rone: (drowning cat)
[personal profile] rone

Well, i must be old, because the one thing i wanted more of was Han and Leia.  Shit, i could have watched a whole movie of them talking about their relationship.

What i dislike about this movie is that i am surrounded by people who are deeply invested in their childhood memories of the original trilogy and have intense feelings about it.  This makes appreciating the movie extremely complicated because i have to separate my own feelings about the original movies from my feelings about this mass of fannish children and their expectations.  I can't review it as a movie that stands on its own merits because it's tied in a bow topped by a cultural Gordian knot and, quite frankly, i blame you all for this.  As that great American William Shatner once said, "Get a life, will you people?"

On the other hand, the movie was crafted as a continuation of a previously set story, and it is impossible to assess it without taking that into consideration.

In sum, fuck you, i'm doing it my way.

As a whole, the movie is like Oingo Boingo's Boingo Alive album, where it's songs you already know, but rerecorded for the fans' pleasure, and the result is often superior to the original, even though you've heard it all before, so the work is predictable in almost every dimension.  In addition, a few new things were thrown in, some good, some clearly a better idea on paper, some obviously the result of, "Well, i don't really want to waste this."  Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull also suffered from this, and in both movies, Harrison Ford's character and his sassy girlfriend had a particularly annoying son.

Is that really all the Max von Sydow we get?  Are you fucking kidding me?

I hate that the slowly emerging FZZHHHNG light saber activation effect has been replaced, turning the elegant weapon from a more civilized age into a glorified crème brûlée torch.

None of the new characters have any depth whatsoever.  Then again, neither did anyone in SW:ANH, so, like i said, it hews closely to the original.  SW:TFA isn't here to break new ground, just break in the new fans.  And maybe break up some scar tissue and adhesions in the old ones.  Anyway, back to the new characters.  Why did Finn crack?  Why does he keep bouncing from confidence to cravenness instead of being a broken mess?  How does a girl, abandoned as a small child on some backwater planet, who ekes out a living as a scavenger, understand Shyriiwook?

Kylo Ren is a goddamn embarrassment.  He has all the menace of a toothless Cocker Spaniel gumming a pair of Doc Martens.  At the same time, he has some seriously fucked up powers, but can only summon a minuscule token of the intimidation that David Prowse gave Darth Vader.

No, i take it back; Kylo Ren isn't a goddamn embarrassment.  He's merely a major disappointment.  Snoke is a goddamn embarrassment.  He looks like one of the little Grey-type aliens from X-COM.  And that name?  Did JJ Abrams dig into the JK Rowling rejected names bucket?  I expected Snoke to be talking about Dementors, not the Force.

I don't know what crawled up General Hux's ass and died, but he's no Grand Moff Tarkin.

Starkiller Base is doubling down on established stupidity because, Hey, We're Not Trying To Break Any New Ground Here.™  Throwing in "sciencey" stuff like powering up from a nearby star (and if the star is that close WHY IS THE WHOLE PLANET IN WINTER) and using a "thermal regulator" as the handwavey reason why the whole thing just works does not impress me.  And while i'm on the subject, let me be extremely clear: the whole Star Wars thing is not science fiction.  IT IS NOT SCIENCE FICTION.  It's high fantasy with fucking space travel.  Do not even try to argue this point with me.

I'm glad that Denis "Wedge Antilles" Lawson had the integrity to turn this down.  Now we have "Snap Wexley" instead.  Shut up, Wexley.

"BUT DID YOU HAVE FUN WATCHING IT, ASSHOLE?"  Overall, yeah.  I just couldn't get over the annoying things to really get into it.  And it was in 3-D.  Seriously, fuck 3-D forever.  The few cool things i saw thanks to 3-D didn't make up for the obnoxious distraction of it all.

[ profile] el_muchacho's theory is that, once they've gotten the fan service out of the way, they will now focus on making awesome new stuff.  Given Abrams's Star Trek movies, i am not holding my breath.  Was it better than the prequels?  Sure.  If that's your bar, maybe you need to take a long look in the mirror.

Date: 2016-01-06 02:50 am (UTC)
ext_116426: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Abrams isn't doing the next one. Fuck him and his "all planets relevant to the plot are visible from wherever you are standing" trope, which was inexcusable even once.

What worked for me with Kylo Ren is that he got genuinely angry (sure, in a spoiled adolescent sort of way) and anger is supposed to be one of the things the Dark Side is all about. Darth Vader never showed much in the way of fear, anger, or hate. Even his force chokings seemed almost dispassionately evil.

