Star Wars

A conversation concerning Star Wars between myself and vlogger Will McD. Will is in bold. I thought that this might classify as interesting or amusing. I’ve been wrong before!

I was talking about the background and universe of Star Wars with my girlfriend last night. She said that she’s read a book on it. I said that’s fair enough but I don’t know how the majority of the public get into the films unless they read the book too

I’ve read a load of the books but they were written post films. The films are hardly complicated to follow.

Well, my problem is this: they will jump from planet to planet.
“Here we are in Jawoo, to meet the Plasbian Mukabugu” and you just go, ‘ok, right’.
The planet Jawoo is a bright glowing orange with huge tropical birds and 6 moons. All the inhabitants are humanoids with ostrich heads. My question is…WHY?!

Because it’s Scifi.
If you can follow the universe of GOT i’m sure you’re intelligent enough to be able to follow Star Wars.

There is no explanation for how this world’s unique climate developed, where these people came from, what their general politics and allegiances are.

Because they’re films

They simply seem to be this way because people will say
“that’s cool”

Most people don’t enjoy 20 hour filmic explanation of the evolution of hundreds of different species and habitats.

I know Game of Thrones the tv show doesn’t give much history either but you’ll at least get some aside like “ah, Lord Frey of the crossing, the late Lord Frey my father called him but his castle is the only way to cross the Trident”

It’s a tv show
They tend to go into more depth
Due to the fact they’re so much longer

I can’t understand how you can get into something if it’s just bright lights and pretty colours.
I would enjoy watching a 2 hour film about the history or the culture of Jawoo
My girlfriend said “nobody would watch that, it would be crap”
I would watch it. Then i would understand it.

I can’t understand how you can watch any film without a week long introduction into the lives of all the characters from birth
But that guy who served him in the shop!? Who is he!?!

When it’s set in our world then its no issue. When the world is alien to us then it is an issue.

I feel he’s just been wedged in there without any explanation!?
Who is he!?
Where do his loyalties lie!?

There is a unique culture that is totally “alien” to us and to understand it we need some background
If there isn’t a unique culture then what the hell purpose does it solve to visit this place?
It would make the alien planet just a pretty backdrop and utterly irrelevant
That isn’t good writing, that’s set dressing

I don’t see how you can’t understand it if you’re not given a complete rundown of their economic structure and religious beliefs

At least a hint at it Will. Even Aliens gives more back story. Star Wars’ popularity just baffles me

Have you seen episodes 1 and 2?
That’s why they were so heavily criticised. They spent half the films going on about trade agreements and levies within the different systems and they were fucking boring

Ok Will, you walk into a business meeting
The meeting is held in a large, triangular shaped room
The man you are meeting is wearing just a thong
His secretary comes in wearing full traditional inuit costume
there is a shark, out of water, rolling about in its death throes on the floor in the corner
Do you accept all this and continue with the meeting or do you ask for just a little background?!

Is the meeting a 2 hour long sci fi film?
Besides i wouldn’t need background as it’s on earth
not in space

No, it is an example of curiosity and reasoning. You need some sort of structure. Are you not even a little curious?!

It’s not an alien planet so i would understand it all perfectly

Ok, all of the above but it’s on an alien planet

Well then i’d go to the toilet during all the exposition and guess my way through
I don’t know, i don’t like it when films feel the need to lead me by the hand when it’s not really necessary.

You could probably just assume you’ve wandered onto a star wars set and be done with it!
Its not leading you by the hand, its crafting a story, not just throwing up some pretty lights to distract from the paper thin plot

Surely you can make assumptions from various cues given by the director?
it doesn’t have to be all meticulously explained on screen during a conversation between two characters?

Its not about explaining or me being too stupid to follow it
Its about moving location in the film simply to show an impressive visual.
That isn’t storytelling.

Ok
so there’s a spaceship dog fight
its a fast paced action sequence
they fly down to the surface of a planet and past some locals who look shocked
should the film pause and gravitate away from the action to watch one of the locals have a cup of tea with his aunt and describe his entire family history?

ok, what is the purpose of introducing us to this planet and these shocked locals?

Because it’s an action sequence
which tend to be made for spectacle

Are the gravity and physics of this planet different to outer space and therefore affecting the fight?
If not then it is simply set dressing
The audience has gotten bored with outer space so lets jazz it up with a jungle backdrop then perhaps change the wallpaper again to a desert.

