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"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" and "Sing"
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I saw the last half hour of Rogue One, a new prequel to the original 1977 Star Wars movie. The part I watched is basically a 1942 WWII movie. If you’ve always wanted to see the Battles of Midway, Guadalcanal, and Stalingrad going on simultaneously, now you can.

The thing to keep in mind about Star Wars movies is that they are WWII being re-enacted by eight year old boys playing in their backyard. For example, the bad guys shoot at you with rayguns, but the rays only travel about as fast as a dodgeball, so you can jump out of the way if you are nimble enough. And the bad guys wear armor, but it’s completely useless. This kind of thing can be irritating, but if you assume you are little George Lucas in Modesto and you just got home from a triple feature of The Sands of Iwo Jima, The War of the Worlds, and The Bridges at Toko-Ri where you ate four boxes of Milk-Duds, it all makes sense.

Rogue One resembles one of those International Action Blockbusters that megalomaniacal Italian producers used to put together in 1960s and 1970s with an all-star cast of the leading lights of America, Europe, and Toshiro Mifune. Although it seemed like the Star Wars producers were kind of skimping on the movie star part of the budget by the time I snuck in the theater. The only actors who seemed vaguely familiar to me were Ip Man and the guy who is the Mexican Ben Affleck to Gael Garcia Bernal’s Mexican Matt Damon.

“Sing” is an animated musical that’s American Idol with Animals, kind of like The Secret Lives of Pets was Toy Story with Animals.

Kids like animals.

For example, Seth MacFarlane Sinatraesquely voices Mike the Mouse who is more rat than pack.

Porcupines portray a boy-girl punk band modeled on X.

Our culture is going through a Gorilla Moment, so the best characters are the Cockney-accented family of bankrobbing apes out of a Guy Ritchie movie, with Taron Egerton of Ritchie’s associate Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman:

In contrast to the silverback who is shocked that his son wants to be a singer instead of a felon, Joe Strummer was sorry his daddy wasn’t a bankrobber and didn’t have a Cockney accent. There should be a Joe Strummer character in Sing 2, but what kind of animal?

 
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  1. “Sing” is an animated feature that’s American Idol with Animals. Our culture is going through a Gorilla Moment,

    Indeed……

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  2. That gorilla is solidly in the uncanny valley.

    Read More
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  3. Meanwhile, the guy who tweeted on Christmas Eve that all he wanted for Christmas is White Genocide has now been imortalized:

    http://infogalactic.com/info/George_Ciccariello-Maher

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack Highlands
    The Wiki entry has one item of potential importance wrong: he's an Associate Prof, ie tenured, not an untenured Assistant Prof. Perhaps the promotion to tenure encouraged his racist tweets.

    I politely emailed my objections regarding his views to his Dean: [email protected]

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  4. How dare they dishonour the memory of Harambe (PBUH)!! Too soon!!

    I am literally angry with rage.

    Read More
    • LOL: Kylie
    • Replies: @pyrrhus
    This insult to Harambe makes me want to become literally Hitler, in a harmless animation film way.....
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  5. Why not have a proempire movie.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    "Why not have a proempire movie."

    It is in a way.

    Rebels are not anti-empire. They are for their own empire.

    It's like LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.

    British Empire using Arab rebellion against German/Ottoman Empire.

    Rebels are just the other imperialists who recruit local-yokels to fight the other empire.

    I actually thought of seeing the movie but saw the trailer and it looked so damn stupid.

    STAR WARS universe would be more interesting if it was about empire vs empire. That would make for more moral complexity. Instead, we got Good vs Bad, so it's about 'democracy' vs empire, when even the political system in the prequels look pretty imperialist to me.

    British Empire was somewhere between Nazi Empire and US/Soviet Empire. It was about Anglo greatness and superiority, but the Brits could be very tolerant and even magnanimous. In contrast, Nazis only offered contempt to some of their subjects who were deemed 'subhuman'.

    The problem of radical rightist empire-building is it combines particularism and diversity. It is contradictory for the ruling power to act supremacist & arrogant over masses of diverse peoples who will be filled only with resentment.




    In contrast, the 'leftist' empire of communism and liberal-capitalism uses the rhetoric of 'human rights', and this wins over lots of collaborators who love the carrots and nice-sounding talk.

    Now, the thing about STAR WARS is that the Empire doesn't seem Nazi-like except in aesthetics. They are more like Romans. There is no ideology about the superior Vaderian race. If anything, the Empire seems to be rather tolerant of the various peoples. They will go for Carthagenean peace or Hiroshima-extremism only when necessary, but then the US dropped nukes when deemed fit. Also, the Empire seems to be the vision of a single master-mind and sorcerer than based on any ideology like Nazism was. It's about master-mind than master-race.

    So, given the rather tolerant nature of the Empire that only wants to maintain order, what is the rebellion about?

    Historically, rebellions against empires were generally nationalistic. So, Vietnamese rebelled to liberated Vietnam from the French, and Algerians rebelled to liberated Algeria from the French. Each rebellion was local and fixed in agenda.

    In contrast, there seems to be some galactic-wide rebellion in Star Wars, and we have no idea what that's about.

    And given that some of these tribes and cultures seem to be barbaric and even savage, they seem rather clueless and only got sucked into the war cuz of the 'rebel' elites who manipulated them.

    It's like Hmong in Laos were just minding their own business before the CIA got them involved against the Soviets. And the CIA also instigated Afghan villagers to take up the fight against Soviets.

    In the original STAR WARS, the rebellion was elitist. The conflict was really among the elites than between elites and the masses.
    Princess Leia, after all, is royalty. And she appeals to elite Jedis for help. And we learn in the prequel that the Jedis were part of the ruling elites. They were not part of the hoi polloi.
    There never was a people's uprising or mass rebellion in Star Wars.
    Rather, there was a inner-power-struggle among the elites. It was an elite rebellion against Palpatine who wanted it all.
    And the rebel-elites managed to rouse up collaboration from diverse folks of the empire to overthrow the Emperor.

    These diverse folks were doing just fine under imperial rule. They were 'used' by the rebel elites who wanted the power for themselves. Since the rebel elites didn't have the man-power, their trick was to fool the diverse folks into believing that the Empire was their enemy or there was something in it for them if they joined the fight. It's like Lawrence of Arabia has to fool Anthony Quinn that there is loot if they join in the fight. Of course, WWI was really about imperial elites vs imperial elites: Brits vs Germans/Ottomans.
    But of course, the ultimate power would flow to the victorious elite-rebels. The result would not be People Power.
    That is what has been rather suppressed in the Star Wars universe. The rebels are themselves Imperialists and seekers of galactic mastery. The Jedis and Leias of the world believe in elite domination and guidance. Even their 'democracy' is essentially an oligarchy of powerful elites. They just manipulate and use indigenous peoples like the British used 'Arab rebellion' to destroy the Ottoman Empire and grab the loot themselves.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjuXrK4ucrc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZdLM2ENld8

    The tragedy of Lawrence is he is both imperialist and anti-imperialist, a supreme egotist and a most selfless crusader, a poet & sophisticate and ruthless warrior. STAR WARS doesn't have that kind of complexity. Even though Lawrence of Arabia is great middlebrow work of entertainment than true art, it offers much more. So, does Dr. Zhivago, another epic about the tragedy of empire as Russia goes form Tsarist empire to the Soviet empire that uses mass power to eventually crush the masses more ruthlessly.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdSz8WsNSYY

    Indeed, it is ironic that Palpatine in ATTACK OF THE CLONES instigates mass rebellion against the ruling order. He appeals to barbaric creatures in many planets to agitate against the system behind the leadership of Count Dooku.
    And that rebellion is used as pretext for the Jedis to create an army of Nazi-like clone storm troopers to put down the rebellion.

    So, the rise of the Emperor was engineered by inciting a rebellion against the system. And it was the Jedis who initially crushed a rebellion... only to realize that they'd been had. The clone army that had been created to save the system was used against the Jedi Order in a Night of the Long Knives, and then, the Emperor Palpatine had all the power.

    https://youtu.be/3dovd1clLJ4?t=3m34s

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6aD-m7Cw84
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  6. “I saw the last half hour of Rogue One”

    Snuck in after watching SING?

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  7. In relation to Harambe and gorillas-as-insults-of-certain-groups, Leslie Jones was jokingly insulted by Milo Y’s troll army who compared her to Harambe. Of course, Jones’s comedy act centers around making fun of how ugly and masculine she is, but, of course, no one else (who is not black, natch) is allowed to make fun of her looks, hence the Twitter bans and “national outrage.”

    BTW, it seems that Lorne Michaels has subtly acknowledged that the alt-right had the better of the jokes and argument on the whole Grrlbusters fiasco.

    Why? Because he and SNL have been suspiciously silent about the whole event since the SNL cast —which includes two leads of the movie, Kate McKinnon and Jones, and formerly included another lead of the film, Kristen Wiig—haven’t made one sketch or statement about it.

    Nope, not only did Lorne not stand up for his players during the fiasco or issue a statement in support (that I could find), but not one SNL sketch has emerged on the subject (and I haven’t heard of even one joke on the show about it, but that’s probably debatable). Now, I don’t watch SNL, but I would think that if a sketch had emerged on the issue, it would have blasted across the internet by the Buzzfeed/HuffPo Feminazis in an effort to show how SNL “destroyed” the alt-right haters/racists/Trumpies—excuse me, sexists.

    So the silence is pretty deafening. Lorne of course wasn’t obligated to step in during the bad response the film got (he wasn’t involved in the making of Grrrrlbusters, AFAIK), but given it was his current cast making up the movie and it was his former cast they were replacing controversially, his support would have been appreciated and had some weight (and he would have been protecting his cast and SNL by extension).

    And the fact that they haven’t mentioned it in a sketch on SNL means that either Lorne thinks the whole thing makes SNL looks bad and uncool (hence he’s avoiding bringing it up), or, alternatively, Jones and McKinnon (and possibly Wiig, a valued alum) were so hurt by the backlash they’ve fought against any mocking of it, the wounds still too fresh. Given Lorne’s legendary heavy-hand on the show, the latter seems unlikely, although he could want to coddle the show’s lesbian name (McKinnon) and black female name (Jones).

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  8. Let’s see, the things that George Lucas put into the blender when he made Star Wars: Lee & Kirby’s Fantastic Four, The Dam Busters, Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress, John Ford’s The Searchers, Jack Kirby’s Fourth World, E. E. Smith’s Lensmen series, Flash Gordon, Frank Herbert’s Dune novels, …..

    Read More
    • Replies: @flyingtiger
    You forgot 633 squadron. The attack on the death star is coped from this. The old saying is that if you steal from at least three different sources, its original!
    , @Twinkie

    Frank Herbert’s Dune novels
     
    That's "War and Peace" compared to Star Wars.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Aesthetically, 2001 was a huge influence on Star Wars and pretty much every subsequent move in terms of space ship design. Before 2001, they usually had smooth surfaces. The Discovery in 2001 has all sorts of piping and other external details.
    , @Anon
    NEW LAND has a snow scene that might have inspired Lucas in EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
    In the blizzard, the father kills the bull, slits its belly, and stuffs his son inside for warmth.
    , @Anon
    BEN HUR for chase in PHANTOM

    YOJIMBO for arm cut in STAR WARS

    TRIUMPH OF THE WILL

    PLANET OF THE APES and BENJI for Chewintobacca?

    SESAME STREET for Yoda

    Wagner and Tolkien

    Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS for C-3PO

    Steppin Fetchit for Jar Jar
    , @cthulhu

    E. E. Smith’s Lensmen series
     
    Now that's something I would pay to see on the big screen! For sheer size and scope of vision, Doc Smith is hard to beat; Lucas is a piker in comparison. Guillermo Del Toro, maybe? (But I want him to finally make his long-promised version of Lovecraft's masterpiece At the Mountains of Madness first.)
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  9. @syonredux
    Let's see, the things that George Lucas put into the blender when he made Star Wars: Lee & Kirby's Fantastic Four, The Dam Busters, Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, John Ford's The Searchers, Jack Kirby's Fourth World, E. E. Smith's Lensmen series, Flash Gordon, Frank Herbert's Dune novels, .....

    You forgot 633 squadron. The attack on the death star is coped from this. The old saying is that if you steal from at least three different sources, its original!

    Read More
    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    5o years on, I find it hard to tell 633 Squadron and The Dambusters apart in my memory. 633 Squadron was the one with the Mosquito fighter-bombers?
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  10. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @nxnx
    Why not have a proempire movie.

    “Why not have a proempire movie.”

    It is in a way.

    Rebels are not anti-empire. They are for their own empire.

    It’s like LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.

    British Empire using Arab rebellion against German/Ottoman Empire.

    Rebels are just the other imperialists who recruit local-yokels to fight the other empire.

    I actually thought of seeing the movie but saw the trailer and it looked so damn stupid.

    STAR WARS universe would be more interesting if it was about empire vs empire. That would make for more moral complexity. Instead, we got Good vs Bad, so it’s about ‘democracy’ vs empire, when even the political system in the prequels look pretty imperialist to me.

    British Empire was somewhere between Nazi Empire and US/Soviet Empire. It was about Anglo greatness and superiority, but the Brits could be very tolerant and even magnanimous. In contrast, Nazis only offered contempt to some of their subjects who were deemed ‘subhuman’.

    The problem of radical rightist empire-building is it combines particularism and diversity. It is contradictory for the ruling power to act supremacist & arrogant over masses of diverse peoples who will be filled only with resentment.

    [MORE]

    In contrast, the ‘leftist’ empire of communism and liberal-capitalism uses the rhetoric of ‘human rights’, and this wins over lots of collaborators who love the carrots and nice-sounding talk.

    Now, the thing about STAR WARS is that the Empire doesn’t seem Nazi-like except in aesthetics. They are more like Romans. There is no ideology about the superior Vaderian race. If anything, the Empire seems to be rather tolerant of the various peoples. They will go for Carthagenean peace or Hiroshima-extremism only when necessary, but then the US dropped nukes when deemed fit. Also, the Empire seems to be the vision of a single master-mind and sorcerer than based on any ideology like Nazism was. It’s about master-mind than master-race.

    So, given the rather tolerant nature of the Empire that only wants to maintain order, what is the rebellion about?

    Historically, rebellions against empires were generally nationalistic. So, Vietnamese rebelled to liberated Vietnam from the French, and Algerians rebelled to liberated Algeria from the French. Each rebellion was local and fixed in agenda.

    In contrast, there seems to be some galactic-wide rebellion in Star Wars, and we have no idea what that’s about.

    And given that some of these tribes and cultures seem to be barbaric and even savage, they seem rather clueless and only got sucked into the war cuz of the ‘rebel’ elites who manipulated them.

    It’s like Hmong in Laos were just minding their own business before the CIA got them involved against the Soviets. And the CIA also instigated Afghan villagers to take up the fight against Soviets.

    In the original STAR WARS, the rebellion was elitist. The conflict was really among the elites than between elites and the masses.
    Princess Leia, after all, is royalty. And she appeals to elite Jedis for help. And we learn in the prequel that the Jedis were part of the ruling elites. They were not part of the hoi polloi.
    There never was a people’s uprising or mass rebellion in Star Wars.
    Rather, there was a inner-power-struggle among the elites. It was an elite rebellion against Palpatine who wanted it all.
    And the rebel-elites managed to rouse up collaboration from diverse folks of the empire to overthrow the Emperor.

    These diverse folks were doing just fine under imperial rule. They were ‘used’ by the rebel elites who wanted the power for themselves. Since the rebel elites didn’t have the man-power, their trick was to fool the diverse folks into believing that the Empire was their enemy or there was something in it for them if they joined the fight. It’s like Lawrence of Arabia has to fool Anthony Quinn that there is loot if they join in the fight. Of course, WWI was really about imperial elites vs imperial elites: Brits vs Germans/Ottomans.
    But of course, the ultimate power would flow to the victorious elite-rebels. The result would not be People Power.
    That is what has been rather suppressed in the Star Wars universe. The rebels are themselves Imperialists and seekers of galactic mastery. The Jedis and Leias of the world believe in elite domination and guidance. Even their ‘democracy’ is essentially an oligarchy of powerful elites. They just manipulate and use indigenous peoples like the British used ‘Arab rebellion’ to destroy the Ottoman Empire and grab the loot themselves.

    The tragedy of Lawrence is he is both imperialist and anti-imperialist, a supreme egotist and a most selfless crusader, a poet & sophisticate and ruthless warrior. STAR WARS doesn’t have that kind of complexity. Even though Lawrence of Arabia is great middlebrow work of entertainment than true art, it offers much more. So, does Dr. Zhivago, another epic about the tragedy of empire as Russia goes form Tsarist empire to the Soviet empire that uses mass power to eventually crush the masses more ruthlessly.

    Indeed, it is ironic that Palpatine in ATTACK OF THE CLONES instigates mass rebellion against the ruling order. He appeals to barbaric creatures in many planets to agitate against the system behind the leadership of Count Dooku.
    And that rebellion is used as pretext for the Jedis to create an army of Nazi-like clone storm troopers to put down the rebellion.

    So, the rise of the Emperor was engineered by inciting a rebellion against the system. And it was the Jedis who initially crushed a rebellion… only to realize that they’d been had. The clone army that had been created to save the system was used against the Jedi Order in a Night of the Long Knives, and then, the Emperor Palpatine had all the power.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    STAR WARS universe would be more interesting if it was about empire vs empire.
     
    That would have been an interesting way to go with the new series of films......but JJ Abrams (and, one supposes, Disney) decided to simply make The Force Awakens a rehash of the first trilogy. So, plucky Rebels vs sinister Imperials, mark II....only now the Empire=Nazis stuff is turned up to 11.....
    , @Jack Hanson
    Star Wars would be more interesting for a lot of reasons, but getting away from Jedi as schizophrenic moral arbiters would do a lot to raise the quality of story telling.

    If a Jedi chops off someone's hand for stealing, and then chops off someone's hand for trying to stop the Jedi from stealing a moment later, the Jedi was right in both cases because Jedi are Always Good. Yeah there's some hand waving about the dark side but it means nothing except when it needs to be a plot point.

    Maybe they should start by knocking off the 90 lb wunderpixie throwing around stormtroopers.

    , @Twinkie

    STAR WARS universe would be more interesting if it was about empire vs empire.
     
    We already have those movies. They are called "Star Trek."
    , @Seth Largo
    I'm ashamed to admit I read your entire comment with great interest. I feel like I'm not allowed to get laid for at least a month.
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  11. And the bad guys wear armor, but it’s completely useless.

    Little furballs with sticks and stones defeating storm troopers with directed energy weapons and presumably high-tech body armor (from the original triology) was enough for me.

    Star Wars movies is that they are WWII being re-enacted by eight year old boys playing in their backyard.

    Spot on.

    The only actors who seemed vaguely familiar to me were Ip Man and the guy who is the Mexican Ben Affleck to Gael Garcia Bernal’s Mexican Matt Damon.

    Very droll, Mr. Sailer. Well done.

    How did you decide that Diego Luna was the Mexican Affleck while Gael Garcia Bernal was the Mexican Matt Damon rather than vice versa?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I think Luna is taller than Garcia Bernal and he's directed some movies.
    , @whorefinder

    Little furballs with sticks and stones defeating storm troopers with directed energy weapons and presumably high-tech body armor (from the original triology) was enough for me.
     
    I'm pretty sure that the Ewoks-taking-the-Storm-Troopers was George Lucas-the-hippie giving a Vietnam dig, where the supposedly rag-tag, smaller Vietcong gave headaches to the big, heavily-equipped, armored U.S. (ignoring how the U.S. troops won a ton in Vietnam and how the Vietcong were supplied by the bigger communist countries of the time) And also about the communist guerillas around the world overcoming the supposed odds to beat "professional armies."

    But let's be serious that every movie involving a large military/security force has a certain number of stupid-red-Star-Trek-guys to die in needlessly avoidable ways in order to either show how formidable the opponents are. So long as it's not too head scratching at the moment, I generally give that pass.

    It can be done both to show off the abilities of the opponent while still allowing the red-guys to display courage and resourcefulness. The Man of Steel movie, for example, had the U.S. military guys hopelessly outgunned/outpowered by the super-powered, super-technologically advanced Kryptonians, yet had the U.S. military continuously either trying new maneuvers (when they realized the last maneuver failed) or else be willing to bravely dying at the hands of the Kyptonian without crawling (Chris Merloni's character, who actually dies taking them down).

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  12. @syonredux
    Let's see, the things that George Lucas put into the blender when he made Star Wars: Lee & Kirby's Fantastic Four, The Dam Busters, Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, John Ford's The Searchers, Jack Kirby's Fourth World, E. E. Smith's Lensmen series, Flash Gordon, Frank Herbert's Dune novels, .....

    Frank Herbert’s Dune novels

    That’s “War and Peace” compared to Star Wars.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    Frank Herbert’s Dune novels

    That’s “War and Peace” compared to Star Wars.
     
    Just surface level influence: millennia-old starfaring civilizations, strange religions, messianic figures, etc

    Obviously, Lucas wasn't interested in Herbert's deeper meditations on things like freewill vs destiny......
    , @Anon
    Didn't read the book but the Lynch movie is more like warts and piss.
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  13. How is the “best of isteve” book coming along? You mentioned you were thinking about this a few weeks ago, and I want to know if you are making any progress.

    A fun game you could organize for your readers is to create a list of links to your generally agreed upon 32 or 64 best articles (perhaps from your personal opinion or audience suggestion), and the isteve readers get to vote on them in a final-four/bracketology manner(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Final_Four_of_Everything)

    If nothing else, a blog post with a preliminary list of the top isteve articles would be a welcome Christmas gift. I don’t know if binge-reading is a thing, but if it was it would surely apply to my isteve reading habits.

    Read More
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  14. @Twinkie

    Frank Herbert’s Dune novels
     
    That's "War and Peace" compared to Star Wars.

    Frank Herbert’s Dune novels

    That’s “War and Peace” compared to Star Wars.

    Just surface level influence: millennia-old starfaring civilizations, strange religions, messianic figures, etc

    Obviously, Lucas wasn’t interested in Herbert’s deeper meditations on things like freewill vs destiny……

    Read More
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  15. Disney paid George Lucas four billion dollars so that they owned the Star Wars franchise and could dilute it ad infinitum. George Lucas was unwilling to do, but willing to sell to someone who will.
    It pisses me off that Disney is able to spin huge money off it so easily. Star Wars sells worldwide. It is recession proof and depression proof.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack Hanson
    I was amazed at what they'd slap Star Wars on to merchandise. The car commercials were silly as hell but when I saw the "Collectors Edition" Gillette razors I think we are hitting peak Star Wars.
    , @whorefinder
    Lucas's ego was ripped apart by both the fanboi reaction to the prequels (booo) AND the Mr. Plinkett takedown. He became resigned to selling the franchise after that.

    And, for those of you thinking , "Oh yeah, a movie review, sure," Lucas said he stayed off the internet for 15 years following the bad critical reaction to the prequels: http://furiousfanboys.com/2015/11/the-internet-bullied-george-lucas-away-from-star-wars/.

    And Mr. Plinkett's reviews were so awesomely devastating and encompassing, no less than Roger Ebert praised them: http://www.rogerebert.com/balder-and-dash/revenge-on-revenge-of-the-sith

    Lucas was shocked that, after holding the nation in a state of waiting for twenty years, the reaction to his films wasn't overwhelming joy and praise, but disappointment and insults. One thinks of a young girl making her boyfriend wait...and wait....wait to have sex with her, hoping to drive him wild with excitement, and then, after giving it to him, having him be less than enthused and critical of her bedroom moves.

    It turns out Lucas wasn't the genius-filmmaker he thought he was. And that broke his ego. But he was stills stubbornly holding on to the franchise, out of spite and a sincere belief that he was the only one good enough for it, and a distant hope that later reevaluation would save his legacy. Then Plinkett started another round of even more painful, more cutting reviews (on YouTube by a host of people who had seen the prequels as children and teenagers) a decade later, and Lucas gave up the ghost. He still thinks he's a genius and the prequels are true art (chiastic structure and all that), but he can't stand the painful onslaught anymore and sought a competent corporation to franchise the franchise and make decent movies to wipe away the old, funny bad reviews.
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  16. Steve showing he’s got his Gorilla Mind turned on! Stay Gorilla Woke, my friends!

    Read More
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  17. @Anon
    "Why not have a proempire movie."

    It is in a way.

    Rebels are not anti-empire. They are for their own empire.

    It's like LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.

    British Empire using Arab rebellion against German/Ottoman Empire.

    Rebels are just the other imperialists who recruit local-yokels to fight the other empire.

    I actually thought of seeing the movie but saw the trailer and it looked so damn stupid.

    STAR WARS universe would be more interesting if it was about empire vs empire. That would make for more moral complexity. Instead, we got Good vs Bad, so it's about 'democracy' vs empire, when even the political system in the prequels look pretty imperialist to me.

    British Empire was somewhere between Nazi Empire and US/Soviet Empire. It was about Anglo greatness and superiority, but the Brits could be very tolerant and even magnanimous. In contrast, Nazis only offered contempt to some of their subjects who were deemed 'subhuman'.

    The problem of radical rightist empire-building is it combines particularism and diversity. It is contradictory for the ruling power to act supremacist & arrogant over masses of diverse peoples who will be filled only with resentment.




    In contrast, the 'leftist' empire of communism and liberal-capitalism uses the rhetoric of 'human rights', and this wins over lots of collaborators who love the carrots and nice-sounding talk.

    Now, the thing about STAR WARS is that the Empire doesn't seem Nazi-like except in aesthetics. They are more like Romans. There is no ideology about the superior Vaderian race. If anything, the Empire seems to be rather tolerant of the various peoples. They will go for Carthagenean peace or Hiroshima-extremism only when necessary, but then the US dropped nukes when deemed fit. Also, the Empire seems to be the vision of a single master-mind and sorcerer than based on any ideology like Nazism was. It's about master-mind than master-race.

    So, given the rather tolerant nature of the Empire that only wants to maintain order, what is the rebellion about?

    Historically, rebellions against empires were generally nationalistic. So, Vietnamese rebelled to liberated Vietnam from the French, and Algerians rebelled to liberated Algeria from the French. Each rebellion was local and fixed in agenda.

    In contrast, there seems to be some galactic-wide rebellion in Star Wars, and we have no idea what that's about.

    And given that some of these tribes and cultures seem to be barbaric and even savage, they seem rather clueless and only got sucked into the war cuz of the 'rebel' elites who manipulated them.

    It's like Hmong in Laos were just minding their own business before the CIA got them involved against the Soviets. And the CIA also instigated Afghan villagers to take up the fight against Soviets.

    In the original STAR WARS, the rebellion was elitist. The conflict was really among the elites than between elites and the masses.
    Princess Leia, after all, is royalty. And she appeals to elite Jedis for help. And we learn in the prequel that the Jedis were part of the ruling elites. They were not part of the hoi polloi.
    There never was a people's uprising or mass rebellion in Star Wars.
    Rather, there was a inner-power-struggle among the elites. It was an elite rebellion against Palpatine who wanted it all.
    And the rebel-elites managed to rouse up collaboration from diverse folks of the empire to overthrow the Emperor.

    These diverse folks were doing just fine under imperial rule. They were 'used' by the rebel elites who wanted the power for themselves. Since the rebel elites didn't have the man-power, their trick was to fool the diverse folks into believing that the Empire was their enemy or there was something in it for them if they joined the fight. It's like Lawrence of Arabia has to fool Anthony Quinn that there is loot if they join in the fight. Of course, WWI was really about imperial elites vs imperial elites: Brits vs Germans/Ottomans.
    But of course, the ultimate power would flow to the victorious elite-rebels. The result would not be People Power.
    That is what has been rather suppressed in the Star Wars universe. The rebels are themselves Imperialists and seekers of galactic mastery. The Jedis and Leias of the world believe in elite domination and guidance. Even their 'democracy' is essentially an oligarchy of powerful elites. They just manipulate and use indigenous peoples like the British used 'Arab rebellion' to destroy the Ottoman Empire and grab the loot themselves.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjuXrK4ucrc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZdLM2ENld8

    The tragedy of Lawrence is he is both imperialist and anti-imperialist, a supreme egotist and a most selfless crusader, a poet & sophisticate and ruthless warrior. STAR WARS doesn't have that kind of complexity. Even though Lawrence of Arabia is great middlebrow work of entertainment than true art, it offers much more. So, does Dr. Zhivago, another epic about the tragedy of empire as Russia goes form Tsarist empire to the Soviet empire that uses mass power to eventually crush the masses more ruthlessly.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdSz8WsNSYY

    Indeed, it is ironic that Palpatine in ATTACK OF THE CLONES instigates mass rebellion against the ruling order. He appeals to barbaric creatures in many planets to agitate against the system behind the leadership of Count Dooku.
    And that rebellion is used as pretext for the Jedis to create an army of Nazi-like clone storm troopers to put down the rebellion.

    So, the rise of the Emperor was engineered by inciting a rebellion against the system. And it was the Jedis who initially crushed a rebellion... only to realize that they'd been had. The clone army that had been created to save the system was used against the Jedi Order in a Night of the Long Knives, and then, the Emperor Palpatine had all the power.

    https://youtu.be/3dovd1clLJ4?t=3m34s

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6aD-m7Cw84

    STAR WARS universe would be more interesting if it was about empire vs empire.

    That would have been an interesting way to go with the new series of films……but JJ Abrams (and, one supposes, Disney) decided to simply make The Force Awakens a rehash of the first trilogy. So, plucky Rebels vs sinister Imperials, mark II….only now the Empire=Nazis stuff is turned up to 11…..

    Read More
    • Replies: @eD
    Disney got off on a bad foot by making the first "sequel" a remake of the original "Star Wars" (OK, "A New Hope") by just making the post-Endor future the same situation as at the start of Episode IV, with no real explanation. Its one of the few blockbuster movies I never bothered to see for myself (actually Attack of the Clones is one of the others), just because the plot made no sense whatsoever.

    However, they might handle their sort-of-prequels better, so I will give "Rogue One" a chance. But I think my daughter will like "Sing" so that goes first in the queue.

    Unless my impression of "The Force Awakens" is completely wrong, what Disney should but won't do in the other sequels is to present that movie as a movie made within the Star Wars universe, basically treating it as the post-Endor Star Wars universe version of "Star Wars."
    , @Jack Hanson
    So far every new movie has been about The Worst Engineering Mistake Ever or one of its spin offs.

    An original idea is too much for these people.
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  18. I saw the last half hour of Rogue One, a new prequel to the original 1977 Star Wars movie. The part I watched is basically a 1942 WWII movie. If you’ve always wanted to see the Battles of Midway, Guadalcanal, and Stalingrad going on simultaneously, now you can.

    Yup. Everyone’s talking about those last 30 minutes, but I thought the first 45 (after the first scene) were more interesting–Star Wars at its Kiplingesque, Orientalist best.

    Read More
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  19. @syonredux

    STAR WARS universe would be more interesting if it was about empire vs empire.
     
    That would have been an interesting way to go with the new series of films......but JJ Abrams (and, one supposes, Disney) decided to simply make The Force Awakens a rehash of the first trilogy. So, plucky Rebels vs sinister Imperials, mark II....only now the Empire=Nazis stuff is turned up to 11.....

    Disney got off on a bad foot by making the first “sequel” a remake of the original “Star Wars” (OK, “A New Hope”) by just making the post-Endor future the same situation as at the start of Episode IV, with no real explanation. Its one of the few blockbuster movies I never bothered to see for myself (actually Attack of the Clones is one of the others), just because the plot made no sense whatsoever.

    However, they might handle their sort-of-prequels better, so I will give “Rogue One” a chance. But I think my daughter will like “Sing” so that goes first in the queue.

    Unless my impression of “The Force Awakens” is completely wrong, what Disney should but won’t do in the other sequels is to present that movie as a movie made within the Star Wars universe, basically treating it as the post-Endor Star Wars universe version of “Star Wars.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    The sequel-as-reboot was such a lazy and stupid idea.
    , @Jon0815

    Disney got off on a bad foot by making the first “sequel” a remake of the original “Star Wars” (OK, “A New Hope”) by just making the post-Endor future the same situation as at the start of Episode IV, with no real explanation.
     
    Yeah, they wanted to re-create the "scrappy underdog rebels vs. powerful evil empire" theme of New Hope, so the good guys in TFA are the "Resistance" even though that males absolutely no sense. And somehow the new mini-Empire has a super-weapon superior to what the Empire could build.

    The setup should have been that the Empire was never completely defeated after Endor: The rebels retook the capital city-planet and most of the galaxy, but then the war settled into a prolonged stalemate, and eventually there was an armistice that left the Empire in charge of maybe 1/3rd of its former territory. Now, 30 years post-Endor, maybe 20-years post-armistice, the New Republic is a mess, while the imperial remnant has gotten its act together again, and under the leadership of a Thrawn-esque military genius, is ready to restart the war and retake the galaxy...

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  20. @syonredux
    Let's see, the things that George Lucas put into the blender when he made Star Wars: Lee & Kirby's Fantastic Four, The Dam Busters, Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, John Ford's The Searchers, Jack Kirby's Fourth World, E. E. Smith's Lensmen series, Flash Gordon, Frank Herbert's Dune novels, .....

    Aesthetically, 2001 was a huge influence on Star Wars and pretty much every subsequent move in terms of space ship design. Before 2001, they usually had smooth surfaces. The Discovery in 2001 has all sorts of piping and other external details.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Max Deferral
    Or the Empire realized aerodynamics in space were a drain on design expenses
    , @Anon
    2001 also surely inspired DARK STAR(1974) , a send-up of sci-fi genre.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbjhPVENHEA

    Maybe Friedkin was an influence on Lucas too. Father Merrin of EXORCIST is like Ben Kenobi, and the whole series is like exorcising the demon out of Darth.
    And Friedkin's action scene in FRENCH CONNECTION was totally revolutionary and influenced later action films.

    One thing that irritates me about Jedi power. It has 007 element. It's like nothing can harm them. Luck is on their side.

    The assembly line scene in ATTACK OF CLONES is from MODERN TIMES, I think. And some Rene Clair movie.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQG6gVxq6-c

    The screwball romance element in EMPIRE seems to be from IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT and other Capra comedies.

    The gothic element could be from NOSTERATU and IVAN THE TERRIBLE, Russo-Gothic.
    Also from BATMAN.

    Trash compactor scene could be homage to KANAL.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUPB1fHv7ew

    PATTON inspire Vader?

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  21. Good point about the rayguns. I always wondered why the laser beams they shot were so slow. Also note that the sparks they produce when they hit something are just like the sparklers from 4th of July fireworks that kids play with.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Lurker
    Aren't they plasma bolts or something? Whatever they fire is clearly moving way below the speed of light, so it's not a ray or laser.
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  22. @Anon
    "Why not have a proempire movie."

    It is in a way.

    Rebels are not anti-empire. They are for their own empire.

    It's like LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.

    British Empire using Arab rebellion against German/Ottoman Empire.

    Rebels are just the other imperialists who recruit local-yokels to fight the other empire.

    I actually thought of seeing the movie but saw the trailer and it looked so damn stupid.

    STAR WARS universe would be more interesting if it was about empire vs empire. That would make for more moral complexity. Instead, we got Good vs Bad, so it's about 'democracy' vs empire, when even the political system in the prequels look pretty imperialist to me.

    British Empire was somewhere between Nazi Empire and US/Soviet Empire. It was about Anglo greatness and superiority, but the Brits could be very tolerant and even magnanimous. In contrast, Nazis only offered contempt to some of their subjects who were deemed 'subhuman'.

    The problem of radical rightist empire-building is it combines particularism and diversity. It is contradictory for the ruling power to act supremacist & arrogant over masses of diverse peoples who will be filled only with resentment.




    In contrast, the 'leftist' empire of communism and liberal-capitalism uses the rhetoric of 'human rights', and this wins over lots of collaborators who love the carrots and nice-sounding talk.

    Now, the thing about STAR WARS is that the Empire doesn't seem Nazi-like except in aesthetics. They are more like Romans. There is no ideology about the superior Vaderian race. If anything, the Empire seems to be rather tolerant of the various peoples. They will go for Carthagenean peace or Hiroshima-extremism only when necessary, but then the US dropped nukes when deemed fit. Also, the Empire seems to be the vision of a single master-mind and sorcerer than based on any ideology like Nazism was. It's about master-mind than master-race.

    So, given the rather tolerant nature of the Empire that only wants to maintain order, what is the rebellion about?

    Historically, rebellions against empires were generally nationalistic. So, Vietnamese rebelled to liberated Vietnam from the French, and Algerians rebelled to liberated Algeria from the French. Each rebellion was local and fixed in agenda.

    In contrast, there seems to be some galactic-wide rebellion in Star Wars, and we have no idea what that's about.

    And given that some of these tribes and cultures seem to be barbaric and even savage, they seem rather clueless and only got sucked into the war cuz of the 'rebel' elites who manipulated them.

    It's like Hmong in Laos were just minding their own business before the CIA got them involved against the Soviets. And the CIA also instigated Afghan villagers to take up the fight against Soviets.

    In the original STAR WARS, the rebellion was elitist. The conflict was really among the elites than between elites and the masses.
    Princess Leia, after all, is royalty. And she appeals to elite Jedis for help. And we learn in the prequel that the Jedis were part of the ruling elites. They were not part of the hoi polloi.
    There never was a people's uprising or mass rebellion in Star Wars.
    Rather, there was a inner-power-struggle among the elites. It was an elite rebellion against Palpatine who wanted it all.
    And the rebel-elites managed to rouse up collaboration from diverse folks of the empire to overthrow the Emperor.

    These diverse folks were doing just fine under imperial rule. They were 'used' by the rebel elites who wanted the power for themselves. Since the rebel elites didn't have the man-power, their trick was to fool the diverse folks into believing that the Empire was their enemy or there was something in it for them if they joined the fight. It's like Lawrence of Arabia has to fool Anthony Quinn that there is loot if they join in the fight. Of course, WWI was really about imperial elites vs imperial elites: Brits vs Germans/Ottomans.
    But of course, the ultimate power would flow to the victorious elite-rebels. The result would not be People Power.
    That is what has been rather suppressed in the Star Wars universe. The rebels are themselves Imperialists and seekers of galactic mastery. The Jedis and Leias of the world believe in elite domination and guidance. Even their 'democracy' is essentially an oligarchy of powerful elites. They just manipulate and use indigenous peoples like the British used 'Arab rebellion' to destroy the Ottoman Empire and grab the loot themselves.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjuXrK4ucrc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZdLM2ENld8

    The tragedy of Lawrence is he is both imperialist and anti-imperialist, a supreme egotist and a most selfless crusader, a poet & sophisticate and ruthless warrior. STAR WARS doesn't have that kind of complexity. Even though Lawrence of Arabia is great middlebrow work of entertainment than true art, it offers much more. So, does Dr. Zhivago, another epic about the tragedy of empire as Russia goes form Tsarist empire to the Soviet empire that uses mass power to eventually crush the masses more ruthlessly.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdSz8WsNSYY

    Indeed, it is ironic that Palpatine in ATTACK OF THE CLONES instigates mass rebellion against the ruling order. He appeals to barbaric creatures in many planets to agitate against the system behind the leadership of Count Dooku.
    And that rebellion is used as pretext for the Jedis to create an army of Nazi-like clone storm troopers to put down the rebellion.

