RSS

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – prediction comparison (SPOILERS)

Having expected to like The Last Jedi, my predictions for the future of Star Wars have been sent askew. If you’ve read my thoughts on the movie, you’ll know I despised it. Not even the prequels made me feel depressed after leaving the theatre.

None the less, I did write an article that included my thoughts and predictions after The Force Awakens. I’ve been looking forward to seeing how those predictions panned out, so let’s not waste any time!

FINN

“Phasma will do something to hurt Finn very deeply in Episode VIII. She might kill or seriously wound someone close to him, or destroy his chances of ever finding out who his family is. This will lead to a showdown in Episode IX.

Nope!

Captain Phasma was once again just sort of hanging around and had no bearing on the outcome of the story. She and Finn fought, but as I said in my TLJ article, there was no real feeling to it. Phasma was defeated and, presumably, killed. Although maybe not. It could be that these two have an arc which is yet to be resolved.

I hoped that Lando Calrissian would not be revealed as Finn’s father, and once again, Lando’s absence was not explained. Finn’s parentage was not mentioned, which is at least one thing that seemed right to me. It’s not really the point of Finn’s character.

CAPTAIN PHASMA

“If the First Order do indeed kick Phasma out and she does become a bounty hunter, then she’ll most likely have the same armour (so that we know it’s her), but it will have a new paint job to imply her disassociation with her previous employer, plus a few dents and scratches to show that she’s survived some heavy action since.”

I think it would’ve been cool, but no. She’s still workin’ for the man. Again, a disappointingly underused character. This movie was a chance to bring her to the fore, but Rian Johnson blew it. I said that Phasma was the Boba Fett of the new trilogy. Given how much influence she has, she’s more like the Dengar. Such a shame.

REY

“Well, there are two possibilities. She’s either the daughter of Luke Skywalker or she’s not.”

She’s not.

I postulated that perhaps Rey was born of the Force, like Anakin. That would mean that technically she is the daughter of Snoke. Wrong! In one of the biggest anti-climaxes in the movie, Kylo Ren tells Rey what she’s always known: that her parents were just junk dealers who abandoned her. Not only that, but they’re buried on Jakku, where she grew up. That makes the scene in TFA in which Rey has a flashback of her parents flying away very misleading. The director really dropped the ball on this one. Massive letdown. A lot of his ideas crapped on Episode VII, which is what bad sequels always do.

KYLO REN

“The death of Han Solo was a set-up. I don’t mean it was faked for any reason; I believe it will have a payoff in Episode IX. Leia will confront her son, and Ren will overestimate his ability to do the same to his mother as he did to his father. At the crucial moment, he will not be able to kill her. She will leave herself open to it, but he will weaken. His moment of weakness will result in one of two things. Either he will turn to the Light Side, which will only happen if Rey falls to the Dark Side, or he will remain on the Dark Side, but his hesitation in killing Leia will be his undoing.  Perhaps Snoke himself will strike Ren down for his hesitation, or it will give a still-Light Side Rey a chance to intervene.”

Ha! I was kinda-sorta right about this! I thought it would happen in Episode IX, but here we are already. I guess that makes sense. The payoff’s got to happen in the last chapter.

Kylo had the chance to fire upon Leia’s defenseless ship and he couldn’t do it. He remained on the Dark Side, so this hesitation is likely to assist in his downfall in the next movie. It might be tricky since Carrie Fisher is sadly no longer with us, but there may be a work-around.

POE DAMERON

“Well, he’s basically the new Han Solo. Our beloved rogue and captain had to make way for him. His character wasn’t developed much after he and Finn were separated, but we will delve deeper into his life in Episode VIII. Someone will need to fly the Millennium Falcon with Chewie as co-pilot. One might think that Chewie should be captain while Poe assumes the role of co-pilot, but I can’t see him easing into that role. The man wants to fly ships. Even this may not happen. It has been established that Rey is a great pilot and has already taken the helm of the Falcon, whereas Poe is the best X-Wing pilot out there. It might seem odd to change that now. None the less, we have our new Han, and I for one like him.”

I feel like he wasn’t very well written for this movie. He did his usual wisecracking thing, but the timing was sometimes very bad. He’s a loner, so having a copilot doesn’t suit him. There’s no way Chewie would let him be captain of the Falcon, and Poe wouldn’t want to be copilot. His appearance in TLJ was not nearly as memorable as it was in TFA. I was sort of right about him, but only because he didn’t have any great interactions with other people that influenced his character or story.

SNOKE

“Since Snoke has a vested interest in what’s going on in the galaxy, he must’ve been a part things for some considerable time. He could be the Emperor in another body. According to Star Wars canon, he [Palpatine] is able to transfer his essence to other bodies.

There is a fan theory that Snoke is in that bacta tank in the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trailer.  A little insurance policy for the Emperor, perhaps?”

Well, I don’t really know. Snoke just up and died. Another huge letdown. He seemed formidable when faced with Rey, but Kylo tricked him easily and he died. It should have mattered who Snoke was, but it’s just been whipped away from us all. Will he even be mentioned in Episode IX?

I notice that I made no predictions for Luke or Leia. That’s largely because I included Luke’s prediction in Rey’s, and because of Carrie Fisher’s unfortunate passing. I will say, however, that Luke’s death was totally out of place and did not befit the character at all, and having Leia fly through space was the stupidest moment in all of Star Wars. Carrie Fisher’s swan song should not have been like this. Ghastly mistake.

