Movie Review: The Last Jedi (No Spoilers)

The Last Jedi, Star Wars Episode VIII, is a movie that seems to have more controversy about it than any other recent movie.  Some people love it, some people hate it, and everyone has an opinion.  Short review?  See it for yourself.

Longer version: The Last Jedi is a movie which is focused upon building (or rebuilding) the Star Wars universe.  On the one hand, TLJ is Star Wars, in a way that the prequels weren’t.  It’s fun, it’s humorous, and it tells a story of good versus evil.  Plus there’s magic space wizardry and exploding space ships.

On the other hand, it isn’t a movie without flaws, or without messages of cynicism.  There are vast swathes of the movie that could have been cut out or streamlined.  There are militarily stupid decisions made, that if they were made in the real world, people would face serious criminal charges.  There’s a lot of humor, but some of that humor is cutting, to the point of offending those who held the original movies (and the expanded universe) close to their hearts.

But it is a new story.  This isn’t a repeat of things that have come before.  This is the start of something new.  And in a lot of ways, that’s the problem that many people have with the movie.  There were decisions made with the story structure and plot that suggest the franchise is moving on.  This isn’t about the original series and original characters, it’s about the greater universe.

On the third hand, there were decisions made in the new story structure that were… too safe.  There were some, potentially, very powerfully emotional scenes, and multiple times the writers/directors pulled back from the full delivery of those scenes.  They shied away from doing the hard things, they kill off swathes of faceless people we care little about (to the point of absurdity), yet there were several scenes where named characters should have died… yet they didn’t.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie.  It was fun and (despite the many faults) it was still Star Wars.  It had the spirit, the character, of a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.  I will say that walking out of the theater, I really had enjoyed the experience, it was only after thinking about various scenes and story elements that I began to notice the flaws.  I recommend seeing it and developing your own opinion.

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Kal’s December 2017 Forecast

Hey everyone, it’s December, already, and I’m doing my best to finish off Jormungandr’s Venom, the third book three of the Rising Wolf series.

I’ve already outlined the third Children of Valor book and I’ll plan to start on that by the 15th.  I’m really excited to get back to working on that series and my goal is to bring it out in late January.

Posts have been infrequent around here, but that’s mostly because I’ve been really, really busy.  Some of that has been writing, but let’s just say that it’s been a rough year.  I may do a post on that later.  I may not, we’ll see.

After the third Children of Valor book and Jormungandr’s Venom, I’ve got a new project I’ll be working on, then back to writing in my ongoing series.  I’ve got lots of plans for the Renegades series and the conclusion of this story arc of the Shadow Space Chronicles.

That’s all for now, check in for more updates over the next few days!

Kal’s Christmas Gift Ideas

So, for those of you who find difficulty in buying gifts for your family and friends, here’s a set of suggestions.  What do you get for the person who has everything?  Or the nerd in your life?  What about when you buy that awesome gift for yourself and then suddenly realize that your significant other/spouse/favorite pet/imaginary friend is going to be upset that you forgot about them?   Fear not, Kal has some gift ideas for you!

Starting things off, I’ve heard far too many stories of friends losing their firearms in tragic kayaking accidents.  Head that off with something that can keep their firearms safe.  As a bonus, they come in patriotic red, white, and blue.  (Disclaimer: please don’t be stupid and actually use them for this purpose…) http://amzn.to/2iMhqA8

Oh, and if you want to actually keep your own precious weapons safe, you might get something like this.  It’s rated for 16 firearms, comes with free shipping, and it’s small enough that you probably won’t get in too much trouble from the spouse when you’re trying to fit it in the garage.   http://amzn.to/2AHWYZg

 

What do you get for the nerd in your life that spends hours/days/weeks in front of their computer and may not even know you exist?  A better chair, of course.  It’s got great lumbar support, it’s ergonomic, and it even has a footrest so they can avoid getting blood clots.  http://amzn.to/2nK04ZT

 

For serious readers who like their books, I’ve got just the thing.  Solid oak (not particle board/manufactured wood) with glass front.  This is what I want to put my signed copies of my favorite books in.  Solidly constructed and cool looking to boot.  It’s four feet high by five feet wide.  If I had the money, this is what I’d buy.   http://amzn.to/2nJAvIn

Lastly, if you’re in the dog house for buying any of these for yourself (But who would do that?), then here’s something that my wife pointed out would be an adequate apology.  Your mileage may vary, of course.   Make sure that vacuuming the house isn’t a chore anymore… or  welcome your future robot overlords into your home.  Either way, you can get a vacuum cleaning robot capable of handling most surfaces and responding to voice commands.  What’s creepy about that, right?http://amzn.to/2A9gBZ9