Critical Examination: The Real Villains of ‘Beauty and the Beast’

I am of course talking about the animated version, not that live action abortion that showed that not only can Emma Watson not act, but she can’t sing either.  But as I have been chilling with my girly-mate guest, we have shared in one of my favorite pastimes – over-analyzing media that we watch.  In this case, it’s a classic Disney film that a lot of people have already over-analyzed, but I think have all been fooled.  It’s all over the Internet that the Beast is actually a horrible guy, but while he is an abusive monster, he isn’t the real villain of the story.  Nor is Gaston, who is actually the hero of the story.  More about that later.  The true villain of this film is more nefarious than you can possibly imagine.  It’s perhaps one of the darkest secrets in all of Disney, that we shall uncover now.

The True Hero

Cracked already did a video discussing this but the real hero of the story is Gaston.  Which he totally is.  The film tries to play it as he just judges the Beast because of how he looks and that’s wrong, because really the Beast is a good guy underneath it all.  Right?  Wrong!  The Beast is a monster!  His outer image has become his inner one, as he has had years of anger and hatred of the world and himself to turn his psyche into an abusive monster.  Gaston, on the other hand, is not really a bad guy.  Let’s look at some evidence.

The entire village treats Belle like she is a weirdo.  After all, she’s reading books and trying to learn things.  In that time period, for a woman to do such a thing is considered alien and they regard her very negatively.  All with one exception – Gaston.  He treats Belle like she is someone he wants to get to know and care about.  But I hear you say – he comes on WAY too strong and is kind of a dick!  Well, yeah.  But there’s a reason.  For starters, he’s kinda dumb.  But that’s nothing to hold against him.  Him being dumb isn’t his fault.  And the reason he is a dick is because he has an inflated ego.  Why?  Because he is the most valuable member of the community.  He shows that he has a vast amount of animal heads and is a very skilled hunter.  In a time when being able to kill animals and get food is a skill that can sustain a community, it makes sense that he is a celebrity.

But think about this – in the song he sings to himself, Gaston shows that there are a ton of women who are after him, but he makes clear that these are not the women he is interested in.  These hussies are just cheap lays that he gets because he can.  The woman he is actually interested in is the woman that the rest of the village treats as something of a pariah, not only because she isn’t very ladylike for the time, but because her father is kind of insane as well and it has gotten around.  So he is a little dumb and kind of boorish, but he still wants to get to know and seek the hand of a woman that no one else in the community likes.  What’s the problem there?

Why the Beast Isn’t the Villain

We’re building up to the reveal, don’t worry.  The aforementioned video by Cracked said that the Beast is the real bad guy in the film, and while I can see where they are coming from, they didn’t go deep enough in their analysis.  See, here’s the real kicker – the Beast is just a victim of his circumstance.  While he is an abusive monster (and that isn’t going to change with him becoming human again), you can track what got him here.  Years of living as an animal in a home where the only companions he had are people who are terrified of him and whom he has probably killed a few of.  After all, it’s shown that pretty much every inanimate object in the house is one of the servants, and we see Beast’s quarters filled with destroyed stuff.  So was some of that destruction servants who made him upset?  Scary to think about what will happen when the Enchantress’ magic wears off and how many mutilated corpses will be found later.

However, the truth is that of all the characters in the film, the Beast is the one with the least agency.  He is just being strung along by the plot.  Sure, he has a goal of breaking the curse placed on him, but he is just being led along by the real villain of the film.  Some of you may have seen this coming, but it’s even more diabolical than you can possibly imagine.

The Real Villain of the Film Is…

The servants.  That’s right, all the fun servant characters, who you grow to love and think are the best part of the film, are the ones who are secretly manipulating everything behind the scenes.  I can prove it, too.  Let’s get down into this.

Have you ever noticed that the servants don’t age?  The film implies that it has been years, many years, since the Enchantress did her spell.  Yet, the little teacup children are still teacup children.  At the end of the film, when the magic wears off, you see them turn back into children.  The little dog stool creature turns into a dog and it is obvious that it would be old as fuck or dead if it had been aging like a normal dog.  But one character does age in that castle – the Beast.  Beast is aging like a normal person, because even though he looks like a monster he is still flesh and blood.  Which means that his body is growing older.  And it also means that at some point he would die.  You know who wouldn’t die?  The servants.  They are now inanimate objects that only age as their parts decay.  Or if the destruction in Beast’s quarters is to be believed, when they are destroyed.  Which means that some of these now living pieces of furniture could have centuries of life to live.  Doesn’t that sound like a fresh Hell to have to suffer through?  Makes you wonder what such a potential fate would compel one to do, doesn’t it?

