Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Rise of Skywalker is a Film Designed by a Committee

Rise of Skywalker is a Film Designed by a Committee, and when we say that we mean not only an indictment of how the Lucasfilm and Disney execs worked over the story, but the obvious and huge retcons of the story line not only from eps 7 and 8, but also the original trilogy.

In the original trilogy, we cared about the characters. We were curious and even inspired by the force and samurai wizard mentors such as Obi-Wan and Yoda dishing out ice cream koans like [The Force is] “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together” and “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

Episodes 7, 8 and 9 eschew the samurai warrior/wizard mentor stuff and goes for an origin story of the protagonist Rey. But after three movies, we still know almost nothing about her, and she knows almost nothing about her origins. Why is it that so many strong female characters are devalued by spending their entire story line angsting about “who am I?” I mean does John Wick or James Bond get all emo about their identity?

Special effects are wonderful, of course. The script is just miserable. Lawrence Kasdan this is not. Acting is serviceable. Adam Driver still seems weirdly miscast to me as an evil Sith wannabe overlord. He comes off more like a creepy abusive satanist boyfriend. Daisy Ridley gives a solid performance as Rey. She really gives it her all physically and emotionally. Her whole fierce elf aesthetic made me think of Elfquest.

The music was not John Williams. It was bombastic, overly dramatic and had only sound and fury, nothing really memorable or lyrical.

One of the things which made Fury Road a great movie was how the battles were set up, you could tell exactly who was where doing what. Ep 9 is the opposite, it’s a huge mess.

Trying not to be too spoilerish but there are also big issues in terms of even the internal logic of the third trilogy leading to a problematic and improbable deus ex machina.

The best I can say about ep 9 is that it re-retconned a lot of the scurrilous and disrespectful retcons in ep 8. But continuity is out the window totally. And for folks who enjoy the Old Republic and the legends continuities these three last Star Wars films gave us nothing and disrespected or devalued a lot of what we thought we knew.

Skywalker is a well-made movie in terms of production values. As a story, it is very unfullfilling as a way of ending the Skywalker series and fails in theme, plot, characterization, and continuity.

2 of 4 stars.

Copyright © 2019 Henry Edward Hardy

20 December, 2019 Posted by | scanlyze, Skywalker | , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Star Wars 7,8,9 would go if I was the writer and producer

I’m so disappointed with the deconstructive and destructive nature and intent of the new Star Wars movies. Leia and Han’s storybook marriage disintigrated and their son turned into an emo psycho-killer cultist. Everything Luke believed when he was a young Jedi knight was wrong, and now he is a broken old man who has severed his connection with the force and sunk his starfighter in the sea.

What a load of horse hockey.

So here’s how it would go if it were up to me.

The crawl at the beginning of ep 7:

STAR WARS
Episode 7
A New Menace

The NEW REPUBLIC has collapsed into feuding republics and principalities. The RESISTANCE was disarmed. Those who resisted are hunted as terrorists and killed or imprisoned. HAN and LEIA SOLO run a shipyard and cantina at Mos Eisley on Tatooine.

Demobilized STORM TROOPERS form the basis of a political movement called the Home Soil Movement. Imperial Remnants threaten the Republic from beyond known space. And where are the Jedi? Vanished, gone and almost forgotten.

LUKE SKYWALKER disappeared ten years ago and his whereabouts are unknown.

Prologue

Luke and Leia at the cantina… smuggling/resistance business… an unexpected guest. It is Chewbacca, taking some leave before returning to Kasssyk to take up a post as a General in the militia.

Chewbacca is concerned. His scouts report that dissident Storm Troopers have found a new line of credit with the banking clan and have been seen on Kamino, home of the cloners who made the Clone troopers during the Clone Wars. Over dinner they fall to discussing old times.

After the destruction of the second Death Star and fall of Emperor Palpatine, much of the fleet was demobilized. However a sizable fleet of several hundred ships under Admiral Thrawn departed for the Unknown Regions.

What happened to Luke? After the war he was hailed as a hero but refused all honors, retiring to Tatooine, living in Obi-Wan’s old campsites and becoming much of a hermit. Then one day he was gone, just gone. And Leia could no longer sense him in the force.

PS I wrote this Dec 30, 2017, but I am posting it now in contrast to the actual progress and conclusion of the third Star Wars trilogy.

