Is the EU Truly Dead?

News of a new Star Wars Trilogy, following the events of Luke Skywalker and family post-Return of the Jedi had been long-awaited and, given the age of the actors had a shadow of doubt. Thus, when it was announced that a plan to go forward had been agreed upon, fans cheered. Their elation was somewhat short-lived in many cases with the announcement from LucasFilms that the expanded universe would become the legend series. Suddenly things that at one time had been canon, were now relegated to a mythos around the Star Wars Universe.

Though I’m sure that this will make me very unpopular, I actually agree with this decision. Yes, Star Wars fans who have kept tabs on the ever-expanding universe over the years have lost so much of what they loved… however you have to consider the fact that there is a lot of ground to cover and to do so in the span of a two hour movie, retcon the literal hundreds of books that have come out, and still make a cohesive story would be next to impossible. A person who’s new to the series, or someone who was just a fan of the films is not going to know who the Crimson Empire was, who the Yuuzhan Vong are, and they’re not going to understand a lot of what happened immediately after ROTJ. So this move actually does make a lot of sense.

That being said, some of the EU has made it’s way back into canon. These things include Black Sun, the design of Dash Rendar’s ship, Darth Bane, and perhaps most prominently Grand Admiral Thrawn. However, most of these have been in cartoon form in the shows Rebels and the Clone Wars.

So with all that being said, is the EU forever dead and buried from the big screen?

Not by a long shot. We’ve seen other Universes (stewarded by the same people in fact), get reboots and become alternate universes. Not to mention the fact the Hollywood seems to love reboots… we may see it happen in Star Wars.

Think about it, they’ve all but killed off the original cast of Star Wars, Daisy Ridley claims that she’s not going to do another Star Wars movie after Episode IX, and we already have one role (Han Solo) recast with a younger actor. Given all this evidence, the fact that Disney has already promised the world a new Star Wars movie every year for the ‘foreseeable future’, it’s not unreasonable to imagine that perhaps a Legends movie could be on the drawing board somewhere.

So to the EU fans… don’t hold your breath, but don’t give up hope either. There is still a chance out there for Mara Jade, the Solo twins, Anakin Solo, the Yuuzhan Vong, Jaged Fel, etc.

Only the future will tell.



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

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In Defense of the Last Jedi

 

Lately, the most recent movie has been facing a lot of criticism. Some earned, some not so much… I want to try to tackle this as best I can.

There was an article posted on recently that came to my attention entitled Meet the Women Who Ruined Star Wars.

This page seems to be backed by internet provocateur Milo Yianopolis, so take that as you will. I know a lot of people rightly have mixed feelings about the guy. That said, I feel like it does illustrate a lot of the problems with the people criticizing Star Wars and I wanted to delve into it. Let’s take a look…

First of all, the title…. ‘Meet the Women Who Ruined Star Wars.’

Following is an image of Admiral Holdo, Rose Tico, and the president of LucasFilm, Kathleen Kennedy. First of all, I don’t believe that Star Wars was ruined. Audiences are divided on it and whether or not this could enter ‘classic’ territory is anybody’s guess. That being said, I liked the movie and even if the movie wasn’t good… it doesn’t ruin Star Wars.

So this brings us to the first problem; Melodrama. I get it, Star Wars is one of those big institutions that changed the ways we think about movies and its something that should be respected… and honestly, I think it has been. Rogue One was great, despite not being a typical Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens was safe, but still offered enough new content to keep us coming back for more, and honestly Star Wars Rebels has me foaming at the mouth to see where it goes. That show has really been a fun ride.

The Last Jedi didn’t ruin Star Wars, very little actually could. I would argue that not even the prequels ruined Star Wars. The only thing that came close to ruining it was the Special -Remastered- Editions. For starters, when you switch out the models and puppets that actually look real with laughably fake looking CGI, it becomes a problem. This was glaringly abundant in Return of the Jedi with the 4th Wall-breaking music-video at Jabba’s Palace, and most egregiously, replacing Sebastian Shaw with Hayden Christiansen at the end of the movie. This destroyed one of the most memorable, emotional scenes IMO. However Star Wars is not ruined. The original movies are still there, you can still go back and watch them and enjoy Star Wars just like you could when you were a child. These movies do not change that. If they bother you that much, pretend they don’t exist… that’s what most Phantom fans to with Love Never Dies.

Secondly, let’s look at Rose Tico and Admiral Holdo for a moment. These women didn’t ruin Star Wars or at least, they don’t deserve the majority of the blame. Kathleen Kennedy is a different story. She’s the boss lady at LucasFilm, so she does deserve some of the scorn lobbied her way. However you’ve got plenty of writers, and a director that was given way too much freedom to take the movie in whatever direction he felt like that also share the blame here.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the article…

“Suffice to say, and it’s been over two weeks now, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was met with not the greatest audience response.”

