant I was thinking, "Excellent. Now we will see *The* Master Jedi in action." Unfortunately my ephoria was quickly dashed aside.

        I was hopeing to see a grand master swordman. Where every parry, and stroke were perfect. Instead we get to see a buzzing bee zip around the screen.
        • If every stroke was perfect would it not be a pretty short fight? Not exactly fun to watch, eh?
          • ok ok, "perfect" wasn't the best word to use. I toyed with the idea of useing "amazingly great" but it didn't seem to fit. :-)
        • Re:Appalled? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by raistlinne (13725) <lansdoct@cs.alfredSTRAW.edu minus berry> on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @02:12AM (#3684368) Homepage
          Where every parry, and stroke were perfect.

          Well, did you ever see yoda get hit? His opponent had no opportunity to hit him. What other quality is there to the perfect parry, or the perfect stroke?

          Why should yoda have fought like someone twice his size with none of his force powers? It doesn't make sense.

          As the old saying goes: "If you're a master of the invisible kick, it really doesn't matter what your opponent knows." Similarly: "It is better to be great at one type of punch than good at ten." Yoda could move faster than essentially any other living creature. Since yoda's speed came from an unexhaustable source of power, why waste time with skillful moves on the gamble that your opponent isn't better at his attack than you are at your specific parry, when you can constantly bombard him with attacks that give him no chance to counterattack?

          Something that a judo sensei told me: once your a blackbelt, you'll have some move that you do really well -- better than prettymuch everyone else. When you're a high degree blackbelt, you'll have for or five such moves. When you're practicing, you practice all of your moves. When you're in a competition (or fighting), you use the ones that you're expert at. yoda was an expert in the force. Why would he ignore that in favor of his skill in fencing?

      • Re:Appalled? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by raistlinne (13725) <lansdoct@cs.alfredSTRAW.edu minus berry> on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @01:56AM (#3684324) Homepage
        I've always thought that the Jedi are a pretty clear reference to martial arts and that The Force is similar to the chinese concept of "chi".

        Well, sort of. The Chinese concept of chi is a fairly internal one, whereas the idea of the force is very external. Chi powers have more to do with manipulating energy in one's body, and force powers have more to do with manipulating energy outside of one's body (not that the force isn't inside of people as well, but it's by virtue of being all-pervasive).

        I don't think that people object to Yoda fighting, it was the way in which he fought. Movies have somehow perpetuated the idiotic notion that martial arts is about jumps and flips.

        Well, this isn't so idiotic. There are chinese styles that are very, very jumping-heavy. From what I understand, there are some northern styles where a fighting person spends more time in the air then on the ground. (This is supposed to be derived from fighting on ice, where the air is actually a more stable place than the ground is.)

        That being said, I heard a story (from someone who witnessed it) about a 60-something year old black dragon gung fu practicioner who drank gin from the bottle, smoked cigars about 1" in diameter, had a pot belly the side of some people's bodies, and waddled around. Some students insulted him (laughed at how fat he was, I believe) and by way of demonstration, after informing them of what he was going to do, he jumped upso that his waste was around the height of their shoulders or heads, kicked one in the shoulder and before he hit the ground had spun around and kicked the other one in the side of the leg. The students both hit the ground at approximately the same time.

        So maybe there's more to the idea of a master jumping around at really high speeds than you realize. :-)

        He expended a lot of useless energy bouncing around. Remember, when you're doing a flip, you're basically defenseless and not doing any real attack.

        Well, I thought that (1) it wasn't his energy - it was the force, so that there was an unlimited supply of it and (2) he was moving around to attack from different positions. After all, it's not like he jumped up and waited to land again before attacking. His saber was spinning around saw-tooth fashion while he was jumping, and I recall Dooku having to block it more than once while yoda's feet were not on the ground.

        You would think that a wise old Jedi like Yoda would be able to use some pretty efficient moves on Dooku.

        Given that Yoda probably couldn't even reach Dooku's chest with his light saber, how did you want him to fight? By constantly attacking Dooku's ankles? Do remember that in traditional sword fighting a longer reach count's for quite a lot - and Dooku's arms were something like twice as long as Yoda's, if not more. Yoda would have been severely outmatched just by that, had he stayed relatively motionless on the ground. By jumping around, Yoda was able to attack Dooku near his head.

        That being said, he didn't seem to be doing much in the way of deflecting Dooku's saber and attacking a more vulnerable spot, which happens a lot in real fencing. That was a bit dissapointing. That and yoda not winning. It's not like Dooku wasn't expendible.

