One post wasn't enough to contain all of the Praetorian Guard fight mashups that I made over the weekend, so here's volume 2. As with part one, this post is chock-a-block full of spoilers for The Last Jedi-- you have been warned!
After getting a bit of sleep, I jumped back into mashup action on Sunday, opening with a selection inspired by my college friend and once-upon-a-time radio show buddy Genevieve Mathieson, currently celebrating her 20th year on-air. (Seriously, check out her show, it's awesome!) She opens every installment with this gem:
Here, I really like how the change-ups in the medley fit so nicely with the transitions between the "chapters" of the battle. I can't help but smile.
That got me thinking of my on-air days of yore, and a song that my friend Marie Vibbert introduced me to during the very first episode of my show, and which always delights me when it crops up (as it did in last year's Baby Driver).
Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “Hocus Pocus” by Focus pic.twitter.com/ADiWRCWtBQ— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 28, 2018
There's a nice little guitar note just as Snoke is being cut in half, followed quickly by a great connection with Rey catching the saber. The first saber hits of the battle match up well enough, and then the party really gets started. This almost feels like something in between the "Thunderstruck" and "March of the Pigs" videos to me. Overall the "chapter" shifts do pretty well here too.
I had seen a few requests for Queen's "Princes of the Universe" by this point but without any videos, so I figured I might as well do one.
Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “Princes of the Universe” by Queen pic.twitter.com/VadYvXMqT3— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 28, 2018
The lyrics here are kind of... interesting when juxtaposed with the visuals. Clearly they are both "fighting to survive, in a war with the darkest powers" as well as "fighting and free". But a major point of The Last Jedi is that Rey isn't from special lineage, and isn't part of some grand destiny, so the claims of being "born to be kings" and having "blood of kings" run somewhat counter to this premise. I ascribe all the lyrics here to Kylo Ren's perspective, like an internal narration. There's sort of a fun double meaning at play that I really like a lot--just as Freddie Mercury sings "no man can be my equal" we get a zoom-in on Rey, who, like Éowyn in Return of the King, is indeed no man.
Visually, things line up pretty well overall, with especially good chapter divisions, and the "blood" line landing right on the shredder gag.
I'm pretty disappointed that there are so few views of this one--just three at the time of writing, compared to over seven thousand of the Hamilton one, and I think they're all me making sure it uploaded okay.
I really like mid to late 90s industrial music, so Rammstein's "Du Hast" seemed like a pretty good idea.
Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “Du Hast” by Rammstein pic.twitter.com/BHJddjUAyn— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 28, 2018
Lyrically, there's already a double meaning at work: "du hast" functions as both "you hate" and part of a line that translates as "you asked me and I said nothing," lines which tap deeply into the context of the scene. Everyone is dealing with hatreds, and Rey and Kylo had just asked each other to abandon their old allegiances and turn. The lyrics go on to challenge whether they will be faithful until parted by death, answering with a resounding and repeated "no!" that to me encapsulates their turbulent, transient alliance.
Lots of visuals line up well here; I especially like the cuts between Rey and Kylo before the battle starts, and the way the crunchy guitars enter just as the melee begins. As a nice bonus, the sort of angelic backing vocals line up perfectly with moments when Rey is yelling.
"Du Hast" got me into playing with Rey and Kylo Ren's relationship, so what if maybe they were a couple on the verge of a breakup (which they kind of are)?
Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something pic.twitter.com/J5lHfy2bLt— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 28, 2018
I imagine this as Kylo Ren trying to convince Rey to stay, offering up banal platitudes like "I guess I was wrong" while they do terrible battle with the forces of darkness and the world burns around them ("and we're falling apart"). I like weird juxtaposition a lot, is what I'm saying.
Visually there's a lot of good timing again here; this one continues to make me happy.
I had seen many suggestions for The Proclaimers, so I stayed with 90s rom-com edits with "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)":
Since so many people kept asking for it, I figured I might as well… Here’s Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers pic.twitter.com/N2zWH5BuBm— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 28, 2018
It's overall just silly fun, with some good alignment in places; the "ta la ta" bits are especially well placed to me. I enjoy the juxtaposition of Kylo Ren pledging to "dream about the time when I'm with you" as he murders the hell out of a guard, as if this whole thing is like his idea of a really awesome date.
The delightfully inappropriate juxtaposition of The Proclaimers reminded me of the classic reimagining of The Shining as a romantic comedy, and so I quickly flashed onto Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" that was featured in the Shining video, wondering if it would work in this context too.