This is true, unfortunately. The movie has divided audience pretty straight across the board.

“The reception is understandable: Nobody asked for a Star Wars movie with yo momma jokes, a crazy ghost Yoda that can call lightning from the sky by giving a thumbs up, or Porgs trying to make Chewbacca a vegetarian. Nor a scene where Luke milks Lena Dunham.”

Okay, I will admit that the light-hearted opening and rather… out of place comedy didn’t really mesh well with the film and failed to set the tone for the rest of the movie,  I agree with that point. Yoda calling down lightning as a ghost, I didn’t have a problem with. In the now-Legends series, we saw Force ghosts do all sorts of crazy things. The images of Padme’ showing up for Vader messed with him rather frequently.

Chewbacca being made into a vegetarian… come on, I didn’t get that either. I guess you could say that Chewy eating the porg right in front of another one was a pretty heavy handed scene that could be interpreted as a vegetarian scene, but I thought it was funny. The porgs kind of annoyed me anyway.

As for the Lena Dunham jab… I’m admittedly not a huge fan of her work or her as a person, given some of her comments and behavior over the years, so I’m not really going to get into that.

“It seems they were busy promoting the diversity on their team instead of guaranteeing success for the franchise.”

I’ve heard this concern a few times and honestly, these days when someone touts diversity instead of getting into details… unfortunately that really does send up Red Flags. It shouldn’t, but in this day and age, diversity is too often used as substitute for good writing. It seems these days that writers seem to believe that as long as they have a diverse cast, the story will be good by default with little to no effort. The end result is usually stale characters that come off as offensive stereotypes and one dimensional archetypes. I’ve covered this extensively in another piece, which can be read here, if you’re interested.

I do agree that I found it highly questionable how much they were talking about what percentage of their team was what race/gender, etc. Like, seriously are you trying to provide a product or service, or are you trying to appease some group ideologues? Really, no one should care. In this day and age, the genders and races of the development teams are irrelevant as long as they’re the right person for the job. The only people who care about this kind of thing are a very small and annoyingly vocal minority, most of whom likely don’t patron movies like Star Wars.

“While she ran around with “The force is female” t-shirts and staffed her story group with women, she apparently forgot to actually plan out this franchise… Rian Johnson revealed that there was no big outline on the trilogy, and that he had full creative freedom to do whatever he wished in The Last Jedi. Meaning Disney and the Star Wars story group left the fate and success of this multi-billion dollar franchise to chance and at the whim of whichever director & writer happened to be…” 

That is very true. This is one area where the article does point out the glaring problems, but also illustrates why the title of the article is incorrect. Those three women didn’t ruin Star Wars, if you consider the Last Jedi a ruining, this piece right here clearly shows that the director and the writers are the problem. Not only that, but this is where Kennedy comes into play as well.

Say what you will about Lucas, he had a story planned out with the original trilogy and follow-up prequel series. You can argue that he didn’t have a strong way to connect those two trilogies and that they were their own independent stories, but at least he had them planned out. With the prequels, it was surrounding Anakin’s growth and eventual fall to Darth Vader while the Republic essentially collapses and the Empire forms. That was the story. Here, we see a studio going rogue with their own source material and that is a major problem.

“It is unknown why he is returning to direct and write the finale of this trilogy, but fans speculate that Disney got cold feet after the shoot for the latest film was completed.”

Eh… except that Rian has been given a whole new Star Wars Trilogy to direct, so I don’t think they got cold feet with him so much.

“The characters in The Last Jedi mirror this mess. Admiral Holdo, nicknamed by critics as Admiral SJW, is the definition of leadership as explained by someone with critically low testosterone: a person who must not explain herself, is expected to be followed blindly and without question, and must not be upstaged.” 

Okay… this is one of the major problems with the complaints. I’ve heard people accuse this Vice-Admiral of being the physical embodiment of an SJW, feminazi, etc. However, none of that is accurate. I get the feeling that people saw her with purple hair and no uniform and… given the climate already established by LucasFilm and Disney in their constant touting of identity politics over telling us anything about the story, I think they were pretty much looking for a character… any character that even remotely fit the mold.

Here’s the problem… Admiral Holdo takes over command after literally everyone else who could have has either been killed or incapacitated. It’s an extremely tense situation with little chance of a positive outcome.

To the point about her not having to explain herself… she’s a vice-admiral talking to a recently-demoted loose cannon commander, who doesn’t seem to be able to keep his emotions in check. In any navy throughout the world, if any commander spoke to an admiral like that… best case brig, worse case, executed. An Admiral isn’t obligated to explain his/her decisions to their subordinates except under very specific circumstances. Whether or not she did the right thing by choosing to keep quiet about what she was planning and… whether or not her plan was a good one, can certainly be put up for debate. However her handling of Poe, from my perspective as someone who’s a major Navy buff, was fairly tepid. She could have easily just had him escorted off the bridge. She put him in his place, and that was that. She could have done a lot worse.

