December 21, 2016

Is the next Star Wars trailer out yet?

Here was my take on the Star Wars pop cultural experience as of 2016, back when the trailer was released for Rogue One (with links to three earlier posts as well). Nothing about the theatrical release has changed my take.

I haven't heard people reciting memorable lines of dialog, re-enacting key scenes, and so on, as though Rogue One were actually memorable, rather than just another forgettable and disposable chunk of pop culture junk food.

I didn't see The Force Awakens, and won't be seeing this one either. This is more to look at how the general public and Star Wars fans themselves are treating the franchise.

Two key paragraphs from before:

What's new to observe with the release of this trailer is just how forgotten The Force Awakens has become, not even three months after its release, and even among its hardcore nerd following. Facebook was filled with spazzy Star Wars shit for a few weeks when the new movie came out, but then... nothing. No quoting favorite lines -- evidently the dialog was forgettable. No references to favorite scenes -- evidently all visuals were forgettable. And no gushing over favorite plot points or themes -- evidently the entire narrative was forgettable...

Like I said, the real drama now takes place across the trailers -- one prolonged masturbatory anticipation, brief climax when it's out in theaters, and hardly any resting period before the next obsessive anticipation. Nerds don't want to enjoy the actual experience, they want to geek out over forecasting what it might be like (reminds me of how they behave in another domain of life).

Star Wars has taken on an almost religious quality for its fan-base, which includes larger and larger swaths of the population nowadays.

So, why continue adding to the Star Wars Bible? It just keeps diluting and weakening the impact of the original movies. Enough of this continuing revelation from one false prophet after another.

Midwits liken religion to an opiate of the masses, but that misses the feeling of satiety that religious people come away from each religious experience with. They're "full" for awhile, until they get hungry in awhile, then they'll take part again. They aren't constantly on the brink of withdrawal symptoms, searching for ever greater dosages to bring about the same painkilling effect.

Rather, this is what the cult of Star Wars has degraded into -- a bunch of anhedonic depressives being supplied by Hollywood with pop cultural opium, as quickly and as regularly as their movie-mills can churn the stuff out. Unlike an actual religion, its practitioners feel no joy, satiety, communion, or community -- no more than a crowd of drug-addicted strangers who file into the same crackhouse to get their fix.

Here's to hoping that in the more prosperous and point-having lives we will begin to enjoy as Trump returns America back toward normality, the general public will no longer treat movies, even supposedly sacred ones like Star Wars, in such a degrading way. And, Hollywood will no longer be supplying them with this Force Awakens / Rogue One kind of crap anymore.

28 comments:

  1. Someone on another board said that the issue is movies are now made largely for international markets, particularly China.

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  2. I made the comment at Kakistocracy, that the reason SW7 made so much money is much less to do with how good it supposedly was (:lolno:) than how much larger today the pool of media-addicted dweebs willing to go see the same fetish movie a dozen times is (cf. Avatar and Avengers). It's practically mainstream behavior now. But you're right, like any addiction the more it's indulged the more mechanical and joyless it becomes.

    For the record this latest movie is also lame and inessential. It once again relies heavily on fanservice and OT callbacks to make up for the lack of compelling characters or a tense plot. Even the RLM guys slagged it, and they had kid gloves for SW7. Give their review a watch if you get a chance, it's pretty good.

    Also true: the more of this fanfiction they churn out the more it dilutes the virtues of the original movies. The people claiming to like the way Disney is brazenly whoring out the brand for shekels aren't really fans of the series, they're just addicts jonesing for their next hit. "I don't care if they make 20 more movies as long as they're good" is the depressing rallying cry of people who have no idea what was actually good about the originals (hint: it wasn't incidental visual texture like lightsabers and TIE fighters).

    In any case, the buildup and followup was palpably lower-key this year; honestly it already feels like people are losing interest, and it's only been out a week. The box office and critical reception were significantly down from last year too. I'm sure part of it is this not being a numbered entry (though it's not truly a "standalone story" either, in fact the whole point is that this is just the backstory of Episode IV), but I think people are now waking up to the fact that there's going to be yet another Star Wars released every year for a long, long time, and maybe that's not as exciting as it once sounded.

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  3. Albionic American12/21/16, 10:36 AM

    "Here's to hoping that in the more prosperous and point-having lives we will begin to enjoy as Trump returns America back toward normality, the general public will no longer treat movies, even supposedly sacred ones like Star Wars, in such a degrading way."

