Why We Hate the Prequel Trilogy

Last year, remember how traffic felt a little lighter on December 16, 2016? Or how there were a few less colleagues in the cubicle next to you crunching away on their Doritos? Or how our nations GDP dipped three points because everyone stayed home.

No, it was not because of the approaching holidays. No, it was not because of the wet winter weather gripping both coasts. It was because Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released in theaters and America took a collective national sick day as the hardcore Star Wars faithful, casual fans of nerd culture, and the allies of geeks everywhere took a day to visit a galaxy far, far away.

Why do I remind you of this? Because on Friday, December 15, 2017 this will all happen again. This time, in response to the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Sci-fi writers and filmmakers, storytellers and adventure seekers; we all love Star Wars. Lucas succeeded in achieving his goal – creating stories to inspire the generations which he feared were growing up without myth. The latest films, created following the post-Disney acquisition, despite their imitativeness and serious flaws, have been met with fanfare and praise. We can expect Star Wars fans to feel the same way about the upcoming Last Jedi film – compete and total praise.

But sometimes, I wonder why? Why are Star Wars fans so quick to praise the sequels to the original trilogy, while simultaneously condemning the prequel trilogy? The very prequel trilogy which directly tie into the original trilogy as envisioned by the creator of Star Wars. Yes, neither series is as good as the original; but both have their shortcomings and successes. Why do Star Wars fans hate the prequel films so much, especially given the gross failures of the most recent films?

Spoilers throughout.

Now, before I start dissecting Star Wars, I have to acknowledge the predicament that Lucas found himself in as a storyteller. It must be incredibly difficult telling a story to an audience, when they already know the ending. We all hate sitting through jokes we know the punchlines too, it is the same thing with feature films. So, when moments feel forced – such as the faux romance between Anakin and Padme in Attack of the Clones – they are indeed forced. We all knew Obi-Wan would fail to train Anakin. We all knew Anakin would succumb to the dark side. We knew Palatine would rise to power and crush the Jedi. With such crucial elements, pre-determined, it is understandable that the prequel trilogy feels so deprived of genuine character choice.

Lucas was also tasked with the impossible task of topping Star Wars; films which changed cinema and truly set the bar for generations of filmmakers. The expectations set by the original trilogy are unmatchable. This was one of the factors which prevented other talent filmmakers from helping Lucas see his vision through (something which substantially aided him in the production of the original trilogy).

I understand that subpar dialogue and an oversaturation of CGI did not help the prequel films win any fans. Yes, of course there is the Jar Jar issue as well. In the defense of Lucas, he has always maintained that Star Wars was for kids – perhaps Jar Jar is evidence of that. I want to mention these things just so they are mentioned, but instead let’s focus on the story components which are the failures of the series.

Now, I personally believe that the prequel trilogy has a number of things that were done right. We got three films full of Jedi mind trick, force powers, and epic lightsaber battles. These are some of our favorite aspects of the original trilogy, and we get the chance to experience these elements further. We experience the history of the Universe; watching the technological evolution of our favorite vehicles. We see some of our favorite Star Wars characters young, spry, and in their primes. We see the Obi-Wan and Anakin fight we have always dreamed of seeing, and we get to see the most infamous battle in the history of the Galaxy, the Clone Wars, something really only alluded to within the original films and Expanded Universe. So why do we hate the prequel saga so much? Personally, I believe it comes down to three major flaws.

1. The character of Anakin Skywalker.

The first of which is Anakin Skywalker, and the character’s short comings are more than just poor casting. Anakin is never the badass we expect him to be based on Obi-Wan’s descriptions of him in A New Hope. Instead, we are presented with a whiney-baby of a hero who bemoans the lack of responsibility he has yet to earn, and never earns. While attempts are made to show the character as a gifted swordsman and pilot, it is unnatural and in every instance, seems to come at the expense of Obi-Wan’s own competence instead of the Anakin’s natural ability. The Clone Wars television series greatly corrects this misstep, by portraying the character in more heroic ways, but it would have been nice to see this in cinema.

