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View Full Version : Which movie had the Best Lightsaber Fight?



Tycho
07-19-2002, 03:06 AM
Personally, I think Empire had the best lightsaber duel in the classic trilogy.

Luke didn't know Vader was his father, and he was trying to kill him. Downright scary and desperate of a fight!

In ROTJ, neither was trying to kill the other.

TPM had an awesome duel - especially with it going 3-way and then with Qui-Gon killed, Obi-Wan's intensity was incredible.

AOTC was great, if you count the duel as including all 4 players. However, it gives me mixed emotions:

It starts with Anakin wanting revenge on Dooku for all the Jedi that died trying to rescue them. That's a good cause, but Anakin moves carelessly and is down by Force lightning before you know it.

Obi-Wan moves cautiously, passionlessly, being careful because Dooku is so powerful.

Dooku has little motive, except to leave. If the younger Jedi had chickened out, he'd have just gotten on his ship and left. He really didn't care to see them die (or live). For some reason, he decides to kill Obi-Wan when Obi-Wan is down for the count.

Anakin gets back into the fight just then to save his master. It feels slightly half-hearted. We know Anakin's annoyed with Obi-Wan, and there's no love for his master shown by this point in the movie, after Shmi's death and Anakin's raging mad about it and looking to blame Obi-Wan. He seems he'll stop Dooku from killing him, just because he can. Because he doesn't want Dooku to take Obi-Wan from him. He doesn't want to fail. But the emotion that Obi-Wan showed concerning Qui-Gon's fate was much more passionate. Perhaps this was because Anakin was still in pain from the Force lightning, but I got the impression that whatever was on his mind, Anakin was really only thinking about himself.

This time he's more cautious when fighting Dooku, especially after he loses his second lightsaber (when fighting with 2).

Now when Yoda comes in, we get the impression that there was some resentment on Dooku's part for the way Yoda trained him. There is a past there, that's evident. But this is a show about power, and we're in awe of the Force and what it lets these two masters do, and have less invested in the characters. Yoda seems rather cynical about the whole conflict from the standpoint that it's just another effort he has to make and that Dooku's dug his own hole and the inexperienced like Anakin and Obi-Wan still need Yoda to take care of them. I don't have as much invested in Yoda's character in this fight, because he still wasn't a major character in the movie, though his larger role was great. But Yoda's emotional investment seems more like cynicism, than any amount of passion. But that's just me.

So I'd rank the lightsaber fights:

ESB
TPM
ROTJ
AOTC
ANH

I think. I put ROTJ over AOTC for the reason that Luke was pushed to his darkest moment at this point, and he KNEW that was his father, and the fate that awaited his sister if he failed to do what he had to do there. It was more personal than "Don't let Dooku get away." It might be better than TPM for that reason, but it's hard to beat the flash in that battle. Again, in TPM there was vengeance for Qui-Gon at stake, which was more than there was to do in AOTC.

ANH is hard to classify. Obi-Wan was trying to get back to the ship. Vader already had a homing beacon on the Falcon. Why didn't he let Obi-Wan go, only to die when the Death Star blew up whatever base the fleeing ship led them to? There was anger and intolerance in that fight. He was angry at Obi-Wan and wanted to finally teach him a lesson. Obi-Wan's motivation was just to get back aboard the ship with Han and Luke. I suppose it's similar to Dooku's goals in AOTC, and Anakin being angry (again of course) with Dooku for the Jedi that died. In one film he's angry about injustice to others (AOTC) and by ANH he's upset about everything that has gone wrong in his personal life and looking to take it out on the one it was most convenient for him to blame. Like I said, he could have let Obi-Wan go to Yavin, if he thought he could blast them all out of existence and that's what the tracker on the Falcon was there for. Like Leia said, the whole escape was a set up. They made it "easy." Though it certainly didn't look that way. I suppose it was only easy AFTER the Falcon left the Death Star - 4 TIEs as opposed to 30???

