My Star Wars Episode 7 Rant-a-thon (in which the writer goes insane and is taken away by men in white coats)

 

I have never being one to come out with my own opinion every time an occurrence that could be described as ‘breaking news’ is dropped upon society. So, with that said, perhaps people who read this might find it in their heart’s to forgive me if I suddenly appear hypocritical as I analyse my thoughts on the seventh episode in the Star Wars saga that was unveiled last week.

The biggest thought crippling me so may very well be one that other fans of the sci-fi franchise have thought frequently since the new title was announced: why? Of course, many of them (I know I did) may not ask the question in such a gentle, or be it, formal way, with perhaps a few profanities being blasted at the thought of this new feature.

Let’s face it – and the fans will probably agree with me – Star Wars ended perfectly.

Although I myself had doubts about how Episode Three could successfully lead into the original installment, I was amazed at how well crafted, engineered and written the end of the new series successfully followed through into the old.

Adjunctively, the storyline that pushed the new series along beautifully made sense when in contrast with the original series, with the plot, storylines and characters all coming together in what could only be described as ‘magical’. Although there was a lengthy hiatus between the end of the original series and the beginning of the new, I personally could not have asked for a better Star Wars franchise.

So, on that note, again, I ask why? Why must a new film be written and directed when obviously, there is no need for it? Of course, those who can smell the tarnished scent of money and power will obviously be able to answer my question. Why? That’s simple – with George Lucas selling the rights to his franchise to the major movie monopoly Disney, it is obvious that this humongous conglomerate wishes to cash in on as much economical gratification as it can.

To renew the audience’s love of the franchise and to prove that life still exists in the old dog, it is a requirement of Disney to release a new film as to whet the appetite of old and new fans alike. However, is it a requirement of Disney to perhaps heinously tarnish the reputation of this inspiring series as well? I certainly hope not.

Additionally, buying the Star Wars brand from Mr. Lucas would not have been cheap – and they obviously require compensation for that which was required to gain such expensive film rights.

Now, Disney fans may read the paragraph that came before the one directly above and suddenly perceive me as a pariah. However, allow me to say this. I don’t doubt that someone could write up a storyline that could perhaps compliment the franchise. I don’t doubt that Disney has the budget or the special effects crew to successfully deliver to the audience amazing graphics and imagery. I simply doubt the point to this entire exercise.

There are other ways that Disney could have brought new life into the franchise (which by the way they are pursuing with talks of a couple new TV shows happening) without them having to develop a new film. So, with that said, here are my questions (and comments) in regards to the idea that I have been generating – why? Additionally, how and what will be involved in the promulgation of this film?

One – Episode six of the saga came out in 1983 – by my count that was quite a while ago. My point? Well, do I really need to elaborate on this obvious ideology?

The actors who portrayed the primary characters in the original franchise would have matured considerably. Mr. Ford, who portrayed the plucky Han Solo is 70 this year, whilst Mr. Hamill who portrayed the revered hero Luke Skywalker is somewhere in his mid sixties, whilst Ms. Fisher, a.k.a Princess Leia being either 55 or 56 (I’m not totally down on the low down).

Now, I realise that with digital effects these days anyone of any age can look brilliant (Digital Jeff Bridges), but even with that said, I cannot imagine Mr. Ford running around a set like he used to, blasting away storm troopers, making out with his girlfriend and cracking jokes with his fellow hairy companion.

On this note, due to the longevity of time between episode six and seven, how do the writers intend to attribute this into the feature? Will the old gang be the lead protagonists once more? Or will they be in the background, with a new group of younger protagonists ready to steal the stage?

Two – Obi Wan Kenobi made several appearances in the original series as the spectral guide to Luke Skywalker, beneficially aiding him in his quest for knowledge and aid. Now, Alec Guinness is unfortunately no longer a part of the acting community, God rest his soul, so who might they choose to portray him in this new feature?

Seriously, Obi Wan Kenobi was in all six of the films! You cannot make another without him! One might imagine that Mr. McGregor could reprise his roll, with some digital effects to age him; however I doubt the likeness will be successful.

Three – Will Lando Calrissian be making an appearance?

What about other characters, the likes of R2-D2, C3PO, Chewbacca and other protagonists from the saga?

Four – Yoda – quite possibly one of the single most lovable sci-fi characters ever conceived. Will Yoda appear as a specter from the Netherworld of the Force? Addendum – Frank Oz earlier this year stated that he no longer wished to do any voice acting roles that involved him portraying the character Yoda. So, if our ‘little green friend’ as a certain Sith Lord once called him makes a surprise appearance in this new feature, who will voice him?

Five – Twilek women. Come on, they’re gorgeous! Will any of them appear? I guess it will be asking too much that Aayla Secura returns from the Netherworld of the force, right?