We never see that character truly fall from grace. Anakin is presented as the hope of the Jedi Order – the mysterious child with the highest midi-chlorian count ever. Instead of being seduced be the dark side of the force; he seems to simply choose the Sith over his fellow Jedi out of his teenage angst and boredom. To make matters worse, Lucas attempts to reinforce his apparent lack of motivation with some lackluster dialogue line from Anakin where he describes how from his position “the Jedi are evil.”

Nice try George, but we’re not buying it.

An Anakin Skywalker with a little more Michael Corleone to him, where we seem him change into the very things he was never meant to be, could really have done wonders for the trilogy. Or we needed a real Harvey Dent moment where everything he believed in – everything we believed in – is destroyed, and we learn he simply does not have the fortitude we though he had to hold on just a little bit longer. Perhaps if Padme had died earlier in Revenge of the Sith, we could have even seen that. That is what we wanted, and that is what we expected since we first learned that Darth Vader was Luke’s father in The Empire Strikes Back.

The character of Anakin (as presented in film), could have been redeemed in the eyes of fans, had the prequel trilogy ended with an epic Lord Vader scene, something akin to the Vader scene in Rogue One. That scene, with Vader light-sabering-the-crap out of rebel soldiers, would have rounded out the trilogy better than the rigor mortis inflicted Vader bemoaning the death of Padme with his metallic wail.

2. The lack of a B.A.M.F. Villain.

On the subject of Darth Vader, the second major problem, is the lack of a strong antagonist. In storytelling, the best heroes are the foils of powerful, motivated villains. The original Star Wars creates one of the greatest villains in the history of cinema. He is the envy of all other cinema villains. In A New Hope we are introduced to the intimidating and sinister Lord Vader. The physical manifestation of fear. He is powerful, mysterious, with a commanding screen presence. He wears a cape. He chokes people. Total bad-ass. In The Empire Strikes Back, we fully experience his ominous ruthlessness; and the range of his Sith powers. He kills his own officers, blocks blaster fire with his hands, and cuts the hand off his only son. Finally, in The Return of the Jedi, we uncover the missing pieces of Vader’s own past and we get to see the man behind his mask. We learn that his son Luke was correct and that somewhere deep within the evil Darth Vader, goodness still lives.

Yet, the prequel trilogy has no antagonist with Vader’s credibility. For that matter, the prequel trilogy lacks an antagonist with consistency. I believe that the primary flaw is the premature death of Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace. With his sinister appearance and a meager two lines worth of dialogue, he is a character shrouded in mystery. By the time of his ambiguous death at the end Episode 1, we have not learned much about the character beyond his use of a double-bladed lightsaber. Lucas was well on his way to crafting a character with truly Vader-like-aspirations.

Then we get Darth Tyranus, who leave much to be desired. Darth Maul’s “replacement” in Episode II, he is little more than an old man with a scratchy voice and crooked lightsaber. Lucas attempts to craft a compelling backstory – a few insignificant lines about his past as a Jedi – but as an audience we really find nothing interesting about him. While the character of Darth Maul earns our respects for his chops with a lightsaber when the guy fights two Jedi at once; the fights scenes with Tyranus are lacking, often leading us in disbelief that the old curmudgeon is able to fare as well as he does. In fact, by beating Obi-Wan twice and Yoda once, he does so only the expense of the competencies of the two Jedi Masters, not as a testament to his skill.

While the character of General Grievous is an unexpected turn from the Sith Lords of the other films, he appears too late in the series to garner any serious attachment. His alien race, his rank of general, his collection of lightsabers, and his pneumonic-cough, tease us a potentially interesting character. Yet, too many questions are left unanswered, and he has far too little screen time to actually matter.

I think Lucas really missed the mark here. Darth Maul had the makings of a truly sinister villain, and it would have been wonderful to explore his background further through the prequel trilogy. Had Lucas made Darth Maul returned in Episode II, donning new mechanical legs and a serious grudge against Obi-Wan, we could have had something really captivating.

