Lit Disney Wars: Episode 7 and the EU (Spoiler Thread)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by TypoCelchu, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. DARTH_MU Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    How do you guys like Fringe?

    Maybe we can have a redheaded Buke with cortexiphan powers switching realities.
  2. instantdeath Force Ghost

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    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    I'm going to watch Fringe soon, since it finished recently.
  3. beccatoria Force Ghost

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    Well, that embracing scifi tropes but with a healthy dose of snark is...exactly what I'm talking about? I genuinely wasn't being derogatory when I said that Whedon has a talent for getting people to embrace scifi and fantastical worlds, but that one of the ways he does that is by grounding it with snark and a subconscious awareness of the fourth wall. Firefly is somewhat different on this front (and my favourite Whedon show), but it's still present.

    And yes, River is his magical fighting girl. I have a...complicated relationship with the obvious empowerment Whedon wishes to convey with these women combined with the fetishisation of their vulnerability, usually incorrectly perceived by villains in physical terms, but very much real in emotional terms. "Poor weaponised tiny girl who can beat you to a pulp." Then again he also invented Zoe Washburne.

    Again I suspect it will sound like I'm tearing Whedon down. I'm...not. I think that on occasion he does things that get overlooked because of who he is, but I also think he's done a lot of truly excellent work that I very much enjoy.

    As to Abrams, he's done stuff I like and stuff I dislike, but I generally find that his creative fingerprints are slightly less distractingly visible to me. I don't feel I already know what kind of movie he'll make.

    The Avengers feels very much - to me - like Joss Whedon writes the Avengers. And that's fine - great even - because it's a tone and a voice that's appropriate for the Avengers. But I don't think I'd like it for Star Wars.

    Star Trek, on the other hand, doesn't feel to me like JJ Abrams' Star Trek. It could be that I'm not as good at identifying Abrams' tropes, but it's how I feel.

    Also as noted, Abrams isn't writing Star Wars too. So there's a big difference to the Avengers situation right there.

    As to Fringe...ugh. I started off LOVING that series. Somewhere in the middle of season three, though, they appeared to realise that Peter was a fabulous MacGuffin who didn't have much narrative agency beyond his value as a plot object, and in an attempt to fix it, managed to warp the fabric of their show into a truly disturbing love story I'm pretty sure I was supposed to find romantic. I really felt like someone, somewhere in that production realised that they'd managed to make a beautiful, morally complicated story about a woman and an old man with mental health problems, and that the white, male lead was the least interesting and important part of what was going on, panicked, and ordered everyone to "fix" it.

    But then, I never, ever understood why Peter and Olivia were supposed to be a romantic thing, except for the fact that they were The Leads so it was Supposed to Happen. They almost did something interesting when Peter admitted that, in terms of temperament, he actually preferred her double, even though he also hated her for tricking him, but they never went anywhere with it. The fact that the core, understated, thoughtful aspect of Olivia's character was something Peter saw as a thing to be "fixed" was just...ignored. And I suppose I shouldn't, then, have been surprised when another version of her willingly gave up her own memories and identities in order to be the Olivia that Peter loved, because who could possibly want more than that.

    TL;DR - my love for Fringe shrank in inverse proportion to its obsession with setting up its leads as a romantic item.

    It's also not totally relevant since I think Abrams was only heavily involved in the very early parts of Fringe? I could be wrong on that, but I'm pretty sure he set it up and then moved on, just sort of, consulting from a distance.
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  4. Zorrixor Chosen One

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    Sep 8, 2004
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    It shows how much [or little] television I [don't] watch these days when this thread could have entered a discussion of the history of late industrial Belarus and I'd be none the wiser. :p
  5. HedecGa Force Ghost

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    Apr 19, 2006
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    Are we...the same person? [face_hypnotized]
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  6. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    I'm at peace with Fringe as a whole, but yeah, I always preferred Peter and Olivia's sister as an item over Olivia herself - if only to keep Olivia's non-FBI life a part of the show.

    Incidentally, while we don't know exactly when they would've talked to Whedon in the chain of events, they did announce Michael Arndt pretty early on, so there's no reason to assume Whedon would've had that big of a hand, if any, in the actual writing. Nor, as I often find myself pointing out here, do we know how tied people's hands are by the existing Lucas outline.

