Luminous beings are we…

No. 2.  Originality Isn’t What You Think It Is

Less than 30 sleeps to go before opening night of The Force Awakens.  This is unreal.  But the closer we get, the more people find their cynic-gene and express it on the internet, so I have to address something that people lose sight of regarding the genre that is Star Wars.

The chief concern is that The Force Awakens is going to be a re-hash of the original trilogy.  I too, share that concern.  It is a valid concern and will be a valid criticism of the film after its release.  But in light of recent comments by Star Wars Creator himself, George Lucas, the prequel fanboy community rears its ugly head and wantd to dismiss The Force Awakens as a re-make or reboot done by imposter J.J. Abrams that will only repeat the same story beats and archetypes of the original trilogy.  In essence, it will be a fan-fiction of the most offensive kind.

But I have news for those cynical fanboys defending George Lucas’ decisions and supposed ‘originality’ in the prequels.  Star Wars, and the space operas that inspired it, are more repetitive than original.  The prequels, were repetitive and meant to rhyme with the original trilogy.  This isn’t the musing of an original trilogy fanboy either, its fact from the Creator’s mouth himself – the same Creator that wasn’t sure who Leia’s mother was, or whether Leia was even Luke’s sister.

Star Wars is a composition of different homages to the happenings of George Lucas’ youth and passions – fast cars, the golden age of aerial dogfighting, Akira Kurosawa films, Westerns, and space opera serials and comics.  The creative and literary feat of Star Wars isn’t its ‘originality’ per se.  The mere fact that it was made and the fact that it made an emotional connection with general audiences who were outside the sci-fi and comic book subcultures are the true feats of Star Wars, not the ‘originality’.

The structure of Star Wars isn’t original – and its NOT MEANT TO BE.  The use of mythological archetypes and the hero’s journey is what connects us to this completely foreign and wacky world where space wizards roam a galaxy with sounds and explosions in space.  There’s little green elves, space slugs, spears used alongside blasters, pirates, and artificial gravity. There’s also a big scary planet-destroying weapon that still utilizes hydraulic trash compacting technology for a reason we don’t really care about because our hero, his gentle giant companion, a rogue pirate, and the princess are trapped in it and going to be killed by it.  Its those archetypes that ground us firmly in that universe without a need for expositional dialogue (I’m still waiting for an on-screen explanation of what the Trade Federation is actually getting out of their deal with Darth Sidious).

When you educate yourself on the history of space operas, you find that Star Wars takes tons and tons of scenes and ideas from other works.  If you saw John Carter, you saw a gladiator arena battle just like the one in Attack of the Clones.  John Carter’s source material is from Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom novels from the 1910’s – the origin of all space opera.  Buck Rogers title character had a rocket-pack before Boba Fett did and shot a blaster that looked exactly like Han Solo’s.  Buck Rogers’ female companion was a political leader of a rebellion before Princess Leia donned those ridiculous buns.  Podracing is chariot racing from Ben Hur and Gladiator and the Old Republic is Rome as depicted in countless incarnations of Julius Caesar.  Anakin is Jesus and every other virgin or divine birthed Greek hero before Christ.  The story of Jesus isn’t even original for Christ’s sake!!!  Dionysis, the Greek god that turns everything into wine (!), was also born on December 25.  Google it.  Oh, and this:


Yep.  Also see:


Nothing’s original, and neither is the story of the Skywalkers.  Gladiator’s Maximus and Braveheart’s William Wallace (another man ironically mythologized into the myth of Robin Hood) also lose a father figure, have their loves lost to them, and fight to bring peace and liberty to their people.  Its not, at any time, meant to be original, its meant to connect the audience with something great, something amazing, something inspiring – and that’s what we get in Star Wars, just a bit more fantastical and paradoxically more relatable than other space opera films.

Secondly, the prequels were not original either.  They were meant to “rhyme”.  Those are the Creator’s words himself – our heroes get captured repeatedly and have to escape, our hero is found on Tatooine, gets caught up in Jedi-Sith dueling and drama, the old Jedi dies, and our hero participates in the destruction of a spherical vessel during the female lead’s quest to bring freedom to her people.


