Archive for December, 2015

So I saw the new Star Wars

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

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While I’ve previously ranted both in real life and the internet about how Star Wars dumbed down Sci-Fi in the popular consciousness and created a weird sub-division in the SF world about what Sci-Fi is seen as socially acceptable to like. Basically show me a Michael Moorcock or Harlan Ellison essay on the subject and I’d probably agree with it.

With that said I am still a fan of the films and probably will always be so heres my honest opinion on the film; it’s slightly above average.

I’ll start with the good points: This is the first SW film where I’ve cared about the lead character; Mark Hamill and Hayden Christensen are both mediocre at best actors who’s roles both served as a means to an end basically. Both our leads here, Rey and Finn, are well rounded characters who actually break the mold of heroes in Star Wars by not being generic placeholder characters who exist basically for the plot to happen to.

Finn is a conscripted Storm Trooper who abandons his post and works with the new rebellion simply to afford passage to a faraway hiding place; John Boyega is a good actor who manages to portray a wisecracking antihero with enough charm and emotion to not grate on the audience in the way many such characters do. Daisy Ridley portrays the more conventionally heroic Rey who, though a more generic cinematic hero who I think was included to milk the popularity of the Hunger Games, and knocks it out the park with a serious and mature yet still fundamentally traditional heroine.

Harrison Ford is as awesome as ever portraying his most famous role and the rest of the returning original trilogy cast all have decent, if arguably pointless, performances. The Star Wars franchise has always been renowned for it’s visual effects and this is obviously no exception; massive space battles and explosions will excite the popcorn film lovers in the audience.

Bad Points: This is A New Hope all over again, literally. The story line goes as followers: Protagonist is a poor laborer on Tatooine until they’re caught up in the evil empires plot alongside a rebellion sympathiser and end up on the Millennium Falcon, piloted by a Han Solo whose character development in the previous films and expanded universe material was completely undone, resulting in our hero learning about the force and observing a slow lightsaber duel that results in (SPOILER START) their mentor dying (SPOILER END) this is followed by a heroic dogfight within the death star that ends in a narrow victory and a momentary happy ending to conclude the film, with a brief sequel hook at the end with (SPOILER START) Rey climbing up the mountain and looking eye to eye with a dialogue less Luke Skywalker.

Pacing is bizarre at best: we open with a slow walking sequence that randomly turns into an action sequence that suddenly transitions into introducing Finn which goes into another action sequence, this pattern sadly pervades the entire film. The lead villains of the film are extremely underwhelming compared to the iconic antagonists bought forth by previous installments: lead Sith lord has the interesting concept of being (SPOILER START) Han Solo and Princess Leia’s son (SPOILER END) but ends up coming across as a rejected Twilight character, the new emperor is basically the original emperor minus Ian Mcdiarmid’s immense talent.

The fact we have two more confirmed films being put out in half the time this one was made in, I can’t say this will bode well for the franchise’s future from a narrative standpoint but it’s such a money making franchise I doubt that’ll matter. I don’t think the franchise could get any worse than Phantom Menace and Attack Of The Clones were thought and despite what I’m saying here, I’ll still probably be first in line for tickets to the next episode.

Overall I’d suggest seeing it only if you’re a fan of Star Wars and it’s ilk of Action Science Fantasy blockbusters or if you really don’t want to be left out of the loop in your friends cinematic discussions.

6/10

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Policies for my hypothetical political party

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Firstly I’d revamp our military into an entirely defensive force, removing them entirely from foreign deployments and into bases and defense outposts within United Kingdom. I’d cease constructing new nuclear weapons because even on the off chance nuclear war is declared, we won’t need any more than the ones we have. If other Countries follow suit with stopping nuclear development, I’ll then begin disarming our current nukes.

I’d cease giving tax money to the Royal family, because they’re the last people in the world who need it. Though a symbolic monarchy would remain for tourism reasons, they gain no special treatment in the legal sense. The money that would’ve gone into maintaining our troops, nukes and royalty would instead go into healthcare and education, though the later will be greatly revamped to resemble the Scandinavian education system: high grades and attendance rewarded with money, teachers called by their first names, grouping based off ability being illegal etc because their system is near universally agreed to be superior to ours.

Benefits would also be considerably raised but benefit fraud would also face much more serious punishment. Repaying all received money at minimum and several years in prison as a maximum.

Softer drugs such as marijuana, Ecstasy, Psilocybin Mushrooms etc would be legalised since they’re proven to be less addictive than alcohol. Punishment for being caught with harder drugs would be changed so that instead of being sent to prison with rapists, thieves, or murderers; they’re taken into a form of mandatory rehab for their addiction, ensuring they’ll be treated instead of punished for their mistakes.

I’d give small local businesses reduced taxes for the first few (2-5) years while major corporations are not given this benefit and, due to their resources, are held to a much higher standard of conduct. Corporations are on a zero tolerance policy in regards to worker exploitation, animal cruelty and tax fraud and will be banned from the country upon breaking these laws. While this may seem like bad idea at first, the loss of a big market such as the United Kingdom would honestly be a crippling blow to such businesses income, meaning losing our support would be ill advised at best.

While some of these policies may seem extreme, you must remember that things like benefits, free healthcare and not being able to own slaves were once seen as radical leftist policies until they were put into place and shown to be the only thing a sane, caring human would support. Like those policies listed above in this paragraph, I feel the most other first world nations would follow suit if these policies proved to be a success, which they likely will.

I actually identify as an Anarchist and don’t think anyone should be in charge of a nation but if there has to be a leader; it might as well be me.

 

The end