I’d make predictions for Episode IX, but TLJ was so awful it blew me away. Anything goes now. It is somewhat reassuring to know that Rian Johnson will not have a hand in the next one, and that the helm has been handed back to JJ Abrams. He’s not got great material to work with here.

Honestly, this movie was so bad it has made me think I should just go back to being a Star Wars classicist. I might jettison Episode VII now that it is so tarnished by what comes after, and just pretend that the original trilogy is all there ever was. I’ll most likely see Episode IX just out of curiosity, but how can I collect the movies knowing I’ll never want to watch the middle part of the second trilogy ever again?

Long live Star Wars

1977 – 1983

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 17, 2017 in Let's go to the movies!

 

Tags: , , ,

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Thoughts (SPOILERS)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Thoughts (SPOILERS)

I may not post here very often, but after last night’s movie viewing, I have plenty to say.

Before we begin, I would like to express my feelings on Star Wars Episode VIII – The Last Jedi.

It was to me an unmitigated catastrophe.

My misgivings began almost immediately. The first scene failed to set the tone for the movie, switching as it did between intense action and silly comedy. However, I remained hopeful that things would improve. The emotion of the movie remained inconsistent, and I started to get a sinking feeling.

Then the moment came in which the movie lost me completely. The bridge of Princess Leia’s ship exploded and she was ejected into the vacuum of space. This part would have been fine had it played out differently. At first my jaw dropped, and I thought “Wow, that’s a shocker.” I thought she was dead, which would’ve been a great spur to motivate the Resistance. Then possibly the worst moment in Star Wars history occurred. Leia woke up in space and Force-floated her way back to the safety of her ship. Seriously – she did a kind of space Mary Poppins (minus the umbrella, although it wouldn’t have surprised me much more under the circumstances) and survived!

I actually facepalmed. What else was there to do?

OK, so that was the worst moment, but it is jostling for the number one spot with a few other choice atrocities. Let’s go through them, shall we? This is in no particular order, as I cannot decide which is worse.

1. Force-users can now project themselves, apparently.

Is it not perhaps a bit late in the day to be introducing new Force powers? It’s screwing with an established format, which is just suicide in terms of storytelling. This lead to some utterly idiotic moments peppered throughout the movie. At first, I thought the communication between Rey and Kylo Ren was somewhat fitting. The scene would cut between the two of them with those quick fades, just like when Luke and Darth Vader talked at the end of The Empire Strikes Back. Nice touch, I thought. But then somehow Kylo kind of teleported himself to Rey? Absolutely preposterous. The worst of it was when Luke projected himself into the rebel base, which leads me to my next point.

2. Luke’s dumbass death.

Since we don’t know the rules of this new Force power that Rian Johnson has foisted upon us after 40 years of established Star Wars lore, it turns out that Force projecting for too long can kill you. After he has tricked Kylo into believing they have been dueling in order to buy the Resistance enough time to escape, he returns to his own body, where he climbs onto a rock, watch the planet’s binary suns set, and that vanishes just like Yoda in Return of the Jedi. I think it was meant to be a touching moment, but since clearly you can’t tell what the fuck is going on, the moment is lost. Luke should not have died. Not like that, anyway.

3. Snoke’s dumbass death.

Ah, Supreme Leader Snoke. Scourge of the galaxy. Annihilator of the Resistance and the New Republic alike. You’d already decided that Kylo Ren was just a stupid kid and not worth bothering with. Surely he must be completely under your control? Well, he should have been. You displayed formidable power in that chamber of yours. Flinging Rey about with just a flick of your finger, casting lightning bolts without exerting much effort. Yet somehow you didn’t have the ability to perceive that your apprentice was deceiving you, just as you lacked the ability to turn your head slightly to the right. Frankly, you deserve a lightsaber through the gut if you’re going to be that stupid. Only you’re not – you were just written badly for this movie.

I mean why? Why build Snoke up to be this entity that might even match Palpatine in strength, only to have him lose so stupidly? It kind of ties into how Vader turned on the Emperor in Jedi, but that was quite different. Palpatine was preoccupied in torturing Luke and made the critical error of assuming Vader was under his complete control. But Snoke was actually reading Kylo’s mind at the time! He sensed no deception? No, it’s utter nonsense. Now I believe that Kylo Ren is not the Supreme Leader because he’s all-powerful, but because he’s coasting on other people’s bad luck and bad judgement.

4. Yoda shows up.

Look, genuine fans, it’s a fan-service appearance of Yoda! Only he looks weird and puffy!

So Luke tried to destroy the ancient Jedi texts, and then Yoda appears and does it for him. Why? I’ve already told you why. Fan-service. Having Yoda use Force lightning to set that building on fire was a huge, huge mistake. If he could do that, why didn’t he intervene on Luke’s behalf in Return of the Jedi? That was a critical moment in the story. The fate of the galaxy was being decided. But no, Yoda waits more than 30 years and decides that the only suitable use of Force lightning was to destroy some books that Luke was going to destroy anyway. Why doesn’t Yoda just appear in front of Snoke and turn him into a sad little pile of ash?

Now, I know that in The Empire Strikes Back Obi-Wan said that he couldn’t interfere with Luke’s encounter with Vader, but Yoda said no such thing. He controlled the damn weather to set fire to that building! He’s way more powerful than Snoke and Kylo combined! Stupid, stupid, stupid.

