‘The Last Jedi’ is Chandrakanta in Outer Space

When it comes to books and movies, I’m a bit of a cultural parasite. If something is popular, I’ll watch it even if I haven’t been seeped in its cult. On most occasions, this has paid off. I happily dived into the GoT cult, and now spend every single day cursing and blessing George RR Martin. I had read the Harry Potter books because of the hype around them, slowly passing on the virus to my friends like a sexually transmitted disease.

And yet, in spite of all my urges and tendencies, I have never been able to warm up to the Star Wars franchise. I know, I know!

I know that when the films came out, they were revolutionary and cutting-edge. I understand that the films changed the way we look at space films, and created a genre called ‘space opera’. I understand that the film gave us legendary characters like Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.

And yet, I’m sorry. I have never been able to invest in the series. I have watched all the films in the series, and I have found them tacky. The graphics don’t hold up after all these years (kindly have a look at 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)), and for someone who grew up in India amidst dramatic family sagas, the entire ‘soap opera in space’ doesn’t do it for me.

In spite of this, I have watched the movies. Right from fighting off sleep through the tepid Episodes I, II, III in the 2000s, I have tried my best to invest in the films, and yet, I couldn’t. I understand it isn’t fair to assume that my choice is the definite word on the films. And yet, how can not one of the films impress me? Not one in the list of nine films? Really??

But as humans, we survive on hope. And I decided to go ahead and watch the latest episode of the space opera.

 

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It was the worst film of the year, and I say this after watching the suicide-inducing Munna Michael and Raabta.

It’s difficult to point out a single flaw in a film that has flaws the size of black holes (I’m trying to use space terms to fit into the gigantic cult that the film commands!). The actors have the screen presence of boiled potatoes. Their lines are delivered like stoned high-schoolers rehearsing for the annual play. The young actors who have been entrusted with carrying the legacy of the movies are (and there’s no nice way to say this) severely incompetent.

In fact, they’re so bad that the film has to fall back on a 66 year old Mark Hamill and a 60 Carrie Fisher to deliver the acting chops. You know an action film is doomed when sexagenarians have more sex-appeal that 20 year olds!

Since the film knows it commands a loyal legion of movies, it gives two shits about logic or common sense. When Leia gets blasted away, she flies for a while in outer space and hops back to life. Clearly, usne script ko mooh mein leia.

The villain of the film is killed abruptly with more than an hour to spare. Two of the characters connect to each other through some sort of tantric-space healing technique.

What annoys me the most is 20 year old Indians claiming to be a die-hard fan of the series. Really? How bad is your Fear Of Missing out?? And can we spend a minute to talk about Chewbacca? How the fuck is that red pubic hair costumed creature supposed to be cute? As if looking at that abomination is not good enough, Disney went ahead and added some cute animals for cheap giggles.

Chewbacca: Putting the 'Chew' in 'Chewtiyapa'.

Chewbacca: Putting the ‘Chew’ in ‘Chewtiyapa’.

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Out of curiosity, I checked out the reviews of the film and was shocked to found that it has been rated 93% fresh. That shook me a little. Perhaps there was something about the films I didn’t understand. May be my tastes, my cinematic aesthetics weren’t the same as most people in the world.

And yet, this is what I will say. The film is Chandrakanta in outer space. Naugarh-Vijaygarh mein thi takraar…and nobody gives a shit, yaar. If the same film was made in Hindi, it would be lambasted to outer space. But it’s a Hollywood film, so our heads will automatically twist and stuff itself into our asses.

The latest Star Wars movie is a nostalgia whore of a movie that counts on people trying to fit into a cult that was created long before they were born. In many ways, the Star Wars cult like religion.

You try your best to fit in. Logic and reason do not matter. And if you tell people you hated the movie, people will look at you like like there’s something wrong with you.

*****

6 thoughts on “‘The Last Jedi’ is Chandrakanta in Outer Space

  1. s

    I wont comment on how cinematically brilliant the movie is because I am not advanced or knowledgable enough to know that. But I will say that from the first movie, I have been invested in this story and that is what makes the franchise so special for me. I love walking into the theater and watching the story unravel. I cried when Carrie Fischer appeared on screen and my heart skipped a beat when Yoda re-appeared. I wasn’t even alive when the first movie came out but Anakin Skywalker’s character struck a chord with me and ever since I have been into the Star Wars movies. Your reviews are usually funny and you make an effort to make your point but here you just sound salty! I am sorry that you are not invested in the story but your reasons lack effort or critique. I loved the new Star Wars movies. I noticed the glaring plot holes and was annoyed by a lot of turns the characters took but at the end of the day that’s how the story progressed. And I am okay with that.

    Reply
    1. Hriday Ranjan Post author

      I understand that. But did you like the latest movie? Didn’t it seem a bit too pandering to nostalgia?

      Reply
  2. M Varma

    Okay, so what you wrote underscores the difference between you dipping your biased toes into the Star Wars waters, and a “die-hard” fan. The fan knows enough about the Star Wars universe to understand how the alleged holes can be filled, or at least willingly suspends disbelieve in order to enjoy the experience. A non-fan would be dead set against suspending their disbelief. You’re the case in point.

    I’m trying to understand the point of your post.. you did not like Star Wars, and you still don’t. And that’s absolutely acceptable. Others do, which is also cool. You don’t need to apologise or be defensive about your dislikes… but if you bring down those who like Star Wars, well, then aren’t you throwing out some kind of challenge? Nahin pachi, aage barho… jinko pach gayi, un part chillane se kya haasil hoga?

    I am not entirely sure what your beef with younger people enjoying Star Wars is about. My 17-year-old nephew is a die-hard fan of Star Wars although he watched it just a couple of years ago. I’m glad he found something to engage and inspire him mentally and creatively. It’s not the Human Centipede, or the unexpurgated DIY Works of De Sade, so that’s a plus.

    There is nothing to be gained by Indian/American binary. Americans have Star Wars, Indians have the Mahabharat, and everyone who knows both prefers the Mahabharat. But when did an artistic expression become a pissing contest?

    Good luck with your next movie foray. May it be something you like and care for.

    Reply
    1. Hriday Ranjan Post author

      It’s not a pissing contest, baba. I hated the movie and ranted. It’s what I usually do. And I wasn’t really bringing down people who liked the movie. I just didn’t like it at all. Sorry if I hurt your feelings, man. May be force be with you…I guess! 🙂

      Reply
      1. M Varma

        Ah, gotcha.
        And oye, my feelings don’t get hurt by disagreement in tastes. (Otherwise I’d be weeping into my hankie every moment some Bhakt gets a Modigasm by watching Republic). All the best.

        Reply
  3. Kamal Krishna Patnaik

    A great post after a really long time. Welcome back! As an Indian, I could never understand the love Americans have for Star Wars. I mean, I started my childhood by watching Ruby Spears’ Superman on DD Metro. Thus, I could never really connect to Shaktimaan. American pop culture is deep in my blood through comic books, TV shows, movies. Only Star Wars is something I can’t accept.

    Reply

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