A Reaction to Midnight’s Edge Star Wars Video #MidnightsEdge #StarWars #D23 #Opinion

 

Okay, first of all, I’m usually a fan of Midnight’s Edge. They seem to have a strong finger on the pulse of not only the fans, but also the movie/tv productions as well. I will admit that they often take a rather pessimistic stance. I do enjoy their round tables especially, but in this case… I really feel the need to speak on this, given my own views on Star Wars and the trailers.

First of all, full disclosure… I love Star Wars. I will defend it day and night. So with that, I want to go back and rehash a few things I have previously…

  1. The prequels were not bad movies. They had their problems, I’ll admit, but keep in mind, they opened the door to the rest of the galaxy, which we had never seen. In the original trilogy, all we ever saw were large military vessels and far-off outposts. We saw junked ships being forced back into service and the scum and villainy of the galaxy. However, we never actually saw what they were fighting for. We never saw civilization, we never saw what the galaxy was like, and we never really understood how the Empire took control in the first place. The prequels answered that for us. On top of that, they were beautiful-looking movies.
    That doesn’t mean everything was good. Jar Jar was terrible, and yes the acting from the kids was hokey, let’s also not forget that George Lucas… isn’t the director he once was.
    I liked Episode 1, I found Episode 2 to be boring, Episode 3 however… I would put that with the original trilogy. It was dark, it was gritty, and I loved it. The movie delved a lot more into the Sith, it really worked through the mythos of the dark side, and it worked very well.
  2. The original trilogy is not perfect. This is especially true about a New Hope. The dated 70s acting takes you out of it a bit, the plot has holes, and it has some problems around what the original movie was meant to be vs. what it became. Originally, this was a rather expensive Flash Gordon rehash that was rewritten by Lucas’s wife, among others. In some places, that still shows. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an amazing movie, but let’s not pretend it’s some pillar of perfection. It’s flawed, but what’s good about it far outweighs what’s not. Thankfully a lot of this was fixed come Empire, though Return of the Jedi went back ever so slightly, but as a series, these were solid movies.
  3. Anyone who’s saying that The Last Jedi killed Star Wars for them… HAS NOT BEEN PAYING ATTENTION! As far as I’m concerned, Disney has made one bad movie so far and that’s it.  Lucas did far worse. Don’t agree? Go watch the Holiday Special and then watch the Ewok Adventures, see why you’re wrong, then come back and talk to me. Disney made one bad movie, Lucas made four and a bad TV series (again, Ewoks). Yet I don’t recall people running this fast from Star Wars back then. Solo, despite being a box office disappointment, was good for what it was. I loved Rogue One, and despite being somewhat of a rehash, I really loved The Force Awakens. It felt like Star Wars again. Not to mention the Rebels series which was awesome itself and opened up a whole new world of possibilities.
  4. Which brings me to my final point, the criticisms of the Force Awakens, Solo, and Rogue One were unfounded. The Force Awakens felt like Star Wars. It was a slight retelling, but there was enough really good in the movie that kept me coming back for more. It was just different enough for me to want more.
    Rogue One showed a new side to the rebellion. It showed it’s leadership and organization in greater detail, and it had arguably the best space battle since Return of the Jedi. I was on the edge of my seat and loved every moment of it.
    Solo’s failure was a rebellion by the fan base. Everyone who eventually saw it said that it was a good movie, despite being something that people didn’t really ask for or want. It was actually good for what it was.

Okay, with that out of the way, I understand the hatred of The Last Jedi. This whole trend of attempting to subvert expectations has proven disastrous almost every time it’s been used. I understand not catering to the fans, but intentionally attempting to go in the other direction is arguably worse.

TLJ get’s worse every time I see it. They assassinated Poe’s character, Luke has been killed off in more ways than one, and honestly… it feels like very little was accomplished. I had close to no reaction to the movie after seeing it in the theater. In fact, when my wife asked me what I thought, my answer was simply, ‘I don’t know.’