5. Captain Phasma is pointless

I simply adore Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones. She is a suberb, strong, iconic female character. Captain Phasma, however, is not. Once again, she has no bearing on the plot. She looks so cool and always had the potential to be a great villian, but Rian Johnson failed to redeem her embarrassing appearance in The Force Awakens. Again, she’s just kind of there. There’s no passion in the duel between Phasma and Finn. They don’t really have much of a history. At best, Phasma is pissed off because Finn threw her into a trash compactor. If Phasma had been as badass as she’s purported to be, she’d never have given Finn the access codes to Starkiller Base’s shield generator. That was a big blunder from TFA, which was not ameliorated in this movie. She shows up, takes an awkwardly long time to give an execution order, and is then killed by a collapsing platform. So long, Captain Phasma, we hardly knew ye.

6. Rose Tico is pointless

She had a bit of personality, which gives her the edge over anyone in Rogue One, but what is she for? She becomes something of a love interest for Finn, but I suspect this is just to give Finn more to do and so he’s not just gallivanting around the galaxy by himself. There’s a hint of chemistry between the two, but everything happens too fast. Sorry, Rose. You’re not an unlikable character, but much like Phasma, you’re just there.

7. DJ is pointless

Now, this character was on a Rogue One level of flatness. His appearance raises questions. Was he just waiting in that prison cell for Finn and Rose to show up? We know he betrays them in the end and sells them out to the First Order, but if they planted him there as a trap, why not just go to that godawful casino planet and get Finn and Rose themselves? If DJ didn’t know who they were or why they were there, then why did he wait until they arrived before escaping from that cell?

The affectation of his little speech impediment does nothing to enhance DJ’s character. In fact, it’s kind of distracting. All the while he’s delivering his expository dialogue, punctuated with little tics, I was thinking, “Why the fuck does he keep doing that?” When given to the right character, it can add empathy, pathos, or creep you out. DJ has no personality, and I suspect the tic is a means to try and correct this. That just doesn’t work.

8. Vice Admiral Holdo is pointless.

If it weren’t for the absurd business with Leia the space-witch, this character need not have been involved at all. She’s just there to fill time in the movie. The most significant things she does are a) give an order to evacuate the rebel transports; and b) stay behind and defend the escaping fleet. The latter might’ve been a good use for Rose. She was driven enough to attack the First Order head-on, and you can well imagine the final moments before she jumps to lightspeed: everything slows down, the sound is almost muted, and Rose closes her eyes and caresses the medallion that is her last connection to her sister. It might’ve stirred up some emotion.

9. The Master Codebreaker didn’t even need to be mentioned.

It was because Maz Kanata (another pointless cameo) mentioned him that we were taken to that awful casino place. All throughout that scene, I thought, “Am I even watching a Star Wars movie anymore?” The Master Codebreaker just stands there gambling, doesn’t even acknowledge Finn or Rose, and then is out of the movie. Just one of many things that detracts from an already confused plot.

10. The First Order ships can’t catch up to the Rebel ships.

This is more like something Mel Brooks would write for Spaceballs II. It’s ludicrous! That one rebel craft is faster at sub-light speeds than anything the First Order has? Absolute bullshit. If that were the case, why didn’t the First Order just send out a squadron of TIE bombers to obliterate the Resistance’s shields? Why didn’t they just communicate with their own fleet elsewhere in the galaxy and have them lightspeed-jump to their location and surround the Resistance ship? This is some weak tea, dear readers.

11. What was the resistance planning to do with those speeders?

I was only going to make ten points, so that it would be nice and round and even, but this bears mentioning as well.

The First Order land their AT-AT thingies on the planet a stupid distance away from the Resistance base, and Poe’s plan is to go out in antiquated speeders and…what? Do those things even have guns? They realise too late what they should have realised before they set-out: they’ve got nothing. It was like trying to stop a herd of charging rhinos with a short harmonica recital. Poe is (or was in the previous movie) smarter than that.

So that’s it. Well, not entirely, as it’s too soon to express how very disappointed I was by this movie. The prequels made me angry, but The Last Jedi just made me feel so sad. Perhaps if Lawrence Kasdan were involved in the writing, nothing like this would have happened. The Force Awakens may not have had the strongest story, but at least it felt like a Star Wars movie.

I made some predictions when I wrote about The Force Awakens, so I will be writing a separate article comparing my predictions to what actually happened. I doubt I’ll write a predictions article for this movie. Anything goes now, I guess. Hey, if you loved The Last Jedi, fine. That’s your thing. You could always do what I did: for the purposes of entertainment, write about it. It just wasn’t Star Wars to me.

In order to whore my other blog out for more hits, you might wish to check out my review for The Empire Strikes Back on the NES. Thanks for reading, and maybe I’ll see you in a couple of years for the next movie, unless something else to write about occurs to me in the meantime. Given the pace I’ve established thus far, seems unlikely, eh?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 15, 2017 in Let's go to the movies!

 

Tags: , , , ,

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – thoughts and predictions

Star Wars logo

Having seen Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens a few times now, I wish to share with you, m’nerds, some of the thoughts, feelings and ideas that have arisen.

First off, I believe I would describe it as the first competent Star Wars movie since 1983. Let’s just not talk about…anything else.  Aside from the obvious stuff about the practical effects, real sets, no fully CG characters (but nonetheless, WOW), I found myself comparing TFA to the prequels in other ways. The chemistry between the characters worked, the pacing was great (apart from a lull partway through the second act) and there were clear protagonists and antagonists, all of whose motivations were clear. Small wonder it’s set to become the most successful movie of all time. Star Wars, like Anakin Skywalker, is redeemed.

