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Old 05-18-2017, 07:20 PM
Gordon Urquhart Gordon Urquhart is online now
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Hiding in Plain Sight in the Movies

[Spoiler for Alien, a movie that's nearly 40 year old (yikes)]

Independent Film Channel (IFC) is showing the Alien movies tonight, presumably in anticipation of Alien: Covenant opening tomorrow. During the final scene of the first Alien (1979), there's a really cool shot that's intended to shock and it works spectacularly: after Ripley shoots away from the Nostromo, puts Jones in a stasis pod and gets into her skivvies, she makes preparations to get into a stasis pod herself. She's flipping a couple of switches, and suddenly realizes that the xenomorph has made onto the Narcissus.

Here's the thing: the xenomorph is in full view prior to Ripley flipping those switches in a shot prior to her going over to the wall, but she doesn't see it -- and, presumably, neither does the audience (at least on first view) because it's sunk itself into some of the ship's ductwork -- but the alien is absolutely in view, especially its head, as long as you know where to look. It's a great effect that really puts you into the primary character's position.

What are some other instances of that -- in which a character reveals him/her/itself, but only after being on the screen at least briefly (as long as you know where to look)?

I've got a couple more examples, but I'll keep them to myself in order to not make this a super-short thread.

Also, shout-out to Alien and Aliens -- which are just fantastic movies.
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Old 05-18-2017, 08:39 PM
burpo the wonder mutt burpo the wonder mutt is offline
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Near the end of "Carrie" (1976), she is walking upstairs to wash off the blood and as she passes into the bathroom and turns on the light, her mother is standing just behind the door.
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Old 05-18-2017, 08:55 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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The end of Harry and the Hendersons had a scene like this. The family has brought Harry back to the Pacific Northwest, and they drop him off in a perfectly nondescript piece of forest. And then all of the other bigfeet who were standing right there step out of hiding to welcome him back.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:23 PM
garygnu garygnu is offline
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Throughout the scene in The Goonies where the Goonies find the skeletal body of Chester Copperpot, you can clearly see rest of the boulder traps suspended from the ceiling of the cave. The camera never lingers or focuses on them, but certain shots are designed so they're in the background, just out of focus.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:46 PM
Gordon Urquhart Gordon Urquhart is online now
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Good examples, everyone, and thanks (and I have yet to see The Goonies, which is really surprising to me).

Here's another one I was thinking of: near the end of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), Watson is typing in his office to finish his memoirs of working with the late Holmes, who didn't survive his confrontation with Moriarty, when he receives a package. The package's contents lead him to believe that Holmes did, in fact, survive the confrontation. Watson leaves his office, and the camera shows us that Holmes has been in the office all along.

(See at about 1:15 in this clip -- I'd code it to go to the moment of revealing Holmes, but it works better in context.)
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:54 PM
buddha_david buddha_david is offline
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During the opening scenes of Fight Club, there are a few instances of Tyler Durden appearing in a single frame (literally blink-and-you-miss-it), as well as a brief shot on the escalator, before the character is introduced.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:43 PM
Tinker Grey Tinker Grey is offline
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In memento (2001 -- has it been that long?), there is the scenes depicting Sammy Jankis in the mental ward. At one point, a nurse passes in front of the camera and where Sammy was sitting is now Leonard -- for maybe 1 or 2 frames -- and then it's gone.
  #8  
Old 05-20-2017, 12:52 PM
furryman furryman is offline
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The scene in E.T. where he's hiding amidst the plush animals has become a meme.
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Old 05-20-2017, 01:57 PM
Quartz Quartz is offline
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The Predator is always detectable in Predator if you know for what you're looking.
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Old 05-20-2017, 02:28 PM
Randolph Randolph is offline
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Always attack a floating eye from behind.
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:07 PM
The Tooth The Tooth is online now
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Pris goes motionless and becomes just another mannequin in Sebastian's apartment in Blade Runner.
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:46 PM
ftg ftg is offline
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Originally Posted by The Tooth View Post
Pris goes motionless and becomes just another mannequin in Sebastian's apartment in Blade Runner.
Apparently there's something about all the replicants' appearances. Holden had to do the Voight-Kampff test on Leon and Deckard had to go thru a charade with Zhora rather than retire her immediately. Despite having photos and other data on them.
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:50 PM
The Tooth The Tooth is online now
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It would have been easier to spot them if they had bright orange skin or something, too. But then there'd be no movie.
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:50 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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There's a scene like this in Sex and Lucia. It's a beach scene and Lucia is getting undressed to go swimming. The scene is framed so she's in the distance. Then a man who's been lying in the foreground of the scene the whole time sits up and calls her name. Granted the man had rolled around in the mud so he blended in with the beach he was lying on. (And Paz Vega taking off her clothes draws the eye.) But it's still an amazing shot because he takes up about a quarter of the screen but you don't notice him lying there until he moves and speaks.
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Old 05-20-2017, 04:14 PM
RobDog RobDog is offline
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My memory might be a bit hazy on this one, but is there not a scene in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels where a girl almost morphs out of an armchair and starts blasting people with a Bren gun?

