Saturday, June 2, 2018

Why I am "Boycotting" Star Wars

 With the release of the most recent Star Wars movie, Solo, Disney should be getting awake-up call that their investment in Star Wars isn't going to be as lucrative as they may have originally imagined.

I have loved Star Wars even before I knew what it was, watching Empire and Jedi as a kid in the mid to late 80's. I was obsessed with it that I got everything I could that had the word Star Wars on it. Cereal boxes, candy, newspaper cinema times, and of course the toys. I talked and breathed Star Wars daily. Anyways, you get the point. Over the years I have personally spent thousands of dollars on Star Wars memorabilia. Not to mention the thousands that have been spent by others on gifts for me.

I didn't know that it was humanly possible to learn to hate Star Wars, but I began leaning this direction with the release of the Special Edition. Everything that was advertised about the SE made me excited. I was all for the possibility of seeing Star Wars in a fresh new way. Even seeing new shots/clips. It wasn't till after I saw the SE that I felt totally lied to. The color correction was nonexistent, the composites were still broken. All the errors, like flipped negatives and jump-cuts were all still intact. All the things I had hoped they would be fixed were still present, and all the best things that worked about the film where changed. I never expected that they would make these movies worse. As the years have gone by and the SE has been tweaked again and again, I have grown to hate those versions of the films and cannot watch them.

Then the Phantom Menace came out. With it's first trailer I was hooked on Stars Wars again. I bought all the toys, the Pepsi promo products, anything and everything I could...until the movie came out. Unlike most people/fans, I didn't like the film the first time I saw it. But I didn't know how I could admit that to myself or those around me. How could I betray my beloved Star Wars by saying I didn't like the movie. I mean, I was supposed to like it, wasn't I? The Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith solidified my displeasure with the movies. With support of other fans who felt the same way as myself, I accepted that it was OK to not like those movies and still Like Star Wars. I sold all my Toys that I bought from these movies.

Lucas, fed-up with with the fans who complained to death about the new movies, decided to break-up with Star Wars and sold it to Disney, along with Kathleen Kennedy. I am not sure if Lucas loathed Disney before he sold SW to them, or later grew to, but he certainly has no love for them. I wonder if Lucas sold SW to Disney with Ms Kennedy deliberately to ruin SW from the inside, as an last FU revenge to the fans and Disney themselves. He most certainly is getting the last laugh now.

We got our first glimpse of the NEW Star Wars with The Force Awakens. Watching the movie I could see all the shots were JJ tried to create that Star Wars feel which gave me a glimmer of hope that Star Wars could be good again. You can check out my post regarding how I felt about that movie. To make a long story short, I didn't really like the movie the first time. As the year went, I saw the TFA as a remake disguised as a re-boot. My faith in the Star Wars franchise has continued to decline. Rogue One just compounded the issue.

I have grown jaded with Star Wars, and was not optimistic with The Last Jedi. I didn't want to see it. After it came out, I refused to see it. Especially with all the poor reviews. However, my family said they enjoyed it and encouraged me to go. I saw it and was again, disappointed with another Star Wars movie. I have since grown to hate TLJ. I am now done. Star Wars no more. I don't want anything to do with the new generation of Star Wars. Disney Star Wars Land? No thank you. I will not share SW with my kids, at least, not this Star Wars.

I am not going to watch Solo in theaters. I have no desire to see Episode IX in theaters, or any new installment that Disney puts out. I wont buy the toys or anything else related to these movies. Not for myself, nor for others.