Hmmm. Looking at the story, ANH's lightsaber duel might have been better than AOTC? But Clones' with Yoda's stint fighting in it, kind of pulls its weight too.

jjreason
07-19-2002, 05:00 AM
For gutsy, gritty drama-action, ESB hands down. I really do love the long battle at the end of TPM however as my favorite action duel. The backhand QGJ delivers to Maul's face made me say "Yeah!" out loud in the theatre. My mom was so embarrassed....:cool: :rolleyes: :D

DeadEye
07-19-2002, 09:26 AM
Tycho, I take it you are judging these fights by emotional/story-driven drama rather than sheer entertainment, right? I think your list is right--but AOTC should be above TPM. In TPM Maul was just some Sith, and Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were only defending themselves. In AOTC, Obi and Annie knew Dooku was a turncoat, and his fighting banter made it all the more entertaining.
I'd say:
ESB
AOTC
TPM
ROTJ
ANH

derek
07-19-2002, 11:21 AM
i just watched episode 2 again yesterday, and i stil am disapointed by the saber duels, even yoda's. i would rank the episode 2 saber duel just above episode 4's, placing it 4th out of the 5 films.

the episode 1 fights were far superior to anything we had ever seen in a star was film, and i doubt it will be topped in episode 3.

my rankings:

episode 1
episode 5
episode 6
episode 2
episode 4

Hasbro'sBountyHunter
07-19-2002, 11:35 AM
Honestly, ANH's lightsaber duel was my favorite. It was nice and simple. Plus that stuff Obi-Wan said during the duel about being struck down was very inspiring. And the face he gave to Luke before Vader killed him- very touching.

DeadEye
07-19-2002, 01:01 PM
Nothing in any of the movies can match the bit where Anakin fought Count Dooku...Obi-Wan vs. Darth Maul comes close, but I watched that scene on the DVD so many times that I literally have it memorized. I can go through every stroke of the fight in my head! :D

Jacen Solo
07-19-2002, 01:06 PM
The best duel story-wise is the one between Luke and Vader in ESB, "Luke I am your father." I mean come on its the biggest suprise in all of Star Wars, ever. The best duel for action is the Yoad-Dooku duel. Best overall is the Obi-Wan-Darth Maul duel of the fates.

Captain Trips
07-19-2002, 01:34 PM
I would have to go with ESB. It was so much more emotionally charged for me. Luke has no idea Vader is his father, and he's trained as a Jedi for what, maybe 3-4 months? He's WAY out of his league, yet still he manages to avoid the carbon-freeze, not get killed, and even strike a glancing blow off of Vader's shoulder. Again, he's JUST A KID and he has taken the baddest of the baddies a full 15 rounds. It should give you an appreciation of just how powerful Luke could be if he were a fully-trained Jedi and why Vader and Palpy are right to fear him. Also, I always loved Vader's taunting..."Perhaps you're not as powerful as the Emporer thought...Impressive, very impressive."

Mandalorian Candidat
07-19-2002, 01:42 PM
For technical merit I would give the nod to TPM. It was fast, furious and showed you what a motivated Jedi and his lightsaber could do. For pure menace and entertainment I say ESB. It was much better than the one from ANH plus it was so dark and scary. I remember seeing it when I was 10 and almost laying a brick because I was so scared.

ROTJ was OK, but not as good. I rate AOTC right in the middle for the sparring between OB1 and Anakin. I totally hate the Yoda fight. The most ridiculous one I've seen so far.

I hope OB1 vs. Ani/Darth turns out to be the best. It has so much potential to be good. I hope it's done right.

Captain Trips
07-19-2002, 01:47 PM
I didn't totally hate the Yoda fight, in fact I thought it was pretty cool. I was disappointed though in Anakin's fight with Dooku. I don't know, for a guy who is supposedly so strong, he just wasn't in the fight all that long. I would've liked a more extended scene previewing more of the power he shows as Vader. Fighting with both sabers worked for me, it just wasn't quite enough.

Nebulaz
07-19-2002, 02:21 PM
I've seen EP2 four times and I'm still not impressed with the yoda duel, it just seems to tacky and added in.