    • Why, I thought this was one of the best scenes in the movie.

      And if you read more than the first couple of paragraphs, you would have seen that Coleman and the animators eventually agreed with you.
    • Finally, you understand that Yoda, although frail physically, has the ability to channel the Force in ways that no other Jedi can

      But that's not what Yoda did. He and Dooku figured out that neither could defeat the other through mastery of the force, so they agreed to settle the dispute through mundane methods. Did you even see the movie?

      It wasn't the force. If it was, here is what would have happened: Dooku would have swung fast and furiously with the light saber, and Yoda would have parried every blow with his mind and a minute wave of his fingers. He would have thrown off those attacks just as if they were the earlier stones and lightning bolts. If that were the way the scene would have been done, it would have been awesome! It would have put fear on the face of Dooku.
    • At first I disagreed with you.

      I didn't really like the Yoda scene because everything was way over done and there was no touch of subtlety. A true master does not waste his energy, he uses it wisely and effectively. If anything, he'd make his opponent become flashy, not himself. Also, Yoda should have finished that upstart dark Jedi, no contest.

      Then I remembered the rest of the movie and had to agree. This was the best scene.
    • This was my favorite scene in the movie by far. Yoda fucking kicks ass.
    • We saw it in Qui-Gon's leap from the desert floor in Tatooine to the Naboo cruiser during the fight with Darth Maul in Episode 1.

      We saw it again in the generator room on Naboo when Qui-Gon, Darth Maul, and Obi-Wan were jumping back and forth across the various walkways. Again, Ep1.

      We saw it, yet again, in Ep1 in the finishing move Obi-Wan used on Darth Maul. Or do you think ANYONE has the upper body strength to pull themselves up 6-8 feet in the air and flip completely over someone using only their arms?

      In Episode 2, we see it when Anakin blocked the finishing blow Dooku was about to give Obi-Wan.
  • Psshaw (Score:5, Funny)

    by thelen (208445) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @07:54PM (#3682912) Homepage

    They thought it was unseemly and undignified for Yoda to bounce through the fight like a Superball loose in a toy store.'"

    He looked much more like Sonic the Hedgehog.

  • Yoda speaks (Score:5, Funny)

    by smaug195 (535681) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @07:54PM (#3682913)
    How so limber am I? Frisky one is if animators hand in ass is not.
  • by Brigadier (12956) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @07:54PM (#3682917)


    Everyone knows he used the force

    evryone I know who watched the movie enjoyed that scene the most. Just to see him spiraling through the air. then pick up his walking stick and limp away. To be honest I think the transformation was reasonable. There is always that cartoony effect that you get with CGI. that you dont get by using a puppet. Real hair real shadows, real intigration with the scene.
  • by Alien54 (180860) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @07:57PM (#3682926) Journal
    But Lucas insisted upon staging the scene as planned (though some of the staff suggestions -- like easing into the fight with a longer duel-of-the-wizards buildup -- did get incorporated). ''George told me, 'You don't understand,''' says Coleman. '''The fans WANT this. They've been dying for this. I can't tell you how many letters I get. They want to see Yoda throw it down.'''

    It seems that Lucas had learned to fear the force of the Fans

    He may be a slow learner, but apparently He does learn. Now he he would only make Episode I more meaningful.

    • Now he he would only make Episode I more meaningful.

      NO! No more screwing around with movies that are out. I'm sorry, but I for one am absolutely mortified that he's talking about putting Jar Jar in E4.

      I wish he would just wrap up E3 so that it ties in and get the $#@$ out of it if he won't do E7-E9. Instead of re-writing history, just finish the story.
  • Since I saw the movie after all the fanboys and their ilk had already hit their 20 viewing limit, I must say, that the audience reaction in the theatre was significant enough to measure only in that scene.

    A real high point in an otherwise soulless film.
  • by CarlDenny (415322) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @08:01PM (#3682948)
    I'm still annoyed at the Yoda fight scene, and I think the animators were right.

    Yes, having Yoda kick ass was cool.
    But he didn't have to do it by spinning around at 3600RPM.

    Yoda is supposed to be relaxed and smug. He should have overwhelmed Dooku with -skill- instead of just being four times faster, with no moment of inertia. That scene would have been twice as good if the big Y had stayed upright, and parried and feinted like a madman. No need for backflips.
    • by Deagol (323173) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @08:22PM (#3683062) Homepage
      I have to agree. I would have liked to see a parallel to the first Luke/Vader fight in ESB. The first few minutes are Luke going at it, while Vader kinda shrugs him off with his 'saber -- with one hand, no less. This really made an impact as to how much of a badass Vader truly was.

