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Star Wars Episode 1: Jar Jar's Big Adventure

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It occurs to me every time I watch the Red Letter Media review that Plinkett is wrong when he says there is no main character in TPM. 

Jar Jar Binks is the main character - the problem is noone wants to admit it.

Consider this - Jar Jar begins the film displaced, a sad bumbling fool who wishes to return to the home he's been exiled from. On top of that, now his planet is being invaded by the trade federation. Suddenly, two wise Jedi show up and instantly give him an opportunity to make a difference by leading them to his home. The Jedi have saved his life, and he is now their servant, giving him a solid reason he has to tag along. We learn that the Naboo and the Gungans don't get along. In the sub ride, we learn more of Jar Jar's back story.

Suddenly, they've saved the Queen and shot off into space. They land on Tatooine, where Jar Jar befriends a young slave boy, attempts to help with a few things, and continues to struggle with his inadequacies. The boy saves the day (as Jar Jar cheers), and they head to Coruscant.

The Queen decides to return home when she can't get help on Coruscant, and Jar Jar is excited to go back. But there's a twist. The Queen has a plan, and she wants Jar Jar's help!

They get back, and Jar Jar helps find the rest of the Gungans. This meeting begins deplomacy between the nations and Jar Jar almost single handedly brings them together, burying the feud.

Jar Jar is now recognized as a hero among his people, and promoted to General. He then helps lead his people against the battle droids, a battle which is ultimately won. He has now regained his place among his people, united the Naboo and the Gungans, and helped save the planet (and helped the jedi in their mission, resolving his debt) - he is among those most highly honored in the final parade.

... That, folks... is a decent narrative, focused on a kid friendly protagonist. And it spans the entire film.

MY PLAN: I'm going to create an edit that, rather than get rid of Jar Jar, embraces him in a way that creates a children's film. Most of the politics will be gone, along with quite a bit of Anakin's back story. Darth Maul may not even show up in the film. I think it's possible, and could actually make a decent film, if mapped out right.

Any thoughts, suggestions?

 

Some people call them Force Ghosts. I call them Midichlorian Swarms.

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I'm more aligned with the Topher Grace edit that I read about where the only part of Episode 1 that is used is the lightsabre battle from the end.  You have an interesting idea, though.  

Is there a fanedit out there of #3 that removes Grievous entirely?  I despise that character more than most people loathe JarJar Binks.  For the record I think that Episode 1 is a better put together movie than RotJ, JJB or no JJB.

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Though I despise Jar Jar and the prequels, this is actually an interesting idea.  It would be a movie for little kids, set in the SW universe, but not connected to the main saga in any way, kind of like those Ewok TV-movies (Caravan of Courage and Battle for Endor).

I was watching some RLM thing recently (can't remember if it was Half in the Bag or the TPM 3D commentary), and they talked about how JJ was the only character in TPM to actually have a character arc.

Maybe the movie really was supposed to be about JJ?  In the TPM webisodes and the "making-of" documentary, Lucas does say, "Jar Jar is the key to all of this..."

On a side note, I think JJ wouldn't have been nearly as annoying if he simply had a different VOICE.  That's probably the most irritating thing about him.

This post has been edited.

Anyone remember different camera angles from ROTJ?

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It occurs to me every time I watch the Plinkett video that he is wrong on almost everything he says.

 

That said. In the edit I am working on I have Jar Jar as the first character to appear.

 

Mine begins with the crawl panning down to Trade Federation ships beginning their invasion landing. You see the ships landing and some troops coming out.

Then cut to Jar Jar coming out of the lake and then walking into the forest and then freaking out when seeing the troops coming! I like the primitive creature being overwhelmed by the bad robots as the first thing you see.

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I agree that this does sound interesting in spite of my dislike of the character.  Like SpilkaBilka said, as a kids movie in the same vein as the Ewok films, this would actually serve its purpose well.  I'm insterested to see how this turns out.  I also agree that his voice is a big thing that ruins it for me.  He could still be silly, knowing the movie was oriented for kids, but if his voice is different, I could appreciate it as a kid's film.

