06
Jan
16

The Return of Originality

*****
A short time ago in this very galaxy, not far away, at all…

LEGACY WARS: The Return of Originality

 

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*****

Setting: It is high noon in the Tootoosoon Desert where we can see two suns in the sky. One red and one yellow.

A lone figure, Lank Fastwalker, trudges through the sand that once was fertile creative territory. Starved for teamwork and original thinkers like himself, he wanders in search of new direction. Seeing his beloved childhood turn dark, all that he believes in sullied and all of his favorite talents joining the dark side otherwise known as the Disney Empire, the flame that keeps him alive nears the end of its wick.

Fastwalker: That’s it. There’s nothing left. With remakes in every direction, why take another step? I might as well lay here and die with my withering creativity.

Then a voice calls out to him from the sky.

Casaba: Lank… Lank… Do not give up, Lank… I need you… The world needs you…

Puffy white clouds begin to take shape. At first, Fastwalker thinks the heat is getting to him. Then he sees a familiar face. It is Georgi Lu Casaba, the fire that lit Star Wars, a six-part story cut down to its second half, rejoined with the first half and then put into a blender before being called chapter seven.

[Fastwalker has mixed feelings about this guy. Though Casaba has created a rich source of inspiration for philosophy and costume design, Fastwalker blames him for the use of whiny protagonists who save the day too easily, greedy toy dealers and the insanity that is impulse shopping. Not as mad as other fans over the “prequels,” Fastwalker blew his top when Casaba sold his legacy to the Disney Empire.]

Georgi Lu Casaba expresses regret for making a bad sale.

Casaba: Though the Disney Empire had assured me of a luxurious retirement, including Kennedy Center honors, I did not know there were “white slavers” in the ranks, enlisting poor souls under insane rules, depriving them of individuality, threatening them for any breach of secrecy or less-than-enthusiastic answer when asked about their masters. I beg of you. Start a rebellion. Take back what was wrongfully placed in greedy, merchandise-mad hands that will not rest until the planet is nothing but landfills and abandoned Wal-Mart stores. Turn the archives over to trustworthy souls who will preserve them. And, if necessary, use force, Lank. Use physical force to break down the walls of Disney oppression. Put an end to their profits from the mutation of monopolized talents. And, spread the wealth.

The suns have nearly set before Fastwalker sees the light.

Fastwalker: You know. You’re quite the windbag when I’m sitting here, dying of thirst. I will need a handful of trustworthy allies, a fast ship and a big slice of your retirement fund to undo the damage. But, together, we will restore balance to this world, reduce pollution and brighten lives for generations to come.

With a plan in motion, Fastwalker bestows this wisdom upon the theater audience before the end credits roll: Be excellent to each other. And, is it too much to ask you to deposit your own garbage in the provided trash bins when you leave the theater? I know there is a cleaning crew. But, we wouldn’t need one if you didn’t pay ridiculous prices for unhealthy, unnecessary snacks.

After the end credits, Jar Jar Binks makes a cameo appearance only to learn his future will be cut short. A bounty has been placed on his head for his resemblance to General Goofy of the First Order (aka the Disney Empire).

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8 Responses to “The Return of Originality”


  1. January 12, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Thank you for this — a thoroughly enjoyable good read. I’m not sure I would lay all blame on Mr. Casaba and Disney — the people want certainty, even if it’s repetitive and regurgitated. I am even willing to accept a familiar story if it is well told. But, having heard the newest installation so heartily acclaimed, I did go out to see it… I think I was the only one who left the theater resentful and disappointed. 😦

    • January 12, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      You are most welcome. I am glad someone spoke up and enjoyed it. 🙂

      Well, if the “people” like the repetition so much, they are a bit mindless in my opinion. I was not among that lot. I wanted to see progress. Not just new special effects if I can even call them that. A lil 3D dazzle isn’t worth all the movie tickets. It should just be a ride at a Disney theme park, a bit of fan fiction…which isn’t even worth that title. It was an imperfect clone of a previous Star Wars with new faces and packaging.