Mandalorian Candidat
07-19-2002, 03:07 PM
Originally posted by Captain Trips
I didn't totally hate the Yoda fight, in fact I thought it was pretty cool. I was disappointed though in Anakin's fight with Dooku. I don't know, for a guy who is supposedly so strong, he just wasn't in the fight all that long. I would've liked a more extended scene previewing more of the power he shows as Vader. Fighting with both sabers worked for me, it just wasn't quite enough.

Yeah, I agree totally. I thought it would have been much longer; this one's like the shortest out of the five movies. I kind of chalk Ani's fast butt-whipping to possibly that he was too headstrong and not cool like OB1 or Qui-Gon. He rushed in too fast and didn't think enough about his moves. He just wanted to weed-whack Dooku too fast. Regardless, it still wasn't as good as EP1 or 5.

Pendo
07-19-2002, 04:43 PM
I'd say the best L-saber duel is Luke v. Vader in ESB. And second comes Qui-Gon and Maul on Tatooine. I don't know why I like that duel so much, it's short and you don't see much, but Qui-Gon is totaly taken by suprise, the Sith are extinct and the last thing he expects is to have one jumping over his head and attack him.
Next I'll say ROTJ then the 3-way duel in TPM. Next is Yoda and Dooku, then Obi-Wan and Dooku, then Anakin and Dooku, and finaly Obi-Wan and Vader.

So put simply:
Luke and Vader (Cloud City),
Qui-Gon and Maul (Tatooine),
Luke and Vader (Death Star II),
Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and Maul (Theed),
Yoda and Dooku (Hangar),
Obi-Wan and Dooku (Hangar),
Anakin and Dooku (Hangar),
Obi-Wan and Vader (Death Star).

PENDO!

Captain Trips
07-19-2002, 04:59 PM
I notice people aren't very fond of Obi and Vader in ANH. One thing in its defense.

For a kid of 6 years old sitting in the theater seeing that for the time, I can't even describe how transfixed I was. It was FLAT OUT ASTOUNDING, maybe even the coolest thing I had ever seen.

At that moment, the obsession began.

Pendo
07-19-2002, 06:31 PM
Originally posted by Captain Trips
I notice people aren't very fond of Obi and Vader in ANH. One thing in its defense.

For a kid of 6 years old sitting in the theater seeing that for the time, I can't even describe how transfixed I was. It was FLAT OUT ASTOUNDING, maybe even the coolest thing I had ever seen.

At that moment, the obsession began.

I wasn't born until a few years after ANH was released, but I agree with you, seeing it for the first time as a child I found it really exciting.

PENDO!

Jedi Knightrider
07-19-2002, 07:23 PM
The coolest, and the one that means the most in the saga so far is the one at the end of ROJ, but most likely there will be one that means as much in III...

DeadEye
07-19-2002, 08:09 PM
Ep3 will surely have the greatest duel of the whole saga...which is why the fights in Ep1 and 2 were deliberately made lackluster, so Ep3 would be awesome! :D

derek
07-19-2002, 10:52 PM
the saber duels in episode 1 were anything but "lackluster". and lucas didn't set out to make any of the duels bad, so the ones in part 3 would shine. i just think the saber duels in episode 2 were badly edited and filmed.

DeadEye
07-19-2002, 10:56 PM
Yes, the ones in Episode 2 were poorly edited and shortened so that the ones in Ep3 would look great!

And Episode I's fights are lackluster after having watched them on a weekly basis for the past three years...:D Besides, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan didn't know Darth Maul, so the fight didn't exist on the personal level that the others did. That makes it the weakest IMHO. It's fast and flashy but has no real substance.

derek
07-19-2002, 11:15 PM
so you are saying the lucas intended to make a bad saber duel so the next one would be better? that's crazy. if he were asked, i would bet he was very pleased with it. it was edited down because the film as a whole was runing long, and the yoda/dooku duel was the "main event", with obi-wan and anakin
serving as the set-up. no filmamker ever sets out to make a bad scene or movie.

just because you watch something over and over, and know what is coming next, dosen't take away from the initial impact the episode 1 duels had, which is why you continued to watch them, to capture that feeling you had when you first viewed them. in terms of quality sowardsmanship, those can't be beat.

