Blog 722: Close, But No Biscuit — Star Wars — Part 11

Starkiller Base is such a massive, critical failure of writing. Handed the keys to Star Wars, they did not carry the torch forward and instead sat still to make the same thing again but bigger. If you can’t remember, Disney, we already did that in the original trilogy and only barely got away with it. The galaxy’s biggest ever super-weapon, a footnote barely present for half a film and destroyed as perfunctorily — in the first part of a trilogy!

I don’t see a way that they can escalate beyond this, but neither can I see an Empire Strikes Back-stlye de-escalation that wouldn’t render the thing more meaningless than it already is.

First film in the new age, such promise, such hope — and the ball was thoroughly dropped. Dropped so thoroughly that the best we can do in subsequent things is to sweep it under the carpet… But it’s too big for that. Aaargh! Listen as we outline better ideas.

Blog 720: Close, But No Biscuit — Star Wars — Part 10

And so we come to the original trilogy, the sequence that so very much got the biscuit. The truth is that early exposure to Star Wars defined everything I’ve ever wanted from sci-fi and fantasy in the days hence, and that’s why the lacklustre prequel trilogy and the travesty of The Force Awakens both hurt so much — because the things they tried to build on were fucking brilliant.

Yes, the original trilogy got enough biscuits for everyone, even in those brief moments when it really shouldn’t have. Star Wars is awsome, and though you can try to convince me otherwise by appending crud over the top of it, you’ll never take away the parts that are truly beautiful. (And let’s face it, as a Star Wars fan I’ve spent all my life selectively ignoring parts of the Expanded Universe and elevating others — I wonder if any two people alive have a consistent personal Star Wars headcanon?)

Blog 715: Close, But No Biscuit – Star Wars – Part 9

Too many characters spoil the broth? Maybe Rouge One could have been improved with some streamlining and focus — collapse some too-similar characters together and spend more time developing a smaller cast. I know I don’t really do characters as anything more than plot devices, but even on that scale there are a few too many plot devices with not much to offer the film.

No additional thoughts this time. Am I actually getting better at articulating myself during live chat-time? Heaven forbid!

Blog 713: Close, But No Biscuit – Star Wars – Part 8

To me, it will always be Rouge One. I grew up in Warcraft III forums awash with quick-typing teenagers spouting about fantasy archetypes, and the word “rogue” always, always, always came out as “rouge”.

So, yes, much as I enjoyed Rouge One at the cinema I can concede in the light of deeper analysis that it’s rather wobbly in places. In the spirit of this stand-alone film really not being stand-alone, then, we’ve folded it into our mainline analysis of the Star Wars core cinematic sequence.

I have some things to add about characters and plots because I don’t think that what I said about “Star Wars not really being about characters” came out very well in the mix. Let’s face it, I’m a writer, not a speaker. (Not that ruminating on the thought for a bit longer will necessarily make my argument any more valid, but it might at least clarify my position.)

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Blog 711: Close, But No Biscuit – Star Wars – Part 7

After the attack of the interstitial film where nothing really happens, Revenge of the Sith has far too much going on in it. Suddenly we have to complete Darth Vader’s origin story and cement the rise of the Empire by ending the Clone Wars. Our conclusion is that it has far overstretched itself to have both, and our money is on the rise of the Empire plot as the more interesting one.

Let Darth Vader’s origins remain spoken of in hushed tones — it’s the galaxy-spanning double-sided Sith-puppetted civil war conspiracy plot that delivers the proper goods. After all, the original trilogy wasn’t about the death of Darth Vader, it was about the rebellion and the fall of the Empire. (Although the final battle between Obi Wan and Anakin is a stonker of a fight sequence. Could we have had that with General Grievous instead? :>)

No transcripts this time, and no additional thoughts either because we’ve pretty much covered all of it.

Blog 708: Close, But No Biscuit – Star Wars – Part 6

Villains are critical to the success of any fantasy adventure. I mean, without some suitably bad-ass villain (bad ass-villain), what have we got to rail against? Needless to say, the prequel trilogy’s problem is that we don’t get a consistent antagonist throughout — although it’s Palpatine’s story, he’s only revealed to our heroes as the true villain at the end of the line.

In the mean time, the three films chew though a succession of minibosses who are not actually given enough time to breathe before they’re unceremoniously murdered — including one of my favourite character designs of all time, let alone of Star Wars, General Grievous.

We blast all over the three prequels here in this ostensibly Episode II-based chat so, once again, apologies for melting our own continuity.

No transcripts this time, and no additional thoughts either. We… er… recorded this one a while ago…

Blog 706: Close, But No Biscuit – Star Wars – Part 5

Okay, maybe I lied last time when I said Attack of the Clones was merely average — it does contain an absolute howler of a romance sub-plot. Anakin catches up with childhood crush Padmé Amidala and tries to win her over with the creepiest lines in the galaxy, but instead of rightly punching his lights out and running for the hills, Padmé… f-falls in love with h-him?

It doesn’t make narrative sense, let alone human sense. Alas, we can come up with all the “it would have worked if…” scenarios we like in our cosy, rarified little Writer’s Room (errr, Chris’s lounge), but this is and always will be canon. Blergh.

We start to drift into some Episode III chat in here so apologies for melting our own continuity. It’s an… er… homage to the source material…?

No transcripts this time, and no additional thoughts either. We… er… recorded this one a while ago…

Blog 704: Close, But No Biscuit – Star Wars – Part 4

The most damning indictment of Episode II is that it’s ultimately pretty average. There’s nothing truly unstoppably bad about it — there’s no massive in-your-face focal point of cringe to match poor old Jar Jar Binks. Maybe it’s death by a thousand cuts, lots of little things that snowball into a prevailing sense of malaise.

I’m quite excited for us to get to the original trilogy so we can expound positively at what went right rather than negatively about all the missed opportunites and blunders (or maybe we’ll need to discuss the spectacularly good Rogue One before the original trilogy now?), but narrative flow demands that we first examine the prequels — so here begins our journey through Attack of the Clones.

No transcripts this time, and no additional thoughts either. We… er… recorded this one a while ago…