3. We all love Han Solo.

Finally, the Star Wars prequel trilogy suffers from the lack an independent thinking, a true rogue, someone in the mold of that “scruffy` scoundrel” Han Solo. More importantly, Solo plays an irreplaceable role in the original story. First, in A New Hope, he is really the only unpredictable character in the film. He has no problem playing by his own rules and acting independently and selfishly. If Lucas had followed his original story line and followed through with killing Solo in The Return of the Jedi, the growth of Solo’s character would have been demonstrated his final character arc by sacrificed himself for his friends and their cause.

In the prequel trilogy, all the characters easily seem to fall into a few camps, with few of them truly acting selfish enough to put their own well-being a head of the greater plot objectives. There are few character who are true radicals, playing by their own set of rules. Solo’s brash, cocky, ready-fire-aim attitude is the perfect foil to the calm and calculated behavior of the Jedi; and could have really ratcheted up interpersonal conflict in the films.

Han Solo also grounds the films for the audience; something he does in The Force Awakens as well. He alone, is the one character in the Star Wars trilogy who can smirk at the ridiculousness of everything. He acknowledges the things other characters seem to take for granted – planet sized space stations, the all-powerful force, and how “swords” best blasters in combat. This making the story acceptable and dare I even say – passable – to audiences. Solo shares our confusion and skepticism.

At times, things are almost too heavy for a Star Wars film in the prequel films as the story gets too caught up in the politics of the galactic civil war. A Solo type character could have brought some levity to the prequel’s, as Solo repeatedly does. His wit makes us laugh, and keeps the grand galactic adventure from ever becoming all too serious. With Solo appearing in The Force Awakens, and with Finn poised to become Solo 2.0, the new trilogy seems to have insured itself a way to keep grounding the film in fun.

All these failures of the prequel trilogy may still manifest themselves as failures of the sequel trilogy. The story is not yet complete, character arcs are not finished, and we really have no idea where things will go or how it will end. For all we know, it is possible that in three years we may look back on the entire sequel trilogy with nothing but disgust and disdain?

We need to give Lucas credit where his credit is due. As our favorite character Yoda taught us, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Lucas did finally make the prequel trilogy he alluded to in 1977, that is an admirable fact in its own right. In doing so he took us to new worlds and showed us new characters from the expansive Star Wars Universe we thought we knew so well. Realistically, the prequel trilogy never had a chance of standing up to the original. In the same way, we know that the dozens of Star Wars films to come will never truly capture the sentiments of the original either. The intangibles of the originals; manifested largely through emotional nostalgia, can never be replicated. However, when we try to divorce emotion for the equation, and look at pure story, there is abundant room for improvement.

The older the prequel trilogies get, the more nostalgia may begin to set in. Maybe fans will be more willing to evaluate the films independently, celebrating their merits instead of solely condemning their short comings. The real question which remains is, in the years to come, what feelings will die hard fans hold towards many successive trilogies? I hope that The Last Jedi is a welcomed addition to Star Wars canon, but fear we will have to wait until the final addition to the new trilogy before we can full evaluate the successes and failures of its story.

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The Last Jedi – Top 8 Fake Spoilers for Episode VIII

Star Wars fever is about to break out into another $2 billion box office rash. Apply these fake spoilers as a preventative salve to stave off your own case of Force-itis.

8 - Whether it's your evil lair or your family room, the remote's always in the last place you look.
8 – Whether it’s your evil lair or your family room, the remote’s always in the last place you look.

7 - Watch Poe and Finn's desperate struggle not to end up as the Ron Weasley of this trilogy.
7 – Watch Poe and Finn’s desperate struggle not to end up as the Ron Weasley of Star Wars.

6 - Mark Hamill's just relieved now that the last movie he holds a lightsaber in won't be Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. 6 – Mark Hamill’s just relieved that the last movie he holds a lightsaber in will no longer be Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. (more…)

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How diverse was “Ghost in the Shell”, really?

Hello!

My name is Luke Guidici. I’m a filmmaker and writer and while this is the first post I’ve written on Smashcutculture.com, my work has been featured on the site. In addition to my own work, I occasionally write about film. My last in depth exploration was a two-part essay on the Heist Movie Genre, but recently I was reminded that I wanted to examine the issue of diversity in the live-action adaptation of “Ghost in the Shell.”