Let’s talk a bit about the characters.

FINN

One might argue that Finn’s desertion was rather abrupt, given that he’d been conditioned his whole life to kill on behalf of the First Order, but since he was not engineered that way (i.e. like a clone), it is conceivable that he found himself ill-prepared for the horror of actual battle. A fellow trooper died right in front of him, smearing his blood on Finn’s face. If it was someone he knew well, it could have been deeply traumatising for him. Finn might’ve felt he’d been sold a lie by the First Order and that the deaths of his fellow troopers was just part of the job. It doesn’t mean he is necessarily able to agree. Finn might be one in a million, one in a billion, even; having the odd trooper unable to comply with orders to kill is still a possibility.  Finn’s dissidence is hinted at when Captain Phasma sends him for ‘reconditioning’, implying that there is a special place for troops who begin to stray from the path.

One might wonder where Finn’s sense of humour comes from. Do the stormtroopers who were trained from childhood really get much chance to goof around? Well, I imagine they must get some down-time. No one can function if they work non-stop. We don’t really know what Finn’s training consisted of, but it’s likely the troops were allowed to socialise when not training. Allowing the stormtroopers to develop a little as individuals would give them the edge over clones or droids in that they’d have a greater ability to think on their feet. The downside is, of course, that they might decide war is not for them.

CAPTAIN PHASMA

Now, here is a sadly underdeveloped character. Phasma did not really have any bearing on the outcome of the story. It was established early on that she was ruthless and cared only for her duty to the First Order, but it didn’t lead anywhere. Sure, the Resistance used her to lower the shields on Starkiller Base, but they could’ve got anyone to do that. Phasma felt shoehorned into that scene, and the comical method with which they disposed of her detracted from her intimidating presence. It’d be like slapping a “kick me” sign on Darth Vader’s back. How’s Phasma going to be taken seriously after that? It’s a shame to use such a great actress (Gwendoline Christie), give her character this air of cold authority, a fantastic chrome panoply, and then make her the butt of a joke.

I was surprised that Phasma would not rather die than allow the resistance to compromise the shields of Starkiller Base.  Her dedication to the First Order seemed such that she wouldn’t consider her own life as important as protecting the remnants of the Empire.  As much as I loved the movie, this part didn’t add up.

REY

Obvious parallels to the young Luke Skywalker. She’s down on her luck on some backwater world, when a droid is dropped into her life; a droid carrying vital information. She finds herself thrust into the struggle of the forces of light against dark, and along the way unlocks a strong power within herself. Well, at least she didn’t say anything like “But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power convertors!”

A lot of people are questioning how Rey came into her powers so swiftly. One obvious answer: she’d already had training that for reasons as yet unknown, she cannot remember. You can just about forgive the lightsaber duel, as it was established early on in the movie that Rey was pretty handy with a melee weapon. But the Jedi mind trick on the stormtrooper? Hmm, tougher to explain. How could she know that would work? How would it even occur to her? Maybe there is something in those flashbacks (or visions) she had; something hidden from her waking thoughts. Time will tell.

KYLO REN

Again, there are parallels. Ren is a far less stable duplicate of Darth Vader, of whom he is the sole acolyte. Unlike Vader, he’s a more developed and complex character from their respective first movies. All we really knew about Vader at the end of Episode IV was that he was evil, was once a Jedi knight and had supposedly killed Luke’s father. At the time, people didn’t even know he was human under that mask. That particular reveal didn’t come until the next episode, three years later. This is where the comparison ends. From early on, we see that Kylo Ren has far less control of the force than Vader did; indeed is not as powerful as the dark lord. Not until Return of the Jedi do we see that Vader has anything but hatred and anger within him, but with Ren it’s quickly established that he struggles with his alignment. This is what makes him such a fascinating character. He feels a “pull” to the Light Side and it scares him. He wants to be as feared and powerful as Vader was, but he himself has too many fears and insecurities. The instability of Ren is reflected in his lightsaber, which ripples and crackles when activated instead of having a smooth, even blade. This was a stroke of genius on behalf of writes JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan. What better way to show, without words, that Ren is not in complete control and is living in Darth Vader’s shadow?

There were two key factors depicted in the movie to stress that Kylo Ren had not lost his humanity. This was, I think, for two reasons: a) taking off his mask showed that unlike Vader, he did not need it to sustain life (thereby showing he was not totally lost to and corrupted by the Dark Side); and b) his talking about feeling a pull to the Light, in addition to point a, set up the payoff which was to come later. It was clever the way the reveal that Han Solo is Ren’s father was just tossed in there casually, as opposed to having it happen when Solo confronted Ren on the bridge and having close-up looks of astonishment on the faces of the witnesses coupled with swelling, dramatic music. Been done. Wouldn’t work a second time. It had to be something matter-of-fact so that the audience had time to process it and it wouldn’t get in the way of the confrontation between father and son. Speaking of which…

HAN SOLO

Another parallel between Episodes IV and VII cannot be drawn here. I’ve heard a lot of people say that VII is nothing more than a retread of IV, but I don’t quite believe that. At first, it does seem preposterous that the First Order would build yet another “Death Star” (this time called Starkiller base) only to have it destroyed. Episode IV culminated in the destruction of the first Death Star; it was the point to which the whole movie was leading. Starkiller Base was merely a device to move the plot of the movie forwards (this is known in movie terminology as a McGuffin) and has little to no bearing on the outcome. It served as a McGuffin because it is where a lot of the main characters met: Kylo Ren, Han Solo, Rey, Finn, Chewbacca and Captain Phasma. The climax of Episode IV was the destruction of the Death Star; the climax of VII was the death of Han Solo. This was so beautifully done that I’d have to say it was the most poignant moment in the whole Star Wars saga. Now, it could be a trick of time: I am so used all the moments and revelations of the original trilogy that I have grown inured to them. It is hard to compare the two biggest shock moments (the other being the revelation that Vader is Luke’s father). But if you grew up with the originals, you’d never think that Han Solo could die. Ultimately though, it does make sense. I mean, what could Han do for the rest of the trilogy we haven’t seen already? It was the right time. Captain Solo has made way for the new heroes. He was and is a legend.