    So, the rise of the Emperor was engineered by inciting a rebellion against the system. And it was the Jedis who initially crushed a rebellion... only to realize that they'd been had. The clone army that had been created to save the system was used against the Jedi Order in a Night of the Long Knives, and then, the Emperor Palpatine had all the power.

    https://youtu.be/3dovd1clLJ4?t=3m34s

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6aD-m7Cw84

    Star Wars would be more interesting for a lot of reasons, but getting away from Jedi as schizophrenic moral arbiters would do a lot to raise the quality of story telling.

    If a Jedi chops off someone’s hand for stealing, and then chops off someone’s hand for trying to stop the Jedi from stealing a moment later, the Jedi was right in both cases because Jedi are Always Good. Yeah there’s some hand waving about the dark side but it means nothing except when it needs to be a plot point.

    Maybe they should start by knocking off the 90 lb wunderpixie throwing around stormtroopers.

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  23. @eD
    Disney got off on a bad foot by making the first "sequel" a remake of the original "Star Wars" (OK, "A New Hope") by just making the post-Endor future the same situation as at the start of Episode IV, with no real explanation. Its one of the few blockbuster movies I never bothered to see for myself (actually Attack of the Clones is one of the others), just because the plot made no sense whatsoever.

    However, they might handle their sort-of-prequels better, so I will give "Rogue One" a chance. But I think my daughter will like "Sing" so that goes first in the queue.

    Unless my impression of "The Force Awakens" is completely wrong, what Disney should but won't do in the other sequels is to present that movie as a movie made within the Star Wars universe, basically treating it as the post-Endor Star Wars universe version of "Star Wars."

    The sequel-as-reboot was such a lazy and stupid idea.

    Read More
    • Replies: @whorefinder

    The sequel-as-reboot was such a lazy and stupid idea.
     
    Lazy, yes. And of course the grrrrl power attack with the Mary Sue Jedi does not bode well for the health of the franchise. The Force Awakens was cosplay of the originals with a diversity! cast. I'm smelling that after Grrlbusters flopped and the afterglow reviews of The Force Awakens are all critical of Mary Sue Jedi that Disney is going to look a bit harder at seeing if they can't fix that a bit.

    But let's give Disney some credit: as anticipated as the film was, Disney also had to save the franchise. The prequels had ruined a lot of the fanboi goodwill, so Disney couldn't really go out on a limb unless it was extra-perfect. As a corporate behemoth, the risk of blowing the Star Wars franchise (and thus $4 billion) on a risky first episode was too great; leave the risk to later movies, when the fanbois trust you with the series.

    Give the audience the fanboi service it craves in a comfortable story they know; then later, when the movie series has been redeemed, you can stretch them out a bit and take risks on plot, structure, etc. This is why the "risky" Star Trek movies were #2 (Spock dying) and #4 (time travel, fish out of water comedy, little space politics/violence) and the risky Indiana Jones film was #2 (Temple of Doom). The first movies of those series played it a bit safer on plot and characters, and only later did they try more.

    Hence why a sequel-as-reboot wasn't stupid.

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  24. It was better made and more entertaining than all the Star Wars movies except the original three. Much better than the one from last year or the prequels that Lucas made.

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  25. The useless armor was always a pet peeve of mine. It didn’t even protect against the arrows shot by Ewoks in Return of the Jedi.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    useless armor
     
    Pure space Nazi fashion, apparently.
    , @Anon
    "The useless armor was always a pet peeve of mine."

    Yeah, that was funny... but maybe Ewoks are sharp shooters and aimed for the soft spots between the armor paddings.

    No armor, even the best is perfect.

    https://youtu.be/cyMj66D7O_8?t=13m38s
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  26. @Clyde
    Disney paid George Lucas four billion dollars so that they owned the Star Wars franchise and could dilute it ad infinitum. George Lucas was unwilling to do, but willing to sell to someone who will.
    It pisses me off that Disney is able to spin huge money off it so easily. Star Wars sells worldwide. It is recession proof and depression proof.

    I was amazed at what they’d slap Star Wars on to merchandise. The car commercials were silly as hell but when I saw the “Collectors Edition” Gillette razors I think we are hitting peak Star Wars.

    Read More
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  27. I liked it amd hated the prequels and force awakens.

    Two longer comments eaten by validation algo

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  28. @syonredux

    STAR WARS universe would be more interesting if it was about empire vs empire.
     
    That would have been an interesting way to go with the new series of films......but JJ Abrams (and, one supposes, Disney) decided to simply make The Force Awakens a rehash of the first trilogy. So, plucky Rebels vs sinister Imperials, mark II....only now the Empire=Nazis stuff is turned up to 11.....

    So far every new movie has been about The Worst Engineering Mistake Ever or one of its spin offs.

    An original idea is too much for these people.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    So far every new movie has been about The Worst Engineering Mistake Ever or one of its spin offs.

    An original idea is too much for these people.
     
    8 Star Wars movies have been made; 4 of those films involve some kind of Death Star as a key plot element.....
    , @Dave Pinsen
    It wouldn't seem to make much sense on political or economic grounds either. If you want to terrorize other planets into submission, why not build a smaller weapon that can vaporize a city on another planet? Presumably, you wouldn't have to vaporize too many cities to compel submission, and you'd rule the planet, instead of having created an astroid field.
    , @Rod1963
    Why yes it is and as long as the proles keep paying money for tickets they'll keep making them.
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  29. @Twinkie

    And the bad guys wear armor, but it’s completely useless.
     
    Little furballs with sticks and stones defeating storm troopers with directed energy weapons and presumably high-tech body armor (from the original triology) was enough for me.

    Star Wars movies is that they are WWII being re-enacted by eight year old boys playing in their backyard.
     
    Spot on.

    The only actors who seemed vaguely familiar to me were Ip Man and the guy who is the Mexican Ben Affleck to Gael Garcia Bernal’s Mexican Matt Damon.
     
    Very droll, Mr. Sailer. Well done.

    How did you decide that Diego Luna was the Mexican Affleck while Gael Garcia Bernal was the Mexican Matt Damon rather than vice versa?

    I think Luna is taller than Garcia Bernal and he’s directed some movies.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    I think Luna is taller than Garcia Bernal and he’s directed some movies.
     
    Does this also mean that Luna has a more of a leading man look than Garcia Bernal, but is less talented as an actor and a writer?*

    *I remember seeing a Saturday Night Live clip with Affleck hosting. Gwyneth Paltrow was planted in the audience, and began a conversation with Affleck. At some point, Paltrow needled him a bit, and he replied peevishly, "Well, I did win an Oscar" (for co-writing "Good Will Hunting" I think). Paltrow retorted smartly, "Yeah, but Matt [Damon] wrote most of that script."
    , @father o'hara
    You want a Mexican.you go for Danny Trejo.
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  30. OT but maybe Trump will be know as the President who put US boots on the ground on Israel and actually makes Holocaust denial a crime? But then you yahoos elected him.

    Read More
    • Replies: @TWS
    Yes, of course because he is already kowtowing to them.
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  31. @Clyde
    Disney paid George Lucas four billion dollars so that they owned the Star Wars franchise and could dilute it ad infinitum. George Lucas was unwilling to do, but willing to sell to someone who will.
    It pisses me off that Disney is able to spin huge money off it so easily. Star Wars sells worldwide. It is recession proof and depression proof.

    Lucas’s ego was ripped apart by both the fanboi reaction to the prequels (booo) AND the Mr. Plinkett takedown. He became resigned to selling the franchise after that.

    And, for those of you thinking , “Oh yeah, a movie review, sure,” Lucas said he stayed off the internet for 15 years following the bad critical reaction to the prequels: http://furiousfanboys.com/2015/11/the-internet-bullied-george-lucas-away-from-star-wars/.

    And Mr. Plinkett’s reviews were so awesomely devastating and encompassing, no less than Roger Ebert praised them: http://www.rogerebert.com/balder-and-dash/revenge-on-revenge-of-the-sith

    Lucas was shocked that, after holding the nation in a state of waiting for twenty years, the reaction to his films wasn’t overwhelming joy and praise, but disappointment and insults. One thinks of a young girl making her boyfriend wait…and wait….wait to have sex with her, hoping to drive him wild with excitement, and then, after giving it to him, having him be less than enthused and critical of her bedroom moves.

    It turns out Lucas wasn’t the genius-filmmaker he thought he was. And that broke his ego. But he was stills stubbornly holding on to the franchise, out of spite and a sincere belief that he was the only one good enough for it, and a distant hope that later reevaluation would save his legacy. Then Plinkett started another round of even more painful, more cutting reviews (on YouTube by a host of people who had seen the prequels as children and teenagers) a decade later, and Lucas gave up the ghost. He still thinks he’s a genius and the prequels are true art (chiastic structure and all that), but he can’t stand the painful onslaught anymore and sought a competent corporation to franchise the franchise and make decent movies to wipe away the old, funny bad reviews.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    What takedown?

    Plinkett is atrocious and boring. Totally asinine.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYWAHuFbLoc&t=1647s

    , @Clyde
    First I have heard about Mr. Plinkett and his reviews. I will have to take a look and probably get some laughs at George Lucas's expense.
    Lol.... I see Plinkett put out commentary tracks for a few Star Wars movies. What a way to take down a movie you despise. No wonder Lucas threw in the towel.
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  32. @Dave Pinsen
    The sequel-as-reboot was such a lazy and stupid idea.

    The sequel-as-reboot was such a lazy and stupid idea.

    Lazy, yes. And of course the grrrrl power attack with the Mary Sue Jedi does not bode well for the health of the franchise. The Force Awakens was cosplay of the originals with a diversity! cast. I’m smelling that after Grrlbusters flopped and the afterglow reviews of The Force Awakens are all critical of Mary Sue Jedi that Disney is going to look a bit harder at seeing if they can’t fix that a bit.

    But let’s give Disney some credit: as anticipated as the film was, Disney also had to save the franchise. The prequels had ruined a lot of the fanboi goodwill, so Disney couldn’t really go out on a limb unless it was extra-perfect. As a corporate behemoth, the risk of blowing the Star Wars franchise (and thus $4 billion) on a risky first episode was too great; leave the risk to later movies, when the fanbois trust you with the series.

    Give the audience the fanboi service it craves in a comfortable story they know; then later, when the movie series has been redeemed, you can stretch them out a bit and take risks on plot, structure, etc. This is why the “risky” Star Trek movies were #2 (Spock dying) and #4 (time travel, fish out of water comedy, little space politics/violence) and the risky Indiana Jones film was #2 (Temple of Doom). The first movies of those series played it a bit safer on plot and characters, and only later did they try more.

    Hence why a sequel-as-reboot wasn’t stupid.

    Read More
    • Agree: EdwardM
    • Replies: @CAL
    I disagree. All they did was push the pressure onto the second film. Except for the fanboi's, most people are pretty tepid over The Force Awakens and seem to have the, "The second movie had better be an improvement," attitude. The Phantom Menace trajectory of opinion was the same. A few people saying it was bad, and a lot of initial it was great reaction. That settled into an it was meh by the time the next film rolled around. And I don't think Rogue One is going to help things. Right now, Disney seems to think Star Wars is another princess franchise in space.

    The first Star Trek film didn't play it safe. It was considered a pretty risky concept film. Had it been a non-Trek film, there never would have been another. The Wrath of Kahn was actually the safer, far lower budget film, that hit it big because the story and characters mattered more than the effects.

    Temple of Doom wasn't risky. It was just a hit and miss sequel.

    Star Wars was always a throw back to the Sands of Iwo Jima type film. There are good guys and there are bad guys. There is a little sorrow/introspection but nothing too deep and the good guys are going to win in the end.

    Lucas got a big head for the prequels. He needed someone to tell him no or at least someone able to argue with him to the point that he said "Fine do it your way," from time to time. He isn't a talentless hack though. Like most creative people, he does need someone to reign him in and control his worse instincts.
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  33. @Dave Pinsen
    The useless armor was always a pet peeve of mine. It didn't even protect against the arrows shot by Ewoks in Return of the Jedi.

    useless armor

    Pure space Nazi fashion, apparently.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    Armors through the ages were never very effective against lethal weapons. They were mostly for protection against minor threats and secondary blows.

    Stormtrooper suits are for preventing bruises and cuts, not fending off laser blasts.

    In our time, body armor may stop conventional bullets but nothing stronger.

    They got far more deadly weapons in Star Wars universe.
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  34. @Dave Pinsen
    Aesthetically, 2001 was a huge influence on Star Wars and pretty much every subsequent move in terms of space ship design. Before 2001, they usually had smooth surfaces. The Discovery in 2001 has all sorts of piping and other external details.

    Or the Empire realized aerodynamics in space were a drain on design expenses

    Read More
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  35. Saw it Saturday with one other old guy in the theater. No cool Star Wars Bestiary critters, no cool flying cars. I’d say they were saving money on CGI- Disney won’t get rich off this movie. The girl is allowed to have a pretty face, and not be strainy-face like the last movie, though of course they never let her flirt. She isn’t dressed as badly as the last movie either- there’s even one brief shot of the secret plans jiggling on her buttocks they didn’t bother to delete. It’s not like any guy in the movie ever checks her out. Jabba the Hutt and Princess Leia had more sexual tension than anyone in a Star Wars movie since.

    Wimpy Death Star- interstellar civilization has a tactical nuke, big wow. Stupid failures of scale in space travel and space battles, but in a cartoon it’s more a missed opportunity than an active annoyance. Everyone stands up when they shoot, but as Steve says, eight year olds.

    Stupid stick fights. Yip whatsit’s stick fighting isn’t as ridiculous as the girl’s, but he does not want this movie seen in Hong Kong. For the love of God, Montresor- use magic swords for magic! Magic and magic swords go together great. Magic and superscience go together great. Sticks against guns? No.

    The ‘unlikely band of heroes’ stuff must be good committee meeting politics, but you need main characters in a story. The girl is spastic in emergencies, abandons a comrade under fire without a care, expects everyone else to sacrifice everything for her, and spends the movie making speeches about other people’s moral failures. Feminists on the net are saying she’s their hero.

    Good points: I liked the good guys all having bog-trotter accents. I like seeing big-budget space opera, and this is far enough from the first two, the good Star Wars, that it doesn’t annoy me like the last one. If I needed a bland movie for kids, maybe. Everyone dies, so I could tell them it’s deep and stuff.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    "The girl is allowed to have a pretty face, and not be strainy-face like the last movie, though of course they never let her flirt."

    NAUSICAA has a nice young heroine, and Miyazaki followed it up with his masterpiece LAPUTA.

    Sadl, Miyazaki's been downhill since MONONOKE.

    The girl thing sells apparently. Look at success of HUNGER GAMES.

    Some say HOG WON is 'serious' and like it for that reason. A real war movie.

    But is that the right approach for this material?

    I thought first HUNGER GAMES was fun as light action-satire.

    But second one took itself so seriously. I couldn't stand it.
    , @Anon
    "Stupid stick fights. Yip whatsit’s stick fighting isn’t as ridiculous as the girl’s, but he does not want this movie seen in Hong Kong. For the love of God, Montresor- use magic swords for magic! Magic and magic swords go together great. Magic and superscience go together great. Sticks against guns? No."

    Blind Swordsman... that's more Japanese Zatoichi.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J63nlFeFnoA

    "Feminists on the net are saying she’s their hero."

    More armor, less amour.

    But she's just a girl.

    300 RISE OF EMPIRE is a garish piece of trash, but Artemesia and the Spartan queen were truly impressive. Eva Green looks like Jeanne Moreau. Though most of the movie is tarded, it does have some Cecil-B-Digital moments of grandeur. (But the sex scene made no sense. His name is Thermistocles, not Testistocles)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUDoKCV-kOQ
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  36. @Steve Sailer
    I think Luna is taller than Garcia Bernal and he's directed some movies.

    I think Luna is taller than Garcia Bernal and he’s directed some movies.

    Does this also mean that Luna has a more of a leading man look than Garcia Bernal, but is less talented as an actor and a writer?*

    *I remember seeing a Saturday Night Live clip with Affleck hosting. Gwyneth Paltrow was planted in the audience, and began a conversation with Affleck. At some point, Paltrow needled him a bit, and he replied peevishly, “Well, I did win an Oscar” (for co-writing “Good Will Hunting” I think). Paltrow retorted smartly, “Yeah, but Matt [Damon] wrote most of that script.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @whorefinder

    I remember seeing a Saturday Night Live clip with Affleck hosting. Gwyneth Paltrow was planted in the audience, and began a conversation with Affleck.
     
    Sadly, after breaking up with Paltrow, Affleck didn't learn his lesson about extremely-public affairs. His Paltrow publicity annoyed a lot of people (as you point out, this is where people began to claim that Damon was the brains behind the duo), and then he doubled-down on it with J'Lo, effectively killing off his acting career for a decade. Everyone likes an underdog, fresh-faced success unless you start shoving your success and Hollywood gfs in everyone's face in every tabloid.

    Damon, in contrast, made an initial error by hooking up with Minnie Driver during the filming of Good Will Hunting and having it get out to the press, but broke up with her before the Oscars that year, resulting in a heartbreaking shot of a pining Minnie looking on from the audience as Matt & Ben gave their acceptance speech---and it was Affleck, not Damon, who thanked Driver from the stage.

    After that, Damon kept his dating profile much lower, eventually (and stupidly) marrying a single mom bartender he met at a club. But by not shoving his love life into the public eye, he kept the public on his side, and during Affleck's lost decade Damon was a bankable star.

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  37. @Anon
    "Why not have a proempire movie."

    It is in a way.

    Rebels are not anti-empire. They are for their own empire.

    It's like LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.

    British Empire using Arab rebellion against German/Ottoman Empire.

    Rebels are just the other imperialists who recruit local-yokels to fight the other empire.

    I actually thought of seeing the movie but saw the trailer and it looked so damn stupid.

    STAR WARS universe would be more interesting if it was about empire vs empire. That would make for more moral complexity. Instead, we got Good vs Bad, so it's about 'democracy' vs empire, when even the political system in the prequels look pretty imperialist to me.

    British Empire was somewhere between Nazi Empire and US/Soviet Empire. It was about Anglo greatness and superiority, but the Brits could be very tolerant and even magnanimous. In contrast, Nazis only offered contempt to some of their subjects who were deemed 'subhuman'.

    The problem of radical rightist empire-building is it combines particularism and diversity. It is contradictory for the ruling power to act supremacist & arrogant over masses of diverse peoples who will be filled only with resentment.




    In contrast, the 'leftist' empire of communism and liberal-capitalism uses the rhetoric of 'human rights', and this wins over lots of collaborators who love the carrots and nice-sounding talk.

    Now, the thing about STAR WARS is that the Empire doesn't seem Nazi-like except in aesthetics. They are more like Romans. There is no ideology about the superior Vaderian race. If anything, the Empire seems to be rather tolerant of the various peoples. They will go for Carthagenean peace or Hiroshima-extremism only when necessary, but then the US dropped nukes when deemed fit. Also, the Empire seems to be the vision of a single master-mind and sorcerer than based on any ideology like Nazism was. It's about master-mind than master-race.

    So, given the rather tolerant nature of the Empire that only wants to maintain order, what is the rebellion about?

    Historically, rebellions against empires were generally nationalistic. So, Vietnamese rebelled to liberated Vietnam from the French, and Algerians rebelled to liberated Algeria from the French. Each rebellion was local and fixed in agenda.

    In contrast, there seems to be some galactic-wide rebellion in Star Wars, and we have no idea what that's about.

    And given that some of these tribes and cultures seem to be barbaric and even savage, they seem rather clueless and only got sucked into the war cuz of the 'rebel' elites who manipulated them.

    It's like Hmong in Laos were just minding their own business before the CIA got them involved against the Soviets. And the CIA also instigated Afghan villagers to take up the fight against Soviets.

    In the original STAR WARS, the rebellion was elitist. The conflict was really among the elites than between elites and the masses.
    Princess Leia, after all, is royalty. And she appeals to elite Jedis for help. And we learn in the prequel that the Jedis were part of the ruling elites. They were not part of the hoi polloi.
    There never was a people's uprising or mass rebellion in Star Wars.
    Rather, there was a inner-power-struggle among the elites. It was an elite rebellion against Palpatine who wanted it all.
    And the rebel-elites managed to rouse up collaboration from diverse folks of the empire to overthrow the Emperor.

    These diverse folks were doing just fine under imperial rule. They were 'used' by the rebel elites who wanted the power for themselves. Since the rebel elites didn't have the man-power, their trick was to fool the diverse folks into believing that the Empire was their enemy or there was something in it for them if they joined the fight. It's like Lawrence of Arabia has to fool Anthony Quinn that there is loot if they join in the fight. Of course, WWI was really about imperial elites vs imperial elites: Brits vs Germans/Ottomans.
    But of course, the ultimate power would flow to the victorious elite-rebels. The result would not be People Power.
    That is what has been rather suppressed in the Star Wars universe. The rebels are themselves Imperialists and seekers of galactic mastery. The Jedis and Leias of the world believe in elite domination and guidance. Even their 'democracy' is essentially an oligarchy of powerful elites. They just manipulate and use indigenous peoples like the British used 'Arab rebellion' to destroy the Ottoman Empire and grab the loot themselves.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjuXrK4ucrc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZdLM2ENld8

    The tragedy of Lawrence is he is both imperialist and anti-imperialist, a supreme egotist and a most selfless crusader, a poet & sophisticate and ruthless warrior. STAR WARS doesn't have that kind of complexity. Even though Lawrence of Arabia is great middlebrow work of entertainment than true art, it offers much more. So, does Dr. Zhivago, another epic about the tragedy of empire as Russia goes form Tsarist empire to the Soviet empire that uses mass power to eventually crush the masses more ruthlessly.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdSz8WsNSYY

    Indeed, it is ironic that Palpatine in ATTACK OF THE CLONES instigates mass rebellion against the ruling order. He appeals to barbaric creatures in many planets to agitate against the system behind the leadership of Count Dooku.
    And that rebellion is used as pretext for the Jedis to create an army of Nazi-like clone storm troopers to put down the rebellion.

    So, the rise of the Emperor was engineered by inciting a rebellion against the system. And it was the Jedis who initially crushed a rebellion... only to realize that they'd been had. The clone army that had been created to save the system was used against the Jedi Order in a Night of the Long Knives, and then, the Emperor Palpatine had all the power.

    https://youtu.be/3dovd1clLJ4?t=3m34s

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6aD-m7Cw84

    STAR WARS universe would be more interesting if it was about empire vs empire.

    We already have those movies. They are called “Star Trek.”

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    • Replies: @Anon
    "They are called 'Star Trek.'"

    Gorn is nobody's idea of imperial power.
    , @wren
    Looks like we are getting a new version of the TV series in a few months.

    I will probably skip that altogether, but have been considering watching "The Expanse" when I have time.

    I couldn't get a single family member to go to start wars with me, and friends weren't really interested either, so Disney is not quite doing something right.

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  38. @Jack Hanson
    So far every new movie has been about The Worst Engineering Mistake Ever or one of its spin offs.

    An original idea is too much for these people.

    So far every new movie has been about The Worst Engineering Mistake Ever or one of its spin offs.

    An original idea is too much for these people.

    8 Star Wars movies have been made; 4 of those films involve some kind of Death Star as a key plot element…..

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  39. “…the rays only travel about as fast as a dodgeball…”

    Actually, it’s much weirder than that. Not only do these energy weapons fire bolts that travel far less than light-speed, the speed that they travel is apparently determined by screen size. Hence, relative to the movie screen, the bolts that travel between two humanoids is the same as the speed it would travel between two of the colossal battle ships, and is even nearly the same as the speed it would travel between the deathstar and an entire planet!

    Two other odd things about the Star Wars universe:

    1) All sentient species are either very humanoid (if not in fact outright exactly human), or they’re rather non-humanoid (tho still vertebrate-like).

    2) We see nothing of the vast industrial infrastructure that would be needed to build those colossal battleships (to say nothing of the deathstar!). Quite the opposite: most of the worlds we see seem rather impoverished and backwards, with the advanced technology presumably imported from off-world.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Actually, the second point is not that odd. Many scientists and technologists believe that once access to space becomes easy, most industry and even agriculture would move off the surface of the planet and be done in space because of the zero gravity, solar energy, and raw materials (asteroids) there.
    , @Pericles

    Hence, relative to the movie screen, the bolts that travel between two humanoids is the same as the speed it would travel between two of the colossal battle ships

     

    This surely has to do with (shot) frame of reference.
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  40. @Twinkie

    And the bad guys wear armor, but it’s completely useless.
     
    Little furballs with sticks and stones defeating storm troopers with directed energy weapons and presumably high-tech body armor (from the original triology) was enough for me.

    Star Wars movies is that they are WWII being re-enacted by eight year old boys playing in their backyard.
     
    Spot on.

    The only actors who seemed vaguely familiar to me were Ip Man and the guy who is the Mexican Ben Affleck to Gael Garcia Bernal’s Mexican Matt Damon.
     
    Very droll, Mr. Sailer. Well done.

    How did you decide that Diego Luna was the Mexican Affleck while Gael Garcia Bernal was the Mexican Matt Damon rather than vice versa?

    Little furballs with sticks and stones defeating storm troopers with directed energy weapons and presumably high-tech body armor (from the original triology) was enough for me.

    I’m pretty sure that the Ewoks-taking-the-Storm-Troopers was George Lucas-the-hippie giving a Vietnam dig, where the supposedly rag-tag, smaller Vietcong gave headaches to the big, heavily-equipped, armored U.S. (ignoring how the U.S. troops won a ton in Vietnam and how the Vietcong were supplied by the bigger communist countries of the time) And also about the communist guerillas around the world overcoming the supposed odds to beat “professional armies.”

    But let’s be serious that every movie involving a large military/security force has a certain number of stupid-red-Star-Trek-guys to die in needlessly avoidable ways in order to either show how formidable the opponents are. So long as it’s not too head scratching at the moment, I generally give that pass.

    It can be done both to show off the abilities of the opponent while still allowing the red-guys to display courage and resourcefulness. The Man of Steel movie, for example, had the U.S. military guys hopelessly outgunned/outpowered by the super-powered, super-technologically advanced Kryptonians, yet had the U.S. military continuously either trying new maneuvers (when they realized the last maneuver failed) or else be willing to bravely dying at the hands of the Kyptonian without crawling (Chris Merloni’s character, who actually dies taking them down).

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    • Replies: @syonredux

    or else be willing to bravely dying at the hands of the Kyptonian without crawling (Chris Merloni’s character, who actually dies taking them down).
     
    Love how the Kryptonian gal just stares and does nothing while Meloni seals their fate. Guess that super-speed only works when the director wants it to.....
    , @Lurker
    Star Wars/RotJ is of it's post-Vietnam time in that respect. Thru the 70s left/libs knew deep down that poor little brown folks (Ewoks) could defeat big bad whitey (Empire). Terrorists, rebels, guerillas were invincible. As a kid perhaps I was beguiled by that too?

    I'm not sure when that began to change? Raid on Entebbe in '76, maybe just a one-off? But then the London Iranian embassy siege in '80? Then Grenada, Panama and Desert Storm. I think something in the left/libs died after all that. The automatic assumption of non-white military superiority was gone.
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  41. @Jack Hanson
    So far every new movie has been about The Worst Engineering Mistake Ever or one of its spin offs.

    An original idea is too much for these people.

    It wouldn’t seem to make much sense on political or economic grounds either. If you want to terrorize other planets into submission, why not build a smaller weapon that can vaporize a city on another planet? Presumably, you wouldn’t have to vaporize too many cities to compel submission, and you’d rule the planet, instead of having created an astroid field.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    At age 16, I already questioned why the Empire, facing guerrilla warfare, built the equivalent of nukes. They should've built many more star destroyers and TIE fighters instead. (The guerrillas had huge spaceships, too, so smaller ships wouldn't have cut it.)
    , @Jon0815

    It wouldn’t seem to make much sense on political or economic grounds either. If you want to terrorize other planets into submission, why not build a smaller weapon that can vaporize a city on another planet? Presumably, you wouldn’t have to vaporize too many cities to compel submission, and you’d rule the planet, instead of having created an astroid field.
     
    The energy required to literally blow up a planet is something like 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 times greater than the amount required to completely annihilate every square mile of a planet's surface. So a planet-destroying weapon seems like a ridiculous waste of resources.
    , @Mr. Anon
    I didn't see the movie, and I'm not going to. So perhaps someone can tell me: did they manage to recycle the hackey line "I've got a bad feeling about this.", which seems to be in every Star Wars movie.
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  42. Well if iSteve snuck in, that would make him part of the Rebel Alliance.
    Having avoided Ep.7, I was wary about this, but it was tolerable. The expectation was for forgettable, one dimensional characters, redeemed by a darker Empire Strikes Back adult scifi tone….this was mostly true.
    They managed to avoid the more egregious Ewok/Jar Jar Binks syrup that plagued Ep 1, 2, 3 & 6. The storm trooper body armor does seem laughably ineffective….perhaps good for shielding against sunburn, or kids throwing pebbles?

    If nothing else, Rouge Uno had decent CGI, and other dazzling effects. Moff Tarkin and the Young Leia were plausible, and not too pixelated.
    Agreed with another poster that the first 30 minutes were also solid.

    I would be interested in your take on 3 other recent movies:
    -Manchester By the Sea
    -Passengers
    -Dr. Strange

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I liked Dr. Strange while watching it:

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/doctor-strange/

    But six weeks later I don't remember much of it.

    , @Rob II
    I though Cushing was CGI'd superbly well, and Fisher (RIP) rather badly. Perhaps they had blown the budget by the time it got to doing her scene.
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  43. @Twinkie

    I think Luna is taller than Garcia Bernal and he’s directed some movies.
     
    Does this also mean that Luna has a more of a leading man look than Garcia Bernal, but is less talented as an actor and a writer?*

    *I remember seeing a Saturday Night Live clip with Affleck hosting. Gwyneth Paltrow was planted in the audience, and began a conversation with Affleck. At some point, Paltrow needled him a bit, and he replied peevishly, "Well, I did win an Oscar" (for co-writing "Good Will Hunting" I think). Paltrow retorted smartly, "Yeah, but Matt [Damon] wrote most of that script."

    I remember seeing a Saturday Night Live clip with Affleck hosting. Gwyneth Paltrow was planted in the audience, and began a conversation with Affleck.

    Sadly, after breaking up with Paltrow, Affleck didn’t learn his lesson about extremely-public affairs. His Paltrow publicity annoyed a lot of people (as you point out, this is where people began to claim that Damon was the brains behind the duo), and then he doubled-down on it with J’Lo, effectively killing off his acting career for a decade. Everyone likes an underdog, fresh-faced success unless you start shoving your success and Hollywood gfs in everyone’s face in every tabloid.

    Damon, in contrast, made an initial error by hooking up with Minnie Driver during the filming of Good Will Hunting and having it get out to the press, but broke up with her before the Oscars that year, resulting in a heartbreaking shot of a pining Minnie looking on from the audience as Matt & Ben gave their acceptance speech—and it was Affleck, not Damon, who thanked Driver from the stage.

    After that, Damon kept his dating profile much lower, eventually (and stupidly) marrying a single mom bartender he met at a club. But by not shoving his love life into the public eye, he kept the public on his side, and during Affleck’s lost decade Damon was a bankable star.

    Read More
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  44. @whorefinder

    Little furballs with sticks and stones defeating storm troopers with directed energy weapons and presumably high-tech body armor (from the original triology) was enough for me.
     
    I'm pretty sure that the Ewoks-taking-the-Storm-Troopers was George Lucas-the-hippie giving a Vietnam dig, where the supposedly rag-tag, smaller Vietcong gave headaches to the big, heavily-equipped, armored U.S. (ignoring how the U.S. troops won a ton in Vietnam and how the Vietcong were supplied by the bigger communist countries of the time) And also about the communist guerillas around the world overcoming the supposed odds to beat "professional armies."

    But let's be serious that every movie involving a large military/security force has a certain number of stupid-red-Star-Trek-guys to die in needlessly avoidable ways in order to either show how formidable the opponents are. So long as it's not too head scratching at the moment, I generally give that pass.

    It can be done both to show off the abilities of the opponent while still allowing the red-guys to display courage and resourcefulness. The Man of Steel movie, for example, had the U.S. military guys hopelessly outgunned/outpowered by the super-powered, super-technologically advanced Kryptonians, yet had the U.S. military continuously either trying new maneuvers (when they realized the last maneuver failed) or else be willing to bravely dying at the hands of the Kyptonian without crawling (Chris Merloni's character, who actually dies taking them down).

    or else be willing to bravely dying at the hands of the Kyptonian without crawling (Chris Merloni’s character, who actually dies taking them down).

    Love how the Kryptonian gal just stares and does nothing while Meloni seals their fate. Guess that super-speed only works when the director wants it to…..

    Read More
    • Replies: @whorefinder
    IIRC, I don't think she knew exactly what Merloni was about to do, perhaps thinking it was just another attempt by him to use the ineffective earth bullets and explosions on her, so she didn't quite have the urge to use super-speed right then, not knowing she was in danger.

    Or it could be she didn't have quite the limitless super-speed abilities at that point. One reason that Superman can fight Zod so well in the film, despite the latter's years of military training and genetic selection for violence, is that Superman has spent a lifetime soaking up the yellow sun, while Zod has only spent a brief time soaking it in. As a result, Superman has a lot more super-charged energy in reserve to fight, negating Zod's more efficient techniques, strategy, and physical capabilities.

    But then again, perhaps I'm overthinking this.

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  45. @CrunchybutRealistCon
    Well if iSteve snuck in, that would make him part of the Rebel Alliance.
    Having avoided Ep.7, I was wary about this, but it was tolerable. The expectation was for forgettable, one dimensional characters, redeemed by a darker Empire Strikes Back adult scifi tone....this was mostly true.
    They managed to avoid the more egregious Ewok/Jar Jar Binks syrup that plagued Ep 1, 2, 3 & 6. The storm trooper body armor does seem laughably ineffective....perhaps good for shielding against sunburn, or kids throwing pebbles?

    If nothing else, Rouge Uno had decent CGI, and other dazzling effects. Moff Tarkin and the Young Leia were plausible, and not too pixelated.
    Agreed with another poster that the first 30 minutes were also solid.

    I would be interested in your take on 3 other recent movies:
    -Manchester By the Sea
    -Passengers
    -Dr. Strange

    I liked Dr. Strange while watching it:

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/doctor-strange/

    But six weeks later I don’t remember much of it.

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    • Replies: @whorefinder
    Most of the Marvel movies are pretty forgettable but enjoyable at the moment. Classic popcorn movies, serial-like. A young George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are watching those films with glee right now as ten years old and in thirty years will create big-budget homage movies to them that will dwarf every superhero movie today in depth and ability.

    As one friend put it, "I can't remember who Iron Man even fought in any of his movies, but I liked them all."

    , @Yep
    Well it was an acid trip of a movie.
    , @BB753
    Admit it, Steve, you took a nap during the film! Lol!
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  46. @Steve Sailer
    I liked Dr. Strange while watching it:

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/doctor-strange/

    But six weeks later I don't remember much of it.

    Most of the Marvel movies are pretty forgettable but enjoyable at the moment. Classic popcorn movies, serial-like. A young George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are watching those films with glee right now as ten years old and in thirty years will create big-budget homage movies to them that will dwarf every superhero movie today in depth and ability.

    As one friend put it, “I can’t remember who Iron Man even fought in any of his movies, but I liked them all.”

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    • Agree: Abe
    • Replies: @eD
    "Most of the Marvel movies are pretty forgettable but enjoyable at the moment. Classic popcorn movies, serial-like"

    Its also a Disney problem, which carries over to the new "Star Wars" movies. Disney has gotten very good at making well-put together, entertaining, and forgettable middlebrow movies.

    One interesting thing about the Marvel movies is that the best and the most memorable one, the first Iron Man, was not a Disney movie. The others are good (most of them), but except for maybe "Winter Solider" tend to blend in with each other. I didn't like the Ang Lee Hulk movie but I remember it, I remember little about the less flawed other one.

    Its been pointed out that Lucas was taking risks and trying to do new stuff in his prequels, but they didn't pan out. Warner Brothers has been taking risks in its DC movies, and they always get (unjustifiably) panned, but the three we have gotten so far have been memorable.
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  47. Steve is right, Rogue One and all the preceeding Star Wars are essentially a rehash of 1940′s WWII propaganda movies as seen through a child’s POV. Everything about them has a 1940′s feel to them. Replete with bad guy with a death ray cannon. Lots of stooges and mindless minions who can’t shoot straight, good guys who never break a sweat or get hurt.

    From a hard sci-fi fan’s POV – Lucas was and is a disaster for sci-fi, the fatso from Modesto ruined it. He lowered the bar to the Marianas Trench. None of Star Wars ever made sense and no one would ever trust a bunch of boring monks with glowing swords to police the republic. Storm Troopers whose only reason for existence is to be shot by the rebels. If anything they remind me of the WWII movies where the Japanese and Nazis are portrayed as imbeciles blindly charging into American weapon fire. Even when I saw the first Star Wars as a kid at the drive in, it bothered me.

    Oh yeah then there are the X-Wings, first they were short range fighters, but in the Empire Strikes back they can travel interstellar distances near instantaneously. Nothing was ever coherent in the movies.

    The scary thing is, is that people seem to have unlimited appetite for this sort of schlock as long as it’s loaded with cheesy CGI, minimal plot and character development. Like Prometheus or the Star Trek reboots.

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    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    The scary thing is, is that people seem to have unlimited appetite for this sort of schlock as long as it’s loaded with cheesy CGI, minimal plot and character development. Like Prometheus or the Star Trek reboots.
     
    Understandable, as this 'schlock' is the only entertainment yet available that doesn't feature gays, rape, mindless sex, mindless violence and other soul-sucking modern degeneracy.
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  48. @Twinkie

    STAR WARS universe would be more interesting if it was about empire vs empire.
     
    We already have those movies. They are called "Star Trek."

    “They are called ‘Star Trek.’”

    Gorn is nobody’s idea of imperial power.

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    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    Could they make a movie about Gorn? Doubtful, unless it was porn.
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  49. @syonredux

    or else be willing to bravely dying at the hands of the Kyptonian without crawling (Chris Merloni’s character, who actually dies taking them down).
     
    Love how the Kryptonian gal just stares and does nothing while Meloni seals their fate. Guess that super-speed only works when the director wants it to.....

