krpalmer: (europa)
As I prepared to close out this year's trip through the Star Wars movies, I was thinking about the best way to not just set down one final "personal theory" but also to explain it. Right at the start of Revenge of the Sith, though, I happened to think of something I might have conceived of but not put too much thought into before, the idea that "the kidnapping of Palpatine was a small commando operation; all the other Separatist forces stayed in space."

This thought springs from the old "drawn animation" Clone Wars series shown just before the movie premiered. It had a big "Jedi powers" battle down on Coruscant, but threw in the realization by Yoda and Mace Windu that with no attempt being made to attack the Senate or the Jedi Temple there had to be another target. I suppose this ought to have been reasonable, and yet the commentaries included with the DVD made the point that the planet "should" have been more messed up in the movie itself. Perhaps I'm reacting to an impression of "we'll just fix this problem that never occurred to them."

In any case, I'm done for this year, but I'm wondering about the next. Regardless of when or how I manage to see the first promised trailer for The Force Awakens, by the fall of next year I'm sure we'll be pretty far into the runup for the first of "the new new Star Wars movies," and at the moment I'm still holding myself capable of accepting it as "a continuation" or not. I can also still engage in the luxury of saying "time will tell."
krpalmer: (europa)
Before I made it to Attack of the Clones in my trip through the Star Wars movies for this year, most of my thoughts about what "personal theory" I might set down about it had to do with ideas of just when, how, and why Count Dooku had turned to the Dark Side and become Darth Tyrannus. As I got to thinking about ways to present the three new movies as something other than "Palpatine's precisely premeditated plan," though, I got to remembering the idea he'd only suggested Obi-Wan, and his apprentice, guard Padme because he wanted to get Anakin frustrated at the Jedi over "things he couldn't have." That's not a "personal" theory, though, as I recall first seeing it suggested in a classic look at the movie, "The Shroud of the Dark Side." With that in mind, though, I did remember an idea that does seem to be all mine: "the 'attachment is forbidden' rule, for the ordinary Jedi, doesn't require uncomfortable repression, washing hands afterwards, or even quick cheap flings; the Force can be used to switch off certain biological urges."

A bit of this might well come from the carefully quantified and qualified rules of the role-playing game that got adopted into the early novels as "hibernation trances" and the like, but I suppose more of it comes from my own peculiar habit of not being really interested in "pairing off" fictional characters not undeniably defined as such in their stories. Where some people seem to not want characters to go through life without a defined helpmate, I seem to be content with giving them a bit of privacy. When the romance is undeniable, though, I do seem ready to get gushy over that, and I suppose that leads into the obvious objection of "so what about Anakin?" I try to answer that by thinking that while "biological urges can be switched off," emotional attraction is harder to deal with.
krpalmer: (europa)
As I watched my way through the Star Wars movies this year into the new ones (although in just over another year, I might have to find a different way of saying that), I continued to contemplate the "personal theories" I've hit on over time. The thought has come to me at different times that the new movies just might invite thoughtful engagement with them and even the formation of "personal theories," although some people seem to have missed that (or at least refused it) to complain about things not being explained to them.

I did find myself, however, trying to find ways to not have one "personal theory" seem the "most obvious one." Knowing how things turn out, the thought begins to scratch at me that the movies can be interpreted as "Palpatine has everything planned out from the start," and things only stop going the way he's foreseen in the final reel of Return of the Jedi itself... the problem then becomes "why then?" That one person alone in all the galaxy possesses a diabolical free will (or, perhaps, just sees himself as the "puppet who can see the strings," to quote "Watchmen") somehow seems to interfere with comments from George Lucas that he thought of the saga as a modern attempt to suggest ancient truths about right living. I suppose, too, that I eventually became a little dissatisfied with Grand Admiral Thrawn in the novels knowing, though the study of art, the precise psychological button for each alien species that gets every member of them to freeze up.

