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[SPOILER WARNING: this post contains detailed analysis of characters and plot elements from The Force Awakens]


part three: falling in love again

(AKA where everything is puppies and rainbows and the Force, assuming Kylo Ren didn’t kill the puppies in the meantime)

It certainly can be said that a great deal of The Force Awakens’ plot is reminiscent of ANH, a remix of sorts. Droid carries secret important information, is pursued by space Nazis, runs into fresh-faced desert dweller. Space Nazis fire superweapon and raze a planet or two. The really bad guy with the funny helmet kills a beloved father figure, and Our Scrappy Young Hero suddenly finds the mystical force to fend off the bad guy and fight another day.

And yet: the same, but not the same. Familiar, just so. New, just so. But made great by a good script – kudos to Michael Arndt, JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan – and an absolutely perfect stellar cast.

I have seen this movie three times already (fourth viewing tomorrow, treating mom and stepdad to IMAX for the first time). Every time I marvel at the emotions conveyed by each performer. These are some damn fine actors.

Oscar Isaac brings us into the fray with Poe Dameron, immediately likable, 100% cool. Like a Disney prince. He wins our hearts with his pluck in the face of capture and then his instant rapport with Finn. He names Finn. He’s the first person in the world to see him as a human being.

But it’s John Boyega as Finn that becomes the audience’s conduit, our Everyman braving new worlds. How original, how positive and daring it is to open this movie with a Stormtrooper turning back on his masters and becoming a protagonist? Finn is a joy to watch, with great comedy moments but also genuine fear, doubt and ultimately courage. He also probably the first Stormtrooper in the history of Star Wars to actually hit a target… after deserting, of course. Someone should maybe check those helmets for actual visibility.

And then: Rey. The next generation’s Luke Skywalker. There’s no other words for it. Star Wars’ central protagonist is now a woman. They hid it cleverly – always showing Rey with her staff only, and Finn holding the lightsaber. It was subtle, but not deceitful – I guess JJ did learn something from the Cumberbatch-is-totally-not-Khan debacle. Daisy Ridley is simply marvelous. She is the heart and soul of this movie, her expressive face conveying infinitely more emotion than dialogue could possibly cover. I can’t have enough of Rey. Who is she? Why was she left behind on Jakku? I feel her loneliness (it comes to me, as I write this, that Rey waits for her family the same way I once waited for my mother to come back for me, and the thought is jarring) and her inherent good nature and the sheer joy she takes from simple things such as bypassing the compressor. I can’t get enough of her smile. I think she hasn’t smiled enough in her life and she certainly deserves it.

This is a movie full of empathy. Poe’s eyes widen in horror as he sees the villagers on Jakku being slaughtered. Rey refuses to trade a droid she just found for an obscene amount of food. Finn, faced with death for the first time, freezes as he understands exactly what being a Stormtrooper really means. Later, after spending half the movie saying he wants to get as far away from the First Order as possible, he literally walks into the dragon’s lair to save Rey because Rey was his friend and she treated him like a person.

This is a joyful, positive movie. This is a movie about people finding their humanity and strength, about forging bonds of friendship. It’s about Finn becoming a person instead of a number and about Rey learning to trust and love after a lifetime of loneliness. But there is also sorrow. There are others who desperately try to snuff out their own humanity as if it were a disease.

Because on the other end of the spectrum, you have Kylo Ren. The villain that had to face the impossible task of living up to Darth Vader. How do you do it? Of course, you literally give him the impossible task of living up to Darth Vader. Being a Star Wars villain is not an easy task. You need to be evil, iconic, yet there must be a hint of humor around you. When we first meet Kylo he’s immediately established as a badass – he freezes Poe Dameron and a blaster shot in mid-air. The incredulous look on Poe’s face as Stormtroopers drag him past the suspended energy beam was the look on all our faces – SHIT JUST GOT REAL. And yet after our heroes escape with BB-8, Kylo Ren, grown man and master of the Dark Side, throws a fucking temper tantrum that wouldn’t be out of place on a three-year-old kid. When I think back on that scene, I chuckle to myself and imagine Kylo as all the white privileged dudebros moaning about Star Wars having a black Stormtrooper and/or a female protagonist. WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE WAS A GIRL WITH THE TRAITOR AND THE DROID? GIRLS DON’T FLY STARSHIPS! GIRLS DON’T USE LIGHTSABERS! GIRLS HAVE COOTIES!

