X-Wing Explosions

Well, first off, Merry Christmas everyone. Have a happy new year can wait till next week. Second, continuing our journey through the most famous fictional part o0f the universe, we watched A New Hope last night. For future reference you can get a good idea of my opinion of a film by noticing what verb I use to describe experiencing it. "watched or saw" always means it was fun, while if I disliked it I tend to use "sat through" and if I think it really stunk I use "endured". With a trigger word in there one really doesn't have to read the rest of my post to get my thoughts. However, we continue.

  • C-3PO, like it or not, is my favorite character, for reasons that are apparent to those of you who like the movies.
  •  Han's banter saved the film
  • Jango Fett apparently was a worse shot than everyone thinks. Since the clonetroopers are copies of him with advanced weapons training they should be able to hit something once in a while. By rights all the main characters died five times during the making of this movie.
  • Anikin messed up Darth Vader. By extension the prequels actually did dilute the originals. By that I mean after going through the prequels I find myself incapable of believing Vader's really as evil as he's cracked up to be, as crazy as that sounds. Also why in the world is Vader taking orders from guys in suits when he could just kill everyone with the force if they objected?
  • In the opening, Luke is a bored angry kid. By the end he's a squad leader in the final attack for no apparent reason even though he just got there.
  • The whole movie covers about two to three days, with riding speeders and flying at lightspeed all over the galaxy, not much more time could have passed.
  • Granted, this was done in the seventies, but in retrospect, the plot point of Luke and Han Solo both falling on their faces over Leia is so cliche its painful.
  • That moment when a Whovian Rebel realizes that the clarinet-playing aliens in the Mos Eisly bar look very similar to the ood.
  • That pointless sequence at the beginning that was just an excuse to chop an alien arm off.


Just So You Konw...

One of my friends had been pressing me to go see Desolation of Smaug alone with him, even if both of us had already seen it once. Long story short we went back tonight and it was far more enjoyable, although still just ok. This time I sat directly under the speaker so I was able to hear 90% of the dialogue. And I was able to suppress my frustration at all the contradictions and watch the film as if it was an original story, and view
ed that way the only really annoying thing about it is the extensive use of whirly-gig pans from straight down and straight up. There is also some use of shaky cam during action sequences. It really made me sick trying to see the movie through the messed up camera. I'd like to rescind my claim that the extended version will make it worse, in part because this time I saw some shots that clearly needed more shots in between. Overall if anything stops me from sitting through this film again it will be the camera angle decisions.


And Finally...Revenge of the Plot Device

We saw Revenge of the Sith last night.I liked it better than I anticipated, mainly because I discovered to my surprise that Anikin/Vader had not in fact turned downright evil right away. even after he was deformed and locked inside the iconic Vader suit, he was still at first just the Anikin who had joined the dark side only because he thought Sidious was going to tell him how to make Padme immortal. I also appreciate that this movie explained why Luke and Leia are known by different last names and come from different home planets.
I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that up until the moment when he refused to kill Sidious, Anikin was still doing everytrhing the Jedis told him even as he got more and more frustrated at them. Even when he massacred all the Padawans he was doing it under the power of Sith hypnosis more than because he wanted to. So long story short I can see why some people like him for his tragic storyline. And anyway, episode six proves that he never entirely lost that spark of goodness he had from the beginning, even after living as the Empire's most dangerous enforcer for 20 years.
But enough about Anikin, except that his scenes alone with Padme still involved the most generic responses they could think of and went on for more than longer than we were willing to accept.
I would have enjoyed the movie a lot more, but I feel that "order 66" the executive order to assassinate all the Jedi, just came straight out of, well, antimatter, because there were exactly zero scenes in either of the two movies that showed the Chancellor/ Lord Sidious installing this order into the clones' programming, either directly or by insinuation. In which case it would be logical to assume at first glance that the clones still think Palpatine is only the leader of the Senate and a supporter of the Jedi by association and so why in the galaxy would he suddenly want them all killed. Coming with no foreshadowing or anything similar, order 66 ranks as one of the biggest and most baffling plot devices I've ever seen, although I will concede that the sequence that came out of it is in my opinion probably one of the great tragic sequences in modern movies.
Other weird things that happened were for instance when Anikin caught fire, sure he was stuck next to a lavabed, but I don't remember seeing any lava get on him and then a second later he was covered in perfectly normal fire. What did the air suddenly spontaneously combust? Since I did not see any logical progression, I decided that the explanation was that he got so angry he couldn't hold it anymore and literally set himself on fire through the power of the force misdirected, The other thing was that there was far too much chopping off of hands. It seemed to happen to everyone and it reached the point where it was ridiculous instead of surprising.


