Monday, May 14, 2012

G is for Giraffes, and Geekery.

First of all G is for Giraffes because they are my first equal favourite animal.

Oh hi.

I was going to write all about why I love them but I need to get on to the second part so I will just put one more picture. This one I took at the zoo when I went to visit the giraffes there with Simon.

Look at him just sitting there, chilling out, giving me a little smile. Yes, giving me a little smile. Don't challenge me on that if you value our friendship. STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT HE WAS SMILING AT ME SHUT UP.

Anyway, back on to the second G: Geekery. I have always maintained that I am a total geek. However, this has often been hotly disputed by 'real' geeks: mainly because I had not seen Star Wars. Little did they know that it went far beyond that: until very recently I did not even know the difference between Star Wars, Star Trek, and Stargate (in fact, I used to think Star Wars referred to some sort of conflict between Star Trek and Stargate.. not even kidding). 

Anyway. This has all been rectified and my geekery is now indisputable because as of Saturday evening, I have now seen Star Wars. (Except Episode 1, which I was told is entirely unnecessary. I was mildly devastated about this because Liam Neeson, but apparently even he doesn't redeem it. I find this unlikely. I am so utterly attracted to Liam Neeson. I think him and Sean Bean would make the most amazing couple and I want to see them pash.)

For reasons that are still not entirely clear to me, Hadyn had been secretly on the prowl for a Star Wars virgin so that he could show them the movies in 'Machete Order' (4, 5, 2, 3, 6) to see if that 'helped'. With what I am unsure, so I cannot really tell you if it helped or not. What I can (and now will) do is tell you all about what I thought of them.

We started with Episode IV, in original VHS quality. While I understand that the remastered versions are a plague on all that is good and true in the world, I found the prehistoric special effects so amusing that they completely distracted from the storyline. I also thought that Natalie Portman was Princess Leia and Hayden Christiansen was Luke Skywalker so I was moderately confused about what was going on there, and highly disappointed about the lack of babes in my life. I found the acting stilted and forced, and the complete lack of chemsitry between the characters bemusing. Also, there was no Yoda (who I was expecting to look like a mogwai). I think we can sum up the first movie as equal parts disappointing and hilarious, and not in a good way.

There were some good bits, I'll admit. Potentially due to the godawfully painful acting dished out by the human characters, I fell madly in love with C3PO (in fact, it was pointed out by Hadyn that the only time I had an emotional reaction in the entire movie was when C3PO got his arm ripped off. I 'awww!'ed), and Chewy, and I had a certain fondness for R2D2 although I found his limited capacity for communication moderately frustrating. I definitely didn't form any emotional attachments to any of the human characters, unless 'mild annoyance' counts.

Next came Episode V. We watched the remastered version of this so I was far less distracted by the awfulness of the special effects and actually able to watch the fight/chase scenes with some sort of buy-in, although this did not do much for my emotional connection to the characters (saddest moment was when Chewy got all upset that Han Solo was flying out to look for Luke. Poor Chewy!). There was further confusion: I'd always thought/heard that Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia get together (don't people go as them to 'famous couples' dress-up parties?) so was relatively taken aback by her dalliances with Han Solo.

Overall though I kind of enjoyed this film and it ended up being my second favourite. Finally getting to meet this Yoda guy I'd heard so much about was pretty exciting, even if he wasn't quite as furry as I was anticipating. Knowing beforehand that I wasn't getting any Natalie Portman in my life saved me from that crushing disappointment, and the acting was a little better. Even though I knew just from being alive that Darth Vader was Luke's father, it was kinda fun seeing it all unfold in context and finally understanding the gravity of this revelation. I found myself almost, almost disappointed when it ended and certainly looking forward to returning in a fortnight and finding out what happened.

Unfortunately, after patiently waiting a fortnight, the first thing I had to do was watch some prequels. Episodes II and III kind of blur into one mess in my mind, but I'll attempt to talk about them separately.

Episode II I found to be mildly ridiculous and the worst film by far. Aside from celebrity-spotting excitement (Natalie Portman was best, obvs, but I love me a little Christopher Lee and Samuel L. Jackson) this movie went from absurd (that first chase sequence, what the actual) to creepy (any scene with Anakin Skywalker in it) and back to absurd (MEADOW FOLICKING ARE YOU KIDDING ME) with very little life progress seeming to happen in between. The special effects seemed to be worse than the re-mastered old movies which once again, served to distract me, and somehow the acting had not improved. I honestly have no recollection of the actual storyline. Ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous.

Episode III redeemed itself only by being the movie which answered a lot of questions I had about Episodes IV and V - mainly, when did Anakin become Vader, why does he wear that mask and do the creepy breathing, if Vader's Luke's father then who/where is his mother, etc. So from that point of view, it was.. well, enjoyable might be too strong a word, but enlightening at least. Luke moved from one sort of creepy to another, slightly more enjoyable sort, but Natalie Portman was significantly more clothed. Overall, not quite as much as a waste of my life as Episode II was, but definitely not an experience I wish to repeat, ever.

I was about ready to throw my toys at this point and tell Hadyn to stick Episode VI up his bumoley but it seemed like we'd come so far and I really did want to know what happened, so we persevered. And I'm so very, very pleased that we did.

Episode VI was the only movie that I will actually call 'good'. It was a good movie and I liked it. The chemistry was finally there between the actors, Princess Leia got some skin out, half of it was about super cute little furry things, most of the main characters were in one place for lots of it so it wasn't too choppy and changey and I could actually keep up all the time, the ending was kinda unexpected and really sweet, and it was all just a bucket full of win. I mean, it doesn't make it into my top twenty movies of all time or anything, but I certainly enjoyed it. A+++ would trade again.

I'm not sure exactly what watching them in the funny order was supposed to do but I actually recommend it. Get some buy-in with the originals first, then give the important back-story with the shitty new ones, then end it all off with the grand finale. Was an excellent way to do it.

So that's it! My geekery is no longer disputable and I love giraffes.

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