!:00:01 – 1:15:00
After 30 minutes of relative peace and reflection, we finally get a little action.
This chapter of the 15-Minute Force begins with Anakin telling the senator that he knows his mother is in trouble and that, even though it means ignoring his mandate to protect Padme, he must go help her. Padme says, That’s cool. I’ll just come with.
That wasn’t the action I promised you. That begins at about 45 seconds into this installment. Obi-Wan Kenobi confronts Jango Fett as he and his Mini-Me, Boba, are about to flee Kamino in what appears to be the Slave I, that big flying clothes iron that Boba Fett used in the original trilogy.
Obi-Wan ignites his lightsaber. Jango begins firing red bolts from his pistols, then uses his jet pack to fly into the air. Meanwhile, Boba, who had been told by Jango to get into the ship, begins doing what all child pilots do in the Star Wars universe: press buttons and flip toggle switches. Jango fires a missle from his backpack that blows Obi-Wan off his feet. Boba begins firing the ship’s guns at the Jedi, who follows that time-honored tradition of losing his lightsaber. Jango zooms back down to attack Obi-Wan, who meets him mid-air with a flying kick that sends Jango’s pistol flying. The two men exchange blows. Jango head-butts Obi-Wan, who, sent sprawling once again, is reaching for his lightsaber when Jango uses his jetpack once again, shooting a cable from his wrist gun that wraps around Obi-Wan’s wrist and pulls him along with him. Obi-Wan wraps himself around a conveniently placed column, which causes Jango to crash, losing his jetpack. When Jango falls over a shallow coping, Obi-Wan, who is still tethered to the bounty hunter, is pulled over after him.
Exciting stuff, right? And this is all in just over two minutes. It’s not over yet.
As Jango is sliding down the sloped outer wall with Jedi in tow, he ejects Batman-like, sharply-angled fins from his arm guards and uses them to slow, and eventually halt, his descent. Obi-Wan doesn’t slow, he just goes over the edge. Jango releases the tether and Obi-Wan falls, but manages to use the cable to do some cowboy shit of his own, using the cable grappling gun style to stop his plummet to certain death. He’s still hanging high in the air though.
Jango climbs slowly back to the Slave I while Obi-Wan Tarzans over to a walkway, opens elevator doors using the Force, and returns back to the launch pad. He’s too late to stop Jango and Boba from taking off, but he manages to attach a tracer to the Slave I’s hull before it gets out of range.
Anakin and Padme return to Tatooine in a silver Naboo starship. Not exactly low-profile after traveling in disguise on a transport ship to Naboo.
The senator and the Jedi travel by droid rickshaw to see Watto, Anakin’s former owner. I still don’t care for this character, but the scene is mercifully short. Shmi was sold years ago to a moisture farmer named Lars, who later freed and married her. Anakin has a stepfather. And he’s a moisture farmer named Lars. That name seems familiar for some reason. The moisture farm is a long way from Mos Espa. It’s on the other side of Mos Eisley, Watto thinks. I think he’s correct.
Cut to Slave I coming out of hyperspace with Obi-Wan close behind. They are approaching a ringed red planet that, if memory serves, is Geonosis. The Fett family knows they’re being followed, so they lead Obi-Wan into an asteroid field. Bounty hunters and smugglers all know the same tricks.
Obi-Wan uses some fancy flying to avoid being destroyed by the seismic charges ejected by Jango Fett. Both ships thread the needle by going through an asteroid via perilous cavern, which this time doesn’t turn out to be a giant asteroid-dwelling worm.
Outside the asteroid, Jango manages to get behind Obi-Wan and then attempts to strafe the Jedi with the Slave I’s guns. Obi-Wan is winged, but not destroyed. Jango attempts to finish him off with a missile. Obi-Wan leads the missile on a merry chase for a while before using the old trick of jettisoning his spare parts. The missile explodes harmlessly in space, but Obi-Wan parks his ship on the surface of an asteroid and quickly powers down. This fools the Fetts into thinking Obi-Wan has been eliminated.
Slave I continues to descend to the planet’s surface, where there are a lot of huge spherical structures glowing with lights that could be windows. Jango Fett lands his ship in a subterranean hanger. After waiting “long enough,” Obi-Wan powers up his ship and follows Fett to Geonosis. The Jedi comments to his R4 unit that there is an unusual concentration of Federation ships there.
This threw me into a brief Star Trek loop until I realized he was talking about the Trade Federation. You remember them, don’t you?
Anakin and Padme arrive at the Lars moisture farm. Even before they meet any humans, they come upon C-3PO working outside. He looks dusty and dull. He’s not golden yet. He calls Anakin “the Maker” and seems pleased to see both of them. When Anakin asks about his mother, C-3PO says they’d better go indoors.
They meet Owen Lars and his girlfriend—and future wife—Beru. They seem like a nice couple, the type you’d give an orphan child to raise. Owen doesn’t seem quite as irascible as he will seem in about, say, twenty years. I guess moisture farming takes a lot out of you. Young Owen tells Anakin that he guesses he’s his stepbrother.
When Anakin asks if his mother is there, Cliegg Lars rolls up in his wheelchair and tells Anakin that she’s not. Cliegg introduces himself and says Shmi is his wife. Anakin finally has a father! No time for that, however. Cliegg says they need to go inside because they have a lot to talk about.
Cliegg tells them that Shmi had gone out picking mushrooms off the vaporators early one morning, as one does, and she was kidnapped by a hunting party of Tusken Raiders. Thirty men went out after her, and only four came back. Cliegg lost his leg and can’t ride until he heals. Shmi has been gone a month and Cliegg has little hope that she’s still alive.
Anakin says he’s going to find his mother. Padme comes outside the little sand igloo to comfort him. Anakin casts a shadow on the igloo that looks suspiciously like a silhouette of Darth Vader. You don’t think—?
Anakin tells Padme to stay with the Larses where it’s safe, then hops on a sand bike and speeds across the desert in the red light of twin setting suns. And with that, this chapter of the 15-Minute Force draws to a close.
This chapter had some good action, at least in the Obi-Wan storyline, and a good progression of the plot. We also changed settings in both storylines. From Kamino to Geonosis, and from Naboo to Tatooine. I honestly don’t remember what happens next to Obi-Wan. I do remember what happens next to Anakin, and it’s one of those character-defining moments, as I recall.
This movie is already a hundred times better than Phantom Menace, in my opinion. I’m looking forward to watching more of it.
Until next time…Keep Picking the Mushrooms Off Your Vaporators, and May the 15-Minute Force Be With You.