    If we had sustained a technologically progressive "space age," instead of abandoning it after the Apollo moon landings over 40 years ago, we would have the real thing now instead of the fantasy versions in Star Trek, Star Wars and the newest Diversity in Space annoyance, The Expanse, on the SyFy Channel.

    Ironically the hard reality of things would work against the diversity ideology. If you want to send humans off-planet for the long term based on objective criteria for success, you would want to remove as many failure points as possible, including racial animosities. Mars colonists, for example, would look a lot like 1960's NASA astronauts, along with female counterparts. They definitely would not look like the delegates at the Democrats' national convention.

    And you most certainly would want to screen out and reject anyone with broken sexuality as a Mars colonist. Life on Mars based on reality standards would look a lot more normal than life on Earth in many advanced decadent countries.

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  4. Both movies have heavily relied upon the old mythos.

    One thing I've noticed is that there have been Star Wars cartoons out for years now, but they have barely made any dent in the pop culture. Those cartoons (mostly on Disney's channels) try to do the tough grrrrrl stuff and do outside-the-box plots, but have failed to catch on beyond a small audience.

    If those cartoons had caught on, we'd see more original Star Wars movies. As it stands, however, it's clear Disney fears killing the franchise too early, hence going back to the well and reusing the tried and true.

    The whole post-prequels Star Wars hype seems like that old Onion article where Gen X parents punish their child for not liking "E.T." enough when they show it to him on DVD. I think a good portion of this hype is Gen X/Gen Y fathers hyping the films to their kids because they're seeking a bonding experience as a family, whereas previous generations had family gatherings, family vacations, sports, and fathers-teaching-sons skills like camping or fixing a car.

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  5. Well, they can't take from me the memories of being taken to see the original film as a little boy by my parents in 1977, and subsisting on the toys, soundtrack, and reenactments with friends until the second movie came out in 1980. There's too much info and shitty entertainment these days. Enough!

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  6. "I think a good portion of this hype is Gen X/Gen Y fathers hyping the films to their kids because they're seeking a bonding experience as a family"

    Yup. If it isn't a middle aged childless/joyless Gen X dweeb getting his fix, than it's probably a Gen X parent who wants:

    -a "role model" for his kids
    - or a safe and clean adventure for the family that won't involve getting dirty, dealing with strangers (or perhaps even neighbors), or hurt feelings.

    My late Boomer parents usually didn't question how much screen watching I did, but they also often weren't really present either. Sometimes they did rag on me to get outside more often, and in the warmer months, particularly in the earlier 90's, we did do a lot outside.

    I've been listening to a lot of movie podcasts by later Gen X-ers, and one thing that resonated was how often the Boomer parents (especially the dads) would rent harder edged 70's/80's/early 90's action movies and such basically for themselves and often they didn't really notice or care how their kids felt about them. If you were born in the 70's or early 80's, you probably remember watching Stallone, Norris, and Van Damme kicking ass on your TV. The kids who grew up in Fishtown and/or had later Boomer dads got this kind of upbringing moreso than the kids raised by whiny anti-violence draft dodger early Boomers.

    Nowawadays, Gen X-er parents don't really care about flat spoken dialogue, PC pandering, non-stop CGI, a bland visual style, forgettable music, and so on. Why? They're concerned that harder hitting material would upset their precious kids. Some might say that modern action movies are more tonally or emotionally sophisticated. Nah. By muddling everything up, whether it's the story, or the photography, or characterization, the movie's impact is diminished. The Golden age for action movies was 1982-1992, when they were about hard-ass dudes being tested and broken down throughout most of the movie before finding redemption and often revenge at the very end. Note the presence of energetic and soaring music during the training and battle sequences.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnYDrs2ykcI
    Bloodsport training scene. Has some parallels with Luke's training in Empire. A well-meaning but insolent youngster is taught zen-like discipline and implacable strength by a wise veteran.

    Sorely missing from the post 1983 Star Wars movies is any sense of the power and necessity of spiritual zeal. Cocooners disdain religion and mysticism, and anything else that threatens the idea that man has utter control over everything, and everything can be explained, measured, and understood at least by the right experts. A big change from the earlier movies is the depiction of the "force". In the earlier movies, we see how difficult and unreliable it is (even in R.O.T. Jedi, Jabba isn't fooled by Luke). Even Vader can't always grasp his own intuitions exactly. Just like how in real life, spiritually aware and intuitive people don't suddenly become all-knowing or powerful. Though they might indeed be more cunning, fortunate, and happy than people who reject instinct and the intangible.