Anakin is that same ‘chosen one’, which was neither original (especially because The Matrix did it better the same year of The Phantom Menace) nor was a welcome plot device to the audience that liked the downtrodden mysterious farmboy – no matter how whiny they both were.  More recently, I can’t understand why Shmi and Anakin Skywalker live in better conditions than any slave in history – they have private rooms, a dining room, a beautiful kitchen, and a backyard balcony!!!!!!!!!

So please, do not claim that Star Wars is some completely original thing and re-using concepts of all space operas is offensive to anybody.  To the prequel defenders, please put your inferiority complexes away for a bit.  If you didn’t like the old generation hankering over your love of the prequels for the past decade, don’t do it to the next generation of kids who will undoubtedly be drawn in by a hero from a wasteland, that hero’s roguish sidekicks, and a good old fight between good and evil.  There will be lightsabers, dogfights, explosions, funky droids, fast things, and weird looking aliens – and it won’t be completely original, but it will be in the same universe where good wizards battle evil wizards for the soul of the galaxy, and man….do we love that galaxy or what?

See you on the 17th of December, 2015.


“May the Force Be With You, Always”



Star Trek: Voyager is Incredibly Under-appreciated!

As is clear, I’m a bit of a sci-fi geek.  In a desperate attempt to maximize my Hulu account, I recently began re-watching Star Trek: Voyager.  As a younger-than-young man, I used to catch some episodes of Voyager, but only sporadically.  It was clear that it was somewhat groundbreaking.  Captain Kathryn Janeway represented the first represented female Starfleet captain, and she is fantastic captain and character – a role model for any of you girls out there.  Keeping with one of the most significant legacies of Star Trek, the crew also includes a Native American, an African-American Vulcan character (who also has an impact in other Star Trek properties), an Asian-American and a Latina playing a half-Klingon, half-Human engineer.

Voyager represents, to me, a return to the original Star Trek television series (OST).  Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) is the most remembered and acclaimed Trek series, but I believe it got bogged down.  It reused villains like ‘Q’, and created long running melodramatic conflict with the Borg.  But that serialized plot separated TNG from the OST series.  The OST was episodic adventures with new problems, species, conflicts and planets coming up in every episode.  The Enterprise’s 5 year trek was a direct reference to the Age of Discovery.  In Voyager, the ship and its crew get unwittingly transported to an unexplored corner of the galaxy and discover the undiscovered.  In an episodic fashion, the Voyager crew explore heavy science fiction themes and theories just like TNG did.

The episodic nature of the show allows it to explore all the main traditional science fiction questions – artificial intelligence, primitive civilizations, intergalactic politics, black holes, the space-time continuum, racism, religion, and yada yada yada….there are so many.  And that’s why its amazing.  It doesn’t get bogged down in serialized plotlines like TNG did after the Borg were introduced, and its progressiveness was awesome and should resonate even more today.

So raise a glass of your best Romulan Ale to Star Trek: Voyager, under-appreciated as it is!


Wait…this actually exists??

Luminous beings are we…

Your Not So Regular Star Wars Blog

I like Star Wars.  Can you tell?  Its something that I grew up with.  Love for the franchise has eclipsed 3 to 4 generations of my family, depending on how you calculate it.  Like many Star Wars fans, I impulse buy merchandise, mostly t-shirts, because I’m practical like that.  Star Wars has defined my morality, my social relationships, my flaws, and my redemptions.  And now Star Wars is in a renaissance as the marketing and hype surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out on December 17 – yes, I have tickets.  I’m so thankful and excited that I get this opportunity to share my enthusiasm with the generations of Star Wars fans that I can’t help wanting to blog about it constantly.  Therefore, I give you this not-so-regularly published blog series named after my favorite moment in the Star Wars Saga.  Thus follows the first edition of Luminous beings are we…

The Effects of the Wars on the Stars
At the time of this writing, I have just watched the second episode of the second season of Star Wars: Rebels.  The concept of Rebels is cool, the animation has improved just as the Clone Wars animation did in its second season.  But what has always fascinated me about the character of Anakin Skywalker in the Clone Wars and the Revenge of the Sith novelization is that Anakin’s character traits are very much the product of the environment he matures in.  Anakin’s single-mindedness about ending the war, saving the galaxy, and constant need to bring order, is a result of his maturation into a soldier, general, war leader, and ultimately, Darth Vader.  He becomes less Jedi, and more Vader as the Clone Wars continues.  Anakin leads the search to arrest his former apprentice, he constantly defies Obi-Wan and Yoda’s recommendations for strategy, and becomes the war general that Captain Rex ultimately talks about during Rex’s introduction in The Lost Commanders.