    Man, you really are still in the middle of it. Hurry up already. :p

    ...the guy who what now? [face_plain]
    Last edited by CooperTFN, Jan 29, 2013
  7. instantdeath Force Ghost

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    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    I can agree with that. Like I said, the only real Whedon work I've been exposed to so far has been rather light on some of his more well known tropes. I wouldn't say that those particular tropes make his work predictable, but they do add a certain level of familiarity that may be jarring in the context of Star Wars. I can also agree with some of your criticisms of the really overt Action Girl... though honestly I wouldn't mind if Jaina, or whoever the female lead turns out to be, was one.

    It's worth noting that I have no particular problem with Abrams as a director, I've just yet to see anything by him that I consider extraordinary. Super 8 was good for what it was, but for me at least, completely unmemorable. The Mission Impossible movies, again, weren't horribly written or directed, but felt so run of the mill. But I haven't seen Star Trek, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if that (and maybe Super 8) was what landed him the Star Wars gig, so it's a bit like I'm condemning an author without reading their greatest work.

    And besides, I wouldn't be surprised if a variety of directors get chances to do Star Wars movies. If they do end up doing spin offs, maybe we will at some point get "Joss Whedon does Star Wars". Or Quentin Tarantino does Star Wars [face_laugh]

    Yeah, I tragically haven't had much time to watch a lot Firefly lately. I'll probably knock out the last disc really soon.

    And while I'm not sure how much of it is his, Abrams has a writing credit on Armageddon. Bad, bad sign :p. I'll hope it was just his bad movie that he had to do in order to move on to better stuff.
    Last edited by instantdeath, Jan 29, 2013
  8. jedimaster203 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 1999
    star 4
    I honestly think we should focus more and the screenwriter than the director, as far as effects on the EU go. JJ Abrams is going to film what Michael Ardnet writes. JJ Abrams will have a lot to do with the quality, but what is his affect on the story going to be?
  9. Zorrixor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2004
    star 6
    So I watched Avengers for the first time tonight...

    Can't say I get what all the fuss was about honestly. Felt very so-so to me.

    So Whedon not directing? *shrugs*
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  10. GGrievous Chosen One

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    Nov 6, 2005
    star 5
    Seriously.

    [Insert 'why Avengers is pretty average/reuses the same old aliens invading Earth, good guys need to stop them plot' here]

    No sarcasm intended. I am just stunned by the amount of people wanting this overrated guy to direct.
    Last edited by GGrievous, Jan 29, 2013
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  11. Sinrebirth SWC and EUC Forum Moderator

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    It's because of Firefly. Which is golden. Has the Star Wars feel to it, for me.
  12. instantdeath Force Ghost

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    Jul 22, 2010
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    Like with Firefly and The Astonishing X-Men series, the plot itself is nothing special, but it's all in the character interaction. In fact, I'd argue the plot that makes up The Avengers is something you might see from an old Stan Lee story; it's nothing new or groundbreaking. But any plot synopsis would only miss the point. What The Avengers really did right was the team dynamic. He took a movie that was destined to be a campy mess from its very inception and grounded it, all the while keeping it close to its comic book roots. That's not an easy thing to do, as the legion of terrible super-hero movies can only testify.

    That's the reason I love shows like Breaking Bad and Firefly. The plot is entirely secondary. It moves, of course, but the characters are the thing that drive the show. In my humble opinion, Lost went off the rails when it began to disregard the people on the island and began to concentrate on the crazy supernatural/sci-fi elements of the island. It's also why I believe the Star Wars prequels are so disliked. They focus so much on the grandiose plot, but the characters that drive them are less interesting than a wet dishrag. Cardboard cutouts saving the galaxy is rarely fun.

