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John Byrne
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 7:43am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Critics and bean counters seem to be falling all over themselv s trying to be "clever" about the disappointing opening weekend of this prequel, quick to invoke "STAR WARS fatigue." As one who grew "fatigued" with the franchise halfway into THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, I be inclined to shrug and sort of agree...

Except.

STAR WARS fans represent a whole generation, literally. Many of them were not even born when the first movie debuted in 1977. They were not alive for the enormous changes that were forced into the narrative, and accept the whole package as if it has always been that way.

And one thing upon which they insist, it seems, is that the characters BE the characters. That they LOOK like themselves.

Which is not what we see in SOLO. However exciting the trailers might be, except for one guy in a furry suit we do not see the characters we know. Remember the complaints about the CGI Carrie Fisher? In SOLO we get virtually a whole movie of something very like that.

No "uncanny valley" this time, but maybe something close. Maybe there are SOME characters who can't be recast.

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Petter Myhr Ness
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 8:03am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I have friends trying to get me to see this movie, but it holds absolutely 0 appeal for me. I don't need to see Solo's origins, or have an explanation of WHY he's called Solo! I mean, can't something just be a NAME?

But most of all, Han Solo is Harrison Ford. For me it's that simple. 
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 8:30am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

With Infinity War and Deadpool 2 still in cinemas, Solo
is in a very competitive market, and with Jurassic World
sequel out next week it has it`s work cut out.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 10:03am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Okay, here we go.


I’ve avoided talking about STAR WARS on this forum for some time, but I’ll respond to this.

Months ago, I predicted failure for SOLO, and that prediction seems to be coming true. I take no pleasure in it, but I do feel that it’s an inevitable karmic retribution.

People were conned by THE FORCE AWAKENS. It was a competently-made film which posed as a legitimate sequel to RETURN OF THE JEDI, which people thought they wanted. They wanted to see their beloved childhood heroes again. Instead, they were conned. In typical JJ Abrams fashion, a lot of plot threads and mysteries were established so as to generate speculation and goodwill for future installments.

But, it was a con job. Disney’s counterfeit Sequel Trilogy has no overarching plan, no direction, and no “hook”. Lucasfilm has, one by one, disgraced and/or killed each of the beloved heroes of the original trilogy, whilst also forcing bland characters and SJW-type political agendas down the audience’s collective throat. 

ROGUE ONE got a pass because of the goodwill generated by TFA, and because it was a competent, if bland, war film. It set the tone for the spin-off films: fill in the existing nooks and crannies of the original films, and coast on nostalgia rather than compelling stories and characters. “Connect the dots to the original STAR WARS”, instead of “let’s tell exciting new stories set in the STAR WARS universe”.

THE LAST JEDI, however, was...er...the last straw for many, many STAR WARS fans. A truly awful film with a schizophrenic tone, awful pacing, awful writing, and awful characters. More importantly, it completely disgraced Luke Skywalker (or, more accurately, “Jake” Skywalker)—beloved hero of the original trilogy and iconic hero of popular culture—and then killed him off in the most idiotic and anti-climactic way imaginable. Understandably, this was a major turn-off to longtime fans who went in with the understanding that the Sequel Trilogy was supposed to continue Luke’s story and treat him with some respect. Even worse, the opportunity to reunite Luke, Han, and Leia one last time was totally squandered. That’s what fans truly wanted to see, and now it’ll never happen. Ever.

Even worse was Lucasfilm’s handling of the fan backlash to TLJ. Insulting your audience and writing off their legitimate criticisms as the minority opinion of sexist, racist, White male nerds is not how you run a business. Publicly stating that there need to be fewer White men directing STAR WARS films and/or working at Industrial Light & Magic is not how you run a business. Publicly stating that ROGUE ONE was written with the idea that the Rebellion consists of women and minorities battling against the evil Empire of White men is not how you run a business. STAR WARS has traditionally appealed primarily to nerdy White men, and trying to rebrand it into something exclusively for women and minorities is business suicide.

And then we come to SOLO, another prequel film no one wanted or asked for. Harrison Ford IS Han Solo. That actor is indelibly linked with that character. A film which sets up all of the familiar elements (how he got his blaster and the Falcon, how he met Lando and Chewie, etc.) within a ridiculously short span of time is a bad idea, and smacks of “prequelitis”. Retroactively rewriting Lando into a pansexual who bangs Feminist droids is a bad idea. The general audience doesn’t want sexuality or identity politics in these films. These are supposed to be fun, family-oriented films about space-wizards, rayguns, and robots, which promote good values. People want escapism, not preaching about gender and identity politics. 

