Sadako

Sadako is the latest film in the Ring franchise to be released in Japan. Released in 2019 and Directed by Hideo Nakata who was Director on Ring (1998), Ring 2 (1999), The Ring TwO (2005) and ‘Dark Water’ (2002). Unfortunately the film is just another in a series of missed opportunities to reinvigorate the franchise and adds to the diminishing returns of these boring sequels.

The biggest problem with the film is that it’s just average. Beyond the very average acting and cheap TV frame rate cinematography it’s a movie where not much happens. Considering that it’s been 20 years since Nakata last directed a Ring movie in Japan one might have thought he had time to mule over a story or take some inspiration from the books considering that2 more had been released during his time away from the franchise.

The film explores similar themes as the other Ring films have. There is a clear theme of Motherhood and protecting one’s daughter in these films Vs. abandonment and abuse on the other side, leading to ghostly revenge. Again, it’s been done. There is no real mystery here. The scares are all too far and few between also. Gone is the suffocating atmosphere of dread that Nakata had so brilliantly created in his original Ring films.

It’s not all bad though. The moments where it shines are when it references the original 1998 movie and characters. It’s Shakespeare compared to the previous 3 films released in Japan, ‘Sadako 3D‘, the geniusly titled ‘Sadako 3D 2‘ and ‘Sadako Vs. Kayako‘. It’s a step in the right direct but from the man who gave us ‘Ring’ it’s a very lackluster offering. The film in no way attempts to reboot the franchise or tell a different story of which there is plenty of material from the books it could take inspiration from. I’m specifically talking about ‘Loop’ and the otherworldly setting that it presents.

Do I recommend it? It’s not the worst Ring film you’ll see. I noticed that it has a unfair rating on IMDB (around 4/10 at the time of writing) which I think is due to a copy of the film floating around with dire english subtitles. At worst it’s a movie that doesn’t go anywhere, at it’s best it’s not anything like the garbage sequels that came before.

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The Rise of Skywalker’s response to The Last Jedi

Two years ago I had a list of grievances with ‘The Last Jedi‘ in my review of it. Here today is how ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ responded to the things TLJ did. In bold is what I wrote two years ago and below is what they did in TROS.

At the beginning of ‘The Last Jedi’ Luke takes his Father’s lightsaber, the one passed down to him by Obi Wan Kenobi and throws it over his shoulder. This is basically the symbolic moment of what this film does.

This time Rey throws the lightsaber away into a burning wreck of Kylo Ren’s Tie fighter. Luke’s force ghost catches it and says, “A Jedi’s weapon deserves more respect.”

Rey’s parents: Nobodies. So much for making such a big deal about it in the last movie.
Not exactly nobodies, the Father was the son of Emperor Palpatine, making Rey the grand daughter of one of the most evil men in the Galaxy.

Snoke: Who is he? What happened to his face? What does he represent? What’s his deal? He’s killed without a single hint as to who, why or where he came from.
He’s a clone, a puppet of Palpatine.

The Knights of Ren:
No real answer to this but at least they are in the movie and dealt with in some fashion. (there is actually a comic series called ‘The Rise of Kylo Ren’ that will go into depth about them). When I originally watched TLJ I thought that Snoke’s guards may have been them.

Luke’s light saber gets snapped in half. – The lightsaber that was given the mythical quality of Excalibur in ‘The Force Awakens’ is broken here.
It’s fixed and works again. Buried in the desert for the next Generation.

Fin: His first question is “where’s Rey?”. The girl he cared so much about in the previous movie. He doesn’t even speak to her in this film.
He speaks to Rey in this movie but never actually gets to tell her what he was planning to say.  (i love you? / i’m force sensitive?/I’m getting my own movie?)

Fin: The movie actually doesn’t seem to know what to do with his character.
Can’t say he was used as well here as he could be but it does pick up some threads from the Force awakens. I like the idea of Fin being force sensitive.

Kylo Ren’s Mask: Smash it, that stuff is for kids.
They fixed it!

