Segarini: Bring Out Your Dead Part Two – Solo No Mo – Death by Request and/or The Final Career Move
When you think about books, movies, and television whose stories and characters become franchises, one of the reasons for their continuing existence is the sound of a cash register ringing up sales and the effort itself attracting many eyeballs and return visits. What is strange is killing off a fictional character for no other reason than financial gain…or, in at least one case…a request from one person for no other reason than a personal desire to distance himself from the biggest reason he has a career….
If you haven’t read it yet, here’s Part 1 of Bring Out Your Dead
If going from bad ass Darth Vader to a Whiny Wanna-Be wasn’t bad enough in this continuing saga of a galaxy far, far way, Disney (Emperor Walt’s Magic Empire) sees Star Wars as the Cash Cow of Cash Cows (or Cash Bantha, if you will) and decided to hedge their 4 Billion Dollar Bet.
At least that’s how it looks from here…
…because the vertical thinking rampant in Hollywood these days can be distilled down to a simple mission statement; More of the Same Makes the Most Money. So we get Lil’ Darth, The Hissy-Fit Tantrum Toddler, who is just Mssr. Vader without, you know, adulthood, awesomeness, or atmospheric evil dripping from the 1970s cassette deck on the front of his costume. It’s like an old Mad comic book parody mashed up with Rick Moranis as Big Helmet in Mel Brook’s Space Balls.
Add that to Maz, the new Yoda with lady parts, the new handsome action-boy, Poe, the orphan from a jerk-water sand covered hillbilly planet, Rey, who seems to be Lady Parts Luke, the Rootin’ Tootin’ Hick from the Sandy Dusty Hinterlands, and R2BB-D2-8, the Adorable Babbling Soccer Ball Robot with Free Floating Inverted Soup Bowl Head. To round off all the ‘new’ characters, we have Finn, the possible Lando/Han/Luke/Will Smith of the piece, who may be part Han, part Luke, part young Obi, and parts unknown. So far, I’m having trouble accepting this character (who looks more like a leading man’s best friend, not a leading man), who is a cowardly AWOL Stormtrooper who spends this whole money…er…movie running away from pretty much everything, even, at one point, from the girl he makes lovesick puppy eyes at every time they share a scene. And he isn’t running TO anything…just AWAY from where he is…no matter WHERE he is. He is the Mr. Chicken of this movie, and had he been on the Titanic, would have been tossing women and children into the drink left and right to make sure he got a seat on a lifeboat. So far, the ‘new’ characters are retro-fit ‘old’ characters, which seems claustrophobic to me considering we are in a Galaxy with eleventytrillion residents, apparently none of whom are as interesting as these renovated retreads, whose main difference from their original source characters seems to be their genitalia and a hue or two.
Sprinkled throughout the film are other recognizable denizens of the previous 6 movies, plus the 6 main characters who made it out of the dual trilogies alive minus an original gold-coloured arm.
Mind you, one of them is in the film so briefly, they could have used a cardboard cut-out and saved him the bus fare to Ireland or Scotland, wherever his scene was shot.
We are missing the characters who ended up on the wrong side of the lawn in the previous six films, but even THEY are still making money for the Empire. Characters as minor as Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, (who were brutally murdered in the first film, fourth episode, A New Hope, for no apparent reason I can fathom), even got their own action figures as DEAD Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru…a highly sought after two-fer of money making marketing brilliance.
What 12 year old boy didn’t want THESE on his dresser next to his Revell Richard Donner Superman Plastic Model Kit with Real Superman Chest “S” Decal, Removable Cape and Super Strong Grip, Plus Your Very Own Glow-In-The-Dark Piece of Authentic Replica Plastic Kryptonite!?
Reveals so Choreographed, Huge, and Clichéd, They Might as Well Have Been Michael Bay Explosions….
There are so many contrived moments in this revision of Episodes 4 and 5 (with a smattering from all the other Star Wars films, not to mention the Indiana Jones franchise and other films made by Lucas and/or Spielberg in the past) that I was constantly taken out of the moment.
Distracted by the overwhelming burden of nostalgia and clever nods. Watching the movie became a combination of claustrophobia, Jeopardy, and Trivial Pursuit.