      And don't get me started on how Yoda should have simply force-shoved Kenobi and Skywalker out of the way of that pillar, rather than stop the pillar itself. Soooo lame.

      Speaking of Vader, am I the only one who was really let down by the 30-second battle between Anakin and Dooku? I mean, this kid is destined to be the Jedi, yet this scene lacked any real tension. Even the last Darth Maul fight in E-1 was better!

    • by Xerithane (13482) <xerithaneNO@SPAMnerdfarm.org> on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @08:27PM (#3683077) Homepage Journal
      Uhm, don't you think that being 4x faster than your opponent is skill?

      I'd rather fight someone who is fighting "upright, and parr[ying] and feint[ing] like a madman" than a cracked out superball spinning around like a guided battle-axe. Just the opinion of an old tournament fighter, though. What Yoda did, takes more skill. Period. You can spin around all you want, and a lot of amatuer fighters do it. The trick is to be able to do it well and make it hard to defend. If done well, and fast, it throws your opponent off to defend and if they fail to defend, you get more power. Assuming you aren't doing focused strikes.. which is a whole different story.
    • What kind of skill do you think allows a 2 foot figher get within striking range of a 6 foot opponent? Jumping and spinning, of course.

      And how do you suppose a 50 pound fighter is supposed to block a strike from a 200 pound fighter? If he just stands there and tries to block, he'll fly across the room like a golf ball.

      Jumping may or may not be dignified, but it's what small opponents have to do against large opponents. Jumping constitutes skill.

      • What kind of skill do you think allows a 2 foot figher get within striking range of a 6 foot opponent? Jumping and spinning, of course.

        No, jumping is pretty useless. You're much better off moving in on your feet, where you have more control, more speed, and are much less predictable. Spinning is of course useless and dangerous.

        And how do you suppose a 50 pound fighter is supposed to block a strike from a 200 pound fighter? If he just stands there and tries to block, he'll fly across the room like a golf ball.

        Yoda also blocks and fights him strength to strength when they lock sabers. Your argument doesn't hold there.

        Jumping may or may not be dignified, but it's what small opponents have to do against large opponents. Jumping constitutes skill.

        Utterly false. Jumping is a pretty lousy tactic under most any circumstance. Small opponents just have to do anything they can to close the distance.

  • by Dr. Awktagon (233360) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @08:02PM (#3682952) Homepage

    Is it me, or were there an awful lot of pages (and ads) in that article?


    Fight Club

    How Yoda became

    click to continue...(page 2/1345)

    an action star

    click to continue...(page 3/1345)

    With a little help

    click to continue...(page 4/1345)

    from director George Lucas

    click to continue...(page 5/1345)
  • Dignity? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dirtside (91468) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @08:06PM (#3682966) Journal
    They thought it was unseemly and undignified for Yoda to bounce through the fight like a Superball loose in a toy store.
    Yeah, I guess it would have been more dignified for Yoda to stand there and let Dooku hack him to pieces with a lightsaber. :) Come on, wise sayings and Charlie Chan grammar do not a powerful Jedi make. There has to be a reason Yoda is so respected -- and it's because he's a badass, not because he can spout aphorisms. (He's certainly not very wise, considering how badly the Jedi get blindsided by the Dark Side.)
    • I don't know, while I could appreciate the CGI, I was kind of disappointed that Yoda stooped to fighting. The cool thing about Yoda was always that he was THE Jedi master, even though he seemed frail and unimposing. I thought the whole point of putting him in the series to begin with was to emphasize that the Force wasn't about fighting power, but more about a sort of zen mystic state.

