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Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: January 16, 2020, 04:11:32 PM »

I think I let Nacho borrow my copy of "Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays" and never got it back. Somebody that's not me certainly has it.

I'm looking right at it!

It's fine. Merry Christmas.
Posted by: nacho
« on: January 16, 2020, 09:57:44 AM »

I think I let Nacho borrow my copy of "Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays" and never got it back. Somebody that's not me certainly has it.

I'm looking right at it!

Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: January 15, 2020, 11:43:19 AM »

I think I let Nacho borrow my copy of "Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays" and never got it back. Somebody that's not me certainly has it.

It's essential reading if your a big Star Wars fan; a fascinating look at all the potential storylines that were considered, in some cases written, but ultimately dropped while Lcas was making the original trilogy.

The link below is akin to that, and weirdly sounds like a better movie than Rise of Skywalker.

Colin Trevorrow’s Reportedly Leaked ‘Star Wars’ Script Is A Huge Contrast To ‘Rise of Skywalker’
Posted by: nacho
« on: January 01, 2020, 12:53:59 PM »

I do think that our viewing habits have evolved such with the rise of binge watching and prestige TV that audiences prefer the long road to a finale rather than a "Well, let's wrap this all up quickly" style of storytelling.

So this is something I've been thinking about quite a bit. Because, yes, we're no longer a "wrap it up" culture. We're happy with the slow game. And when people do rush a finale (GOT, TROS) we get pissed off. But we did, not very long ago, once enjoy the idea of a nice, neat package. Hell, that was entertainment tradition for just about as long as entertainment has been around. Something's changed these last 15 or so years. I've been wondering if Firefly was the flashpoint for that. The fans revived the show, but they wanted...more show. Not Serenity, which, while better than TROS, was a rush job attempt at a neat package finale. From roughly the same sci-fi era, we're mad at BSG for a rush job neat package finale. Not because they fucked up the finale, but because we wanted more show, less resolution.

Sci-fi has always been about the journey (Star Trek, OG BSG, Space 1999, Doctor Who, etc), but the journey was always a simple one, told in an episodic format that you didn't really have to pay attention to. So when the ensemble sci-fi journey moved to the next level (the season/series arc that must be watched in order), attitudes and viewing habits were changed. The foundation had been there -- Babylon 5, most notably. The back half of DS9. You can see the shift slowly morphing from the mid '90s to the early '00s.

Also, I'm ranting because I'm still drinking champagne.   
Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: December 31, 2019, 11:38:11 AM »

I don't have the emotional energy to write a long post about why.

I want you to know that every day I've woken up like, "I should go to GS and write about TROS today." Then, I'm like "meh."

I saw it again on Friday. It was both more offensive and somehow more palatable on a second viewing. The first twenty minutes are by far the worst part in terms of structure/tone. Then it settles in a finds a groove... or maybe that's how long it took me to accept what a shitshow it was.

Chris Terrio, the co-writer has come out and said he wished they did a two movie finale. I couldn't agree more, though I'm not sure I would have swallowed the
Palpatine's daughter reveal
if it would have been a ten movie finale. I do think that our viewing habits have evolved such with the rise of binge watching and prestige TV that audiences prefer the long road to a finale rather than a "Well, let's wrap this all up quickly" style of storytelling.
Posted by: nacho
« on: December 24, 2019, 01:45:01 PM »

So I hated the movie. It was everything that was bad and exhausting about Endgame AND the final season of GOT rolled into one.

I don't have the emotional energy to write a long post about why. There were so many touchstones that angered and bewildered me, so many bad choices, so many wrong turns. If the prequels hand't of been so awful, we would be lynching Abrams right now. (That said, despite everything I feel, RoS is better than all the prequels by a mile.)

I think what disturbed me the most -- my first response to RC when I got out of the theater -- was how hard RoS worked to walk back TLJ. I have never seen a movie work so hard to undo the previous films. And that was such a colossal effort that it basically invalidated the other reboot  movies in this arc.

An interesting side note is that I saw the movie with my brother-in-law's 20-something kid. He was all about TFA and TLJ, but he didn't understand half the stuff in this one. Like he was aware of Palpatine, of course, but he was like, huh.