Reveal Number One – Cute Robot gets a message and told to only show it to the right person. OMG! Just like R2D2 in A New Hope!
Reveal Number Two – Poe is a pilot for the Rebels…I mean Resistance…and he flies an X Wing!
Reveal Numbers Three and Four – OMG! That’s a downed Star Destroyer! Are we on Tatooine? That’s a fallen AT-AT from Empire Strikes Back! OMG!
Reveal Number Five – Wait!…What?…is that the…no…couldn’t be!…OMG…It’s the MILLENIUM FALCON! (Cheers from Fanboys drown out everything else…5 dollar sodas and 6 dollar popcorn is spilled in abundance).
…and then, the reveal we (ha!) have all been waiting for…are you ready?…HAN AND CHEWIE!!!!
(Soda/popcorn/chocolate covered raisins go flying) a MASSIVE cheer from Those Whose Entire Lives are Stuck Long Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away, erupts from the costumed throng, and I bear down on the armrests of my seat until my knuckles are white because ELEVENTYTRILLION PEOPLE AND AND AN ENTIRE FUCKING GALAXY and yet….
Here we are 30 years after the last trilogy with the Same. Damn. People.
I am leaving out all the Easter Eggs (Fan-speak for little tropes from previous movies or hints at things to come, or in-the-know detritus from other films the filmmakers have made in the past) and some other reveals that frankly left me scratching my head, but not to worry, there is a video coming up at the end of this segment that is FULL of that stuff.
This fawning over the Fan-atics in lieu of telling a new, fresh, story, never lets up throughout the 9 hour running time of this…oh…sorry…SEEMINGLY 9 hour running time of this canon-worthy addition to the story of the only 6 people left in a Galaxy of ELEVENTYTRILLION inhabitants, whose efforts to keep the peace are the ONLY interesting aspects of the now 60 year long story arc we have been spilling sodas over since 1977.
Oh, come on!
Here’s a 45 minute long dissertation and handbook on ALL the references, characters, namechecks, tips-of-the-hat, easter eggs, dialogue, framing shots, and minutia from previous Star Wars films and books, and OTHER films and books aside from Star Wars, which populate this ‘new’ film in the franchise. …just in case you want to know more.
…and I know some of you do.
The Not Surprising Surprise at the Heart of Why The Force Awakens Was a Depressingly Ruined Romp Even Without Jar Jar, Ewoks, or George….
The foreshadowing that runs rampant through the whole of this movie made me think of Maz Kanata as a cross between Yodel…er…Yoda…and Whoopi Goldberg’s Guinan character on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Guinan was the ship’s bartender in the Enterprise’s saloon, Ten-Forward, where the Enterprise crew went to unwind by drinking synthehol and get shit-faced without the dreaded hangover, which had miraculously been eliminated from the consequences of drinking heavily sometime between now and the 23rd Century. You could also get immediately sober if, say, Assimilated Borg Tribbles attacked the Enterprise with…ummm…multiplying Assimilated Borg Tribbles, by just shaking it off.
Maz/Guinan, is also sporting the nosiness of Gladys Kravitz, Durwood and Samantha’s busybody neighbour on Bewitched, whom I will also never forgive for her son, Lenny, for anything he has ever released on record or played onstage. Ick. Did I mention that Maz has a castle and there’s a Cantina in her castle that also seems to be a haven for ‘villainy and scum’. Hello? Tatooine? Tell Mos Eisley we found their Cantina….
Gladys Kravitz also bears a striking resemblance to General Ackbar…which would explain nothing, but may cause you to have trouble getting to sleep if you think about it long enough.
The look on Leia’s face when Han tells her he’s going to go to the big bad planet gun, JJ might as well have thrown up a giant RED blinking sign onscreen that yelled “WARNING! GET READY TO GASP AND CRY INTO YOUR ABOUT TO BE SOGGY POPCORN! PLEASE HAVE YOUR COMPLIMENTARY TISSUES AT THE READY!
Sure enough, within just a few (12) parsecs, I find myself handing my popcorn to a stranger and hauling out my complimentary tissues when Han and company find Han’s fucked up kid wandering around out in the open. On a catwalk. Surrounded by his insane posse of trigger happy goons.
