Seven films, 906 minutes, over 15 hours…this is the movie marathon you are looking for.
**Spoilers ahead for Star Wars Episodes I-VII…Darth Vader is Luke’s dad.**
15 hours in a darkened room with nothing but lightsaber battles, Jedi mind tricks, podracing and, erm, Hayden Christensen…what more could anyone ask for? If you’re going to watch one Star Wars movie, it would be pretty rude not to watch the other six now wouldn’t it?
Tired of the humdrum of planet Earth, myself and my movie marathoning partners in space crime recently took it upon ourselves to leave this floating blue rock and travel to a galaxy far, far away where the day to day life is a little bit more exciting, even if the visual effects aren’t always quite up to scratch. We’d battled our way to success in our Hobbit/ Lord of the Rings movie marathon, and we had assembled the majority of the Avengers with a Marvel Phase One feast, so what better beloved franchise to visit next than George Lucas’s Star Wars?
Here’s how we did it:
- There will be no sleeping. Yoda didn’t get so damn wise by sleeping his days away. Perhaps a lack of sleep did make him a bit skittish by the time we catch up with him in The Empire Strikes Back. Skittish yes, but alert nonetheless.
- There will be no breaks. Qui-Gon Jinn took a break halfway through his fateful duel with Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace, as did Obi Wan, both casually sauntering their way through the (pointless) laser gates, rather than force dashing as we’d already seen that they were capable of doing. The rest is history. They became separated and Qui-Gon became Bye-Gone. Don’t rest on your laurels, and power through together.
- There will be no skipping of any and all scenes involving Hayden Christensen and/or Jar Jar Binks. You’re going to want to, but unfortunately it’s cheating. I really do feel for you on this one though.
I’ve got a bad feeling about this!
Things are going to start off a bit rough. Fun fact, there’s just one shot in Episode I which doesn’t feature any special effects, and boy does it show. In fairness, Lucas really did nail that singular shot of an air vent. Here are just a few of the things which he felt necessary to reproduce using CGI:
- The sky
- Human beings
As such, for a film which is really not that old, it has aged horrendously. As in it looks like a Playstation One game. You’re going to have to suspend your disbelief a little bit here. Yes, everyone’s best friend Jar Jar Binks looks and is pretty ridiculous, yet he’s really no more ridiculous than everyone not being able to recognise that a decoy Keira Knightley is not their actual queen, Natalie Portman. According to IMDb, even Knightley’s very own mother struggled to identify her daughter when both her and Portman were in full makeup. I think we can all agree that she’s a terrible parent. It’s best that you just take The Phantom Menace for what it is, and probably don’t expect to have your socks blown off from the outset of the marathon. Darth Maul is pretty great still, and you do have podracing to enjoy with little Anakin…
You have done this yourself!
Say what you will about Jar Jar, but he’s got nothing on Hayden Christensen in Episode II. Poor Anakin, he went from happy-go-lucky kid with his whole life ahead of him to grumpy adult so quickly. He’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the woes of Attack of the Clones. This is going to be the moment you’re most likely to doubt your convictions. If sulky Anakin isn’t enough to plant the seeds of doubt, long-winded political discussions may well do. Do not fear though. As well we all know, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering and suffering leads to the dark side. Take strength in the knowledge that once you’ve blasted through Episode II, the high point of the prequel trilogy is up next with Revenge of the Sith.
It’s a trap!
Once you hit A New Hope it’s more or less smooth sailing. Be wary of complacency though. Luke Skywalker was most certainly not complacent in the unrelenting pursuit of his own sister, so let his plucky determination teach you a valuable lesson or two as Return of the Jedi looms ever nearer. With the introduction of some of cinema’s greatest heroes and its most villainous villain, space battles and the first ever lightsaber duel, A New Hope will fly by. You might even be able to overlook Ben Kenobi’s borderline racism.
The smorgasbord of iconic moments in The Empire Strikes Back make it easy pickings to tick off the list. However those cute-yet-haunting Ewoks are ever watching…they will find you, and they will kill you, if you’re not guarding against complacency. Still they aren’t the only creatures in Jedi that are likely to make you scoff and wonder when Star Wars turned into Muppets from Space. Between Jabba the Hutt and his all singing, all dancing band, there’s some dodgy stuff for sure. Not quite prequel trilogy dodgy, though dodgy all the same. But you’ve got this. The force is on your side. Just one film stands between failure and glory.
You’ve reached The Force Awakens and the likelihood is that you’re quite possibly going to be feeling a little parched and ready for some tasty, well-earned refreshments. For those who like to dabble in the odd beverage or two, perhaps a cheeky round of a Star Wars: The Force Awakens drinking game might help you to celebrate your impending marathoning victory (note: proceed with caution, be wary of stumbling at the final hurdle). Here’s how it goes:
- Take a drink every time a character mentions The Force.
- Take a drink every time Jakku is mentioned.
- Take a drink every time Luke is mentioned.
- Take a drink every time The Resistance is mentioned.
- Take a drink any time BB-8 does anything totally boss and/or adorable.
That last one is almost certainly the biggest danger to your chances of completing the marathon so far. He’s so adorable. So adorable that he makes a box of kittens look like garbage. So adorable that he makes a crate of puppies look like an armpit. God bless BB-8!
Use your spherical friend’s uplifting joy to guide you through the emotional rollercoaster ride of The Force Awakens. Let his charm deflect Kylo Ren’s gloomy demeanour. There’s been an awakening. Be the Jedi that your Midichlorian count tells you that you can be and triumph will be yours.
Have a fruitful Star Wars marathon, my young Padawans. Make the Kessel Run in just twelve parsecs. Take down the Empire. Enjoy your journey to a galaxy far, far away!