The best way out does seem to be to wonder how he might have triumphed much sooner over the course of The Phantom Menace had a team of heroes not (half-unwittingly) interfered. Remembering a comment in the DVD commentary track about the battle droids being "found ineffective" against the Jedi, I do wonder if Qui-Gon's premonitions about Queen Amidala being assassinated had been part of a scheme to provoke a conflict that would swarm the limited numbers of Jedi (it did work in Attack of the Clones), and then create the vacuum in the galaxy to be filled with a new imperial government that eventually opened through a redrafted plan two movies later. If that's a little too hopeful, I suppose I've also contemplated that "Nemoidians find the 'standard human accent' somehow offensive; they hide that because it'll hurt trade." That, of course, may be a little too obvious.
krpalmer: (europa)
As I got to the halfway point in watching through the Star Wars movies this year, I was wondering just what I could share as a "personal theory" this time. At last, some ideas seemed to come together, linking not just a theory or two but even a preference; they seem to have to do with planning.

I remember some people arguing pretty much past each other in the days of the Star Wars Usenet newsgroup about whether the rescue of Han Solo was all according to an elaborate plan. I also recall a line in the novelization, which ties into some discussion in the recent "The Making of Return of the Jedi" book, that Han had to be brought outside Jabba's palace to increase the chances of escape. The hindsight we look back at the events in the movie with could be converted into foresight on the parts of the main characters, with just Threepio unfortunately left out because everyone else knew he couldn't keep a secret. For some reason, though, I do want to believe that "Luke didn't know Jabba could drop people he was angry with into the Rancor pit beneath his throne room before he cast them into the Sarlacc in the desert." Certainly, characters who think ahead are a change that may well be welcome in the face of "they who grit their teeth harder win," and yet when one side has all the plans and everything plays into it that sometimes doesn't seem that exciting than at least a bit of fast thinking being necessary. That, perhaps, may tie in to how I want to interpret the new movies as well.

So far as "plans" go, I'm also inclined to think that "after Luke's discussion with his father on the forest moon of Endor didn't turn Darth Vader away from the Dark Side, he despaired and supposed all he could do now was distract the Emperor until all three of them were caught in the attack on the second Death Star." This, again, may just be a stronger statement of something actually said in the dialogue, but I'm also inclined to think that "Darth Vader, after Luke rejected him in the previous movie, was at an equal loss for ideas of how to turn his son to the Dark Side, and saved the Emperor in the moment of crisis because of concerns on some hidden level Luke might even be able to walk away after that." The Emperor may well have suspected this, but I do wonder if he even would have got a dark kick out of the instant of his death in that moment, sure that "Vader taking a gamble" wouldn't have paid off anyway, and everything could go to pieces so far as he cared because he wouldn't be around for it. Perhaps by that point thoughts about "the Sith are supposed to be entirely selfish" are indeed a "personal theory."
krpalmer: (europa)
Continuing my once-a-year visit to the Star Wars movies, I'm also continuing to think through a few "personal theories" I've been forming for a while now. I admit most of them seem pretty much the type that "dwells on the characters" and doesn't get into anything that might be seen as "deeper" analysis, but "everything in moderation" might even apply there too. One of the theories is "when Darth Vader proposed that Luke could be a powerful ally, he was really issuing an open challenge to the Emperor; both of them understood this so well they didn't need to comment on it."
Ramifications of a 'Rule of Two' )
krpalmer: (europa)
One viewing of all the Star Wars movies a year seems to me clear of whatever risk there may be in "overexposure" (although I can find myself wishing I could find or make the time to watch other old movies, too). By this point, however, I suppose I'm conscious I might not be hitting on too many "unexpected insights" in these screenings. Remembering the "headcanon" some people have shared before, though, I was thinking a bit about whether I've developed a few "one-person beliefs" of my own. As I got started for this year (it always seems to be around this time), I was mulling over the possibility that "the Millennium Falcon is a particularly disreputable-looking starship."

