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Posts tagged “geek

Gripes, Likes & Theories: The Force Awakens

My last post was sentimental, so here’s the nitty gritty. SPOILERS FOLLOW. Proceed at your own risk. And for the love of Luke, go see the movie already!

First things first: I am historically an Imperial Apologist and Sith Sympathizer, but I’ll be danged if Rey, Finn and BB-8 (and to a lesser extent Poe) aren’t wooing me over to the good side. Like Kylo Ren, I’m being torn apart, tempted by the light.
Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac are so darn charming! And BB-8—contrary to my initial thoughts from way back in November 2014 when the very first teaser trailer released—is utterly adorable. I hate that I love them so much.

Oh, and I 100% support the idea of Rey being Luke’s daughter. At this point, I will be terribly disappointed if she isn’t. Luke’s lightsaber (from his father before him) calls to her. She’s a fine pilot with mechanical aptitude. She beckons the saber to her during the snowy duel at Starkiller Base, to the strains of the Luke/Jedi theme music, which made me openly weep. R2-D2 clearly reactivates when she comes on the Resistance base [yes, I know JJ said it was because BB-8 woke him up, but he also said that Benedict Cumberbatch absolutely was not Khan so I don’t believe anything he says that could potentially reveal a spoiler]. And, most importantly, Luke himself gets a little bleary-eyed when he sees her at the end*. Though I do have a love/hate with that ending. I wish the movie was more self-contained rather than a near-literal cliffhanger ending. I do, however, love that we didn’t actually see Luke until the end. So many feels!

*I hypothesize he thought her dead along with his wife and the rest of his Jedi academy. My dearest thinks that Kylo Ren (Rey’s cousin) spared her life and dropped her off on Jakku. I’ll add to his theory and suggest there was probably some sort of Force memory-wipe involved such that she doesn’t remember him.

As for Kylo Ren, I was pleasantly surprised with him. The physical manifestations of his instability with regards to the janky lightsaber and temper tantrums…brilliant! I also love that he’s struggling to fully embrace the Dark Side; it makes him so much more dimensional than your everyday villain. Do wish he would’ve kept his helmet on longer—a big reveal on the bridge with Han would’ve been a nice touch. And holy tauntauns, I want his hair!

Speaking of the son of Solo, I’m curious what you good people think about a particular line when he’s interrogating Rey: “Don’t be afraid, I feel it too.” Adam Driver delivers it in a very nuanced, compelling way and I’m not quite sure what to make of it. In fact, I think that entire scene works very well, save for the quasi-rapey “I can take whatever I want” bit.

Apart from Kylo Ren, I was rather disappointed with the First Order. I had HUGE love for Captain Phasma going into this, and I left feeling deflated. I don’t buy that the character would’ve just complied with Finn/Han/Chewie’s demands without putting up a fight [this is the part of the show where people write in the comments about how she had an angry Wookiee with a crossbow staring her down].

They sibling-rivalry dynamic between Hux and Kylo Ren leaves me wanting more information about the structure of the First Order. Did they both join ranks about the same time? It seems, of course, that Supreme Leader Snoke is in the position once occupied by Emperor Palpatine but we know nothing else about him. I side with those who think Supreme Leader Snoke is really Darth Plagueis. In fact, I’ll be rather disappointed if we don’t learn that he cheated death at the hands of Palpatine then pulled all of the subsequent puppet strings.

With regards to storytelling, it didn’t hit all of the beats I expected or hoped. The fact that it parallels Episode IV doesn’t bother me so much as the fact that it feels like the lazy version of it. Whereas plans were carefully stolen—huzzah, Rogue One!—and analyzed to identify the first Death Star’s weakness, Starkiller Base was surveyed for just a couple of minutes and then off they went. It all felt overly contrived. Moreover, the destruction of the Republic planets had no emotional weight, as we knew nothing of them. At least we felt Leia’s emotion when Alderaan bit the dust.

I was also a little bummed that the John Williams score didn’t hold more stirring treasures than it did. Rey’s theme stands apart, as does Kylo Ren’s, but it’s otherwise pretty forgettable. And while I initially hated the song from Maz Kanata’s watering hole (composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda), I was bummed when it didn’t show up on the soundtrack. It has grown on me in ways I would rather pretend didn’t exist.

Maz Kanata herself wins a spot on my “likes” list for the film. During the course of production, we were told only that the lovely Lupita Nyong’o was performing a motion-capture creature; I sensed a disturbance in the force. When rumored concept art surfaced, I was sure it was bad news. When the movie released, it was as if the skies opened and we were granted a gift. Maz is wonderful! She’s one of the better CG characters I can recall seeing, matching up to the likes of Groot or Rocket Raccoon. To top it off, her personality is affable and her wisdom hearkens back to the Yoda of yesteryear rather than the obnoxious prequel Yoda.