    I'm far from Whedon's biggest fan, as I've already mentioned, but if there's one thing he gets, it's the importance of character, and that's something Star Wars sorely needs. But I have also come to agree with Becca that what SW does not need is to feel like a Whedon project, so Abrams may be for the best for now.
    Last edited by instantdeath, Jan 29, 2013
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  13. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    You are dead to me. :p

    But seriously--to the extent that the ST is "supposed" to feel like part of the overall saga, I have no particular need for Whedon to be involved in it. But a great deal of the eye-rolling about him seems weird to me, because the things always cited as Whedon clichés--prominent, proactive women, witty dialogue, intermingling of genres--are, IMO, synonymous with "good". As if to say, "oh great, here comes another Whedon story, full of the same old good things. Man, write something bad already".

    In other words--yes, he's very funny. If a character is meant to be witty in a Whedon screenplay you can rest assured he'll knock it out of the park. But he's a writer before he's a humorist. Steve Rogers isn't a walking laugh machine, nor are Bruce Banner or Nick Fury, and what humor is derived from them is ironic and situational, not wisecrack-y.

    I mean, if a young Jaina were featured in the ST, who among us would like her to not be a Buffy-level ass-kicker? Maybe that's not the most progressive, well-rounded female character type anymore, but it's damn sure the way the EU's been writing her for fifteen years.
  14. krtmd Force Ghost

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    Sep 5, 2012
    star 4
  15. Zorrixor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2004
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    I think my main two problems with Avengers were that it just felt half an hour longer than necessary and that I'd just sat there watching Bang Punch Kick Bang Punch Kick for two hours. The film just... bored me.

    But then I never have liked crossover stories.

    I suppose it didn't help that I thought Thor sucked and sighed the moment Loki appeared.
    Last edited by Zorrixor, Jan 29, 2013
  16. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    And the vastness of the universe- the movies alone don't make for an especially vast one.

    Character-driven stories seem to be his favorite thing:

    "What I would love to see is a story about characters that I am desperately entertained by and definitely care about, and keep that story as focused as possible and make more of that than the pyrotechnics of it all which to me is what makes Star Wars so brilliant. "

    “I don’t ever look at genres of movies, but instead characters I’d like to see. There are so many genres that are already out there. If you want to go see a Western, or a ’70s period piece, it’s available. The reason behind almost anything I work on is because it’s not out there right now and I want to see it.”
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Jan 29, 2013
  17. instantdeath Force Ghost

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    Jul 22, 2010
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    Well, that's certainly in line with what I'd like to see. Like I mentioned, I'm not at all interested in seeing uninteresting cardboard cutouts involved in grand, same the galaxy plots. Save the galaxy plots are certainly welcome, but I have to give a crap about the characters first.

    He had some interesting things to say about Star Wars- I particularly liked his comparison between Luke and Anakin- and am overall encouraged. Not necessarily for the state of the EU, but at least that the movies should be in good hands.

    I really need to watch Star Trek. Not just the movie, but actually watch an episode.

    I thought Loki was a great choice for a villain because, if I recall correctly, he was the first villain the Avengers ever fought as a team. There's that "grounding the characters in reality but keeping the rest rooted in the source material" I was talking about.

    I think what so many, myself included, appreciated about The Avengers is that it feels the most like a comic book come to life out of any super hero movie. It's got the witty dialogue, team interplay, and long standing comic book tropes like super heroes automatically resorting to fighting each other upon first meeting, but done in a way that doesn't feel hopelessly cheesy. Like Becca mentioned, it's embracing the most illogical parts of the genre, but playing them up, not attempting to subvert them. The whole movie feels like an unabashed homage to super hero comics in general.

    I would say that it's mostly because he has a very recognizable signature style, and if you instantly notice someones fingerprints on a work, it can take you out of the story (possibly, depending on who you are).
    Last edited by instantdeath, Jan 29, 2013
  18. beccatoria Force Ghost

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    Dec 8, 2006
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    Glad I make sense. ;)

    But it's not so much the Action Girl trope I mind in general - I'm basically easy for girls kicking ass, especially when there's lightsabers around - it's specifically Whedon's variation which seems to mix exploitation with empowerment in a way that at times works well and at times feels like...trying to have your cake and eat it. I wonder, sometimes, if River or Echo (or even later Buffy; death is your gift...) aren't related to the Romantic Victorian notion of tragically mad women, who often break societal norms, or even achieve unusual agency, but are still subject to very structured, gendered roles.