Last edited by RobDog; 05-20-2017 at 04:15 PM.
  #16  
Old 05-20-2017, 05:20 PM
terentii terentii is offline
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The Predator is always detectable in Predator if you know for what you're looking.
"He's using ze trees!"
  #17  
Old 05-20-2017, 05:49 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is online now
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This seems like a common trope among slasher horror films, but I'm having trouble remembering a good example right now.
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Old 05-20-2017, 06:16 PM
Richard John Marcej Richard John Marcej is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobDog View Post
My memory might be a bit hazy on this one, but is there not a scene in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels where a girl almost morphs out of an armchair and starts blasting people with a Bren gun?
Something like that. She was always stoned/zoned out on the couch that everyone ignored her, then she got a gun and....
  #19  
Old 05-20-2017, 06:17 PM
Sherrerd Sherrerd is offline
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In the 2007 Robert Zemeckis Beowulf, Grendel's mom is visible in several of the (animated) shots before she comes down off the cave's ceiling.
  #20  
Old 05-20-2017, 06:29 PM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is online now
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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

They did a great makeup job hiding one of the tribal cannibals in the jungle. He's blended into the surroundings with his make-up and you can only see him when he moves out. However, he is there and going back on the DVD reveals him if you know where to look.
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Old 05-20-2017, 07:17 PM
Sherrerd Sherrerd is offline
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This is television, rather than movies, but: the 1992 Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Next Phase" included a a scene in which two characters (Geordi and Ro) who've been put 'out of phase' in a transporter incident, enter a Romulan ship and discuss the situation in front of a number of Romulans who can neither see nor hear them (due to being 'in phase'). As Geordi and Ro leave, one of the Romulans--who'd been in plain sight the whole time--gets up and follows them. As it turns out, he is also 'out of phase' and so could see and hear them.
  #22  
Old 05-20-2017, 09:36 PM
burpo the wonder mutt burpo the wonder mutt is offline
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Rambo hid in a mud bank.
  #23  
Old 05-20-2017, 10:00 PM
snoe snoe is offline
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I think LL Cool J is in plain sight in the
SPOILER:
couch
scene in Toys. I haven't no found a gif/video of it to check.
  #24  
Old 05-20-2017, 10:07 PM
buddha_david buddha_david is offline
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Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: A man who at first appears to be part of a mural painting turns out to be a real assassin.
  #25  
Old 05-20-2017, 10:21 PM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is online now
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The stoned girl on the couch in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is there the whole time.
  #26  
Old 05-21-2017, 12:26 PM
jerez jerez is offline
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There's a scene in The Godfather in which Michael is sitting and each of Vito's men shakes his hand, as a sign of allegiance. The guy who ends up being the traitor shakes with his left hand.

Last edited by jerez; 05-21-2017 at 12:27 PM.
  #27  
Old 05-21-2017, 01:04 PM
madsircool madsircool is online now
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The Return of the Pink Panther. The otherwise beautiful Catherine Schell walking around in tbe opening wearing a beard and dressed as a man.
  #28  
Old 05-21-2017, 01:12 PM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is online now
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Originally Posted by madsircool View Post
The Return of the Pink Panther. The otherwise beautiful Catherine Schell walking around in tbe opening wearing a beard and dressed as a man.
It's on TV right now. I assume you're watching.