    The prequels pay lip service to the mysteries and vagaries of the force (for one thing, the "wise" elders become arrogant about prophesizing the future thereby sealing their fate). Yet, the amount of jedis wreaking havoc effortlessly in the prequels totally clashes with the more modest and costly uses of magic in the originals. Vader summoning (in a Zen-like pose) a series of objects as psychokinetic projectiles still inspires awe and feels believable, whereas the prequels flagrant over-use of super powers has no gravity and drama. There are a few rather serene moments in the originals, as there were in quite a few 70's/80's action movies. When the prequels tried to depict calmness, clarity of thought and purpose, or implacability, the actors typically just came off as bored or confused.

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  7. Ag, you'd love how the new movie has flashbacks to the poor wittle traumatized protagonist as a kid. Silent and early Boomer filmmakers gave us action movie flashbacks that strictly involved adults or mature teenagers (e.g. Rambo's 'nam torture). These days, hard-luck late Boomers and Gen X-er's are projecting their own (real and sometimes imagined) childhood dramas on screen. Even in popcorn action flicks. Spare us. White children don't learn much if anything about survival, stoicism, combat, etc. as kids. We do get a sense of what the world is like (Gen X-ers, per the GSS, are far more likely to have suffered abuse as kids than Boomers, not that it stops Boomers from talking about how tough THEY had it). The main effect of these horrors is to influence one's parenting and degree of adult cocooning (X-ers are withdrawing from things at much earlier date than Boomers or Silents). But what the hell does child abuse/bereavement have to do with spinning a good action yarn? Nothing. We don't see these movies for Lifetime crap.

    At least in the original, Luke's family was basically there for him until he was a young adult. So we didn't get any emo Batman origin story brooding crap.

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  8. "If you were born in the 70's or early 80's, you probably remember watching Stallone, Norris, and Van Damme kicking ass on your TV."

    Yep. That and all the T&A that used to be a staple in movies. My dad just warned me ahead of time, "There's going to be a, uh, lovey-dovey scene here in a minute..."

    It wasn't just violence and nudity that we saw, though, on account of our parents not caring who else was in the room. We saw plenty of Mary Tyler Moore, MASH, Cosmos, nature documentaries, Jeopardy, and whatever else was aimed solely at adults.

    Kids had their own kid-oriented culture that the parents were only incidental consumers of (no winking asides to grown-ups in a children's cartoon), and adults had their own adult-oriented culture.

    Family life for parents of minors seems so incestuous and claustrophobic these days. Nobody has their own space.

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  9. What made the Original Trilogy work so well was its fairy-tale quality. The characters were archetypal, the good and the bad were clearly delineated, and the story dealt with major themes, rather than with nuance. Of course, The Empire Strikes Back added a level of grittiness, complexity, and individuality to the story, but it didn't stray from the fairy-tale, so much as enriched it.

    The prequels and the former Expanded Universe largely failed because they moved away from the fairy-tale feel of the story to an encyclopedic, systematic one. But instead of dealing with truly adult themes, they focused on giving candy to the nerds. They focused on world-building, facts and measures, and a highly detailed history. Think of all of the different races and factions in Dungeons & Dragons: only nerds care, and it doesn't do them any good because it doesn't make the story any deeper, ore interesting, or more human. It's just facts and figures nerds enjoy collecting and systematizing in their own minds. Star Wars fell in that trap.

    The Disney movies just exacerbate the above. As mercenary as George Lucas ended up being, he at least kept Star Wars a rare and special event. The Disney movies just exist to systematically rub out people's nostalgia until they've extracted the last dollar. In fact, the prequels at least existed to expand the story: the Disney movies are just there to revisit familiar experiences until they're gone.

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  10. Sid- the main reason Empire is "darker" is because of commerce. They couldn't show the redemption of any character since Empire and Jedi are basically a two-part movie. Empire made the least money and had the least merchandising. Audiences felt a bit cheated after the rush and finality of the original. Granted, most people did genuinely wonder if Vader was truthful at the end of Empire, but curiosity and surprise aren't as satisfying as the end of the first movie. Critics and fans don't seem to appreciate the fact that if Jedi had bungled the arc of Vader and Luke (R.o.t. Jedi haters overlook the fact that Jedi did a great job of tidying up the conflict between Vader and Luke), Empire's reputation would've suffered.

