My Thoughts on “The Last Jedi”

Okay, If you haven’t seen the movie (The Last Jedi) and actually want to, don’t read this cause yeah, total spoilers here.  Also, these are just my personal opinions and thoughts. Yet another disclaimer, I didn’t hate the movie.  Let’s be honest, I’m a nerd, it is a Star Wars movie, the fact that my grandma took me to see the first Star Wars (Yes, I’m THAT old) movie when it came out plays into that.  She even bought me the soundtrack. (I wish I still had that!)

To start with, I’m not super well versed on all Star Wars “knowledge” and if some of the stuff I say is already explained “somewhere” please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

Now on to the post.

Here are all the things that made me go “hmmm” in SW:TLJ:  I’m gonna go ahead and break this down by characters.

Rey: I’m gonna start with her character because I’ll be honest, this one makes my mind the craziest.  Coming out of the last movie I was so “meh” about her being that typical Mary Sue thing. (Forbes and I have a difference of opinion on what Mary Sue is. ) The fact that she could beat someone who had been trained since a child was utterly ridiculous in my brain.  So in that way, I thought surely in this movie with her joining Luke that they would show her actually sucking at something and Luke training her.  So, when the biggest thing close to that was her wacking at a rock, I was highly unimpressed.

Strong female characters are always appreciated. As a woman, I like that and as that woman, I also know that life gives us limitations, that to become better one must train.  That we grow over time and that no one is born all powerful, knowing how to do everything and can simultaneously rock a lightsaber with no training.  The frustration is strong in this one.  I really WANT to love this character, I do.  I found her whole “time” on the island with Luke was a complete waste of screentime. (I’ll get into this more under Luke’s thing) Oh, and how the hell did she get into the Millenium Falcon with Chewie, after she escaped presumably on Snoke’s ship? The mind boggles.  Okay, so there is that, now about her heritage.  HUGE letdown here folks, I mean seriously, they were nothing.  I can only guess that they thought the whole notion that anyone can be this all-powerful Jedi chick with no training and come from nothing is noble and such but yeah, I’m not buying it. It just made me question why I would even like the Jedi. If anything this movie made me not like them at all. Let me move on…

Finn and Rose: Ah, well. I stuck these two together and after Rey because apparently, they (the writers of this movie) want us to believe there is some romantic love triangle happening here.  First, I feel no connection between any of these characters. You could say they were friends but none of them really know each other minus the fact they have been through some events.  (I mean seriously, I got stuck in an elevator with some people for 5 hours and we aren’t even friends on Facebook) Who is like “I love you!”  after one event?  Sure, it was life and death, but seriously… Plot-wise, had they let Finn die heroically, I would have felt more for him.  I would have been “wow that was such a great thing for him to do for the Rebellion“.  The whole casino thing was a waste of screentime as well, as it did nothing to advance the plot and if they were trying to make us have “feels” for Rose, they were mistaken.   I really wish I felt more for these two but because they lumped them together I really don’t.

Leia:  *sniff* Leia.  This character I have loved since I was a child. For my (I wanna say 8th) birthday, my mom made me a Star Wars birthday, she drew and crafted custom hats, this is me sporting the Leia one.

Leia and I go way back

Leia and I go way back 🙂

Here is my sister sporting what looks like a Tuscan Raider one and my cousin Jenny wearing the Jawa one at the “kids table”

My sister and cousin

My sister and cousin

R2S2 cake

Blowing out the candles on my R2D2 cake.

Continuing on, as a little one, I wanted to be Leia.  She was my “Disney Princess“.  When Carrie Fisher died, I broke a little inside.  Even now typing this the tears begin to swell.  She meant something to me.  This character means something to me. This movie made me question what the heck the writers were thinking.  The whole “flying through space” thing was a bit much and why the heck, if she could “talk” to Luke at any point, did she not you know, check in with him and keep tabs. (I mean seriously…)  Also, No disrespect to VA Holdo, had she been the one to fly the cruiser through the fleet it would have been a meaningful death.  Also, if anyone with the force can essentially talk to anyone without having a personal connection to them, did she not try to send a message to her son.  Like, if my mom was babbling in my head every now and then saying how much she loved me and missed me, I think over time I might not be moved to kill my past. (or maybe I would, I don’t know, this whole thing just annoys my brain.) I did appreciate the fact that she actually hugged Chewie as it seems that was a moment that was missing after Han died, where she hugged Rey (a person she barely knew) rather than the wookie.  I felt that they made her character lacking in a sense. I get it, but I felt… unnerved by her part.

Vice Admiral Holdo:  For those of us who only have seen the movies, the relationship between Leia and Amilyn seemed contrived. (i.e. unnatural).  Where is my context people??  Give a girl something here.  There seems to be a lot of nods to other things in this flick but if you were to watch this as a standalone knowing nothing you’d be like “erm.  weird”.  Now, if you were like why is this woman so bitchy against Poe and not telling him anything was a poor choice, well, you are there with me.  The purple haired character though did do her noble part at the end, was kind of unimpressive as a person.  It felt shallow and basically, I was like, am I supposed to like this character?

