21 December 2015

An Emotional Journey?

I check the latest movie news on my phone with such impulsiveness that it's like watching a crackhead frantically rifle through his dead mate's pockets, however the news that George Lucas had sold the Star Wars franchise to Disney and that they were essentially going to make these movies from now and until I die came as a shock. Not only had I presumed that the saga was over, but Lucas had managed to make this entire deal with the kind of flawless secrecy that you wish he'd reserved for his ideas regarding a prequel trilogy. I was with my friend at the time the announcement was made and it was him who was able to give me the news. “They're making more Star Wars films, the cast of the original trilogy is involved, Lucas will have nothing to do with it”. My brain imploded. I couldn't cope. How does somebody react to having news like that just sprung upon them? Well- I did what any respectable, twenty-something year old geek would do. I marched over to my Darth Vader voice-changer helmet, popped it onto my head, sat on my bed and had a little fucking cry. 

Welcome to the problems of your 20's.
My friend responded to this situation of seeing me have a full blown mental breakdown in the only appropriate way that he could. The little bastard aimed his phone and started taking pictures of me whilst I looked like a weepy Darth Knobhead. The point is that, like millions of other people, waiting for and going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been an emotional experience. Sadly though, if Hitler, Bin Laden, and Piers Morgan are proof of anything, it's that occasionally humanity will shit out a little clagnut of evil. Catching this latest film is being seen as a multi-generational and cultural event, meaning that there will be a minority of brain-dead, pre-evolved, fucktards that will intentionally attempt to ruin the experience for other people. If anybody does maliciously reveal a spoiler to you, then by all means feel free to simply knife the slimy fucker through the eye. I can't speak on behalf of 'the law', but I for one wouldn't judge you for it. The ideal way to see this film is clearly by going into the cinema completely cold and so if you've not seen it yet then I'm telling you to stop reading now and come back when you have. I'm obviously going to be talking about some of the shit that goes down and I WILL BE BRINGING UP SOME SPOILERS. I feel that because I'm a good person, you deserve to be warned off. For now, this isn't the blog you're looking for. Move along. Move along.

So, fully prepared to spend the next two hours spunking tears of joy out of my eyes and generally making a bit of a scene, I wandered into the cinema to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...”, John Williams blasts out of the speakers, and then in big yellow letters, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Episode VII”. The moment you leave childhood is the moment that you realise how shite life actually is. Happiness isn't a state of 'being', with it instead being like an abusive husband's heartfelt words of love which are uttered a mere second after slamming his wife's face into the door. The popularity and magic of Star Wars is that, for kids, it's a gateway into a mythical world of action, adventure, and excitement. For adults, it's like a time-travel machine that transports them back into their younger, more care-free days. People didn't hate the prequels because some old guy had made a few shite movies but because we all have a difficult, miserable existence and we're dying for another dose of relief. The first line of dialogue in The Force Awakens comes from Max Von Sydow, who rasps “This will begin to make things right”. A bold claim for a film that exists to distract us from the noose and help un-do the damage that was done by the prequels. It's a bold claim that, like Luke's cock after a day out with his sister, has been well and truly pulled off.

For the original trilogy Harrison Ford famously stated to Lucas that “you can type this shit but you sure can't say it”. When it came to the prequels however, I'm not even sure he could type it. It was like he'd had an infinite amount of monkeys but only one type-writer and an hour in which they had to mash the keys and hope for the best. In this new film however, not only can somebody type for the first time in thirty years but they've literally created a script that has everything you could possibly want from the movie. The Force Awakens is basically one giant slab of fan-fiction that's been declared an official part of the canon and is therefore the exact opposite of everything we hated about the prequels. The opening text crawl and overall plot is as simple as it should be without even a single mention of trade federations or the burden of paying taxes. It's as though the filmmakers have realised that the public aren't too interested in hearing a billionaire moan about his financial situation. Instead we have the journey of several new characters as they fall into a story that echoes the beats of A New Hope whilst still managing to be fresh, original, and surprising. It's like sleeping with somebody new but whilst throwing in a few of old the tried and tested moves for good measure... the experience is exciting and yet familiar. This is opposed to the prequels which were like sleeping with somebody new and then having them do a shit on your face.

Though when I say that The Force Awakens is like a work of fan-fiction, I don't mean that in a bad way. It doesn't simply give you what you want, but actually gives you what would be logical. Are Han and Leia continuing the fight together whilst Luke maintains his new Jedi academy? Nope. Han and Leia had a kid that went all We Need To Talk About Kevin after Luke turned out to be as good a Jedi teacher as Obi-Wan was before him. So that's both Vader and new villain Kylo Ren that have gone over to the darkside now. Do you want to know the best way to defeat the Sith? It's not from fighting them when they're evil but simply by not fucking up their training when they're good. Either way, both Luke and Han do the noble thing when realising that they've ballsed up by dropping the situation entirely and titting off into the sunset. So that's kind of where we're up to now I guess, but with the film actually focusing more on the newer characters than the old. In a way, this is sort of the films smartest move and biggest let down. Smart in the sense that the new characters are all great, provide accessibility to new fans, and it does makes sense to focus the franchise on a cast that aren't likely to die of natural causes any time soon. Harrison Ford is obviously a legend and yet despite being old enough that he could reasonably snuff it in his sleep, the fucker seemingly spends his time playing kamikaze over golf courses.

