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Eavesdropping on Geeks: Did Anyone Like 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'?
2018-03-26 08:48:46


We're Professionals, Dammit!
 
Unemployment check came. Break out the Velveeta!
-- Tjames Madison

 

It's being released on DVD tomorrow -- but did anyone actually like Star Wars: The Last Jedi? That debate rages on at our sekrit headquarters...

El Destino: Some of us watched the original "Star Wars" in theatres 1977. So what did you think of Lucasfilm's four-decades-later followup?

Splicer: "I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it required some serious disabling of some of my critical functions" is my one-liner.

El Destino: Am I just getting older? I mean, obviously young and adorable Mark Hamill was going to be more fun to watch than a reclusive 66-year-old Luke Skywalker. But it seemed like ALL of the main characters were less entertaining, and I didn't care about them as much.

Lenny Tuberose: It was ok except for the writing, acting and directing? And the music. Maybe that last one is just me though. I try to remind myself that these are essentially kids movies that were never supposed to be serious science fiction. But that didn't stop the first three movies from being fun.

El Destino: Yeah, The Last Jedi is definitely darker. (Even outside the combat zones, there's slave planets and impoverished traders...) But the Resistance suffered tragic losses in every battle. It was all the things that I didn't like about Rogue One: relentless combat and frequent defeats. Although maybe I'm just saying that there weren't enough lighter moments from the non-combatants. (Not enough C-3PO and R2-D2?) My favorite scene was Chewbacca eating dinner.

Lenny Tuberose: This one just wasn't fun for me. The Force Awakens was criticized for being a weird regurgitation of the first movie and I think this one is aping The Empire Strikes Back. In the first movie the plucky rebels beard the big bad guy -- oh there may be hope for us yet! In the following movie the rebels get the happy kicked out of them and every little thing is in the shitter -- they are SO fucked! How will I stand the shock when the rebels somehow win against all odds? Someone will have a poorly acted moral crisis, there will be a very unlikely stunning revelation and everyone will live happily ever after.

Until the next trilogy in which a new fucking Empire has inexplicably taken over again. Are we truly doomed to suffer increasingly shitty echoes of the first three movies?

Baron Earl: Haven't had a chance to go see it.

Splicer: I can go into more detail if you like...

El Destino: Don't get me wrong, there were some good battle scenes. Where the good guys fooled the bad guys and -- wait, that's another thing. There's all this complexity now with Kylo Ren. Are we supposed to kill him or forgive him? And Luke Skywalker is a hero -- except when he isn't. Um, okay -- but where's the fun in that?

It reminds me of something my friend said the other day. "Movies have gotten better in every way -- the sound, the picture quality, all the production values and all the special effects. In every way except the scripts." It's like the more technology you have to make movies, the more it takes over your movies. You're juggling so many details of film-making there's less time for crafting heartfelt moments. I don't know if I'm mad at the director, the script writer, or the director. (Although I think it was Thom who told me once that if you see a bad performance, you should blame the director.)

Thom 'Starky' Stark: Yep, it was me. Mind you, the actor is never entirely blameless -- but it's up to the director to elicit a convincing performance from an actor. He (or she) is the one who is supposed to have the vision of the movie firmly in mind at all times; the one who is supposed to see how any given performance fits into the jigsaw puzzle that is a scripted film (where it's more the rule than the exception that scenes are shot out of order, and, in any given scene, the bit that's being shot might or might not make any sense when seen - and acted - out of the context that the final, complete version will provide). If the actor's timing, or tone, or reading of the script don't serve that vision, it's up to the director to realize that, and to do whatever it takes to get the performance he/she needs, instead.

If you aren't capable of doing that, you're not a director, you're Zack Snyder...

El Destino: Or maybe it's just hard to direct aging actors from the 1970s.

So what did you think of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" ?

Thom 'Starky' Stark: Haven't seen it yet. I'm waiting for it to be pirated from iTunes.

El Destino: It's just something I'm grappling with. Am I just getting older? Or was there something wrong with the movie itself?

Geoffrey: I personally mostly liked it.

But to say it wasn't in the spirit of STAR WARS that the middle episode of a trilogy had everything going wrong for the Rebellion... er, Resistance... well, hello THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK then...

FWIW I largely thought ROGUE ONE was pointless fanfic

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

aznar@pigdog.org


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