Everyone loves the Falcon, of course, or at least a great deal is made of that; a good number of the recent backstage leaks amount to sightings of the latest external mockup put together. At the same time, though, just as I've grown to suspect too big a deal can be made of Han Solo as "the Star Wars character for grown-up tastes" (I can get to imagining that not only does he, as others have said, represent what the galaxy has been reduced to by the Empire, but in Star Wars itself his opinions are in fact counter to what's actually needed and most of his actions are motivated by simple greed), I've become a bit annoyed with the demands from certain people that everything has to look as worn and battered as it, or else it's a sign of George Lucas's disdain for the work of his old designers (I've seen the chrome Naboo starships used as targets for that in the past.) To me, when Luke's first reaction to the Falcon is disbelieving, I can imagine it must look more "used" than just about anything else in its "future." (Leia, too, reacts on first sight with disbelief, although she may not be quite as familiar with the style some make a very big deal of.) To try to identify "things that should be copied" may seem more positive to some than just finding clever ways to condemn everything they see, but at the same time I do wonder how much actual analysis is going into it.
krpalmer: (europa)
Now that I've managed to see just about all of Creative Computing, the old computer magazine most intriguing to me for being out of reach at the moment seems Softalk. It showed up in the early days of "system-specific magazines," devoted to the Apple II with part of its startup funds coming from game show winnings. Unlike some other early magazines (including Creative Computing itself), it stayed independent even as it spun off magazines devoted to computer gaming, the IBM PC, and the Macintosh, but that independence did seem to doom it exactly four years after its first issue as deeper-pocketed competitors pressed into its market and advertising dollars stretched thin. (Of course, this far from the early days, the magazines that sold out to big companies all wound up closed down by corporate penny-pinching sooner or later...) The Apple II users who read it still seem to remember it with fondness all the same. This, though, hasn't yet translated into all of it being scanned and put online as with Commodore and Atari magazines, but when I saw someone had at least done that with the slim first issue I didn't hesitate.

Beyond the obvious novelty of a "first issue," I could also take definite interest in its cover story, "Apple Helps The Empire Strikes Back." I'd already seen the Apple II system the article talked about (which not only catalogued the pieces of special-effects film being produced by ILM but also calculated "start frames" to speed putting them together) pictured in "The Making of The Empire Strikes Back"; the picture in the magazine was just as recognizable with its fairly small monitor and the single disk drive right on top of that monitor. What I hadn't expected was for the references to the second sequel to follow the success of the first (and there was a sense of "things aren't what they used to be" when the article led off by talking about how "the conventional wisdom in Hollywood" was that "sequels are almost surely doomed to failure--financially if not artistically") to say "Return of the Jedi."

"Empire of Dreams," the documentary now ten years old included in the DVD box set of the "Imperial Trilogy," had at least mentioned how George Lucas had put "Return of the Jedi" on his very first draft only to be told he needed something a bit punchier, whereupon he changed it to the "Revenge of the Jedi" everyone seemed to know about in 1981 and 1982; that title was mentioned in "Once Upon A Galaxy," the period "making of The Empire Strikes Back" book presumably wrapped up in time for the movie's opening. I suppose that while I can dwell on implications overheard of "Revenge of the Jedi" representing something unspecified yet appealing to to those who've schooled themselves through long practice to be dissatisfied with, or to altogether miss the point of, Star Wars as it is, this hint at last of the actual title being mentioned in public much sooner than everyone supposes these days was both interesting and intriguing.
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
People who keep up on comics took particular note in the past few days when it turned out the "Watterson-esque" panels, "drawn by a second-grader," some were beginning to speculate about in Stephan Pastis's "Pearls Before Swine" had been drawn by Bill Watterson himself. In seeing the confirmation, though, I did have to face how I was still conscious of being in a "grudge-holding mode" over how a recent strip had been meant to make a "joke" out of "prequel denial." A first attempt by someone else to lead off with a declaration of there being "three Star Wars movies," as if to bait the chance to ostentatiously deny there are any more, which they got straight to anyway, had already annoyed me when I'd seen it. However, in retrospect Pastis might have managed to add an interpretation of "prequel denial" being sort of pathetic; maybe I was just aggravated by this giving a chance for all the commentators on the official site I read the comic on to pitch in with their own contempt.