I honestly found her calmness to be in keeping with a good officer. Had she gone off like Poe did, there would have been a pretty serious breakdown on the cruiser. So really… I think people were looking a little too hard for the Social Justice character/narrative here and the arguments in favor of such a belief are thin at best.

Was she a good officer who made good decisions? Eh… there’s an argument to be made both pro and con, however that’s for another topic at another time.

“But not before she has to finally sacrifice herself in a move that invalidates all other movies as she breaks the universe of Star Wars by hyper-space ramming a dreadnought.”

False. Absolutely false. We don’t know that. That information was never established in any Star Wars canon. We don’t know the nature of hyperspace outside of sub-canon technical manuals and Han Solo talking about how they need to make precise calculations.

“The final character, Rose, a small asian woman isn’t much better as we spend 30 minutes with her on a casino planet sequence that is ultimately pointless and ends with them saving space-dog-horses and Rose pretending that this effort was worth it. “

This one… yeah this character annoyed the piss out of me. I covered her in greater detail in another post and even awarded her a Jar Jar Award. I really don’t know what to make of her. The actress has called her a strong female character who is outside of the norm for a strong character… yet she makes a lot of really stupid, hypocritical choices, and acts like a teenie bopper fan girl throughout part of the movie. Additionally, the unneeded and… arguably unwanted social commentary surrounding her, brought the movie to a screeching halt.

“It seems Disney went too far in a few places, and already their newly flagship franchise is stumbling. If the executives at Disney wish to course-correct and not end up like DC’s cinematic universe, it would be wise for them to start with the person who did not plan this trilogy ahead of  time, and the team who failed to do their job in securing consistency from one movie to the next.”

Yup, sadly. I honestly loved the Last Jedi, but I have a feeling that there will be a fan edit in the near future that cuts out Rose Tico and the casino scenes. Between wasting talents like Gwendoline Christie, Max Von Sydow, Andy Serkis, and Benicio Del Toro, to a lack of direction, Star Wars does have a problem.

That being said, as I’ve said before, it took me some time to piece everything together and really take an objective look at the movie… but I actually loved The Last Jedi. It had its problems, and the social commentary really annoyed me, but the story as a whole went in a direction that I don’t think anyone really saw coming and really has me wondering where it’s going to go next. It wasn’t anything like what I was expecting and honestly, that kind of a thrill ride is a rarity.

So in summation, identity politics ruins a lot. We’ve seen it with Marvel, Sony, and a lot of other companies as well as other mediums. However I personally did not see that here, other than in the background with the staff writing the story. Yes there was social commentary that was unneeded and maybe that’s where the outrage belong. The inclusion of Rose Tico was not only unnecessary, but really hurt the movie more than anything. It would have been better to send Poe with Fin. This is especially true since the best scene in The Force Awakens was the Tie Fighter escape scene. Poe and Fin working off each other was very fun and light-hearted. So opportunity missed.

The defense of Rose, saying that she is a strong character is laughable at best and her flaws are on display for all to see. That being said, this is the problem with the skeptic community and those who don’t buy into the identitarian and social justice narrative; they have their own sect of outrage police. These people were looking for something to blame on the current political trend and when they didn’t find it, they went after one of the easiest targets; Admiral Holdo. The evidence isn’t there and while she may not have been a great character, what she’s accused of being is a stretch at best.

So if you want to be mad at Star Wars for inserting politics and social commentary where it was inappropriate, that’s fine. Hate on Rose and hate on the casino scene. You want to hate on a character that made questionable decisions, fine, hate on Holdo. Just make sure you’re hating on them for the right reasons…

Oh and please do not start attacking the actors and actresses, especially not with hateful comments. They really did the best they could with what they were given. If they’re on social media, feel free to let them know why you agree or disagree with their performance. Constructive criticism is always a good thing, but attacking is not right and completely unnecessary.

Anyway, what does everything think? Am I right or way off?



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

Can Skynet Truly Be Stopped?

“It’s in your nature to destroy yourselves.”
-T-800, Terminator 2

So I recently rewatched a few of the Terminator movies and the Sarah Connor Chronicles and I have reached one inescapable conclusion…

Terminator 3 got it right… At the end of the movie, John Connor comes to the conclusion that it wasn’t humanity’s job to prevent judgement day, just simply to survive it so that they could fight later on.

This is a conclusion that I have come to as well. Skynet is essentially a digital hydra. You cut off one head, and another one grows in to replace it. First Cyberdyne Systems, then the Dept. of Defense, then the Turk, and finally the global OS Genisys.

Regardless of which one they kill, another one pops up to take its place. All they can do it seems, is postpone judgement day… which if you watch the 3rd Terminator, you can see that… perhaps simply not stopping judgement day and just getting the fight over after the fact may have been the better choice.