Luke: The frickin hero of the original Trilogy actually ignited his light saber over the head of his Nephew, the son of one of his closest friends and his sister. After facing down his father and taking the higher road he would actually have a moment where he would do that? The man who wouldn’t give up on Anakin Skywalker after all the shit he did?
Well, they couldn’t really do anything about that scene here. All Luke could say about his actions in the last movie is “I was wrong“. Maybe we can say Palpatine was influencing events from afar?

Yoda actually has to tell Luke that the jedi books aren’t important, that after 40 years the last jedi master who defeated Vader and the Emperor has to be told what is really important and what really matters?

Here Luke is the wise one (back to his senses as a ghost) telling Rey she has everything she needs.

Lightsabers battles: The first movie without a lightsaber battle.
We get lots and lots of lightsaber fighting here. None of it all that satisfying.

Captain Phasma: So much for seeing more of your character developed…
Yep, so much for seeing more of you.

Benicio Del Toro: Why were you in this movie?
He’s not in this one.

No final shot of the main characters in the movie. This is a bit of a no no. Breaks tradition and again.
We get a final shot which is a bit of a rip off of “Episode III” ending. Not the most original and can’t really see it as a bookend. Directors are in love with those twin suns too much. But better than a boy and a broom stick.

So all in all JJ Abrams did a lot as you can see above. Unfortunately he raises quite a few questions in The Rise of Skywalker. But I leave that for another Saga. I would guess though that Naomi Ackie might show up somewhere in future based on the “let’s find out” where you are from line from Lando. The history of Luke’s hand and lightsaber attached might show up in a comic book story or maybe in ‘The Mandalorian’?

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Star Wars : The Rise of Skywalker

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You know that old trope where if you catch a kid smoking you just force him to smoke the entire packet to make him sick of it? Well, that’s basically what Hollywood does with Nostalgia these days. They are going to turn our childhood memories into dust.  Not because they made sequels to movies we love but they made BAD sequels to things we love. I think that’s why I’m so done with blogging, besides having no time, I’m kind of tired talking about how crap all these sequels are (maybe a podcast?). I was so bored by fantastic beasts part 2 that I could not mustard an ounce of enthusiasm to share my opinion on it, same goes for Winnie the Pooh, The Lion King and the godawful Terminator Dark Fate sequel.

But you know, I don’t believe it’s impossible to make a good movie, it’s just that movie making has become such a corporate machine that it sells nostalgia to an older generation while secretly making a movie for a younger generation. I don’t want to see my favorite character playing as a secondary character to an unknown new cast of actors I have no investment in but who were put in the film to make it bankable for future sequels and squeeze as much money as possible out of a franchise for a new generation.

‘The Rise of Skywalker’ is a mess of the movie. Why it’s a mess can be boiled down to a few simple factors. First and foremost, Disney. Why could they not plan out a trilogy? A simple beginning, middle and end, a rough outline for directors to follow so they don’t find themselves up sh*t creek without a paddle like they did here. Criticize George Lucas all you want but at least he had a plan, he HAD outlines for the 3 movies -7,8,9. Second, Rian Johnson, who made a pretty good movie with ‘The Last Jedi‘. Mr. Biffo of Digitiser put it best when he said the Rian Johnson had held a party and played the music he wanted to listen to while not thinking of his guest’s tastes. I put it less eloquently in my own review of TLJ but also desired to express the same opinion that these were Star Wars movies and not just a movie to play around with, there is a legacy, a expectation, a line of thought that runs through these films. While TLJ serves Rey and Kylo Ren very well in terms of their story it throws our beloved original trilogy character under a bus. Third, JJ Abrams. I feel that while the man obviously loves his craft he can’t let go of macguffins, he can’t take a film from point A to B without a leap in logic. There are many times in the film where your brain is going “hey.. wait a minute… that’s doesn’t make sense” but the action and story is flying in your face so fast that you’re trying to make the last scene work in your head when you get bombarded with the next leap in logic. This was one of my biggest problems with his Star Trek films and why I just cant take them as seriously as the ones that came before. With that said I have to say that I respect the work he has done, he makes very beautiful movies to look at in the cinema and when he had Lawrence Kasdan writing with him on episode 7what he made was magic. Unfortunately this time the writers he had with him was one of the guys from the… ‘Batman V Superman’ film? WTF?