The servants talk in the film about how they had nearly given up hope that they would be able to escape that fate.  But then, along comes hope!  A girl who can potentially break this curse and save them from this torture existence of being objects for the rest of their potentially eternal existence.

But I hear your rebuttal – how does that show that they are the villains?  I mean, sure they got a stake in the situation but how do you postulate that they are the bad guys because of it?  I’m glad you asked.  Here’s how I know – because they know what Beast is like.  They are terrified of him.  They know what kind of monster he has become.  And while some of them like the Cogsworth may be delusional enough to buy that he will snap out of it when he turns back into a human, others like Lumiere are nowhere near that naive.  He is clearly the smartest out of them, and he knows the truth about what will happen when the Beast is given back his body.  His physical appearance will change, but his internal violence will be right where is was before.  The only difference is that now Belle will be trapped.  Trapped in a relationship with someone who is still an animal that will likely abuse her, physically and emotionally at the very least, and potentially sexually.  There is no way these servants who have had to suffer through this for years won’t have some idea about what is going to happen once all is said and done.

The thing is – they don’t care.  Why would they?  After all, if you faced the reality of living the rest of your life as a dresser, would you?  Which brings to mind another rebuttal I hear – okay, so Lumiere may be playing things to his own end.  But how do we know the others are in on it?  I have an answer to that too.  When Gaston rallies the town to go and save the woman he has feelings for, and they attack the castle, the furniture fights back.  The bureau actually leaps off a balcony and lands on a guy and crushes him.  You even see his lifeless legs after she smashes him into the floor.  That dude is dead!  She fucking killed him.  And you see the rest of the servants doing real damage to Gaston’s posse.  A threat to their freedom means that they are willing to straight-up murder people in order to ensure success.

Everything that the servants to help foster the relationship between the two of them wasn’t to help the Beast.  It was to help themselves.  When Mrs. Potts was singing that iconic song, in the back of her mind she was thinking – get with her, damn you!  I want to leave this teapot body behind!  Hell, the first thing Lumiere does after he turns back is make out with a maid.  You just know that afterwards he took her to a room and got his dick wet for the first time in who knows how many years.  And I bet you that after they are returned to their bodies, they high-tailed it out of there as fast as their legs would take them.  Given back their ability to live, why would they want to stay and watch the relationship between the two titular characters devolve into a destructive pattern of abuse?

And the best part is – they got away with it!  The servants manipulated the situation to their own ends, and they win.  They got their bodies back and condemned an innocent woman with mental problems to a life of abuse all so they could get their own bodies back.  Scary shit.  But also kind of cool.  Makes me like Lumiere as a character more, really.  From the very beginning when he started to make nice with Belle, he was planning his return to his own body because he knew that this was his last chance.  It was his ultimate gambit, and he got the entire servant body (with the possible exception of Cogsworth who was completely the Beast’s bitch) to assist him to this end.  Hell, Mrs. Potts kinds of hints to it in her part of the song.  She says that she has to make sure everything is perfect in every conceivable way for Belle, because she knows what he does too.

Kind of makes me wish that I could have seen the deleted scenes where Lumiere has the servants gathered and is talking to them about what to do next and how they were planning things.  Am I alone in that?  What do you all think?  Let me know in the Comments

Until next time, a quote,

“But that’s just a theory.  A Film Theory.” – Film Theory

Peace out,

Maverick

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RAB: A Twilight Reboot

I’m finding it hard to find things to write about.  My life is not in a great place right now.  Got this job, and it’s pretty cool.  At least it pays well.  But it’s a job where I get to be yelled at by people who hate my guts purely by association of who I work for.  Because anyone who calls me is either getting their money taken or late getting their money from us and is pissed about that.  It’s a job where I get to be told what a dick I am because I can’t help the person in the way that they want.  It’s exhausting.