I could be here all day, every day discussing the characters, but I won’t. Like you, I have stuff to do. I’ll just get on and do my predictions.

PREDICTIONS

FINN

There is a possibility that since Finn does not know who his parents are, or indeed his true name, his father could be Lando Calrissian. It’s quite odd that such a major character has not been mentioned at all. I think Lando should put in an appearance, or at least his absence should be explained somehow. I do not, however, think it should be revealed that he is Finn’s father. You can only have so many of these twists before they become tiresome, which is why it’s good they didn’t make a big deal of Han being Ren’s father. It adds more depth to Finn’s character and makes the audience feel for him more if he never discovers his lineage. It should just be a part of who he is. He’s already exceptional in being the only known stormtrooper of the First Order to defect, so he doesn’t need to stagger the odds any further.

Finn has a nemesis: Captain Phasma. The First Order might cast her out for her failure at Starkiller Base. She will blame Finn for robbing her of her purpose and further drive her hatred towards him. Since she’s no longer with the First Order, she could become a bounty hunter in order to make money, while trying to track Finn down and exact her revenge.

Phasma will do something to hurt Finn very deeply in Episode VIII. She might kill or seriously wound someone close to him, or destroy his chances of ever finding out who his family is. This will lead to a showdown in Episode IX.

CAPTAIN PHASMA

Captain Phasma is the new Boba Fett: she’s enigmatic, we don’t know her history or what she looks like under that helmet. I believe she is the reason why it would be awkward fan-service nonsense to have the Fett man himself put in an appearance. Since his grudge was against Han Solo and Han Solo is no more, it wouldn’t make sense to shoehorn him into the new movies. I know people want to see him, but at the same time they don’t. Look what happened in Attack of the Clones. I just…I don’t even want to talk about it.

If the First Order do indeed kick Phasma out and she does become a bounty hunter, then she’ll most likely have the same armour (so that we know it’s her), but it will have a new paint job to imply her disassociation with her previous employer, plus a few dents and scratches to show that she’s survived some heavy action since.

REY

Well, there are two possibilities. She’s either the daughter of Luke Skywalker or she’s not.

If she is:

Luke abandoned his daughter on a barren, uncaring world into the hands of an amoral junk dealer. Seems a bit unlikely. Moreover, if he knew she was Force-sensitive (and he must have), then didn’t he run the risk that she’d fall to the Dark Side? With no guidance and being surrounded by people who didn’t care for her, isn’t it conceivable that anger would become her defense and she’d find she could channel the Force through it? Luke would foresee that, surely.

In spite of all of this, there are hints here and there that she is at least connected to the Skywalker family. When she picks up Luke’s lightsaber, she sees images, some of which are obviously flashbacks. She sees herself as a child, crying at a ship that is leaving. There must be some connection between that memory and Luke, or it wouldn’t have come to mind. She sees someone in a hood with a powered prosthetic right hand touching R2-D2. If you notice the camera angle, it is low. That means if we’re seeing it from someone else’s point of view, it must be someone small, like a child.

Luke has considerable Force powers, which might explain why Rey does not remember him and why we never see memories of her parents. She even states that she thought Luke was a myth. He might’ve been able to suppress her powers and leave her somewhere he deemed it unlikely she’d be found. He could then return for her when he thought it safe to do so. Indeed, he no doubt felt the Force “awaken” within her, activated Artoo himself and allowed Rey to come to him. Why he might do that is as yet unclear.

If she is not:

There is a theory that Snoke is in fact Darth Plagueis. I suppose it’s possible. he must be a powerful Sith Lord, as he is training Ren and does seem to be pulling the strings within the First Order. But how has he remained hidden for so long? Could he have been frozen in carbonite or something? Actually, that could work. Perhaps Darth Sidious thought he had killed Plagueis, but someone was able to preserve him in carbonite until they had the means to save him from his injuries. In that way, his life would be saved and he’d be hidden from the whole galaxy.

I mention Plagueis because legend has it that he had the ability to create life. Perhaps he created Rey, which is why she is so strong in the Force and we see no images of her parents in her flashbacks. She never describes them. The images she sees when she touches Luke’s lightsaber could therefore not be flashbacks but visions; a connection through the Force.

An alternative might be that she was simply born Force-sensitive, and since the stories of the Jedi, Sith and the Force itself were generally considered to be myths, her abilities might’ve frightened her parents. They could have believed their daughter to be a freak of nature and abandoned her; too ashamed to give her to foster parents within the republic, where she would quickly draw attention and her lineage would be traced. The visions she had could have been Luke reaching out to her through the Force (isn’t it funny how you can explain everything by just saying “it was the Force”?) and summoning her.