The Rise of Skywalker probably feels the least Star Warsy movie out of the 9. It feels like more of an Indian Jones movie, mixed in with Harry Potter. I dunno, it’s just getting further away from the brand with these movies, unlike say ‘Rogue One’ and ‘The Mandalorian aka Baby Yoda’ taking Star Wars back to it’s roots.

The film moves at such a fast pace that I finally understand why R2-D2 gets left behind in these films. He is too slow for 21st Century movies. It would be nice if we had fewer set pieces and time spent longer with the characters figuring themselves out. For all the flaws of TLJ at least it did that. The Rise of Skywalker has so many planets and actions scenes and moments of Ren and Rey touching lightsabers that I felt when they actually got to a final battle of sabers between Ren and Rey the anticipation had already been wasted. I actually found the lightsaber battle in this to be boring.

I could go on forever pickings things apart but lets leave it here. The Force Awakens left me in a warm bath of nostalgia with high expectations, The Last Jedi killed those expectations leaving me frustrated and very conflicted with the characterization of a much loved character despite thinking it was a well made film with moments of triumph it left me angry with the treatment of Star Wars. The Rise of Skywalker just felt like damage control. Ultimately I was left unsatisfied, I didn’t find the film funny, I wasn’t blown away by the action or return of original trilogy characters. What I feel is this. Snoke was supposed to be the main villain of this trilogy and that idea got screwed so they had to bring back Palpatine. Rey was supposed to be a Skywalker, either Luke’s daughter or Han and Leia’s but that idea got screwed so instead we get Rey as a Skywalker in name only. It’s just guessing but there was a direction TFA set these films on the TLJkilled and TROS tried to fix. Ultimately, trying to fix all the leaks in the sinking ship was a bit too obvious for me. Do I recommend it? Yeah, sure. But right now I consider it to be down the grid, below Revenge of the Sith, above The Phantom Menace and Attack Of The Clones.

Can’t wait to see the Obi Wan series.

Questions:

What did Fin want to tell Rey? Why the hell did they introduce this as a question and never answer it?

Wasn’t there supposed to be a love Triangle between Rey, Fin, Poe with Rose thrown in somewhere?

Why didn’t Fin and Poe kiss? Can we all agree this is the relationship we want to see?

Where did those Star destroyers and crew come from? Why didn’t anyone notice people being recruited and ships being built on a secret Sith planet that would have required the man power of tens of thousands for the ten thousand ships?

Why was Palpatine keeping quiet so long? 30 years hanging from those wires and orchestrating his return? really? and why come back now?

Where did they find Luke’s old Lightsaber? I asked question this four f***ing years ago also.

How many more magical powers are they going to invent for the Jedi?

Did R2 have bank ups of CP30s memory from the Prequel trilogy too?

 

As Mark Hamill says on his instagram page “one last time…” because you know George Lucas said that he had planned 9 films in the series, so this is really it, JJ Abrams said so too, the disney press release also said this was the end of the “skywalker story/saga”. Except, 14 years ago when the trailers came out for ‘The Revenge of the Sith’ the trailer said “the saga is complete” and if you go back as far as 1980 you’ll find interviews from George Lucas talking about a 12 movie saga. So basically we got 3 more films to look forward to in future and nothing really ends. See you for ‘Episode X’ in 2029 folks when we get to see Rey Skywalker train new Jedi, let’s hope they make a better plan for the trilogy next time.

Favorite Quote: Sigh….. – Me

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Solo

Solo is not a bad movie but it’s not a great movie. It’s an OK movie which seems to be the opinion of just about everyone who saw it. We could say the same or worse about a movie like ‘The Phantom Menace’ or ‘The Last Jedi’ but ‘Solo’ doesn’t even excite people enough to take a stronger view on it.