In a similar vein, Sleuth; Inspector Doppler is on screen for quite a while before it's revealed that he's Milo in disguise. I've only seen the original, but I didn't recognize Michael Caine until just before he revealed himself.
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Old 05-21-2017, 02:49 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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Just remembered another one: In Labyrinth, there's a shot in the middle of a stone corridor, stretching off as far as the eye can see to the left and right. The correct direction to take is
SPOILER:
Straight forward, into the corridor that's right there in front of you, and impossible to see
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Old 05-21-2017, 07:28 PM
terentii terentii is offline
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So far, no one's mentioned Alfred Hitchcock's cameos in all of his own films?
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Old 05-21-2017, 07:32 PM
madsircool madsircool is online now
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Originally Posted by Robot Arm View Post
It's on TV right now. I assume you're watching.

In a similar vein, Sleuth; Inspector Doppler is on screen for quite a while before it's revealed that he's Milo in disguise. I've only seen the original, but I didn't recognize Michael Caine until just before he revealed himself.
Yep.
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Old 05-21-2017, 07:34 PM
burpo the wonder mutt burpo the wonder mutt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Just remembered another one: In Labyrinth, there's a shot in the middle of a stone corridor, stretching off as far as the eye can see to the left and right. The correct direction to take is
SPOILER:
Straight forward, into the corridor that's right there in front of you, and impossible to see
Similarly, the ending of "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," has the transparent bridge leading over to the Grail. So answer me these questions three.
  #33  
Old 05-21-2017, 10:45 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon Urquhart View Post
...Here's another one I was thinking of: near the end of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), Watson is typing in his office to finish his memoirs of working with the late Holmes, who didn't survive his confrontation with Moriarty, when he receives a package. The package's contents lead him to believe that Holmes did, in fact, survive the confrontation. Watson leaves his office, and the camera shows us that Holmes has been in the office all along.

(See at about 1:15 in this clip -- I'd code it to go to the moment of revealing Holmes, but it works better in context.)
Just the scene I came in here to suggest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Tooth View Post
It would have been easier to spot them if they had bright orange skin or something, too. But then there'd be no movie.
They could always have set it at the White House and made it a political thriller.
  #34  
Old 05-22-2017, 12:21 AM
outlierrn outlierrn is offline
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Probably not what you mean, but this reminded me of the urban camouflage scene in Be Kind, Rewind.
  #35  
Old 05-22-2017, 06:47 AM
JKellyMap JKellyMap is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinker Grey View Post
In memento (2001 -- has it been that long?), there is the scenes depicting Sammy Jankis in the mental ward. At one point, a nurse passes in front of the camera and where Sammy was sitting is now Leonard -- for maybe 1 or 2 frames -- and then it's gone.
Nice one. But are Leonard and Sammy literally the same person, or was Sammy a real case that Leonard has imbued with the character of a template for himself? Maybe this has been definitively resolved, but this recent discussion suggests it hasn't.
  #36  
Old 05-22-2017, 07:02 AM
The Tooth The Tooth is online now
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They could always have set it at the White House and made it a political thriller.
You're thinking of the Lizard People.
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Old 05-22-2017, 10:16 AM
Mavic Chen Mavic Chen is offline
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Does the Jigsaw in Saw playing dead in the bathroom count?
  #38  
Old 05-22-2017, 10:29 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
The end of Harry and the Hendersons had a scene like this. The family has brought Harry back to the Pacific Northwest, and they drop him off in a perfectly nondescript piece of forest. And then all of the other bigfeet who were standing right there step out of hiding to welcome him back.
This is what I first thought of when I read the thread title.


The classic case of this is Edgar Allen Poe's story The Purloined Letter, the first literary case I know of something literally "hidden in plain sight". The story has been adapted numerous times on TV (The Wikipedia article lists two, but you can google and find others), but I don't know of any movie cases

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Purloined_Letter



Something of the same sort occurs in Who Framed Roger Rabbit with Acme's Will, the McGuffin of the film, but Marvin Acme's using "Disappearing/Reappearing Ink" is a dodge that makes this almost cheating for this case.
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Old 05-22-2017, 10:51 AM
puddleglum puddleglum is offline
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In the stalking scene in Memories of Murder, you can see the killer pop up in the background if you know where to look.
  #40  
Old 05-22-2017, 10:59 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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One of my favorite "hidden in plain sight" reveal scenes is in the 1964 movie The Long Ships, where Richard Widmark goes to where The Great Bell, "The Mother of Voices" they are seeking is supposed to be, and finds (at first) only a relatively small bell, until his frustrated action shows him the Real bell.

