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Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



I don't think the sequel movies are all that great, but I'm still gonna see this next one on opening night.

I'm never lonely in this life, because there's someone like me born every minute.

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Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



I'm still in the post-viewing afterglow a bit. It takes a spectacularly awful movie for me to feel bad about it so soon after exiting the theater, and this ain't one. I had a good time.

I realized very quickly that it wasn't the kind of movie that I think Star Wars movies are. I want to take it as what it is, not what it isn't. So I'm gonna start by talking about what it isn't, in order to get it all out of my system. Here's the emblem of what it is not: I don't think that movie contained a single establishing shot with a spaceship landing.

The last time JJ Abrams directed a Star Wars movie, it was ten years since the prequel trilogy ended and the first line was "This will begin to make things right." This time around, he immediately set about reversing the controversial direction of its predecessor. People joked about him giving Rey a connection to somebody important no matter what they said in The Last Jedi, but danged if he didn't literally do exactly that. Like, didn't the last one of these movies end with the Resistance down to just one ship?

It's a mash-up of ideas from all the movies that came before it, not so much tying up loose ends as taking ends that had been tied up, untying them to set them loose, and then tying them up again. And it's very telling to notice which old ideas were exhumed and which were left undisturbed. A victory montage of Star Destroyers crashing on Bespin, Endor, and Jakku... right above the Star Destroyer that was already wrecked on Jakku... and then no other planets. We have Palpatine surviving as the host of an elemental evil force, the inheritor of the entire legacy of the Sith, but never once did they utter the name Darth Sidious.

This is a movie that leans very, very hard on the charisma of its actors and the emotional heft of its score. Why did Ben decide to give up on his plans of empire and become nice? The answer is in Adam Driver's face. Why did all the spaceships in the galaxy decide to aid the Resistance now, when it was kind of important they didn't do it last time? The answer is in the London Symphony Orchestra's performance.

This isn't a movie that's about what Star Wars is about. It's a movie that's about what Star Wars toys are about.

So what are Star Wars toys about? Star Wars toys are about the memories of those moments of high emotion, and the longing for the resolution of the tension they offer. Things happen because it would be dramatic for them to happen. As for how they came to happen? Well, anyone playing who cares about that can fill in the blanks that would satisfy them. It doesn't matter why the battle lines were drawn where they are, only that all the good guy action figures are on one side of it and all the bad guy action figures are on the other side, and every last one of them is gonna do something awesome before they all get tipped over.

I mean, hell, I still contain the person I was when I was seven years old, and that person never got tired of that poo poo. The epic battles I directed could fill sagas. I'm half-tempted to set up a little diorama right now. That mindset is real, and it's strong.

Putting the entire movie in the playful mode, the mode that is easier to understand, the mode that is vastly more profitable, is a timid move. But given that bombastic gratification is the order of the day, the only complaint I can muster up that is actually relevant to that goal is that they shouldn't have illuminated that Sith Hole with a loving strobe light.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Hip-Hoptimus Rhyme posted:

How did they get Luke's lightsaber back? It was destroyed in TLJ. Did they make a new one and just say it was Luke's? How did they get it?

You mean Anakin's? It's got a patch on it connecting the two halves. You can't see it very well, but it's there.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



qbert posted:

Is this true? Because if the kiss was incest then it's suddenly hot and I'm totally cool with it.

Palpatine insinuated that he created Anakin with evil magic.

After watching this movie I think I'm gonna get on the headcanon that Darth Plagueis created both Palpatine and Anakin.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



The movie's dumb.

I am more than capable of enjoying a dumb movie.

