krpalmer: Imagination sold and serviced here: Infocom (infocom)
Seeing a bit of attention paid to "old computers" from an unexpected but notable direction did get me thinking of the home computer games I'd actually played when I was young (instead of managing to get around to them years later), and which of them might be called "personal standouts." I thought of the Pole Position imitation I would load and then twiddle the TV's tint knob until the blue "artifact colour" of the backgrounds changed to "green grass" (although the Radio Shack Color Computer 2 could start up with its blue and red artifact colours switched, which made for a different experience again), of the "first-person perspective maze" our disk had gone bad for unfortunately early on so that long years later it became one of my most notable pushes towards getting emulator programs working, and of several illustrated adventures, some easier to play all the way through than others. After remembering those and other Color Computer games, though, all of a sudden I reminded myself that before it my family had started out with a TRS-80 Model I. Even with its low-resolution black-and-white graphics (converted to black-and-green with a thick piece of green plastic foam-taped to the converted RCA surplus TV that served as its official monitor), we had some games for it. Two of them that came to mind right away were the Berzerk imitation "Robot Attack" and a "swoop a spaceship over an enemy base and through a cavern" game from a "software every month" cassette magazine, both of which I'd got working on emulators in recent years. That double revival, though, had also got me thinking of a third game stuck in my mind but which I hadn't been able to find in these latter days...
The third game, and some illustrated proof )
krpalmer: (europa)
"Prequel Appreciation Day" has been moved up this year with the fifteenth anniversary of Attack of the Clones rolling around, but while I'm still away on vacation this does happen to be one of the days I can access wireless ashore, and while I didn't bring the movie with me memories are ready to hand.

I'd wound up feeling stuck between a sense I hadn't been triggered to hostility by The Phantom Menace the way what had seemed so many others had made such a deal of and the nervous fear watching that movie, the previous trilogy, or indeed just about any other movie would at last grind my face in how "obvious" the hostile reaction was, but the trailers for the next new Star Wars movie (one of which my brother had made a big deal of accessing by going online with the Phantom Menace DVD loaded in his computer's disc drive) had somehow managed to begin invigorating me again. After forming tentative theories and going back and forth on whether the "clones" in their white and black armour might even be on the side of the Republic, the opening crawl did jolted me by mentioning Amidala as "former" queen (the first hint other people could also be positive about the extension to the saga were "fanfics" that had speculated ahead with a great sense of Amidala being Queen, even if I hadn't looked beyond them yet to the group of positive people I would discover in the nick of time), but from there things managed to build, and the opening night audience had seemed to enjoy the movie in the end. I did overhear a "George Lucas has redeemed himself" comment from someone that did, after everything, provoke a sort of "I'm not that hostile to what came before" reaction from me, but I can still wonder if, in different circumstances, I might have wound up convinced "the real story started with 'Episode II.'"

I have to mention that as speculation because of the way certain people rallied to find something to be offended at even as I kept realising that while "shipping" doesn't do a lot for me I can get gooey and sentimental about the indisputable romances that don't match sheer imagination for others. By "the nick of time" I've already mentioned, I was stuck the same miserable distance from the then-latest Star Wars movie as from the others. In happening on the positive people who became "prequel appreciators," things managed to work out, although I can wonder yet if a "middle movie" caught between something with the freedom to look "different yet familiar" and the payoff for everything set up can feel somehow "overstuffed" and be a bit easier to just sort of take as part of the whole. At the same time, though, some recent comments noticed about Attack of the Clones being the most like the Flash Gordon serials at one root of everything do have a pleasant resemblance to thoughts I've had before about the movie being free in its variety to "be a Star Wars movie pure and simple."
krpalmer: (mimas)
I've been conscious for a while now of continuing to hold back from watching The Force Awakens on Netflix, but the latest time I thought about that I also thought it's been a while since I've watched Clone Wars. I had made a point of returning to the late plot arc I'd heard had included a character who would appear "decades later" in Rogue One (only to wind up thinking it was hard to suppose Saw's character in the movie showed any particular influences of that previous story), but other than that the same "I'd rather use my time watching other things" feeling seems to apply in both cases.

