Tag Archives: Star Wars

The Last First Episode Is Coming


Star-Wars-Episode-7-VII-LogoA long time ago at a drive-in theater long since buried under an I-85 interchange, a great adventure took place. It was the summer of 1977 and I sat on the roof of Mama’s 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix hugging a speaker and watching the huge Imperial Star Destroyer Devastator inexorably close in on the tiny, defenseless Tantive IV. Three years later, Daddy and Teresa took me to the now defunct Astro Twin on Pleasantburg Drive where I watched Luke Skywalker battle the evil Darth Vader right before the greatest plot twist surprise in cinema history. Then, as a high school freshman, Robby and I sat in the — once again, defunct — Oaks Theater in Laurens to see Luke reunited with his friends amidst a sea of dancing teddy bears.

Star Wars played a MONUMENTAL role in my childhood and the childhoods of a big chunk of my generation. To give you an idea of just what a cultural touchstone those films are to Gen-Xers everywhere, when I called one of my college roommates to tell him I was marrying a girl born in 1978, the first thought out of his mouth was not “Congratulations” or anything like it. Instead, Chris Hoppe shouted at me, “1978! Good God, Wham! She’s never seen Star Wars at the movie theater!” He was right, of course, so as soon as Budge and I left the theater in the summer of 1997 after watching the re-release of Star Wars: A New Hope, I called him up to let him know my beloved was now bona fide.

Now, if George Lucas had possessed the sense to get a prenuptial agreement with his wife, the Star Wars universe would probably have remained the exclusive unsullied cultural icon for Generation X. Unfortunately, the erstwhile Mrs. Lucas took ol’ George to the cleaners financially leaving him in relatively bad straits — no small feat to nearly bankrupt a man responsible of Luke Skywalker AND Indiana Jones. So, rumors started flying around the newly-burgeoning internet about something none of us Baby Boomer Babies ever dreamed we’d live to see — George Lucas was going to MAKE THE PREQUELS!!

Whatsa pissa poopsa!

Whatsa pissa poopsa!

So it was I sat in Theater 6 of The Hollywood 20 Theater with Budge on May 19, 1999 and watched the familiar opening crawl wind its way up the screen. I was more excited about a movie than I’d ever been or ever would be . . . at least until 2001 when I waited in line for hours to get tickets to Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. I quickly lost myself in the film’s first fifteen minutes; I was a kid again on the roof of that ’73 Grand Prix. Then, out of the murky green depths of one of the many planets in the Star Wars universe, disaster overtook my beloved franchise. Jar-Jar Binks appeared on the screen. Since Jar-Jar hate is widely documented, I’m not going to waste your time adding my opinions, but let’s just say, when it comes to all the negative things said about the bumbling Gungan, “I concur and then some.” I was delighted and crushed when the movie ended — delighted it was finally over and crushed that I’d waited 22 years for such a turd to plop onto my lovely memories.

After Phantom Menace, I realized Lucas was just going for money so I didn’t bother to see Attack of the Clones or Revenge of the Sith. I figured it would be a waste of time. In all honesty, I do wish I’d seen RotS on the big screen though, just to see the climactic fight on Mustafar between Obi-Wan and Anakin, but since that’s the only part of the movie I care anything about, I’ve just learned to content myself with YouTube. As a side note, if the prequels hadn’t shown Lucas’ money-making bias, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull proved to me he had completely blown up the refrigerator.

The cast . . .

The cast . . .

Well, Lucas sold the beloved space opera franchise to the ONE entity more concerned with money than he is — Disney. Less than a year after the sale, The Mouse has announced Episodes VII, VIII, and IX are in the works with Episode VII to be released next year, probably around Christmas. Today, the official casting announcements came out. The good news is Han, Luke, and Leia are all back aboard although I wonder if Harrison Ford will live long enough to finish all three films. The bad news is JJ Abrams is directing and co-producing Episode VII. So, this movie could be absolutely amazing with incredible visual effects and only slightly less boom and bang than a Michael Bay CGI-fest OR we could end up at the end of Episode IX discovering the entire nine film series actually took place in the imagination of some homeless Earth kid playing with broken action figures someone left lying in the park. To anyone who thinks I’m being silly and overreacting I can only reply with two words: Lost finale.

Hopefully though, the number of original cast members along with the addition of Gollum will pull the final three movies in the Star Wars nonology through. At least John Williams is doing the scores!

Love y’all and keep those feet clean.

