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STAR WARS: THE FORCE WAKES UP – A Spoiler Free Review

It’s pretty good. About as good as a paint-by-numbers action movie can be. And if it sounds like I’m damning the movie with faint praise, good. Because faint praise is about all I can muster.

On the technical side of things, it’s pretty much spot on, which it better be with that kind of budget. Of course, you can see JJ Abrams’ trademark lack of visual continuity everywhere. Each scene looks great individually, but the movement doesn’t follow from one shot to another.

The creative side of things is bland. The movie does nothing to earn its emotional moments. Just like in Star Trek, Abrams completely fails to get *why* these things he’s referencing worked in the first place. Since I don’t want to spoil The Force Gets Out of Bed, I’ll use ‘Into Darkness’ to illustrate my point.

Spock’s death in ‘Wrath of Khan’ was one of the greatest, most impactful moments of cinema history. Spock and Kirk had been friends for fifteen years. Their relationship had gone up and down, but they relied on each other. They made one another better people. Kirk was hot-headed and rash, but he knew it was a weakness and let Spock reel him in, even when they disagreed. Spock learned that sometimes, you have to make quick decisions and that constant logical thinking can paralyze you with indecision.

In ‘Into Darkness’, Kirk and Spock had known each other for four hours of screen time, three of which they spent acting like children and forming no bond of any kind. Kirk sacrificing himself for Spock was a complete waste, content with simply referencing an older event without any build-up. The emotion wasn’t even close to earned.

Almost every moment in The Force Gets its Morning Coffee fails for the same reason, though never to the same degree. “Hey, remember the Millennium Falcon? Me too! It exists! How cool is that! And those characters? They sure are back! Neat, right?” When characters die, you know they aren’t dead (and the movie knows you know, since their reintroduction is a perfunctory handful of lines so as to not waste everyone’s time – so it’s the worst of both options).

The last thirty minutes comes down with a serious case of characters just reading the script, like they know “this is the foreshadowing part! We know what’s going to happen in the next movie, so I’d better say these things now. The writers spent all this time building up our baddies, they’re obviously not going to kill them, so I’m going to act as if their survival is obviously guaranteed even though everything is falling apart.”

But by far the worst of this is the denouement. The movie literally makes a joke about its own ending about half an hour before doing exactly that joke thing with a completely straight face. Before the climactic encounter, one of the characters, winking really hard to the audience, straight out says “wouldn’t it be silly if [character] did [thing]! Haha yeah, that would be silly!”. And the end of the movie is [character] doing [thing], but apparently Abrams forgot that this was dumb.

But despite all this, it really doesn’t suck! In fact, it’s kind of awesome! This is mostly thanks to the characters. The characters are awesome. Han’s intro felt forced and the ending was telegraphed a mile away, but everything in between those two moments was perfect. The new cast is all great, too! It has long been said in writerly circles that people read books / watch movies for the characters before anything else, and Force Awakens delivers on that front 1000%.

TL;DR It’s good, but fails in all the ways you have to expect JJ Abrams to fail by this point. Nothing is surprising, the emotional moments usually miss the mark, but it sure is pretty, and manages a few fist-pumping fuck-yeah moments. Not as many as Pacific Rim, for example, but it’s still pretty awesome here and there. And the characters are fun.

I’d appreciate keeping spoilers out of the comments, thank you.

P.S. Kylo Ren needs a haircut. His hair looks like mine when I don’t cut it for a year. He could have a family of rats living in there and no one would know.

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Posted by on December 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

What’s Next? (Also, here’s the save-game export to EU IV)

Crusader Kings is done. And with it, Dar al-Islam comes to a close; next up is the Age of Islam series!
Here’s the rules I will be playing with:
2013-09-30_00004
I’m actually a little leery having both AI bonuses and Lucky Nations stacking on one another. This can result in some very powerful Lucky Nations against me. I am also keeping the AI difficulty at Normal, because hard isn’t so much a better AI as it is a more annoying one.
The save-game export from CK II to EU IV is here, if you want to play my Kalmen Empire. Enjoy! WARNING: May be buggy
And now, without further ado; The Age of Islam begins today (EDIT: Scratch that! To celebrate, I’m going back to posting every two days (nope!), rather than every three. I’ve got enough of a backlog, and my workload is calming down.
EDIT: Yeah, that’s not happening. I had to do a clean reinstall of EU IV because no game I played would go beyond June 1, 1450. So there’s going to be a break between CK II and EU IV. Sorry!
 

