Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.
Showing posts with label Star Wars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Star Wars. Show all posts

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Last Spoiler

Or

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Porgs


So Scooter and I went to see The Last Jedi on Thursday, a week after it opened. Because I wanted to view the movie with as few spoilers as possible, I managed to avoid the online backlash (39 point negative critic/audience gap) and the backlash against the backlash. I have a few things to say about it myself. But to avoid spoiling anyone who still may not have seen it, I will hide it behind a break.

BE WARNED: THAR BE SPOILERS AHEAD!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Carrie Fisher, 1956-2016

The year 2016 really seems to be on a murder spree. I don't think I have ever written specifically about any celebrity deaths, but this one's a bit different. Of course, like many fans, I know Ms. Fisher mainly from her work as the take-no-prisoners Princess / Senator / General Leia Organa. No wilting wall flower, this damsel turned tropes on their heads as she fought alongside her more traditionally male protagonists.
Ms. Fisher was no different, using wit and talent to turn her personal struggles into bestsellers, even as she continued to steal scenes throughout the 1980s and '90s. She was a powerful presence in and out of the spotlight, renowned as a script doctor, and as an advocate for mental issues.
On a more personal note, my lovely bride and I, geeks that we are, identify with the Star Wars power couple, Han and Leia; who, when declaring their love for one another, each responded to the other matter-of-factly.

Carrie, we love you. But I'm sure you know.
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This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Loose Canons

Get it? Because I called our new characters loose cannons! lol

"Play it again, Sam." "Elementary, my dear Watson." "Luke, I am your father." Like famous movie misquotes, how often do we remember things that aren't really true?

I've been eating up analysis of The Force Awakens ever since watching it in the theaters. Right now, I am in middle of Screen Rant Underground's TFA-dedicated show [SPOILERS]. Screen Junkies has a few shows about it, especially the review with the now infamous Max Landis [more SPOILERS]. I listened to a fun episode of Cat Context last week—no wait, almost two weeks ago—where they discussed the movie [of course there are SPOILERS] without Liore. [yet another EDIT: I was seriously remiss in not including Dana Buckler's excellent two parter: The Phantom Mistakes and The Force Awakens Review.]

One thing that has come up several times—and I even went so far as to comment on it on the Cat Context episode page—is the question of canonicity regarding concepts and plot points in the Legends (formerly known as the Extended Universe).

[EDIT: For those confused what I am talking about, "Canon" (originally a religious term) refers to works (books, movies, etc.) that are considered official sources of information about a story or fictional universe. The current term used by Star Wars fans and Disney officials for works outside of SW canon is "Legends" (formerly the Extended Universe, EU for short).]

So many of the theories floating around on the Internet—about Rey's parentage, Finn's background, what will happen next—depend on a body of knowledge that is no longer canon:
As of April 25, 2014, the only previously published materials that are considered canon are the six Star Wars films and the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series and film, while the Expanded Universe is no longer considered canon and was re-termed as the "Legends" brand. Most Star Wars material released after April 25, 2014—with some exceptions—is composed in collaboration with the Lucasfilm Story Group, making it part of the "new canon."
~~Wookiepedia, "Canon"
That's not to say that concepts or characters from the EU might not make their way into the films or other new canon works.
However, that doesn't mean a character drawn from a Legendary work necessarily makes the work itself canon. Arolaide is really excited that Revan is mentioned in the TFA Visual Dictionary. And I agree that it is cool. But that does not mean that any book or game that includes the character of Revan (KOTOR, SWTOR) is canon, too. After all, it's a safe bet that Luke Skywalker (or Anakin/Vader) features in the vast majority of EU books. But that doesn't make any of them canon.

Even when people acknowledge that the EU is now legend, they end up making assumptions about what they "know" versus what is actually canon information. So is it significant that Rey has a British accent, while Finn has an American one? After all, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley grew up mere miles from each other (though in wildly different circumstances). So that has to mean something, like she's Obi-wan's grandkid because he had an accent, or she's Luke's and Mara Jade's kid because Mara was Imperial and all Imperials have British accents.

Leaving aside the fact that the character Mara Jade is no longer canon—a fact highlighted by the Cat Context folks—nothing in the original movies states that invariably Imperials have British accents. (This is a plot point in SWTOR, but not supported by the films, which take place some 4000 years later.) All the stormtroopers in the OT and several Naval officers (notably, the admiral Force-choked by Vader in the war council scene of A New Hope) are Americans. Meanwhile, rebels like Mon Mothma and Obi-wan Kenobi (OK, he was never actually part of the Rebellion) have distinct accents.

Of course, we can chalk up at least some of these discrepancies to casting expediencies. But what about when actors use an accent that we know is not their native one? Surely that's significant, no? According to Mr. Boyega himself, his American accent was a decision made on set, rather than something planned out by the writers. So it was not meant to convey information to the audience. Now, is it possible a future canon writer (like Rian Johnson) may make something of Finn's accent? It's possible. But we have no reason to hang a theory on it; or Rey's accent, either.

