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The Hero With a Thousand Options: The Anti-Mythology of the Star Wars Sequels

The original Star Wars trilogy stands as one of the greatest cinematic trilogies ever made. It spawned a franchise that consists of additional movies, novels, comic books, video games, and even radio dramas. The genius of the Star Wars franchise is in how it created something that feels entirely original, but is deeply indebted to millenia of stories that came before it. Star Wars contains influences from not only space adventure serials and Westerns, but also Arthurian tales, Greek Myth, and even religion.

That being said, the Star Wars movies have not always lived up to their original standard. For years, George Lucas’s prequel films detailing the transformation of Jedi Anakin Skywalker into the evil Darth Vader were reviled as some of the worst films ever made. When Disney announced its acquisition of the franchise and subsequent plans to make new movies in 2012, fans went wild. It couldn’t possibly get any worse than the prequels.

Or could it…?

Book Review: Avengers Infinity Saga and Philosophy

Avengers Infinity Saga and Philosophy is a collection of philosophy essays seeking to use Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame to present various philosophical ideas. For example, the multiverse theory means that those who use the likely consequences of their actions to determine the right thing do to are paralyzed, while those with a clear moral structure can still act decisively. There are more than thirty essays in Avengers Infinity Saga and Philosophy, so there’s literally something for everyone. (Including those who agree with Thanos’ doomer worldview or literally see him as the hero.)

Why I Choose Star Wars Over “Real” Life

Recently I had to choose which movie I was going to see. There was a variety of choices—war, a sex scandal, a generic action movie. Let me tell you what I seek from art: an experience of the ideal, a feeling of spiritual replenishment through the sight of human greatness. Now you know why I chose Star Wars. I will elaborate, quickly mentioning that, throughout this article, I’m drawing heavily on the aesthetic philosophy of Ayn Rand.

I do not seek out characters I can “relate to”, but I do seek out characters I understand, with the heroes’ greatness or the evil they vanquish on full, naked display. I do not seek out the everyday world, I see that every day. What I seek is Romanticism.

Do not tell me that the art of something like Star Wars is silly because “real life isn’t like that”. What Star Warsrepresents is real life, in essence. Star Wars represents the essential differences between good and evil, and does it with great consistency through each aspect of the film: in terms of the characters’ goals and actions, in terms of the characters’ looks, in terms of the characters’ dialogue, in terms of the music. Notice the colours of the villains: black suits and masks, fiery red lightsabers, the sterile uniformity of the stormtroopers or the lifeless grey of the Starkiller base. Notice the colours of the heroes: beautiful people wearing brighter and varicoloured clothing, blue lightsabers, their base amidst a lush forest. This is not a blind resort to a cliché; it is a subconscious pull towards one of the most important functions of art: to present the essentials of existence through a recreation of reality.

The Confused Reparations Politics of Frozen 2

On New Years’ Eve, I went with some friends to see Frozen 2. I liked the first Frozen well enough. I thought the story was creative and engaging, though I thought the music was completely overrated (why they thought a song like “For the First Time in Forever” was fit for production is completely beyond me). Frozen 2 was also entertaining, and often very funny, though I think the songs this time were even more bland and forgettable than the last movie. 

But what really made this movie stand out from its predecessor was the really bizarre political angle that the story attempted to take.

Marvel and Disney Vs. Martin Scorsese: How the Modern Studio System Is Impoverishing Cinema

This ongoing superhero movie debate isn’t about superhero movies. 

Before I continue, let me say I’m a fan of Marvel films. I think they’re fun to watch, moving, and well-made. I also think it’s entirely reasonable for us to have different categories of film. It would be off-base, for instance, for us to compare Endgame with Citizen Kane. They’re two entirely different styles of film, two entirely different cultural products. (I borrowed this metric from the late film critic Roger Ebert.) 

I don’t think this debate will die down anytime soon. I don’t think it should.

In Defense of The Mandalorian

Disney’s new live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian is taking a little heavy fire. Indiewire calls it a “$100 million show about nothing”. Robert Arrington here at Liberty Island dismissed it as a “a series of action sequences” taking place on megacity and desert planets, praising Downton Abbey as a better viewing choice.

But perhaps Mr. Arrington should have given The Mandalorian more of a chance – there has now been a lush green forest planet (though the mix of traditional subsistence farming and droid technology was more than a little unbelievable) and one episode set entirely in space. Six episodes in, this old-school Star Wars fan is pretty excited about what’s going on, and there are some good reasons for that.

Why Downton Abbey beats the The Mandalorian

Thanksgiving weekend brought, interspersed with the food, family visits and football games, my first round of holiday season film watching. In addition to the usual offerings from the Hallmark Channel, Netflix, and Amazon (which vary from quite good to stupid and silly), I began with a couple of films that are not exactly season-oriented, but that I’d been waiting to watch.

The first was not a feature film but a new TV show. We don’t have Disney Plus, but there has been a big buzz about The Mandalorian, the new Star Wars series centered around a bounty hunter from the planet Mandalore. So, when we visited my sister Audrey’s family for Thanksgiving morning breakfast, and they wanted me to watch the first episode, I readily agreed.

Disney Learns: Live by the Woke, Die by the Woke

I have to admit, I’ve been pretty ambivalent about the slew of live-action Disney remakes that the company has been producing over the past few years. It’s not that I hate them, I just don’t find them worth my money. Every once and awhile, one of them would pop up on Netflix, or one of my friends would be playing them in the background, and I’d sit down and give them a watch. They’re… okay. Not terrible, not amazing, just okay. It just seems to me to be a way for Disney to make some easy money. 

One aspect of these live action remakes that some have commented on is their newfound “wokeness.” Whether this is making Le Fou from Beauty and the Beast an open homosexual, giving an animal-rights slant to Dumbo, or even giving a subplot to the new Aladdin where Jasmine wants to be the next Sultan, apparently Disney feels like its old properties are in need of some good old self-criticism. 

The Pro-Life Message of ‘Avengers: Endgame’

To be pro-life means to uphold the dignity of human life and promote life, not death, in our answers to the problem of human suffering. When we promote life, we in turn battle the “culture of death” in this world, a world-view that promotes death as a solution to problems. This ongoing battle for life and death is played out countless times in our traditional stories and legends. In such stories, the archetype hero fights for life and saves the people from the villain who wants death, destruction and power.

[Warning: Spoilers follow.]

Why Is Disney Making So Many Live Action Remakes?

Disney has been releasing a series of live action remakes. The “Beauty and the Beast” remake starring Emma Watson is the most notable success to date. The box office total for the live action “Beauty and the Beast” passed a billion dollars at the box office, earning more than the original animated film. It proved that live action remakes – regardless of what you think of them – could be very profitable.

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