Friday, April 17, 2015

Late Article

I submitted my Jedi News article at literally the last minute, and with Celebration Anaheim well underway I doubt my editor even got it. So it might show up here a bit late. Fear not!

In other news, I saw the new Episode VII trailer. At first I thought it was a poorly-done fake until I actually saw new footage of the actual people. Honestly, it didn't feel like Star Wars to me - it felt a little too Expanded Universe which gets me quaking in my boots as to the direction. Every piece makes it harder and harder for me to remain neutral and judge the film on its own merits. But I am determined, and I am trying my absolute damnedest.

And I'll admit, the Han and Chewie reuniting at the end would have gotten me extremely excited if it didn't just look like Harrison Ford on a parody set.

No, no, bad Adam, think positive. No judging until you see the final film. Trailers always lie.

I'm going to go insane, aren't I?


  1. You're honestly the first person I've seen that didn't have an immediately positive reaction to the trailer. Which is certainly not what I would've expected.

    1. Like I said, I thought it was absolutely fake until halfway through. And after that, though some things were kind of cool, it did nothing to convince me that it was true to Lucas' vision. It just seemed like EU/IV-VI fanservice.

      That being said, I've only seen it once. I know I'll have to watch it multiple times before I can glean anything but gut reaction from it. And when the film itself comes out, I won't type a single word of review until I've seen it at least three times.

    2. I mean, for me Star Wars has reached the point where it's become a sort of cultural mythology, so I'm looking forward to what new is gonna be brought to the table--even Lucas has said he wants to let this become its new generation and not be beholden to himself.

      Not to mention the fact our leads currently appear to be a woman and two men of color, which is pretty danged awesome (and I'm excited about what Kennedy's said about increasing the role of women in the franchise, as that's an exciting step forward). Coupled with all the charity work the film's been involved with, this is looking to be something that's trying to do real material good in the world, which I'm very excited for.

    3. Well, to be fair Leia and Padmé set the standard of strong female characters in Star Wars. I'd be more surprised if they didn't continue that tradition.

      I think that's the biggest thing for me. I'm caught up in the whole stigma. Everyone seems to be hailing this film for doing what Star Wars has been doing all along. If I'm going to have any hope of giving it a fair shake, I need to divorce myself from the atmosphere and come into it blind. As you can see, that's easier said than done.

    4. Well, the trouble is that Leia and Padme are the only two major female characters in the whole of the six films. Outside of them you only have a handful of smaller roles, most of whom either die or aren't even named within the films (it takes the franchise until Phantom Menace to even pass the Bechdel test, for instance).

      Padme is I think at least a step in the right direction, but both her and Leia constantly find the interiority to their narratives subsumed by the male leads (Leia is the most galling of the two, given how she's literally retconned into being a counterpart to the male lead to avoid giving her any choice in the narrative). My hope is that with the new films we get, if not a female main character outright, a female lead who exists entirely of her own agency and purpose. That plus heightened diversity in the casting really make this exciting for me.

    5. I agree that more is better. It's just with the exception of Leia in Jedi, I never really had issue with what was there.

    6. The problem with Kennedy is she is going along with the anti-PT BS, despite having been there during their filming and knows how much of the PT hate is BS. Such as the too much CGI nonsense. It is not great that JJ also has given some anti PT vibes.

      The trailer seems to showcase alot of OT rehash and repeats in TFA. Such as the recreation of the MF flying though DS2 and Han and Chewie recreating the old 70s ad photo. Bring the Empire back is plain lazy and an appeal to the old bitter OOT fans. It is like JJ is screaming look how old school I am, please love me! The whole thing just has an hateboy appeal to it. In both trailers John is just shown standing around scared and breathing hard like a panic attack.

      The Bechdel test is just silly nonsense and a male shaming tactic. A story should not be restricted by rules.

      April 23, 2015 at 2:10 PM

    7. The Bechdel Test isn't a rule, but it can be a good guideline if you're trying to make something a little more egalitarian. It's not required to be a good piece or a pro-feminist piece. But if your work doesn't pass, it's a good idea to ask yourself why before continuing.

    8. "male shaming", uh-huh. Lord knows when you're the dominant gender in society you need to be protected from all that shaming.

      Okay, that was flippant, but in all seriousness the Bechdel test is extremely useful as a baseline barometer for assessing how male-dominated a story is, and more importantly highlighting how pathetic it is that so few films pass such an enormously easy test. Especially for a franchise like Star Wars, where it's frat-out inexcusable that the original three films had a total of like 5 named female characters (two of which weren't named onscreen and two of which were killed off). We live in a patriarchal society, and it's part of the duty of storytellers to try and combat that injustice as much as possible. Call that being 'restricted by rules', but if you view trying to be progressive as being restrictive, you start to sound like someone who would approve of the 2015 Hugo slate (there's my topical reference of the day).

    9. Funny how the rational, moderate answer gets ignored.

      Yes, it's terrible that more films don't pass. No, not passing doesn't automatically make it bad or particularly sexist, and you can have strong female and/or pro-feminist characters without passing.

      Having a story about a heroic man fighting all odds to save a damsel in distress isn't sexist. What's sexist is that stories about a heroic woman fighting against all odds to save a dude in distress are so rare that I've never seen it outside of parody. Having a male-centric story isn't sexist in and of itself; what's sexist is that female-centric stories that don't reduce them to stereotypes are fewer and farther between.

      I will say that no matter what the sex, having a one-dimensional main character who has no personality or importance other than sexual reward for a day saved is pretty sexist, and the fact that such characters are disproportionately women frankly sucks. While there has been more of a push to make such characters somewhat interesting, few people go far enough and they come off as dull.

      Luckily, neither Leia or Padmé fit that bill. They're both interesting and important on their own merits, with their own goals and desires apart from the men they love. True, Leia mellowed out a bit too much in Jedi, but that was more due to Carrie Fisher's recreational habits (and she did kill Jabba herself for putting her in that rediculous outfit). True, Padmé's screentime got cut in Sith, but that's because the movie had a lot to fit in as it is (though I'd still love to see a special edition restore the Proto-Rebel storyline).

      And lest we forget, Lucas wanted Ahsoka in the Clone Wars to try and combat the lack of female leads, and that series also gave many female Jedi (and otherwise) days in the limelight.

      So as I said before, I agree wholeheartedly with you in that more in definitely better provided their done right. But I don't think what we've gotten so far is bad.

      And to the anonymous poster: nobody should be "shamed", but don't you think we naturally should feel ashamed for letting this crap go on for so long? There is a problem in our society, and while I don't always agree with how people fight it I think it's clear that a fight is necessary.