Han Solo, the rakish, devil-may-care, shoot first, take chances, saves-the-day and helps bring down an evil galactic empire…
…dies for no good reason during a discussion with his bi-polar ADD addled asshole kid about coming home with him and getting his shit together, and …you know…maybe finish school or get a job at the Intergalactic Bantha Burger…
…and the little fucktard runs him through with a fucking lightsabre and then shoves him off the catwalk into a yawning abyss while the camera follows his dead body until the shadows of the bottomless shaft swallows him up like a whale swallows a shrimp.
What the Fuck?
Did he die saving Chewie? Leia? Finn or Rey? Someone’s seat? Anything?
He died because his IDIOT child didn’t feel like listening to him talk sense anymore.
No…that couldn’t be the reason Solo (not Sulu) got the shaft. The real reason is even dumber.
So Lo-ng Solo….
A “High Ideal?” A “Noble Cause?”
Getting sucker-stabbed with a lightsabre and shoved into a bottomless well of souls at the hands of your spoiled, entitled, self absorbed drooping tit of an asshole son in the middle of a very calm family discussion is NOWHERE NEAR A HIGH IDEAL OR NOBLE CAUSE!!! It is like getting stabbed to death and getting thrown in front of a bus while waiting in line for an ice cream cone on Father-Son Day at Camp…by your suddenly psycho progeny.
Are ya happy now Harrison? The fictional character, loved by millions, a childhood hero of many, dead…because YOU thought it would lend ‘gravitas’ to the story.
It added ‘stupid’ to the story…and ‘the story’, basically already dripping with stupid, didn’t need any more.
So stupid…that Han’s demise belongs here….
Caution! Contains the line “He decided to have sex with a horse…”
A handful of Rebel…er…Resistance pilots, aided by an Empire…err…I mean First Order Janitor…I mean Maintenance worker, blow up an entire Planet by flying down a trench (original!) repeatedly, and firing at a thingy in the trench.
Yeah…let’s go home.
All that is left is a trip to an Island and Mark Hamill’s 23 second stare…roll credits.
Star Wars Episode VIII: Dysfunctional Family Follies
…at least it was better than another 2 hour battle over a trade agreement, More Teddy Bears, or The Return of the Jar Jar. Except for what I’ve said here, I quite enjoyed it.
It was real pretty….
And Why Am I So Upset About the Stupid Death of Han Solo?
I would have much preferred the old cast mentioned instead of shown, or at least waving from their happy little paradises in short cameos at the end. Who of us wants to see their childhood heroes paraded about looking like grandparents, reminding us of how much older WE are?
And didn’t these characters overthrow a corrupt and evil regime? Should they not be revered…living out their lives in peace for a job well done, mile-high statues of them erected on the planets they came from (except for Leia’s…hers could just be like a Rest Stop where Alderon was, maybe a Denny’s or something), and a big group statue the size of Mt. Rushmore somewhere in this Galaxy…a summer destination for families from all the planets that owe these characters everything? And if Yoda was 900 years old and Maz is over 4000 years old, why wouldn’t Han and Company be able to live much longer than what they would in real life?
I just would have liked to have known that they all were living the lives they deserved…because in this movie, it just looks like no good deed goes unpunished.
…and we get enough of that in real life…don’t we?
The biggest reason I found The Force Awakens depressing, and ultimately a beautifully rendered picture of sadness?
Because of this….
…and that’s just SOME of the pop culture heroes we’ve lost since this film was released.
And we lose parents and relatives, wives and lovers and friends.
Too many. Too soon.
So when a well loved FICTIONAL character dies at the hands of a Studio Executive, a Writer, or a petulant insensitive actor…I give pause.
Because real life kills us all, and for 15 bucks plus parking, soda, popcorn, and candy, I would rather not be ‘entertained’ by the thought.
Not the heroes.
Not the good guys.
Not the characters who give us so much joy.
We lose enough of them already…
…Right here on Earth.
Segarini’s column appears whenever he makes the Kessel Run in under 12 Parsecs
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Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, continues to write music, make music, and record