The ROTJ collaborative thread is a wealth of ideas, both on how to edit Return of the Jedi, as well as how to collaborate in an edit.

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The only way you can make it work is to re-dub Jar-Jar's lines so he doesn't sound like Stepin Fetchit.

Ideally I'd keep him as an African American voice but an intelligent one to really flip the character around.

Intelligent people can still be clumsy (think the tweedy professor archetype).

Turn him into a Gungan Rupert Giles without the accent and you would be onto a winner. 

This would give you opportunities to also write better lines which would make the character more interesting.

EXT. NABOO SWAMP - TWILIGHT

QUI-GON runs through the strange landscape, glancing back to see the
monstrous troop transports, emerging from the mist. Animals begin to run
past him in a panic.
One of the huge MTT's bears down on the JEDI like a
charging locomotive. 
An odd, frog-like Gungan, JAR JAR BINKS stands transfixed until he spots the escaping knight.

JAR JAR : Oh my! You there, get Down!

JAR JAR  and grabs onto QUI-GON as he passes. The JEDI is
caught by surprise.

JAR JAR : (Cont'd) Let it pass over you it's your only chance of survival.
QUI-GON : Let go!

The machine is about to crush them as QUI-GON drags JAR JAR behind him. Just
as the transport is about to hit them, QUI-GON drops, and JAR JAR goes splat
into the mud with him. The transport races overhead.
QUI-GON and JAR JAR pull themselves out of the mud. They stand watching the
war machine dissapear into the mist. JAR JAR grabs QUI-GON and hugs him.

JAR JAR : Are you alright I'm sorry I had to resort to...
QUI-GON : Are you brainless? You almost got us killed!
JAR JAR : I'm considered intelligent, I speak for the Gungan council.
QUI-GON : The ability to speak does not make you intelligent. Now get outta
here!

QUI-GON starts to move off, and JAR JAR follows.

JAR JAR : It's a very dangerous situation you look like you need assistance.
QUI-GON : That wont be necessary.
JAR JAR : It's not a cultural tradition of my people to try to be helpful to strangers but...

In the distance, two STAPS burst out of the mist at high speed, chasing
OBI-WAN.

QUI-GON : I have no time for this now...
JAR JAR : .you really have awful manners.

The two STAPS barrell down on OBI-WAN.

JAR JAR : (cont'd) Take cover!

QUI-GON throws JAR JAR into the mud.

QUI-GON : Stay down!

His head pops up.

JAR JAR : I see. if I do it I'm brainless, not that I'm ungrateful of course but...

The two troops fire laser bolts at OBI-WAN. QUI-GON deflects the bolts back,
and the STAPS blow up. One-two. OBI-WAN is exhausted and tries to catch his
breath.

JAR JAR : Is this your friend?
OBI-WAN : What's this?
QUI-GON : A local. Let's go, before more of those droids show up.
JAR JAR : They are not friends of yours I take it??!?

OBI-WAN and QUI-GON start to run. JAR JAR tries to keep up.

JAR JAR : (cont'd) It's all rather exhausting, I'm more of a swimmer, I'm not used to running, You'd be much safer in our city if I could...
They all stop.

QUI-GON : A city! (JAR JAR nods his head) Can you take us there?
JAR JAR : On second thoughts it's probably not a good idea, no.
QUI-GON : No??!
JAR JAR : They are a very insular people, they don't like outsiders much, My ambassadorial role has made me a bit of pariah to be honest. They may do terrible things to you if I were to bring you there uninvited.

A PULSATING SOUND is heard in the distance.

QUI-GON : You hear that?

JAR JAR shakes his head yes.

QUI-GON : (cont'd) That's the sound of a thousand terrible things heading
this way...
OBI-WAN : When they find us, they will crush us, grind us into little
pieces, then blast us into oblivion!
JAR JAR : He is very melodramatic but persuasive. This way!

JAR JAR turns and runs into the swamp.

EXT. NABOO SWAMP LAKE - TWILIGHT

QUI-GON, OBI-WAN and JAR JAR run into a murky lake and stop as JAR JAR tries
to catch his breath. The TRANSPORTS ARE HEARD in the distance.

