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Archive for December, 2015

The Farce Awakens

Star_Wars_Episode_VII_The_Force_Awakens.jpg

Seriously…

Am I the only one who thinks the latest episode of Star Wars blows Chunks..???

Yet again J.J. Abrams F#@%’s up another movie and franchise (Star Trek anyone).  Who gives this guy these jobs.

And I do lay the blame at his feet, albeit I have to wonder about the Producers, Studio and Lucas also.  No doubt they are all happy, as they are creaming it at the moment.  Just a pity the movie sucks.

Of course, I am way out on the fringe, because I thought the prequels were pretty damn well done (except for some lame exceptions – Jar Jar Binks).

And compared to them, the acting, scripting, costuming, SFX, design, physics, choreography and vision of this latest one is just lame.

Infact, even the “first” three had some pretty weak stuff in them.  But hey, we were MUCH younger then, and it was all pretty radically original back then, so we can make allowances.

However, I now know why Harrison Ford dies in this one – shit I would want to be bailing out of it all too.  Please… please, kill me now.

And Geez… what the hell is wrong with Carrie Fisher ???   Eerk.   Too much drugs and botox by the looks.  On the basis of this outing she will never work in a movie again.  Obviously she was able to skip the auditioning process for this film.

As for all the rest of the movie – I won’t even bother going into all the plot holes (but this link does), outrageous coincidences, non-credible events, or impossible physics (I mean you expect some impossible physics don’t you in a Sci-Fi movie).

But WTF was that with, well… everything, to do with the planet killing new “Death Star”.  Lord, give me strength (to bear the unbearable).

Instead, I will simply extract some parts of other Reviews, which see much of what I do, too:

The Force Awakens doesn’t take us to familiar locations from the original films, but that’s a formality. The desert planet of Jakku is Tatooine in all but name. The Resistance base isn’t on Yavin IV, but you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. Space pirate/Yoda figure Maz Kanata lives in the jungle temple this time, and Starkiller Base itself is kinda Hoth-y. There’s a cantina and a bad guy base with deep trenches and no guardrails. While The Force Awakens feels like the Original Trilogy in design and spirit it misses one of the things that made the OT magical in the moment – a sense of discovery from film to film, a universe that constantly showed us new weird things. The Force Awakens contains little that’s original, just familiar elements slightly remixed.

The Force Awakens is completely and totally a JJ Abrams movie, with all that entails, good and bad. Abrams is, for me, a frustrating filmmaker because he has an eye that is strong, a knack for casting that might be unparalleled and an ability to pace his movies at a rate that sweeps you along faster than you can notice the narrative chasms that he’s leaping. All of these elements are on display in The Force Awakens, a movie that shamelessly panders to nostalgia while also charting an extraordinary future for the franchise, a movie that is great fun but whose sequences are held together by outrageous coincidence or through a complete disregard for narrative connective tissue. The film it most resembles, in the largest sense, is 2009’s Star Trek, a film with a killer cast having a great time in the middle of a stumbling, sometimes moronic story. Like Star Trek 2009The Force Awakens exists best in the moment when you’re watching it, and is not well served by any sort of deep thought or analysis or consideration.

…All of which gets to the biggest problem with The Force Awakens: It’s not very ambitious. It lacks scope and the feeling of grandeur that is Star Wars’ hallmark. It feels small. This is a function of story and direction, falling quite plainly at Abrams’ feet. While Abrams’ is more up close and personal with the characters than George Lucas was, the vastness of the world and the sense that it is so much larger than what you can actually see in the movie is very much lost. The First Order in particular feels derivative, cramped and claustrophobic. There’s little menacing about it as the movie fails to deliver in visuals the immense scale of power it is said to wield. Everything is too evocative and familiar — this is a movie that does not push itself or its audience into the uncomfortable territory of discovery that is required to create a movie more rewarding than a nostalgia exercise. This movie is clearly made to answer fans that disliked the prequel movies. It surely will find a lot of love upon release from those seeking the comforts of the original trilogy. Its eventual ranking in the Star Wars canon, however, is likely to slip significantly with time and with the reception subsequent episodes receive.

With the Emperor and Darth Vader both gone, Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren steps into the role of main villain. As in the original trilogy, Kylo Ren dresses all in black, wears a helmet, wields the Dark Side of the Force and answers only to a mysterious master who likes to communicate via hologram. Ren’s backstory is one of the major twists of the plot, but it’s here where the same focus brought to making Rey convincing would have helped the movie immeasurably. Ren simply doesn’t have enough to do for his motivation to come about organically through the story instead from via some of the clunkiest exposition in Star Wars history. He remains at the end of the movie a cypher of a villain who comes up very short in the menace department…

In short order, we meet the film’s other new leads: Rey (Ridley), an orphaned scrap-metal scavenger, and the ex-Stormtrooper Finn (Boyega), a conscientious objector who went AWOL after watching Ren and his storm trooper armada carry out a My Lai-style massacre while searching for BB-8 and his map. Then Rey, Finn and BB-8 escape a strafing run by TIE fighters by piling into Han’s old ship, the Millennium Falcon, which just happens to be owned by one of Rey’s scrap metal customers, and get captured by a freighter that just happens to be piloted by Han and Chewie, who just happen to be searching for the Falcon in that part of space. As in every “Star Wars” film, this one leans on chance meetings and coincidences, and you just have to accept them as the sort of things that would happen in a fairy tale or opera—or at the very least, as proof that the galaxy is smaller than it looks. The Starkiller Base is ten times the size of the last Death Star, but key characters cross paths inside of it so regularly that it might as well be a U-boat.

Enough – I could go on ripping this to shreds for ages… but let’s stop here, while I am still sane.

What did you think of it ?

~R

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Extracts from original article – and link to it…

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If Washington Were Serious About Defeating Terrorism, It Would Have An Entirely Different Playbook

Excerpted from Stephen Walt’s “The Unbearable Lightness of America’s War Against the Islamic State” originally published in FP

“When in danger, or in doubt – run in circles, scream and shout.”

If the United States were truly serious about terrorism, it would start by gauging the level of threat properly and communicating that appraisal to the American people

If the United States were truly serious about terrorism, we would also have a more honest and open discussion about our own role in generating it…

If the United States were truly serious about terrorism, we would now be having a frank discussion about the role of the media…

If the United States were truly serious about terrorism, we’d also see more creative efforts to discredit, marginalize, spoof, and embarrass the groups we oppose…

If the United States were truly serious about terrorism, you’d see a more hardnosed approach to the various American “allies” who are part of the problem rather than being part of the solution…  U.S. officials would be calling out Turkey publicly for its actions against the Kurdish forces battling the Islamic State, for the porosity of its border with Islamic State-controlled territory, and for its blind eye toward smuggling and other actions that are keeping the militant group in business. Instead of going overboard to reassure Saudi Arabia in the wake of the deal with Iran, we’d be having some unpleasant conversations about the Saudi role in promoting Wahhabism and its connection to extremist movements like the Islamic State. And, by the way, putting that issue at the top of the agenda is not an unfriendly act, given that al Qaeda and the Islamic State are themselves potential threats to the House of Saud. We would also make it clear to the Israeli government that its treatment of the Palestinians is a national security issue for us, and we would make our “special relationship” conditional on the creation of Palestinian state and not just the usual empty promises (I know, I’m dreaming here, but our failure to take this obvious step just shows how unserious our policy still is).

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Ergo – they are NOT serious.

Therefore – expect more of the same.

~ R

 

 

 

 

 

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