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NeverarGreat

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11-Sep-2012
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22-Jul-2017
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Post
#1091945
Topic
Politics 2: Electric Boogaloo
Time

Trump 2017:
I’m halfway through the movie and it’s already Razzy material.
Phoned-in acting, cynical plot, literally unbelievable writing, zero forward momentum, gratuitous offscreen violence, and doesn’t know whether it wants to be a crime drama or a farce.

30/50 states.

Post
#1091917
Topic
Politics 2: Electric Boogaloo
Time

Warbler said:

my opinion is that the electoral college needs changing, and gerrymandering needs to be fixed.

It’s a good start, but this assumes that the majority tends to be right, and while it is true that a minority in control of all the levers of power makes most of the country unhappy, it is also possible that this minority could be in the right. What worries me is that with the erosion of good journalism and education, a con man like Trump could easily get the majority of the votes in an election. If that happens a fair and democratic system would work against us.

I guess I’m saying that good journalism and healthy discourse is just as important as a fair and free voting process.

Post
#1091890
Topic
Rogue One * <em>Spoilers</em> * Thread
Time

Now that Rogue One is on Netflix, I got the chance to watch it again last night. This is only my second time seeing it, and boy did it fall in my estimation on second viewing.

As an aside before I get into this lengthy review - the visuals remain stunning. Yes, Tarkin and Leia still look a bit fake, in the way that Jeff Bridges’s CGI double looked in Tron Legacy. They have come a long way, but still have a ways to go with realistic expressions. They should have hired some of the people who worked on the last Apes movie, that was some brilliant work. But overall, the look of the movie cannot be faulted.

I neither like nor dislike the hard open of the film. The first scene is one of the best in the film in terms of character, though even here there was some odd movement of the characters, such as the shuttle flying over Jyn’s head as she runs toward the house, then apparently circling around and landing far away from the house. Lyra’s choice to giver her life in an assassination attempt instead of protecting her child seems dubious, and Jyn’s choice to watch also seems needlessly reckless. These not-quite-right character actions will prove to be a theme throughout the film, as characters move to the beat of a predetermined plot or interesting spectacle above deep motivation.

After the heroic title swell, the exposition on multiple planets made me feel even more whiplash than in the first viewing. The scenes, in order, are:
Jyn wakes up in an Imperial prison
Cassian learns about the Death Star on a random trading post
Bodhi is taken to Saw’s Rebels
Jyn is rescued from prison
Jyn is taken to Yavin 4 and decides to go to Jedha
Bodhi meets Saw
We are introduced to Tarkin and the Death Star
Jyn has a dream (surely this was originally set before she woke up from the Prison scene)
Our ‘heroes’ reach Jedha
Bodhi is interrogated by a tentacle monster
Our ‘heroes’ enter Jedha city

The Jedha city scene is the first time I felt like the story was unfolding naturally, as Jyn meets Chirrut and Baze, and they make decisions as they are trapped in a location torn by street fighting. Everything up to this point feels like the film is telling me what I should care about and what I should know without giving me a reason to care. We should care about Jyn based on the first scene, but too much time has passed between her childhood and why she is in prison.

With regards to Jyn’s life, I am reminded of Batman Begins. Both stories have an (effectively) orphaned child growing up and being trained by an extremist military group before leaving that group and fighting for a less extreme, more idealistic vision. Batman Begins succeeds by showing us Bruce’s decisions at each step of his journey, from grieving orphan to angry youth to wandering vagrant to violent prisoner to willing acolyte to idealistic vigilante. Jyn’s journey, on the other hand, leaves us in the dark as to her decisions and motives. When we do finally learn of her journey to the prison, it amounts to Saw abandoning her in a bunker. Something is done to her, and we are only told of some later crimes she has committed which land her in jail. She certainly has every reason to turn to crime, but we have no reason to care since we haven’t made that decision with her. Our understanding is no deeper than an intellectual recognition of her victimhood. Even her journey to Jedha is compelled by the threat of sending her back to prison if she disobeys. Something is done to her, and she complies. This is why the Jedha city scene is the first real scene of the movie - Jyn makes the decision all on her own to save a small girl in a battle.

I found myself fascinated by Saw, and wished that his character had been more than a rough sketch. The hologram scene felt like the revelation and culmination of an arc that had been building for several acts, not the final note of the first act.