    IIRC, I don’t think she knew exactly what Merloni was about to do, perhaps thinking it was just another attempt by him to use the ineffective earth bullets and explosions on her, so she didn’t quite have the urge to use super-speed right then, not knowing she was in danger.

    Or it could be she didn’t have quite the limitless super-speed abilities at that point. One reason that Superman can fight Zod so well in the film, despite the latter’s years of military training and genetic selection for violence, is that Superman has spent a lifetime soaking up the yellow sun, while Zod has only spent a brief time soaking it in. As a result, Superman has a lot more super-charged energy in reserve to fight, negating Zod’s more efficient techniques, strategy, and physical capabilities.

    But then again, perhaps I’m overthinking this.

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    • Replies: @syonredux

    But then again, perhaps I’m overthinking this.
     
    I would go with that option. Super-speed in Man of Steel only works when it suits the plot.
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  50. @Twinkie

    Frank Herbert’s Dune novels
     
    That's "War and Peace" compared to Star Wars.

    Didn’t read the book but the Lynch movie is more like warts and piss.

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    • Replies: @syonredux

    Didn’t read the book but the Lynch movie is more like warts and piss.
     
    Good set design, though.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Looks like Lynch ran out of money while making it, but it's an unfairly criticized movie. Maybe half of it was crap, but in the other half, there were some brilliant, memorable scenes .

    I've read all the Dune books by Frank Herbert. Sort of like with Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey series, he ran out of story before he stopped writing them.
    , @Twinkie

    Didn’t read the book but the Lynch movie is more like warts and piss.
     
    The movie was a mess, and exposed Lynch's idiosyncracies more than the greatness of the book. But it had some beautiful moments, many of which were cut in the theatrical release, but restored in various recut versions (with the fake name "Alan Smithee" as the director as Lynch refused to sign off on the recuts).

    And here and there, it captured some essence of the film: https://youtu.be/QrCfivcQe48

    https://youtu.be/WCbR0wZWJxQ

    https://youtu.be/yJyTZdgzdsU

    There are scenes of the ocean (Caladan) and the desert (Arrakis) that are quite cinematic. The actor Patrick Stewart who played Gurney Halleck (and later became famous as Captain Picard and Professor X) spoke of how beautiful the desert was.

    In any case, the first three novels were quite good. Dense but a completely fleshed out mythological world (a distant future) complete with a complex system of government, religion, economy, ecology, etc. It was and remains a sci-fi masterpiece.
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  51. @Jack Hanson
    So far every new movie has been about The Worst Engineering Mistake Ever or one of its spin offs.

    An original idea is too much for these people.

    Why yes it is and as long as the proles keep paying money for tickets they’ll keep making them.

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  52. @syonredux
    Let's see, the things that George Lucas put into the blender when he made Star Wars: Lee & Kirby's Fantastic Four, The Dam Busters, Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, John Ford's The Searchers, Jack Kirby's Fourth World, E. E. Smith's Lensmen series, Flash Gordon, Frank Herbert's Dune novels, .....

    NEW LAND has a snow scene that might have inspired Lucas in EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
    In the blizzard, the father kills the bull, slits its belly, and stuffs his son inside for warmth.

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    • Replies: @ganderson
    Speaking of Det Nya Landet: Is Max Von Sydow in any of the Star Wars movies?
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  53. @Twinkie

    STAR WARS universe would be more interesting if it was about empire vs empire.
     
    We already have those movies. They are called "Star Trek."

    Looks like we are getting a new version of the TV series in a few months.

    I will probably skip that altogether, but have been considering watching “The Expanse” when I have time.

    I couldn’t get a single family member to go to start wars with me, and friends weren’t really interested either, so Disney is not quite doing something right.

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    • Replies: @wren
    The commander will be Sonequa Martin-Green in the next Star Trek.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonequa_Martin-Green

    Maybe it will be good after all, who knows?
    , @jim jones
    The Expanse is proper SciFi, definitely worth watching
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  54. The Star Wars Universe would make a lot of sense recast as the Russian Revolution, with the Rebels as Tsarists and the Empire those who stepped in to ‘fix’ the broken system that was oppressing galactic peasants, but then turned into an oppressor on its own. The ending should be like the real Russian Civil War: because the White Guard didn’t have a coherent ideology except ‘let’s return to the old system!’ they couldn’t get support despite early victories, and were torn apart by divisions between groups who really had no reason to cooperate once WWI was over. Just because the Rebels blew up the death star and kept a few worlds out in Siberia and Cossack-stan doesn’t mean they beat the Empire.

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  55. @wren
    Looks like we are getting a new version of the TV series in a few months.

    I will probably skip that altogether, but have been considering watching "The Expanse" when I have time.

    I couldn't get a single family member to go to start wars with me, and friends weren't really interested either, so Disney is not quite doing something right.

    The commander will be Sonequa Martin-Green in the next Star Trek.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonequa_Martin-Green

    Maybe it will be good after all, who knows?

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    • Replies: @wren
    Well, this is not encouraging.

    http://hellogiggles.com/sonequa-martin-green-star-lead-star-trek-discovery/


    Rumor has it that execs set out on an intentional search to find a woman of color to play the lead in the Star Trek series reboot, which ultimately led them to straight to Sonequa!

    Co-creator and former showrunner Bryan Fuller described the role of Lt. Cmdr. Rainsford as a “sensitive her.” And by the looks of Rainsford’s high rank, we can bet that she’s definitely going to be badass too!

    The actress, who just gave birth to a baby boy with hubby and TWD costar Kenric Green, will be busier than ever in the coming months. The new CBS series is set to premiere in May distributed by Netflix in over 188 countries!
     

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  56. @whorefinder
    IIRC, I don't think she knew exactly what Merloni was about to do, perhaps thinking it was just another attempt by him to use the ineffective earth bullets and explosions on her, so she didn't quite have the urge to use super-speed right then, not knowing she was in danger.

    Or it could be she didn't have quite the limitless super-speed abilities at that point. One reason that Superman can fight Zod so well in the film, despite the latter's years of military training and genetic selection for violence, is that Superman has spent a lifetime soaking up the yellow sun, while Zod has only spent a brief time soaking it in. As a result, Superman has a lot more super-charged energy in reserve to fight, negating Zod's more efficient techniques, strategy, and physical capabilities.

    But then again, perhaps I'm overthinking this.

    But then again, perhaps I’m overthinking this.

    I would go with that option. Super-speed in Man of Steel only works when it suits the plot.

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  57. @syonredux
    Let's see, the things that George Lucas put into the blender when he made Star Wars: Lee & Kirby's Fantastic Four, The Dam Busters, Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, John Ford's The Searchers, Jack Kirby's Fourth World, E. E. Smith's Lensmen series, Flash Gordon, Frank Herbert's Dune novels, .....

    BEN HUR for chase in PHANTOM

    YOJIMBO for arm cut in STAR WARS

    TRIUMPH OF THE WILL

    PLANET OF THE APES and BENJI for Chewintobacca?

    SESAME STREET for Yoda

    Wagner and Tolkien

    Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS for C-3PO

    Steppin Fetchit for Jar Jar

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  58. @Anon
    Didn't read the book but the Lynch movie is more like warts and piss.

    Didn’t read the book but the Lynch movie is more like warts and piss.

    Good set design, though.

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  59. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @jamie b.
    "...the rays only travel about as fast as a dodgeball..."

    Actually, it's much weirder than that. Not only do these energy weapons fire bolts that travel far less than light-speed, the speed that they travel is apparently determined by screen size. Hence, relative to the movie screen, the bolts that travel between two humanoids is the same as the speed it would travel between two of the colossal battle ships, and is even nearly the same as the speed it would travel between the deathstar and an entire planet!

    Two other odd things about the Star Wars universe:

    1) All sentient species are either very humanoid (if not in fact outright exactly human), or they're rather non-humanoid (tho still vertebrate-like).

    2) We see nothing of the vast industrial infrastructure that would be needed to build those colossal battleships (to say nothing of the deathstar!). Quite the opposite: most of the worlds we see seem rather impoverished and backwards, with the advanced technology presumably imported from off-world.

    Actually, the second point is not that odd. Many scientists and technologists believe that once access to space becomes easy, most industry and even agriculture would move off the surface of the planet and be done in space because of the zero gravity, solar energy, and raw materials (asteroids) there.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    But in Star Wars, there's always gravity on board spaceships and space stations.
    , @jamie b.
    Wouldn't explain why we never see any of this vast technological infrastructure. (The construction of the Deathstar would surely require a type II civilization).
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  60. @wren
    The commander will be Sonequa Martin-Green in the next Star Trek.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonequa_Martin-Green

    Maybe it will be good after all, who knows?

    Well, this is not encouraging.

    http://hellogiggles.com/sonequa-martin-green-star-lead-star-trek-discovery/

    Rumor has it that execs set out on an intentional search to find a woman of color to play the lead in the Star Trek series reboot, which ultimately led them to straight to Sonequa!

    Co-creator and former showrunner Bryan Fuller described the role of Lt. Cmdr. Rainsford as a “sensitive her.” And by the looks of Rainsford’s high rank, we can bet that she’s definitely going to be badass too!

    The actress, who just gave birth to a baby boy with hubby and TWD costar Kenric Green, will be busier than ever in the coming months. The new CBS series is set to premiere in May distributed by Netflix in over 188 countries!

    Read More
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  61. @flyingtiger
    You forgot 633 squadron. The attack on the death star is coped from this. The old saying is that if you steal from at least three different sources, its original!

    5o years on, I find it hard to tell 633 Squadron and The Dambusters apart in my memory. 633 Squadron was the one with the Mosquito fighter-bombers?

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    • Replies: @Busby
    Yes, plus color, plus Cliff Robertson.
    , @ganderson
    Charles Bronson, too, no?
    , @flyingtiger
    Dambusters was a [email protected] film about Guy Gibson leading a squadron of Lancasters against the Ruhr Dams. They have to bounce a bomb off the water into the dam. Some networks cut out or silence any scene where they talk to the black dog that is their mascot.
    633 squadron is where a German heavy water factor is protected from bombardment by being under a ledge. There is one flaw. If the mountain is hit in a certain spot a landslide will destroy the factory. The mosquito bombers must go through a narrow fiord ringed with AAA guns and defending fighters. The bombers either miss or or shot down. The last bomber gets the target. They didn't need the "Force."
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  62. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    I know Lucas took from 2001 — more for THX 1138 than for STAR WARS — , but I wonder if he was influenced by DR. STRANGELOVE as well.

    The Russian ambassador talks like Darth Vader.

    And the War Room is like similar one on Imperial Starship.

    And Dr. Strangelove is sort of like Darth. A cripple with dual personality. A Nazi working for US democracy. Darth went from good to bad. Strangelove went from bad to good.
    Strangelove, as he wheels around, is also like R2D2, and the nervous way he talks is like C-3PO. (He has his own ‘Heilgate’. Must be Alt Right.)

    Major Kong’s airplane is like the Millennial Falcon.

    And STAR WARS is about trying to blow up a ‘planet’(Death Star) and DR. STRANGELOVE is about trying to stop the blowing up of the planet. Both end up same way. Thing blows up.

    And SPARTACUS is about rag-tag rebellion vs the empire. The battle scene in PHANTOM MENACE borrows from Kubrick-Douglas spectacle.

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  63. @Anon
    Didn't read the book but the Lynch movie is more like warts and piss.

    Looks like Lynch ran out of money while making it, but it’s an unfairly criticized movie. Maybe half of it was crap, but in the other half, there were some brilliant, memorable scenes .

    I’ve read all the Dune books by Frank Herbert. Sort of like with Arthur C. Clarke’s Odyssey series, he ran out of story before he stopped writing them.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The first scene with the League Navigator was superb, as well as the young Alia at the end. But half the movie really was shit.
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  64. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    Aesthetically, 2001 was a huge influence on Star Wars and pretty much every subsequent move in terms of space ship design. Before 2001, they usually had smooth surfaces. The Discovery in 2001 has all sorts of piping and other external details.

    2001 also surely inspired DARK STAR(1974) , a send-up of sci-fi genre.

    Maybe Friedkin was an influence on Lucas too. Father Merrin of EXORCIST is like Ben Kenobi, and the whole series is like exorcising the demon out of Darth.
    And Friedkin’s action scene in FRENCH CONNECTION was totally revolutionary and influenced later action films.

    One thing that irritates me about Jedi power. It has 007 element. It’s like nothing can harm them. Luck is on their side.

    The assembly line scene in ATTACK OF CLONES is from MODERN TIMES, I think. And some Rene Clair movie.

    The screwball romance element in EMPIRE seems to be from IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT and other Capra comedies.

    The gothic element could be from NOSTERATU and IVAN THE TERRIBLE, Russo-Gothic.
    Also from BATMAN.

    Trash compactor scene could be homage to KANAL.

    PATTON inspire Vader?

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    The Exorcist was better than any of the Star Wars movies.
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  65. I quite liked Rogue One, it was far better than the Force Awakens which was yet another mediocre rehash by the awful J J Abrams. In the words of Johnson what was good was not original and what was original was not good. Not content by making completely forgettable Star Trek movies, Abrams had to do the same to Star Wars.

    I would shake my head at the overwrought, vehement criticism of the prequels, they mostly seemed to be made by emotionally unstable man-children. The originals were hardly masterpieces just good B-movies for kids. Personally I enjoyed all the prequels, the last half of Revenge of the Sith was probably peak Star Wars for me. Surprisingly Camille Paglia agrees with me on this,

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  66. @Anon
    "They are called 'Star Trek.'"

    Gorn is nobody's idea of imperial power.

    Could they make a movie about Gorn? Doubtful, unless it was porn.

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    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    Sorry. Got that confused with "Gor".
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  67. @Chrisnonymous
    Could they make a movie about Gorn? Doubtful, unless it was porn.

    Sorry. Got that confused with “Gor”.

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  68. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Twinkie

    useless armor
     
    Pure space Nazi fashion, apparently.

    Armors through the ages were never very effective against lethal weapons. They were mostly for protection against minor threats and secondary blows.

    Stormtrooper suits are for preventing bruises and cuts, not fending off laser blasts.

    In our time, body armor may stop conventional bullets but nothing stronger.

    They got far more deadly weapons in Star Wars universe.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    They got far more deadly weapons in Star Wars universe.
     
    Like stones and sticks wielded by Ewoks?
    , @Twinkie

    Armors through the ages were never very effective against lethal weapons. They were mostly for protection against minor threats and secondary blows.
     
    Untrue.

    In pre-modern times, body armor was highly desired and expensive, precisely because it was effective. But let's step back for a moment.

    All weapons can be lethal - from simple wooden clubs to fearsome-looking two-handed swords (and that remains to this day - the little 22 LR cartridge accounts for more deaths than 50 BMG or "cop killer bullets" or any other ominous sounding or hysterical/sensational weapon in the U.S.). It's just that some are less lethal than others (the modern term "non-lethal" weapons is a misnomer; the correct term is "less lethal" weapons, precisely because even less lethal weapons can cause grave bodily harm and death).

    This was particularly the case in pre-modern times when the standards of medical care and prisoner treatment were quite low. Comparatively very few men died in the actual combat phase in pre-modern wars; most casualties didn't even come from battle but from disease, thirst, and starvation. Even during a battle, the great majority of the casualties occurred not in the combat itself, but during pursuit (once one side broke and ran) and "mop up" (euphemism for killing the wounded). So even wounds that would be considered relatively "minor" today were lethal injuries in the past. In other words, even if armor could protect against only such "minor" wounds, it was money well spent.

    But armor was actually much more effective than that in pre-modern times. For example, during the Crusades, the Muslims (Turks, usually) left several accounts of being astonished by the extreme durability of Frankish armored knights against their missile (arrow) fire. These armored men were literally called "iron men" and apparently quite a few were pin-cushioned with dozens of Turkish arrows and still fought on unharmed. And this wasn't because the Turkish weapons were weak. They used a recurved composite bow (made of horn and wood; similar to what the Mongols and other Central Asian mounted nomads all the way to Korea used) that generated equal or greater power to the famed English longbow (only more compact and thus more useful on top of a horse).

    Therefore, typically, when dealing with heavily armored men, the indirect approach was the best - one killed the unarmored first (men-at-arms, missile troops, baggage train attendants, etc.) and then isolated and demoralized the armored ones. With armored knights on horses, one shot at the horses, a pre-modern equivalent of a "soft kill," i.e. killing an armored vehicle such as tanks by knocking out the vulnerable tracks and disabling its mobility.

    As a good example, see the account of one of the first encounter between the Turks and the Franks of the First Crusade: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Dorylaeum_(1097)

    Godfrey and Raymond had separated from the vanguard at Leuce, and the Turkish army attacked at dawn, taking Bohemond's army (not expecting such a swift attack) entirely by surprise, shooting arrows into the camp. Bohemond's knights had quickly mounted but their sporadic counterattacks were unable to deter the Turks. The Turks were riding into camp, cutting down noncombatants and unarmoured foot soldiers, who were unable to outrun the Turkish horses and were too disoriented and panic-stricken to form lines of battle. To protect the unarmoured foot and noncombatants, Bohemond ordered his knights to dismount and form a defensive line, and with some trouble gathered the foot soldiers and the noncombatants into the centre of the camp; the women acted as water-carriers throughout the battle. While this formed a battle line and sheltered the more vulnerable men-at-arms and noncombatants, it also gave the Turks free rein to maneuver on the battlefield.

    The Turkish mounted archers attacked in their usual style - charging in, shooting their arrows, and quickly retreating before the crusaders could counterattack. The archers did little damage to the heavily armoured knights, but they inflicted heavy casualties on the horses and unarmoured foot soldiers. Bohemond had sent messengers to the other Crusader army and now struggled to hold on until help arrived, and his army was being forced back to the bank of the Thymbris river. The marshy riverbanks protected the Crusaders from mounted charge, as the ground was too soft for horses, and the armoured knights formed a circle protecting the foot soldiers and noncombatants from arrows, but the Turks kept their archers constantly supplied and the sheer number of arrows was taking its toll, reportedly more than 2,000 falling to horse-archers. Bohemond's knights were impetuous - although ordered to stand ground, small groups of knights would periodically break ranks and charge, only to be slaughtered or forced back as the Turkish horses fell back beyond range of their swords and arrows, while still shooting at them with arrows, killing many of the knights' horses out from under them. And although the knights' armour protected them well (the Turks called them 'men of iron') the sheer number of arrows meant that some would find unprotected spots and eventually, after so many hits, a knight would collapse from his wounds.
     

    The Crusaders had formed a line of battle with Bohemond, Tancred, Robert of Normandy, and Stephen on the left wing, Raymond, Robert of Flanders in the centre and Godfrey, Robert of Flanders, and Hugh on the right, and they rallied against the Turks, proclaiming "hodie omnes divites si Deo placet effecti eritis" ("today if it pleases God you will all become rich"). Although the ferocity of the Norman attack took the Turks by surprise, they were unable to dislodge the Turks until a force led by Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy, the Papal legate, arrived in mid-afternoon, perhaps with Raymond in the van, moving around the battle through concealing hills and across the river, outflanking the archers on the left and surprising the Turks from the rear. Adhemar's force fell on the Turkish camp, and attacked the Turks from the rear. The Turks were terrified by the sight of their camp in flames, and by the ferocity and endurance of the knights, since the knights' armour protected them from arrows and even many sword cuts, and they promptly fled, abandoning their camp and forcing Kilij Arslan to withdraw from the battlefield. [Boldfaces mine.]
     
    And on top of this greatly beneficial physical protection, armor also conferred a tremendous moral benefit - it was nearly impossible to rouse unarmored men to charge into well-formed opponents while it was comparatively easier to do so with men who felt more-or-less invulnerable or at least more protected by their armor and shield.

    However, armor was very time-consuming and expensive to make, so a great majority of pre-modern soldiery could only afford - if they were comparatively well-off - a helmet (a leather cap or more rarely a metal one) and a leather shirt or tunic, which still offered much more protection than being unarmored at all.

    In modern times, metal helmets became universal, because the biggest killing factor in land battles was artillery, which for example inflicted the greatest number of casualties of any arm in World War II. And artillery killed not by directly landing on soldiers (which was rare) but by fragmentation (often mis-termed "shrapnel").

    And in today's first world armies, body armor has become universal. Though still fairly heavy, it - usually a chest plate made of a ceramic composite - can resist a direct hit from a "high powered" rifle. See this example: https://youtu.be/tMMSA3opBk4

    So, yeah, it's beyond ridiculous that Imperial Storm Troopers wear all that body armor and get taken out by stone- and stick-wielding teddy bears, aka Ewoks. It's a child's fantasy. In Star Wars, it's obviously only for Fascist style points for them to wear all that body armor since, for all its benefits in the real world, armor also exacts a significant cost - reduced/restricted mobility and increased weight and discomfort.
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  69. Joe Strummer? Gutter Snipe.

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  70. Slightly OT but relevant if we’re talking about 1942.
    I’d like to recommend “Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany”
    by Norman Ohler. The book came out a month ago, and
    is already getting rave reviews, e.g., “The book will change
    everything you thought you knew about WW II.” It wasn’t
    just Hitler who was addicted to meth, etc. The whole country
    was overflowing with crystal meth, cocaine, … There is an old
    Germanic tradition of using drugs to promote bravery in the
    battlefield that goes back to the Vikings, and more specifically
    to Berserkers

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    • Replies: @syonredux
    A brief history of meth


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSEqkDo2GIk
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  71. @wren
    Looks like we are getting a new version of the TV series in a few months.

    I will probably skip that altogether, but have been considering watching "The Expanse" when I have time.

    I couldn't get a single family member to go to start wars with me, and friends weren't really interested either, so Disney is not quite doing something right.

    The Expanse is proper SciFi, definitely worth watching

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  72. @Dave Pinsen
    It wouldn't seem to make much sense on political or economic grounds either. If you want to terrorize other planets into submission, why not build a smaller weapon that can vaporize a city on another planet? Presumably, you wouldn't have to vaporize too many cities to compel submission, and you'd rule the planet, instead of having created an astroid field.

    At age 16, I already questioned why the Empire, facing guerrilla warfare, built the equivalent of nukes. They should’ve built many more star destroyers and TIE fighters instead. (The guerrillas had huge spaceships, too, so smaller ships wouldn’t have cut it.)

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    • Replies: @Casher
    They used the equivalent of nukes because that was what German (in the East), Japanese, and Soviet counter-guerrilla techniques were like. They destroyed whole towns and villages and it was often successful, since guerrillas can't survive without a population to support and conceal them. Alderan supports the alliance? Destroy Alderan.
    , @Ali Choudhury
    Despotic governments like stupid, expensive projects even more than democratic ones.
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  73. @Anonymous
    Actually, the second point is not that odd. Many scientists and technologists believe that once access to space becomes easy, most industry and even agriculture would move off the surface of the planet and be done in space because of the zero gravity, solar energy, and raw materials (asteroids) there.

    But in Star Wars, there’s always gravity on board spaceships and space stations.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    You can produce artificial gravity in space by rotating which produces centripetal force.
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  74. @Dave Pinsen
    Looks like Lynch ran out of money while making it, but it's an unfairly criticized movie. Maybe half of it was crap, but in the other half, there were some brilliant, memorable scenes .

    I've read all the Dune books by Frank Herbert. Sort of like with Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey series, he ran out of story before he stopped writing them.

    The first scene with the League Navigator was superb, as well as the young Alia at the end. But half the movie really was shit.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Yes, the 3rd Stage Guild Navigator floating in his tank, with his leather-clad entourage walking alongside was great.

    The actress who played young Alia, Alicia Witt, now stars in Hallmark Christmas TV movies.
    , @Twinkie

    the young Alia at the end
     
    My brother comes... with many Fremen warriors!
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  75. Rogue one was s excellent if nothing but its message and symbolism and relevancy

    A dieted crew of People of Color and women fight the evil white male patriarchy

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  76. Steve went to the right half of the movie, though the first half had some funny “maybe the ISIS-like fanatics are really the good side” parts that made me think of Steve’s deconstruction of Hillary’s remarks about Syria. My cynical/half-serious view is that A Force Awakens was written to be inspiring for Hillary’s election, with Rey and Finn taking on the role of the Ideal White Female and Black Voter, while Rogue One was conceived to be an early ideological sally for the HRC administration, steeling us for the battles ahead as we get embroiled more heavily in a series of confused alliances and pointless and bloody interventions in Syria.

    https://spottedtoad.wordpress.com/2016/12/18/rogue-one-of-many/

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  77. @Steve Sailer
    I think Luna is taller than Garcia Bernal and he's directed some movies.

    You want a Mexican.you go for Danny Trejo.

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  78. There should be a Joe Strummer character in Sing 2, but what kind of animal?

    Or more appropriately:

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    • Replies: @Glaivester
    Speaking of Foghorn Leghorn and "Cock of the Walk".....
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REQM4kAleKc
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  79. The Star Wars universe has so many wasted opportunities in it. Basically after having created a children’s story of Good vs. Bad, they could’ve made it really complex in the prequels by showing how the Empire really was the lesser of two evils, or at least a compelling choice for an idealist like young Anakin.

    Something similar could’ve been done in Episode 7 (I haven’t seen it yet), but it was totally wasted.

    They really should get rid of the easy to kill stormtroopers. There should be more realistic fighting scenes with less numerical advantage for the imperials (in Episode 8 they’ll have a reason for it: the Sith no longer rule the galaxy).

    The only thing I like about the movies is the aesthetics, the cool imperial outfits, the cool spaceships, the rusty hitech on the remote planets, the mysticism, etc.

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  80. @PiltdownMan
    5o years on, I find it hard to tell 633 Squadron and The Dambusters apart in my memory. 633 Squadron was the one with the Mosquito fighter-bombers?

    Yes, plus color, plus Cliff Robertson.

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  81. As a child who grew up watching Star Wars movies, I have to say I liked it. Overall it was a lot more solid as a film and story (despite having the simplest of plots) than anything since Empire. As we were walking out I said to a friend that it was “War in the Pacific in space”. This is fine, if you know what you are getting. Unlike the last four-and -a-half, it had the same feel as the first two and inhabited the same, albeit simple, universe. I can’t say I look forward to infinite Star Wars, but if this guy keeps making them, they won’t be late Lucas terrible.
    You old guys forget that the near-infinite-in-number War in the Pacific, and WWII movies in general were often over the top silly (Battle of the Bulge anyone?) and I can’t watch them unless they are “Bridge over/too far” quality because they are an aesthetic I just don’t like (Gung Ho, any John Wayne WWII, etc.). But, de gustibus . . .

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  82. @reiner Tor
    At age 16, I already questioned why the Empire, facing guerrilla warfare, built the equivalent of nukes. They should've built many more star destroyers and TIE fighters instead. (The guerrillas had huge spaceships, too, so smaller ships wouldn't have cut it.)

    They used the equivalent of nukes because that was what German (in the East), Japanese, and Soviet counter-guerrilla techniques were like. They destroyed whole towns and villages and it was often successful, since guerrillas can’t survive without a population to support and conceal them. Alderan supports the alliance? Destroy Alderan.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Destroying a whole planet by killing off its population would've been possible without the Death Star. It might've been easier, since then they'd have more resources to build star destroyers and AT-AT walkers instead. Completely destroying a planet (and not just its population), however, will make it impossible to repopulate it later on with loyal settlers, so just killing off the population is a much better option.

    By the way, the Soviets did have actual nukes, but never used them against their numerous guerrilla enemies. Nor did they ever even think about it.

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  83. @reiner Tor
    At age 16, I already questioned why the Empire, facing guerrilla warfare, built the equivalent of nukes. They should've built many more star destroyers and TIE fighters instead. (The guerrillas had huge spaceships, too, so smaller ships wouldn't have cut it.)

    Despotic governments like stupid, expensive projects even more than democratic ones.

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  84. I saw Rogue One last night. Since I fully expected it to be formulaic and illogical, and my expectations were met–nay, exceeded–I was able to relax and enjoy the ride a bit. The big fight at the end is pretty cool, like the director and writers actually did some (some) reading on strategy and tactics.

    Other than that, the usual assortment of Star Wars action figures and playsets. Not worth the ticket price. Having the series walk backwards on itself for the sake of recycling characters who grew old and died ages ago/forward in time is getting to be absurd. CGI of people who are now elderly (or in hospital beds) is just jarring and doesn’t work.

    The movie seemed to be aiming really, really young. And sure enough, lots of children under age 10 in the audience where I went.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    The movie seemed to be aiming really, really young.
     
    No, they killed all the protagonists.
    , @Bleuteaux
    "The movie seemed to be aiming really, really young."

    That decision was made beginning with the prequels. Like Steve says, it's a movie for 8 year olds. I walked into the grocery store the day after seeing last year's hot garbage and the entire entry way was Star Wars action figures and themed food. I honestly think the creative process for these movies starts with the merchandising teams and writers are the last people to put it all together.
    , @syonredux

    The movie seemed to be aiming really, really young. And sure enough, lots of children under age 10 in the audience where I went.
     
    I was six years old when I first saw A New Hope ; I didn't have any trouble understanding the story.
    , @CAL
    Daughter and I found the movie to be a mixed bag. At times it felt like I was watching a fan film put on YouTube. At other times, there was some nice quality to it. The battle scene at the end was well done, but the story itself though was pretty messy.

    If you are going for a more realistic war film then the Stormtrooper armor can't just be decorative.

    My one big disappointment was that Porkins didn't make a digital appearance.
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  85. @Rod1963
    Steve is right, Rogue One and all the preceeding Star Wars are essentially a rehash of 1940's WWII propaganda movies as seen through a child's POV. Everything about them has a 1940's feel to them. Replete with bad guy with a death ray cannon. Lots of stooges and mindless minions who can't shoot straight, good guys who never break a sweat or get hurt.

    From a hard sci-fi fan's POV - Lucas was and is a disaster for sci-fi, the fatso from Modesto ruined it. He lowered the bar to the Marianas Trench. None of Star Wars ever made sense and no one would ever trust a bunch of boring monks with glowing swords to police the republic. Storm Troopers whose only reason for existence is to be shot by the rebels. If anything they remind me of the WWII movies where the Japanese and Nazis are portrayed as imbeciles blindly charging into American weapon fire. Even when I saw the first Star Wars as a kid at the drive in, it bothered me.

    Oh yeah then there are the X-Wings, first they were short range fighters, but in the Empire Strikes back they can travel interstellar distances near instantaneously. Nothing was ever coherent in the movies.

    The scary thing is, is that people seem to have unlimited appetite for this sort of schlock as long as it's loaded with cheesy CGI, minimal plot and character development. Like Prometheus or the Star Trek reboots.

    The scary thing is, is that people seem to have unlimited appetite for this sort of schlock as long as it’s loaded with cheesy CGI, minimal plot and character development. Like Prometheus or the Star Trek reboots.

    Understandable, as this ‘schlock’ is the only entertainment yet available that doesn’t feature gays, rape, mindless sex, mindless violence and other soul-sucking modern degeneracy.

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  86. @Anon
    NEW LAND has a snow scene that might have inspired Lucas in EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
    In the blizzard, the father kills the bull, slits its belly, and stuffs his son inside for warmth.

    Speaking of Det Nya Landet: Is Max Von Sydow in any of the Star Wars movies?

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    • Replies: @Anon
    "Is Max Von Sydow in any of the Star Wars movies?"

    Sort of.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxFBi3z1i3k
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  87. @PiltdownMan
    5o years on, I find it hard to tell 633 Squadron and The Dambusters apart in my memory. 633 Squadron was the one with the Mosquito fighter-bombers?

    Charles Bronson, too, no?

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  88. @whorefinder

    The sequel-as-reboot was such a lazy and stupid idea.
     
    Lazy, yes. And of course the grrrrl power attack with the Mary Sue Jedi does not bode well for the health of the franchise. The Force Awakens was cosplay of the originals with a diversity! cast. I'm smelling that after Grrlbusters flopped and the afterglow reviews of The Force Awakens are all critical of Mary Sue Jedi that Disney is going to look a bit harder at seeing if they can't fix that a bit.

    But let's give Disney some credit: as anticipated as the film was, Disney also had to save the franchise. The prequels had ruined a lot of the fanboi goodwill, so Disney couldn't really go out on a limb unless it was extra-perfect. As a corporate behemoth, the risk of blowing the Star Wars franchise (and thus $4 billion) on a risky first episode was too great; leave the risk to later movies, when the fanbois trust you with the series.

    Give the audience the fanboi service it craves in a comfortable story they know; then later, when the movie series has been redeemed, you can stretch them out a bit and take risks on plot, structure, etc. This is why the "risky" Star Trek movies were #2 (Spock dying) and #4 (time travel, fish out of water comedy, little space politics/violence) and the risky Indiana Jones film was #2 (Temple of Doom). The first movies of those series played it a bit safer on plot and characters, and only later did they try more.

    Hence why a sequel-as-reboot wasn't stupid.

    I disagree. All they did was push the pressure onto the second film. Except for the fanboi’s, most people are pretty tepid over The Force Awakens and seem to have the, “The second movie had better be an improvement,” attitude. The Phantom Menace trajectory of opinion was the same. A few people saying it was bad, and a lot of initial it was great reaction. That settled into an it was meh by the time the next film rolled around. And I don’t think Rogue One is going to help things. Right now, Disney seems to think Star Wars is another princess franchise in space.

    The first Star Trek film didn’t play it safe. It was considered a pretty risky concept film. Had it been a non-Trek film, there never would have been another. The Wrath of Kahn was actually the safer, far lower budget film, that hit it big because the story and characters mattered more than the effects.

    Temple of Doom wasn’t risky. It was just a hit and miss sequel.

    Star Wars was always a throw back to the Sands of Iwo Jima type film. There are good guys and there are bad guys. There is a little sorrow/introspection but nothing too deep and the good guys are going to win in the end.

    Lucas got a big head for the prequels. He needed someone to tell him no or at least someone able to argue with him to the point that he said “Fine do it your way,” from time to time. He isn’t a talentless hack though. Like most creative people, he does need someone to reign him in and control his worse instincts.

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  89. @eD
    Disney got off on a bad foot by making the first "sequel" a remake of the original "Star Wars" (OK, "A New Hope") by just making the post-Endor future the same situation as at the start of Episode IV, with no real explanation. Its one of the few blockbuster movies I never bothered to see for myself (actually Attack of the Clones is one of the others), just because the plot made no sense whatsoever.

    However, they might handle their sort-of-prequels better, so I will give "Rogue One" a chance. But I think my daughter will like "Sing" so that goes first in the queue.

    Unless my impression of "The Force Awakens" is completely wrong, what Disney should but won't do in the other sequels is to present that movie as a movie made within the Star Wars universe, basically treating it as the post-Endor Star Wars universe version of "Star Wars."

    Disney got off on a bad foot by making the first “sequel” a remake of the original “Star Wars” (OK, “A New Hope”) by just making the post-Endor future the same situation as at the start of Episode IV, with no real explanation.

    Yeah, they wanted to re-create the “scrappy underdog rebels vs. powerful evil empire” theme of New Hope, so the good guys in TFA are the “Resistance” even though that males absolutely no sense. And somehow the new mini-Empire has a super-weapon superior to what the Empire could build.

    The setup should have been that the Empire was never completely defeated after Endor: The rebels retook the capital city-planet and most of the galaxy, but then the war settled into a prolonged stalemate, and eventually there was an armistice that left the Empire in charge of maybe 1/3rd of its former territory. Now, 30 years post-Endor, maybe 20-years post-armistice, the New Republic is a mess, while the imperial remnant has gotten its act together again, and under the leadership of a Thrawn-esque military genius, is ready to restart the war and retake the galaxy…

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  90. @Anon
    Armors through the ages were never very effective against lethal weapons. They were mostly for protection against minor threats and secondary blows.

    Stormtrooper suits are for preventing bruises and cuts, not fending off laser blasts.

    In our time, body armor may stop conventional bullets but nothing stronger.

    They got far more deadly weapons in Star Wars universe.

    They got far more deadly weapons in Star Wars universe.

    Like stones and sticks wielded by Ewoks?

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  91. Read More
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  92. I wonder how many alpha males would go to Star Wars or Sing?

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  93. @Casher
    They used the equivalent of nukes because that was what German (in the East), Japanese, and Soviet counter-guerrilla techniques were like. They destroyed whole towns and villages and it was often successful, since guerrillas can't survive without a population to support and conceal them. Alderan supports the alliance? Destroy Alderan.

    Destroying a whole planet by killing off its population would’ve been possible without the Death Star. It might’ve been easier, since then they’d have more resources to build star destroyers and AT-AT walkers instead. Completely destroying a planet (and not just its population), however, will make it impossible to repopulate it later on with loyal settlers, so just killing off the population is a much better option.

    By the way, the Soviets did have actual nukes, but never used them against their numerous guerrilla enemies. Nor did they ever even think about it.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Not necessarily. Destroying a planet into millions of asteroids could make it easier to mine for elements.
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  94. I think the prequels were actually a warning, of sorts. Essentially they are about how a proud Aryan warrior is corrupted by a Seductive Jewess into betraying the youth of his people and spawning the miscegenated children who will bring an end to the just Empire.

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    • Replies: @syonredux

    I think the prequels were actually a warning, of sorts. Essentially they are about how a proud Aryan warrior is corrupted by a Seductive Jewess into betraying the youth of his people and spawning the miscegenated children who will bring an end to the just Empire.
     
    I prefer to go with the theory that Obi-Wan cuckolded Anakin, and Luke and Leia are really his children.
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  95. @The Anti-Gnostic
    I saw Rogue One last night. Since I fully expected it to be formulaic and illogical, and my expectations were met--nay, exceeded--I was able to relax and enjoy the ride a bit. The big fight at the end is pretty cool, like the director and writers actually did some (some) reading on strategy and tactics.

    Other than that, the usual assortment of Star Wars action figures and playsets. Not worth the ticket price. Having the series walk backwards on itself for the sake of recycling characters who grew old and died ages ago/forward in time is getting to be absurd. CGI of people who are now elderly (or in hospital beds) is just jarring and doesn't work.

    The movie seemed to be aiming really, really young. And sure enough, lots of children under age 10 in the audience where I went.

    The movie seemed to be aiming really, really young.

    No, they killed all the protagonists.

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    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
    I was thinking more about the simplistic plotting, motley assortment of shallow characters, crowded visuals, cartoonish villains, unsophisticated dialogue, complete lack of any sexual or romantic tension anywhere. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's a huge part of adult life and to have nothing like that in the movie anywhere tells me the target audience is adolescents. Not low-brow; after-school special.