    Empire S.B. and R.o.t. Jedi are both weakened somewhat by Lucas's/Fox's desire to prolong the series to make money. The training/character building stuff in Empire works very well, but has no real payoff because they knew a sequel was to follow. And the beginning of Jedi might as well star with a Previously On Star Wars TV style recap.

    The ultimate sequel to Star Wars would contain the majority of Empire, plus:
    - Jabba's palace mission to rescue Han
    - No Leia is my sister BS (what were they thinking?),
    - No second death star, instead the heroes would mount an assault on the Empire's terrestrial HQ
    - The Luke portion of the end of R.o.t. Jedi would be essentialy intact (though instead of watching the Rebellion's death star assault apparently fail, Luke would be distracted in the new version by the capture of Han/Luke/Lando etc. Really, the 2nd death star assault was mainly in Jedi to allow the FX crew to show off. Without the 2nd death star spectacle they could've kept the Endor stuff by making it the Empire's home that the rebels lay siege to. They set a bad precedent in Jedi. Now every Star Wars movie has to end with a giant space battle. Problem is, they're never going to top the novelty or resonance of the end of the first movie.

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  11. Feryl - It is interesting to note how ESB wasn't so well received when it was first released. I think a large part of it is that the movie never really lets up on the tension and ends on a cliffhanger. Even Yoda, who adds a lot of levity to the story, ends up being a challenging teacher because he focuses on Luke's personal flaws, whereas Obi-Wan was a kind old man who opens the door to an exciting new world. The original Star Wars is fun, exciting and ends well, whereas ESB raises the tensions without resolving them.

    I think the overarching problem with ROTJ is that Lucas was fed up with working on the series and wanted it done with. (He had a divorce around that time and he found directing to be stressful.) I agree with you that ROTJ resolves the conflict between Luke and Vader quite well, and for that it's a good movie. The problem is that none of the other characters develop. Think of how much Landon Calrissian developed in the third act of ESB, and how he doesn't develop at all in ROTJ. Ditto Han and Leia. Obi-Wan and Yoda don't add much to the story. The Emperor is an entertaining villain who adds to the conflict between Luke and Vader, though it wasn't until Revenge of the Sith in 2005 (which, while not a great movie, was still fairly good) that he really became an interesting villain in his own right.

    From what I've gathered, Lucas originally planned on rescuing Han and resolving the Vader and Luke conflict in ROTJ, and then going on with another trilogy which would've introduced the Emperor and featured the fall of the Empire. But, Lucas got tired of it and wanted to wrap it up with ROTJ. While it's good he resolved the story in one trilogy, I think the fact he brings back another Death Star and makes Leia Luke's sister (to resolve the plot thread of "there is another" and the love triangle) shows that he was rushing through, rather than thinking of fresh ways to resolve the storyline.

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  12. Plus, on top of everything else, the 70's were dying as ROT Jedi was being made. Everybody was starting to re-evaluate their priorities. Lucas already hated the cost overruns on Empire, and everybody in Hollywood was starting to clamp down on excessive auterism and perfectionism by 1981 (When production on Jedi started in earnest). Of course, this all sounds well and good but as we all know, a lot of the savings were going up the noses of big-shot producers. Gary Kurtz (a Mormon I believe, not a Jew) got canned after Empire and has given some candid interviews about Lucas's faults and goals. Irvin Kershner was a G.I. Gen. mentor of Lucas, so Lucas generally deferred to Kershner during Empire's production. I think Lucas blamed himself and Kurtz for Empire's excesses, though it's also telling that Lucas hired a yes-man for ROT Jedi (Marquand did fight Lucas at times but they ultimately got along well). Those massive books about the production of the original movies reveal that Lucas, whatever his creative faults, was professional and a good collaborator.

    Yeah, Sid, nothing was ever set in stone with the story. If Empire and Rot Jedi were compressed into a greatest hits story, we wouldn't have to worry about Han or Lando running in place like they did in the final product, or about shoe-horning in the Death Star Mach 2. This middle chapter could've ended with Vader dying with no mention of the Emperor. In the last movie, the Emperor is introduced and Luke consults with a dying Yoda, and the ghosts of Anakin and Kenobi, about how to face the Emperor. In a test of his mettle, the other heroes are killed (or hurt, or captured) and he must face the Emperor alone. H. Ford wanted Han to die early(ish) in Jedi which Lucas initially agreed with before changing his mind. This approach to the trilogy would've solved the problem of having a middle chapter with no satisfying resolution (face it, Empire just ends; nothing at all is resolved). Maybe Lucas couldn't bear having the rebels score not only a victory, but a victory over the most iconic non-religious villain in Western art in part 2. But I think it would've worked well. After all, many people who saw Star Wars didn't anticipate Empire. Maybe some would've figured that part 3 wouldn't happen either if Vader was dead or they would wonder just what the next movie had in store.

