Tag Archives: Star Wars

Absence

I’ve been spotty on posting this first month of 2018. I would say I am still reeling from the butt splatter that was Star Wars: The Last Yedi, but I buried that carcass in the backyard and moved on.

This generation cannot write and does not know what a story is. I leave them to their message fiction.

I’ve got several projects in the works  (one really important one) and I am in a reading frenzy at the moment.

I am finishing up Will Durant’s CAESAR AND CHRIST

And Thomas E. Woods HOW THE CATHOLIC CHURCH BUILT WESTERN CIVILIZATION

I am also doing a reading a St. Luke’s gospel with four different commentary books. That’s about a verse a week.

Also following Jhn C. Wright’s LOST ON THE LAST CONTINENT serial from his website.

In the bullpen I have Stanley Jaki’s SCIENCE AND CREATION whose work follows some early 20th century French historian’s work – his name escapes me at the moment.

And followed by A HISTORY OF THE CHURCH TO THE EVE OF THE REFORMATION Volumes 1 – 3 by Philip Hughes (he died before he could go any further – but hey, the reformation, what a cliffhanger!)

And of course when I finish Durant’s Caesar and Christ it is onto his AGE OF FAITH

And through all of that – writing.

And love the dog.

I could comment on current events but… Why?

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Star Wars: The Last Fan (Edited)

I deleted the contents of this post because it is not in the tone nor form I wish to speak in. Although, for those that did read it, it was certainly true to my thoughts and feelings for the film.

Here is my final summation. Screw you, Disney – go bankrupt on your SJW feminist drivel. I’m done with Star Wars. Hell, can’t even watch the originals since George had to wipe his ass on those as well.

[Well, that was pretty much the same tone and form… but it had a brevity the former did not, no?]

I’m out.


YOU DON’T FUCK WITH SARAH CONNOR!

I still haven’t seen the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi. From everything that I have read, I am bound to hate this one more than Mary Sue Awakens. I really started to think about why and then I ran across a conversation on Mr. Wright’s site where people were discussing Sarah Connor from Terminator and Ripley from Alien/Aliens.

Someone came close to differentiating between KTB’s (killer tough babe) and Rey from Star Wars.

The thing that Ripley and Sarah Conner have in common as KTBs, and that most miss, is their motivation.
Ripley and Sarah are mother bears protecting their cubs, and nothing is going to stop them.

While this has some truth in it, it doesn’t go far enough. What is essential is the storytelling. What is crucial is the thing that makes it a principle of character development for both male and female characters.

I call it The Crucible. This idea is not new to me. I am applying a well known concept that is as old as story telling itself. But it is the element that is missing from the character and character development of Rey from the new Star Wars franchise.

What is missing from the new Star Wars series is basic storytelling.

Here is the comment I left at Mr. Wright’s site. I could elaborate, but this should be common knowledge. Note the two KTB’s are both from Cameron. Abrams doesn’t understand character development in general nor female in particular.

I was thinking about the part discussion going on about KTB’s (killer tough babe) here (although it seems to be a dead thread now). The thing that is missing, the thing that distinguishes a Sarah Conner and a Ripley from a Rey is a crucible.

The quintessential example (for me) is Sarah Connor. In the beginning Connor is just young waitress living the mostly carefree life of a single woman who goes out with friends. And if it were not for the intervention of Reese, the first Terminator would have been a short 2 minute clip of a woman getting her head blown off by a time traveling cyborg – The End, please exit theater. She’d have struggled to defend herself from a drunken Seth Green let alone a heavy metal alloy Arnold.

James Cameron knows how to tell a story (most of the time) through character. By the time we get near the end of the first movie when she is screaming to Reese after he sustains a debilitating injury “on your feet, soldier!” Sarah Conner the KTB is almost forged. When we meet her in the second film, lean and mean and menacing, and overpowering other human men, we buy it. We saw her transformed, we were given the evidence (it also helped that Cameron was smart enough to show her working out vigorously in the beginning of the second film).

Sarah Connor had a killer cyborg come back in time to kill her and she lived to tell about it – don’t F*** with Sarah Connor.

The same goes for Ripley in Alien/Aliens.

But the real point is that it applies to men as well as to women. The fault in the Rey character is not that she is a woman. The fault is terrible storytelling. Luke gets his clock cleaned in his first bout with Darth Vader even though he had at least some training with a Jedi Master. Mary-Sue-Rey takes on and bests proto-Sith Ren having just touched a lightsaber for the first time. Luke’s defeat at the hands of Vader is the crucible that forges him into the Jedi (almost) that he appears as in The Return of the Jedi.