      And, what IS “Casaba” responsible for? Is he responsible for the first films? The “prequels”? The passing of power to J. J. and Disney? How much was by his will/hand? Was he controlled by some “Sith lord?”

      Is it even a story? Or, is it a lot of dazzling fight and chase sequences spliced together? I think the whole thing is more like a dream with grains of meaning laced within the clouds. I enjoyed the ride. But, I don’t see reason for such hype or the excess of merchandising. If people cannot be as creative and come up with some sci-fi space adventure just as good because Star Wars stole their thunder, that is sad. And, that may be my biggest concern.

      Have you seen any of the mock-Star Wars films or what the stars did after/before this film? I found a Carrie Fisher film she did with Australian actors–which is a really sad production–and a sort of Japanese Star Wars. I can’t remember the names exactly. But, I think one was called “Message from Space.” The Japanese one had similar characters and space fight scenes. But, some of the ships were actually sail vessels flying through space.

      • January 13, 2016 at 1:35 pm

        I think that the most recent entry into what will, assuredly, be a “new” trilogy for the “Casaba”, JJ, and Disney partnership might be the (unintended?) result when money becomes the primary goal of the creative process. The loudest and most monied voices in the entertainment industry — film, publishing, music, etc — are not really interested in helping to usher in new talent and new ideas; they are interested in cash and breaking existing box-office records.

        As to the potentially mindless masses, I think that this particular film was aimed at a generation that is unfamiliar with the preceding trilogies, and will probably not be comparing them in any meaningful fashion. For the rest, who should arguably be able to see through the flashing lights and razzle-dazzle, it seems to me that we are individually and collectively so afraid of making mistakes, that we look to some external voice of authority to guide us in order to avoid ridicule, censure, responsibility, etc. — annoying, when limited to the realms of entertainment, but unsettling when this behavior seeps past those borders.

        Regarding the movie, specifically, I was, I think, most disappointed to watch our previous heroes’ hard work and successes (defeating the Emperor, redemption of Vadar, destruction of DeatStars I and II), and what I assumed blithely would equate to their prolonged happiness, completely undermined and tossed aside by the recent film. Seriously, what is/was the point? And I will, personally, never forgive “Casaba”, JJ, or the big D for killing Han Solo, regardless of any rationale presented. (I will remain unrepentantly irrational on that point!)

        Finally, no, I have not seen any of the mock films you mention; although, I have been watching the independently created Star Trek Continues series, which is surprisingly good:

        http://www.startrekcontinues.com

        If you have feet in several galaxies, you might like it. 🙂

      • January 14, 2016 at 2:33 pm

        Cash is like newspaper. It quickly becomes dust in the wind. Box office records are like last year’s Tweets. If prices fluctuate, so will records. How do they expect to compare ticket sales from 1994 with today when prices were different then? It’s all stupid statistic nonsense, anyway. And, if that’s the drive behind any creation process…then screw all of it.

        It sounds like everything is under a thin blanket of “insurance.” Whether it’s a medical, financial or theatrical concern. Oh, don’t make a mistake or take a chance before making sure your “plan” covers all the possibilities. That said, don’t try anything new and don’t follow the book or original TV show to a T?

        How do you feel about all the movies based on books or TV shows from the past that get radically changed instead of following the source material?

        I know! And, they talk about the First Order NOT being the Empire…but it sure looks like the Empire! And, they use the same extreme weapon…only bigger. Wooptie doo.

        So, it was Message From Space, 1978, Japan…released almost a year after the first Star Wars, featuring Princess Meia and rebel Hans.

        And, Carrie Fisher followed the Star Wars trilogy with a film called “The Time Guardian” in 1987 which seems to be filmed in Australia.

        I might have been okay with Han dying if the death didn’t mirror the loss of Luke’s hand in The Empire Strikes Back. Now, I am wondering if Han really died or will come back as a blue ghost or turn up at the bottom of the base in that planet that seemed to be exploding before someone picks up what’s left of him and dunks him in some “bring back to life” tank with a new droid at his side.

        How did you come upon this Star Trek Continues thing and who started that when?

