The Mandalorian

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    Ben Saunders

    Just finished episode one. This is really, uh… boring, isn’t it? Everything’s so slow, dreary and lifeless. Extended sequences of just… walking around. The main character is a featureless nobody who never says anything. That works for a videogame character, so that you can supplant your personality onto the character. And it works for Boba Fett, because he’s a minor character with less than 10 minutes of screentime who is basically just there to look cool and serve a plot function. And even then he has one or two lines every time he’s on screen. But it’s like The Mandalorian relies far too heavily on you thinking that people who look like Boba Fett are inherently cool – they aren’t. Captain Phasma was lame. This Mandalorian is lame. There’s nothing to grip on to.

    Like much of Disney Wars, this seems far too reliant on brand loyalty and having us squee at things we recognise – Salacious Crumb! Parsecs! Those binoculars! Carbonite! Speeders! TWO cantina scenes in one episode! – and I’m struggling to imagine anybody wanting to watch this and praising it to the high heavens if it didn’t have the Star Wars name attatched to it. It’s clearly trying really, really hard to look like a movie, and it sort of does, almost, except it has none of the polish and pizzazz associated with that. The acting is fairly hokey a lot of the time, especially with the old dude offering the bounty and his younger assistant or whatever.

    There’s a jumpscare in it which you see coming from 6 parsecs away. There’s a character with an animatronic face which manages to be worse than the Neimoidians were in Episode I. The music is like wallpaper. The colours are all washed out and it might as well be in black and white, which is a trend we’ve been seeing with movies and television and games in general for years now.

    From the way fully grown adults who clearly live normal, well-adjusted lives were reacting on Twitter, I was expecting something a little bit more… grip-y.



    Half-man, half Delorean.


    Pete Part Three

    That it a god awful title.


    Pete Part Three



    Pete Part Three

    I watched the first three episodes. It’s shite. Won’t be watching any more.


    Flap Jack

    Alas, this show has not received a UK release! Sounds like I’m not missing out on much, though. There’s probably enough high quality Star Wars available between the movies, cartoons and books.


    Ben Saunders

    Always nice to have more, though


    Ben Saunders

    Is Disney+ really not available in the UK?



    Disney+ available in March in the UK.

    Probably available now with use of a VPN.


    Ben Saunders

    Looking forward to not paying for Disney+ come March, then



    I’m way ahead of you, I’m not paying for it now.


    Paul Muller

    I’m just going to kick the wasps nest and say, having watched the first two episodes, I really like it…


    Ben Saunders

    How dare you.


    Flap Jack

    At least The Mandalorian is a standalone thing and Disney+ has a confirmed UK launch window.

    The TRUE streaming-service-bullshit of 2019 is Warner Bros. declining to sell the Batwoman TV series for UK broadcast, even though it shares the same continuity and has crossover specials with 4 other DC Comics series which we do get, and the rumoured reason is that they want it to be exclusive to their own streaming service. A streaming service which not only doesn’t exist yet, but hasn’t even been announced yet.



    Like I always say, let me me fucking buy it or I’m pirating. Don’t give me an option? Don’t get my money.


    Jawscvmcdia (2)

    Katy, love. Please don’t swear, thanks.



    Could someone throw this cunt into a volcano, please.


    Ben Saunders

    With game companies and their DRM and the television/movie industry with their 1000 different £10-a-month-each subscription services with regional differences etc, they aren’t really going themselves any favours on the piracy front. Music is the one area in which they’ve actually somewhat sorted it out and made things convenient for the consumer. It’s still not perfect.




    The Mandalorian is a slow burning and enjoyable half-hour sci-fi drama, the kind of Star Wars I longed for after the admittedly poor sequel movies.



    I’m sure someone pointed out at the time they started to appear everywhere that streaming services aren’t actually consumer friendly, but it went unchecked.

    I negotiated down to £43 for Sky Q with all the packages (Entertainment, Movies, Sport) in 4K. Netflix 4K and Prime Video are getting close to being half as much just for those two. Once you have to get a different £8 a month service for every TV show Sky and BT will look cheap.


    Flap Jack

    I agree totally that Disney have only got themselves to blame for so many people pirating The Mandalorian. If Disney+ isn’t ready to launch internationally yet, either due to technical problems or because so much of their archival content is still licensed out to other networks, then they should just sell The Mandalorian to a regular TV channel. They can still make it exclusive to Disney+ when it finally arrives.