    And the illogical contrivances: why put the directional controls for the transmitting dish be out on the very end of an open-air platform a thousand feet up? And why wouldn't Head Science Guy like, e-mail the plans, send a thumb drive, take a picture with his cellphone? And wasn't the whole point to transmit the plans? And at the end everybody's scrambling to get a diskette on to a cargo ship with Lord Vader one step behind. And Plucky, 63" tall Heroine couldn't take some fucking notes while Dad was talking-- this is important? And why are freaking Sturmtruppen walking around in white plastic that doesn't protect them from anything? And all that tech to send massive ships at light-speed and Desert Planet is ... a desert? And you can shield a whole planet but don't have enough surveillance to find the single rifle squad stumbling around the landing pads with no ID or credentials?

    Pulp-comics level. I'm probably insulting pulp comics.

    And there's actually a pedestrian explanation for killing everybody off: it's a prequel and these characters never showed up retrospectively. So again, the series cynically backpedaling on itself to recycle its increasingly shopworn characters is becoming absurd and incoherent.

    I wasted twenty dollars on this shit.
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  96. @Dave Pinsen
    It wouldn't seem to make much sense on political or economic grounds either. If you want to terrorize other planets into submission, why not build a smaller weapon that can vaporize a city on another planet? Presumably, you wouldn't have to vaporize too many cities to compel submission, and you'd rule the planet, instead of having created an astroid field.

    It wouldn’t seem to make much sense on political or economic grounds either. If you want to terrorize other planets into submission, why not build a smaller weapon that can vaporize a city on another planet? Presumably, you wouldn’t have to vaporize too many cities to compel submission, and you’d rule the planet, instead of having created an astroid field.

    The energy required to literally blow up a planet is something like 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 times greater than the amount required to completely annihilate every square mile of a planet’s surface. So a planet-destroying weapon seems like a ridiculous waste of resources.

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  97. @BenKenobi
    How dare they dishonour the memory of Harambe (PBUH)!! Too soon!!

    I am literally angry with rage.

    This insult to Harambe makes me want to become literally Hitler, in a harmless animation film way…..

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  98. @whorefinder
    Most of the Marvel movies are pretty forgettable but enjoyable at the moment. Classic popcorn movies, serial-like. A young George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are watching those films with glee right now as ten years old and in thirty years will create big-budget homage movies to them that will dwarf every superhero movie today in depth and ability.

    As one friend put it, "I can't remember who Iron Man even fought in any of his movies, but I liked them all."

    “Most of the Marvel movies are pretty forgettable but enjoyable at the moment. Classic popcorn movies, serial-like”

    Its also a Disney problem, which carries over to the new “Star Wars” movies. Disney has gotten very good at making well-put together, entertaining, and forgettable middlebrow movies.

    One interesting thing about the Marvel movies is that the best and the most memorable one, the first Iron Man, was not a Disney movie. The others are good (most of them), but except for maybe “Winter Solider” tend to blend in with each other. I didn’t like the Ang Lee Hulk movie but I remember it, I remember little about the less flawed other one.

    Its been pointed out that Lucas was taking risks and trying to do new stuff in his prequels, but they didn’t pan out. Warner Brothers has been taking risks in its DC movies, and they always get (unjustifiably) panned, but the three we have gotten so far have been memorable.

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    • Replies: @whorefinder

    One interesting thing about the Marvel movies is that the best and the most memorable one, the first Iron Man
     
    That's not a memorable movie at all, it merely proved that a second-tier Marvel comic book could be a hit movie. Ask most people who saw it, and they can't tell you who the main bad guy at the end was (spoiler: Jeff Bridges in Tony's old suit), or anything about plot other than a kidnapping happened in the middle east and he revealed his identity at the end and that Tony was quippy with the one-liners.

    Winter Soldier actually bored me, but that was because the character of Bucky wasn't that memorable from the first Captain America .
    , @TWS
    DC has forgotten nothing and learned nothing from the Batman movies. A dark Superman? That completely misses the essence of the character but Batman did good as a dark movie so dark superman has to right? Wrong.

    Dark superman destroyed the character. It was worse in its own way than the campy Batman movies.
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  99. I’m pretty sure the Jedi being deus ex machina comes straight from Lucas, based off how he handled Karen Traviss and her contributions.

    Traviss is a sci fi author who writes for a lot of IPs with military science fiction backgrounds. She was a Royal Army flight medic, and her books reflect she actually served.

    So she started writing for the SW Extended Universe, doing some novels about the clone troopers. However, she also wrote some novels about Boba Fett and the rest of the Mandalorians, and in it she gave the Jedi nuance. It was no longer Jedi are the Golden Guardians of Good, but elite warrior-priests of an esoteric religion that will make excuses for their behavior until they cross some arbitrary line only other Jedi can determine.

    Until then they’re untouchable.

    This apparently set Lucas off so bad he retconned the entire history of the Mandalorians from mercenaries to pacifists as a personal snub to her, and forbid her from working on any other books. Which kind of gives you an idea of how the guy thinks.

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  100. @The most deplorable one
    Meanwhile, the guy who tweeted on Christmas Eve that all he wanted for Christmas is White Genocide has now been imortalized:

    http://infogalactic.com/info/George_Ciccariello-Maher

    The Wiki entry has one item of potential importance wrong: he’s an Associate Prof, ie tenured, not an untenured Assistant Prof. Perhaps the promotion to tenure encouraged his racist tweets.

    I politely emailed my objections regarding his views to his Dean: [email protected]

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    • Replies: @The most deplorable one
    Interesting, because the Article at Infogalactic is inconsistent, but this page also lists him as an Assistant Prof:

    http://drexel.edu/now/experts/Overview/ciccariellomaher-george/?_ga=1.236974785.1378916414.1482778846
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  101. @njzz
    OT but maybe Trump will be know as the President who put US boots on the ground on Israel and actually makes Holocaust denial a crime? But then you yahoos elected him.

    Yes, of course because he is already kowtowing to them.

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  102. @reiner Tor

    The movie seemed to be aiming really, really young.
     
    No, they killed all the protagonists.

    I was thinking more about the simplistic plotting, motley assortment of shallow characters, crowded visuals, cartoonish villains, unsophisticated dialogue, complete lack of any sexual or romantic tension anywhere. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s a huge part of adult life and to have nothing like that in the movie anywhere tells me the target audience is adolescents. Not low-brow; after-school special.

    And the illogical contrivances: why put the directional controls for the transmitting dish be out on the very end of an open-air platform a thousand feet up? And why wouldn’t Head Science Guy like, e-mail the plans, send a thumb drive, take a picture with his cellphone? And wasn’t the whole point to transmit the plans? And at the end everybody’s scrambling to get a diskette on to a cargo ship with Lord Vader one step behind. And Plucky, 63″ tall Heroine couldn’t take some fucking notes while Dad was talking– this is important? And why are freaking Sturmtruppen walking around in white plastic that doesn’t protect them from anything? And all that tech to send massive ships at light-speed and Desert Planet is … a desert? And you can shield a whole planet but don’t have enough surveillance to find the single rifle squad stumbling around the landing pads with no ID or credentials?

    Pulp-comics level. I’m probably insulting pulp comics.

    And there’s actually a pedestrian explanation for killing everybody off: it’s a prequel and these characters never showed up retrospectively. So again, the series cynically backpedaling on itself to recycle its increasingly shopworn characters is becoming absurd and incoherent.

    I wasted twenty dollars on this shit.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Yes, the movie had about as many plot holes as any other Star Wars movie, but it doesn't make it a kids' movie. It just makes it a stupid movie.

    What I don't like is how they could've done at least a half intelligent movie from this (or from the last one, or from the prequel trilogy), but they missed the opportunity.
    , @Anonymous
    All your points are generally correct, however it was pretty well made and executed and fairly entertaining. It was much better than the prequels and the reboot from last year, and arguably as good as the originals.

    It seemed less juvenile than all the other ones, including the originals. It was much darker, and less campy and had much less cheesy dialogue than the other ones. Also, the distracting, annoying side characters in these movies were much less distracting and annoying than in the other films. The droid in this movie wasn't as annoying and didn't have as bad dialogue. There was no guy lumbering around in a giant dog suit and no annoying robots like C3PO hamming up every other scene with lame one liners.

    Also, the butt kicking heroine aspect of the movie is somewhat mitigated. It's much less emphasized than in most other movies these days, and she works with a team of protaganists doing relatively believable things, rather than a bunch of implausible butt kicking all by herself.

    Finally, there weren't any big actors in this one, but all the actors seemed pretty competent. It didn't have the terrible acting from actors like Hayden Christiansen that plagues the other ones and makes them unwatchable.

    These movies always seem to have a talking fish in them. Not sure what that is about.
    , @Anonymous
    Star Wars is like a lot of mid-20th century science fiction in that it fails to foresee the microelectronics and IT revolutions. So you have all these fantastic spaceships and stuff, but dated IT stuff. That scene where everybody's scrambling and playing hot potato with the floppy disk to get it away from Vader was pretty comical.
    , @reiner Tor

    simplistic plotting, motley assortment of shallow characters, crowded visuals, cartoonish villains, unsophisticated dialogue, complete lack of any sexual or romantic tension anywhere.
     
    There was sexual tension between the two main protagonists, and the rest was typical of basically all the other movies. Especially the original trilogy.

    But the protagonists did bad things, like killing innocents. And were killed at the end. It was a stupid movie (like many other movies), but not a kids' movie.

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  103. @reiner Tor
    Destroying a whole planet by killing off its population would've been possible without the Death Star. It might've been easier, since then they'd have more resources to build star destroyers and AT-AT walkers instead. Completely destroying a planet (and not just its population), however, will make it impossible to repopulate it later on with loyal settlers, so just killing off the population is a much better option.

    By the way, the Soviets did have actual nukes, but never used them against their numerous guerrilla enemies. Nor did they ever even think about it.

    Not necessarily. Destroying a planet into millions of asteroids could make it easier to mine for elements.

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    • Replies: @melendwyr
    Actually, that was the original purpose of the Death Star's weapon in the old canon - it was designed to mine planetary cores from lifeless worlds close to the galactic center.
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  104. Steve and others have pointed this out, but as Lucas himself has stated repeatedly, “Star Wars” was supposed to be sort of a WW2/ Western B movie set in outer space. But that is really sufficient explanation why only the original movie was really very good.

    (yes, I include the “Empire Strikes Back” in this, but if you are one of the “Empire” was better than the original “Star Wars” crowd, there are still the other half dozen movies, so my point is still valid)

    You really can’t get a series of great movies out of this concept. “Raiders of the Last Ark” had a similar “lets make a present day B movie” premise, and they were able to get four movies out of it, two great, one OK, one better than it should have been. But that is pretty much the most you can get. By the Indiana Jones standard, at best you can come out with three more “Star Wars” movies after the original, two sequels and one prequel, one of them as good as the original, the other two with problems but watchable. But nothing more.

    Even the most successful modern day “B” movie franchise, the James Bond movies, has produced more duds than good movies.

    Also, Lucas made the original “Star Wars” not realizing how successful it would be, and thinking it would be a standalone movie. So he pretty much poured as many of his ideas about the universe it was set in into it. There was little left for the other movies.

    One valid criticism of Lucas is that he should have used the time between “Return of the Jedi” and “The Phantom Menace” to assemble a good team of writers and rethink the universe he created down to its first principles. But something like this is just about never done. Tolkien did it, but he started creating Middle East during World War I, to entertain himself, decades before he published everything and was an academic specializing in myth. The various comic books were written over decades by tons of talented people and are famous for their continuity errors.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    "Steve and others have pointed this out, but as Lucas himself has stated repeatedly, “Star Wars” was supposed to be sort of a WW2/ Western B movie set in outer space. But that is really sufficient explanation why only the original movie was really very good."

    Lucas was confused.

    He loaded the material with too much mythology, religious themes, and symbolism for it to be just a space western... and he knew it. He simultaneously took it too seriously and not seriously enough.
    And instead of going for something in the middle, he went for extremes at both end. It aspires to be great tragedy and kiddy farce.

    In contrast, Kurosawa kept a more consistent tone for HIDDEN FORTRESS, an action-adventure romp.

    I think Woody Allen was confused too when he got serious. He wanted to be 'auteur' and clown; and films like MANHATTAN make for irritating viewing today. It was later with BROADWAY DANNY ROSE and MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY that he found the right tone.

    Lucas also suffers from insecure-megalo-syndrome.

    Because of his insecurities, he overreacts to praise. When Joseph Campbell praised the three films, it really went to Lucas' head. Gee, maybe he did create a work of art. Maybe he is a visionary genius.

    Well,let me say this about Lucas. He never made anything as stupid as AVATARD.

    , @Kylie
    "Lucas himself has stated repeatedly, “Star Wars” was supposed to be sort of a WW2/ Western B movie set in outer space."

    Silly me. I went to see "Star Wars" in 1977 expecting another, better "THX1138". Forty minutes into it, I finally wised up and said to my friend, "This is just intergalactic cowboys and Indians."

    I've hated everything about it and its spinoffs ever since. I'd much rather watch "Randy Rides Alone" or 'Neath Arizona Skies".
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  105. I’m obviously not the audience for Sing. I would rather be poked in the eye with a sharp stick than watch one more commercial much less the movie.

    Lucas may have gotten the plot from Cliff Notes version of hidden fortress but he got everything else from Kirby, especially The New Gods.

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  106. @The Anti-Gnostic
    I was thinking more about the simplistic plotting, motley assortment of shallow characters, crowded visuals, cartoonish villains, unsophisticated dialogue, complete lack of any sexual or romantic tension anywhere. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's a huge part of adult life and to have nothing like that in the movie anywhere tells me the target audience is adolescents. Not low-brow; after-school special.

    And the illogical contrivances: why put the directional controls for the transmitting dish be out on the very end of an open-air platform a thousand feet up? And why wouldn't Head Science Guy like, e-mail the plans, send a thumb drive, take a picture with his cellphone? And wasn't the whole point to transmit the plans? And at the end everybody's scrambling to get a diskette on to a cargo ship with Lord Vader one step behind. And Plucky, 63" tall Heroine couldn't take some fucking notes while Dad was talking-- this is important? And why are freaking Sturmtruppen walking around in white plastic that doesn't protect them from anything? And all that tech to send massive ships at light-speed and Desert Planet is ... a desert? And you can shield a whole planet but don't have enough surveillance to find the single rifle squad stumbling around the landing pads with no ID or credentials?

    Pulp-comics level. I'm probably insulting pulp comics.

    And there's actually a pedestrian explanation for killing everybody off: it's a prequel and these characters never showed up retrospectively. So again, the series cynically backpedaling on itself to recycle its increasingly shopworn characters is becoming absurd and incoherent.

    I wasted twenty dollars on this shit.

    Yes, the movie had about as many plot holes as any other Star Wars movie, but it doesn’t make it a kids’ movie. It just makes it a stupid movie.

    What I don’t like is how they could’ve done at least a half intelligent movie from this (or from the last one, or from the prequel trilogy), but they missed the opportunity.

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    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
    To clarify, I assume these holes and the overall superficiality are as obvious to top-notch filmmakers as they are to you and me, but if you are aiming at adolescents (and younger) dragging their parents in, then that's not where you're going to spend your production dollars.
    , @eD
    "Rogue One" is supposed to be a spin-off movie and not supposed to be changing anything fundamental in the "Star Wars Universe", which is what it is. I will mentally hold it to a lower standard than the others.

    The whole thing needed a complete reboot several times, and was done successfully, as far as audiences and critics were concerned, with the second movie (episode V), though I think this was done in a half---ssed way that made the subsequent movies worse. They really needed to do this with episodes II and VII -and by the time of VII Lucas had sold the thing to Disney- and so these were the biggest missed opportunities so far. Yeah, Episode I, but Jar Jar was the only problem there that couldn't have been fixed by a strong Episode II.
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  107. I am sick to death of people saying, “Lucas said this or that”. Lucas is and was always lying like a rug when it comes to the star wars movies. He was out of his depth from the first time he used a dirty napkin to do concepts. I have no idea how he managed to make the damn movie except he did good with the cast.

    Jack Kirby was the main visual and thematic source. The only person who beats Lucas for robbing Kirby is Lee himself.

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  108. @reiner Tor
    Yes, the movie had about as many plot holes as any other Star Wars movie, but it doesn't make it a kids' movie. It just makes it a stupid movie.

    What I don't like is how they could've done at least a half intelligent movie from this (or from the last one, or from the prequel trilogy), but they missed the opportunity.

    To clarify, I assume these holes and the overall superficiality are as obvious to top-notch filmmakers as they are to you and me, but if you are aiming at adolescents (and younger) dragging their parents in, then that’s not where you’re going to spend your production dollars.

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  109. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic
    I was thinking more about the simplistic plotting, motley assortment of shallow characters, crowded visuals, cartoonish villains, unsophisticated dialogue, complete lack of any sexual or romantic tension anywhere. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's a huge part of adult life and to have nothing like that in the movie anywhere tells me the target audience is adolescents. Not low-brow; after-school special.

    And the illogical contrivances: why put the directional controls for the transmitting dish be out on the very end of an open-air platform a thousand feet up? And why wouldn't Head Science Guy like, e-mail the plans, send a thumb drive, take a picture with his cellphone? And wasn't the whole point to transmit the plans? And at the end everybody's scrambling to get a diskette on to a cargo ship with Lord Vader one step behind. And Plucky, 63" tall Heroine couldn't take some fucking notes while Dad was talking-- this is important? And why are freaking Sturmtruppen walking around in white plastic that doesn't protect them from anything? And all that tech to send massive ships at light-speed and Desert Planet is ... a desert? And you can shield a whole planet but don't have enough surveillance to find the single rifle squad stumbling around the landing pads with no ID or credentials?

    Pulp-comics level. I'm probably insulting pulp comics.

    And there's actually a pedestrian explanation for killing everybody off: it's a prequel and these characters never showed up retrospectively. So again, the series cynically backpedaling on itself to recycle its increasingly shopworn characters is becoming absurd and incoherent.

    I wasted twenty dollars on this shit.

    All your points are generally correct, however it was pretty well made and executed and fairly entertaining. It was much better than the prequels and the reboot from last year, and arguably as good as the originals.

    It seemed less juvenile than all the other ones, including the originals. It was much darker, and less campy and had much less cheesy dialogue than the other ones. Also, the distracting, annoying side characters in these movies were much less distracting and annoying than in the other films. The droid in this movie wasn’t as annoying and didn’t have as bad dialogue. There was no guy lumbering around in a giant dog suit and no annoying robots like C3PO hamming up every other scene with lame one liners.

    Also, the butt kicking heroine aspect of the movie is somewhat mitigated. It’s much less emphasized than in most other movies these days, and she works with a team of protaganists doing relatively believable things, rather than a bunch of implausible butt kicking all by herself.

    Finally, there weren’t any big actors in this one, but all the actors seemed pretty competent. It didn’t have the terrible acting from actors like Hayden Christiansen that plagues the other ones and makes them unwatchable.

    These movies always seem to have a talking fish in them. Not sure what that is about.

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  110. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic
    I was thinking more about the simplistic plotting, motley assortment of shallow characters, crowded visuals, cartoonish villains, unsophisticated dialogue, complete lack of any sexual or romantic tension anywhere. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's a huge part of adult life and to have nothing like that in the movie anywhere tells me the target audience is adolescents. Not low-brow; after-school special.

    And the illogical contrivances: why put the directional controls for the transmitting dish be out on the very end of an open-air platform a thousand feet up? And why wouldn't Head Science Guy like, e-mail the plans, send a thumb drive, take a picture with his cellphone? And wasn't the whole point to transmit the plans? And at the end everybody's scrambling to get a diskette on to a cargo ship with Lord Vader one step behind. And Plucky, 63" tall Heroine couldn't take some fucking notes while Dad was talking-- this is important? And why are freaking Sturmtruppen walking around in white plastic that doesn't protect them from anything? And all that tech to send massive ships at light-speed and Desert Planet is ... a desert? And you can shield a whole planet but don't have enough surveillance to find the single rifle squad stumbling around the landing pads with no ID or credentials?

    Pulp-comics level. I'm probably insulting pulp comics.

    And there's actually a pedestrian explanation for killing everybody off: it's a prequel and these characters never showed up retrospectively. So again, the series cynically backpedaling on itself to recycle its increasingly shopworn characters is becoming absurd and incoherent.

    I wasted twenty dollars on this shit.

    Star Wars is like a lot of mid-20th century science fiction in that it fails to foresee the microelectronics and IT revolutions. So you have all these fantastic spaceships and stuff, but dated IT stuff. That scene where everybody’s scrambling and playing hot potato with the floppy disk to get it away from Vader was pretty comical.

    Read More
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  111. @whorefinder
    Lucas's ego was ripped apart by both the fanboi reaction to the prequels (booo) AND the Mr. Plinkett takedown. He became resigned to selling the franchise after that.

    And, for those of you thinking , "Oh yeah, a movie review, sure," Lucas said he stayed off the internet for 15 years following the bad critical reaction to the prequels: http://furiousfanboys.com/2015/11/the-internet-bullied-george-lucas-away-from-star-wars/.

    And Mr. Plinkett's reviews were so awesomely devastating and encompassing, no less than Roger Ebert praised them: http://www.rogerebert.com/balder-and-dash/revenge-on-revenge-of-the-sith

    Lucas was shocked that, after holding the nation in a state of waiting for twenty years, the reaction to his films wasn't overwhelming joy and praise, but disappointment and insults. One thinks of a young girl making her boyfriend wait...and wait....wait to have sex with her, hoping to drive him wild with excitement, and then, after giving it to him, having him be less than enthused and critical of her bedroom moves.

    It turns out Lucas wasn't the genius-filmmaker he thought he was. And that broke his ego. But he was stills stubbornly holding on to the franchise, out of spite and a sincere belief that he was the only one good enough for it, and a distant hope that later reevaluation would save his legacy. Then Plinkett started another round of even more painful, more cutting reviews (on YouTube by a host of people who had seen the prequels as children and teenagers) a decade later, and Lucas gave up the ghost. He still thinks he's a genius and the prequels are true art (chiastic structure and all that), but he can't stand the painful onslaught anymore and sought a competent corporation to franchise the franchise and make decent movies to wipe away the old, funny bad reviews.

    What takedown?

    Plinkett is atrocious and boring. Totally asinine.

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  112. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Bruce
    Saw it Saturday with one other old guy in the theater. No cool Star Wars Bestiary critters, no cool flying cars. I'd say they were saving money on CGI- Disney won't get rich off this movie. The girl is allowed to have a pretty face, and not be strainy-face like the last movie, though of course they never let her flirt. She isn't dressed as badly as the last movie either- there's even one brief shot of the secret plans jiggling on her buttocks they didn't bother to delete. It's not like any guy in the movie ever checks her out. Jabba the Hutt and Princess Leia had more sexual tension than anyone in a Star Wars movie since.

    Wimpy Death Star- interstellar civilization has a tactical nuke, big wow. Stupid failures of scale in space travel and space battles, but in a cartoon it's more a missed opportunity than an active annoyance. Everyone stands up when they shoot, but as Steve says, eight year olds.

    Stupid stick fights. Yip whatsit's stick fighting isn't as ridiculous as the girl's, but he does not want this movie seen in Hong Kong. For the love of God, Montresor- use magic swords for magic! Magic and magic swords go together great. Magic and superscience go together great. Sticks against guns? No.

    The 'unlikely band of heroes' stuff must be good committee meeting politics, but you need main characters in a story. The girl is spastic in emergencies, abandons a comrade under fire without a care, expects everyone else to sacrifice everything for her, and spends the movie making speeches about other people's moral failures. Feminists on the net are saying she's their hero.

    Good points: I liked the good guys all having bog-trotter accents. I like seeing big-budget space opera, and this is far enough from the first two, the good Star Wars, that it doesn't annoy me like the last one. If I needed a bland movie for kids, maybe. Everyone dies, so I could tell them it's deep and stuff.

    “The girl is allowed to have a pretty face, and not be strainy-face like the last movie, though of course they never let her flirt.”

    NAUSICAA has a nice young heroine, and Miyazaki followed it up with his masterpiece LAPUTA.

    Sadl, Miyazaki’s been downhill since MONONOKE.

    The girl thing sells apparently. Look at success of HUNGER GAMES.

    Some say HOG WON is ‘serious’ and like it for that reason. A real war movie.

    But is that the right approach for this material?

    I thought first HUNGER GAMES was fun as light action-satire.

    But second one took itself so seriously. I couldn’t stand it.

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    • Replies: @dfordoom

    NAUSICAA has a nice young heroine, and Miyazaki followed it up with his masterpiece LAPUTA.

    Sadl, Miyazaki’s been downhill since MONONOKE.
     
    NAUSICAA and MONONOKE are just so irritatingly preachy.
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  113. @reiner Tor
    But in Star Wars, there's always gravity on board spaceships and space stations.

    You can produce artificial gravity in space by rotating which produces centripetal force.

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    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican

    You can produce artificial gravity in space by rotating
     
    The problem, if there are windows, is one’s retinas perceiving star trail motion, which can lead to Dinty Moore chunk-slop swirly-hurl.
    , @Glaivester
    You mean like the Earth Alliance does.

    That's how Babylon 5 operates.
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  114. I saw the original Star Wars a few months from seeing Alexander Nevsky, and thought they were awfully alike, with the German Teutonic knights as the empire, Mongols as aliens, and the overall plot and feel. (WWII era propaganda movie, as Steve suggests.)

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  115. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @eD
    Steve and others have pointed this out, but as Lucas himself has stated repeatedly, "Star Wars" was supposed to be sort of a WW2/ Western B movie set in outer space. But that is really sufficient explanation why only the original movie was really very good.

    (yes, I include the "Empire Strikes Back" in this, but if you are one of the "Empire" was better than the original "Star Wars" crowd, there are still the other half dozen movies, so my point is still valid)

    You really can't get a series of great movies out of this concept. "Raiders of the Last Ark" had a similar "lets make a present day B movie" premise, and they were able to get four movies out of it, two great, one OK, one better than it should have been. But that is pretty much the most you can get. By the Indiana Jones standard, at best you can come out with three more "Star Wars" movies after the original, two sequels and one prequel, one of them as good as the original, the other two with problems but watchable. But nothing more.

    Even the most successful modern day "B" movie franchise, the James Bond movies, has produced more duds than good movies.

    Also, Lucas made the original "Star Wars" not realizing how successful it would be, and thinking it would be a standalone movie. So he pretty much poured as many of his ideas about the universe it was set in into it. There was little left for the other movies.

    One valid criticism of Lucas is that he should have used the time between "Return of the Jedi" and "The Phantom Menace" to assemble a good team of writers and rethink the universe he created down to its first principles. But something like this is just about never done. Tolkien did it, but he started creating Middle East during World War I, to entertain himself, decades before he published everything and was an academic specializing in myth. The various comic books were written over decades by tons of talented people and are famous for their continuity errors.

    “Steve and others have pointed this out, but as Lucas himself has stated repeatedly, “Star Wars” was supposed to be sort of a WW2/ Western B movie set in outer space. But that is really sufficient explanation why only the original movie was really very good.”

    Lucas was confused.

    He loaded the material with too much mythology, religious themes, and symbolism for it to be just a space western… and he knew it. He simultaneously took it too seriously and not seriously enough.
    And instead of going for something in the middle, he went for extremes at both end. It aspires to be great tragedy and kiddy farce.

    In contrast, Kurosawa kept a more consistent tone for HIDDEN FORTRESS, an action-adventure romp.

    I think Woody Allen was confused too when he got serious. He wanted to be ‘auteur’ and clown; and films like MANHATTAN make for irritating viewing today. It was later with BROADWAY DANNY ROSE and MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY that he found the right tone.

    Lucas also suffers from insecure-megalo-syndrome.

    Because of his insecurities, he overreacts to praise. When Joseph Campbell praised the three films, it really went to Lucas’ head. Gee, maybe he did create a work of art. Maybe he is a visionary genius.

    Well,let me say this about Lucas. He never made anything as stupid as AVATARD.

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  116. @syonredux
    Let's see, the things that George Lucas put into the blender when he made Star Wars: Lee & Kirby's Fantastic Four, The Dam Busters, Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, John Ford's The Searchers, Jack Kirby's Fourth World, E. E. Smith's Lensmen series, Flash Gordon, Frank Herbert's Dune novels, .....

    E. E. Smith’s Lensmen series

    Now that’s something I would pay to see on the big screen! For sheer size and scope of vision, Doc Smith is hard to beat; Lucas is a piker in comparison. Guillermo Del Toro, maybe? (But I want him to finally make his long-promised version of Lovecraft’s masterpiece At the Mountains of Madness first.)

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  117. @Anonymous
    Actually, the second point is not that odd. Many scientists and technologists believe that once access to space becomes easy, most industry and even agriculture would move off the surface of the planet and be done in space because of the zero gravity, solar energy, and raw materials (asteroids) there.

    Wouldn’t explain why we never see any of this vast technological infrastructure. (The construction of the Deathstar would surely require a type II civilization).

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  118. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    In a way, Lucas is a sell-out. In another way, he is an ‘auteur’.

    Not just an auteur of style but of vision.

    Spielberg has a distinct signature as director, but he can work on anyone’s vision. He could work on a Kubrick project, a Lucas idea(Indy Jones), a shark movie, a Crichton idea, etc.
    Spielberg’s two total creations of his own were CLOSE ENCOUNTERS and ET but he worked on so many different projects.

    Lucas seems incapable of this. He has to do his own thing.

    Maybe he ducked out of APOCALYPSE NOW because it was too much Milius’ vision.

    With STAR WARS he did his own thing but in a sell-out way. Self-defeating formula.

    Both Spielberg and Lucas were dreamers, but Spielberg can lose himself in anyone’s dream. Lucas can lose himself only in his own dreams.

    Spielberg likes to play with other kids’ toys. Lucas will only play with his own…and will not share unless he really has to or the reward is very great… like selling SW to Disney.

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    • Replies: @cthulhu
    Lucas had three undeniably great moments in his career:

    1 - "American Graffiti", which was beautifully done and an honest-to-god movie milestone that nobody expected to succeed, and Lucas fought and won the battle to get the music licensing for the original artists' versions of all of those songs. But the core was a celebration of something unique that Lucas really cared about - California car culture and high school life just before the '60s blew up.

    2 - "Star Wars", which also was beautifully done, and not expected to succeed; like "American Graffiti", Lucas synthesized a unique vision from a lot of influences - from the sublime (Kurosawa, Campbell) to the pulp (all those WW2 B-movies) - and ended up with something that was really special.

    3 - "Raiders of the Lost Ark", where Lucas focused on the story and let others build the rest of production...but what a story! Again Lucas took the stuff he loved as a kid, didn't take it too seriously, and came up with a story for the ages; once Spielberg, Kasdan, and Ford worked their magic on Lucas' material, the end result was on of the most enjoyable movies of all time (IMHO).

    But the "Star Wars" universe shows what Lucas is NOT good at - stringing together a coherent long narrative a la Tolkien or even Stephen King ("The Stand" and the "Dark Tower" books are relevant here). He starts worrying about having Something Important to Say instead of just telling a good story. And he fiddles with stuff that was already done and was right - e.g., "Han Shot First" - because of political correctness. I almost feel sorry for him - he let himself get trapped by his success into stuff he wasn't good at; maybe he should have sold to somebody earlier and moved on to new things.
    , @eD
    Re #118, Lucas almost brought Spielberg in to direct on of the prequels, and that would have fixed many of their problems.
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  119. @Dave Pinsen
    The useless armor was always a pet peeve of mine. It didn't even protect against the arrows shot by Ewoks in Return of the Jedi.

    “The useless armor was always a pet peeve of mine.”

    Yeah, that was funny… but maybe Ewoks are sharp shooters and aimed for the soft spots between the armor paddings.

    No armor, even the best is perfect.

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  120. @reiner Tor
    Yes, the movie had about as many plot holes as any other Star Wars movie, but it doesn't make it a kids' movie. It just makes it a stupid movie.

    What I don't like is how they could've done at least a half intelligent movie from this (or from the last one, or from the prequel trilogy), but they missed the opportunity.

    “Rogue One” is supposed to be a spin-off movie and not supposed to be changing anything fundamental in the “Star Wars Universe”, which is what it is. I will mentally hold it to a lower standard than the others.

    The whole thing needed a complete reboot several times, and was done successfully, as far as audiences and critics were concerned, with the second movie (episode V), though I think this was done in a half—ssed way that made the subsequent movies worse. They really needed to do this with episodes II and VII -and by the time of VII Lucas had sold the thing to Disney- and so these were the biggest missed opportunities so far. Yeah, Episode I, but Jar Jar was the only problem there that couldn’t have been fixed by a strong Episode II.

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  121. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Bruce
    Saw it Saturday with one other old guy in the theater. No cool Star Wars Bestiary critters, no cool flying cars. I'd say they were saving money on CGI- Disney won't get rich off this movie. The girl is allowed to have a pretty face, and not be strainy-face like the last movie, though of course they never let her flirt. She isn't dressed as badly as the last movie either- there's even one brief shot of the secret plans jiggling on her buttocks they didn't bother to delete. It's not like any guy in the movie ever checks her out. Jabba the Hutt and Princess Leia had more sexual tension than anyone in a Star Wars movie since.

    Wimpy Death Star- interstellar civilization has a tactical nuke, big wow. Stupid failures of scale in space travel and space battles, but in a cartoon it's more a missed opportunity than an active annoyance. Everyone stands up when they shoot, but as Steve says, eight year olds.

    Stupid stick fights. Yip whatsit's stick fighting isn't as ridiculous as the girl's, but he does not want this movie seen in Hong Kong. For the love of God, Montresor- use magic swords for magic! Magic and magic swords go together great. Magic and superscience go together great. Sticks against guns? No.

    The 'unlikely band of heroes' stuff must be good committee meeting politics, but you need main characters in a story. The girl is spastic in emergencies, abandons a comrade under fire without a care, expects everyone else to sacrifice everything for her, and spends the movie making speeches about other people's moral failures. Feminists on the net are saying she's their hero.

    Good points: I liked the good guys all having bog-trotter accents. I like seeing big-budget space opera, and this is far enough from the first two, the good Star Wars, that it doesn't annoy me like the last one. If I needed a bland movie for kids, maybe. Everyone dies, so I could tell them it's deep and stuff.

    “Stupid stick fights. Yip whatsit’s stick fighting isn’t as ridiculous as the girl’s, but he does not want this movie seen in Hong Kong. For the love of God, Montresor- use magic swords for magic! Magic and magic swords go together great. Magic and superscience go together great. Sticks against guns? No.”

    Blind Swordsman… that’s more Japanese Zatoichi.

    “Feminists on the net are saying she’s their hero.”

    More armor, less amour.

    But she’s just a girl.

    300 RISE OF EMPIRE is a garish piece of trash, but Artemesia and the Spartan queen were truly impressive. Eva Green looks like Jeanne Moreau. Though most of the movie is tarded, it does have some Cecil-B-Digital moments of grandeur. (But the sex scene made no sense. His name is Thermistocles, not Testistocles)

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  122. Maybe there is hope yet.

    80% of SW could be digitally altered over the yrs, including dialogue and actors too.

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  123. @Anon
    "Why not have a proempire movie."

    It is in a way.

    Rebels are not anti-empire. They are for their own empire.

    It's like LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.

    British Empire using Arab rebellion against German/Ottoman Empire.

    Rebels are just the other imperialists who recruit local-yokels to fight the other empire.

    I actually thought of seeing the movie but saw the trailer and it looked so damn stupid.

    STAR WARS universe would be more interesting if it was about empire vs empire. That would make for more moral complexity. Instead, we got Good vs Bad, so it's about 'democracy' vs empire, when even the political system in the prequels look pretty imperialist to me.

    British Empire was somewhere between Nazi Empire and US/Soviet Empire. It was about Anglo greatness and superiority, but the Brits could be very tolerant and even magnanimous. In contrast, Nazis only offered contempt to some of their subjects who were deemed 'subhuman'.

    The problem of radical rightist empire-building is it combines particularism and diversity. It is contradictory for the ruling power to act supremacist & arrogant over masses of diverse peoples who will be filled only with resentment.




    In contrast, the 'leftist' empire of communism and liberal-capitalism uses the rhetoric of 'human rights', and this wins over lots of collaborators who love the carrots and nice-sounding talk.

    Now, the thing about STAR WARS is that the Empire doesn't seem Nazi-like except in aesthetics. They are more like Romans. There is no ideology about the superior Vaderian race. If anything, the Empire seems to be rather tolerant of the various peoples. They will go for Carthagenean peace or Hiroshima-extremism only when necessary, but then the US dropped nukes when deemed fit. Also, the Empire seems to be the vision of a single master-mind and sorcerer than based on any ideology like Nazism was. It's about master-mind than master-race.

    So, given the rather tolerant nature of the Empire that only wants to maintain order, what is the rebellion about?

    Historically, rebellions against empires were generally nationalistic. So, Vietnamese rebelled to liberated Vietnam from the French, and Algerians rebelled to liberated Algeria from the French. Each rebellion was local and fixed in agenda.

    In contrast, there seems to be some galactic-wide rebellion in Star Wars, and we have no idea what that's about.

    And given that some of these tribes and cultures seem to be barbaric and even savage, they seem rather clueless and only got sucked into the war cuz of the 'rebel' elites who manipulated them.

    It's like Hmong in Laos were just minding their own business before the CIA got them involved against the Soviets. And the CIA also instigated Afghan villagers to take up the fight against Soviets.

    In the original STAR WARS, the rebellion was elitist. The conflict was really among the elites than between elites and the masses.
    Princess Leia, after all, is royalty. And she appeals to elite Jedis for help. And we learn in the prequel that the Jedis were part of the ruling elites. They were not part of the hoi polloi.
    There never was a people's uprising or mass rebellion in Star Wars.
    Rather, there was a inner-power-struggle among the elites. It was an elite rebellion against Palpatine who wanted it all.
    And the rebel-elites managed to rouse up collaboration from diverse folks of the empire to overthrow the Emperor.

    These diverse folks were doing just fine under imperial rule. They were 'used' by the rebel elites who wanted the power for themselves. Since the rebel elites didn't have the man-power, their trick was to fool the diverse folks into believing that the Empire was their enemy or there was something in it for them if they joined the fight. It's like Lawrence of Arabia has to fool Anthony Quinn that there is loot if they join in the fight. Of course, WWI was really about imperial elites vs imperial elites: Brits vs Germans/Ottomans.
    But of course, the ultimate power would flow to the victorious elite-rebels. The result would not be People Power.
    That is what has been rather suppressed in the Star Wars universe. The rebels are themselves Imperialists and seekers of galactic mastery. The Jedis and Leias of the world believe in elite domination and guidance. Even their 'democracy' is essentially an oligarchy of powerful elites. They just manipulate and use indigenous peoples like the British used 'Arab rebellion' to destroy the Ottoman Empire and grab the loot themselves.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjuXrK4ucrc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZdLM2ENld8

    The tragedy of Lawrence is he is both imperialist and anti-imperialist, a supreme egotist and a most selfless crusader, a poet & sophisticate and ruthless warrior. STAR WARS doesn't have that kind of complexity. Even though Lawrence of Arabia is great middlebrow work of entertainment than true art, it offers much more. So, does Dr. Zhivago, another epic about the tragedy of empire as Russia goes form Tsarist empire to the Soviet empire that uses mass power to eventually crush the masses more ruthlessly.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdSz8WsNSYY

    Indeed, it is ironic that Palpatine in ATTACK OF THE CLONES instigates mass rebellion against the ruling order. He appeals to barbaric creatures in many planets to agitate against the system behind the leadership of Count Dooku.
    And that rebellion is used as pretext for the Jedis to create an army of Nazi-like clone storm troopers to put down the rebellion.