Movie adaptations are tough. For one it’s a different medium, which means somethings just have to be changed. I wrote about the process of adaptation here. It seems that no matter what is done, people get very upset with any changes from the original text. Whether it’s casting an actor that doesn’t look like the source character, a costume that is different, or a change in a hero’s powers.

Back when the film came out there was much internet outrage about the “whitewashing” of the lead character. People were offended that Scarlett Johansson had been cast in the lead role… instead of an actor with Asian ancestry. When I watched the movie, I was struck by how diverse the cast and world was. It had probably been 10 plus years since I’d seen the anime, so I wasn’t sure my memory served me correctly. I made a mental note that once the new film was available to purchase, I’d buy both and compare the two to see what sort of changes were made in the adaptation. And for good measure, I also bought the original manga, from which both are based.

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City of Ghosts: Movie Review

The documentary City of Ghosts begins at a black-tie gala in New York City.  A group of Syrian men mingle with donors and have their pictures taken.  “Maybe a little smile?” a photographer asks.  But they are thinking about the struggles of their home city, where there is little smile about.  They are part of “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently,” a group of citizen-journalists who have documented the human-rights abuses of ISIS in the city of Raqqa, Syria.

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To Kill a Mockingbird Movie Review

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is a story about race, poverty, and equal justice, all told from the eyes of a six-year old girl.

Scout, the inquisitive youngster we all know we once were, stumbles upon some very adult themes during the summers of her youth in 1930’s Alabama. Her father, Atticus, a well respected lawyer, is charged with defending Tom Robinson, a black man accused of attacking, and raping, a white woman. Through her eyes, the audience sees the injustices of racism and its inherent grasp on the legal system at the time in the deep south. Through all of it, Atticus sits his daughter on his lap and explains to her, as best he can, how wrong the world can be. Although he doesn’t explain to her the racial bias that played out in the court room with Tom Robinson found guilty for a crime he very well didn’t commit, his emotional closing statement speaks volumes.

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Thank You For Smoking Movie Review

The film “Thank You For Smoking,” starring Aaron Eckhart as Nick Naylor, is a satirical dramady about the cigarette industry’s leading lobbyist and the trials and tribulations he overcomes, not only in his career, but in maintaining the respect of his son.

Nick Naylor would, at first glance, appear to be your everyday, average guy, but the reality is he’s big tobacco’s smooth talking man on “the hill”. On a day to day basis he’s fighting the stigma of cigarettes, after all, everyone deserves a fair defense – even multinational corporations. As we pick up his story, he’s planning a strategy to combat new congressional labeling bill for cigarette products – a large skull and crossbones, reading “poison.”

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Fifty Shades Freed – Top 5 Fake Spoilers

No other film series has so successfully adapted pulp erotica into gold-plated pornography and come next February it’ll be time for another installment. To tide you over until the actual movie comes out, check out these fake spoilers.

5 - This is what happens when you hire a Dexter writer to punch up the script.
#5 – This is what happens when you hire a Dexter writer to punch up the script.

4 - Anastasia and Christian are happy they eventually decided to have a traditional wedding ceremony.
#4 – Anastasia and Christian are happy they decided to have a traditional wedding ceremony.

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Stephen King’s IT – Top 10 Fake Spoilers

Never has such a short book title filled so many pages. (1,138 to be exact) Remember when flipping past the old TV version would fill your nightmare quota for a month or two? Well, on September 8th you’ll have to drive all the way to a theater to get scared for 14 bucks (plus another 10 for the worst nachos you’ve ever eaten). To better prepare you for a night of thrills and chills, here are the Top Ten Fake Spoilers for IT…


10 - "Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It's off to die we go!"
10 – “Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It’s off to die we go!”

9 - Meet the only Jewish kid in Maine not at a sleep away camp.
9 – Meet the only Jewish kid in Maine not at a sleep away camp.

8 - This "Terrifying Clown Is Here!" arrow was repurposed from a mall map.
8 – This “Terrifying Clown Is Here!” arrow was repurposed from a mall map.