In Rebels, the main character, Kanan, is a Jedi that saw the worst of war – his mentor was murdered by clone troopers in front of him.  But what is more interesting is the conversation Kanan, then named Caleb Dune, was having with his mentor, Depa Billaba.  Jedi Master Billaba remarks that the Jedi entering into a military command structure was a mistake.  In essence, it changed what it meant to be a Jedi.

p8_16 copy

Soon after that remark, Order 66 occurs, the clone troopers murder Master Billaba and Caleb Dune escapes, thereby becoming Kanan Jarrus, our hero in Rebels.  In the Siege of Lothal, Kanan has massive reservations about joining a wider rebellion and does not take well to Ezra, his apprentice, getting used to being ‘at-war’ and falling in line with military protocols or reverence of Captain Rex and the clone-troopers.

Maybe its because I’m part of a generation that has been at war for half our lives (!), but this remains an awesome part of Star Wars and its current canon.  The effects of war is something Kanan knows very well, and they did not serve the Jedi, whom Qui-Gon Jinn stated: “were not soldiers”.  It should not surprise, then, that their best and brightest becomes the most memorable villain in cinema history after a war where they try to play soldier.  I also happen to think its more relevant than ever considering we are only now starting to understand how war affects our soldiers when they come home – loss of identity, loss of family, of limbs, burns……kind of like our favorite villain or hero, from our favorite redemption story, Star Wars.

“Join me, and with our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict.”

“May the Force Be With You, Always”

The Jury is Out: Do the new Board of Immigration Appeals’ Decisions Give Victims of Domestic Violence a Stronger Basis to Claim Asylum?

Black Sheep Yoda:

Based on recent experience, its possible the Board of Immigration Appeals also solidified specific reasons to deny asylum based on such claims. Recently, Immigration Judges have put undue burden on many women to prove that authorities in origin countries will not help or assist women in domestic relationships by required affirmative actions to have been taken – even to the extent of asking female respondents why they had not asked other male family members to intervene or to ask their abusers to meet them in public places.

For many immigration judges and asylum officers, it appears that there is a serious misunderstanding of the perils of domestic abuse in a traditionally patriarchal society and how certain actions can cause further escalation of abuse rather than protection.

Free Immigration Consultation // Para consulta de inmigracion de gratis

Originally posted on IntLawGrrls:

The Board of Immigration Appeals on February 7, 2014 released a twin set of decisions—Matter of M-E-V-G-, 26 I&N Dec. 227 (BIA 2014) and Matter of W-G-Rec. 20 26 I&N Dec.20 (BIA 2014)— in which it repackaged what constitutes a “particular social group.”  In order for someone to obtain asylum, she must prove that she has a well-founded fear of persecution based on religion, nationality, race, political opinion, and particular social group.   Survivors of domestic violence must fashion themselves into a “particular social group” to be considered for asylum since gender is not included as a separate category.  Prior to these decisions, a group such as “married Guatemalan women unable to leave their relationships” would be considered a “particular social group,” if it can be shown that the group (1) is composed of members who share a common immutable characteristic, (2) is defined with particularity…

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Star Wars Prequels – Too Much Science Fiction, Not Enough Magic

There is only one other space opera feature film that has ever been both critically acclaimed and commercially successful that didn’t have a Star Wars moniker.  That movie was Guardians of the Galaxy. Of course, that movie also had a Marvel brand on it that was trusted to put out successful blockbuster after blockbuster, and it’s still doing it today.  But this belies the question: ‘What is a space opera?’  The easy definition is ‘space fantasy’.  And it really is that simple.  But when applied to the Star Wars Prequels, I would say that those three divisive features probably strayed too far from the proper space opera elements.