Into Darkness Movie Review


spock-lavaI’m going to keep the review part of this entry short — I enjoyed the movie. It helped put a good spin on a really crappy day and that means at least a full star improvement for any movie (except Prospero’s Books which nothing will ever improve) in my estimation.  It included a predictable amount of J.J. Abrams’ penchant for thinly veiled political commentary and not so thinly veiled (or always successful) plot twists. It was an action flick and not an Oscar vehicle.

As far as the plot itself, allow me to introduce you non-liberal arts majors to a new term — deus ex machina. That’s a cool little Latin phrase English teachers like to bandy about that means “god in the machine.” I’ll let you Google up the etymology of the term, but writers use a deus ex machina for one reason — they’ve written themselves into a corner and the characters everyone loves are all going to die, so something intervenes that saves the day. If you think about every time an Eagle shows up in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, you’ll grasp the concept quite well. If you need a “negative example,” think about the entire Song of Fire and Ice series because George Martin not only refuses to use any plot contrivances to rescue a fan favorite character, but actually seems to delight in making sure anyone likeable and “favorite-worthy” gets killed off in some heinous way just as soon as the reader (or viewer for those with HBO) starts to invest a tremendous amount of care and emotion into someone on the page or screen.

But I digress.

The movie was entertaining and I had no idea who the main villain was or where he came from so when we discovered his identity it was a little shocking and quite cool. I like the “kinder, gentler” Spock who is not afraid to love Uhura even though his Vulcan logic and Stoicism presents a few problems for the couple. Christopher Pine has out-Shatner-ed William Shatner in my opinion and the new Scotty is my personal favorite character. He also has what I think are the two best lines in the movie: “You’ll never guess what I found behind Jupiter” and “I’m off the ship ONE BLOODY DAY and look what happens!”

So go see it. It’s worth the money, but if you are a Trekkie, you’ve already been there so this is redundant which means I will now switch to what I REALLY wanted to talk about — will there be another Star Trek movie? Even as we were leaving the theater, people around us were already speculating whether or not a third episode of the retcon would get the green light from Hollywood. To those people I can only reply, “Does a one-legged duck swim in a circle?”

Of course they’ll make another one!

As for why, it’s disgustingly simple — Star Trek is the charter member of the “Pointy Eared Dress Up Movie Club.” Let me elaborate.  In Star Trek, Spock and the other Vulcans have pointy ears; in Star Wars, Yoda and his Whill brethren have pointy ears; Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit  have pointy eared elves; the house elves of Harry Potter are pointy eared; and the Quileute shapeshifters in the Twilight saga possess pointy pinnas.

What do all five of these film franchises have in common? Costumed fanboys (and fangirls). These fans don’t just dress up in the privacy of their own homes. They don’t just bust out Yeoman Rand or Arwen for Halloween either. No, these are grown-assed men and women who will don robes, capes, fake uniforms costing hundreds of dollars, and — most importantly — pointed ear prostheses and go out to a movie theater to stand in line, buy a ticket, and sit through the movie. If you can get grown people who would generally have a little lower embarrassment threshold to go out in public carrying a reproduction lightsaber, phaser rifle, or Elven longsword, you have basically found a legal way to print money As long as the studios will make these movies, they will sell out left and right until these huge fanbases die outright or are too frail to get out of the nursing homes.take my money

The great thing from the studio’s point of view is the movies don’t even have to be GOOD! In fact, I could argue that the movies in these franchises that have the best attendance are some of the worst movies in the series because the fanboys will go see those horrible movies more than once just so they can nit-pick all the “non-canon” scenes and gripe to their friends about how the newest installment of their favorite series has irrevocably RUINED the material because the director had the unmitigated gall to make some obscure character’s hair red when THE BOOK CLEARLY STATES IT WAS BLONDE!!

I remember when Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered and every Trekkie I knew at the time was absolutely apoplectic with rage that the bridge crew wore RED SHIRTS!! Didn’t the morons know in Trek-speak Red Shirt = sudden bloody and violent death? I went to college with two of them and either one would shoot you with his reproduction Stormtrooper laser cannon if you dared speak during an episode on Sunday night even though they would spend the hour afterwards almost in tears at how the evil corporate studios savaged their beloved franchise. I can’t tell you how many Star Wars fans I’ve heard who seem to be on the brink of suicide because Lucas sold his film company for several gajillion dollars to Disney and now Disney is going to, “pump out tons of stupid stand alone movies that don’t respect the canon universe at all!” I bet ever one of those movies will be a sell out though.

Printing. Money.

So see the movie and wave to everyone dressed up because you just might work with them . . . or for them!

Love y’all and keep those feet clean.