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The Siege Movie Review

“The Siege,” starring Denzel Washington and Annette Bening, is a story of ‘blowback’ and the extreme measures government will implement to maintain control.

After the bombing of a U.S. facility abroad, American military forces capture and place in custody the man suspected to be responsible (the Sheik). It’s this action that sets off a chain reaction of retaliation. Soon after, in New York, unnamed Islamic terrorists attack the city and its people, demanding the Sheik’s release. Denzel, as the FBI’s chief counter-terror agent, chases the terrorist cells through the city, always rooting his actions in law and order, despite the directions of others. It’s when the terrorists blow up a federal building, killing 600, that the President steps in and declares martial law. The army goes block by block, door to door, and rounds up any and all Muslim people that fit their broad profile: male, 14-30 years of age. Beyond that, the military sees no moral conflict in torturing suspects for information, despite Denzel’s eloquent plea against it. In the end, the FBI works in the shadows to legally take down the terrorists and arrest the military men responsible for the reprehensible actions in the city.

This film deals with several major liberty themed points, namely: the idea of blowback, the morality of torture, law & justice, and the dangers of ‘racial profiling’. The film’s jumping off point is the tactical take-down of the Sheik, the man responsible for the bombing of an American facility abroad. While it is understandable to seek retribution for such an act, the film brings to light the idea of blowback – that foreign policy actions have unintended consequences. In this particular example, a “rouge” elements of the U.S. military engaged in his illegal extraction, undoubtedly invoking contempt that manifested itself in the bombings. This isn’t to say legal means of capturing the man would have had a different effect, but it is to say every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Beyond this, though only a minor plot point, it is revealed that Annette Bening’s CIA trainees are the very same individuals now terrorizing the United States. In regards to torture, and martial law in general, Denzel’s character has a rather powerful monologue, in which he regards the current situation as “shredding the constitution”, and in that effect “they’ve already won”. Finally, one of the biggest thrusts of the film is in regards to Islam and people’s fear of it in the wake of religiously charged attacks. It is in this point that the film’s message is most relevant given current American fears and political rhetoric. To this, the film shows the “lump sum” attitude as misguided, as the large net the military stretches to round up the last remaining terrorist cells doesn’t even catch one lawbreaker. Instead, this net catches the innocent, a point made by Denzel’s Lebanese partner searching frantically for his 13 year old son in the large cages.

1) Is martial law ever a reasonable option?

2) Is it a coincidence that the military’s racial profiling of Muslim individuals was completely ineffective? Was this a conscious decision by the film-makers?

3) Is this film an indictment of America’s foreign policy? In what ways is it?

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“Dunkirk” Disappoints

A guest post from Brian Watt of Ricochet.com

Yes, there are spoilers herein. If you are planning to see Dunkirk at a theater near you and don’t want to read about how the new Christopher Nolan film treats this historical event then you may be excused. Here’s a trailer of the film below that should serve as a visual break in this Ricochet post before the review begins.

Let me begin by articulating that I am an admirer of Nolan’s work. He breathed new life into the Batman stories and made something that had been targeted previously primarily to adolescent boys something that adults could find entertaining and at times thought provoking, exploring such themes as chaos, evil and nihilism. With Interstellar, he and his screenwriting brother, took the time to explore the actual science of the astrophysics that the film relies upon with renowned physicist Kip Thorne, so it would have an air of authenticity and highly-probable believability (well, the ending was a stretch). If only Ridley Scott had applied Nolan’s same discipline and attention to detail to the laughably unscientific, Prometheus.

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Twin Peaks: The Return

“I’ll see you again in 25 years,” Laura Palmer promised Special Agent Dale Cooper in the Red Room.  That was 1991, the end of the second season of Twin Peaks.  Since then, there has been a prequel movie, Fire Walk With Me, and multiple books to expand on the mythology of the series.  But this year, creators David Lynch and Mark Frost returned to the small screen with Twin Peaks: The Return on Showtime.

The small screen has gotten bigger in the intervening years.  TV has become more cinematic, with series like Game of Thrones. CRTs have given way to 65-inch flat screens.  Video production technology has made special effects cheap and seamless.  And streaming services have changed the TV business model by trying to attract subscriptions from niche audiences.  So it’s only natural that Lynch and Frost would revive their legendary television show.