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  13. Having read the early script you're talking about, I think Lucas was wise to allow Larry Kasdan to rework it and make something dramatically more satisfying. The prequels have shown us what happens when Lucas writes his own scripts. Back in the early 80s, because of the rising crime rate, the bottom line was more important and directors, like Lucas, weren't afraid to give up control in order to make a better product.

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  14. Within reason; Lucas and David Lynch, though demographically similar (early Boomers, gentiles, into hippie mysticism, Westerners) definitely didn't see eye to eye when Lucas approached Lynch to ask him about Return of the Jedi. Lynch knew immediately that Lucas doesn't believe in auteur ididosyncracies (Lucas's wife edited Star Wars for months to get it right) or aesthetic elitism (Lucas in the 70's and 80's delegated production tasks to hard working populist talent, not so much to bohemian aesthetes).

    The FX crew on the original movies said that Lucas would take a gander at a shot, or a model, or a puppet, and if it looked acceptable he told them to move on to something else. If it didn't make the grade, he matter of factly said so. He got most upset (but still didn't resort to screaming or personal insults) when he learned about crew members laboring over a particular shot after he told them to move on.

    Ya know, as much shit as post 1992 George Lucas gets, in the disco/New Wave era I think he was a gentleman who demonstrated what is possible when a gentile populist creator effectively delegates to a talented crew. BTW, Lynch's stab at space opera, 1984's Dune, ended up being an incomprehensible fiasco. Lynch and Dune writer Frank Herbert got stuck up their butts, and besides, Lynch's autuerism and poor grasp of action scenes were not appropriate for the genre. It's alright stoner material, but audiences didn't buy it back then or now, for good reason.

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  15. OT--does anybody know of a concise write-up on gay pathologies, medical and social, and how society should deal with it? Ideally some concise arguments and needed authoritative sources, not too many, not too few, plus workable ideas on what to do, politically, morally, rhetorically.

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  16. "Within reason;"

    How much of that was his personality, and how much the influence of the zeitgeist? I read that he had a hard time making the first movie, didn't get along with the crew(who were jockish and taunted him for being small and thin), resented studio deadlines, etc. It was so unpleasant that is the reason why he hired other directors for Empire and Return of the Jedi.

    But when finally given the total authority for the prequels, the movies turned out much worse. As it turned out, all that negative feedback that he resented made the original movies much better.

    High crime rate means a more rigorous, competitive, and meritocratic social environment. The constant crises enforces competence. Its the difference between dealing with a bad customer once a month vs. every day.

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  17. Though I'm not condoning taunting someone for the way they look, the point is that there were people around Lucas in the original movies who offered better constructive criticism. Which is more common in rising-crime - if for no other reason that you're actually interacting with people more. The intensity of a high-crime environment demands you do a good job.

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  18. I watched it Saturday with one other old guy in the theater. No cool Star Wars Bestiary animals, and no cool hovercars. I think they skipped the cool critters and went with wheel transport to save on CGI. Disney knows this won't be a huge hit. Why the stupid stick fighting? Two movies now the girl has been a stick fighter. Magic swords aren't girly enough? Magic swords and magic go together great. Magic and superscience go together great. Sticks in space? No. Apparently they got a good Hong Kong kung fu actor and sticks are what he does. His leg sweeps weren't as bad as hers.
    The dialog is bad- the timing is always off, and there are no punchy phrases. 'The Force is with me, and I am whatsit' comes closest, but no. More bad failures of scale with space battles and space travel, but the movie is cartoony enough that you don't mind.
    The dramatic battle scenes involve everyone standing up when they shoot, but again the movie is a cartoon so I'm not really annoyed by that like I was with We Were Soldiers Once and Young. Wimpy Death Star- interstellar civilization invents slow tactical nukes! Wow!
    The girl is allowed to have a pretty face, and not spend the movie all strainy-faced like last time, though of course they never let her flirt. She isn't dressed as badly as the girl in the last movie either. One brief shot of the secret plans bouncing off her buttocks; I bet they just didn't bother to cut that scene. It's not like any of the guys in the movie would notice. There was more sexual tension between Jabba the Hutt and Princess Leia than in any Star Wars since. She doesn't even get a kiss before dying.
    I could not tell if she was in charge, but she does make one morale booster speech. She's spastic in emergencies, ditches comrades under fire without a care, expects everyone else to sacrifice themselves for her, and to makes a lot of outraged speeches about everyone else's moral failures. Feminists on the net are saying she's their hero.