The DNA of the space opera that Star Wars characterizes is covered incredibly well by Chris Taylor in his New York Times Bestseller ‘How Star Wars Conquered the Universe’.  Taylor expertly traces the DNA of Star Wars all the way from the works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.  Most notably, Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs is probably the most early fully developed space opera.  Audiences today know it loosely as the 2012 Disney film John Carter – one of the largest flops in cinema history.

Princess of Mars, along with its progeny – Dune, Buck Rogers comic strips, Flash Gordon and all the way to Star Wars, all share some common characteristics.  The most obvious is the melding of science fiction universes where spaceships zoom like Maverick and Goose in Top Gun. Of course, starfighters would likely be able to stop on a dime and move along axes rather than perform like a plane relying on Bernoulli’s principles to stay afloat.  There’s always some form of anti-gravity tech that is never explained, and it doesn’t have to be.

For some reason, democracy isn’t a big thing in these far away galaxies, which, in itself is indicative of the second general theme – fantasy.  There’s always an evil dynasty like the corrupt and in-bred royals of Frank Herbert’s Dune.  There’s always some sort of magic force….involved.  John Carter has to battle inter-dimensional beings that follow him across time-space – who are akin to the insidious Sith of George Lucas’ epic – working behind the scenes for centuries.  Herbert’s protagonist discovers the magical abilities of ‘spice’.

Constant melodrama is a characteristic of the space opera.  Characters are always being chased like Indiana Jones or captured like your favorite cowboy characters and they have to stage a ‘break out’.  The damsel in distress trope is used often.  Chris Taylor goes deeper into this – noting that the damsels in early space opera weren’t the helpless princesses that characterized most romantic adventure stories prior to Carrie Fisher’s spunky and goal-oriented portrayal of Princess Leia Organa. In fact, Taylor posits that the more sexualized damsel in Flash Gordon is a reason why the work has been unable to be translated successfully to modern audiences.  Read it!  It’s interesting.

The original Star Wars trilogy is a perfect example of the space opera.  Guardians also includes evil theologic empires, odd space vacuum characteristics (Starlord somehow surviving the vacuum of space long enough to save Gamorra), magic stones and a jail break.  Both works are great examples of fantasy elements used in a science fiction setting that we dive into and don’t escape from until the credits roll.  The prequels don’t pull that balance off.

The Star Wars Prequels do not pull that special balance off.  Artificial Intelligence, Gene-splicing, and other exposition heavy tropes are common in science fiction.  These tropes are used as whole plot elements of the prequel movies – droid armies controlled by one ship, cloned warrior armies, and micro-organisms with a conscience.  And this isn’t by accident – George Lucas is a big science fiction fan, and Star Wars is his triumph of auteurism.  That doesn’t necessarily mean it works, though.

What many people thought didn’t work in prequels relate directly to this dichotomy.  The forced inclusion of some sort of Boba Fett origin story is cited by prequel haters as an example of what rankled them –  a smaller galaxy than what we wanted to believe in.  Making the ‘clones’ from the Clone Wars clones of Jango Fett, and subsequently genetically identical to Boba Fett is blatantly using an age-old science fiction plot device to justify shoehorning a character into the series to zero dramatic benefit.  If you’re going to destroy the mystery of a character, make it a necessary plot point.  Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings do this incredibly well.  The Clones were only redeemed as individual characters in the animated series, which treated them as if their connection to Boba/Jango Fett didn’t even exist.

The Droid Army sucked and added no drama very little humor that only worked in the animated Clone Wars series.  That is all.  It is the pre-cursor to the complaints made against both The Avengers movies.  If you’re going to make robot villains, at least give them a personality like James Spader or look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Now THIS is a sci-fi villain!

This isn’t to say that all the prequel films failed in achieving the right balance.  Episode I: The Phantom Menace is a pretty good space opera on its own.  Albeit a children’s space opera, it succeeds as a space opera individually, but the mention of ‘midichlorians’ colors the nature of the Force as it had been defined for a great majority of the audience for 30 years, which is why its a watershed moment for many subsequently jilted fans.