    And pretty much the same logic should apply for Batwoman… though irritatingly I actually did find a way to legally pay to watch Batwoman in the UK, so I can’t morally justify the piracy route in that case.

    From my perspective The Mandalorian doesn’t seem like a show that I need to watch urgently because it’s a prequel and it doesn’t even connect to anything else in the broader story as far as I’m aware. This puts it more on the level of The Clone Wars or Rebels cartoons in terms of importance, and I haven’t even watched those yet, so I’ve no issue with waiting and deciding later. But I still understand why people don’t want to wait.

    Though maybe if I did watch it I’d find out why people keep calling the main character “Mando” when surely it should be “Manda”.



    I think to be honest the reason it’s not ready for the Mandalorian is because they’re going to go heavy with Marvel stuff. As popular as Star Wars is, the franchise has been damaged almost constantly for the last 20 years, a brief uplift with Rogue One and Solo, but the main films have been anywhere from abysmal to alright, and the TV shows are quite good but have a limited appeal.

    MCU stuff will sell Disney+ subs in most territories, not Star Wars.


    Flap Jack

    Not sure that tracks. Marvel movies may be bigger than Star Wars (mostly due to variety/volume and the last 2 Avengers ones), but Star Wars is still a hugely popular, multi-billion dollar series globally. The last 4 films have been good to amazing, The Force Awakens is the 4th highest grossing film of all time, most of the Disney era stuff has been critically successful etc. If The Mandalorian is a draw in the US, it would be a draw in much of the rest of the world too.

    I can definitely see execs depending on Marvel for a backup plan of new launch content for the international markets, but it still feels like a backup plan.


    Ben Saunders

    >A brief uplift with… Solo
    Didn’t Solo underperform? Without discussing quality, just in terms of numbers. I think all of the Disney Wars movies sans Rogue One are boring or abhorrent, but they’re getting the numbers.



    Yes, Solo was considered to have done poorly, and was seemingly such a shock that they’ve stopped making Star Wars movies altogether for the time being while they regroup.


    Ben Saunders

    Star Wars Episode VII was always GOING to be one of the highest grossing movies of all time, regardless of its quality. It probably hit the top 10 on presale alone. The Star Wars franchise is surviving on brand recognition alone by this point.



    Star Wars fans like Solo though, apart from the weird implied “Lando is fucking a robot plot point” and it’ll be fans that buy services like Disney+.

    Force Awakens is alright, but The Last Jedi is up there with one of the worst films I’ve seen.

    I think the numbers for the Force Awakens have a lot to do with the hype, with it being a main Star Wars, not a prequel, and having the old cast in it. If you made as many Star Wars films as they did Marvel films, they wouldn’t get close to the same numbers – MCU films are bankers, you’ve got Avengers, Captain America, Spider-man, Black Panther all making up to and over a billion dollars at the box office. I don’t think Star Wars is anywhere near the same level, despite it’s 30 year advantage on the MCU.

    That’s just my hot take like though.



    Talking of The Last Jedi, I saw Knives Out last night and it’s great fun.


    Ben Saunders

    You couldn’t pay me to go see another rian Johnson flick

    Who even is “star wars fans” these days? Certainly not me and any of my real life friends, most of whom love and defend the prequels and enjoy rewatching all of the Lucas films even if they’re flawed, and who are/were really interested in the old EU. Are there any people like that for the sequel trilogy, people who really really care about all the pointless minutiae and side stories and comic books and wookiepedia articles, as we do/did for the prequels?


    Flap Jack

    Well, either The Force Awakens was good enough on its own merits to take The Last Jedi to a billion dollar gross, or hype around the Star Wars brand is persistent enough to take The Last Jedi to a billion dollar gross (or more likely a combination of both), but either way, it all comes down to the same thing: Star Wars is a big deal everywhere, and everywhere lots of people would have signed up to Disney+ to watch it.

    Like, it’s immaterial that Marvel is bigger than Star Wars, because Disney chose to prioritise Star Wars in America anyway, so it would be just as valid to prioritise it internationally too.