      It's like in Lord of the Rings (book, not the movie). Tolkien effectively conveyed that Gandalf was incredibly powerful, without making him shoot fireballs or blow up dragons.
    • Re:Dignity? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by qubit64 (233602)
      I disagree about how wise you think Yoda is. Consider the scene at the end "victory you say? ..." I think it is more about arrogance than wisdom. I suppose they are to a degree mutually exclusive, but I guess the Jedi simply have not had to deal with such a problem in a long time. (How long was it? 1000 generations or something) They've put themselves on quite the pedestal so they don't think that a Sith lord could possibly slip by them when in fact he did... They've forgotten (to a degree) the ways of the sith and how powerful they really are. Also, I think they respect Yoda for his wisdom in that he is very wise in matters that would effect the affairs of the jedi up to episode 1, and not so much with this new threat. Even with this new threat however Yoda seems to know more about it than the others... (again look at the victory comment) Come to think of it, it seems like a dark side ability is to be able to cloud the vision of even other jedi (light or dark). Evidence for this is the obvious stuff from episodes 1 and 2, but also in ROTJ, in which Vader feels the presence of luke when Sidious does not, and near the end when Sidious doesn't notice Vader is about to pick him up and throw him to his death. All this being said I don't disagree that they also respect him for his mastery of the sabre. I think it's a combination of the two however...
  • by DeadBugs (546475) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @08:07PM (#3682973) Homepage
    You know it looked just like the scene from Karate Kid where Mr. Miyagi opens a can of whoop-ass on those punks. If you use photoshop to color Mr Miyagi green you will see a near perfect match.
  • Yoda vs. Miss Piggy.

    I'd just love to see Miss Piggy move to her fighting posture, Yoda draw his lightsaber, and Frank Oz get throatache.
  • by taxman_10m (41083) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @08:11PM (#3682994)
    In TPM and ATC the jedi fight like samuri. Back with the original trilogy the jedi seemed to me to fight like duelers (mukateers or something), and even then their movements were slower, as if each jedi put a lot of thought into each single move. Watch the new ones, it's a bunch of flashing light and people jumping up and down. The Yoda thing is just the epitome of that. I saw ATM via a download, so maybe someone could clear this up. Did Yoda give Dookie that "bring it on" hand gesture that Neo did in the Matrix? Looked like it to me. It was sad.
    • The 'move' that Neo did was was THE SIGNATURE MOVE OF BRUCE LEE!
      Come on, while Keanu did kick some AI butt in that movie, credit must be given where credit is due.

      The only question now being who would win in a fight? Neo? Bruce Lee? Or Yoda?

      Neo can bend reality, Yoda's got the force, and Bruce Lee just takes the hits and keeps coming.
  • by puto (533470) <theflatline@yahoo.com> on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @08:12PM (#3683000) Homepage
    Unseemly for Yoda? Give the little man some props. Even Sprout gets to hang out with the Green Giant.

    Yoda had to live on a miasmic swamp planet in a friggin rotten stump. The ghetto of the universe.

    Not to mention training whiny white bread farm boys in the ways of the force.

    Did I forget mentioning he is 2 feet high with a head that looks like a pot pie that has been microwaved too much?

    So Yoda had a heavy burden. Let the man fly through the air and pimp a little bit of the force to show who is the man.

    Unseemly? Give me a break.

    Puto
  • Burn him! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by galaga79 (307346) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @08:13PM (#3683009) Homepage
    You have gotta love this quote, taken roughly halfway into the article.

    Coleman found himself ''waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night,'' imagining he'd be ''dragged through the mud'' by website critics who'd say ''the guy who did Jar-Jar has now f---ed up Yoda. Burn him!'' Some of the animators went so far as to create alternate stagings, which Coleman showed his boss.

    PS I wonder if we will get to see any of these alternate stagings on the DVD that comes out November
    • by devphil (51341) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @08:58PM (#3683209) Homepage
      I wonder if we will get to see any of these alternate stagings on the DVD that comes out November

      I've seen them. The only one worth seeing is the one where Yoda and Christopher Lee do this sort of dancing skipping duel while singing parts of West Side Story, and Dooku's droids all line up behind the pair to mirror them as the rest of "the gang".

  • Sadly Undignified (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blink3478 (579230) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @08:22PM (#3683057)
    The animators were right all along, and I had a small piece of my childhood die watching Yoda leap around like a gymnist on crack. Yoda was my favorite character growing up, and that fight scene made no sense. I remember a video I saw of the guy who invented Aikido in the 1900s - I forget his name now. He was a wizened old man in the video, probably pushing ninety years old, his diciples had long-since taken over teaching their own varieties of aikido, and he still showed up in his dojo to train his students and give little demonstrations. What he lacked in mobility and strength he made up for in grace and economy of movement, and I watched as he would toss aside the students with little hand movements or slow sweeping gestures. The students could attack in piles, and still they would be tossed aside like leaves. It was really magical to watch such an old man possessed of such power. Anyway - that's how Yoda should have fought. He should have been slow, graceful and easily dispatched his enemies using only the force. He had no business using a lightsaber, and had no reason to spring about like a ping pong ball. Lastly, the reason Yoda and Boba Fett were awesome characters in the original trilogy was because they were mysterious - unknown pasts, unknown barely hinted-at abilities under the surface. Lucas destroyed their mystique by making them full fleshed-out characters in AOTC.