I'd prefer that it had been not dumb.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



The Rise of Skywalker is what you get if you make a Star Wars movie that removes everything that prequel haters say they hate about the prequels.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



A New Hope: good
The Empire Strikes Back: good
Return of the Jedi: good
The Phantom Menace: good
Attack of the Clones: good
Revenge of the Sith: good
The Force Awakens: good
Rogue One: good
The Last Jedi: good
Solo: bad
The Rise of Skywalker: bad

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



They should let Zack Snyder direct a Star Wars trilogy.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Low Desert Punk posted:

i hope nobody actually believes we'll get a great star wars movie in our lifetimes. there's too much money in it now. now that one movie made a billion dollars every movie has to make a billion dollars or Disney shareholders will cry and poo poo their pants like the babies they are

The prequels came out during my lifetime.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



I also don't think that the gap between Rogue One and greatness was necessarily Disney's fault.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Mat Cauthon posted:

The thing I do appreciate about the fights in the prequels is that you get some continuity in technique from Qui-Gon to Obi-Wan to Anakin. Obi-Wan does Anakin's signature backflip strike over the enemy thing twice in the fight with Maul, and Qui-Gon's style is very similar to how Obi-Wan fights in the Eps 2 and 3.

There was a little of that in the sequels, when Rey in TFA uses a lot of the same sword moves as Sheev.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



MJeff posted:

The temple in Last Jedi also implied that Snoke might be somehow tied to the origin of the Jedi but uh, nope, apparently he was a vat-grown shmuck for Sheev.

Honestly, the idea of Snokes being grown in a petri dish to serve as a puppet for a hidden Sith Lord is dope.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



I mean, it is an extremely stupid movie, but I'm not above having fun at an extremely stupid movie.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



The sequel trilogy is the trilogy of trilogies in microcosm. Maybe.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Now is the perfect time for me to convert more prequel likers.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



It improves the movie that Chewbacca was unfairly denied a medal.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Tenzarin posted:

Wrong. It's unadulterated wookieism.

The presence of diegetic wookieeism (which is bad) makes the movie more interesting, I mean.

The nonsensical nature of Maz giving Chewbacca a medal makes it so it can only be read as an attempt to redeem some flaw in A New Hope. That's the only thing in this dumb, dumb movie that comes close to making me mad. I can let trashing The Last Jedi slide because it's at least in service of telling its own story with its own ideas.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



The prequels are good, with no qualifications.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



I don't think I understand the nature of the gimmick you're on.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Shaocaholica posted:

Even battledroids?

People whose situation is played for comedy or menace or both, but people nevertheless.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Boxman posted:

Help me with continuity that has nothing to do with the new trilogy

Iím watching episode II and on Geonosis, Dooku is handed plans for the Death Star by one of the separatists. But we know from RO that the Death Star was developed by the Empire.

What?

An answer eligible for a No-Prize would go like this: Geonosians developed the overall plan, but it wasn't a complete specification, and implementing it (including, crucially, the superlaser) required the development of new technologies, which Imperial engineers led by Galen Erso had to invent and adapt as they went.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Everyone posted:

I don't think I even remembered "I hate sand." For me the moment from the prequels that draws the most mockery is:

Anakin: I killed the Sand People. Men, women, children, I killed them all!
Padme: Oh, Annie, wanton slaughter makes me soooo hot for you!

Well, that's the point of the scene, and the character - Padme feels sympathy for Anakin's pain and rage and regret, and spares no thought for his victims. Like her shock and dismay to learn he was a slave, the ongoing atrocities on Tatooine are never real to her except to the extent that she can see it. She personifies the fatal flaw in the Republic - it finds it sufficient to hide its problems from itself instead of solving them. Out of sight, out of mind.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Prequels good. Attack of the Clones is like what if we spent a hundred million dollars to make a quirky arthouse film only with action scenes. It's a movie where a kung fu goblin fights Dracula, and it's played as high drama. Who would ever make something like that? The answer is virtually nobody, so audiences are unused to it.

Accepting a movie for what it is, rather than feeling confusion and frustration by trying to read it as what it is not, makes it possible to enjoy movies as bad even as The Rise of Skywalker (but not much worse than that), and find and savor what merit is in them.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Sinteres posted:

I'm way more open to the idea that the OT was never as good as we think it was than I am to the idea that the prequels are secretly great.