JediTricks
07-20-2002, 01:53 AM
Tycho, nothing personal, but we have a thread about this already: http://www.sirstevesguide.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=9798

But since that's in the Ep 2 section, I'll repost my list (http://www.sirstevesguide.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=103947#post103947) :D

1. Vader vs Luke (Bespin)
2. Vader vs Luke (Endor)
3. Vader vs Obi-Wan (the asteroid field formerly known as "Alderraan")
4. Qui-Gon vs Maul (Tatooine)
5. Luke vs Vader Spirit (Dagobah)
6. Maul vs Obi-Wan (Naboo)
7. Obi-Wan vs Qui-Gon vs Maul (Naboo)
8. Yoda vs Dooku (Geonosis)
9. Obi-wan & Anakin vs Dooku (Geonosis)

I still think Obi-Wan was more of hinderance than help during the 3-way battle of Ep 1, QGJ handed Maul quite a few more quality attacks whenever Obi-Wan was out of the picture (till that fateful/convenient last shot ;)).

Personally, I like my saber battles with emotional context, for $25 I can see Ray Park whip a lightsaber around for 20 minutes and while it's interesting as a moviemaking technique and sort of as a ballet, it doesn't really move me like the emotional- and dialogue-driven battles.

Tycho
07-20-2002, 03:12 AM
Yeah JT. I struggled with where to put this thread, but it's not really an E2 topic. Nor is it a Classic Trilogy topic, or anything of that matter. So I put it in General so the most people would see it. It's ok though. I don't think we need thread combos or anything. I think the perspective here could be different from that in an E2 specific forum.

In any case, I wanted to add to what someone said about Episode 1's duel. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon were attacking with the intent to kill Maul. He was an evil Force user as far as they were concerned, and by virtue of the Jedi vs. Sith legacy, either one was the mortal enemy of the other. There was no question that it was the Jedi who were stalking Maul, not vice-versa. Though no doubt, Maul was baiting them to a point where he could separate them and face on at a time on ground of his choosing. I'm sure he knew Naboo's capital well and had studied in preparation for that. He also knew exactly which Jedi would be coming, too.

Still, the ESB fight has flips, falling from great heights, and even a full exposition of the power of the Force used by a great dark master! Even having seen it so many times, I think the fear factor in that duel is still there. You even still hope that Luke won't lose his hand again. Intense!

JediTricks
07-20-2002, 04:50 AM
That's why I didn't merge it. :)

Obi-Don
07-20-2002, 05:37 AM
The 1st time I saw Obi-Wan and Vader in ANH was the time I was hooked on lightsabers.If I had to pick the best fight scene for me it would have to be TPM. Second would be AOTC. Now if you go for the one that has the most emotion it would have to be ESB with Luke and Vader.

DeadEye
07-20-2002, 10:05 AM
TPM was the fight that suddenly made me interested in lightsaber duels! In the other films they were dull, slow, and boring.

Pendo
07-20-2002, 10:43 AM
Originally posted by DeadEye
TPM was the fight that suddenly made me interested in lightsaber duels! In the other films they were dull, slow, and boring.

You're entitled to your opinion DeadEye but I'll have to disagree with you. I think the L-saber duels in the classic trilogy are amazing, and really exciting. I think both duels between Luke and Vader on Cloud City and the 2nd Death Star are more exciting that the one between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and Maul. Maybe that's because we knew that Obi-Wan wouldn't die, where as when seeing ESB and ROTJ for the first time you didn't know which way it could turn.

PENDO!

DeadEye
07-20-2002, 10:53 AM
You're right--but then again, I'm younger than you, so I never really had the thrill of seeing the classic duels as new.

And I had the original trilogy on VHS--I mean, the very first set that included all three movies--and it didn't even have closed captions yet. So I didn't understand half the things people were talking about. Whenever they said "lightsaber" I thought they said "life saver"--which is true, because that's basically what they did! :D

-JediMaster-Yoda-
07-20-2002, 10:58 AM
i like action more then emotion so i pick:
episode 2
episode 5
episode 1
episode 6
episode 5

and episode 3 should be the best...