Well there would be more obstacles and a different landscape to navigate during the fight yes
But action sequences are mostly set dressing surely?
They are visual, isn’t that the nature of them?

I know, i hate action sequences anyway

Right

But you used the example
My point was when they visit other planets
To talk to people

So your ideal film would just be back story?
Lets not show these massive battles but listen to people talk about them in the past tense?

Yeah i would like that

Hmm then don’t watch films i suppose
Read

To be fair, i don’t like that many films
Top Gun is one of the few action films i like

Well cinema is a visual medium predominantly

I like rich story
Action takes away from that

You don’t care about the action if you don’t care about the characters and their development i agree
but a film has 2 hours to develop a story
so it tends to concentrate on the characters in the main frame. otherwise they don’t get any development and no one cares about your main guys
so you could expand on the whole universe at the expense of damaging your main characters
you hint at things
hint at civilisations as you don’t have time to expand on the whole thing

I agree with you but i don’t think Star Wars does develop anything when they planet hop
i don’t think Star Wars films hint at the civilisations or develop the main characters
maybe because Anakin is a shallow creep
and the old films are typical 80’s action films where “explosion” is a good substitute for story
and i spose you enjoy them for what they are, like Terminator. Then again, Terminator developed a back story

I disagree with your point on the older films
But the newer ones weren’t amazing

To be fair i’ve only seen the old ones once or twice

They do have decent character arcs
thing is they’re so famous and old

Ok, for my final point: Imagine if you were watching Game of Thrones
and in king’s landing Cersei says “i’m going to visit Jon Snow”
in the next scene she appears at the Wall and talks to Jon Snow
Nobody mentions the cold, the massive wall or the dire wolf
they talk about the matter at hand and then go their separate ways
that is what star wars is like to me

Well it’s a film not a 45 hours series

Or they go to see Daenerys
“Is that a dragon? What is the dragon about?”
Shuttup Will! Watch the movie. They don’t have time to explain story to you. Now watch this 6 minute space bike race which will inevitably end in either an unlikely win for the hero or some major trick that has been hinted at several times

I couldn’t possibly watch the space bike race without first viewing a detailed schematic of the workings of said bike and watching a 24 hour biopic on the guy who last cleaned it at the space bike wash!

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Trip Advisor review

The Singing Fox, Barlesham

My lady wife and I visited this establishment on our recent trip to the coast. The waiter’s hair was far too long, despite a sign saying “guide dogs welcome” they refused to let Willas the Woldfhound eat at the table, the tap in the gents was too hot, the doors were too heavy, the waitresses hair was too short, we saw neither hide nor hair of a fox, let alone a singing one and when the landlord’s rottweiler played harp it felt as though his heart wasn’t in it. AVOID!

Jupiter Ascending review

Ambitious, visually splendid yet camp and absurdly silly, I spent most of Jupiter Ascending’s lengthy and tedious action scenes wondering quite how Kunis, Tatum, Bean and Redmayne were convinced to sign up.
   I can assume that the Wachowski name was enough alone to secure funding for the film as I can’t believe anybody read the script.
I’m a sci fi fan, i’m a fan of The Matrix, even the ropier parts of the trilogy didn’t overly phase me.

The sad thing is that i was looking forward to Jupiter Ascending, but with it’s cheesy humour, clunky dialogue, strange pacing, violence, partial nudity and the way the film seems at pains to remind us of the gravity of the situation our protagonist finds herself in I cannot think who the movie is aimed at.
   In the end Jupiter Ascending reminds me uncomfortably of some odd concoction between Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Fifth Element and Battlefield Earth.
To summarise; green screens, unexplained tech gadgets and cliches do not a movie make.

Transformers 4 Age Of Extinction review

If you’re a fan of explosions, cliches, brooding and tropes then Transformers 4 Age Of Extinction is for you.
If you are neither a twelve year old boy nor a supportive friend of a cast member then I would probably give it a miss. If the production team hadn’t blown their entire budget on special effects then they could have paid for someone to actually write dialogue, which was in this case presumably penned by a drunk Michael Bay under a pseudonym.
I’m a big fan of Mark Wahlberg and I could believe in him as a Marine style gun slinger, an embattled single father to a far too hot daughter, a parkour expert or perhaps even, in the right circumstances, an impoverished genius engineer but all four is a stretch.
I confess that I haven’t seen the previous films so perhaps I am losing out on a big part of the exposition and the motives behind the multiple battling factions but frankly, after three hours; who gives a shit?