Date: 2016-01-06 03:05 am (UTC)
ext_8707: Taken in front of Carnegie Hall (asplode)
From: [identity profile]
It was a sort of jaded evil, yeah.

Supposedly there's a reason why the planets were all together like that, but that's just another reason why i find the whole Star Wars canon so... puerile. Man, that's another rant right there.
Edited Date: 2016-01-06 03:06 am (UTC)

Date: 2016-01-06 08:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really loved that Kylo Ren was a whiny, crappy, cheapass low-rent Darth Vader. Piss Vader off? He'll choke you to death WITH HIS BRAIN, on the spot, and his underlings know better than to try to avoid him. They show up to be executed because they know they *might* live but if he has to find them they're REALLY fucked. Kylo Ren? *Random Stormtroopers* reverse direction and leave when he's mad, and get away with it, and Ren doesn't kill the messenger, he fucks up a bunch of inanimate hardware.

You can't match Vader with your new villain, and they didn't even *try*. I thought that was a very smart decision, as was showing that Ren isn't wearing the spooky mask because he needs it to live, he's wearing a spooky mask because Vader wore a spooky mask and he wants to be Vader SO HARD but just can't match up and is so afraid that he'll never be able to.

Bonus: Ren is seeking something he feels he's missing, jumping from father figure to father figure looking for the one that will tell him what he's missing. That's LUKE'S motivation, not Vader's. And Rey, meanwhile, is angry, alienated, feels alone in the galaxy, and doesn't like how much of her life is controlled by others. That's VADER's schtick.

They've taken the hero and the villain and reversed what they want.

I thought that was very smart (which, really, means it was almost certainly Kasdan's writing and remained in the film over Abrams' objections). But at least Abrams is fucking *gone* and won't be allowed to damage any more Star Wars films.

Date: 2016-01-06 10:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Prediction: Snoke is actually a little dinky guy, probably looks even more like Gollum than we realize, because he's functionally the evil Yoda.

Episode 8 will involve a whole lot of Snoke training Kylo Ren, and those bits will actually be the Empire Strikes Back callbacks in inverse.

Date: 2016-01-06 03:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, i must be old, because the one thing i wanted more of was Han and Leia. Shit, i could have watched a whole movie of them talking about their relationship.

I must be old, too, because THAT.

Date: 2016-01-06 04:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I found it entertaining. I tried not to overthink the whole thing. I think Rey is going to be a great character.

Date: 2016-01-06 04:44 am (UTC)
ext_8707: Taken in front of Carnegie Hall (FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU)
From: [identity profile]
That's the rub, i can't avoid overthinking it. Goddamn cultural baggage.

Date: 2016-01-06 04:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I also didn't see it in 3D. I may go again to experience that.

Date: 2016-01-06 07:39 am (UTC)
xtingu: (look bucko)
From: [personal profile] xtingu
I didn't wanna see it in 3D. The googolplex was showing it in 3D, 3D IMAX, IMAX, and old-lady plain' ol' boring-o-scope, which is what I chose. Yay, empty theater... and yay, no distracty 3D.

I will probably go see it again in 3D because why not?

Silliam Whatner

Date: 2016-01-06 06:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The great *American*??? Thought the Trek bloviator was a member of the Eh contingent? Otherwise, worthwhile rant. Keep it going.

Date: 2016-01-06 06:35 am (UTC)
ext_8707: Taken in front of Carnegie Hall (simian)
From: [identity profile]
This is what we called in the business "trolling" before the term was devolved at gunpoint by the unwashed.

WAR STARS trollol

Date: 2016-01-06 03:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
but of course...considered the possibility you were being clever there (citing the greatest Trek figure in a Wars post and his most famous aphorism) , is it any wonder why some of the greatest comic actors of our time grew up mostly in a 50 mi band north of 54'40"?

I haven't seen this movie (will I? eventually), but was amused by all the concern trolloling over spoilers, as if we were dealing with something else besides a post-quel/reboot that eagerly exploits the moviegoer's cultural awareness of War Stars to elide essential elements in moviemaking in favor of blockbuster spectacle.

As the French say(*), "plus ça change".

* No, they don't, but we want you to think they do.

Re: WAR STARS trollol

Date: 2016-01-06 04:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't viscerally get why, but there are people who get extremely upset if you spoil any detail of anything whatsoever that they're planning to see (including episodes of kids' cartoon shows that have been in rotation for years), so better safe than sorry.