    So, the rise of the Emperor was engineered by inciting a rebellion against the system. And it was the Jedis who initially crushed a rebellion... only to realize that they'd been had. The clone army that had been created to save the system was used against the Jedi Order in a Night of the Long Knives, and then, the Emperor Palpatine had all the power.

    https://youtu.be/3dovd1clLJ4?t=3m34s

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6aD-m7Cw84

    I’m ashamed to admit I read your entire comment with great interest. I feel like I’m not allowed to get laid for at least a month.

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    • Replies: @Desiderius

    I feel like I’m not allowed to get laid for at least a month.
     
    The correlation between likelihood of getting laid and tendency to worry about what is allowed is highly negative.
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  124. @Anon 2
    Slightly OT but relevant if we're talking about 1942.
    I'd like to recommend "Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany"
    by Norman Ohler. The book came out a month ago, and
    is already getting rave reviews, e.g., "The book will change
    everything you thought you knew about WW II." It wasn't
    just Hitler who was addicted to meth, etc. The whole country
    was overflowing with crystal meth, cocaine, ... There is an old
    Germanic tradition of using drugs to promote bravery in the
    battlefield that goes back to the Vikings, and more specifically
    to Berserkers

    A brief history of meth

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  125. @jamie b.
    "...the rays only travel about as fast as a dodgeball..."

    Actually, it's much weirder than that. Not only do these energy weapons fire bolts that travel far less than light-speed, the speed that they travel is apparently determined by screen size. Hence, relative to the movie screen, the bolts that travel between two humanoids is the same as the speed it would travel between two of the colossal battle ships, and is even nearly the same as the speed it would travel between the deathstar and an entire planet!

    Two other odd things about the Star Wars universe:

    1) All sentient species are either very humanoid (if not in fact outright exactly human), or they're rather non-humanoid (tho still vertebrate-like).

    2) We see nothing of the vast industrial infrastructure that would be needed to build those colossal battleships (to say nothing of the deathstar!). Quite the opposite: most of the worlds we see seem rather impoverished and backwards, with the advanced technology presumably imported from off-world.

    Hence, relative to the movie screen, the bolts that travel between two humanoids is the same as the speed it would travel between two of the colossal battle ships

    This surely has to do with (shot) frame of reference.

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  126. @Steve Sailer
    I liked Dr. Strange while watching it:

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/doctor-strange/

    But six weeks later I don't remember much of it.

    Well it was an acid trip of a movie.

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  127. Are the posters effusing about sci fi the same people who are posting on the articles that tangentially involve “game” or is this to different sets of commenters.

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Games are awesome, they are the electronic equivalent of drugs. I'm confused what is this in reference to?

    Are you implying some specific cross-over in terms of science fiction geekdom with PUA audience? The correlation is probably there, I mean.

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  128. Ace kills it with his Carrie Fisher obit:

    http://acecomments.mu.nu/?post=367590

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  129. RIP Carrie Fisher.

    Though she never really broke free of being typecast as Princess Leia, she did have a few post Star Wars moments in the sun. Most notably in Hannah and her Sisters.

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    RIP Carrie Fisher.

    Though she never really broke free of being typecast as Princess Leia, she did have a few post Star Wars moments in the sun. Most notably in Hannah and her Sisters.
     
    She also did a lot of work as a script doctor:

    Fisher, in her own part, was absolutely prolific in the 1990s; responsible for fixing the likes of 1992's Sister Act, 1998's The Wedding Singer, 1992's Lethal Weapon 3, and 1991's Hook. She was one of the most sought after talents in the industry at the time.
     
    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/carrie-fisher-dead-star-wars-script-doctor-a7497951.html
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  130. @TipTipTopKek
    I think the prequels were actually a warning, of sorts. Essentially they are about how a proud Aryan warrior is corrupted by a Seductive Jewess into betraying the youth of his people and spawning the miscegenated children who will bring an end to the just Empire.

    I think the prequels were actually a warning, of sorts. Essentially they are about how a proud Aryan warrior is corrupted by a Seductive Jewess into betraying the youth of his people and spawning the miscegenated children who will bring an end to the just Empire.

    I prefer to go with the theory that Obi-Wan cuckolded Anakin, and Luke and Leia are really his children.

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  131. Plinkett’s dissection of Phantom Menace

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  132. Carrie Fisher is dead. Rest in peace, Princess Leia.

    Several of the tweets from Star Wars luminaries referred to 2016 as a “bad” or “rough” year. We all know what that means: 2016 was the year that the dumb hicks voted in that vile Nazi, Donald Trump, and shall go down in the annals of history as the first year of the New Dark Ages.

    Well, as one of those dumb hicks, let me say that 2016 was, indeed, a rough year for me. I spent most of it worried that a woman manifestly unfit to run a lemonade stand was going to become president of the United States.

    Sorry to politicize what should be a non-partisan tribute to an actress who blessed the silver screen with her portrayal of one of Hollywood’s most iconic heroines. But when so many of the “Get well!” tweets were laced with passive-aggressive Trump-bashing – Mark Hamill, I believe, said something like “As if 2016 couldn’t get any worse…” – I had to say something.

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  133. @Seth Largo
    I'm ashamed to admit I read your entire comment with great interest. I feel like I'm not allowed to get laid for at least a month.

    I feel like I’m not allowed to get laid for at least a month.

    The correlation between likelihood of getting laid and tendency to worry about what is allowed is highly negative.

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  134. @CrunchybutRealistCon
    RIP Carrie Fisher.

    Though she never really broke free of being typecast as Princess Leia, she did have a few post Star Wars moments in the sun. Most notably in Hannah and her Sisters.

    RIP Carrie Fisher.

    Though she never really broke free of being typecast as Princess Leia, she did have a few post Star Wars moments in the sun. Most notably in Hannah and her Sisters.

    She also did a lot of work as a script doctor:

    Fisher, in her own part, was absolutely prolific in the 1990s; responsible for fixing the likes of 1992′s Sister Act, 1998′s The Wedding Singer, 1992′s Lethal Weapon 3, and 1991′s Hook. She was one of the most sought after talents in the industry at the time.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/carrie-fisher-dead-star-wars-script-doctor-a7497951.html

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    There's also a pretty funny comedy movie, Postcards from the Edge, where Meryl Streep plays Carrie Fisher and Shirley MaClaine plays her mom Debbie Reynolds, based on Fisher's script and fictionalized memoir.
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  135. @Anon
    In a way, Lucas is a sell-out. In another way, he is an 'auteur'.

    Not just an auteur of style but of vision.

    Spielberg has a distinct signature as director, but he can work on anyone's vision. He could work on a Kubrick project, a Lucas idea(Indy Jones), a shark movie, a Crichton idea, etc.
    Spielberg's two total creations of his own were CLOSE ENCOUNTERS and ET but he worked on so many different projects.

    Lucas seems incapable of this. He has to do his own thing.

    Maybe he ducked out of APOCALYPSE NOW because it was too much Milius' vision.

    With STAR WARS he did his own thing but in a sell-out way. Self-defeating formula.

    Both Spielberg and Lucas were dreamers, but Spielberg can lose himself in anyone's dream. Lucas can lose himself only in his own dreams.

    Spielberg likes to play with other kids' toys. Lucas will only play with his own...and will not share unless he really has to or the reward is very great... like selling SW to Disney.

    Lucas had three undeniably great moments in his career:

    1 – “American Graffiti”, which was beautifully done and an honest-to-god movie milestone that nobody expected to succeed, and Lucas fought and won the battle to get the music licensing for the original artists’ versions of all of those songs. But the core was a celebration of something unique that Lucas really cared about – California car culture and high school life just before the ’60s blew up.

    2 – “Star Wars”, which also was beautifully done, and not expected to succeed; like “American Graffiti”, Lucas synthesized a unique vision from a lot of influences – from the sublime (Kurosawa, Campbell) to the pulp (all those WW2 B-movies) – and ended up with something that was really special.

    3 – “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, where Lucas focused on the story and let others build the rest of production…but what a story! Again Lucas took the stuff he loved as a kid, didn’t take it too seriously, and came up with a story for the ages; once Spielberg, Kasdan, and Ford worked their magic on Lucas’ material, the end result was on of the most enjoyable movies of all time (IMHO).

    But the “Star Wars” universe shows what Lucas is NOT good at – stringing together a coherent long narrative a la Tolkien or even Stephen King (“The Stand” and the “Dark Tower” books are relevant here). He starts worrying about having Something Important to Say instead of just telling a good story. And he fiddles with stuff that was already done and was right – e.g., “Han Shot First” – because of political correctness. I almost feel sorry for him – he let himself get trapped by his success into stuff he wasn’t good at; maybe he should have sold to somebody earlier and moved on to new things.

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  136. @Anon
    In a way, Lucas is a sell-out. In another way, he is an 'auteur'.

    Not just an auteur of style but of vision.

    Spielberg has a distinct signature as director, but he can work on anyone's vision. He could work on a Kubrick project, a Lucas idea(Indy Jones), a shark movie, a Crichton idea, etc.
    Spielberg's two total creations of his own were CLOSE ENCOUNTERS and ET but he worked on so many different projects.

    Lucas seems incapable of this. He has to do his own thing.

    Maybe he ducked out of APOCALYPSE NOW because it was too much Milius' vision.

    With STAR WARS he did his own thing but in a sell-out way. Self-defeating formula.

    Both Spielberg and Lucas were dreamers, but Spielberg can lose himself in anyone's dream. Lucas can lose himself only in his own dreams.

    Spielberg likes to play with other kids' toys. Lucas will only play with his own...and will not share unless he really has to or the reward is very great... like selling SW to Disney.

    Re #118, Lucas almost brought Spielberg in to direct on of the prequels, and that would have fixed many of their problems.

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    "Lucas almost brought Spielberg in to direct on of the prequels, and that would have fixed many of their problems."

    No, I don't think so.
    While Lucas doesn't have the flair and verve of virtuoso Spielberg(a born film-prodigy), he is a very good director of action and has keen eye for composition. ATTACK has some wondrous moments and masterly action scenes. As pure spectacle, it is near-masterpiece.
    The problem is the lackluster story with unconvincing romance, third-rate actor as Annakin, and confused grand plot.
    Spielberg couldn't have saved the hopeless parts of the preqs.
    After all, Spielberg has made clunkers of his own, even when his directorial hand was technically amazing. TEMPLE OF DOOM is dumb and grotesque. 1941 -- cult classic among my peers back in the days -- is like mechanical blueprint of a comedy. The jokes are laid out like engineering design. It's like an open clock where you can see all the gears. No magic. No wonder the only things that are truly funny in the movie are Belushi, Slim Pickens, and the ferris wheel guys who are so chaotic that they break out of the cogs and springs. The final scene with the ferris wheel is truly inspired.

    I didn't care for INDY'S LAST CRUSADE either.
    I don't remember anything about HOOK.
    80s Spielberg was pretty lackluster, and I wrote him along with Scorsese(whose AFTER HOURS, COLOR OF MONEY, and LAST TEMPTATION came nowhere MEAN STREETS, TAXI DRIVER, RAGING BULL, and even KING OF COMEDY). Didn't know both would have great second acts in the 90s.
    Even so, LOST WORLD is a pretty bad movie. The wonderment is gone, and it's just dinos eating humans, followed by self-parody lifted from KING KONG and GORGO.
    And even though SCHINDLER and SAVING have powerful impact on first viewing, they don't offer much for repeated viewings because the drama and emotions are so trite and obvious.
    Spielberg has great hands, but he cannot save a bad or middling script. TERMINAL has some magical touches, but it's rather thin.
    But when he has the right script, Spielberg can deliver outstanding entertainment(KINGDOM OF CRYSTAL SKULL, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, TIN TIN, JURASSIC PARK, etc). Sometimes, it's hit and miss. MINORITY REPORT and WAR OF THE WORLDS are overwrought and messy, but they have some great moments.
    Kubrick gave him the greatest gift of all, A.I., which also brought out the best from John Williams who outdid himself.

    Anyway, there was nothing Spielberg(or Scorsese or Depalma or Coppola) could have done to fix up the lousy romantic moments between Annakin and Anthead Portman.

    No amount of directorial talent can save a bad script.



    Johnny To is an amazing director but most of his movies suck cuz of poor script. And I recently saw GAME by Fincher, a true master. Amazing touch but what total stupid nonsense as story and character study. Even Fincher admits the story just got lost. To my knowledge, the ONLY director who could take something silly and turn it into something truly remarkable is Welles, but he always had a big hand in reworking the script itself.

    http://www.indiewire.com/2014/09/david-fincher-says-he-shouldnt-have-directed-the-game-dislikes-superhero-movies-talks-crazy-20000-leagues-272234/

    What I find most jarring about SW is Lucas didn't go full-fascist, and I mean aesthetically. Lucas obviously likes form, order, and design. Okay, so give us good fascists vs bad fascists. Like in EXCALIBUR. Impressive knights as good guys vs impressive enemies.
    But I think Lucas felt guilty about the 'inner-Nazi' of his aesthetic sensibility. He loved al those fashy designs, spectacles, and weaponry. But that is supposed to be 'evil' and 'totalitarian'. Too 'ubermensch'. So, Lucas had to balance it out by presenting the grotesqueries, the hunchbacks of notre space, as the good guys. So, even though some of the Jedis are good-looking and handsome, others have to be gross with coneheads, snail necks, bug eyes, and etc. And top Jedi is Kermitty the frog's grandfather. And the top commander of the rebellion in RETURN OF THE JEDI is some Grouper-fish-headed creature.
    The first SW was aboug 'good nazis' vs 'bad nazis'. Both sides were good to look at. But it was too white. Now, throwing in some negroes wasn't bad, esp as Billy Dee Williams is very likable. But all those damn muppets and Ewoks and etc.
    Now, there are some ugly villains too. Like Jabba the Hutt and his grotesque minions. But for some reason, the Empire seems to rely on their own clone army whereas the Rebellion makes use of freaks of the universe.... like Jar Jar(though I find him rather funny and actually preferable to most of PHANTOM. How wude!)
    Btw, why is a black guy a storm trooper in FORCE AWAKENS? I thought all the storm-troopers were clones of the Polynesian Bubba Fats's father. So, Bubba Fats is actually related to all the storm-troopers. Difference is the others have been bio-engineered to be docile whereas Bubba has individuality and agency. He wants his daddy's records.
    Anyway, if the storm troopers are Bubba's clones, how did a black guy become one?
    It reminds me of the Woody Allen movie about Sex: "What am I doing here?"

    https://youtu.be/djQ7WZlb140?t=6m29s

    Lucas is a self-loathing fascist. He loves 'Nazi' stuff but has to create these muppets to fight it. So, SW is about his inner-struggle. He loves Ubermensch-visions, but his 'liberal' side has to make common cause with the freakazoids against his would-be fascist side.
    Now, this is not a problem with Joe Dante who has a natural preference for the freaks of the world against the 'fascist' types. Though gorgonites(its leader is negroid and one even hides in the 'oven') were created to be villain toys, they become the allies of humans against the 'fascist' gungho toys. (Some Alt Right types are into anime because it is unapologetically on the side of cool aesthetics without apology. In the West, such is associated with 'Nazism' and crypto-Nazi Disney and his white-beauty-ism, especially as Jews control much of the media. It's freaks-uber-alles, with stuff like SESAME STREET fed to kids. But as time worn on, the 'fascist' mythopoeic stuff had great appeal to the masses, so Hollywood devised something like multi-culti feminist will-to-power prog-fascist aesthetics.) Unsuprisingly, SMALL SOLDIERS is one of Rosenbaum's favorites, along with grubby stuff like CRUMB, though I must say he said interesting things about both movies and sensibilities.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoDrfuw8uHE

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7XEyuPBE48

    http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/cutting-heroes-down-to-size/Content?oid=896882

    I suppose the appeal of TOY STORY is it's like a compromise between heroism and freakery. It does have classic cowboy hero and astronaut hero but backed by freakazoids.

    Lucas and Spielberg have often been bunched together as box office kings, but they are so different in key areas. Lucas is, by nature, a 'reclusive' type. He didn't like to direct because, being 'shy', he didn't feel at ease working with lots of people. He likes to create his own universe and live there. Like Michael Jackson with his Neverland.
    Spielberg loves fantasy-lands too, but he obviously likes to be out there, mingling with people, having long conversations with Kubrick and others. One is essentially introvert, other is extrovert.

    I wonder how things would have been if Lucas has matured a bit more. But then, I wonder how someone who could have envisioned THX 1138, one of the greatest and most intelligent sci-fi films ever, could have concocted something like PHANTOM MENACE. And even though he didn't direct, Lucas had a big hand in HOWARD THE DUCK. I mean what the hell was that? And the dreadful WILLOW, sort of pomo take on Tolkien before Jackson came along to muck up that stuff even more.
    Did Lucas go 'Benjamin Button' and age backwards? He now talks like a baby. His excuse has been he had to make all this money with Star Wars to finally, yes finally, do what he really wants to do. Like what? Producing RED FAILS?

    It would have been nicer if Lucas had the visionary depth of John Boorman. But then, his movies might not have been all that popular. Nothing by Boorman --- not even a big hit like DELIVERANCE --- made anywhere near what blockbusters make. Boorman can get carried away, sometimes wonderfully as in ZARDOZ, not so much in EXORCIST II, which Boorman turned into something like Arthurian quest for the Grail and nearly got the movie executives killed:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2D4cPXpvHjI

    STAR WARS is Lucas came up with a great vision but failed to see it through. In the end, he didn't have the vision of a Lean, Kurosawa, Boorman, Wyler, and Lang.

    Lucas drew inspiration from FLASH GORDON and mythology, but in the end, the result was mostly Flash. In the end, only the special effects and designs redeem STAR WARS.

    Some say Peter Jackson finally did the mythopoeic thing right with LORD OF RINGS; I say no. That's worse than STAR WARS. It's dungeons & dragons videogames on the big screen. 13th WARRIOR is much better.
    And among recent sci-fi movies, TRON LEGACY blow away STAR WARS and much else. (AVATARD was the worst crap ever.) ENDER'S GAME is also much better and food for thought.

    But the most memorable movie about myths and legends is maybe EXCALIBUR. With one movie, Boorman conveyed more ideas and poetry than all the STAR WARS movies combined. Boorman also made a fascinating sci-fi film with ZARDOZ, one of the most relevant films given what is happening in the world.

    Boorman presented Big Ideas with poetics, romance, grandeur. And he took inspiration not only from Arthurian legends but from Germanic mythology as revitalized by Wagner. (Pauline Kael's review of EXCALIBUR in TAKING IT ALL IN is must-read.) http://www.geocities.ws/paulinekaelreviews/e3.html

    And the relationship between Merlin and Arthur is among the richest put on screen.

    Merlin is an ambiguous character. Always anxious because he sees MORE. So, if humans are rejoicing over some victory and celebrating like it's the End of History and their side won, Merlin foresees dangers ahead and remembers such fleeting moments in the past. Even at the worst of times, he sees chances of hope. Even at best of times, he sees disasters hiding behind every rock. He is like a less amoral Indrid Cold in MOTHMAN PROPHECIES. His vision is from a higher plane. He can look further over the horizon. So, he's never satisfied or content with good times in the here-and-now. He's always worried because to know more is to be aware that everything is fleeting, no matter how sturdy and stable it may seem for the time being.
    But there's also a detached & aloof quality about him. Despite his involvement with humans, he is not of any particular world. And he's seen it all --- the cycles of rise and fall --- before in other worlds. And there are other worlds after THIS ONE. This detachment is an advantage but also a sadness. Because he isn't attached to a single time and place, he can continue in other worlds even if the current world falls into ruin. But because he isn't loyal to a single time and place, he doesn't really belong to any one or any people. In the end, he is a wanderer, a stranger to all. Ben Kenobi and Yoda are supposed to be like Merlin figures in STAR WARS, but Kenobi is too goody-goody, and Yoda is a muppet.

    Merlin tried to help Uther, but it was hopeless. Uther was too impulsive, too primal. He couldn't control his anger, his lust. As Merlin says, Uther couldn't look into the hearts of other men. Everything was about himself and his immediate desires. He risked everything for a romp with Igraine because he lusted after her. Because he fails to look into the hearts of other men, he alienates them and makes too many enemies and falls in the end.
    But the great irony is Arthur is created by Uther's most foolhardly deed, the sexual conquest of Igraine. Merlin realizes that his failure was Uther was part of the 'plan' because the failure fertilized the success(if limited) with Arthur.

    Arthur is smarter and more sensible than Uther. Arthur is cautious, like Michael Corleone is more cautious than Sonny Corleone. And with the aid of Merlin, he learns to look into the hearts of others. He has empathy, he has understanding. He not only battles the knights who oppose his kingship but reaches out to them in understanding. Ultimately, he wins over Euryens not by force of arms but force of virtue. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eC_TFoGhqUU
    He is also capable of self-criticism. When the sword breaks in his battle with Lancelot, he confesses that his pride and ego broke it. He was supposed to use Excalibur to unite all men, but he used it for personal vanity and vendetta. This wisdom is an advantage, and the Lady of the Lake forgives him and restores Excalibur.
    https://youtu.be/gWgLtF2h6Zc?t=35s

    But the world of EXCALIBUR Is fraught with contradictions and paradoxes. It's like Merlin says everything has its opposites. Also, the opposite of something may actually be nearest to it or hiding within it.
    It's like Michael remembering his father's advice in THE GODFATHER II: keep your friends close but your enemies closer. In EXCALIBUR, Arthur asks where evil is, and Merlin says it is always where you least expect it. Evil isn't necessarily OUT THERE SOMEWHERE but just around the corner, in your own domain, right behind you, or even right in front of you. It's like the biggest enemy of the white race is not Russia, China, or Iran, some foreign nations far away. It is the PC virus within the very core of the West. An external enemy can be fought with sword or gun. But the virus has penetrated into your very cells.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8bQ2xgZCik&t=1s

    Just as evil could be right in front of you or within you without you noticing, so can the truth & redemption. The biggest truth could be invisible because it's hidden within one's soul or standing right in front of you, thus out of focus. After all, the knights who went off to on the quest of the Holy Grail were misguided in thinking it was out there somewhere. Perceval discovers that the truth is actually within his own soul, indeed it's always been there. He just forgot it, as did Arthur. It's like the scene in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY where the dying hero tells his partner that there was good within him all along: he just forgot it, that's all. (Given the out-of-control sexual politics among youth today, HIGH COUNTRY offers some sobering lessons about impulsive behavior among the youth, but also how excessive puritanism -- like with Elsa's father -- can make things worse.) The 'holy grail' was within Arthur himself. He just forgot what Merlin had taught him.

    https://youtu.be/K0oq7SubkLQ?t=1m48s

    And yet, there is a paradox to Arthur's decline. It was precisely because he was wise and could read the hearts of other men. Everything has its opposites. The source of wisdom and duty could also lead to weakness and doubt. When he discovers that Lancelot, his best friend, had betrayed him(by taking Guinevere), he wants to kill Lancelot and his wife. But he can't make himself do it because he has empathy. He can look into the hearts of Lancelot & Guinevere and understand why what happened happened. Despite his rage, he is also full of understanding. So, he hesitates and finds it impossible to kill his friend and wife. His wisdom makes him understand more but also renders him 'weak' and lacking in resolve to carry out the execution.

    But there is the tragedy. He surrenders Excalibur, the greatest gift bestowed to him by Merlin and Lady of the Lake. In doing so, he abandons his role as king. A king is supposed to serve something bigger than his ego and self. Whatever his personal foibles, he is supposed to rise higher and rule for the good of the people. But Arthur, so depressed over the Lancelot/Guinevere affair, withdraws into his own misery and becomes despondent like Scottie in VERTIGO. He just tunes out everything. If he were a private individual, it wouldn't matter. But as leader, he has a kingdom to rule and must never renege on his duty and responsibility. Whatever his personal setback, he must rise higher and rule for the good of all. But he just surrenders Excalibur and walks away to bury himself in his own misery. And the moment when he drives Excalibur into the ground proves most vulnerable for Merlin who feels the blade strike into his back. His gift to Arthur has been abandoned, Arthur has violated his covenant with the sword, and there is disturbance in the Dragon. It is in that moment of confusion and distress that Morgana gains control of Merlin's dazed wits and use his magic against him.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jahLEB3DbKs
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  137. @Anonymous
    You can produce artificial gravity in space by rotating which produces centripetal force.

    You can produce artificial gravity in space by rotating

    The problem, if there are windows, is one’s retinas perceiving star trail motion, which can lead to Dinty Moore chunk-slop swirly-hurl.

    Read More
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  138. @The Anti-Gnostic
    I saw Rogue One last night. Since I fully expected it to be formulaic and illogical, and my expectations were met--nay, exceeded--I was able to relax and enjoy the ride a bit. The big fight at the end is pretty cool, like the director and writers actually did some (some) reading on strategy and tactics.

    Other than that, the usual assortment of Star Wars action figures and playsets. Not worth the ticket price. Having the series walk backwards on itself for the sake of recycling characters who grew old and died ages ago/forward in time is getting to be absurd. CGI of people who are now elderly (or in hospital beds) is just jarring and doesn't work.

    The movie seemed to be aiming really, really young. And sure enough, lots of children under age 10 in the audience where I went.

    “The movie seemed to be aiming really, really young.”

    That decision was made beginning with the prequels. Like Steve says, it’s a movie for 8 year olds. I walked into the grocery store the day after seeing last year’s hot garbage and the entire entry way was Star Wars action figures and themed food. I honestly think the creative process for these movies starts with the merchandising teams and writers are the last people to put it all together.

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    • Replies: @Chris Mallory
    Rogue One is not a movie for 8 year olds. An 8 year old would be bored senseless. It is a war movie, set in the SW universe.
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  139. Star Wars isn’t sci-fi. It’s fantasy. Fantasy space opera.

    Lucas’ big innovation with Star Wars was to approach his subject seriously (like previous comment said, about Star Wars and Raiders and B-Movies). Previous attempts were all low-budget, camp, or low-budget camp. I’m trying to think of any serious subsequent attempts… Lynch’s Dune, I guess? For all its flaws (mostly budgetary in origin, IMO), I like that movie a lot.

    I always thought the way forward for Star Wars was to go way back to when the Force was just the Force, and people used it in service of myriad factions and ends, instead of the stifling bureaucratic Manichaeism of Jedi and Sith. Get free of the been there done that Roman Nazi Empire vs. Roman Republican Rebels, too. Maybe even get free of lightsabers.

    I’m pretty sure that the Ewoks-taking-the-Storm-Troopers was George Lucas-the-hippie giving a Vietnam dig, where the supposedly rag-tag, smaller Vietcong gave headaches to the big, heavily-equipped, armored U.S.

    I’m pretty sure it was to sell lunchboxes. The teddy bears were originally written as Wookies, who would have served the assymetric warfare narrative just fine, but sold far fewer lunchboxes.

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    • Replies: @Glaivester

    I’m trying to think of any serious subsequent attempts… Lynch’s Dune, I guess?
     
    The Last Starfighter and Krull come to mind.
    , @Jim Don Bob
    The real thing that Lucas pioneered was the merchandising of his movies. Owning the rights to Star Wars made him a billionaire.
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  140. @Sam Haysom
    Are the posters effusing about sci fi the same people who are posting on the articles that tangentially involve "game" or is this to different sets of commenters.

    Games are awesome, they are the electronic equivalent of drugs. I’m confused what is this in reference to?

    Are you implying some specific cross-over in terms of science fiction geekdom with PUA audience? The correlation is probably there, I mean.

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    • Replies: @Sam Haysom
    To the extent that I wasn't just being snide I meant to suggest how weird it is that a site that has a huge contingent of game acolytes also apparently has a ton of sci fi nerds. Honestly nothing on earth guarantees going home alone from a bar than signaling nerd.
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  141. Oh, and the Stormtroopers’ armor isn’t there to protect the Stormtroopers from blaster fire, it’s there to protect the audience from the knowledge that the Space Nazi Empire’s cannon fodder are all the same darkie.

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  142. @Daniel Chieh
    Games are awesome, they are the electronic equivalent of drugs. I'm confused what is this in reference to?

    Are you implying some specific cross-over in terms of science fiction geekdom with PUA audience? The correlation is probably there, I mean.

    To the extent that I wasn’t just being snide I meant to suggest how weird it is that a site that has a huge contingent of game acolytes also apparently has a ton of sci fi nerds. Honestly nothing on earth guarantees going home alone from a bar than signaling nerd.

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    I would disagree with you on the population - there doesn't seem to be a lot of serious Game people here given that I haven't seen the "lingo" used a lot. iSteve seems to encourage a lot of geekdom from the movie side, and that's probably why there's a lot of sci-fi and fantasy fans.

    I also don't know how much signaling about geekdom turns off girls these days. I associated with some younger girls, and being a faux geek can be all the rage these days. It can be annoying.
    , @reiner Tor
    I never assumed "game" appealed to anybody but people who couldn't get laid, and as you say, nerds are a big portion of these. So why would you be surprised that game and sci-fi appealed to the same people?
    , @Desiderius
    Game for sci-fi types is like the bright college athlete having to take remedial math in college because he was too busy picking up chicks to pay attention in high school.

    http://www.paulgraham.com/nerds.html
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  143. @syonredux

    RIP Carrie Fisher.

    Though she never really broke free of being typecast as Princess Leia, she did have a few post Star Wars moments in the sun. Most notably in Hannah and her Sisters.
     
    She also did a lot of work as a script doctor:

    Fisher, in her own part, was absolutely prolific in the 1990s; responsible for fixing the likes of 1992's Sister Act, 1998's The Wedding Singer, 1992's Lethal Weapon 3, and 1991's Hook. She was one of the most sought after talents in the industry at the time.
     
    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/carrie-fisher-dead-star-wars-script-doctor-a7497951.html

    There’s also a pretty funny comedy movie, Postcards from the Edge, where Meryl Streep plays Carrie Fisher and Shirley MaClaine plays her mom Debbie Reynolds, based on Fisher’s script and fictionalized memoir.

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    • Replies: @Peripatetic commenter
    Someone pointed to this fawning piece about Fisher:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/31/carrie-fisher-is-a-national-treasure-new-star-wars-film-shut-down-critics-on-weight

    especially this:


    In 1977’s Star Wars, she proved that a woman can lead a revolution (and shoot a gun and fly a spaceship and wield a lightsaber and be unafraid to tell the men that they really aren’t doing things right) – no small feat in the world of sci-fi, or in the world at large.
     
    Truly, that journalist lives in fantasy land.
    , @Jim Don Bob
    Postcards from the Edge is a pretty funny book too. One line I always remember - "I ran screaming down the hallways of my mind."

    A talented woman who did not seem to have had a very happy life. RIP.
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  144. @Dave Pinsen
    It wouldn't seem to make much sense on political or economic grounds either. If you want to terrorize other planets into submission, why not build a smaller weapon that can vaporize a city on another planet? Presumably, you wouldn't have to vaporize too many cities to compel submission, and you'd rule the planet, instead of having created an astroid field.

    I didn’t see the movie, and I’m not going to. So perhaps someone can tell me: did they manage to recycle the hackey line “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”, which seems to be in every Star Wars movie.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    I checked the Spoiler site for movies, and the plot just sounds tarded.
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  145. @Bleuteaux
    "The movie seemed to be aiming really, really young."

    That decision was made beginning with the prequels. Like Steve says, it's a movie for 8 year olds. I walked into the grocery store the day after seeing last year's hot garbage and the entire entry way was Star Wars action figures and themed food. I honestly think the creative process for these movies starts with the merchandising teams and writers are the last people to put it all together.

    Rogue One is not a movie for 8 year olds. An 8 year old would be bored senseless. It is a war movie, set in the SW universe.

    Read More
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  146. @Steve Sailer
    There's also a pretty funny comedy movie, Postcards from the Edge, where Meryl Streep plays Carrie Fisher and Shirley MaClaine plays her mom Debbie Reynolds, based on Fisher's script and fictionalized memoir.

    Someone pointed to this fawning piece about Fisher:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/31/carrie-fisher-is-a-national-treasure-new-star-wars-film-shut-down-critics-on-weight

    especially this:

    In 1977’s Star Wars, she proved that a woman can lead a revolution (and shoot a gun and fly a spaceship and wield a lightsaber and be unafraid to tell the men that they really aren’t doing things right) – no small feat in the world of sci-fi, or in the world at large.

    Truly, that journalist lives in fantasy land.

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    • Replies: @Peripatetic commenter
    Amusingly, that article must have been in need of a script doctor. It has this little addendum:

    The piece was corrected 31 December 2015 to reflect that Carrie Fisher was nominated for, but didn’t win, a Grammy.
     
    , @Lurker
    Yeah, that certainly isn't a Star Wars I saw.
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  147. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @eD
    Re #118, Lucas almost brought Spielberg in to direct on of the prequels, and that would have fixed many of their problems.

    “Lucas almost brought Spielberg in to direct on of the prequels, and that would have fixed many of their problems.”

    No, I don’t think so.
    While Lucas doesn’t have the flair and verve of virtuoso Spielberg(a born film-prodigy), he is a very good director of action and has keen eye for composition. ATTACK has some wondrous moments and masterly action scenes. As pure spectacle, it is near-masterpiece.
    The problem is the lackluster story with unconvincing romance, third-rate actor as Annakin, and confused grand plot.
    Spielberg couldn’t have saved the hopeless parts of the preqs.
    After all, Spielberg has made clunkers of his own, even when his directorial hand was technically amazing. TEMPLE OF DOOM is dumb and grotesque. 1941 — cult classic among my peers back in the days — is like mechanical blueprint of a comedy. The jokes are laid out like engineering design. It’s like an open clock where you can see all the gears. No magic. No wonder the only things that are truly funny in the movie are Belushi, Slim Pickens, and the ferris wheel guys who are so chaotic that they break out of the cogs and springs. The final scene with the ferris wheel is truly inspired.

    I didn’t care for INDY’S LAST CRUSADE either.
    I don’t remember anything about HOOK.
    80s Spielberg was pretty lackluster, and I wrote him along with Scorsese(whose AFTER HOURS, COLOR OF MONEY, and LAST TEMPTATION came nowhere MEAN STREETS, TAXI DRIVER, RAGING BULL, and even KING OF COMEDY). Didn’t know both would have great second acts in the 90s.
    Even so, LOST WORLD is a pretty bad movie. The wonderment is gone, and it’s just dinos eating humans, followed by self-parody lifted from KING KONG and GORGO.
    And even though SCHINDLER and SAVING have powerful impact on first viewing, they don’t offer much for repeated viewings because the drama and emotions are so trite and obvious.
    Spielberg has great hands, but he cannot save a bad or middling script. TERMINAL has some magical touches, but it’s rather thin.
    But when he has the right script, Spielberg can deliver outstanding entertainment(KINGDOM OF CRYSTAL SKULL, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, TIN TIN, JURASSIC PARK, etc). Sometimes, it’s hit and miss. MINORITY REPORT and WAR OF THE WORLDS are overwrought and messy, but they have some great moments.
    Kubrick gave him the greatest gift of all, A.I., which also brought out the best from John Williams who outdid himself.

    Anyway, there was nothing Spielberg(or Scorsese or Depalma or Coppola) could have done to fix up the lousy romantic moments between Annakin and Anthead Portman.

    No amount of directorial talent can save a bad script.

    [MORE]

    Johnny To is an amazing director but most of his movies suck cuz of poor script. And I recently saw GAME by Fincher, a true master. Amazing touch but what total stupid nonsense as story and character study. Even Fincher admits the story just got lost. To my knowledge, the ONLY director who could take something silly and turn it into something truly remarkable is Welles, but he always had a big hand in reworking the script itself.

    http://www.indiewire.com/2014/09/david-fincher-says-he-shouldnt-have-directed-the-game-dislikes-superhero-movies-talks-crazy-20000-leagues-272234/

    What I find most jarring about SW is Lucas didn’t go full-fascist, and I mean aesthetically. Lucas obviously likes form, order, and design. Okay, so give us good fascists vs bad fascists. Like in EXCALIBUR. Impressive knights as good guys vs impressive enemies.
    But I think Lucas felt guilty about the ‘inner-Nazi’ of his aesthetic sensibility. He loved al those fashy designs, spectacles, and weaponry. But that is supposed to be ‘evil’ and ‘totalitarian’. Too ‘ubermensch’. So, Lucas had to balance it out by presenting the grotesqueries, the hunchbacks of notre space, as the good guys. So, even though some of the Jedis are good-looking and handsome, others have to be gross with coneheads, snail necks, bug eyes, and etc. And top Jedi is Kermitty the frog’s grandfather. And the top commander of the rebellion in RETURN OF THE JEDI is some Grouper-fish-headed creature.
    The first SW was aboug ‘good nazis’ vs ‘bad nazis’. Both sides were good to look at. But it was too white. Now, throwing in some negroes wasn’t bad, esp as Billy Dee Williams is very likable. But all those damn muppets and Ewoks and etc.
    Now, there are some ugly villains too. Like Jabba the Hutt and his grotesque minions. But for some reason, the Empire seems to rely on their own clone army whereas the Rebellion makes use of freaks of the universe…. like Jar Jar(though I find him rather funny and actually preferable to most of PHANTOM. How wude!)
    Btw, why is a black guy a storm trooper in FORCE AWAKENS? I thought all the storm-troopers were clones of the Polynesian Bubba Fats’s father. So, Bubba Fats is actually related to all the storm-troopers. Difference is the others have been bio-engineered to be docile whereas Bubba has individuality and agency. He wants his daddy’s records.
    Anyway, if the storm troopers are Bubba’s clones, how did a black guy become one?
    It reminds me of the Woody Allen movie about Sex: “What am I doing here?”

