So I saw all the episodes of the new Star Warstrilogy at least twice: Episode 7:The Force Awakens (TFA), Episode 8: The Last Jedi (TLJ) and Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker (TRS). I want to take a deeper look at the stories from a writer’s perspective – as I’ve written and published several books I might have some experience to light the discussion-fire regarding the flaws of plot and story in the new trilogy.
Star Wars is the Saturday matinees of our lives rolled into one irresistible fantasy seductive enough to make lifetime movie addicts out of the young and born-again innocents out of the rest of us. Richard Cuskelly Film Review, May, 25th 1977
So, The Force Awakens is the first episode of the trilogy and is more or less a rehash of Episode4: A New Hope (ANH) from the original trilogy. Disney, who bought the franchise from George Lucas in 2012, played it safe, hired former Star Wars script writer Lawrence Kasdan and Star Trek soft rebooted franchise director JJ Abrams, who did what he can do best: forming an original material into good looking films (lens flare) with lots of fast paced action (dynamic camerawork) and delivering mystery boxes (TV-Series Lost!) along the way.
Rian Johnson took over for Episode 8: The Last Jedi and disregarded almost all the questions JJ Abrams and TFA left unanswered and subverted the expectations of the audience who believed to get a rip off of one of the best Star Wars movies: Episode 5: The Empire strikes back. Instead, Rian Johnson played it risky and turned beloved Star Wars tropes upside down. The film divided the fan base and was so hated that Disney and LucasFilm played it safe again for the last episode of the new trilogy: The Rise of Skywalker.
They hired again JJ Abrams who almost undid TLJ, gave the fans what they wanted and Rian Johnson the middle finger: a very fast paced action adventure, similar plot like Episode 6: Return of the Jedi and a well known villain. Despite the fan service, all is not good again. It’s a mixed bag now. It will be seen how Disney can handle the backlash of the fans and the diminishing box office revenues:
To make a long and boring story short, the new Terminator: Dark Fate is a snoozefest. Nothing new, same old in every scene. Compared to the marvelous JOKER, this movie is embarrissing on all fronts. Hollywood is still rehashing old classics with a broad fan base, because money! Disney did it with The Force Awakens, which was a copy of A New Hope and succeeded – the fans wanted a new Star Wars movie so eagerly, that they accepted a copy and paste script. But with The last Jedi things got out of control. So, the production company for the new Terminator thought to play it safe and copy and paste T2 and hire good ol‘ Arnie and Linda Hamilton. But the times they are a changin‘ and the audience doesn’t accept lukewarm cash grabs anymore. We can only hope that Hollywood got the message.
P.S: The mainstream critics see the new Terminator on par with JOKER. Really? I mean, what kind of brain does it need to think that a generic boring action flick with no soul is as good (or bad) as JOKER? I guess something is rotten in mainstream media. Strangely enough the audience scores for Dark Fate are absurdly high, both at Rotten Tomatoes and imdb. I guess, Hollywood got some help from Silicon Valley.
P.S.S: I have a feeling that soon enough, ranting about a movie will be classified as hate speech. More and more movies and tv shows were made with an underlying political message. This kind of propaganda is despised by the audience. The new Batwoman series (CW) gets destroyed by youtube reviewers left and right (this is funny as hell) and the new mediocre Watchmen (HBO) series has nothing to do with the original comic book or movie.
This is just my opinion, arrived at by personal research on the web.
More than a month since the (allegedly) biggest mass shooting in the history of the USA took place in Las Vegas and we still don’t know what exactly happened. The officials, to be sure, gave us some pieces of the puzzle, but if we wanna get the whole picture, sorry, there is none. How long will it take before the public will be fed up with all these botched investigations, covered-up by mainstream media?
Okay. So this blog entry is entirely written in English. Why that, you may ask. Because I hope that none of my facebook friends will bother to read this entry. Yah, it’s a kind of a rant and I try to do my best to be as truthful as possible. As Billy Wilder famously said: „If you are going to tell people the truth, be funny or they will kill you.“ Or you could write in a language nobody understands. The only language to tell the depressing truth and be funny the same time is English. Seriously. Want proof? Go, look up the late standup comedian George Carlin and watch his shows. It’s great. It’s funny, hell, this guy was a genius, he could play with words, with meanings and every sentence, every gag tells the truth, nothing but the truth.
Okay. So let’s get straight into the matter. I am a writer. Yes, I write books for a living. Or I try to do exactly that – all on my own. You know what that means, do you? Right. I am a self publisher. In 2006 I published my first book Rotkäppchen 2069. A Science-Fiction-Terry-Pratchett-meets-Douglas-Adams-type of adult literature. The complicated virtual-reality-story is very absurd, very funny and I can assure you, in the end all works out. But for most of my readers, it was too absurd, too weird, too kinky. „Shyte“, as one of my best friends told me back then. But nevertheless, I sold some copies.
Two years later I tried a new approach. This time, I published a historical novel, the first in a historical–fiction–series about the French Revolution 1789. The second part came out 2010 and had an Agatha-Christie-like setting – at the end of the book, the crime will be solved but, of course, with a twist (actually there are two twists). The third (2012) and (not published yet) fourth part are darker and bloodier. No publishing house in this world would have allowed his author to change the light and amusing tone within a series. The reader might get confused or could be deeply shocked („Darling, calm down! What do you mean with rape scene?“).