    Though it is a bit difficult to talk about the development of the Star Wars series when we disagree so hugely about the quality of the recent films. ;-)

    As far as I can tell (and probably as far as Disney can tell, too) the recent Avengers films are hated just as much as the recent Star Wars films. The difference is that Star Wars is a revived 40 year old series while the MCU has only been around a decade or so, so therefore much more of the Star Wars detractors are likely to be former fans – with all the incredibly vocal, often toxic online “engagement” that entails – which can make it seem like The Last Jedi gets a lot more hate than Avengers: Endgame or Captain Marvel, or that said hate is more valid. But it doesn’t, and it isn’t.



    I think the majority of Star Wars fans would be similar to the demographics of most Red Dwarf fans in the main, 30+, most likely 40 or over, sort of have your life in order at that age so you have disposable income to spend on shite like t-shirts with spelling mistakes on and plastic figures.

    Remembers being hyped for Episode I, played a lot of KOTOR, owns at least 2 expanded universe novels, bonus points if they have the Rebel Alliance or Empire emblems tattooed on their bodies.

    I don’t know how anyone can objectively say the prequels are good to be honest unless they came out at a time in their life where there’s some nostalgia but they’re certainly more worthy of caring about than The Last Jedi. Episode I is the best of the lot imo despite Jar Jar, I saw it in 3D when they were going to do the lot before Disney bought them, and it’s actually perfectly enjoyable but II and III are a slog.

    I don’t think there’s anyone who gives a toss about the current trilogy no, but there will be in about 10 years, all the 9 year olds that are watching The Last Jedi now and getting Poe Dameron action figure sets and those little puffin creature toys, they’ll be like you and your IRL friends are about the prequels, which I assume came out when you were preteen.



    We’ll see how accurate my age estimations are there, soz if you’re 50.


    Flap Jack

    OK, GT, art is subjective and thinking the current Star Wars films are unwatchable garbage is just a valid opinion as any, but surely you must realise that “I don’t think there’s anyone who gives a toss about the current trilogy now” is pure projection. A rejection of reality.

    Like, the popularity of, for example, Fortnite confounds me, but I’d have to pretty deep in delusion to say “don’t think anyone actually cares about Fortnite tbh”.



    I mean in a fanatical way, on its own. Plenty of people care enough to see it, but I don’t think there are people who are fanatically interested in just the sequels.

    It’s not a group I’ve ever seen.



    The Last Jedi isn’t unwatchable garbage. It doesn’t sit alongside The Force Awakens as clear a continuation with evident ties as The Empire Strikes Back was to A New Hope but it isn’t as murderously shite as a lot of people like to claim. It feels a lot like a hate race, seeing who can stamp on it the hardest for internet points.

    The Force Awakens is camp old nonsense, a spiritual remake of A New Hope and it works well as entertainment because Abrams understands the buoyancy that a Star Wars movie should have. The Last Jedi felt very stilted and broken in places intentionally. The ol’ cliche of subverting expectations was on show there and it feels more like a strange standalone movie.

    The Rise of Skywalker seems to invoke The Force Awakens, as an Abrams film and what seems to be a fair nod towards Return of the Jedi.

    Alas, it’ll make a ton of cash and in a few years, we’ll all be wanking over Episode X – An Even Newer Hope


    Flap Jack

    Plenty of people care enough to see it, but I don’t think there are people who are fanatically interested in just the sequels.

    You mean people over a certain age who love the sequels but either dislike or are uninterested in the original trilogy? Or just anyone who loves the sequels for their own sake?

    Because if it’s the former, then that’s a pretty weird bar to set. I’m sure many people like that exist, but Star Wars is too ubiquitous a property to conclude anything from that.

    If it’s the latter, then you can rest easy in the knowledge that the Star Wars sequels have a specific, massive and dedicated fanbase. Maybe even bigger than the Red Dwarf fanbase. ;-)



    This is true, there are 104 people who enjoy Red Dwarf, and 107 that enjoy Star Wars.



    The Last Jedi was alright, I thought.

    There sure is a lot of absolute shit talked about it online though. I think I could happily live without ever again seeing fans desperately try to objectively prove that it’s an awful movie and the worst thing since Hitler.



    It’s not a group I’ve ever seen.

    What, children?



    >What, children?

    Yeah, children I mentioned in my OG post, they’re the ones that will actually care about the sequels in about 10 years, but at the moment I don’t think there are adults that are fanatical about the sequels, more Star Wars in general.