I found it very odd that the reboots were, up till now, designed to usher in a new generation of fans to Star Wars, and then this movie spent two and a half hours ignoring that new generation and ham-fistedly trying to get the older generation back on board. Except... They were doing that, apparently, with the thought, "So the favorite movie for the old 40 and 50 somethings from the original trilogy is Return of the Jedi, right?"

I know TLJ has lots of problems, but I loved Rose. I loved the humor. I loved how they embraced the flaws of the characters and addressed those flaws. I loved that minorities and people over the age of 30 had important roles. Walking ALL of that back was terrifying and horrible in 2019.

Rise of Skywalker is almost the perfect capstone to a decade of horror, lies, racism, ageism, and sexism. 
Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: December 22, 2019, 01:51:24 PM »

I saw Rise of Skywalker a few nights ago. I think the storytelling is virtually impossible to talk about without spoilers so I'm going to wait a few more days before any remarks on that. I also plan to see it again after another rewatch of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

I liked the movie quite a bit. It's pretty much as good as Return of the Jedi was as compared to the original and Empire. Disney so very obviously had no full plan for these three movies and it shows. Nothing makes sense, and yet it all makes sense. Like Avengers: Endgame, I'm sort of just glad it's over and that they managed to stick the landing. Maybe not smoothly, but nobody on the plane was hurt, and all the fan service made me barely notice the whole thing might crash and burn.

What I think (hope?) is that what the prequels and new trilogy have done is move Star Wars from this sacred thing which must be held in high esteem to just another weird sci-fi universe that people can now tell stories in. Sort of like Star Trek had become in the 90s with Voyager and DS9 before Paramount got all prequel/soft reboot on us. The original Star Wars trilogy was a religious experience for a lot of people. The prequels were basically Lucas saying "Jesus is a gay muslim!" Fans/acolytes responded by threatening a schism. (One that unfortunately in the wake of The Last Jedi, came to pass.) By the new trilogy, everybody is like, "Sure, Jesus is a gay muslim, but only if you read the spin-off comic book that explains who he was seduced by the ghost of Moses in a BDSM bar. Say, do you want go to the replica Jesus/Moses BDSM bar at the Holy Bible theme park section at Disneyland?"

I think this new movie specifically (and the new trilogy in general) is above all things a commercial for all the other Star Wars stuff Disney is going to put out; books, theme parks, comic books, video games, action figures, TV shows, more movies, licensed cookware, etc. I'm not trying to sound cynical about it. Rise of Skywalker is simply of the reflection of the mono-cultural world we live in. (As much as any mono-culture exists anymore.) It's less a sum of it's parts than a bunch of parts designed to work with other playsets.

As a movie or a film story, your reaction to Rise of Skywalker is going to be based on how you feel about Star Wars. I love Star Wars, so I love this movie, lazy writing and cocaine-inspired story logic be damned. It grabbed me emotionally, more than I expected it to. I left the theatre happy. I guess in the end, that's the only litmus that matters.

May the force be with you... always.
Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: December 19, 2019, 02:53:40 PM »

It wasn't cheap, for sure.

I'm also sure they imagined guys like say, me and you, with seven high powered drinks in us running through Star Wars-land.

"I am the Grand Moff of the Mon Calamari system! Bring me a four twi'lek prostitutes and an R2 unit filled with vodka!"
Posted by: nacho
« on: December 19, 2019, 09:23:30 AM »

I hear the joke is that it's a two drink max because that's all you can afford to pay for.
Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: December 18, 2019, 04:32:30 PM »

I'm trying to stay in review blackout. (Though my excitement for the movie has made that hard.) I'm also trying to keep an open mind and take it as I see it, reminding myself that the only way I really enjoy Star Wars these days is in a vacuum.

To me, the early review freakout says more about the toxicity of internet discourse than it does the movie itself. Film Twitter is a dumpster fire at a nuclear power plant... on a good day.

In more encouraging Star Wars news, the Disneyland theme park, Galaxy's Edge, was absolutely lovely when I visited it last week. The conceit is you're on Batuu, an Outer Rim trading post where the resistance may or may not be hiding out. It's mostly Tattooine meets Maz Kanata's planet/bar in The Force Awakens.  The design is very Star Wars-y without banging you over the head with it. Little gems like a junked land speeder in an old garage or a podracer engine being used as a meat smoker aren't readily apparent unless you know what you're looking at. Sure, there's still astromech droids everywhere, and a X-Wing and First Order Tie Fighter to take pictures with, but its all integrated in a natural and organic way. There are stormtroopers who will show up and shake you down, which is pretty fun. Chewbacca and Kylo Ren also walk around. Be on the look out for all the subtle stuff in corners that you might miss if you're not looking. (I found Hoth Snowtrooper and Endor Speeder Bike Trooper helmets by accident. It was very cool.)