Episode II: Attack of the Clones is the biggest culprit for reasons stated above.  Droid armies, the near universally-hated droid factory scenes, unimportant new droids, R2D2’s jet thrusters never seen again in the series, and faceless clone soldiers.  Everybody agrees this second installment is the worst Star Wars film.

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith falls prey to this because of General Grievous.  Asking the audience to accept an important character as an alien-cyborg is purely science fiction.  Its not an appendage on an otherwise human-like being.  Its not a clearly human man in a suit.  Its an alien and its a cyborg.  Its the science fiction version of Darth Vader, who was clearly a man in a breathing suit with supernatural (fantasy) powers.  “You my friend, are the only one left of your religion” clearly connotes a man, a man in a suit of samurai-like armor harkening back to fantasy epics.  General Grievous was a cyborg akin to the T-1000 and therefore more science fiction than fantasy (yes, we can debate the definition of the T-1000 as a cyborg, but ‘he’ had more organic tissue than Grievous – your skin is your largest organ, look it up).

In sum, its hard to understand why prequel bashers don’t feel like ‘Star Wars’.  But I suspect, for the aforementioned reasons, that they were more related to George Lucas’s love for b-movie science fiction of the pre-Kubrick 1950’s than ‘fantasy-in-space’.  If we wanted science fiction, we’d fall asleep watching Interstellar (still a good film though).


P.S. Notice I didn’t call Hayden Christiansen’s performance ‘robotic’?  Well…….I could have.  I really could have.

CGI vs. Practical – The Argument That Actually Doesn’t Exist.

Let’s start off with the match lighting the fire:

Got it?  CGI sucks and movies suck and Hollywood sucks and everything sucks.  Young millennials, come at me bro!!!

But….listen for a damn second while you try to find the caps lock button and take a sip of your sugar laced, whipped cream topped caramel-chocolate-pumpkin spiced-soy milk laden iced beverage that just-so-happens to have a cinch of coffee in it.  Let’s actually get to the root of this non-argument argument.  The truth is that this whole CGI vs. Practical Effects internet fight is a misstatement of the problem that older millennials and older generations have with today’s blockbusters.  Using the ‘CGI’ excuse to downgrade today’s blockbusters (and yesterday’s Prequels – I can’t dismiss them from this because…well….Star Wars) is too easy for older fans and cinefiles to throw out there.  But its a misstatement of the real critiques of sub-par films.

This whole ‘Pro-CGI’ and ‘Anti-CGI’ rift has been on my mind because I’m a Star Wars addict and young millennials are up in arms about Disney-Lucasfilm advertising their use of practical creature effects (because they’re so evil and terrible and hurt their feelings so much).  To the Pro-CGI internet warriors the Anti-CGI crowd is old and nostalgic in its love for so-called ‘practical’ effects that they can’t appreciate that CGI is actually better and all that jazz.  To Anti-CGI internet warriors, the Pro-CGI youngsters are lame and grew up watching too many cartoons instead of outside dodging cars and playing wiffle ball (which is probably true either way).

But both sides completely misunderstand their own argument, which is mostly to blame on lazy cinefile internet blogging and click-bait.  CGI is the low hanging fruit of criticism.  Its easy to say that a 50 ft. dragon or a green muscled giant or an entire battalion of chrome robots ‘looks’ fake.  Of course it does.  And its easy to contrast an army of Ultron bots to a singular T-800 crushing a human skull in one of the greatest opening shots ever.

So freaking cool! And it scared the crap out of my 7 year old self.

Yes, yes, I KNOW there was CGI compositing in that shot.  Chill out and drink your almond milk latte that is probably responsible for half of California being lit on fire right now.  But the Anti-CGI crowd isn’t upset about that amount of ‘CGI’, so set your strawman on fire and let it burn.

What many Anti-CGI internet warriors are really saying, and they say it stupidly, that CGI makes filmmakers lazy – it allows them to use CGI as a crutch and show no restraint in editing an action sequence or going to the lengths of ensuring an interesting and clean angle or long shot.  Anti-CGI cinefiles are praising Mad Max:Fury Road for its use of real cars, explosions, fire, and crazy stunts as an example of incredible filmmaking that invalidates the requirement for heavy CGI use.  But, as the following video explains, there is plenty of CGI used in Mad Max.  Its used to composite together the large number of vehicles and to enhance what’s on film.