It’s a bit difficult to pin down the main factors for why it went wrong for other movies have succeeded where it failed. People might ask did we really need a origin/prequel story about Han Solo? Well, did we really need one for Batman? Or Superman? I don’t think making it a prequel was a bad point but for me a lot of what happened before Solo got on the Millennium Falcon wasn’t that interesting. I started to sit up a bit more when Chewy and Han are where they are supposed to be.
I think one of the problems with the movie is that it doesn’t have a strong story to hold the film together. It’s basically stringing together bits and pieces of Hans life that he has mentioned in the original Trilogy. It’s supposed to be a heist movie but it isn’t even a good heist movie. It doesn’t even try to be a clever one and pay homage to great heist movies the way Rogue One did with War movies such as the Dirty Dozen.

Han Solo the character isn’t really enough to hold up the film on it’s own. That’s not the fault of Alden Ehrenreich, he does a fine job of playing Han Solo but there is not much done about the character himself. The film is more about how he got to where he was in ‘A New Hope’ rather than how he became Han Solo. Actually, the film does explain how he became “Solo”, he is named by an imperial guard as Solo since he is traveling Solo. This to me shows that those involved in the movie didn’t really put enough effort into it. It could have been more than it was but they seemed to think things like that were “clever” and “character development” in some way…. Instead of showing us a Han in Pilot school or learning his trade on the streets we are givin this information in the opening lines of the film. The rest of the film consists largely of set pieces which don’t add anything to the character.

The most exciting things in the film were the mention of Beckett having killed Aura Sing (a Jedi bounty hunter) and the appearance of Maul, both characters from the prequel trilogy. As for Maul I don’t care if they follow the animated continuity or not in his future films. I think not sticking to the animated series allows for a thrilling confrontation in an Obi Wan movie.

It seems like there won’t be more Solo movies after this one but with disney trying to develop this era of the franchise more where could they go? There are hints of solo movies for Kenobi, Bobba Fett and Vader. Why not do a movie with all of them together? Kenobi, Maul, Vader, Bobba Fett and Han Solo. Where can you go wrong?

Favorite Quote:I’ve got a really good feeling about this.” – Han

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Star Trek Discovery

As a first Season it’s the most uneven season since probably the first season of TNG.
In fact I would go further and say it’s all over the place as my opinion with the show is too.

As I said in my review of the pilot I was unimpressed, the whole thing felt very stiff and the action and effects were bland, the Klingons a bunch of bores. At that time the pilot still had the touch of Bryan Fuller behind it and the creative team he had brought on board sounded promising. We had Nicholas Meyer and Rod Roddenberry as executive producers. Meyer was even supposed to be writing episode 3 but his script was ditched and his participation in the writers room went down to zero. His only involvement now is merely his name on the credits. I haven’t heard anything of Rod Roddenberry either. It’s rather disappointing as it were these names that gave me a sense of trust in the direction of the series.

From episode 3 (the second pilot) onwards I still felt the show to be all over the place. A lot of the early episodes were uninteresting, the characters and crew of the Discovery were unlikable but there is one character who piqued my interest. Gabriel Lorca.

The character was absolutely fascinating to me, he didn’t sit in the Captains chair, he kept the lights down low due to an eye condition caused by the destruction of his ship, he seemed to be suffering from PTSD, he was a hard ass and kicked the crap out of the Klingons, even when he blew up their ship he put some eye drops in his eyes so he could watch their ship explode in brilliant glory, fuck yeah.
I got the sense that Lorca was being developed as a Villain for the series. I thought would be around a bit longer than 1 season, I expected that eventually it would be Burnham verses Lorca but I didn’t expect it to turn out the way it did…