Even leaving Episode 2, I said I really liked it, and at the time, I meant it. Looking back now, it was the weakest of the prequels, but still not that bad. I really wanted to like the Last Jedi, I thought we were really going to dig into the Jedi mythos and finally get into some of the stuff that the Expanded Universe has fleshed out. What we got instead was a prolonged chase movie and too much that simply either didn’t make sense or made me not like that movie.

However, for people to say that this killed Star Wars? I’m sorry, no. The magic is not gone. The original trilogy, the Clone Wars cartoons, Rebels, et al, they’re still around. They’re fine, they’re okay, they’re safe to watch! If they weren’t ruined by the Holiday Special which is worse than The Last Jedi, they aren’t ruined now.

So what about this new footage? Did it do anything for me? Actually, yes. I’m concerned about the Action figure controversy surrounding the poster… that is a bit off, but the actual footage was amazing! The fight on the Death Star fragments? The old school ships? Emperor freaken Palpatine!? Sign me up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m cautiously optimistic, but I do have hopes for this movie. This could be make or break for the series… and given that my opinion of The Force Awakens is positive… I’m actually looking forward to see more of JJ’s work here.

Let’s stay positive people, Star Wars is not dead, it has not been damaged, let’s just see where this goes!

But let’s open this up. Readers, what do you think? Am I right on, way off? Do you agree with Midnight’s Edge? Let me know in the comments and we’ll keep the conversation going!

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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New Star Wars Trailer!

Won’t say anything! Just watch!!!!

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

A Story about Steampunk Sky Pirates? Yes please!

Saw this while browsing the wordpress pages. It’s a pretty good read!

Having read another bloggers serial fantasy story (in collaboration with someone else) it’s inspired me to have a go at writing my own fantasy story. My main objective is to have fun writing it. Some of the names I’ll be using such as Tigreralat, Larantel, or Salané are old names for me. They are […]

via The Sky-Pirates of Durn, part 1 — joanne the geek

A Look Back: Airforce Delta Strike

I used to mention this game to people back in college and honestly… No one knew what I was talking about! I couldn’t believe it.

This game is nothing short of awesome.

Oh yeah, that brings back memories. This game was pretty much the perfect mesh of everything I loved:

Awesome story
Great Graphics
Dynamic Characters
Fantasy Universe
Full 3-D Freedom of Movement
Large landscapes
Multiple story-lines
Customization Aircraft
A Perfect combination of antique, modern, and futuristic craft.

Yeah you could fly anything from old WW2 prop planes all the way up to the most modern jets and even futuristic fighters… I’ll admit that I stayed away from the prop planes simply because they always seemed too slow to keep up with anything.

The story also tended to change and take shape around whatever pilots you chose to fly as. You can pretty much choose to fly as one the entire time, or choose between a few… personally I recommend sticking with two pilots where possible. If you change it up all the time and go to different squadrons… you wind up going from story to story and not really being able to keep track. Even so, the parts of the story you do get work pretty well.

So you’d fly multiple planetary missions that were awesome enough, but the game designers decided that everything they’d given you simply wasn’t enough… no no no!

Towards the end of the game, you wind up in space, fighting Endor-size missions against enemy fleets with your fighters modified to fly in orbit.

So what’s my overall rating?

I give this CLASSIC 9/10. It would get a perfect 10/10… however the story and the background strains my suspension of disbelief to the breaking point and your Commander Air Group is a bit of a wench, but its such a great game, that doesn’t bother me much.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

A Writer in Need.

Hi Jim.

I have always wanted to share stories as I have so many in my head constantly, but all I want to do is write some and get feedback as to whether I should go for it or not. Any suggestions as to where I could post something? Please note I work so time is limited sometimes.

-Maria nunes


Hi Maria,

Great question. So this is something that has plagued writers from the very get go. Personally, I would say to just write. I’m not kidding, forget the feedback until you have your stories out on paper. Once you do, then read them over once or twice. If they look good from your perspective and you’re happy with them, that is when you can start looking at feedback.