However, the "Clone Wars era" itself doesn't quite seem to have left my contemplations. In starting to wonder if the Jedi wound up so focused on "Count Dooku leading the enemy" as to neglect the other Sith Lord he'd even named to Obi-Wan, all of a sudden I happened to wonder if the assorted "Dark Side acolytes" in the Clone Wars series were meant to get the Jedi thinking he had become the master. While I had grown to find characters like Asajj Ventress and Savage Oppress interesting, I suppose the discussions of other fans about how there can only be two Sith had intrigued me, influencing the way I thought about the old movies; to start multiplying acolytes for the sake of more action had led to a few unfortunate thoughts of the old Star Wars novels I wasn't reading any more. Having mulled over this new idea for a little while now (until, of course, the day people start tossing an amusing greeting back and forth) does seem to suggest it's not pushing me back towards watching Clone Wars again, but it's at least nice to keep thinking about the subject.
krpalmer: (europa)
Some imp of the perverse might have been driving me as I noticed an item on Satellite News that Rifftrax would be providing their own brand of commentary in a synch-it-yourself audio file timed to Rogue One. The odds seem minimal I'd ever listen to that track, given that Rifftrax having begun by "needling blockbusters" has kept me away from the "video files with pre-synched commentary featuring more MST3K-like B-to-Z-movies" they do mostly offer these days (although that in turn might have been an "I can't become utterly paralyzed with fear I might hear disparaging references I can't find funny" push to pledge to the MST3K revival Kickstarter). I looked at the comments, though, and one of the first ones was someone more or less saying "sure; Jyn is the Mary Sue Rey didn't turn out to be." Someone else riposted, and the comment "You don't know what a Mary Sue is" came up.
Something came to mind at once )
krpalmer: (europa)
Dropping in to the discount store across the corner on the weekend, I was wandering around its rack of cheap Blu-Rays when I saw two "previously owned" copies of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on display. A moment I'd imagined might arrive back when I hadn't bought the movie on its home video release had indeed come to pass, but I walked out of the store without a disc, remembering how hearing the special features had gone straight back to "isn't it wonderful there were so many animatronics on set?" had squashed what interest I might have had and how the movie's been available on Netflix up here for months but I've kept putting off making the time to watch it.
Instead of that... )
krpalmer: (europa)
When I got around to watching the Star Wars movies this year and, halfway through "hybrid order," found any possible previous concerns that this time things would be different seemingly overcome by invigoration, I went ahead and posted about it. After I'd done that, though, I did get to wondering if I'd "set myself up at last," if Attack of the Clones in particular would feel "stuck as the middle movie" or something. I got through it in turn just fine, however, and thoughts that maybe Revenge of the Sith would pose personal problems somehow might not have had the chance to get started. On getting back to the old movies with Return of the Jedi, though, I suppose I was at least conscious of the laments of others on interpreting most of the major performances as "burnt out," as much as I tried to bring to mind other, more positive interpretations I've seen. At least since reading the modern "making of" book, I sometimes find myself wondering if George Lucas saw the important part of the movie as "redemption," but with the big secret of The Empire Strikes Back having leaked (if perhaps not to as widespread publicity as might happen nowadays) he tried even harder to keep that part restricted to those who needed to know, only to leave everyone else kind of underwhelmed at the impression the movie was "about" "creatures..."