    Red Dwarf and Star Wars are quite similar in that a lot of the diehard fans of both actually don’t seem to like it very much haha



    Are you saying that there is a cache of hardcore Red Dwarf fans out there who are obsessively critical of at least half of the television show that brought them together and as an extension, whinge about it on a third-rate fan site, literally years after the offending episodes were broadcast?

    Because you’d be mad to think that.

    Oh look, the abyss is staring back at me.



    Flap Jack

    at the moment I don’t think there are adults that are fanatical about the sequels, more Star Wars in general.

    It’s so odd to take a stance this absolutist. (Only a sith etc.) Most would just say that people who love the Star Wars sequels are a minority, which can’t be disproven just by anecdote, but all you have to do to disprove yourself here is find 1 adult who genuinely loves The Last Jedi. So… congrats! Job done.


    Ben Saunders

    The Force Awakens was inoffensive enough on its own merits to take The Last Jedi part of the way to a billion dollar gross, and hype around the Star Wars brand is persistent enough to take it the rest of the way there.

    They tried to market Rogue One and The Last Jedi really heavily in China, turns out the Chinese just don’t like Star Wars.

    I like the prequels and I don’t want or need to defend that opinion. Criticisms of the sequel trilogy are so often deflected into criticisms of the prequels and it’s all so very tiresome, I would like to be able to discuss one without mentioning the other. I do think the prequels have much more substance than the sequels, even if they are badly executed.

    I’m disappointed they stopped the 3D re-releases. According to the people who actually got to see the screenings of II and III at Star Wars Celebration(s), the 3D effects were done much better for the latter two prequels than the first, and actually benefited the overall composition of the film as so much love and care was put into the project. It was so successful that George Lucas expressed interest in taking another crack at Episode I, to bring it up to the standards of II or III.

    III is my fave, but I re-watched Episode I recently and found it was surprisingly not shit, after years and years of being told by angry nerds online that I really ought to dislike it. Sorry.

    The reason TLJ is so annoying to so many is that they view it, and the Disney acquisition in general, as a huge wasted opportunity. Imagine what good writers who care about telling good stories could have done with Star Wars Episode VII. Imagine the bonkers, off-the-wall bullshit we could have got from George Lucas himself delving deeper into the mythos of the Force, the Midichlorians and the Whills. Instead we got JJ “Mystery Box” Abrams and Rian Johnson. I didn’t give Johnson a middle name in order to subvert your expectations.


    Ben Saunders

    As an addendum to the 3D point, the 3D conversions also had better/fixed colour timing/correction from the weirdly pink DVDs, and various touched up visual effects. They had gone so far as to make a 4K master of A New Hope, again slightly touched up and with better colours, but they never got ’round to beginning the 3D conversion for it. The versions up on Disney+ are (I believe) what work was done on the 3D masters, just obviously not in 3D.



    Flap Jack I think you are taking my off hand/ hot take comments as some sort of research paper that is going to get published and get a lot of traction.

    It’s not and I don’t really care, it’s just my opinion. Not trying to upset anyone with it.


    Flap Jack

    You absolutely don’t need to defend liking the prequel trilogy, Ben. If it’s good for you, it’s good.

    Though the discourse surrounding Star Wars films would be a bit nicer if people refrained from hyperbolic harshness like “Imagine what good writers who care about telling good stories could have done with Star Wars Episode VII”. Come on, man, The Force Awakens was co-written by Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt! Those are both great, Oscar-winning screenwriters and obviously they cared. Saying this stuff doesn’t help your argument.

    Also, I don’t know why people keep pretending that any critic was making “it subverts your expectations!” as the entire argument for why TLJ was great. Obviously it was the particular ways they did this that helped make the film great, not just that it did it at all.

    Flap Jack I think you are taking my off hand/ hot take comments as some sort of research paper that is going to get published and get a lot of traction.

    It’s not and I don’t really care, it’s just my opinion. Not trying to upset anyone with it.

    It’s OK, GT, I’m not upset, just… confused. Opinions are all well and good, but “I don’t think any adult is fanatic about the new Star Wars films” is not a subjective statement, it’s an observation of an assumed objective truth.

