Sunday, 4 September 2011

Another bloody Star Wars controversy

The Star Wars films have a new blu-ray release, a few changes, and of course, whining fans in their forties.

The problem? The addition of two subtle "no's"in the Darth Vader Bobble-head emotional scene at the end of Return Of The Jedi, before he kills the emperor. Now this is not the "nnoooooooooo!!!" like the end of Revenge Of The Sith. Its a simple no. Its quiet. It helps take your attention to the bobble-head movements of David Prowse in the scene. It kinda helps an unfortunately directed end scene to be honest. I kinda liked that one of my least favourite scenes in all six films was improved. Now apparantly people have had enough. Jesus.

Am kinda bored with this. Essentially, despite what geeks may protest, there have not been many changes to Star Wars over the years. The Greedo thing was the most controversial. I wasn't very impressed with the room full of storm-troopers as I can imagine something better (and the added Jabba scene slows down the pace a bit) But who cares. I've seen worse in movies I respect. (Come on, let's complain about all the plot holes in Blade Runner). But over-all, I've never been that bothered. Its not changing plots or doing much damage. The films still work. They're still fun. Its a few minor edits. But for some, ye gods!

An article is on-line suggesting that some people show grow up and I think that's fair.

As I am going to now write about Paul, I should add that, as usual, the most unintenionally funniest hissy-fit came from Simon Pegg. He was going on about the Greedo scene (we got a compromise, give it a rest)  and Hayden Christiansen being at the end of Jedi as a ghost. So instead of some old guy that no-one has any connection to, from a very weak, tacked on Darth Vader death scene, who that you see for about a minute as a ghost, and who looks different, we get the guy who played this central character for teh series for two entire movies, and had most of the main dramatic moments. If they hadn't changed it, I would have thought it odd and unsatisfying. So its nit-picking for the sake of nostalgia.

But I am going to be nice about Paul. It was funny. It worked, was a good minor comedy. As with Hott Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, there are good little running jokes and character beats. The stories are constructed to be more like 80's Robert Zemckis films than the obvious Speilberg- Romero influences, especially in this case Used Cars, which had a similar accumulation of crazies and whackoos in central and supporting characters in backwoods America. The director Greg Mottola, was the strongest part of this set-up. He kept the film balanced so it was never too over-the -top in the wilder parts nor too slow in character parts. The main flaw of the film is the usual Pegg weakness, that he's too tied to the past and doesn't manage to find new ways to look at the set-ups. In Shaun Of the Dead the way the zombies mixed with the London urban surroundings  and dysfunctional character set-ups made it work and not be a problem but in this one there was less character invention, scene to scene invention beyond relying on actor quirks, and the film at times had the feeling of a collection of I loved that from other movies, especially ET, replaying images without enough tweaks to make it interesting or memorable. By the end it was kinda getting annoying that so little effort had been made to step out of fanboy mentality and try and have an idea of its own. So the film was good but not stellar.

Seen some other films. The best one was by far I Sell The Dead, a low-budget grave-robbing/Burke And Hare derived horror comedy, set in the 19th century, where the bodies dug up turn out to be real monsters. The movie has a lot of charm and invention, has little stories and adventures within the central one, which is of a grave-robber telling a priest of his wrong-doings. It is proud to be a horror movie, to have joy with twisting convention, keeps using its structure and monsters in an intriguing way (one of bodies dug up turns out to be an alien, which is funny considering its time-period setting). It stars horror director Larry Fesseden and former hobbit Dominic Monaghan, and both seem to be enjoying themselves.

I've seen Super, with Rainn Wilson as a crazy wannabee superhero. Its not as good as I hoped, feeling a little over-long even at one and a half hours but does have a lot of good elements that makes it worthwhile. It puts the recent Watchmen and Kick-ass to shame in regards to invention regarding DIY superheroes and how crazy they must be, as well as detailing the levels of nuerosis and weakness that propel them to the need to stake out something for themselves. I especially like the link of pulp morals to Christian fundamentalism and how that can warp someone who a few problems to go absolutely beyond the acceptable. Its low-budget intenionalyl schlocky feeling is sometimes a good thing, when it comes to the nromal part of the film, to character beats, to how fantasy affects people in a the normal world, but can be a limitation as the film moves on, as the film can sometimes feel unintentionally cheap. But its a minor flaw in a fun film.

I also watched MacGruber, which is a fun if slightly over-long 80's pastiche. Its a film that needed a slightly more inventive plot to string the jokes through but soem of the jokes are brilliant so you can't complain too much. Its a fun movie with a good cast hamming it up.

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