Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Passion of R2D2

The Passion of R2D2
The Passion of R2D2 (2006)
I know what you're thinking. Why does the Stars Wars droid who burps in squelches deserve a passion? Passions are reserved for gods and geniuses. Christ. Van Gogh -- or, at least, Kirk Douglas playing him in Lust for Life. Bardot. Charo. Camille Paglia. Courtney Love (or is the passion aligned against her?). But R2 of the metallic blinking swivelling head? Surely not.
Au contraire. Trust yr. blogger. There's more than cuddly Ewoks in the dark pockets of the Net. Dare we venture where the Force is no match for the dressed-in-white-plastic armies of sarcasm?
From Big, Fat, Stinking Software -- the complete review of Sim R2D2, v.2.0:
Randomly plays R2D2 sounds.
Use it to annoy your coworkers.
Got it? I suspect that's the same feeling I experienced when a "friend" gave my young daughter one of those cheapo cassette players with a plastic mic.
What's sadder, I suppose, is that my daughter is now heading off for college -- but I still sometimes haul the Belle boombox to my poetry readings -- for, you know, enhanced "360 stereo sound" effects.
Meanwhile, the anti-R2 League of Extraordinary Geeks has a full battery pack of complaints:
Like this comment in the form of a short screenplay by Star Wars Commentary -- seen on Robot Tees who ask "Is It Okay to Kill Robots?"
Darth Vader: Luke, I am your father.

Luke Skywalker: NO!!!!!!!!!!! Wait. What...?

Darth Vader:
I said I'm your father.

Luke Skywalker:
I heard what you said, but a Robot can't have a human son, silly Darth Vader. Therefore, you must die.

Darth Vader
: NO!!!!!!!!!

Sound Effects: (Darth Vader dying) Slash! Whoom! Clash!

Luke Skywalker: Took you long enough. Heh...

R2D2: beep beep blop bloop blep (Why have you done this? Why did you kill my father?)

Luke Skywalker: You have seen too much now you must die.

Sound Effects: (R2D2 dying) Slash. Sparkle.

Luke Skywalker: Stupid Robots. Anyone else?
I've burned out and I can't get up.
Please can you stop the noise
I'm trying to get some rest...

--Radiohead, "Paranoid Android"
[Image seen on "The Graveyard" at BattleBricks]
And you don't want to know some of the enhanced interrogation techniques Jar Jar gets put through.
But to actually have a capital P Passion, R2's iconic circuits must fail less than Windows and have profoundly influenced popular culture. Imitators abound -- from Buck Rogers' cloying Twinkie to James Cameron's "I'll be back" (in California) Terminator to the new improved Battlestar Galactica's sexy, boltless, buff Cylons. But what influenced George Lucas to power up his feedback-gurgling robot in the first place? From we just make it all up as we go along Wikipedia:
  • Some people believe George Lucas got the look for his robot from a vacuum cleaner. It was Rexair's Rainbow model D2, sold between 1959 and 1969. This was parodied in an episode of That 70's Show in a Star Wars themed dream Eric Forman was having. In the dream, Kitty Forman, dressed as a Rebel pilot, is using R2D2 as a vacuum cleaner before using the blue dot on top of R2D2's head to turn it off so she could answer the door. This is also parodied in the opening sequence of Tripping the Rift.
Often imitated.  Never duplicated.
Suck it up, boys. I clean the galaxy for no (hu)man.
[Image seen on Images de Star Wars!!!]
So, clearly, spirit and funds willing, Mel Gibson could easily have another "passion" smashed film project. Just be sure to take his keys before he insists on driving the X-Wing Fighter home.
~/~
Today's image is fairly new and rendered in QuaSZ before being beat around its titanium temples in Photoshop and Painter. Buzz Pro and Lucis' Sculpture also helped to prevent rust.
Cross-posted to Orbit Trap.

1 comment:

thelily said...

Hey, don't dis the Belle boombox. I always liked it.

M

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