This is SAD.. FUCk. This is like reading that Superman has died. I learned this last night at 2am, immediately put on "Drive In Saturday", and cried my eyes out. Bowie is a one of a kind, and he made it ok to follow my dream, to be one of a kind too.
RIP David Bowie. The man, the legend. Not just an androgynous icon getting weird for the status quo, but one of the most talented singers, songwriters, and musical magicians this tiny planet has seen. I have always felt like an outsider and Bowie has shown me that there is nothing wrong with that. Absolutely nothing.
This is the backing track for a Dust Bunnies show I was going to put on years ago. I ended up not singing on it, and when I tried to sing today, I couldn't, because I am too sad. I figured it better to leave it instrumental. So here is an instrumental "string gaze" take on "Sound and Vision", one of Bowie's most beautiful songs.
Bowie, if you read this out in space, please sing along. I will always be singing your songs.
So I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. I just saw the new Star Wars movie with my family. My parents brought me to see the movies in the 80s when they played at the local movie theaters. The film series has always been a huge inspiration to me. I know it is lame and consumerist and mainstream but my soul resides in Star Wars, and I think there is something Jungian and mythic about the movie series. Alongside, you know, Disney and the Temple of Merchandising.
So here are my thoughts about The Force Awakens. I am a lifelong fan. I saw them as a young kid and remember seeing Jedi on TV at a friend's house and saying "Oh this is Star Wars, this is good, I know this" and the camera panning down to a forest planet with walking robots. I think we rented them later when I was a teenager in the early 90s and I rediscovered them and got into the comics and some EU books, the Dark Empire graphic novels, the SNES video games, etc. Then the Special Editions came out and I saw them in the theater, front row, in seventh heaven. Well, at least until the parts where a CGI DINOSAUR ASS WALKS IN FRONT OF SIR ALEC GUINNESS. The prequels were ok but really bad in places.
But I have mad respect for George Lucas and am glad he made them. They are weird. Like Star Wars. It is so bizarre that such a massive, Disney-owned juggernaut started out as a weird film art school indie project pastiche of kitsch that was only hip to severe sci fi nerds. The nerds have truly won. They have achieved ultimate profitability. In the 80s there was the teen dichotomy of nerds and the popular kids, the nerds always on computers and the popular kids always on phones. Now the computers are the phones.
THE FORCE AWAKENS SPOILERS BELOW
So yeah it was great. I appreciated not knowing anything about the new characters and just following them along. I appreciated the front-lines view of the WAR of these STAR WARS. Perhaps the first time since the Hoth battle that anything in these movies felt like an actual war.
One thing that really stuck out in the beginning for me were Kylo freezing the laser in mid-air. It was the kind of thing a kid would come up with, and at some point in my life, I am pretty sure I contemplated the idea of the Force being able to freeze a laser blast in mid-air. Another thing that stuck out was Finn hiding in the Falcon when they first meet Han and Chewie. It was kind of like going back to the first Star Wars and replaying THAT scene. Having the first person camera keeping a lookout was genuinely spooky to me, it felt like a kind of time travel.
But in many ways the rhyming hurt the movie. The bar felt ok but by now we have seen several Star Wars bars and they are never going to top the first Cantina but what the hell. The Starkiller planet was great but really by the time it is blowing up you just want that part of the movie over so you can see what the real ending is. Luke in the end was nice but it all felt kind of rushed.
You even heard Poe say something like "Well my job is done, time to head home" when they blow it up. The same scene in ANH had Han Solo breathlessly saying "Great shot kid, that was one in a million!" Now it's something akin to punching a clock. They better come up with something new and non-spherical for VIII.
Really that's my biggest issue with the movie. It was GORGEOUS and there were some incredible shots and moments that went away too quickly. I would have appreciated more moments to just hang out, look at the characters in their amazing surroundings, etc. I guess we are never going to get another "Luke staring at the two setting suns" moment again.
Han's death was still a shock even though it was spoiled for me. The staging in that scene was pretty incredible. When they cut to Chewie taking sniping position I was like, Oh shit, it's going down. So good to have Chewie back. Han was great as well, Harrison felt much less creaky than he was in Indy 4.
The new characters were a blast. I loved the story setup too, it felt like a good amount of stuff from the EU. The ancient Jedi temple. Luke having a school and a rebellious student. Rey slowly learning her force powers. I liked her scenes vs Adam Driver. He did a good job too, I appreciated his lightsaber trantrum at the start. The fight at the end was really special. I loved him trying to force grab Luke's lightsaber and it flying into her hands instead. She must be extremely powerful.
I loved the in-jokes too. "The force doesn't work like that!" "Hey, do you guys have a garbage chute, maybe a trash compactor?" Han Solo is secretly the ultimate SW fanboy.
C3PO butting in at just the wrong time for the LOLZ. Lots of good moments in this.
It's really kind of something that has been a long time coming imo. Ever since Empire the dream was to have other people write and direct films in this universe, so it could keep going like James Bond, or the serials of old. There was a part in time when George could have done this but his dreams were big, he wanted his own studio, he had a large vision that expanded across multiple movies and media, he HAD to invest fully in Empire in order to make his dreams work. Star Wars was a huge fluke and it ended up being the biggest independent film hit of all time. It was like winning the lottery. Plus speaking as an artist myself I can sympathize with his desire to retain control over his work. He was a film student and aware of the issues auteurs had faced from the big studios. He had to hold on to Star Wars.
The prequels sort of seem even more special now that I have seen The Force Awakens. They are truly weird and unique, the work of a single mind, the creator of the original movie.
It is so bizarre that Disney owns it now. It does kind of make sense, because Star Wars is fantasy, and Disney excels at fantasy. I saw this with some family and my brother commented it felt like Terminator Genisys in a way. It was a nostalgic yet modern replaying of greatest hits. It also felt like Indy 4 in that way. The Retro Reboot? It was a lot like this.
LOL literally passing the torch. Only the torch is a lightsaber. So it is in a random basement somewhere because...? Because of The Force, yo. That's why this whole tale keeps spinning.
Now Han Solo is part of the Skywalker family (solo no longer) and he is a True Believer (does he have a Force Ghost?) he dies for his beliefs. He finally believes in something and that is when he dies for it. He thinks he can bring back Kylo like Luke brought back his father. It seems like Leia will have to team up with Luke in order to defeat or turn her son from the Dark side and/or defeat Snoke.
The first scene of Soke as a giant being was great, and when it flickered away as hologram, I was a little disappointed. I had hoped him to be a giant, possibly ancient being of some sort. Not another guy on a hologram. He was a bit overdone CGI-wise, wasn't he? Very LOTR very Gollum. With a CGI character I find a fine line between believability and just taking me completely out of the picture. Snoke was just on the edge.
The trader though, the alien one with the eye goggles, was great. The closest to Empire-era Yoda Star Wars has been in a long time. It was nice to hear Alec Guiness's voice then too. I wouldn't mind them bringing in more CGI if they want to, say, have a flashback to a late 80s Star Wars movie we never saw, and we get to see a Young Luke training Jedis or something. The recent Terminator brought back a very convincing CGI 80s Arnold that stirred in my mind the possibility of era-accurate time-displaced sequels. Disney has the money to throw at this, they have the animators, let's go. Throw in some flashbacks to Darth Vader and stuff while you're at it.