Something wholly unrelated that bothered me ever so slightly is Finn’s status within the Stormtrooper ranks. At the beginning of the film, we’re lead to believe the troops on Jakku are an elite squad. Later, however, Finn says that he worked in sanitation and defected on his first mission. Doesn’t add up.

The opening scene between Poe and Max Von Sydow felt like a missed opportunity, too. Title crawl reference an old ally, so I assumed it would be someone we recognized (if only by name). Alas, just a random old guy. Of all places, that felt like a good time to throw in some fan service.

Another missed opportunity…in fact, one that I believe should have been wholly scrapped, was the Han scene with the Guavian Death Squad, Kanjiklub and rathtars. It was so obvious it had been considerably chopped down for time that it should’ve just gone away altogether. It was the one scene where I felt Harrison Ford didn’t deliver, and I can’t say I blame him since it was so silly. The only redeeming moment was Rey closing the bay doors on the monster that held Finn and then her response of “that was lucky” when he told her about the apparent miracle. Okay, the moment where Chewie agreed that Han had let them down on more than one occasion was pretty fun, too.

Chewie was a far better addition to this film than any prior. In fact, this was probably the first time I felt any real affinity for him [ducks to avoid flying bottles and tomatoes]. The “You must be very brave” scene with the Resistance-base medic checking his arm cracked me up. The dejarik/chess game felt a bit forced (ha!), though I did dig Chewie’s reaction to it. I also enjoyed seeing the crossbow get some love. And the way he hugged Leia…awwwww.

Dear, dear Leia. Carrie Fisher is a galactic gem, and I was glad to see her back in the sass. Her role in the film, though, felt like it was written a bit flat. And that “fashionable gas-station attendant” outfit, oy! I wouldn’t trade her for all of the Meryl Streeps in the world, though.

So I guess that kind of sums up my thought process…though there are roughly a billion other opinions and related musings that I haven’t managed to dig out of my brain yet. What say you? Comment below & let’s discuss!

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Star Wars Is Like My Cat

It’s been over a week now since The Force Awakens (TFA) came into our lives. And after 4 viewings, including the 7-movie marathon on opening day, I feel like I can finally summarize my feelings about the newest addition to the Star Wars saga.

Growing up, I had the sweetest, most gentle cat in the world—his name, ironically, was Goliath. He was there for every milestone, every moment of joy, every pang of sadness, snuggling and unleashing the full power of cats’ magical calming agent: purring. He was loyal and faithful and wonderful. Just like the original trilogy of Star Wars.

Goliath became one with the Force, so to speak, when I was 16 years old in 1999. Coincidentally, that was the same year that the prequel trilogy dawned.

In 2002—the same year Attack of the Clones released—I adopted a feisty little kitten whom I named Storm (middle name Trooper). Storm was the exact opposite of Goliath; where he had been solid black with yellowish-green eyes, she was a cream and gray tabby with piercing blue eyes. His utter devotion and love was answered with her indifference and bitey-ness. Like Goliath before her, she too was a remarkably good snuggler with an even stronger aptitude for purring me to sleep.

Over the next 12 years, Storm and I had an undeniable love/hate relationship. She exhibited violent mood shifts that usually ended with a new set of bloody teeth marks on my arms or legs. In spite of the scar-inducing teeth, we grew into a codependent pair. When she was good, she was heartbreakingly good, and when she was bad…well, most people would’ve put her down. Not unlike the prequel trilogy, if you catch my meaning.

Too mean to go out any other way, Storm succumbed to colon cancer in January. A long-haired tortoiseshell fluffball named Rue joined our family a month later. You won’t be surprised by this point in the post to find that my feelings about her virtually mirror how I feel about The Force Awakens.

When I first met Rue at the shelter (her name was Zeda then…no thanks), it was a wholly bittersweet experience. I was super excited at the prospect of getting a new kitten but I was emotionally exhausted from losing Storm. Rue, to her credit, was ridiculously wonderful on her own accord and gave me no choice but to enjoy her presence…and yet, I came away perplexed. I wanted to love her, there was little reason not to, but I needed time to process.

I got time, as Rue needed her spay operation before we could bring her home. When we picked her up a couple of days later, I made a conscientious effort to look at her with fresh eyes.

Rue, like The Force Awakens, isn’t here to replace the previous “friends” who helped shape my being, but rather to supplement. Some of her behavior recalls that of my earlier loves and my heart swells with nostalgia. Her personality and quirks are uniquely hers, which brings me utter joy. And some of the things she does…well, they kind of irk me. She’s not perfect, that’s for sure. Some of the irksome behavior is just bad and some of it is largely because it falls flat compared to the grand narrative I’ve created in my head.

There’s a lot to love about TFA, and I think I can say now with certainty that I do love it. Even with last night’s 4th viewing, it coaxed tears out of me during several scenes; some happy, some sad. That’s something few films can boast. But cats, man, cats hit me in the feels every time!

