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Kalbear

The Last Jedi (spoilers): Only a Sith deals in plot holes

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9 hours ago, Pony Queen Jace said:

And in Snoke's room Ren fights like 4 of the red guards while Rey fights 2 and 1

Except Ren is overpowered and needs to be rescued by Rey.

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9 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

Sorry, stuff from other places is bleeding into my brain when I talk about Star Wars, The petition to shut down Rotten Tomatoes is particularly foul reading.

Rotten Tomatoes’ system feels kind of fishy and flawed and I’ve come to not really trust it as a way of judging movie quality any more. I can only imagine what sort of loser would spend their time creating a petition to shut it down. It doesn’t seem to have got many signatures either. 

Having said that, the reviews that first week were overwhelmingly positive, even from people I trust in general like Mark Kermode. After that the flow of more negative reviews started to roll in and I think we are getting a more accurate picture of peoples views.

But this seems to be a pattern with a lot of movies , initial reviews are often pretty untrustworthy for a variety of reasons. 

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I agree, and initial reviews for Star Wars - with all their accompanying galaxy-sized avalanche of hype and decades of emotional cache - are the most untrustworthy of all.

It's gotten to the point that even before The Last Jedi came out some of my friends were posting mock "Best since Empire" tweets, so predictable are the adorable gushes issuing forth via "movie journalist" tweets after the first press screenings of every new Star Wars movie. And they were right. This idea the haters cling to that the press are literally bought and paid for with cold hard cash is embarrassing to say the least, but, after seeing so many of these reviewers walk back their initially glowing takes on The Force Awakens and Rogue One, to deny there is at least an emotional influence at play seems pretty naive.

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12 hours ago, Ran said:

I think John Stuart Mill would be surprised to find these things described as conservative values. (To clarify, discipline and self-control are definitely not values that are exclusively _conservative_. Suppression of emotion... perhaps, if one considers his upbringing, and his later writing regarding it, could be seen as conservative. But the opposite of suppression implies unchecked embrace, which certainly is not a value I'd consider liberal. And to be honest, James Mill was something of an extremist. Which I suppose one might well compare to the moribund, late Republic Jedi, but you're going well beyond conservatism to a kind of fascist rejection of emotion.)

Thanks, this explains to me where I am miscommunicating. The word conservative may have too much ballast, much like liberal. (To me, Mill is a liberal.)

Can we find a better word for “Jedi”? Their value are conservative, regressive, backward-looking, hierarchical, authoritarian, with a focus on ascetics, honesty, learning, actually-being-good-at-something, refutation of passion, rejection of self, etc. Your 50’s father’s values. All the values that (according to a cliche) the Millennial generation lacks, and is proud of lacking.

Rey represents the hopes, aspirations, and learning-model of the generation that was brought up with TV shows that celebrate amateurism and self-expression. Where emotion and passion are viewed as positive. Where learning and discipline are viewed as not only unnecessary, but as moral affronts that are part of old people’s conspiracy to keep me out. These are more aligned with Sith values.

I assume that the authors of TLJ view the dichotomy as I sketch above. (The words are not important and don’t work well between countries anyway, witness the semantics of liberal.) They correctly identify that the Jedi values (in particular, the focus on training-to-be-good-at-something, and the value of failure and doubt, and of submission to your mentor) are incompatible with Disney’s values (which are “faith!” and “every girl is a princess!”, clear declarations of individual-progress-without-doubt-and-expense and universal-access-to-prestige) and with the common cliche about the values of the Millennial generation. 

Therefore the Jedi have to die. The new generation (in the view of TLJ) is Sith. The Last Jedi is the Revenge of the Sith.

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4 minutes ago, Happy Ent said:

... the generation that was brought up with TV shows that celebrate amateurism and self-expression. Where emotion and passion are viewed as positive. Where learning and discipline are viewed as not only unnecessary, but as moral affronts that are part of old people’s conspiracy to keep me out. These are more aligned with Sith values.


I assume that the authors of TLJ view the dichotomy as I sketch above. ...

Speaking as a member of Generation X myself, these values perfectly describe Generation X, aka the Slacker Generation. They are why the Alternative Revolution - in both popular music and in cinema - happened in the 90s, when my generation were in our teens and 20s. 

Rian Johnson is 44, close enough to middle of Generation X. JJ Abrams was born less than a year before Kurt "You Don't Need Guitar Lessons To Make Music" Cobain. The shoe, at least as you describe it, fits.

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The overwhelmingly positive reviews have created the backlash in part however. It causes people to go into a movie with very high expectations, and then when you come out you are even more disappointed than you would have been. I understand people getting angry at the dishonesty of movie reviewing, its clearly corrupt at some point ( even Justice League was getting positive reviews on day one), although you can tie in that emotional factor you get from watching a movie on the first day.