In any case, I'd already known of a few other recent instances where Bill Watterson has begun to say a few things beyond the implied "I said everything I intend to say in the work I completed." Nearly two decades of that implied statement haven't dimmed his legend, anyway, although I can be conscious of how I seem much more likely to take a volume of "The Complete Peanuts" off my bookshelf than to work one of the big volumes of my copy of "The Complete Calvin and Hobbes" out of its box. I'm also a little inclined to remember how I became interested in the comic strip "Frazz" in part because of an impression, commented on by others (even if some of them do that in a disdaining way), that its art has its own "Watterson-esque" feel.
krpalmer: (Default)
The combination "hard disk PVR"/"DVD recorder" I bought a few years ago has seemed a useful gadget, even if most of the discs I've recorded "for later," what with not watching many "network" or "cable" shows these days, are old films off of Turner Classic Movies. With the impression that video quality really starts to suffer with more than two and a half hours on one disc, though (suffers more than it does coming through my standard definition cable, anyway), I've avoided recording some really long movies and stashed a few others on the hard disk with the thought that maybe, as with cases from Gone With the Wind and Seven Samurai to It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, they'll have an "intermission" in the middle and I'll be able to split them between two discs. Before I can do that, though, I have to watch them, but this weekend I devoted the time at last to do that for another one of them. After a few moments' thought, I settled on a notable example of the previous time Hollywood went for "spectacle" to compete, the 1959 production of the "sword, sandal, and scripture" epic Ben-Hur.

Although long enough that I wound up getting through the movie in three separate viewing sessions, it kept my attention. For some reason, I was convinced the musical score was a significant contributor to the experience; I also had the odd feeling I was having trouble applying the actual name of the main character to someone I kept thinking of as just "Charlton Heston." Around the intermission, though, all of a sudden the thought had come back to me that the famous chariot race sequence coming up had been called a clear model for the "podrace" in The Phantom Menace...

This didn't suddenly transfigure the whole experience, much less make it something less than it had been, but I suppose I was looking at the sequence with a new curiosity and able to see the setting-up pageantry and the colour scheme itself as familiar, while still thinking there'd been at least some changes. I also reminded myself of a thought I'd had when I'd watched The Hidden Fortress, that you can identify influences on all the Star Wars movies in a "positive" or a "negative" light. For all that I was conscious some could be noisy about proclaiming "this is all real," I could also remember supposing earlier in the movie that the "tops" of some establishing shots could have been done with matte paintings. A new thought, though, was to wonder about the intimations those working on the Star Wars movie in production keep managing to toss out to try and link themselves to the three old movies. Drawing on a number of inspirations may begin to feel a bit different if it comes to seem a work to follow is just obsessed on echoing a fixed number of works themselves once suggested to be "composite."
krpalmer: (europa)
Fifteenth anniversaries seem the odd ones out, lost between tenth and twentieth and not as important as fifth or twenty-fifth. They may be around where things change from "this has lasted for a while now, hasn't it?" to "time's really started to pass." There's a particular fifteenth anniversary, though, that previous circumstances have made a bit more important just to me.
On May 19, 2004... )
krpalmer: (europa)
I may have watched all the sixth series Clone Wars episodes on Netflix, but I do still have two-thirds of the fourth season on Blu-Ray and an unopened fifth season set to watch once more. Pushing myself back to it, I got around to "Darkness on Umbara," the curtain-raiser to the significant "Umbara arc." Just it alone, though, seemed to impress me; it took a little while before I could sort out why. I'd first seen the episode not that long after I'd got my new TV (ahead of the end-of-year sales, and more or less so I could watch the Star Wars movies on Blu-Ray and "get around to it" before the thought that "holding off" was in some strange fashion falling in among those who cling to past impressions), but I was still watching via "basic cable" (as I am to this date). Everything had looked sort of dark and mucky then; now, it looked dark and interesting, lights flashing amid the gloom.

