Thursday, December 24, 2015

So, I got around to watching the new Star Wars picture yesterday.  And... eh.  Not terrible, not great, a passable spectacle with some lovely set-pieces and decent action sequences.  It was too busy, too long, and the script didn't make a lot of sense, carried along on a stream of dream-logic by which characters appeared when they needed to appear and possessed knowledge when they needed to supply that knowledge.  The settings often felt... hermetic, insular, cramped.

One of the great aspects of the original movie was the vast, empty vistas of the various locations, especially Tunisia and Guatamala.   The original Star Wars was a journey through a haunted unknown world, and we felt small and vulnerable before the trackless world outside Luke's sandy work-shed.  At times the new picture approaches that sense of horizontal vertigo, that this great ghostly potential might suck you right out of your seat into the beautiful void.

But the director and the editors are in too much of a hurry to let the space between things breathe. They clearly wanted the picture to be *both* A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back at the same time, in the same story.  But both movies inhabited their running-times totally, with no real space in between that could be clipped and trimmed to interweave them together the way they are in The Force Awakens. There are about three sub-plots too many in the picture, and it comes across like a wrestling-match in a telephone booth.

Almost all modern pictures are in too damn much of a hurry, afraid of silence, afraid of stillness.  They forget that motion only has impact in the midst of stillness.

Still, at least it wasn't the prequel trilogy, and they've beaten the demon CGI into submission.

BTW, is it just me, or does JJ Abrams' entire film career consist of cinematic fan-fic?  Super-8, Star Trek, The Force Awakens - they all play like a clever, technically proficient fanboy making peculiar off-tone stories out of beloved but somewhat out-of-character toys.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clean up the mess they had made"