I was perhaps following more Star Wars discussions in the late 1990s since I've done since, and I'm ready to suppose a "golden age" wasn't "lost" in sudden and shocking fashion in 1999 (or even 1997) because I'm aware of the complaints about Return of the Jedi from back then. It's at least possible I fell away from possible "groupthink" just out of the inarticulate conviction the then-third Star Wars movie was the conclusion and getting upset about it wouldn't make a difference except to yourself, but in since coming to think I could really shock some by declaring the three new movies a more interesting and compelling unit I always feel that also has to face the possibility all the "blame" then falls on Return of the Jedi itself. That, of course, might not even really touch on the unpleasant feeling that the latest of three "official" continuations from that point (and the one that has the apparent advantage of existing in the same medium as the previous movies) involves the celebrated heroes of the apparently beloved movies having failed off-screen in just about every way for the sake of getting new product with a drab ethos and a barrage of snappy dialogue rolling. Still, that hasn't quite stopped me from thinking "roll on Rogue One" so far.
krpalmer: (europa)
A few hours after putting together a post yesterday suggesting it seems at least possible to escape indignation at the conviction that the "battle for Naboo" hinged altogether on a "whoops" moment, I had a "whoops" moment of my own remembering an additional thought I'd had but forgotten to set down in writing. That "not everything depended on Anakin" doesn't have to lead to the smug conclusion he should have just been left with his mother on Tatooine and everyone would have wound up happier; he did also happen to clear some "destroyer droids" out of Queen Amidala and company's path to get his Naboo starfighter moving. (I suppose this could be seen as beginning to set up the suggestion a larger power was guiding him, anyway.)
krpalmer: (europa)
When I made the time last year to watch six Star Wars movies (which can, among other things, leave me aware how often I can't make the time to watch even one old movie), I suppose thoughts of "the end of an era" were at least present. After not managing to work up interest in buying the Blu-Ray of The Force Awakens, though, and after making one excuse after another to not watch it on Netflix this weekend, all of a sudden I'd resolved to get back to the familiar six before the end of the year, almost as if things hadn't changed after all. I did resort to what I can call "hybrid order," with the new movies in the middle as an extended flashback, as if to avoid both a too-strong statement of just where "numerical order" points and the direct lead-in of "production order" to Rogue One (although at the moment each of its successive trailers seem to have impressed me a bit more than before...) While I'd at least imagined accusations of resenting how I'd put all that work into "appreciation" to the point of resisting an effortless barrage of snappy dialogue, when the order rolled around to The Phantom Menace once more I didn't seem troubled at all. I suppose I'd put a bit of thought beforehand into one particular interpretation of one particular moment, though.

I can still wrap my head around to supposing Anakin seeming to fire the shot that blows up the droid control ship "by accident" added to the indignation of some. While there just might be a chance now to point elsewhere at "the Force guiding someone," I happened to think that while "the big explosion" catches attention, the crucial moment that had been mentioned before in the movie was Amidala and company managing to capture the Trade Federation viceroy, an echo perhaps of Palpatine managing at least a partial success in becoming Supreme Chancellor. Anakin would then have definitely helped more pilots survive the battle than otherwise and eliminated the possibility the droid army would eventually execute its captives, but once again the rush to indignation might have overcome some. That thought might not help anyone but me, but it did at least add a bit to getting to the halfway point; I'm looking further ahead yet at the possibility of managing to watch the Clone Wars episodes that featured the younger inspiration for a Rogue One character, anyway.
krpalmer: (europa)

Being invited to mark the shared anniversary of two of the Star Wars movies by coming up with "ten things I like about the prequels" was invigorating, but also challenging. By this point my appreciation of them is pretty far-ranging; the trick was narrowing it down to a few things I could share some hopefully well-chosen words about. With thought, though, I formed a list, and then a list I could and had to pick and choose from. As I did so, I did have to face insisting it isn't a "top ten" list; to say something about the major characters might mean saying a lot, much of which may have been picked up from others. Instead, I hope this is more a personal but wide-ranging summary.

An illustrated summary, too )
krpalmer: (europa)
Today's of course the day people start saying "May the Fourth be with you" to each other with a wink and a nudge. Both the morning and the afternoon radio shows I listen to on the road to and from work mentioned that, but I was already in perhaps that much more of a lugubrious mood than I was a year ago.

For a brief moment just before Christmas, I managed to get over not just all the emphasis on just how much stuff had been put in front of the film cameras for The Force Awakens and the seeming code behind it but also the critical ecstasies that seemed more a matter of recycling old complaints, and articulated the careful reaction that I liked the movie more than I'd been concerned I would. Just a few hours after that, though, with an impression the latest movie hadn't been as "revisionist" as the code had made me worry I seemed to be thinking more about the other side of the saga, the crawling sense deepening the beloved heroes such a big deal had been made of their returning had just been presented as having blown the whole thing, except that we'd never quite know how because of convictions things had been cooler when Darth Vader's origins had been up to the imagination. A few months later, the trailer for Rogue One seemed very much more of the same, save that the mechanical and costume designs wouldn't have slight tweaks to them this time. As for being open-minded enough to go back to The Force Awakens looking for greater depth, hearing the special features on the Blu-Ray were making a big deal of just how much had been put in front of the film cameras in the context of ecstasies that seemed more a matter of recycling old complaints put me right back where I'd started, and in not having bought a disc yet I'm conscious of how I had bought a Blu-Ray player and a HDTV at last, and yet without really waiting for a declared sale, just so I could get to the saga Blu-Rays before it was somehow "too late."

