Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Five Minutes watching Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I don't watch a lot of movies. I don't really have time. And I go to the movies even less. Something about Sporty, but that's a whole other issue. So the rarity of which I go, means on average I've spent about five minutes watching every movie made. It's an existential thing, don't concentrate on it.

I don't usually do the most contemporary of movie reviews. I like to watch something three or four times before I try to wrap my whole brain around what the director was trying to say. This however is just shy of garbage so I don't really think any more money needs to be spent. I remember trying to talk some guy on twitter out of a tree over what he thought Cinema Sins was gonna have to say about this movie. I swore to him it was all in jest. To him I say: Dude, I was wrong. Cinema Sins is gonna have a field day. I mean shooting fish in a barrel. My god, the jokes write themselves.

[Spoilers from here on out. And some foul language too]

You ever get the impression you could write a better script than someone who got paid thousands of dollars to so? Post Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Marvel Cinematic Universe why the blue fuck are you shooting "cultural touch-point" film series without an overarching script already in place? Why are there so many holes in the plot? Why wasn't the whole nine hours of new trilogy shot at the same time? That last is particularly troubling. I mean, this is Star Wars, how do you not shoot the whole trilogy as a single movie then split it? And why are these fools proud that they don't know where the story is going? Jesus. And what they finally produce feels too much like an official bootleg  - as The Force Awakens was a reheated New Hope, now the Last Jedi comes off like a knock off Empire Strikes Back. I've already seen this movie. When I was twelve.   

But I digress.

So much, so much wasted.
Let's start at the beginning. First question: How many deck guns are on a Dreadnought? And how big are they? But let's not get into that now, so let's just say Poe is the man and BB8 is the droid and a single X-wing could take them all out. Snicker. You would think there would put extra protection on the vulnerable areas after the Death Star debacle and all that. But anyway.. um, why are the bombers so slow? Why are there even bombers? I realized watching it the idea was to invoke the idea of World War II bombing runs for tension, but in space the bombers should have been as fast as the X-wings. And it's space kids, not the German hinterlands. Why would the bombs fall into the minor gravity well caused by any of these ships? Ugh. This is just basic right here. After this they just kind of lost me. But I'd already paid for the ticket...

Completely on a different track, why 30 years after Vader and Palpatine go down is it the Rebels vs the First Order? Didn't the rebels win in Return of the Jedi? The crawl in The Force Awakens said the "resistance" had the backing of the Republic. And in film time, a few hours have passed since the first movie. I mean Rey was still holding out that light saber for god's sake. Maybe a few days. Now they're the last 400 people. WTF? I'm thinking wouldn't the series have been better served by making it the Republic vs some Radical order who wants to return to the old ways of the Empire? No so much the heroes are the underdog story, again, but the opposition as a kind of space terrorist organization. Here the bad guys have got Super Star Destroyers and the people with the backing of the Republic are using third hand space junk. 

Back to the film. Why was the Rebels ship not fully fueled? You're planning an escape and after the first jump they're already talking about fuel issues. Or was it? A ship that size should have been able to jump several times I would have thought. I mean they jumped to the middle of nowhere, a second jump had to be possible. And once they realized they could be tracked through hyperdrive, why didn't they scatter? That's like a basic escape the police tactic and yet this crew hung together long enough to get picked off until down to one ship.  I realize again this was an attempt to build some tension much like the reboot of Battlestar Galatica, but that was a series not a movie, they had time to explore build character. Not even gonna ask why this fleet is so small or why since the First Order just blew up some planets in the last movie their allies are on the Outer Rim and not closer.   

Now, I must have gone to the bathroom for this part, but how did Finn and Rose get off the ship? In a hyperspace capable ship? That apparently no one saw launch? I mean the bridge crew and all of them. Think on that for a minute.

I'm not even questioning how Leia made it back to the ship. The Force is the Force. It just is. Deal with it.

And now to Holdo, in her emergency battle gown. Far be it from me to mock her just because she's a woman, my problem is she is terrible at command but everyone wants to overlook it. Yeah, I'm serious. Let's go over it. She only has the job because the Resistance's entire leadership is wiped out by the bridge strike. She has a little reputation because Poe's kind of impressed and he decides to try to help. So, in their desperate situation does she even attempt to get buy-in from her subordinate? Nope, she belittles him. Because that's what people in charge should do.