Unfortunately, I can't find an image or video of the scene. Only the aftermath.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Long_Ships_(film)

Last edited by Miller; 05-23-2017 at 06:07 PM. Reason: Fixed link
  #41  
Old 05-22-2017, 11:41 AM
Gordon Urquhart Gordon Urquhart is online now
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I've posted this one before in a thread about horror films: in Insidious (2010), Rose Byrne's character is doing some housework and taking the kitchen trash outside when she sees a ghost dancing to "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" in her house -- much spookiness ensues (that continues after that clip).

When I first saw the movie in the theater, I thought I saw something that really freaked me out. I went to see it again in a day or two, and my suspicions were confirmed:

SPOILER:
Byrne's character walks right by the ghost earlier in the scene, at about 35 seconds into that clip.


Insidious went wildly off the rails for me by the end, but I absolutely love the effectiveness of some of its parts.
  #42  
Old 05-23-2017, 03:20 PM
terentii terentii is offline
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At the very beginning of Pulp Fiction, you can see Vincent walking toward the coffee shop's toilet over Yolanda's shoulder. All that's visible for a couple of seconds is the back of his head and the collar of his blue T-shirt, but it's a definite continuity marker.

I swear, I must have seen that movie at least ten times before I noticed Vincent in the background. I see something new every time I watch it.
  #43  
Old 05-23-2017, 04:04 PM
JohnT JohnT is online now
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In the final scene in Cloverfield, the cameraman sees Snookums fall to Earth, but doesn't comment on it.
  #44  
Old 05-23-2017, 05:07 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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In The Hunger Games, Peeta had an unrealistically-effective ability to paint himself so as to hide in plain sight, as a rock or a tree.
  #45  
Old 05-23-2017, 06:09 PM
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In Copycat, you meet the killer about halfway through the movie. He's actually in two earlier scenes, (attending Sigourney Weaver's lecture, and later just hanging out in the Police station for reasons never explained - Ed Harris even says hello to him), but since you don't know who he is it's only noticeable when you watch it again.
  #46  
Old 05-23-2017, 09:19 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Just remembered another one: In Labyrinth, there's a shot in the middle of a stone corridor, stretching off as far as the eye can see to the left and right. The correct direction to take is
SPOILER:
Straight forward, into the corridor that's right there in front of you, and impossible to see
A similar setup shows up in The Book of Life: What looks like a blank wall is the entrance to a secret chamber.
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Old 05-24-2017, 05:55 AM
Harvey The Heavy Harvey The Heavy is offline
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The first time I saw Coming To America, I had no idea that the old Jewish guy in the barber shop was Eddie Murphy until the end credits.
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Old 05-24-2017, 06:25 AM
terentii terentii is offline
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Quote:
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In Copycat, you meet the killer about halfway through the movie. He's actually in two earlier scenes, (attending Sigourney Weaver's lecture, and later just hanging out in the Police station for reasons never explained - Ed Harris even says hello to him), but since you don't know who he is it's only noticeable when you watch it again.
In her first appearance on The Big Bang Theory, Ramona Nowitzky can be seen in Sheldon's lecture group at the beginning of the show.

Last edited by terentii; 05-24-2017 at 06:25 AM.
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Old 05-24-2017, 06:27 AM
terentii terentii is offline
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The first time I saw Coming To America, I had no idea that the old Jewish guy in the barber shop was Eddie Murphy until the end credits.
Is he the one who says "Oy! Is that velour?"
  #50  
Old 05-24-2017, 06:47 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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One example not mentioned yet (I think) -- Boba Fett's clothes-iron-shaped starship tumbling and drifting among the garbage released by Darth Vader's ship in order to look for the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back, dramatically revealed when it rights itself and takes off after Han Solo.
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