I’ve been following the Last Jedi drama since the movie dropped back at the end of last year, it’s been a wild ride that’s for sure. As for The Last Jedi, no, I wasn’t a fan of it. At all. And it wasn’t because I dislike strong female leads either, I saw The Force Awakens 4 times in theaters. The Last Jedi to me was just unfulfilling on so many different levels as an old Star Wars fan who is over 40 years old, but it wasn’t just because they didn’t utilize the the classic characters in Episode 8 for one last adventure together. That was indeed a total bummer for sure. However, most of all for me it was because it didn’t feel like a cohesive sequel, it actually felt like one director (Rian Johnson) fighting actively against everything that came before it. Then serve up truly some subpar storytelling, with plot points that consistently go nowhere, dodgy “comedy” and wrap it all up into one dare I say rather boring mish mash of a feature film and you’re sure to have a ton of totally pissed off fans out there. Well, as we all know now, it indeed did piss of a legion of die hard Star Wars fans and one of them decided to take matters into his own hands. Enter a true Star Wars fan and professional editor Ivan Ortega!
Now I know there’s a lot of people out there that try stuff like this, but Ivan Ortega has real experience editing movies and tv shows under his belt. It’s clear with his Youtube channel’s content that he himself was indeed severely disappointed with the movie and has decided to use his skills to entirely re-edit it, actually changing many of it’s major plot points, trimming out the fat and even attempting to add in entirely new scenes altogether. At first I had my doubts about the execution of exactly what he wanted to accomplish and wondered how cheesy it might end up looking, but after watching a ton of his videos about the progress he’s made on the project, I’m really counting down the days to seeing his full cut of the movie. You wanted a real Luke Skywalker/Kylo Ren lightsaber duel? You didn’t like the Cantobite casino planet sub plot? Perhaps you were disappointed in the way Admiral Ackbar was killed off screen like it was no big deal? Totally bummed they killed of Luke? Hey maybe you thought Holdo was acting a like a prick when she could’ve revealed that she had a real plan to Poe? Well then I think you’re really gonna wanna check it out. Today the trailer has dropped for the new cut!I gotta say I’m fully impressed, this new trailer is a new hope indeed- Check it out!!!
So for a while there was a lot of talk about the anthology “A Star Wars Story” movies that were potentially in the works, that was until ‘SOLO’ bombed at the box office. An Obi Wan movie, a Boba Fett and even talk of a Lando solo adventure. However the one that interested me the most was the idea of a Yoda movie, where we follow the adventures of a younger Yoda. This for a while seemed like an actual possibility but besides Solo’s failure in theaters, Frank Oz had stated a Yoda movie would simply be too difficult to articulate the puppet for a feature length movie and would likely need to be fully CGI. I think it could be done, utilizing both old school puppetry blended with CGI. The more I’ve thought about it all the better the idea seems to me, that Yoda should indeed get his own movie though.
So in response to Frank Oz, I think doing incredible puppetry in 2018 with the Disney budget doesn’t seem all that impossible, especially with green screens, CGI being able to erase wires, strings & actors who’re controlling it’s actions. I think utilizing CGI as well to bring Yoda to life in full body shots / lightsaber duels is indeed a must but using puppetry for close ups is also a must. It would be the perfect mixture of both to make everyone’s green Jedi really come to life in an epic full length adventure. Doing it the way they did back in 70’s though? Yeah, I’m certain that’d be quite a headache, though in the 80’s they pulled it off beautifully in the ambitious Dark Crystal.
Which leads me to the next point, imagine a Yoda movie that was more of a modern mix of The Dark Crystal and Star Wars. A spin-off Star Wars Story that maximized the use of real Puppets, exotic locations/sets and a stronger blend of old school fx blended with todays modern tech. It’d definitely be something different for a Star Wars movie especially in this day and age of total overuse of CG in blockbusters. I imagine someone like Guillermo del Toro at the helm, or at least someone who truly loves practical fx work, epic fantasy and incredible monsters. Just the hype of the movie featuring heavy puppetry alone I think would bring something truly unique to the table for today’s young and old fans of the franchise. They could even add some animatronic modifications to the Yoda puppet, giving him more complex facial expressions & get help from The Jim Henson Company to bring it all to life. I bet you’d have a hit on your hands at the box office. Continue reading
I’ve been re-watching the original Star Wars trilogy lately (along with the prequels which are still pretty damn hard to sit through) and been thinking a lot about the latest trilogy’s aggressive backlash since ‘The Last Jedi’. It’s clearly evident there’s something that the originals had that these new movies are missing the boat on. Those first three films had a serious feeling of camaraderie along with strong totally relatable bonds between it’s diverse cast of characters, something that the latest movies seem to be struggling quite a bit with. I like the new cast but they really haven’t been given the screen time they deserve to fully develop into the tight knit unit that the original crew became so iconic as.
Let’s face it, the gang in the original had a certain chemistry among them that for some odd reason has been incredibly hard for ‘Disney’ Star Wars to replicate. In the late 70’s & 80s films were paced quite a bit differently as well and characters were given more actual story & screen time to be fleshed out, making their friendships all the more believable. We definitely got some tender moments in The Force Awakens between Finn, Rey, Poe, Leia & Han but it felt like ‘The Last Jedi’ just wasn’t able capture much real emotion amongst it’s large cast. Finn & Rose felt pretty forced, Rey and Luke lacked any chemistry, while Holdo and Leia really weren’t given the time together for their relationship to mean much of anything to the audience. Most of the main three new characters barely spent much time onscreen together at all. Think for a second about the way Luke, Han, Leia, Chewy, C3PO & R2 all felt together on an adventure onscreen, their friendships were a wonder to behold. They were all like family, I often compare them to the main characters in ‘The Wizard of Oz’. You really feel something genuine for them all that really warms the heart.
Well now we’ve got one LAST movie left of the “Skywalker saga”, Episode 9 has got a lot riding on it’s back since the huge division amongst rabid Star Wars fans. It’s got to unite all fans again and there’s really an easy way to do exactly that, however it seems for some reason Disney just can’t wrap their heads around exactly what will please both new & old fans alike. To me it’s obvious, first off avoid making this last installment a copy of ‘Return of the Jedi’. Devise a bit more of an original story, because as much as Rian Johnson thinks his movie was divisive because it was “so different than any of the previous movies” in actuality it really did borrow a ton of it’s “unique” plot points from Empire & Return of the Jedi. Secondly it’s clear, Star Wars fans STILL love the old characters-I keep hearing everyone in the movie industry saying-it’s not the old characters story anymore, it’s about the new. My question is, why can’t the story truly be about both the old and the new? Continue reading