March 26, 2018
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So you remember sitting through The Force Awakens and you get to the end and there (finally) is Luke Skywalker… and he just turns around and says… nothing. (!?) It’s a completely weird scene to begin with, especially when you consider how much Luke Skywalker concept art was done for the movie.
Well, it turns out that J. J. Abrams originally pushed hard to have Luke Skywalker made into a first class element of the film… but they just couldn’t make it work. Here’s why:
“Early on I tried to write versions of the story where [Rey] is at home, her home is destroyed, and then she goes on the road and meets Luke. And then she goes and kicks the bad guy’s ass,” Arndt said. “It just never worked and I struggled with this. This was back in 2012.” Apparently the issue was Luke’s presence was always upstaging everyone in the script. “It just felt like every time Luke came in and entered the movie, he just took it over,” Arndt continued. “Suddenly you didn’t care about your main character anymore because, ‘Oh f–k, Luke Skywalker’s here. I want to see what he’s going to do.’”
Well, that can sure got kicked down the road. You can almost pity Rian Johnson for having to deal with it. And even his solution to this almost begins to make sense. If the real Luke Skywalker shows up at all, the new sub par characters are shown for what they are: empty imitations with a veneer of Star Warsy stuff slathered over them. So the new “Not Luke Skywalker” has to come out of nowhere, drinking milk hot out of the space cow and behaving completely out of character.
Pulpy, old school adventurers are so appealing and so engaging… they had to wreck a four billion dollar franchise rather than give people a glimpse of an actual hero. It’s not because they didn’t try, either. Their concepts of how myth and storytelling work are fundamentally incompatible with the film series they were tasked with building off of.
There’s no way that what they wanted to do could work. And they didn’t know it until it was too late!
(h/t Bradford Walker for this video The Decline of Star Wars Part One— the Luke bit cited above is mentioned at the nineteen minute mark.)
January 21, 2018
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This is… right now… the most interesting thing on the internet.
And note that the ideology that Jordan Peterson dismantles in this debate is of course the same one that has been used to destroy Marvel and DC and which has recently caused Star Wars to collapse in on itself. Also, the damage control playbook deployed in the wake of this media debacle is precisely the same as what was used during Gamergate. The ride never ends.
Bringing this around full circle… when the New York Times was collecting a Pulitzer prize for creating fake news about the Soviet Union, pulp master Edgar Rice Burroughs was writing planetary romance which satirized this same ideology that Cathy Newman is attempting to champion. Very conveniently, the left-leaning commentariat that subsequently took control of the field would go on to make a point of disqualifying Burroughs from even being a science fiction author– in spite of the astonishing scope of his influence.
Similarly, the other greats of the field that were quietly erased from the canon over the passing decades were treated that way because either they directly challenged Marxism or their very existence (like Leigh Brackett’s) would eventually contradict some aspect of the narrative.
January 21, 2018
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My friends tell me it’s a waste of time. I link here to ridiculous articles that exist only to troll people. I boost the signal of a franchise in such a way as to help it make more money even as I ridicule it’s bizarre implosion. But the enormity of it all really is striking. It’s more than just a set of films that we enjoyed watching again and again as we grew up and went on to have children of our own. For many of us, it’s the only reference point to a culture that was under assault decades before we were even born.
Star Wars is an echo of the sort of themes and thrills that could be taken for granted by Americans before World War One, during the roaring Twenties, and on into the Great Depression. Critics and editors that hated our country, our people, our religion, and our history gradually took over our magazines and publishing houses and steadily pushed out anyone one that liked the good old stuff. And in order to be taken seriously, one is to this day required to almost ritualistically denounce the creators that laid the very foundations of science fiction and fantasy.
But then just when their hold on the field was at its strongest, at the very moment when Americans on balance could no longer even imagine what it was that could once be taken for granted… Star Wars happened. And it was a revelation. The near absence in the marketplace of anything quite like it only made the almost ecstatic reaction that much more potent.
This sort of thing can be suppressed, sure. The people that hate it pose as intellectuals, sure. But they really are stupid and necessarily incoherent. And I find it very heartening that day in and day out amateur critics take to You Tube to light these people up. The major media outlets may push out the exact same narrative in lock step. But as bad as things seem… the majority is not fooled. And whatever is coming that will break out of this new malaise… it’s going to be good. And the more our cultural commissars try to prevent it from happening, the bigger it’s going to explode.
In the meantime, the rage is real.
January 12, 2018
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The Esquire is positively beside itself:
“So, it was a big deal when they finally introduced themselves to each other at the end of The Last Jedi. And since it was a long time coming, writer-director Rian Johnson put a lot of meaning into their very brief interaction in the movie. As a Reddit user points out, Rey introduces herself and Poe responds with ‘I know.’ Of course, fans will remember Harrison Ford’s iconic ad-libbed line in The Empire Strikes Back when Leia tells him she loves him and he replies, ‘I know.’ But this also very quickly shows how Rey’s legend is growing in the Star Wars universe. She’s a hero in the same way Luke was at a young age, with stories about her spreading not just through the Resistance but through the galaxy as a whole.”
The Boston Globe rhapsodizes over pure genius of this film:
“‘The Last Jedi’ never manages the full leap into adult emotion that distinguished ‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ the only great ‘Star Wars’ film. But Johnson knows that the best fantasy always has its emotional roots in the real. And, as he shows in those 10 seconds of silence, he clearly believes that movies still have the potential to be communal experiences on the grand scale, and so he’s made one for a wide audience rather than for the fanboy cult that treats the series as the empire over which it rules. But that’s only part of the commitment to inclusion and connection that makes ‘The Last Jedi’ so heartening.”
Fanboy cult you say…?
Well let’s take a look at the perspectives emanating from the 51% audience majority and see for ourselves if that is an accurate description of what is happening here:
Say what you want about the legions of independent reviewers that object to this latest installment in the Star Wars franchise. Call them names. Dismiss them. Mock them. Sneer. Act like they are dumb because they won’t posture as being smart aleck intellectuals when analyzing a popular film series.
At least they didn’t make a career out of lying to people!
January 7, 2018
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In the build up leading to the release of the latest Star Wars movie, connoisseurs of serious science fiction were out in force dismissing the franchise as not even being science fiction at all. On the contrary, the most recent installment turns out to be something quite different. Not only has Wired reported that it is the most intellectual Star Wars movie, but multiple media outlets have run in depth articles breaking down the hard science fiction facts that buttress the action and adventure:
The Verge: That bizarre milk scene from The Last Jedi has a basis in dairy science
The riboflavin reflects greenish wavelengths of light, giving the clear liquid a grassy green hue. Typically, “you don’t see it because it’s masked by the fact that the particles of fat and the particles of protein are reflecting the light back,” Barbano says. “But when you take cow’s milk apart, the base color without the protein and the fat is actually green.
The Smithsonian: The Science of Silence in ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’
Seeing Holdo’s bold ramming maneuver play out in silence, then, was satisfying to the scientist in Johnson. Generally, the sci-fi-loving professor just has to grin and bear it as blasterfire and thrusters wail improbably through the near-total vacuum of space. “That’s what it would be like for anybody watching that from afar,” says Johnson. “You watched the ship be there, and then not be there, and Snoke’s ship get cut in half. That is exactly what you would see from a different Star Destroyer.”
Forbes: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Finally Explains The Force
Thanks to the words and imagery in The Last Jedi, we can finally propose a working definition for the Force that’s both comprehensive and concise, scientific yet uses language that everyone can understand.
Star Wars haters, I do believe you owe me an apology!