Copyright © 2019 Henry Edward Hardy

20 December, 2019 Posted by | scanlyze | , , , , | Leave a comment

Speculations on the End of Star Wars Rebels

Just to speculate further on the end of the story of Star Wars Rebels from the current 4.10-11, “Jedi Night” and “Dume.”

We know from the trailers and TV episode two line previews that Ezra will confront Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sideous/The Emperor in the last episode. And though the wolves are not shown in frame together with The Emperor, the way the trailer is edited seems to imply that the Loth-Wolves will back Ezra up.

Here are my thoughts in no particular order.

Ezra is a guile hero, an Artful Dodger or Space Aladdin, so maybe the confrontation with Palpatine is some kind of a ruse. I hope that works out well for him. Because the Emperor as he was depicted in Clone Wars just toyed with Darth Maul and his brother, Sauvage Opress until he savagely curb stomped them, killing Sauvage and torturing Maul mercilessly. He literally says when Maul begs for mercy, “There is no mercy” and keeps on force lighting barbecuing him.

That leads to, regardless of whether Ezra being captured by the Emperor is part of some Batman Gambit or not, maybe he ends up getting force lighting melted and turns into Snoke. That would make the inglorious death of Snoke in Star Wars 8, whatever its called, in which Luke loses his mind and dies for no apparent reason, even more insulting to the fandom in retrospect.

Regardless of whether Ezra’s tale ends well or badly for him, surely he will be given some noble send-off which will both be a moment of awesome for him and the entire crew, and which will in some important way set up the events of the Original Trilogy. Maybe he will get hold of the plans for the *second* Death Star and many Bothans will die.

Ezra has to be taken out somehow. I don’t think he can use the Eowyn/by no man born factor of “I’m no Jedi” credibly here. “The Last of the Jedi will you be” is touchstone canon. Althogh perhaps, it means, “the last of the Jedi will you be, eventually.”

Since we have seen a lot of trailer material pointing to the Ones and even the Convoree monkey-bird specificly, I guess how things work out is something to do with Mortis.

My best tale goes something like this. Loth wolves take Ezra&co to Mortis. There, Ahsoka, living or dead or whatever, maybe in the form of the convoree, informs them the spirit world is running amok with nobody to guide it. Ahsoka will become the new “Father” (or “Mother”) with Ezra and Sabine filling the roles of the “son” (Ezra, dark after Palpatine tenderizes him) and “daughter” Sabine (light). It seems reasonable how Sabine must be strong in the Force as A) she is such a badass verging on Mary Sue, and B) she mastered the Darksaber, which was a Mandalorean Jedi weapon.

It is time for the wars of light and dark to end, and for a new life affirming balance. But it will be many years and hard work etc. The End.

Copyright © 2018 Henry Edward Hardy

scanlyze1

21 February, 2018 Posted by | Ahsoka Tano, Ezra Bridger, Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf, Jedi, Mortis, Rebels, scanlyze, Star Wars, tropes | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Thoughts on the Last Jedi

==SPOILERS AHEAD!!!==

This is my reaction after just having seen The Last Jedi at the theater. If you haven’t seen the film then stop reading because spoilers and also I’m making reference to events in the film without explaining them to the point of view of someone who hasn’t seen the film.

Well, long story short, or perhaps I should say, long story excessively long, a big disappointment.

Going in to the film, I wanted to know who is Rey? Who is Snoke? What happened to Ahsoka, Kanan, and Space Aladdin aka Ezra? What is in the ancient books of the Jedi? How does Leia die (hopefully heroically)? Why is it time for the Jedi to end?

Are those crystal wolf things Loth-Wolves? Did Han survive his Disney death in the shaft?

And most of all, I wanted to see Luke kick some ass. And smarmy emo Adam Driver handed his.

Well if you were looking forward to any of those things, rest assured, none of those things are in this movie. None of them. For this manufactured committee-made story-line the awesome Clone Wars and Rebels and their bespoke characters were/are being terminated, why?

Kathleen Kennedy, you’re no George Lucas or Dave Filoni. And Rian Johnson, you’re no Lawrence Kasdan. Looking forward to the last half of the last season of Rebels, otherwise, I think that Kennedy, Abrams &co have just about driven this franchise over the shark as has happened to poor old Star Trek. Did anyone say “spore drive?”

Anyway, the Force went back to sleep, and nobody cared. There was zero audience interaction at the packed theatre. When I saw Thor Ragnarök and Rogue 1 at the same venue (AMD 12 Assembly Row Somerville, MA USA) , the crowd was very engaged, laughing, snarking cheering, and crying in the case of Rogue 1. Not so here, more’s the pity. 2 of 5 stars.