As an INITIAL FILTER I would say ask a trusted friend or family member. I use the term initial filter because in my experience family members and friends aren’t the most reliable critics of your work as they don’t want to offend you… however if even they say it’s bad, there’s a good chance you need to start over.

Now let’s say they give it a seal of approval and give you the usual song and dance about how great it is and how you need to get it published, now it’s time to look for a real critic. The best advice I can give you there is to seek out another writer. There are plenty here on wordpress that are willing to do peer edits in exchange for the same, or you could go to sites like Goodreads and join one of their writing circles. Have someone there look over your writing and see if there is any merit to it. They’re usually pretty good about giving you their opinions straight.

Another option would be to have a professional look at it. I would discourage this because… well they’re not cheap. $.10/word may not sound expensive, but when you’re like me writing books that go into the 100k word range… yeah that’s expensive.
Another option is to have a writing student look at it. A quick google search for student editors usually will give you a HUGE number of student editors that are nearly, if not as good, as professional editors, but they tend to do the job for around $100.

So those really are your best options. All I can say is be careful of which option you choose and do your research before hiring anyone if you go that route. There are con artists and schemers everywhere. Just be careful, okay?

I’m going to open this up to the comments section now. Readers, do you have any advice for Maria, would you be interested in looking her work over? Let her know in the comments below!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

Why Does Preachy/Safe Book and Movie Writing Fail So Badly?

Okay… I’m going to try to put a stop to this, because my focus on movie writing lately has taken my blog WAY off topic, almost to the point of Hollywood Advocacy, and it needs to stop. So hopefully this will be the end of it. However, there were some things that I needed to get off of my chest about the effects of political correctness, ‘safe writing’, etc. and movies are perhaps the more glaring examples… thankfully!

Anyway, here goes. I covered this a little in my topic ‘Why do we cater to Political Correctness in our Writing?‘ but I wanted to delve into this a little more. Think about it. Look at the movies and books that are overly politically correct, that cater to Social Justice demographics, and are extremely preachy in their message. Name one that really did all that well… Can you? Maybe I don’t see enough movies or read enough, because I can’t.

Now, let’s go and take a look at movies that weren’t ‘safe’ and weren’t necessary politically correct, and trusted their audiences to make their own determination…

Well, that’s easy for me. Disney’s the Hunchback of Notre Dame tops the kid’s movies list. Think about it, it’s dark, it deals with Christianity and the Christian God… which is something we don’t usually see in visual media much any more. Think about it, the main characters came under the protection of the church, and it’s even because a priest steps in that the Hunchback even survives!
The movie goes even further, prejudice against gypsies, hypocritical blind faith, lust and the dark side of desire, murder, and even genocide  are prevalent themes of the movie. It is edgy, interesting, and an absolutely beautiful film which still remains very high on my favorite movies list.

When this movie came out, was it panned by critics? Did people flock to social justice for protection? Hell no, the movie was a critical success and became the 5th highest grossing film of 1996. The audiences absolutely loved it! Heck, some even went so far as to say that the movie didn’t go far enough with the dark themes that are in the original source material.