 

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12 minutes ago, Eggegg said:

The overwhelmingly positive reviews have created the backlash in part however. It causes people to go into a movie with very high expectations, and then when you come out you are even more disappointed than you would have been. I understand people getting angry at the dishonesty of movie reviewing, its clearly corrupt at some point ( even Justice League was getting positive reviews on day one), although you can tie in that emotional factor you get from watching a movie on the first day.

I agree with the effect of expectation, although that also leads into Justice League getting positive reviews early - since reviewers would likely have been fearing something as flat as Man of Steel or as tone-deaf as Dawn of Justice, and, while not exactly top notch superhero fare, Justice League is at least a more entertaining work than those two misfires.

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43 minutes ago, Eggegg said:

The overwhelmingly positive reviews have created the backlash in part however. It causes people to go into a movie with very high expectations, and then when you come out you are even more disappointed than you would have been. I understand people getting angry at the dishonesty of movie reviewing, its clearly corrupt at some point ( even Justice League was getting positive reviews on day one), although you can tie in that emotional factor you get from watching a movie on the first day.

 

Honestly, people need to grow the fuck up. "Oh my god MY EXPECTATIONS WERE RUINED BY THIS SITE!!!! WHAAAA!!" Get the fuck out of here.  If people are actively angry that some website with aggregates reviews "ruined" something for them those people need to immediately punch themselves in the face and then go volunteer for three months working with orphans in the Congo or something. The internet has turned a portion of our society into a endless whiny echo chamber of negativity and endless bitching. /rant 

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14 minutes ago, Relic said:

Honestly, people need to grow the fuck up. "Oh my god MY EXPECTATIONS WERE RUINED BY THIS SITE!!!! WHAAAA!!" Get the fuck out of here.  If people are actively angry that some website with aggregates reviews "ruined" something for them those people need to immediately punch themselves in the face and then go volunteer for three months working with orphans in the Congo or something. The internet has turned a portion of our society into a endless whiny echo chamber of negativity and endless bitching. /rant 

I'm guessing what they are angry at is the levels of dishonesty and untrustworthyness they are seeing in movie reviewing. I mean, I get it, it would be nice if movie reviews gave you a reasonably accurate, unbiased view of a movie, with no fear that they have been paid off by some large organisation to say nice things. Plus the Rotten Tomatoes system is not the most accurate measurement due to the way the reviewer really only ever has a binary choice in how to react to a movie.

I would have gone to see TLJ no matter what, but there are some movies where I have to choose where to spend my money, and movies are extortionately priced in cinemas now. If I get tricked into seeing something due to reviews that turns out to be a load of old rubbish then I'll be annoyed. These people take it to extremes however, starting a petition is not a sign of good emotional wellbeing! But I do understand that people get angry when they see people in authority blatantly lying about something.

Also worth noting we are speaking on a discussion forum which is mostly an echo chamber of negativity and endless bitching, so we are hardly above these people in that regard.

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14 minutes ago, Eggegg said:

I'm guessing what they are angry at is the levels of dishonesty and untrustworthyness they are seeing in movie reviewing. 

A - There never has been, and never will be, an objective opinion no matter how hard some of us would like to pretend otherwise. A movie review, by its very nature, can not be" unbiased". For profit positive reviews are a bit more problematic, which is why you should just avoid reviews in general. You can't get "tricked" that way. Fool me once and so on. 

B - There is a huge difference between bitching about reviews on Rotten Tomato and discussing a movie on a forum. IMHO.

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So regarding Rotten Tomatoes: it's just an aggregator, and all it does is decide "on the balance, is this review positive or negative? If it's 60% positive and 40% negative, it's a red tomato." What you get from Rotten Tomatoes is a way to see whether the majority of critics are at minimum _okay_ with a movie. This is not necessarily a ringing endorsement! The Rotten Tomatoes score for TLJ is currently 91% (Top Critics, which is the only one I ever really pay attention to, is 90%). Metacritic, which attempts to aggregate and do a finer measurement of how much a review is positive/negative to a review, puts it at 86%. Were I a reviewer covered in RT, my review would be in the positive category (thereby increasing its score minutely!), whereas for Metacritic I'd say it's in the 75-80% category (thereby decreasing its score minutely!)

This is a long way around of saying that RT is getting undeserved hate. What you really want to complain about are some particular critics, or critics as a class. And certainly, every critic who gives this 4/4 or 5/5 is questionable to me as well, but I've found that critics generally care a lot less about a well-crafted story when it's a blockbuster. They (and some audience members) give them the benefit of the doubt and try and see whether what they tried to do was worthwhile, more than they look at whether they were particularly successful with it. So the Canto Bight and slow chase elements which were not great for the structure of the film, those are looked at more as what it was trying to say, and what impact that has on the larger story universe, than the specific question of whether it's actually good filmmaking. 