It would make for a fascinating twist if Rey were to fall to the Dark Side in Episode VIII.  If she was indeed created by Snoke (or even if Snoke were her father), then he could have orchestrated her whole life from the beginning.  I know we’re dancing rather dangerously into the Anakin-had-no-father territory here, but Rey’s story so far has been told so much better than Anakin’s ever was.  If Rey does fall to the Dark Side, I think it would be a mistake to have her return to the light.  That would mean someone would have to oppose her and only one person springs to mind.

KYLO REN

The death of Han Solo was a set-up. I don’t mean it was faked for any reason; I believe it will have a payoff in Episode IX. Leia will confront her son, and Ren will overestimate his ability to do the same to his mother as he did to his father. At the crucial moment, he will not be able to kill her. She will leave herself open to it, but he will weaken. His moment of weakness will result in one of two things. Either he will turn to the Light Side, which will only happen if Rey falls to the Dark Side, or he will remain on the Dark Side, but his hesitation in killing Leia will be his undoing.  Perhaps Snoke himself will strike Ren down for his hesitation, or it will give a still-Light Side Rey a chance to intervene.

The death of Han Solo has definitely set something up for Episode VIII.  It might be trying to conceal the idea that Ren could return to the Light.  In the eyes of the audience, his act against his father makes him seem irredeemable.  So wouldn’t it be a great twist to have him reject the Dark Side, possibly in that crucial scene mentioned above?  Remember: Anakin Skywalker committed far more atrocious acts during his reign as Darth Vader, yet he returned to the Light Side and was instrumental in saving the galaxy from Imperial tyranny.

POE DAMERON

Well, he’s basically the new Han Solo. Our beloved rogue and captain had to make way for him. His character wasn’t developed much after he and Finn were separated, but we will delve deeper into his life in Episode VIII. Someone will need to fly the Millennium Falcon with Chewie as co-pilot. One might think that Chewie should be captain while Poe assumes the role of co-pilot, but I can’t see him easing into that role. The man wants to fly ships. Even this may not happen. It has been established that Rey is a great pilot and has already taken the helm of the Falcon, whereas Poe is the best X-Wing pilot out there. It might seem odd to change that now. None the less, we have our new Han, and I for one like him.

SNOKE

Several questions floating around about this dude. Who is he? Where did he come from? Is he the last vestige of Vader’s Dark Side? Why such a cutesy-sounding name?

He seems very keen to complete Kylo Ren’s training, but for what purpose? Perhaps he sees him merely as a means to an end? He must be aware that Ren’s instability will very likely lead to his undoing and so Snoke just needs him to do his dirty work.

Since Snoke has a vested interest in what’s going on in the galaxy, he must’ve been a part things for some considerable time. He could be the Emperor in another body. According to Star Wars canon, he is able to transfer his essence to other bodies.

There is a fan theory that Snoke is in that bacta tank in the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trailer.  A little insurance policy for the Emperor, perhaps?

Well, that’s all I have for now. I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few things, but if they crop up, I’ll let you know. I mean, there could be any number of things to add to this article: it is Star Wars, after all.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 15, 2016 in Let's go to the movies!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Supermarkets weep 2 – Surprising item in the bagging area

I went to the supermarket today. Nothing unusual about that, and it wasn’t as though it was the first time since I wrote the original supermarkets article. It’s just that I now feel I have more to say on the subject. Oh, their underhand tactics haven’t changed at all since my last diatribe and neither has the dismal shopping experience to which one is generally subjected. I just want to share with you my experience of something that until now, I’ve successfully avoided.

Today’s was only meant to be a light shop, nothing fancy. I arrived with light basket and heavy heart (supermarkets can do that to me) at the line of cash registers. Being a Saturday, it was very busy. I bee-lined for the express checkout, which boasted the legend “10 items or less” because hey, what massive multi-million pound corporation has time for good grammar, am I right? There were three people in line in front of me, all of whom were pushing trolleys (or shopping carts to my chums around the world, OK?) with a good deal more that ten items in each. These people did not appear to me to be “supermarket virgins” or visitors from a distant and unknowable star who might not know what an express checkout was for, but rather late middle-aged people who knew exactly where they were and what they were doing. I took a can of beans from the man directly in front of me and succeeded in making him eat them all without opening the can. I didn’t know a human mouth could go that wide. As to the two ladies in front of him, I merely dashed their heads together and told them very sternly what a bad example they were setting.

I slouched with considerable reluctance in the direction of the automated checkouts, because I wanted my shopping ordeal to involve as little pleasant human interaction as possible and I was just dying for a computer to treat me with detached loathing and condescension. Also the express lane was now littered with corpses.

The automated checkout is a trying experience for me. It is capable of making me want to weep within five seconds of tapping the screen for the first time. Today was no different. I sighed and pressed “start”. A text box appeared and asked me if I had brought my own bag. I told it I had. A female voice instructed me in an even tone to place my bag into the bagging area, which I duly did. Before I could do anything else, the voice said, “Surprising item in the bagging area.” I looked around expecting to see an ocelot or set of bagpipes, but all that was there was the bag I’d just set down. “That’s just my bag,” I told the monitor, but I don’t think she was listening. “Please remove the item before continuing,” she concluded. I lifted my bag up, which seemed to appease the Lady in the Box.