So not much even gets my attention anymore.  It’s a depressing life I lead.  But adulthood is a miserable hunk of shit until you die.  Gotta wait for that last part.  However, there was one thing that got my attention recently – news about a suspected Twilight reboot.  Now it seems that there is some growing evidence that it’s happening.  This should make me rage, but it doesn’t.  Instead, it makes me groan.

Hollywood needs to just admit that they’re out of ideas.  No, really, we need to just admit it.  All the endless remakes and reboots, I am getting so bored of movies.  Then there is the endless parade of superhero movies, more and more of which are blending into the background.  Now Disney is going to have their chance to drive Star Wars into the ground.  And they will, because that company will try and squeeze money out of a corpse if it’s there.  That company is evil with a capital E.  But it’s getting boring to see ads for movies anymore, because I honestly feel like I’m wasting my time going to see them.

What’s more, it’s just insulting how they want to remake or reboot certain movies.  Like how it is confirmed that The Crow reboot is in production.  Brandon Lee gave his life for that movie.  Now we get some stupid-ass reboot that will most-assuredly suck.  Why?  Or they are rebooting Jumanji.  A movie that had laughable CG, but did have some pretty good practical effects to balance it out.  Not to mention Robin Williams during his best years.  Why do this?  Oh, right, because this is Hollywood.  And Disney aren’t the only ones trying to squeeze money out of a corpse.  They want to squeeze money out of Brandon Lee and Robin Williams’ corpses too.

The worst part about the fact that all of the major productions are just this remake and reboot crap is the fact that ideas that could actually be interesting are being spurned.  Because Hollywood is too pussy to take some of the money they invest in the latest shit-tastic reboot and maybe spread it around to smaller projects.  It’s taking directors who are willing to go to insane extremes to make good movies anymore.  Or, in the case of Deadpool, willing to take pay cuts and have slashed budgets and be released in a shitty time of year.  Twentieth Century Fox made the disdain for the film they were making no secret.  They were so sure that it was dead on arrival that they did everything they could to prove themselves right.  But it wasn’t.  You’d think that would be a clue.  That audiences are tired of the same recycled shit, over and over again.  That was my problem with the new Star Wars movie.  I’ve seen it before!  Only last time, it was done much better.  And it didn’t have a villain who was the gayest villain I have EVER seen.  No joke, with his Dumbo ears and his temper tantrums, I was beyond unimpressed.  That movie couldn’t have disappointed me more if it tried.  Not even going to see the next one of that series in theaters. Will see Rogue One, but that’s just because the director of that film has perspective and likes to make movies that are focused on characters.

I hate movies these days.  They’re boring, predictable, and it honestly is tiring trying to figure out if I am going to see the latest comic book whatever or if some whatever reboot is worth my time.  Fuck all this.  Which brings me back, finally, to Twilight.

Whose brilliant idea was it to reboot that?  It’s not even nostalgic!  It never will be!  It’s fucking garbage!  The ONLY reason those films were popular was that they were cashing in on the teenage girls and creepy moms who liked it.  But they’ve moved on now.  They moved on to books like “Fifty Shades of Grey.”  But they moved on from that too.  Heard they are making a sequel to that boring-as-fuck movie.  Their money to lose, I guess.  Now they have moved on to whatever gets the vaginas of middle-aged women greasy these days.  So this reboot won’t make any money.  But don’t tell the Hollywood executives that.  If we have learned nothing else, it’s that these people can’t read what people want to save their lives.  They never have, and they never will.

How much money are they going to throw at this shit that could have gone to something better?

Until next time, a quote,

“Hollywood wishes they could be this cool.” – Rebecca “Revy” Lee, Black Lagoon

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Rogue One: Story Trailer

I hated Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  I honestly think that movie sucks and it gets so many free passes from people due to how bad the prequels were.  This wasn’t an original movie.  It was a damn-near shot-for-shot remake of the original film.  What I was hoping for was a Star Wars film that actually felt like I was back in the universe of Star Wars.  That wasn’t what I got.  Now, there is a new contender to the plate, and let me say, I’m VERY excited.  For once, I may actually see this movie on release.  Finally, it looks like I have a Star Wars movie that is worthy of the license.  But enough talking.  Let’s show it to you, and then talk more about it!

