Thursday, 19 March 2020

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

You know it really did highlight to me how much I miss George Lucas and his visions when watching the final installment in this new Star Wars trilogy. Now don't get me wrong, it's not like all of Lucas' ideas were perfect and his prequel trilogy was good, far from it. There is no way I can honestly turn around now and say to you the prequel trilogy was good now I think about it, or these new movies justify the existence of the prequels, oh no. Lets be clear, the prequels were bad on many many levels and Lucas fecked them up, but at least Lucas had a vision, a path, a story to follow. 

We now all know that the new trilogy had no story to follow, there was no path, no vision, it was literally made on the fly. The first movie 'The Force Awakens' was merely a poor remake of the classic original which didn't even look as good! The second movie 'The Last Jedi' was impressive visually, at least, but director Rian Johnson was allowed to go off on his own tangent and wrecked the whole storyline. If his movie and ideas had been in a spin-off then maybe it wouldn't have been so bad. And now finally we have this final movie which had to fix Johnson's mess and get everything back on track and tie it all up with a nice bow on top. As we now know this was an impossible task which basically would have required another flippin' trilogy to fix.

I'm not going to essentially write a review here, I'm just going to list in order everything I found nonsensical about this hodge-podge.

The movie kicks off with a bang that's for sure, with a rapid succession of quickfire sequences that basically confuse and disorientate you. We are skipping from one location to another with action sequences fuelled by 'light-speed skipping', something that has apparently just been conjured up? What I didn't get was how the TIE fighters could also use the same light-speed passage as the Falcon. Is that new also? This is also interspersed with small sequences of Kylo Ren massacring various aliens in his quest for a Sith wayfinder (Marvel influenced mcguffin).

It's at this early stage that I noticed how 'clean' Chewie looked, like the actor's costume just looked way too glossy and clean for a Wookie. It didn't look real, it looked like a cosplay. Also, who or what is that huge slug-like alien in the Falcon? Where did that come from?

The Rebels/Resistance continues to be made up of mainly minorities and women now, apparently. Although it's not as obvious as previous movies. I'm just gonna assume the majority of white male fighters were killed off in the original trilogy.

Kylo gets his helmet fixed (forged back together), and it looks stupid. Get a new cool helmet mate.

The gang head to another planet in search of a Scooby clue to lead them to the location of the Sith wayfinder, it's yet another desert planet. Here, out of nowhere, Lando pops up to save them and then literally disappears for half the movie.

Desert planet must equal speeder-bike chase sequence and voila! Not too bad of an action sequence but there's no tension whatsoever because you know none of the main heroes are gonna get hurt so...Also, they fly now??!!

Eventually they stumble across this Sith dagger with text on which 3PO is not allowed to translate because more Scooby clue searching is required to pad out the plot. How can they get around this? They have to wipe 3PO's memory again, ugh! We also get the first glimpse of how much of a Mary Sue Rey now is seeing her heal an alien with the power of touch...just like Jesus!

Whilst trying to escape the planet on an abandoned ship Rey wanders off for no reason causing issues. Turns out its to confront Kylo in a TIE (translation - have a cool looking Matrix-style action sequence). This whole confrontation turns out to be pointless, but it does result in Chewie, somehow, getting captured also. Kylo is on a mission to assassinate Rey by this point, under strict orders of Palpatine. He has plenty of opportunity to do this or at least confront Rey (after she takes down his TIE), but for some reason just allows her to leave when she was only around 20 metres away.

Another planet and another pointless strong female character in a nifty looking helmet. Always female.

After Rey senses where Chewie is (on Kylo's Star Destroyer) they go off to rescue him. Using another mcguffin they infiltrate the Destroyer...literally guns blazing. Somehow the entire Destroyer isn't alerted to their gung-ho entry. Somehow they manage to wander around virtually unimpeded. And somehow they manage to find Chewie almost straight away. These sequences were like watching a first-person shooter on easy level, the stormtroopers were that useless.

Then it's off to yet another planet where the remanents of the second Death Star are found. Somehow large sections of the Death Star rubble have remained intact! Despite being blown to pieces at the end of RotJ. Amazingly even Palpatine's old throne room is recognisable! This is where the Sith dagger comes into play...'Goonies' style. Oh did I mention yet another strong female character on this planet? Well there you go, another one. Can't have enough strong female characters ya know, just in case we forget ourselves men.