      • January 14, 2016 at 9:46 pm

        All I can say is, I agree, I agree, I agree. How do I feel about movies based on books/TV that are radically changed from their source material — well, I have mixed reactions depending on each one…I try to accept the new iteration as its own creature, but have varying degrees of success. Some changes may be necessary for the sake of translation from one medium to another. A great deal of internal dialogue might swamp a movie’s plot and may need a different approach, for instance. But, thinking of the Mission Impossible films, I had a hard time swallowing the reveal of the villain’s identity at the end. This just didn’t seem honest to me, but more designed to shock. Having said this, I confess I can’t think of a time I’ve enjoyed a movie more than its book; and I honestly don’t think many movies are actually made for someone with my sensibilities.

        Regarding my reaction to Han Solo’s death, I felt emotionally manipulated. It was just too easy to elicit anger, sorrow, outrage from the viewer by killing him in that manner. His death seemed to serve no other purpose, unless it was to juxtapose Luke’s forgiveness of Vader. Nevertheless, I found it lazy and patronizing. Additionally, I felt the “big reveal” at the end was painfully telegraphed from very early on. Maybe the film makers really do assume their audience is soft-headed? Or that we’re all twelve?

        I’ll have to look for the films you mention. Star Trek Continues was recommended by a friend. I think there are only five episodes thus far, and the sixth is in the work. I haven’t watched them all yet, but they use a lot of the original sets, and some of the guest stars actually appeared in the original series. They are thoughtfully made and in the spirit of the original series, rather than reflecting the high-adrenalin action of the recent Star Trek films. It’s an unofficial continuation of the original series funded by a Kickstarter campaign and developed by Vic Mignonga. It won a “Geekie” award for “Best Web Series” in 2014.

      • January 14, 2016 at 10:01 pm

        I would be more accepting of movies based on books/TV if I never saw the book or TV show…and was heartless enough not to feel bad for the original artists. But, how cruel is that? Someone went through the trouble of imagining something that got enough buzz to garner a movie years later…and then people “take artistic license” to do with the material as they please? It just burns me up inside! It’s wrong. There are so many “crimes” in this world, I could just about spontaneously combust with fury.

        I disagree. There is no need to make changes other than for the screening of an audience. If the source material was good enough to say, “Hey, let’s make a movie from this!”…then the source material is fine as it is. To change the original material…well, that should be the decision of the original artists. And, if a movie is made, I would appreciate some video of the creators approving the movie the way politicians approve their campaign commercials.

        But, the Mission Impossible films are loosely based upon a TV series. I doubt the script requires more accuracy unless the TV character was in some way twisted into something else in the movie.

        Okay, you need to sit down in the Chat Cafe with me and discuss some of this. Namely what you just said about movies not being made for you and your sensibilities. I need more information/explanation.

        I don’t understand the word patronizing. Nor do I think Han’s death was lazy. I think it was intended to be a big surprise to throw people…and to pay off Harrison Ford before he walks away from the project. I think getting the old cast back was no easy task. [And, Carrie got robbed, in my opinion.] I think Han’s death was parallel to the Empire Strikes Back surprise and something the rest of the cast must now emotionally cope with in resolving this branch of the story. Just as Anakin had to find resolution after slaying the sand people and those jedi toddlers.

        So, you feel just as edgy about the new Star Trek films with the younger cast? From what I have seen in trailers and ads, they look okay. But, knowing they are J. J. projects, I remain a lil apprehensive (due to my lingering disapproval of the LOST conclusion/illusion). Just as I no longer respect/trust anything made by Michael Bay after seeing three lousy Transformers movies. [I want my money back from the third one.]

        So many Kickstarters going around.

        I could give a rat’s arse about awards. I am so sick of all the award shows and all this blog award chain mail crap. Pass it on; everyone gets an award for doing nothing.

  2. January 15, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Maybe the whole S.W. thing just attempted too much for too many…casting so broad a net is sure to displease a fair amount of us. I question the effort to get the original cast together only to marginalize their characters and those characters’ stories. Why not start fresh within the realized S.W. Universe? I think we may need to disagree regarding Han’s death — I still deeply feel this scene was a plot device, and Han’s death — if truly necessary — could have been achieved in a more elegant fashion. It was no “grand sacrifice” (like Obi Wan’s), it wasn’t the “heart-rending accident”, it was simple patricide, so we would not be confused as to the nature of K.Ren’s character.