This trailer looks awesome!  I am so damn happy!  The first shot of a city with Imperial fighters coming into port.  That feels like Star Wars!  Every part of the establishing shots of this movie make me think that this is a movie in the Star Wars universe.  However, we then go into my biggest gripe with this trailer.

Anyone who knows my thoughts on the last one knows that I am NOT impressed by this chick they have in this new film.  They way they introduced her was with one of the cringiest lines I’ve heard in a while.

I thought this was a rebellion.  I rebel.

That line is awful!  It’s terrible in every way.  Now, we have her being introduced with another terrible line.  Let me make something clear – I want to like this chick.  She certainly looks the part.  But the dialogue coming from her is just awful.  It’s the most try-hard character I’ve seen in a while.  Like Katniss Everdeen in space.  And you know my opinions of the Hunger Games films (they sucked!).  I am so hoping that we get to see her with some flaws that serve to humanize her a little.  Please don’t let this character be as bland and boring as whats-her-name in the last movie.

Back to the trailer, we get to meet some of our side-characters.  There is a crusty looking old dude, who has clearly been fighting the Empire for a long time.  There’s an Asian dude who is badass with a stick, who believes in the Force.  That’s also cool.  Then there’s pessimist droid.  That’s pretty cool too.

We then have some action sequences.  As I said, it feels like Star Wars!  Gritty Star Wars!  A Star Wars universe that has some pretty ugly fights in some not-so-picturesque places.  Given some of the settings, this reminds me of the Rogue Squadron games.  We are seeing the beginning of them in this movie, after all.  It’s so exciting!  I am gleaning that this isn’t going to be a movie exclusively about stealing the plans of the Death Star.  It’s going to be about the formation of Rogue Squadron, and that is going to be one of their missions.  I’m done with that.  It’s exciting!  Seeing into the past of a movie that I love.

There’s some inspirational shit from this protagonist, and we get to see a shot of her limping while holding a blaster.  Okay, so maybe she actually takes some damage.  I could grow to like her.  So long as her dialogue has less cringe than it has so far.  We can dream.

Finally, at the very end, we see a brief bit with Darth Vader!  Yay!

All things considered, this looks really good.  The visuals are fantastic.  There is actual sets used in addition to the CG stuff.  That’s nice.  We have cool action sequences that make me long to watch the original films again.  Or play one of the old Rogue Squadron games.  Not sure.  Probably the latter.  The characters all look like fun.  And we get the story of the founding of one of the Rebel Alliance’s most daring outfits.  Color me impressed.  Will definitely be waiting to see if it lives up to my expectations.

Initial Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Doctor Strange – World Premiere Trailer

I find myself at an interesting crossroad when it comes to comic book films.  I have gotten more than a little tired of them.  There are too damn many, and they are becoming too predictable.  It’s a strange sort of thing.  Deadpool restored some of my faith.  At the very least it was a breath of fresh air.  This summer has Captain America: Civil War and Suicide Squad.  Both of which I am very excited for.  The latter especially, since Batman v Superman was a boring pile of shit, and I want to see a good DC film.  Still, we may have some home.  So when I saw that this trailer was being released, my first thought was – okay, movie, let’s see what you’ve got.  Here is the trailer.  Let’s take a look at it.

Um, yeah.  This is a trailer.  It’s a trailer that looks…I honestly don’t know.  I don’t know what to think of this trailer.  We get to see that Benedict Cumberbatch is Doctor Strange.  I already knew that.  Not gonna lie, that fact kind of excited me, since I do like him as an actor.  Not a fanboy, but he’s been good in enough films that I am willing to be behind him as this character.  There’s also Tilda Swinton as some unknown teacher character.  That’s pretty cool.  She looks kinda badass bald.  Just putting that out there.  We also have that black guy who was the villain in Serenity.  I am assuming that he’s the villain here.

But the big question is – what do we know about this film?  You see some images of Strange being a surgeon.  That’s cool.  Then it shows a brief split-second of him in a hospital with his arms all messed up.  Is the implication that he can’t be a surgeon anymore because of his injuries?  That would make some sense.  But what’s the motivation in this film?  What’s the plot?  What’s the drive?  We know almost nothing about this film, and this trailer did little to alleviate that.  Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that sometimes, less is more.  I hate how all modern trailers seem to want to drown people in exposition and tell us everything about the plot.  But this trailer has told me very little.  We get some special effects shots.  Those are…pretty standard, actually.  It’s nothing special.  We have some neat locations.  That could be interesting.