The Death Star intercut with the hologram scene borders on effective, but is undercut by Krennic impatiently ordering the Death Star to fire and then holding for fully three and a half minutes so that the plot can run its course. It’s very odd, since every depiction of the Death Star firing since then has shown only a momentary delay between the order to fire and the firing. Thus, instead of feeling suspense at the inevitable destruction, I felt impatience and boredom. Also strange for a movie of this scope and visual splendor is the lack of any new views of the Death Star interiors. I would have expected Gareth Edwards to have come up with shots of Kyber crystals being consumed as fuel, inner mechanisms of the station revving to life in preparation to fire, teams of technicians monitoring energy flows…any new angle on the established geography of the station. This would have given the firing more weight and realistically drawn out the sequence, providing the needed tension.

So now Jedha is gone and we are off to Eadu to kill the man that the Rebellion needs to save. It is at this point in a normal movie that our heroes would be returning to base, but then our hero would make an impassioned plea and the character in charge would acquiesce, while having an ulterior motive. This would be a reasonable, motivated decision by our characters, but instead Jyn’s still along for the ride as the guy in charge blindly follows the orders of a Rebellion that is acting illogically. To wit: even after they know that the Death Star is operational, the Rebellion still demands that Cassian kill Erso even though it’s demonstrably too late to stop the station. Cassian will still follow these orders even though it’s clear he believes that Erso is their ally. And Jyn makes the decision to save her father only after their course has been decided.

There isn’t much to discuss in the second act, since there isn’t much character being built. Jyn has already asked that the Rebellion steal the plans from Scarif, so she makes no new decisions on that front. She has already had an emotional reaction to the appearance of her father, so this one merely reinforces what already existed. Only Cassian makes a decision, but since his reasons for assassinating Erso were weak from the start, it isn’t a compelling change anyway. But now they’ve stolen a shuttle from the base they’ve just attacked, so the third act can happen.

But first, I’d like to take a detour to discuss Krennic, who makes quite a few of his own in the plot of this film. The Erso meeting in the second act is perhaps the biggest thematic detour, since this is on the heels of his conflict with Tarkin. They are in a battle over who gets credit for the station when Tarkin sends him on an errand to deal with Erso. After this meeting, Krennic immediately flies to Vader’s castle to demand Vader put in a good word for him with the Emperor. If this scene occurred directly after his spat with Tarkin, it would be natural and understandable. Placing it after the revelations about Erso’s defection and the attack on the base is less so, since a reasonable person would retreat from view to lick their wounds and hope the bad PR would blow over. It would make far more sense if Vader’s Castle happened at the end of act one, and acts two and three were concerned with Krennic’s damage control.

Jyn pleads her case to the Alliance, a case unchanged from act one. She fails to convince them, but she does get the support of a small subgroup, most of whom are entirely mysterious to us. It would have been interesting if they had rescued a group of Saw’s rebels from Jedha, and these were the ones Jyn recruited for her cause since they had a personal grudge against the Death Star. Alas, they are nameless grunts willing to disobey the Rebellion yet also so dedicated to it that they would go on an unsanctioned suicide mission. I thought that the point of Cassian’s arc was that loyalty to the Rebellion was difficult to subvert? Whatever, now we have our crew.

On their approach to Scarif, Bodhi mentions the possibility that they will recognize this stolen craft and they will die in the vacuum of space. It’s an attempt at suspense, but I wonder if it would not be more effective if this point was the impetus for their snap decision to go to Scarif. Consider that after Eadu, they instead decided to go to Scarif and bypass the Rebellion altogether since there was no way they could convince the Rebellion without Erso. The theft of the transport would be a ticking clock, as it would only a matter of time before the Empire recognized that it was missing. As it is, they are admitted without a hitch and the plot can proceed.

The final battle is still thrilling as an action setpiece, but there are many issues which are more apparent to me now. For example, the scene where Jyn and company decide on how to get the plans to the fleet makes little sense. After they recognize that they are trapped by the closing of the shield gate, K-2SO says that they could broadcast the plans to the fleet. They accept this as the only way to do it, then he immediately says that transmitting them is impossible without taking out the shield gate.

What?

Seriously, that’s what happens. For context, they are still in communication with Bodhi, who is still on board the transport and the transport is still free to fly. So instead of making the reasonable decision to get the plans and then meet Bodhi at the top of the tower, they commit themselves to broadcasting the plans without a plan for their own extraction. They instead tell Bodhi to get a message to the Rebel fleet telling them to take out the shield gate, something the Rebel fleet is already doing. The attempt to tell the fleet to do something that they are already doing leads to the deaths of Bodhi, Chirrut, and Baze, as well as the destruction of their shuttle. Furthermore, why would they assume they could even transmit anything out of the tower after it was in lockdown? The logical course of action would be to fly out of there in the shuttle and hope that the Rebel fleet managed to destroy the gate in time.

