Why A Winter’s Night Will Change Your Life

The theatrical release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is two months away and today is Force Friday, a retail shopping day for Star Wars fans.

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Photographer: Matt Moloney

The Rise of Skywalker is one of the biggest film releases of 2019, as you probably know. Movie director J. J. Abrams has returned, who in 2015 helmed Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Force Awakens resumes after the original trilogy in 1977, 1980, and 1983, and the Star Wars prequel trilogy, in 1999, 2002, and 2005.

While this is familiar film history, what’s striking is that the Disney company, which now owns the brand, is launching Disney+ in November, when Star Wars will again be newly available. Disney+ is an offering of classic animated features, as well as reboots and the Avengers franchise. Both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi were tremendous hits, but the box office failure of the expensive one-off Solo: A Star Wars Story diminished the profitability of the franchise for Disney, and the success of Disney+ would surely benefit from the continued success of Star Wars.

Disney+ will have much better chances of lasting if Star Wars is reinvigorated by another blockbuster film. There isn’t much question that Star Wars: The Last Jedi divided the fan base. Last Jedi director Rian Johnson dispelled some of the magic of Star Wars by reinventing Mark Hamill’s character of Luke as an old cynical hermit, rather than staying true to the bold Jedi warrior hero who defeats the Empire in Return of the Jedi.

Star Wars fans turned out for Mark Hamill’s reprise of Luke Skywalker after what happened in the original Star Wars trilogy, and instead, Luke in The Last Jedi nearly couldn’t be roused to continue the fight against the Dark Side of the Force.

YouTube’s Looper has tapped into a mega-spoiler: by their account, actor Harrison Ford has returned as Han Solo for a scene in The Rise of Skywalker. It’s understood that Ford had been reluctant to return to Star Wars without a movie script handling his character adequately, as the actor was absent from the cast of The Last Jedi.

There have been announcements about Star Wars that fans ate up. Prequels actor Ewan McGregor will be in the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi, not for The Rise of Skywalker, but a Disney+ series picking up after the events of the prequels.

Disney has also announced that Kevin Feige will do a Star Wars film. Feige’s involvement is good news for people who believe in Star Wars, as the Avengers films largely speak for themselves in terms of popularity and quality. With the promise of a bang-on Star Wars film after the Skywalker Saga, there is more reason to believe that Star Wars will again succeed, and if it does, a future with Disney+ is all the more likely.

The other spoiler from Looper is that, contrary to expectations, at least expectations I had, the Force will redeem the character of Kylo Ren when he gives up his allegiance to the Dark Side. Based on the love-hate intensity of their relationship, I held the impression that in The Rise of Skywalker Rey will defeat Kylo Ren and destroy him. The trailer for The Rise of Skywalker seems clear that the final battle will be highly personal.

If instead Kylo Ren changes his allegiance, it will make for a different future in Star Wars. Although audiences believe that the Light Side of the Force triumphs in Return of the Jedi, this time, in 2019, it is possible to think, the Light Side will, at last, have victory.

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Photographer: Leeroy

If you have the opportunity to enjoy The Rise of Skywalker, I hope you have one of the best nights you have ever had in the company of Star Wars’ villains and heroes. It should be a wonderful occasion. I appreciate you very much thinking about it with me. Maybe I’ll see you again come wintertime as momentum for The Rise of Skywalker continues to build.

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Summer Crowds for Disneyland’s Galaxy Edge Fail to Appear

All is not well with a galaxy far, far away. The people who are dismayed by what has happened following Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars, Youtubers collectively known as The Fandom Menace, observe it, and I thought I would point attention to some generalities that Star Wars fans have discussed about Star Wars Land at Disneyland this summer.

The Fandom Menace says that a pittance of folk turned up to experience the Star Wars universe at the Disneyland theme park this summer. You can believe this has hit Disney where it hurts, in the pocketbook. A lot is riding on November’s launch date for Disney+ streaming service to be a big success.

The Disney company desires to capture a giant share of the streaming market, and if Star Wars has gone from being a runaway success with Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015, to having a “Star Wars fatigue” problem where franchise toys don’t sell, toy consumer disinterest will repel a correlating interest in manufacturing toy tie-ins.