I saw some troll in a discussion thread transmit leaked details of what turned out to be most of the major plot twists of the movie shortly before it was released, but it didn't particularly bother me in part because I neither knew nor cared whether I should believe them, and most were things I could have come up with off the top of my head anyway.

Date: 2016-01-06 09:01 am (UTC)
vatine: Generated with some CL code and a hand-designed blackletter font (Default)
From: [personal profile] vatine
I saw it in 2D for a reason. I've seen approximately one 3D film where the director showed active knowledge of how to use it well and that was Prometheus (which was heavily flawed, but at least woreked REALLY well in 3D and didn't crucially rely on it). There were multiple moments of SW:TFA where I expect 3D to have shined (the slow flight around the island towards the end ought to have looked spectacular), but there were also multiple moments where I expect 3D would be vertigo-inducing (several of the really quick camera-aerobatics moments duringth ebattle near Maz's place, for one).

Fuck that shit.

Date: 2016-01-06 03:00 pm (UTC)
kodi: (melencolia)
From: [personal profile] kodi
3d was used surprisingly well in Tangled, too, but when I realized that that was the only movie I'd ever seen where the 3d didn't actively lessen my enjoyment of the movie, I stopped being willing to watch movies in 3d.

Date: 2016-01-07 01:07 pm (UTC)
kodi: (melencolia)
From: [personal profile] kodi
3d was used surprisingly well in Tangled, too, but when I realized that that was the only movie I'd ever seen where the 3d didn't actively lessen my enjoyment of the movie, I stopped being willing to watch movies in 3d.

Date: 2016-01-06 01:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There was exactly one great moment in 3D as far as I'm concerned. And even that had problems of scale. But still, great.

Lots of questions about why Finn is the way Finn is, but I'm enjoying the actor too much to care. He's making it work.

Similarly Rey. And I'm not interested in arguing about whether Rey is too overpowered, because I frankly see it as cultural payback and a worthy experiment: what if we put no limits, compromises or apologies on the girl, just this once? What if we just go nuts with the girl? And then keep going nuts with every situation and keep exploring the "what if she wins" option? It's not like we haven't done it with 80 billion times with male characters. Let's just see what it's like for a few movies.

Kylo Ren, on the other hand, I thought was darn near perfect. The whole point is that he's powerful but immature and uncontrolled.

But yeah, fuck Snoke. I think the best improvement on that character would be to discover he's just a sock puppet. But it sounds like he's already given Kylo some training in person so I suppose he can't be.

Date: 2016-01-06 05:13 pm (UTC)
ext_8707: Taken in front of Carnegie Hall (brock)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, the acting performances are unimpeachable. They did what they could with the script.

I take your points about Rey and concur. The Shyriiwook was the one thing i couldn't let go.

I know what they tried to do with Kylo Ren but i just don't think they pulled it off. They essentially put him in a Vader-like place without the chops.

Date: 2016-01-06 08:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I thought Ren was quite specifically supposed to be a wannabe Vader who fails miserably at being Vader.... while still being a dangerous, dangerous dude to our untrained Heroes. Finn would have lasted about two seconds against Vader, and while Ren clearly thought he SHOULD be able to kill Finn in two seconds, he was, once again, wrong and not matching up.

Ren is very clearly no Vader, and wants so very hard to be. It's what makes him as interesting, to me, as Rey or Finn.

Too bad he died when the planet blew up, since there's *absolutely no way* General Hitlerface could possibly have found him and rescued him. Gen. Hitlerface didn't even know Ren was leaving the base, let alone that he ran off deep into the woods and was lying, helpless, next to a collapsing cliff on a planet that exploded less than a minute later.
Rey and Finn barely made it offplanet, and then only because the Falcon was 10 meters away and knew they were coming.

(Unfortunately, I've thought about things like "how would he survive?" WAY more than Abrams did, because Abrams is a terrible writer and horrible filmmaker. So they're PROBABLY not going to start Episode VIII with "Kylo died. Here is the new Dark Jedi, Bob Ren.")

Date: 2016-01-11 03:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"They essentially put him in a Vader-like place without the chops."

I think that's his rub. He's got the low-rent mask with the stitched on leather mouth guard and the overly dramatic voice synthesizer. The silver highlights are painted one when Vader's gleamed from reflecting the light. Then he pulls the mask off the first time he is asked to. This story is all about him being unable to be Vader, being the lesser grandchild.