Now, let’s say that Sarah and Reese at the end of Genisys become vigilantes, going around destroying anything that could potentially become skynet… they still have two problems;

  1. If they succeed, they’ll have altered history and not be able to properly figure out which machine is next in line to try and take over?
  2. Human life is finite. What happens after they pass on? Eventually Judgement Day in the Terminator Universe is going to happen. It appears to be an inevitability.

So my question then is, why do they keep trying? I understand that we’re talking about billions of lives, but if you’re fighting a battle that you can’t possibly win, it might be more worthwhile to prepare humanity for it. Get people ready for the nuclear fallout and head to shelters so that once judgement day happens, they’ll not only still be alive, but ready to fight Skynet when it comes.

These are just my quick thoughts, but I thought I’d open it up for conversation. Let me know what you think.



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

Star Wars The Last Jedi What we Learned/Presentation of the Jar Jar Award **SPOILERS**

Happy New Year, one and all!!

After an absolutely incredible Holiday season, it’s back to the grindstone. Back to fighting illness that of course had to come on the last two days of my vacation instead of when I could have rested, all while rolling the dice every day as to whether or not my car will start in single digit temperatures. It’s going to be a good year!

All right, so as you all know, I went to see the Last Jedi during break and… after careful debate with myself… yeah I’ll admit that I loved it! It was nothing like what I was expecting and I find myself anxiously waiting to see where it goes from here.. because I literally have no idea what could possibly come next. After The Force Awakens, I had some idea of what might happen, here… I can’t even begin to imagine.

Anyway, we all had questions/theories/etc. over what might happen and who some people might be. I wanted to take some time to debunk and/or verify some of them. I also need to give out the Jar Jar Award. Inspired by Jar Jar Binks and awarded to the Ewoks, I now need to give it to the character in the new trilogy.

So let’s get started…

What we now know: 

Rey is not a Skywalker. I think we’ve all but confirmed this one.

Luke is a terrible Jedi Master: As you would expect from someone who received minimal training, Luke was a fairly powerless Jedi Knight and now a piss poor Jedi Master. Being tempted to kill an apprentice is something a Sith Lord would do, not a Jedi Master.

Rey is not a Solo: Again, same as Skywalker. If they try to retcon this, it will really strain credulity.

Luke was not the last Jedi: I think this was fairly obvious to most, but when Rey shows up for training, Luke has cut him off from the force and gone to die.

Overusing force powers can kill you: The new power, force projection, pushed Luke to his limit. As such it eventually wore him down and claimed his life.

The stone Luke was standing next to was… a stone: I know a lot of people thought it was a grave. Well… it wasn’t, at least not one that was significant.

Gwendoline Christie’s was still wasted. Yup, we all thought she’d get more development in this movie, but it didn’t happen.

Max Von Sydow’s character from The Force Awakens was… yeah I think it’s fair to say that any reveal surrounding his role was a pipe dream.

The New Republic has all but been destroyed: I think we all believed that they would play a bigger role in this movie, but nope! Apparently the Hosni system’s destruction was all but the death knell for them.

What we don’t know: 

WHO THE HECK IS SNOKE!? Seriously, a single line of backstory would have sufficed. Something, anything, letting us know who he was, what made him bad, how he got his scars, ANYTHING! Apparently that was too much to ask and he was simply cannon fodder for Kylo Ren.

How did Snoke turn Ben Solo to the Dark side? Again, never covered.

Who are the Knights or Ren? What’s their story? Are they the other Jedi from Luke’s academy? Where are they?

Who is Rey? I still think she could be someone significant, perhaps a Kenobi or a Palpatine… I don’t buy that Kylo was being honest with her that one time throughout all the lies she told him.

If Rey is a nobody, why did Luke’s lightsaber call to her and why did it reject Kylo when he called to it?

How did Darth Vader reveal things to Kylo?

Where/when/how did Maz get Anakin’s lightsaber?

I may have missed some, but those are the big ones that I really wanted answered. Let me know down in the comments if I missed a reveal/unanswered question.

On to the Jar Jar Award. There were three contenders here:

Holdo-Elle

I think most people know where this one is going, but let’s start out with the runner-ups.

Admiral Holdo: I know a lot of people didn’t like this character. They kind of pointed the finger and accused her of being sort of the quintessential 3rd wave feminazi sjw. Eh… I guess I can see some of those traits in her, given her reaction to Poe, but I think that’s a bit of a stretch. I saw her more as a sort of motherly character who was stern, but also kind, calm, and collected. She had her act together when literally no one else did. Not to mention that she single-handedly knocked out most of the First Order fleet! She actually kind of reminded me of Mon Mothma in many ways.
That being said… I do wonder where Admiral Ackbar was during this. The cruiser they were on throughout most of the movie was a Mon Calamari ship. He was in the previous movie… you would think that he would be Leia’s second in command. However, it’s a small gripe.
So yeah, a lot of people didn’t like her, I personally did. So she’s on the runner-up list simply because of public fan reaction.