    • > Anyway - that's how Yoda should have fought. He should have been slow, graceful and easily dispatched his enemies using only the force.

      Yeah, but how many action figures would he sell that way?

      > Lastly, the reason Yoda and Boba Fett were awesome characters in the original trilogy was because they were mysterious - unknown pasts, unknown barely hinted-at abilities under the surface. Lucas destroyed their mystique by making them full fleshed-out characters in AOTC.

      Kind of like his inspiring "explanation" of The Force in E1, eh?

    • by streetlawyer (169828) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @11:53AM (#3686718) Homepage
      Like hell. Unfortunately, a lot of aikidoka have been suckered by that roll of film into studying a useless martial art.

      What he lacked in mobility and strength he made up for in grace and economy of movement, and I watched as he would toss aside the students with little hand movements or slow sweeping gestures.



      Not quite. What he lacked in mobility and strength, he made up for in being the venerated founder of a school in Japan, where it would be considered appalling behaviour to cast any aspersions on the Venerated One's declining powers.



      The students could attack in piles, and still they would be tossed aside like leaves.



      More like "the students ran at him in piles and then leapt aside like leaves as he waved a hand at them". Half sub-consciously, the students cooperated in being thrown. The idea that Ueshiba could have done anything remotely similar on a resisting body flies in the face of any non-mystical biomechanics.



      It was really magical to watch such an old man possessed of such power.



      Alternatively, it was really disgusting to watch an old man posessed of such vanity.

      Ueshiba was a genuine fighter as a young man, but during that period, he practiced jujitsu/tai-jutsu. It was only after he founded his own school in 1942 of a state-sponsored, Shinto-flavoured dumbed down taijutsu that he started becoming a cult and staging demonstrations for gullible Westerners.

      • As a martial artist, I think there is more than a little truth in this; if anything what is inaccurate is to say that the students do this half-consciously. Nobody wants to see a venerated old teacher hurt. You don't gain face by slamming a small elderly man to the mat, because it doesn't prove anything except that you have execrable manners.

        On the other hand, if you are participating in a demonstration, you can only challenge such a teacher if you are willing to get seriously hurt. If a renowned teacher is publicly demonstrating a joint lock on you, and you have a counter, you had better be damned sure its going to work because it's generally accepted that the teacher is justified by responding to such a challenge by breaking your wrist. Rank hath its privileges. So, if you are getting joint locked, you go to the mat the fastest way you can, and if that is jumping headfirst into a somersault, that's what you do. The alternative is to get hurt (which is bad) or to hurt the venerable teacher (which is worse).

        The public gets a little deceived, I guess, but they really aren't ready to understand the art. In reality, most flashy demonstrations are much less impressive than they appear. When real skill is shown, it is either to fast, too subtle or to strange to be comprehensible.

        There are also cases where teachers have essentially hypnotized students. Demonstrations of Kong Jing -- which is supposed to be a lot like The Force -- fall into this category. The Aikido examples aren't like this; they're just the students doing what they are supposed to be doing in the course of a demonstration.
  • Despite the fact that I kept picturing kermit doing the fighting with all that bouncing around, I was simply glad that there were no frozen-time effects. Last thing we need is more homage paid to The Matrix with bullet time...
  • by phallen (145919) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @08:24PM (#3683069) Homepage
    This Start Wars CG stuff is crap. Did you see some of those graphics? Taking a bite of CG fruit from 3 inches way? Gimme a break.

    I say bring back scale models! Watch the old movies. See how the X-Wings look real? That's because they are! How about that AT-AT or "Chicken-Walker"? They looked great, too. They're just small, but hell, WE can't tell.

    Yoda as a CG didn't look as real (shaddows and debth looked off), the vehicles, cities, characters, monsters, animals... everything CG looked horrible, except maybe for the light-sabers and lasers.

    Wait, I take it back: R2-D2 and C3P0 looked good... oh yeah, they were real! My bad.

    I would love it if Lucus, for Epesode III, tossed the CG and brought back the models, rubber masks, and puppets.
  • by mir@ge (25727) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @08:32PM (#3683107) Homepage
    ...and knights are combatants. It only makes sense for their most respected member to be able dish it out when necessary.