In-addition to my personal feelings with the films themselves, I see all the sexist and racial comments coming out of Lucasfilm/Disney towards the Star Wars fan base, I cannot help but be personally insulted. How can they show such contempt for their existing fan base, the only people who have kept the franchise alive since '77 (i.e. the only reason SW was worth buying for $4 billion) and toss them aside like a used diaper? Our lifetime membership was suddenly canceled so Disney could make way for new fans, a new generation. News Flash, these movies are cheesy B-Flicks that do not appeal to this new generation (or the old generation for the matter). They wont last. You will go broke with this business plan.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

LAIKA Film Five = The Missing Link

It's here! LAIKA's fifth film has been Announced as "The Missing Link"

My faith in this film hasn't been restored yet, instead my reservations have sunk even further down. The image released looks very cartoony, aimed at young kids. It also has the feeling of CG which looses all its Stopmotion charm. Whomever wrote the article (link above) has has done a terrible job writing something smart and appealing. I read it and have to roll my eyes.

Examples of eye rolling:

"Missing Link is an artistic and technical wonder"
"...visionary director..."
"...a raucous comedy entwined with a swashbuckling epic, underscoring the universal need to find belonging. Commingling keenly felt emotion, madcap humor, and retina-bursting visuals, Missing Link is a kaleidoscopic cinematic experience unlike any other. It’s the most striking thing we’ve ever done."
"...the slightly silly, surprisingly smart and soulful beast..."
"...unlikely trio embarks on a riotous roller-coaster of a ride..."
 "...dastardly villains..."
"...Mr. Link’s disarming charm and good-humored conviction..."
"...this fun-filled family film..."
Hugh lends Sir Lionel a giddy schoolboy enthusiasm bubbling beneath the surface of his suave English gent; Zoe brings an unflappable ardor and a witty playfulness to Adelina, and Zach's performance as Link is not only laugh-out-loud funny, but a beautifully nuanced balance of innocence and vulnerability. It was a treat to be able to join this eclectic gang of adventurers on their journey across the world.

This article sounds like every teaser article ever written for a movie. Using lots of exaggerated adjectives to hype up the movie without actually talking about it. The synopsis that they do tell sounds like a very simple plot for young kids (not a very good one either) that has been done to death, yet they say the film will be "...Unlike any movie ever seen". It fills my mind with visuals of what to expect...and I am left with the feeling that this movie is not for me. They mention that the film is for 10 and up, but this article is written in a way that it feels more for kids 7 and under (least in my opinion) and the photo released with the article attests to that. I am not excited.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Wildwood Chronicles rights bought by LAIKA

LAIKA has purchased rights to (maybe) bring the world of Wildwood to the big screen . I recently came across an article announcing this, but a quick search shows that it's been in the works since 2011 (according to LAIKA's News blog). Reading a brief description I see that that the protagonist is a child, which makes me wonder if Wildwood is going to be released as Film Six, Seven & Eight, instead of Film Five. I say this as it was "promised" that Film Five was not going to have a child protagonist by Travis Knight. I believe he said it in a video somewhere too.

Another Article Announcing this project

Article Three - Oregon Confluence

Article Four - Portland Business Journal

Article Five - Oregonian

I am glad to hear that LAIKA is doing another book. It has promise of a good story.

Another rumored project of LAIKA's is Philip Reeve's Goblins. My first impressions on this possibility, is "didn't LAIKA already do this movie? It was called Boxtrolls..."Perhaps Film Five is Goblins...

Sunday, April 29, 2018

LAIKA's Film Five

Time is getting closer to the final announcement (and possible teaser trailer) for LAIKA's fifth film! In the mean time, LAIKA has released this article revealing some of the main cast who will voice characters in the upcoming movie.

Personally, I feel getting an all star cast (or A-List) actors to do voice overs really is meaningless. Most, if not all "kids" have no idea who these people are. For instance, Hiring Bill Murry and Meryl Streep to voice the pupets in Fantastic Mr Fox wasn't because kids 12 and under are huge fans of either of these actors. Not to discredit what they brought to the movie, as they were great. When a voice for a character is done well, I shouldn't be thinking "That's George Clooney" they whole time. Instead, I should be thinking "That's Mr Fox". 

