See? Even Darth Vader gets a hangover – and seriously needs a dentist.
The opening few minutes of the original Star Wars back in 1977 blew our science fiction socks off. That imagery of a big fuck-off battlecruiser sweeping from somewhere above the cinema to fill the entire screen was like every novel by Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke and let’s throw Philip K Dick in, too—all encapsulated into sixty seconds of our wildest, science fiction imaginations. The point is we didn’t have to imagine anything anymore. We could watch it. Blue screen technology had arrived with light sabres, laser guns, androids and Princess Leia dressed in a bed sheet (she made up for that later).
Smash-cut to the 21st Century and we’re still happily gobsmacked by the latest CGI, animation and blue-screen shit. We just love a good spaceship. It doesn’t need much else to keep us happy.
Which possibly explains why the Star Wars script writers are getting away with rehashing the same old plot and characters. We’re like an infant in its crib with a mobile of Tie Fighters dangling above. Chuck in a Millenium Falcon and everything is just awesome. We’ll poo ourselves with excitement.
But the latest Star Wars instalment only just gets over the line. Sure, I loved watching it—and no doubt I’ll watch it again and again, because that imagery is just brilliant—but the story? It’s like J.J. Abrams told his scriptwriters, “Go watch the first movie. Then make Luke Skywalker a girl and change the colour of the bleepy android. The rest can stay pretty much as-is”. Lazy-arse writing at its worst.
Recently I watched Star Trek, Into Darkness, and again the stuff happening on screen is just stunning. You can forgive Simon Pegg’s appalling Scots accent and ignore the concept that a young Captain Kirk is nothing better than a womanising, sports car-hooning, drunken bar fly—but they still let him drive the quadzillion-dollar interstellar Enterprise for fuck’s sake. And Spock snogging Uhura? What were they thinking? Spock doesn’t do sex. He just doesn’t. Story-wise, it’s okay as long as you don’t try to relate anything with the many movies released over the last few decades. The connections are there, but… why bother? And the idea of Benedict Cumberbatch being a villain is unthinkable. That’s like having Winnie The Pooh maul a Girl Guide to death. Just wrong.
But the science fiction day has been saved by Deadpool. Okay, it’s not space opera, but for something completely out of the box I thought it was really clever with plenty of stuff to offend just about anyone—you can’t ask for more than that—with lots of violence, sick humour and cool ideas. Talking of boxes, I stumbled across The Boxtrolls the other night. You either get it, or you don’t—and I got it. It’s like Charles Dickens meets Pixar with a splash of Roald Dahl. Don’t watch it straight or sober. It won’t make a scrap of sense.
Next up, demanded by my nieces, is apparently Ex Machina. I’m told the ending is highly confusing, controversial and can really piss you off—or not. Sounds like just my kind of thing. I’ll let you know.