So I saw Star Wars. I'm doing a podcast on the subject for Ricochet; should be up today by noon. No idea what I'll say, really.
Okay, the podcast is done. (As for the Diner, don't ask. It's complicated.) It turned out to be about sci-fi / Star Wars music, as well as the moviegoing experience, and it certainly befits the name of the new podcast. The Ramble. It's not scripted or edited, and I'm sure that's quite evident. I did get the chance to collect my thoughts and figure out what I was saying when I was searching for the right music, but consider it a chat.
Hate to give away the podcast ending. Daughter asked "will you cry?" because she knows I frequently become damp of cheek when a movie hits me in a certain place. And this one did. Here's the thing: it can't be as good as the first, because the first was new, and it can't be new again. It can't be as good as the second, can it? Because the second was awesome! Right? Sure. But it had big flaws we excused because the last act was incredible. So it can be better than all the prequels, which isn't hard, and as good as Ep VI?
As a piece of moviemaking, it's the equal to the first. No question. Look, I know: it's a reboot / remake / sequel, a faithful reimagining. It couldn't have the surprise of the first movie, the sense of discovering a new world of characters and stories, but it had a different kind of surprise: revisiting the familiar with filmmaking skill that exceeded its precedents. It felt real - probably because it was, in the sense that they weren't all gesticulating in front of green screens. The acting was better. The dialogue was better. The comic relief was better. The battle scenes weren't just a screen-full of stuff thrown at you; you could grasp what was happening. The set direction was a labor of love, right down to the little red lights on the walkway at the scene in the shield-generator facility, calling back to Cloud City.
When it was over I wondered what George Lucas must have thought when he saw it, whether he realized he'd had the chance to make something like this, and had failed, three times. He'd told the wrong story. He'd cast the wrong actors. He'd written the wrong words. His prequels look like unreal plastic cartoons now. Someone found what worked in a movie he did almost 40 years ago, and made it live and breathe in a way he could never recapture.
That has to be humiliating.
It's amazing they survived.
All right, enough ornaments. Let's have some Christmas statues: the Kings of Indigestion.
Their names were Bromo, Pepto, and Akla.
Flying Disk Man from Mars. Flying Mars Disc Man. Disc Mars Man, Flying. Doesn't matter. It's the same old same old: someone from another planet is trying to take over the earth at the behest of some larger jerkwad we haven't met yet.
To recap: an epicine dillweed has come to earth to conquer it for the Surpeme Leader of Mars, and within two minutes of being shot down by our energy beam, he's found a Quisling who wants to help. Unfortunately for us, it's the inventor of the energy beam. But we have an ally:
I thought Kent would hit the silk, but I did not expect him to rock-surf:
The Mars Man does not know that Kent survived, and goes back to the Volcanic Base to tell his quisling Hitler-loving scientist that he has arrived with all the scientific instruments. But he demands MORE URANIUM. Bevcause that's how Mars does things: no fleets of invading ships, no bombs, no overwhelming force. They send one guy down to find a scientist who can make a bomb, and then try to bribe some guy to provide uranium. IRON-CLAD PLAN.
I actually think they sent him down on a snipe hunt. He calls back to Mars and says "I found some Uranium," and they all stifle thier laughs. Great! Get some more, and call us back.
Kent of course suspects the one place that has uranium, and calls the Army . . . oh, c'mon, no, He's going to handle this Mars thing on his own. He goes to the office where the Uranium Suppliers do business, and sees the henchmen . . .
. . . taking out BOXES OF URANIUM. As it happens, it's our old familiar backlot location, with the movie theater . . .
. . . and later they pass this corner, which I recall from a previous serial.
Remember: in the world of the serial, there are only six or seven places, and seven or eight people.
There's a chase in the usual style - gunfire slung around to no effect - and Drake and Ryan, the bad guys, get away. But the boss is unhappy, because now Boyd, their supplier, will be suspected, due to the brazenness of the uranium relocation. Drake and Ryan suggest luring Boyd to the laboratory, so he can be stuffed in the incinerator. Problem solved! But back at Kent Fowler's Aerial Rent-a-Cop shop, Kent reveals that he talked to the people at the Uranium Store, and they suspect Boyd, their dispatcher. This all took about 3 minutes. So now they're going to trail Boyd, because alerting the authorities would be cumbersome and there might be paperwork.
Kent beats one of them into unconsciousness, but the other henchman fulfills the title:
And that's the end! Only four parts to this serial. Mars wins.
Kidding. Next up: I've no idea. I do not know how he gets out of this one. Can you possibly imagine how?
HOLD ON: SHE'S STANDING!
This changes everything!
See you hither; thither; yon. Interesting piece down in Industrials today; it's the first half of a strange piece of corporate research. Not really an industrial. It's silent footage of some in-store survey taking for ice cream. The faces of Hartford, Connecticut, in the early 60s. People seemed to look different then. It's like we all got better looking somehow.