The thing with Discovery is that it doesn’t grab you the way a show like ‘Battlestar Galactica’ did. It’s not the dark brooding type of Trek people were expecting. It still very much is Star Trek, though clearly by new producers finding their feet and with Discovery I felt I was kinda getting a bit more fan service. I could tell I was falling for the show when I started humming the unhumable theme tune. I started to like the ridiculous concept of the Spore Drive. By Episode 9 I felt the show was really hitting it’s stride in fact. Then we move to episode 10 where the show enters the Mirror Universe for the first time and it becomes bat shit crazy and had me going “holy crap” a few times. I’m not a fan of Mirror Universe episodes but I gotta admit I was geeking out a bit with the mention of the Defiant from the ‘Enterprise’ episode ‘In a Mirror Darkly’. I’m not really surprised they returned to the mirror universe since those episodes were among the highest rated of ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’. Bringing Michelle Yeoh back as a Mirror Universe version was fantastic too. It released her from the confines of a Starfleet Captain who doesn’t fire first to a total ass kicker. I love Michelle Yeoh’s action movies so when she kicked the shit of of Lorca I was throwing my hands in the air in and cheering. Very few TV shows make me do that. Discovery had me in it’s dirty claws finally, giving me everything I had wanted. I felt dirty but also felt so good.

Making Lorca into a Mirror Universe villain wasn’t a bad idea, it’s kinda interesting. But if find that in doing so it sacrificed a lot of what the character was/could have been. Yes, he is a baddie from the mirror universe, he was fun but the Lorca we thought he was, the traumatized man, was the far more interesting one that had the potential for heavy drama. I hope Jason Issacs returns as Lorca as he is up there as one of my favorite Villains alongside Khan and Gul Dukat.

So Discovery is not the Trek show I hoped for. It is the fast food of Star Treks. Yet like a child high on fat and sugar I am eager for more.

The new/old Enterprise.

I had read a rumor that the Enterprise was going to show up at the end of the season so I was waiting with baited breath and as the distress call came in and the Enterprise was announced I clasped my hands in trepidation.

After seeing the ship I let out a huge sigh of relief and nodded in approval. Discovery producers did us good on this one. It resembles the original very closely and is a very nice and restrained update. I might even say I love it but I’m still excited over the whole thing.
I think a large part of my relief lies in how utterly disappointed I was with the Kelvin Universe Enterprise which didn’t look so much a starship as it did a sculpture made by a designer. The Enterprise A looks even worse in my opinion. Kelvin Universe Starships are pretty ugly.

The Original Enterprise is perfect and doesn’t need to be changed of course but it’s understandable that there is a desire to update it a little bit. I can accept it and we all knew this day was gonna come.

Favorite Quote: “We choose our own pain. Mine helps me remember.” – Lorca

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S

‘S’ feels like the best of ‘Ring’ with large parts in summary form as told by other characters. In some ways it’s an introduction to new readers and a refresher course for others. At times though it seems to get in the way of the story at hand, especially when you are reminded of how good the previous books were. ‘S’ does have it’s own story and mystery to unveil though, the problem is that if you have read the previous books, particularly ‘Ring’ and ‘Spiral’ then you’ll know quite a few of what the big reveals and mysteries are, if not you’ll be able to at least guess them.

The biggest places the book falls are as so, it has a supernatural aspect to it. Now this works fine with the movies because there has always been that aspect, Sadako’s curse is exactly what it is, a curse. In the novels though it is a virus is the guise of a curse. The books have always taken a more scientific approach to the Ring virus and almost all mysteries thus forth, yet here there are elements not really explained in the context of the Ring world, instead (and that brings me to my second point) they are explained in the context of ‘The Loop Program’ in such a wave of the wand way. I was worried as I was hitting the 200 page mark that the story didn’t look like it was going to be wrapped up before I reached the end of the book, at least not in a satisfying way. Alas it does get wrapped up in a “I want to finish writing this thing before bedtime manner” as we have a character appear in 2D form on a computer screen to give a long exposition as to what has been going on all this time. In a way, it’s easy to feel cheated. The main antagonist is even dealt with in an offhand manner which the main character reads about in a news report. Any real confrontation is done in a dream like Haruki Murakami way, it reminded me a bit of the final confrontation at the end of ‘The Wind up Bird Chronicle’.