Hadn’t seen it yet, so… Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “Solsbury Hill” by Peter Gabriel pic.twitter.com/K7FMmC1AMQ— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 28, 2018
Overall I'd say it's pretty successful, with a lot of the action lining up decently. In particular, Kylo Ren's triple-hit guard kill at the 1:47 mark seems to really connect to the music well.
My favorite coincidence here is getting Peter Gabriel singing "which connections I should cut" with "cut" landing exactly as Snoke is sliced in half.
This one also has tragically few views, so give it a spin and see what you think.
Taking a quick detour from rom-com treatments, I remembered the Michael W. Smith instrumental "Ashton" that I'd been obsessed with in high school, a piece that always got me revved up and made me yearn for the perfect visuals to go with it. I'm reasonably sure that at one point I daydreamed extensively about how it really needed something like a lightsaber fight. Decades later, Rian Johnson has finally delivered. Thanks, Rian!
Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “Ashton” by Michael W. Smith pic.twitter.com/5xQccYl9qF— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 28, 2018
I wasn't done playing with the Rey/Kylo Ren relationship; inspired by the "Emo Kylo Ren" Twitter account, I started playing with some of my favorite songs by The Cure. I couldn't quite get "Just Like Heaven" to work, and "Lovesong" didn't feel right, but then I got a little more into Ren's head and "Why Can't I Be You" seemed perfect: tapping into a mix of obsession and jealousy that seemed absolutely authentic for Kylo Ren. Secretly--and totally obviously to the audience--he wishes he could be as powerful and amazing as the lovely nobody whose sudden appearance in his life has shaken him to the core.
Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “Why Can’t I Be You?” by The Cure pic.twitter.com/TINDDTXbts— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 28, 2018
There's an urgency to the music that pairs really nicely with the scene, I think, and lots of good bits of action that connect well.
At the time of writing, this one is also under-appreciated on views, which is a shame, because I think it explores some interesting territory.
I was on a little bit of a roll with the 80s music/obsessive romance thing, so Depeche Mode seemed like a good next step. I chose a reworked version of "Enjoy the Silence" for the slightly industrial edge to it; I think it pairs better with the battle scene than the original version would.
Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “Enjoy the Silence (Reinterpreted)” by Depeche Mode pic.twitter.com/gK3XJSGBzp— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 28, 2018
Things that make me happy here include but are not limited to the lightsaber landing in Rey's hand as we get "here, in my arms", the start of the melee, Rey skewering a guard as the lyrics get to "pain", the guard getting shredded on "harm", "in my arms" as the guard grapples Kylo Ren, and the two syllables of "wanted" as Rey takes down her final opponent.
Moreover, I think this works so well because Rey and Kylo's entire negotiation and agreement before the battle takes place wordlessly. "Words are very unnecessary, they can only do harm."
Still in the 80s, I took things for a silly turn, casting the fight as the ending chase sequence from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Pretty much no one knows the actual title of the song that plays as Ferris dashes through people's back yards as he tries to beat his parents home, so this has a pitifully small number of views so far.
I had started on this next one during the Saturday night binge, but wasn't quite getting it working due to an audio edit dilemma, so I thought I was just going to scrap it. Fortunately, my daughter came along the next day and encouraged me to finish it, so with her help we got it to a reasonable place.
Wasn’t going to tweet this one but my 10yo likes it, so… Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “DIY” by KMFDM pic.twitter.com/PJrwITGuBw— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 28, 2018
This is the only video so far where I've messed with the audio at all, making a splice from the opening of the song into a spot near the end so that the transition into the start of the battle would be right.
From a timing standpoint, I love the "D-I-Y" matching up with the first saber strikes. Stay to the end for another fun shredder gag.
This has long been one of my favorite KMFDM songs, and I come back to it often when I need a dose of challenge-smashing self confidence. To me personally, "do or die" is metaphorical--the death of soul or spirit if I let myself succumb to whatever is eating at me--but here in the Star Wars universe it is quite literal. As a bonus, I think Yoda would agree: "do or do not; there is no try."
Finally we come to where I stopped for now, having to get back to life with my family and a return to the work week.
I've really fallen hard for this track over the past year or so, and I get chills from having it paired with this fight scene.
I'll let it speak for itself.
Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “The Ecstasy of Gold” by Ennio Morricone (and I should really take a break from this) pic.twitter.com/PvlJhg35Vd— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 28, 2018
I have some ideas for others, so I might do a few more soon, though the meme seems to have died down over the past day. I've stopped getting new attention on the Hamilton video, which seems like a sign that this might be over for now.
The whole process was a lot of fun, though, scratching a creative and performative itch that has been nagging me off and on since the demise of Turntable.fm, so I'm grateful to have been able to enjoy the ride while it lasted.