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A Long Time Ago by Pete Written on 19th March 2006

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Samuel L. Fuck Yeah!
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

Sorry, I couldn't really start an article revolving around Star Wars any other way. It just wouldn't have been right somehow. In the absence of any ability to force-push objects across your living room, this is the closest I can get you to the films without the help of the talented Chefelf at Chefelf.com.

If you're a regular Star Wars fan, read on! If you're a die-hard, George-Lucas-can-do-no-wrong kind of fan, then you might be slightly less than amused, but even the Nitpickers Guide to the Original Trilogy (yes, they justify the capital letters) should be able to draw a little laughter out of even the most faithful Wookie-lover.

Anyhow, the story begins a few months ago in a computer room far, far away when some random searching on Google for nothing in particular led me to the aforementioned site and consequently had me in fits of laughter for whole days!

Chefelf provides more than enough quick wit and humorous observations to leave the average reader's sides aching from laugh-out-loud guffawing, and that's some talent since I don't laugh at any old thing. Of course, it helps if you've seen Star Wars a few times to be able to know which scabs on the backside of the trilogy(s) he's picking at, but to be honest even if you'd only led as sheltered a life as to only have seen the films once you'd probably get a few giggles out of the way he observes these things.

The Nitpicker's Guides

Starting off with the Original Trilogy, Chefelf wrote three very detailed "Nitpicker's Guides". Normally this kind of thing would sound tremendously tedious, but being a Star Wars fan, I felt it was my duty to check them out and see what all the visitors to his forums were finding so bloody funny.

I soon found that these observations aren't just limited to pages of endless text about what Jabba has for breakfast and who shot first - Greedo or Han - oh no! This guy has whole scales to rate things by. We've got the "Lando Scale of Greatness" the "Flying R2-D2 Scale of Sequel to Prequel Inconsistency" and many more besides to illustrate his points in fine comic form.

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Vader's shares in Oil of Olay kept him looking young.
Far from just taking a poke at the trilogy, he points out some valid concerns about why the hell certain things were changed for the Special Edition, and changed again for the DVD release of the Special Edition (referred to from here on as the Special-er Edition). The Special-er edition even goes so far as to wipe out any trace of the original voice for Boba Fett and replace it with the guy from the newer films, which is a shade unneccessary. Return of the Jedi actually features Hayden Christensen at the very end as a young Anakin Skywalker - no, seriously!!! If that isn't the stupidest change I've heard of then I don't know what is. It's like George Lucas was thinking "I know, let's put Evil Annie next to Good Yoda and Good Obi Wan just to fuck things up a bit and remove any trace of sense from the scene!". Sure, the intention may have been to present you with Anakin before he turned bad, but I just keep getting flashbacks of the horrific love scenes and nonsensical lines he was given in Episode II and III which will forever present him as Evil Annie to me.

Other unneccessary edits include the removal of Darth Vader's eyebrows by Industrial Light & Magic when Luke takes his father's mask off in Episode VI, just so it would tie in with Episode III's amazing spontaneous combustion sequence, and adding in a scene to show Vader's passage from his Super Star Destroyer, the Executor to Cloud City in Episode V (just in case we couldn't work out how the hell he got there - really George, we don't give a toss...we just presumed he got a shuttle over, and you just had to confirm our assumptions).

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Mos Eisley Spaceport - only busy at this particular junction..?
Unfortunately, these edits are only offset by the occasional change for the good of the trilogy, such as making the Rancor actually look like he's part of the film in Episode VI (DVD edition only mind!), and changing the wording on the tractor beam controls in Episode IV from blatant English to something a little more in keeping with the rest of the Star Wars universe. Fortunately however, this provides Chefelf with more than enough comedy gold to go on for pages (which he does) in what will surely keep you glued to your screen and practically wetting yourself with laughter.

There are numerous other nitpicks that will leave Star Wars fans stunned and horrified (though not as horrified as a first sighting of Jar Jar Binks in Episode I), but I shall leave you with just a few select choices of Boba Fett madness:

A New Hope - Nitpick #6
Boba Fett

In 1997, the addition of Boba Fett into Episode IV was just a stupid ploy to give erections to the tens of thousands of people who'd taken to worshipping the bit character. The inclusion of Boba Fett is unchanged in the DVD release, but the problems with the scene remain. The addition of Boba Fett in the scene would almost have been acceptable had it been subtle, but the Special Edition scene is anything but. It starts off with Boba Fett slowly walking by the camera. In case there are any mentally-challenged, myopic five-year-olds who haven't caught that it's Boba Fett, he stops in front of the camera and mugs! He mugs! He just looks directly at the viewer and you can imagine him giving a cheese-eating grin whilst winking behind that helmet. Boba's pose is, in a way, emblematic of Lucas's blatant disrespect for Star Wars fans.