Six – Does anyone recall the character Kyle Katarn? Those who read the fan fiction may remember such a name, but, more importantly, those who played the ‘Dark Forces’ games certainly will recognise him.

Appearing in the original Dark Forces game as the central protagonist, along with his pilot, Jan Ors, who flew the vessel the Moldy Crew from one mission site to the next, Katarn was initially an Imperial, who came to the realisation that what he was doing was wrong. Becoming a mercenary for the Rebellion, he remained primarily neutral throughout the war effort, however did efficaciously aid the Rebellion by stealing the plans for the original Death Star, and discovering the threat of the ominous ‘Dark Troopers’, who were a significant upgrade of the regular Storm Troopers. Those who played the multiplayer game ‘Battlefront’ will recall this particular character class – well, those who played Dark Forces will remember they were far more bad ass in that – and creepy. Baring in mind I was considerably younger when I played the original game, so to have a giant man in a suit flying towards you with a plasma gun with a rocket launcher attachment was especially creepy.

Then, in the sequel, Dark Forces II Jedi Knight, Katarn discovered his family’s connection with the force and trained himself to become a Jedi, fighting against the ruthless Sith Lord Jerec and his numerous municipals. It was where this story ended that the fan fiction began, with Katarn befriending Luke Skywalker, the two of them establishing Jedi training temples together, although Katarn, fearing the dark side of the force, eventually handed his light sabre over to Skywalker and turned away from the powers of the Jedi.

My point – will the seventh film introduce characters that were not in the original film series, but played significant roles within the other forms of media based texts that were conceived in regards to the original Star Wars universe, such as Katarn, Ors, and others?

If so, they could rehire Jason Court, who played the character of Katarn during the cinematics of the second game, and, who additionally is the person that all versions of Katarn have being based upon since the release of the second game.

Other characters could very well be Zac, Tash and Uncle Hoole from the Galaxy of Fear franchise, after all, often in almost each text they did interact with the lead protagonists from the original film franchise, and it was Luke Skywalker himself who convinced Tash through his amazing Force abilities that she should attempt to control her own and become the Jedi she always wanted to be – just a thought.

Seven – Will the vile Huts be present in the feature?

Eight – Will characters the likes of Ahsoka Tano and others who were specifically in the Clone Wars TV show make an appearance in the film?

Nine – In regards to the Sixth question, in which I made reference in the dark Jedi Jerec, it is obvious that the universe is potentially filled with other members of the Sith code. My point? With the death of the lead antagonist at the conclusion of the Star Wars saga, who will take up the role in this new feature?

Ten – An overview, rather than a question; Disney are most notably known for the creation of features that are targeted towards a younger generation. True, films the likes of Tron Legacy and John Carter are quite mature in regards to other features and are enjoyable for all ages, not that their other films are not, but Disney will always ensure that their films can appease a younger market, not just an older one. Might this factor get in the way of successfully developing a new Star Wars feature that is reminiscent of its predecessors?

Thank you for reading. I hope my rant did not prove too deranged.

Also, I would like to mention one final statement – when the seventh film is released, I will attend the theatre and watch it on a cinematic screen, and if the new film proves to be a spectacular blockbuster, I will personally develop a new post saying how wrong I was to rant about it and how meticulously well conceived the film was. If the film doesn’t prove to be a blockbuster – well, don’t hold your breath on any positive posts being postulated in regards to it.

What thoughts do you have on the development of a seventh Star Wars film? Do you believe it to be necessary, or a waste of time and money?

Do you agree with any of my rants, from 1 – 10? What are your opinions? What might you want to see in this new feature that was present in the original six films?

I would like to know your thoughts!

Photos of our Special Days – do we really need them?

 

On Wednesday the 24th of October I celebrated my birthday. So, now with another year gone, that officially makes me the big two three.

Of course, the age difference is not really what was the most exciting about such an event. What was however were the many gifts that I received from family and friends.

I had mentioned that I primarily wanted to indulge in films, TV on DVD, music, clothing, aftershave and jewellery, and long and behold a miracle – my family and friends actually listened to me for a change!

Often in the past my friends and family have bought what they thought I would want rather than that which I had asked for, so I was glad to actually receive what I was after.

This included one necklace, two shirts and a wide variety of music, film and TV shows.

Additionally, a rather sumptuously delicious cake from Michelle’s Patisserie was purchased to coincide with my birthday. Often when cakes were purchased for my birthday in the past, they were sponges procured from Coles and Safeway, so it was nice to have a specially made cake with my name on it.

Now, I know that I perhaps should have made a post about this last week when such an occasion happened, but again my life has become a little clustered with business.

Of course, this leads me to the next part of my post – the pictures.

As you may have noticed – there are none.

