Daily Archives: December 16, 2017

Disney/Fox Deal

Hey 3.5 readers.

Disney is buying a large chunk of the Fox entertainment empire, their studio parts mostly.  For movie buffs, that means Marvel characters owned by Fox can now work with characters owned by Disney and that’s already led to talk on the Internet about Wolverine becoming an Avenger, which would be cool.

I’m not sure how well they will fit together though.  Disney is wholesome whereas Fox has been naughty.  Disney is Mickey.  Fox is Bart Simpson.  Disney is Frozen.  Fox is Deadpool banging his prostitute girlfriend.  So, will these two parts be able to work together without ruining each other?  The world needs wholesomeness AND edginess so I worry about these commingling.

What say you, 3.5?

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Real Movie Review – Star Wars: Episode 8: The Last Jedi

To quote Jon Lovitz’ “The Critic” – “it stinks.”

BQB here with a real review of the new Star Wars flick.  Be forewarned of SPOILERS.

At the outset, I must say that I don’t think the magic of the original films, now dubbed “Episodes 4-6,” will ever recreated.  You see, from the early days of cinema in the 1930s up until like, 1970, films were basically recorded plays.  Then the young baby boomers took over and directors like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg upped the special effects game.

“Star Wars” was unlike anything ever seen before on film but since then, we have been spoiled and the biggest, most intense scenes fail to wow us.

If, “The Force Awakens” was a modern rehash of “A New Hope,” then “The Last Jedi” is a lesser version of the film many say is the best of the “Star Wars” series, “The Empire Strikes Back.”

However, while “Empire” say Luke grow and train under the wise tutelage of Yoda, “Last Jedi” gives us a rather lackluster dynamic between Luke and Rey.

The ending scene of the last film, where Rey meets Luke in a sweeping view on a remote island, gave us hope of some really intense training and wisdom passing-on, such that would turn Rey from a naive young girl to a badass, as Yoda did to Luke years before.

Alas, instead we get a very whiny old Luke, lamenting how his life has been wasted, that the Jedi Council was a lame hoarding of Force power and really the force should belong to us all and if that’s the case then they’re rewriting history because the whole premise of the series has been that only special people can control the Force and just as in life, some people when given power will use it for good and others will be corrupted by it and turn evil.

For me, it was just too much whining.  I’d hoped that we’d see Luke in some late life Obi-Wan Kenobi badassery.  Sir Alec Guinness never whined so much but Old Luke is whinier than Young Luke who just wanted to go to Tashi to pick up some power converters.

We were promised epic training and instead Luke just whines to Rey…and whines…and whines. I mean, give this script to your most basic writer and he/she would have put in some Mr. Miyagi style training montages but there was none of that.  Luke just bitches and moans about how he wasted his life being a Jedi and then eventually Rey like, just leaves.

Seriously, maybe I fell asleep but one minute Rey was on the island listening to Luke’s sobfest and then the next she’s on a ship entering the space battle.  It’s like, she just got tired of the bullshit and was like, “I guess no one’s teaching me any badass light saber moves here even though the audience would have enjoyed seeing that so I’ll just leave this depressed old fucker and go into a space battle now.”

Overall, I feel like Hamill could have been put to better use.

SPOILER – the ending, Luke does get some awesomeness in, I’ll admit that.  But I didn’t quite get the point of it.  Ren has his army blast the ever loving shit out of Luke and Luke just dusts himself off.  It’s cool and funny and then we learn that Luke’s only there in a ghostly form.  At first, I thought Luke had died in the blast and become a ghost like so many Jedi before him, but then we learn that Luke was projecting a spirit form of himself from his home on the island the entire time…which doesn’t really make sense.  And then he dies anyway so…I thought the point of him projecting himself was to keep him alive for future movies so if he’s going to die while projecting himself then why not have him die in battle?

Then again, maybe he didn’t die.  Maybe he disappeared.  Preserve a possibility he might return?  Who knows?

I have to say I think there’s a lot of back story the writers have us assume.  I think a three movie arc where the Galaxy is at piece and then Ben Solo, Luke’s nephew, trains under Luke and turns to the dark side and fucks up the galaxy by the end of the third movie would have been more interesting than just jumping into where we are now.  We are told through flashbacks that Luke became forlorn after his nephew turned evil but that story would have been better in a film than what we are seeing now.

Meanwhile, the subplot with Finn and Rose going on an adventure to a casino planet to find a hacker was silly, an attempt to give sort of a space Bond vibe, except Finn and Rose just show up in their regular clothes and look rather silly.  We learn late in the film Rose has a crush on Finn, but perhaps the two gussying up in fancy duds to infiltrate the party and Finn getting confused, maybe realizing he has options, maybe he could be with Rey, maybe he could be with Rose or what have you, might have been interesting.  Maybe not.  It all seemed out of place.

Like many of the characters, Benicio Del Toro’s DJ (the hacker) is sort of cookie cutter stock.  He’s got an odd lisp but we don’t know why he’s so weird and eccentric.  Admittedly, he has the most interesting lines of the film, pointing out that evil arms dealers make their money by selling not only to the First Order but also to the Resistance.  Whereas past films showed the Empire as bad and the Rebels as unwaveringly good, this part leads us to wonder whether or not both sides are not just two faces of the same coin, that because neither will back down, the death and carnage continues and the galaxy remains in ruins while arms dealers profit.