The old saw about a great movie is that it has three good scenes and no bad ones. IMO, it failed on that last point for me, but many critics will give these films a gimme on a bad scene or two if they find the overall effect positive.

Long and short of it, now you know that critics aren't necessarily looking at a film like you are. Use the "My Critics" feature at RT and you can get a customized result based on critics who you largely find sympatico with your own POV on what makes a good film and what constitutes a bad film.

 

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I noticed a few reviewers giving glowing reviews the first week, with the caveat that there was so much to take in that they might need to rewatch it to do decide. They also skimmed over the weaknesses in the movie, the ones most people are aware of like Finn and Rose. So much attention was brought on the fact that Johnson had twisted what Star Wars is, that he had brought a great unique voice to the franchise, without wondering if he'd actually made a good movie. 
It felt like nobody wanted to come out and say the movie was crap on the first week, or that they were not allowed to. 

While I do think that critics often view a movie in a different way to regular people sometimes ( Kermode's review of Baby Driver gets up my nose as he seems to love it as an ode to movies, yet when I watched it as a movie, paying attention to the story, it was pretty average) , and that Star Wars fans are definitely going to have issues with this movie, I do think there is something rotten in the state of reviewing , and everyone knows it. Websites and reviewers NEED to get that early access to information and interviews and early screenings to survive. They cannot afford to piss off the hand that feeds them. I think we all just accept that now. 

I have stopped reading so many movie sites over the years because you just notice over and over the level of bias in their review. I used to read Aintitcool years ago, but Harry from that site is a well known studio shill, and its almost comical when he writes a review.
 

14 minutes ago, Ran said:

The old saw about a great movie is that it has three good scenes and no bad ones. IMO, it failed on that last point for me, but many critics will give these films a gimme on a bad scene or two if they find the overall effect positive.

 

I'd say this movie was made up of 3 good scenes and the rest were mostly awful, so it would fail that test for me as well. 

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8 hours ago, Werthead said:

That was true before though. Obi-Wan's upbringing was never canonically established in the film so, aside from his accent there's no indication he's from anywhere important. Naboo's nobility appears to be elected (however the hell that works), so Palpatine wasn't necessarily from a special family either. And we don't know what Mace Windu and Yoda's background was like either.

In the EU just about everybody was from a humble background: Kyle Katarn etc. Rebels has Ezra coming from a dirt poor background as well.

The only thing that's really established as important is Anakin coming from the midichlorians and then Luke and Leia deriving from him and Kylo Ren from Leia, but the new films seem to have completely dropped the midichlorian thing so who even knows if that's a thing anymore.

The lesson "but anyone can now be a Force user!" is really a poor lesson to learn from the film because that's been the case for years.

Yeah, but the examples you give in the first paragraph sum up the OT and prequel problem, which is Lucas' weird ambivalence about the subject of heredity and nobility.

Yes, in theory anyone can be a Jedi. But most Jedi act and talk like nobility. You can say 'well, that makes sense, they need to be taken seriously by rulers and so on, and besides in the prequels they are effectively an out-of-touch upper class, which is in fact something that Lucas is criticising as a weakness'. And that's fair. But then we have shit like 'elected nobility', which as you point out makes no sense. That's just Lucas trying to have his cake and eat it. He knows that democracy is morally better but he also thinks nobility is cool. He says anyone can be a Jedi, but the story he's interested in telling is about a Jedi dynasty. Midichlorians are all about establishing heredity.

TLJ looks at this and says 'ok, we're coming down heavily on the side of Lucas' vision that is democratic, not the side that is about heredity'.

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9 minutes ago, mormont said:

TLJ looks at this and says 'ok, we're coming down heavily on the side of Lucas' vision that is democratic, not the side that is about heredity'.

Very good.

(Lucas is an intellectual failure and just not very competent. The people behind TLJ know exactly what they’re doing. They are deliberate, intelligent, and politically schooled.) 

I’d go one step further: The New Force is neither heritable (aristocracy, old Right) nor meritocratic (liberal democracy, old-school Left). It is compensatory (modern Left).

TLJ’s Force is about balance and equality. Not values or principles. That is the intellectual breakthrough. There are no values. TLJ are politically ambitious, and represent is a triumph of postmodernism by intellectual titans. The Prequels had political ambition as well, but were a failure of modernism and meritocracy by an intellectual dimwit. The original trilogy were lazy conservative, Jungian archetypes enshrined in nobilty and established narrative tropes, but without any explicit political ambition.

