CT Are the duels in OT underrated?

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by Barkey Foreman, Apr 10, 2014.

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  1. Barkey Foreman Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2014
    Been rewatching the highlight lightsaber duels.







    I noticed there is a tendency today for many people to criticize the duels of the OT as being clunky and boring by today's standards. As in the fights in the OT are ridiculously slow motion, lacking in technique and just flailing the sabers around, and lacking the flash and entertainment more recent Star Wars works like the PT and Clone Wars have. In fact people have the notion that the duels in OT were just as awkward and slow as very old Sword and Sandal movies and fake looking fights of Kung Fu films from the 40s and 50s! There is also criticsm of the lack of Force techniques.


    While I do agree EU works and the PT have flashier and much faster duels, I disagree with so many of the criticisms after a quick watch. Vader, Obi Wan, and Luke are nowhere close to slowmotion as the old Kung Fu and Sword and Sandal movies (which even this examples-and I call them slow as a movie buff-are quite exagerrated). Luke may not move fast enough to deflect a blast but he is shown as very agile being able to quickly use his environment quickly enough to avoid blows from saber such as climbing some of the platform ropes to escape Vader after losing his saber and breaking some pipes to smudge smoke at Vader.

    Even the swinging techniques are nowhere slow. Not fast enough to wipe out an army of droids, but certainly fast enough to slice the average Joe before he realizes he lost his arm and even enough to trouble a trained martial artist.

    This goes hand in hand with technique. The sabers strike fast enough that the fighters on screen are nervous about swinging at the risk of making a wrong technique that will lose a hand or some other limb. There are far more timed and careful strikes in the OTs than the movies.

    And you can actually see some techniques being used such as the footwork in which Obi Wan is trying to carefully move around as he parries Vader's strikes. The speed at which Luke ejects his saber in time after Vader threw his first blow in ESB would definitely take months of repitition to do.

    If anything I can witness more different stances and blocking movements in the OT than the PT.

    The force may not have all the fancy lightning shock and so but Luke uses it enough time to get him out of trouble such as last minute saber pull to block a blow from Vader at the last moment while disarmed.

    The way I see it OT duels put more emphasis on realism and western dueling (fencing,etc) than the PT which focus on fancy flashy Wushu. But that does not make the OT duels slow motion as snails speed and boring.

    Its not just casual and light fans who only seen the movies, I seen some core fans criticize the same about the OT. While I agree with much of it, I think its highly exagerrated to say the OT does not have any techniques and agility. In fact compared to fight scenes from dueling movies fromt he same period and prior, I'd say the OT actually is much faster paced and flashier than them and even go as saying it beats some more moderna ction movies decades later in choreography.

    I'd go as far as saying the OTs have better timing than the PTs. Every move seems genuinely deliberate and careful as opposed to the PT where they are swinging random blows that do nothing but exhaust your stamina.

    I'm more convinced Obi Wan and Darth Vader being master duelist in their duel in ANH because every blow is deliberate and you can see they are being careful not to let their guard down by doing some stupid pointless spin attack or other flashy technique because one blow would be fatal.

    Even Luke's lack of skill seems more careful dueling than say Dooku VS Anain and Obi Wan.
    Last edited by Barkey Foreman, Apr 10, 2014
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  2. Kenneth Morgan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 27, 1999
    star 5
    I look at it as what the OT duels lack in speed and technique, they make up for in drama. Only the duel between Kenobi and Anakin in ROTS reaches the levels set in the OT, in that respect.
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  3. Force Smuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 7
    The OT duels are amazing imo. The tension rose as the duel went on.
    The ESB duel is my favorite duel of the saga. It had everything.
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  4. DRush76 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2008
    star 4
    I liked the ESB duel on Bespin. But ever since the release of the PT movies, I have not been that impressed with the other duels in the older trilogy. However, I was impressed at how Luke wielded his lightsaber against blaster fire in ROTJ.
  5. MOC Vober Dand Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 6, 2004
    star 5
    I wouldn't say that they're underrated. They're highly regarded by many, for many of the reasons stated in the OP.
  6. solo77 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2002
    star 5
    "Are the duels in OT underrated?"

    Not by me. ANH aside, the other two are fantastic
  7. Barkey Foreman Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2014
    As expected most fans here think the Saber duels in OT are awesome.