With all of that, though, the latest announcement of "Prequel Appreciation Day" challenged me to come up with "10 favourite things." A bit of thought started bringing ideas to mind (although I can't say they're my top ten, just ten varied things). The only trick will be articulating them in the days remaining.
krpalmer: (europa)
I was pointed to a piece that seemed to concatenate just about all the assorted arguments I've already seen that "George Lucas's Star Wars is more defensible than some endlessly repeated opinions would have it" (including an argument I'd just tried articulating myself, supposing it an "unpopular fandom opinion.") It was somehow invigorating, even if I know it might at best nudge a person or two towards looking at the movies with somewhat less of a compulsion to cut them apart and reinforce well-worn negativity. However, along the way an "effect" was invoked that had me thinking back to another time I'd seen it brought up, and an uncertainty on my own part.

The "Dunning-Kruger effect" seems summed up as "the unskilled can't recognise their own lack of ability and consider themselves more talented than they are." My own uncertainty, though, is whether saying someone else is demonstrating that effect is somehow to demonstrate it yourself. It might only depend here on both of the times I'm thinking about having to do with opinions on fiction (as much as I have my own opinions). Whether "false modesty" or "holding yourself above someone else" ties into things is another question.
krpalmer: (europa)
I've got this journal through two leap years already, and with its use of calendars to organize and access posts the thought of marking each February 29th has been compelling. Assuming I should do something "rare," I've tried articulating "unpopular fandom opinions." This time around, even with the thought not too many "friends" are following this journal any more, taking a risk and bringing up something kind of big for someone to perhaps stumble on has crept up on me.
Partial concealment, anyway )
krpalmer: (europa)
In the past few days, the little group of "prequel appreciators" I count myself among has been very taken up reacting to new reports that the story ideas for continuing the Star Wars movies George Lucas submitted when he sold the franchise hadn't been used. With all of this reaction it does sort of seem some had managed to discount or deny the earlier reports of this happening some months back, but I do have to agree it's dispiriting. After all the casual comments from certain other people that "George Lucas ought to accept his limitations and just be the idea guy," that he's not allowed to be even that, for the apparent sake of loudmouths being primed to react positively to the assembly line of new product about to start rolling just because it'll be very careful to avoid the sort of broad comedy relief that triggered them off in the first place, doesn't make the slightly redesigned stormtroopers and slightly redesigned Star Destroyers and slightly modified Millennium Falcon filling store shelves look much more interesting to me.

Right as that was happening, though, I happened to finish reading the last issue of Creative Computing magazine from 1977 (I'd managed to buy a copy in an online auction before a scanned version of that magazine got added to the Internet Archive), and it just so happened the book review column started with the reviewer bringing up Star Wars. He did lead off "with faint praise," saying "The visual effects are stunning and superbly done, the plot won't confuse you," and invoked 1977's own form of "fan cred" by mentioning "I kept expecting the minions of Boskone and a Gray Lensman or two to pop up at any moment," but then started talking about how the movie "falls kinda flat when you think about it afterward." This seemed to have everything to do with the "world-building," including asking "How can the Millenium [sic] Falcon take off from a planetary surface?" Writing for a computer magazine, he devoted particular space to asking why, with C-3P0's technology available (R2-D2 didn't seem to have the same impact on him), all the spaceships depended on manual controls, and wound up hoping "they listen to some competent technical advice for the sequels."