Yet soon after Darth Tantrum comes a revelation that froze me cold. Because when Darth Gollum – I mean, Supreme Leader Snope – told the audience that Han Solo was Kylo’s father… I immediately knew that Han’s fate was sealed. I had read rumors, of course, but ignored them as speculation. Nothing could have prepared me for that scene, though. Harrison Ford and Adam Driver acted the shit out of it. The way Han walked up to his son without fear but daring to hope, with so much grief etched into his face. The way he did it for Leia. The way Kylo’s eyes brimmed with tears. The cruel deceit of the heart wrenching exchange between them, with Han unaware that Kylo is building up the courage to kill him and not to renounce the Dark Side. Darkness falling as Starkiller Base finally depletes the sun; Han’s hand tenderly cupping his son’s face right after he’s murdered him, fuck all this, I’m tearing up again, Han falling, falling, WHY DON’T YOU PEOPLE STAY AWAY FROM THE WALKWAYS, NOTHING GOOD EVER HAPPENS ON WALKWAYS.

And then that duel in the snow. No acrobatics, no twirling lightsabers. Just raw emotions and intensity. I still feel mesmerized about the way the lightsabers shone on their skin, the way the snowflakes fell on their faces. I was Rey in that moment, finding her strength in the Force, in the knowledge of friendship and love around her; but bizarrely I was also Kylo Ren, lost and desperate, yearning for meaning and destroying his world in the process. What made Ben into Kylo? Fear? Privilege? Ambition? I want to know.

I want to see if Kylo Ren can possibly be redeemed after this.*

When the Millennium Falcon soared over the ocean and Rey walked up those steps, I knew who she was going to find. We all knew it in the movie theatre, that after all those years we would again face Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master. After the shock and loss of Han’s death, we needed a familiar face. We needed hope again. And we found it in Luke’s piercing eyes. When Rey extended that lightsaber in offering and Luke finally revealed his face, all I wanted was to know how the story continues.

I’m not saying this movie is perfect, you see. That whole story with the map is the most ridiculous movie McGuffin in the history of movie McGuffins. Hey, everything is ruined and I’m leaving forever to get away from things and I just deleted all my social media accounts, says Luke Skywalker, but just in case you need me here’s a map of the galaxy with my exact location. From several bits and pieces such as the novelization, it seems that our McGuffin is actually a map of all the known Jedi temples in the galaxy – hence the connecting dots – and that from stuff he may have said before disappearing, those who knew him best – Han and Leia, oh my breaking heart – deduced he was trying to find the oldest temple of all. At this moment, however, I’m far too invested in the fates of all these people to care about movie logic.

Also, I think these characters owe a debt to Extended Universe concepts that should be acknowledged. In the EU, Han and Leia had three kids: twins Jaina and Jacen, and little brother Anakin, who dies as a teenager in the beginning of the New Jedi Order series. Jacen was very attuned to the Force, preferring to meditate rather than play with other kids; eventually he succumbed to the Dark Side as an adult and took the name Darth Caedus in the final novels of the EU, killing Luke’s wife Mara Jade, mother of Luke’s son Ben. Jaina was a great mechanic and pilot who loved working in the Falcon with her father. In the end she fought her brother and killed him but with his last breath he used the Force to warn his family of an impending attack and thus save them. I clearly see echoes of Jacen in Kylo and of Jaina in Rey but this in no way means anything other than that – I’m not quite ready to infer family relations or plot points solely from similarities with the EU.

Kylo Ren so consumes my meditations on film villainy that I barely spare a thought for the First Order themselves. They sure are great event organizers, because that speech before the first ignition of Starkiller Base was probably the most accurate reenactment of Triumph of the Will I ever saw. In case you hadn’t gotten the point about Space Nazis yet. I’m absolutely amazed at Domhnall Gleeson’s turn as General Hux; he’s usually so awkward and likable it was quite a shock to see him turned into Ginger Hitler. But I don’t really understand their motivations – besides restoring the Galactic Empire, of course. Who is Snoke? What is he? Where does he come from and what is his endgame?

I am also, of course, a little annoyed that Captain Phasma a) got very little screen time and b) JUST GAVE UP LIKE THAT and lowered the shields on Starkiller Base. I read somewhere she’s coming back, and since Starkiller got blown up there’s a good chance she may have chosen to omit that little detail from her mission report to Hux.

