The Last Jedi, and Why Rose Tico is the Hero Star Wars Needed

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The first time I saw The Last Jedi, I was less than thrilled. For the first time ever, I found my attention wandering during a Star Wars film the first time I saw it. On leaving the theater, however, I decided that Episode VIII would likely become my favorite installment of the current trilogy … eventually.

I’ve now seen it twice. I enjoyed it much more the second time. Knowing the long slog of the first 90 minutes would be rewarded by the final hour, I found myself paying closer attention to the bits that nearly lost me first time around.

I think I may have to admit that the problem first time through was my own expectations getting in the way of enjoyment. Which, given what I wrote here last year about the importance of breaking new ground (specifically using Star Wars as an example!), leaves me a bit chagrined. But there it is. Rian Johnson tugged the rug of expectations from under me, and it left me too crotchety to enjoy his film.

Anyway. Spoilers ahead…

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Tarantino and Trek

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So Quentin Tarantino wants to direct an R-rated Star Trek, and it looks like Paramount is going to let him. It’s a strange world we’ve been living in the last few years, and getting stranger.

Reactions to the probability of Tarantino’s Trek are mixed. I’ve seen some great memes come out of this. But one of the most common reactions is skeptical head-scratching. I think it’s a great idea, and I’ll tell you why.

People tend to think of Tarantino films as violent, bloody things with nasty characters spitting witty repartee. And sure, yeah, that’s pretty much what he does. But maybe his first three films cast a longer shadow than you realize.

Since Jackie Brown, Tarantino has branched out away from his crime-noir early works. He kicked it off with Kill Bill, a martial arts revenge epic sprawled out over two films. He’s given us a muscle-car-centered thriller, a war movie, and two takes on the western – one in the spaghetti style and one not. It’s been rumored for years he wanted to do a science fiction project at some point.

Now think for a moment about how he made these movies. He takes things he loved when he was young and he makes them the way he wants them. Kung fu and karate movies of the 70s are woven deep in the DNA of the Bloodstained Bride. Keep that in mind.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to re-examine Tarantino’s body of work, here’s something you can do right now that won’t take half an hour. Watch the final segment of the anthology film Four Rooms. It will tell you all you need to know.

Is it violent? Not exactly, but it does feature a grisly amputation that sticks in the mind and is often the only thing people really remember from the lengthy scene. Mostly, though, it’s just talking. Some banter – Tarantino’s other staple – and then a long-winded piece of exposition delivered by the man himself, in which he waxes fanboyish about an old Twilight Zone episode.

Remember classic Trek? How most of the episodes were heavy on dialogue and exposition, tension rising all the while, with the only proper “action” reserved for the final act?

Tarantino is, yes, a fan-boy. And a confirmed Trekkie. He’s also a director who likes to take his childhood nostalgia and turn it into critically acclaimed films.

So yeah. Let him direct an R-rated Star Trek. Please.

And then take my money.

Voidstrider 2 Now Available

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Both volumes of The Voidstrider Saga are now available to purchase on Amazon. Kindle editions are $2.99 (or free for those with Kindle Unlimited) and paperbacks run $6.99. Click the cover image below to see each book’s details.

Vol 2: An Officer of the Fleet

Vol 1: Revolt on Vesta

Voidstrider 2 is Finished

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Officer Kindle Cover 3

An Officer of the Fleet is finished – at last!

I meant to have the second volume of The Voidstrider Saga finished over the summer, aiming for a release date as close as possible to one year following Revolt on Vesta.

Alas … life.

Anyway, it’s all done now and going through the very final stages before publication.

As for me … I’m having a scotch and a smoke to celebrate.

Cheers, all!