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Who Has Two Thumbs And A Birthday Today?

Millions of people. But among those millions is me!
Yes, I am now twenty-five years old. A quarter-century of life has passed me by. What have I accomplished, really?
Well, nothing worthwhile yet! But I’ve made good headway into life. Between the Canadian Military Reserve paying part of my tuition and my parents paying another part I’ve got no student debts. My career choices of music, theatre and writing are not going to make me much money, but at least it’s all my money!
Too bad I have some expensive hobbies.
Yes, most of my time is filled with creative work. Fulfilling, emotionally and intellectually. But it does not fill my wallet.
Thanks, Crusader Kings Forumites, for taking me up from 30 views a day to 300. Feels good bro, even if the comments sections remain perfectly devoid of conversation.
Here’s hoping I’m only a quarter of the way through my life. Some say the first person to live past 150 has already been born. Wouldn’t that be fuckin’ awesome?
 
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Posted by on September 28, 2013 in Introductionary, Uncategorized

 

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Oh Spam, You so Wacky! (Plus a Heads-Up on Delays)

The latest in spam comments:

Our own second strategy that Nike applies is certainly the designing relating to product destination.

Hall, Kenny Tran and so Jay-Z to details a few. It was
first believed that Nike was promoting their own personal shoes too forcefully.
A single clear, resealable bedroom should be fastened to the shoes.

A link then followed, but I won’t paste it here.

lolwut?

I… Bedroom on my shoes? That would be cool I guess. Heavy, but cool. Also resealable, for extra buzzword enjoyment!

Now that I’ve had fun at the expense of broken English, an announcement: Due to professional strictures (I’m writing a novel and it’s almost done), I’ll be down to every three days on my Dar al-Islam series. I don’t know if anyone even noticed it was every two days, but if you did, psyche! It’s every three days. This might last two weeks so I can get ahead on the game, have a backlog of parts to post so that I can focus on my novel – because between a full time minimum wage job, novel writing, assembling models and playing Warmachine and Warhammer 40K, friends, family, music and playing other games, my schedule is one big brick of no free time.

I’m not getting burnt out, don’t worry, I’m just shuffling stuff around to make some time for other, more important stuff. We should be back to a normal every-two-days schedule shortly. Dar al-Islam Part Nineteen will be up Saturday morning (instead of Friday) and it’s every three days after that.

 

So I Saw This Today:

GRRM

 

So the guy who says ‘fantasy is written in the language of dreams’ goes and makes the most drab and dreary fantasy setting out there?

Has this guy never been to Niagra Falls? Has he never looked through a fucking telescope, or at footage of the ocean floor, or even HEARD of the Nile or Amazon rivers? Has he never seen a picture of Ayers Rock, a bamboo forest or Naica Mine? Has he never, ever, in his entire life picked up a copy of National Geographic, or watched the Discovery Channel, or even browsed youtube briefly?

And this is only sticking to the geographic. Has he never studied Buddhism, never heard of people of Mongolia or Egypt, Greece, Rome or Persia? The ironworkers and teamsters responsible for building the world we know today? Has he not heard of psychology, sociology, physics or biology? Anatomy, art, music and film? Human fucking FLIGHT is lame to this man when it is achieved by hard work and the ingenuity of thousands, as opposed to someone writing about wax wings. We don’t read fantasy to find colour again, we read it to find new colours. To find novelty and creativity different from the novelty and creativity and beauty that surrounds us every day. Is George Martin so unimaginative he has to denigrate reality in order to wank his own chosen profession and pat himself on the back in the most banal and self-congratulatory way imaginable? And are you really going to fall for it?

 

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The Singularity…

… will be corporate.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFe9wiDfb0E&

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Alice and Kev

So this is sort of old, but while you wait for a new game of ridiculousness, check out Alice and Kev

I have never felt such heartwrench reading a blog about a game. Ever. If I weren’t an emotional robot, I’d probably have cried.

I nearly did anyway.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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