Jedi Knightrider
07-20-2002, 11:24 AM
Originally posted by DeadEye
And I had the original trilogy on VHS--I mean, the very first set that included all three movies--and it didn't even have closed captions yet. So I didn't understand half the things people were talking about. Whenever they said "lightsaber" I thought they said "life saver"--which is true, because that's basically what they did! :D

What closed captions? Do you mean DVD CC's? You're young enough to think that CC's are the norm??? You're not saying that CC's are the reason you know they are called "lightsabers" are you?

I do however sympathize with your "life saver" dillemma. I thought the same thing for a while...

scruffziller
07-27-2002, 12:34 PM
EPS 1 by far.

QLD
07-27-2002, 01:04 PM
I would have to say Spaceballs....followed closely by Jay and SIlent Bob Strike Back.

bigbarada
07-27-2002, 02:10 PM
I pick the Yoda/Dooku fight as the best. I never cared too much for Luke's quest in the OT and I was only mildly entertained by the Obi/Qui-Gonn/Maul fight. Yoda's was at least fun to watch.

DeadEye
07-27-2002, 05:41 PM
Actually, embarassingly enough, CC's are the reason I knew they were called lightsabers and not life savers. I didn't really start to like and understand Star Wars, until the Special Edition in 1997. That's when I started to read the books, and realize how wrong I had been on the correct pronunciation of a great many things...:D

pthfnder89
07-27-2002, 09:18 PM
Originally posted by DeadEye
Actually, embarassingly enough, CC's are the reason I knew they were called lightsabers and not life savers. I didn't really start to like and understand Star Wars, until the Special Edition in 1997. That's when I started to read the books, and realize how wrong I had been on the correct pronunciation of a great many things...:D

Lol, don't be too hard on yourself DeadEye. I had probably seen Star Wars at least 15 times by the time I was 4 (my dad had gotten ahold of a bootleg tape for us, sometime in '82-'83)
and I also thought they were called life savers for many years. :D

I also thought Obi Wan had said "...depends greatly on your own point of you ":rolleyes: I have no idea what that was supposed to mean, but it sounded like an appropriately "mystical" thing for Obi Wan to say so I never questioned it.

bigbarada
07-27-2002, 10:56 PM
It took me years to realize that Vader's first name wasn't "Dart." :o (keep in mind that I was a fan of SW for over 5 years before seeing any of the films)

dr_evazan22
07-27-2002, 11:09 PM
I strongly agree w/ what a couple of you have said about liking the battles that have a stronger emotional impact on me and the characters.

My list is:
Vader/Luke - ESB
Vader/Luke - ROTJ
QGJ/Obi/Maul - TPM
Luke/Wampa - ESB Just kidding!
Vader/Obi - ANH
AOTC

Tycho-
I agree that Ani doesn't want to fail, but what he doesn't want to fail is Obi. Ani only had 3 things in his life at the outset of AOTC - his mother, Padme, and Obi. At the point of the battle w/ Dooku Ani believes he has already lost 2 of them (Padme had fallen out of the Gunship and Ani doesn't see her get up). Ani has already said that Obi is like a father to him.

After burying Shmi and finding out Obi was in danger, Ani seems like he is in so much emotional pain he can't think clearly (he says he should stay on Tatooine instead of going to help). Ani seems to be torn between his impulse to help and his sense of duty (following the councils order to stay put), a sense of duty that Padme shows in her commitment to the Senate.

You said that Obi seemed passionless. Could that have just been caution? Obi already lost a master to the Sith, I think that Obi knows that Dooku has is Sith, plus, I think it would be fair to assume that Obi knows that Dooku is a master swordsman.

I want to say something about Yoda's cynicism, but I need to go back and read your post again.

Staying on Yoda for a moment...
To me, it semed like Yoda was unaware that a Jedi was capable of retaining their "spirit" after death. Its nice to see that even the greatest, or strongest, Jedi still have things to learn.

