What can I say?
I hated “The Last Jedi”.
Not an uncommon take, I know, but it also made me appreciate other aspects of my life in an almost existential sort of self-reflection.
However, if you think I’m some sort of Juanito-come-lately that isn’t a true Star Wars fan who’s riding the current Last Jedi Sandcrawler of Hate, allow me to submit:
- Exhibit A: A breakdown of the practical teachings of Master Yoda.
- Exhibit B: A reenactment, in Spanish, of a pivotal scene from “Empire”.
So, yeah, Star Wars was kind of a big deal to me.
That all changed recently, and to be fair, it’s not George Lucas’ or Disney’s or anyone’s fault. It’s my fault for hanging on so long.
But Rian Johnson’s complete lack of regard for what Star Wars was, and even worse, what it could have been, was an eye-opener for me. The more I thought about it, the more I came to realize it wasn’t even about the abomination of a movie that he had produced.
But first and foremost let me just say couple things about that “movie”.
I don’t care whether it did or did not include more female characters.
I don’t care if it did or did not include a more “diverse” cast.
I don’t care whether it was attempting to have some sort of social justice message.
Have all of those things and more!
But first, how about making it a good movie?
Instead I got poor John Boyega walking around in a plastic poncho with tubes spurting liquid everywhere, because, you know, funny.
It should be erased from our collective memories for its lack of vision.
Rian Johnson and Co. had an entire universe at their disposal and chose to make this movie, in essence, a slow, meandering slog of a spaceship chase with (unintended) laughable dialog, and cringe-inducing-not-funny-unless-you’re-the-writer’s-mother-and-even-then-you’d-be-thinking-“he-went-to-all-those-creative-writing-camps-for-this?” Jokes.
Why’d you have to drag Yoda out of Ghost Jedi retirement for this, Rian? Did he need one more paycheck that bad? Is the Afterlife Jedi Retirement Village that expensive? I just want to remind everyone that the one time, THE ONE TIME, Yoda was ever child-like or non-serious, was when he first met Luke in The Empire Strikes Back. And that was in order to test Luke. Did he develop dementia all of a sudden as a phantasm when he was lucid for 900 years in the physical world?
This above everything else, above Luke’s Devil-may-care-toss-my-lightsaber-away-and-drink-blue-milk attitude, above what’s-her-name’s decision to crash into Finn at the last minute even though that could have just as easily killed them both and allow the
Empire I mean, the First Order, to kill everyone in the cave, above the Hyperspace maneuver that somehow has never been tried before and could have destroyed both Death Stars, above everything else, the way Rian treated Yoda tells me he wanted all of Star Wars kind to eat a big Turd Sandwich.
Because he doesn’t care. He was just making a movie. And at the end of the day, that was his job. He’s a movie director.
And that’s when it hit me. If he doesn’t care, why do I care so much?
Now as with many fans of the Original Series, I began my fandom as a kid. But when I first became aware of Star Wars, I didn’t even know English that well. It wasn’t until I was in the first grade that I started becoming somewhat proficient at speaking in English, or even thinking in English more than in Spanish.
But I remember distinctly my first moments of Star Wars. It must have been around 1986 or 1987 making me about 7 years old. My mom had left the house, so I had gone to our television set and switched it from its almost-permanent setting on Univision to one of the “American” channels.
Flipping through I remember being transfixed at what I saw. There were little bears with spears running through the forest, and they were fighting robots in white and black armor. And there were big gray robots shooting lasers everywhere.
“¿Que chingado esta pasando?” I asked myself.
I didn’t know what was going on, but I was hooked.
Thus began a long courtship with science-fiction and space and all things Star Wars.
And then I endured the Special Editions of the Original Series, but I was OK.
And then came the Prequels. They weren’t as good, but they were still Star Wars.
And then I saw a little light with The Force Awakens and Rogue One.
And then Rian Johnson took a Death Star shot of apathy to my Alderaan’s heart.
And I thank him for it.
Because fandom shouldn’t be all-consuming. It shouldn’t be who you are or what defines you.
It should be personal, certainly. But it shouldn’t be your personality.
And Rian Johnson did something that I would have deemed impossible in my younger days.
He made me not give a rat’s ass about Star Wars.
The new Han Solo Movie? Didn’t see it, don’t really care to, (and sure as hell don’t care who shot first).
What’s going to happen to all the characters in the next Star Wars Movie?
I hope they all die.
In fact, I hope What’s-her-name, Finn’s new girlfriend, is a double agent, and I hope she kills everyone in their sleep.