But Rey is my new heroine; and Finn and Poe are my new OTP. Finn was a number. He wasn’t even allowed to remove his helmet without permission. Poe immediately trusted him – hey, it could all be a ploy to lead the First Order to BB-8! - and named him. Here’s the thing: I don’t remember the exact words but Poe asked Finn whether he accepted his name. Poe acknowledged Finn’s agency for the first time in Finn’s life. And while they were apart for most of the movie, a bond was formed between them that would not be denied. When Poe shoots, like, ten TIE fighters in a row during the attack at Maz’s castle with Finn cheering though he had no idea it was Poe, I knew they were connected. When Finn saw Poe alive and well, and Poe said, “Keep the jacket. It suits you”, while licking his lips appreciatively, I could hear the sound of a million fics being written.

What a time to be alive. What a time to be in the Star Wars fandom.

A final moment of reflection and speculation. Rey’s origins remain a mystery and indeed we end up with more questions than answers. Rey was left on Jakku as a child, in the “care” of Unkar Plott. Nevertheless she retained an unwavering faith that her family would come back for her – thousands of days etched on the wall of her makeshift home. Rey is naturally strong in the Force. Rey has a vision of the Knights of Ren – possibly of the massacre of the apprentices when Kylo turned to the Dark Side. But all the speculation about Rey being a) Han and Leia’s daughter and thus Kylo’s sister or b) Luke’s daughter bothered me deeply. I find it very difficult to believe that any of these three characters would abandon a little girl like that. Remember, Obi-Wan left Luke with people he trusted and watched him from afar. Rey was left to fend for herself in the fringes of society. Not even after Kylo’s turn to the Dark Side, nothing would make any of these three people, as a loving family, to just discard of Rey like that.

A few days ago I read a theory that solves all of my above questions and sets out excellent dramatic tension to follow. It’s a great theory. But it’s just that. As far as we know, the folks at Lucasfilm may not yet have decided on Rey’s parentage at all.

As told by Maura O’Malley at Bustle, it goes as follows: Rey really is Kylo’s sister. According to official info, Rey is 19 and Kylo is maybe 29. So if Kylo turned to the Dark Side as a teenager, it fits the age at which we see Rey being abandoned on Jakku. And why was she left there? Because when it came to slaughtering the apprentices at Luke’s academy, Ben Solo / Kylo Ren couldn’t bring himself to kill his little sister. He faked her death to everyone, left her on Jakku, probably changed her name and wiped her memory.

This gives so many new layers to the story and the tragedy of Han, Luke and Leia. They lost two children and not one. They think their son killed his own baby sister. This is the pain that drove Han and Leia apart and traumatized Luke to the extent that he isolated himself from the galaxy. But it is also a tantalizing glimpse of hope for Ben Solo / Kylo Ren’s near forgotten humanity – and it may be the explanation to his outburst upon discovering that the fugitives have escaped Jakku with a girl in tow. He left her there, and his instinct immediately tells him his sister is back into his life. It also gives additional meaning to his offer to train her, mirroring Vader’s offer to Luke in ESB even deeper.

And more: the haunted look on Luke’s face in the final scene gains possible new meaning. Because Leia – who apparently remains mostly untrained - may not have known her own daughter, but Luke, strong in the Force, most definitely recognized Rey immediately.

I guess we’ll find out in two years. Or four.

* Also, and very selfishly, I hope he didn’t get a scar from that last lightsaber strike. I am trash.
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part two: a rant, mostly

(AKA where I rain hail and fire and blood upon George Lucas, and JJ Abrams and Joss Whedon get whipped too)

Remember, these were the early days of 28kbs modems that beeped like a demented R2 model. When the teaser trailer for Episode I premiered, it took me two hours to download a 20MB cam copy. I still have it on disk somewhere, I think. It’s honestly better than the movie itself. People are cheering and clapping. Such hope.

And then as the release date came nearer, the horror: Episode I was coming out in May 1999, but it would only premiere in my country in September. Remember, ye children who read this, for these were the dark days we lived in.

Of course I found out that Qui—Gon died even before the movie opened in the USA. I read the track listing of the soundtrack CD on Amazon.com. I think I was depressed for two whole days.

A friend of mine gave me the novelization the day Episode I opened in the USA, to console me. I was pissed. I was sad. And that’s when I found out fan fiction. In the recesses of Yahoo!Groups and Geocities I found kindred spirits grieving for the loss of a favorite character in a movie I hadn’t even seen, and writing copious fiction with everything from POV fic, OFCs galore and... Qui/Obi. Oh this is different, I thought. Oh this is really interesting, I thought. And I fell down the rabbit hole of Master & Apprentice. I read good fic. I read bad fic. I wrote bad fic. Under my own name *headdesk* (luckily I managed to have every trace of it erased later).