One question though... The shot was of Yoda hearing QGJ. Should we infer that BOTH yoda and Ani heard it, or just Yoda?

In TPM I think that QGJ knew he was going to die and prepared himself for it. I don't think that QGJ and Obi would have been able to defeat Maul together, and QG knew he couldn't do it on his own. Obi needed motivation to take his fighting to the next level.


In my list I had Luke/Wampa, but one of the scariest moments for me was when Luke entered the cave on Dagobah.

DeadEye
07-27-2002, 11:38 PM
Well, IMHO, I believe that Anakin could in fact hear Qui-Gon's voice--I mean, why would he yell to Anakin if he knew he couldn't hear him? :rolleyes: But my guess is that Anakin just had so much adrenaline in him that he couldn't focus and/or he thought it was his conscience talking to him.

thespar
07-28-2002, 12:06 AM
yoda and doouke
obi-wan, qui-gon and maul
obi-wan and vader
luke and vader (bespin)

Needles
07-28-2002, 12:14 AM
To me the duels between
1.Obi/Qui Gon/Maul
2.Yoda vs Dooku
3.Vader vs Luke(ROTJ)
4Vader and Luke(ESB)
5.Jango vs Obi
ARE THE BEST.

plasticfetish
07-28-2002, 04:24 AM
Vader vs. Luke (esb)
It was the first one that really seemed like a "duel" and got the (well, mine anyway) heart pumping.

Also ...
Qui Gon&Obi vs. Maul
Everything said and done, when the movie came out (and still today) I was impressed by the staging of this scene. It was clearly different than anything we'd seen before and I liked that.

I'd say Yoda vs. Dooku ... but ... I'm not sure I'm all that impressed by a battle between an animated character and a stunt double. Don't get me wrong, I L-O-V-E seeing Christopher Lee with a light saber (or doing anything for that matter), but I'm not sure it had any effect on me other than being novel.

Pendo
07-28-2002, 08:42 AM
I can't wait for the Episode II DVD so I can watch the Yoda/Dooku duel in slo-mo. I want to see how good Yoda really fights, cause he's too fast to watch normally. I also want to see how accurate ILM had it.

PENDO!

hango fett
07-28-2002, 09:00 AM
here is my 2 cent.
episode 1
episode 2
episode 5
episode 6
episode 4

hango

hango fett
07-28-2002, 09:01 AM
i think i will do the same as you, pendo! watch it in slo-mo! it's just to hard to track yoda with your eyes anymore.....
hango

DeadEye
07-28-2002, 09:25 AM
Yeah. I watch the Episode 1 duels in slow motion all the time, so I know every single movement and blow...:D

dr_evazan22
07-28-2002, 10:14 AM
Originally posted by plasticfetish
Also ...
Qui Gon&Obi vs. Maul
Everything said and done, when the movie came out (and still today) I was impressed by the staging of this scene. It was clearly different than anything we'd seen before and I liked that.

My fav part of that fight is right after Obi cuts Maul's saber in half. Obi flips over MAul and swipes at Maul's heels as Maul moves away.

DeadEye
07-28-2002, 10:26 AM
I agree. The best part was when Maul fought after the saber was cut and it was a normal-sized saber, so it was vastly superior to the similar duels in the OT.

And Dr. Evazan22, I'm from Delaware. Newark, to be exact. :D

hango fett
07-28-2002, 10:57 AM
when i saw EI for the 1st time, i thought htat when his saber was cut in half, that he would pick up the other half and use it too! that would ahve been sweet!
hango!

Pendo
07-28-2002, 10:59 AM
I love the way the other half of Maul's saber goes flying into the wall in the background. I think it's cool! :D

PENDO!

DeadEye
07-28-2002, 11:31 AM
I don't know why he only used one half--the other bit he threw away still worked, because I watched the scene on 1/8x speed and the other saber on the other half was still on and burned into the wall. :D

Lobito
08-02-2002, 04:38 PM
The very best saber scene IMO goes to EP I...then its EP II and then ESB, ROTJ and ANH.