Everything people dislike about the prequels is present in the originals. It's one thing to have an opinion about which ones do certain things better or worse, but the degree of hate the prequels get is way out of proportion to what's actually different about them. Something about this fandom just makes people unhinged about it. I believe it was on these very boards that I really into someone saying they're not movies.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Just Chamber posted:

Lol the prequels really do break people's brains.

"I don't like sand" is an example of excellent writing, Lucas was robbed of the Oscar for best screenplay.

This dialogue is so realistic.

Actually, the dialog is not realistic.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Jar Jar Binks is a hero.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Bleck posted:

late to this, but: what do you mean? the jedi win, like, every time

they mean the red team

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Or they just made the dagger thirty years ago.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



A New Hope establishes telepathy, both sensing and influencing emotions. The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded. Vader made the dude want to stop breathing and could've made him straight up asphyxiate to death.

The Empire Strikes Back mixes in telekinesis, ghostly apparitions, premonitions, and the ability to Jump Good, but all of these are only ever done when Luke and another Force user (I'm counting R2-D2 here) are the only witnesses. It's not until Return of the Jedi that anyone does it in front of muggles. Also the Emperor can hate someone so hard that it literally, physically electrocutes them.

In the prequels, they're jumping and running around super fast and levitating objects pretty casually, and they talk about clairvoyance and precognition in explicit terms. But it's nothing fundamentally new.

Kylo Ren establishes himself as a major powerhouse mostly because of the great detail with which he's able to read minds - he's taking things that have been done, but doing them more finely. Rey, too, is uncommonly sensitive, getting a very clear vision of things she cannot have known when she touches Anakin's sword. It's implied that the Darth Vader mask has done the same.

Snoke making Rey and Ben see each other, and then Luke making others see him, is a new and impressive application of what still remains fundamentally a mental power. It's not until The Rise of Skywalker that things go really off the rails.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Bogus Adventure posted:

Can we talk more about how Chewbacca, hero of both the Clone Wars and the Rebellion to Restore the Republic, considers himself apolitical?

What else is there to say besides that the book is stupid?

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



It's good to move beyond fandom into a more critical way of interacting with media.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Star Wars TV shows have about as good a batting average as Star Wars movies, and unlike the movies they don't seem to show signs of decline under Disney. I'm down.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Clegg Lars could die in the Obi-Wan Show doing the sickest thing he's ever done in his entire life after getting dragged along on a damnfool idealistic crusade.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



The Rise of Skywalker is a really dumb movie. A lot of this has been covered extensively in this thread; I apologize for the redundancy.

The central conflict revisits the climaxes of the original hexalogy, showing the protagonist enduring the temptations of Palpatine. The difference is that this time, instead of being about feelings, itís about magic rules.

When Sheev was goading Luke into killing him, it was because a failed attempt at vengeful regicide would be a major step toward seducing him to be his new younger, stronger favorite slave; Vaderís betrayal saved Luke by repudiating Palpatineís worldview. And when, twenty-some years earlier, he persuaded Anakin to give in to his own fear and rage and jealousy, we got an idea of what it looks like when Darth Sidiousí usual PUA routine works out.

When he was trying to get Rey to kill him, by contrast, it was because he had cast a spell that would enable him to possess her, and she got around it by reflecting his other spell back at him, so it counted as a suicide.

Itís all framed as the grand showdown between the blue team and the red team, except fully two-thirds of prior Star Wars movies have been pretty overt about how the red-vs-blue good-vs-evil framing of star war is reductive and bullshit.

So the thematic continuity isnít there. What about the narrative continuity?

Well, to start with, the blue team wins by trying the same thing that failed utterly in the last movie, without a single scene establishing why it would work this time. Weíre left to conclude that either the point is that Lando is more persuasive than Leia, which is a weird thing for a movie to be about, or that people throughout the galaxy like the First Order but dislike the Empire, which is unsupported by their prior introduction, in a movie by the same director.

