February 5, 2016
February 3, 2016
This is yet another Star Wars post.
So, I’m really enjoying the outpouring of love for Rey, Finn and Poe that’s cluttering up the internet right now. Like, these three are such an endearing ensemble of heroes, we just can’t help but wallow in it all.
Except: Rey and Poe never actually interact in The Force Awakens. When the Falcon returns to base after the big climactic thing, Poe glances at Rey, registers her, acknowledging that she’s the one Finn was so desperate to rescue. But he doesn’t know her, and a second later he’s totally focused on the unconscious Finn and that’s where he goes. Rey of course doesn’t know who the hell he is or why she should be interested in him.
Later, they’re both standing in the room when the pieces of the map get put together. One presumes they’ve been introduced by this point. There was no reason to show this introduction — it’s got nothing to do with the story, really. From a story perspective, it’s just fine that we never see them interact. It wouldn’t add anything, and it would clutter up an otherwise slick narrative. But gosh, wouldn’t it just be so neat?! And that would be the only reason to show that scene: because fans like me want to see it. Note: narrative flow ought to trump fan service. So, I’m glad the movie is the way it is. But still.
I mean, I can totally imagine it. They both arrive in the infirmary, waiting for news about Finn. And Poe introduces himself because that’s what he does. “Hi. I’m Poe Dameron. You’re Finn’s friend, aren’t you?” And I can just see the look on Rey’s face as she realizes that yes, she is Finn’s friend, and he is hers, and she’s never had a friend before, and she kind of wants to freak out a little. But she doesn’t. “Yes. He saved my life.” And Poe smiles and says, “Mine, too.”
And now they’re friends, too.
GAH!!! *falls over and fangirls a little more*
January 29, 2016
I just got my first smartphone. My very first. It was my birthday yesterday, and this was my gift for myself. I’d been thinking about upgrading for like six months and finally decided, this was the week.
All the clerks at the mobile phone place had to come look at my old phone. It was a novelty, a little red Nokia, 7-8 years old. So old they couldn’t port the data onto the new phone. “This is in really good condition for being so old,” one of them said. “Yeah,” I said. “I don’t use it much.” And I really don’t. I’m still not sure if the new phone is going to change that. I actually want to use it more, to take advantage of all the nifty things it can do.
And I’m trying not to be scared of it. I really want to use these powers for good. Like, to actually make travel easier, stuff like that. Better organize my calendar and contacts and to do list and things. I’m taking it in baby steps.
But, yeah. I have a smartphone now. Imagine that.
January 8, 2016
Right before going to see SW: The Force Awakens for the first time, I had a strange experience.
I had meant to do more fangirling prep for the movie — reading comics, watching movies, etc. — but I got busy. Between working on some brand-new projects and getting ready for xmas, it just didn’t happen. But literally just a few hours before going to see the new movie, I made time watch Star Wars. The first one. Just to get in the spirit. To remind myself how it feels. And it was so strange, so odd, so weird. Because I was so in the mindset of watching a new Star Wars movie, that Episode IV was suddenly new. I felt like I was watching it for the first time all over again. I’m not sure how that happened, and the strangeness of it made me cry a little, in that “who knew this was possible” kind of disbelief.
Here’s what I think: it’s been a long time since I just sat and watched Star Wars mindfully, not doing anything else, not putting it on in the background, but just watching it. And my writer brain was on and noticing all kinds of things I hadn’t really thought of before, like how we don’t actually meet the hero until about fifteen minutes in. Rather, it’s as if the world is the main character and we’re dropped into it to slowly immerse, learning about battles and droids and empires and the rest of it as it happens. This movie has a magnificent straight line plot, and every scene is late in/early out, just like we’re taught in writing school. Not a wasted second. Moreover the tension in each sequence escalates in just the right way to keep the audience engaged. This movie is really funny. The prison break scene? Never stops being funny, from the moment the trio is facing the wrong way when the elevator doors open to C-3PO thinking they’re dying in the trash compactor. The three heroes are earnest and dorky and absolutely lovable, and I think that Han falls in love with Leia before she falls in love with him. It happens right there after they’ve been fighting over money and he says, “I’m trying not to, kid,” after Luke asks what he thinks of her. Han’s got this look like, Holy shit my life is never going to be the same, and it scares him, but he may also be a little bit relieved, because it wasn’t like his life was going anywhere good before this. And in weird bit of counter-intuitive pacing, the entire third act is the battle of Yavin. Like, there’s nothing else that happens but guys in X-wings fighting the Death Star. But even that is well modulated and escalates tension. The whole thing is a sleek model of fast action pacing.
