In case you didn't know, I am a very big fan of the original Star Wars movies, namely, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and the bits in Return of the Jedi that didn't have fucking ewoks in. These movies profoundly affected me as a child and young teenager, and although I already had been exposed to many of the ancient myths that these movies were loosely based (stories from the Bible, medieval Europe and feudal Japan), the way that George Lucas packaged and reinterpreted them made it all so new and exciting.
Those of us who have read and heard Lucas cite Joseph Campbell ad nauseum as the supervising muse in all of this mythology, as if there is a deep philosphical and intellectual conversation occurring in these films - even the prequels - know in fact that Campbell could only have been a tiny spark that set this great fire blazing. Lucas' actions with the productions of the Special Editions, re-released Special Editions, Anniversary Editions, Prequels, Blu-ray releases, and so on, have proven time and again that in fact the man behind the story had less interest in developing a story and honing a craft than making fuckloads of money.
A disclaimer: I don't think that Lucas is all bad. Also, I don't think (much to many a friend's horror) that the prequels are all bad. I have no doubt that Lucas wanted The Phantom Menace to be a great film. Did Lucas surround himself with yes-men and sycophants who dared not nay-say him? Clearly, we know the answer to that. Clearly, we all can tell that these movies were pretty much a car crash in slow motion. Really slow motion.
Here's the short of it regarding Episodes 1-3.
They are boring. Mostly. There is all this talk about politics, democracy, franchises (ferchrissakes!) that sounds too much like demagoguery and not enough like passion. Also, we already knew how the thing was going to end - the very element that all film makers rely on - the climactic twist - could never happen with Revenge of the Sith. The movie was spoiled from the start. I won't mention Jar Jar Binks, or the death of the only two interesting characters in the prequels in the first fucking movie, I don't buy into the latent racism criticisms, I can't mention the shocking direction (I'll never stop), the pointlessness of most of Attack of the Clones, CGI Yoda, shit puppet Yoda, Jar Jar, Tarzan-call Wookies, the appalling/hilarious homage to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as Darth Vader unhooks himself from surgery for the first time, Jar Jar, the cringe-worthy courtship scenes between Anakin and Padme, the utter lack of adult/sophisticated humour throughout, ah Jaysus...
Any scene Ian McDiarmid was in was dominated by him, despite the stilted dialogue of the other characters. This man OWNED the movies, bitches! Qui Gon Jin was nearly awesome. The scene in TPM where Darth Maul somersaults off his speeder to confront the Jedi as they attempt to depart Tattooine, lighting his sword and smashing into a desperate Qui Gon was the best of the movie. Violent, fast and over very quickly. It was one of those "What the fuck just happened!?!" moments. But then Qui Gon dies. Darth Maul - could've been awesome. Evil, badass, twin bladed lightsaber, mysterious, cool, sexy ship, sexy clothes. And then he died too.
There is one thing that needs to be mentioned - and it tends to be forgotten by all the critics and sourgrapes Star Wars nerds: John Williams' musical score is incomparable. I would say it is his greatest work. Everything from Darth Maul's Theme/The Great Duel to The Death of Qui Gon, Zam the Assassin to Confrontation With Count Dooku, Palpatine's Teachings to The Immolation Scene - all of it utterly brilliant. Do you hear me? Utterly. Brilliant.
So now, Lucasfilm is a Disney entity. Some are claiming it's the end of all things good about Star Wars, others are claiming we are all saved. Kathleen Kennedy seems to have started on a very positive note with the hiring of Michael Arndt to write the script. We all know of course that that means nothing. No one can fuck up a great script like Hollywood, right? We all wait with baited breath on the announcement of the director for the first project...
So. Here's a couple of tips for Disney and Arndt, and the director on what NOT to do with this project. Are you listening?
DO NOT TARGET THIS FILM AT A KIDS AUDIENCE.
DO NOT INCLUDE CUTE ALIENS.
DO NOT INSULT THE ORIGINAL (NOW MIDDLE-AGED) AUDIENCE.
DO NOT DISCUSS MIDICHLORIANS.