Honestly, a superhero film that is about self-discovery could be kind of cool.  It would be a nice change of pace from the superhero films that are all about stopping bad guys and shit.  Like a personal story.  That does intrigue.  A little.  Like how the bulk of the original Spider-Man film was about Peter getting his powers and learning about them.  I miss this kinds of films.  All the films we’ve gotten lately are sequels.  This could be very refreshing.

The real thing that gets my attention is the release date – it’s November.  They are just starting to hype this film now.  This is weird, to me.  November is not a very big film date.  It’s kind of a nowhere date.  When Deadpool was released in February, people all had the same thought – this is a movie that studios don’t intend to do well.  It isn’t being released in the big-budget blockbuster months, because the studio doesn’t feel that they would bring in the return and would rather market movies that do have some guarantee of a big showing.  Is that what’s happening here?  Does Marvel think that this movie is going to fail?  What’s the story behind this?  Not to mention that this ad came out on Jimmy Kimmel.  Why do I get this sneaking suspicion that Marvel and Disney are not putting a lot of faith in this film?

Still, since I know almost nothing about this film, I can go into it with a somewhat neutral perspective.  If nothing else, I’m sure that Cumberbatch is going to do the best he can with the role.  Hopefully they got a good director and it’s a good movie.  The release date may be a little concerning, but we won’t know what will happen until it comes out.  If it is a film that is about the discovery of one’s superpowers and whatnot, then this could be a superhero film going back to form.  That gives me a touch bit of hope.

Initial Verdict
6 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: Disney’s “Empowered Females” in Star Wars

We’ve all seen the new Ghostbusters trailer, haven’t we?  We’ve all seen this film being made with one goal in mind – girl power.  That’s it.  It isn’t about making a good movie.  It isn’t about making good characters.  The entire goal is about making a movie that will inspire the females.  And it looks like shit.  It looks like complete shit.  The jokes aren’t funny.  The characters are cardboard cut-outs.  It all looks terrible.  All because the film decided that they are going to start with a political ideology first, and a good movie second.

The new expansion that was released for Baldur’s Gate had some similar ideas.  They had a character who they introduced who is trans.  But rather than that being part of a larger tapestry of this character, the problem was that it was done for a political reason.  The conversation with this character about their orientation is as awkward and preachy as can be.  It was so bad that the people who did the expansion were able to see the errors in their ways and changed things.  They also got rid of a stupid GamerGate meme that was shoe-horned in there too, but that’s just an amusing thing.  Point is – we didn’t hate the character because they were trans.  We hated them because that was it.  It’s just “I’m trans!”  We wanted an actual character.  The expansion suffered in a profound way because of this.  It’s image is forever tainted because of it.

Point of all this – politicization of characters is always for the worse.  Always.  Because when you start with a goal that isn’t to make good characters, but instead make ones that fit into an ideological agenda, it always comes back to bite you in the ass.  Because if you want a character to fit into an archetype, then they can never go outside of that.  At no point can they be anything but that ideological point of view that you have put them into.  This is what is happening right now with Disney and Star Wars.  And this is by their own admission.

In an interview done with one of the people involved in Disney (linked here), they talked about the new Star Wars films, and the female leads.  It seems that their “empowerment” was no accident.  This was designed.  Intentionally so.  And naturally, I take umbrage with this.  For all kinds of reasons.

I didn’t like the new Star Wars film.  I thought that Rey was boring as fuck.  How is she empowered?  Because she wielded a lightsaber?  And won a battle that there is NO reason to believe she should have?  Seriously, she had never used that weapon once in her life, and she then uses it and wins against someone who has been trained extensively.  That’s retarded.  She had no character, outside of being a strong, virtuous female.  It was boring.  The only character I really liked in that film was Finn.  His character was the only one whose motivation I understood.  He was part of a massacre, and wanted to get away from that environment.  That makes sense to me.  Rey?  She’s just super awesome and the Force wills her to be part of the plot.  That’s it.