    It's not a straight-up criticism. There's a lot about these characters I find interesting, and while I think it's a shame that Xena doesn't get enough credit as her forebear, Buffy was an incredibly important piece of media for its time in terms of the representation of women on the screen.

    I just think it's worth pointing out that Whedon has a very specific type of Action Girl about whom my feelings are decidedly...mixed. And mixed, here, doesn't indicate an overall lukewarm or indifferent attitude - I genuinely mean mixed. I absolutely love some aspects and have real problems with others, often at the same time.

    As to directors - honestly, I'm still annoyed that we never got David Lynch directing Return of the Jedi.
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  19. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    Bec, per my earlier comment - I have a hard time envisioning Jaina being done in a way that couldn't be dismissed as Typical Joss Whedon Action Girl. If he were to have done the ST, and Jaina were in it, what would need to happen for you not to see her as a cliché?
  20. instantdeath Force Ghost

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    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    Yeah, "Action Girl" wasn't my desired trope, but I figured it would do well enough. The only real "Action Girl" I get annoyed with are the ones I find obnoxious, which for me follows about the same criteria as the male action stars.

    Being fairly new to Whedon, I don't feel I'm completely fit to judge what Whedon tends to get right and what he tends to get wrong. River certainly has that "vulnerability" element about her, but I interpret that as correlating much more to her erratic mental state than to her gender. I have no idea how she's going to suddenly turn into an action girl, though; I'm assuming something they did with her brain will turn out to have physical effects, but if anyone tells me I will cut them :p

    Have her beaten up by a bunch of Mandalorians =((

    Also, since this thread is about Abrams... I'm a complete newb to Star Trek. And by that, I mean I've seen something like half an episode. Is the Abrams Star Trek movie a reboot, prequel, or what? I hear it has something to do with time travel... I know it can be watched on its own, with no prior Star Trek knowledge, but how much better is it if you've at least watched the Original Series? Or does it now work better as an introduction to Star Trek for new fans?
    Last edited by instantdeath, Jan 29, 2013
  21. beccatoria Force Ghost

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    I think I was pretty specific with my explanation of what I consider to be Whedon tropes and the way I consider his approach to the Action Girl trope to be a variation on the normal one?

    I think Black Widow was reasonably well done on that front, for instance. I think Zoe from Firefly is about as far from it as you could imagine. Kaylee doesn't conform either.

    We're talking very broadly, here, about the reasons I'm not overwhelmingly in favour of Whedon writing/directing a Star Wars movie, and mostly it's a hypothetical discussion on writing; I'm not saying he necessarily would have screwed it all up. I'm just saying that I can usually notice a bunch of his tics when he's involved in things and that works for some properties but I don't think it would work for Star Wars.

    I feel a little like you're asking me to prove a negative with this.
  22. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    All I'm trying to say is that Jaina already seems like the type of character certain people--I'm not saying you, but certain people--roll their eyes at when coming from him, and I'm just curious what you'd tell him to do, or avoid doing, if he were writing the ST and you had his ear. I'll try to frame it in the other direction: exactly what "structured, gendered roles" were you describing with regard to his other characters?

    Really not trying to debate you on this, I'd just like to hear more of your perspective. When I gaze into the imaginary universe wherein we have a Whedon ST in the works, I can see it being met with just as much eye-rolling as Abrams has been IRL, and I'm curious what Parallel Whedon Universe's beccatoria would be hoping for right now.
    Last edited by CooperTFN, Jan 29, 2013
  23. vonghunter789 Jedi Youngling

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    Oct 30, 2012
    I realise this is absolutely random and not following the conversation at all, but In a theoretical world where Jaina Solo is in fact in the films, I could totally see Jennifer Lawrence playing her. Would be absolutely awesome IMO.
  24. Tim Battershell Force Ghost

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    Sep 3, 2012
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    ID, I wached the new, reboot, Trek all the way through a few weeks ago, after a fair amount of past Trek experience (from Classic TV onwards) and quite liked it, TBH. Wasn't sure I was going to, but the casting and the characterisations were both close to the 'Classic-flavour'; not that you will need any prior experience to watch it. One difference I did note was that there seemed to be much more action than in anything previous.
  25. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    Nah, Jennifer Lawrence is Tahiri. ;)