The layout is designed so the "spaceport" where the Millennium Falcon is parked kind of sneaks up on you. It's a 1:1 scale model and it's absolutely breathtaking when you see it. The ride that goes with it, Smuggler's Run, is just okay. Standing in line for it was actually more interesting to me than the ride itself. (Being inside the main holding area with the holographic chess board and hallways is geektastic to the max.) The cockpit where you sit for the actual ride is lovingly done. The ride proper is actually too interactive in that every rider in the six person seat has a job to do; pilot, gunner, or engineer. Piloting the Falcon isn't nearly as much fun as you think it is. You want to soar but they intentionally make it so your constantly crashing into shit and getting hit by Tie Fighters. Jumping to light speed was cool. Other than that, meh.

The cantina is by far the most fun of the entire experience. There's an animatronic droid Dj-ing in the corner, but you can ignore him for the most part if you want. (There's one cool part where the bartenders get involved with with a hyperdrive powering the bar that was kind of fun. The drinks are quite good and strong. The problem is that you have a two drink max and the rest of Disneyland in California is dry so you get slightly buzzed then spend the next part of your day getting sober again. (Disney World in Orlando is not dry I hear, so you can go somewhere else and continue to get hammered.)

The lightsaber building is also pretty cool. Eight-year-old me would have wept with joy, but it was a little dramatic for my grown-up brain. Basically you're buying a $200 high end lightsaber replica. I will say the "blade" reveal was really smartly done. And the replicas are top notch. I regret nothing.

I had a fantastic time. The spirit of the place is everything good we love about Star Wars. RC says check it out.
Posted by: nacho
« on: December 18, 2019, 02:35:45 PM »

I'll probably see it by the 26th at the latest. But, yes. It's getting reamed. Someone called it "A seven-layer dip except instead of beans it's full of special k and bath salts."

Another reviewer said it felt like a failed TV show for Disney+.

This is what happens when you make a great movie (The Last Jedi) and then cater to the fan backlash because they couldn't handle the fact that there was a good Star Wars movie.
Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: December 18, 2019, 01:37:14 PM »

The Rise of Skywalker discourse is already at peak freakout and hardly anyone has seen the movie. It doesn't really surprise me. It just makes me unbearably sad.

I'll see it by weekend's end for sure. Will report back here.
Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: December 02, 2019, 12:59:57 PM »

And with Amazon we don't even have to leave the house to buy their shit!
Posted by: nacho
« on: December 02, 2019, 11:37:56 AM »

RE: Small screen ideals to the big screen. I find it ironic that we find ourselves in a paradigm shift where the opposite in now happening. They big budget visuals are now being created for episodic "television."

Oh, it was inevitable the moment HBO opened its doors. The TV industry has worked very hard to keep you at home, on the couch, subscribing to their content and supporting their advertisers since the 50's. And, as they've steadily won that battle, and capitalized on it, it's a cinch to get big stars and big budgets on small screens. Nothing ironic about it. Carefully developed, nurtured, and planned out.
Posted by: RottingCorpse
« on: December 01, 2019, 05:18:53 PM »

I'm really fond of showing my film students "firsts;" first modern camera effects (Citizen Kane), first ensemble piece (Stagecoach), first modern coming of age comedy (American Graffiti), first slasher film (Halloween), and so on. They're always like, "This is boring. It was done better in INSERT MARVEL MOVIE." I'm willing to bet these students will feel the same way about the original Star Wars. (The number of them that haven't actually seen it used to be shocking, but now I'm used to it.)

But the future of big screen sci-fi (which is now making it's final laps?) is all there in that first Star Wars. It's  a transition in story editing more than anything else, probably because Lucas had to cobble something together out of the insanity and half shot sequenced he had filmed.

RE: Small screen ideals to the big screen. I find it ironic that we find ourselves in a paradigm shift where the opposite in now happening. They big budget visuals are now being created for episodic "television."