RoboCop 3 (1993)

RoboCop 3 (1993) movie poster

director Fred Dekker
viewed: 10/08/2017

Robocop 3 resulted in a major downgrade, not just losing Peter Weller, but toting an almost direct to video vibe. A lot of the blame has been thrown on director Fred Dekker (even by Dekker himself), but that isn’t totally fair. Dekker has his cool bona fides (House (1986), Night of the Creeps (1986), The Monster Squad (1987)) and he should keep them.

It’s a garbage pile, filled with cheap CGI (or as we called it in the Nineties: CGI). It’s not bereft of moments and elements. It swerves between (in a single scene even) from some pretty cool bits to some absurdly hilarious badness.

In this version of post-crime-ridden Detroit, it’s not just drugs and drug lords but punks. Apparently punks were very dangerous on 1993, who knew?

This film would burn writer Frank Miller on film for almost a decade. He’d return with his appreciation for fascism no longer embedded in satire and irony but embedded in right-wing politics and racism, homophobia, and sexism.

RoboCop 2 (1990)

RoboCop 2 (1990) movie poster

director Irvin Kershner
viewed: 10/07/2017

I saw Robocop 2 at a drive-in in 1990. At the time, I was kind of keened in to the role that Frank Miller had in the film, jumping from comics to screenplays.

I wasn’t aware that it was Irvin Kershner who directed it, the one man to deliver both a Star Wars film and a James Bond film, at the time. And it’s given the heft of a bigger budget project.

The film tries to be true to the Verhouven original, certainly tries to place its feet in its footprints. It’s not really surprising that it doesn’t fully achieve that, but I’d say that it still stays pretty interesting.

In 1990, I remember appreciating that continued pop culture satire. Was the original Robocop (1987) the first use of actual television personalities (Leeza Gibbons) flavoring the satire?

The highlight, I would say is Gabriel Damon as Hob (the kid), the nasty slicked-hair pre-pubescent miscreant. It’s the kind of perversity that this type of movie really needs. There are other elements about kids gone wild here, including a scene in an arcade where all the kids get pissed when told to go home and then the scene with the little league street gang. Not sure where to take all this

The thrust of the film is a take on the war on drugs, mixed in with some anti-privatization and some fascist iconography towards the end.

All in al it’s still very comic book-y. I quite enjoyed the pre-digital design and stop-motion robots, some wonderful shitty matte paintings. And Peter Weller and Nancy Allen.

Yeah, it’s not the first, but it’s pretty decent.

The Sci-Fi Boys (2006)

The Sci-Fi Boys (2006) movie poster

director Paul Davids
viewed: 11/27/2014

Director Paul Davids’ The Sci-Fi Boys is a paean to Forrest J. Ackerman and Ray Harryhausen and is endorsed and features many of the special effects and art design mavens who were deeply influenced by those two pioneers in their respective trailblazing.

Ackerman’s Famous Monsters of Filmland is one of those things that I sure wished I could have gotten my hands on more often as a kid.  I read the hell out of the two issues that I ever owned, pored over the images, received contact highs.  Ackerman is described as “The First Fanboy” but maybe it’s better to see him as the first sci-fi nerd.  Actually, his obsessive interest in the writers, directors, effects people and the monsters is what opened the eyes of his readers to aspects of film-making that other people turned a blind eye towards.  And his collection of memorabilia reminded me of Henri Langlois, just with a sci-fi bent and a cape.

As for Ray Harryhausen, I’ve written about him here many times before.  He was always a favorite of mine, but truth be told, I may well have learned his name from those two issues of Ackerman’s Famous Monsters that I had.  I also got to see him in person, receiving much of the same type of love an kudos heaped upon him here by many of the techie gurus who were also inspired by him.

We’ve got Peter Jackson, John Landis, Dennis Muren, Rick Baker, Stan Winston, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Frank Darabont.  But we’ve also got some more obscure guys like Donald F. Glut and Paul Davids himself.  Apparently, like Dennis Muren, whose own teen film Equinox (1970) was a testament to hands-on approaches of home-made movies that Harryhausen inspired, Davids and Glut made some pretty awesome Super 8 movies, though maybe they didn’t go on to win Academy Awards for their effects.