But even though I felt wonder and amazement when I finally saw Episode I in a movie theatre, and cried when Qui-Gon died, it was not the same feeling of the original trilogy. And it was not the same feeling with Episode II or Episode III either – OK, Episode III has a couple of scenes that pass. I couldn’t explain it at the time. I wasn’t even willing to admit that the prequels were anything less than stellar, and frankly I think I lacked the tools. Sure, talk all you want about Jar Jar, and about the wooden dialogue, and the gargantuan CGI, and all those poor performers forced to recite lines like puppets in front of a green screen. About the mistake that was making Anakin a little kid in Episode I and about the miscasting of Hayden Christensen. It went so much deeper than that.

I still remember fondly those six months before The Phantom Menace came out. I would go on the internet every day to find out new information. I had character crushes and fan fiction plots going on in my head already. And then the movie came out and honestly, I wanted to love it so hard that I did, because I couldn't admit to myself that the object of my affection was less than perfect. Time passed. I got wiser and came to admit, that the wait had been better than the movie itself.

You know what really bugged me about the prequels? They made me mad at the Jedi. So mad and frustrated. The Jedi were supposed to be noble warriors fighting for freedom and justice. Instead they were a bunch of old men sitting around in circle spewing rules. You can’t train a kid that old. You can’t marry or form emotional attachments – WHAT. THE. FUCK? You can’t interfere with this or that. You can’t you can’t you can’t blah blah blah.

A couple of days ago, just when I was planning to write this, it hit me: the Jedi are the patriarchy.

Recently I read this very good comment on io9 about how Lucas’ point with the prequel trilogy was that the Golden Age of the Jedi and the New Republic of which Obi-Wan Kenobi spoke of in ANH… DID NOT ACTUALLY EXIST. The Republic was a cadre of ineffective bureaucrats. The Jedi had become a fossilized sect of religious zealots. To quote directly, «the Jedi weren’t “guardians of peace and justice,” they were guardians of the status quo to the extent that it favored their privileged position in galactic society».

And that’s that. The prequels made me hate the Jedi. The prequels made the Jedi a bunch of ineffective idiots with their heads so far up their own asses that they failed to detect a Sith literally under their noses. Not one of them did anything useful other that sit and meditate while the galaxy went to shit around them. NOT EVEN SAMUEL MOTHERFUCKING L. JACKSON.

There were female Jedi also. If my memory does not fail me, not one of them got a speaking line in the prequels – though I’m aware this was rectified in the Clone Wars cartoon and more recently in Rebels.

Sure, there’s a point to be made that Lucas is trying to explain the social and political disintegration of a society to the point where they willingly embrace a totalitarian regime. Alas, he failed spectacularly in translating it to script and screen. The plot is slow, muddled and poorly handled during all three movies. The prequels have no narrative rhythm. And the Clone Wars, the conflict that so scarred the galaxy that it made people trade their freedom for the security offered by the Empire, are barely shown onscreen and instead relegated to a children's TV show.

In the prequels, the characters don’t evolve. They devolve. Padmé is supposed to be a courageous leader and politician; yet she sits in the Senate and DOES NOTHING while Palpatine announces the end of the Republic, managing only an ironic quip. Along the course of three movies she is not a character but a walking plot device. Don’t even get me started on the “romance”. Don’t even get me started on the fact that a talented actress like Natalie Portman was turned into a clothes hanger. George Lucas never knew what to do with Padmé and never is this more obvious than in her demise: the explanation for her death is that SHE JUST LOST HER WILL TO LIVE.

Anakin? He goes from whiny kid to whiny adult. I guess if we’d seen the Clone Wars onscreen we might have seen Anakin progress from a good, yet impulsive idealist to a battle-scarred veteran disillusioned by all the death and strife he’s seen. But we didn’t see that. It’s a memory of a movie that never was and it was 100% better in our minds.

The scene in Episode III where the mask of Darth Vader slowly descends upon Anakin’s broken body is the prequels’ most tragic and powerful moment. But it’s not enough.