My point is, my nephew isn't saying to himself "YES! Hugh Jackman is going to be voice in Film Five! I want to see it now". They will never see Hugh Jackman on screen, and shouldn't be "hearing" Hugh Jackman throughout the movie (if you understand my previous paragraph you know what I mean). These kind of hires and names are directed specifically towards the parents/adults who grew up with these actors and enjoy their films. With that said, the movie has to be enjoyable for adults as well, otherwise, what is the point?

But, back on track to my original first thoughts...This article does NOT make me excited about the new film. Yes, it's stop-motion, and yes it's probably going to look great, but for ALL movies, I mean, ALL movies need to have a good story. I have to enjoy my time at the movies. All the effects, action, attention to detail in costumes, props, sets, music, all comes to not if the story is not fun to watch.

This article failed to get me excited about Film Five. Things that stick out to me like a sore thumb in this article that causes me to have pause are as follows: 

"...described as a globe-trotting comedy-adventure “bursting with humor, heart and a profound message of acceptance and finding one's place.”"

"...layered with wit and imagination and soul. Plus it's really, really funny."

One of the things that was "nice" about ParaNorman and Kubo was that it had a moral to the story reminiscent of old children's books that was trying to teach you to be a better person. Unfortunately, the "Message" wasn't interwoven into the story naturally, but kind of slapped on at the end, then crammed down my throat, where it was off putting and preachy. Reading this reminds me of how the message was executed in the previous films and how campy it turned out to be in the end. I am not optimistic that it will be well executed this time either.

The other comment that makes me cringe is the emphasis on how funny the movie is going to be. I love movies when they have humor in all the right places and done well. A globe-trotting comedy-adventure (Redundant?) that is bursting with humor and really really funny says they are trying too hard to convince me that it's funny. I am left with the feeling that instead of being genuinely funny, it's going to be filled with stupid slapstick humor, fart jokes and cheap laughs. I fear that this "comedy" is going to try to be making a joke with every line of dialogue. I mean, why mention it three times in the article how funny it is, how really really funny it is, unless that is your soul argument on why I should see this movie? Honestly, a stop-motion comedy isn't the kind of movie I want to see.

Most Comedies are dumb movies. They are not made to have heart and sole and provide a moral message. They are deliberately dumb, that's why they are comedies. Rarely do we get a smart comedy that is great to watch multiple times, but it does happen (the Jerk comes to mind).

You're welcome to read the article and come to your own conclusions. I am still excited to see that LAIKA is doing and eager to see what they do next. I am going to try and hold back my pessimism until I see more. Hopefully I wont be turned off any more by future updates for this movie.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Isle of Dogs Review & Promotional Items

I watched the Isle of Dogs this weekend and I got to say, that I really enjoyed it. I would send a word of caution, this isn't a "kids" movie. Would say, maybe 10 and up. There is the use of the "B" word, and explores the issue of cruelty to dogs, which animal lovers may find unsettling. I mention it only so one is prepared for it.

The sets were fun, even sometimes a bit "cartoony", but in this medium of film, it works perfectly. It's not about realism. The humor was well executed and smart. The puppets were great. The animation was fantastic. It was nice to see a stop-motion film rely on more practical in camera effects than CG when it comes to little things like smoke, or explosions.

Overall, it was a great movie, with a very moving and engaging story. I cared about all the characters and rooted for them to prevail. I would highly recommend this movie if it's playing near you.

With my bad luck, I missed the opportunity to pick up any promotional items when they were available. You can find them now on eBay.

Set of action Figures of: Chief, Boss, Rex, Duke, King and Atari
Tote Bag
Lunchbox with bag
PRO Dog headband (like ones in the film)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Stopmotion "Best short of the Week"

Found a website and posts links to the "best" shorts for the week. Might be worth a peek for those who enjoy stopmotion shorts

the Isle of Dogs

New stopmotion film in select theaters, The Isle of Dogs by Wes Anderson
who also did Fantastic Mr Fox.
The website has a Creature Comforts style to it.