The screen changed to something that looked like it might allow me to start scanning items. I slowly set my bag down again, because of course it may have been the speed with which I’d placed it earlier that had distressed Beep Girl so. “Unexpected item in the bagging area,” she said again with the same menacing serenity as HAL 9000. This time I noticed a button on the screen that said something like “I have removed the item”. I picked up my bag and pressed the button. The auto-bitch spoke again. “Morrison’s Supermarket apologises for not realising that you are stupid. A red light is now flashing above your head to alert all the other customers as to how thoroughly inept you are, and to tell an assistant that you are so unspeakably asinine you don’t even know how a bag works. Please just stand perfectly still so you don’t injure yourself, and let someone else think on your behalf.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” I said. Again, she brushed this off without a word. I decided to rebel. I didn’t wait for assistance (none came anyway); instead I put my bag on the floor and started scanning items. Checkout Chick didn’t seem to notice, so I scanned my few things as quickly as I could and paid. Her parting words were, “Thank you for shopping at Morrison’s, halfwit.”

How long before auto-checkouts elbow all contact with staff members rudely out of the way? How long, in fact, before the hapless staff members receive a voicemail from that selfsame robo-woman saying, “Thank you for being a part of the Morrison’s family, which as of the end of this message, you no longer are. If unemployment causes you to become depressed, then why not try a little retail therapy? Come along and see some of the great deals now on at your local Morrison’s.”

I love computers, but just like people, some of them are complete arseholes.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 7, 2015 in Things that are

 

Tags: , , , ,

On surviving a storm, (an event from April, 2012)

As I sit at the outdoor breakfast table writing this, the bashful sunny morning weather shifts between slightly breezy and absolutely still. It offers no hint at all as to its behaviour over the past 24 hours. The remaining evidence of its mischief lies strewn around the nature park here in Crete, but Mother Nature herself is unlikely to thrown her hands up and say, “Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.”

On Tuesday night, I made an unsteady journey from the cafe to the campervan, where my cosy bed was located. The aforementioned journey is not usually difficult, but oh, the wind was strong that night. Susanne, one of my dear friends and welcoming hosts, had forewarned that the south wind would be likely to liven things up in the park that night, and so to take care.

I clambered into the van and prepared for bed. As I lay in the dark, the van buffeted by the increasingly titanic wind, I realised I was thirsty and had not charged my water bottle. Ugh, I thought, I don’t want to get up now. After a few minutes of internal struggle, I yielded. I pulled my clothes back on, grabbed my water bottle and made my way to the kitchen.

A strange sight greeted me as I passed though the gate to the exterior kitchen. Many bottles of water and a couple of jars of jam lay scattered across the ground, pointing in every compass direction. I followed the trail to the fridge, which I noticed to my dismay had pitched forward, disgorging most of its contents in the process. That south wind was really beginning to take its job seriously. I rapped on the door of my friends Susanne and Mike and informed them of the situation.

By degrees, we were able to reset the fridge and its contents and then lash it securely with ropes.  By the time we were finished, it was nearing midnight, way past my bedtime. We said our goodnights and I sloped off in the direction of the campervan. On the way, I was given to the occasional involuntary sidestep as the wind endeavoured to remind me it was there, but was otherwise untroubled.

The next while was a comically futile attempt to ignore the wind forcing the campervan to act like an over-sized bobsled as it tossed me from side to side, totally befuddling my equilibrium. It rattled everything that was not securely fastened and dislodged some things that were. Strong and weighty as the campervan was, the idea that it could submit its bulk to the might of the gale outside was enough to keep somnolence dancing alluringly out of reach. My thoughts turned rather unexpectedly to Ned, the African boa who had escaped from his cage a couple of weeks previously. A decision he was no doubt lamenting at that precise moment.  I could see him in my mind’s eye, his jaws clamped fiercely around a young tree or fence post in a vain effort not to be whisked away to a shadowy oblivion. As he hung there, borne up by the wind and looking like a scaly windsock, I imagined him hissing the snake equivalent of “FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!” as his tenacious grip began to betray him.

After two hours of wretched twisting and fretting, I hit upon an idea.  A brilliant idea.  I know what, I thought, I’ll go and sleep in the office!  Once again, I climbed into my clothes. I rolled my sleeping bag around my pillow and jumped into the gaping maw of the south wind.

On my way to the hut that served as the office I saw the unmistakable bob of a headlamp.  Someone was awake and moving around. Given that it was now about 2 a.m., I wondered what on earth someone could be doing bustling around so much. I then saw another headlamp and the outlines of a few figures.

Then I saw why they were there. The roof of the office had been torn off completely by the wind.

Like a gentleman’s doffed hat, the office roof lay upside-down on the ground in front of the building.  The wind had effortlessly flicked the roof off and sent it crashing down on top of the helpless bamboo hut that sat adjacent.  “O…kay,” I said to no one in particular.  Without further consideration, I dumped my sleeping bag and pitched in with the salvage effort. Everyone in the park was conveying items from what remained of the office to the sturdy shower block, which was able to withstand the wind’s assault upon it.  I grabbed an armful of files, surrounded by flying sheaves of paper, of which the origin and destination of some would never be known.

Computers, cameras, files and many, many miscellaneous items began to fill the shower block as the office contents were evacuated. After about an hour and a half, it was all done.  We stood around, staring dejectedly at the stricken office and its sad, upturned roof. “It’s a catastrophe,” I heard Mike say more than once. There was nothing more we could do that night. The wind was still fierce and everyone was exhausted.