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David Swindle’s African Odyssey

Travel DAYS: Sunday, July 2 – Tuesday, July 4

The flight from LA to Dubai went across Greenland and produced memorable views like this one:

The flight on Emirates was among the best I’ve ever had. In addition to tons of new movies, TV shows, and albums, they also had some classics, so I thought it appropriate to rewatch Casablanca given that we’ll be there in a few weeks:

I picked up my first Thomas Pynchon novel on Saturday, Inherent Vice, for the plane rides, primarily because I liked the movie and have been studying the genre (LA Detective mystery ala Raymond Chandler):

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Eric Ford Holevinski Explains How “The Restaurant” is Dishing Out More Than Spaghetti

Scarily relatable, surprisingly humorous, undeniably intriguing, Eric Ford Holevinski’s indie film “The Restaurant” has it all—from moments every food industry worker will understand to startling, jump-out-of-your-seat scares. As his first endeavor in filmmaking, Ford seems to have found subject material that draws from personal and universal experiences, while maintaining both humorous and horrifying themes. “The Restaurant,” a comedy-horror centered around a fast-paced New York City Italian restaurant, leads viewers into a spiral of scares and laughs as the busboy discovers a dark secret the manager is keeping. The secret? A customer-hungry entity in the basement that must be fed for the rave reviews to keep flooding in. Being his first foray into the indie film industry, Ford explained the motivations, developments and experiences of his career in the film industry in a Q&A.

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The Mist – Top 5 Fake Spoilers

Before you tune in to the next episode of The Mist, tune in to some untrue spoilers…

This went a lot smoother when they did it on Glee.
5 – This went a lot smoother when they did it on Glee.

4 - "Chief, we probably should have ran away in the half hour since the fog showed up."
4 – “Uh, Chief, we probably should’ve run away in the half hour since that fog started crawling towards us.”

3 - "I've been trapped out here since Frank Darabont made his Mist movie back in 2007. Let me in, man!"
3 – “I’ve been trapped out here since Frank Darabont made his Mist movie back in ’07. Let me in, man!”

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Top 5 Fake “Black Panther” Spoilers

Marvel’s first film of 2018 is all queued up so check out these fake spoilers…

We've all had that dream where we show up to our village completely naked.
5 – We’ve all had that dream where we show up to our village one morning completely naked.

4 - Like the best superhero movies, Black Panther teaches us to be afraid of all first-responders.
4 – Like the best superhero movies, Black Panther teaches us to be afraid of all first-responders.

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I like Underpants…

I never grew up reading the Captain Underpants book series by Dave Pilkey; they were as us old-folks say “before my time.” Still, something about the trailer spoke to me, and I found myself watching the film Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017).

Spoilers throughout.

In the film, best friends Harold and George, a storyteller-artist tandem obsessed with creating comic books, find themselves at odds with their fascist Principal Krupp. The Principal is obsessed with order, structure, and efficiency; all of which come at the expense of his student’s creativity, and innovation. With the use of a cereal-box hypno-ring, the two hypnotize Principal Krupp into believing he is the embodiment of their comic book magnum opus, Captain Underpants. With Captain Underpants as their principal, their harmless pranks become a welcomed addition to school, and art and music are returned to the school curriculum. They spend their day helping the Captain blend in as a convincing principal, and making sure he does not accidentally return to his natural Krupp state.

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A Scanner Darkly

There is a new drug out and it is called D. It splits the right and left hemisphere of your brain when abused too much. An undercover cop who is addicted to this new drug comes under investigation when suspected of drug abuse. The film involves several themes but most is the use of drugs and the war on them. There is an eerily familiar theme of government over-watch for our protection. This idea that they can keep us safe from ourselves. This world is faced with potential dangers such as drugs and addiction and in order to combat this the government assumes it must sneakily watch and attempt to control our lives. It is this endless cycle of the government creating drugs, people getting addicted, citizens begin arrested for said drugs, then the government rehabbing those individuals.