The Porgs:
“If this turns into a movie where the first order is defeated by an army of Porgs with spears and slingshots, but somehow can figure out how to work complex machinery, I officially quit Star Wars!” -Me to my wife before the movie.

Fortunately, that didn’t happen. The porgs were fairly insignificant wildlife around the characters. They were slightly annoying, but not enough to really make me hate them… and that sad face had me saying ‘aw… Chewy is mean!!!’ So yeah, insignificant and really not worth mentioning.

So the winner is… 

Rose Tico… this character annoyed the crap out of me. Like seriously. She acted like an obsessed, absent-minded, fan girl throughout the majority of her scenes. Her motivations were confused and messed up, she fell in love about as fast as a Disney princess, and pulled what was arguably one of the stupidest moves at the end of the movie! When Fin tries to sacrifice himself to save the Resistance, she slams her own speeder into his, risking both hers and his life, and pretty much screws over the resistance remnant.

Perhaps an even bigger reason to scratch your head is the fact that she’s constantly being paraded around by film media as this strong female character.

“Prevented four Resistance deserters from stealing escape pods. Assisted in the formation of a plan that would’ve allowed the Resistance to escape the First Order pursuit”, they responded to critics.

Except that their plan failed miserably.

“Persuaded a fathier stableboy to enable her and Finn’s escape from Canto Bight. Conducted an essential survey of available supplies available to the Resistance on Crait.

Except that most people didn’t seem to like the casino planet and thought it was little more than filler and needless and arguably unwanted social commentary that really brought the flowing narrative to a screeching halt.

“Saved Finn from an inconsequential course of action that would’ve ended his life. For a character who did absolutely nothing, that’s impressive… most impressive.”

Yeah, I already covered this one.

Look just because she’s a woman who does stuff in a story doesn’t make her a strong female character! It makes her a character who does stuff. Holdo and Leia were your strong female characters! I’m sorry, she was a really weak character and the fans really didn’t like her. She contributed very little, she wasn’t likable, she wasn’t believable, and her scenes were filler.

As such, sorry to say… she get’s the Jar Jar award.

On a side note though, to those of you out there that have been making racist comments towards her actor on social media… stop it. Really, it’s not funny nor is it necessary. I know the character sucked, but a lot of that hate should go to the writers and the director. No matter how good an actor is, they can be mired by this kind of thing, we see it over and over.

So yeah, not cool guys.

Anyway, let me know what you all think in the comments.

 



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

Star Wars The Last Jedi Review **SPOILERS**

 

So I finally got to see Star Wars The Last Jedi and when the movie ended, my wife asked me what I thought. My response was a simple, but unexpected three words…

I don’t know…

I’d seen some reviews going in, and heard opinions on both sides of the spectrum. So I went in with a cautious optimism. I knew Luke was going to finally reveal all. I knew we’d finally figure out who Snoke was, I knew we’d finally decode everything as to what was to become of the Jedi. This was going to be it, we’d finally get everything come together. So let’s break it down. Again I’m going to warn you all that there are spoilers ahead. So if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you’ve been warned. I am not responsible if you keep going.

So the Resistance… or rebellion… is on the run. This is weird, they refer to it as both. They’ve abandoned their base and are now being chased by a large First Order Fleet… and that’s pretty much where they are the entire movie. The resistance is on a Raddus class Mon Calamari Star Cruiser throughout most of the movie, running from an enemy fleet.

Rey goes off to train with Luke. She hands him the lightsaber and waits for him to speak his first sage words and… he throws the lightsaber over his shoulder and walks away. Okay…

So apparently her and Ben Solo have some kind of odd force bond. They speak throughout the movie, each trying to coax the other to their side. During this time, Luke reveals how his new Jedi Order fell… and how it was actually Luke’s fault. When he sensed what Ben was becoming, he had a momentary inkling to kill him. Ben woke up and saw his master looking down at him with a lightsaber… and at that moment, Luke realized that he’d failed.

Rey fights Luke until he admits it and then she leaves to go see Ben while Luke has a conversation with Yoda’s ghost about what Rey needs to learn.

Meanwhile, Fin takes off with a new love interest from the resistance cruiser and goes to a casino world to help find a data hacker that can help them get away from the first order. They’re told to find a gambler who was also a master hacker (*gasp* LANDO!?!?!?). Nope… they find Benicio Del Toro who helps them escape, helps them get on the First Order Flagship where Benicio betrays them, get’s paid for it, and leaves… okay… expected more out of him, but whatever.

So all the while, General Organa (Leia) has been injured on the Cruiser and one of her subordinates, Admiral Holdo, played by Laura Dern takes over. (Ellie from Jurassic Park if you don’t know who that is.) She’s actually a pretty good character, one I really liked and would liked to have seen more from… however she orders everyone off the cruiser in transports and tries to draw off the first order while they make their way to an old rebel base.

