(responding to John Shirley on Facebook):
They show the old “Star Wars” or “Raiders of the Lost Ark” or whatever in 3-D too — how do they do that? They don’t, they limp across the finish line and figure it’s close enough. “Thanks for your $15 [matinee] or $19.50 [nighttime showtime]!” Great.
I went to see “Phantom Menace” at Lloyd Center (Mall), just to see if I’d hate it like I did (and, what the hell, 3-D’s 3-D — but I didn’t seem *that* 3-D to me.) And, oh yes, the first of the three “footnotey, background” movies still felt like Lucas, for whatever reason, just had to rush through all this information because it was important we know. Uh-huh. Jar-Jar Binks didn’t stick out as much — I’m older, wiser, and more able to put things in their place, proportionately — but the stuff about the desert racing and the forager-people’s lives seemed more down-and-dirty and class-commentary related than I’d thought as a 28-year-old (or whatever), which pleased me. Still not *good*, but whatev.
“Rogue One,” “The Force Awakens” and (what I’ve seen) of “The Last Jedi” all were exemplary, surprising works, which is why I think they fucked up with this one — an article on the Internet about how we’re all supposed to like it (the actors certainly did) is offset by a Lego ad for a Han Solo and Chewie set. Huh. (Try NOT to do that so brazenly … maybe? Then, you won’t LOSE winning us over! Perhaps.)
“Rogue One” is its own story. “Solo” is like Marvel-ing the Star Wars world, like those commonplace novels that are everywhere (no, scratch that, they’re in a particular part of the bookstore — now, they’re starting to filter in) which look as cheap as dime-store novels that aren’t Jim Thompson or Philip K. Dick; the generations- and decades-later equivalent of “paper mill” pulp fiction nobody wants to *really* read. They’ve tried to shove it over and in, and they’ve failed. Never has the promotion machine seemed so obviously desultory, and with so little rewards and so little personal investment on the part of people at (say) Powell’s, where you have to act excited like it’s the “next thing.” (And I’m including “Jurassic Park” in this — dinosaurs, great. No characters, though … ?)
I think they’ve blown more than they think with this “Solo” crap. Just when they had a good thing going …