The new film, Rogue One, has another female protagonist.  This one looks to have some more personality than Rey, but now I am finding out that this wasn’t done to make a good character.  It was done to fill an ideological base that Disney wants to pander to.  This tells me that future films are going to be done with this in mind.  This tells me that they are going to sacrifice any potential major flaws in characters because that isn’t “empowered.”  After all, if we’ve learned anything from the bitching of Anita Sarkeesian, it’s that any female character that isn’t a complete Mary Sue is bad.  And make no mistake – their films are going to suffer for them.

I made an entire Critical Examination post about how I see an empowered female character.  Truly empowered characters aren’t ones where you have to be told that they are empowered.  They just are.  They are just good characters.  But what’s more, they are also characters who have to overcome personal weakness.  They have to grow.  Strength isn’t just something you are born with.  It’s something you gain through hardships.  I talked about a bunch of characters in that other post, but let’s bring up a few other examples here.

Maybe you remember that fantastic cartoon Recess from the 90’s.  Back when kids shows were good.  Or existent.  Now cartoons have died.  It’s a bummer, really.  But my second-favorite character after TJ was Spinelli.  Her first name is Ashley, but if you call her that, she’ll beat your ass.  She was a tough in every sense of the word.  She was a girl who took shit from no one, and wasn’t afraid to throw down with whoever got in her way.  But she wasn’t perfect.  Her war with her own femininity was the central drive behind how she grew over time.  There were several episodes that forced her to confront that part of herself, and the answers she got weren’t always the ones she wanted.  I like that.  Not all answers in a series need to be cathartic.  Sometimes it can just be something to think about as you move forward.

Next up, let’s look at Kallen, from Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion.  She’s the ace pilot of the Black Knights.  This girl is Zero’s right hand in battle.  She has proven herself an incredible soldier, able to face down insurmountable odds by not faltering.  However, she has a personal flaw that is pretty glaring, and often shined in her face in very harsh way.  Kallen has very little will of her own.  She is a soldier in every sense.  If she doesn’t have someone to give her orders, she has no direction.  When Zero gives her an ability to prove herself in battle, she becomes totally dependent on him.  Through Zero and the Black Knights, her life has meaning.  There is a literal point where she tells Lelouch that to serve Zero, she would have become his slave.  There are multiple points in the series where her dedication to Lelouch is shown to be unhealthy.  But she is still a strong character despite this.

A series with good character needs to have good characters first, ideological bias second.  Disney has outright said that they have their bias first.  This is a problem for me.  Mundane Matt disagrees.  He says that as long as the film is good, then it’s fine.  But quality is suffering.  We’ve seen it already, and we’ll see it again.  And now I have to constantly question how good their upcoming films will be because they have an ax to grind.

Here’s my thought – can we have good movies?  Can we please have a good movie without the need to pander?  If they could do that in the 90’s, how come we can’t do that now?

Until next time, a quote,

The relationship between the public and the artist is complex and difficult to explain. There is a fine line between using this critical energy creatively and pandering to it.” – Andy Goldsworthy

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: F*ck Disney and Star Wars, In Memory of 1313

For those of you who didn’t know, before Disney bought and bastardized Star Wars by making everything family-friendly, there was a game that was announced that looked fucking amazing.  It was a game about a young Boba Fett, where you followed him on some unknown job to sub-level 1313 on the capital of the Empire (at least I think it’s the Empire by the time of that game).  It was a game that took the mechanics from Uncharted and translated them to outer space.  Did it bother me that this game was basically a direct rif with different weapons of another game?  Fuck no!  Watch this demo and tell me if it bothers you.

Did that not look like the most awesome thing ever?!  Did you not want to see that?!  After how bad Lucasarts games had been, this was almost a breath of fresh air.  You had these fun characters.  You had a great design.  The gameplay looked smooth enough.  I will say that the physical fighting was much less impressive than the games it was riffing off of, but still.  I would have played that until the cows came home.  Especially if there were the hidden collectibles that the Uncharted franchise has.  Let me collect and analyze stuff from the Star Wars universe!  Let me get to know this character who has such a huge cult following, even though he did nothing cool in any of the original films.  His character got so popular that he became a complete boss outside of the main films.  Hell, the prequel films sucked, but then you get Cartoon Network’s series: The Clone Wars.  And in that, we also had a badass Boba Fett.  It’s weird.