Another good example? Well this one is a little more obscure, but Nuremberg, starring Alec Baldwin is a little-known gem that can be watched on Youtube. Too often today, we see historical bad guys needlessly over-vilified in order to drive the point home that they’re the bad guys. (Japanese pilots firing on the Hospital in ‘Pearl Harbor,’ which didn’t actually happen, is a perfect example of this). Nuremberg was the story of the trials surrounding the top Nazi’s that survived the war, and focused greatly on Hermann Goering. I’ve seen many movies that deal with this subject, and one thing that makes this movie different from so many of the others… is that not only do they humanize Goering, but they actually make him likable. Seriously, if you didn’t have the historical context of what he and the Nazi Party of WW2 were responsible for, you might actually find yourself hoping that this character is found innocent.
To be clear, they don’t do this to try to deny the Holocaust or try to downplay how evil this people were, far from it. The movie shows them, in my opinion, as they were. When I think of Nazis, I don’t think of vicious killers covered in blood running around like barbarians… well… okay I don’t think of the top Nazi officials and High-Ranking officers that way. No, I think of them as charming, soft-spoken, deceptively polite, manipulative, and even on some level, even likable. I know that sounds awful, and it is, but think about it… how did the Nazis come to power? Did they seize control? Did they attack the Reich in a violent coup and take control of the government? No, they tried that and failed. They actually took over almost completely legally through voting and politics. You cannot accomplish this by being a rude, hard-lining barbarian. You have to suave, you have to be likable, and you have to be able to be able to bring people over to your side. That is how this movie portrays them. It let’s you see things from their perspective, it let’s you develop a relationship with these characters because it trusts its audiences to remember that, even though Goering can suck you in with his charm, he was still an evil, despicable, man who was responsible for the deaths of literally millions of innocent people.

So the question then is… why do safe movies that cater to the Social Justice crowd fail, often overly politically correct, fail so miserably? Honestly… It’s because they don’t respect their audience! They don’t trust their audience to be able to handle controversial subjects and fear the threat of backlash. It’s sad, but that’s how it goes. People go to the movies for an escape, they want to be drawn in to fantasy worlds and allowed to use their minds to a certain extent while following the story. Unfortunately, too often, that’s not what we get…

Think about it… Do you think Disney would put out a movie like ‘Bambi’ today? Would they really risk showing the scene that launched a thousand tears with Bambi’s Mom getting killed? Well… maybe, but I somehow doubt it. That was a different time. At that point, the studios trusted their audiences. They trusted children to be able to handle things like that and respected them to be able to process it instead of coddling them like ‘pweshous widdle snowfwakes,’ but what’s more, they trusted us parents to be able to raise our kids and put everything into context so that they know, ‘Okay yes, it’s terrible, it’s awful, but that’s life. Yes it’s bad, but it’s something that happens.’ instead of sending them angry letters saying ‘Don’t show our kids bad stuff, we don’t actually want to have to parent them!’
Today? If you need proof that studios like Disney don’t trust their audience to put things into context, look at ‘Song of the South.’
s-l1000
I own one of the few legal VHS copies that pop up from Europe on Ebay every now and again and I can honestly say that the movie is harmless. It’s a pleasant little story, dealing with mythos and the stories passed down by freed slaves in the south. Again, it doesn’t hold back. It speaks of race relations and shows the difference in living conditions and status of the different races during The Reconstruction Era… and Disney refuses to release it. Why? Because they view it to be racially insensitive and are concerned about backlash. The problem here? YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO RACIALLY SENSITIVE WHEN YOU’RE DOING A PERIOD PIECE!! If you’re going to do a movie about the Reconstructionist South, you’re going to be showing racism. You’re going to be showing black poverty and the different in living conditions. You’re going to show racial epithets… and you know what? Even in a kids movie, you shouldn’t be ashamed of that! Let us show the movie to our kids and put everything into context, TRUST US TO DO THIS!

As for the controversy surrounding this movie and the fear of backlash? What backlash? The movie received mixed reviews and the only complaint of racism came from Walter Francis White, the executive secretary of the NAACP:

“The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People recognizes in “Song of the South” remarkable artistic merit in the music and in the combination of living actors and the cartoon technique. It regrets, however, that in an effort neither to offend audiences in the north or south, the production helps to perpetuate a dangerously glorified picture of slavery. Making use of the beautiful Uncle Remus folklore, “Song of the South” unfortunately gives the impression of an idyllic master-slave relationship which is a distortion of the facts.”

Okay, now my own opinions of the continued relevancy of the NAACP aside, White later admitted that he’d never even seen the damn movie! So there goes the backlash. One complaint from an ill-informed individual, who wound up making himself look like a fool.