And the Sith? Apart from Palpatine, all the Sith in the prequels are fucking lame. Darth Maul is a glorified kickboxer who shows up, twirls a novelty lighsaber around a bit, kills Qui-Gon and immediately gets killed by Obi-Wan in turn. Zero dramatic interest. Count Dooku? Look, I love Christopher Lee. But I still can’t understand what the fuck was the point of Episode II or what he was doing in it. And General Grievous is Maul 2.0: another sad attempt at creating a threat that is then almost immediately disposed of by one of the heroes. Ian McDiarmid, bless him, saves the Sith from absolute indignity with his incredibly creepy and nuanced performance as Palpatine. I swear, the way he pronounces the single word “unnatural” in the line “the Dark Side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural” has more depth than Hayden Christensen’s entire performance in two movies. It still chills me to the bone.

So yeah, I ‘ve got ninety-nine problems with the prequels and George Lucas turning the Jedi into the patriarchy is just one of them. And it’s taken me the better part of ten years to process all this.

Irony of ironies, just when the prequels were wrapping up I finally got into contact with fans from my neck of the woods. It was fun for a while. And then it wasn’t. I was a member of a local fan group, and the founder basically abandoned us on a whim; I had counted these people as my friends, and felt personally betrayed so I left the group too. I also had a bad experience at Star Wars Celebration Europe in London, 2007. I went to the Anthony Daniels panel and the fucker made fun of my question in front of the whole auditorium. I have social anxiety. Do you have any idea what it took to work up the courage to raise my hand that day? Later I recounted this to a friend from one of the UK fan sites and he said “yeah, he’s got a reputation for being a bit of a knob”. Yeah, thanks for the heads up buddy. I couldn’t even watch C-3PO onscreen for a long time after that. And there were no movies anymore. Just cartoons and Lego toys. It wasn’t the Star Wars I loved anymore.

It was just after I left Star Wars that I found Heroes. Through Heroes I first came to Livejournal and it saw me go from Heroes to Star Trek and from Star Trek to Marvel; and finally to Tumblr where I’ve mostly been since then, old and new fandoms celebrated together.

But I was so over Star Wars. I didn’t bat an eyelash when they announced the sale to Disney. In fact, and this is ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS, when they announced that JJ Abrams was directing Episode VII I wrote about how annoyed I was, because it was “going to be like when Bryan Singer left the X-Men franchise to direct Superman Returns, and it turned out to be a shitty decision for everything and everyone involved”.

And THEN Star Trek Into Darkness came out and it was so fucking pointless and awful that it retroactively ruined the 2009 Star Trek movie. Were we all blinded by lens flares in 2009? I don’t know, and I don’t really give a fuck anymore. I’m 200% done with the Star Trek reboot. After that I wrote, "I never imagined I’d actually be glad JJ Abrams is off to play in the Star Wars universe now. Not because of Star Wars (I loved the classic trilogy but everything is just fucked up beyond all recognition now) but because at least he can’t screw Trek anymore".

Then again, I am the person who once wrote that Chris Evans was totally wrong to play Steve Rogers.

After this I spent two years not giving a fuck about Star Trek or Star Wars and happily fangirling about the MCU. Until Joss Whedon pulled a JJ too, because after the brilliant Avengers he gave us Age of Ultron and honestly let’s not ever talk about that again - or maybe we should call it pulling a Lucas? Because if you think hard he’s the one who first gave us the progression from cherished first franchise entry to reviled sequels; it’s just he made it in series of three good movies and three bad movies, and all Joss and JJ accomplished was one good, one bad, go away you can’t play here anymore.

The cast was announced. I was, meh.

The teaser trailer hit. I was, meh.

The first trailer hit. “Chewie, we’re home.” I got inexplicably misty-eyed.

I was torn. On the one hand I was mad at JJ Abrams for fucking up Star Trekyou’ll be on probation for the rest of your life, Abrams. Don’t think I’m giving you a free pass – but on the other hand… it looked intriguing. Old as in familiar and new as in innovative. And there were suddenly women everywhere: Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Gwendoline Christie, Lupita Nyong’o.

All the promo materials started raining in. Rey was front and center everywhere. A woman was the potential hero / protagonist. Leia was an authority figure. Maz Kanata was a bearer of wisdom. Captain Phasma was an antagonist. I started to feel enthused and hopeful.

The second trailer hit. I bought my ticket for the midnight opening less than 24 hours later.

I was excited. Then I was more excited. Then I almost despaired and thought it was going to be a disaster like the prequels again. I am SO INVESTED in this fandom that being rational takes a great effort on my part.

Then Wednesday midnight came and the lights went dark.

I was home again.

(to be continued)
ykoriana: (Default)

the circle is now complete:

an intensely personal love letter to Star Wars old and new, with a rant in between

This is my experience with Star Wars. It’s my own experience and my own personal opinions. Yours may be different. But they are equally significant – unless you happen to like Jar Jar Binks, in which case just no. I know there are people who grew up with the prequels and view them differently, or who follow the cartoon shows. I know your Star Wars and my Star Wars may be very different.