Personally, I think the Disney films are garbage. Horribly written, and self-referential to the point of being incestous and inbred. No originality, no imagination. Just trying to make a buck off of what’s come before, and exploiting the goodwill and nostalgia of fandom to keep the cash flowing. The characters are awful. Rey is a Mary Sue, has no personality, no arc, and is not a positive, inspiring character in the way that Luke Skywalker was. Say what you will about Lucas and the prequels, but he was always trying new things, and never lashed out at his audience on Twitter when they turned on him for “ruining” their childhoods, a la Rian Johnson and Jonathan Kasdan.

The original STAR WARS trilogy grabbed people because it felt like modern mythology. It was larger-than-life, archetypal, and spoke to certain universal needs regarding storytelling and escapism. They hit a nerve. They have mythic resonance. The Disney films, on the other hand, have dragged the characters and concepts down into stupidity, banality, and current-day politics. THE LAST JEDI jammed an incongruous, post-modern, nihilistic vibe into the existing lore, and fans rightly rejected it. These films are soulless corporate products designed to sell merchandise. Merchandise, I might add, which now rots on store shelves.

The failure of SOLO comes down to many factors, of course. It is yet another attempt to strip-mine existing characters and concepts, as well as rewriting (and misunderstanding) the established characters and lore to suit social agendas and foolhardy plans for yet more sequels. As with all bad fanfiction, the scripts for these films focus on and emphasize the wrong things. Lando wore capes in EMPIRE and JEDI ? Okay, then, in SOLO, he’s got a fetish for capes, and has a closet full of them. People pronounce Han’s name differently at different moments in the original trilogy? Okay, then, we’ll explain that. Han made a bull**** boast about the Kessel Run in STAR WARS? Okay, then, we need to see that. Etc., etc.


As I have noted in the past, STAR WARS fans tend to be like drug addicts. They want to recapture the high of watching the original film(s), and relive it over and over again. TFA got a pass because it did a competent job of capturing the window dressing, with the promise of new and exciting developments in future films. And then THE LAST JEDI revealed that, if you’ll pardon the pun, the emperor has no clothes. The people in charge of the franchise do not understand or respect the established lore, and do not respect the audience. 

It’s not a matter of franchise fatigue. The Marvel films have been ridiculously successful. INFINITY WAR and BLACK PANTHER were both playing at the same time in my local theater when I went to see the former, and were both doing great. This is a case of fatigue with the direction of the franchise, and how it’s being run and marketed. The fans have rejected what they see as dishonest and bad storytelling.

Of course, I’m not saying that the fans are always right, or should be pandered to. Indeed there tends more often than not to be an annoying sense of entitlement and “we know how to do this better” in genre fandoms. BUT, when handed the keys to a property as beloved and influential as STAR WARS, you need to be true to the material. With the Disney films, that’s happened only on a shallow/surface level. They’ve underestimated how much people care about the original characters and story, and seem to think that fans will buy into any number of lame characters and movies, as long as the STAR WARS logo is stamped on them.

The heart and soul of the franchise is gone, and it won’t be coming back. STAR WARS may eventually evolve into something legitimately new and good, but I don’t see that happening under the current regime. They’re just gonna do what they’ve been doing: double-down on the identity politics and the dismissal of fan complaints and outrage. EPISODE IX will underperform or fail, because THE LAST JEDI—despite media spin to the contrary— completely destroyed all of the goodwill and excitement for future installments. Abrams has been brought back in to salvage the disastrous Sequel Trilogy, but it won’t work. Indeed, he’s a part of why we’re in this mess to begin with. He’s either gonna double-down on the current direction or the series, or he’ll attempt to make a course-correction, which will likely surely come across as desperate pandering to a fandom which has stopped caring. 

And the money has already started to dry up. The merchandise sales continue to plummet, and now the film’s themselves are beginning to underperform.

Personally, I think that STAR WARS had its time, and now needs to go away. The damage has already been done. Even if oxygen suddenly turns to gold, and Disney/Lucasfilm suddenly begins producing good films, the original characters and the story that I love have already been disgraced and destroyed, and the fanbase irreparably split apart. It’s a toxic atmosphere, and it’s only gonna get worse. 

I’m done. I’ve kicked the drug. I vote with my wallet, and don’t need to see any more of these films to know that they’ll suck. “My” STAR WARS is long since gone, and these counterfeit films Do Not Matter. My interest now is purely morbid. I’ve been following all of the news reports and controversy surrounding the franchise because there’s much to learn from all of this, as painful as it is to watch. 
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 10:06am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I've said for a long time in relation to comics and other things that Hollywood adapts, if it fails Hollywood blames the source material, never the fact that the film may not be very good.

It seems this now applies to STAR WARS movies.

I have heard mostly good reviews of SOLO, so it is apparently not a bad film, but I agree with JB that this so-called "fatigue" has more to do with fans not being happy with the way the films are being handled than anyone actually being tired of the franchise.

