X-Files Babies!

January 12, 2018

So here’s what my brother and sister-in-law got me for Christmas.

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So, I don’t rank the Star Wars movies. I mean, I probably could if someone threatened me or threw money at me. But really, I don’t see the point. Because apart from the first one, none of them really stands alone. All but the first depend on some kind of prior knowledge of the existence of the Star Wars universe and the saga of the Skywalker family. The recent ones have really depended on that knowledge, and audience expectation of what it means to watch a Star Wars movie. So now, much like the MCU, we don’t have individual movies that can be fairly graded as movies — we have chapters in a long-running thing that we haven’t really developed filmic language to discuss.  (Previous long-running film franchises, like the James Bond movies or even the Mickey Rooney Andy Hardy films, were a collection of stand-alone films, designed to be watched in any order. Not so much with Star Wars and the MCU.)

At some point in the late 80’s, my family got the VHS box set of the original trilogy, and we blocked out a whole evening to watch the whole thing back to back. This felt radical at the time, long before the age of the binge-watch. And the trilogy in one sitting was a revelation. It’s one story. It really is. Each film is three acts, but the trilogy as a whole is three acts also, with each film being an act. For a long time after that, I refused to watch each film individually.  If I was going to watch Star Wars, I was going to watch 6 hours of Star Wars. (This has changed. These days, I’ve been known to pop in the Return of the Jedi DVD and skip past all the Tatooine stuff to get straight to the Battle of Endor. Because big space ships FTW.)

I confess I haven’t watched the prequel and original trilogy all in one sitting — but I have watched the Machete Order. (And here’s my review of it.) And again, it really does all feel like one story. Story and imagery from each film calls back to the others. There are echoes all the way the through.

I could sit here and talk about how I like The Last Jedi better than The Force Awakens. It’s got more emotional complexity, it subverts our expectations rather than playing to them, which is ever so much fun. But TLJ doesn’t stand on its own. It needs to the setup in TFA to be able to do what it does. Part of its emotional impact comes from knowing what happens in TFA first.

I have favorite chapters in favorite books — I’ve been known to take Bujold’s A Civil Campaign off the shelf just to read the Council of Counts/proposal chapter over and over again.  But I can’t take that chapter out of that book and somehow say it’s better than the other chapters. Because it needs the rest of the book to be what it is.

Plus, no one ever lists the Ewok movies in their rankings of Star Wars films.

 

I’ve seen it twice now. I liked it even better the second time, mostly because now that the structure was familiar I could pay more attention to content. This film is 4 acts plus an epilogue. We’ve never had a four-act Star Wars movie. It’s unbalancing. There’s a lot crammed in here.

Here’s everything I’ve been thinking about, in bullet points:

  • As an old-school Rogue Squadron fan I keep trying to bond with the pilots. This is such a big mistake in this movie. TALLIE, NO!!!!
  • Does Paige use the Force to grab that detonator? Maybe.
  • Headcanon: That white-haired soldier who steps out of the trench on Crait? I think he was at Hoth. He was a young Rebel then, that was his first battle. By now, he’s seen it all, and he’s going to step up and face those walkers because he’s done it before. He’s a legend among Resistance ground troops, I’m sure of it.
  • Second time around, I realized Luke has his old lightsaber at the end. The blue one. This is another one of those really obvious clues that I nevertheless missed the first time. That scene is full of them.
  • Hux is a caricature of Tarkin, Snoke is a caricature of Palpatine, and Kylo is a caricature of Vader. They’re supposed to be. That’s the point.
  • Just like the Resistance is full of people who know how to be Rebels, and nothing else. As Leia says, it’s a movement full of dead heroes, that needs leaders if it’s actually going to turn into something stable. That’s also the point.
  • So it’s like Johnson took all that stuff that Abrams threw at the wall in TFA and actually made it mean something.
  • I love that Snoke is dead dead dead. Such a boring uninteresting character. Having him gone just clears the air. I love it.
  • That throne room scene. That whole thing. I could write an essay on it. Gah. Don’t focus on what’s the same as the scene in Return of the Jedi. Focus on what’s different. Snoke thinking he knows Kylo. Kylo proving otherwise.  Rey coming into the situation with ulterior motives — turn Kylo to save the Resistance — where Luke came into that situation with only love for his father. It starts the same as previous scene, and goes someplace completely different. THAT FIGHT OMG. I think Kylo did turn to the light, briefly. When he asks Rey to join him so they can abandon the past and clean up all this mess — I think he’s doing that from a place of light, however misguided. But when Rey rejects him — that’s when he turns to the dark. Not that she could have or should have done anything differently. Like I said, there’s really a lot going on here.
  • I love Rey. I was trying to explain to someone what I love about her, especially in this movie. She’s young, earnest, scared, and has this balance of idealistic and practical. That smile she gets when she feels the rain. That she cries all the time. That she starts out completely unsure of everything and ends up in a place of power and confidence.”Lifting rocks. Huh.” Yeah.
  • Rey spent two movies looking for a mentor. Han tried. Luke refused. And finally she comes to Leia. Rey is Leia’s heir. And she doesn’t have to be a princess to be that.
  • I bought a stuffed porg. I actually bought a frakking porg.

Okay I’ll stop now.

 

kooshy gloves!

November 20, 2017

I knitted a thing! These are the kooshiest gloves ever! (And they’re actually more symmetrical than the picture makes them look.)

Heihei

November 1, 2017

Here’s my niece Emmy this past weekend:

 

I keep thinking this looks like it came out of a Wes Anderson movie.

 

Galadriel

October 30, 2017

Came together pretty well:

Next up:  Heihei, when I get pics in.

 

costuming!

October 20, 2017

So the interesting thing about Halloween these days is I do so much costuming throughout the year that I don’t even think of anything special for Halloween. If I happen to be doing something for the holiday that requires a costume, I just look in my costume closet and decide what to wear.

Emmy’s Heihei costume arrived. It fits, and she appears to love it. Success!  But wow, the bar’s going to be really high for me from here out. That thing upped my skill level.

And it looks like Galadriel is go for this year. I just have the sleeves, facing, and finishing left to do. The serger is making it so nice! I don’t know that I would even attempt stuff like this without it.