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Christmas 1976 rolled over into New Year’s Day and the Bicentennial year was over. A Democrat was about to take over the White House, always a happy event in Hollywood. As January began, the town went back to work, crafting 1977’s most hotly anticipated hits: A Bridge Too Far, with Sean Connery, Robert Redford, and Ryan O’Neal; a new James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me; The Deep, from the author of Jaws; and a pair of highly touted dramas celebrating the viewpoints of women, Julia and The Turning Point. Woody Allen and Burt Reynolds also had movies on the way.
Everybody was poised to get rich or richer during the upcoming summer gold rush. But 20th Century Fox started the new year with a costly hangover. They’d spent two years backing a dubious novelty, the American Graffiti guy’s quirky tribute to the forgotten world of Flash Gordon serials, rumored to be something about a gorilla who flies a spaceship and a mystical force called “The Power.” From the screening rooms, word was filtering out: Star Wars was likely to be a loser—dull, confusing and corny, despite a couple of great special effects shots. The rough version was a mess and an unbreakable release date, May 25, was breathing down their necks. Thank God, Lucas stepped up and took charge of fixing it.
I just saw The Rise of Skywalker, and I loved it. The visual and aural effects were astounding, the settings beautiful, the story fun, most of the main characters engaging, and the adaptations of what audiences love about Star Wars present without being too derivative. This was brilliant high-tech, family-friendly fantasy storytelling. I did think […]
Star Wars had a simple winning formula: A Long Time Ago In a Galaxy Far Far Away… Preview Open
Warning: Some Spoilers Ahead! I went into my late showing of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker with expectations low enough to make the bottomless sarlacc pit seem like an inflatable kiddie pool. Up to this point the chief effect of popular “sci-fi”’s encounter with director J.J. Abrams has been to leave the genre “scarred […]
This December, the last Star Wars movie (probably) featuring any of the original series’ cast members will come out. Good riddance. Because in November 2020, the god-emperor of science fiction will reign supreme once more, as a new adaptation of Dune by Frank Herbert will come to theaters.
And I’ll be there, even though I’m a relatively new convert to Dune’s greatness. As a sci-fi- inhaling youngster, I was told that the two sci-fi books I had to read were Dune and Neuromancer by William Gibson. I bought them both at a Half-Price Books more than a decade ago…and did nothing with either of them until July 2016, when I finally made my way through Dune.* I liked what I read, and have been gradually working through the series since.
This is how I learned that Dune is not merely “Star Wars for adults,” as the new film’s director, Dennis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) accurately stated. Indeed, Star Wars stole much of its backbone from Dune, in ways that their both starting as sci-fi hero’s journey stories can adequately explain.
With the exception of Marvel, my fandom as far as movie franchises is concerned is in a pretty sad state right now. The excellent Lord of the Rings Trilogy was followed by the bloated Hobbit films. The Harry Potter movies are now followed up with the mediocre and misguided Fantastic Beasts films, and author J.K. […]
For those that have seen Solo: A Star Wars Story, what did you think? Would watching it help me recover from my disappointment in The Last Jedi, or would it just further my alienation from what Star Wars has become? Preview Open
Last month I saw a blog post on a work network about a connection between JFK and Star Wars I didn’t know about. A new to me theory about JFK’s assassination was brought up in the comments. I thought about posting it here but didn’t want to run afoul of the Code of Conduct. A […]
(Warning: will contain spoilers for both old and new Star Wars films) It’s been over eight months since The Last Jedi out. Already countless hours have been filmed by youtubers and countless words typed by bloggers both condemning and defending the creative decisions made in the new Star Wars films. I have spent an unjustifiable amount of […]
Direction by Ron Howard Screenplay by Jonathan & Lawrence Kasdan “I have a really good feeling about this.” – Solo Star Wars has a dirty little secret. It’s really quite obvious, once you think on it. The secret is this: In spite of being a galactic battle between the goodies (Rebels) and the baddies (Empire), the […]
Let’s imagine a day thirty years in the future. The children currently sitting across from me are in their early forties, likely with children of their own. Their nostalgia for the heroes of their youth has become highly marketable, and Hollywood has taken notice. It’s time to reassemble the original Avengers. Of course, these actors […]
So I just did a quick search on the forum and I didn’t turn up a post on the new Star Waaaaaars movie, “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” (It’s a story about Han Solo and how he came to be, giving us a glimpse of the Star Wars universe. Spoilers.) So, anyone want to talk […]
New podcast, new ideas, new controversies! This week, Pete Spiliakos and I talk Star Wars. We pick apart The Last Jedi to show you what is expected of competent mediocrity; how hard it is to get plots, characters, their conflicts, and relationships right; and how important it is to do so. We talk about how the audience is supposed to react to various characters and developments, thus connecting emotions to ideas to develop themes about the education of a new generation of leaders. Properly done, TLJ would have been a good story reflecting the innocence and incompetence of Millennials and their confrontation with Boomers who are both mythical and catastrophic. This is what middlebrow art is like — if only we aspire to it…
Mrs. Augustine figured it out. It makes sense to use a unit of distance to measure speed if your faster-than-light travel involves bending space. Only one thing is required: the theory that your spaceship’s speed affects how much space is bent in relation to the ship. Preview Open
I enjoy a lot of critiques of Star Wars, The Last Jedi not excluded. But I enjoyed the newest Star Wars. I think The Last Jedi might be the most philosophically respectable Star Wars movie to date. It replaces one very silly idea of the Force with a much more respectable idea. It’s a shift from a Manichean Star […]
I’ve spent far too much time this past month watching various critiques of The Last Jedi. I really just need to write my own long-winded critique of the whole thing. But I just watched this video by youtuber Boofire191, titled “Star Wars The Last Jedi: A Franchise that Used to Be for Everyone,” and had to […]
A Film by Rian Johnson *** (out of 4) Preview Open
In 1977 my life changed. I was seven years old, and fascinated with dinosaurs. Then one day my parents took me to see a new movie that had just come out about a galaxy far, far away. I left the theater that day and started reading all about space and astronomy. And I was hooked. I even ended up getting a degree in space physics (which I haven’t really used, but that’s another story). It’s not an overstatement to say that Star Wars, which lead to a love of science fiction and then science, was a major factor in my life.
Yesterday afternoon I got to see The Last Jedi. As they say, I have thoughts. Feel free to share your own. All this is before reading any other reviews or discussions, so it may be that all the ground here has been covered elsewhere. And if the title of this didn’t make it clear, what follows is one giant spoiler of everything in the movie. Don’t read on unless you really want to know.
Overall, I enjoyed it. It wasn’t perfect, and there are definitely some parts I wish they had done differently, but I think it’s a better movie than The Force Awakens. I know some people found it unpredictable and said that the whole movie was an exercise in doing the unexpected. I disagree with that assessment. I found parts of it were extremely predictable. For example, when Rey handed Luke the lightsaber at the beginning of the movie, I just knew that Luke would look at it and throw it over his shoulder. Which is exactly what he did. Let’s look at the story by character or plotline.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud President Trump for making good on his efforts to eliminate and postpone costly and burdensome federal regulations. They also tense up as five different Senate GOP votes could be in jeopardy as vote nears on tax reform. They shake their heads as liberals lose their minds and predict an internet wasteland after the Federal Communications Commission votes to return internet regulations to where they were two years ago. And Jim offers a spoiler-free look at the new Star Wars movie.