    Lucas is a self-loathing fascist. He loves ‘Nazi’ stuff but has to create these muppets to fight it. So, SW is about his inner-struggle. He loves Ubermensch-visions, but his ‘liberal’ side has to make common cause with the freakazoids against his would-be fascist side.
    Now, this is not a problem with Joe Dante who has a natural preference for the freaks of the world against the ‘fascist’ types. Though gorgonites(its leader is negroid and one even hides in the ‘oven’) were created to be villain toys, they become the allies of humans against the ‘fascist’ gungho toys. (Some Alt Right types are into anime because it is unapologetically on the side of cool aesthetics without apology. In the West, such is associated with ‘Nazism’ and crypto-Nazi Disney and his white-beauty-ism, especially as Jews control much of the media. It’s freaks-uber-alles, with stuff like SESAME STREET fed to kids. But as time worn on, the ‘fascist’ mythopoeic stuff had great appeal to the masses, so Hollywood devised something like multi-culti feminist will-to-power prog-fascist aesthetics.) Unsuprisingly, SMALL SOLDIERS is one of Rosenbaum’s favorites, along with grubby stuff like CRUMB, though I must say he said interesting things about both movies and sensibilities.

    http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/cutting-heroes-down-to-size/Content?oid=896882

    I suppose the appeal of TOY STORY is it’s like a compromise between heroism and freakery. It does have classic cowboy hero and astronaut hero but backed by freakazoids.

    Lucas and Spielberg have often been bunched together as box office kings, but they are so different in key areas. Lucas is, by nature, a ‘reclusive’ type. He didn’t like to direct because, being ‘shy’, he didn’t feel at ease working with lots of people. He likes to create his own universe and live there. Like Michael Jackson with his Neverland.
    Spielberg loves fantasy-lands too, but he obviously likes to be out there, mingling with people, having long conversations with Kubrick and others. One is essentially introvert, other is extrovert.

    I wonder how things would have been if Lucas has matured a bit more. But then, I wonder how someone who could have envisioned THX 1138, one of the greatest and most intelligent sci-fi films ever, could have concocted something like PHANTOM MENACE. And even though he didn’t direct, Lucas had a big hand in HOWARD THE DUCK. I mean what the hell was that? And the dreadful WILLOW, sort of pomo take on Tolkien before Jackson came along to muck up that stuff even more.
    Did Lucas go ‘Benjamin Button’ and age backwards? He now talks like a baby. His excuse has been he had to make all this money with Star Wars to finally, yes finally, do what he really wants to do. Like what? Producing RED FAILS?

    It would have been nicer if Lucas had the visionary depth of John Boorman. But then, his movies might not have been all that popular. Nothing by Boorman — not even a big hit like DELIVERANCE — made anywhere near what blockbusters make. Boorman can get carried away, sometimes wonderfully as in ZARDOZ, not so much in EXORCIST II, which Boorman turned into something like Arthurian quest for the Grail and nearly got the movie executives killed:

    STAR WARS is Lucas came up with a great vision but failed to see it through. In the end, he didn’t have the vision of a Lean, Kurosawa, Boorman, Wyler, and Lang.

    Lucas drew inspiration from FLASH GORDON and mythology, but in the end, the result was mostly Flash. In the end, only the special effects and designs redeem STAR WARS.

    Some say Peter Jackson finally did the mythopoeic thing right with LORD OF RINGS; I say no. That’s worse than STAR WARS. It’s dungeons & dragons videogames on the big screen. 13th WARRIOR is much better.
    And among recent sci-fi movies, TRON LEGACY blow away STAR WARS and much else. (AVATARD was the worst crap ever.) ENDER’S GAME is also much better and food for thought.

    But the most memorable movie about myths and legends is maybe EXCALIBUR. With one movie, Boorman conveyed more ideas and poetry than all the STAR WARS movies combined. Boorman also made a fascinating sci-fi film with ZARDOZ, one of the most relevant films given what is happening in the world.

    Boorman presented Big Ideas with poetics, romance, grandeur. And he took inspiration not only from Arthurian legends but from Germanic mythology as revitalized by Wagner. (Pauline Kael’s review of EXCALIBUR in TAKING IT ALL IN is must-read.) http://www.geocities.ws/paulinekaelreviews/e3.html

    And the relationship between Merlin and Arthur is among the richest put on screen.

    Merlin is an ambiguous character. Always anxious because he sees MORE. So, if humans are rejoicing over some victory and celebrating like it’s the End of History and their side won, Merlin foresees dangers ahead and remembers such fleeting moments in the past. Even at the worst of times, he sees chances of hope. Even at best of times, he sees disasters hiding behind every rock. He is like a less amoral Indrid Cold in MOTHMAN PROPHECIES. His vision is from a higher plane. He can look further over the horizon. So, he’s never satisfied or content with good times in the here-and-now. He’s always worried because to know more is to be aware that everything is fleeting, no matter how sturdy and stable it may seem for the time being.
    But there’s also a detached & aloof quality about him. Despite his involvement with humans, he is not of any particular world. And he’s seen it all — the cycles of rise and fall — before in other worlds. And there are other worlds after THIS ONE. This detachment is an advantage but also a sadness. Because he isn’t attached to a single time and place, he can continue in other worlds even if the current world falls into ruin. But because he isn’t loyal to a single time and place, he doesn’t really belong to any one or any people. In the end, he is a wanderer, a stranger to all. Ben Kenobi and Yoda are supposed to be like Merlin figures in STAR WARS, but Kenobi is too goody-goody, and Yoda is a muppet.

    Merlin tried to help Uther, but it was hopeless. Uther was too impulsive, too primal. He couldn’t control his anger, his lust. As Merlin says, Uther couldn’t look into the hearts of other men. Everything was about himself and his immediate desires. He risked everything for a romp with Igraine because he lusted after her. Because he fails to look into the hearts of other men, he alienates them and makes too many enemies and falls in the end.
    But the great irony is Arthur is created by Uther’s most foolhardly deed, the sexual conquest of Igraine. Merlin realizes that his failure was Uther was part of the ‘plan’ because the failure fertilized the success(if limited) with Arthur.

    Arthur is smarter and more sensible than Uther. Arthur is cautious, like Michael Corleone is more cautious than Sonny Corleone. And with the aid of Merlin, he learns to look into the hearts of others. He has empathy, he has understanding. He not only battles the knights who oppose his kingship but reaches out to them in understanding. Ultimately, he wins over Euryens not by force of arms but force of virtue.

    He is also capable of self-criticism. When the sword breaks in his battle with Lancelot, he confesses that his pride and ego broke it. He was supposed to use Excalibur to unite all men, but he used it for personal vanity and vendetta. This wisdom is an advantage, and the Lady of the Lake forgives him and restores Excalibur.

    But the world of EXCALIBUR Is fraught with contradictions and paradoxes. It’s like Merlin says everything has its opposites. Also, the opposite of something may actually be nearest to it or hiding within it.
    It’s like Michael remembering his father’s advice in THE GODFATHER II: keep your friends close but your enemies closer. In EXCALIBUR, Arthur asks where evil is, and Merlin says it is always where you least expect it. Evil isn’t necessarily OUT THERE SOMEWHERE but just around the corner, in your own domain, right behind you, or even right in front of you. It’s like the biggest enemy of the white race is not Russia, China, or Iran, some foreign nations far away. It is the PC virus within the very core of the West. An external enemy can be fought with sword or gun. But the virus has penetrated into your very cells.

    Just as evil could be right in front of you or within you without you noticing, so can the truth & redemption. The biggest truth could be invisible because it’s hidden within one’s soul or standing right in front of you, thus out of focus. After all, the knights who went off to on the quest of the Holy Grail were misguided in thinking it was out there somewhere. Perceval discovers that the truth is actually within his own soul, indeed it’s always been there. He just forgot it, as did Arthur. It’s like the scene in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY where the dying hero tells his partner that there was good within him all along: he just forgot it, that’s all. (Given the out-of-control sexual politics among youth today, HIGH COUNTRY offers some sobering lessons about impulsive behavior among the youth, but also how excessive puritanism — like with Elsa’s father — can make things worse.) The ‘holy grail’ was within Arthur himself. He just forgot what Merlin had taught him.

    And yet, there is a paradox to Arthur’s decline. It was precisely because he was wise and could read the hearts of other men. Everything has its opposites. The source of wisdom and duty could also lead to weakness and doubt. When he discovers that Lancelot, his best friend, had betrayed him(by taking Guinevere), he wants to kill Lancelot and his wife. But he can’t make himself do it because he has empathy. He can look into the hearts of Lancelot & Guinevere and understand why what happened happened. Despite his rage, he is also full of understanding. So, he hesitates and finds it impossible to kill his friend and wife. His wisdom makes him understand more but also renders him ‘weak’ and lacking in resolve to carry out the execution.

    But there is the tragedy. He surrenders Excalibur, the greatest gift bestowed to him by Merlin and Lady of the Lake. In doing so, he abandons his role as king. A king is supposed to serve something bigger than his ego and self. Whatever his personal foibles, he is supposed to rise higher and rule for the good of the people. But Arthur, so depressed over the Lancelot/Guinevere affair, withdraws into his own misery and becomes despondent like Scottie in VERTIGO. He just tunes out everything. If he were a private individual, it wouldn’t matter. But as leader, he has a kingdom to rule and must never renege on his duty and responsibility. Whatever his personal setback, he must rise higher and rule for the good of all. But he just surrenders Excalibur and walks away to bury himself in his own misery. And the moment when he drives Excalibur into the ground proves most vulnerable for Merlin who feels the blade strike into his back. His gift to Arthur has been abandoned, Arthur has violated his covenant with the sword, and there is disturbance in the Dragon. It is in that moment of confusion and distress that Morgana gains control of Merlin’s dazed wits and use his magic against him.

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    KINGDOM OF CRYSTAL SKULL sucked.
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  148. @Mr. Anon
    I didn't see the movie, and I'm not going to. So perhaps someone can tell me: did they manage to recycle the hackey line "I've got a bad feeling about this.", which seems to be in every Star Wars movie.

    I checked the Spoiler site for movies, and the plot just sounds tarded.

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  149. @Sam Haysom
    To the extent that I wasn't just being snide I meant to suggest how weird it is that a site that has a huge contingent of game acolytes also apparently has a ton of sci fi nerds. Honestly nothing on earth guarantees going home alone from a bar than signaling nerd.

    I would disagree with you on the population – there doesn’t seem to be a lot of serious Game people here given that I haven’t seen the “lingo” used a lot. iSteve seems to encourage a lot of geekdom from the movie side, and that’s probably why there’s a lot of sci-fi and fantasy fans.

    I also don’t know how much signaling about geekdom turns off girls these days. I associated with some younger girls, and being a faux geek can be all the rage these days. It can be annoying.

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  150. @The Anti-Gnostic
    I saw Rogue One last night. Since I fully expected it to be formulaic and illogical, and my expectations were met--nay, exceeded--I was able to relax and enjoy the ride a bit. The big fight at the end is pretty cool, like the director and writers actually did some (some) reading on strategy and tactics.

    Other than that, the usual assortment of Star Wars action figures and playsets. Not worth the ticket price. Having the series walk backwards on itself for the sake of recycling characters who grew old and died ages ago/forward in time is getting to be absurd. CGI of people who are now elderly (or in hospital beds) is just jarring and doesn't work.

    The movie seemed to be aiming really, really young. And sure enough, lots of children under age 10 in the audience where I went.

    The movie seemed to be aiming really, really young. And sure enough, lots of children under age 10 in the audience where I went.

    I was six years old when I first saw A New Hope ; I didn’t have any trouble understanding the story.

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  151. @Anon
    "Lucas almost brought Spielberg in to direct on of the prequels, and that would have fixed many of their problems."

    No, I don't think so.
    While Lucas doesn't have the flair and verve of virtuoso Spielberg(a born film-prodigy), he is a very good director of action and has keen eye for composition. ATTACK has some wondrous moments and masterly action scenes. As pure spectacle, it is near-masterpiece.
    The problem is the lackluster story with unconvincing romance, third-rate actor as Annakin, and confused grand plot.
    Spielberg couldn't have saved the hopeless parts of the preqs.
    After all, Spielberg has made clunkers of his own, even when his directorial hand was technically amazing. TEMPLE OF DOOM is dumb and grotesque. 1941 -- cult classic among my peers back in the days -- is like mechanical blueprint of a comedy. The jokes are laid out like engineering design. It's like an open clock where you can see all the gears. No magic. No wonder the only things that are truly funny in the movie are Belushi, Slim Pickens, and the ferris wheel guys who are so chaotic that they break out of the cogs and springs. The final scene with the ferris wheel is truly inspired.

    I didn't care for INDY'S LAST CRUSADE either.
    I don't remember anything about HOOK.
    80s Spielberg was pretty lackluster, and I wrote him along with Scorsese(whose AFTER HOURS, COLOR OF MONEY, and LAST TEMPTATION came nowhere MEAN STREETS, TAXI DRIVER, RAGING BULL, and even KING OF COMEDY). Didn't know both would have great second acts in the 90s.
    Even so, LOST WORLD is a pretty bad movie. The wonderment is gone, and it's just dinos eating humans, followed by self-parody lifted from KING KONG and GORGO.
    And even though SCHINDLER and SAVING have powerful impact on first viewing, they don't offer much for repeated viewings because the drama and emotions are so trite and obvious.
    Spielberg has great hands, but he cannot save a bad or middling script. TERMINAL has some magical touches, but it's rather thin.
    But when he has the right script, Spielberg can deliver outstanding entertainment(KINGDOM OF CRYSTAL SKULL, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, TIN TIN, JURASSIC PARK, etc). Sometimes, it's hit and miss. MINORITY REPORT and WAR OF THE WORLDS are overwrought and messy, but they have some great moments.
    Kubrick gave him the greatest gift of all, A.I., which also brought out the best from John Williams who outdid himself.

    Anyway, there was nothing Spielberg(or Scorsese or Depalma or Coppola) could have done to fix up the lousy romantic moments between Annakin and Anthead Portman.

    No amount of directorial talent can save a bad script.



    Johnny To is an amazing director but most of his movies suck cuz of poor script. And I recently saw GAME by Fincher, a true master. Amazing touch but what total stupid nonsense as story and character study. Even Fincher admits the story just got lost. To my knowledge, the ONLY director who could take something silly and turn it into something truly remarkable is Welles, but he always had a big hand in reworking the script itself.

    http://www.indiewire.com/2014/09/david-fincher-says-he-shouldnt-have-directed-the-game-dislikes-superhero-movies-talks-crazy-20000-leagues-272234/

    What I find most jarring about SW is Lucas didn't go full-fascist, and I mean aesthetically. Lucas obviously likes form, order, and design. Okay, so give us good fascists vs bad fascists. Like in EXCALIBUR. Impressive knights as good guys vs impressive enemies.
    But I think Lucas felt guilty about the 'inner-Nazi' of his aesthetic sensibility. He loved al those fashy designs, spectacles, and weaponry. But that is supposed to be 'evil' and 'totalitarian'. Too 'ubermensch'. So, Lucas had to balance it out by presenting the grotesqueries, the hunchbacks of notre space, as the good guys. So, even though some of the Jedis are good-looking and handsome, others have to be gross with coneheads, snail necks, bug eyes, and etc. And top Jedi is Kermitty the frog's grandfather. And the top commander of the rebellion in RETURN OF THE JEDI is some Grouper-fish-headed creature.
    The first SW was aboug 'good nazis' vs 'bad nazis'. Both sides were good to look at. But it was too white. Now, throwing in some negroes wasn't bad, esp as Billy Dee Williams is very likable. But all those damn muppets and Ewoks and etc.
    Now, there are some ugly villains too. Like Jabba the Hutt and his grotesque minions. But for some reason, the Empire seems to rely on their own clone army whereas the Rebellion makes use of freaks of the universe.... like Jar Jar(though I find him rather funny and actually preferable to most of PHANTOM. How wude!)
    Btw, why is a black guy a storm trooper in FORCE AWAKENS? I thought all the storm-troopers were clones of the Polynesian Bubba Fats's father. So, Bubba Fats is actually related to all the storm-troopers. Difference is the others have been bio-engineered to be docile whereas Bubba has individuality and agency. He wants his daddy's records.
    Anyway, if the storm troopers are Bubba's clones, how did a black guy become one?
    It reminds me of the Woody Allen movie about Sex: "What am I doing here?"

    https://youtu.be/djQ7WZlb140?t=6m29s

    Lucas is a self-loathing fascist. He loves 'Nazi' stuff but has to create these muppets to fight it. So, SW is about his inner-struggle. He loves Ubermensch-visions, but his 'liberal' side has to make common cause with the freakazoids against his would-be fascist side.
    Now, this is not a problem with Joe Dante who has a natural preference for the freaks of the world against the 'fascist' types. Though gorgonites(its leader is negroid and one even hides in the 'oven') were created to be villain toys, they become the allies of humans against the 'fascist' gungho toys. (Some Alt Right types are into anime because it is unapologetically on the side of cool aesthetics without apology. In the West, such is associated with 'Nazism' and crypto-Nazi Disney and his white-beauty-ism, especially as Jews control much of the media. It's freaks-uber-alles, with stuff like SESAME STREET fed to kids. But as time worn on, the 'fascist' mythopoeic stuff had great appeal to the masses, so Hollywood devised something like multi-culti feminist will-to-power prog-fascist aesthetics.) Unsuprisingly, SMALL SOLDIERS is one of Rosenbaum's favorites, along with grubby stuff like CRUMB, though I must say he said interesting things about both movies and sensibilities.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoDrfuw8uHE

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7XEyuPBE48

    http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/cutting-heroes-down-to-size/Content?oid=896882

    I suppose the appeal of TOY STORY is it's like a compromise between heroism and freakery. It does have classic cowboy hero and astronaut hero but backed by freakazoids.

    Lucas and Spielberg have often been bunched together as box office kings, but they are so different in key areas. Lucas is, by nature, a 'reclusive' type. He didn't like to direct because, being 'shy', he didn't feel at ease working with lots of people. He likes to create his own universe and live there. Like Michael Jackson with his Neverland.
    Spielberg loves fantasy-lands too, but he obviously likes to be out there, mingling with people, having long conversations with Kubrick and others. One is essentially introvert, other is extrovert.

    I wonder how things would have been if Lucas has matured a bit more. But then, I wonder how someone who could have envisioned THX 1138, one of the greatest and most intelligent sci-fi films ever, could have concocted something like PHANTOM MENACE. And even though he didn't direct, Lucas had a big hand in HOWARD THE DUCK. I mean what the hell was that? And the dreadful WILLOW, sort of pomo take on Tolkien before Jackson came along to muck up that stuff even more.
    Did Lucas go 'Benjamin Button' and age backwards? He now talks like a baby. His excuse has been he had to make all this money with Star Wars to finally, yes finally, do what he really wants to do. Like what? Producing RED FAILS?

    It would have been nicer if Lucas had the visionary depth of John Boorman. But then, his movies might not have been all that popular. Nothing by Boorman --- not even a big hit like DELIVERANCE --- made anywhere near what blockbusters make. Boorman can get carried away, sometimes wonderfully as in ZARDOZ, not so much in EXORCIST II, which Boorman turned into something like Arthurian quest for the Grail and nearly got the movie executives killed:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2D4cPXpvHjI

    STAR WARS is Lucas came up with a great vision but failed to see it through. In the end, he didn't have the vision of a Lean, Kurosawa, Boorman, Wyler, and Lang.

    Lucas drew inspiration from FLASH GORDON and mythology, but in the end, the result was mostly Flash. In the end, only the special effects and designs redeem STAR WARS.

    Some say Peter Jackson finally did the mythopoeic thing right with LORD OF RINGS; I say no. That's worse than STAR WARS. It's dungeons & dragons videogames on the big screen. 13th WARRIOR is much better.
    And among recent sci-fi movies, TRON LEGACY blow away STAR WARS and much else. (AVATARD was the worst crap ever.) ENDER'S GAME is also much better and food for thought.

    But the most memorable movie about myths and legends is maybe EXCALIBUR. With one movie, Boorman conveyed more ideas and poetry than all the STAR WARS movies combined. Boorman also made a fascinating sci-fi film with ZARDOZ, one of the most relevant films given what is happening in the world.

    Boorman presented Big Ideas with poetics, romance, grandeur. And he took inspiration not only from Arthurian legends but from Germanic mythology as revitalized by Wagner. (Pauline Kael's review of EXCALIBUR in TAKING IT ALL IN is must-read.) http://www.geocities.ws/paulinekaelreviews/e3.html

    And the relationship between Merlin and Arthur is among the richest put on screen.

    Merlin is an ambiguous character. Always anxious because he sees MORE. So, if humans are rejoicing over some victory and celebrating like it's the End of History and their side won, Merlin foresees dangers ahead and remembers such fleeting moments in the past. Even at the worst of times, he sees chances of hope. Even at best of times, he sees disasters hiding behind every rock. He is like a less amoral Indrid Cold in MOTHMAN PROPHECIES. His vision is from a higher plane. He can look further over the horizon. So, he's never satisfied or content with good times in the here-and-now. He's always worried because to know more is to be aware that everything is fleeting, no matter how sturdy and stable it may seem for the time being.
    But there's also a detached & aloof quality about him. Despite his involvement with humans, he is not of any particular world. And he's seen it all --- the cycles of rise and fall --- before in other worlds. And there are other worlds after THIS ONE. This detachment is an advantage but also a sadness. Because he isn't attached to a single time and place, he can continue in other worlds even if the current world falls into ruin. But because he isn't loyal to a single time and place, he doesn't really belong to any one or any people. In the end, he is a wanderer, a stranger to all. Ben Kenobi and Yoda are supposed to be like Merlin figures in STAR WARS, but Kenobi is too goody-goody, and Yoda is a muppet.

    Merlin tried to help Uther, but it was hopeless. Uther was too impulsive, too primal. He couldn't control his anger, his lust. As Merlin says, Uther couldn't look into the hearts of other men. Everything was about himself and his immediate desires. He risked everything for a romp with Igraine because he lusted after her. Because he fails to look into the hearts of other men, he alienates them and makes too many enemies and falls in the end.
    But the great irony is Arthur is created by Uther's most foolhardly deed, the sexual conquest of Igraine. Merlin realizes that his failure was Uther was part of the 'plan' because the failure fertilized the success(if limited) with Arthur.

    Arthur is smarter and more sensible than Uther. Arthur is cautious, like Michael Corleone is more cautious than Sonny Corleone. And with the aid of Merlin, he learns to look into the hearts of others. He has empathy, he has understanding. He not only battles the knights who oppose his kingship but reaches out to them in understanding. Ultimately, he wins over Euryens not by force of arms but force of virtue. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eC_TFoGhqUU
    He is also capable of self-criticism. When the sword breaks in his battle with Lancelot, he confesses that his pride and ego broke it. He was supposed to use Excalibur to unite all men, but he used it for personal vanity and vendetta. This wisdom is an advantage, and the Lady of the Lake forgives him and restores Excalibur.
    https://youtu.be/gWgLtF2h6Zc?t=35s

    But the world of EXCALIBUR Is fraught with contradictions and paradoxes. It's like Merlin says everything has its opposites. Also, the opposite of something may actually be nearest to it or hiding within it.
    It's like Michael remembering his father's advice in THE GODFATHER II: keep your friends close but your enemies closer. In EXCALIBUR, Arthur asks where evil is, and Merlin says it is always where you least expect it. Evil isn't necessarily OUT THERE SOMEWHERE but just around the corner, in your own domain, right behind you, or even right in front of you. It's like the biggest enemy of the white race is not Russia, China, or Iran, some foreign nations far away. It is the PC virus within the very core of the West. An external enemy can be fought with sword or gun. But the virus has penetrated into your very cells.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8bQ2xgZCik&t=1s

    Just as evil could be right in front of you or within you without you noticing, so can the truth & redemption. The biggest truth could be invisible because it's hidden within one's soul or standing right in front of you, thus out of focus. After all, the knights who went off to on the quest of the Holy Grail were misguided in thinking it was out there somewhere. Perceval discovers that the truth is actually within his own soul, indeed it's always been there. He just forgot it, as did Arthur. It's like the scene in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY where the dying hero tells his partner that there was good within him all along: he just forgot it, that's all. (Given the out-of-control sexual politics among youth today, HIGH COUNTRY offers some sobering lessons about impulsive behavior among the youth, but also how excessive puritanism -- like with Elsa's father -- can make things worse.) The 'holy grail' was within Arthur himself. He just forgot what Merlin had taught him.

    https://youtu.be/K0oq7SubkLQ?t=1m48s

    And yet, there is a paradox to Arthur's decline. It was precisely because he was wise and could read the hearts of other men. Everything has its opposites. The source of wisdom and duty could also lead to weakness and doubt. When he discovers that Lancelot, his best friend, had betrayed him(by taking Guinevere), he wants to kill Lancelot and his wife. But he can't make himself do it because he has empathy. He can look into the hearts of Lancelot & Guinevere and understand why what happened happened. Despite his rage, he is also full of understanding. So, he hesitates and finds it impossible to kill his friend and wife. His wisdom makes him understand more but also renders him 'weak' and lacking in resolve to carry out the execution.

    But there is the tragedy. He surrenders Excalibur, the greatest gift bestowed to him by Merlin and Lady of the Lake. In doing so, he abandons his role as king. A king is supposed to serve something bigger than his ego and self. Whatever his personal foibles, he is supposed to rise higher and rule for the good of the people. But Arthur, so depressed over the Lancelot/Guinevere affair, withdraws into his own misery and becomes despondent like Scottie in VERTIGO. He just tunes out everything. If he were a private individual, it wouldn't matter. But as leader, he has a kingdom to rule and must never renege on his duty and responsibility. Whatever his personal setback, he must rise higher and rule for the good of all. But he just surrenders Excalibur and walks away to bury himself in his own misery. And the moment when he drives Excalibur into the ground proves most vulnerable for Merlin who feels the blade strike into his back. His gift to Arthur has been abandoned, Arthur has violated his covenant with the sword, and there is disturbance in the Dragon. It is in that moment of confusion and distress that Morgana gains control of Merlin's dazed wits and use his magic against him.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jahLEB3DbKs

    KINGDOM OF CRYSTAL SKULL sucked.

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  152. @Sam Haysom
    To the extent that I wasn't just being snide I meant to suggest how weird it is that a site that has a huge contingent of game acolytes also apparently has a ton of sci fi nerds. Honestly nothing on earth guarantees going home alone from a bar than signaling nerd.

    I never assumed “game” appealed to anybody but people who couldn’t get laid, and as you say, nerds are a big portion of these. So why would you be surprised that game and sci-fi appealed to the same people?

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  153. @Steve Sailer
    I liked Dr. Strange while watching it:

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/doctor-strange/

    But six weeks later I don't remember much of it.

    Admit it, Steve, you took a nap during the film! Lol!

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  154. @The Anti-Gnostic
    I was thinking more about the simplistic plotting, motley assortment of shallow characters, crowded visuals, cartoonish villains, unsophisticated dialogue, complete lack of any sexual or romantic tension anywhere. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's a huge part of adult life and to have nothing like that in the movie anywhere tells me the target audience is adolescents. Not low-brow; after-school special.

    And the illogical contrivances: why put the directional controls for the transmitting dish be out on the very end of an open-air platform a thousand feet up? And why wouldn't Head Science Guy like, e-mail the plans, send a thumb drive, take a picture with his cellphone? And wasn't the whole point to transmit the plans? And at the end everybody's scrambling to get a diskette on to a cargo ship with Lord Vader one step behind. And Plucky, 63" tall Heroine couldn't take some fucking notes while Dad was talking-- this is important? And why are freaking Sturmtruppen walking around in white plastic that doesn't protect them from anything? And all that tech to send massive ships at light-speed and Desert Planet is ... a desert? And you can shield a whole planet but don't have enough surveillance to find the single rifle squad stumbling around the landing pads with no ID or credentials?

    Pulp-comics level. I'm probably insulting pulp comics.

    And there's actually a pedestrian explanation for killing everybody off: it's a prequel and these characters never showed up retrospectively. So again, the series cynically backpedaling on itself to recycle its increasingly shopworn characters is becoming absurd and incoherent.

    I wasted twenty dollars on this shit.

    simplistic plotting, motley assortment of shallow characters, crowded visuals, cartoonish villains, unsophisticated dialogue, complete lack of any sexual or romantic tension anywhere.

    There was sexual tension between the two main protagonists, and the rest was typical of basically all the other movies. Especially the original trilogy.

    But the protagonists did bad things, like killing innocents. And were killed at the end. It was a stupid movie (like many other movies), but not a kids’ movie.

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  155. Too bad Leigh Brackett couldn’t do the whole thing.

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  156. @eD
    "Most of the Marvel movies are pretty forgettable but enjoyable at the moment. Classic popcorn movies, serial-like"

    Its also a Disney problem, which carries over to the new "Star Wars" movies. Disney has gotten very good at making well-put together, entertaining, and forgettable middlebrow movies.

    One interesting thing about the Marvel movies is that the best and the most memorable one, the first Iron Man, was not a Disney movie. The others are good (most of them), but except for maybe "Winter Solider" tend to blend in with each other. I didn't like the Ang Lee Hulk movie but I remember it, I remember little about the less flawed other one.

    Its been pointed out that Lucas was taking risks and trying to do new stuff in his prequels, but they didn't pan out. Warner Brothers has been taking risks in its DC movies, and they always get (unjustifiably) panned, but the three we have gotten so far have been memorable.

    One interesting thing about the Marvel movies is that the best and the most memorable one, the first Iron Man

    That’s not a memorable movie at all, it merely proved that a second-tier Marvel comic book could be a hit movie. Ask most people who saw it, and they can’t tell you who the main bad guy at the end was (spoiler: Jeff Bridges in Tony’s old suit), or anything about plot other than a kidnapping happened in the middle east and he revealed his identity at the end and that Tony was quippy with the one-liners.

    Winter Soldier actually bored me, but that was because the character of Bucky wasn’t that memorable from the first Captain America .

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  157. @ganderson
    Speaking of Det Nya Landet: Is Max Von Sydow in any of the Star Wars movies?

    “Is Max Von Sydow in any of the Star Wars movies?”

    Sort of.

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  158. @eD
    Steve and others have pointed this out, but as Lucas himself has stated repeatedly, "Star Wars" was supposed to be sort of a WW2/ Western B movie set in outer space. But that is really sufficient explanation why only the original movie was really very good.

    (yes, I include the "Empire Strikes Back" in this, but if you are one of the "Empire" was better than the original "Star Wars" crowd, there are still the other half dozen movies, so my point is still valid)

    You really can't get a series of great movies out of this concept. "Raiders of the Last Ark" had a similar "lets make a present day B movie" premise, and they were able to get four movies out of it, two great, one OK, one better than it should have been. But that is pretty much the most you can get. By the Indiana Jones standard, at best you can come out with three more "Star Wars" movies after the original, two sequels and one prequel, one of them as good as the original, the other two with problems but watchable. But nothing more.

    Even the most successful modern day "B" movie franchise, the James Bond movies, has produced more duds than good movies.

    Also, Lucas made the original "Star Wars" not realizing how successful it would be, and thinking it would be a standalone movie. So he pretty much poured as many of his ideas about the universe it was set in into it. There was little left for the other movies.

    One valid criticism of Lucas is that he should have used the time between "Return of the Jedi" and "The Phantom Menace" to assemble a good team of writers and rethink the universe he created down to its first principles. But something like this is just about never done. Tolkien did it, but he started creating Middle East during World War I, to entertain himself, decades before he published everything and was an academic specializing in myth. The various comic books were written over decades by tons of talented people and are famous for their continuity errors.

    “Lucas himself has stated repeatedly, “Star Wars” was supposed to be sort of a WW2/ Western B movie set in outer space.”

    Silly me. I went to see “Star Wars” in 1977 expecting another, better “THX1138″. Forty minutes into it, I finally wised up and said to my friend, “This is just intergalactic cowboys and Indians.”

    I’ve hated everything about it and its spinoffs ever since. I’d much rather watch “Randy Rides Alone” or ‘Neath Arizona Skies”.

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  159. ‘Course there’s also the guy who made The Phantom Edit, who says Lucas’ big innovation was using the fast-edit style, that he says revolutionized filmmaking, but I dunno much about that stuff. He sure seems convinced, though.

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  160. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    1985, a special year.

    One of the dumbest movies ever made, but not necessarily worse than Fury Toad.

    Pretty hilarious.

    https://luciussomesuch.wordpress.com/2016/12/26/hey-ridley-scott-fuck-you/

    The sad career of Scott. He made lots of money for studios but with mostly terrible movies. His one sure masterpiece BLADE RUNNER, was a flop.

    There seems to be two kinds of major directors. Ones whose talent comes through even when they make crap. Even Spielberg’s worst movies shine with exceptional talent. Same with Lean. Even inferior Peckinpah have something about them.

    But then there are directors like DePalma, Scott, Altman, Bertolucci, Coppola, etc.
    When they hit it big, they really knock it out of the ball park. But when they miss, they totally miss. When Scott is bad, he is just miserable bad terrible.

    Altman made MCCABE and NASHVILLE but also QUINTET which is mind-boggling horrible. Depalma at his best is almost untouchable with stuff like CARLITO’S WAY. But he can make total crap like MISSION TO MARS(which only has nice beginning).
    But Scott really takes the cake when it comes to major directors who can make utter total crap.

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    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    This has stuck with me for years: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Duellists
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  161. In 1977’s Star Wars, she proved that a woman can lead a revolution (and shoot a gun and fly a spaceship and wield a lightsaber and be unafraid to tell the men that they really aren’t doing things right) – no small feat in the world of sci-fi, or in the world at large.

    And winds up with the guy who couldn’t care less about her credentials, and constantly puts her in her place…

    The problem is the lackluster story with unconvincing romance, third-rate actor as Annakin, and confused grand plot.

    The problem was the direction and production. The production (Lucas) kept overstepping its bounds, inserting stupid CGI sequences just for the sake of it, and was drunk on green screen power, putting any old crap design into the movie. The direction (Lucas) was obviously sub-par, given the fact that all of the actors’ performances are third-rate. The absolutely crap dialog didn’t help. Lucas pretty much ignored all the nuts and bolts of making a good movie.

    And yes, The Last Crusade is overrated. It’s good, but it’s too schmaltzy, campy, and self-referential to rival to the first film.

    which also brought out the best from John Williams who outdid himself.

    Yeah, but did he outdo Prokofiev?

    KINGDOM OF CRYSTAL SKULL sucked.

    Indeed.

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  162. @Anonymous
    Good point about the rayguns. I always wondered why the laser beams they shot were so slow. Also note that the sparks they produce when they hit something are just like the sparklers from 4th of July fireworks that kids play with.

    Aren’t they plasma bolts or something? Whatever they fire is clearly moving way below the speed of light, so it’s not a ray or laser.

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  163. @whorefinder

    Little furballs with sticks and stones defeating storm troopers with directed energy weapons and presumably high-tech body armor (from the original triology) was enough for me.
     
    I'm pretty sure that the Ewoks-taking-the-Storm-Troopers was George Lucas-the-hippie giving a Vietnam dig, where the supposedly rag-tag, smaller Vietcong gave headaches to the big, heavily-equipped, armored U.S. (ignoring how the U.S. troops won a ton in Vietnam and how the Vietcong were supplied by the bigger communist countries of the time) And also about the communist guerillas around the world overcoming the supposed odds to beat "professional armies."

    But let's be serious that every movie involving a large military/security force has a certain number of stupid-red-Star-Trek-guys to die in needlessly avoidable ways in order to either show how formidable the opponents are. So long as it's not too head scratching at the moment, I generally give that pass.

    It can be done both to show off the abilities of the opponent while still allowing the red-guys to display courage and resourcefulness. The Man of Steel movie, for example, had the U.S. military guys hopelessly outgunned/outpowered by the super-powered, super-technologically advanced Kryptonians, yet had the U.S. military continuously either trying new maneuvers (when they realized the last maneuver failed) or else be willing to bravely dying at the hands of the Kyptonian without crawling (Chris Merloni's character, who actually dies taking them down).

    Star Wars/RotJ is of it’s post-Vietnam time in that respect. Thru the 70s left/libs knew deep down that poor little brown folks (Ewoks) could defeat big bad whitey (Empire). Terrorists, rebels, guerillas were invincible. As a kid perhaps I was beguiled by that too?

    I’m not sure when that began to change? Raid on Entebbe in ’76, maybe just a one-off? But then the London Iranian embassy siege in ’80? Then Grenada, Panama and Desert Storm. I think something in the left/libs died after all that. The automatic assumption of non-white military superiority was gone.

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  164. @Anon
    2001 also surely inspired DARK STAR(1974) , a send-up of sci-fi genre.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbjhPVENHEA

    Maybe Friedkin was an influence on Lucas too. Father Merrin of EXORCIST is like Ben Kenobi, and the whole series is like exorcising the demon out of Darth.
    And Friedkin's action scene in FRENCH CONNECTION was totally revolutionary and influenced later action films.

    One thing that irritates me about Jedi power. It has 007 element. It's like nothing can harm them. Luck is on their side.

    The assembly line scene in ATTACK OF CLONES is from MODERN TIMES, I think. And some Rene Clair movie.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQG6gVxq6-c

    The screwball romance element in EMPIRE seems to be from IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT and other Capra comedies.

    The gothic element could be from NOSTERATU and IVAN THE TERRIBLE, Russo-Gothic.
    Also from BATMAN.

    Trash compactor scene could be homage to KANAL.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUPB1fHv7ew

    PATTON inspire Vader?

    The Exorcist was better than any of the Star Wars movies.

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  165. @reiner Tor
    The first scene with the League Navigator was superb, as well as the young Alia at the end. But half the movie really was shit.

    Yes, the 3rd Stage Guild Navigator floating in his tank, with his leather-clad entourage walking alongside was great.

    The actress who played young Alia, Alicia Witt, now stars in Hallmark Christmas TV movies.

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    • Replies: @Twinkie

    The actress who played young Alia, Alicia Witt, now stars in Hallmark Christmas TV movies.
     
    She was a great guest star in "The Walking Dead." She played a Saviors cell/outpost leader.
    , @TWS
    Life's been rough on that girl. Supposedly she has a giant IQ. She's a good enough actress.
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  166. @Sam Haysom
    To the extent that I wasn't just being snide I meant to suggest how weird it is that a site that has a huge contingent of game acolytes also apparently has a ton of sci fi nerds. Honestly nothing on earth guarantees going home alone from a bar than signaling nerd.

    Game for sci-fi types is like the bright college athlete having to take remedial math in college because he was too busy picking up chicks to pay attention in high school.

    http://www.paulgraham.com/nerds.html

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  167. @Peripatetic commenter
    Someone pointed to this fawning piece about Fisher:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/31/carrie-fisher-is-a-national-treasure-new-star-wars-film-shut-down-critics-on-weight

    especially this:


    In 1977’s Star Wars, she proved that a woman can lead a revolution (and shoot a gun and fly a spaceship and wield a lightsaber and be unafraid to tell the men that they really aren’t doing things right) – no small feat in the world of sci-fi, or in the world at large.
     
    Truly, that journalist lives in fantasy land.

    Amusingly, that article must have been in need of a script doctor. It has this little addendum:

    The piece was corrected 31 December 2015 to reflect that Carrie Fisher was nominated for, but didn’t win, a Grammy.