    That said, Yoda is more in touch with the light side of the force than all of them. When he is a peace it flows through him and he can do wonders. I personally thought that he should just have "relaxed" and start tossing Doku around like a rag doll when he wipped out the light saber. It is peace that has always been Yoda's ally not violence. I think the Yoda we see in AOTC is more rash and youthful himself. He is arrogant and still has a lesson to learn.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    fexter (original story submitter) here...

    It's only fair to note that the article concludes that it was cool for Yoda to do this, after all:

    But, boy, were they wrong: The scene has played like gangbusters, and Yoda is by far the most popular character in the new film (as a recent EW.com poll confirms). He even became the star of the ads, which dropped romantic-lead costars Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen for him.

    But I think this points out the bigger flaw with the movie: that a mentor character becomes, with ease, more popular than the supposed heroes.

    I think the writing and direction were the root cause of this.

    This article:

    http://nationalpost.com/search/story.html?f=/sto ri es/20020525/299070.html

    was really spot on. All about the missing rogue character.

    Lucas talks all about Joseph Campbell's mythology structure, which focuses on the hero's journey. But somehow, in the last two movies, Lucas has managed to avoid giving us any heroes we could enjoy watching.

    Sure, he has given us a couple characters who we at least like, but that doesn't mean they're heroes who we root for all the way along, and who we grow *with*. The most recent two movies are more of a series of events than heroes' journeys.

    fexter, ashintaro.com [ashintaro.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    why was Yoda straining to lift the column thing in ep. 2, when in the eyes of the force (as it were) everything is the same. Someone as 'powerful' as Yoda shouldn't have had to strain at all. and why didn't he maneuver it to crush Dooku's escape thing?
    • I think he was straining because Dooku was at that point trying to slam it down. Once Dooku turns and leaves, Yoda just heaves it aside. The problem I have is that none of them use the Force to DO anything. Like in the first movie, at the beginning. Oooh, droids with shields. PICK THEM UP AND POINT THEM AT ONE ANOTHER!
  • by gripdamage (529664) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @08:38PM (#3683131)

    I see the Yoda scene as an expedient solution to problem. I knew Yoda was going to "throw-down" in AOTC, and I wondered how they'd do it. No matter what I pictured in my head it didn't look right, and the animators had to do it on the screen. The solution Lucas came up with seems to be: make him move so fast you can't look at him while he's fighting. Part of me wants to call it it a cop out, but personally I think it works.

    It also sort of bothers me when adults complain about Jar-Jar and now CG Yoda. We all saw the original trilogy for the first time when we were younger than we are now. I don't know about you, but I accepted the Ewoks then, and in subsequent viewings I've accepted them (for better or worse) as part of Star Wars package. Attempting impartiality, I don't think they are any better than Jar Jar or CG Yoda.

    George Lucas himself, confronted by the fact that the Death Star explosion (and other explosions in a vacuum) shouldn't make a boom said something like: "A lot of people have a lot of money invested in this movie, and when something blows up they expect there to be a boom, so I give them a boom."

    Science fiction can be heavy on the science or heavy on the fiction. I think it's clear which side of that fence George Lucas has chosen: you can either go to the show, suspend your disbelief, and be entertained. Or you stay home. But I don't think anyone should expect the prequel movies to become to them now, what the original trilogy was to them starting nearly 25 years ago.

    • It also sort of bothers me when adults complain about Jar-Jar and now CG Yoda. We all saw the original trilogy for the first time when we were younger than we are now. I don't know about you, but I accepted the Ewoks then, and in subsequent viewings I've accepted them (for better or worse) as part of Star Wars package. Attempting impartiality, I don't think they are any better than Jar Jar or CG Yoda.

      Heh, I've been trying to make that point for some time, thank you for bringing it to a good illustration.

      One thing I've noticed last month watching Disney classics is that Jar-Jar seems to be remarkably similar to Goofy, with the sloppy neck, floppy ears, long flat snout and overall clumsy idiot personality.
    • Personally, I think that Ep 1 rivaled Empire as the best Star Wars at the time. I think that Ep 2 blows them all away. This nonsense about the original trilogy being better is absurd.

      Jar Jar is NO MORE annoying than C-3PO, except that as a kid I thought that 3PO was funny, and Jar Jar was more annoying to a 20 year old.

      The acting in the original trilogy is AWFUL. Hands down, the acting is better.

      The dialogue STILL sucks.