In the first Star Wars we learn early on the Luke has piloting experience and thus we buy his being able to pilot an X-Wing, and we are able to buy his destroying the Death Star because he had Obi-Wan as force mentor in the cockpit. Rey “just knows” how to handle the Falcon, she “just knows” stuff about fixing it somehow. She goes through nothing, faces no crucible, is forged in no fire, suffers nothing for her powers.

I don’t think the character follows from the dictates of feminist ideology so much as it follows the pipe dreams of a slacker generation that doesn’t know anything about what character takes, just as they know nothing about man. It is the “safe-space” view of human development. That if you give someone a pillow, fast food, endless pep-talks on how good they are, this is what leads to success.

Abrams had an inkling (perhaps subconscious) that this wouldn’t totally fly which is why Rey lived alone and orphaned and traded imperial scraps for food. But that coin is not enough to buy the power needed that she displayed. Just as Sarah Conner growing up in foster care wouldn’t have been enough.


The Force Awakens – Revisited

Last Monday, nearly a month after seeing it the first time, I went back and watched it early in the morning. I have to say I had a much better impression of it the second time I watched it than the first time. That is certainly something I could never get myself to do with the prequels.

One of the things I had against it the first time is the usual, modern, spectacle of skinny little girls beating up men. But, on review, before she got what I have to call a Force infusion, she engaged in no upper body combat, merely kicking and a staff. That’s alright, I can buy that.

I know it is heretical to say nowadays, but girls are not as physically strong as boys. So I need a good explanation as to why a waif is sending men to the floor. Trinity in The Matrix had a very good reason – she was in the Matrix. If she was doing that to giant goons in the real world, I would have laughed.

I still have a problem with her being able to do all manner of things for which there is, as yet, little explanation. One hopes that the new guy on the film is not a drooling retard and realizes that he has to come up with a way cool power for Luke that enables him to virtually train Jedi from afar…


The Force Awakens… Tired and Confused

Star_Wars_Episode_VII_The_Force_Awakens

So I saw The Force Awakens on Christmas Eve.

Based on initial viewing – meh.

First the good points (and I’m going to be quick).

It did not look like the prequels, it had the look (so far as you can try such a thing) and feel (you can never really go back…) of the originals.

Also I knew as soon as the usual episode scroll rides to the top of the screen that we were not going to get bogged down in senate debates and Jedi council meetings, and conversations that take place on a couch, etc. We were going to get what we came for.

Unfortunately that brings right to the bad. I was almost, no I was, hoping for a council meeting, a senate debate or something. This was a JJ Abrams Star Wars, all guff and action and not a single attempt to explain anything.

Now explanation is not always necessary. In movies in particular, if you can express it through action instead of explanation through dialogue, that is the proper way. In Return of the Jedi we needed no explanation to know what is going on behind the mask as the Emperor is electrocuting his son before his eyes.

But The Force Awakens, as  I said, is a JJ Abrams film, he delights in doing things that have to have an explanation and then refuses to do so. It is as if the man enjoys pushing people out of the world of his own films.

Firstly, the trailers for The Force Awakens all had the black storm trooper (he is black when he takes off that helmet, his uniform is as any other stormtrooper) he looks like a man that has just suddenly emerged from a terrorizing nightmare. We are led to believe that this is the person of the new trilogy. But it is not, it belongs to some little girl. A girl who serves the modernly well-worn bromidic falsehood that little girls can fight and defeat men twice her size.

And that would be fine, if we were given some plausible (plausible here is plausible by the rules of the world created) reason for why she can do this. For instance, waif, Carrie Moss’s character, Trinity, in The Matrix Continue reading


No, I Actually Haven’t Yet (and then I start rambling about the prequels again…)

Luke-trial

No, I haven’t been to see the new Star Wars yet. I am a Jedi, I will see it in all patience when the time comes! Really though the wife doesn’t want to get sardined into an overpacked theater with a thousand cell phones. So I’ll wait until she’s ready.

She better not wait long. I’ve heard almost nothing but good things about it. It has a 95% rating at Rotten Tomatoes (which is one more than The Empire Strikes Back). Not infallible, but pretty impressive… most impressive. I doubt Abrams has beat out Empire for best Star Wars film (although he did have one of the screenwriters from Empire, Lawrence Kasdan) and I think it more that people are starved for even a decent (speculating, haven’t seen it yet) Star Wars installment after Lucas spent 8 years taking a giant dump on some of our childhoods.

I am assuming he stayed away from annoying children’s characters and fart and poodoo jokes and the like. George Lucas got the wrong idea about his films at some point (you can see it in The Return of the Jedi – teddy bears defeat the Imperial forces? really?). While the films were suitable for children to view, they were not by that fact children films. Herbie the Love Bug was a children’s film plain and simple.