Another question for debate was whether Finn is Force sensitive, based on his ability to wield a lightsaber.  There is no basis for that in the current canon. However, as pointed out by Arolaide, the kyber crystals critical to a functioning lightsaber must be attuned to the Force before they can be used. And guess who is capable of that? As a side note, the use of synthetic red crystals by Sith Lords is a "Legend." Canon kyber crystals are colorless, and any color they pick up is a reflection of the user (it's still a bit hazy when the color becomes fixed). So the crystals given to Jedi players in SWTOR may be pre-attuned, colored, and fully in line with canon. Or they may be the legendary colored crystals seen elsewhere. Sith players acquire lightsabers rather than constructing their own.

I much prefer the approach taken by the folks in charge of Star Trek. Paramount established over 30 years ago that the only canon is what you see onscreen. Anything you might read about Captain Kirk or Lieutenant Worf may be contradicted at any time by a new episode or movie. Of course, Star Trek has many, many more hours of screen footage than Star Wars. Even then, there are elements of characterization, plot, technology etc., that are contradicted by later shows. Even within current Disney Star Wars canon there are contradictions, some of them very aggravating.

So this rant got a little nitpicky. All I am saying is that we may need to unlearn what we have learned, and go with the flow of the actual canon, rather than try to force the stuff of Legends into our pet theories.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to this blog.

If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A SPOILER-Filled Discussion of The Force Awakens

Scooter and I went to see The Force Awakens a second time, and while it hasn't quite been two weeks since the opening, I wanted to get down some of my thoughts regarding specific story beats in the film. Obviously, there are spoilers involved, so I am going to hide the bulk of this post behind a break.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

My Fandom Awakens [SPOILER FREE]

Our theater has screens for posters.
If you're reading this, you're likely to have already decided to go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, or have already seen it. But if not, I highly recommend it, especially for even the most casual fan of the franchise.

What can I say? I was not disappointed. I know that sounds like faint praise. But as a part of the generation that saw the Original Trilogy in theaters and then suffered through the prequels, I hope you can appreciate the impact of those words. The Force Awakens is simply awesome. I have only praise for the filmmakers.

Beginning with the script, Lawrence Kasdan proves once again his skill in making the SW Galaxy come alive with believable dialogue. Based on what I have read, I wonder how much of Michael Arndt's (a capable screenwriter) original script remains after Kasdan and J.J. Abrams got done with it. Abrams' decision to go with mostly practical locations, effects, and aliens (along with the selective use of CGI) was perfectly fitting with the OT, giving the film a feeling of physicality that is often lacking in the prequels. Finally, the actors themselves give awesome performances. Daisy Ridley and [John] Boyega are a delight. (I can't believe I just wrote that phrase, but they are.) And they are well supported by the rest of the cast, both old and new.

While I have a few questions the movie doesn't answer, I am satisfied with the story I got. Well, actually, I'm not satisfied. For the first time in three decades, I walked out of a Star Wars movie eagerly anticipating the next.
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to this blog. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The [Spoiler Free] Force Awakens

As are many others, I am a longtime fan of Jimmy Fallon's musical numbers, often shared on YouTube and elsewhere. I'm also huge fan of a capella music. Here we have a mash-up even better than Pentatonix' Star Wars Medley from the AMAs:

And just because it is the right time of the year, here's the one that made me a fan of Jimmy Fallon: Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas Is You" (with Classroom Instruments):

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to this blog. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Rowan l'Artiste

Have you ever heard of Painting With a Twist? I have been aware of the company for a while, but had never really looked into attending a class until a few weeks ago when my stepson suggested that we go try it out. So there we were, Scooter and I, along with her sons, about to have an adventure in pigments. The "Twist" is optional of course; and in fact, our class was full of kids, due to a soccer team post-season event.
Of course, we started with a blank canvas. So much potential.
If you've ever watched Bob Ross, you know that you never paint details onto a blank canvas, there s always a base coat. In our case, that background was black.
Using chalk, the outline of the project begins to take shape. Unfortunately, at this point, we got so busy actually painting that I neglected to take any more in-progress photos and only have the finished art below.
Hooray for Star Wars! I was tempted to add a crossguard to the Sith blade, but went for something a little more classic. I saw one lady use purple and green, and I considered green for my Jedi blade, but thought that might look too Christmas-y. On the other hand, Christmas-y would have been perfect for this time of year.
I hesitate to show the original model painting, but here it is. Scooter and I decided that when we go next time, we'll study the model a bit more closely, so we have a better idea of what we're aiming for.
Eventually, when our game room is up and running, our lightsaber paintings will be hung in a place of honor. But for now, I brought mine to work, where I can show it off above the jolly roger hanging in my office.
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to this blog. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.