Bates Motel Season 2

I first started watching Bates Motel after seeing a Netflix trailer for it. Vera Famiga caught my eye in The Departed (closely contesting the accolade of favourite film with Top Gun and Heat) and the premise of a Psycho prequel seemed so ludicrous that I felt it deserved a brief watch. I thought I was going to hate Bates Motel. After all, Hitchcock has never done it for me (I’m sorry but “scary” ages badly in my opinion), I loathe remakes and prequels/franchise licencing seems lazy to me.
I love Bates Motel. I feel you need to forget the title and the prequel/spin off mentality and just judge it on it’s own, seeing as it is so far removed from the source material. Sure, it is over the top, convoluted and somehow equally dumb yet it keeps me glued. It’s worth watching for the magnetically creepy chemistry between Norman and Norma.
Bates Motel is no Six Feet Under, Game Of Thrones or even Breaking Bad. I would draw comparisons to Dirty, Sexy, Money if anything, based on the absurd plots, the often entirely superfluous characters and general melodrama. Oh and the return of one of my favourite tropes; the nerdy ugly girl (played by the gorgeous Olivia Cooke) who is actually really a bit of a babe but not a single character on the show recognises it, is just inspired!
In summary, try Bates Motel, you might really like it. Be prepared to attempt to explain and defend it to your friends “well it’s not really Psycho”, “it’s pretty much all new”, or simply “it’s better than it sounds!”.

A People’s Porsche

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I have desired the Porsche 944 since I was five years old. Actually, that’s a lie, I’ve desired a 1986 Porsche 911 Turbo with the massive whale tail in Guards Red wi…oh hang on, I need a cold shower. Anyway, with £3,000 sitting in the bank I plumped for the people’s Porsche. I’ve always admired the sheer unashamed 80’s cool of it, the beige carpet interior, the sharp faux futuristic lines, the Nightrider-esque pop-up headlights.
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I’ve been reading up on them for two or three years, online reviews, users guides, wikipedia articles and trawling Autotrader so I know all the good and the bad. I’ve never seen the phrase “bombproof” used so much outside of a Hurtlocker review and apparently the car is fixable by anyone with a basic mechanical knowledge of farm machinery (I am not among that number), however it is still a Porsche and servicing can be (not IS, CAN BE) pricey. I’m 25 years old now and have been driving for 6 of those years, with no claims. I got a price for £450 to insure, which I was pretty pleased with considering that its a 2.5 Litre. So, with a “you only live once” (I won’t be abbreviating that) attitude I got myself a Lux FH. After trading in my Yaris, I had money left over for the insurance, a full tank of petrol and still had change from my savings.
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I’m not particularly fussed by what people think of me, afterall I have been driving a 2002 Toyota Yaris in a nice shade of Parking Dent and Rust for the past two years, however the reactions of peers and coworkers has surprised me. A close friend of mine came for a drive with me and was effusive in his praise, rambling excitedly about the great condition and what a beauty it was. Then, oddly, at a social gathering the following week when asked what he thought he joined and even led the mockery. Yes, mockery. I’ve never batted an eyelid when my friends have bought cars and yet somehow mine became a subject of group discussion.
Despite being the sort of person who spends several hours a day on forums for months researching purchases as mudane as computer graphics cards, my friends seemed to be under the impression that I swanned into a showroom and threw my wallet at the closest thing I could see. Everything from “rustbucket”- it has a galvanised steel body, to “thirsty”- I’ve been getting 33mpg, was slung at it. A work colleague, who drives a five year old Ford Focus said “I’m not daft enough to be lumbered with a huge loan like that”, yet I bought the car outright. Which is odd as his car cost twice as much and a 1.8 Focus returns probably 3mpg more to the gallon. A friend who bought a “designer” hatchback (you know the type), on a five year finance plan called the car “silly” and implied it was part of an early midlife crisis. Yet it cost as much as 8 of her monthly payments and, by my rudimentary maths, would need to cost £1,200 in every service for ten years to be more of a drain on my pocket.
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So perhaps it is jealousy, or if not then my friends feel that far more of my life is their domain than I do of theirs. Regardless, I smile like a Cheshire Cat every time that I step out of my front door or put my right foot down on a straight.
In my next blog I will talk through, in as journalistic a fashion as I can, my early ownership experiences and offer a first review of my new toy.