It’s a big galaxy, after all.

 

part one: a love letter

(AKA the intensely personal stuff… if you just came here for Star Wars: The Force Awakens feels, you can be spared of my Star Wars autobiography by proceeding straight to part three)

In order to move forward I have to go back. Star Wars was my first fandom. I first saw the original trilogy on TV sometime around 1992, and a lot was happening in my life at that time. I had moved to a new town and a new school. After a few years living with my grandparents since my parents had divorced, I was going to live with my mom and stepdad. Star Wars came on TV not more than a month after I started school. And here’s what: we didn’t identify it as a such at the time, but I was bullied. I dropped in unexpectedly in the middle of a group of kids who had known each other since preschool. And I stood out immediately, because I was a “prodigy”, a “gifted” child.

It’s true, I was. I learned to read on my own at the age of three from comic books my mother read to me while trying to make me eat the soup. I learned to write a little after that, a few wobbly caps lock words written on the back of postcards “I LOVE YOU MOM” still treasured after many years. And my grandpa, a loving, beautiful human being, brought me books, all kinds of books, books kids twice my age wouldn’t understand. I still have pretty much all of them, and still wonder how at the age of six I was learning the Latin names of butterflies. But with this came a knowledge of being different. I remember being aware of being different pretty much since being aware of... being. I had an analytical mind. Never believed in Santa Claus. Never believed in Baby Jesus either. I learned to hide things from others from an early age. Things other kids simply didn’t understand. Things adults would find weird or inappropriate for someone my age to know.

So, there I was, a bookish alien in the middle of a group of teenage girls and boys obsessed with clothing brands, All Star shoes, Nirvana and 902010. There had been a hierarchy in that group, set roles – and I not only disturbed that hierarchy but did not easily fit into a role. I didn’t identify it as bullying for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was barely spoken of in the nineties – just “kids being kids”. Secondly, I had long grown accustomed to psychological abuse and more importantly, learned to phase out and retreat into my mind’s world to ignore it. This I learned from my grandmother. So I couldn’t quite recognize the bullying as such because I was used to people treating other people badly and didn’t understand things were not supposed to be like that. And thirdly, I was so over the moon with finally living with my mom, everything else paled in comparison. You see, when I went to live with my grandparents, my grandpa did it because he loved me deeply and without limitation, like he loved his daughter. My grandmother saw an opportunity to turn me against my mother – the one human being in the world who defied and resisted her from the day she started walking. But it never worked. Even when she was away, having had to move to another town to start a new life, mom’s love for me was a constant like the sun rising in the morning and the moon in the evening. I missed her terribly but I knew she loved me and I never stopped loving her back. I never doubted. My grandmother tried to tell me lies but they were transparent. To the day she died, I think failing to turn me against mom was one of her most bitter frustrations.

One day Star Wars came on TV. And The Empire Strikes Back the week after that, and finally Return of the Jedi. I think I was hooked the second the opening theme started playing. Obsessed. I remember clearly, as if it was yesterday, the moment when my mom, my stepdad and I were sitting in the living room watching ROTJ and Yoda confirmed to Luke that Vader was his father. My mom, who is definitely not an avid watcher of sci-fi, actually breathed “OMG he really is Luke’s father” in shock.

So my stepdad gave me the movies on VHS for Christmas and probably for a year or so I watched at least one of the movies every weekend. I honestly lost count of how many times I’ve seen them.  And I gained a deep, visceral connection to Star Wars - the original trilogy - that no other fandom may ever emulate. 

I was Luke Skywalker rotting away in a desert planet.

I was Princess Leia fighting for her family.

If they could become part of something bigger, so could I.

At the time I didn’t think in terms of what the girl was doing and what the boys were doing. Sure, there’s barely other women besides Leia in the whole trilogy, but Leia made up for everything. Leia fought side by side with the boys. Leia put aside her fear and found the courage to love even after the terrible trauma of seeing her entire planet obliterated. Leia was the one who went and saved her love from his prison on the tyrant’s castle. Leia literally took the chains of her (attempted) oppression and killed the patriarchy with them.

