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Tortured...droids?

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We have all laid out our misgivings about the Fredo Corleone of the OT, one Return of the Jedi. Here's another:

Can we discuss the scene where EV-9D9 is torturing a droid? What the hell is this scene doing in this movie? It's ridiculous, first of all; second of all, what is with all the changes in tone during the Tattooine portion of the film? 3PO and R2 playing comedy, then slave girls in chains, then a burping frog, then one creature eating another, then Han and Luke swapping vaudeville, then torturing droids....WTF??

It's not that the droid torture scene is disturbing as much as it is bizarre. This movie can't decide if it's trying to appeal to adults or kids, failing rather badly at both until reaching a genuinely good climax in the Throne Room.

Tortured droids. Discuss.

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As I've made abundantly clear (in fact, it's turning into my MO!) this part of the film is my least favorite, but there are far worse problems in it than the droid torturing.  I do often think about it, though, when it's up.  It does make me chuckle a bit, moreso for 3PO's reaction than anything else, but it does cause me to wonder for a few moments what sense it makes.  Maybe if it was only lacking that garbage can having his feet burned it would be okay.  The droid being torn apart on the rack (the one 3PO's distracted by) isn't as goofy, and I also love the fact that 3PO's desperate reach to R2 as he's being carried away matches the dispatched droid behind him.  Maybe it's just that one foot-tortured droid that pushes the scene into the realm of WTF.

There is no lingerie in space...

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don't exist... then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks... and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming... Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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 (Edited)

While I agree on many points of ROTJ's silliness, this scene actually isn't all that nonsensical to me.

We have already met Threepio, an overly emotional droid. This emotional Threepio has been part of Star Wars since the very begining. He is the first character we are introduced to. The idea of a robot being emotional is pretty nutty, but it is part of Star Wars. Even Artoo shows emotion, he often has a little laugh at Threepio's expense, he expresses fear right before being captured by the Jawas. So, it is pretty well established that robots in the SW universe have feelings, and express emotion. Perhaps you could say that they are not really emotional, but are programed to express faux emotion. Either way, same effect. 

So, is it really all that unreasonable to think that a droid might not exactly be thrilled about being melted down slowly? Or torn into two pieces? I know for sure the two droids we all know the best would put up a protest very much like the "garbage can" did. Perhaps that power droid wasn't in pain from the burning, but was freaking out with anticipation of being melted down, or perhaps droids are programed to feel pain (just as they are programed to exhibit emotion). In the context of everything we know about the SW universe from the previous two films, to me this certainly isn't one of the worst concieved bits of ROTJ.

"Every time Warb sighs, an angel falls into a vat of mapel syrup." - Gaffer Tape

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I was always like huh? Droids don't feel pain. and then the one foot droid's foot bein burned with the steam shooting out of it, I was like you have got to be kidding me. Hopefully Adywan will remove this.

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I mentioned this in my first post on the ROTJ Wishlist Thread.

George made three films where two droids were meant to be characters we cared about and two where the torture of humans was suitably horrific (within the set audience parameters naturally) and in ROTJ he dropped in a comedy droid torture scene.

This carried over to the PT where the battledroids do little comedy skits in between killing people and where R2 laughs his socks of in ROTS at the prospect of his pal Threepio getting a forced lobotomy.

 

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

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Janskeet said:

I was always like huh? Droids don't feel pain. and then the one foot droid's foot bein burned with the steam shooting out of it, I was like you have got to be kidding me...

 

Really? I mean, the thing is being melted down. Should he have just been cool with that and let it go on without making a noise?

You really have to look at this with what you learned about robots in the SW universe from the other films.

I never really saw an ounce of comedy in that scene. Threepio's reaction of sheer horror to what he witnesses is the only thing humorous about it, and the reaction is the bit that can be taken as humor, not the actual torture.

I still think it was a fitting scene to establish that being a slave for Jabba was just as much of a hell for droids as it would be for humans. Everything in Jabba's Palace could have been done far better, so I really don't want to defend this scene too much. Had I been doing it, I still would have had some scene to indicate that droids don't have it easy at Jabba's Palace, and are subject to discomfort and threat of death, showing that Jabba is a very ruthless guy who is all to happy to destroy his material possessions in order to make a point, rather than just reprogram them.

"Every time Warb sighs, an angel falls into a vat of mapel syrup." - Gaffer Tape

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Janskeet said:

I was always like huh? Droids don't feel pain. and then the one foot droid's foot bein burned with the steam shooting out of it, I was like you have got to be kidding me. Hopefully Adywan will remove this.

 

Really?

EXT. LANDING PLATFORM - CLOUD CITY - DUSK

They race for the Millennium Falcon as a battalion of stormtroopers reaches the main door.  Lando and Leia hold off the troops as the droids get on board with Chewie.  As Chewie bounds to the ship the Threepio on his back, Threepio hits his head on the top of the ramp.

                    THREEPIO
          Ouch!  Oh!  Ah!  That hurt.  Bend down, you thoughtless... Ow!

Chewie starts up the ship.  The giant engines begin to whine as Lando and Leia race up the ramp under a hail of laser fire.

                    LANDO
          Leia!  Go!

INT. MILLENNIUM FALCON

Beeping while he works, Artoo is busy connecting some wires to Threepio who now has one leg attached.

Chewie enters through the doorway, grunting to himself.

                    THREEPIO
          Noisy brute.  Why don't we just go into light-speed?

Artoo beeps in response.

                    THREEPIO
          We can't?  How would you know the hyperdrive is deactivated?

Artoo whistles knowingly.

                    THREEPIO
          The city's central computer told you?  Artoo-Detoo, you know better than to trust a strange computer.  Ouch!  Pay attention to what you're doing!

