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R2-D2 Beneath the Dome
November 26, 2001 12:10 AM   Subscribe

R2-D2 Beneath the Dome is cute, funny, silly and the most despicable ploy to hype a movie ever in the history of cinema. Most importantly, it diminishes the stature of a great man, by failing to mention Kenny Baker's contribution to the successful phenomenon. It's like talking about Indiana Jones "behind the scenes" without mentioning Harrison Ford.
posted by ZachsMind (20 comments total)

 
Related (but not identical, kay?) MeFi thread of the past: on August 31, 2000 the "humanity" of R2D2 was put into question for SW2.

Truth is, Kenny Baker is contracted to participate in the final two of the six films, and has been on board since day one. When Lucas said jump, Baker said how high. He probably grumbled and whined now and then, but Baker's been there and has been more consistent and more dependable than most any other talent Lucas has ever had the pleasure to work with - and this is how Baker's repaid? This sickens me.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:19 AM on November 26, 2001


I didn't think it was worth the hype. Only funny thing in the entire 5 minute clip shown on Fox yesterday was R2-D2 falling down while filming Phantom Menace.
posted by riffola at 12:20 AM on November 26, 2001


The actual part one is worse. They spend a chunk of the time trying to realistically describe R2D2's childhood as being from human parents and being estranged from his father. I mean at least they could have alluded to his Mom having an affair with a Dalek from the BBC. Now that's funny.

If they're gonna call it "beneath the dome," I would have preferred a real documentary about the man beneath the dome. It just makes more sense.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:53 AM on November 26, 2001


Could you explain in what way Kenny Baker is "a great man," please?
posted by rodii at 5:27 AM on November 26, 2001


See Zack its a fake documentary. Being fake there's no need to include any factual information. I'd take issue if this was a real R2 documentary, then you would be obligated to include the actor and other things that are probably a lot more important such as the design process, prototypes, backstory, silly video outtakes, etc.

Great man? Acting isn't exactly a occupation that makes one great. To fanboys yes, to the non-frenzied he's an actor with no lines.
posted by skallas at 5:41 AM on November 26, 2001


Kenny Baker is professionally short.
posted by pracowity at 6:20 AM on November 26, 2001


The whole conceit of the thing is that R2 is a real robot that actually exists. Kinda hard to make that joke while also mentioning that there's this guy who sits in the middle of all that tin. Maybe Kenny Baker should jump out and talk to Anakin in the next movie before going back in and rolling along as his character? Maybe David Prowse should have lifted up his mask and winked and said "I'm not really evil, that CNN guy just makes me sound that way"?
posted by mikel at 6:22 AM on November 26, 2001


Geez, people, get a life. (I love the movies too. I gave my eight year old a Baker-autographed R2D2 photo for christmas last year. ebay r0X0r5.) But "great man"? "This sickens me"? C'mon.
posted by jpoulos at 6:42 AM on November 26, 2001


I noticed the photo of Mr. Baker standing at the vibraphone -- undoubtedly part of the Mini-Tones act -- and if he's any good at playing that thing, he's a great man in my book. To play the bones well is a lot harder than it looks, and good players always make it seem easy.
posted by alumshubby at 6:58 AM on November 26, 2001


JP, surely you mean "Geez, person, get a life."
posted by rodii at 6:59 AM on November 26, 2001


skallas: "Great man? Acting isn't exactly a occupation that makes one great."

Other people make a big deal about talent like Julia Roberts and Tom Cruise, who I think are over-rated. Baker's been looked over much of his life, and I find this a major disappointment. He deserves to be acknowledged. Beneath the Dome is an insult.

Here's just a couple reasons why Kenny Baker's great. He's been in other great films like Amadeus, Time Bandits, and Labyrinth. He's performed in his own one-man show. He's run the convention circuit and has shown appreciation for Star Wars fans. He's taken what some would consider to be a handicap and turned it to his advantage. He didn't do just R2. He helped operate Jabba the Hutt during Return of the Jedi. He was one of the Ewoks. He's done a lot of behind the scenes stuff for the Star Wars franchise, and has dutifully been on call whenever Lucas wanted his assistance. Lucas could have at least tipped his hat to Baker in some way with Behind the Dome, but he didn't.