Everywhere in the original trilogy I had examples of people who braved adversity and changed not for the worse, but for the better. Luke, the wide-eyed farm boy, became a man, a Jedi. So many times along his path he could have succumbed to hate and revenge, but he didn’t. I can still reach back and remember the wonder and amazement I felt at the ending of ROTJ. In the film narratives I was used to, the hero killed the villain. Here, the villain not only was the hero’s father, but he was ultimately revealed as a frail old man inside a cybernetic armor. And for the love of his son, he renounced the Dark Side and died redeemed, in peace.

There were lessons in there it would take me years and years to unravel.

That galaxy far, far away became a home to me.

But we were still in the nineties and my life still mostly sucked, until one day I walked into the local bookshop and found a copy of Dark Force Rising. That’s right, the Expanded Universe had arrived.

I read plenty of books. Some of them good – anything by Timothy Zahn! – some of them so-so, some of them really bad. I had sold most of them by the end of the decade, keeping only the Zahn books and a few choice others. I still have a soft spot for Grand Admiral Thrawn. In my mind, he’s suave and cool and evil and played by Jeremy Irons.

But there were bigger things coming. Because that’s when they announced the prequels.

(to be continued)

ykoriana: (Default)
Just came back from the midnight showing. I could have stayed there and watched it all over again.

This movie will make you feel proud to be a comic book fan.

It will also give you massive feelings for every single character in it. And for Joss Whedon too.

I’ll just sit here now and wait until you all see it so we can all flail about it together.
ykoriana: (Default)
Photobucket

Two days for The Avengers to premiere in my country. Since I've lost most of my ability for coherent thought and I'm not likely to get it back for a while, I've been sticking mostly to tumblr where I can flail incoherently all day long and not be a nuisance to you.

I know I'm kinda lucky and honestly I think it sucks that the movie opens in different places at different times. Don't these people know of this thing called the internet? There should be a worldwide opening. I remember that in 1999 we had to wait six months for Star Wars Episode 1 to premiere over here and it sucked. The wait, I mean. Um, the movie too, but you get my point.

Needless to say, no spoilers over here until well after May 4th.
ykoriana: (Default)
...In case Livejournal dies or something. It's come up pretty good, except for the YouTube embeds. So you you find a suspiciously blank space, that's where a YouTube video used to be.
ykoriana: (Avengers Prime)
...I'm sure there was interesting stuff in the remaining 59 seconds of trailer. Like, explosions and aliens and what. However, what I got was this:





ykoriana: (geekgasm)
This is me on finding out today that Benedict Cumberbatch has joined the Star Trek XII cast:



Based on his Sherlock performance, of course, he'd be perfect to play a Vulcan but hey, I'll take anything. Just don't bury him under a ton of prosthetics.

hey

Jan. 4th, 2012 08:05 pm
ykoriana: (Default)
I've been mostly lurking for the past months, reading Steve/Tony like a maniac and fuelling my fandoms through Tumblr. Because reblogging is so damn easy. Today I finally deleted (deactivated?) my Delicious account. I just couldn't deal with the new format, and Pinboard is so simple and straightforward. Of course, I'm now in the middle of a slightly OCD-ish tag reshuffle.

The new job is, well. The best way to describe it is to borrow from Tim Gunn* and say this: now I realize I'd been living in the monkey house. You know the monkey house at the zoo? It stinks, right? But if you stay there long enough, it no longer smells so bad. It no longer smells at all. It's not that it was bad, but it wasn't good either and I had willed myself to ignore the smell, so to say, to an extent that made me nearly numb.

*I confess that I bought Gunn's Golden Rules for the fashion gossip, but the book has surprisingly deep, frank passages. I loved it.

It's so incredible to suddenly be around normal people.

Even my shopping habit is subdued, and I'm sorting out stuff to sell on flea markets and eBay.

And I'm trying to be more creative again, so of course I did what any sane person would do: I signed up for Kink Bingo! )
ykoriana: (tony's dumb happy face)
So, that meaningful character study I was planning to write, about Steve’s adjustment to his new absurdly hot body? Still on the backburner. Kink meme fill? Done in two hours. Because if you shake my brain these days, only porn and crack fall out.

This is a fill to the [livejournal.com profile] capkink prompt “The new team - Tony, Thor, Clint, Natasha, Banner and Maria - all discover that Steve is still a virgin. They immediately start competing for the honor of "deflowering the National Teasure.”. I wrote it in the style of an, er, homage to [livejournal.com profile] cassieclaire 's The Very Secret Diaries of the Fellowship of the Ring (which I recommend to Lord of the Rings fans, appreciators of good humor and pervy hobbit fanciers alike).

