Star Wars And The Curmudgeon

A Curmudgeon lifestyle means ignoring big social events until a few weeks later when more favorable terms arise. I just watched Star Wars. No lines. No crowds. Cheap tickets. Just me and the kids and overpriced popcorn in a half empty theater.

The drawback is a perpetual timeshift with everyone else. I’m writing about Star Wars when (almost) everyone else has forgotten about it. Which is my point; it wasn’t bad but it’s forgettable. I can’t stop myself. Bitching must ensue. (Warning: Spoilers ahead.):

  • Overall it wasn’t bad. Nor was it great. It was mathematically mediocre, just like the countless movies J. J. Abrams, Disney’s Corporate Overlords, and associated vat grown entities excrete annually onto the silver screen. After dozens of superheroes and a seventh Star Wars rehash I’m worried. What did Hollywood do with all the interesting people? Are they chained in a basement somewhere? They made a workmanlike chunk of market tested tapioca. I yearn for more. Star Wars has devolved to the spaghetti western of our time.
  • Speaking of “carefully mediocre”: It was a sad reminder that the first Star Wars was unusual and creative.
    • Must we admit that 1977 had creativity (space based fighting monk ninjas with magic swords) but 2015 is a mental dead zone? “The same magic sword but now it’s red.” Really? Disney (or whomever is milking this cow) is reduced to a new sword analogue in every episode; now it’s green, now it’s a two sided staff, now it’s nunchucks. Is that all we’ve got?
    • The sameness was intentional and I suppose if I were autistic and needed patterns to feel safe I’d like it. I’m not and I don’t. Must I “witness the power of the the third consecutive big spherical object of menace with a planet killing superbeam and a small vulnerable weak spot”? I suspect a lot of people did like it. Maybe people like to repeat a mantra?
    • Speaking of mindless repetition: Are people in a galaxy far far away really really stupid?
      • By the time you’ve blown up the third death star even the death star manufacturing trade association would give up.
      • Hannibal attacked Rome in 218 BC with elephants. History remembers him as an epic bad ass because elephants were the death star of the ancient world. If it was a bad idea and Hannibal had frozen three fleets of elephants in the Alps he’d be on a Cracked list instead a historic bad ass.
    • Speaking of stupidity: How am I supposed to be afraid of bad guys who are borderline retarded? Modern movie makers can’t even imagine a true villain. The current Darth Vader analogue (Kylo Ren) breaks shit when he gets bad news. This is to bad ass as a hamster is to a cobra. Compare this snivelling freak to the original 1977 Darth Vader. My good pal Darth had style! This is how a proper bad guy should operate:
      • Darth never drew his magic light sabre sword of nastiness until he was about to kill someone. This is bad ass 101 and it’s universal. In Dune a drawn crysknife cannot be sheathed until it draws blood. Everyone knows this.
      • Speaking of killing, when Obi Wan was mucking around Darth’s military base super bad ass Darth sensed him and sought calmly and intelligently to find his quarry. He didn’t start by kicking over the coffee pot in the stormtrooper breakroom. He went alone because super bad asses roll like that. He found and killed Obi. Did I mention Darth was evil?
      • Kylo Ren periodically goes ape and smashes someone’s workstation. We don’t even put up with this level of bullshit on a football team. If Darth saw such misuse of an elegant weapon of a more civilized age he’d pound some humility into the little shit. More likely he’d kill him. What’s the point of evil if you lack control? Hollywood needs to grok the difference between a totalitarian monster and a thug carjacking a Honda.
    • Speaking of failed role models: Princess Leia and Indiana Jones had a space divorce and spawned an idiot son who’s both a fuck up and menace to civilization? The whole world at the fingertips of well paid writers with all the cocaine they need came up with a twentieth century broken home? Harrison Ford and Carrie Fischer looked like two sad old boring has beens discussing which one should drive junior to Band camp. Happily ever after could have worked. Solo pumped and dumped her could have worked. Leia shoved Solo out an airlock in a pre-menstral fit would have worked. But “junior hasn’t done well in school so he’s a Sith” was pathetic.
    • Speaking of Pathetic:
      • Han Solo, in 30+/- years, has accomplished absolutely nothing. He started out as a harried vaguely unsuccessful smuggler hired by a desert freak and a clueless farmboy. Three decades later he has managed to develop as a man and a human being into a smuggler who’s still on the run from his debts. In the meantime he lost his ship (!) and had a crappy semi-resolved entanglement with Leia. Perhaps he has a drinking problem? Maybe he and the Wookie are co-dependent losers?
      • Carrie Fisher, has aged poorly and looked like the kind of harridan who’d come to a homeowner’s meeting to bitch about your mailbox color. She sounded like  Hillary Clinton discussing NFTA agreements. If this is all that the rebels / freedom fighters can come up with maybe they deserve to lose.
      • The fact that Harrison Ford looks hunky and Carrie Fisher looks like a dishrag is proof that life is unfair. I’m sorry Mrs. Fisher. As a man who’s ageing to look like Keith Richard’s ashtray I can sympathise. Perhaps Harrison Ford has a deal with Satan?
    • Speaking of people who have learned nothing: Luke, the chosen one, has skipped town yet everyone still pines for him? For literally decades they’ve prayed their saviour will Yoda up and save them. Except Yoda was chillin’ in a swamp when the world needed him. That’s what we call a hint. The dude’s got a cell phone. If he wanted to help the rebels he’d call. In the meantime leave the man alone. Maybe he’s studying cool Jedi arts. Maybe he’s writing Sparkly Vampire fan fiction. That’s his business. He wasn’t supposed to shoulder the whole universe and if “save us Luke” is all you’ve got since 1977 you’re not trying.
    • Which is really what it all boils down to isn’t it? They’re not trying. The first story, even if it was only a space adventure, tried to be a complete story arc. It wasn’t Beowulf or Hamlet but it gave it a shot and it was different. Not a rehash of Star Trek. Now, like much of America, it’s locked in time and cannot grow. We’re going to have decades of Disneyfied Star Wars until they blend in with James Bond and Pokemon and Power Rangers and all of the other things that repeat the same tune forever. Back in 1977 I wanted to see good and evil continue their epic struggle. Over time it has become a snippy teenager stabbing an old man doing a cameo appearance. Weak!