No matter the situation, whether it be a birthday celebration, an occasion the likes of New Year’s Eve or Christmas, or even a night out with my girlfriend, my opinion remains the same. It’s not that I don’t like taking photos, or that I am simply too lazy to do so, no – there is a completely different reason at work here. The reason is that I really do not see the point.

True, a photo does seal a memory in time forever and is a great way to remember an occurrence that transpired in one’s life. The question I am going to ask however is; how could I, or anyone else for that matter, ever honestly forget a moment in life of such significance or import?

How could I forget a Christmas with my family and friends? How could I forget a birthday? How could I forget a night out with the woman of my dreams?

All of these occurrences in my life would be so valuable, that I would not need a photograph to remind me of them – they would be forever with me – permanently imprinted within my mind. I would constantly carry these moments with me – so why would I ever need assistance in reminding myself of something that meant so much? I wouldn’t – and that is why there are no photos of my birthday.

If you have your own views on this subject, please, by all means, comment at the end of this post!

Cheers!

Hollywood; Loyal Movie Developer, or the Murderer of Movies?

 

The following content is but my opinion, so if you don’t agree that is purely your prerogative, and you have every right to it.

However, I would like to state that over the past few years, the varieties of films that have graced our screens at the cinema and at our own homes I would say are less ‘gracing’ our screens as they once did, but are tormenting them with stories that require additional development, characters who are either very similar to others or who are simply brain dead and are unable to postulate a single thought of their own, and special effects that inevitably cause the audience to become lost within the, sometimes, beauty of the graphics and forget what the plot was in the first place – which doesn’t say much about the plot.

I would argue that it seems that Hollywood has officially run out of gas. The vehicle that is the movie making monopoly has stalled on the side of the road and is attempting to make its way back to the city on gasoline that is less that the required ‘premium’ variety that it is used to.

How often recently have you seen a film that was an original concept? I mean, every second film contains vampires, every third film contains werewolves and every fourth film contains aliens that are hell bent on our destruction. There are only so many ways you can create a storyline that is reflective of these genres, and eventually they all just blur together and it is as though you are watching the same film over and over again.

And don’t you dare get me started on the remakes that are been tossed out from Hollywood faster than its trash.

I have always wondered, how do the creators, the actors, the writers, the producers, the directors, and all the other hundreds of people involved in the original features feel when Hollywood decides to orchestrate a new film based upon the original story. Hollywood claims it is ‘better’, but really – these stories are shorter, chuck out the original script and take out all the ‘unnecessary’ parts (you know, the story) and riddle it with enough action in the hope of keeping the audience on their toes. Now, this can work; Poseidon and Fright Night were both, in my opinion, terrific re-imaginings of the original film concepts. But still, how do the people involved in the original feature feel when Hollywood markets the re-make as though the original never happened. I remember with Poseidon, which I just complimented by the way, the trailer said it was the first great film from WB and bla, bla, bla, but never in the trailer did they say it was based on the original film, or on the book that the original film was based upon. They said that in the titles, but who honestly reads them anymore? According to statistics in Australia, 40% of the workforce cannot read. And we are a ‘developed’ country. HA! My point is that I was the only person I knew at the time it was an actual remake. Hell, none of the other people I knew had even heard of the tele-movie ‘the New Poseidon Adventure’, let alone the original Poseidon Adventure.

Then there are the remakes that ruin the original films. A great example would have to be Clash of the Titans. The original film stuck to the concept of Greek Gods and the mythology that the ancient culture that believed in them based their religious theories upon. The Gods were mischievous and interfered with the lives of mere mortals. They could care less for humans, and never physically made their way down to the planet to mingle with them, and instead watched their struggles, and, if they became bored, would make said struggles even more forebodingly difficult and treacherous.

In the remake – well, for one, the robotic owl that appeared in the original – is scrapped! The Gods, well, they love humans. Zeus is constantly jumping down to Earth to talk to his half-son Perseus and give him warm advice and offerings and much needed encouragement, which he refuses, which is a first for me. I mean, who is offered a great array of amazing powers and tools, etc, only to say ‘no thanks’?

Then we have the insufferable love story that gets in the way of enjoying the real storyline. I remember when the young lady died (I could care less for the film which is why I forget her name), at the cinema, a little girl sitting not far from me said ‘mummy, is she going to Heaven?’ I felt like leaning over and barking ‘no you little idiot! She’s going to Hades! Now hush!’ My point? Our society has an imbedded ideology of our religious concepts thanks to films and other such factors, and in doing so we have ultimately forgotten where all of the religions began and many seem to think they never occurred at all.

And the ending – typical Hollywood – unable to generate an ending that is anything but happy. For once, I would like to see the hero fail or the loved one perish and never return or some other tragically emotional occurrence.