The first act also backpedals hard on elements that its immediate predecessor established, to such a degree that to more than a few viewers it comes across as outright disrespectful to it. It discards or defuses provocative concepts and characters introduced by the prior films - and more, it introduces provocative concepts and characters of its own, seemingly just to fail to follow through on them! The strongest new concepts here are without exception undone or sidelined. The whole story is one big swerve.

So what about stylistic continuity? This is gonna sound like nitpicking, but did this movie even have a single wipe? There were no establishing shots with a spaceship landing in them. The lightsaber duel had no music. The editing is frantic even in comparison to The Force Awakens.

In other words, the movie isnít about the same things that prior Star Wars movies were about. Itís not even speaking the same language. Itís a nonsense sequel.

Of course, I believe a movie should be evaluated based on what it is, not what it is not. It would be difficult to interpret The Rise of Skywalker as a standalone thing, because it leans so heavily on the shortcuts that are afforded to it as the eleventh movie in a series. But if it doesnít make sense as a sequel either, how can we read it?

I think things make more sense if you treat it like a MCU movie using Star Wars characters.

Bongo Bill fucked around with this message at 04:32 on Dec 31, 2019

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Solo is an aborted comedy. It's got all the setups but none of the punchlines. Leaves you wondering why the three guys from different countries are walking into that bar.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



General Dog posted:

I think that's a real cop out- Kylo Ren and Ben Solo are the same guy. Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker are the same guy. Both are capable of compassion and contrition, and both are capable of murdering their loved ones or trillions of people with the press of a button.

Yeah, that's maybe the biggest cop-out of The Rise of Skywalker. Obi-Wan was wrong, formerly - putting on a black helmet doesn't make anyone a different person; it's just that the truth, that it was Anakin himself who betrayed the Jedi and served the Empire, was too painful for him to bear. This latest one disagrees: Sheev is so persuasive that it amounts to mind control, absolving his apprentices of the evil they do in his name.

If the dude that kissed Rey is not the same dude as the dude that stabbed Han, then the dude that heroically tossed an old man down an elevator shaft is not the same dude as the dude that chopped Obi-Wan in half. Thus, far from depicting the redemption of Ben Solo, The Rise of Skywalker posits that such redemption is impossible. Nobody ever switches to the blue team from the red team - because nobody ever actually switches to the red team, they only get subsumed by an independent persona who's already on the red team. Even Hux is still framed as a villain.

This also kind of assassinates the Kylo Ren character as introduced in The Force Awakens. Why did he make the conscious ethical decision to kill his father, specifically for the reason of being his father, even though he found it difficult to do? Oh, it's because a necromancer got him remotely high on evil magic.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Yeah, "they're two different people" is a stretch even for this movie. But it does still present Palpatine as being the one to blame for Kylo Ren.

Specifically, Ben was obsessed with the Dark Side after touching Darth Vader's mask. Sheev claims that he was every voice he heard - presumably, this means that Sheev sent that vision. Does that mean he also sent the vision that Rey had when she touched Anakin's lightsaber? For that matter, does that mean he sent Anakin his visions of Padme's death? And what about Luke's vision of Han and Leia being tortured? Or Luke's vision of the evils Ben would be party to? How deep does this go? Was it a Sith Lord that sent the prophecy of the Chosen One?

Obviously, he would need to be All The Sith in order to credibly wield that kind of power, regardless of which of those visions were sent via Sith Walkie-Talkie. Does that mean that he didn't betray Darth Plagueis, but instead they did that whole ritual thing together?

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



sigher posted:

All these ideas are poo poo.

Star Wars works when they're adventure films with charismatic characters, the war part isn't that important. When you start shoveling dumb politics (Prequels) or make a war film (Rogue One) it doesn't work and it sucks.

The prequels and Rogue One are good, though.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Plenty of blame to go around. But I was always comfortable with laying ultimate responsibility for any problems with the franchise since 2015 squarely on The Walt Disney Corporation.

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Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012



Clarste posted:

I have to admit I do enjoy the conspiracy theory that Disney wanted to ruin Abrams' reputation with this movie so that he would never go on to make a good Superman movie.

There was never any risk of him making a good Superman movie.

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