The following morning, Mike assessed the situation and swiftly concluded that the damage to the roof was superficial.  The bamboo hut had cushioned much of the blow. Before long, we were well into the first attempt to move the roof. I wondered exactly what we were going to do.  I assumed we were just going to put it somewhere out of the way until some plan to replace it could be contrived.  My impression of the situation changed when Mike and Darren (a friend and fellow volunteer) began attaching strong ropes and pulleys to the roof.  Darren looked at me with a plaintive expression that could only be read one way. It said, “I really hope we’re not going to try and life this by hand.”  Eight of us stood around the edges and tried lifting. We succeeded in moving the roof a couple of feet from where it had crashed down. Even Mike who was forever the optimist, could not have believed that just because we could lift it, we could lift it high. A terrible, if silly, image entered my head: we were all heaving the roof above our heads, running at the office and slam dunking it back into place. No way.

After careful consideration, Mike brightened and said, “I know a guy with at crane!” Oh, thank God. I thought it would take a few days to organise a man with a crane to come and ameliorate the situation, but I was wrong. In the afternoon as I stirred from my siesta, I heard what was unmistakably a large piece of machinery rumbling its way slowly into the park.  Mike asked me to wake the rest of the team so that we could get started. Amazing. Simply amazing. It was as if he’d conjured the crane out of nowhere. The others couldn’t believe it when I told them.  “I…I was just falling asleep!” Darren said weakly as I roused him. Nonetheless, he and the rest of the team were more than willing to help.

Mike and Nikos (the crane driver) deftly attached ropes to the roof and we all took up positions to negotiate it safely skywards.  We chased the airborne roof this way and that in an effort to keep it from swinging round and destroying the remainder of the office that had once been its perch. I cursed the designers of the office for not taking into account that the roof might need to spend a bit of time in the sky, and should therefore have made it a bit more aerodynamic.  Once we’d tamed it, Nikos masterfully operated the crane so that the roof edged slowly towards its target.  The rest of us dodged around it pushing, nudging and holding fast.  Before we had time to credit our eyes, the roof was gracefully lowered into place and nestled back where it belonged, albeit very slightly out of true.  A few strategic hammerings and it was like it had never left. Amazing.  Only Mike could have orchestrated such a rapid reversal on what most people would term an irremediable disaster. The roof was back. The bamboo hut was destroyed, but could be rebuilt.  Soon after, the office was once again replete with the supplies we’d loaded into shower block.

Much to Susanne’s delight, we were able to use this event as an opportunity to sort out and dispense with any and all things that were no longer required in the office. Many obsolete files, broken things and unidentifiable objects suddenly found themselves on a long overdue trip to the garbage.

The nature park is full of surprises.  The most noteworthy thing that could ever happen is nothing at all.

— This story is dedicated to Imogen Maxwell. She knows why. Check out her awesome make-up artistry page!–

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 11, 2015 in Things that are

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Where have I been all your lives?

Hello dears,

So, this is my first post since December. Shameful. And just what do I think I’ve been doing all this time? I’ll tell you.

You might recall that I told you I was setting up a new blog. This is true. You can peruse it at your leisure here.

It is, as stated, a retro video game review blog. Can’t have too many of those (I hope). I’ve been trying to make sure a new post goes up every Tuesday, and thus far I have succeeded. I do tend to move around a bit, so I’m not sure if this will always be the case. I would like to think it will be possible.

Why, you might be asking, do I want my posts to go up every Tuesday? Why not the beginning of the week? Why not the end? In my opinion, Tuesday is the least pleasant day of the week. Now, you might be thinking that Monday is worse because it’s back-to-work day, but at least with Monday you have vestigial memories of how pleasant your weekend was (or relief that it’s over). On Tuesday, you’re somewhat adrift from the weekend, enough that the pleasure (or relief) has waned, and you’re so far away from the next weekend that it seems it might never come. So I, Rufus Standish, philanthropist and gadabout, have decided to brighten your Tuesdays with nostalgic and hopefully amusing nonsense.

A bit hifalutin, perhaps, but what of it? While the images are Safe For Work (except for the unintentionally suggestive Screenshot Jackpots that show up from time to time) , the unutterably foul language might not be. If you’re far away enough from your boss, no trouble should befall you.

The first post went up in December, and so far I’ve done enough to last you right into May, you lucky people!

So trip on over there and relive some popular, and obscure, classics. Do not worry about this blog. As I’ve said before, I shan’t abandon it. When I have some pure literary gold in mind, this is where I will deposit it.

May all your Tuesdays be bright and gay (in the old sense of the word, unless you are gay, in which case read as written).

Love,

Rufus

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 8, 2015 in News & that

 

My blog has a sister!

Goodness me, I haven’t posted for a while.  I do rather tend to leave large gaps between posts, don’t I?  Well I’m here now, so settle down.

I have news!  I have decided to start a sister blog to this one.  For those of you that love retro video games, you’re in luck, for it is the very blog for you!  Yes, I’ve decided to do what I hope will be amusing and entertaining reviews of all the games I played growing up (and still do).  Yes, yes, there are a zillion and seven blogs and video reviews of old games, but I still want to thrown in my penny’s worth.

I hope to post one review per week, going out on Tuesdays.  I apologise in advance if there are delays but as yet I do not anticipate any.  The first review is complete and goes up on Tuesday, 30th of December.  What is it?  Well, wouldn’t you like to know, nosey-parker?  Patience, patience.

Don’t fear, I shan’t abandon this one.  I write in it when I feel I have something to say.  I’m sure you wouldn’t want me to post just for the sake of it.  Heavens, no.

Grab your controllers, my game geeks!  This is gonna be one helluva ride.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 26, 2014 in News & that