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  168. @Anon
    "The girl is allowed to have a pretty face, and not be strainy-face like the last movie, though of course they never let her flirt."

    NAUSICAA has a nice young heroine, and Miyazaki followed it up with his masterpiece LAPUTA.

    Sadl, Miyazaki's been downhill since MONONOKE.

    The girl thing sells apparently. Look at success of HUNGER GAMES.

    Some say HOG WON is 'serious' and like it for that reason. A real war movie.

    But is that the right approach for this material?

    I thought first HUNGER GAMES was fun as light action-satire.

    But second one took itself so seriously. I couldn't stand it.

    NAUSICAA has a nice young heroine, and Miyazaki followed it up with his masterpiece LAPUTA.

    Sadl, Miyazaki’s been downhill since MONONOKE.

    NAUSICAA and MONONOKE are just so irritatingly preachy.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    Mere preachiness can be a pain, but NAUSICAA is preachy-keen. It earns its moral stripes.

    Still, what kills me about Miyazaki is he exults in the spectacle of destruction and horror before delivering the redemptive message. And he doesn't shirk from the horrors of violence. Like Kurosawa, Coppola(esp in APOCALYPSE NOW), and Peckinpah, he understands the violence as intoxicant even as he sobers to its horrors.

    I didn't like WIND RISES, but it continues with the contradiction at the core of Miyazaki. He is enthralled with power, flight, and mastery... like the Japanese engineer who created the Zero fighters. But there is a price to pay in the personal pursuit of such dreams as only a giant industrial combine can support and sustain such technology... often for aggressive agendas.
    I thought Herzog's RESCUE DAWN treated this theme better. A story of a German-American obsessed with planes becoming embroiled in a war he doesn't really believe in.

    Lucas will show lots of cool destruction, but we don't really see people get hurt. Miyazaki in NAUSICAA, especially in the manga(graphic novels), doesn't turn a blind eye to the horrors of war. He has air ships breaking apart in the sky and living creatures, humans and animals, falling to their death. In STAR WARS, we don't get such details. Things just blow up, and it's cool.
    When planets blow up in STAR WARS, it's horrific but we don't really sense death. And when Death Star blows up, it's cool. But there is a sense of death and mayhem even in the most spectacular destruction in Miyazaki. When the blast kills lots of Ohms in NAUSICAA, you can sense the pain and deaths of 1000s of creatures.

    One of the most funniest movie-going moments was with LAPUTA, maybe the first Anime movie I saw on big screen. Some liberal-dorky-looking guy brought his little girl to the showing, and there was one scene where the villain unleashes the robots that destroy a zeppelin, and Miyazaki actually shows soldiers falling to their death from collapsing bridges. The Lib dad was gasping for air at such 'fascist' Wagnerian image and sighed 'Oh God' like he wanted to shield his girl from the spectacle. I was silently cracking up inside. No, it's not Sesame Street.

    Miyazaki is like Lucas. He loves 'fascist' spectacle and delivers the Wagnerian goodies but delivers a sermon at the end. But I don't mind because it's convincing, and besides, there is a duality to what we are. We love Power & Destruction but also have the capacity for sobriety & sensitivity.
    What the girl says about the tragedy of the Laputa project has real beauty.

    "Now, why was Laputa destroyed?
    I know perfectly well.
    There's a song in the valley of Gondoa:
    ``We need roots in the Earth;
    ``Let's live with the wind;
    ``With seeds, make fat the winter;
    ``With the birds, let's sing of spring.''
    No matter how many weapons you may have,
    or how many poor robots you use,
    you can't live separated from the ground."

    Good lesson in our age of globalism and Elysium-libs when the people have been severed from their roots.

    NAUSICAA has some great moments, and I think is great overall but also meanders and gets lost in parts. For me, LAPUTA is the all time classic. That works on every level. It is magical and masterful, truly magnificent work. It has some of the greatest images even imagined and put on celluloid, esp. in the sky adventure to find the lost sky island.
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  169. @Peripatetic commenter
    Someone pointed to this fawning piece about Fisher:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/31/carrie-fisher-is-a-national-treasure-new-star-wars-film-shut-down-critics-on-weight

    especially this:


    In 1977’s Star Wars, she proved that a woman can lead a revolution (and shoot a gun and fly a spaceship and wield a lightsaber and be unafraid to tell the men that they really aren’t doing things right) – no small feat in the world of sci-fi, or in the world at large.
     
    Truly, that journalist lives in fantasy land.

    Yeah, that certainly isn’t a Star Wars I saw.

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  170. Yeah, that certainly isn’t a Star Wars I saw.

    Lucas did a pretty good job of balancing with Leia. She’s the princess being rescued, but she turns out to be quite the spitfire. She’s brave, and she holds her own, but he didn’t leg it get out of hand, and she retains her femininity throughout. I hear he did a lot of testing the Big Three together to get good chemistry, and it showed. Its lack really showed in the prequels. Now the culture’s so far in the toilet that “balance” means the women have to get just as many chances to grab their crotches and spit as the men do.

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    • Replies: @syonredux

    I hear he did a lot of testing the Big Three together to get good chemistry, and it showed.
     
    A famously lengthy process. Here's Carrie Fisher's audition:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCXrGuLix7M
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  171. But the “Star Wars” universe shows what Lucas is NOT good at – stringing together a coherent long narrative a la Tolkien or even Stephen King (“The Stand” and the “Dark Tower” books are relevant here).

    The Stand was great, one of my favorites. I started TDT series many years later, after I had grown a political brain, and had to put it down. His compulsive need to extrude large stinking piles of stale 60s New Englander hippie mythology repels. TDT also seems too open-ended for King’s imagination (crab-things on the beach?). He was better in The Stand, where he had to work within the constraints of reality, mostly. So his magic negro prophet was about as bad as it got. He still flubbed the ending, though.

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  172. I thought “Rogue One” was mostly terrific. I am a Star Wars fan, albeit a mostly lapsed one, and one who could happily have done without last year’s sequel and the three dreadful prequels.

    Seems to me that Gareth Edwards has some serious filmmaking ability and could go far in this business.

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    • Replies: @Jack Hanson
    IIRC he did the Godzilla remake, which I loved for its timing, use of smoke, light, and noise (see: the HALO scene, the scene on the train bridge, and both times Godzilla charges his atomic breath, but especially the first).

    Some people didn't like Ford, but I enjoyed his everyman characterization as an EOD tech trying to get home more than if he was another Delta commando trying to kill the monster with a missile.

    I look forward to the second movie in the series.
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  173. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @dfordoom

    NAUSICAA has a nice young heroine, and Miyazaki followed it up with his masterpiece LAPUTA.

    Sadl, Miyazaki’s been downhill since MONONOKE.
     
    NAUSICAA and MONONOKE are just so irritatingly preachy.

    Mere preachiness can be a pain, but NAUSICAA is preachy-keen. It earns its moral stripes.

    Still, what kills me about Miyazaki is he exults in the spectacle of destruction and horror before delivering the redemptive message. And he doesn’t shirk from the horrors of violence. Like Kurosawa, Coppola(esp in APOCALYPSE NOW), and Peckinpah, he understands the violence as intoxicant even as he sobers to its horrors.

    I didn’t like WIND RISES, but it continues with the contradiction at the core of Miyazaki. He is enthralled with power, flight, and mastery… like the Japanese engineer who created the Zero fighters. But there is a price to pay in the personal pursuit of such dreams as only a giant industrial combine can support and sustain such technology… often for aggressive agendas.
    I thought Herzog’s RESCUE DAWN treated this theme better. A story of a German-American obsessed with planes becoming embroiled in a war he doesn’t really believe in.

    Lucas will show lots of cool destruction, but we don’t really see people get hurt. Miyazaki in NAUSICAA, especially in the manga(graphic novels), doesn’t turn a blind eye to the horrors of war. He has air ships breaking apart in the sky and living creatures, humans and animals, falling to their death. In STAR WARS, we don’t get such details. Things just blow up, and it’s cool.
    When planets blow up in STAR WARS, it’s horrific but we don’t really sense death. And when Death Star blows up, it’s cool. But there is a sense of death and mayhem even in the most spectacular destruction in Miyazaki. When the blast kills lots of Ohms in NAUSICAA, you can sense the pain and deaths of 1000s of creatures.

    One of the most funniest movie-going moments was with LAPUTA, maybe the first Anime movie I saw on big screen. Some liberal-dorky-looking guy brought his little girl to the showing, and there was one scene where the villain unleashes the robots that destroy a zeppelin, and Miyazaki actually shows soldiers falling to their death from collapsing bridges. The Lib dad was gasping for air at such ‘fascist’ Wagnerian image and sighed ‘Oh God’ like he wanted to shield his girl from the spectacle. I was silently cracking up inside. No, it’s not Sesame Street.

    Miyazaki is like Lucas. He loves ‘fascist’ spectacle and delivers the Wagnerian goodies but delivers a sermon at the end. But I don’t mind because it’s convincing, and besides, there is a duality to what we are. We love Power & Destruction but also have the capacity for sobriety & sensitivity.
    What the girl says about the tragedy of the Laputa project has real beauty.

    “Now, why was Laputa destroyed?
    I know perfectly well.
    There’s a song in the valley of Gondoa:
    “We need roots in the Earth;
    “Let’s live with the wind;
    “With seeds, make fat the winter;
    “With the birds, let’s sing of spring.”
    No matter how many weapons you may have,
    or how many poor robots you use,
    you can’t live separated from the ground.”

    Good lesson in our age of globalism and Elysium-libs when the people have been severed from their roots.

    NAUSICAA has some great moments, and I think is great overall but also meanders and gets lost in parts. For me, LAPUTA is the all time classic. That works on every level. It is magical and masterful, truly magnificent work. It has some of the greatest images even imagined and put on celluloid, esp. in the sky adventure to find the lost sky island.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dfordoom

    Miyazaki is like Lucas. He loves ‘fascist’ spectacle and delivers the Wagnerian goodies but delivers a sermon at the end.
     
    When you have to add a sermon at the end you've failed. Miyazaki bludgeons the viewer with his message. His one successful movie was Kiki's Delivery Service. It's utterly charming.
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  174. @Jack Highlands
    The Wiki entry has one item of potential importance wrong: he's an Associate Prof, ie tenured, not an untenured Assistant Prof. Perhaps the promotion to tenure encouraged his racist tweets.

    I politely emailed my objections regarding his views to his Dean: [email protected]

    Interesting, because the Article at Infogalactic is inconsistent, but this page also lists him as an Assistant Prof:

    http://drexel.edu/now/experts/Overview/ciccariellomaher-george/?_ga=1.236974785.1378916414.1482778846

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  175. @Svigor

    Yeah, that certainly isn’t a Star Wars I saw.
     
    Lucas did a pretty good job of balancing with Leia. She's the princess being rescued, but she turns out to be quite the spitfire. She's brave, and she holds her own, but he didn't leg it get out of hand, and she retains her femininity throughout. I hear he did a lot of testing the Big Three together to get good chemistry, and it showed. Its lack really showed in the prequels. Now the culture's so far in the toilet that "balance" means the women have to get just as many chances to grab their crotches and spit as the men do.

    I hear he did a lot of testing the Big Three together to get good chemistry, and it showed.

    A famously lengthy process. Here’s Carrie Fisher’s audition:

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux
    And, for comparison, here's Terri Nunn's audition for the role of Leia:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXy59jMqOsc
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  176. @syonredux

    I hear he did a lot of testing the Big Three together to get good chemistry, and it showed.
     
    A famously lengthy process. Here's Carrie Fisher's audition:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCXrGuLix7M

    And, for comparison, here’s Terri Nunn’s audition for the role of Leia:

    Read More
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  177. @CrunchybutRealistCon
    Well if iSteve snuck in, that would make him part of the Rebel Alliance.
    Having avoided Ep.7, I was wary about this, but it was tolerable. The expectation was for forgettable, one dimensional characters, redeemed by a darker Empire Strikes Back adult scifi tone....this was mostly true.
    They managed to avoid the more egregious Ewok/Jar Jar Binks syrup that plagued Ep 1, 2, 3 & 6. The storm trooper body armor does seem laughably ineffective....perhaps good for shielding against sunburn, or kids throwing pebbles?

    If nothing else, Rouge Uno had decent CGI, and other dazzling effects. Moff Tarkin and the Young Leia were plausible, and not too pixelated.
    Agreed with another poster that the first 30 minutes were also solid.

    I would be interested in your take on 3 other recent movies:
    -Manchester By the Sea
    -Passengers
    -Dr. Strange

    I though Cushing was CGI’d superbly well, and Fisher (RIP) rather badly. Perhaps they had blown the budget by the time it got to doing her scene.

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  178. @Desiderius

    There should be a Joe Strummer character in Sing 2, but what kind of animal?
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvXI_ZnxCbE

    Or more appropriately:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9x_FzCWl2nc

    Speaking of Foghorn Leghorn and “Cock of the Walk”…..

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  179. @Anonymous
    You can produce artificial gravity in space by rotating which produces centripetal force.

    You mean like the Earth Alliance does.

    That’s how Babylon 5 operates.

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  180. But seriously, no one has to SEE these movies to know they are bad.

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  181. @Anon
    Armors through the ages were never very effective against lethal weapons. They were mostly for protection against minor threats and secondary blows.

    Stormtrooper suits are for preventing bruises and cuts, not fending off laser blasts.

    In our time, body armor may stop conventional bullets but nothing stronger.

    They got far more deadly weapons in Star Wars universe.

    Armors through the ages were never very effective against lethal weapons. They were mostly for protection against minor threats and secondary blows.

    Untrue.

    In pre-modern times, body armor was highly desired and expensive, precisely because it was effective. But let’s step back for a moment.

    All weapons can be lethal – from simple wooden clubs to fearsome-looking two-handed swords (and that remains to this day – the little 22 LR cartridge accounts for more deaths than 50 BMG or “cop killer bullets” or any other ominous sounding or hysterical/sensational weapon in the U.S.). It’s just that some are less lethal than others (the modern term “non-lethal” weapons is a misnomer; the correct term is “less lethal” weapons, precisely because even less lethal weapons can cause grave bodily harm and death).

    This was particularly the case in pre-modern times when the standards of medical care and prisoner treatment were quite low. Comparatively very few men died in the actual combat phase in pre-modern wars; most casualties didn’t even come from battle but from disease, thirst, and starvation. Even during a battle, the great majority of the casualties occurred not in the combat itself, but during pursuit (once one side broke and ran) and “mop up” (euphemism for killing the wounded). So even wounds that would be considered relatively “minor” today were lethal injuries in the past. In other words, even if armor could protect against only such “minor” wounds, it was money well spent.

    But armor was actually much more effective than that in pre-modern times. For example, during the Crusades, the Muslims (Turks, usually) left several accounts of being astonished by the extreme durability of Frankish armored knights against their missile (arrow) fire. These armored men were literally called “iron men” and apparently quite a few were pin-cushioned with dozens of Turkish arrows and still fought on unharmed. And this wasn’t because the Turkish weapons were weak. They used a recurved composite bow (made of horn and wood; similar to what the Mongols and other Central Asian mounted nomads all the way to Korea used) that generated equal or greater power to the famed English longbow (only more compact and thus more useful on top of a horse).

    Therefore, typically, when dealing with heavily armored men, the indirect approach was the best – one killed the unarmored first (men-at-arms, missile troops, baggage train attendants, etc.) and then isolated and demoralized the armored ones. With armored knights on horses, one shot at the horses, a pre-modern equivalent of a “soft kill,” i.e. killing an armored vehicle such as tanks by knocking out the vulnerable tracks and disabling its mobility.

    As a good example, see the account of one of the first encounter between the Turks and the Franks of the First Crusade: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Dorylaeum_(1097)

    Godfrey and Raymond had separated from the vanguard at Leuce, and the Turkish army attacked at dawn, taking Bohemond’s army (not expecting such a swift attack) entirely by surprise, shooting arrows into the camp. Bohemond’s knights had quickly mounted but their sporadic counterattacks were unable to deter the Turks. The Turks were riding into camp, cutting down noncombatants and unarmoured foot soldiers, who were unable to outrun the Turkish horses and were too disoriented and panic-stricken to form lines of battle. To protect the unarmoured foot and noncombatants, Bohemond ordered his knights to dismount and form a defensive line, and with some trouble gathered the foot soldiers and the noncombatants into the centre of the camp; the women acted as water-carriers throughout the battle. While this formed a battle line and sheltered the more vulnerable men-at-arms and noncombatants, it also gave the Turks free rein to maneuver on the battlefield.

    The Turkish mounted archers attacked in their usual style – charging in, shooting their arrows, and quickly retreating before the crusaders could counterattack. The archers did little damage to the heavily armoured knights, but they inflicted heavy casualties on the horses and unarmoured foot soldiers. Bohemond had sent messengers to the other Crusader army and now struggled to hold on until help arrived, and his army was being forced back to the bank of the Thymbris river. The marshy riverbanks protected the Crusaders from mounted charge, as the ground was too soft for horses, and the armoured knights formed a circle protecting the foot soldiers and noncombatants from arrows, but the Turks kept their archers constantly supplied and the sheer number of arrows was taking its toll, reportedly more than 2,000 falling to horse-archers. Bohemond’s knights were impetuous – although ordered to stand ground, small groups of knights would periodically break ranks and charge, only to be slaughtered or forced back as the Turkish horses fell back beyond range of their swords and arrows, while still shooting at them with arrows, killing many of the knights’ horses out from under them. And although the knights’ armour protected them well (the Turks called them ‘men of iron’) the sheer number of arrows meant that some would find unprotected spots and eventually, after so many hits, a knight would collapse from his wounds.

    The Crusaders had formed a line of battle with Bohemond, Tancred, Robert of Normandy, and Stephen on the left wing, Raymond, Robert of Flanders in the centre and Godfrey, Robert of Flanders, and Hugh on the right, and they rallied against the Turks, proclaiming “hodie omnes divites si Deo placet effecti eritis” (“today if it pleases God you will all become rich”). Although the ferocity of the Norman attack took the Turks by surprise, they were unable to dislodge the Turks until a force led by Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy, the Papal legate, arrived in mid-afternoon, perhaps with Raymond in the van, moving around the battle through concealing hills and across the river, outflanking the archers on the left and surprising the Turks from the rear. Adhemar’s force fell on the Turkish camp, and attacked the Turks from the rear. The Turks were terrified by the sight of their camp in flames, and by the ferocity and endurance of the knights, since the knights’ armour protected them from arrows and even many sword cuts, and they promptly fled, abandoning their camp and forcing Kilij Arslan to withdraw from the battlefield. [Boldfaces mine.]

    And on top of this greatly beneficial physical protection, armor also conferred a tremendous moral benefit – it was nearly impossible to rouse unarmored men to charge into well-formed opponents while it was comparatively easier to do so with men who felt more-or-less invulnerable or at least more protected by their armor and shield.

    However, armor was very time-consuming and expensive to make, so a great majority of pre-modern soldiery could only afford – if they were comparatively well-off – a helmet (a leather cap or more rarely a metal one) and a leather shirt or tunic, which still offered much more protection than being unarmored at all.

    In modern times, metal helmets became universal, because the biggest killing factor in land battles was artillery, which for example inflicted the greatest number of casualties of any arm in World War II. And artillery killed not by directly landing on soldiers (which was rare) but by fragmentation (often mis-termed “shrapnel”).

    And in today’s first world armies, body armor has become universal. Though still fairly heavy, it – usually a chest plate made of a ceramic composite – can resist a direct hit from a “high powered” rifle. See this example:

    So, yeah, it’s beyond ridiculous that Imperial Storm Troopers wear all that body armor and get taken out by stone- and stick-wielding teddy bears, aka Ewoks. It’s a child’s fantasy. In Star Wars, it’s obviously only for Fascist style points for them to wear all that body armor since, for all its benefits in the real world, armor also exacts a significant cost – reduced/restricted mobility and increased weight and discomfort.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    I don't know. Mifune was well-armed in THRONE OF BLOOD, but he was scared out of his wits when the arrows began to fly.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITyt4RvmBFw

    Also, an armored knight was useless against a foot soldier with a long lance or spear.

    And consider the French vs English with long bow in the HENRY V battle.

    French were well-armored but killed pretty good.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2wU1PKPIus
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  182. @Dave Pinsen
    Yes, the 3rd Stage Guild Navigator floating in his tank, with his leather-clad entourage walking alongside was great.

    The actress who played young Alia, Alicia Witt, now stars in Hallmark Christmas TV movies.

    The actress who played young Alia, Alicia Witt, now stars in Hallmark Christmas TV movies.

    She was a great guest star in “The Walking Dead.” She played a Saviors cell/outpost leader.

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  183. @Svigor
    Star Wars isn't sci-fi. It's fantasy. Fantasy space opera.

    Lucas' big innovation with Star Wars was to approach his subject seriously (like previous comment said, about Star Wars and Raiders and B-Movies). Previous attempts were all low-budget, camp, or low-budget camp. I'm trying to think of any serious subsequent attempts... Lynch's Dune, I guess? For all its flaws (mostly budgetary in origin, IMO), I like that movie a lot.

    I always thought the way forward for Star Wars was to go way back to when the Force was just the Force, and people used it in service of myriad factions and ends, instead of the stifling bureaucratic Manichaeism of Jedi and Sith. Get free of the been there done that Roman Nazi Empire vs. Roman Republican Rebels, too. Maybe even get free of lightsabers.

    I’m pretty sure that the Ewoks-taking-the-Storm-Troopers was George Lucas-the-hippie giving a Vietnam dig, where the supposedly rag-tag, smaller Vietcong gave headaches to the big, heavily-equipped, armored U.S.
     
    I'm pretty sure it was to sell lunchboxes. The teddy bears were originally written as Wookies, who would have served the assymetric warfare narrative just fine, but sold far fewer lunchboxes.

    I’m trying to think of any serious subsequent attempts… Lynch’s Dune, I guess?

    The Last Starfighter and Krull come to mind.

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  184. @Rob E.
    I thought "Rogue One" was mostly terrific. I am a Star Wars fan, albeit a mostly lapsed one, and one who could happily have done without last year's sequel and the three dreadful prequels.

    Seems to me that Gareth Edwards has some serious filmmaking ability and could go far in this business.

    IIRC he did the Godzilla remake, which I loved for its timing, use of smoke, light, and noise (see: the HALO scene, the scene on the train bridge, and both times Godzilla charges his atomic breath, but especially the first).

    Some people didn’t like Ford, but I enjoyed his everyman characterization as an EOD tech trying to get home more than if he was another Delta commando trying to kill the monster with a missile.

    I look forward to the second movie in the series.

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  185. @Anon
    Didn't read the book but the Lynch movie is more like warts and piss.

    Didn’t read the book but the Lynch movie is more like warts and piss.

    The movie was a mess, and exposed Lynch’s idiosyncracies more than the greatness of the book. But it had some beautiful moments, many of which were cut in the theatrical release, but restored in various recut versions (with the fake name “Alan Smithee” as the director as Lynch refused to sign off on the recuts).

    And here and there, it captured some essence of the film:

    There are scenes of the ocean (Caladan) and the desert (Arrakis) that are quite cinematic. The actor Patrick Stewart who played Gurney Halleck (and later became famous as Captain Picard and Professor X) spoke of how beautiful the desert was.

    In any case, the first three novels were quite good. Dense but a completely fleshed out mythological world (a distant future) complete with a complex system of government, religion, economy, ecology, etc. It was and remains a sci-fi masterpiece.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    "The movie was a mess, and exposed Lynch’s idiosyncracies more than the greatness of the book."

    Based on the movie, I gather that the story is about a bunch of empires battling for Mexican yellow rice mix. It's supposed to give them highs or something.
    Not exactly something I want to look into.

    Now if it was for the secret recipe for KFC, I might be more interested.

    http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z110/2mnypets/100_1897.jpg
    , @melendwyr
    I rather appreciate the tv movies, which I thought did a much better job of capturing the essence of the books.

    Jessica and Leto
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  186. @reiner Tor
    The first scene with the League Navigator was superb, as well as the young Alia at the end. But half the movie really was shit.

    the young Alia at the end

    My brother comes… with many Fremen warriors!

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  187. @PiltdownMan
    5o years on, I find it hard to tell 633 Squadron and The Dambusters apart in my memory. 633 Squadron was the one with the Mosquito fighter-bombers?

    Dambusters was a [email protected] film about Guy Gibson leading a squadron of Lancasters against the Ruhr Dams. They have to bounce a bomb off the water into the dam. Some networks cut out or silence any scene where they talk to the black dog that is their mascot.
    633 squadron is where a German heavy water factor is protected from bombardment by being under a ledge. There is one flaw. If the mountain is hit in a certain spot a landslide will destroy the factory. The mosquito bombers must go through a narrow fiord ringed with AAA guns and defending fighters. The bombers either miss or or shot down. The last bomber gets the target. They didn’t need the “Force.”

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  188. In some senses The Force Awakens was better than the prequels, but it only got there by cheating since it was a blatant ripoff of Episode IV, but with Diversity! and the Empire as more obvious stand-ins for Nazis. I guess that’s better than the Empire as a stand-in for America, but the ridiculously obvious effort to link the Galaxy Far Far Away to mere earthly politics was a mistake.

    While the prequel trilogy was insanely stupid in almost every respect, I do think you have to at least give Lucas a tiny bit of credit for zooming out, so to speak, and trying to show that there really is a galaxy-wide empire there.

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  189. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Twinkie

    Didn’t read the book but the Lynch movie is more like warts and piss.
     
    The movie was a mess, and exposed Lynch's idiosyncracies more than the greatness of the book. But it had some beautiful moments, many of which were cut in the theatrical release, but restored in various recut versions (with the fake name "Alan Smithee" as the director as Lynch refused to sign off on the recuts).

    And here and there, it captured some essence of the film: https://youtu.be/QrCfivcQe48

    https://youtu.be/WCbR0wZWJxQ

    https://youtu.be/yJyTZdgzdsU

    There are scenes of the ocean (Caladan) and the desert (Arrakis) that are quite cinematic. The actor Patrick Stewart who played Gurney Halleck (and later became famous as Captain Picard and Professor X) spoke of how beautiful the desert was.

    In any case, the first three novels were quite good. Dense but a completely fleshed out mythological world (a distant future) complete with a complex system of government, religion, economy, ecology, etc. It was and remains a sci-fi masterpiece.

    “The movie was a mess, and exposed Lynch’s idiosyncracies more than the greatness of the book.”

    Based on the movie, I gather that the story is about a bunch of empires battling for Mexican yellow rice mix. It’s supposed to give them highs or something.
    Not exactly something I want to look into.

    Now if it was for the secret recipe for KFC, I might be more interested.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jamie b.
    "It’s supposed to give them highs or something."

    The spice allowed the Guild navigators to bend space. Interstellar travel was impossible without it.
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  190. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Twinkie

    Armors through the ages were never very effective against lethal weapons. They were mostly for protection against minor threats and secondary blows.
     
    Untrue.

    In pre-modern times, body armor was highly desired and expensive, precisely because it was effective. But let's step back for a moment.

    All weapons can be lethal - from simple wooden clubs to fearsome-looking two-handed swords (and that remains to this day - the little 22 LR cartridge accounts for more deaths than 50 BMG or "cop killer bullets" or any other ominous sounding or hysterical/sensational weapon in the U.S.). It's just that some are less lethal than others (the modern term "non-lethal" weapons is a misnomer; the correct term is "less lethal" weapons, precisely because even less lethal weapons can cause grave bodily harm and death).

    This was particularly the case in pre-modern times when the standards of medical care and prisoner treatment were quite low. Comparatively very few men died in the actual combat phase in pre-modern wars; most casualties didn't even come from battle but from disease, thirst, and starvation. Even during a battle, the great majority of the casualties occurred not in the combat itself, but during pursuit (once one side broke and ran) and "mop up" (euphemism for killing the wounded). So even wounds that would be considered relatively "minor" today were lethal injuries in the past. In other words, even if armor could protect against only such "minor" wounds, it was money well spent.

    But armor was actually much more effective than that in pre-modern times. For example, during the Crusades, the Muslims (Turks, usually) left several accounts of being astonished by the extreme durability of Frankish armored knights against their missile (arrow) fire. These armored men were literally called "iron men" and apparently quite a few were pin-cushioned with dozens of Turkish arrows and still fought on unharmed. And this wasn't because the Turkish weapons were weak. They used a recurved composite bow (made of horn and wood; similar to what the Mongols and other Central Asian mounted nomads all the way to Korea used) that generated equal or greater power to the famed English longbow (only more compact and thus more useful on top of a horse).

    Therefore, typically, when dealing with heavily armored men, the indirect approach was the best - one killed the unarmored first (men-at-arms, missile troops, baggage train attendants, etc.) and then isolated and demoralized the armored ones. With armored knights on horses, one shot at the horses, a pre-modern equivalent of a "soft kill," i.e. killing an armored vehicle such as tanks by knocking out the vulnerable tracks and disabling its mobility.

    As a good example, see the account of one of the first encounter between the Turks and the Franks of the First Crusade: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Dorylaeum_(1097)

    Godfrey and Raymond had separated from the vanguard at Leuce, and the Turkish army attacked at dawn, taking Bohemond's army (not expecting such a swift attack) entirely by surprise, shooting arrows into the camp. Bohemond's knights had quickly mounted but their sporadic counterattacks were unable to deter the Turks. The Turks were riding into camp, cutting down noncombatants and unarmoured foot soldiers, who were unable to outrun the Turkish horses and were too disoriented and panic-stricken to form lines of battle. To protect the unarmoured foot and noncombatants, Bohemond ordered his knights to dismount and form a defensive line, and with some trouble gathered the foot soldiers and the noncombatants into the centre of the camp; the women acted as water-carriers throughout the battle. While this formed a battle line and sheltered the more vulnerable men-at-arms and noncombatants, it also gave the Turks free rein to maneuver on the battlefield.

    The Turkish mounted archers attacked in their usual style - charging in, shooting their arrows, and quickly retreating before the crusaders could counterattack. The archers did little damage to the heavily armoured knights, but they inflicted heavy casualties on the horses and unarmoured foot soldiers. Bohemond had sent messengers to the other Crusader army and now struggled to hold on until help arrived, and his army was being forced back to the bank of the Thymbris river. The marshy riverbanks protected the Crusaders from mounted charge, as the ground was too soft for horses, and the armoured knights formed a circle protecting the foot soldiers and noncombatants from arrows, but the Turks kept their archers constantly supplied and the sheer number of arrows was taking its toll, reportedly more than 2,000 falling to horse-archers. Bohemond's knights were impetuous - although ordered to stand ground, small groups of knights would periodically break ranks and charge, only to be slaughtered or forced back as the Turkish horses fell back beyond range of their swords and arrows, while still shooting at them with arrows, killing many of the knights' horses out from under them. And although the knights' armour protected them well (the Turks called them 'men of iron') the sheer number of arrows meant that some would find unprotected spots and eventually, after so many hits, a knight would collapse from his wounds.
     

    The Crusaders had formed a line of battle with Bohemond, Tancred, Robert of Normandy, and Stephen on the left wing, Raymond, Robert of Flanders in the centre and Godfrey, Robert of Flanders, and Hugh on the right, and they rallied against the Turks, proclaiming "hodie omnes divites si Deo placet effecti eritis" ("today if it pleases God you will all become rich"). Although the ferocity of the Norman attack took the Turks by surprise, they were unable to dislodge the Turks until a force led by Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy, the Papal legate, arrived in mid-afternoon, perhaps with Raymond in the van, moving around the battle through concealing hills and across the river, outflanking the archers on the left and surprising the Turks from the rear. Adhemar's force fell on the Turkish camp, and attacked the Turks from the rear. The Turks were terrified by the sight of their camp in flames, and by the ferocity and endurance of the knights, since the knights' armour protected them from arrows and even many sword cuts, and they promptly fled, abandoning their camp and forcing Kilij Arslan to withdraw from the battlefield. [Boldfaces mine.]
     
    And on top of this greatly beneficial physical protection, armor also conferred a tremendous moral benefit - it was nearly impossible to rouse unarmored men to charge into well-formed opponents while it was comparatively easier to do so with men who felt more-or-less invulnerable or at least more protected by their armor and shield.

    However, armor was very time-consuming and expensive to make, so a great majority of pre-modern soldiery could only afford - if they were comparatively well-off - a helmet (a leather cap or more rarely a metal one) and a leather shirt or tunic, which still offered much more protection than being unarmored at all.

    In modern times, metal helmets became universal, because the biggest killing factor in land battles was artillery, which for example inflicted the greatest number of casualties of any arm in World War II. And artillery killed not by directly landing on soldiers (which was rare) but by fragmentation (often mis-termed "shrapnel").

    And in today's first world armies, body armor has become universal. Though still fairly heavy, it - usually a chest plate made of a ceramic composite - can resist a direct hit from a "high powered" rifle. See this example: https://youtu.be/tMMSA3opBk4

    So, yeah, it's beyond ridiculous that Imperial Storm Troopers wear all that body armor and get taken out by stone- and stick-wielding teddy bears, aka Ewoks. It's a child's fantasy. In Star Wars, it's obviously only for Fascist style points for them to wear all that body armor since, for all its benefits in the real world, armor also exacts a significant cost - reduced/restricted mobility and increased weight and discomfort.

    I don’t know. Mifune was well-armed in THRONE OF BLOOD, but he was scared out of his wits when the arrows began to fly.

    Also, an armored knight was useless against a foot soldier with a long lance or spear.

    And consider the French vs English with long bow in the HENRY V battle.

    French were well-armored but killed pretty good.

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  191. @Anon
    Mere preachiness can be a pain, but NAUSICAA is preachy-keen. It earns its moral stripes.

    Still, what kills me about Miyazaki is he exults in the spectacle of destruction and horror before delivering the redemptive message. And he doesn't shirk from the horrors of violence. Like Kurosawa, Coppola(esp in APOCALYPSE NOW), and Peckinpah, he understands the violence as intoxicant even as he sobers to its horrors.

    I didn't like WIND RISES, but it continues with the contradiction at the core of Miyazaki. He is enthralled with power, flight, and mastery... like the Japanese engineer who created the Zero fighters. But there is a price to pay in the personal pursuit of such dreams as only a giant industrial combine can support and sustain such technology... often for aggressive agendas.
    I thought Herzog's RESCUE DAWN treated this theme better. A story of a German-American obsessed with planes becoming embroiled in a war he doesn't really believe in.

    Lucas will show lots of cool destruction, but we don't really see people get hurt. Miyazaki in NAUSICAA, especially in the manga(graphic novels), doesn't turn a blind eye to the horrors of war. He has air ships breaking apart in the sky and living creatures, humans and animals, falling to their death. In STAR WARS, we don't get such details. Things just blow up, and it's cool.
    When planets blow up in STAR WARS, it's horrific but we don't really sense death. And when Death Star blows up, it's cool. But there is a sense of death and mayhem even in the most spectacular destruction in Miyazaki. When the blast kills lots of Ohms in NAUSICAA, you can sense the pain and deaths of 1000s of creatures.

    One of the most funniest movie-going moments was with LAPUTA, maybe the first Anime movie I saw on big screen. Some liberal-dorky-looking guy brought his little girl to the showing, and there was one scene where the villain unleashes the robots that destroy a zeppelin, and Miyazaki actually shows soldiers falling to their death from collapsing bridges. The Lib dad was gasping for air at such 'fascist' Wagnerian image and sighed 'Oh God' like he wanted to shield his girl from the spectacle. I was silently cracking up inside. No, it's not Sesame Street.

    Miyazaki is like Lucas. He loves 'fascist' spectacle and delivers the Wagnerian goodies but delivers a sermon at the end. But I don't mind because it's convincing, and besides, there is a duality to what we are. We love Power & Destruction but also have the capacity for sobriety & sensitivity.
    What the girl says about the tragedy of the Laputa project has real beauty.

    "Now, why was Laputa destroyed?
    I know perfectly well.
    There's a song in the valley of Gondoa:
    ``We need roots in the Earth;
    ``Let's live with the wind;
    ``With seeds, make fat the winter;
    ``With the birds, let's sing of spring.''
    No matter how many weapons you may have,
    or how many poor robots you use,
    you can't live separated from the ground."

    Good lesson in our age of globalism and Elysium-libs when the people have been severed from their roots.

    NAUSICAA has some great moments, and I think is great overall but also meanders and gets lost in parts. For me, LAPUTA is the all time classic. That works on every level. It is magical and masterful, truly magnificent work. It has some of the greatest images even imagined and put on celluloid, esp. in the sky adventure to find the lost sky island.

    Miyazaki is like Lucas. He loves ‘fascist’ spectacle and delivers the Wagnerian goodies but delivers a sermon at the end.

    When you have to add a sermon at the end you’ve failed. Miyazaki bludgeons the viewer with his message. His one successful movie was Kiki’s Delivery Service. It’s utterly charming.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    "When you have to add a sermon at the end you’ve failed. Miyazaki bludgeons the viewer with his message. His one successful movie was Kiki’s Delivery Service. It’s utterly charming."

    What are you, a dammy?

    Since when is a pithy sentiment by a young girl a 'sermon' that 'bludgeons' the viewer?

    If there is a sermon in the movie, it is by the arch-villain who tries to revive the glory of LAPUTA. He is like a mad prophet-visionary. In contrast, the girl says little but conveys poetic truth.

    Miyazaki does something remarkable with LAPUTA. He turns it around, upside down.
    He gets us excited in the sky castle. It is like a vision, a utopia in the heaven. A world better than the flawed one below. And when we finally get there, Miyazaki fills us with wonderment. It's like a dream come true. Like a great archaeological discovery. We feel that the people who must have built it must be better than people on earth, esp as we see soldiers loot the place.

    But then, we learn that the great sky island was itself built on oppression, and its civilization self-destructed due to lack of balance. But this only slowly dawns on us, esp after the ambiguous character of Mosaka(who seemed preferable to militarists) turns out to a megalomaniac and a descendant of the Island People(along with the girl).

    So, Miyazaki invites us to dream a dream, chase the dream, and enter paradise... only to reveal how it was really a kind of hell.

    This is so different from something like ELYSIUM which really is a pop-manifesto from beginning to end about OPPRESSION. Miyazaki can see paradise in hell, hell in paradise.... that is before he got really excessive and awful with SPIRITED AWAY and thereafter.



    (I never understood why Dave Kehr loves that movie. Kehr has no use for later bloated Fellini, but he loves later Miyazaki which is like animated Fellinism. He sure can be moronic.)

    http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/fellini-satyricon/Film?oid=1067763

    http://mail.eufilmfestival.com/castles-in-the-sky-miyazaki-takahata-and-the-masters-of-studio-ghibli/spirited-away

    As for KIKI, it's inferior to TOTORO. Both are only for kids, whereas NAUSICAA and LAPUTA can be enjoyed by adults.