QUI-GON : Much farther?
JAR JAR : This lake leads to the city, it's quite deep.

QUI-GON and OBI-WAN pull out small capsule from their utility belts that
turn into breathing masks.

JAR JAR : (cont'd) Are you sure I can't change your mind? The water will be warmer than the welcome..
OBI-WAN : Don't worry, this has not been our day for warm welcomes.

JAR JAR  dives into the
water.
Breath masks on, QUI-GON and OBI-WAN wade in after him.

 

This post has been edited.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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One of the great features of the first one....Star Wars 77 and not TPM....was that things were just presented and you accepted them or you didn't.  Most of us imaginatively went along for the ride and accepted it.

Chewie was not subtitled.  Jawas were not subtitled.  R2 was not subtitled.  Greedo was.... Perhaps a solution is to redub JarJar and not subtitle him at all if it can be gotten away with.  Otherwise dub him in an unintelligible language and subtitle it.

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Too much stuff.

Artoo has Threepio to explain some of what he says.

Han has Chewie to some extent.

A lot of what they are saying makes instant sense anyway (part of the genius of their creation).

Neither talk as much as Jar-Jar and much of what he says explains what he does just as much of what he does is story propellent.

Edits where Jar Jar and the Feds are subtitled take forever to read but you have to read because it makes no sense otherwise.

After Yoda Lucas seemed to be happy with aliens speaking wonky English and Jar-Jar is the worst example of this.

It's easier for him to speak plain English.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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I definitely understand on some of the vocal parts - but really, if you watch most kids things these days, that is kind of the vocal style used to amuse them.

It's nice to see some actual support for this. I'm rather surprised considering the general dislike of the character. I'm hoping to complete this and release it alongside my other edit The Phantom Hour, which takes the opposite approach, removing all Gungans, and ditching Jar Jar on Coruscant.

Considering it is planned to be a Kids movie, should I have the crawl narrated? Male or female voice? I'm thinking along the lines of the original Power Rangers movie crawl - that's actually the tone I'm aiming for with the whole project, tbh.

Some people call them Force Ghosts. I call them Midichlorian Swarms.

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Interesting idea. I like it!

I think most of the Jar Jar hate springs from how he was used and the way he sounds. As SW aliens go, Gungans have a nice design. The Clone Wars series actually made him tolerable.

If you could find the voice talent, redub all the Gungans. Especially Boss Nass.

I think most films of the genre have male narrators.

Maybe go one step further and make it into the style of a Disney live action film of the 70's? A different musical score perhaps?


Where were you in '77?

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nightstalkerpoet said:

It occurs to me every time I watch the Red Letter Media review that Plinkett is wrong when he says there is no main character in TPM. 

Jar Jar Binks is the main character - the problem is noone wants to admit it.

Very late to the party here, but you make a strong case. He seems to be the only character with a story arc, making Jar Jar, arguably, the protagonist... wow!

Did you ever finish this? It's inspiring me to want to do something similar! 

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I never did finish this project - real life got busy and haven't found time since. Would love to see someone else tackle this if interested.

Some people call them Force Ghosts. I call them Midichlorian Swarms.

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I watch SpongeBob Squarepants. I was there when it premiered on Nickelodeon, and have followed ever since, owning three seasons on DVD.

That show has silly, stupid, goofy moments, let me tell you. But it's intelligently written. And usually we have the stuck-up Squidward to laugh at. His reactionary annoyance at SpongeBob and Patrick is worlds funnier than the slapstick.

TPM is, for the most part, poorly written, and we have nobody to really react to Jar-Jar in humorous ways. The only way this would work for me is if Qui-Gon was the sympathetic butt-end of Jar-Jar's antics. And he isn't in the core movie.

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I think that if The Phantom Menace had been made in the 80's and not been a Star Wars film, men people would have loved it today ... and loved Jar-Jar.  Maybe not loved Jar-Jar as much as the heroes from the original trilogy, but definitely more than an Ugnaught. It would have been a cult classic like Willow, The Last Starfighter or Short Circuit.

BTW, the title "Jar Jar's Big Adventure" has been around since right after TPM when people were joking about what the next movie was going to be called.