    Sure, of course I’m not worried about your personal influence on this topic. I’m not worried about your influence on the classification of all the different types of birds either, but I would still very much be taken aback if one day you said “you know, I don’t think emus actually exist, I think they’re made up, I’ve certainly never come across one, just my opinion”.

    Then next thing you know everyone’s accusing me of caring too much about emu conservation.


    Ben Saunders

    Actually, I’ve become convinced over the years that Lawrence Kasdan got too much credit for having “written Empire”. He also wrote Return of the Jedi, if you’ll remember, as well as The Force Awakens and Solo. Empire and Jedi were both co-written by Lucas (Leigh Brackett’s credit is just Lucas being nice to her, they threw out almost all of her story). If you read the transcripts of the story conferences between Lucas, Kasdan and Marquand for Jedi and Lucas, Kasdan and Spielberg for Raiders of the Lost Ark, you really begin to get the idea that Kasdan is spitballing a lot of terrible or questionable ideas, and Lucas is the one with the deep, genuine understanding of movie making and his audience who has to shoot him down constantly. Kasdan was the driving force behind re-using the death star in VI and showing Yoda fighting with a lightsaber, if I remember correctly. He also really, really wanted Jedi to be dark as fuck in tone for some reason.

    Micheal Arndt, whatever I’m sure he’s lovely. But the Disney behemoth was breathing down their necks the entire time, I imagine. There have been some great points made about why JJ Abrams’ writing works for turning Star Trek and Star Wars into popcorn shlock extremely well, and how really if all you want is an ultimately forgettable blockbuster propped up by the name of a familiar franchise which doesn’t really upset many people that much, he’s your go-to guy. Very safe and very smart, but ultimately not very rewarding. After VII I recognised that the movie was all the things you’ve heard before – a safe remake of ANH with a mystery box approach that really exists just to remind people of the original trilogy and set up future movies – and accepted that, looking forward to what somebody with actual creative drive and ambition and some sort of real vision might do with the next installment. The some smart arse thought deconstructing things and subverting your expectations constantly was really clever and gave the nation tonal whiplash with his god awful gags, and I almost wished they had just played it safe again. I’m sure you’ve seen and heard every possible criticism of the movie and how it feels like a first draft etc etc, ultimately it’s just really not emotionally satisfying for me.

    “Subverted expectations” is basically a meme at this point, but I really do get the impression that Rian Johnson believes that just the simple act of doing so is clever or satisfying in its own right, when it really isn’t. If you’re going to do something like that, you have to make it emotionally or narratively satisfying, you have to make your twist superior to the obvious direction. He gave us… nothing. Nothing is important, your big bad is dead but our characters end the movie in basically the exact same situation they started in – a small band of “rebels” (because the movie forgot to call them The Resistance about 20 minutes in and just went with rebels again) fleeing the First Order.

    I almost want to go into “why did Luke leave a map behind if he didn’t want to be found”, “it’s really stupid how Finn, Rose and Poe can lightspeed away from the main plot of the movie to have their own little adventure, it deflates the tension of the chase and makes you wonder why everybody just doesn’t do that”, “how did Rey end up in the Millenium Falcon at the end”, etc etc, but you’ve probably heard it all before and I honestly don’t want any of it “explained” to me anymore. I just want to see if the next one is shit too and then hopefully move on with my life.


    Ben Saunders

    I’ve also recently began reading things I didn’t know previously about Empire – how it’s production was a total disaster, how the first edit of the movie was so bad it brought (I think Marcia) Lucas to tears, and how George had to step in as uncredited director on much of it, with the final cut being a compromise between Lucas’ action-packed vision and Kershner’s quiet, character-based version, resulting in both directors hating the final product. So there’s definitely a lot more going on there than Kasdan knocking it out of the park first try and them just making that.



    At this point I’m convinced that a lot of the ‘serious’ Star Wars fanbase is determined to dislike the new movies no matter what. They complained that TFA was too unoriginal and leant too much on the original trilogy, they complained that TLJ wasn’t true to the franchise because it moved away from that model too much, they complain about the character of Rey despite her being pretty much the same as Luke, they pick every plot development and joke in the new movies apart, it’s just all incredibly tiresome.

    These movies have only ever been light romps that have been as much about the great design ideas and effects as about the characters and plots, and I think on that basis the sequel movies have been fine so far – not great, but fine. They’re probably a little better written and directed than the prequel trilogy which again was ok (and on the other side of the scale offered a little more in terms of fresh new ideas than the sequel trilogy has).