Luke:  I have such mixed emotions with what they did to this character.  In a sense, he almost went full circle. In the first movie, he was kind of a whiny brat who turns into somewhat a hero and in this one, he was a cranky old man who turns into a dead hero.  Was he acted well, well yes.  I enjoyed how Mark Hamill played this part, though if I were him I would have been highly annoyed.  I mean, seriously, in what universe did he not learn that there can be good and people can change.  He saw good in his father, but in his nephew, he’s like, “He’s bad, he must die”, sure he changed his mind as he was doing it, but that moment made so much bad happen.

Poe: Here is a character I totally understand. He is trying to do the “right” thing but doesn’t have all the information so he kind of makes things worse.  Due to his demotion because he’s the “all in” type (in the process getting people killed even though he got the job done)  One thing I couldn’t quite understand.  If they figured out that the First Order was trying there ship, couldn’t they have found the transmitter on THEIR ship rather than trying to break into the dreadnaught?  For a comms there has to be a receiver and a transmitter, why were they going the harder route?  I like this character though.  I would like to see a movie that helps us understand HIM more. I think that would be interesting.

General Hux:  So, I recently binge-watched Black Mirror, so when I see this character I see him as poor Ash stuck in the attic. (if you haven’t watched Black Mirror, totally do) It kind of hurts me to see him tossed around by Snoke and then by Kylo.  I really felt that he was put in as comedy relief and then ends up as a bot that just repeats Kylo’s orders.  meh, he’s gotta hate that life.

Yoda: Ah Yoda, the Yoda from my childhood. But for the record, if they can do things as force spirts why the hell aren’t they doing more to help, just sayin…

Phasma: Game of Thrones fans (such as I) cry a bit as the “once janitor” turned rebel beats down the Head of the First Order guard.  *blinks* really? that happens?  We didn’t actually see her dead right? so… nah, she’s probably dead. sad face.

Snoke: *shakes head* He died way too easy.  The Supreme Leader connected Rey and Kylo?  weirdness galore.  Seriously, I’m at a loss.

Kylo (aka Ben Solo):  I’ll be honest, in the last movie this was probably my least favorite character.  This film I feel like he was the best.  His character has the most depth and really the most interesting to watch.  I feel kind of shorted on backstory as I felt that what they gave wasn’t enough.  We don’t know how/why the dark side found him, why the other young Jedi went with him…etc.  I want more.  Like I said, I feel like there was not enough.  Also, the whole connection thing with Rey is just odd. Am I the only one who feels this way?  Also, this guy has been trained since childhood and still can’t beat this girl who has no training?  shook.

So that is my breakdown on the characters I had something to say about. The hacker guy character and basically that whole casino thing is a pointless venture that should have been just tossed in a bin somewhere.  I think the movie ended up looking pretty but didn’t quite deliver a plot worth watching.  I kind of felt “meh” when it was over and kept talking about all the things I just didn’t like.  When asked if I liked the movie, I am like, “sure, it was a Star Wars movie”, this is really because of nostalgia more than content.  If I had to choose, I think I prefer Rogue One overall, as I felt that the characters were more interesting.  This just feels like they threw stuff together and didn’t actually give us anything.  The Empire Strikes Back is probably my favorite Star Wars film overall.  Why? because it was an emotional roller coaster, the characters drew us in and made us connect with them.  They should have used it as a guide for The Last Jedi if they wanted people to believe in this trilogy more.

All and all these are just my opinions, everyone has one.  I just felt that in sharing them maybe, just maybe, in putting it down somewhere my brain will let me just accept it and move on.

What do you think?

…when will I learn?

Okay, so this week I was weighed down with a true test to who I am.  Honestly, though I like creating and love learning how to bring the crazy ideas in my head to life, I have a really hard time with sharing my “work” in any public forum.  I.e. anywhere where people I don’t know can see them.

Maybe it is the thought of someone saying “Wow, you suck” or … “what the heck was she thinking…”  Yes, these things do run through my head.

subplot context:  I’ve been “playing” Second Life for about ten years or so.  I have been a blogger and ran a business there.  But I never really “shared” my art other than random pieces I made for the game.  My life and SL were separate in that way.

Second Life was the catalyst for me wanting to do “art” again.  After seeing what people could do here, I wanted to learn how to do more and more.  Then, after learning how to create things for this game, I wanted to learn about light and shadow and how to make my objects look more real.  In other words, I wanted to better understand art itself.  So I went back to school. In doing so, I basically had to stop playing games.

back to this week.  My mother (who oddly enough I inspired to start playing SL) asked me to be a part of a Winter Art Showcase event they were having in-game for the 2017 Team Diabetes of Second Life.  (Basically, any monies made through the event go to charity) So I applied, I honestly thought they would take a look at my stuff and be like “we’ll pass” but yeah, I got accepted.

