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With all the rejoicing across the internet to-day over the news that Corey Trevorrow is out as director of Star Wars: Episode IX there's naturally been a lot of speculation as to who'll take over the reins. I say; get Gordon Cole! That is, David Lynch. He was, after all, George Lucas' first choice to direct Return of the Jedi and if Lynch makes a pile of money off Star Wars maybe there's a better chance we'll see another season of Twin Peaks. Well, I can dream.

Rumour has it the current front runner is Rian Johnson and even not having seen Last Jedi I wouldn't mind that choice at all just on the strength of having seen Looper and Brick.

In any case, we've dodged a big, dumb bullet, as everyone knows whose seen that garbage heap called Jurassic World. And with everything going wrong in the world to-day it's nice to know one incompetent blowhard has been removed from a position of authority.

Anyway, obviously my mind's still on Twin Peaks.

Spoilers for Twin Peaks after the screenshot.

I found myself thinking about Naido (Nae Yuuki) some more and I realised there was a very obvious question no-one, myself included, seems to have been asking--just what the hell was Mr. C (Kyle MacLachlan) looking for? What did he expect to find when he got to the right coordinates? Andy (Harry Goaz) said people were trying to kill Naido but didn't say why. This is another reason I don't think Naido was simply Diane (Laura Dern) in another form. If her name is really meant to be a reference to the naido, "inner path", concept in Buddhism, it would make sense if Mr. C, as a force of destruction, might be trying to kill this representative of an internal world. There's no reason he would be hunting Diane after having taken her to the convenience store himself. The death of Naido seemed like it would represent a much greater victory for Mr. C.

I feel like I might have a few more posts about Twin Peaks in me. I'm certainly going to be watching the third season again . . . and again . . .
setsuled: (Frog Leaf)

I think this is the angriest pigeon in San Diego. I saw him during Comic Con at a trolley station.

I still have panels I want to talk about but I thought I'd take to-day to talk about more miscellaneous Con matters. I packed a lunch every day of the Con and on Thursday and Saturday I enjoyed watching some live, violent mediaeval melee while I ate.

Like every year, the Society for Creative Anachronism was holding unscripted melee between folks in full armour--plate, chainmail, and lots of padding. As hot as it must have been under all that stuff, it still made more sense to me than Chris Hardwick wearing a sweater.

I usually get footage of the fights but this year I decided to try focusing on stills.

I didn't notice until just now the Daenerys looking on from above the fray.

I made really good sandwiches, by the way. Olive hummus, tomato, tofurky, cucumber, and spinach.

I'm not sure what these people on the periphery with poles were doing. I guess they're for any fighter whose gusto carries him or her into the crowd.

Once again, the Cinema Makeup School was on the floor demonstrating some amazing makeup. Here someone seems to be becoming the Joker.

Also on the floor was the Personal Property Auction of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, which seemed kind of fucked up.

It seems like only recently I heard that Fisher's daughter, Billie Loud, was awarded her mother and grandmother's property. She wants to get rid of it already? I assume not everything's here. But some of it certainly didn't look like junk.

Lourd's pretty young, I wonder if she's going to regret getting rid of any of this when she's older. Than again, maybe this isn't part of the property she has custody of. It's hard to imagine this is all stuff from collectors, though.

I didn't see a lot of Star Wars cosplay at the Con this year, maybe because Disney decided to reserve all the Star Wars stuff for their own Con.

I talked to this woman dressed as Leia in the slave bikini from Return of the Jedi about how there used to be legions of Slave Leias at the Con. This year I only saw three. Otherwise, for Star Wars, there were the usual stormtroopers and Mandelorians, the sexy Ewok, and there was a Donald Trump/Darth Vader mashup I didn't get a picture of but his picture seems to be among a lot of collections online. Certainly the anti-Trump feeling was visible at the Con, which would have been nicer if I felt like he was really about to be removed from office.