You know, this movie made me realize how much I wish I had access to a Super 8 camera when I was a kid.  We had only one cheap, very poor camera in our household and so I didn’t grow up with any of that technology anywhere in any real vicinity.  I can only imagine what I might have done with one in my hands.  I do indeed have a distinct memory from probably around 11-12 of wishing I had a camera to shoot movies.  It makes me appreciate all the more the technology and tools readily available in our present day and age.

I was inspired enough to try to get my kids to watch this movie or the other documentary about Ray Harryhausen.  I’ve even encouraged other friends to check it out.  Not so much because it’s so excellent or compelling in and of itself, but these are indeed guys who deserve the recognition and knowledge, not just of their first generation fans, but of fans generations to come.

Harryhausen died last year.  Bradbury the year before that.  Forrest J. Ackerman (“Uncle Forrey”) died in 2008.  Ackerman’s legacy will doubtlessly be the more obscure among the three men.  Fanzines were very 20th century, even though Famous Monsters has its web analogue now.  Bradbury and Harryhausen’s works in literature and movies are, on the other hand, much more for the ages.

RoboCop (1987)

Robocop (1987) movie poster

director Paul Verhoeven
viewed: 02/016/2014

After watching the new RoboCop (2014), I found myself wanting to see the original again.  It had been a long time since I’d seen it and I thought the renewed experience might be enlightening.

Sadly, Netflix had the DVD listed as “very long wait” as much of their DVD’s are showing up as these days.  I’ve come to understand that moniker to suggest eternity in my experience, a very long wait indeed.

So, I saw that Comcast/Xfinity had the original available for $2.99 to watch and decided the trade off to be a fair deal for immediate gratification.  But life lesson renewed, the damn thing was in pan-and-scan and not letterboxed.  Curses, foiled again.

Preamble over.

RoboCop (1987) is indeed an excellent film.  The first of Paul Verhoeven’s American science fiction flicks, it delivered a wonderfully wry and violent commentary on the America of its day, looming technology fears, militarization, corporate control of public sectors all with entertaining action and violence.  Because while there is text and subtext, there is a fun movie to watch first and foremost.

The cast is great: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Ronny Cox, Miguel Ferrer, Kurtwood Smith.  It’s uber Eighties.  Yet it also has a great prescience about things to come.  And I always loved Phil Tippet’s stop-motion animation of the big robots.

It’s a leaner, funnier, far more fun film that its eventual re-make.  And the blood and violence, I think, make a statement in and of themselves.

Also, Verhoeven’s comic pop culture advertisements that pepper the film offer amusing ironic commentary throughout.  Something that becomes one of his signature elements.

Willow (1988)

Willow (1988) movie poster

director Ron Howard
viewed: 02/08/2014

I’d never seen Willow, but I’d long had it queued for watching with the kids.  When I started to wonder if I was pushing too much non-kid-oriented fare of late, I decided to pop it in.  1980’s fantasy films are always good, right?

Having no real perspective on Willow, I guess that I didn’t fully know what to expect, maybe didn’t even have that much of a clue about the film at all.  I knew it was produced by George Lucas from a story of his and directed by Ron Howard, who was still making his name as a director, though he had a few hits on his resume.  I also knew it starred Val Kilmer and Warwick Davis, the latter of whom is the film’s title character.

Two things I didn’t realize: 1) how much of a “little person” film this is and 2) how shabby and half-baked of a production it is.

When I mentioned to a friend that we were going to watch the film, he commented something like “The all-dwarf Star Wars!”  I hadn’t realized how much of Lucas’s vision for this film had really been around having a little person hero, cast, and society, but apparently, he’d long harbored such dreams, and cast Davis, who had played the lead Ewok in The Return of the Jedi (1983) and the significance of the “little guy” being a little guy.  Because beyond Willow’s village of small people, there are even smaller people, the brownies, who are normally-proportioned people, much smaller than Willow himself, speaking in high-pitched versions of their voices (and largely falling to comic relief).