Rey shows up on the flagship where she confronts Supreme Leader Snoke. He pretty much tortures her and then invites Ben to kill her. He instead turns on Snoke and murders him… so we still have no idea who he is, but he’s dead so who cares. Ben then reveals that Rey’s parents are nobodies. Yeah, so all those theories you all had about who her parents were? They’re all wrong. She’s an insignificant nobody from a backwater world. Ben offers her to join with him and help him take over the Galaxy, but of course she refuses.

The First Order begins attacking the transports, at which point the Admiral turns her cruiser towards the First Order Fleet and engages her lightspeed drive, taking out the entire fleet. The remaining band of rebels land on the planet and take up refuge in the base, while the first order lands their remaining ships and are now referring to Ben as the Supreme Leader.

A fight reminiscent of Hoth ensues, the Rebels fly these old speeders and attempt to take on the First Order Walkers… and they get slaughtered. Luke then shows up on the scene and steps in front of the walkers to challenge Ben. The two have a… surprisingly bad ass fight, at which point its revealed that Luke isn’t really there. He’s still at the temple, but weakened and appears to be injured. He slowly disappears, becoming one with the force.

Ben leaves with the First Order, Rey reveals more Jedi powers, and the few surviving members of the resistance board the Millenium Falcon and head off into space.

So… the movie ends and…

We still have no clue who Snoke was.

Rey is revealed to be nobody.

The First Order is in Shambles.

The New Republic is apparently all but quashed.

The Resistance is no better.

Luke is dead.

Rey is a fledgling Jedi with no lightsaber as it was destroyed in the fight with Ben.

So what did I think?

Honestly… I don’t know, as I said above. The movie started off seemingly not taking itself very seriously at all. Way too many jokes and funny moments to the point where it was almost a comedy. Then it picked up and got serious. The fights were great and much of the story worked. That being said… I felt like it didn’t explain a lot of what it should have and… honestly we didn’t really see a lot happen. The Resistance spent most of the movie on a large cruiser slowly running away as it was getting pummeled by turbo lasers.

The parts with the Jedi were great, though I didn’t expect all of that backstory about Luke, nor his reactions. I am glad I saw it and do think it was a great movie, but… I don’t really know how to feel about it. I didn’t hate it, but I don’t know if I loved it either. I definitely give them credit for trying something new, but outside of losing Luke and Snoke, I don’t feel like anything was really accomplished.

Do I recommend seeing it? Hell yes. It’s definitely worth it. Just be prepared to leave the theater scratching your head.



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

Why You Shouldn’t Bother with TSCC

… perhaps that picture isn’t the best non-motivator.

Oh well.

If you’re a Terminator super fan like I am, chances are you’re not thrilled with where the series has gone.

Terminator 1 to me was a Jason-style slasher flick. Borderline horror movie. It was good as movies go, definitely ahead of its time. However one that could have wound up on the ‘forgettable’ list.

Terminator 2: In the 80s, James Cameron was a visionary… how far he’s fallen since then… However, this is a story for another post. Terminator 2 did for this series what Aliens did for the Alien series… set the bar WAY too high. It completely changed the medium of the series from an unstoppable back guy who kills anyone who gets in his way, to an emotional, heart-felt, action/adventure movie. You found yourself suddenly rooting for the guy you were fearing in the last movie… even though you knew he likely wouldn’t survive. The special effects were way ahead of their time and the story blew me away. I will argue that Sarah herself was a little TOO crazy in this movie… and hard to like, but I’ll give it a pass.

Terminator 3: … I think most people try to pretend this movie doesn’t exist. Outside of a fan service bad guy… this movie did nothing except give the studio excuses to make more movies and completely invalid everything that happened in T2. Suddenly Miles died for nothing and the second terminator was wrong. UGH! The Golden Age of Terminator was clearly over. I still watch this movie because… well as action movies go, it was passable!

Terminator Salvation: A movie that covers the resistance movement??? RIGHT ON!!! We’ve been waiting for this!! I’m not really a huge fan of Christian Bale or Sam Worthington, but they did a serviceable job in this movie. This clears up quite a bit about how Connor and Reese meet and how Connor becomes leader of the resistance. I will say that Connor is a little more deified than I would have liked, but I suppose that was unavoidable. All in all, it was a good movie, minus the absence of Arnold.