The final scenes of the film are fairly good, with my only complaints being a frustrating inconsistency between the implied sequence of events from ANH and the narrow, legalistic interpretation of Rogue One. “beamed to this ship by rebel spies”, “don’t know what you’re talking about”, and “traced the rebel spies to her” all technically fit the letter of the plot in Rogue One, but they do rather violate the spirit of ANH. The implication that the Tantive IV recieved long distance communications from a battle, Leia’s alibi due to this distance, and Vader’s detective work in uncovering Leia’s involvement are all contradicted by the events of Rogue One, so I can’t help but feel cheated out of a much more interesting and consistent version of events.

This post has been edited.

Post
#1091794
Topic
Politics 2: Electric Boogaloo
Time

Jay said:

CatBus said:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-lawyers-seek-to-undercut-muellers-russia-investigation/2017/07/20/232ebf2c-6d71-11e7-b9e2-2056e768a7e5_story.html?utm_term=.a974045f12c0

Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves.

Trump’s legal team declined to comment on the issue. But one adviser said the president has simply expressed a curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority, as well as the limits of Mueller’s investigation.

“This is not in the context of, ‘I can’t wait to pardon myself,’ ” a close adviser said.

Of how I do revel in the fact that the President can only pardon federal crimes. RICO, money laundering, fraud, tax evasion, they can all be prosecuted by states. Schneiderman may end up being the hero in this piece too. Although Trump may be roomies with Snowden by the time it gets around to that (assuming Snowden’s place is watertight).

My biggest hope is that the Trump empire is brought crashing down with the entire family rendered penniless and inert due to RICO asset forfeiture.

If it works, we could take down many notorious criminals via electing them to the presidency. The sky’s the limit!

Post
#1091666
Topic
Politics 2: Electric Boogaloo
Time

DominicCobb said:

I 100% think things would have been better the other way, though I will say the fact that Trump got elected means we have to own up to the fact he got this far at all, rather than just hide it under the rug and pretend everything’s okay. So yeah the activism and the increased awareness in current issues is probably the main positivity of note.

To draw a metaphor, I feel like the nation is like a person with a bad junk food habit and nonexistent exercise routine, who has denied this to themselves for years and finally admitted it in public. It is a good first step, but I fear that as a nation we will not do enough to combat the problem of partisan hackery and genuinely fake news, nor recognize that the problem with our government is that it has become a playground for financial gain, cynical deception, and extremist ideology rather than the abode of patriotic citizens capable of compromise.

I despair at times for it is so easy to fall into the echo chambers of our own making, both on the left and right, and respond with biting and easy retorts to any dissent for the support of our respective tribes. I am not absolved from guilt in this regard. The task, as I see it, is to hold ourselves to a higher standard of discourse, to always look toward de-escalating political rancor, to avoid demonizing political opposition in favor of seeing others as ultimately decent human beings. Such a standard is unnatural, and thus fragile, making it all the more important to cultivate and rigorously uphold.

This post has been edited.

Post
#1091656
Topic
Politics 2: Electric Boogaloo
Time

TV’s Frink said:

I’d still rather live there. At least Syrian babies could get in the country and old Americans would still have healthcare.

I’m on the fence about it. On the one hand, yes, Trump has done some heinous crap and eroded the norms of political discourse, but one could argue that this had already happened in 2016. At least in this universe, the Republicans can’t constantly blame the Democrats for the state of the government (though they continue to try), and there is at least a chance that the midterms will be favorable to the Democrats.

Post
#1091446
Topic
If you could only remove one SE change...?
Time

TV’s Frink said:

NeverarGreat said:

The fact that they now fire pretty much simultaneously allows for the interpretation that Han intended to shoot first, but Greedo got off a shot.

Ugh, this retcon still bothers me much more than an (admittedly very distracting) rock.

Hey, I’m not saying I’m happy with it, just that I can now blink and miss the change.

Post
#1091440
Topic
If you could only remove one SE change...?
Time

The rock was a poorly implemented, visually discontinuous addition whereas the Greedo shootout is indeed much less objectionable in the 2011 Blu-ray. The fact that they now fire pretty much simultaneously allows for the interpretation that Han intended to shoot first, but Greedo got off a shot. Not a dramatic character difference from the original in my opinion. I can totally understand why a weird rock face which appears in a good half dozen shots would be a more jarring than a split second cut during a shootout.

Post
#1091410
Topic
The problem of Owen Lars
Time

yotsuya said:

thelonius said:

Give the guy a break, he aged at least four decades on only 19 years.