Further, we were promised a big reveal about Rey’s parentage and what we got was a let down.  There were some clues that led us to believe that Rey was Luke’s daughter, i.e. why else would Luke’s lightsaber call to her, and if Ren’s claim that Rey’s parents were just trash who sold her for beer money is true, then there’s a lot of clues just left on the table, a lot of build up just to let us down.  I’m hoping in the third film we’ll find out Ren lied.

I don’t know if the initial “Star Wars” genie can ever be let out of the bottle again.  Although, last year’s “Rogue One” was impressive to me, so perhaps it is possible.

I think the long term problem for the franchise is the creation of a post-Vader, post-original character world.  Vader is the baddest-ass villain ever created.  Admit it.  When you first saw him force choke a subordinate, you immediately thought about the worst, nastiest boss you ever had and it scared you.

Eventually, the franchise will have to enter a post original movie world – one without the original characters, without Vader, without the Skywalkers, without the Empire….will they be able to create villains and heroes who are just as riveting?

Time will tell…but they had one shot to provide us with some Luke on screen awesomeness and they blew it.  Rey and Luke never bond, never develop any kind of friendship or master/trainee relationship…he’s basically a guy she meets who whines to her.  You’re not really left with the impression that Rey got anything out of her meeting with Luke, that she’s better for it, that she has any connection to him, that she’ll ever think about him again and and honestly, that’s a failure.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy but I mean, I’m not really in a rush to see it again.

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Movie Review – Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Wow, 3.5 readers.  Just plain, wow!

BQB here with a review of “The Last Jedi.”

So, as you recall, our last film ended with Rey meeting Luke in a sweeping scene on a remote island.  I have to be honest, I liked the last film initially but after awhile, it did seem lame, a pile of fluff, a rehash of the old film.

They really outdid themselves this time, from the immediate space battle that ensues as Luke and Rey escape to the remote planet of Baatha Fisk, to the riveting fight scene in which Poe Dameron’s fate is left unclear.  That cliffhanger is left unaddressed and it seemed odd to have such a big question so early in the film go unanswered but I suppose there were clues throughout the film.  The helmet that was found on Cheeops is perhaps a sign that Poe might live to fight another day.

Snope’s origins are revealed and it does make sense that he was trained by Yoda.  The ghost scenes featuring Yoda, Old Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi seemed cheesy at first, a patronizing throwback to something that seemed lame in the original films, but then after awhile I thought about it and I’ll give some slack to the writers there.  But for ghostly involvement, I’m not sure how certain plot points could have been given.

I don’t really want to give it away but I have to admit, I found it lame that the lightsaber “called” to Rey in the last film.  I mean, it’s an inanimate object but the explanation makes sense.  I’m not sure Rey’s added power will hold up in future films but within this film it worked.

I don’t really buy that Finn could have bested Kylo Ren in a fight but then again I talked to other fans and they indicate that the love Finn feels for Rey is what drives him, giving him extra adrenaline and that’s what allowed him to defeat Ren, just has he managed to escape Captain Phasma earlier.

Chewie remains the heart of the story and the beloved wookie finally gets some character development.  Who knew the wookie was gay all along, despised by his own family and thrown off his home planet just for being who he is?  Admittedly, it does seem like social justice pandering and I think the point could have been made without the five minute male wookie on male wookie sex scene.  Yikes!  So much violence.

Further, I think the movie’s downfall is that it tries too hard to go with the “ripped from the headlines” trope.  Personally, I think it is bad writing to take current events and news items and work them into science fiction, especially when sci-fi allows for so much imagination to be explored.  For example, Wax Fassa, the businessman that double crosses Luke and Rey, offering them free passage to Sverador is an obvious Trump clone.  Although it was humorous to see an alien with fake hair and it gave the audience a good laugh, it cheapened the whole series.  Come on Disney.  There are plenty of opportunities to make fun of the President, it doesn’t need to be done during our much loved franchise.

Finally, it seemed lame that Luke was thrown off the last remaining vestige of the Jedi Council.  Sure, he made a pass on Mara Jade but it seemed unclear whether or not they were in love or just mere colleagues on a mission.  Did Luke go too far in his affections?  Was he misunderstood?  Was he falsely accused or did our hero fall and make an unwanted sexual advance toward a fellow Jedi?  Look, I get it, just because Luke is our favorite Jedi doesn’t mean he gets free reign to abuse women so if he did it then he has no place on the council but I just think the council didn’t give Luke due process or a right to have a say.

I mean, Jek Fanna had a point.  “Keep your robot hand off the ladies’ asses, buddy.”  That’s wise advice that hopefully Luke will remember in the future.  Will he redeem himself?  I suppose we’ll find out in the next film.

Or maybe we won’t because literally everyone died at the end of this one, murdered by Jar Jar Binks, who was narrating the story based on items pinned to a bulletin board in an intergalactic police station the entire time.  #mindblown.

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