So, I didn’t want to really use things that even friends had seen before so I started making new art.  I remembered how in my Light and Shadow class that I took at Full Sail University, we manipulated nodes in Hypershade to create unique textures.  At the time that I took the course, I had created this one:
Spy Fox
When I made that it was turned on the side and didn’t really look like anything but when I was rotating it, I was like that kind of looks like a fox to me. So, I fiddled with the lighting and rerendered this image for the event.  I then went on to do this four more times.

Will Hold YouFloodgateOn The InsideTree Sprout

After doing this, I was like, okay, well, here is some art that I created, but I haven’t really shown anything I haven’t done on a computer.  I had the drawing of the Panda that I made for my sister
20170604_AmandahGift

and also that drawing from my last post, the Lion, the lamb and the dove.

The Trinity

I think these are nice enough for people to “see” but I wanted to make sure that I made something that was “new” for the event itself. I struggled with this. It was because honestly, I don’t know much about diabetes so I couldn’t think of anything that would relate to the charity itself.  Then I thought, well, I like owls, so I plunged into research.  What is one that would relate to the winter season, since it is a winter showcase?  I thought about doing a snow owl but then realized that this might be kind meh, because they are mostly white.  So I opted on a barn owl.  This is how it turned out.

Barn owl.

Okay, so now that I have the art done, I had to think about how I was going to present it.  In other words “frames”.  So I made some in the Maya 3d program.  This seemed like a pretty simple process.  Since they uploaded into SL’s grid with no trouble and caused low land impact, thus costing me less money to upload.  (Thankfully my Second Life store still does okay, even though I haven’t uploaded anything in forever,  so I always have a little bit of in-game money to play with. ) So now the artwork was in frames.

One thing I forgot about making things for SL is there is always quite a bit of maintenance that has to be done before you can sell anything. You have to make sure your work can’t be just taken, that all the right scripts are in place and that you have the lighting / textures and attributes all set correctly.  Lots of work.

My daughter at this point was like, “Why have you made this so hard on yourself?”  Thinking back on that now I still have no idea.  It is something I always do. I always go 110% in. I want things to be a certain way and will work hard to make them so.

After the artwork was done, I remembered that they wanted us to make a “gift” that people could get from doing a hunt for.  (Basically people wander around the event and look for these little reindeer that they can click on and buy the item inside it for a small amount)  Again, I wanted to make something relatable to my artwork, so I was going to make a 3D owl.

This is when all hell broke loose.  After not going to Full Sail for about a year, I hadn’t much played with the software and was like, okay, I can “reteach” myself how do this.  I started off with a sphere that I pulled and warped into the shape of a small owl.  I did this in the program ZBrush and was pretty happy that I remembered how to use that program at all.  It was then that I realized I forgot how to make the mesh “smaller”, so okay, I was like I will export it to the Maya program which I kind of remember and will make it smaller and make it so that I can add textures to it.  (To my friends who know terms basically, I wanted to retopologize and then UV / Texture it)… nightmare.

Hours and hours later of me testing different things after doing more and more research online, I was able to create an owl, but honestly, it was still too much land impact and wasn’t anything I wanted to show anyone.  Next I thought about making a simple frame with a snowflake in it that said Merry Christmas.  Created a snowflake, created frame, even created some text that said Merry Christmas, got it all UVed and textured and then the mentalray program that is supposed to bake my textures onto it just would not work.  I think I tried like 100 times different ways to get this simple project to work so I could import it into the game.  Feeling like a failure, I ended up using a piece from a project that I made with the 3D program Blender a while ago to create a simple gift and added some of my new art pieces into it so the hunters could take some of my work with them. I then created the “ad” for it and called it the “Hyped .artPin” because yeah, I was so the opposite of “Hyped”.

HYPED_ARTPIN_AD_STACK_1024

All and all this hunt gift part was really just hateful to me.  I am so broken about not being able to get a project done that months ago I could have just whipped out with no problem.

Anyways, this is how my little area in for the event turned out and on a good note, my mom liked my stuff.

Just in the nick of time...

I hope the charity makes a lot of lindens from the event but ugh, I am so annoyed with myself.

Moral of this story is, when you learn something, write down (or log somewhere online) the exact steps how to do it so you can use that as a reference later that you will understand.  

Before I start classes again in January, I am determined to reteach myself how to do these things:

My Checklist, A Call to Action.

General:  relearn the terms: How to make something smaller mesh wise.

Zbrush:  reLearn how to make my mesh smaller so I could bake the higher form onto it.  How to make the subtool into a new polygroup.  Can I UV within this program?

Maya: How to relearn how to bake properly so that my textures aren’t black. (yes, I have lighting and used an .HDR for the environment)

Blender:  How to export so things can be smaller

Second Life: How to import items so that they aren’t so freakin’ huge.

I am putting this out to the universe so I can have a place where I can say “okay, I said I needed to do this… Now do it!”

Other things I learned this week:

  • I really need to stop making things so hard on myself.
  • I need to take better notes on complicated stuff.  (see Moral from above)
  • I need to be more consistent about using programs that I learn.

sooooooo, that is what I’ve been up to…

How was your week?

~em