When you look at the ages of the actors who played him and consider that people’s skin age faster under harsh sun, the discrepancy shrinks. If you make the Clone Wars longer (three years is too short for such an epic, galaxy spanning, Republic destroying conflict) Owen and Beru’s ages make more sense in the PT and their apparent age in Ep 4 no longer is off at all.

Granted people can look older than they are, but Ewan McGregor was around 35 when filming ROTS, and Alec Guinness was in his 70s when filming Star Wars. Sure, actors don’t always play characters that are the same age, but unless it’s obvious through makeup or exposition it’s a good metric. I could see McGregor being as old as 45 in ROTS and Guinness being as young as 65, but it strains credulity:
rough years
I also can’t help noticing that Guinness’s nose and ears are proportionally much larger than McGregor’s, and this is a characteristic not of harsh environments but of advanced old age which only gets more pronounced in Empire and Jedi.

Post
#1091397
Topic
Politics 2: Electric Boogaloo
Time

SilverWook said:

TV’s Frink said:

Standing by your man is one thing, refusing to even read the email where your man’s son blatantly admits what you don’t want to believe is something entirely different.

At least I think it is. I don’t remember much of Nixon. :p

Denial plain and simple. I suspect a whole lot of people are going to need therapy when the dominoes start falling and reality won’t go away. Or they’ll just repeat “Trump was framed!” like a mantra.

“His name was Seth Rich!”
“Loving the Liberal Tears!”
“Nobody said #draintheswamp was easy! MAGA!”
“This is MSM FAKE NEWS conspiracy!”
“Primary unpatriotic RINOS!”

Whenever I peer into the depths of Brietbart this stuff seems to be the most popular.

This post has been edited.

Post
#1091362
Topic
Han - Solo Movie ** Spoilers **
Time

I’m sure that was intentional. For what intent, who knows.

I enjoyed most of the video, but their cynical humor isn’t for everyone.

Post
#1091329
Topic
The upcoming movies thread (alternatively: the trailer thread)
Time

darthrush said:

Jeebus said:

New Blade Runner 2049 trailer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZOaI_Fn5o4

Not a fan of this trailer. Firstly, why the hell does this trailer start with a 5 second trailer for itself?

I’m not averse to action at all, but the action scenes presented in the trailer seem fundamentally un-Blade Runner. I think that’s partly due to the way the trailer was edited. This trailer is trying to market the movie as an action film for mainstream audiences, so it follows the mainstream trailer formula. It’s always a landscape shot or two, someone talking (sometimes to another person), action clips with overbearing drums, repeat ad infinitum.

The cinematography is gorgeous and the soundtrack is killer, though.

Agreed. But hands down the most disappointing aspect of it was that they basically confirmed that Deckard was a replicant, and I DESPISE that theory.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_Runner_2049
"When Scott was asked about the possibility of a sequel in October 2012, he said, ‘It’s not a rumor—it’s happening. With Harrison Ford? I don’t know yet. Is he too old? Well, he was a Nexus-6 so we don’t know how long he can live. And that’s all I’m going to say at this stage.’"

The general consensus is that Deckard being a Replicant diminishes the story of the original film, and though I have never much cared for the Blade Runner universe, I agree. It seems like Ridley Scott has entered the phase where his interpretation is the right and valid one, even at the expense of the basic theme and continuity of his franchises. Sounds like another director I know…

Post
#1090791
Topic
Next Movie Seen
Time

Most big trailers on the internet show a 5 second summary before the trailer proper because that is the amount of time it takes for the skip advertisement option to appear when it is an ad on YouTube. It’s dumb and annoying, but understandable.

Post
#1090593
Topic
Should Vader and The Emperor even know who Yoda is?
Time

Yoda to me feels very much like a spiritual guru who has stayed out of the way of galactic history for the most part, gradually growing in wisdom and power throughout his life. At some point Jedi began to seek him out for his wisdom, and they gave him the title of ‘Jedi Master’. His teachings are different than those of Obi-wan, leading me to believe that he adapted his long-form method of learning into a condensed Jedi training course, but this wouldn’t afford the same power as he has accrued through long centuries of meditation. This is why he is so astonished that Luke was almost able to lift the X-wing. He is concerned with Vader and the Emperor because of their dark influence, but he is not diametrically opposed to them. A force of nature as you say. He definitely identifies as a Jedi to some degree, hence his telling Luke that Luke will be the last only when he himself dies. Yet he tells him this in the context of ‘passing on’ what he has learned. In this way, a Jedi is one who knows about the light side of the Force and rejects the dark side. In this way most of all, Yoda is essentially a Jedi.

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