A Star Wars aside – Niggles far far away

I was very young when I first saw the trailer for Star Wars, with the TIE fighters attacking the Falcon. It’s fair to say I was hooked. Obviously the appeal to a 4-5 year old is a different than I have for some of the later films but I still connect with that early joy and I often rate a film by how much of an urge I have to jump off a sofa and re-enact some part of the story. But re-watching The Last Jedi it occurred to me that over the years there have been some irritating niggles that I hope future film makers can take note of.

  1. Stormtroopers can’t hit a barn door. There are plenty of times we see or hear about how precise and well trained the Stormtroopers are. But when it comes to shooting our heroes they can’t hit the side of barn door. Yes I know that’s true of lots of these shows; cowboys, A-Team, James Bond, etc. etc but it still annoys me
  2. R2D2 Rocket ship. You can’t assign great features or attributes to a character in the story timeline only for them not to exist later on. Dumb, stupid, dumb
  3. Slick CGI overly perfect ships. I suspect this will be an on-going theme, just like (2) you need to at least have a nod towards the timeline. Okay, so I can just about believe that in a time of peace the vehicles might all be in pristine condition but it just doesn’t work
  4. Abide by the story don’t spoil the mystery. Midi-Chlorians. No. You create a mystical aspect, leave it alone. We don’t need every last thing explained, allow us something to think about. Thankfully the recent set of films have conveniently ignored that tripe
  5. Vehicles with a purpose. This is a minor issue to me but a bit like (1) it just annoys me, always has. AT-ATs. What is the point of them? You’ve got vehicles that are happy in space but apparently it’s ‘too cold’ to defy gravity on Hoth? Riiiggghhht. Anyway, they are fun so I let this one go 😊
  6. Bombing run against the dreadnought. In space…bombs fall under gravity. Okay. I can just about swallow this for the drama, but only just
  7. Is it bird? It is a plane? No, it’s super Leia. See (4). Dreadful bit of The Last Jedi, awful, ruins it for me. Utter nonsense that serves no purpose to the narrative apart from saying, “Yes, I don’t care about the story universe. I’m gonna bust some holes”. Yeah, well done. Oh I forgot to ask how she gets back through the sealed door with a gaping hole into space. Yes, better not to ask. Just erase that whole section from memory
  8. The slow car chase in space – more story nonsense. Why wouldn’t the Imperial, sorry First Order, fleet just jump and surround them. Silly, but okay, drama – I get it
  9. The hard-disk library in Rogue One – where technology and story line clash. Okay, again for the drama, but come on, this was supposed to be a more adult film. It’s equivalent to all these rubbish shows were people just view contacts on a closed phone or desktop without ever needing a password. Yes it’s not real, but my suspension of disbelief can only be stretched so far
  10. Han & Chewie meet. Now, we know Chewie is strong, at least we hear a lot about. But the human body (I’m assuming Corellian equals Human) is pretty fragile. They’d be a puddle of skin and bones after that scene
  11. Flying reflexes. I love the speeder bikes on Endor. Dodging asteroids in Solo was fun but come on. You can just about forgive this in the context of mystical Jedi types, but those reflexes are ridiculous
  12. Hyper space jump attack. Oh dear, if this works then it would be a constant tactic (a problem that BSG also suffers from). Nope, no, nope, nah.
  13. Alliance ship-by-letter. Ok we get X-Wing, it makes sense. But then it all goes wrong. What is happening in the ship-building yards? Shall we build a new fighter based on a need? Nah, that’s too complicated, lets just just with a letter from an alphabet we don’t even use and create ships that loosely share the same shape as a letter. A, B, U, V, X, Y. Yes, that’s plausible 😉

There, that’s got that off my chest. By all means suspend my disbelief but keep the level consistent. Oh and if someone does a directors cut of The Last Jedi where Leia gets injured in the attack rather than coming from Krypton then please let me know.

Story of buying a new TV

My old CRT TV finally died on me after almost 17 years of service so it was off the shops to get a new one. First off I did the usual thing of buying a couple of HiFi magazines to see what’s new in the world of TV. Obviously you should never only go on their views so I went to a couple of retailers to see for my service. This is where my I encountered the sellers tricks, which I thought I’d pass on;

"I like the to watch films & sport and I want it as eco friendly as possible but I don’t have any HD inputs, what can you recommend?"
The sales assistant said I should get FreeSat as Standard Definition (SD) would be poor and then went onto to show me a football match (that I actually attended) that he’d recorded. First off SD – oh good grief it was worse than I’d thought, the players had a horrible halo around them, big chunky pixelated squares – yuk. Then he showed me a HD recording and it was better. I admit I didn’t spot the trick at the time, but in fact I’ve just watched a SD football match of my new TV and it’s fine. The trick was the he’s used a hard-disk recording device and obviously set SD to use a higher compression ratio. That’s why it looked like something recorded on a web-cam. So beware of that trick, sure getting a HD source is important but you don’t have to purchasing ugly Sat dishes if you’re just interested in watching TV.

The next problem I had was asking about the sound. The TV I had my eye on hadn’t got the greatest reviews for its sound so I asked to hear a comparison with one of its rivals. The sales guy couldn’t be bothered to do this possible and just gave me a demo with the TV wall-mounted on their flimsy "cool" designer wall. It sounded worse than I thought. So I had to make a difficult choice between picture and sound. In the end I went for picture as I could solve the the sound problem via an amp. One I got the TV home and put it into a sensible position, the sound was fine. Ok not award winning but general TV watching, without the eco-unfriendly cinema amp on, it’s decent enough.

Knowing that my DVD player was also on it’s last legs and that I should get some sort of HD source I decided I’d also get a blu-ray player. I asked about the difference between two players, especially regarding DVD upscaling (as I have a few DVDs). The assistant couldn’t tell me the difference and said upscaling is a waste of time. Hmm, oh well I had a pretty good idea of the player I wanted so I was about to buy the player and the TV and then thought I just check they included the necessary HDMI cable to connect the two. "Oh no you have to buy that". Good grief, what exactly does this guy get paid to do? So I finally got my player & TV home and thankfully it works fine. Oh and after comparing the same DVD (after being conned into owing two copies of Battlestar Razor) you can really notice the upscaling, thanks guy.

So in summary;

1. Do a bit of reading, magazines, forums, etc
2. Find some shops to give you a demo but be very mindful of the source they’re showing you – if you can take your own source, such as a TV recorded on DVD then do so
3. Have a list of questions before you go the shop, because you can’t rely on the sales people
4. If you have the time (I didn’t) get them to demo in a proper demo room.

An Inconvient Truth

Just watched this "film". I have to say that I had a pretty good idea what was going on, I’ve not actually lived in a cave for the last 10 years, but this is a really well presented argument. I was tempted to say arguments but really there is only one basic issue.  If you’ve not seen this film then do the World a favour and invest 90mins of your life.