The shabbiness of the film falls into two distinct camps.  The first is simply that the story is derivative and not particularly well-developed.  There’s an evil queen who has been prophesied to overthrown by a particular girl with a notable birthmark.  The babe who is born is whisked away into the country, hunted by the queen’s minions, and discovered by Willow and his children.  Ever heard these notions before?  But then there are fairies and brownies and dragons and trolls and witches and when it comes down to it, the whole movie arc is indeed a combination of rehash and underdevelopment.

Then there are the costuming and effects.  For 1988, the film has some innovations at the hands of Industrial Light and Magic, things that result in the morphing of a character from goat to ostrich to tiger that were cutting edge.  We also have stop-motion animation, which I love and would never discredit, though by 1988, isn’t really all that technically high-end.  It’s actually one of the better sequences, though.  And then there are the wolf-like Nockmaar hounds and the “trolls”.  The hounds look to be dogs in some sort of costume that brought to mind The Killer Shrews (1959) (which is not an aesthetic compliment).  The trolls, while they crawl up the side of buildings in a sort of eerie way, are more like guys in cheap gorilla suits.  How is that a troll and how cheap in costuming can you get?

The little people, as perhaps as well-intentioned as their depiction may have been, verges toward the comic and camp.  Though the great Billy Barty appears as the old wizard of the town, most of the little people are not particularly good actors.  Willow’s children are cute, sure, but kinda clunky.

Val Kilmer, at perhaps the height of his career, svelte and as charming and handsome (despite the long hair) as he is, is a likable rogue.  It’s another aspect of the film’s rather poor development that he goes from decided loner to devoted comrade rather easily.  And the queen’s daughter (Joanne Whalley) goes from devout baddie to devout goodie in a single scene, rather randomly, without any real exposition.

Felix thought it was kind of lame, as did I.  Clara enjoyed it.  I’d say it’s only more strangely bad because this was a Lucas production with a lot of pretty big budget things behind it.  You kind of expect more.  In a number of ways.

I’d always had Willow and Ridley Scott’s Legend (1985) in a similar mental bucket.   Fantasy films from the 1980’s starring big names, Kilmer and Tom Cruise, respectively, from pretty big name directors, Howard and Scott.  And that I’d seen neither film.  Now that I have, I can lay it simply for you.  Legend is not great but has fantastic aesthetics and designs and Willow is simply kind of lame, save for some “little” things, like a two-headed dragon.

Starship Troopers (1997)

Starship Troopers (1997) movie poster

director Paul Verhoeven
viewed: 01/15/2014

The funny thing about Paul Verhoeven’s 1997 film Starship Troopers is that I think from the day I saw it in the theater, I totally got it as a nearly comic critique of the genre of sci-fi action film.  I read it as a critique of Hollywood in general, a subversive statement in Verhoeven’s experience post Showgirls (1995), the film that sort of ruined his and writer Joe Esterhaus’s careers.  Of course, Starship Troopers didn’t actually help Verhoeven’s career either, though it was a return to genre for him, director of the cult sci-fi hits Robocop (1987) and Total Recall (1990).  A lot of people saw Starship Troopers at the time as just a shallow, callow, silly action film, a dud.

I indeed did not find many to agree with me that the film was sort of a genius act of subversive filmmaking at the time.  But it has gone on to be known as just that sort of thing.

In a future world entirely populated by bimbos and himbos, everyone is super-good-looking, strangely multicultural, but banal and bland and cliche.  It turns out that that is just how the world is for characters Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien), Carmen Ibanez (Denise Richards), and Carl Jenkins (Neil Patrick Harris), all from a very unrecognizable Buenos Aires.  See, no matter who you are, rich or poor, the systems have figured out for you where you belong, particularly in the military.  Carl is a brain bug, headed for military intelligence.  Carmen is the perfect candidate for captaining a spaceship.  While Johnny Rico is only cut out to be infantry.  And the amazing thing about the sorting hat of future computer testing is that everyone gets placed quite accurately.

The parallel world to this fascist state of Earth are the Arachnids from space.  These “mindless” giant insects have evolved into their own perfect army, with infantry-like killer fighting bugs, giant blasting plasma beetles, and oh, yes, “brain bugs”.  The mindless insect world that we fight is basically the same as this glossy, hunky, bleached teeth humanity.  All part of an essentially hive-minded culture.  Only the cliches for the bugs are less obvious.