“It’s a trap!” – Admiral Ackbar Erik Bauersfeld dead: Voice of Admiral Ackbar in Star Wars dies at 93

Oliver Gettell 

Combined with the reluctance of Star Wars fans to embrace Disneyland’s Galaxy Edge exhibit in Star Wars Land, if Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker isn’t another wild hit, there could be a problem marketing the film universe dreamed decades ago by film director George Lucas.

As Disney+ will include the existing nine Star Wars films, two directed by Lucas, seven by other hands, the TV series The Mandalorian should be a draw for many Star Wars viewers, and the future series Obi-Wan should be something fans will be looking forward to. If the franchise pales, it could be more of a hindrance for Disney rather than a gold mine. Never mind Annual Passholder blackouts.

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Photographer: Park Troopers

Story elements for Star Wars fans in terms of possibilities we could see in The Rise of Skywalker in December are beginning to dangle, as Disney’s optimism for success continues. Soon to come, I’ll repeat a couple of rumors for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker that could help change the discontentment with Star Wars back into the same passion that other films in the incredible franchise have generated.

Why Our World Would End If A Daft Misconception Disappeared

Were the pyramids built by slaves?

No. As the Pyramids are understood by many, trembling and fearful ranks of Egyptian slave men pushed and hauled giant blocks to mark tremendous points of energy on Earth, triangle-shaped tombs for departed leaders. We can imagine slave girls in leather brassieres and skirts of bird-feather and twine, Egyptian beauties shimmering with flesh soaked by the never-shrinking sun, drunk on wine, a vision of an apparatus with no more technology than what could float a raft in the river or raise a shelter in the vast desert.

All false, and hung on a myth that keeps humans organizing themselves like a slave assembly, where all power and competence are enacted as though by the living hand of God–it is a design conceived with the Pharaohs’ tombs in the mind’s eye.

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Photographer: The Lazy Artist Gallery

As Ancient Egypt exerted its dominance, so too did reigning attitudes about a solidarity of people which became absolutely entrenched by the Pyramid’s sway, infiltrating the essence of the civilized world, as many understand it, an effort of many slaves.

The most earnest high school history teacher, the librarian who holds a catalog of records in disruptively accurate bookshelves, the Egyptian fantasist with his movie monster posters; all three present the mythology that the Pyramids were built with an outpouring of sweat and single-mindedness, the impossible, expansive tombs built from heavy rocks in cubes, hoisted by rope and ancient pulleys. Into the shape of three-dimensional Pyramids were constructed elaborate tombs, laid for departed Pharaohs of renown. Gizeh is the best-known.

It is the same will to organization and legacy throughout the Western world in the twenty-first century, where gentlemen in running shoes or luxury cars or perhaps dining in a capacity to manage what others might characterize as savage, to have plates and pints brought round by pleasant servers, the bosom and the heart. Gizeh’s tomb marked the first wine-and-dine.

Where will it end? As long as there are workers who are unsung, the dominion of the ancient Pharaohs will maintain its control. Update your browser.

The above is intended as an aside only. The International Day of Charity is observed annually on 5 September.

Star Wars Celebration on YouTube: Where’d You Go? Chicago

It’s Good Friday, and I’m having browser issues.  Microsoft put up an alpha version of its Edge browser, and I tried, like a web developer, to surf it before it’s finished, and it lasted maybe three days.

Star Wars Celebration went on from April 11 to April 15 in Chicago.  The celebration is an army of devotees sharing a love of Star Wars.  This year Star Wars Celebration premiered a teaser for Episode IX, a preview of Star Wars series The Mandalorian, the cinema for Jedi:  Fallen Order, and a trailer for S7 of The Clone Wars.  It is all interesting.

Being that this year is 2019 and that Lucasfilm put The Phantom Menace, a prequel film to Star Wars, in the cinema in 1999, the twenty-year anniversary of Phantom Menace was observed.


Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace score
S

Five days is a long time to spend with Star Wars, but between Thursday and Monday a viewer watching the events on the Star Wars YouTube channel got to see the panel discussions each day at 12:00 and 4:00 Chicago time.  Celebration, which I think is nine years running, moves around the US, but this year they put it on in Chicago.  Given the audience’s enthusiasm, it seems like that worked well for them.


Photographer:
donterase

Jedi:  Fallen Order is the name of the EA game that is the first new Star Wars game since Battlefront II.  EA is a notoriously difficult game company.  The decisions EA makes are known to send gamers away.

I suspect Disney needs Episode IX in December to be a sensation if they want their investment in Disney+ to succeed.  Disney+ is the streaming service available this fall, in November, when Disney is making available their animated features, along with the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, the Star Wars films, and The Mandalorian.  Disney+ could rival Netflix, and it is expensive for Disney in the short term, so it is reasonable to think that if Episode IX is a major success, it is an indication Disney+ will do well.

It is hard to anticipate what Netflix is planning in response to its rival.  If there is already talk about what Netflix is going to do, I haven’t caught it.

I believe that Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy is leading Lucasfilm for the next ten years, and her decisions to put a lot of roles that are empowering for girls affect her hold on the Star Wars fanbase, because a large number of male fans of Star Wars have made a backlash owing to the perception that they are “toxic.”  A space opera such as Star Wars has a lot of male fans, so the response has been loud about how Star Wars has met its “demise” in the sense that there will never again be a great trilogy.  The next trilogy of Star Wars films is going to be directed by Last Jedi director Rian Johnson.

The Last Jedi was the film that divided the fanbase, perhaps deliberately.  That said, there was a backlash to the Star Wars Prequels, which subsided, so the same may be true of the problems facing the Star Wars Sequels, the films The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and now Episode IX, concluding the Saga.  Be that as it may, The Mandalorian, continuing Return of the Jedi from 1983, looks fantastic.  Some of the success of Disney+ is probably going to be affected by whether Episode IX proves to be a giant.

Good luck to Lucasfilm.

You’re welcome to “like” this, to follow, and/or to comment.  The inspiration for Where’d You Go? is from the Medium publication newsletter Publishous, 11,000 strong and available every week or two.

Mermaid’s March 2019 WordPress Tea Party

The Little Mermaid is a site which entertains bloggers who bring together their thoughts on a theme suggested by the moderator.  These tea parties, the setting for discussion, began several months ago. The Little Mermaid is on a new site now, found at https://www.thelittlemermaid.site/tag/tea-party  For the tea party, March’s theme is fashion.

Personally, I am fashion-challenged, by which I mean I haven’t let fashion out of my bag.  I don’t have a memorable sense of fashion.

Aiming to define fashion reminds me, for example, of an Internet dating profile, where a user is invited to assess his sense of fashion in a field drawn from a list of narrow but conventional approaches.

Photographer:
Nordwood Themes

I wish I’d made the decision to dress better when I was younger.  If you don’t invest in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to?  In a media-hungry capitalist structure, it is important to be “cool” by wearing a wardrobe that both help you feel good about being seen in the street and identifies your lifestyle to people who speak with you.

I believe it’s important, and I would have liked to be more fashionable.

A rule for wear is that clothes must mostly fit.  This sounds obvious, but it isn’t necessarily easy to determine that clothes which cultivate a brand for you are far superior to dressing at random.

I am less interested in making an outfit look good than I am, I feel, non-discerning about social mores.  That’s how I haven’t let it out of my bag.

I do experience mild anxiety about looking shabby when I ought to be feeling fine, but something in my psychology prevents me from being able to coordinate a wardrobe.  That’s kind of funny, eh?

I hope you are not disappointed.  You are welcome to click “like,” to follow my blog, and/or to leave a comment.

The Little Mermaid’s tea parties provide inspiration and heighten my interest in others for who her tea parties are likewise attractive.

Why Star Wars Episode IX Troubles are Hotter than Jennifer Lawrence

The summer of 2011, Jun 3, 2011, the movie adaptations of Marvel’s X-Men continued with X-Men First Class.  To many fans’ delight, it turned out to be both well-executed and of substantial interest.  Film history website IMDb identifies that Jennifer Lawrence is “the most successful actor of her generation” https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2225369/

Beneath is a link to a scene from X-Men First Class.