      However, ALL 5 movies are fun flicks. In all 5 movies, scenes on Tatooine (probably mispelled these days) dragged, though Ep2 sucked less in that regard.

      They are fun. Luke/Anakin are whiny, Anakin being less whiny than ANH Luke.

      These Space Operas are fun.

      It isn't Sci-fi, because it isn't from the future... It's from a long, long time ago!

      Alex
  • Below is a repreint of a top ten (plus one) list entitled Top 10 Things I learned from Attack of the Clones that circulated around work that was originally compiled by Dan Charlson.

    1. There are no police, or more importantly, traffic cops or highway patrol officers, on Coruscant. Endangering pedestrians and other vehicles is just "no big deal."

    2. Six-year old Jedi trainees are so capable with their light sabres that you can group them very tightly together -- even wearing "blast shield helmets" -- and have them swing away at training beacons without any concerns for safety.

    3. Saruman can wield a mean light sabre -- although thankfully, he hasn't forgotten how to use telekinesis (but why didn't he do some more body-slamming?!? Wait -whaddyou mean this is Star Wars...?)

    4. Just because you put a homing device on your opponent's getaway vehicle does NOT mean you shouldn't also follow him or her into a really dangerous asteroid belt instead of just waiting for him or her to come out the other side (you have a tracking device, remember!) -- of course, on the other hand, flying through asteroid belts at high speed is required in the Star Wars universe. [Thanks to JLyle for this one.]

    5. The GSO -- Galactic Standards Organization (the future counterpart to the ISO and W3.org) -- has been so successful that not only have ALL major industrial manufacturers adopted the same data access, networking, and transfer protocols throughout the Republic, but so have secret, guerilla arms factories -- and besides, those same factories wouldn't use security software or electronic countermeasures to defend themselves against network intrusions anyway.

    6. Even though the Republic has scads of enormous, elongated wedge-shaped Star Destroyers, you should never put them into high orbit around a planet and use them to prevent enemy starships from taking off, let alone using them offensively as long-range artillery weapons against enemy ground forces. Pitting land force against land force is pretty much the best way to go -- you can always make or get more robot or clone soldiers...

    7. C3PO is so well-designed that there are power cells in every major constituent of his body -- including his head. [Thanks to JacobJ for this one.]

    8. You don't need to wear a helmet or even goggles while you drive hovercraft, land speeders, or other flying vehicles in a desert environment such as Tatooine.

    9. Little Boba Fett is so accustomed to seeing his dad's face only behind his cool helmet that it just wouldn't occur to him to lift the visor or remove the helmet to look at his poor dead dad's decapitated visage (try saying that three times fast!).

    10. One's reputation, manner, and conduct just can't be guessed by observation alone -- you need to have a name which transparently broadcasts to all but the stupidest that you're not a nice person: Darth Sidious, Lord Tyranno, Count Dooku (?!?) -- not to mention Darth Maul, etc....

    11. Who's the biggest, baddest dude of the whole Galaxy? He's short, he's green, he has thinning hair, and nope -- he doesn't _really_ need that walking stick after all...

    • 4. Just because you put a homing device on your opponent's getaway vehicle does NOT mean you shouldn't also follow him or her into a really dangerous asteroid belt

      Speaking of this scene, probably the coolest sound effect I have ever heard was when Jango Fett shot those seismic charges at Obi-Wan. Does anyone else remember the noise they made? SOOOO cool. Much better than the normal explosion sound we've all heard so much.

      • What impressed ME about those was that it actually looked/sounded like someone had put some thought and ACCURACY into it. It's silent, UNTIL the explosion (and the vibrating "stuff" it's bringing with it) gets to the camera.

        Might be the first "scientically accurate" sound fx in the entire Star Wars universe. ;-)

    • by mblase (200735) on Wednesday June 12, 2002 @11:48AM (#3686654)
      9. Little Boba Fett is so accustomed to seeing his dad's face only behind his cool helmet that it just wouldn't occur to him to lift the visor or remove the helmet to look at his poor dead dad's decapitated visage (try saying that three times fast!).

      The deleted scene actually continued as follows:
      Alas, poor Jango! I knew him, C-3PO: a hunter

      of infinite skill, of most excellent gadgets: he hath
      flown me in Slave-I a thousand times; and now, how
      abhorred in my imagination it is! my stomach turns at
      it. Here hung those lips that kissed good-night I know
      not how oft. Where be your grapples now? your
      blasters? your blades? your flying rocket pack,
      that was wont to set the grass nearby on fire? Not one
      now, to kill the cruel Jedi? quite heart-fallen?
      Now get you to my father's spaceship, and once there, let
      me paint his armor red, and bounty hunter
      become; make them laugh at that.
  • I liked the scene, but I always envisioned Yoda fighting by just standing still and using the force to manipulate his lightsaber without actually touching it.