Now, I’m not saying that the Anti-CGI curmudgeons don’t have a point.  There is a lot of…hmm…..miscalcuation…with a lot of films on what makes CGI effective and when its too much.  There likely is a lack of restraint from some filmmakers when editing an action sequence and taking up running time that could be better spent developing a character or exploring an underlying story theme.  For a prime example, you probably can’t convince me that the availability of the shiny new CGI tools that George Lucas enjoyed during the Star Wars Prequels run didn’t distract him from focusing on dialogue, acting, camera work, editing, and all the other arts and sciences that go into the creation of the emotional connection that great films make with their audiences.  You can’t claim that a roughly 25 minute fight between our two (really, one) protagonists in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was completely effective.  Even staunch prequel defenders should admit that the Obi-Wan Kenobi – Anakin Skywalker battle in Revenge of the Sith, was overdone and ‘video gamey’.  In fact, there’s a point where I feel the characters had to remind us why they’re fighting because it got so lengthy and drawn out and solidly uninteresting.  Obi-Wan and Anakin have to summarize the entire plot in this short exchange:

And this is edited between a Yoda-Palpatine fight that is ultimately completely INCONSEQUENTIAL.  Nothing is solved or decided by the Yoda-Palpatine showdown other than they’re both cool and powerful and Yoda and the Jedi are done for in the time being – which was already previously decided.

Although, to give George Lucas an easy out here, the dialogue and acting was so uninteresting in the rest of the film, that it really may have done worse than an overly long fight.  Not an excuse, but unfortunately it may have been a choice between bad dialogue and an overly long fight scene.  He might have made the right Murphy’s Choice.

You’re so convincing………….ugh dfjaskl;fjdslaj;d

Ok, enough nostalgia.  Bringing it back to the present two subjects of this non-debate debate: Jurassic World and Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Anti-CGI crowd is split on the Avengers installments – which I’m sure young fans get angry about: “How can you dismiss the first Avengers and criticize Age of Ultron??”  Completely valid point.  And it’s definitely discussed in the CGI-defending video above.  The editing of Age of Ultron is a mess.  There’s too much teasing of future films, a sin that Jurassic World also suffers immensely from, and not enough development of Ultron’s character.  Now, the CGI is not a major problem in Ultron although it is cited in many reviews as overly used.  The editing of the film leaves little time to explore the villain’s character, which is a HUGE problem in any film, hero genre or not.  The use of the anti-CGI argument in critques of Ultron is incorrect unless the argument is that ‘time used in the climactic bot-battle should have been dedicated to more explanation of Ultron’s character and character flaws’.  That is a better argument – but its mostly an editing problem.

You might also say that lack of restraint caused by the availability of CGI resulted in even less time for the movie to explore the Ultron character.  That isn’t a terrible argument and it reflects older Star Wars fans souring on George Lucas’ prequel trilogy.  The gist of that argument is that: “The filmmaker is too busy playing with his newly available toys and not thinking whether he should use those toys.”  And that reminds me of something………

Boom.  Ian Malcolm to the rescue!!  This is essentially the problem Anti-CGI curmudgeons have.  Just because you have the ability to do something, doesn’t make that the use of it beneficial or even good.  Their ‘argument’ is that CGI adds nothing to a bad story.  CGI artists will get credit within the industry for good CGI work in a bad movie just like a good actor in a bad movie does.  But the movie still sucks.

For posterity’s sake, I would say the Anti-CGI argument is likely 100% overstated in regards to Jurassic World. Jurassic World is a monster movie that falls short on editing  – again, teasing sequels rather than developing characters in the current feature.  Perhaps some of the cool aspects of the Indominous Rex are ‘created’ by the lack of restraint, but its still the extraneous need to tease sequels that obstructs an otherwise simple monster flick.