So sure, one the surface, Starship Troopers looks like what it is, a cheesy group of actors playing a bunch of stereotypical, poorly developed characters, right out of casting central for a war picture.  But of course, that is the point and subversion.  Really, is there anyone more bimbo than Denise Richards or more himbo than Van Dien?

The fascist critique is the human race, definitely military, but even our popular culture and media.  Really, Verhoeven taps into this quite humorous social criticism in each of his sci-fi films.  It hardly began here.  But whereas lots of people unabashedly loved Robocop and Total Recall (both getting remade within a year of one another presently), to suggest that Starship Troopers is a bit of genius will get you looked at quite strangely by a lot of people.

But that’s the wonder of time.  17 years later, it’s maybe not widely appreciated as a subversive film, but more critics have come around to recognizing it for what it is.

I’m not usually one to try to say something about how I got it back in the day (I didn’t have my little blog yet back in 1997 and could have proved myself out if I did) but for some reason, I do want you all to know that I did indeed sort of “get” the movie when it first came out, oddity that I was at the time.  I will just as quickly tell you that when I first saw The Big Lebowski (1998), around the same time, I actually totally didn’t get it.  I thought it was kind of weird and a muddle.  It was only a year later on cable that I came to realize that the film was actually what it is, one of the wonderful cult works of genius of the 1990’s.

Just saying.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) movie poster

director Steven Spielberg
viewed: 12/06/2013

Often considered the low point in the Indiana Jones franchise until Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) mooted that argument, it had been six year since I’d watched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom with my kids.  Which would have made Felix 6 at the time (Clara didn’t watch it with us).  That would have been something to file under inadvisable overall.  It gave Felix’s friend nightmares afterwards and freaked them pretty good at the time.

Turns out that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was notable as one of the key films that helped usher in the PG-13 rating, being a lot edgier, scary, violent than a normal PG film.  And most people, outside of myself, I guess, remembered it that way.  I remembered Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan) and the roller coaster-like mine race scene.  Seemed fun in my mind at the time.

Anyways, if you’re considering it with small children, keep that stuff in mind.  Sort of a moot point this round for us with Felix 12 and Clara 9.

It was only a couple months ago that we watched Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), so I thought we might as well soldier through the series, more for Clara than Felix who has actually seen the films before.

Turns out they really enjoyed it.  In fact, they seemed to enjoy it more than Raiders of the Lost Ark.  I was mostly feeling put off by the many things that annoyed me about it the last time I’d seen it, namely Kate Capshaw’s Willie Scott.  The dance-oriented opening, comic shootout, scrum for a bottle of antidote and a diamond in the Shanghai dance club.  The whole thing continues to seem a lot more comic and contrived.  By the time they jump from the plane in rubber raft, down the snowy mountains and into raging rapids…  I was joking to the kids that the movie “sure started slowly”.

Actually, Clara thought Capshaw’s character was really funny.  She laughed a lot throughout at all of her reactions.

Interestingly, it seems that most of what’s wrong with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom seems to fall on George Lucas.  Did you know that this movie was a prequel?  I didn’t realize that.  Wanting to avoid the Nazis as villains, they moved back in time and came up with the Indian Thuggee cult, which winds up turning the film into some rather unfortunate stereotyping regarding India.  The “darker” material, part of Lucas’s vision of a trilogy arc annoyed a lot of people involved but they all gave in to his persuasiveness.  It’s not that it was all so wrong-minded but it just seems that if you delve into who contributed what, Lucas seems the center of the bad stuff.

By the end of it Felix was asking for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) for our next week feature.  It’s an interesting contrast to the last time we watched it.  I think I still haven’t seen the third film in the trilogy in over two decades.  So I am kind of looking forward to that.

Really, it’s drawn me to one other interesting turning point in my movie-going “coming of age”.  I would have been 15 when Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom came out and I recall really liking it a lot at the time.  But then there is The Goonies (1985) a year later, also featuring Jonathan Ke Quan, and I was “over” the age of enjoying the kid flick movies as a kid.  I don’t know that it’s all that specific to the time or the movies but oddly enough, it comes up from time to time, especially in discussing The Goonies with people.  And through said discussions, I’ve come to place my transition between these two summers.  And I guess that makes sense in my world.  It’s still kind of funny drawing such a conclusion.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012)

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2012) movie poster

director Bill Condon
viewed: 04/21/2013

The immensity of the crapitudue.