Rey fights Kylo, beats him (of course), mortally wounds him, but then heals him? I dunno. Leia helped with her force powers, dies in the process. Why? I duuno.

Kylo has seemingly flip-flopped on sides during this saga and apparently having a conversation with a memory of his dad Han Solo gets him to finally go to the light side. Why? I duuno.

Rey goes off to battle Palpatine one on one. Palpatine looks like something outta the Hellraiser franchise now. He also has an entire legion of Star Destroyers, literally hundreds. Who built them? Who's manning them? Why are all stormtroopers and Star Destroyer gunners now in red armour? (to sell more toys). Who were all those hundreds of hooded people in the arena type area watching Palpatine converse with Rey??

Movie tries to get your emotional juices flowing as the Rebels gear up for this one last final huge battle. It doesn't work because they rush the build-up. We get one shot of them piling into their ships, a quick take-off, then all of a sudden they're at their destination and getting stuck in. There was none of the slow dramatic build-up we got in RotJ. Also why do all the pilots looks squashed in their rebel starfighter cockpits? And why does the Nien Nunb mask still not look as good as in RotJ?

This whole finale is yet again a simple rip-off from Lucas' previous work (RotJ). The only difference is its just not as good, its pants. As usual the Rebels start off well but then start to succumb to the might of the Empire. Various faceless pilots get blown to smithereens whilst trying to take out this navigation tower that helps Star Destroyers take-off (navigational tower, shield generator, meh). But of course when reinforcements turn up with Lando the tide turns. This whole sequence just can't muster the same goosebumps you got with the original classic trilogy I'm sorry.

Riding on alien horses into battle on the surface of a Star Destroyer? Feck off movie. Literally what the feck??

Apparently taking out a Star Destroyers' main planet-destroying gun causes the entire ship to blow up? We also see our first black male Imperial Star Destroyer officer here (?!).

How do the Knights of Ren know their leader has turned to the good side when they meet up? They just see him and go after him. Also, why to the Knights of Ren look like Ringwraiths?

Palpatine reveals that Rey is his granddaughter, really?? At what point did Palpatine have a relationship? Surely this might have cropped up at some point during the last six friggin' movies???

Palpatine explains his plan to allow Rey to kill him in order for his soul to enter her body giving her all his power, or so he can control her body or something. He seems pretty confident in this plan. But when Kylo turns up and helps Rey he decides to drain them both and rejuvenate himself. Well...why didn't he just decide to do that in the first place? Seems like a better plan and it works out pretty well at first. Unfortunately for Palpatine Rey is a Mary Sue so she beats him.

I'm still amazed the Rebels actually won this battle considering the literal hundreds of Star Destroyers packed with tonnes of TIE's. Surely they were outnumbered tenfold? Most of the Rebel ships were cruisers, frigates, and smaller crafts manned by regular people/aliens. How could they defeat all those Imperial fighters and Destroyers?? Pretty sure there were loads of Destroyers left at the end too.

Denis Lawson cameo as Wedge? Well played movie, plus point earned. 

Then at the very end we are given a few pathetic shots of other locations as the Empire falls. Bespin...because they'd not been able to crowbar that into the trilogy. The forest moon of Endor with a couple of Ewoks? Why?? Jakku I think, again why? Its a barren desert world. Oh and Chewie is given a medal...because 'A New Hope'.

Rey goes back to Luke's home on Tatooine to bury his and Leia's lightsabers, for some reason. Some old crone asks her who she is, Rey replies 'Rey...Skywalker'. Bollocks! You aren't a Skywalker! You're a bloody Palpatine! Feck off movie. 

So yeah, tis a load of crap basically. A hot mess of padding and guff stuffed into an overly long movie desperately trying to fix the last fiasco whilst keep the fanbase happy. Disney should have thought harder about their direction, hiring choices, and political angles before diving in. How could a company feck up Star Wars? How??!! Plus points? Visually this looks good as you might expect, that's it. But yeah, the whole trilogy has been an unmitigated disaster. I hate the new characters so much I wanted the Empire to win. 


Sunday, 15 March 2020

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

Now this has to be some kind of record right. Hollywood has actually tried to kickstart three trilogies with this franchise and every one has failed at the first hurdle. Three huge blockbuster attempts, three flops. 'Terminator Salvation' was probably the most original and better of the attempts, tank. 'Terminator Gen-I-sys' or however you pronounce it, ├╝ber tank. And now finally 'Terminator: Dark Fate', a woke tank. Seriously that's an impressive record of shit right there Hollywood.

