TIE Fighter (2015)

In before some guy complains about a female lead and how that totally ruins the integrity of the Space Nazis.

What? You thought I'd be talking about Advent Children because I clearly teased that in my last article? Don't be silly, it's Star Wars Day! Well, actually it's a day later because I had to loan use of my computer to someone else, so I had to tinker with this a bit. But hey, pretend it's yesterday. And since I already talked about that horrible animated abortion loosely linked to the franchise, it's only fair that we look at something incredibly jawsome that is loosely linked to the franchise.

Don't worry though, that's a well we'll be revisiting soon enough.

Star Wars fans may recall that there was once, long ago, a game called Star Wars: TIE Fighter. The basic appeal of the game is rather simple: you get to be the Empire. or rather, more specifically, you get to be a pilot in the Imperial forces fighting off Rebels. It was (and still is) and interesting premise. It has been said that whether one is the hero or the villain is based solely on perspective. Then again, it's pretty hard to argue that many prominent Imperial figures are anything but villainous.

I mean, kids can be irritating but...yeah...

But, as far as Imperial people go, the ones it would be easiest to empathize with are the soldiers themselves. The simple men and women who believe they're serving heroically in their armed forces to protect those they care about. The idea of Stormtroopers getting more backstory has always appealed to me, which is likely one of the major reasons I adored the Clone Wars animated series so much. Not everything is black and white, especially in conflicts like these. Governments do spin doctoring and often make their soldiers believe things are simpler: we're good, they're bad.

The truth is that it's never that simple. Even if it screws up your OTP.

Now, you might be saying that I have been talking quite a bit about the morality of all this and not enough about the plot. Well, that's because there largely isn't a big plot. This is a short film that, while very entertaining, is basically a music video when you really analyze it. There's nothing wrong with that, as the soundtrack works so well with the frenetic pace of the action but we're left with a cast of interesting looking characters who have no names or discernible personalities beyond being badasses.

And yet they still have more personality than most George Lucas written characters.

What the short film actually is a very intense animated battle of Imperial pilots fighting off Rebel pilots to protect their command ship from destruction. They ultimately win said struggle and all smile triumphantly in the afterglow of their victory. Again, it's a very short little story but it's also a very beautifully animated one. The only major problem with it is seeing it really just left me wanting more. I wanted to learn who these pilots were, to see their own stories play out, and to see their struggles with morality and mortality. As far as problems go, it's honestly not a bad problem to have.

But really, most people are just watching this for all the cool violence.

It's also interesting to note that the perspective argument from earlier bears weight when comparing the Imperial pilots (our heroes here) to their enemies. The perspective shift is heightened by the Imperial pilots being drawn in a more heroic fashion while the Rebel pilots seem more menacing. It helps get the audience to root for the pilots you're supposed to root for. It's a subtle touch that I applaud. Little things like this really pull you into the story, which is good when your story is wordless and really isn't much more than a giant fight scene.

Seriously though, this guy looks like he'd kill a sack of kittens.

Overall, I think Paul "OtaKing" Johnson's short film is a great little slice of Star Wars love that highlights his own animation skill and makes the audience ask some interesting questions. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend going over to his channel and checking it out. It's a good use of seven and a half minutes and encouraging great animators like him is important to seeing the industry flourish. I hope to see more from him in the future. Who knows, maybe he'll get paid to do something Star Wars related someday by Disney themselves? Later days, bleeders.

And remember, war is hell...even if giant space robots are fun to look at.