    I like to see big budget space operas being made, and this movie is far enough from the good Star Wars that it isn't really annoying. If I wanted a completely inoffensive movie for kids? Maybe. Everyone dies, so I could tell them it was serious and stuff.

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  19. In it's eighth day of release, TF Awakens made 435 million. Meanwhile, Rogue One made 244 million.

    The 2015 movie "cost" 45 million more. Keep in mind official budgets don't include marketing, distribution, or kickbacks to big shot directors/producers/stars Recently, several blockbusters suspiciously have reported their budget to be in the 200-260 million range as though the studios would be embarrassed about knowledge that they're dumping over 250 million into some joyless POS tentpole. Disney is spinning Rogue One's comparatively mediocre performance as evidence that spinoff movies aren't expected to do as well. But I don't think they thought it would do this bad. The poster who said that there's only a couple people in his theater sounds right considering that the movie is out in over 4,000 theaters in spite of the lack of enthusiasm.

    "The dramatic battle scenes involve everyone standing up when they shoot, but again the movie is a cartoon so I'm not really annoyed by that like I was with We Were Soldiers Once and Young. Wimpy Death Star- interstellar civilization invents slow tactical nukes! Wow!"

    It's tougher to make an action scene kinetically exciting if the combatants are constantly taking cover/ducking/assuming a prone position. Tougher to film, too. That being said, Platoon and Hamburger Hill did get the tactics right. Schwarzenegger at least knew how to handle weapons and move with purpose even if the directors didn't always understand or care about proper concealment techniques. The end of Commando is over the top, but Schwarzenegger still looks like he means business. I've heard some people at Sailer's blog say that Arnold looks a bit Slavic. Maybe that's part of the reason his stolid one-man army schtick went over so big in the 80's and early 90's.

    "I could not tell if she was in charge, but she does make one morale booster speech. She's spastic in emergencies, ditches comrades under fire without a care, expects everyone else to sacrifice themselves for her"

    Whaddaya talking 'bout? Like, Arnold, Sly, and Bronson were such "bad" actors in those silly 80's movies Gen X-ers grew up with. We're better than that now. We don't need stoic tough guys or charismatic gravitas(like we got with Harrison Ford or Bruce Willis) anymore. Durr, it's not the 80's anymore. How dare you question the tastes of today's nerdy and decadent cocooners.

    It sounds too like they're exploiting white knight nerds by letting the chicks get away with bitchy, dishonorable ,and undisciplined conduct in these movies. Surprise.

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  20. "the point is that there were people around Lucas in the original movies who offered better constructive criticism. Which is more common in rising-crime - if for no other reason that you're actually interacting with people more. The intensity of a high-crime environment demands you do a good job."

    It seems like people are more impulsive and reckless in outgoing time periods, while at the same time being more approachable and humble, if that makes sense. There does seem to be less paranoia and overt mental illness (note that neuroticism and public awareness of such things was much more common in the 50's and 2000's then it was in the 70's). In outgoing periods, we mostly don't see stories about massive conspiracies or imminent invasions by hostile forces (even in the original Star Wars, the Empire doesn't really have that much control. The residents of Tatooine basically go about their business and the Empire is absent until they find out about the droids on the planet. In Empire SB, Cloud City does their own thing until Vader blackmails Lando into betraying the rebels. In Red Dawn, we're told that the Soviets have penetrated into America to a point, but they never take over the whole country and indeed the heroes remain independent of the Soviets the whole time. Contrast that with the neurotic "red scare" movies of the mid-century and the whole omnipresent/omnipotent government/alien conspiracy/invasion thing that became a sub-genre onto itself after 1992.

    In additional thing to consider is that in the peak of ougtgoingness, we tend to focus on cultivating and reciprocating friendships because we feel that we need others to have our back to help us face the world. I mean, look at the end of Rocky 2, or Platoon, or even the 1st Teenage MN Turtles movie from 1990. Bonds are tested and forged. And the Co-op videogame peaked in popularity from the mid 80's-1992.

