My Thoughts on The Force Awakens

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When it was first announced in October of 2012 that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm for $4 billion and that Star Wars Episode VII was on its way for 2015, I wrote the following:

Star Wars isn’t about the setting for me. Its power for me is the power of the mythic story and characters. With the original story arc complete and the back story told, I find it hard to get excited about something that will almost certainly wind up being derivative or if original, something that could have just as well been told outside of the Star Wars setting. It’s the difference between a story that is broken up and told episodically versus a story that gets an uncalled for sequel. I’m open to being proven wrong though.

Despite this initially reserved greeting to the announcement of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, I warmed up to the idea when early reports indicated that George Lucas had sold Disney story treatments for Episodes VII, VIII, and IX that would serve as a basis for the new films. If anyone had good ideas about how to continue the story in an authentic manner, it was him. My cautious optimism for the films gave over to mounting anticipation until by the time that the The Force Awaken‘s first teaser trailer arrived on Black Friday of 2014, my excitement soared, and I began counting down the days until the new film’s arrival.

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A Brief History of Prequel Bashing or Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Star Wars Prequel Posters

As the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens draws near, we find ourselves in the midst of an enormous wave of Star Wars enthusiasm unrivaled since the release of 1999’s Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. That film like the forthcoming entry heralded the return of the Star Wars Saga to movie theaters after more than a decade of absence. But unlike The Force Awakens which will bring back familiar characters from the original trilogy and continue where 1983’s Return of the Jedi left the story, the prequel trilogy had the challenge of introducing an almost entirely new set of characters in unfamiliar settings while telling a different sort of story than the one that it was setting up. Despite initially being well-received by audiences world-wide and proving to have strong legs that produced record box office totals, by the time that its sequel Attack of the Clones debuted in 2002, The Phantom Menace had fallen into disfavor in the eyes of conventional wisdom. Now, a decade since the release of Revenge of the Sith, the Star Wars prequel trilogy is commonly the object of disparaging remarks and often dismissed as a failure when in fact, I would argue that these three films taken together instead constitute the saga’s artistic zenith. The Star Wars prequels are unfairly maligned, under appreciated films whose charms and greatness have been eclipsed in the public conversation by a vocal minority of myopic, overzealous armchair critics hyper-focused on real and imagined flaws in the films whose reach, voice, and influence have been excessively amplified by the echo chamber of Internet forums and the subsequent online media frenzy of gossipy entertainment media. Continue reading →

Feeling Annoyed

I’m feeling annoyed that I made a stupid resolution to write these things daily this year. I’m not entirely sure that this is the root of my annoyance though. It’s actually highly likely not. We played games with friends this evening and before the gaming we had dinner during which we talked briefly about sinus infections and allergies and treatments. I am currently taking prednisone along with some antibiotics and a nasal spray because my allergy doctor was concerned about the fact that I seemed quite congested at our visit after I had been undergoing treatment with allergy shots over the last six months. He basically wanted to treat me for a possible case of chronic sinus infection.

This particular treatment has been awesome. I’m able to breath clearly through both nostrils which is something rare for me and not really something can remember. Even when my nostrils were “clear” before, I can see now that they weren’t as clear as they’ve been over the last five days of treatment. Today was my last dosage of prednisone. I had mentioned this in passing to our friends, and they had related warnings how prednisone can make one irritable. I had seen that it could possible cause depression.

In retrospect, I think it may have been effecting my mood in this way. It’s hard to tell though because I’m naturally prone to feeling depressed when it’s rainy and overcast as it has been for the last few days. Today was extremely foggy and wet and dreary. As I was feeding the dogs this morning, I was disturbed by the grating slurping sound of rain drops hitting the saturated foot mat that we have on our back porch. Drip. Drip. Drip.

It did seem as though an internal fog shrouded my thoughts today painting everything as grey as the world outside. We can expect more of this ickiness tomorrow and Thursday – possibly with some snow flurries. I hate snow flurries. Once we I had never seen snow accumulation, the sight of snow flurries dancing light walzes in the air had been a jolt of excitement, but now they are just a reminder that I’m far away from real snow and the possibility of skiing.

So now the question is whether or not the irritated state of mind that I found myself in when I started writing this entry was from the prednisone, the mere suggestion that prednisone could cause irritation, from going to bed too late last night, finding the rules of Race for the Galaxy frustrating, or all of the above.

Of course, there’s always the background malaise of the suffering and death piling up daily everywhere. The abandoned pets being executed. The homeless people living a wretched existence. The people weeping over the loss of loved ones. People getting sick or dying for lack of access to health care. People losing their jobs and then their homes. People who are better off spitting words of contempt like fiery projectiles onto the heads of the poor. Bombs dropping to shatter buildings and bodies.

I could continue, but I’ll stop now. I’ve met my quota and I think I’m rather tired.