    What I meant to say is go on youtube or check out other sci fi forums. The comments are that OT moves as slow as snails, lacks techniques and agility, and is downright boring and unrealistic looking.

    However when I watched the videos yesterday it actually seems pretty fast paced compared to the comments on the internet and at the very least I would say that the duels are as fast as typical fight scenes in your run of ht emill action flicks released in this modern age.

    Thats what I meant. th PT gets so much damn hype and while there is no denying they are faster paced and more agile, to say the OT fights as slow as snails is nonsense.

    I even saw a comment on the ESB video I posted in the first post on this thread on youtube's page. One viewer was expecting to see Vader VS Luke in Bespin as super duper slow and fake as sword and sandal flicks. However he is incredibly surprised by how fast Darth Vader actually moves.
  8. DRush76 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2008
    star 4
    As far as I'm concerned, the PT duels are superior to the OT duels. I just watched "THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK" last night. Granted, I liked the duel between Luke and Anakin a lot. But it still seemed like chicken feed in compare to the duels from the PT. The only PT duel I have never cared for is the one in which Obi-Wan and Anakin fought Dooku in "ATTACK OF THE CLONES".
  9. Vialco Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2007
    star 4
    I liked the Bespin duel, in fact I consider it a bit better than Yoda vs Sidious. But the duels in ANH and ROTJ were fairly lame, in my opinion. But I'll say that Vader vs Luke in ESB is by far the best duel in the entire saga.
  10. TX-20 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 21, 2013
    star 4
    Scary Face-Paint Man doing flips while Jedi Knight Stays on Ship and Jedi Master Not Obi-Wan swing their swords in a cool looking fashion is why people find the OT duels boring.
  11. Palpatine's P.A. Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2014
    star 2
    The only issue is ANH. Imagine someone watching in order 1-6 coming from Obi-Wan v Anakin Ep3 to Obi-Wan v Vader in 4. Expecting an amazing, spectacular rematch and getting this duel. Of course there are good elements: the dialogue is good, but it would really be a let down as a visual spectacle.

    On the other hand, people must be aware of when the film was made and the limitations of the time, but even so, if anything was to be remade from the OT, (not that I think this should happen), this duel would be a good start.
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  12. Darth Heisenberg Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2014
    The final duel between Luke and Vader is my favorite scene of the entire saga. The music alone makes that battle incredible.
  13. Brandon Rhea Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 26, 2004
    star 5
    The OT duels had depth and meaning, particularly in Empire and Jedi. It was about substance rather than flash. The important thing about the duels in the OT was that they were never really about the sword fights, but rather the drama and the intense character moments. Empire, for example, was about Vader taunting Luke, and slowly dragging him towards the revelation that Vader is his father. Then Jedi was about Luke and Vader putting on a show, with Vader not really wanting to kill Luke and Luke wanting to redeem his father, and it didn't get intense until Luke gave into his anger.

    That's what the PT duels were missing. There was no emotion behind them. The duel in The Phantom Menace looks cool, but it lacks an emotional hook. There's no emotional connection between the Jedi and the Sith. Same goes for the duel in Attack of the Clones. When it comes to the substance of the duel in Episode I and the duel in Episode II, they're basically the same. Episode II just couldn't trick you because it also lacked flash. Most of the Episode III duels were like that as well.
  14. Force Smuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 7
    I wouldn't change the Vader/Obi-Wan duel at all except for maybe give it the Imperial March theme.
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  15. Dameron Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 8, 2014
    star 4

    This is also my opinion. It's not so much PT vs. OT duels as New Hope vs. every other lightsaber duel in the franchise. The dialogue and overall meaning of the scene are good, but trying to spin it as "deliberate" or some such euphemism doesn't, for me, cover up the weakness of the fighting itself.
  16. DRush76 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2008
    star 4

    I'm sorry, but I disagree. In fact, I disagree wholeheartedly. I sometimes wonder if the only reason fans like to put down the PT duels, is because its another excuse for them to criticize the PT movies.
    Last edited by DRush76, Apr 11, 2014
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  17. Force Smuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 7
    I'm probably going to regret this but I have to say it. Some people just love the OT better! Get over it! We don't hate the PT, we just like the OT better. It clicks for us. Same with you liking the PT better than the OT.
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  18. DRush76 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2008
    star 4

    If you prefer the OT that's fine with me. But why do so many tend to attack or insult those who prefer the PT over the OT . . . simply prefer both trilogies equally?