Spotting Tup, the unfortunate clonetrooper who got the "Order 66 arc" under way, was a bit of a surprise for me, but in another way I could detach myself from what I knew was to come by thinking the end of the episode was almost like a "you've earned my respect and I've learned a lesson" conclusion. Then, though, Krell had disappeared (again), and the clones were caught in a firefight. The series didn't often seem to have genuine cliffhangers between the episodes of its story arcs, instead usually managing to get the characters to safe places as the episodes wrapped up.
krpalmer: (europa)
When the last episodes of the fifth season of Clone Wars gave an answer to the question "so what happens to Ahsoka?" that had been lurking built into the series since its theatrical premiere, I still wasn't quite dwelling on the first rumours it might be reduced to one more untidy problem springing from the sale of Lucasfilm. The news the show was being brought to a sudden end battered me too, even if I had the obvious cautionary example of what happens to Star Wars "fans" who spend all their time dwelling on self-identified slights. Aware even so of how some promised episodes had been pushed back and back through the fifth season until all of a sudden they were more collateral damage, though, I still reacted to the talk of production continuing for some more "bonus content" first with happy surprise, then with the creeping worry nobody in my own market would actually get to see it, and at last with the resolve to sign up for Netflix. I wasn't as fast as some people watching through them, aware that when they were done that would be it, but at last I was finished, a little sad there were no more but still heartened by the experience.
Those still behind me may find things given away )
krpalmer: (Default)
Before I had this journal, I had a home page, but even though the journal links to that page I haven't revamped it for quite a while. "Linkrot" is one thing; it's something else to look at things you said you were interested in and wonder if it's quite the same now. After a certain amount of unproductive thought about mere possibilities, I at last scraped together the motivation to start working on the text.

What I'd said about Mystery Science Theater 3000 could stay just about the same, even if it's been that much longer since the general MSTing community closed up. Aware I don't start my text adventure programs or Marathon all that much these days, I rolled them together and added an introductory section about "old computers" in general. I then turned my look at Robotech specifically into a "narrative" from Robotech to anime in general, although my daydream of going from a "Robotech eyecatch" to the "Super Dimension Fortress Macross eyecatch" to one from Macross Frontier with its illustration of the way things changed again seems on hold until the possibility of indeed getting those English-subtitled Blu-Rays of the Macross Frontier movies later this year and perhaps rewatching the TV series that preceded them. My section on Star Wars does stay at the bottom of the page where people might not be as likely to get to, but I did expand it; I also moved the link to my journal up to the top so that someone following a link might be a little more likely to see it.

To brush things up a little, I sorted out a few more basic tricks with CSS (although the style sheet section might be a little chaotic) and changed the look of some sections (although this might amount to the old-fashioned folly of "using every font in the menu just because you can"). I don't know how long it'll be before I work on my home page again, but maybe it might not be as long as the last time.
krpalmer: (europa)
It wasn't until I had the fourth issue of "The Star Wars" that I really started to get the feeling I'd manage to get every issue of this comic adapting the rough draft screenplay and felt ready to read what I had. With that done, I decided to comment on the experience as it was at that point, but in saying a bit about four issues at once there might have been the expectation I wouldn't get enough from a single issue to make a post about.
As this post suggests, though... )
krpalmer: (europa)
To get things started this time around, I decided to pick up at a midpoint. It did tickle my fancy to hear Dark Horse was going to make a comics adaptation of the "rough draft" of Star Wars, having been aware for quite a while of the development of that movie. My usual detachment from "Star Wars comics" as connected to "Star Wars novels" crumbled (even if I can suppose a distinct part of that had to do with the project being its own unique continuity), and I decided to take the comic in the old-fashioned way by checking out the local comics shop. There seemed some difficulties in getting myself on the list of people who'd have a copy of the first issue put aside for themselves, though, and I showed up the evening of day it was supposed to be released only to be told it had already sold out. Even if this proved the comic was popular, it was a bit of a blow; I supposed I'd have to wait for however long it took for the "graphic novel" collection to come out.
Then, though, I was lucky for a change... )
krpalmer: (europa)
The Prequel Appreciation Society's review of "The Star Wars Heresies" made a direct comparison of it to a book "self-published" in 1984, calling "In A Faraway Galaxy" "the very best look at the first set of Star Wars films". It seemed a bold statement holding the older volume to a high standard, but it did pique my interest. When a quick search turned up some used copies for what seemed quite reasonable prices, I ordered one of them.