The other really amazing thing I noticed: The heroes are all so young. I’m well old enough now to be Luke and Leia’s mother. (But not quite Han’s, thank goodness.) Isn’t that crazy? They’re babies. But maybe it takes bright-eyed babies to save the universe.
And that’s when I just started bawling. Because this movie that I have loved since I was five years old, that I have seen countless times and that I know so well, can still seem new to me, and it is still my favoritest movie ever.
December 23, 2015
December 18, 2015
HAHAHA YOU THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO HAVE A REVIEW OF THE MOVIE HERE, DIDN’T YOU?
Nope, no review yet. I’m guessing I got to bed at something like 5 am, assuming I wasn’t completely wired out of my gourd, and since I’m scheduled to drive friends to the airport this afternoon, and I really want to be awake and focused for that, I am most probably asleep right now. At least, I’d better be asleep, until about noon I’m hoping.
Don’t worry, I’ll fill you in later.
December 16, 2015
I have tickets to see the new Star Wars movie at 1:30 am Thursday/Friday. I wasn’t determined to see the movie straight out of the gate, but friends acquired these tickets and who am I to say no? Let’s just say, as someone who camped out (briefly) for Episode I, I am completely and totally enamored with the modern convenience of online ordering and assigned seating. I will take a nap and head over to the theater a half an hour before curtain, because I am getting too old for this sort of thing.
In the meantime I’ve been thinking a lot about how to approach the movie. Has there ever been a movie with so much cultural baggage attached to it? So much expectation before a single digital frame has even played? After the culture phenomenon of the first trilogy, the rather brutal failure of the prequels to live up to the acclaim of their predecessors — what the heck do we do with this? Also, I have a paid gig to write a review for this puppy, and I’m trying to come up with a framework for that — a grading rubric, in a sense. What constitutes success for The Force Awakens? Is it enough that it entertains? Does it have to be objectively a good movie? Does that look different than a good Star Wars movie? What do I, personally, as someone who grew up with this franchise as part of my core programming, want out of this movie? I want it not to suck, of course. But what does that mean?
Add into that the immense amount of commentary — visceral, emotional commentary — playing out on social media. People who are exploding with excitement. Other people who are exploding with disbelief that anyone could be excited about these movies. Plus that really hard-core group of Star Wars fans who ought to be excited about this movie but are so upset that the Expanded Universe is now alt-canon that all they can do is foam at the mouth. And I’m like, really? You can’t keep a couple of different universes in your head at the same time? I was never attached to the Expanded Universe. There are great big chunks of the EU that I’m ecstatic about not having to pay attention to. Seriously, is there anyone who liked the Yuuzhan Vong and thought they were a good idea? They were so clearly an attempt to inject 90’s grimdark into the Star Wars universe — which wasn’t built for grimdark. So much of the EU doesn’t feel like Star Wars to me. (What does? Rogue Squadron. Tales of the Jedi.) And that leads me to. . .
What am I looking for in a Star Wars movie? Amazing feats of derring do. Engaging characters who are brave and charming. Engaging alien characters. Banter. Sense of wonder. Planetscapes and spaceships. An epic sense of story. Innocence and optimism. Respect for the original trilogy’s story — but something new. Show me corners of this universe that I’ve wondered about but haven’t seen yet. Build on the world without bashing holes in what came before. I want a movie that makes me happy.
There are those who believe this movie will fail to deliver anything resembling a satisfying experience, by whatever measure. They can’t understand why my friends and I are so stinking excited for this, but I know why: We have the makings a classic redemption story here. I’m not saying we’re going to get it — but what if we did? What if we got a new Star Wars movie that we could be excited about instead of apologizing for? That actually overcomes the negative expectation established by the prequels. Redemption. One of the most classic, satisfying story archetypes there is.
Yeah. That’s what we’re looking for.