Then Disney decided to buy the franchise.  And what happens when they buy something – they make it family friendly.  Cartoon Network’s series?  Gone.  A dark and serious war series (that was getting really grim by the end), that’s not family-friendly.  Now they have this bullshit “Rebels” series, which just retcons the history that Star Wars: Force Unleashed set up.  Oh, wait, they are choosing to ignore the Expanded Universe.  Of course.  And this amazing-looking game died with it.

This is what Disney does.  See, they are an evil corporation that doesn’t give a fuck about creating good content.  They want to make money.  The newest Star Wars film was proof of this.  Unpopular opinion: I think the new film was boring.  It was a movie I had already seen before.  The effects were better, and the new Death Star could blow up lots of planets instead of just one.  But the plot was almost beat-for-beat.  I was bored.  If only that film had had the guts to do something moderately-original.  Like you know what would have been cool – if the “Resistance” had lost the battle.  Like they are doing so well, and then fail.  That would have been a nice change.  And would have gone well with the deal with Han Solo being killed (I’d say spoiler alert, but come one, you’ve already seen it).  A grim first act would have set the stage nicely.

Disney can’t just let a good thing be a good thing.  They took their marvelous animated film, Fantasia, and turned it into a piece-of-shit Kinect title.  Pixar has become a shell of what it used to be.  The Marvel movies are getting REALLY boring.  There’s a reason that Deadpool was such a breath of fresh air to superhero films.  These movies are getting boring and predictable.  I liked Guardians of the Galaxy, but even I will admit how consistent that film is to the superhero formula.  The difference is that it was funny enough for that to work.

Maybe this is just me getting older and my inner child dying, but I feel like I am gradually losing the ability to let this slip past me.  My favorite comic book films this year is the one about the merc with the mouth, the superheroes fighting each other, and a group of villains saving the day.  That’s how sad this is getting.  Meanwhile, stuff that is original and interesting gets cut off because Disney doesn’t want to risk that their squeaky-clean family image might get damaged by a video game where you have swearing in the Star Wars universe.  Oh no!

Though maybe, since people still buy into this garbage, Boba Fett said it best.

Until next time, a quote,

“Fresh air is overrated.”  – Boba Fett, Star Wars 1313

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars The Force AwakensFor the not one single person who was waiting for it, here is my review.  I have finally seen the new Star Wars movie.  Let me tell you, I have a lot to talk about.  Given that all of you have already seen it, this is probably going to be me talking to myself, but my comments section is wide open, people.  Feel free to jump on board and hate or like what I have to say.  I know that I am going to polarize some people.  I have some positive things to say, and some negative things to say.  People who know what kind of story I like might see my issues coming.  For the rest of you, let’s get going.

For the one person who hasn’t seen this movie, this movie is pretty much just a REALLY nice re-skin of the original film.  You have a secret McGuffin that a droid has, and the droid is on a desert world, hiding out from the Empire.  Wait, never mind.  It’s the First Order in this movie.  It’s the Empire.  Complete with stormtroopers and everything.  We’ll get to them in a moment.  For those who want to come at me for saying that this is a re-skin of the original film (I’ve noticed that nerds take that a little personally), I’m not trash-talking this movie for that quality.  As I said, it’s a good-looking re-skin.  If you gotta play to nostalgia, at least they did right by that.  It actually did feel like Star Wars.  That is a point in this movie’s favor.  Anyway, you get a new protagonist named Rey, and another protagonist named Finn, and now the race is on to get the information to the Rebellion (oh, I’m sorry, Resistance) before the evil dudes are able to destroy the world.  For real, this movie is not that complicated.  It wasn’t made to be.  Believe it or not, I don’t have a problem with that.

What did I like?  There are things to talk about there.  First, there is the fact that this movie definitely learned from the prequel trilogy.  There were honest-to-Groj sets in this movie!  That was so refreshing.  There were puppets and other kinds of actual creatures that were made with practical effects.  I loved that!  It was nice to see a Star Wars film that actually felt like it was part of a universe that you could feel and touch.  That was a real step in the right direction.  One that I hope they will continue.  The only time I was ever taken out of it was when Han and Kylo were on that bridge, and the obvious green-screen effect was there.  Other than that, this movie was able to combine practical and digital very well.  Props to them for that.