Perhaps with impressions of at least some "early" fanzines having been composed on typewriters and illustrated with naive zeal, I might even have been a little amused by the first impression as I cut open the package and pulled the book out its cover was "austere"; for some reason, I thought a bit of books from the 1960s as opposed to the 1980s. Inside, though, things looked quite professional, even if the textured paper kept me thinking of a "vanity" project. A Caltech bookstore inside the front cover also suggested the book hadn't just lurked in some underground of well-connected fans.
Interpretations of interpretations )
krpalmer: (europa)
When I heard we were going to get a book about the making of Return of the Jedi too for its own thirtieth anniversary (and also thirty years after a much less elaborate paperback with the exact same name), I decided I'd waited long enough for a paperback version of "The Making of The Empire Strikes Back" and asked for the hardcover for a birthday present. Then, just to even things out, I splurged on the still-available hardcover version of "The Making of Star Wars" with its extra pages. (The storyboards were interesting, but George Lucas mentioning "midi-chlorians" in what was said to be comments from the summer of 1977 really caught my attention; I wondered if greater publicity might be given to this, but did have the uneasy feeling some would just react by saying this "proves" somebody like Gary Kurtz or Marcia Lucas had "talked him out of a bad idea, or at least for a while.") With all of this, though, I suppose I did get to wondering about how this particular trilogy would conclude. It may be that chronicling the making of Return of the Jedi requires a delicate touch. It may also be that I bring that up because I got to wondering if J. W. Rinzler had that touch.
'That's it! We'll kill 'em with cuteness!' )
krpalmer: (europa)
In trying to summarize "The Star Wars Heresies," I suppose a few of the reactions I'd had to it managed to slip my mind, and in a case or two they'd tied into thoughts I'd been mulling over for a while. It was something to be told near the close of Revenge of the Sith how Qui-Gon had managed to connect one last thread between then and now, but not being shown (or even hearing from) Liam Neeson did leave the obvious feeling that something was missing. Now that I'm remembering it, though, just as when I saw Nilbog's Storybook Land also bring the point up not that long before reading the book a part of me does wonder about how "glaring" this absence really is to me.

I suppose this has to do with where I've heard the actual appearance would have shown up. In the expanded script in the back of "The Art of Revenge of the Sith," Yoda hears from Qui-Gon while meditating alone on Polis Massa, right before Obi-Wan arrives with the sinking-fast Padme. Hearing about Qui-Gon's return, to me, was a "transcendent" moment, one where things start to seem a little better at last for the surviving heroes. It somehow feels a little out of place for him to actually have appeared as things start being closed out for the older Skywalkers, and with that in mind I have the perhaps odd feeling that I can understand why the scene wasn't pushed for.

In having said all of that, I am wondering if it could be pushed a little further to "now, what should have been done is...", and in wondering that I can see how "uncritical" might be applied. However, to me at least there's a distinction between "getting better still" and "getting dissatisfied over what is just because of the ghost of what might have been."
krpalmer: (europa)
More or less as soon as I'd managed to find some positive-minded people and get back into Star Wars, I heard about the essays of Paul F. McDonald. As I don't remember him posting to the message board and journals I was reading, he might have seemed a little separate from everyone else, but perhaps that helped reassure me I hadn't gone from feeling all on my own to just being part of one little closed circle. When he started his own weblog, that seemed to integrate him a bit more into the evolving community. Hearing he was going to be able to put his thoughts into a genuine book, though, was something different again. I'd been annoyed several times before by works of "refined pop culture commentary" that I'd opened up only to crash straight into gratuitous "off-topic" jabs at Star Wars, and now it seemed things would turn around at last. While the occasional thought that I knew more or less what would be said might have come to mind as I was ordering "The Star Wars Heresies" and waiting (quite a few months) for it, I wanted to be able to support the spirit behind it anyway.
A certain creative interaction )
krpalmer: (europa)
Not that long after watching Revenge of the Sith and getting halfway through the Star Wars movies, I was pleased to hear my copy of Paul F. McDonald's The Star Wars Heresies had shipped weeks ahead of when I'd been expecting it. Before I got around to McDonald's analysis of the half of the saga I'd just watched, though, I did want to try and set down certain of my own (if less deeply delving) contemplations, ones I'd perhaps been anticipating dealing with anew.
There are times when a 'heresy' of my own... )

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