Thursday, December 21, 2017

Critics Rave while the Rest of us Cringe

    Star Wars owns a brilliant method of blending philosophy and personality. We get all the excitement of real, everyday heroes fighting the empire while wise thinkers placate critics in their intellectual and spiritual wanderings. This is why audiences around the world threw their popcorn at the screen with a scream while critics sighed with pleasure. The force was fresh, intricate, surprising and sincerely dramatic. The rebellion was repetitive, boring, predictable, and reeked of artificial drama.
    Rey breaks all the bounds. With no formal training she took on a young sith lord rife with “raw” power and came out on top. No one really knows why, including Rey, and the audience is on a genuine adventure of searching for where she “fits” in the story. The developments on Jedi island lead Rey to think that she is destined to turn Kylo, in the midst of an interesting and subtle mental connection. Kylo is simultaneously convinced that his destiny is to turn Rey. In the end neither of these actually happen, the past is eliminated by Rey’s admittance that her parents were “nobodies” and all that remains to either by the end of the movie is an uncertain future that neither they, nor the audience, fully understand.

    Now to the rebellion. Or was it the republic? They are going to unite the outer systems against the new empire. Or was it the remnant? They will do just that as soon as they are not tracked through lightspeed by the Cylons. Whoops! Remnant. Luckily the rebel ships are lighter and faster than every single remnant ship. Not so fast that they can actually get all the way out of range, but just fast enough to stay in range of the cannons but not so close that the cannons actually damage their shields. Also the empire with their seemingly endless resources do not have any fighter/bomber squadrons of sufficient size and strength to catch and destroy these nearly helpless ships. Any audience would feel cheated with this straw man “stand on your head routine” just to set up a timed stalemate. Meanwhile, R2 and 3PO escape in...whoops. I mean Fin and random genius mechanic lady escape in an apparently lightspeed pod to get the magic code guy who was recommended by an alien lady they were able to contact even though they cannot call for help.

    The disjointed rebel story makes the rebellion’s highest and most decorated commanders appear like idiots. Why not just tell Po and company the plan? Because that would prevent a pointless drama. Once the inanity of that drama cheated the audience out of an actual explanation. And if lightspeed is such a devastating weapon why the maker did they not use their other ships as weapons.

    Everyone loves a good silver bullet story. The one way to kill the monster. It is a classic of Star Wars since Luke blew up the Deathstar with the perfect shot. Now Star Wars must grow out of this trope or continue suffering lost audiences. Last Jedi contained at least five instances of this and most of them built on one another. The Remnant has their ultimate Star Destroyer with a cannon that can kill a rebel ship in one shot. First of all, why does this matter? Just crush their pitiful fleet with your own. Then the only way to stop it is to bomb it right in the middle. The Rebels cannot just bomb it anywhere it has to be in just the right spot. Then there is only one way into a star destroyer, you have to break the code. And there is only one guy who can break the code. The gate at the base is so strong there is only one thing that can penetrate it: a cannon (that the now decimated Remnant fleet just happens to have). There is only one way to stop the cannon and that is to hit it right in the middle.

   In short, the harsh division in quality and creativity between a tormented Kylo killing his own Sith master for evil (GREAT play off Vader’s turn to good!) and Leia pulling a force “Mary Poppins” flight through space is such that the critics stand awed and the audiences sit horrified.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Aristotle on Avatar: Considering the Characters

"Character holds the second place. A similar fact is seen in painting. The most beautiful colours, laid on confusedly, will not give as much pleasure as the chalk outline of a portrait. Thus Tragedy is the imitation of an action, and of the agents mainly with a view to the action." Aristotle, Poetics Book VI

In Book XV, Aristotle gives four criteria for good characters:

1. Goodness
2. Propriety
3. True to life
4. Consistent

The main characters (Ang and allies) are morally good. Out of the many different themes and messages of the Avatar series, the one that most thoroughly pervades the show is balance. Not between good and evil (which is an insidious philosophy) but between goods. This chord truly strikes harmonious with the teachings of Aristotle. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Aristotle on Avatar: Plotting the Traits

Aristotle says further on plots that they need to be of proper length."The limit as fixed by the nature of the drama itself is this: the greater the length, the more beautiful will the piece be by reason of its size, provided that the whole be perspicuous." ~ Aristotle Poetics Book VII

What the Philosopher means by this and further explains in the book is that the whole poem must be long enough to be beautiful but short enough to be

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Aristotle on Avatar: Soul's Construction

"The Plot, then, is the first principle, and, as it were, the soul of a tragedy."
               ~ Aristotle, Poetics, Book VI.

Therefore, as the plot is primary in importance, according to Aristotle, it shall be first in our analysis. To the plot then we first turn our gaze.
The following analysis contains elements that may ruin surprises, and hinder enjoyment of the show if you have not already seen it and I highly recommend seeing it.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Avatar and The Philosopher

Separated by thousands of years (and the small gap between the actual and potential) Avatar Ang follows the ways of the Philosopher, Aristotle, in the telling of his story. The strangely profound and delightful anime style cartoon follows many of the standards set up by Aristotle in his work titled the Poetics. I claim that this is why the cartoon is so enjoyable and deep: not because it meets the personal preferences of Aristotle, but because they follow what is natural and true, as exposed by Aristotle, which makes any story, that's a good story, good.

Because of the more spontaneous nature of blogging, I offer a general plan for this perhaps overwhelming excursion but I don't