But Poe was a hotheaded pilot who'd just got demoted, she didn't owe him anything her defenders exclaim. Only they're mistaken. Poe was a hotheaded HERO who'd just recently blown up the First Order's super Death Star who'd been just demoted by a even bigger HERO, General Organa for a mistake. He wasn't a nobody, he was a key part of the resistance who'd found the missing map to Luke Skywalker and who still held sway with the pilots even after the misguided dreadnought attack. He asked what the plan was and the Vice Admiral believing she had Leia's clout just went at him like it was personal. That should have been a pull his ass into a closet and tell him the plan to get him on to her side moment. She knew he was a hothead and just sneeringly said fuck you I'm in charge. That's just bad personnel management. Had she handled it properly it would have meant there would be no mutiny attempt and Leia's actual plan would have worked. Instead, the vice admiral's stubbornness and lack of ability to read the situation or her personnel are what caused the mutiny, the plan to get out and the deaths of many on the smaller ships. But yeah, she was a great. Ha.   

All that however does not diminish her kicking in the hyperdrive through another ship though. That was pretty cool.

The ending had too many issues for me as well, at once harking back to a New Hope with its out of nowhere Millennium Falcon appearance. And I'm confused, what exactly were the tiny little salt skimmers supposed to do against a cannon the size of a football field? How long was it supposed to be before help came? Hours? Days? Other than Luke's supreme fakeout the ending was just shy of pure grade-A bullshit. It setup nothing, it created no cliffhanger, it just kind of ended... huh?

While I think Abrams is an ass who doesn't understand how to make a hero movie, I'm not sure what to make of Rian Johnson, who apparently doesn't know how to make a hero movie either. Guys, let me explain it to you slow: We don't go to the movies to watch the heroes die, we go to see how they'll win. I may be in the minority, but a hero dying doesn't add weight or add character to the story. The noble sacrifice is just as much a cliche as the bulletproof good guy. It's a popcorn movie, not Shakespeare, make it a damned popcorn movie already. This was a lame attempt to give literary heft to cardboard characters. Hey, Hollywood, we like cardboard characters for popcorn movies!   

Let's hope the Lando movie is more like this.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The long road back

Ramblings Post #342
I toyed with the idea of putting some cryptic song lyrics here, but in reality I just was doing some other stuff. So I let this slide for a minute. Sorry. Well, not really. This is was always really more for me than for anything else and if my attention waned on a part of me I kinda always knew it would come back. And here it is.

I'm back,

Not that anyone missed me.

I've been working on a lot of personal projects as of late - wrote a book for NaNoWriMo about airship racing in an Alternate-1960s (and I am already tossing around the idea of sequel) while I was in the midst of writing another about a dimension hopping blues band. I got an actual job as opposed to contracting (well, I got an offer). I semi-restarted my epic diet of 2010 ( I write that with a bowl of ice cream on the desk by the keyboard). I signed up for some online classes for some stuff I'm interested in - time management, programming, some law.

I'm doing stuff. Yeah.

And I'm doing all this stuff because if I keep watching the news and seeing just how close we are to a twisted prologue of the movie Idiocracy, or worse, having to find some kids to serve as tribute, I don't know if I'm gonna make it. This is supposed to be America dammit, and the idea that the elected officials serve all Americans, NOT JUST THE ONES WHO VOTED FOR THEM, seems to have been lost somewhere. We live in interesting times. God help us all.

Maybe my memory isn't good, but under the last president I don't remember the country repeatedly stumbling from potential catastrophe to potential disaster on seemingly endless repeat. Or us purposely poking the hornets nests in the Middle East and North Korea because we swear we won't get stung. Or the government so blatantly ignoring the will of the people. And while I half expected the confederacy that we're seeing created before us since that morning I woke up and realized we'd elected an out of touch egocentric narcissistic as President, it's the rest of it that worries me the most.  It's all the change happening at the veritable speed of the internet (before deregulation) with no concern for casualty or consequence beyond a zealot's personal gratification that gives me pause.

A lot has been going on. A lot of it grey matter being treated as Vantablack or pure white. We've entered an age of no compromise and no forgiveness or rehabilitation. We're all suddenly absolutists in a world created by the sum of our parts, experiences, faults and fears

Except me. I'm just a guy. And I'm sitting over here judging you all. And fairly soon I'm gonna start talking about you too.

And I'm not that damn happy either.
Barkeep. Some of that Boone's. Yes, I am aware that it is $100 a bottle at this point. But sometimes it bees like that.