Did Gone with the Wind face the same criticism? Did it fail? No, it’s a time-honored classic? Okay then.

Moving on…

The other reason these things fail is because people don’t like being preached to. We don’t like being told what to think and how to do things. We read stories and go to the movies to have fun and get a little vacation from reality. I cite an example that happened to me a few years ago…

When District 9 came out in theaters, it was advertised as  Sci-Fi movie, that was on par with Star Wars. The trailers certainly backed this up and the marketing was great, so I went to see it… The result was a grotesque movie that was essentially a metaphorical docudrama of Apartheid. I was furious. I tried to give the movie a chance, but couldn’t. It was horribly written, unbelievable, and completely unforgivable. I marched out half way through the movie and demanded my money back. The manager came out and talked to me, trying to explain away why he can’t give me my money back. I told him that the movie was falsely advertised as a science fiction movie and there  was no mention of a political documentary and I wanted my money back. In the end, they gave it to me… mostly I think to shut me up.

This is what I’m talking about… if you wanted to make the movie as a political metaphor, fine, great, TELL US! Don’t trick us and then preach at us. People don’t like that. The movie had a good premise, but unfortunately went to a director who is known for his one-note stories that deal strictly with class warfare and apartheid. It shows you one side of everything and does not give the audience a chance to make any decision for themselves. No, you’re going to sympathize with the Aliens without any thought to ‘How did we get here, why are we at this point?’
No, we’re given a narrative story, told how to feel, and given no opportunity to decide anything for ourselves.

Sadly, things like this have been happening for a while now… so why am I so vehement about it? Well because when we don’t let the younger generation deal with Bambi’s death, when we aren’t respected enough to be able to take care of our families and think for ourselves … that’s when the thought police and the disrespectful coddling become relevant and even more so PREVALENT in our society… I don’t even want to think about what the end result will be when people who have been treated this way, or those who have been raised this way, attempt to stand on their own two feet against a cruel world when they’ve never been given the chance to even grow strong legs.

So what do you think, readers? Am I right, am I wrong, am I misguided? Let me know what you think, below…

Thanks!

(P.S. You may notice that I didn’t touch on the censorship of Mark Twain’s writing… well honestly, that’s because that is a separate issue all together, yes it touches on the points I made about people not being able to handle the terse language, but that’s dealing with more of a 1st Amendment issue and really I could write a full blog piece about that alone.)



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Disney Effect…

You know… I’m starting to understand the gripe everyone has with Disney’s… bastardization of children’s literature. Initially, whenever someone griped over the princesses or the cheesy love at first sight stories, I kind of just rolled my eyes. Come on, they were harmless children’s stories, right?

Well…

Yesterday, we put on Mickey and the Beanstalk for Gabe and… well let’s just say it’s a lot different from the version I grew up with.
In Jack and the Beanstalk, the one I remember, Jack was scammed out of his cow and his mother threw the beans out the window after smacking the crap out of him.
The beans grew where they landed and Jack climbed it to find the giant and his wife. The giant’s wife was hospitable, fed Jack and everything.
He repaid the kindness by stealing the harp (which cried out for it’s master) and then murdering the giant.
After of which, he took the giants treasures and forced the harp to play for him and his mother

Having become a fan of classical fantasy and folklore, and reading some of the stories that these movies are based off of… maybe these people have a point? Granted, I’ve never been a huge fan of the feminist argument against the classic princess, but then I look at what other plot points have been altered. In the original stories, there was always a sort of gruesomeness or dark reality to them that made us as children think… or at the very least get freaked out.

In Cinderella, her sisters cut away their heels. In Rapunzel, the Prince had his eyes slashed by thorns (I think). Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother had to be cut out of the stomach of the Wolf… the examples go on.

Kids for years have been handling these stories in their original forms. Why are we suddenly so scared of letting them hear these as they were meant to?


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim