Rant: Solo – A Star Wars Story

STAR WARS WARS

Chapter Two: A New Hope

With the crash of the “Solo” Super Battlecruiser, the Separatists have won their first major victory! As the Disney Corporation braces for heavy financial loses and sees it’s stock price dip, calls to depose Empress Kennedy are now being heard even on Planet Hollywood.

But as rumors start to swirl regarding her fate, Corporate Media Minions swarm out from their asteroid caves in a desperate effort to discredit the franchise’s critics.

And Darth Johnson, still busy on his new Super Deconstruction Beam, sends an ominous message from the Outer Rim of Creative Darkness

Solo: A Star Wars Story crashes at the International Box Office and causes a media freak-out.

I have a confession to make – I have not seen Solo: A Star Wars Story. No way was I going to shell out $17 to see another Disney Star Wars-like product. Not after being suckered by The Last Jedi. So I can’t say if it sucks or not. But among Last Jedi critics who have seen it, the verdict ranges from “meh” to “it sucks.”

What interests me now is how poorly Solo is doing at the box office. I think many of us who loath The Last Jedi had a fatalistic sense that Solo would be a hit despite the poor quality of the last movie, and the high-handed contempt with which the filmmakers treated unhappy fans. While it’s sad to hope a Star Wars movie does poorly, Solo’s crash is a kind of morale booster – maybe quality does count after all, even with big budget Hollywood movies. And maybe entertainment corporations CAN’T get away with slapping fans in the face. Hurray!

Not that the slapping has stopped. Just today Brian Lowry, writing on CNN, publicly begged Disney to “resist bowing to the force” of “a small, rebellious and inordinately vocal quadrant of the fan community.” Small? Maybe not, because later in the article Lowry admits, “there’s no real way to quantify how vast this portion of the ‘Star Wars’ fan universe is.” Thanks for being honest Mr. Lowry! Kinda.

Lowry is saddened that this “perhaps small minority” is “deriving an unfortunate message.” Which, seemingly, is that they matter to America’s Entertainment-Media Complex. No, they do not. Or should not according to Lowry. In fact, he seems panicked that that Lucasfilm and Disney will let “a small mob with internet pitchforks…call the shots.” He continues – “As politicians have discovered, there are tradeoffs involved in allowing the loudest and most belligerent voices – those prone to speaking in Sith-like absolutes – to define the terms of debate.”

Wow.

Listening to Lowry, you’d think that if Disney bows to the demands of enthusiastic and discerning Star Wars fans, Trump will feel emboldened to round up Muslims and Mexicans and put them into concentration camps! Further proof that Star Wars, thanks to Kennedy and Co., is now firmly embroiled in America’s Culture War.

Lowry is purposely vague about the “debate” he’s talking about. And this pisses me off because he is accusing The Last Jedi critics of being bigots, but only through innuendo. An honest assault on bigotry is very clear about what it is calling out. And in being honest, it uses the words of the bigots to hoist them up on their own petards. It doesn’t rely on vague slander like “speaking in Sith-like absolutes.” Which is rich, since the Left, convinced of it’s own moral superiority has been quite full of “Sith-like aboslutes” it self as it screams about never “normalizing hate” by deplatforming anyone it disagrees with, and endorses punching Nazis. (Projection is a classic symptom of the bully and the ideologue, whether on the Left or the Right.)

And actually, there is some amount of genuine prejudice on the part of some Last Jedi haters. I’d like to be serious for a moment and comment on it. Because being a gay man who was a kid in the 1960’s and came of age in the 1970’s, I know what it is to face genuine prejudice. But unlike Lowry, I’ll get into specifics, namely, the “alternative sexuality” aspect of the Solo script. The opening salvo of this skirmish came when script co-writer Jonathon Kasdan tweeted that Lando Calrissian was “pansexual.” What this turned out to mean was that he (maybe) had a sexual thing going on with his FEMALE-voiced droid sidekick, L3-37. This caused something of an uproar before the opening weekend. After the movie premiered people also complained about a jokey scene where Solo and Chewbacca shower naked next to each other. The cherry on this crap sundae came when L3-37 turned out to be an SJW scold who dreams of being Spartacus and freeing all of the droids from slavery.

Thanks to L3-37, we now know that movies like “A New Hope” are as morally corrupt as “Gone With The Wind.” Thank you L3-37!