How’s that for not going along with what the fans are expecting, Rian?
Anyway, right before this trash-compactor fire of a film was released I finished writing my first book and I remember thinking at the time, that being able to watch the movie now that the writing and editing was done would be a sort of reward.
But it became much more than that.
It became a parable of sorts. Something to learn from.
I hate to go back to the well of Adam Carolla again, but the guy is a man of many, if not sometimes crude, insights.
He said once, “Don’t spend your time walking through other people’s museums. Spend your time creating things that will go in your museum.”
And he’s right.
I’ve been much more rewarded since I finished my book than I ever was just being a fan of a movie or a sports team. I’ve gotten feedback from readers about something that I create from thin air. I’ve been asked to do a radio interview about my book and how I went about writing it. I’ve had my notions that maybe, just maybe, I could be a professional writer someday reinforced.
And besides, when Episodes 7-9 are abandoned and they decide to do the Thrawn Trilogy like they should have done in the first place, maybe a spark of fandom will be reignited in me.
Until then, thank the Force for Rian “should have been suspicious about a guy that can’t even spell Ryan correctly” Johnson and his Sarlacc-breathed atrocity that I don’t have to spend any more time in someone else’s universe, and instead can get busy creating my own.
7 thoughts on “Thank the Force for Rian Johnson”
Reblogged this on Abraham Lopez.
It’s pretty arrogant of you to assume that Rian didn’t care simply because his own ideas don’t match up with yours. You haven’t really learned much except how to shuffle your pain around.
Except that there are numerous plot holes, inconsistencies and just lazy film making throughout the movie. I’ll admit, it also has a couple of the movie beautiful and visually impactful scenes (the Rey/Kilo fight & hyperdrive maneuver specifically) of any of Star Wars movie. However, I can’t forgive the overall movie for those few bright spots. One example of the laziness is that although none of the Rebel ships had hyperdrive, the First Order ships were not limited by this handicap, and so could have simply jumped a few ship forward and caught the rebels in between. Pretty basic maneuver, really. Anyway, thanks for reading the post.
Fan fiction is full of logical inconsistency. Canon fiction is, too. The power of fiction is its flexibility. My friends have pretty strange ideas about the Jedi and Mandalorians. Some ideas I hate and consider contrary to the entire idea of Star Wars. The Vong were a Canon example of an author introducing a concept that I think destroyed the appeal of the story and compromised the universe to it’s thematic core. But they obviously loved and cared for it. Who would I be to question otherwise?
I understand the inconsistencies, especially in a universe as vast as Star Wars (I haven’t kept up with it for a few years), and love seeing the differing viewpoints that authors take with differing characters and events (I mention the Thrawn trilogy and loved the anthologies that came out years ago concerning the different Bounty Hunters from ‘Empire’ and characters at Jabba’s Palace). It’s just that in this case the driving medium for that universe (the movies) that are pushing forward the main story line was written and produced, in my opinion, with very little care.
To expand on a point, what kind of person would I be if I said you didn’t once care about star wars, despite your obvious love for it (still evident in your writing), because you had a different idea of it than me? Any one of us fans, given the opportunity, would make THEIR best Star wars movie. JJ did, and I hated a lot of it. I never once over-valued my own limited experience and preferences enough to say he didn’t care. Sure, it’s just a job. But the artists care.
Your hate should be directed towards the executives. They truly don’t care about anything except relentless increase of profits and design-by-focus-group mass production of culture. They forced JJ and Rian to make many changes.
Sure, but there have been directors that walked away from projects (I believe the original directors of the Han Solo movie did) because of this type of meddling. I actually had high hopes for The Last Jedi because of Johnson’s ‘Looper’, which is probably one of the best sci-fi movie of recent note. It’s innovative and fun and inventive and gritty. Last Jedi was none of those things. And it’s not that I didn’t like certain elements or what have you. He went along with a movie that forced these things down SW fans’ throats because they assume they’ll take in anything that SW produces and then also tried to make it a catch-all movie. I just personally feel like it completely bastardized the franchise. I’m cool with something going in a different direction, but there’s too much in The Last Jedi that tells me that It’s just now really made for me anymore, and I’m cool with that. I just don’t like lazy filmmaking. You can have a movie that’s made for a thousandth of this movie, but if it’s made with craft, I’ll enjoy it. Anyway, I don’t think we’ll agree on this, but you’re right, I do still love Star Wars, the original trilogy, and actually thought Rogue One was quite well made.
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