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At least one reviewer liked “The Circle”

What would happen if everyone was connected via social media? What if all their information was public? What if there were cameras literally everywhere to make sure that any and every experience was accessible to all? What if people voluntarily agreed to this world because a slick talking ceo convinced them it was better? These are just some of the questions raised by “The Circle.”

While many critics didn’t like “The Circle,” I actually thoroughly enjoyed it. I think some of those issues came from the marketing of this movie, as the film isn’t really worthy of the title “gripping thriller” that it claimed. “Thought-provoking drama” is more appropriate. The story starts when Mae (Emma Watson) gets a job at “The Circle,” which is like the love child of Apple and Facebook.

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Top Ten Fake “Transformers: The Last Knight” Spoilers

You don’t have to wait until June 21st to get the inside scoop on Transformers: The Last Knight

10 - It's come to this: To get parts in non-Star Wars movies, C3PO has to do nude scenes now.
10 – It’s come to this: To get parts in non-Star Wars movies, C3PO has to do nude scenes now.

9 - John Goodman reprises his voice role as Hound because damn it, he's going to make 9 movies a year whether you like it or not.
9 – John Goodman reprises his voice role as Hound because damn it, he’s going to make 9 movies a year whether you like it or not.

8 - Watch as Sir Anthony Hopkins whisper acts his way through another paycheck.
8 – Watch as Sir Anthony Hopkins whisper acts his way through another paycheck.

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Wonder Woman: Everything We Could Hope For… And More

I don’t know about you, but I have been anxiously awaiting a “Wonder Woman” feature film since rumors circulated in the late ’90s of one starring Sandra Bullock. For me, the films near twenty-years in pre-production hell was well worth the wait.

For starters, “Wonder Woman” is the film that we needed to finally prove the Exec’s wrong. The belief that female superhero films cannot be successful is farce! You may remember leaked emails from 2015 revealing their suspicions that female characters were not a draw in the box-office. The failure of female comic book movies – or any comic book movies for that matter – has nothing to do with the sex, gender, or ability of the character. No instead, as fans have always maintained, the failure of comic book films is the result of shoddy film making at the hands of filmmakers who do not understand the properties they are working with. “Wonder Woman” is a film seeming created by those who seem to understand, and love, the character. And what a difference it makes.

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“The Handmaids Tale” from a Muslim Feminist Perspective

I first watched the trailer on the same day the first episode aired and was instantly intrigued. The history buff inside me initially took it as a historical series due to Elizabeth Moss’s hood and petticoat. As the video went on I realized that the plot was much more complicated than meets the eye.

Of course, this was all happening in the middle of finals week, so I decided to postpone watching the series until after my exams were done; until then I did a reasonable amount of research. To be brutally honest: prior to watching the promo, I had never heard of  Margaret Atwood’s feminist novel. The plot immediately blew me away—set in New England, a Christian fundamentalist group overthrows the U.S. government, replacing the Constitution with a very strict, Puritan-esqe version of the Bible.  Bit by bit modern working women are stripped of their jobs, bank accounts, and identities. They are reduced to their fertility and levels of obedience. The fertile ones become “handmaids” forced to bear children for the new society’s elite and their barren wives.

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Who am I? – Genetic Testing and Identity Part 1

Have you seen this commercial for Ancestry.com, one of the genetic testing companies?

 

Kyle’s self-identification, based upon how he was raised and his family’s perception, was German-American but after genetic testing in the service of researching family history, he discovered his ancestors were primarily Scottish.

Cognitive dissonance!

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NO SAFE SPACES: New Documentary by Adam Corolla and Dennis Prager

Adam Carolla and Dennis Prager are teaming up to make a new documentary about the “safe space” phenomenon that is plaguing college campuses across America. The pair has been filming for the past few months, but now they’ve launched an Indiegogo campaign for $500,000 to help them continue production on “No Safe Spaces.”

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GI Film Festival Opens Today

Have you ever heard of the GI Film Festival? Since 2007, this annual festival has been building community and film-making around subjects of military and veteran experience. The festival is “dedicated to preserving the stories of American veterans past and present through film, television and live special events.”

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