At the end of the book there are two mysteries that are left for the reader to ponder.
Who is Seiji Kawashia and why did he have a relationship with Sadako?
He is somewhat related to Kaoru Futami from the book ‘Loop’ but that character died in ‘The Birthday’, sacrificing himself to destroy the Ring Virus.
What is Akane’s true power and did she actually kill Niimura? Was it really so easy as to do that? Or was it perhaps the spirit of Sadako, her mother, whom she sees from time to time?
There is another novel ‘Tide’ which follows the story of Kawashida which might blow the lid off these questions. The main character at the end of the novels chooses to go back to bed rather than deal with them and his wife (the clone of Sadako) is too underdeveloped to really know what she thinks.

Am I glad I bought the book after all that? Hell yeah I am. It’s still a page turner because all these years later the story of Ring and Sadako is still so compelling and after a gap of over 10 years between this and the last Ring novel I was really hungering for some more.

Translation Notes: I’d like to say first that I haven’t translated any books but as someone who has read the entire series of Ring Novels I have to say that it seems like the translator made a meal of this one.
There were parts of the book that I had to read again and again just to try and get what the translator was trying to say in English. The most obvious is from early on when during the cursed tape a man hangs himself on the video and the action is described as “crashing through the ceiling”, yet his toes don’t touch the ground and he actually hangs “from” the ceiling, so how is it that he is crashing through it again and again? It’s confusing and unclear when the description of the cursed tape should be handled delicately. A few scenes like this I found difficult to picture in my mind due to the aloof way in which they are written.
Here’s a few more “The body fell with deliberate speed”. Uh OK, so we are talking about the speed? How fast is deliberate? Or is it with the intention of deliberate action? I checked for a definition of this and found a definition in a law dictionary stating “the law or a regulation needs to be maintained or instituted without delay.” Which doesn’t match a hanging scene in a book.

Here’s another, “as the bird flies” – “As the crow flies” is the correct idiom, not bird.

These parts of the novel did spoil it a bit but I put it solely down to the translator and any proof readers, I had not encountered such problems with the other books . Vertical Inc, I expect better.

Favorite Quote: “When signs match, it often means that phenomena that appear unrelated at first sight  are connected underneath.”

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Rings

I can’t understand the negative reviews surrounding this movie. Sure, it’s a slight above average by the numbers horror movies that rehashes aspects of the original making it not wholly original or engaging, but I actually liked it. There’s enough there to keep your attention. It delves deeper into the mythology and creation of Samara which is what I had been hoping to see with the sequels. I was glad it wasn’t just a reboot of what came before but actually expanded on that. I like that a Cult grew around the Urban legend, I like that there is a video within the video (very much like the Ring TV series ‘Ring Saishûshô’) and that it takes a key point from the book ‘Spiral’ aka ‘Rasen’ as the final twist of the film. But yes they could have done more with it. It seems that this movie was planned as a sort of inexpensive backdoor sequel which is probably why the film got a lot of backlash. Originally titled ‘The Ring 3D’ I had even read some rumors way back that Suzuki Koji himself was approached to offer some idea for a third Ring movie, although it seems nothing came of that beyond the final twist at the end.

Is it worth watching? I think so, if you are a fan of the Ring franchise and want to know a little more about how Samara came to be then check it out.

Favorite Quote: “Rebirth”.

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Zatoichi Season 1

Think of this series as very much like the movies. Though they are condensed into about 50 minutes running time they are just as entertaining and have the same production quality feel of the movies.

Equally powerful and at times devastating are the stories they tell. (major spoilers follow)

In episode 3 for example. At the start of the episode Zatoichi is giving a shoulder massage to an old woman and telling her about his mother whom he never knew when he was younger. We see the face of the old woman who’s eyes open wide as if in recognition that Zatoichi is her son. Seconds later though her home is attacked by gangsters and she is killed with Zatoichi never knowing who she might have been. In the same episode Zatoichi also befriends a gangster (one of the same gangsters that attacked the old lady’s home at the start of the episode) whose life Zatoichi spares as he wants no more bloodshed. At the end of the episode he plans to meet his new friend at a bridge but along the way his friend decides to try fight him once more, unknown to Zatoichi, since he is blind, he reluctantly kills the man and then goes to the bridge to wait for the man he just killed. After a while when his friend doesn’t arrive he slowly realizes what has happened and moves on. This is all just in one episode!