This extended criticism on objections nobody else ever seems to have thought of may not be quite the same as the work Mike Klimo has done in searching out old movie reviews from more obvious sources, but it does get me thinking that perhaps some people weren't as ready to intuitively accept whatever "Star Wars is (but the 'prequels' weren't)" as some other people have convinced themselves these days. I am as conscious as ever of having been conscious in concentrating on particular things and themes to say "I find enjoyment in the saga." I can also wonder what those ideas George Lucas had were, and if they would have taken an effort all over again to take in and fit into a story previously considered complete, just as a different sort of effort to whoop it up at the new product may not be entirely unconscious for some. It is one more thing to think about, anyway.
krpalmer: (europa)
With Thanksgiving and its trips past, it seemed as good a time as any to start watching the six Star Wars movies, which I figure viewing once a year isn't too much (although I would like to find the time to watch other movies as well...) As I was thinking ahead to that, rumours there'd be another trailer for The Force Awakens with however little more information than "look! Stormtroopers!" added solidified into fact, but by that point I'd already got things under way with The Phantom Menace.

For several years, I'd held back from watching that movie for fear something inside me would come loose and I'd agree with the boundless condemnation. After being lucky and brave enough to find a nucleus of other fans willing to be positive towards all the Star Wars movies, I started watching it again, and now as I watch it my willingness to suppose some people can disagree with it pretty much evaporates and I just wonder how hard they have to work at their negativity. However, I suppose I was contemplating one thought that had happened to me just a little while ago.

In contemplating how one mainspring of the movies is Palpatine exploiting the desires of others to get what he wants, all of a sudden I was thinking a bit of how Qui-Gon uses Watto's cupidity to get not just the hyperdrive parts his money's not good enough for but also Anakin's freedom. I've become interested in considerations of Qui-Gon "a Jedi who should have lived" even as I resist proclamations that Obi-Wan is "the ideal Jedi"; seeing a similarity between him and the "central bad guy" was, perhaps, a bit unsettling. At the same time, I suspect too much a deal can be made of "moral equivalence." Something that might even be called "subtlety" in suggesting that even "the best" isn't "perfect" doesn't seem that bad, though.
krpalmer: (europa)
I was in a nearby dollar store when I saw a good number of trade paperbacks of Dark Horse Star Wars comics on the racks, the "original trilogy-focused" titles they were publishing after the sale of Lucasfilm when they seemed to be trying to get ahead of the obvious curve but before the comics license was brought more in-house. They did all look to be numbered higher than "volume ones," though, so I at least had a different way out than just continuing to dwell on how the comics and novels and video games kept being talked up by certain people as "making up for the movies," such that it became easy to not bother with any of them. I did get to reflecting a bit, however, on just how easily spinoffs can be altered and replaced. It would be a bit too easy to project this into the future, of course.
krpalmer: (europa)
While I approve of a "Star Wars Prequel Appreciation Week," the "pick your favourite" nature of each day of it does more or less just get me thinking of how I always seem to steer clear of that, even if identifying something as "favourite" doesn't have to mean dismissing everything else as "not favourite." However, that doesn't quite mean I've been watching the choices of other people go by, devoid of my own thoughts. When people happen to say Obi-Wan is their "favourite character" with the end of Revenge of the Sith at least included in their discussion, I start wondering again if I'd rather interpret him as something other than "the hero who did what had to be done," someone in fact a bit more "compromised." I can then wonder if it might be accused of "fictional character assassination" to shape and share the thought that to show up when he did in the final confrontation between Anakin and Padme was on some level trying to provoke his old apprentice to do something terrible in front of him, so that he could burn out the last bit of doubt that the person he'd known was gone...

Not every appreciative interpretation of Obi-Wan has to be seen as suspecting everything else in the new movies, of course, so I do keep wondering if I'm "trying to fold in too much complexity." If it ties in with "questioning the authority" he's often seen as in the old movies, there I can both suppose he could be "questioned" from just that one trilogy and wind up asking in a bigger way at what point you stop "questioning authority," or at least acknowledge the answer to your question can be to be convinced by them after all. Perhaps it's more a matter of wanting to indulge in a "tragedy" with no genuine heroes left by the end, something I don't do that often with tragedies at all. There, I suppose, it's a matter of the "happy ending" already existing. It is something I think about, anyway.
krpalmer: (europa)
One of my newspaper's numerous sports-section columns about the ongoing Stanley Cup finals led off by mentioning that Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane had recently watched all six Star Wars movies. The columnist, though, immediately went from that to an annoyingly familiar two-sentence exaltation of the old three and absolute dismissal of the new three, pointedly not bothering to name them. It's bad enough the entertainment and movie section of my newspaper recycles negative opinions about Star Wars so often (opinions that can leave me wondering what's actually supposed to be so amazing about the old movies beyond that they were implied to use old special-effects technology); for a moment, I wanted to tear the front page loose from the rest of the section or find a black marker and scribble over the text, or something else equally petty. I pass my newspaper on to other people at work, though, so I managed to hold the urge back.