There was some pretty wonderfully horrific anti-Trump art by Ron English at his booth but I was more impressed by this big thing on the top of his booth:

Twitter Sonnet #1017

When buildings made of white bananas fall
A backwards dream became the sifting glass
To place a boot beneath when feet are tall
And flower sleeves arise from clothing grass.
A sugar sun attempts to tame a big,
A massive shape unformed to make the cloud
Condense so soon to solid snacking fig
A Newton treat to drop the apple shroud.
In buckets cars are racing for the rain,
For fuel to take the spinach form from air,
From stringy green and canned as sugar cane,
As bottled as the rum that turns to stare.
Descending poison can convert the day.
A season strayed here from its ancient way.
setsuled: (Mouse Sailor)

When it was announced that George Lucas was selling Star Wars to Disney, I was optimistic. I liked the idea that Disney wanted to put out a lot more Star Wars film and television than Lucas tended to--I figured, sure, Disney would make mistakes but more material means more chances to learn from mistakes. But it's hard to imagine how some mistakes weren't easy to avoid, like the new Forces of Destiny animated shorts Disney has put on YouTube over the past few days.

Three episodes have been uploaded as I'm writing this--two starring Daisy Ridley as Rey and one starring Shelby Jones as Leia. Jones doesn't sound remotely like Carrie Fisher, which is to be expected, but it would have been nice if they'd at least found someone whose performance isn't as flat as stale root beer. Anyway, that's not the biggest problem in her two and a half minute short, called "Ewok Escape", which is set between scenes of Return of the Jedi. Keep in mind, Disney says this stuff is canon:

You would think if there was one thing Disney would be sure to get right it was animation. Why would they release something that looks like this? The animation quality is of a parody video and it looks even worse considering these shorts were obviously influenced by Gendy Tartakovsky's hand drawn, 2003 animated Clone Wars shorts. Tartakovsky's style is simple so maybe that's why Disney thought it could be easily replicated. But there's more too what Tartakovsky does than stylistic simplicity. In his Clone Wars shorts as in his Samurai Jack and Sym-Bionic Titan, Tartakovsky uses simple designs to emphasise action, easily setting up contrasts between layers of foreground, background, and character. Tartakovsky's a master at composing sequences of images to tell a story. Forces of Destiny just looks like someone was trying to cut costs.

Another difference is that Tartakovsky had the advantage of being focused on telling a story while Forces of Destiny seems to be first and foremost about branding. Each episode focuses on a female character, part of an initiative at Disney to focus more on women in the Star Wars universe, which I think is great except for the fact that there's little effort put into these beyond this idea. It makes me wonder if this is going to end up like the Marvel exec, Dave Gabriel, blaming their sales slump on the increased racial and gender diversity in their comics. When people are eventually turned off by the lazy shit Disney's trying to push, I can imagine someone similarly saying, "Well, I guess it must be the female characters."

And part of the bad writing here actually has to do with some conservative themes. The first two shorts featuring Rey are about how she's protecting her little BB from a monster who turns out to be friendly anyway. And there's no way I'm considering "Ewok Escape" canon.

You can sense the checklist of appropriate messaging that must have gone through making the entire story, beginning with establishing the Ewoks as an indigenous people the evil Empire is subjugating--which is a fine starting point for a story outline but, for gods' sakes, you really want to do this with the infamous talking teddy bears? Then we have to establish the Ewoks as smart so we're given another of their goofy gags, a rope trip that actually makes the Ewok slapstick in the film look reasonable--and then we need to explain to the audience that Leia's costume change was totally consensual. The episode ends with one of the most weirdly flat footed scenes I've seen in anything. The Ewoks give her a dress, she likes it, she puts it on, and she thanks them. Nevermind the dress is actually kind of plain. But this was apparently so crucial that the story establishes Wicket can translate Basic for the other Ewoks, calling into question what the point was of having 3PO translate later on. Things might've been improved a little bit if the episode ended with the card, ". . . and then Leia watched them devour the stormtroopers."

Fuck, Disney, make an effort.


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