In Defense Of Ewoks

So I’ve kind of had Star Wars on the brain recently. I guess it started with that Force Awakens trailer a few weeks back, which inspired me to blow about 60 bucks on a new version of the original trilogy. (This one is the ’95 VHS digital remaster, theatrical cut, in widescreen, really the only way to go if you don’t want to watch the Special Editions). Anyway, when I was a kid Return of the Jedi was always my favourite. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate that Empire Strikes Back really is the better film, but I’ve never understood the problem a lot of people seem to have with Jedi. It’s almost universally regarded as the worst in the trilogy, and I’ve even heard people say it’s on par with Revenge of the Sith. That’s outrageous. That’s blasphemy. But I’m not hear to talk about why all three prequels are the absolute worst of filmmaking and storytelling ever put on screen. I’m here to figure out why people hate Return of the Jedi so much. And the answer that everyone seems to give is the ewoks.

People really hate these furry little cocksuckers, saying that they’re the beginning of George Lucas’s transformation into a greedy asshole, and that they were only there to sell toys. Well, the real reason the ewoks exist is that originally when Jorge wrote the trilogy, he created the wookies for the role of the ewoks at the end, but then when he decided to only make the first act of his trilogy into a movie, he used a wookie as Han’s co-pilot because he liked the idea so much and wasn’t sure if he would ever make the actual part of the story with the wookies. Then when they finally did make the third movie, they didn’t want to use a creature we had already scene before, so George just, as he put it, “cut the wookies in half, and there you have the ewoks”.

Now regardless of whether or not you think that the climax of the movie would have been better with an army of wookies (spoiler: it definitely would have), I really don’t see any inherent problem with the ewoks. Cause I mean kind of the whole point of Star Wars is like subverting expectations. The idea that you’re not defined by your outside characteristics. A simple farmboy can be a great hero. A funny little green swamp creature can be a wise and noble jedi master. A race of fuzzy cute little bear things can be a mighty warrior force capable of crushing the empire. And I mean really, the ewoks are some of the bravest fighters we see in the whole trilogy. They put there lives on the line, and they kick total ass. We even see them actually die in battle, which is more than a little disturbing if you actually go back and watch that scene. They’re the real heroes of the movie if you think about it, and the fact that they look so innocent makes it all the more unexpected and original. And all people ever seem to say is “uh, it’s dumb that the empire got defeated by a bunch of dumb bears”. I mean, I would by no means call the ewoks my favourite thing in the trilogy, but I think that’s a total bullshit complaint. And btw, as for the argument that they make the the movie too “light, and kid-y”, I’ll remind you that the whole rest of Jedi is pretty fucking dark, you take out the ewoks and that movie would have made people want to slit their wrists.

Anyway, as for Return of the Jedi as a whole, it does have some flaws. I feel like it kind of has no second act. Like you go from the Jabba opening, which is really great, and then you have the whole climax which is sick, but there’s kind of long a period in between where nothing really memorable happens. It could have used maybe one more plot point, right in the middle. I guess that would have made it kind of long, but maybe they could have cut out some of the Endor stuff. I DON’T KNOW, OK, I’m just saying it’s not super well paced. But other than that there are just as many amazing new concepts and super memorable moments as the previous two movies. But for me what more than makes up for its flaws and made it my favourite in the trilogy for so long is all the stuff with the Emperor. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Everything that takes place in the throne room with Luke, Vader, and the Emperor is that best part of the entire trilogy. Better than anything in Star Wars or Empire. That is the definitive highlight of the whole series. And yes, Empire is still better, because it is more consistent. It’s like if they were getting scored at the olympics, and Empire gets 9s across the board, and then Jedi gets like a 4, a 7, and a 10. Empire still wins, but Jedi remains the only one of the two to hit 10. If that makes any sense. Anyway. I’m afraid the deflector shields will be quite operational when your friends arrive.


Furious 7 Review

So the new Fast & Furious movie is out and fucking everybody is talking about it all of the sudden. I mean, two years ago when I did my review of the sixth movie, I couldn’t even get anyone to come see it with me. I guess more people have realized just how goddamn hilarious these movies are. Anyway, this, like any good FastĀ sequel, is essentially just the last movie but stupider. Except this one has Jason motherfucking Statham, man. He’s so badass. Just bein’ British and hitting people. He even kicks the Rock’s ass in this movie, and it’s definitely one of the better fights. Also Kurt Russell just walks into the middle of this movie out of nowhere, and his character is basically Nick Fury. They also really go hamm with the Roman Peirce one liners in this one, and it really gives Tyrese a chance to constantly make a fool out of himself throughout the movie. There’s also waaayy more lingering ass shots in this one. Sure, that was always a staple of the franchise, but it really gets ridiculous in this movie. I mean, that picture up there pretty much sums it up; butts and cars, that’s what these movies are about. And “bullets”, if you ask Paul Walker’s character. That’s the major bummer of this movie; Paul Walker. His character kind of dips in and out of the movie, and there are several major sequences he seems strangely absent from. Not only does this bring the movie down because his character is so inconsistent, but it reminds you WHY he’s not in those scenes, and that really kills the mood of the funny bad over the top action. Even worse is when at the end, after no foreshadowing whatsoever, Vin Diesel’s character suddenly start saying his goodbyes to him. He goes off on a whole thing about how Brian need to “be with his family now” (hey, I thought you were all family). We then see an obviously CGI Paul Walker deliver a few final lines that are obviously edited together from different audio clips, before they cut to a full blown montage of scene with him from the last six films, before finally ending the movie with “For Paul”. It’s a nice little tribute, but it kind of comes out of nowhere. And yes, I understand that they reason they couldn’t foreshadow his departure very well was that he wasn’t alive to film it, but it’s still a sudden and awkward shift right in the last five minutes. Aside from that, this latest entry might be the worst/most entertaining of the whole franchise, so grab some buds, grab some beers, go laugh at Vin Diesel surviving horrific car wreck after horrific car wreck, and try not to think about the sad irony of Paul Walker’s real life inability to do that exact thing.

Overall Rating: Butts/10