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  21. "In it's eighth day of release, TF Awakens made 435 million. Meanwhile, Rogue One made 244 million.

    The 2015 movie "cost" 45 million more. Keep in mind official budgets don't include marketing, distribution, or kickbacks to big shot directors/producers/stars Recently, several blockbusters suspiciously have reported their budget to be in the 200-260 million range as though the studios would be embarrassed about knowledge that they're dumping over 250 million into some joyless POS tentpole. Disney is spinning Rogue One's comparatively mediocre performance as evidence that spinoff movies aren't expected to do as well. But I don't think they thought it would do this bad. The poster who said that there's only a couple people in his theater sounds right considering that the movie is out in over 4,000 theaters in spite of the lack of enthusiasm.
    "

    Disney downplayed Rogue One expectations by calling it a spinoff prequel and not hyping it as much as the "main" movies.

    I think Disney is hoping for a Marvel-movie type setup, with numerous lower-budget, lower-expectation side-movies that are still expected to make big money (i.e. the single-hero movies) while ramping up the hype for the "main" movies (i.e. the Avengers). So Disney is going to try different things in these side movies but stick to the tried-and-true in the main ones.

    I agree, however, that Disney may be worried a bit by these returns. Much like with Star Trek's horrendous reboots, there is a diminishing return for nostalgia tickets and hardcore fanoi love; you need to give people a good movie for them to love you. That Rogue One was about grrrl power and being anti-white-male and then did less business is probably something someone at Disney took notice of, given the GrrrlBusters flop. Me thinks they might retool the next few movies to show more of those evil white males actually being the heroes.

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  22. too bad carrie fisher had to die and not this franchise.

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  23. "That Rogue One was about grrrl power and being anti-white-male and then did less business is probably something someone at Disney took notice of, given the GrrrlBusters flop."

    On Return of Kings, there's a sensible theory that the original crew intended to have a GrrrlPower social justice flick, but the executives saw the Ghostbusters disaster and didn't want to risk fan outrage. As such, the reshoots were done to take out the overt girl power messaging and leave the film generic and inoffensive.

    SJWs made a lot of traction because they organized and complained. The alt right is following suit, so Ghostbusters may have been peak social justice in movies, at least for the next 10 years or so.

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  24. Alice De Goon12/28/16, 1:10 AM

    Red Letter Media just posted a clip where they compared the playful banter during the Death Star escape in the original movie to a scene in Rogue one where (sigh) the strong independent female leader kicks the butts of the soldiers who are bigger, stronger and more heavily armed than she is, while her male sidekick watches with incredulous admiration. No words are exchanged between them.

    It's not that I think dialogue would have made the latter scene better ("Wow! And here I thought you were just a GIRL!") but having your main character act like they're taking out mooks in a video game tends to defuse all of the tension. The only scene I know of where a female uses her fighting skill to impresses the males around her that actually WORKS was in SPACEBALLS and that was a PARODY. It was supposed to be ridiculous. Little did we realize that one day SJW filmmakers would encourage us to take it seriously.

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  25. "The only scene I know of where a female uses her fighting skill to impresses the males around her that actually WORKS was in SPACEBALLS and that was a PARODY."

    There's a line of thought which goes: If we have men with superpowers who can act as one-man-armies, why not have superpowered women? Why can't we have a female Rambo?

    The difference is: men enjoy stories about heroes who can vanquish whole armies single-handedly. The concept is ludicrous, but it's an enjoyable exaggeration. Men praise war heroes who have committed genuine acts of bravery. Furthermore, men enjoy such stories about superpowered heroes naturally and without effort or pretense.

    In contrast, SJWs try to implement female action heroes in their movies for the kitsch value. "Isn't it great that we're watching a movie about a butt-kicking female, and we're enjoying it too?"

    There are dozens of movies which have female fighters: Princess Leia killed countless Stormtroopers, Valeria was about as dangerous as Conan the Barbarian was, and including a woman in a team of heroes is a cliche in most cartoon series. What makes the female heroes of this decade so ridiculous is that it feels forced and unnatural, because it is. It comes from political goals rather than aesthetic demands.

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  26. The difference is: men enjoy stories about heroes who can vanquish whole armies single-handedly. The concept is ludicrous, but it's an enjoyable exaggeration. Men praise war heroes who have committed genuine acts of bravery. Furthermore, men enjoy such stories about superpowered heroes naturally and without effort or pretense.