DO NOT MAKE IT A REUNION PIECE ABOUT THE OLD GANG GETTING BACK TOGETHER.
DO NOT PUT TEENAGERS IN LEAD ROLES.
DO NOT PUT ADULTS IN TEENAGER ROLES.
DO NOT HAVE ANY TEENAGERS IN THIS MOVIE.
DON'T MAKE IT IN ANY WAY REFERENTIAL TO THE PHANTOM MENACE.
DO NOT HAVE A 7 YEAR OLD CHILD AS THE MAIN CHARACTER FOR FUCK'S SAKE.
DO NOT PUT JEDI GHOSTS IN THIS MOVIE.
DO NOT CLONE OLD CHARACTERS AND BRING THEM BACK IN THIS STORY. FORGET THE CLONES.
DO NOT PUT SHIPS IN THE MOVIE THAT LOOK LIKE 1. THE MILLENNIUM FALCON 2. SLAVE ONE 3. JEDI STARFIGHTERS 4. THE DEATH STAR.
FUCK EASTER EGGS.
DO NOT MAKE SLANTY EYED ALIENS SOUND ASIAN, BIG NOSED ALIENS SOUND ITALIAN.
DO NOT PUT FUCKING GUNGANS IN THIS MOVIE.
DO NOT PUT YOUR OWN FUCKING CHILDREN IN THE MOVIE.
What then should the filmakers do?
MAKE IT SCARY. NO, MAKE IT FUCKING FRIGHTENING.
MAKE IT SERIOUS WITHOUT BEING BORING. NO DEMOCRACY TALK, FRANCHISE TALK, TRADE SHIT OR THINLY VEILED COMMENTS ABOUT CURRENT POLITICIANS.
MAKE IT FOR ADULTS. I LOVED THIS MOVIE WHEN I WAS A KID COZ I THOUGHT IT WAS A FUCKING AWESOME COOL SCIFI FLICK FOR GROWN-UPS.
ACTION. THERE MUST BE LOTS OF ACTION. SPACE BATTLES, LIGHTSABERS AND BLASTER FIRE AND SHIT.
CAST ACTORS THAT HATED THE ORIGINAL MOVIES. THAT'LL FUCK EM UP AND GIVE PROPS TO THE NEW ONES.
PARTS OF IT SHOULD BE FUNNY, BUT IRONIC-FUNNY. REMEMBER HOW HAN SOLO WAS SO KICKASS COOL? COZ HE DIDN'T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT ANYONE BUT HIMSELF, HE WAS SELFISH, HE WAS GREEDY, HE WAS TOUGH, HE SMUGGLED SHIT, AND HE HAD A SOPHISTICATED SENSE OF IRONY. THEN HE SOLD OUT TO THE REBELLION.
MAKE THE GOOD GUYS SHOOT FUCKING FIRST. PREEMPTIVE SHIT.
JOHN WILLIAMS MUST DO THE SCORE. OR IF HE DIES IN THE MEANTIME IT MUST SOUND LIKE THE GREATEST FUCKING JOHN WILLIAMS SCORE EVER.
DO NOT DO AS THEY SAY IN BULLSHIT MAGAZINES LIKE TOTAL FILM - AS IN, "KEEP IT AS CLOSE TO THE ORIGINAL FORMULA AS POSSIBLE". FUCK THAT. MAKE IT NEW. MAKE IT SMART. MAKE IT ORIGINAL. FUCK THE IDEA OF COPYING OTHER SHIT. IT'S ENOUGH THAT THERE ARE GROUNDRULES FOR THE STAR WARS UNIVERSE. BE BRAVE GODDAMMIT. START AFRESH FOR FUCKS SAKE. YOU SEE WHAT BOURNE DID FOR JAMES BOND? HE FUCKED JAMES BOND UP THE ARSE AND SHOWED HIM HOW A REAL MAN FIGHTS. THAT'S WHAT THIS STAR WARS HAS THE CHANCE TO DO. THIS STAR WARS SHOULD BE BOURNE TO THE PREQUELS' JAMES BOND. FUCK THAT SHIT UP THE ASS!!!
GET RICHARD MORGAN TO WRITE THE ACTION SCENES.
STEAL RICHARD MORGAN'S IDEA OF TAKESHI KOVACS AND WORK IT IN SOMEHOW TO A HARDCORE STAR WARS STORY. FUCK GERIATRIC HARRISON FORD AND POOR OLD BURNED OUT CARRIE FISHER. IT'S NOT A FUCKING CHARITY. PUT TAKESHI IN THAT SHIT. (THEY'LL NEVER MAKE ALTERED CARBON, MAY AS WELL USE HIM IN STAR WARS.)
NO NEW STAR WARS MOVIE SHOULD HAVE A HAPPY ENDING.
That's about it. Thoughts? Any more dos and don'ts?
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012
Today I received the first and most basic of my fitness qualifications - my Certificate III Fitness. It's the first small step in a career change (pressing the reboot button at 40!) and what I hope will be a continuing process of education and experience. I am loving the learning and I am loving the application.
If you have any interest in exercise or training, check out my second blog Fitness & Function.
If you have any interest in exercise or training, check out my second blog Fitness & Function.
Friday, September 7, 2012
|Cartoon by Carlos Latuff, originally published in Palestinian Think Tank, 2010.|
As we see too often, political debate in the Western world (not monopolised by the US) devolves into childish name-calling, accusations of ineptitude that have no basis in reality, allegations of conspiracies that don't exist, the spreading of lies without recourse or responsibility and trial-by-media-interests. There is no accountability for any side of the political spectrum as the system has become dominated by those who have the loudest voices. In the US the Tea Party has assumed the role of the righteous Right indignants, screaming down any opponent with nonsensical and irrelevant ravings about debt, the economy, war, values and so on. In Australia we have the dominant Right of the Liberal Party (O! The irony!), headed by the insufferable, bumbling and semi-literate Tony Abbott, who very much follow the drivel of their American political cousins. There is no debate of ideas, no attempt at philosophical reasoning, no focus on progression, problem-solving, peace or social welfare in the public arena. What we get as voting adults is a low-grade pubescent debating match complete with name-calling and misinformation - and worse, as we see in Australia as well as the US, the degeneration into racist and sexist imagery.
|Larry Pickering steeps to a new low.|
Monday, September 3, 2012
Monday, June 18, 2012
There is so much bullshit going on in the world right now! People would have you think that there is more of this crap happening now than ever before - you know, part of that whole "None of this ever happened in my day" kind of reminiscence. Problem is, we just hear about more of it than ever before. Social media, instant news, mobile miniaturised communications. We get instant delivery of micro-thoughts from rock stars, sportsmen, 'commentators' and any other fame-aspirants, as if they are the profound murmurings of prophets - when all they really are are the un-edited ravings of glorified salespeople. Yes, it's all getting dumbed down. We know that. We see it every day. We rail against the retardation of our culture, we protest against consumerism and capitalism and yet we still demand more iPads, freedom in Syria (without US military intervention), abolition of carbon taxation, restricted trade of coal and steel with China, lower interest rates, more affordable housing, smaller NASA budgets, reductions in social spending, insisting evolution be taught alongside superstition, the list goes on. People are now seen in a different light. They are mere 'voters'. They are 'clients'. Education has become a consumer item. Institutions and educators need to be sold, marketed. Education is a modern commodity that needs to make a profit. The one thing missing from the Debate On Everything is true common sense. There is no perspective on any political issue, only interests. Speeches are reduced to mere strung-together sound bites. Logic is exorcised, repetitive sloganism is the norm. The good old Bush II mentality of 'with us or against us' was no more banished from the global geopolitical landscape after the military victory in Iraq than pre-bail-out spending was after Obama came to power. The great legacies of the Baby Boom are financial crises and reality television. The world is no safer after 9/11. We have sacrificed freedom for the illusion of safety. We have a cynical political machine, a monsterous free market and a colluding Fourth Estate that each conspire in their own fetishistic and self-interested ways to make us more immune to their drivel and to crave more of the same. Put simply, the system is falling apart and there is nothing we can do about it.
Please! Neil deGrasse Tyson! Save us!