    KIKI runs out of steam half-way. The girl loses the power to fly and then gets it back abruptly at the end, saves the boy, and the movie suddenly ends.

    There's another Miyazaki movie that some people like very much though not me. PORCO ROSSO. But why a flying pig? But then, if a beagle can ride a Sopwith Camel...
    PORCO does have one great image though, elegiac and beautiful, the ghostly march of planes of departed pilots. Miyazaki has that aristocratic-era romanticism along with humanism. He knows the dark side of militarism but its pomp and pageantry are undeniable.

    It's like what Maude says in HAROLD AND MAUDE.

    "Kings died and kingdoms fell. I don't regret the kingdoms
    - what sense in borders and nations
    and patriotism - but I do miss the
    kings. When I was a little girl
    I was taken to the palace in
    Vienna, to a garden party. I can
    still see the sunshine, the
    parasols, and the flashing
    uniforms of the young officers."
    , @cthulhu
    While I love Kiki's Delivery Service (in the English dub, the late great Phil Hartman is the voice of the cat), Miyazaki's most charming movie is unquestionably My Neighbor Totoro (which usually shows up in critics' polls as Miyazaki's second or third best; Spirited Away is invariably first). I also have quite a soft spot for Porco Rosso, as the only anime I know of that counts Casablanca as a major influence. Seaplane pirates in the Adriatic, forsooth! And I'll forgive The Wind Rises a little bit of preaching; the dream interludes with Cabroni and the even-more-than-usually-exquisite animation make up for it (the earthquake scenes are particularly jaw-dropping).
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  192. @whorefinder
    Lucas's ego was ripped apart by both the fanboi reaction to the prequels (booo) AND the Mr. Plinkett takedown. He became resigned to selling the franchise after that.

    And, for those of you thinking , "Oh yeah, a movie review, sure," Lucas said he stayed off the internet for 15 years following the bad critical reaction to the prequels: http://furiousfanboys.com/2015/11/the-internet-bullied-george-lucas-away-from-star-wars/.

    And Mr. Plinkett's reviews were so awesomely devastating and encompassing, no less than Roger Ebert praised them: http://www.rogerebert.com/balder-and-dash/revenge-on-revenge-of-the-sith

    Lucas was shocked that, after holding the nation in a state of waiting for twenty years, the reaction to his films wasn't overwhelming joy and praise, but disappointment and insults. One thinks of a young girl making her boyfriend wait...and wait....wait to have sex with her, hoping to drive him wild with excitement, and then, after giving it to him, having him be less than enthused and critical of her bedroom moves.

    It turns out Lucas wasn't the genius-filmmaker he thought he was. And that broke his ego. But he was stills stubbornly holding on to the franchise, out of spite and a sincere belief that he was the only one good enough for it, and a distant hope that later reevaluation would save his legacy. Then Plinkett started another round of even more painful, more cutting reviews (on YouTube by a host of people who had seen the prequels as children and teenagers) a decade later, and Lucas gave up the ghost. He still thinks he's a genius and the prequels are true art (chiastic structure and all that), but he can't stand the painful onslaught anymore and sought a competent corporation to franchise the franchise and make decent movies to wipe away the old, funny bad reviews.

    First I have heard about Mr. Plinkett and his reviews. I will have to take a look and probably get some laughs at George Lucas’s expense.
    Lol…. I see Plinkett put out commentary tracks for a few Star Wars movies. What a way to take down a movie you despise. No wonder Lucas threw in the towel.

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  193. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @dfordoom

    Miyazaki is like Lucas. He loves ‘fascist’ spectacle and delivers the Wagnerian goodies but delivers a sermon at the end.
     
    When you have to add a sermon at the end you've failed. Miyazaki bludgeons the viewer with his message. His one successful movie was Kiki's Delivery Service. It's utterly charming.

    “When you have to add a sermon at the end you’ve failed. Miyazaki bludgeons the viewer with his message. His one successful movie was Kiki’s Delivery Service. It’s utterly charming.”

    What are you, a dammy?

    Since when is a pithy sentiment by a young girl a ‘sermon’ that ‘bludgeons’ the viewer?

    If there is a sermon in the movie, it is by the arch-villain who tries to revive the glory of LAPUTA. He is like a mad prophet-visionary. In contrast, the girl says little but conveys poetic truth.

    Miyazaki does something remarkable with LAPUTA. He turns it around, upside down.
    He gets us excited in the sky castle. It is like a vision, a utopia in the heaven. A world better than the flawed one below. And when we finally get there, Miyazaki fills us with wonderment. It’s like a dream come true. Like a great archaeological discovery. We feel that the people who must have built it must be better than people on earth, esp as we see soldiers loot the place.

    But then, we learn that the great sky island was itself built on oppression, and its civilization self-destructed due to lack of balance. But this only slowly dawns on us, esp after the ambiguous character of Mosaka(who seemed preferable to militarists) turns out to a megalomaniac and a descendant of the Island People(along with the girl).

    So, Miyazaki invites us to dream a dream, chase the dream, and enter paradise… only to reveal how it was really a kind of hell.

    This is so different from something like ELYSIUM which really is a pop-manifesto from beginning to end about OPPRESSION. Miyazaki can see paradise in hell, hell in paradise…. that is before he got really excessive and awful with SPIRITED AWAY and thereafter.

    [MORE]

    (I never understood why Dave Kehr loves that movie. Kehr has no use for later bloated Fellini, but he loves later Miyazaki which is like animated Fellinism. He sure can be moronic.)

    http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/fellini-satyricon/Film?oid=1067763

    http://mail.eufilmfestival.com/castles-in-the-sky-miyazaki-takahata-and-the-masters-of-studio-ghibli/spirited-away

    As for KIKI, it’s inferior to TOTORO. Both are only for kids, whereas NAUSICAA and LAPUTA can be enjoyed by adults.

    KIKI runs out of steam half-way. The girl loses the power to fly and then gets it back abruptly at the end, saves the boy, and the movie suddenly ends.

    There’s another Miyazaki movie that some people like very much though not me. PORCO ROSSO. But why a flying pig? But then, if a beagle can ride a Sopwith Camel…
    PORCO does have one great image though, elegiac and beautiful, the ghostly march of planes of departed pilots. Miyazaki has that aristocratic-era romanticism along with humanism. He knows the dark side of militarism but its pomp and pageantry are undeniable.

    It’s like what Maude says in HAROLD AND MAUDE.

    “Kings died and kingdoms fell. I don’t regret the kingdoms
    - what sense in borders and nations
    and patriotism – but I do miss the
    kings. When I was a little girl
    I was taken to the palace in
    Vienna, to a garden party. I can
    still see the sunshine, the
    parasols, and the flashing
    uniforms of the young officers.”

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  194. ” they are WWII being re-enacted by eight year old boys”

    Rogue One had more of a jihadis-vs-America vibe to it, with the movie on the side of the jihadis. The Anti-Imperial forces have a distinct Arabic mien, there’s an ambush of an Imperial vehicle in close quarters in what looks like an Arabic souk, plenty of psuedo-Arabic references like the city name of “Jedah”, a holy site that the infidel invaders defile, “kyber” crystals that are a source of energy not unlike oil, etc.

    It’s like Hollywood producing Samurai epics during WW2.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    That's true, but all the other Star Wars have heavy Middle Eastern motifs. Tatooine, the desert planet, is the Skywalkers' home planet. The Tusken Raiders, also called the Sand People, are an alien race of nomads on Tatooine who resemble Bedouins. Jabba the Hut is depicted like a Middle Eastern crime boss and slave trader. Lots of Middle Eastern bazaar type settings. There are many examples.

    The inspiration for this was obviously Dune and Lawrence of Arabia.
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  195. @Steve Sailer
    There's also a pretty funny comedy movie, Postcards from the Edge, where Meryl Streep plays Carrie Fisher and Shirley MaClaine plays her mom Debbie Reynolds, based on Fisher's script and fictionalized memoir.

    Postcards from the Edge is a pretty funny book too. One line I always remember – “I ran screaming down the hallways of my mind.”

    A talented woman who did not seem to have had a very happy life. RIP.

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  196. @Svigor
    Star Wars isn't sci-fi. It's fantasy. Fantasy space opera.

    Lucas' big innovation with Star Wars was to approach his subject seriously (like previous comment said, about Star Wars and Raiders and B-Movies). Previous attempts were all low-budget, camp, or low-budget camp. I'm trying to think of any serious subsequent attempts... Lynch's Dune, I guess? For all its flaws (mostly budgetary in origin, IMO), I like that movie a lot.

    I always thought the way forward for Star Wars was to go way back to when the Force was just the Force, and people used it in service of myriad factions and ends, instead of the stifling bureaucratic Manichaeism of Jedi and Sith. Get free of the been there done that Roman Nazi Empire vs. Roman Republican Rebels, too. Maybe even get free of lightsabers.

    I’m pretty sure that the Ewoks-taking-the-Storm-Troopers was George Lucas-the-hippie giving a Vietnam dig, where the supposedly rag-tag, smaller Vietcong gave headaches to the big, heavily-equipped, armored U.S.
     
    I'm pretty sure it was to sell lunchboxes. The teddy bears were originally written as Wookies, who would have served the assymetric warfare narrative just fine, but sold far fewer lunchboxes.

    The real thing that Lucas pioneered was the merchandising of his movies. Owning the rights to Star Wars made him a billionaire.

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  197. @Anon
    1985, a special year.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLAh7bgaTfs

    One of the dumbest movies ever made, but not necessarily worse than Fury Toad.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPuK5IiNvAQ

    Pretty hilarious.

    https://luciussomesuch.wordpress.com/2016/12/26/hey-ridley-scott-fuck-you/

    The sad career of Scott. He made lots of money for studios but with mostly terrible movies. His one sure masterpiece BLADE RUNNER, was a flop.

    There seems to be two kinds of major directors. Ones whose talent comes through even when they make crap. Even Spielberg's worst movies shine with exceptional talent. Same with Lean. Even inferior Peckinpah have something about them.

    But then there are directors like DePalma, Scott, Altman, Bertolucci, Coppola, etc.
    When they hit it big, they really knock it out of the ball park. But when they miss, they totally miss. When Scott is bad, he is just miserable bad terrible.

    Altman made MCCABE and NASHVILLE but also QUINTET which is mind-boggling horrible. Depalma at his best is almost untouchable with stuff like CARLITO'S WAY. But he can make total crap like MISSION TO MARS(which only has nice beginning).
    But Scott really takes the cake when it comes to major directors who can make utter total crap.

    This has stuck with me for years: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Duellists

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  198. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Boomstick
    " they are WWII being re-enacted by eight year old boys"

    Rogue One had more of a jihadis-vs-America vibe to it, with the movie on the side of the jihadis. The Anti-Imperial forces have a distinct Arabic mien, there's an ambush of an Imperial vehicle in close quarters in what looks like an Arabic souk, plenty of psuedo-Arabic references like the city name of "Jedah", a holy site that the infidel invaders defile, "kyber" crystals that are a source of energy not unlike oil, etc.

    It's like Hollywood producing Samurai epics during WW2.

    That’s true, but all the other Star Wars have heavy Middle Eastern motifs. Tatooine, the desert planet, is the Skywalkers’ home planet. The Tusken Raiders, also called the Sand People, are an alien race of nomads on Tatooine who resemble Bedouins. Jabba the Hut is depicted like a Middle Eastern crime boss and slave trader. Lots of Middle Eastern bazaar type settings. There are many examples.

    The inspiration for this was obviously Dune and Lawrence of Arabia.

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  199. @The Anti-Gnostic
    I saw Rogue One last night. Since I fully expected it to be formulaic and illogical, and my expectations were met--nay, exceeded--I was able to relax and enjoy the ride a bit. The big fight at the end is pretty cool, like the director and writers actually did some (some) reading on strategy and tactics.

    Other than that, the usual assortment of Star Wars action figures and playsets. Not worth the ticket price. Having the series walk backwards on itself for the sake of recycling characters who grew old and died ages ago/forward in time is getting to be absurd. CGI of people who are now elderly (or in hospital beds) is just jarring and doesn't work.

    The movie seemed to be aiming really, really young. And sure enough, lots of children under age 10 in the audience where I went.

    Daughter and I found the movie to be a mixed bag. At times it felt like I was watching a fan film put on YouTube. At other times, there was some nice quality to it. The battle scene at the end was well done, but the story itself though was pretty messy.

    If you are going for a more realistic war film then the Stormtrooper armor can’t just be decorative.

    My one big disappointment was that Porkins didn’t make a digital appearance.

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  200. “Armors through the ages were never very effective against lethal weapons. They were mostly for protection against minor threats and secondary blows.”

    Untrue.

    Yeah, totally wrong. Arms and armor went through many changes throughout the Middle Ages, and their relative effectiveness changed several times during this arms race. To add to Twinkie’s account, in the 15th century, armor really pulled ahead. Articulated plate armor got so good that the weaponry used to defeat it didn’t look all that much like the weaponry used against, say, mail. It was effectively immune to missile fire, and you more or less had to wrestle the wearer down and look for a chink to force a blade through, or face him with a wall of massed pikes.

    Of course, the advent of firearms came not long after, which rapidly led to the overwhelming dominance of (small) arms over armor for centuries. Armor’s only recently made a comeback.

    I don’t know. Mifune was well-armed in THRONE OF BLOOD, but he was scared out of his wits when the arrows began to fly.

    That’s a movie. And East Asian armor has never been impressive, compared to western armor.

    Also, an armored knight was useless against a foot soldier with a long lance or spear.

    Simply not so. For one thing, an armored knight is as capable of wielding a lance or a spear as an unarmored fighter is. For another, I’d much rather face a fighter wielding a lance or a spear armored, than unarmored. And as I said above, armor was really good in the late medieval period. An unarmored man was at a severe disadvantage against an armored man. Remove that image you have from movies, of a spear point (or much else) punching through late medieval plate, it was a rare occurrence. Now, a war hammer, on the other hand, now you’re talking. Which is why war hammers became so popular in the period (I’m talking about the pick-like pointed part, it was far more effective in penetrating plate than a spear was). Maces, too; they could deform armor around the wearer, which I imagine could be very painful.

    And consider the French vs English with long bow in the HENRY V battle.

    French were well-armored but killed pretty good.

    Again, a movie. If you’re referring to stuff like the battle of Agincourt, you have a point, but this is often misrepresented. As I understand it, basically the English won using overall good tactics (much like what Twinkie describes above), not just by using massed longbow fire. IIRC, it went something like: the English chose great ground (nutshell, closed ground or obstructions on three sides, with one way in). The French, overconfident in their numerical superiority, let the English have their choice. The ground was muddy, a hard slog for the French horsemen. By the time they had slogged their way to the English lines, all of their horses were dead, having long since been shot out from under them. They were rapidly tiring (slogging through a long muddy field in plate armor is tiring, and the metal traps a lot of heat). Then the English fell on them and killed them hand to hand, as they straggled in bit by bit (their formation having been long since broken up). The English took many rich captives for ransom that day, not because they had killed all of the French with missile fire, but because they took most of the French knights hand-to-hand, so many of them were able to surrender.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    "To add to Twinkie’s account, in the 15th century, armor really pulled ahead."

    Western armor was tough, but it was clunky and made it difficult for a person to move.
    It was more effective for show than for fighting.
    Indeed, knight on horseback soon became obsolete once a bunch of peasants with pikes were assembled. Also, once a knight fell, he was like a tortoise turned over. Helpless.

    Watch the video at 8:oo

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2h81lh

    Also, western way of fighting wasn't always the best. Notice Robin gains immediate advantage by tossing the hatchet or mace and just using the sword.
    The other guy gets smart and does the same after getting whupped.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ubpQE2IrG0

    "That’s a movie. And East Asian armor has never been impressive, compared to western armor."

    Certainly not as strong but offered more mobility.

    European knight armor was effective only if mounted on horse with long lance. But there wasn't much else you could do with it. It looked good but that's about it.

    Notice the Muslims didn't have armor but often made better warriors because they had more mobility(and curved swords with more strike force).

    Later, the Europeans pared down the armor to just some breast plates and padding cuz mobility and flexibility were the key.
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  201. The cutting edges of swords were of little use against late Medieval plate, as well. That’s why you see swords evolving in a spear-like direction, with more emphasis on a long point, and less emphasis on the edge; the main use against plate was in thrusting in between the plates. Cutting through them was hopeless. The pole arm really came into its own in this period; you see lots of designs with hooks and the like, meant to pull armored knights down off their horses, so they could be grappled.

    The Last Starfighter and Krull come to mind.

    Krull is a real standout in terms of aesthetics. It really did its own thing, which you don’t see often.

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  202. The Wikipedia entry on the Battle of Agincourt is pretty good. It includes several important points that I forgot in my summary:

    1 The French were poorly led. Their king was ill and not present, and the nobility were overconfident and ill-disciplined.

    2 Feeding into 1, the French elite (well-armored knights and men-at-arms) heavily outnumbered the English elite (by one French account, 10 to 1).

    3 The English used stakes in the ground to retard any French charge.

    4 Also, the French lines were apparently much less spread out by the slog than I have described them; the French were something of a mob, by the time the English encircled and defeated them.

    5 The terrain was apparently more decisive than I remembered.

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  203. @dfordoom

    Miyazaki is like Lucas. He loves ‘fascist’ spectacle and delivers the Wagnerian goodies but delivers a sermon at the end.
     
    When you have to add a sermon at the end you've failed. Miyazaki bludgeons the viewer with his message. His one successful movie was Kiki's Delivery Service. It's utterly charming.

    While I love Kiki’s Delivery Service (in the English dub, the late great Phil Hartman is the voice of the cat), Miyazaki’s most charming movie is unquestionably My Neighbor Totoro (which usually shows up in critics’ polls as Miyazaki’s second or third best; Spirited Away is invariably first). I also have quite a soft spot for Porco Rosso, as the only anime I know of that counts Casablanca as a major influence. Seaplane pirates in the Adriatic, forsooth! And I’ll forgive The Wind Rises a little bit of preaching; the dream interludes with Cabroni and the even-more-than-usually-exquisite animation make up for it (the earthquake scenes are particularly jaw-dropping).

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    • Replies: @dfordoom

    Miyazaki’s most charming movie is unquestionably My Neighbor Totoro (which usually shows up in critics’ polls as Miyazaki’s second or third best; Spirited Away is invariably first).
     
    I liked My Neighbor Totoro as well.

    I also have quite a soft spot for Porco Rosso, as the only anime I know of that counts Casablanca as a major influence. Seaplane pirates in the Adriatic, forsooth!
     
    Agreed. Porco Rosso is his most underrated movie.
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  204. @cthulhu
    While I love Kiki's Delivery Service (in the English dub, the late great Phil Hartman is the voice of the cat), Miyazaki's most charming movie is unquestionably My Neighbor Totoro (which usually shows up in critics' polls as Miyazaki's second or third best; Spirited Away is invariably first). I also have quite a soft spot for Porco Rosso, as the only anime I know of that counts Casablanca as a major influence. Seaplane pirates in the Adriatic, forsooth! And I'll forgive The Wind Rises a little bit of preaching; the dream interludes with Cabroni and the even-more-than-usually-exquisite animation make up for it (the earthquake scenes are particularly jaw-dropping).

    Miyazaki’s most charming movie is unquestionably My Neighbor Totoro (which usually shows up in critics’ polls as Miyazaki’s second or third best; Spirited Away is invariably first).

    I liked My Neighbor Totoro as well.

    I also have quite a soft spot for Porco Rosso, as the only anime I know of that counts Casablanca as a major influence. Seaplane pirates in the Adriatic, forsooth!

    Agreed. Porco Rosso is his most underrated movie.

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  205. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Svigor

    "Armors through the ages were never very effective against lethal weapons. They were mostly for protection against minor threats and secondary blows."

    Untrue.
     
    Yeah, totally wrong. Arms and armor went through many changes throughout the Middle Ages, and their relative effectiveness changed several times during this arms race. To add to Twinkie's account, in the 15th century, armor really pulled ahead. Articulated plate armor got so good that the weaponry used to defeat it didn't look all that much like the weaponry used against, say, mail. It was effectively immune to missile fire, and you more or less had to wrestle the wearer down and look for a chink to force a blade through, or face him with a wall of massed pikes.

    Of course, the advent of firearms came not long after, which rapidly led to the overwhelming dominance of (small) arms over armor for centuries. Armor's only recently made a comeback.

    I don’t know. Mifune was well-armed in THRONE OF BLOOD, but he was scared out of his wits when the arrows began to fly.
     
    That's a movie. And East Asian armor has never been impressive, compared to western armor.

    Also, an armored knight was useless against a foot soldier with a long lance or spear.
     
    Simply not so. For one thing, an armored knight is as capable of wielding a lance or a spear as an unarmored fighter is. For another, I'd much rather face a fighter wielding a lance or a spear armored, than unarmored. And as I said above, armor was really good in the late medieval period. An unarmored man was at a severe disadvantage against an armored man. Remove that image you have from movies, of a spear point (or much else) punching through late medieval plate, it was a rare occurrence. Now, a war hammer, on the other hand, now you're talking. Which is why war hammers became so popular in the period (I'm talking about the pick-like pointed part, it was far more effective in penetrating plate than a spear was). Maces, too; they could deform armor around the wearer, which I imagine could be very painful.

    And consider the French vs English with long bow in the HENRY V battle.

    French were well-armored but killed pretty good.
     
    Again, a movie. If you're referring to stuff like the battle of Agincourt, you have a point, but this is often misrepresented. As I understand it, basically the English won using overall good tactics (much like what Twinkie describes above), not just by using massed longbow fire. IIRC, it went something like: the English chose great ground (nutshell, closed ground or obstructions on three sides, with one way in). The French, overconfident in their numerical superiority, let the English have their choice. The ground was muddy, a hard slog for the French horsemen. By the time they had slogged their way to the English lines, all of their horses were dead, having long since been shot out from under them. They were rapidly tiring (slogging through a long muddy field in plate armor is tiring, and the metal traps a lot of heat). Then the English fell on them and killed them hand to hand, as they straggled in bit by bit (their formation having been long since broken up). The English took many rich captives for ransom that day, not because they had killed all of the French with missile fire, but because they took most of the French knights hand-to-hand, so many of them were able to surrender.

    “To add to Twinkie’s account, in the 15th century, armor really pulled ahead.”

    Western armor was tough, but it was clunky and made it difficult for a person to move.
    It was more effective for show than for fighting.
    Indeed, knight on horseback soon became obsolete once a bunch of peasants with pikes were assembled. Also, once a knight fell, he was like a tortoise turned over. Helpless.

    Watch the video at 8:oo

    Also, western way of fighting wasn’t always the best. Notice Robin gains immediate advantage by tossing the hatchet or mace and just using the sword.
    The other guy gets smart and does the same after getting whupped.

    “That’s a movie. And East Asian armor has never been impressive, compared to western armor.”

    Certainly not as strong but offered more mobility.

    European knight armor was effective only if mounted on horse with long lance. But there wasn’t much else you could do with it. It looked good but that’s about it.

    Notice the Muslims didn’t have armor but often made better warriors because they had more mobility(and curved swords with more strike force).

    Later, the Europeans pared down the armor to just some breast plates and padding cuz mobility and flexibility were the key.

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    • Replies: @Boomstick
    Always be skeptical when several hundred years of military practice is dismissed as "for show."

    First of all, the pikemen weren't just peasants with pointy sticks. Good infantry of that sort can stand up to a cavalry charge but it does not just appear when you give pikes to peasants. It's presence usually indicates a cohesive society, a group of people willing to fight for each other, and a long time practicing drill. The Swiss had that. They didn't just stand around waiting to be charged by the cavalry. They were a flexible and fast-moving offensive force. To be successful they had to respond instantly and courageously to complex orders in battle. That capability doesn't appear overnight.

    The Swiss pike tactics were unthinkable outside of a society similar to that of the Swiss, or at least an army willing to put in the time to train a lot of infantry to a high standard.

    Second, heavy cavalry were only part of a larger combined arms team. Armies rarely consist of only one type of force. In the case of heavy cavalry they usually also had supporting missile troops, light cavalry, and infantry. Pikemen needed to be massed to be effective. Heavy cavalry tactics often involved missile troops firing volleys of arrows at the massed infantry, which discourages them from staying massed. Once enough disorder was created the heavy cavalry could charge and break up the formations. At that point one's own infantry (one hopes still in formation, and thus far more effective) could advance, and the light cavalry could ride down the remnants during the pursuit phase. That's the theory, anyway.

    Pikemen often had breast plate armor and helmets, if they could afford it. It helped them resist missile troops.

    Eventually firearms created enough firepower that massed formation infantry was no longer feasible. The state today is that one cannot usually see who's shooting at you.

    There's been a renaissance lately in the study of European martial arts. (Ha!) They had a lot on the ball. The eastern martial arts fans usually don't appreciate the scope of western practice; by the time east and west came into direct military contact firearms had caused changes to European tactics, weapons, and armor.
    , @reiner Tor

    Western armor was tough, but it was clunky and made it difficult for a person to move.
    It was more effective for show than for fighting.
    Indeed, knight on horseback soon became obsolete once a bunch of peasants with pikes were assembled. Also, once a knight fell, he was like a tortoise turned over. Helpless.
     
    That's just wrong. It's telling that you're using a fictional movie and a documentary illustration video to make your point. Did you know that researchers have tried to wear late medieval armor and they found that it was easy to move in it ? Far from being a tortoise, they could easily get up. Obviously medieval knights were stronger than 21st century scholars, so for them it must've been even easier.
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  206. @Anon
    "The movie was a mess, and exposed Lynch’s idiosyncracies more than the greatness of the book."

    Based on the movie, I gather that the story is about a bunch of empires battling for Mexican yellow rice mix. It's supposed to give them highs or something.
    Not exactly something I want to look into.

    Now if it was for the secret recipe for KFC, I might be more interested.

    http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z110/2mnypets/100_1897.jpg

    “It’s supposed to give them highs or something.”

    The spice allowed the Guild navigators to bend space. Interstellar travel was impossible without it.

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    • Replies: @melendwyr
    Wrong. The Spice allowed the Navigators to reliably predict how to conduct jumps. Before the Navigators Guild developed, roughly one ship transit out of ten ended with the ship failing to materialize at the expected destination - either destroyed, or lost in infinity.
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  207. @Anon
    "To add to Twinkie’s account, in the 15th century, armor really pulled ahead."

    Western armor was tough, but it was clunky and made it difficult for a person to move.
    It was more effective for show than for fighting.
    Indeed, knight on horseback soon became obsolete once a bunch of peasants with pikes were assembled. Also, once a knight fell, he was like a tortoise turned over. Helpless.

    Watch the video at 8:oo

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2h81lh

    Also, western way of fighting wasn't always the best. Notice Robin gains immediate advantage by tossing the hatchet or mace and just using the sword.
    The other guy gets smart and does the same after getting whupped.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ubpQE2IrG0

    "That’s a movie. And East Asian armor has never been impressive, compared to western armor."

    Certainly not as strong but offered more mobility.

    European knight armor was effective only if mounted on horse with long lance. But there wasn't much else you could do with it. It looked good but that's about it.

    Notice the Muslims didn't have armor but often made better warriors because they had more mobility(and curved swords with more strike force).

    Later, the Europeans pared down the armor to just some breast plates and padding cuz mobility and flexibility were the key.

    Always be skeptical when several hundred years of military practice is dismissed as “for show.”

    First of all, the pikemen weren’t just peasants with pointy sticks. Good infantry of that sort can stand up to a cavalry charge but it does not just appear when you give pikes to peasants. It’s presence usually indicates a cohesive society, a group of people willing to fight for each other, and a long time practicing drill. The Swiss had that. They didn’t just stand around waiting to be charged by the cavalry. They were a flexible and fast-moving offensive force. To be successful they had to respond instantly and courageously to complex orders in battle. That capability doesn’t appear overnight.

    The Swiss pike tactics were unthinkable outside of a society similar to that of the Swiss, or at least an army willing to put in the time to train a lot of infantry to a high standard.

    Second, heavy cavalry were only part of a larger combined arms team. Armies rarely consist of only one type of force. In the case of heavy cavalry they usually also had supporting missile troops, light cavalry, and infantry. Pikemen needed to be massed to be effective. Heavy cavalry tactics often involved missile troops firing volleys of arrows at the massed infantry, which discourages them from staying massed. Once enough disorder was created the heavy cavalry could charge and break up the formations. At that point one’s own infantry (one hopes still in formation, and thus far more effective) could advance, and the light cavalry could ride down the remnants during the pursuit phase. That’s the theory, anyway.

    Pikemen often had breast plate armor and helmets, if they could afford it. It helped them resist missile troops.

    Eventually firearms created enough firepower that massed formation infantry was no longer feasible. The state today is that one cannot usually see who’s shooting at you.

    There’s been a renaissance lately in the study of European martial arts. (Ha!) They had a lot on the ball. The eastern martial arts fans usually don’t appreciate the scope of western practice; by the time east and west came into direct military contact firearms had caused changes to European tactics, weapons, and armor.

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  208. @eD
    "Most of the Marvel movies are pretty forgettable but enjoyable at the moment. Classic popcorn movies, serial-like"

    Its also a Disney problem, which carries over to the new "Star Wars" movies. Disney has gotten very good at making well-put together, entertaining, and forgettable middlebrow movies.

    One interesting thing about the Marvel movies is that the best and the most memorable one, the first Iron Man, was not a Disney movie. The others are good (most of them), but except for maybe "Winter Solider" tend to blend in with each other. I didn't like the Ang Lee Hulk movie but I remember it, I remember little about the less flawed other one.

    Its been pointed out that Lucas was taking risks and trying to do new stuff in his prequels, but they didn't pan out. Warner Brothers has been taking risks in its DC movies, and they always get (unjustifiably) panned, but the three we have gotten so far have been memorable.

    DC has forgotten nothing and learned nothing from the Batman movies. A dark Superman? That completely misses the essence of the character but Batman did good as a dark movie so dark superman has to right? Wrong.

    Dark superman destroyed the character. It was worse in its own way than the campy Batman movies.

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  209. @Dave Pinsen
    Yes, the 3rd Stage Guild Navigator floating in his tank, with his leather-clad entourage walking alongside was great.

    The actress who played young Alia, Alicia Witt, now stars in Hallmark Christmas TV movies.

    Life’s been rough on that girl. Supposedly she has a giant IQ. She’s a good enough actress.

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  210. @Anon
    "To add to Twinkie’s account, in the 15th century, armor really pulled ahead."

    Western armor was tough, but it was clunky and made it difficult for a person to move.
    It was more effective for show than for fighting.
    Indeed, knight on horseback soon became obsolete once a bunch of peasants with pikes were assembled. Also, once a knight fell, he was like a tortoise turned over. Helpless.

    Watch the video at 8:oo

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2h81lh

    Also, western way of fighting wasn't always the best. Notice Robin gains immediate advantage by tossing the hatchet or mace and just using the sword.
    The other guy gets smart and does the same after getting whupped.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ubpQE2IrG0

    "That’s a movie. And East Asian armor has never been impressive, compared to western armor."

    Certainly not as strong but offered more mobility.

    European knight armor was effective only if mounted on horse with long lance. But there wasn't much else you could do with it. It looked good but that's about it.

    Notice the Muslims didn't have armor but often made better warriors because they had more mobility(and curved swords with more strike force).

    Later, the Europeans pared down the armor to just some breast plates and padding cuz mobility and flexibility were the key.

    Western armor was tough, but it was clunky and made it difficult for a person to move.
    It was more effective for show than for fighting.
    Indeed, knight on horseback soon became obsolete once a bunch of peasants with pikes were assembled. Also, once a knight fell, he was like a tortoise turned over. Helpless.

    That’s just wrong. It’s telling that you’re using a fictional movie and a documentary illustration video to make your point. Did you know that researchers have tried to wear late medieval armor and they found that it was easy to move in it ? Far from being a tortoise, they could easily get up. Obviously medieval knights were stronger than 21st century scholars, so for them it must’ve been even easier.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    I'm not convinced.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hlIUrd7d1Q

    I must say it looks good.

    I think a bunch of homos were also into steel, and they persuaded the elites it's a cool idea to wear these armors.

    And for a time, it worked cuz most of European folks were serfs with no means to challenge the authority of the knights.

    But once the battlefield got more competitive, it soon dawned on everyone that wearing fancy trash cans isn't the best way to win wars.

    It takes away more than it adds.

    Also, in hand-to-hand combat, speed is of the essence. Even shaving 1/2 second off your time could mean you get hit with the blow first.
    A hit from a mace is gonna knock you flat even if you have an armor.

    , @Anon
    You know what would be interesting?

    Golf played in knight armor.

    But swimming is probably not a good idea.
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  211. Western armor was tough, but it was clunky and made it difficult for a person to move.

    This is nonsense. Armored fighters could execute rolls and other fairly acrobatic maneuvers (reenactors have tested it plenty). It was heavy (though not nearly as heavy as imagined, or portrayed in film by know-nothing producers), but the weight was distributed evenly over the body, making it much less cumbersome than something like a backpack filled with equal weight. The minimal impact on fighting dexterity (real combat isn’t a kung-fu movie, economy of motion is good technique) was more than made up for by the vital protection it afforded.

    And FYI, plate armor was actually less cumbersome than mail; the weight difference isn’t that great (I can’t even remember which was heavier, though I suspect it depended on respective coverage), and plate’s weight is better-distributed. Mail tended to put all the weight right on the shoulders.

    For that matter, modern soldiers carry far more weight, far less well-distributed, into combat today (though they don’t tend to keep carrying it all once the fighting starts, I’d imagine).

    It was more effective for show than for fighting.

    I’m going to take that literally – as a non-statement; so what if it was more effective for show (a highly subjective question, at best)? It was extremely effective for fighting, which is what mattered.

    Individual maneuverability is overrated, probably owing a lot to silly kung-fu mythology.

    Indeed, knight on horseback soon became obsolete once a bunch of peasants with pikes were assembled. Also, once a knight fell, he was like a tortoise turned over. Helpless.

    Again, nonsense. It was much better to face massed pikes wearing armor, than to face them unarmored. Are you just trolling?

    While one can dream up scenarios where armor might prove a hindrance (deep, wet mud, like at Agincourt), I’d rather be prone and armored than prone and unarmored (not sure that doesn’t hold for deep, wet mud, mind you). For one thing, the armor itself is a weapon; a gauntlet can cave a man’s face in. For another, an armored fighter with a dagger is dangerous, even if prone. Good armor was a huge force multiplier.

    Watch the video at 8:oo

    No. Text only for me. I’d respond to a summary, though.

    Also, western way of fighting wasn’t always the best. Notice Robin gains immediate advantage by tossing the hatchet or mace and just using the sword.
    The other guy gets smart and does the same after getting whupped.

    Please don’t tell me it’s a scene from a movie. If it is, you’ve gotta be trolling.

    Certainly not as strong but offered more mobility.

    The point of armor is not mobility. The point is protection.

    European knight armor was effective only if mounted on horse with long lance.

    Nonsense. Most knights and men-at-arms who fought in late Medieval plate fought on foot. The vast majority, judging by every battle I’ve read about.

    Notice the Muslims didn’t have armor but often made better warriors because they had more mobility(and curved swords with more strike force).

    Wrong again. 1, sometimes they made better warriors, sometimes they didn’t. There was plenty of back and forth in ascendancy between the two groups; they tended toward parity, really. 2, lamellar (Muslim for coat-of-plates) and mail were widespread in the Muslim world, though generally western mail was better-made. 3, late medieval plate was probably too hot for much of the Muslim world, leading to 4, the vast majority of the showdowns between western European fighters and Muslim fighters (e.g., the Crusades) took place long before late medieval plate was a thing.

    Later, the Europeans pared down the armor to just some breast plates and padding cuz mobility and flexibility were the key.

    Your stubborn ignorance is so bad, you seem to be trolling. But you’re so insistent, I have to wonder. Europeans pared down to just breastplates because of the rise of the firearm, and only the heaviest parts of the armor (the breastplate, helmet) were of much use against firearms, and then only on the most precious bodily real estate (it’s probably worth mentioning that a bullet to a limb is preferable to an axe-blow).

    Always be skeptical when several hundred years of military practice is dismissed as “for show.”

    This. Most cultures didn’t adopt anything like late Medieval armor because they didn’t have a clue as to its existence, or have the built-up know-how (and probably weren’t as into fighting as Europeans were). Articulated plate is some serious craftsmanship, it’s very expensive, and each piece is fitted to the wearer. European armor (and arms) evolved rapidly between 1000AD and the middle of the 15th century, roughly. It (German and Italian) was the peak of the tech, before firearms took over. It was remarkable stuff, and you’re wrong to dismiss it over movies and pop culture. Certainly far beyond anything seen in the classical period – Rome was not the pre-modern pinnacle of everything (mail was a distinct improvement over what Roman soldiers had throughout the history of the Republic and western Empire).

    There’s been a renaissance lately in the study of European martial arts. (Ha!) They had a lot on the ball. The eastern martial arts fans usually don’t appreciate the scope of western practice; by the time east and west came into direct military contact firearms had caused changes to European tactics, weapons, and armor.

    East Asians got all grindy and religious with their martial arts. A form of sport for monks, basically. European approach to warfare was much more focused on the practical; when firearms came along, they ditched the old school. Medieval fighters mostly stuck to sparring, I suspect, which is easily the best way to get hand-to-hand experience (just look at the KO MMA has delivered to traditional eastern martial arts). Though there are quite a few fechtbooks extant.

    Now, if Anon movie-guy had brought up the Mongols, then we could’ve had a conversation. That’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax (though the Mongol elite got pretty heavy into European-style armor themselves, eventually – albeit that of their time, not the late Medieval). That’s the kind of mobility that could resoundingly defeat well-armored European forces, given suitable terrain.

    I just pray he doesn’t start with the “katanas are folded a zillion times and can cut through lightsabers” routine.

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  212. Notice the Muslims didn’t have armor but often made better warriors because they had more mobility(and curved swords with more strike force).

    Oh, and I’ve seen lots of nonsense about curved swords, too. There’s certainly no scholarly consensus on the issue (of overall superiority of curved vs. straight), or there wasn’t a few years ago, when I last read about this. Curved blades are better at some things, straight blades are better at others. I will say that a double-edged blade is more versatile, and that I can’t recall ever seeing any curved, double-edged blades, while the vast majority of straight blades were double-edged. So this might be the offset for any advantage in cutting power afforded by a curved blade.

    P.S., versatility was really what made the sword so ubiquitous. Axes have much more cutting/chopping power.

    This looks like a good discussion of the subject:

    http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=19282

    In any event, common sense says any advantages were slight, and the real question was the artist, not the tool.

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  213. @Anonymous
    Not necessarily. Destroying a planet into millions of asteroids could make it easier to mine for elements.

    Actually, that was the original purpose of the Death Star’s weapon in the old canon – it was designed to mine planetary cores from lifeless worlds close to the galactic center.

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