    In contrast, SJWs try to implement female action heroes in their movies for the kitsch value. "Isn't it great that we're watching a movie about a butt-kicking female, and we're enjoying it too?"

    There are dozens of movies which have female fighters: Princess Leia killed countless Stormtroopers, Valeria was about as dangerous as Conan the Barbarian was, and including a woman in a team of heroes is a cliche in most cartoon series. What makes the female heroes of this decade so ridiculous is that it feels forced and unnatural, because it is. It comes from political goals rather than aesthetic demand


    This.

    In action movies, there are three methods to establish a hero's kickass credentials:

    1. Show him to be a normal guy who loses fights/is overmatched at times, but show him being resourceful, have a strong will, and willing to make plans/learn enough to overcome the bad guys in the end. Both Die Hard and Karate Kid fall into these categories, though they are obviously very different types of movies.

    2. Show the hero slowly build up his "kickass" credentials throughout the movie: first beating up one guy, then several guys, then a team of assassins or some over-the-top huge bad guy, etc. This builds up the "wow, how much is he capable of?" wonder in the audience. Examples: Commando, Sean Connery's character in Rising Sun, Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon, the quiet stoic sword samurai in The Last Samurai.

    3. Have the badass come in already having his world-beating abilities established or establish them early, and then have a really good explanation for it. This usually works well for the villains, to let the audience know just what level the hero has to rise to, but heroes can do it as well, especially in sequels where badassery was established in the previous movie. Examples: the robots in Terminator 2, sequels to superhero movies (e.g. Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Iron Man 2); many James Bond films.

    The problem with the #3 category is that if you're doing this for the hero, you need to give us a really good reason why this hero can be so amazing, or else the audience doesn't buy it. In the superheo sequels, that is usually accomplished by reference to whatever gave them the super powers in the original. It works for a while in James Bond films because earlier films did the establishing, but we occasionally need a refresher movie to reshow him building up the requisite badassery skills. And it can't be more than the explanation allows; when Die Another Day got roasted partly because James Bond ended up windsurfing on arctic ice blocks to save himself from a solar death ray, a bad assery ability that James's previous abilities/explanation didn't establish.

    Rogue One and The Force Awakens don't establish any reason the tough grrrl's such a billy bad ass she can do amazing, illogical things in fights, they just make her one. In the The Force Awakens this is kindof explained away because she's "strong with the force" but even that's unbelievable because it's been established that even people with force abilities aren't super-human-experts at everything at the first try. So they lost the audience's suspension of disbelief on both. If you're going to have women, who are naturally smaller, weaker, and more adverse to pain suddenly become equal or better to men in fighting, you need the first or second kind of movie listed above, where the powers are gradually established. the Third category, which both these movies were, just doesn't cut it.

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  27. "In the The Force Awakens this is kindof explained away because she's "strong with the force" but even that's unbelievable because it's been established that even people with force abilities aren't super-human-experts at everything at the first try."

    I haven't seen The Force Awakens, but everyone who did has told me that Rey instantaneously commits Force feats which the other heroes had to bust themselves to accomplish.

    What made the Original Trilogy so satisfying was that Luke had to work his butt off to accomplish anything. While The Force is a fictional concept, the fact that Luke has numerous powers by ROTJ still feels grounded and authentic, because we've seen how much he's toiled and suffered to earn those powers. In that, his superhuman feats come off like those of an Olympic athlete: what they do is impossible for the extreme majority of mankind, but they've dedicated their lives to earn them. As such, The Force for Luke feels more like an exaggeration of what we know to be true, instead of a complete fiction the way it does with Rey.

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  28. One thing that's stung TF Awakens is the notion put forth by old-school fans that Rey's portrayal is shameless pandering to Millennial viewers who would be put off by 80's action style character building. It's part of the reason Disney insisted on reshoots for Rogue One; nobody likes Rey. Nobody. Disney was worried that Rogue One's girl protagonist would be equally disliked so they tried to soften her character in reshoots.

    Cocooner males and Gen X creators who still think it's 1993 seem hell bent on giving us chicks who fail to project masculine virtues (leadership, charisma, courage, loyalty) believably while they don't project feminine virtues (maternal warmth, glamour, navigating byzantine social hierarchies and etiquette systems) either.

    BTW, Conan's Valeria (from 1982) exuded sexiness, graceful athleticism, and warmth. And she never faces off against the Boss or the mini-bosses either. That's Arnolds' job.

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