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I think a project along these lines needs to get done.  I am going to repeat ideas others have said that demonstrate that this is a workable idea:

-George Lucas obviously targeted this movie at kids, which is why it didn't appeal to many long-time fans, most of whom were kids when the OT came out (or in my case, an ovum for the first two).  While the OT has appeal for both age groups, much of the PT, especially TPM, appeals only to children.  I witnessed this firsthand when I took a risk and allowed my children recently to watch the PT, which they in fact enjoy more than the OT :( (my hope is that they'll outgrow it as they mature).  But since I enjoy the Ewok films as children's movies, I can see turning this even more child-oriented, and it could be a child's intro to the Star Wars backstory without destroying my love for Star Wars in general.

- Jar Jar is really the best main character.  The others rotate and there is never focus, but this can easily be changed with a proper, Jar Jar focused fan edit.

- This is much like the R2/3PO intro to Luke Skywalker of ANH, as Jar Jar could introduce the whole PT to us, and from there we follow the less childish main characters of Anakin and Obi-wan in Episodes II and III (Anakin only being slightly less childish than Mr. Binks).

To accomplish these objectives, I agree with what princethomas has said, with the movie starting with the planet's invasion.  I also think a voice intro would be good, though I don't think it means we have to do away with the opening crawl either.  I would actually have the intro given by Jar Jar himself rather than the narrator, so if someone is capable of a good impersonation (and I might be that someone, not sure, need an objective listener), then perhaps it could really sell Jar Jar as the main protagonist.

To assist with the opening, the best bet would be to include some shots that were animated, but without any complete rendering available.  This would be a compromise, but it would be the ideal way to open with Jar Jar, IMHO.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfU3T40IVuU&t=25m49s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfU3T40IVuU&t=24m44s

Interspersed with the complete footage, I know this would look ugly, but it would be a better introduction to our clumsy hero.

Ultimately I would cut scenes that were not so important for character development or story if they did not have Jar Jar, include deleted scenes that served little purpose except for Jar Jar humor (i.e. the waterfall scene), and simply keep him as the focus.  As Bingowings said, he could be dubbed to not be so idiotic (since racism is a huge charge against him, though I still believe that is not really true).  The tweedy professor sort also sounds interesting, and his voice could be altered completely.

I think there is a lot of potential for an edit like this, and though I lack the talent to do it myself, I think someone should do it.

The ROTJ collaborative thread is a wealth of ideas, both on how to edit Return of the Jedi, as well as how to collaborate in an edit.

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Pure genius.
If there were some way for Jar Jar to turn the tide of the whole battle (space, duel, and palace,) that would be better.
Maybe even include the episode 2 portion where he gives the chancellor emergency powers.

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For what it's worth, I saw TPM when I was a kid and never liked Jar Jar.

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Maybe Obi-Wan hears Jar-Jars disembodied advice like Luke does with Old Ben in ANH?

This could be a cover?

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I was just thinking about an Anakin-centric edit of TPM that played as a children’s film, but thought ‘I’m sure someone has thought of that before, let’s check the backup data’. Lo and behold, there’s something possibly better.

Perhaps a crawl like this would do:

There’s trouble in the galaxy.
The Greedy Trader’s Guild is
invading the peaceful planet of
Naboo.

Along with human settlers, the
planet is home to a people called
the Gungans, who want nothing more
than to be left alone.

Only one Gungan stands between
the humans of Naboo and the evil
Trader army, and is about to run into
two stowaways fighting for peace in
the galaxy…

It then opens with the invasion and meeting of Jar Jar, and everything takes place much as it does in the theatrical version albeit with less plot detail until Coruscant. Once there, only the Anakin/Jar Jar scenes remain, so basically just Anakin in Padme’s quarters and some of his meeting with the council, followed by Jar Jar’s discussion with the Queen. Then they leave, have the final battle with much of the queen/Jedi bits excised, and end on the celebration as usual.

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I still think this is a worthwhile idea, and your suggestion to implement it is reasonable.

The ROTJ collaborative thread is a wealth of ideas, both on how to edit Return of the Jedi, as well as how to collaborate in an edit.

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