That Day Again

Today was my 20th birthday. It was awfully quiet as I had nowhere to go and I did not invite friends over this year. But now I feel old. My parents gave me a set of carbon shaft arrows to use for my target practice and $200 which are to be dedicated to getting out of the house in a cab or a bus if I start feeling a case of cabin fever. Since up to now I have been unable to leave when I wanted to, I have a chronic case of cabin fever, but this will surely help.
We had apple pie (which inexplicably melted into applesauce pie) and ice cream afterwards. and it was a little awkward because all 20 candles melted onto the pie crust so that there were blue streaks all over it that made it hard to look at. Overall, it was a nice day and now I am officially looking forward to Christmas and beyond...

I decided a few days ago that I would just add random old photos to the end of my posts for a while. This is my dog. He was awesome but he tried to climb out of his pen once too often. I still miss him.



It's a smashing success. In the week since the post detailing my writing playlist, the use of said playlist enabled me to add 12 pages to my WIP this week, a rate about  ten times faster than I've ever achieved before.
Note: Just to confirm; I am a pessimist at home so my first reaction to a film is invariably focused on what bugged me and I tend to find a film more fun if I ever watch it again. However this does not detract from the fact that is my genuine belief that most DoS is just bad.
Secondly, I have been to see Desolation of Smaug already. Although I will grant that those who have never read the book will find it a blast, even if the continuity editing is choppy in the beginning, if you have read the book the middle part of the story is almost unrecognizable and you will have to reconcile your enjoyment of Tolkien's timeless classic with the alternate universe version the Peter Jackson has produced that has the same name. My personal opinion is that this film as an adaption of a book is a diseased piece of junk that needs to be remade as soon as anyone gets up the nerve to do it. In contrast to the LOTR, a longer version of this move would actually make it even worse instead of making it more comprehensible. (Minor spoiler hidden by whiteout) In particular because the Tauriel /Kili relationship does not work and the cgi is particularly obvious during major sequences, making it feel like one is watching cutscenes from a modern video game.
Related note: I hope Peter Jackson has given up claiming that he's honoring Tolkien's legacy, since his latest statements in defense of Tauriel were 1) a claim that Tolkien would have added an empowered female character, but this slipped his mind. and 2) that it is somehow commiting gender discrimination not to add said empowered female into a movie that already has plenty of characters nominally based on a story that has its share of hordes of female fans already. For one thing, not being a member of Tolkien's estate, Jackson has no business making even an implicit claim that Tolkien left anything out by accident. Second, in my perspective, he seems to be devaluing all the current female fans if he claims that they need a character inserted just for them. Can you say PC?

Desolation of Smaug: The atrocity people like.

Also adding this picture I took three Christmases ago b/c it reminds me of the line "The trees like torches blazed w/ light" Pretty close don't you think?