    Since we’ve been discussing this is such detail, it’s really given me time to consider the story and my reactions to it. Upon reflection, I think, rather than basically remaking the same film with new faces (as you noted), the more interesting story might have been, why has Luke walked away from his loved ones and his supposed achievements? What happened to Leia and Han? Wh does that family have such a tendency toward Sith-ness, and if metachlorides can be detected, why can’t a Sith gene be detected? 😉 But I guess, we come back to money being the reason for the movie, and the studios want a “sure thing”, even if that’s an artistic compromise. (Another good story, why did Lucas sell his characters, and is he happy with the results?)

    As to Star Trek Continues, I, too, don’t put much stock in awards, but I always appreciate when something I hold in esteem garners some recognition. This does not happen too often.

    And I guess what I mean when I say that “movies aren’t made for me” is that I have read, and agree, that most films are made for export over seas, and that this requires little dialogue, little subtle humor, and lots of easily translatable visuals — explosions, fight/car/monster scenes, blood. In general, not my thing. There are so many films I would have enjoyed if there weren’t “explicit gore” or “strong violence” which has become incredibly common. Just looking through the movie reviews today — of which there are four — two appear to be outright dumb, and the other two, too violent. Where’s the middle ground? I can watch the news for scenes and stories of stupidity and violence. It’s frustrating. Consequently, I don’t go to the movies much, which may be why I felt so cheated with S.W.

    Ah well, so it goes, right? I’ll just catch up on my Dr. Who via Netflix… 😉

    • January 15, 2016 at 10:20 pm

      The Legend of Zelda cartoon which was part of the Super Mario Bros. Show back in 1989. That did not earn any acclaim and only lasted 13 episodes. Yet, it remains one of my favorite cartoons to watch regularly. The only downside to the whole thing is that they gave Link brown hair to compliment the voice talent behind him. Otherwise, it is a great cartoon (short).

      Some of the best works do not receive what turn out to be trivial trophies.

      I thought I made it clear Lucas (“Casaba”) was not entirely happy with his decision to sell. And, like the other talents Disney consumed, I suspect the decision was a trade. Lucas traded his “baby” for legacy insurance and a wealthy retirement package, as did Stan Lee and whoever speaks for Jim Henson after his passing.

      Regarding the “new” Star Wars story, Luke’s departure was briefly explained in the movie. Vaguely, they said he left because 1) his skills were no longer required when the Empire fell and 2) his efforts to train new Jedi disappointed him (possibly including the failure to steer ‘Ren to the light side). So, he left to regroup and reflect.

      If what you say about shipping movies overseas is true, that might explain why the Indian copycat films are so terrible. They think they have the American recipe. But, all they do is slap together explosions, sex (in their own discreet Bollywood way), money and violence and call it a movie without working on the plot. Then you read the synopsis at some theater website, and it sounds like complete mimic crap. Like someone fast-forwarded through a movie, jotted down what he saw and handed his notes to a film crew to reproduce.

      Yea, I am not a fan of gore or extreme violence/destruction, either. I am soooo tired of movies like “The Rock” in which someone steals an expensive sports car, chases through some slum or big city and trashes the landscape or other vehicles in the process of advancing the story.

      I am really depressed and worried for the future of mankind. Everything being put out seems to dumb us down while expectations for pieces of paper to certify this and that remain stringent yet senseless and erroneous.

      Yea, I don’t care for watching the local/world news too often, either.

      How do others you know feel about your opinion of the new Star Wars chapter?

      I have fallen out of Dr Who after the putty-faced Matt Smith switched faces (though I adore Clara more than I should). I’m a lil tired of that show, too. They can only recycle the same “villain armies” so often and spin themselves around while babbling nonsense and pretending a penlight can do anything.

      On this lengthy note, why not drop an email in my Contact Me box and we can continue this never-ending discussion there. 🙂


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