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1 hour ago, Eggegg said:

I noticed a few reviewers giving glowing reviews the first week, with the caveat that there was so much to take in that they might need to rewatch it to do decide. They also skimmed over the weaknesses in the movie, the ones most people are aware of like Finn and Rose. So much attention was brought on the fact that Johnson had twisted what Star Wars is, that he had brought a great unique voice to the franchise, without wondering if he'd actually made a good movie. 
It felt like nobody wanted to come out and say the movie was crap on the first week, or that they were not allowed to. ...

Interestingly what I have seen most is people not liking the movie much, often because it twisted expectations. And having the movie improve on second viewing.

But lets not make this about ethics in movie reviewing.

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33 minutes ago, Seli said:

But lets not make this about ethics in movie reviewing.

Isn’t it about the politics of movie reviewing? Those critics who panned the old movies panned them for their conservatism. “was made for those (particularly males) who carry a portable shrine within them of their adolescence, a chalice of a Self that was Better Then, before the world's affairs or—in any complex way—sex intruded.” ANH was male and conservative. That was a politically bad thing, already in the 70s. Banality, back then, was also seen as a bad thing. But everybody agreed ANH was solid filmmaking and entertaining. ANH was internally motivated, and about storytelling.

The new movies are loved by critics exactly because they align with the desired values of the mainstream. The new movies are female and politically progressive. The movies make no attempts at telling a good story; instead, they are externally motivated: it’s about deconstructing a narrative that exists in The Real World, about deliberate choice casting were made based on essentialist characteristics of the actors (sex, haplogroup). These are very visible signals: you need to embrace these movies for the their exogenous ambitions; the endogenous traits (story, plot, wordbuilding, etc.) are a sideshow. Every critic understands this. And a critic would make a moral blunder by not aligning themselves with progressive values.

You can see the same dynamic even in this thread. We cannot resist taking sides based on the political signal we’re sending. Criticising these movies makes you a bad person.

People who dislike TLJ are misogynous, male, white, racist conservatives, stuck in Jungian archetypes, masturbating to Jordan Peterson youtube clips.

Worse, they are Jedi.

TLJ has finally freed ourselves from the political oppression inherent in the original trilogy. We can now enjoy the ATAT scene and the throne room scene and the Death Star being blown up without the wrongthink. For this we are grateful.

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I think the final analysis is that The Last Jedi is a film that comes from good intentions with wanting to push forward a more ambitious narrative and have a more complicated, nuanced villain and have a protagonist who is conflicted but not full of angst (or removes the reasons for said angst fairly quickly) and to do things differently. But it constantly undercuts that with poor writing, baffling lapses of plot logic, thematic incoherence and a refusal to adhere to previously established rules despite having an entire department whose job is to do just that.

The Last Jed desperately wants to be a good movie and has all the ingredients of a good movie, but is ultimately incompetent.

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26 minutes ago, Werthead said:

I think the final analysis is that The Last Jedi is a film that comes from good intentions with wanting to push forward a more ambitious narrative and have a more complicated, nuanced villain and have a protagonist who is conflicted but not full of angst (or removes the reasons for said angst fairly quickly) and to do things differently. But it constantly undercuts that with poor writing, baffling lapses of plot logic, thematic incoherence and a refusal to adhere to previously established rules despite having an entire department whose job is to do just that.

The Last Jed desperately wants to be a good movie and has all the ingredients of a good movie, but is ultimately incompetent.

Yeah I think that basically sums it up. I don't know if it is down to Johnson or Disney but somewhere along the way the script became a bit of a mess. I'm putting it down to Johnson, I personally think his movies follow a similar pattern. I thought Brick was an interesting movie when I first saw it, but rewatch makes it feel like a college movie made by some pretentious kid. Brothers Bloom is a bit of a flop. Looper is a movie that has some great ideas, and should be incredible, but actually falls apart in its 2nd and 3rd acts, in fact becoming rather boring. I'm not sure I rate him that highly. High concept but ultimately unsuccessful movies are kind of his stock in trade. 

As for Happy Ents posts, which I am gonna take as a sort of parody of the meta-analysis that seems to occur within movie reviewing, all I'll say is that Disney and most modern movie makers are kind of obligated to tick a number of boxes to be seen to promote progressive values, to not do so will normally result in some sort of critical backlash and a negative narrative that will seed along the internet. The safest option is to always err on the side of modern values and make 'movies for the 21st century'. I do agree that often its not even about whether a movie is good, or tells a good story, but that it tells the right story that matters. 

 

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@Happy Ent

I think you give Abrams and Johnson too much credit for political coherence. Looking over their respective ouevres, they are primarily motivated in their works by fondness for pop culture and cinema, and politically they're kind of all over the map in a way that suggests politics does not suffuse their creative instincts.

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