I think some of us are missing the point here.  The problem is not whether the droids can feel emotion or can feel pain (which can be argued are two different things), but the execution of this scene in the film.

I don't know how or why droids feel pain and emotion in the SW Universe; but speaking from a perspective of filmmaking, I am glad that they do.  The characters of the droids are much richer because of it.  However, it has to be handled realisticly.

The Gonk droid being tortured in Jedi didn't make any sense because it had steam blasted from small jets built into his feet when heat was applied.  This bit would have actually made some sense if they were just melting his feet without the steam.

Of course, if Lucas really wanted to go over the top, the droid who was being dismembered could have oil of hydrolic fluid bleed out when the limbs were torn off.

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It's possible that the Gonk was venting coolant in a vain attempt to prevent being hurt. The device being used would simply melt the droid's feet, why would there be steam?

Droids feel pain (or it's digital equivalent) for the same reasons we do. How would you know if you stuck your hand in really hot water if you couldn't feel it? You would never pull you hand away in time to prevent severe injury.

You wouldn't want your expensive droid to melt it's arms off because it couldn't tell how hot some dangerous item it was handling had become.

And Sluggo, don't give George any new ideas! :P

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Yeah, the steam thing was a bit too much, especially since it was painfully obvious that it was coming out of the droid rather than being produced by the heat burning him.  But other than that, I agree with what the others said.  The droids do feel pain.  3PO has every right to be afraid.  Jabba is abusive to his property.  And interesting point Bingowings about the comedy of the droid torture scene in comparison to the human torture scenes.

There is no lingerie in space...

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don't exist... then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks... and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming... Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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Sluggo said:

The Gonk droid being tortured in Jedi didn't make any sense because it had steam blasted from small jets built into his feet when heat was applied.  This bit would have actually made some sense if they were just melting his feet without the steam.

You are right, that is rather odd. I haven't seen ROTJ in years, and don't actually remember the jets. I always figured the point was that he was being melted down slowly. I am curious what they were actually going for here? Perhaps they intended it to be smoke coming out of him as his insides fried? Or maybe they did intend it to be him being melted, and the jets were just a visible part of the special effect.

Is the garbage can droid actually called a "Gonk droid"? Or do you just call it that because when we were first introduced to it in the first film it made a gonking sound? I thought I remember the action figure based on its likeness being called a power droid. I always assumed he was a bit like a walking power generator.

"Every time Warb sighs, an angel falls into a vat of mapel syrup." - Gaffer Tape

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Kenner always called it a "power droid". A fan coined the name "Gonk" at some point and it sort of stuck.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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The Gonk name has made it into a few official publications, iirc.
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You've got to be kidding me, are you all serious?  I can't believe the lack of comprehension and intelligence being displayed by OT members this week!

Do you think that that high pitched "Nooooo!" is coming from the Mighty Gonk?  Do you think that a simple machine with a hot iron could torture or even bring pain to the Mighty Gonk?  Do you think that His Allpowerfulness is ever in a situation he does not wish into existence?

Is the Mighty Gonk being tortured in this scene?  I say unto you, Nay!  But it is the Torture Droid who is being tortured.  TMG waits for the right moment and "strikes while the iron is hot" (if you will) releases a powerful droid altering nerve agent from His Mighty Feet causing the torture droid to call out in pain.

The Mighty Gonk can later be found detonating charges which destroy Jabba's sail barge just as Luke shoots at the deck.  And also destroying the second Death Star.

All hail the Mighty Gonk!

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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I have comitted heresy against The Mighty Gonk.  I must be punished. :)

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When I saw ROTJ at its first run at the cinema (I would've been 12 or 13), the feet burning (or moreso the wrong noise coming out of the power droid/gonk) bugged the hell out of me second only to Chewie's tarzan impression. Fortunately enough awesomeness remains in ROTJ that I could let these things go.

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Sluggo,

As a duly ordanined Priest of the Church of the Mighty Gonk, I can receive your pennance through my Paypal account.  I think $50 should cover it?

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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Hmm, Sluggo, I don't know if I buy it.  If he was a duly ordained priest, I don't think he'd have to guess whether or not $50 was the appropriate amount...

There is no lingerie in space...

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don't exist... then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks... and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming... Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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Hate to say it, but I was never bothered by tortured droids (they're just metal after all)

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Gaffer Tape said:

Hmm, Sluggo, I don't know if I buy it.  If he was a duly ordained priest, I don't think he'd have to guess whether or not $50 was the appropriate amount...

 

 Well, we are converting it from the Yen, so there is a bit of guesswork involved. 

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The Mighty Gonk's preferred currency is Galactic Credits. Converting to Yen or Dollars or Leke is something of a guessing game.

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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generalfrevious said:

Hate to say it, but I was never bothered by tortured droids (they're just metal after all)

 

I don't think anyone was bother by the droids being tortured in a "holy hell! how can they show this kind of thing to little kids! This is awful!"

but in more of a, "Whoa, they are torturing droids. this is seriously lame..." kind of way.

 

"Every time Warb sighs, an angel falls into a vat of mapel syrup." - Gaffer Tape

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They were tortured because they refused the Lucasbolt.

VADER!? WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOCHA LATTE? -Palpy on a very bad day.

“George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.”-Harrison Ford

My review blog: thehificelluloidmonster.wordpress.com

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LOL!

 

I forgot all about the Lucasbolt.

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http://www.xbox360achievements.org/news/news-3152-The-Force-Unleashed-Updated-to-1345.html The Mighty Gonk is not pleased.

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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I drew this nifty pic of a Gonk for my penance,