So the frustration of the Anti-CGI crowd is frustration with the overuse of a tool in the filmmakers toolbox, but not the mere use of it, or even use of a lot of it.  Rather, its  the lack of restrain of the filmmakers themselves, as well as the difficulties of actors acting opposite cardboard cut-outs and limitations of camerawork within a CGI-heavy fight scene (See: constant sudden close up shots of Count Dooku, Yoda and Palpatine in multiple lightsaber fights).

It would be nice if the Anti-CGI crowd actually articulated that argument correctly and not spout off anti-CGI rhetoric – its lazy.

But for the Pro-CGI crowd, CGI doesn’t necessarily add quality to a movie – it enables a filmmaker to do things (Heath Ledger Joker voice), but that doesn’t necessarily mean great CGI – like in some of the Transformers series of films – mean that a film should be appreciated more or less because of the quality of CGI. Battle sequences in Braveheart are just as meaningful and amazing as a CGI composite of Wookies, droids, Clonetroopers, Ultron bots or Gungans (ugh).  Peter Jackson succeeded in using huge CGI armies in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and completely failed in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies even though those films are nearly a decade apart and many of the combatants – elves, humans and orcs – are the same.  Legolas’s antics in The Lord of the Rings – jumping around an oliphant, grabbing ahold of a horse in full gallop – are similar to the ones in The Hobbit – using falling stones as platforms – but we love LOTR’s Legolas and the Legolas in The Hobbit was….just there, an elf of action in an action movie involving a lot of elves – his CGI antics were rendered beautifully by the graphic artists, but rendered useless by his character’s placement and use in the feature.

And it is also not true that practical effects don’t hold up.  Take one look at the filmography of Guillermo del Toro and you’ll find not just Pacific Rim, but my personal del Toro favorite – Pan’s Labyrinth, a film that uses mostly practical creature effects to a haunting and emotionally stirring impact.  That movie is incredible, along with del Toro’s Hellboy, which won the Oscar for costumes.  If a main character can be as effective as Ron Pearlman’s Hellboy, then in no way should prequel defenders bitch about a bunch of practical creature effects being used on background characters.  A practical ‘Dexter Jettster’ would have served just as well if not better than the CGI one in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.  And you can’t complain about nostalgia-based marketing of a upcoming Star Wars film that many older fans are skeptical of because of the prequels – no matter what those reasons were.

You really need to see this film, simply incredible.

In conclusion, this debate is pointless and its a misunderstanding.  Its laziness on the cynical cinefile blogger that doesn’t want to get into the specifics on why well-done CGI didn’t add any enjoyment to a poorly edited film.  And its also a useless internet fight over one aspect of filmmaking that is groundbreaking but still only a means to an end.  Just because you give Jackson Pollack a brand new paintbrush made of the finest genetically enhanced camel hair, doesn’t mean it will make his particular art better.  Citizen Kane, Casablanca, A Miracle on 34th Street, were all masterpieces, milestones, and classics before they were colorized.  Let’s keep these things in mind before we react to a lazy argument.  We internet cinefiles will all be better for it.

Oh, and the original Star Wars Trilogy was a masterpiece before Lucas decided to put this ugly thing in it:

#HanShotFirst  #HanShotOnly

Puerto Rico is supporting the US…not the other way around

Black Sheep Yoda:

“The island is a captive market of the US…the fourth largest market in the world for US products. 85 percent of everything purchased and consumed in Puerto Rico, comes from the US. “


War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony

There is a great misconception about who is supporting whom in the Caribbean. 

Wall Street says that Puerto Rico “owes” $73 billion. 

The US government says they “give” Puerto Ricans $4.6 billion per year. 

But there is something suspicious about all this “owing” and “giving.” If the US is so generous, then why is everyone broke?   Why is the per capita income of Puerto Ricans only $16,400…far less than any state in the union?

Consider the Slave 

By way of context, consider a slave. 

A slave does not pay taxes. 

A slave does not suffer from unemployment. 

A slave receives free food, housing, clothing and health care. 

Described in this manner, a slave should pay his master, for the privilege of being a slave!]

Slaves who owe a public debt to their master

As ridiculous as this may sound, it is precisely the argument that many Southern slave…

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