While not all episodes are as jam packed as the one above there are some cracking ones. By the end of the first season Zatoichi returns to his hometown and there is a chance it seems that Zatoichi will be able to live life free from violence, but between his reputation and his own sense of justice and revenge things go back to how they’ve always been for him.I wouldn’t have expected anything less for the character.

The series is episodic so don’t expect any arcs or reoccurring villains. After 26 episodes you might feel a bit tired of each episode having similar scenes, themes and action but if you’ve watched the Zatoichi movies and enjoyed them then you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t watch this series.

Favorite Quote: “When i’m sleeping, if the wind blows hard against the door and makes a noise i’m already holding my sword in my hands.” – Zatoichi

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Last Jedi outrage

After the massively popular reviews following the premiere of the Last Jedi the film was released in most countries on the 15th of December and since then the fan furor has started to increase. Fortunately I had been oblivious to it until after I had seen the film. As I walked out of the cinema silently with my friend

“what did you think?”

“not bad, and you?”

“Not bad. Do you want to see it again?”

“No, you?”

“No.”

It took about 20 minutes to get home by which time I was ready to let loose my thoughts which can be seen in my review. I hadn’t imagined that the fan reaction would be the same until I went online and saw the fan reaction. I checked the reviews on Monday on IMDB and saw this…..

The online reviews are very very negative

At the time the film was standing at 7.9 which I and others found rather hard to believe but it fell to 7.8 the next day and stands at 7.7 now.

The number of one stars for the film is extremely high. Compare that to justice league which stands at 7.1 with far fewer 1 star votes.
Granted people feel more passionately about Star Wars which is partly why they are voting so low. It’s not just a vote against the quality of the film but on the direction the franchise has taken with the latest movie.

https://media.vanityfair.com/photos/5a370db19781ed4490fc37ab/master/w_690,c_limit/Screen%20Shot%202017-12-17%20at%204.25.52%20PM.png

Against this backlash there are fans (and media outlets) who are fighting back saying the negative fan reviews are just people making more accounts and it’s an conspiracy by people who hate the film. Lots of people were latching on to the news that some guy, yes, some guy! on facebook had manipulated the Rotten Tomatoes audience score to which Rotten Tomatoes released a statement to say that the score is authentic.

With a worldwide gross of $573,710,009 1 week later it seems unlikely that the film is going to suffer too badly but the momentum does seem to be slowing down. In America on Monday it earned $21,556,373. This puts it into the top 10 of the highest earning Mondays of all time. Great but that’s 20 million off ‘The Force Awakens’. It’s even behind Jurassic World. It’s likely the movie is going to lose quiet a penny on those repeat viewings. I’m sure Disney will be taking note of this.

So why the furor? There are quite a few things. There were a large amount of plot points that were discarded by Rian Johnson which have annoyed fans.
The main point that people are angry about is the handling of Luke Skywalker himself. Something Mark Hamill has been vocal about and clearly seems a bit hurt by when you listen to his interviews. so it’s not just a few fans making multiple accounts to down vote things.

At this stage it wouldn’t surprise me if there is some bad blood there between himself and disney and I’m curious if he’ll come back at all with the next movie.

Why did critics rate this so highly then? Because they are reviewing a movie not as fans but as critics. They reviewed the movie on it’s own merits while a lot of fans rated it on how a character like Luke was portrayed and how they have seemed to betray the nature of who he is.
As a movie I enjoyed Star Wars the Last Jedi. It is a tad too long though with some unnecessary scenes. As a Star Wars movie I enjoyed it too but there are quite a few things I dislike about the movie and the biggest thing is how they handled Luke.

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Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Or, throwing the lightsaber out with the bathwater. In short, I’m really glad JJ Abrams will be back for the episode 9 after my initial reservation.

This Review will contain massive spoilers and rants.