X-Men: First Class (2011) – Charles Xavier & Raven Darkholme

https://binged.it/2HFD3RV

Jennifer Lawrence in X-Men First Class is Raven.  She tackles the question of what it means to be beautiful and what it means to be normal.  She is the shapeshifter.


X-Men First Class Promoshoot

You might say it’s ironic that the name of the mutant team, the name “X-Men,” implies that the X-Men should be male, but Raven ranks among them as an important character who is female.  Jennifer Lawrence was the highest-paid actress in the world in 2015 and 2016.  Her casting in the film reflects her strengths as an actress, in addition to X-Men First Class’ effectiveness exploring gender, and ever-elusive equality.

In 2019, the next Star Wars film is struggling with a backlash among fans given woes with the previous film in the franchise.  The 2019 film I’m referring to is Star Wars Episode IX, coming in after the disastrously written Star Wars Episode VII:  The Last Jedi.  Star Wars Episode IX has its work out cut out for it.

The Last Jedi Opening Weekend USA box office was $220,009,584, 17 December 2017.  The X-Men First Class USA Opening Weekend was $55,101,604, 5 June 2011, twenty-five percent of the former.

While box office returns mean that both films were successful, the Marvel Universe remains hotly anticipated with a trailer for Marvel Avengers Endgame just airing in the Superbowl broadcast yesterday, while Star Wars Episode IX may fail.

Star Wars is suffering some major troubles, with entries like Episode VIII The Last Jedi savaged by fans to who Star Wars is close to the heart.

Solo A Star Wars Story failed financially last year, and an animated television series from Disney, Star Wars Resistance, is arguably receiving relatively little enthusiasm among viewers.

These fans are the “fandom.”  In fact, the Star Wars franchise is suffering greatly owing to problems with The Last Jedi, which, while returning an economic gain for Disney, is failing to ignite the same passion in the hearts of Star Wars fans that the original trilogy generated, as did (again, arguably) Episode VII The Force Awakens in 2015.


Yoda

What Jedi Mind tricks are afoot?  I think essentially both X-Men: First Class and Star Wars Episode IX calculatedly use a sense of the past as an aspect of the setting.  However, the two movies address gender and gender equality rather differently.

In X-Men First Class, the mutant Raven struggles with her self-image in a very literal sense.  Contrast that with The Last Jedi.  Here the female Jedi apprentice Rey, Daisy Ridley, is problematic for many viewers of Star Wars in that Rey lacks a distinctive character arc.  In other words, she is without a back story that can make sense in viewers’ minds.

Rey’s origins are unknown, but she masters aspects of The Force which were previously established in Star Wars lore as being impossible.  Rey’s mentor Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) struggled to achieve his status as a Jedi Knight under both Obi-wan Kenobi and Yoda (in the 1977 and 1980 Star Wars films).  The late Alec Guinness portrayed Obi-wan Kenobi in the original trilogy and Ewan McGregor was Obi-wan in the prequel trilogy.

This is a link to a jovial Mark Hamill speaking of Daisy Ridley.

Mark Hamill Living Like Yoda Wishing Daisy Ridley Happy Birthday

https://binged.it/2BexZOy

Like it or not, what’s hot about Star Wars is that the backlash to Last Jedi director Rian Johnson is a compelling drama in its own right.  I see it everyday on YouTube.

YouTube channel Geeks + Gamers has taken for itself the responsibility of taking to task the folk at Lucasfilm.  To restore the glory to Star Wars, Geeks + Gamers feels Lucasfilm lost this by sacrificing so much of what had been established about Star Wars.

Jeremy at Geeks + Gamers thinks through and through that Lucasfilm is reducing the importance of something special to him and to legions of other fans of Star Wars.  Jeremy and many others feel that Lucasfilm is insisting that identity politics control the creative process instead of the requirement for writers to come up with sensible new entries for the sci-fi titan Star Wars.

That said, Star Wars needs success now the way that the X-Men franchise needed a success following X3.