That leads me to the other issue – sustenance. All of the films made by Hollywood are so nice and sweet that if aliens are really watching these things, they’ll probably invade Earth just based on the principle that humanity seems to be a bunch of sissy’s, no offence. Well, I have offended thee, so let me explain why…the romantic, happy, hero always wins and gets the girl storylines are so far from being realistic that to call them so would be outrageous. In reality, such beautiful storylines are not articulated. Humanity would not survive against an alien force with bigger guns, bigger brains and better technology than us – but in films we always do. In reality the vampire would not be a tragically defeated soul looking for someone to soothe his lonely, wounded heart – but in films, that’s all he ever is, and the idea of sipping blood is suddenly turned into a big ‘no! No!’

I would like to think that people who watch films are intelligent. If that be the case, then intelligent people would expect more from their films than the stereotypical Hollywood jargon that is continuously been promulgated and force fed down our throats. True, we don’t have to watch it, but the thing is, do we have a choice? Australian films are few and far between. Foreign films – well, unless one understands the lingo you ain’t gonna have much fun because the subtitles fly across the screen faster than a Formula One Racing Car. At the end of the day, if we are to endure films to acquire some pleasing entertainment from them, I think we would very much appreciate to gain that entertainment rather than be denied it time and time again.

This leads me to my next argument. Video games that are turned into movies. Okay, I will admit, on occasion, the films in themselves stand alone as not half bad features. They are often action packed, fast hitting and quite enjoyable for a good couple hours. On the other hand however, when in comparison to the actual video games they are ‘based’ upon, I cannot see the resemblance. Take Doom for example. In the original Doom game, the Union Aerospace Corporation is taken over by demons spawned from Hell that kill everyone and leave only one man surviving – the hero the gamer plays as. In the film, the monsters are scientific organisms that were once people and have thus been transformed due to genetic experimentation, and have escaped and are running rampant throughout the scientific facility. Apart from a three minute FPS experience and the fact that a couple monsters looked similar to the ones found in Doom3, I failed to see the resemblance.

Now however, Hollywood has announced that Mass Effect, Just Cause, World of Warcraft, Bioshock and a couple other titles are all on the way to been turned into movies. My question is…why? Games are like movies – you experience them for the entertainment. Games are basically you could say like anime – they are animated features with the exception that the viewer becomes involved in the storyline and is thus further immersed into the world than one ever would in a film, which is beneficial if you ask me. Now, the shortest game I have ever played lasted around 4.5 hours. The longest lasted well over 36. My question – how do you compress all of that story into under 2 hours, cuz, let’s face it, there has never been as movie based on a video game that has gone for longer than 108 minutes!

Of course, there is always the Halo film that is continuously been put on hold by the fact that the directors keep running away from the project as far as their legs can carry them. I would presume they are right to flee from fear of the reprisal that will be brought upon them if the film is anything less than an accurate articulation of the entertainment that was acquired from the original video game.

In conclusion to this section, I find Hollywood’s continued use of turning video games into films proof that they are officially out of ideas, and so instead of creating another lame plot, need to turn an amazing video game experience into a lame plot.

Then there is the Australian film industry. I have spent enough time attacking the American version, so allow me to move onto one that is closer to home. However, this too is linked back to my argument on Hollywood; I blame Hollywood for the current state of the Australian industry. Not in regards to its financial issues or its lack of productivity, but in relation to the fact that Australian films are becoming much more Americanised. The perfect example of what Australian cinema used to be like would have to be the Mad Max films, especially the second in the franchise. Mad Max is the perfect anti-hero, which is what Australian cinema used to be riddled with. Americans have always loved their heroes. In films, their heroes will do anything to save people, country, God and anything else that stands for freedom and liberty just because they can. In Australian cinema, Australians in general used to like their heroes to be a bit dirtier. In regards to Mad Max, he agreed to help the settlers who were under siege from the antagonistic armies; however, he had a price. He wanted a vehicle, fuel and ammunition. If his demands were not met, he was not going to assist them. That is the perfect representation of the anti-hero. However, such an idea seems to have dried up and died with Australian heroes, when there are heroes, often they are now-a-days been articulated as true blue heroic characters that will lay their lives on the line to save anything and everything. The impact of American films on Australia has ultimately rendered our film traditions moot as audiences crave more and more American content that has caused the industry to adapt to the changing face of the Australian audience.

So, after that rant of mine, what does the fair readership of this piece think? Do you believe that Hollywood is still as fantastic as it once was and is spewing out pieces of amazing work? Or do you think that I may be onto something, and that Hollywood is in fact a ravenous monster, keen to devour everything in its path and turn what could be great into quite the opposite?

Thank you for reading,

Naughty Nefarious, signing off!