Then, though, it really hit me that Kane had said he'd liked the new three better. (The column mentioned him "shrugging"; I can somehow imagine the columnist venting at him beforehand to provoke such a response.) "They don't speak for everyone" is a familiar comment in the environs of the "Prequel Appreciation Society," but it is sort of nice to have a tiny additional bit of evidence that way. Before handing the newspaper over, I also happened to notice that Kane had watched the movies while sidelined with a broken collarbone; I had been wondering if he'd managed to cram the viewings in between playoff games.
krpalmer: (europa)
I suppose there won't be as quite many people reminding themselves it's "Star Wars Prequel Appreciation Day" today as were saying "May the Fourth be with you" two weeks ago, but then again, for me at least, today doesn't feel quite as arch about the whole thing. (Of course, there are those who follow up "May the Fourth" by mentioning "Revenge of the Fifth"...) I've tried to mark this day before, but at times haven't been able to say too much about it. For this particular day, though, knowing it's been ten years since Revenge of the Sith opened to general audiences has driven me to further efforts.
Things were different for me with that movie. )
krpalmer: (europa)
Today's the day people say "May the Fourth be with you" to each other, but while I know that dates as far back as 1979 (and the use I saw recorded from back then wasn't as "fannish" as you might think) it does sort of feel a bit too much like a winking nudge in the ribs to me; there are, after all, several "anniversary days" later this month. However, today did seem to be a chance to bestir myself to watching the second teaser for The Force Awakens for just the second time.

I'd managed to hear the second teaser had been released while sitting in the airport waiting to fly to England, which is at least a memorable setting. Beyond engaging a Youtube embedded video in a less than perfect presentation for an iPad screen, though, I guess the heavy use of "new Imperials" and continued coyness about just what the sort of story the pointed emphasis on presumably nostalgic visuals might be used in the service added up to something other than the overwrought reactions I heard of second or third-hand. Even when I'd got back from vacation and had access to a bigger screen, the urge to watch the video again still seemed elusive.

On finally watching the teaser for a second time, though, I did seem more charitable towards the whole thing. I've been reminded that having given the new Star Wars movies a chance shouldn't mean preparing to reject some even newer ones out of hand. If the second trailer for JJ Abram's Star Trek was where things started feeling sort of "off" for me, this didn't seem quite so extreme. Against that, however, does remain the thought that with a continuation in comic books and a continuation in novels and comics having both been relegated to "retired" status, it may not be that hard to let a continuation in film remain "another possibility" as I wonder if I'll ever know just was in those ideas that George Lucas had when Lucasfilm was sold but which weren't used in the end.
krpalmer: (europa)
Even if the specific post I saw the news in did include one of those gratuitous slams on The Phantom Menace all the more unappealing for trying to make a light joke of it, it still caught my attention that the manga adaptations of four of the Star Wars movies have become available again, in electronic comic form now as Marvel Comics gets its hands on what Dark Horse Comics used to have. (That does include a great many other comics, in any case.) They're still divided up into four (or two in the case of the one I didn't buy for thinking it would "feel rushed") segments, are still mirrored from the Japanese art to "read the right way" (and put things like the Millennium Falcon's cockpit on the other side), and are still without adaptations of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, but it's kind of nice to know that other people have the chance to read them too. While I suppose I'm doubly biased on the subject (and have little to compare them against but the original Marvel versions), they were interesting takes on the subject for me. I did notice their covers now have the "Legends" banner being applied to the old novels; my first reaction to that was to wonder just what an adaptation of the actual movies has to do to not get that (beyond having been made under new management), but I then happened to remember they were based on the 1997 Special Editions, which aren't quite current now either.

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