Disney, Lucasfilm and the future of Star Wars are an exciting drama.  If you’re interested, and you believe that Star Wars needs to go forward proper, instead of what it’s currently doing, maybe you would like Geeks + Gamers, if you aren’t already watching Jeremy and his friends.

I don’t feel too invested in the backlash, although I think of it virtually every day.  Star War Episode IX has a release date in December.  Geeks + Gamers don’t exclusively address the situation with Star Wars, but Jeremy’s dismay for Lucasfilm is often-stated, with a commitment to giving subscribers fireballs.

Marvel Avengers Endgame has a release date in April.  It’s the sequel to Marvel Avengers Infinity Wars.

Paperclips on a piece of paper

You’re welcome to click “like” on this post, to follow my blog, and/or to comment.

Beneath is a link to a Geeks + Gamers video in which Jeremy names his favorite X-Men titles.

Geeks + Gamers Staff Top 5 – X-Men Universe Films

https://binged.it/2MGZRj4

Passionate Ice; A Boy Desiring What Others Did Not So Much

Bruce Wayne decided as a boy that he would honour the memory of his mother and father by inventing himself as Batman and challenging many criminals in Gotham City.

I watched Justice League when it went to Netflix this month and I enjoyed it. The camaraderie between the members of the Justice League comes off as solid and the plot of the film is enjoyable. It is curious to see Superman return to life.

Some of the cool moments from my life were opportunities to see films, in movie theaters.  In 1989, cinema fans filled movie houses to see the DC superhero Batman on the silver screen.

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Photographer: Bruce Mars

I had a good time.  Actor Michael Keaton’s role as Bruce Wayne, with its heroism, detachment from wealth, and indifference to romance makes the character of Batman a reinvention.  I suppose Keaton was a surprise star turn, and the subplot of Gotham City TV news anchors unable to appear beautiful on television, owing to poison in beauty products deliverered by The Joker, is clever.

Jack Napier’s transition to The Joker is memorable.  In other scenes from Batman, Billy Dee Williams of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and subsequently in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, appears as Harvey Dent.

The climactic confrontation of the film, at the Gotham City parade beneath a cathedral with the height of a skyscraper, is wonderful.

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Photographer: Yi Ling Tan

When the creepy little video store in the shopping plaza near my home began renting to customers Batman, the store displayed tapes of the film like a phenomenon.  Shelf after shelf were full of the Batman video.  The format was VHS, the cassette for running a film with a VHS player.

I’d been to see it, but I wanted that VHS.  Christmas came, and family placed hand-wrapped videotape-shaped objects under the holiday tree.

They were VHS tapes, but what titles were they?  Us kids wouldn’t know until Christmas morning.  At the appointed time, I opened mine, and to my delight, the tape inside was Batman.

As the family opened our presents, a second tape of Batman under the Christmas tree emerged.  My mother’s brother and his wife had arranged for the gift of the movie Batman as well.  Two VHS tapes of the same film–a double.

What did my dear mother decide, you might ask?  This was a bummer.  She would quietly return a copy of the film to its retail store.

As a twelve-year-old, the price of a brand-new edition of a blockbuster film must be extravagant, I reasoned.  The VHS copy of Batman we had would belong to us all.

I suppose that taught me a lesson, like not to count your chickens before they hatch.  It was as if my uncle and aunt had felt I deserved my own copy of Batman, and Santa Claus did not.  The VHS tape of Batman was a gift, what I wanted and what I was losing.

In 1989, fate unfolded for Batman mobster Jack Napier.  The criminal mastermind falls into a vat of burning acid.  He loses the pigment of his skin and becomes molded with a permanent smile on his face.

I hadn’t earned my own copy of Batman, and I suppose the real lesson was that I should share.  It is a state of becoming tantalized by the promise of something gold and being humbled by the requirement to give it up.  Maybe we didn’t know that doubles of the Batman film were under the tree, but no contingency plan was in place.

I was cheesed.

Batman fans typically embrace the trilogy of Batman movies years later directed by Christopher Nolan, but I didn’t get interested in them.

You’re welcome to like, comment, or follow if my recollection of dealing with a hot trendy thing like the above resonates with you.