    I do wonder whether part of the moaning is just fans getting tired of seeing basically the same things playing out over and over again (for all that people like to talk about TLJ subverting expectations and being too different, I thought it followed the ESB model pretty closely).

    It’s notable that everyone’s golden age of Star Wars seems to be whatever they saw when they were kids – so you have different generations that revere the OT, or the prequels, or Clone Wars, or whatever – and I’m sure we’ll get a future generation that feels the same about the sequel trilogy.

    To me, that suggests that they’re all a lot closer in quality than people like to suggest, and a lot of the complaining is subjective and stems as much as anything else from people growing up a little bit, and realising that Star Wars isn’t as fantastic as they once thought and is actually just a slightly silly space romp with some neat ideas and great visuals. I still enjoy the new movies on that level.


    Ben Saunders

    “You complained TFA was too safe then complained TLJ was too risky, therefore you just want to hate shit” really really is nonsense. TFA was safe in a shit way and TLJ was risky in a shit way. I’d enjoy something that was safe or risky, if it was actually any good. I really liked Rogue One (watched it just the other night and thought it was still decent) and I found Solo fairly inoffensive. If I was really just anti-everything I’d be shitting on those, too, but they’re alright aren’t they. So the idea that I just hate everything is utter nonsense.

    Also, the “it’s just a fun movies about space wizards” argument is also silly. Red Dwarf is just a sitcom, you’re still allowed to think VIII is shite.

    >I do wonder whether part of the moaning is just fans getting tired of seeing basically the same things playing out over and over again.
    You are right on this one. Despite all of TLJ’s surface level attempts to appear to be a new, original thing, it ultimately boils down to a tired old Rebels vs. Empire story. The prequels were infinitely more interesting because they actually expanded the universe and moved away from that conflict, while still setting it up of course.

    The golden age of Star Wars for me is 1977 – 2012 really, I loved all of it and could argue for either IV or III being my favourite.

    Again on the growing up thing, I still loved Rogue One. I still love Red Dwarf. I still loved Doctor Who up until recently. I still love Star Trek. I still love the old Star Wars movies. It really isn’t just me hating stuff now. I hate specific things. And even then, TLJ isn’t the worst fucking movie ever made. It’s just pretty bad in my eyes, it just so happens that people keep bringing it up all the time. Like how you’d think people on here spent all day every day hating VIII, but I’m sure they occasionally go outside and cook meals and do other things and ultimately they don’t cry themselves to sleep over it every night. They just like shitting on it online.


    Ben Saunders

    (I mean Red Dwarf VIII in that last paragraph if it isn’t clear)

    What is it with VIIIs?



    Also, the “it’s just a fun movies about space wizards” argument is also silly.

    Just to be clear, I’m not just saying that, I’m saying that they’re fun movies about space wizards that aren’t actually as far apart in quality as most people would have you believe.


    Ben Saunders

    I really think they are though, if nothing else the constant undercutting of any dramatic moments in TLJ with shitty Marvel humour is the biggest and most common complaint from people I know who even like the movie. It’s like Cat interrupting Rimmer’s speech in Siliconia, but over and over again for an entire film.


    Pete Part Three



    Flap Jack

    Actually, I’ve become convinced over the years that Lawrence Kasdan got too much credit for having “written Empire”…

    But becoming convinced that Kasdan fluked his way to Academy Award victory and didn’t actually care about The Force Awakens is not based on actual evidence, you’re just jumping to that conclusion because you don’t like some of his (cut) ideas or like The Force Awakens itself.

    Just as it’s completely unfair to give George Lucas little credit for writing Empire Strikes Back just because you hate the prequels (*cough* Red Letter Media *cough), it’s also unfair to do the same to Lawrence Kasdan, or, say, to give Rob Grant majority of the credit for Red Dwarf Series 1-VI just because you hate Series VII and VIII.

    Also the Michael Arndt dismissal is even more baseless. You don’t just write a modern classic like Toy Story 3 without any talent just because Disney is in charge.

    I wasn’t asking you to praise their writing on TFA or anything, just saying that it’s unreasonable to retroactively class people as hacks who don’t care about their work just because you personally didn’t like the result.

