Sunday, May 15, 2011

F is also for Father and Son Lightsaber Duel from "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back"

Circa 1995, these were the Applause Star Wars Classic Collectors Series Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker Statuettes with lighted bases from "The Empire Strikes Back". They come with certificates of authenticity and are limited editions (5,000 pieces of each were produced).

IMHO "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back", released in 1980, was the best film out of the six films released. The Empire Strikes Back initially received mixed reviews from critics upon its release. However, by the turn of the 1990s and up to now, fans and critics alike now widely consider "The Empire Strikes Back" to be the best film in the franchise (like I said, I agree :)). On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, "The Empire Strikes Back" currently holds a 97% "Certified Fresh" rating, from a total of 72 reviews, making it the highest rated episode of the Star Wars Saga, and also one of the highest rated science fiction films of all time. [source: wiki]

Darth Vader was ranked as the third greatest film villain of all time (after Hannibal Lecter and Noeman Bates) in the American Film Institute's list of the 100 greatest heroes and villains (2003) for his role in this film, and Wizard magazine selected the ending of "The Empire Strikes Back" as the greatest cliffhanger of all time.

I'd bought these statuettes in Gold Coast Australia in 1995 while on holiday and had just begun collecting toys at that time. I find it strange that Applause sold these two statuettes as separate items as I cannot imagine one without the other. Anyone in their right mind would obviously choose to buy them both as a pair and a set so why the company Applause chose to sell them separately is beyond me.

I don't usually buy statues as I prefer my figures to be pose-able with their fabric outfits and costumes as I find that they look more realistic that way, almost as if they had stepped out of the screen (for the movie-related action figures). For the military themed figures, it's like they came out of a time machine, with their full military outfit, gears and weapons. All the historical figures are pretty accurate thanks to the many military enthusiasts and the books they write which gave us a glimpse of how war was fought in the past and a valuable reference material for 1/6 manufacturers who are aiming for authenticity. Being pose-able also meant that these 12-inch figures could strike many poses and look as realistic as possible.

With statues, you get only one fixed pose or stance and most statues are carved or made from stone, then painted over. They can never look as realistic as a well produced 12-inch clothed figure. I suppose it's fine for comic characters because most comic characters are never drawn anatomically correct and there's a lot of artistic license and influence taken. But to be frozen in only one particular pose without being able to change poses just isn't my thing.

The other thing that I don't get is why stone sculptures are so much more expensive than finely crafted and sculpted 12-inch tall figures with removable detailed 1/6 scale costumes and outfits, gears and weapons that has movable parts. The collectible 1/6 scale figures today certainly have been elevated to an ART form and is highly desirable but are still more affordable and cost way less than an unmovable stone object stuck in a fixed pose or stance.

What I like about these statuettes (they were created using cold cast resin and then hand-painted to create a pewter look finish) is that being smaller in size and not cast from stone, they are lighter and NOT expensive. But most importantly, I like how Applause designers managed to make Darth Vader look like he is leaping in mid air with his feet leaving the platform, about to strike Luke Skywalker as Luke stands his ground. This is the classic scene in "The Empire Strikes Back" when Luke Skywalker faces Darth Vader in one of cinematic history's most memorable scenes: the battle between father (Lord Vader) and son (Luke Skywalker).

The most well-known line of "The Empire Strikes Back" – "No, I am your father" – is often misquoted as "Luke, I am your father." This line has been parodied so many times. In "Toy Story 2", the new Buzz Lightyear action figure discovers that his arch enemy Emperor Zurg is actually his father. That really cracked me up :D

This Applause statuette depicts Darth Vader in the light saber fight scene where he seems ready to strike downward upon his son and foe Luke Skywalker from "The Empire Strikes Back".

When out of the box, the Applause Star Wars Classic Collectors Series Darth Vader statuette measures 22 cm from the base to the tip of the light saber and it is 11.5 cm at its widest, which is the base and the flare from his cape. The actual Darth Vader figure is 16 cm high.

The Applause Star Wars Classic Collectors Series Luke Skywalker statuette depicts Luke Skywalker in the light saber fight scene where he stands defiant and ready to defend himself against Darth Vadar and the lure of the Dark Side as seen in "The Empire Strikes Back". When out of the box, the Luke Skywalker statuette measures 18 cm from the base to the tip of the light saber and it is 9 cm at its widest, which is the base. The actual Luke figure is 13 cm tall.

Like I said, I like how both statuettes come together and the dramatic scene it creates when formed.

For me, although Luke Skywalker was the main hero from Star Wars episodes IV to VI, he doesn't really have the presence that Harrison Ford as Han Solo commanded. It's just like how Kato stood out in the Green Hornet series (played by the great Bruce Lee) as well as the recent 2011 Green Hornet film (played by Jay Chou who I think did a rather impressive job as well).

And here's a look at the Applause Star Wars Classic Collectors Series Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker Statuettes with bases lit up. The illuminated base projects an impressive contrast of light and shadow, revealing the artistic detail - marking this set as a truly remarkable addition to any Star Wars collection. It's even better when the surrounding background is darker but my photography skills aren't that great and I might not do it justice.

Scroll down for more pictures of these "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker Statuettes with light-up bases. I enjoyed taking these pictures and I hope you enjoyed viewing them as well. Statuettes these may be but what an eye-catching and impactful design they are - I like it!

More Father and Son moments :)
Darth Vader with Stormtroopers and Luke Skywalker when he gave himself up at Endor.
Also Medicom Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in a post I call "Who's Your Daddy?" LOL XD
Also check out "Struck by lightning", a reenactment of the final scene between Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and the Emperor - sure to bring a smile to your face haha


LEon said...

To be honest, I never seen Vader lifting his body off the ground before in the old saga and I will never buy the idea he is agile. LOL

Anonymous said...

Vader's bent lightsaber sort of ruins the piece for me... do you know if it came like that or just got messed up over the years?

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

hey LEon, artistic interpretation i guess haha - makes it look more dramamtic ;p

oops, looks like i have to bend it back. must have bent during storage for the big move CHEERS

Super-Duper ToyBox said...

i LOVED that movie, and was finally old enough to be more "aware" when it came out. It really blew my mind, and "sealed the deal" for me with Lucas' franchise, and is the one I still enjoy most. I love the light feature on this statue! Nice pictures :)

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

THANKS Colin :)