    It seems to me that fans on both sides tend to get emotional over who prefers what. Even I have been guilty of this.
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  19. Darth Dnej Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2013
    star 4
    Yes, the duels in the OT are underrated. I believe they are mostly superior because they are much more tense and emotional.

    The Mustafar Duel could've been even better if it involved less location changing and less flashiness.
  20. Force Smuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 7
    The PT does get more hate than it should but blaming every single person for preferring something in the OT than in the PT is not the way to go. Everyone can like whatever they want. For some the PT is so radically different from the OT that they can't like it. I love both but prefer the OT. It clicks with me more. The problem of the internet. Interaction with more people isn't always a good thing.
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  21. Sarge Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 1998
    star 6
    That problem is easy to fix. Watch them in the right order, the order they were made, the order I watched them in, like my father before me.
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  22. Palpatine's P.A. Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2014
    star 2
    I'd be interested to know if George Lucas has ever commented on the order he would recommend. I think he would most likely say 1-6 because he sees the whole thing as a seamless complete saga, but you can't deny someone the ultimate twist
  23. Brandon Rhea Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 26, 2004
    star 5
    Or I simply have a different opinion than you. Which I do. Allow me to elaborate on my thoughts (I previously posted a lot of this on the Star Wars Fanon wikia).

    The lightsaber duels in the original trilogy are about the emotion and the story behind it. Less so in A New Hope, but in Empire and Jedi they were about the culmination of what the characters had gone through in those movies. The reason people can feel so emotionally connected to them is because the importance of the lightsaber duel is not the lightsaber duel. It’s about what the duel represents.

    The duel in A New Hope is about Luke feeling completely alone after the death of his aunt and uncle, and now Ben Kenobi, only to later realize he has two good friends and the Force on his side - and the Force can do amazing things, like letting Ben talk to Luke even in death. Empire is about Luke finally confronting his father’s killer only to learn that the killer is really his father, and finding out how woefully inept he is compared to Vader. Jedi is about the son redeeming the father. Even at the end of that duel, when Luke flipped out, it still wasn’t about the lightsaber duel. It was about how Luke gave into his anger, even for a noble reason (his sister), only to realize that in doing so he was going to become his father. It was the moment he became a Jedi Knight.

    Then we get to The Phantom Menace and, for me, there’s really none of that connection or importance. There’s no emotional culmination in those duels. The Darth Maul duel was at the end of a movie with characters you’re not really given any reason to invest in, and a villain who has no emotional attachment to the heroes. Episode II was the same on an emotional level, but it couldn’t make it appear otherwise because it also lacked flash. Episode III could have had more emotional duels, and in some ways it did, but again it was with characters who, for me, there’s really no reason to care about. The Obi-Wan/Grievous duel served only to get Obi-Wan away from Anakin (which was a problem in Episode II as well). The Yoda/Palpatine duel was alright, I didn’t have much of a problem with that. The Obi-Wan/Anakin duel was then overly-long and, at least for me, had no emotion to it. It’s the duel that should’ve worked best, but it’s the one I thought failed the most. The friendship between Anakin and Obi-Wan was never really explored, and Anakin was not a sympathetic or tragic character for me.

    So if there's no emotional reason to have a lightsaber duel, then the film should skip the lightsaber duel. There shouldn't be a sense that those duels are obligatory, and that they have to be there to end a Star Wars movie. They don't. Take the duel out of Episode II, for example, and absolutely nothing changes.

    If you do include an action scene like a lightsaber duel, it has to build to a climax, both with the action and the emotion. Since it's a J.J. Abrams film and he's now at the head of the franchise, take Star Trek Into Darkness (which I enjoyed) and compare it to The Wrath of Khan - they’re both Khan movies, so that’s an appropriate comparison. In Into Darkness, the action was totally in your face. It didn’t build to a crescendo, it was just a big ship pounding a smaller ship over and over until Spock deceived Khan and got the upper hand. That then led to a Transformers-style destruction porn scene.