Darth, I miss ya.

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About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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18 Responses to Star Wars And The Curmudgeon

  1. Mark Matis says:

    You say:
    Over time it has become a snippy teenager stabbing an old man doing a cameo appearance.

    I say:
    Over time it has become EXACTLY what the Media and the West’s “leadership” want Western Civilization to become.

  2. stewartsods says:

    And why didn’t Chewbacca deliver a proper follow-on shot? Life debt, indeed.

  3. ASM826 says:

    Epic. Really, this post is so good it was worth sitting through the movie so I would appreciate it.

  4. SiGraybeard says:

    Dude, I laughed my ass off at this. It’s epic, and a perfect summary!

  5. Eowyn says:

    Thank you; the many posts and reviews and such led me to think that this was probably true. I’ve never been able to stay awake through any of 4, 5 and 6 (possibly due to bad viewing environment, i.e. at the end of as 12 hour day practicing marching band routines), and I only stayed awake through 1 and 2 because they were in the theatre. Haven’t see 3.

    Have decided to skip 7.

  6. daniel quinn says:

    Yes!!!Made my day Mudge.

  7. John McGranaghan says:

    Now that was funny. Great job of bringing in a couple of the true great SF sagas.
    Kudos. Full disclosure…haven’t seen it yet. Figure to wait til I can watch at home on the big screen with beer and nachos.
    Thanks for the laugh.

  8. Tennessee Budd says:

    I second (and third) the above comments. AC, this is the kind of post that keeps me coming back.

  9. Wolfman says:

    I must admit that my interest in SW is waning. I am a big fan of the originals, but the follow-ups are crap. I had some hope that the new movie would stay true to the canon, but what I am learning is that the entirety of 30 years worth of novels and carefully justified work were deemed unnecessary and too stifling for their intellectual use.

    Leia was eventually elected President of the New Galactic Republic. She married Han Solo, by then a rather successful tactician and General, and they had 4 children, all Force Sensitive. Skywalker founds an Academy, and the Jedi spread through the galaxy, like they were before.