In between, I wrote a screenplay. Until now no one in the Austrian Film Biz shows the slightes interest in it. Despite the fact, that the plot plays with the most iconic Austrian movie of all time. Sound of Music? Nope. The Third Man. I published the whole screenplay in 2009 – and the book got good reviews, sold pretty well. Hell, even a nice guy in Oregon bought the ebook and read it. I hope Steve is doing well with his own books.
Some years later, I discovered the manipulation of the people. I became a conspiracy nut. Hell, that was exciting. John F. Kennedy. The Apollo-Missions. Watergate. The Federal Reserve. 9/11. The War on Terror. You name it. I looked into the matter. I did my research. For almost 3 years. In the end I published the non-fiction book „Conspiracy – a different truth“ in 2014. Almost 700 pages long with over 1200 foot notes. But I didn’t touch the usual suspects. That’s boring. By now everyone should know that the Apollo Missions are fake and that Oswald was a patsy. So I decided to tell the reader historical facts the mainstream media and publishing houses are ignoring or downplaying. My book is only the tip of an iceberg but nevertheless it’s a start. If you don’t know the past you will never understand the present. If you really want to know what is going on in this world, you have to walk the walk, down the rabbit hole. The reality is not pretty but it’s the reality.
Last month, in May 2015, I published my new novel (an autobiographical fiction as I call it). The book tells the story of a young man and his relationship with 10 women. Nothing new under the sun, you would say. Except that the guy is struggling with his inner sex-demons. In other words, he is into Bondage. If you don’t know what that means, it’s about tying up a girl. Yah. That’s it, more or less. Could you compare it to Fifty Shades? Yah, you could but be aware that the Shades-Trilogy is a nice fantasy – the story in my book on the other hand deals with real life, real people, real problems. Sometimes it’s boring, sometimes it’s exciting and sometimes it’s everything in between.
I tell you it’s a hard time to publish books all on your own. It seems that everybody wrote some kind of novel. If you go to a party and talk to the hot lady you can be sure that she will ask you one question only: „Who is your publisher?“ As soon as you tell her that your are a self publisher, she nods with a smile and walks away. Nobody is interested in an unsuccessful artist. You can do whatever you like – shit in your pants, urinate on a painting or sprinkle your blood on a blanket – as long as you make a lot of bucks you are the darling of the press. Quality? Don’t be kidding. Quality is not important at all. Nobody will tell you that – because it’s embarrassing for our society. We pretend to see the new clothes the emperor is not wearing. Take Fifty Shades as a good example for that. It sold zillion of copies. I read half of the first volume and I wonder why is it that this sloppy written book is on almost everybodys bookshelf. I am not a native speaker but I know for sure that the writing is awful. The answer is plain simple: It’s on everbodys mind because it’s on everybodys mind. The more reader the more reader. Therefor you can do whatever you want you will never be successful – with only one exception: you know the right people in the right places. But make no mistake you cannot call these key players, instead they call you. Perhaps.
If I look around I see a lot of unsuccessful artists. Everyone is trying. Everyone is failing. And not one will tell you about his or her misery. Smile and keep going – this is the mantra of the losers. It’s sad to see their facebook and twitter postings – they want success and the only thing they get are likes and re-tweets. Imagine a friend of yours knocks on your door and he tells you that he is in deep shyte and he needs some money and a bed for the next couple of nights. „Great. That’s fun. I like it, bro“, you smile, close the door and swallow some antidepressant-drug. That’s how it works. Social Media is a hellhole – if you like it or not, you have to play the game.
Our society is in danger. Because success – if ever – is short and the walk you have to walk might be painful – but almost everybody is looking for it. We compete against each other. That’s not how it should work. Civilization is based on cooperation not fighting. But you will never read something like that in the Mainstream Media. Quite the contrary, the media encourage you and me to try and push harder. Because, they will tell you that everybody can be a winner. But that’s dead wrong! Because the winner takes it all (believe it or not, but ABBA knew that already) – there is nothing left for the losers and ran-also-guys. The winners are always and exclusively the key players on the top of the pyramide, the so called suits. They know how to play the game because they invented it. Period.
Okay. So I know that I am not successful. So what? The thing is, if I give up, I have no hope for society. See I did everything to be the one guy who fulfills his dream. I worked hard, I paid my taxes, I wrote letters, I did stuff – but I never sold my soul. But how long can you take the punches? The only way out – it seems: I have to sell my soul to the devil in (corporate) disguise (Elvis knew that too, apparently). So if I cannot stand the ground, who else can? Who has the guts to fight the system? But don’t fool yourself – in the end you don’t fight the system you fight all the other contenders (and pretend to be on their side).
The last words belong to John Denver, the late American singersongwriter who inspired me. I have to thank him. He was a great musician, a great man – yah, he was always looking for space.
On the road of experience, I’m trying to find my own way.
Sometimes I wish that I could fly away
When I think that I’m moving, suddenly things stand still
I’m afraid ‚cause I think they always will
All alone in the universe, sometimes that’s how it seems
I get lost in the sadness and the screams
Then I look in the center, suddenly everything’s clear
I find myself in the sunshine and my dreams
And I’m looking for space
And to find out who I am
And I’m looking to know and understand
It’s a sweet, sweet dream
Sometimes I’m almost there
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
And sometimes I’m deep in despair
On the road of experience, join in the living day
If there’s an answer, it’s just that it’s just that way
When you’re looking for space
And to find out who you are
When you’re looking to try and reach the stars
It’s a sweet, sweet, sweet dream
Sometimes I’m almost there
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
But sometimes I’m deep in despair
Sometimes I fly like an eagle,
Like an eagle
I go flying flying
Looking for Space
taken from the Album: Windsong, 1975