    “Subverted expectations” is basically a meme at this point, but I really do get the impression that Rian Johnson believes that just the simple act of doing so is clever or satisfying in its own right, when it really isn’t.

    But again, you’ve been given no reason whatsoever to think this (other than the fact that if it were true it would make your anger towards the movie feel more fair and righteous). Johnson subverted expectations in some ways with TLJ, but it all had a purpose beyond the subversion. You hating it does not mean it was done for no reason.

    There’s probably no merit in debating the actual content of The Last Jedi here (such as pointing out how many of your criticisms apply 100% to Empire Strikes Back ;-P), and if you hated it, then fair, you hated it. But it’s not helpful to invent this idea that Rian Johnson made The Last Jedi purely to fuck with the audience. The people who made this film tried their best to tell an engaging story, and it sadly failed to please everyone. That’s all.



    if nothing else the constant undercutting of any dramatic moments in TLJ with shitty Marvel humour is the biggest and most common complaint from people I know who even like the movie

    I know we’ve been through this before, but there’s silly humour like that throughout all the movies, OT and prequels and spinoffs and all.

    Han Solo’s “we’re all fine here, how are you?” is a great example (which I think is very funny, by the way). Loads of the Yoda stuff in ESB is goofy too, as are the Ewoks. And the prequels are full of stupid drama-undercutting comedy shit (naming no names).

    Again, as a criticism it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

    I do think it’s interesting though that those who grew up with the OT and liked it were disappointed with the silly and flippant bits in the prequels, and those who grew up with the prequels and liked them were disappointed with the silly and flippant bits in the sequels.

    I think that when you’re a kid you can take these kinds of movies too seriously in your mind, and that sets the tone of the universe in your head – so when the new movies come out (and they’re just as silly in places as the old ones were, but you’re in a position to recognise that now) it feels like a big tonal shift even when it’s all pretty consistent.

    It’s no coincidence that so many of the people who grew up with the prequels and reject the sequels on this basis gravitate towards the more serious and po-faced Rogue One, because that’s what they think Star Wars should be.


    Ben Saunders

    Again, attacking the previous movies is not defending the new ones.

    I’ll just say it’s a different KIND of humour with a different tone that permeates TLJ. You can still loosely describe it as “quips”, but it really is fundamentally different. It’s more self-aware and much more “gag”/one-liner based than the original trilogy and even the prequels, where the funny lines were much more based in-universe and in-chatacter, things the characters might actually say in those situations. There is very little “tense moment completely undercut by shit humour” in even the prequels. Attack of the Clones is worst for it, 3PO with a droid head in the Geonosis Arena is the closest we get to Marvel comedy in the Lucas stuff. But everybody agrees Attack is the worst Lucas film.

    Marvel humour does feel a bit like an evolution of the type of humour found in the older movies, but it’s become warped, it’s own kind of monster, and it’s much more absurd and “haha isnt the concept of star wars itself ridiculous” than ever before. If you dont accept this, whatever, I see it as infullable truth.

    Basically, you’re saying that because there is “humour” in the old films, I can’t complain about the kind of humour in the sequels. But I’m not just complaining that they do jokes, it’s the kind of jokes, the tone and the attitude they represent.

    It’s not like I don’t recognise that the old films are silly, I do, especially the Phantom Menace, its just these new ones are silly in a way that is much more egregious and much more damaging to itself than a fart gag or a poorly delivered pun.

    My favourite stretch of Star Wars is the opening act of Revenge of the Sith, aboard the invisible hand, which for much of it is the complete opposite of po faced and dour. It has a fun, adventurous tone, with plenty of in-character banter and joking around. “Not to worry, we’re still flying HALF a ship”. “Another happy landing”. “Oh, its you. ” etc etc. Magnificent stuff


    Ben Saunders

    Also, I didn’t criticize Arndt. I said I’m sure he’s lovely. Rian Johnson though, you genuinely get the impression from the behind the scenes stuff that he fancies himself an intellectual and just loves the smell of his own farts


    Flap Jack

    Seems like some hefty projection there. Rian Johnson is proud of his work (as he should be!) and so naturally he’s going to act as he feels. Taking this as him being some sort of smug, self-important arsehole is just a way to feel more resolute about hating the movie.