I want to also state again how very fatigued I am with the media's favorite recent buzzword "fatigue" when used in regard to films. Ugh. 
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 10:08am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Greg, it's like you were all pent up with those feelings and finally burst open, letting them flood out. :-)
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 10:34am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I like how you put this is the movies section rather than the Star Wars one, JB. Is that a dig at the validity of it as even a Star Wars film? If so, it seems like a lot of folks are agreeing.  I agree with just about everything Greg said. Disney may one day make a good (or, dare I say it? great) Star Wars film, but it hasn't happened yet. So far it's just been a lot of fan fic by folks who don't get Star Wars, filled with diversity for the sake of diversity and political correctness. Hot garbage. That said, my son likes it so I'm forced to see most of it. I have balanced this though by making him watch the great Star Wars films, the prequels. I kid, I kid. Honestly, he didn't like Star Wars as much as the recent sequels and that makes me sad inside, as it IS Star Wars (though I loved Empire Strikes Back and most of Return of the Jedi).
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 10:36am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

L3 was a feminist droid?

I haven’t heard many complaints about Lando or L3 from people who’ve actually seen the film. The only agenda there is from people who assert that Disney has an agenda.

The bigger issue is that people weren’t interested in a Han Solo prequel. I had been planning to wait until cable until I saw the reviews. The trailers weren’t anything special.
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 10:41am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I would be more interested in SOLO if it had remained a Miller and Lord production, because then it might have been at least funny. I think Donald Glover is a good casting choice for Lando but the guy cast as young Han is some pretty bad miscasting. It probably doesn't help that we've all already seen a young Han in Star Wars.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 10:57am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Didn't see this, didn't see "Rogue One", didn't see "The Last Jedi." Mr. Byrne may be right that this is hitting Star Wars Overload. Over the past decades, it seems as if Lucas/Disney have tried to cash in on this property for all it's worth... toys, games, animation, non-episodic films (well, save for Last Jedi), etc. It's as if they thought it had a shelf life and they wanted to hit it hard before it expired... which might have actually hurried that expiration.

As for "Solo"... I'll bet it would have been a better film if they'd properly cast Ilya Kuryakin.
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Paul Kimball
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 12:17pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I agree with some of what you said Greg minus the Mary Sue/SJW stuff. You're
better than that Greg.
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Andy Mokler
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 12:32pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Epic post, Greg Kirkman.  Wish I could have put it as well as you did but I agree.

On the topic of Star Wars fatigue, the record pre-sales of tickets make me question the validity of that theory.  

I think Star Wars fans aren't tired of Star Wars, they're just tired of what they're getting.  I didn't hate Solo but it didn't feel like "my" Star Wars either.  None of the Disney stuff has.
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 12:41pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I think that one of the things the MCU has done right is that, at least to me, its always felt like they were building something, with payoffs coming in Avengers, Civil War, etc.

The Disney Star Wars films have never felt like they're building anything.  They've felt like they're milking something.  And I believe its starting to run dry.
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Joe Zhang
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 12:54pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Disney probably should have made SOLO a story about Han's son. Which I know is Kylo Ren, but a self-respecting space smuggler should have children all over the galaxy. 

Edited by Joe Zhang on 28 May 2018 at 12:55pm
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 1:05pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

 Eric Sofer wrote:
... Mr. Byrne may be right that this is hitting Star Wars Overload...

JB was arguing mostly against that point, not in favor of it. He was saying that the media claiming the film's performance at the box office is less "fatigue" than fans upset with the changes to the characters and such. At least, that's how his post read to me.


Edited by Matt Hawes on 28 May 2018 at 1:06pm
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 1:12pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

I’m still struggling with people dismissing L3 as a feminist droid. If you haven’t seen SOLO, she’s basically a less over-the-top version of Comrade Greeting Card, the Marxist Revolutionary bot in FUTURAMA, which are both riffing on the idea that droids/robots seem to be sentient, but are being exploited by humans. Like in FUTURAMA, her revolutionary ideas are mostly played for laughs.

I’m convinced if STAR WARS came out today, you’d have people claiming Lucas was trying to shove homosexuality down everyone’s throats because they perceive C-3PO as being effeminate. 
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 1:16pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Steve De Young mentioned above that it doesn't feel like the Disney STAR WARS films are building toward something, and from all I have read and heard on the matter, that seems to be the case. 

I was genuinely surprised to learn that there has been no plan for episodes 8 though 9. The way I understand it, they have been basically writing these new films in the latest trilogy as they go along. To me, that's insane,  and could only leas to trouble. 

