xtitsx: (poodle)
( 8 Jan 2017 12:36 pm)
Star Wars – The Force Awakens:
Star Wars – The Force Awakens is the seventh installation in the Star Wars saga.
if you're not familiar with the other six installments, i don't know what to do for you.
Star Wars is the story of a small group of resistance fighters who have taken up arms against an oppressive totalitarian government. in space.
you would think that i would be all about Star Wars, i love stories about resistance to authority and i love them even more when they're set in space, but mostly Star Wars is a story about The Force, a weird space cult that gives you magic powers, as long as you have enough magical particles floating in your body.
if Star Wars was just about rebels trying to take over the government i'm be all for it but every time they get metaphysical or supernatural i lose interest.

Star Wars – The Force Awakens came out about this time last year.
you would think, because Star Wars is such a big deal, culturally, that i would have gotten around to watching it a lot sooner but i just didn't.
back in August or early September some dude at Law School loaned me his copy of The Force Awakens on BluRay.
[i think it's something that people buy movies.]
i didn't ask the kid to loan me his copy, he just did it because i mentioned that i hadn't seen the movie yet and he was trying to be nice.
i wasn't able to watch The Force Awakens, however, because it turns out neither my PlayStation 3 nor either of my laptop computers can play BluRays.
i gave the kid his disk back a few days later and told him “yeah, great movie! thanks!”
it wasn't until several months later that i got around to actually stealing the movie from the internet myself.

Star Wars – The Force Awakens takes place after Episode VI, Return of the Jedi, in which the Rebels are able to take back the Galaxy from the evil Empire, who had taken over the Galaxy in Episodes I, II, and III.
only we find out that the happy ending in Episode VI wasn't quite as happy as we thought, that the Empire hadn't been destroyed after all, just reduced in size and allowed to exist in some small corner of the galaxy.
and, like Germany of whom the evil Empire is analogous, the Empire is allowed to lick its wounds, stockpile weapons and come back decades later to trouble peace all over again.
fucking Germans!
what remains of the Empire calls itself the First Order and they have an uneasy truce with the New Republic who, it seems, have abandoned the people in the First Order's territory to live under space Nazis.
but, there is a Resistance to the Space Nazis and they are lead by General Princess Leia.

Star Wars – The Force Awakens starts off with a little robot who is not R2D2 who has some secret information about how to find Luke Skywalker.
not-R2D2 is the astromech droid/friend/pet of a Resistance pilot who was sent by General Princess Leia to some desert planet that looks like Tattooine, but isn't.
there, not-R2D2 becomes separated from his friend and comes into contact with Girl Luke Skywalker who is the protagonist of the story.
the Space Nazi First Order send troops down to capture not-R2D2 and his new Girl Luke Skywalker friend, but they are assisted by a Storm Trooper who decides he doesn't like being a Storm Trooper anymore and would rather spend the rest of the movie running for his life.
the Former Storm Trooper and Girl Luke Skywalker and not-R2D2 stumble into the Millennium Falcon, somehow, which was just parked on the Not-Tattooine planet collecting dust, even though it's supposed to be the baddest ship in the fucking Galaxy.
Girl Luke Skywalker somehow knows how to fly the Millennium Falcon even though she has never left Not-Tattooine in her life, and they all fly off the planet with the Space Nazis shooting at them as they get away.

after not too long the Millennium Falcon gets captured by another ship that just so happens to be Han Solo and Chewbaca.
what are the fucking odds of that?
Girl Luke Skywalker, the Former Storm Trooper and not-R2D2 explain what's going on to Old Ass Han Solo and Chewbaca who still looks good for his age and they agree to take the kids to General Princess Leia and the Resistance, but first, they have to detour at the Not-Mos-Eisley-Cantina to meet not-Yoda so that Girl Luke Skywalker can magically acquire Force powers somehow.
after that silly shit happens, the gang all goes to meet the Resistance and they come up with a plan to go destroy a super weapon that the Space Nazi First Order has which is Not-The-Death-Star.
the Not-The-Death-Star can blow up planets just like the Death Star could, but it's bigger and badder, somehow.
only, the fucking idiot First Order designed their Not-The-Death-Star with the same really, really big flaw that the original Death Star had, that there is one spot where if you shoot it, everything blows up.
so, the Resistance decides to just recycle the plot from Episode IV A New Hope to send a bunch of Tie Fighters to hit the destruction spot.
but first Han Solo and Chewbaca and Girl Luke Skywalker and the Former Storm Trooper have to infiltrate Not-The-Death-Star, which i think might be more the plot of Episode VI Return Of The Jedi but i can't really remember, to turn off the thing's shields.
on board Not-The-Death-Star, Han Solo goes to confront the big bad of the series Not-Darth-Vader, who is his son.
Not-Darth-Vader kills Han Solo because Star Wars is all about fathers and sons trying to kill each other, then Girl Luke Skywalker and the Former Storm Trooper have a lightsaber fight with Not-Darth-Vader.
Girl Luke Skywalker beats Not-Darth-Vader even though she has absolutely no formal light-saber or Force training, but she is unable to kill him because the Not-The-Death-Star is about to explode from all the Rebels shooting at its week spot.
in the end, the Not-The-Death-Star is destroyed and Girl Luke Skywalker and everybody else goes back to the Rebel base where the real R2D2 turns himself on and gives everybody a map that tells them all where real Luke Skywalker is hiding.
the movie ends with Not Luke Skywalker going to meet Real Luke Skywalker, who is hanging out on the top of a mountain being useless while all this other shit is going on, the end.

