Thursday, May 25, 2017

I have a bad feeling about this

Star Wars VIII (The Last Jedi) is due in cinemas in December 2017. And yes, I'll see it (after the DVDs come out, I expect) but yeah… I have a bad feeling about this.

To get you up to speed here are all the Star Wars "I have a bad feeling about this."

I expect you're wondering why I have a bad feeling. The trailer doesn't look bad. And there will be Po, and Finn, and Rey. I suppose so. I've made no secret about my lack of love for SW VII The Force Awakens. But I managed to shrug and move on. Rogue One was good, maybe Disney will get its act together.

Except then I watched this. It's about 9.5 minutes, but I found it fascinating.

Some of the things he says are spot on. Hollywood isn't about making GOOD movies. It's about making movies that make money. Let's do some examples. Just about every half decent SF movie ever made has been dug up and resurrected in the last few years. The Day the Earth Stood Still, (1951 movie, redone in 2008), Planet of the Apes, now we're getting Blade Runner, they've jumped back onto the Alien franchise, another Star Trek movie is on the way, Superman and Batman have been done to death. I thought Pirates of the Caribbean IV was yawn-worthy. But we're getting another one, whether we like it or not. And so it goes.

Will it get bums on seats? Will it sell merchandise? Good to go!

I suppose we get some idea of where the franchise might be going with this with the character of Bendu, a force-sensitive creature which is neither a Jedi, nor a Sith, but sits in the middle: the balance in the Force. 

This explanation of the Bendu and the origins of the Jedi may or may not help. Either way, it's interesting back story, assuming it's correct.

Hey ho. Disney and Hollywood worship the Almighty Dollar. I suspect I'm going to be less than impressed with The Last Jedi. I hope I'm proved wrong. Either way, I'm waiting for the new Han Solo movie, out next year.

Poster used with attribution By Source, Fair use, 


  1. Okay, this is going to be a major rant. It's so major, Blogger is making me split it into two parts. You've been warned.

    First off, I totally agree on the remake sentiments. Why, why, WHY do they keep remaking the same films (or TV series) over and over when there are so many GREAT stories out there to be told. Look at BOOKS, Hollywood people! Game of Thrones, The Expanse, The Martian...those were all based on novels, not previous films. Where is Dragonriders of Pern? Where is Games of Command? Where is The Outback Stars?--which IMHO has the makings of an absolute blockbuster. Why do they keep giving viewers rehash after rehash instead of introducing fresh, new material?

    I know. Because sometimes when they do they get a really great, well done, beautifully-acted film with an uplifting ending like Passengers that fails miserably (thanks for nothing, evil critics). So they play it "safe" and do more remakes of former blockbusters that normally pale in comparison to the originals, but still draw fans because of the established name. Until someone gets brave and kicks out a mega-film like Avatar.

    Yeah, THAT doesn't happen very often.

    Now on to Star Wars...

  2. The next SW is one of the very few films I will go see in the theaters (any of the Star Wars spin-offs, too). But I do have concerns. Mark Hamill's own thoughts on the direction the character will takes troubles me greatly.

    The original trilogy was all about hope and making the extreme sacrifices worth it in the end. (A theme that almost all of us strive for in our SFRs.) I don't think the same can be said about the prequels, which were universally disliked, because the story wasn't "big" enough so there was a lot of needless or silly fill, and in the end the two main characters were either dead or twisted into something unrecognizably evil.

    If this film takes the direction I think it's going to take, the powers-that-be in LaLaLand didn't learn a very hard lesson the first time around.

    Sacrifice HAS to be worth the final reward.

    Much of the original trilogy was about Han and Leia's relationship. In SW7, we learned there was no HEA for them. They had a kid but lived most of their lives apart because they could barely tolerate each other, and then their son turned evil. (Maybe not a surprise?)

    Learning that Han and Leia didn't get their HEA, and then killing off Han Solo on top of it, tainted the entire emotional journey in the original trilogy for me. Don't get me wrong. I loved Han's part in the film and that it was him finally revealing the truth of history to Rey--a truth he himself denied for so long. Han saying, "It's true. All of it." THAT was magic! But the scene with Leia was just plain painful. After all they went through only to split up in the end? That's not how a great romance should work. (You're totally free to disagree with me, but that's how it works in my head.)

    Then, much of the original trilogy was also all about Luke's rise to be a force for good, and if SW8 destroys that feeling we've been left with for 40 years--that the struggle was all worth it--it's going to leave a very sour taste in my mouth and probably destroy the meaning and message behind Star Wars for me forever.

    Yes, I understand that the underlying theme is that the Force must be balanced--it can't swing too far toward the Dark Side or the Light Side or it's not a good thing. Let's face it, the Jedi didn't exactly lord over a utopia when they were in power. But in any story well told, there has to be a side you want to root for and hope for. If SW8 destroys that by having Luke turn bad or doing bad or uncharacteristic things--then in my mind at least--they will have discounted the entire experience that resonated with millions of viewers in the original.

    It would really crush me to see the great icon that is Star Wars brought down in flames (thrown into the river of lava, as it were) by poor decisions and poor storytelling, especially after SW7 offered so much promise of the rebirth of hope.

    They don't need to tear down everything that was Luke--everything he stood for and fought for--in order to build up Rey. I hope the Hollywood set isn't so deeply mired in their own Dark Side that they can still see the light.

    1. These are very good points, Laurie, and I had not really processed it this much. It's like the franchise can't make up its mind whether it wants to be heroic fantasy or gritty realism. Which neatly explains the problem I had with episode 2 (the love story between Padme and Anikan). We had this rather over-the-top love story, but then these moments like when Anikan tells her he just massacred a village and she reacts like he's revealed he has some problems with depression. We don't know what to do with our emotions. Are we watching romance and rooting for the hero and heroine, or is it strait sci-fi, where anything can happen, including the protagonist murdering innocents and the lovers dying at the end.

    2. Although y'all know I'm not a huge SW fan, your frustration, Laurie, makes me think the problem here just reflects what has been going on in SF and screen fiction generally for the last few years. Hope, the power of love, decency, redemption all seem to be outmoded concepts. Straightforward heroes and heroines are few and far between. Far more common are tortured anti-heroes who don't even bother to overcome their dark pasts. Their creators seldom redeem them through the arc of the story, but rather destroy them in ever more horrifying ways. It very well may be a reflection of our society, but if it continues it will certainly be a factor in shaping our future society. Call me an old curmudgeon, but I really feel like we're in trouble.

  3. Adding quickly because I just saw it on Twitter and I'm supposed to be packing...apparently there was an alternative storyline to the prequels where Padme forms the Rebel Alliance and almost kills Anakin in a duel. I would have LOVED that version (though it still doesn't fix the romance which needed way, way more development and background and emotion to have been remotely realistic).

    1. YES! It so frustrated me that almost every scene with her in episode 3, she was sitting in a luxurious apartment waiting for Anakin. Oh look, there's Padme looking flawlessly beautiful while hugely pregnant, and sleeping in sexy body armor, and never doing anything but being sad and worried.

    2. Absolutely. Her character was seriously wasted - just as Leia was. The whole romance was soo unlikely. Why would somebody like her fall for a whiny brat?


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