My Writing Playlist

As I have noticed that some other bloggers were doing this, it inspired to finally make my own playlist for writing inspiration which I hope will help me get through the Tolkien-inspired swords and armor story I have been working on for several years now. Every track on the list brings to mind a sequence I intend to write, or else it is included just because it helps me stay awake to think. You will recognize nearly all the tracks, but to make a post I will outline the list anyway.
  1. "Hail The Hero" preformed by Celtic Thunder. This track has become the de facto theme song of my favorite character. It's kind of a spoiler if one tries to connect it to a character's arc.
  2. "Heartland", also from Celtic Thunder, is one of those added simply to set the mood. It is a particularly easy one for me to listen to.
  3. "Sons of Odin" from Thor is a favorite because, well, it just sounds awesome.
  4. "Ride To Observatory" and "The Compound" from Thor are included because they bring to mind battle scenes that are major parts of the plot.
  5. I also include both "Making Plans/Gathering The Clans" and "The Legend Spreads" from Braveheart, even though they are basically the same track, because the mood fits into the story at some point and having them both increases the chance of hearing it...
  6. Okay, I'm tired of trying to point out why such a track is part of my special list. From here I'll just list them all and point out the notable ones.
  7. Howard Shore's "Concerning Hobbits", "Hope And Memory", "A Storm Is Coming", and "The Ride of The Rohirrim"
  8. Enya's song for the credits of FOTR, "May It Be" has become the theme song of my main character and his journey of loss and renewal.
  9. When I hear "To Aslan's Camp" from Narnia:LWW I always think of horsemen riding across open plains w/ stunning aerial perspective shots thrown in. "The Battle" from Narnia...fits over a particular battle. "Only The Beginning of the Adventure" is a nice party song for the happy ending. "The Blitz" is also on my list.
  10. I also include "The Fields of Athenry", "Fields of Glory" and  "Boolavogue" Each of which is a classic folk song or a more modern one pretending to be a classic, all of which are good and which I put in as "mood songs". Performed by The High Kings.
  11. And I'll just finish w/ a roundup of miscellaneous mood tunes. "Song of the Lonely Mountain" which I include as a substitute for "Misty Mountains" which is below my hearing range, "Across the Stars", the theme from Attack of the Clones, and two songs from my best friend, "Southern California" and New World"
  12. And that's my list.


Attack Of The Bad Romance

Tonight we sat through Attack of the Clones. This will be a short post because I actually enjoyed a lot of it. Meaning the parts that weren't bland sappiness on hyper-drive. Sure people feel that way toward others sometimes, but don't dare trying to say it outright. It sounds so stupid it's almost horrifying.
So the romance, which was half the movie, at least, stunk it up big time. But the rest of it was actually fun. I particularly enjoyed the banter between Obi-wan and Anikin during the speeder chase early on and the duel between Yoda and Dooku. I also got a kick out of recognizing Christopher's Lee's voice. I couldn't help mentally superimposing Saruman's robes and beard over him a couple of times. And C-3PO was also hilarious. Wow I actually thought that movie was fun! Who am I? However, I will never sit through it again unless I can fast-forward the romance bits, which woukld make it about half as long.

Oh and Anikin bronc-riding that creature that resembled a giant tick was also funny to watch.


Yes, It Is Bad...

Well, a while ago, because of what I was going through at the time, I was surviving on movies and tv. (These days I survive on sleep...) and so I asked for the Star Wars movies from Netflix because I was ready to form my own opinion of them. I have seen most of them in the past, but that was too far back for me actually to remember what the experience was like. Anyway, due to some miscommunication on my part, we eventually sat through The Phantom Menace last night instead of A New Hope.
without further words, although I laugh at the movies too much to consider myself a member of the fandom, that does not deny me the opportunity to say "yes, this one is an embarrassment to the franchise." I only ever bash movies here for some reason, but this one actually deserves it...
"Gungan-talk" is physically painful to sit through.
Jar-Jar was a terrible mistake. He was funny about once for a few seconds in the entire film.
The podrace, and especially the last lap, is ripped straight out of Ben-Hur w/ some minor alterations to accommodate the "space-ageyness"
There were no real surprises. Even though I don't have a real memory of having seen it before, everything anyone said felt so blatantly obvious it was painful. This was the most boring movie I've seen since Jurrasic Park...
The "helping and caring" relationship between adult Padme and middle-school Anikin seemed to collapse into romantic feelings almost right away. Big fail.
Apparently the dark side's engineers have no engineering sense at all. The main reactor just sitting there open to shoot at from the landing dock? Wait did you say open to shoot at? Again?
Those long minutes Obi-wan spent dangling from the edge of the walkway during the duel of the fates when he had already demonstrated that the force allows him to leap impossible distances and regain his weapon instantly.
That silliness of 'midi-chlorians: and how they are a measure of Jediness. They are clearly ripping off mitochhondria, which everyone discovers in biology class, And they never even claimed that not everyone has them, which means everyone does, therefore everyone should be a Jedi...
Well that's enough...