 

Spoiler Rant list:

I remember walking out of ‘The Force Awakens’ with a ton of questions. The point that the film had ended on was such a cock tease of a moment but it set up an epic journey of heroes and villains.

So instead of giving us what the last film set us up for, the themes and plots are thrown away, literally! Luke takes his Father’s lightsaber, the one passed down to him by Obi Wan Kenobi and throws it over his shoulder. This is basically the symbolic moment of what this film does.

Rey’s parents: Nobodies. So much for making such a big deal about it in the last movie.

Snoke: Who is he? What happened to his face? What does he represent? What’s his deal? He’s killed without a single hint as to who, why or where he came from.

The Knights of Ren: As above.

Luke’s light saber gets snapped in half. – The lightsaber that was given the mythical quality of excalibur in ‘The Force Awakens’ is broken here. The destruction of legends or as Kevin Smith put it in his review of ‘The Last Jedi’ a “Fuck you JJ” moment. (at least Rey has the two parts at the end)

Fin: His first question is “where’s Rey?”. The girl he cared so much about in the previous movie. He doesn’t even speak to her in this film.

Fin: The movie actually doesn’t seem to know what to do with his character. After such a strong arc his story is overshadowed by developing a new and frankly unneeded character, Rose.

Kylo Ren’s Mask: Smash it, that stuff is for kids. You don’t want someone intimidating like Vader do you?

Luke: The frickin hero of the original Trilogy actually ignited his light saber over the head of his Nephew, the son of one of his closest friends and his sister. After facing down his father and taking the higher road he would actually have a moment where he would do that? The man who wouldn’t give up on Anakin Skywalker after all the shit he did?

Luke & Yoda: Yoda actually has to tell Luke that the jedi books aren’t important, that after 40 years the last jedi master who defeated Vader and the Emperor has to be told what is really important and what really matters?

I mean, take a look at Season 3 of ‘Star Wars Rebels’ where we actually get to meet Obi Wan in the desert between episodes 3 & 4. A man who taught Vader everything he knows. But when we see him in Rebels he is the wise, calm, Jedi from years of meditation and thinking time in the desert. Luke was the son of Vader, a potential adept of the Dark side, a bomb waiting to go off. Obi Wan didn’t ignite a lightsaber over Luke’s head. He never gave up believing in the one to really bring balance to the force. I don’t believe Luke would have done the same thing either, I don’t believe Luke would have closed himself to the force, not after everything.

Lightsabers battles: The first movie without a lightsaber battle.

Captain Phasma: So much for seeing more of your character developed…

Benicio Del Toro: Why were you in this movie?

No final shot of the main characters in the movie. This is a bit of a no no. Breaks tradition and again, this isn’t just any movie.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I liked the movie. I enjoyed it. There were emotional parts, beautiful scenes and it’s still interesting enough to make me write about it. But it has it’s problems. As real people, like us I can certainly accept these flaws but….

This is Star Wars. These are the archetypal heroes of a generation and more. They are elevated above us as heroes, they aren’t the kind of characters we see on Star Trek, or other SF movies. They are larger and greater in life. That is what JJ Abrams got, that is where he lead us to by the end of ‘The Force Awakens’. Here is Luke, the hero we need. Not the person that we meet in a bar on a sunny afternoon. We need someone above that, he won’t do that. Our childhood hero, who makes the right choice that people can’t always do. Clearly this is where JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson differ. JJ Abrams dresses Luke in white. Johnson has him change out of white robes and into dark ones.

What I liked, the open battle with the bombers. The ship going to light speed and crashing into other ships looked beautiful. Leia was just perfect in all the scenes she was in. A wonderful and sadly final performance by the wonderful Carrie Fisher. I loved R2 showing Leia’s video again. Luke and Leia’s moment together.

So Rey isn’t a Skywalker, nor was she the daughter of Han and Leia who had their minds force wiped by Luke to protect their daughter. I feel in a way that many people might. That a lot of time was spent thinking over nothing.

Favorite Quote:No one’s ever really gone.” – Leia

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