Where to begin? Well, I’d like to backtrack a bit and mention how excited I was when I heard rumors that Finn and Po would be become a gay male couple in The Last Jedi. Now THAT would have been hot! But, old and bitter as I am, I didn’t really believe it. And I was right. What we got instead was some weird, ungainly stalker relationship between Rose and Finn. What a cop out.

Back to Solo. The complaints all centered around a “family entertainment” like Star Wars being no place for weird sexualities. The portrayal of such would only “confuse” the children watching the movie. There’s a great deal of irony here, because this presupposes that a child’s sexuality is not innate, but is a product of socialization. Will youngsters who watched Solo grow up to be sexuality attracted to robots and Wookies? Only time will tell. But this “blank slate” view is also the central belief of the “cultural Marxists” who promote the Non-binary Gender model as a way to overcome the Patriarchy. These are the people who believe that “assigning” a gender to a baby is to abuse that baby, and who write children’s books like “What Makes A Baby.” Going to very great lengths to avoid the words, and concepts, of male and female, this book describes how “Some babies are born by coming out through a part of the body that most people call the vagina.” Some? Some?!?

So on one side we have Old School bigotry, (one Youtuber I mostly like and respect let the disgust sound clearly in his voice as he described Han and Chewie standing “dick to dick” in the shower scene). On the other, there’s a kind of delusional madness. And you know what gets my goat? Neither side has any space for gay men. 100% straight men? Sure. Weird cross-species sexual innuendo? Sure. Hetero-Robo-philia? Sure! But gay men? NO. That would be going too far. – What used to be called the Gay Rights Movement has had some long fought but genuine victories, and there’s a wonderful degree of tolerance in the western world I would not have thought possible when I was a closeted boy. But gay men today find themselves in a strange position. The Religious Right still defines manhood as being exclusively heterosexual, while the LGBTQIA+ (meaning Intersectional Feminist) Left is prejudiced against the very concept of manhood. (Have you noticed how feminine the non-binary crowd is? That’s not an accident.)

Kathleen “The Force Is Female” Kennedy is clearly the kind of feminist who embraces non-binary gender-queer-what-ever-ism. And her Star Wars series is trumpeting all of this in the shrill, strident tones of Intersectional Social Justice. This tone that has had a smashing success on liberal college campuses where no one wants to be mean and hurt anyone’s feelings. But does it work in the commercial movie market? Not when things like the Internet allow dissenters to find each other and make a big fuss. Personally, I hope Kennedy gets fired. Not only has her crew trashed a beloved adventure franchise, their clumsy attempt to preach non-Patriarchal sexual politics has probably just made it harder for Star Wars to have actual gay characters any time soon.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Solo is set to lose $50 million plus. So Kennedy might actually be asked to step down from Lucasfilm.

But enough of Empress Kennedy, for the moment. What of her Chief Gremlin Rian Johnson? Still apparently busy creating a whole new Star Wars trilogy, he took a few moments last month to speak to the press, and he gave us these words to ponder, “Once you get past the things that are the iconography of Star Wars – once you say, okay, if it doesn’t have the Falcon; if it doesn’t have someone with Skywalker as their last name; if we don’t go to Tatooine, what is it? What is it at its essence? It’s a really exciting question, and I think it’s something that has to be answered at some point. So let’s figure it out.”

In other words, the man Kathleen Kennedy entrusted with creating a new Star Wars trilogy happily admits he doesn’t know what makes Star Wars Star Wars. In fact, he gives the impression that his lack of understanding and creative vision make him especially qualified for the job! – That sound you hear is me knocking my head against the floor boards….Ouch.

Mr. Johnson is probably a perfectly nice man in many ways, and I’m sure he would make a wonderful Filmmaking 101 teacher, preferably at a 2nd tier community college. There he could dazzle his students with his bold claim that it is the filmmaker’s responsibility to “deconstruct narratives” and “subvert audience expectations.” Inspired, his happy band of acolytes would then rush out and produce meandering, narcissistic works of excruciating pointlessness. But here’s the wonderful thing, neither you nor I would ever have to watch them.

“What is [Star Wars] at its essence? It’s a really exciting question, and I think it’s something that has to be answered at some point.” Yes Mr. Johnson, at some point you’ll have to answer that question. But it would have been nice if you had done it BEFORE making The Last Jedi.

Sean Ledden (June 2018)

Read more about Solo: A Star Wars Story at

IMDB

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