    This is another thing that’s reminiscent of the reaction to the prequels. There was a persistent projection of George Lucas as an arrogant, lazy, selfish control freak who had contempt for the fans. It was no more true for Lucas then than it is for Johnson now. As I’ve said, people like what they like and dislike what they dislike and that’s fine, it’s just the level of vitriol around this topic that is not cool.

    Also pretty funny that you keep going back to the “criticising older movies is not a defence of the newer ones” point, when you criticised the sequels by defending the prequels earlier. Comparison doesn’t suddenly become an invalid critical tool just because you’re talking about similarities rather than differences.



    Yes that jarred with me, that Lucas somehow had contempt for the fans or was lazy. As much as some people may dislike the prequels, he put everything he had into them, he did a hell of a lot of foundation work that allowed the FX and production teams to go about their duties without major hitches and it smacks of the fans wanting it one way and feeling put out when the creator of Star Wars decides to go another way and inject politics, world building and a sense of continuity and bring about an overall cohesive episode to episode storyline. I’m not their biggest fans, but the prequels do line up very well alongside each other, there’s a clear arc with Anakin and the Republic and emerging threat of the Sith.

    The sequel trilogy smacks of writing a film, setting up questions to be answered and that’s about it. The oft-quoted Abrams mystery boxes are evident in The Force Awakens and instead of Rian answering or continuing those mysteries while bringing in his own ideas, he just takes left-turns and very awkwardly subverts expectations of story and previously set-up plot. It begins with a rejection in Luke just throwing away the lightsaber and ends with some kids looking up into the night sky, what happens in-between has no reflection of what came before, no consequiences in what is happening at that very moment and no nods towards of what may come.

    The Rise of Skywalker feels like a salvage and a greatest hits for the previous episodes and it really shouldn’t be. It should be a firm and final resolution of the sequel trilogy and it feels like a tribute much like The Force Awakens. You can’t accuse Revenge of the Sith of being a tribute or a rehash, it’s a firm resolution to the Anakin Skywalker and rise of the Sith and Empire stories.


    Flap Jack

    … it may be a TOUCH premature to say what The Rise of Skywalker feels like. XD

    Honestly though, the production of these movies is too quick and too planned for the fan narrative of “OK if unoriginal start with TFA, screwed up by TLJ, Disney panicking to fix it with TRoS” to be at all reflective of reality. The broad strokes of this trilogy would most likely have been fixed since 2014.

    They “mystery box” aspect to people’s complaints can get a bit odd, too. The only real mystery box of The Force Awakens is the quest to find Luke, and at the end they find him, and then in The Last Jedi everything that happens with Luke and all we learn about Luke makes perfect sense with what had been set up in the previous film. Rian Johnson didn’t throw away or “subvert” J.J. Abrams’ mystery box, he satisfactorily solved the mystery.

    OK, maybe giving a mystery box a satisfying conclusion that doesn’t immediately set up another bigger mystery box is incredibly subversive in itself, but still.


    Ben Saunders

    Why did he leave a map behind if he just wanted to fuck off and die

    “It was a map to the first Jedi temple, not Luke” is incorrect

    The narrative Disney themselves have promoted is that they just let Rian do whatever the fuck he wanted with TLJ


    Flap Jack

    I’m sure RJ got a fair amount of freedom to work out the details, but I doubt Disney would have let him deviate from the overall plan for the trilogy.

    To be clear, I wasn’t saying that Epsiode IX hasn’t been written partly as a reaction to how Episode VIII was written (because obviously that’s how serialised storytelling works, regardless of which aspects were written and when), just that The Rise of Skywalker’s writing and direction would not have been reworked in response to the *reception* of The Last Jedi. That would be too late.

    The map question is a good one, and I don’t have a definitive answer. People seem divided between “he didn’t want to be found, but was open to being found if there was an *extremely* good reason” (which Rey wanting him to help with the Resistance is not) and the explanation you off-handedly dismissed, that Luke didn’t make the map as a breadcrumb trail for people to find him, people just deduced/knew that he’d gone to this jedi temple area, and had to go from there. Take your pick I guess.

    Thankfully the map question is at worst a minor plot hole. It’s not a big deal.



    Red Dwarf has been going downhill since ‘The End’.


    Pete Part Three

    >My favourite stretch of Star Wars is the opening act of Revenge of the Sith

    Could you not have opened with this statement and saved some bother?

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