Return of the Jedi - Nitpick #4
Boba Fonzarelli

In an unending effort to make Boba Fett seem cooler than he is, Lucasfilm chose to add a scene to Return of the Jedi where Boba Fett is seen flirting with the female backup singers of Max Rebo's band. He gently tickles one of their chins before making his way over to help Jabba deal with Boushh (Princess Leia in disguise). Here's a thought. If they wanted Boba Fett to be more kickass, instead of adding a scene to show him being playful with some ladies, how about removing the scene where he dies because a blind Han Solo accidentally bumped into him?

Reasons to Hate Episodes I - III

Moving on from the much-butchered Original Trology, Chefelf then (quite rightly) lays into the prequel trilogy. This trilogy is so blatantly designed purely for the kiddies. Okay okay, so that's to be expected since Star Wars was originally, let's face it, a family film and I can accept that.

Unfortunately George Lucas seems to be under the impression that children nowadays are somehow dumber than they used to be and require everything to be spelled out for them by a floppy-eared moron (Jar Jar Binks in case you couldn't work out that dig) who does everything to sabotage the already slightly wooden performances by the film's human actors.

(Yeah, is it just me, or do Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor struggle slightly in the face of blue and green screens...anyway, I digress, back to the bitching!)

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Jimmy escaped the NYPD Blue set in style
Now, I really don't hate the new trilogy despite the last few paragraphs to the contrary, and I don't think Chefelf does either. Like a whole world of fans out there, we're just annoyed by certain parts that just plain don't fit in, or that are just slapping you in the face with a wet haddock whilst spelling out each step of the plot to you like you're a two year old with a severe learning disability.

For example, possibly my least favourite introduction for a bad guy has to be General Grievous. Before we even see him, we've heard him mentioned by Obi Wan and Anakin and already we're wondering how many seconds it took to come up with that cheesy name. I wasn't overly impressed when Mr "I-have-no-lungs" stalked on and started coughing either. What makes it worse is that he's over-acts so much as to be unbelieveable even in the Star Wars universe which is quite a stretch...the guy just screams out "I'm evil, look at me! I'm bad! I'm the bad guy! Hello! I'm not all that nice really! I step on cuddly teddy bears and stuff!". In short, he annoys me to the point of almost rivalling Jar Jar for the crown of "guy you'd most like to see castrated, hung, drawn and quartered". At least in Grievous' case, it looks like he's been through this already, and he makes up for his overacting with some crazy lightsaber stuff later on.

Furthermore, later on in the film and carrying on a fine tradition, we're forced to believe that the Jedi really can't see what the evil Senator Palpatine is hiding. They've made a point of this over the past three films and now it's just getting boring. I mean, Samuel L Jackson looks pretty shocked when he's told the news by Anakin, and he's supposed to be the main man for fuck's sake! I wouldn't have been able to act in that scene for being too ashamed to say the lines!

Fortunately due to some zany (yes, shoot me, I said zany) characters and gaping plot holes, Chefelf gets plenty of material from these three films - much more so tha the Original Trilogy and that makes it all worthwhile!

Rather than spoil the surprise by launching into them all (there's over 200 - no chance of tha!) here's a few classic moments of reflection to whet your appetite:

The Phantom Menace - Reason #12
The Quickest Route

Boss Nass (who is getting off easy for some reason) tells the Jedi and Jar Jar that the quickest way to reach the Naboo is through the planet's core. Okay. I am by no means a geologist. I can't tell the difference between igneous or sedimentary rock. However, one thing I do know is that you can't just traipse through a planet's core...for any reason. Even if it is the quickest route (which I find highly doubtful) I think that the risks (i.e. certain death) are far too great to undertake the voyage.

Revenge of the Sith - Reason #2
Opening Battle

Prior to seeing this movie, I felt that the battle in Return of the Jedi was the greatest space battle ever put to film. After seeing Revenge of the Sith, that fact has not changed. The thing that made the battle in Return of the Jedi better was that even though it was extremely fast-paced, it could be followed. There were only a few types of ships and the viewer was more than capable of knowing, at any point, who was who.

The space battle that opens Revenge of the Sith is impressive but meaningless. It's like watching a swarm of bumblebees simultaneously masturbate while singing "We Are The Champions" - impressive, but nonsensical.

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The amazing back-flipping leprechaun!
So, I've taken a look at a some of the humorous stuff you can find on Chefelf's site and, though I didn't originally intend to, quickly glossed over some of my own gripes, but there's much more - trust me when I say I couldn't hope to scratch the surface of the hilarous observations on the trilogies and...other stuff.

For example, did you know there was a Star Wars Christmas Special show after Episode IV came out? It's shocking - truly. In fact, shocking doesn't do it justice and I urge to you to join in the pitying laughter at this fine piece of Star Wars history for which, naturally Chefelf has written an amusing guide.

Set aside ten minutes or so, check out Chefelf's site here and you'll see just what all the fuss is about...and end up staying longer than you'd bargained for.

With a Star Wars TV series apparently in the works, George Lucas had better brace himself!


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