Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Most last Jedi


I already wrote The last Jedi, which was not terribly specific about the themes and ideas I was so impressed by. I'm not sure why I didn't. In some ways I just used so much energy discussing my conflicted feelings that I was ready to finish by the time I got to the part of the things I loved. It probably has more just kind of simple thoughts, so it might be the better post to begin with.

Now I've given some of my defense of the prequel trilogy in Star Wars saga. Roderick Heath did a much better job in Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) / Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) / Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005).

What's important about the prequels in relationship to Star Wars: The Last Jedi is that Rian Johnson understood them and took them seriously as backstory. Whether he liked them or no not being relevant.

When Luke denigrates the failure of the Jedi, and when Yoda confirms that, Johnson is continuing the theme George Lucas built the prequel trilogy to show. It's that thing people tend to try to write clever articles that say "Hey, you know, if you really look, the Jedi totally screwed up. Snark. I figured out what Lucas did wrong." I guess because it's more fun to think you've got one over on Lucas than it is to think Lucas subverted your expectations and you didn't notice.

I think that's where Johnson's inclusion of Yoda to confirm that is excellent as a nod to that intention. By having a character who has existed through all of that recognize it is to acknowledge it as a core piece of the story.

Now, Supreme Leader Snoke being nobody in particular and Rey being descended from "nobody" is subverting what Lucas did, and for good. Man, do I love that.

I've got Star Wars fandom in my blood at this point. I might be more comfortable as one of those people who dismisses them, hates them or, more likely, was just pleasantly indifferent to them, as I am to so many similar franchises. But I'm not. It's one that caught me.

But the obsession with blood lineage, and the idea of social and historical importance descending through genetics, has disturbed me for some time. Yeah, "I'm your father" is a great story twist.

It kind of led the stories as a whole to a bad place on that one issue.

So, big kudos to Johnson for dumping that.

Especially big kudos for dumping that with such a vengeance. Allowing the voice of contempt for the idea to heard most clearly, even if it was the voice of the villain.

It is a contemptible idea and a shame on Lucas for keeping it going for so long.

And too bad, because I personally think that, for whatever one thinks of his success in executing them, his other ideas and themes are really strong and worthy of big movies that everyone sees to make them think about and consider.

There's also a lot about legends, people and storytelling that could, and should, be taken as a view of moviemaking and storytelling generally and making Star Wars specifically. I think finding a Luke/Lucas parallel in The Last Jedi would not be inappropriate.

But most importantly, it's a message of creation, which is one I needed the most right now, and what I need to take forward.

I find that all social media has this way of both making me - I think this is true in a much, much larger sense, but I'll stick with myself for now. - feel more frustrated and angry about the world, but to relieve just enough of that by "sharing" it. It's literally the least any of us can do, but in doing it so often, it feels just a little like it adds up, even if it adds up to nothing, or even diminishes itself with repeating. As such it's a habit I need to break off until I'm successfully doing something I feel good about.

I need to be saving what I love.

There's too much I hate for me to destroy it when it's all I'm focused on. I have Kim and Conan. I have stories I want to tell. In building those things up, I'll bring not only more joy to myself, but expand the joy of the world.

So, that will be a major part of a series of major lifestyle changes I'll be making in 2018, because that's what I grew up wanting to be. It's what I expected to be until I was thwarted by many things I was ignorant of. There might be another story in that, but for now, the point is I've spent a long time failing to live up to being who I think I always was at the core of all this madness, and it's time I do.

Thank you, Rian Johnson, for that much needed reminder, as well as for making a movie that subverted all of our expectations in such fun and meaningful ways.

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