Terminator Salvation Animated: … I own it, but haven’t watched it all the way through. It’s okay… but I can’t really speak to the story. Moving on…

Terminator Genisys: When I heard about the premise for this movie… yeah I wasn’t enthusiastic. How could anyone do better than Linda Hamilton? I admit I didn’t hear/see anything more until I showed up at the movie. Then I saw her… “Wait… that’s Daenerys Targaryen… YOU CAST DAENERYS TARGARYEN AS SARAH CONNOR!?!?!?”
Keep in mind, this was back when she was still being stripped naked and bent over by her Dothraki king. Then I see her actually go to work in the movie and… I was pleasantly surprised. Daenerys (yes I know her name is Emilia Clarke, but lets face it, you all know her as Daenerys), actually pulls off a good Sarah Connor. I wasn’t a fan of their stand in for Kyle Reese, and Arnold… I’ll admit I liked how they explained the Terminator’s age. I honestly thought it was a good movie. I know I’m in the minority when it comes to Genisys, and what happens to John isn’t really well fleshed out, but I actually enjoyed that movie. Bring on the torches and pitchforks!

So where does the Terminator Sarah Connor Chronicles fit in? Honestly… it doesn’t. I’m not going to pretend that the timeline makes ANY sense whatsoever!!! BECAUSE IT DOESN’T!!! People have written books trying to explain this away. Near as I can figure out… TSCC happens as a result of John Connor’s survival of Terminator 3, at which point he sends Cameron back to invalidate that stupid movie. (Thank God)
And then the John Connor from TSCC somehow sends another Terminator back to just wipe the entire drawing board clear and start ‘fresh.’
Confused? You should be, but this is the best I’ve got. Let some other quantum theorist figure the rest out. I subscribe to the divergent timelines theory and that doesn’t hold up here.

Anyway, The Sarah Connor Chronicles stars Lena Headey as Sarah Connor and… OH MY GOD, YES!!!! I’m sorry, unpopular opinion, Cersei blows Linda Hamilton and Daenerys out of the water. I know, I know, most people love Linda Hamilton’s performance and she’s the iconic version… but honestly, I don’t see her portrayal being sustainable in a TV series. She was just too belligerent and insane to make an effective character for long. Lena’s Sarah Connor has that emotional instability, but tempers it with far more motherly instinct.
Thomas Dekker as John definitely reminds me more of T2 John than T3. I’m happy with his performance.
Cameron… what can I say about her? She’s portrayed by Summer Glau… and her previous smash role in Firefly should have been foreshadowing as to what would happen… She portrays a TOK715 from the 900 series of Terminator. Near as I can figure out, she’s a recon Terminator… perhaps even an infiltration unit as she is far better at passing for a human than the T800 series. Though her programming seems more advanced, she definitely seems less advanced than the T1000 series.

The series focuses in several different themes. Sarah is haunted not only by the future and what could happen to John, but also the prospect that she may not be around much longer due to cancer.
John’s story is more of a coming of age tale where he has to deal with the prospect of being humanity’s savior, and also being a normal kid.
Cameron… is the Commander Data of this story. She’s seemingly emotionless, though I’m not convinced of this, but she strives to better understand humans while at the same time protecting John and Sarah. She’s also quite possibly self-aware.

The third and final theme, and perhaps the most interesting one, is the connection between Cameron and John. A potential romance between a human and a terminator is something that was never explored before. I know it turned off a lot of people, but I actually kind of liked that idea.

So with everything positive I said about the show… why on Earth am I saying not to bother with it? Because its just not fleshed out. Unfortunately, the show only got two seasons, was plagued by poor reviews, and was ultimately cancelled. I watched the show religiously and enjoyed every minute of it.

Cancellation means that they didn’t answer WAY too many questions and the Season 2 finale was a cliffhanger that really hurt. All of the plot lines from seasons 1 and 2 were left wide open and literally nothing is accomplished.

Because of this, the series is little more than a fragment of what would have been an amazing series. If you really want to experience it, I’d recommend the first season ALONE! The second season essentially opens way to many plot threads that, thanks to its cancellation, go nowhere.



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

Wonder Woman: A Fitting Tribute

So I just saw Wonder Woman…

All right, let me start of by saying that I did not have high hopes for this movie…

1491990205555-1

Hear me out!

The initial reviews of this movie that I saw came from Salon and The Mary Sue…

You know… these yellow journalists:

Back off, men—they’re scientists: New “Ghostbusters” trailer gets slimed by sexist trolls
The Ghostbusters Trailer Backlash Shows Men Believe in the Power of Representation (But Only When It Applies to Them)

Yeah… anything that they give a good review to usually has to be taken with a grain of salt, especially after the a for mentioned Ghostbusters reboot. Critics really can’t be taken all that seriously anymore.

Given all the controversy surrounding it, I was expecting this movie to be completely overrun with identity politics and social justice hypocrisy.

Then why did you go see it?

Well… because it’s Wonder Woman, she’s friggin’ boss! That’s why.

So what did I think of it? OH MY GOD, IT WAS AWESOME!!! The fighting was extremely well done, the history was very spot on, and the scenery was absolutely incredible.

The movie starts off in the mythical land of Themyscira, where Diana… is lives with the other Amazonian women in secret. She is trained to fight from a young age and  becomes the best warrior in all of the land. Her mother seriously wants to keep a secret from her, which we don’t find out about. Apparently the amazons were created to help herald peace and love, but as usual, humanity messes it up.