The problem with focusing on the new cast is simply that I thought the original three heroes would be in this film more than they actually were. I didn't sit on my bed, crying under my Darth Vader mask because I couldn't believe I was going to see John Boyega dressed as a Stromtrooper. It was because I thought we were going to get another adventure from Luke, Leia, and Han. For months we've all been wondering about the reason why Luke has been neglected from posters and trailers with the filmmakers promising that there was a logical reason. Has he gone over to the dark-side? Is he a force-ghost? Nope. He's just basically not in the fucking film. For some reason, all involved decided to tart about with hints like a dirty little prick-tease and as a result I was left with the Mark Hamill equivalent of blue-ball. Does this work for the story? Absolutely! Did it ruin the film for me? Nope. It's just that expectations are clearly going to be high on a film like this and as much as it's nice to discover the film by watching it, a little warning might have been useful. I'd rather have known up front and been able to simply absorb the film completely rather than wondering when what I assumed was the main character would turn up. If it's a party then just call it a party, don't call it a wedding and have me sat around with the cheesy nibbles wondering where the fuck the bride is.

Life's gone wrong when this happens.
However to call that the films problem is probably a bit too much. To be more fair, I should call it my problem and it's really only an issue for the first viewing. Plus Han is in the thing a fair bit and he's basically the coolest character in the franchise anyway. I fucking loved the film for what it was and so the second time I see it I can only assume I'll love it even more. To be honest with you, I kind of need to see it again anyway because something happens about twenty minutes from the end that was so emotionally horrifying that my brain collapsed in on itself in attempt to cope with what it was seeing. Don't forget that I told you to fuck off if you didn't want to know spoilers by the way! I won't say exactly what it is because if you've seen the film you'll know, but that climactic tragic moment will be an cinematic experience that I'll never forget. Did it make my cry? No. I was too shocked to cry. I simply went a bit numb as though I'd just walked home to find my dog had fucked the neighbours baby and I was going to be held responsible. Well, I say I didn't cry.. I didn't cry at the time. But later on that day when what I'd seen eventually started to sink in, I had another little weepy. To be fair to director JJ Abrams, this is the first time that I've walked out of the cinema with Post Traumatic fucking Stress.

To be slightly more objective, I guess the real problems with the film are the fact that although so closely mirroring the plot of A New Hope works great in the short term, you can't help but wonder if it'll simply seem like a slickly made cover movie in a few years time. The new Starkiller base doesn't seem as imposing as the original Death Star. Captain Phasma is more under-used than Boba Fett, and somehow even shitter at her job. She lets a trooper that she's suspicious of fuck everything up, gets captured by having Chewie pounce on her like a rapist, and then she spills her information almost instantly. There's quite a lot of coincidences throughout the movie which can be explained away as 'the will of the force', but they're coincidences none the less. Oh and again, despite the hype, the big bad Supreme Leader Snoke looks a bit like if Voldemort fucked Gollum and their baby grew up into a heroin addict. Perhaps he'll get cooler as the franchise goes on but as of now he's lacking the panto-campness of the Zombie-Pope, Emperor Palpatine. These are all minor quibbles, however with the film being so enjoyable that it really does make good on its opening promise of making things right. Adam Driver alone does everything in The Force Awakens that Anakin failed to do in three shitty fucking movies before him, and that's despite Lucas casting an actual fucking schizophrenic in Episode One.

Oh and speaking of mental problems, I know I've mentioned my slightly pathetic emotional reactions to this film but I promise that I'm basically a normal person. I'm not a fat, lonely nerd, I don't shit my pants instead of leaving a session of World Of Warcraft, and I very rarely masturbate to pictures of Gillian Anderson. My point in telling all this is to simply emphasise how much Star Wars means to me and therefore how good The Force Awakens must have been to live up to the hype. After Mission: Impossible 3 and Star Trek, it's also become clear that JJ Abrams is the man to go to when you need a franchise rejuvenating. All Jesus had to do was bring some prick called Lazarus back to life, but try resurrecting a franchise in which the last installment was so bad that even one of its main characters simply lost the will to live. We're one film into this newly exciting franchise and I already can't wait to find out the backstories of everybody on screen. Why did Fin become a Stormtrooper? Where does Rey come from? Was she abandoned on an isolated planet because she's really the love child of the incestuous Luke and Leia? Is that the real reason that Han took off? Surely that'd explain why it looks like Leia has spent the last thirty years doing a fuck tonne of drugs? Thanks for reading motherfuckers, and see you next time. 


You can visit the blog picture artist at _Moriendus_

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