George Lucas had no idea how well-received his space opera would become, but even if he changed some things as he went along, he at least had a general idea where he was headed. Disney apparently has nothing really thought out in advance. 
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 1:41pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply


"Even worse was Lucasfilm’s handling of the fan backlash to TLJ. Insulting your audience and writing off their legitimate criticisms as the minority opinion of sexist, racist, White male nerds is not how you run a business. Publicly stating that there need to be fewer White men directing STAR WARS films and/or working at Industrial Light & Magic is not how you run a business. Publicly stating that ROGUE ONE was written with the idea that the Rebellion consists of women and minorities battling against the evil Empire of White men is not how you run a business. STAR WARS has traditionally appealed primarily to nerdy White men, and trying to rebrand it into something exclusively for women and minorities is business suicide."

Greg Kirkman, again, some of here have to ask:  What the f___ are you talking about?

Did you miss the part where J.J. Abrams, Rian Johnson, James Mangold and Jon Favreau (all white men, what a relief!!) have all been tapped to write/direct the next films and TV series?

Did you miss the part where *gasp* there are still white male actors to be seen in all of the new STAR WARS films, both sequels and spin-offs?

These new films aren't being geared "exclusively" to women and minorities.  That's just angry bullshit.



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Peter Martin
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 1:44pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

I think had Solo come out a year after the last Star Wars film it probably would have performed better, which does speak to some element of fatigue. I think it would also have performed less than a 'proper' Star Wars film, which speaks to its general lack of appeal relative to an instalment in the full series.

I think the so-called anthology films are always going to seem less essential to viewers. Like Rogue One, it's telling a story that no-one was really demanding to hear about, but unlike Rogue One it didn't look all that much like a Star Wars film.

I haven't seen the film, but visually it seemed from the trailer to be a little akin to the multitude of Star Wars knocks off that we got back in the day (albeit with very high production values), more faux imposter than the genuine deal. Some of the costumes even remind me a bit of Battlestar Galactica.

Added to that was the whiff of a troubled production, with the helmers being switched deep into filming, and there just wasn't that much buzz for the film.

Star Wars is a delicate brew. The prequels went too much Jedi, and were too po-faced, not enough sassy smuggler. This film is the other end of the spectrum (from what I can gather).

Its box office numbers aren't dazzling, but the reviews have been OK from what I've read and the numbers do appear to be holding up not too badly from day to day (though we only have a small sample to look at). The film has a reportedly huge budget, but may yet recoup that domestically (which, if that is the extent of its performance, would be undoubtedly disappointing for a Star Wars film).

I don't subscribe to Greg's suggestion that Episode IX will under-perform or fail. We have a more sensible 18-month gap now until the next instalment proper, allowing for appetite to build. I would expect that one to deliver big box office once again, despite this film's underwhelming opening weekend.
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Don Zomberg
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 1:57pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Jesus wept, even his last name has to be explained? I love LAST CRUSADE, but maybe giving Indiana Jones an origin story was a big mistake, the first domino to topple. 
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 2:18pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

STAR WARS has traditionally appealed primarily to nerdy White men, and trying to rebrand it into something exclusively for women and minorities is business suicide.

———

I missed this initially. What the fuck?!
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Robert Shepherd
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 6:13pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

I think Disney's huge error was ignoring all the stories that have been published and were canon for the past 30+ years. 

Marvel has decades of story ideas they could pull from and fans want to see those stories on the big screen. Marvel is smart enough to understand this.

I assume Star Wars fans are the same as Marvel fans in that they want to see the best previous stories on the big screen.

Disney just gives the fans the finger and says we're doing our own thing and you better like it.

I'm a very casual fan of Star Wars movies, and never interested in the books or TV stuff. But even I was like WTF is with Luke's last battle. They had a chance to show "the greatest Jedi Master ever", according to Lucas, in his last battle and it was just crap. 

Sure you can say no other force user could possible pull off the stunt he did, but it seemed like a cop out end to me.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 6:37pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

... Mr. Byrne may be right that this is hitting Star Wars Overload...

++++

JB was arguing mostly against that point, not in favor of it. He was saying that the media claiming the film's performance at the box office is less "fatigue" than fans upset with the changes to the characters and such. At least, that's how his post read to me.

•••

Correct. And I put this in MOVIES because I saw it as ultimately a general discussion of franchises and " fatigue".

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Peter Martin
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 7:04pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Sure you can say no other force user could possible pull off the stunt he did, but it seemed like a cop out end to me.
--------------------------------------------
What did you think of Obi Wan's last battle?

I think Luke pulling, effectively, the ultimate Jedi mind trick from across the stars and then transcending to another plane was kind of consistent with the more subtle Jedi craft portrayed in the original film. Nor does it really close the door on Mark Hamill appearing in future movies.
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Paul Kimball
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Posted: 28 May 2018 at 7:42pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

I agree with you Peter.

What I do think was a huge missed opportunity was the chance to have Leia,
Han and Luke all meet up again. For the life of me k can't imagine why they
didn't do this. It's like doing a Sherlock Holmes film where he and Watson
never meet. Lost opportunity.
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