The Very Secret Diary of Captain Steven G. Rogers in the Twenty First Century )
ykoriana: (art by Michael Turner)
I spent the last week working 17 hours and sleeping 3 hours a day. By Friday morning, when we we closing the deal, I was having dizzy spells already and my mind had all the legal knowledge of a stuffed animal; thankfully that last day all I had to do was count shares. I went home and slept for 16 hours straight.

I finally got to watch Captain America last Saturday. I even went to a 2D session because my head still hurt and didn't want to deal with 3D - but honestly? I watched Thor in 3D and then in 2D and I think I liked the 2D better. I think the script had some pacing issues and I'm not sure I like Joe Johnston's filmmaking style, but the performances were solid and it doesn't feel out of place in the Marvel movieverse. As far as fandom goes... I'm just linking to this awesome movie recap I found through [livejournal.com profile] linaerys because it really says it all in ways more inspired than I ever could:



“God, he’s like a Mr. Snuffleupagus you wouldn’t feel weird about banging.”


So of course, now not only I'm imagining RDJ!Tony trolling the other Avengers, I'm also imagining him totally perving sweet, innocent, virginal Steve.
ykoriana: (tony's dumb happy face)
So today I had to undergo a lung exam because I got persistent cough since having pneumonia a few months ago, and it required general anesthesia.

When I woke up and was still in recovery, I was so trippy that I wouldn't stop talking and - for what certainly seemed a perfectly logical reason at the time, yet now eludes me - I gave my stepdad a detailed running commentary on the organization and contents of my closet.

Well, it is a mostly well organized closet.

My stepdad was mildly terrified that I might end up telling him private and/orembarrassing things, to which I replied hours later and with my mental capacity fully restored, "if only my life was that interesting".

This is made doubly hilarious by the fact that only days ago I'd read a sweet little Steve/Tony fanfic, Truth by [livejournal.com profile] valtyr where Steve gets dosed with truth serum and can't stop saying out loud anything and everything that goes through his mind. It's funny and frankly, really hot. Never mock your clichés, because they may come back and get you high on legally prescribed chemicals.

Alas, now we know that if I should ever be captured by supervillains and dosed with truth serum, they'd get nothing from me but a lenghty extolling of the virtues of IKEA closets. Duh.
ykoriana: (art by Michael Turner)


Oh Cap you adorable thing, you. Haven't thawed out properly yet, have we? You already live in NY, sweetie. You were born in Brooklyn and both Stark Tower and Avengers mansion are in Manhattan, remember?

*Sure, movie!Tony still mostly lives in Malibu, but who cares.*
ykoriana: (loki baby is grabby!)
Anyone recommend a good book on Norse mythology? Right now I'm undecided between The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings and Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals and Beliefs. Anyway, I'm not going to buy anything until I re-check the massive stash of mythology books I have at the parents' house, but I'm pretty sure I only have Norse stuff on one or two encyclopedia-ish tomes, and I'd like something deeper.

Do not be afraid to throw the really in-depth and complicated stuff at me. I'm the girl who memorized Latin names of butterflies at age eight.
ykoriana: (bones porn)
"This first movie is just a love story between Spock and Kirk. It has all the beats of a romantic comedy where they meet, they don't get along, they totally hate each other, and then they get into a situation where they kind of need each other, and by the end Spock walks onto the bridge and he's like, 'Let's fuck!'"

Damon Lindelof on Star Trek (2009)
Source: Collider Audio Interview
ykoriana: (art by Michael Turner)
Going into this movie with few expectations, but yet curious given some of the reactions 've been gauging online, I can say:

Yeah, it was lame in points, and yet for the first time in my life I understood all those references to exploding ovaries. Blame Michael Fassbender. )

Winning

Jun. 6th, 2011 03:27 pm
ykoriana: (Default)
#1: Got confirmation insurance will pay for my smashed car window, booked replacement at the repair shop.

#2: Major political change in my country in yesterday's election. Not to bash anyone, but the folks formerly in charge just weren't cutting it.

#3: Made a tumblr account to follow all the Loki shenanigans.

#4: The tax people finally unblocked my tax refund. They were being a little retentive about some of my health expenses. Guys. Orthodontics don't come cheap. And nobody gets them just for the fun of it.

#5: My fic got recommended at fuck yeah loki.

We're doing mighty fine, oh that we are.

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Now this is the story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down and I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there and I'll tell you how Star Wars and then Marvel and then Star Wars again ruined my life.

This is where I write stuff way too long to fit on tumblr.