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« Next Year In Jerusalem | Main | I Wonder What Sheryl Crowe Is Thinking About This? »

Just Stab Them, Dammit!

I've kvetched in the past about needlessly stupid things in science-fiction movies (needlessly in that they don't even advance the plot, or necessarily add to the drama). Well, here's someone who thinks the same thing about cinematic swordplay.

If the purpose of lightsaber fight choreography is simply to convey drama and excitement within the context of a story, then choreographers feel they've done their job well. But, from my point of view, if a lightsaber fight is supposed to convince the viewer that individuals of great skill are really trying to kill one another with laser swords while using supernatural powers that heighten their senses and physical abilities, well, they fail miserably.

[via Geek Press]

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 17, 2005 07:05 AM
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One would think that, given the nature of the lightsabre blade (no mass / weight), lightsaber duels would devolve into something akin to fencing.

Posted by Steve at August 17, 2005 09:51 AM

Maybe, Steve.

Though there's a significant difference - no fencing weapon can cut you in half with a single relatively easy stroke. (Some amount of force is evidently needed, from the films, but how much is not clear.)

Fencing is all about piercing and slashing, whereas a lightsaber takes limbs right off like, well, a lightsaber.

Posted by Sigivald at August 17, 2005 10:32 AM

I agree, to an extent, but target fencing is a direct descendant from duels (to the death), whereas epee and sabre (which are first touch) are akin to duels to first blood. Given that it's easier to poke or slash someone, and takes less time for a movement that a large slash, I think you'd end up back at foil-style fencing. If you took a large swing at a foil fencer (who had decent reactions), he'd simply poke you in a vital area and move back out of range before your attack could develop.

Posted by Steve at August 17, 2005 11:03 AM

A "real" lightsaber fight would probably resemble chanbara more than anything else.

http://www.samuraisports .com/chanbara/

Posted by Toren at August 17, 2005 06:00 PM

A 'real' lightsaber has an adjustable length. A 'real' fight would involve standing back 40 meters, pointing and extending (with perhaps a pulsating mode to get by any defence.)

Posted by ken anthony at August 17, 2005 07:27 PM

Hoky religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster by your side.

Posted by Astrosmith at August 17, 2005 09:58 PM

I just want to know one thing. In episode 4, Obi-Wan is "killed" by Darth Vader. At that point, we know the sabers can lop off appendages and burn clothing. Why is it then that Darth Vader is puzzled and pokes at the robes left behind and DOES NO DAMAGE to them???

Posted by Mac at August 17, 2005 09:58 PM

I am reminded of the Simpsons episode featuring Lucy Lawless (Xena, Warrior Princess) answering questions at a comicbook convention. Professor Frink asks about a Xena episode where a horse mysteriously changes from an Arabian to an Apaloosa between scenes. Lucy answers that "whenever something like that happens; wizards did it." So wizards protected Obi-wan's clothes, possibly for some future inclusion in the Jedi Hall of Fame.

Posted by Rob Smith at August 18, 2005 06:17 AM


Posted by Mac at August 18, 2005 09:10 AM

Just Stab Them, Dammit!

Well, that's exactly how Darth Maul defeated Qui-Gon. Just stabbed him.

Posted by Ilya at August 18, 2005 10:29 AM

See, now if they adopted Federation phasers, there would be none of the ridiculous reflection stuff going on, as the bolt legth isn't fixed as apparently blasters are. Then again, if Qui-Gon were Picard, he could have defeated Darth Maul with boredom.

Posted by Mac at August 18, 2005 02:02 PM

"See, now if they adopted Federation phasers, there would be none of the ridiculous reflection stuff going on, as the bolt legth isn't fixed as apparently blasters are."

In other words, something like Indiana Jones pulling his revolver and plugging the Arab swordsman in "Raiders".

Posted by Bruce Lagasse at August 18, 2005 10:27 PM

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