Dig Baton Rouge

Film in Review

By Bill Arceneaux

[The following column is inspired by James Franco’s “James/Semaj” film pieces (a conversation with his reverse self), where I will “chat” with my reverse self “Llib.” The topic will be my final thoughts on Star Wars: The Force Awakens a week before release.]

Llib: Didn’t you write a blog post way back when about how Guardians of the Galazy and Marvel’s Universe as a whole would outperform and be received better than the new Star Wars movies?

Bill: “GaLAZY”? Was that a typo?

Llib: Take it as you wish…

Bill: Well, I certainly take issue with that. James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, after having watched it multiple times, is just as fun and refreshing as it was when it first opened. In a way, that particular story has become its own Star Wars. Heck, Chris Pratt’s character could be seen as a child of the ‘80s, whose first major movie experience may have been Return of the Jedi. He’s a fanboy man-child, basically.

Yes, I did write on an old blog that Guardians would probably be better than Episode VII. Understand that, given the speed and quality of the MCU at that point – and even now – it appeared to be an uphill battle to overtake that franchise, even for something like Star Wars. I watched a short documentary on YouTube that showed how much of a frenzy we were at when The Phantom Menace came out, compared to today. The excitement for The Force Awakens is different than it was for Phantom. There is a bit more control and maybe even weariness.

Llib: Does that mean The Force Awakens is gonna suck?

Bill: Not necessarily and more than likely no. I’ve talked about the tone and attitude of the trailers in previous articles. Add to that the mystery of the story, we can expect expectations to be exceeded. Still, I think of that Into Darkness film often.

Llib: You do? I try not to, man. It makes me angry.

 

Bill: J.J. did a good job, don’t get me wrong. In the case of that movie, it was a script and studio problem, where bits and pieces were thrown in, probably against the wishes of the director. And, you know what, I still like Into Darkness!

 

Llib: Another way back when blog post, I do believe. HA! You REALLY liked that Kahn reveal?

 

Bill: Not really, but why let one sour candy ruin a sweet batch? I think what I enjoyed, above all else, is what I enjoy thus far about The Force Awakens. And that’s the subtext. With Into Darkness, I got the feeling the story was about how far Star Trek had gone away from the meaning of Star Trek. How it became macho and action packed over progressive and compelling. With The Force Awakens, there is a clear effort to not only pass the torch so to speak, but to express the impact the original trilogy has on our culture. If they can avoid pointless direct references to iconic moments (like the Kahn scream), they’ll be a hit.

 

Llib: Sometimes, I want to slap you with a steel glove.

 

Bill: Take a number.

 

Llib: Seriously, though, I’m gonna grab a seat next to you for The Force Awakens. I’m gonna invade your bubble every chance I get.

 

Bill: Just don’t butter my popcorn.

 

For more from the author, follow him on Twitter at @BillReviews.

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