I’d like to just leave it at that, but having spent however many hours with this franchise of films, I feel I owe it to myself to say a few other things.

The gist of this film is about a war among vampires about whether or not Renesmee, baby of Bella and Edward, is an “immortal child”, which is apparently a very dangerous thing.  She is not an immortal child, but Edward’s family reaches out over the globe to various vampire groups to support his point that she is “normal” and doesn’t need to be killed.  The Vampire Vatican feels differently.  She grows fast and Jacob “imprints” on her when she’s a baby (In other words, he’s in love with her and she and him are eternally linked.)  He’s all like, “Hey, I didn’t choose to be pedophile!”  Lucky for him, in a year she’ll be old enough to rent a car at the rate she’s aging.  It all comes down to a battle.  But it doesn’t.  It’s all a vision, a vision of doom that averts the slaughter and yet perpetuates an opportunity for future sequels and stories since nobody is dead.

This whole series of films and books has proven to be almost a right wing agenda of fantasy films, with no sex before marriage, carrying babies to term even in threat of death to the mother, and other “family values”.  It’s also blah, bloodless, fake crap.  The effects are awful (why does everybody go in “superspeed” mode to move from one thing to another?)  Why is this so damn popular? I’ve heard that the books are terrible too.  I don’t need to read them to find it out.  I’m happily done with this series, with no desire to ever, ever revisit it.

Looking back at my thoughts on the films of this series (and my star ratings in Netflix), as bad as the first film was, it was the most tolerable of them all.  The rest vary from awful to godawful, while remaining morally objectionable.  I would be willing to argue that this is an exemplar of American mainstream cultural crap at its lamest.  I mean that for the whole.  Why single one film out from the rest?  They are all of one long soap opera of mute bullshit, sexless sex, terrible acting, writing, everything.

No more, I tell you.  No more.

Jurassic Park (1993)

Jurassic Park (1993) movie poster

director Steven Spielberg
viewed: 04/07/2013 at Century San Francisco Centre 9 and XD, SF, CA

Twenty years ago, the year 1993, the film Jurassic Park, the big blockbuster of the summer, the breakthrough film for computer generated special effects.  In acknowledgement of this anniversary, Jurassic Park has been “spruced up” with a 3-D-ification and trundled out to the cinemas to cash in.

While I avoid 3-D if I can, I don’t mind catching an older film on the big screen if it was one that I wouldn’t mind watching again.  I had been considering Jurassic Park for the kids for a while, so this was up our alley.  We did indeed forgo the 3-D.

Frankly, I don’t consider Jurassic Park to be a great film.  Steven Spielberg has made better films before and since, and despite the film’s notoriety of employing digital effects so significantly and successfully, it is an enjoyable, at times memorable, fairly entertaining thrill ride of a movie.

Actually, the thrill ride factor I think is the way that I’ve come to think of the film.  The best bits of the film are bits: shots, moments.  The ripples in the water cup’s surface as the stomps of the T-Rex become audible.  The T-Rex in the wing mirror (“The objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.”)  The refracting eyeball of the T-Rex as he looks inside the jeep.  The image of the velociraptor as its silhouette mimics its illustration on the wall.  The slide down the tree from the falling van.  The velociraptors hunting the kids in the kitchen.

The whole, however, is not the sum of its parts.  There are several “Wow” moments.  The first reveal of the living dinosaur (Clara actually said “Wow” in the theater at that — thus still effective 20 years later).  The sick triceratops.  The death of the lawyer on the toilet.  The death of the conniving tech assistant in his vehicle in the rain.

But like a thrill ride, it’s just a track through a series of diorama-like set-pieces, albeit some quite memorable flashes.  It actually scared the kids pretty good.  It’s effective, certainly, in that sense.

There is perhaps an even more elaborate discourse on technology regarding the film.  I reckon that I’m not knowledgable enough to be the one to articulate it well, but this film, whose crux is the digital beast has an interesting portrayal of technology within its narrative.  Being made before the dot-com/Internet explosion, the technologist of the film is Dennis Nedry (played by the puffy and slimy Wayne Knight, most notable as “Newman” from Seinfeld.)  He’s a bad guy, who tries to steal dino DNA to sell to a competitor.  He’s a junk food-eating slob.  He is callow, and while smart enough to design the systems of the park’s security systems, he finds an ignoble death.