Next up is the action sequences.  Well, some of them.  To be specific, I mean the lightsaber stuff.  The battle between Kylo and Finn was one of the best action sequences in the film.  His fight with Rey was also not bad, but it had less weight, I think.  Partly because of my issues with Rey’s character.  Which brings me to the bad stuff.  I need to get some stuff off my chest.

Let’s head off a talking point – Rey isn’t a Mary Sue.  For those of you who want to know what that archetype is, go to Urban Dictionary or TV Tropes.  Either source will work.  For her to be a Mary Sue, that would have required her to have a personality.  Now I get to piss off the people at Vice and The Mary Sue who wrote about how empowered she is.  She’s not.  Rey isn’t as boring as Luke was in the original films, but that REALLY isn’t saying much.  She is definitely the most boring character in this film, but the truth is that the problem with her is the problem that I have with almost every character in this movie that isn’t ones from the previous movies.

You know what this movie could have used – some quiet time.  Some time for us to get to know these characters on the screen.  Some time for us to really dive into their personalities.  Why?  Because this film was DROWNING in plot!  They kept going from set-piece to set-piece, and the whole thing just gave me whiplash!  Like, they have this Mega Death Star.  Okay.  What’s that?  That whole deal is solved by the end of this movie?  Alright.  We have a TON of characters, all with what are supposed to be complicated motivations, but the fact is that we have almost no time to get to know them.  Like Kylo Ren.

Let’s talk about Kylo Ren.  This guy was cool, until he took his mask off.  My ability to take this character seriously ended there.  The people in the theater I was in looked over when I started laughing.  It was funny!  He’s so…gay.  He’s so fucking gay.  He’s the gayest villain I’ve seen in a while.  Almost all of it was tied into that stupid-ass haircut.  Who could take that seriously?  Millennials?  I guess so, since there were WAY too many young people in this movie.  Half the characters looked to be around the age of millennials.  Why?  Because they wanted to appeal to a target audience?  Yeah, that makes sense.  Like the other commander of the First Order.  This guy looks younger than me.  I’m 27.  How on Earth is someone with the rank of General that young?  Not to mention – he isn’t the least bit intimidating.  The casting for this movie’s villains was fucking awful.  Not one of these character had a discernible personality that I could describe via the Red Letter Media test.

Why did none of these characters have any personality?  Because there was way too fucking much happening in this movie.  This film had a plot that should have been stretched out to two movies.  This movie should have ended with the scene where the Mega Death Star attacks the bunch of planets.  That would have been a good stopping point.  It would have had the tension at its peak.  Rey would have been discovering her Jedi side.  Finn would have been leaving, but then deciding to stay when he sees what the First Order is capable of.  But more than any of that, it would have made it so that we had time to get to know these characters.  Some quiet time, you know?

Like, we see Rey and Han starting something that is almost paternal.  I would have liked to see more done with that.  Especially given some spoiler stuff with Han and his own family.  That would have made a nice dichotomy.  It also would have allowed us to get in his head.  Getting into the heads of these characters would have been nice, but to do so would have detracted from the set-pieces.

I want to like this movie, guys.  I really do.  From a production stand-point, there’s nothing inherantly wrong with it.  But because I didn’t go into this with nostalgia goggles on, I was able to look at this objectively and say that this movie could have been so much better.  Maybe have the film end with Rey getting kidnapped, after Mega Death Stars blows shit up.  Then everything’s going to shit, and it sets up the next film.  We would even have gotten to see some lightsaber stuff, which was cool.  But this movie had WAY too much going on, and we never got a chance to breathe.  Between all the things that were OBVIOUS throw-backs to the original films, and the characters who lack any depth, I just can’t say that I think this is a movie that was worth my time.

If you like this film, I don’t blame you.  If the nostalgia and seeing lightsabers and X-Wings gets your jimmys off, good for you.  I have made no secret that I like character-driven narratives more than plot-driven ones.  And here was a plot-driven one that almost-never gave you a chance to think.  Do with that whatever you will.  Which brings us to the most controversial part.  This isn’t going to make me any friends.

Final Verdict
6 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick