Sunday, January 3, 2016

Only a Sith deals in absolutes

We love you Ren!

There is absolutely not a shred of dramatic development in The Force Awakens, and to be honest, I actually prefer Lucas's first three episodes (I, II, III) with all of their annoying aspects to this boring bag of hashtags. At least even the boring aspects of the first three episodes were embedded in a story that had substantial things and meaning going on and thus were fluid. But this new thing is pure junk: the insider fanbase event of a totally undeveloped, lukewarm porridge of references; the more stocked up it becomes with fan pleasures the more piddling it gets. Even the key revelations and plot points feel like nothing more than baseless references, and play out as such. This is the first major blockbuster to be entirely built out of a hashtag. Or perhaps the first was Jurassic World. George Lucas is absolutely right when he criticizes this movie for its attempt to be retro.

The Force Awakens #TheForceAwakens commits the same sin of Peter Jackson's continuity schemes in the Hobbit movies, which instead of completing, continuing, developing or adding to what previously occurred (in the LOTR films) rather acted as forms of violence to what previously occurred. For instance, Darth Vader's half melted helmet that Ren keeps as a sort of heirloom centerpiece for his meditating on the dark side of the force. Leaving aside the fact that Luke Skywalker would have seen to it that the helmet along with any other metal articles was destroyed, since that would logically go along with the whole purpose of cremating his father's remains - what stands out from this is the fact that - you know - Darth Vader was redeemed, you idiots. In the villains' parlance, you might say he was a traitor to the dark side of the force. Word would have been spread through the republic how Vader threw Emperor Palpatine over the rails. Which one could say is pretty significant in terms of being a traitor to the dark side. Even if one would argue - argue very poorly I should add - that Ren wasn't made aware of this, which would be impossible, or that still knowing this he claimed the remains to help channel, if only to serve as a soothing trinket, the dark side from when Vader was strong with the dark side of the force, it still doesn't work. Why? Well, because, in a word, the movie is using the visage of Darth Vader as a symbolic emblem for the continuation of the dark side into the present story, when Vader was a distinctive player in the discontinuation of the dark side. It's not only baseless. It's stupid. It feels like some dad whose kids are big Star Wars fans but who himself never watched the films but was acquainted with certain facts about the films - such as Luke Skywalker is a Jedi knight and Darth Vader is the big bad villain and so forth - was called upon to write the script.

Of course, that "dad" is Disney. LOL. Some would call this "fan fiction". Well, I just call it profiteering by huge corporations who gear the projected "event" of the movie into the making of the art (in which case it is very poor art) in order to make money. This is why I say it is entirely built out of a hashtag. Even the title of the movie doesn't make much sense. The force awakens? Huh? But I thought the force is everywhere and in everything. You mean the dark side of force awakens? Or the light side of the force awakens? Both? But it was never really asleep, clearly. The title is baseless, in that it derives entirely from the "event" of the Star Wars movie being released. The new Star Wars Movie Awakens. That's basically what the title means.

This is Star Wars Disnified. It's actually kind of hitting the nail on the head for George Lucas to have made the “I sold them to the white slavers that takes these things, and…” remark, what with Disney's very obvious thumb marks of political correctness all over this film, which is a form of ideological colonization. You might say Disney is the new ideological colonizer, and the release of this movie is a sort of ideological colonization? Is it only me who felt that the "breaking the box office records" was totally fake? By that I don't mean the box office records weren't for real, but that that was the entire point of the making of the film and, moreover, that people kind of knew it? If one could consider the artist-filmmakers of yore, like Lucas, as the "shrinking middle class" of the film world (LOL), the corporations are enslaving us through films that are utterly politically correct, and which are pre-written as film events, before they are actually written, for us to fill in and break that box office record. It gives me the creeps.

I agree with the late Sir Alec Guinness's remark about the Force being "fairytale rubbish", but even then, in the first six episodes there was still this notion of "graduation". It was an entire story arch completed before Luke could even get that light saber out of the snow/ice on Hroth in The Empire Strikes Back, and only then after really having to apply himself. His first significant foray into harnessing the force was a mere deflection of a little laser blast from a hovering mini droid with the eye shield down.

This notion of graduation was only reinforced by the moral danger of getting ahead of oneself and how it can, and will, lead to the dark side; such as we saw with Anakin Skywalker. Here in #TheForceAwakens we have the young girl self-discovering that she has Jedi abilities, on the spot as it were, and in a matter of minutes is doing the same inimitable feats that the wizened Obi-Wan Kenobi does in episode IV, where he tells the storm troopers you don't need to see our identification and we can move along and so forth. She does this after a couple of tries. Not to mention earlier deflecting Ren's psychic interrogations. Uhm, okeedokee then. Watching these scenes I was like, "What is this, freaking Harry Potter or something? Because it's certainly not Star Wars". Absolutely ridiculous.

And the humour: some of it was funny, but not in the spirit of Star Wars. The humour is more in the spirit of Spaceballs.

Something else I did not like was the light sabers. Ren's is more like a "fire saber"?

Some may say, "Paul, you hate CGI; then surely you would love #TheForceAwakens?" Well, I would love to love it, but I didn't. It only goes to show that the essence of any art does not lie in its object end, but in its subject.

People talk way too much about art as an object to be attained, rather than as a subject to be occupied.


Julian Barkin said...

"It feels like some dad whose kids are big Star Wars fans but who himself never watched the films but was acquainted with certain facts about the films - such as Luke Skywalker is a Jedi knight and Darth Vader is the big bad villain and so forth - was called upon to write the script."

Kind of reminds me of the Radicals who Misrepresent Traditonalism with regards to the Latin Mass, where a certain portion of the Movement (it's bad parts, but a good portion is on the Light side of the Force,) was not born before before 1962 to experience the Latin Mass or pre-Vatican II Catholicism, but yet wants the Church to return to such an era and they take up the liturgy and practices.

Paul Stilwell said...

Evangelii Gaudium:

93. Spiritual worldliness, which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church, consists in seeking not the Lord’s glory but human glory and personal well-being. It is what the Lord reprimanded the Pharisees for: “How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (Jn 5:44). It is a subtle way of seeking one’s “own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Phil 2:21). It takes on many forms, depending on the kinds of persons and groups into which it seeps. Since it is based on carefully cultivated appearances, it is not always linked to outward sin; from without, everything appears as it should be. But if it were to seep into the Church, “it would be infinitely more disastrous than any other worldliness which is simply moral”.

94. This worldliness can be fuelled in two deeply interrelated ways. One is the attraction of gnosticism, a purely subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience or a set of ideas and bits of information which are meant to console and enlighten, but which ultimately keep one imprisoned in his or her own thoughts and feelings. The other is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others. These are manifestations of an anthropocentric immanentism. It is impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge from these adulterated forms of Christianity.

95. This insidious worldliness is evident in a number of attitudes which appear opposed, yet all have the same pretence of “taking over the space of the Church”. In some people we see an ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy, for doctrine and for the Church’s prestige, but without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact on God’s faithful people and the concrete needs of the present time. In this way, the life of the Church turns into a museum piece or something which is the property of a select few. ...