While Samuel L. Jackson is the terse engineer who understands the work that Nedry has done enough to filter through its “2 million lines of code”, the tech hero is the young girl Lex (Ariana Richards), who is able to recognize the platform (“It’s Unix. I know Unix.”) and then gets in and hacks the system to enable doors to be automatically locked to withstand the velociraptors.  She’s “not a nerd” but a self-proclaimed “hacker”.  While a lot of this depiction comes down to the writers, Michael Chrichton and David Koepp, showing what they know or don’t know about technology, it is an interesting portrayal of the types that made the creatures “live” perhaps.

It’s always amused me the way computer screens are depicted in films.  Whether it’s a futuristic science fiction universe in which computers would theoretically be thousands of generations evolved from our present day to just showing what computer geeks of our time see when they are in “the matrix”, it’s always very dissociative from reality.  When Lex is in the Unix code (supposedly), she’s actually looking at a low-res 3-D map of the park’s buildings.  And the schematic that she finally stumbles upon is like an electronic blueprint, the audience never sees a line of code.

There is also a weird little moment when Wayne Knight’s character’s face appears on the computer screen with a cartoon body, remonstrating those who try to “break” his password.

This idea of technology represented in film often catches my eye.  I don’t know if there is anything of significance in it.  It just always strikes me as weird.

As for the film as a whole, it’s entertainment.  It’s good entertainment.  As cinema, … well, it’s good entertainment.  That the thrill ride based on technology of 20 years ago still delivers its thrills and chills is a testament to the workmanship on it.  Spielberg is no slouch, even when he’s slumming (as arguably he was on the film’s sequel).

The Return of the Jedi (1983)

Return of the Jedi (1983) movie poster

director Richard Marquand
viewed: 03/22/2013

This viewing was all about Clara.  It was only a week before that we watched The Empire Strikes Back (1980), which she had enjoyed so much.  Striking while the iron was still hot, the movie still fresh in mind, not the “three years later” that I had had to wait in my childhood, we went to finish the trilogy.  It had been almost four years since I had last watched it with Felix.  But, luckily, like the prior week’s The Empire Strikes Back, we watched the more or less unadulterated version, not the one that George Lucas tainted with digital extras in toward the turn of the century.

Clara loved it.  Particularly, she loved Yoda and the Ewoks, the latter of which she dubbed “the cuties”.  She went on to say it should have been called “Return of the Cuties” or “The Cuties Strike Back” or even “Attack of the Cuties”.  Apparently, Clara, age 9 was a prime target audience for Lucas’s trilogy finale.

I have the least amount of sentimentality for The Return of the Jedi than for the other two of the original films.  I was already 14 or so when it came out, and while I hadn’t necessarily matured on to girls and music, I was not so easily amused by the “Cuties”.  Even then I could see it as a keen marketing ploy, dolls for the little ones to ooh and aww over.  And the disappointments of the finale outweighed its joys.

I recall really liking the speeder chase in the redwoods.  I remember thinking that felt exciting and cool.

More than anything, I remember the quaint disappointments like seeing Darth Vader’s head for the first time.  He’s a bald old dude!  Not very menacing.

And apparently, unlike many others of the time, I did not fantasize about Princess Leia in her slave get up.  Although, I’ve certainly noted that Carrie Fisher was indeed very pretty as a young woman.

And this time, more than before, Luke Skywalker seems like a condescending jerk threatening Jabba the Hutt.  It’s like, hey dude, you’re not a Jedi yet.  Faker.

I kept my sarcastic remarks to myself, though.  Both Felix and Clara enjoyed it.  It played for them the ways that it was made to play for moviegoers.  Fun, funny, lovable adventure.

I stuck to my guns about showing the films in their release order, though Star Wars (1977) is already a little vague in Clara’s mind.  I think I’ll give it some time before we venture into the prequel series.  Give her some time for those first three films to be “Star Wars” in her mind, which to my mind is for the better.