A pilot in a WW1 plane… rather randomly happens upon the island, crashing into the nearby water. He’s chased by… I believe a German destroyer and several boats. The amazons fight off the troops…

(Jury is still out on what happened to the destroyer… it kind of just vanished… It was listing pretty badly but… I dunno)

… and take the pilot prisoner. He eventually reveals that Germany is creating a new weapon to win the war before the armistice is signed. Diana sets sail with him, against her mother’s wishes, to aid in the fight. She absolutely believes that if she kills Aries, the war will end.

That’s about as much as I’m going to tell you about the plot… So let’s look at the gritty details:

Setting: This movie takes place in WW1 Europe, this is not a modern story, though the entire movie is a flashback thanks to a picture that Batman has delivered to Diana Prince. Very happy about this! Everything appears very accurate surrounding the war. The uniforms aren’t perfect and in some aspects look closer to WW2, but everything is in the right place. So no issue.

However… There are critics who rightly say that the movie should have taken place during WW2 as this is where the original story takes place. However I consider this a re-telling and if they want to start off in WW1, I’ll let that slide.

Casting: I love Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. I know a lot of people didn’t like the idea of her having an accent, but if you think about it… Wonder Woman is amazonian, not American (at least not at first). Thus making her a little more exotic isn’t uncalled for.

Steve Trevor was also well-cast and the character is portrayed very well. It was nice to see that the people who wrote the movie really did their homework with many of the characters.

Story: What can I say, it’s awesome and there are definitely some twists and turns that are unexpected.

History:

Like I said, it’s portrayed pretty well. I a couple of articles  that talk about the accuracy of the women’s armor. The costumes for WW1 weren’t perfect, as I said, but they were close enough.

One other piece that I would like to mention… Dr. Maru’s face:

1491990205555-1.jpg

I’ve heard some people complain about this and frankly, I don’t understand why. It may look cheap and kind of dumb… but again, it’s historically accurate. People who had severely disfiguring facial injuries did actually have coverings made for them:

So again, bravo to the movie. They got that one right.

The Villain: Aries, the God of War is the primary villain here. Wonder Woman believes that if she kills him, it’ll end the war, all war. However in a very well-written twist, Aries reveals that he isn’t starting the wars. He is simply putting the tools into humanities hands, helping them create new weapons. He may put the gun in their hands, but in the end, they’re the one pulling the trigger. This draws up the ethical question of just how responsible is Aries for all of the war and suffering?

So anything wrong with the movie that you want to point out?

Yes… as I said, I was worried about the insertion of identity politics into the movie, and I will grant you that there is some of that. The line ‘I wanted to be an actor, but I’m the wrong color’ feels kind of forced. The second line came from ‘the chief’ when he said that Steve Trevor’s people took everything from him. This one was a little bit more underplayed, but I think a little bit more explaining might have been in order.

That being said, it was two lines. I can live with that.

But Jim, what about the line where Diana says that men are good for procreation, but not so much for pleasure?

Meh. There’s an old saying that goes ‘no one loves you as much as your left hand.’ Put that into context, and Diana’s statement could go either way. So I chalk that up as a non-issue.

My only other issue is with the movie’s portrayal of the armistice. It’s really played up as a positive thing and the best chance that everyone has for peace… this is horribly inaccurate.

The armistice led to the Treaty of Versailles, which when placed into the context of the Franco-Prussian War and WW2, was little more than payback for the embarrassment that France suffered at the hands of Germany during the Franco Prussian War, and would be a prelude to WW2. The armistice, nigh the very end of WW1, was little more than a prelude to the reckoning that was soon to come.

Final Thoughts…

The movie was fantastic and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone who has not yet seen it.

In addition to that, Wonder Woman has, by virtue of existence, shown just how cancerous the far right and left political ideologues really are.

On the right, people complained about Gal Gadot’s casting, why?

  1. Because she was Israeli, not American-born.
  2. Because she was of Jewish descent.

Pretty bad right? However, the left didn’t treat her any better. In addition to body-shaming Wonder Woman out of the UN, the left objected to Gal Gadot’s casting because…

  1. She was too thin…
  2. She was cleanly shaven.

In addition, they complained about her outfit… despite being more conservative than other incarnations.

Finally, some theaters set up women-only viewings of the movie and people on the left mocked those who took issue with it… despite the fact that it was a violation of Constitution Civil Rights, something the Social Justice Left claims to fight for.

So without even really doing anything, Wonder Woman patriotically showed us how cancerous the right wing extremists, the religious fundamentalists, the regressive left, and the Social Justice Warriors actually are.

That alone makes her a hero in my book.

So in summation… forget the idiocy, forget the politics, go see the movie and have a good time. Wonder Woman is a hero for the ages and is someone both men and women of all walks of life and enjoy… and it was a major thrill to introduce my son to her!



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