To me, Kenny Baker is a great man. Lucas had an opportunity to give Baker his chops, and instead he did this trite parody of stupid "whatever happened to" documentaries.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:59 AM on November 26, 2001


Person, yes.
posted by jpoulos at 7:03 AM on November 26, 2001


Zach, none of that makes him "great." It makes him employed. And, presumably, compensated.
posted by rodii at 7:07 AM on November 26, 2001


Looks like George Lucas already gave Kenny Baker some props by returning the role of R2-D2 to him for Episode II (but this is old old news).

Lucas: "The robotics technology inside the Artoo models have advanced to the point where they can achieve most of the performance I need right alongside the other actors. Still, there's an element of humanity to Artoo that comes from having Kenny Baker inside. "
posted by tpl1212 at 7:26 AM on November 26, 2001


Suddenly, I'm reminded of the time that Alec Guinness was tempted to throttle a child who told him he watched Star Wars 200 times.

I used to think that my generation would eventually outgrow some of our childish obsessions as we pursue careers, pay off mortgages, breed new taxpayers, and develop much cooler adult obsessions like cigar smoking, grouting tile, sexual harassment, and nooners.

It now seems clear that in 30-40 years, we're going to be the first generation to play with action figures in our retirement communities. I can only hope that recreational euthanasia has been legalized by then, so I can seek the sweet, sweet release of death.
posted by rcade at 9:18 AM on November 26, 2001


I have to admit I've never gotten it. Star Wars was a fun movie, and The Empire Strikes Back was a little better. They were both nifty action movies with enough borrowed mythological trappings to make them seem almost nourishing for a couple of hours' watching.

That's it.

What is it about being 6/8/14/whatever that was so magnificent and unreplaceable that replaying the same junk food, ritually and obsessively, somehow illuminates our present lives? I feel the same way about my compatriots 'round the age of 30 who ever get anything out of replaying and endlessly nattering about crap music of the '80s. What is this doing for anyone? Does endless regard for plastic turn it into gold (or antidepressant medication)? How about we reclaim our ability to judge with intelligence and steer around this (apparently) sticky pit?
posted by argybarg at 11:11 AM on November 26, 2001


argybarg, see they're making NEW starwars movies. Its not exactly 80's revival its sequels. Which may be just as evil, but the whole living in the past argument doesn't apply whe new material is being created.

rcade, Millions of people have seen the movies yet the number of toy-collecting fan boys is in the thousands. If you're a fanboy that's your problem, the movies themselves don't necessarily mean that we've all embraced infantilism.
posted by skallas at 12:14 PM on November 26, 2001


What about when Kenny Baker freed the slaves, huh? Or when he came up with Pasturization, and invented the way to safely store blood?

Ken Baker isn't Just some short guy who gets shoved into rediculous costumes, y'know. I mean, if all he was was some non-speaking, squat stand-in in a whole buncha movies- no big deal. If he was THAT great an actor, he'd be in a starring role in the Lord of the Rings, right?

But he's done so much more for mankind than just stand in until CGI was perfected.

What? He didn't...? He didn't...? Oh. I thought that was him.

Did he speak in Labyrinth? Hmm.. Willow? Amadeus? Well, he did have a Few lines in Time Bandits, right?
posted by Perigee at 1:17 PM on November 26, 2001


My POINT, and I do have one, is little people are often underplayed. Time Bandits is one of the few movies I can think of where little people were given leading roles, and even then they were little more than keystone cops. Just cuz they're not given speaking roles, that doesn't mean they can't do them, or don't deserve them.

And yes I love double negatives.

Perigree: "If he was THAT great an actor, he'd be in a starring role in the Lord of the Rings, right?"

Come to think of it, I'm considering personally boycotting the upcoming LOTR movies, because they're not hiring little people for the primary roles. This should be an ideal vehicle for little people. Yet instead they're using CGI to allow non little people to play the hobbit parts. I don't care how you make them smaller or squat them out, average-sized people don't pass for hobbits.

But then had they used little people for LOTR, others would claim this as exploitation, or demeaning to little people. B.S. This work is uniquely ideal for the talent of little people, and they've been passed over.

It's like hiring an asian person to play Muhammed Ali, instead of Will Smith. Ali handpicked and personally asked Smith to play the role, and who am I to argue with Ali? Smith was born to play The Greatest.

Who is Peter Jackson to argue with Tolkien?
posted by ZachsMind at 5:29 AM on November 28, 2001


Still, being short and persevering, while admirable, is setting the bar a little low, no pun intended, for "greatness," don't you think? I'm a night person, but here I am at work in the morning. It's a struggle for me, but I manage it. Does that make me great too?
posted by rodii at 6:04 AM on November 28, 2001


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