Star Wars

Heresy of the Week – Of course there are black Stormtroopers, morons


john boyega stormtrooper

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

“With the release of the new Star Wars trailer, a depressing number of internet-dwellers have crawled out of their caves to complain about one particular point. They mask their criticism in the clothes of fandom, but only to disguise the bigotry at hits heart. No, there is absolutely no problem with Star Wars having black Stormtroopers.”

Read on…

About THAT teaser trailer…


star wars vii millennium falcon

So like almost everyone else, I forgot until early yesterday afternoon all about the release of the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, before watching it in a state of breathless, childlike anticipation.

It’s remarkable that even the most cynical-hearted husk of a person was reduced to nostalgic joy at the actual trailer. Not bad for 88 seconds.

If you’re the one person who hasn’t managed to see the trailer yet, then here you are you lucky folks:

Read on…

Heresy of the Week – Star Wars will go downhill from here


a long time ago in a galaxy far far away
Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

Whilst it has remained formless, existing in idea alone, the new Star Wars films have served as receptacles for fanbase hopes and dreams. Now, with the announcement of the cast, it is crystallising into an actual film. Expect disappointment to rise as a result.

Read on…

Heresy of the Week: Star Wars’ universe needs a spring clean


star wars expanded universe luke

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

In its apparently ongoing quest to sacrifice all of geek-culture’s sacred cows, Disney has announced to predictable outrage that it intends to ditch the ‘expanded universe’ which has grown up around the six films. But, once again, Disney is exactly right to do so, and if the fandom could calm itself down for five minutes, it might agree.

Read on…

Heresy of the Week – You are not going to be in Star Wars


anakin skywalker shadow

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

The open casting for Star Wars VII is a publicity stunt, and to make matters worse it is one which we’ve all fallen for. The principle roles will not be cast as a result of this circus, but rather will go to unknown-but-trained professional actors.

Read on…

Heresy of the Week: The Star Wars prequels were actually good


star wars prequels

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

The Star Wars prequels are not well-loved by any stretch of the imagination, and have become the by-word for the ruination of a once-loved franchise. But once one gets past the righteous indignation, there are actually good points to these three reviled films. They are not that far away from being good, wholesome additions to the saga, and even in their actual form are not nearly as bad as some would have us believe.

Read on…

Heresy of the Week: Disney saved Star Wars


disney darth vader

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

Far from ruining a cherished geek property, Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars (and Lucasarts) represents a bold new chapter which could reinvigorate the franchise, and restore it to its pre-1999 glory.

Read on…

The Soundtrack of Life


sunshine

My music tastes are not what could be described as “current”. I don’t tend to focus in on the trends of contemporary music, but my tastes are fairly wide-ranging and eclectic. As an example, the last two concerts I went to were German industrial metal band Rammstein, and ageing Californian funk rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

But what I do have a soft spot for is TV and film soundtracks. I watch a lot of both, and the scores are something which I tend to notice, how they underscore the themes and moods of the scene, how they fit the story to bring out the emotion. As largely lyric-less music, they make particularly good music to write to — selected to fit whatever I’m trying to write at the time.

So since I’m musing on the subject, I thought I’d share with you my top five soundtracks for general listening.

Read on…

The Geek shall Inherit the Earth


I did it!

Six Star Wars films, 12.8hrs of film (according to iTunes), watched in one day. Okay, so I finished about half an hour after midnight, but that’s just because I overslept yesterday morning. The point is that I watched them all in one go, the only breaks being the necessary ones for food, toilet, and showering.

So what was my overwhelming impression of the whole thing? Just how much better the original three were. I know it’s become almost a cliché in itself to attack the prequels, but it really is true. I watched the prequels first, and as soon as I switched from Revenge of the Sith to A New Hope, the difference was immediately noticeable. The story was better, the acting wasn’t wooden and artificial. That’s not to say everything in the prequels was bad, but they certainly didn’t measure up. And that’s probably George Lucas’ fault.

The idea of the prequels could have been good. It could have rounded off the story, and completed it. As things stand, they just feel like a money-grabbing add-on. A bit of graffiti, maybe. I don’t know. In particular, The Phantom Menace is one of the worst films ever made. And it isn’t because of the actors. Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Ian McDiarmid (who was particularly good in an episode of Morse, if anyone’s interested), Samuel L Jackson, Natalie Portman (though I’ll mention her later). All distinguished thespians. No, it’s the story, and the dialogue that let it down, which rests in Lucas’ remit.

Though having complimented the cast, there are some considerations that need to be made. Firstly, Haden Christensen. He really, truly was awful. And maybe it’s the fault of the writing he had to deal with, I don’t know. But he managed to make Darth Vader, one of the scariest film villains in science-fiction film history, into a whinging spoilt brat. He did nothing but complain, and moan about his feelings, and how everyone is unfair. It may be an accurate portrayal of a teenager, but my God it makes for awful viewing. And for the record, Natalie Portman is not a good actress. Everything she said was so wooden it was almost a relief when she died.

But they are still one of the best fantasy/sci-fi series in film. The story is one which grabs readers, the characters are (mostly) are engaging, and the lightsaber is probably the best sci-fi weapon ever conceived of. The older films might look more old-fashioned, but they are good, honest, solid filmmaking. Overall, the films kept me interested and entertained for 12.8hrs, which is an achievement not to be sniffed at. Well done, Mr Lucas, you money-grabbing tit.

So now, as King of the Geeks, I am awaiting my crown of lightsabers. Bow before me, minions!

(Oh, and if you’re interested, I posted my running thoughts on the saga, including a lot more minor criticisms, on my twitter feed, which you can find here. You know. In case you’re interested.)

May the Fourth be with you


Happy Star Wars day!

Yes, it’s a bad joke, but a good enough excuse for me to do something daft. My project today, is to watch all six Star Wars films consecutively. Why yes, I am a complete geek. I’m going to start with the prequels, partly for the chronological value, and partly because I want it to end on a high note. As I write this I’m about midway through Episode I, and to be honest, all of the gripes about it are coming out. Tomorrow is going to be spent hunting down the idiot who told George Lucas that Jar Jar was a good idea for a character.

As to why I’m doing this, I’m a bit unsure myself. Yes, I like Star Wars, but not on the obsessive level which would usually provoke such an event. I think it might have a similar reason to why I did the Lord of the Rings marathon a few months ago. Bragging rights. Afterwards, I’ll be able to say I’ve done it, with all of the geeky benefits thereof.

Basically, I’m mental. But hey, it gives me something to do while I revise, and distracts me from politics for a bit. And I should have it finished before midnight, if iTunes is telling me the truth. I’ll post up a second, reflective, blog post once I’m done.

Until then, May the Fourth be with you!