    I’m going to stick to the thousands of pages of character and history developed by dozens of interconnected authors, carefully justified against each other to prevent paradox, which represent an actual cohesive world.

    Disney and JJ can take a flying leap. Good riddance. Its a shame that Lucas ever decided to milk this cash cow, and I wish he’d just left it alone.

  10. Pingback: Star Wars Movie Review Followup | Adaptive Curmudgeon

  11. MadRocketSci says:

    Agreed on all points. The movie was fun, but it does strike me as people who only vaguely get the setting playing with the props and redoing scenes they liked from the original sources of inspiration. Sort of like the recent Star Trek movies.

    What did Hollywood do with all the interesting people? Are they chained in a basement somewhere?
    What I wonder too. The complete absence of original ideas is pretty striking.

    Your point about Luke is well taken: Why do people in this setting care so much about the Jedi? In the original movies, it was the other way around: The Jedi cared about the galaxy, no one cared about the Jedi and their personal problems.

    The Empire seems to have a thing for flashy but impractical superweapons. I imagine this is sort of a reference to the Nazis that they seem to share some motifs with. Even so, the Death Star II was supposed to be a major effort to build. If the Empire is broken up, on the run, and a new republic has been established, then how do they keep cooking up bigger weapons? I keep waiting for some imperial admiral to point out that they can build umpteen million Star Destroyers for every one of their bank-busting planet-killers.

    Like I said, they aren’t really interested in making the setting work. They just want to crash the toys together.

    • I agree. In fact I’d love to see a Star Wars variant with some new clever military approach. Dune had little cigar sized “Hunter Seeker” assassins. That was cool. Drones and giant fighting robots have been done to death elsewhere but surely something can be done that’s not a space sphere. Bioweapons? Clever mind games? Anything smarter than storm troopers and lasers!

      On a similar note I’ve always thought the big weapons thing was self defeating. Even as a tiny naive tyke it seemed to me that Darth Vader was a human allegory of excellence (in evil) and yet he was hindered by his own huge organization which couldn’t get it’s head out of it’s ass. It seemed to hint that evil en masse has it’s own problems with scale. I saw parallels with Russia which could menace the world with ICBMs but couldn’t make sufficient toilet paper. Remember that this was back when the USSR was big and bad and scary and people thought it would last forever.

      And yes, I wasn’t old enough to drive and still wondered how much more epic Darth would be if he wasn’t mired in bureaucracy. Apparently independence streaks start young in Curmudgeons.

  12. MadRocketSci says:

    Also, Fin: That guy could have used a heck of a lot more character development than he got.

    It takes a while to dump your entire worldview and programming, no matter how motivated you are to do it (especially an intense and all-controlling cult/martial upbringing like that). Heck, it would take serious time and soul searching, I would think, before you could bring yourself to start shooting up people who were just recently your comrades. It would have been a lot more realistic, and a decent source of plot points if Fin couldn’t bring himself to fight the New Order directly, until something eventually forced the point, or until he had seen enough of what they do to others.

    Heck, everyone could have used way more character development. There’s no time for it in an Abrams movie, it seems.

    • I’m pretty sure Abrams has a clock in his head; something has to blow up roughly every seven screen minutes or his dick falls off. Thus he has characters that basically announce “I’ve had a change of heart” and we’re supposed to buy it. Hamlet it ‘aint.

  13. Max Damage says:

    The movies lost it for me when they introduced sniveling, whining brats for characters. If I want to deal with that I can simply stay home or pay a visit to numerous relatives. Or become a teacher.

    • What lost it for me was unearthing both actors and roles from 40 years ago. When Solo got nailed (retroactive spoiler alert!) all I could think was “thank God he won’t be in the next zillion movies”.

      I’ll admit to a bit of personal incongruity. I was relieved that Solo bought it. Seeing C3PO made me think of a smelter and R2D2 with bad batteries should have been sold on Craigslist. I hoped until the credits rolled that someone would off Leia too. But the Wookie didn’t annoy me. For no logical reason I’ve got no problem with Wookies living forever and remaining about the same.

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