Rue is not impressed with Leia buns

Rue is not impressed with Leia buns

Spoilerrific ‘Gripes & Likes’ post coming soon!

 


SW WEEK IS HERE!

It’s finally here, you guys!!!!! In just a couple of sleeps we’ll be getting our first full look at The Force Awakens, and I’m downright giddy. GIDDY!

Because we’re this close I’m steering clear of social media until after the 7pm Thursday (CST) showing. I might make some remote posts during the movie marathon on Thursday, but I’m sure as heck not reading anything that gets posted. With friends and fellow fans across the globe getting their glimpse before I get mine, I don’t want to chance anything. Here’s a little variation on what I posted to my Facebook account yesterday in advance of my quarantine…

’Twas the week of new Star Wars, and in the Amethystos house
One girl couldn’t stop stirring—You guessed it, Severus’s spouse. (that would be me)

The tickets were purchased with months left to spare,
And now the time came, it so soon would be there;
Even when nestled all snug in my bed,
Visions of TIE Fighters danced in my head.

With trailers, tv spots and internet on tap,
Avoiding the spoilers feels like IT’S A TRAP!
Driver, Ridley, Boyega, Ford, Fisher and Hamill,
Old heroes, new villains and droids, worlds and mammals,

In J.J. we trust, it won’t be too long now,
Prepare the tears, gasps and the re-sound-ing “WOW”s.
Of course, if it’s bad, you’ll hear all of that too,
As if millions of voices cried out a “screw you!”

So now hear me exclaim as I log out of sight—
“Happy Star Wars to all, I’ll be back Thursday night!”

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH US


#TheWardrobeAwakens

One month from today I’ll be sitting with a bunch of kindred spirits in a movie theater watching a 7-film Star Wars marathon. The fact that we are only a month away from the 7th installment has me more than a little excited!!!

As such, today marks day 1 of #TheWardrobeAwakens, wherein I will don Star Wars attire every day leading up to the new film. The goal is to wear something different each day, though I may have to recycle a couple of shirts as some have apparently shrunk in the wash…or something like that.

I’ll have to get a little creative tomorrow and Thursday as I take in the wonder of Mockingjay Part 2 (advance screening then opening night). After all, I’ve got Hunger Games fangirling to express, too.

Lead the way, Captain Phasma!

UPDATE: I’ll be posting daily pics on Instagram. You can find me there or check out the widget to the right of this page.

Phasma Her Universe


Geeky in Seattle

If I’m being honest, I have to admit that before this last trip we’d never spent more than roughly 24 hours’ time actually in Seattle. We can luxuriate in a relatively bustling city scene here in Kansas City if we really want to (we generally don’t) but have nothing comparable to the ocean and mountains and temperate rainforests, so most of our time in the PNW is spent enjoying those natural splendors. And indulge in the outdoors we did: we walked stunning ocean shores, hiked to waterfalls, ventured to the northwestern most point of the continental U.S., decompressed with beautiful lakeside vistas and paraglided for unrivaled sights and exhilaration.

While searching for a hike near North Bend/Snoqualmie*, we stumbled across a film crew at a local diner. Perhaps you’ve heard about the resurrection of a cult favorite tv show, Twin Peaks… You guys, we were in North Bend while they were filming Twin Peaks! We really didn’t see much, as the flurry of crew members obscured most anything interesting and accessibility near the set was limited. (David Lynch was apparently unhappy with fan presence; this article was published the day before we coincidentally ended up on-site.) We might have been more obnoxious in trying to obtain photos had we binged all 22 episodes prior to going rather than just finishing it this week.
I can tell you that from a couple of blocks away, down a back alley, we saw the classic turquoise waitress dresses—couldn’t discern which actresses were wearing them. One gal had curly hair but looked too short and a bit too round to be the fictional Shelley Johnson.

*We never found the hike I had planned. Crews were working on Middle Fork Road, so that access was cut off and we opted to return to the hotel for an afternoon nap rather than search for work-arounds.

Twin Peaks wasn’t the only geeky indulgence on our vacation. The EMP Museum in downtown Seattle ensured that, as our time in town corresponded with the traveling exhibit “Star Wars and the Power of Costume.”

The exhibit itself was quite nice, if a bit overpriced. Past exhibits “Star Wars in Concert” and “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” showcased many of the same costumes, but that didn’t hamper my enthusiasm. This is, after all, the year of Star Wars!

EMP also featured brilliant exhibits for fantasy, horror and sci-fi costumes and artifacts. There was something for virtually every geeky indulgence, from Ghostbusters to the Wizard of Oz, Alien, Harry Potter, Doctor Who and Game of Thrones to The Princess Bride. I definitely recommend visiting if you can stand to pull yourself away from the majestic wilderness.

To see the full complement of photos from our trip, including MANY more geektastic exhibit images, trek on over to my share site (HERE).