Date: 2016-01-06 01:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
And it was in 3-D.

Not when I saw it! (I noticed when I reserved my ticket, airplane-style, that the seats in the 2-D showings were actually going faster.)

I'm coming at this from a particular perspective: yes, I have tremendous childhood nostalgia for what is fundamentally kind of a dopey (if spectacular) series of movies, but I'm also reacting as a father of a child who is almost exactly the same age I was when Star Wars came out. And the child is a girl who is hungry for girl heroes on screen. To me it's a very mild disappointment that this thing stuck so closely to the broad plot outline of the original movie, especially since Return of the Jedi kind of did that already. But she doesn't mind. And the phenomenon is driving my nostalgia in a way that the prequels didn't.

Mostly, I'm hoping that the next movies (which will not be written or directed by Abrams) take this stuff in an interesting direction.

One thing that's hugely different is that in 1977 there was no home video to speak of. The closest thing you could get to a version of Star Wars you could watch at home was a 15-minute 8mm film reel. So the only way people could turn into the sort of nerd obsessives you see today was by watching the movie dozens of times in a theater, and you had to be especially tenacious to do that. I loved the movies, but I think I had only seen them once or twice by the time I reached adulthood. Jorie has watched the original Star Wars trilogy through many times at this point; she can probably quote large chunks of the dialogue.

Another thing that's different is that the first movie, of course, didn't have a smash weekend opening in wide release. People joined the ranks of the lucky who had seen it gradually, over a period of several months, rather than just a few weeks. And there were no toys or anything yet; that took several more months and they were anticipated with wild enthusiasm. When they did come out, since there was no home video, I think the toys were actually a bigger part of the Star Wars phenomenon for kids of my generation than the movies were. The funny thing is, at the time, I personally kind of had this too-cool-for-school reaction to the toys; I was mildly embarrassed by the idea of wanting them, didn't ask for them for Christmas and didn't get any. But they were cool toys.

Date: 2016-01-06 01:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
...though since I was a Lego obsessive, if the Star Wars Lego sets had existed at the time, I'm sure I would have eaten that up. As it was, the late-1970s Space sets I accumulated clearly took some inspiration from Star Wars in the spaceship designs (they were sort of Star Wars crossed in a peculiar way with NASA Apollo aesthetics).

Date: 2016-01-06 03:08 pm (UTC)
kodi: (melencolia)
From: [personal profile] kodi
(I noticed when I reserved my ticket, airplane-style, that the seats in the 2-D showings were actually going faster.)

Our dedication to not wanting to watch it in 3d forced us to watch it at an extremely unpopular theatre - on Sunday the 27th - because the good theatres were all sold out for the 2d viewings except for the very front row. The 3d showings were about 1/4 sold at that time. And this is for a movie that already had a reputation for not being entirely awful in 3d.

Date: 2016-01-06 04:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
For Opening Night at the popular theater where we saw it, all of the 3D shows were sold out weeks in advance, but there were plenty of 2D tickets available the week before the show. Agreed, though: no need to subject my middle-aged peepers to unnecessary 3D.

Date: 2016-01-06 04:40 pm (UTC)
kodi: (melencolia)
From: [personal profile] kodi
The only thing I liked better about the movie on a second viewing was Kylo Ren. He's like Alice Cooper's I'm Eighteen with a lightsaber; not intimidating, but terrifying in a Mister Mxyzptlk/Beyonder kind of way, but without all the goofiness.

Date: 2016-01-06 04:49 pm (UTC)
kodi: (melencolia)
From: [personal profile] kodi
s/all the/as much

Date: 2016-01-06 05:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Kylo Ren is ridiculous, but that is itself kind of entertaining. It's a thing that was actually different from the original trilogy: this time the bad guy is the immature, whiny git.

Without the burden of being a compelling tragic hero, which young Anakin took up and immediately fumbled in the prequels. It's more a different take on the banality of evil. This guy actually goes out of his way to dress up like Darth Vader and he knows he's not quite pulling it off.

Date: 2016-01-06 06:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

HAHA this is so true. Also, I hated Snap and rolled my eyes when the actor came on. Most ppl were just JJ's bff's it was nauseating.

Maybe Kylo is dumb and Hux is dumb because Snoke doesn't know what he's doing. I hope there's more development on these three evils than the 'heroes' of the story.

I enjoyed your rant. Thanks for sharing.


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