the thing about Star Wars – The Force Awakens is that it is pretty much just a pastiche of all the things people have enjoyed about the Star Wars franchise in the past.
this might be a criticism, though, look at the prequels.
the prequels, for all of their problems, were pretty much new stories for what that's worth and they turned out shite.
perhaps it was better this time around to indulge in two and a half hours of fan service.
and, sure enough, from what i understand Star Wars – The Force Awakens is the highest-rated Star Wars movie since Empire Strikes Back, and i think i would have to agree with that assessment.
for being derivative but for at least managing not to fuck things up, for taking everything everybody likes about Star Wars and just giving it to us again instead of rolling the dice and crapping out on Jar Jar Fucking Binks, for knowing when you've got a good thing and just milking it for a little while longer, Star Wars – The Force Awakens earns a 6.6/10.

10 Cloverfield Lane:
i wasn't going to watch 10 Cloverfield Lane, mostly because the name bothered me.
is this a sequel to the movie Cloverfield? is this something else.
i also didn't like the movie Cloverfield because i don't know what the title had to do with a found-footage monster movie.
a pox on the whole franchise.
but, in a surprising bit of input on our movie-watching scheduled, the PSE demanded i put this one on our queue.
the PSE almost never votes in what movies we watch but, if she wants to see 10 Cloverfield Lane the, fine, okay, we'll do that, then.

it turns out, the PSE got put on to 10 Cloverfield Lane when we were on our Great Adventure.
we found ourselves hanging out across the street from a movie theater in Taipei, Taiwan for a while and they just kept showing the trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane, in English, over and over again on a loop.
and i guess that piqued the PSE's interests and she wanted to find out what happens.
also, she saw that John Goodman was in the movie, and who the hell doesn't like John Goodman!?!

10 Cloverfield Lane is a movie about a girl who gets hit by a car and wakes up in an underground bunker with John Goodman.
which sounds like a lot of girl's sexual fantasies, but this one doesn't seem to particularly like it.
John Goodman explains, between heavy breathing, that there has been some kind of attack on the outside world, nuclear, chemical, biological, and that she was going to have to stay down in the bunker with him for the next few years.
in the bunker with them is some other dude who confirms, yeah, something is going on outside.
the girl is not apt to take either of their words for it so she clocks John Goodman in the head with something and makes a run for the outside world but when she gets to the bunker's airlock she finds a neighbor who is trying to get in, asphyxiating on the air and dying a horrible death.
the girl then decides that living with John Goodman isn't so bad after all.

the gang gets along for a while but soon the girl and the other dude discover that John Goodman might be a child abductor/murderer and decided again to make a run for the outside world.
to do this, the girl decides to use her powers of sewing to put together a biohazard suit out of a shower curtain.
John Goodman discovers their plan and murders the dude, but the girl is able to attack John Goodman and get away.
she gets free into the outside world and realizes she doesn't need her improvised biohazard suit at all.
but, there are horrible monsters out stomping around trying to murder her.
the girl spend the last fifteen minutes of the movie fighting off horrible monsters then drives off down the road in a car she picked up.
on the radio she hears that Earth is indeed under attack from monsters, but that Humans are taking the fight to them.
she goes off to join the fight. the end.

we have all heard the urban legend of the guy who keeps his family hostage in a a bunker by telling them World War III has broken out.
it was an episode of The Twilight Zone, i think, and a movie from the 1990s staring Brendan Fraser.
but that doesn't mean it isn't a good story and, of course, John Goodman makes everything better.
John Goodman plays his part with charm and menace and good humor and really sells you on the foibles of the character he is playing.
i've never met a pathologically controlling survivalist who may or may not be a child murderer before, but if i did, i imagine he would be a lot like John Goodman played him.
what 10 Cloverfield Lane could have done without was the last ten or fifteen minutes of the girl fighting monsters.
it would have been enough for her to just see the monsters and mutter something like “oh, fuck” or to have John Goodman come staggering out of the bunker, shotguns blazing to give him a chance to be a hero, but, i guess they wanted to make this more of a movie about empowerment, or whatever.
either that, or the production staff figured Americans love explosions.
the whole last ten minutes was just gratuitous and not at all in tune with the rest of the movie's tone.
10 Cloverfield Lane was a movie about psychological tension, not monsters and explosions, which made the whole ending bit incongruous.
still, it was a good movie nonetheless.

for being a good movie about a good story about psychological tension and monsters, and for being a movie about John Goodman which is always at least +1 or 2 points, 10 Cloverfield Lane earns a 7.2/10.

//[onward ho!]
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September 2017

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