    Maybe that's not practical in the realm of swordfighting, but I think it'd be a lot cooler.
  • by inkswamp (233692) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @09:58PM (#3683440)
    I'm starting to wonder if our culture isn't collectively losing its ability to suspend their disbelief. Of course, a diminutive warrior like Yoda suddenly flying through the air is going to be funny on the surface. But if you were lost in the film like I was, really submerged into the world on-screen, not self-consciously fearful of what people might think if you let yourself go and connect with it, then that moment was one of the most startling moments in all the SW films.

    One nice touch I noticed is that Yoda grabs his cane afterward and we are left to ponder the fact that this guy just moved like lightning in his fight, but has difficultly with the act of walking. It strikes you that he was exerting the Force on himself to move himself through the air and engage in battle. It makes a definitive statement about his ability.

    I didn't have trouble with this. I feel sorry for those who couldn't enter that world and experience it full-force. Pity.

    --Rick
  • by deft (253558) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @10:12PM (#3683495) Homepage
    "the crew... thought it was unseemly and undignified for Yoda to bounce through the fight like a Superball loose in a toy store. ''They thought, My God, this is never going to work."

    I admit I thought the same the first time i saw Pat Morita playing ol' Miyagi, but he turned out all right too.

  • by dswensen (252552) on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @10:54PM (#3683701) Homepage
    ... instead of drawing lightsabers, Yoda (who would be a puppet, because believing a CG image is Yoda is so much harder than believing a wad of latex with Frank Oz's hand up its ass is Yoda) should have fought Dooku by using the Force to summon a clunky ethereal knight (done in cheap front projection of course; matte lines just look more -real-, and matching color palettes are for sissies), who then fight in jerky slow-motion.

    During this battle, there is much groaning, pantomiming, and grimacing (except for Yoda, who has only two expressions: "furrow brows" and "lower ears." That's okay though, because PUPPETS GOOD.) Then, at the end, when there is a big flash of light (all done with squibs), Dooku says "You never could beat me, Egg Shen."

    Yeah, that totally would have been worth my five bucks.

    (Oh, and bring back Mr. Perfect, Irvin "Empire Strikes Back, Robocop II, SeaQuest DSV" Kershner to direct, because that man can do no wrong. Just watch that Amazing Stories episode "Hell Toupee.")

    Please, take off the rose-colored glasses. The special effects technology of Star Wars has always, always, always been a work in progress. Watch the difference in space battles, and the lightsaber battles, between Episodes IV-VI. They make a quantum leap in sophistication, complexity, and speed.

    That's because FX technology was, and is, always developing. This expectation that CG is somehow infallibe, and all its imagery should somehow be perfect and consistent, is rubbish. There's probably a very good reason there wasn't a CGI Yoda in Episode I -- and he will probably look much better in Episode III -- just like everything else.

    Star Wars has always been about pushing the technological envelope as far as it will go. Sometimes it works. Sometimes they drop the ball. This has not changed since 1977. Look at any of the movies and you will find places where the special effects are truly great, and places where they stink on ice. Why all of a sudden this warrants another "George Lucas sucks" troll of a story is beyond me.
  • by Wylfing (144940) <brian&wylfing,net> on Tuesday June 11, 2002 @11:02PM (#3683728) Homepage Journal
    All you who cry "TPM and AoTC were betrayals" and whine endlessly about how much it suxored and fucking nitpick about whether the physics of Yoda's swordfight were accurate or whether it takes more skill to leap than to parry -- you are all like the worst kind of trekkies now. In other words, you are ruining for the rest of us a perfectly good pulp space opera that is escapist fiction which is not supposed to be realistic .

    I am reminded of a Saturday Night Live sketch starring William Shatner, in which he is pelted with inane questions from feverish trekkies about "What was the combination to the lock in Episode 17?" Shatner tries to explain that it was just a prop, and there wasn't really a lock and therefore no combination at all, and the trekkies just stare without comprehension.

    You are those fuckwits now. And yes, that means you too, you butt-munch, who are even now preparing a reply that goes something like "But Ep1 and Ep2 really were betrayals." Yes, you are the fuckwits.

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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