So you see my use of the word woke just now, well it's kinda justified. No I'm not trying to just on any bandwagons here but come on, look at the evidence here. What we essentially have is James Cameron's T2 remade and genderswapped. The plot is exactly the flippin' same for Pete's sake! The main difference here is they have killed off John Connor only to replace him with a young female minority version. As said, the rest is the same as before with a new Terminator coming back from the future to try and eliminate its target. Wash, rinse, and repeat, again.

Oh Jesus where to begin?! 

So they killed off John straight away, right off the bat they render everything that has come before pointless, obsolete. The funny thing is Hollywood pulled the same shit with other franchises like Star Wars, Predator, Alien etc...You know, making ridiculous decisions with the story in newer sequels that render everything before it null and void. They never learn.

The new Terminator isn't all! Now I understand the notion of having a regular looking guy as a Terminator because a Terminator is supposed to be an infiltration unit for assassination purposes, cool. And personally I loved the original casting idea of Lance Henriksen as the Terminator in the original 1984 movie because of his unique appearance (using Schwarzenegger always seemed like the cheesy option to me). But this guy (Gabriel Luna) has no presence or visual appeal at all. The man literally looks like a generic clothes catalog model. Sure you could say that is perfect for a Terminator but at the same time you need something of interest for the audience, the actor needs to have an interesting face. It's a hard line to walk granted but this choice was poor.

Speaking of casting choices, the entire cast was wrong in my opinion. Natalia Reyes as Dani (the new John Connor) was not only terrible acting-wise but completely unbelievable as the new future of the human race mainly down to her height and size. She couldn't even hold an assault weapon believably for Christ's sake. Then we had the character of Grace (Grace?) played by MacKenzie Davis sporting some tomboy haircut (anyone notice she had the same haircut as a child in a flashback sequence?). Clearly this character was part of the neo trendy transgender obsession as she was obviously supposed to be androgynous. Grace was the Kyle Reese character genderswapped but better because she was augmented with technology that enabled her to do fancy pointless flips and such (eye-roll much?).

And then we have Arnie and Linda. I facepalmed so hard at the thought of Schwarzenegger returning yet again as a Terminator. I mean come on people!! This guy is too old! It's just embarrassing now. The fact they still used that stupid idea of aging flesh from the previous flop was laughable. The fact they used the whole notion of Arnie's Terminator learning human emotions to the point that it becomes a good character, marries and is self-employed selling curtains were both fecking absurd and laughable. How the hell does it marry and not have the female discover its a fecking robot?? As for Linda Hamilton, this was clearly to try and get the older fanbase back on-board as Arnie wasn't working anymore. They pulled a pathetic Disney/Star Wars move. Both are too old and both looked ridiculous.

The Terminator had a stupid design. This time the hook is it can separate into two Terminators. One is the metal skeleton whilst the other is the liquid metal skin. They can part at any time which seemed like a reasonably lengthy process that rendered the whole thing pointless to me. Also, why not just send two Terminators? Oh yeah and Skynet no longer exists of course, its called 'Legion' now. Another pointless move because not only does this render everything prior obsolete, it also surely means the threat from the machines will never end...right? One super machine will just replace another so there is no real tension anymore.

The special effects are poor. How can a movie of this size and cost have poor effects? Overuse of CGI as per usual. But yeah the effects are generally bad and obvious. There are multiple scenes with horrendously obvious greenscreen effects. The action sequences use horrendously obvious ragdoll effects on characters when they are being flung around. And, as expected, some sequences are way way overblown with completely unnecessary set-pieces such as the mid-air plane collision. I mean really? Did..did you really need to have a jumbo jet action sequence here? Did we really need the Humvee sequence? This franchise is supposed to be an adult horror thriller, not a superhero movie. All this does is prove to me once again that Hollywood (and even Cameron) doesn't understand these old franchises anymore.

This pretty much sums up my whole opinion of Hollywood and how they approach movies these days. They just don't understand old franchises anymore, classic or otherwise. They can't come up with any original material anymore, everything has to be remade or rebooted. They think everything needs (biased) political commentary, not even subtle but obvious in your face political commentary. They keep gender or race-swapping key characters to appease specific groups. And, apparently, they think everything needs to be like a Marvel movie now. This entire movie felt like some fan-made Latino version of the franchise, literally taking bits from the first two movies and remaking them, including the ending! One word, abysmal.