Actually, one could contest whether the Star Wars films were ever suitable for children (at least below a certain age). You are talking about a monster (Darth Vader was a mechanical monster, half man, half machine) that ran an Empire of Nazi/totalitarian themes (Stormtroopers) who burnt some poor farm kids aunt and uncle to a crisp. An old wizard that gets cut down. And, let’s not forget a holocaust when a million (billion?) people are murdered by a giant laser. The body count in the original Star Wars was probably the biggest ever. Not onscreen, but still.

The second movie was even darker although the body count went down. We find that the monster who has just cut off the farm boy’s hand is his father. How’s that for an idea in a young kids mind? We have torture and not just torture, but torture for no reason. As Han said when his torture was over, “they didn’t even ask me any questions.”

The word for today kids is Sadism! Say it after me.

I’m not saying a kid couldn’t watch it, but saying it was intended for children from its inception just makes me wonder what kind of sick person you are then. Genocide? That’s a children’s theme for ya.

Lucas continued and intensified this confusion in his slipshod and confused prequels. Where in the same series you have the fart jokes for kids and the lizard poo poo jokes and the kid-friendly (but adult enraging) characters in a movie with the slaughter of who knows how many children. Numerous severed limbs. Pure evil, extermination of an entire class (the Jedi).

The prequels didn’t even have the benefit of being uplifting in any way like Continue reading


Where is Luke Skywalker?

TheForceAwakens-poster

I am sure my father wishes I had grown up by now, but I really just can’t help but get excited about a new Star Wars movie. Not even George Lucas (to say nothing of maturity (or lack thereof)) and his prequels can’t get it down too much. This is, after all the story we really care about. The one that should have come after the originals. IF! If there were further movies to be made. There did not have to be. I would have been perfectly content with the originals UNMOLESTED!

So it was with no small amount of gushing that I saw the movie poster! Although I will curb my enthusiasm. I thought the Star Trek reboots with JJ Abrams to be pretty forgettable. That was a reboot, however, this is not.

I hope they don’t screw up these movies. Luke Skywalker was my childhood hero – well, from seven through eleven or so.

But onto the subject of the post. And it is just a trivial thing. There is no Luke Skywalker that I can see on that poster. Where is he? Or is he on that poster? Is he the guy at the top? That would – could – make for one hell of a story!

Let’s hope those questions were worth asking after December 19th.

Two Months!

 

 


Guardians of the Galaxy

So on the recommendation of several people and the general praise the movie received, the wife and I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy last evening. For the most part I enjoyed it knowing before hand that it was a light-fare science fiction romp based on a Marvel comic.

I never thought 70’s and late 60’s sentimental pop music would fit in with a sci-fi flick, but fit it did. The plot was simplistic enough for the type of movie it was. Bad guy(s) with power pursue an object that will get them more power – a ragtag collection of galactic misfits with repressed hearts of gold try to stop them. Darth Vader wants the stolen plans to the Death Star, a motley collection of supposed misfits attempts to thwart the evil Empire’s plans (and save the space princess).

Guardians is a lot lighter fare than Star Wars ever was. Planets are threatened with destruction but the bad guys really only create a lot of havoc… and a few deaths.

Even though I prefer my science fiction pretty stark and moody (Dark City being the finest science fiction so far made) there are several parts of the movie that I thought shined through. I loved the walking tree, Groot, who could only say, “I am Groot”; and you knew he was going to be the sacrificial character (the Obi Wan). And you knew through his actions, no portends through dialogue.

I was a little disappointed in the Raccoon character, Rocket. Raccoons are my favorite wild animal and I imaged one that was given intelligence to have a different sort of personality than a wise-cracking cynical criminal. The criminal part I get, but I was expecting a gentler touch.

Anyway, none of those things really matter. But I do have a significant complaint about the movie. I call it the  “George Lucas gets addicted to CGI” problem, or, “Michael Bay is the God of Action scenes” problem.

Let me turn the readers attention to, yep, you guessed it, the original Continue reading


Walking Dead Season 4 Mid-Finale

Was the most emotionally draining thing I have ever watched on screen. Wow.

Spoilers!

A lot of people complained about the slow pace of season 4 to date (until the mid-season finale, that is). Not enough action, slow, boring, etc. It was what I call a “slow-burn”. A culture steeped in Transformer style non-stop action probably cannot tolerate such a thing as build up. All seven of the episodes leading to the finale structured the finale. If they did not do that by design, the show boasts some of the best by pantser writers ever.

I love build up. It requires skill to build up to any degree and then pay-off. The more build up the harder it is to pay off.

The mid-season finale spoilers! saw the loss of the most beloved character on the show, Hershel played by the very talented Scott Wilson.

Hershel’s function on the show was as the group’s Continue reading