    That’s contrasted with Wrath of Khan, and the battle in the Mutara Nebula. It was slow, methodical, and tense. You could feel the intensity even as nothing was happening, and the characters just sat there waiting for the other to strike, because the emotions were heightened. Khan was obsessed and desperate to kill Kirk. Both ships were blind as a bat. Kirk defeating Khan was going to require his superior command ability mixed with a bit of dumb luck. It was anyone’s game until Kirk finally got the upper hand, when he and Spock realized that Khan was a mediocre starship commander. Then, finally, Enterprise fired on Khan’s ship and it was all over - but even then, that led to the escape from the nebula and the death of Spock. Most importantly, it led Kirk to learning a life lesson: they avoided a no-win scenario, but to do so sometimes requires a personal sacrifice.

    We have a tendency these days to think that fast and flashy is better than slower and emotional, but that’s not true at all. What matters is the story and the emotion. I’ll take the duels of the original trilogy over the duels of the prequels any day. One has emotion, the other has flash.

    The prequels could have accomplished that if the character interactions and exploration were given the time they deserved. For example, I said that Darth Maul had no emotional connection to the heroes. He didn't need to be explored more, and could have still been the silent assassin, but he needed some sort of connection to the Jedi beyond being a Sith who are mad at the Jedi because reasons. The problem with that duel is that there were no stakes; it was entirely irrelevant to the outcome of the Naboo conflict. Anakin destroyed the droid control ship and saved the Gungans, and Padmé and her team captured the Viceroy. The duel was just there; we’re never given any reason to believe that capturing or killing Darth Maul was important to the Jedi, so it’s just a flashy duel.

    What could have made that duel and the movie better is if Obi-Wan was the main character of the movie, and if Qui-Gon had been killed on Tatooine. Qui-Gon wasn’t needed after that (or in general, really), and it would’ve given Obi-Wan a lot of direction, character exploration, and depth for the rest of the movie. Remember those 2 minutes at the end where Obi-Wan flips out on Maul? That could’ve been the entire second half of the movie, with a duel between a furious Obi-Wan and the killer Maul as the culmination of that. Darth Maul wouldn’t have needed anymore screentime, exploration, or anything to make that work. It would’ve been Obi-Wan going after the silent assassin. It would've been about Obi-Wan dealing with his anger, and overcoming the death of his mentor.

    The duel still wouldn’t have been necessary to the outcome of the Naboo crisis, but that fact could've become part of the story. For example, Padmé’s team could’ve used Obi-Wan, yet he would rush off to face Maul out of revenge rather than a tactical need to do so. That could leave Padmé’s team in a very precarious position, until Anakin shuts down the droids – which amplifies Anakin’s heroics, given that he saved the day after Obi-Wan bailed on the mission for his own vendetta. That would give Obi-Wan something to learn from. It even gives more strength to his warning to Luke about going after Vader in Empire.

    So my criticism has nothing to do with just wanting another excuse to criticize the prequels. In fact, I'll even give the Episode I duels some compliments. Although they were too choreographed, they were visually very cool. I really liked the duel between Qui-Gon and Maul on Tatooine, and even would've liked to have seen more of that (including the deleted scene where Maul also jumps onto the ship ramp). The duel on Naboo was visually very cool, and - with the right emotional stakes - could have been the perfect blend of emotion and flash. I enjoy the scene where Obi-Wan flipped out on Maul, and I wish we'd seen more of it.

    Yeah, it's true that I don't like the prequels, but I wish I did. I'm glad you do. I don't like the fact that one half of my favorite film franchise is, in my view, terrible, but that doesn't mean I'm going to criticize for the sake of criticizing. I brought up the prequels in my last post to show why I think the original trilogy duels are better, because the whole idea of the original duels being inferior came about only because of the flashy duels of the prequels. It's a valid point of comparison.

    We're here to give our opinions on the films, so why would I personally attack someone who is giving their opinions on the films?

    And on that note:

    I didn't do any of this. I wrote what was, emotionally, a neutral post. I was commenting on differences between the two lightsaber duel styles, and there was no emotion (positive or negative) directed towards the prequels or those who enjoy them. Yet you criticized me, rather than my post, so let's avoid that in the future! :)
    Last edited by jedimasterbac, Apr 12, 2014
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  24. Cyreides Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 19, 2014
    star 2
    I don't agree at all. I think the OT duels are horrendous and I cringe when I watch them. The only one that's even slightly enjoyable for me is the final one.
  25. fl00dsm0k3 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2012
    the duels in ESB and ROTJ are good but the one in ANH isn't that great
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