Posts Tagged ‘Star Wars’

Mild Fantastic Beasts spoilers

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Both franchises, Harry Potter and Star Wars, recently launched new films that explore more of their respective universes. But there’s a right way to do this and a wrong way.

The right way is “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” This movie introduced all new characters that fit snugly into the Harry Potter world. It felt right, while still being its own movie.

Characters apparate, and the movie doesn’t have to explain to you what’s happening. If you’re here, you already know. There are recognizable names and creatures and spells, and that makes you feel comfortable.

But, there are enough new things that keep it from being more of the same. Yes, we see yet more of muggle vs. magic…again…but we also see what happens to young wizards who are told that their power is evil, and that they should be ashamed of it. We see what happens when power is bottled up, with no healthy outlet. And we see the real world problem of child abuse in a fantasy world.

In short, it gave fans what they wanted, and things they didn’t know they wanted.

Star Wars Episode 7 was two hours of fan service. It didn’t really bring anything new to the saga. There wasn’t a feeling like it was breaking any new ground. It was too safe.

“Rogue One” tells the story of how the plans for the Death Star were found. It’s kind of like a Star Wars Tales comic, where they would tell one-shot stories about some obscure characters or side quests. Again, it might be too safe. You pretty much know how it will begin and how it will end.

Star Wars needs to step outside of its safe zone, and take some chances. If they are committed to making a new one every few years, the creators can’t be afraid of one of them only making $1.5 billion instead of $2 billion.

We don’t need to see a prequel that just tells you how Han Solo got his clothes. (I’m sure they’re going to tell us anyway.) We need to explore these worlds.

Of course, Fantastic Beasts had J.K. Rowling writing the story. She has already mapped out the marriages and children of most of the students at Hogwarts even though we (might) never see these stories. George Lucas seems to be out of the loop on the creative end, and that might make a difference. Some people say a good change, some say a bad change.

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The trailer for “X-Men:The First Class,” though little more than a tease right now, probably won’t be any better than the average action movie.

I think people watching the X-movies will get the idea that Marvel’s mutant universe is a tangled mess of subplots with too many characters. Which makes it a pretty accurate representation of the comics.

I think I would be more excited if the “Wolverine” movie had been better.

“Wolverine” was just about how he became the movie version. So, The First Class is going to be about how we got to the first X-Men movie. Yes, I’d like to see Mystique and Magneto drift off toward villainy. And I’m morbidly curious about Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw.

I’ll try to ignore the questionable cast, including Angel, a character created specifically to piss people off. Instead, I’ll talk about the difficulties facing a prequel.

People had the same criticisms of the Star Wars prequels. We already know what happens, we want to know how it happens.

As long as it’s a good story. The Star Wars prequels weren’t very good stories. “X-Men: The First Class:” probably not either.

There are ways to do prequels the right way. In essence, when a movie begins with the last scene, like in “The Usual Suspects,” the entire movie is a prequel to the first scene. The suspense involves how we get there.

Also, think about horror movies. You know that Freddy Krueger is going to be defeated at the end, and you know that he’s going to take out some hapless teenagers along the way. It’s the “how” that makes you watch it.

So, if you’re going to make a prequel, the lesson to be learned is that you still can’t skimp on story.

In Star Wars, the prequels were skipped because the story wasn’t as strong. George Lucas knew this.

If you’re writing a prequel, you have to make sure there’s enough mystery to engage the viewer. And make sure there’s a real story there, not just a bunch of things that happen to get your players where they need to be for scene one of the next movie.