Copyright © 2017 Henry Edward Hardy

scanlyze1

15 December, 2017 Posted by | movie, review, saga, samurai, scanlyze, Star Wars, The Last Jedi | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rogue One Rocks!

Okay, anyone who reads this blog, which is admittedly a very small number, knows how much I disliked The Force Awakens, which I called a snide parody of Star Wars.

What follows is a reaction piece and not a proper review.

SPOILERS BELOW

I liked Rogue One very much better than The Force Awakens. It did not suffer the glaring continuity problems of FA. The legacy characters were not prominent enough to raise questions of motivation and continuity as with Han and Leia. I laughed, I cried, I twisted my beard in suspense. I did not facepalm. All unlike FA.

Great special effects, of course. Tons of easter eggs for the fans, with not only many call-forwards to Star Wars (which I refuse to retrocall to ‘A New Hope’) but also a few nice callbacks to Rebels and The Clone Wars animated series. And for aficionados of the Old Republic games and books, there was the heroic role played by the 4,000-year-old design of the hammerhead corvette.

So now to some things I found problematic.

The story is essentially a coming of age story for the protagonist, Jyn Erso. Her name is suggestive of Jan Ors, the Rebel agent in the game Dark Forces. The black clad Death Troopers seem to owe their design to Dark Forces also, but this is due to them both being based on Ralph McQuarrie’s designs for the original Star Wars.

I didn’t feel like they sold the relationship between Jyn and Saw Guerrera. He was a cipher. How did he come from Onderon to Jedha? Why was he huffing on that tube like Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet? We don’t find out. And his and Jyn’s reactions to one another seems flat and unconvincing. Very underplayed by the actors. And why, having found him at last, does Jyn just leave him there to die? They could probably throw him in a Bacta tank and fix him up. Or at least get him a better respirator.

Also what’s Jedha? Could they not use Ilum, or Ossus, or Tython, or Dantooine, or Utapau, or some other place where kyber crystals came from the old expanded universe continuity? And why make a demonstration of destroying their own facility and kyber crystal mines?  Missed opportunity there.

The whole thing for the Sith of ‘only two they are’ and ‘the last of the Jedi will you be’ are such straightjackets they should just be decannonized or treated as inaccurate or things which are true ‘from a certain point of view.’

Here we have a blind guy who uses the force to see, Chirrut Îmwe. He fights hand-to-hand better than Obi-Wan or Anakin, and has mad aiming skills and never misses and always crits with his bowcaster. But he’s ‘not a Jedi’ he’s a Guardian of the Whylls. Another mythology gag for the fans btw.

I heard a page at the Rebel Base, Massassi Temple (an old Sith temple, btw) on Yavin IV, for “General Syndulla.” And there was a ship which looked like the Ghost in the Rebel fleet. This raises hopes that maybe someday the Ghost crew from Rebels will cross over into the live action continuity. However, Disney seems to have an aversion for Ahsoka Tano’s character and essentially ordered her killed off in Rebels. Though Filoni and company more like put her on the bus. Ahsoka is so not a Disney princess. She’s austere in her adult appearance, she never needs rescuing even as Anakin’s padewan, and she has no Prince Charming, she is very much a loner. In many ways the good counterpart of Darth Vader as his former apprentice who experienced much of what he did, but came to a different conclusion. But since Rebels spent a season establishing that she was one of the founders of the rebellion along with Bail Organa, it would be weird for her to fall out of continuity in the movies. Of course where was she in Episodes 3-7?

I thought it was odd that the Rebellion fleet commander was a Mon Calamari, but not Admiral Ackbar, but some other dude. I mean, when they found out the planetary shield was up, he could have shouted, “it’s a trap!” which would have got a big laugh.

Anyway, thank goodness the Rebellion *had* a fleet, and not just a few wings of fighters as is ridiculously in FA.

I was okay with the “everybody died” theme, it is canon that many good people died to get us this information. That’s so very not Disney, except for the Disney offscreen deaths for a few of the more marketable characters who might be called back.

Anyway, Rogue One is very enjoyable. It looks and feels like a Star Wars movie, *the* Star Wars movie, and that can only be a good thing.

Five stars. Highly recommended.

Copyright © 2016 Henry Edward Hardy

scanlyze1

18 December, 2016 Posted by | Rogue One, scanlyze | , , , , | Leave a comment