The Last Jedi: A Space Rant *With Spoilers*

Ok so I watched The Last Jedi today. I do love Star Wars so I was damn hyped, especially with all the rave reviews comparing this film to Empire Strikes Back and throwing 5 Stars all around. And when even Arthouse lovers like Mark Kermode and Little White Lies give the latest sequel the stamp of approval it feels warranted to get excited.

I must say I really, REALLY enjoyed The Force Awakens. I watched it four times in the cinema and it always held up. I didn’t mind that it was basically a rehash of A New Hope, I just enjoyed the fact that JJ managed to recapture the magic of Star Wars and wash away the bitter taste of the shitty prequels.

Yet I left the cinema today underwhelmed, and the longer I think about it the more I’m actually getting pissed off. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for giving new directors a shot at Star Wars and I am actually happy JJ didn’t do The Last Jedi. He is great with relaunching franchises, but not so great at continuing them. For example I really loved his Star Trek reboot, but hated the sequel Star Trek Into Darkness as it showcased that JJ is unable to craft anything new himself without clinging to the past.

“Let the past die. Kill it if you have to. It’s the only way to become who you meant to be.”

These wise words uttered by evil space emo Kylo Ren feels like the mantra director Ryan Johnson applied to directing this movie: The way he chopped off story threads and ended characters could be seen as daring, but for me it just felt like bad storytelling and a big fuck you to the audience. 

Don’t get me wrong, the movie was kinda ok. But exactly like Bladerunner2049 there was no new epicness and weight added to the already existing lore. Just a couple of jokes and cool effects.

Without getting too sophisticated here , let me just unleash my inner Dark Side and slice through this thing! Maybe we have to let the past die. Maybe we need to grow up and acknowledge that nothing will ever be as iconic as the original trilogy. Maybe we should just stop trying to chase that first high A New Hope gave us back in the days!

Let’s be honest: THE PREQUELS ALL SUCKED! They were a heap of smelly CGI turd. ALL OF THEM! They stained and damaged the glory of the original trilogy even more than the horrible meddling of George Lucas with the original films that came after! So actually I don’t care about Lucas anymore and his opinions about Star Wars.

The other thing that I need to get off my chest is the practice of trying to fix weak storylines and plot holes with a slew of accompanying books… FUCK THIS ALSO! Either you make the story work in the movies or GTFO! I am not excusing sloppy writing with “Duuude you should have read the Prequel Book… they totally explained it there!” BOLLOX TO THAT! 

After getting this off my chest let’s jump straight to the new movie and my grievances…





Ok so where do I start. Maybe with what I liked: I liked grumpy Luke, I LOVED the Yoda puppet. I love Kylo Ren and Rey. I love how they use practical effects and retro visuals to give us the Star Wars feeling back. And the Hyperspace Kamikaze attack from Vice Admiral Holdo had everyone in the cinema gasping. I loved how they explained why the always overacting doucebag General Hux was still kept around. So yeah, some nice touches there.


Unceremoniously killing off Snoke without giving any insight into his backstory or deal SUCKED.

Having Leia doing some Superman stuff by surviving in space and casually floating back to the starship SUCKED. Especially as there no intrigue. There was no build up and no explanation.

Having Luke basically not train Rey but a bit but not really but a bit again was so underwhelming and SUCKED.

Rey pointless decent into the “Evil Zone” to find… nothing? SUCKED

Finn SUCKED, Rose SUCKED and their whole adventure on that Prequel Casino Planet SUUUCKED and pulled me straight back into the nightmare that is the prequel trilogy. Oh and Phasma? SUCKED!

I’m tired of Poe doing his “hot headed pilot” thing in every scene he is in. I’m tired of Finn as he is basically the Jar Jar of this new trilogy: Completely pointless. And all this added on crap about animal cruelty, Roses family story and that totally forced romance… SUCK SUCK SUCK!

I’m tired of the whole “Oh they got weapon X, we need to blow it up!” “Damn, now they got weapon Y, we need to blow it up also!” Really dudes? Let me guess… does it have a weakness? Is there an exhaust pipe? DO WE NEED TO BLOW UP THE REACTOR CORE? Seriously: First it was the Dreadnaught ship, then it was the tracking device and ultimately it was that gun on the fake Hoth planet. YES! HOTH! Just because you mix some red in there it doesn’t distract from the fact that you ripped off Empire!

 Gorilla AT ATs on Hoth
Gorilla AT ATs on Hoth

More? Ok…

Reys “Put a shirt on” joke in the middle of an intriguing scene SUCKED

The wannabe funny alien nuns on Lukes Planet SUCKED.

All the new ship designs SUCKED too. Seriously… no iconic shapes, everything blocky and whatever. 


Damn that looked tasty…

So what would I have liked better? What was my expectation?

I would have liked to know more about Snoke and the goal of The First Order apart from just being evil. At least the Emperor had the Sith thing going. But Snoke? Who was this guy? What was his connection to the Force? Wasted…

Same for Rey. I would have enjoyed some Jedi training, some insight into the Jedi culture. Some cool Luke monologues. Same goes for Kylo Ren. So how come he turned? Why was he in contact with Snoke although he trained with Luke? How did he grow up during the time after the Emperor was defeated. How did the First Order form? And where are the Sith in all of this?

I fear there is really nothing deeper here then some cheap story beats and killing off the legendary characters of our childhood. I fear that the next sequel will make it painfully obvious that there hasn’t been a strong vision for a story arch that’s unfolding in a satisfying manner over the time of a trilogy.

Talking about a satisfying trilogy: Each part of the original movies added new and exciting characters and story beats. So much iconic material! Maybe certain films just have their time. Trying to recreating the magic will ultimately fail.

If The Force Awakens felt like rekindling a love affair with a past lover, The Last Jedi feels like the week after where you realize you are clinging onto some old emotions of the past and it’s time to move on.

So maybe we Nerds need to let the past die. Accept that what has been will never come back.

I do want the new movies to be good, I want them to succeed. But the Last Jedi didn’t feel like it opened the mythology up, it felt like it shut it down in the most nihilistic way possible.

Anyway… let’s see how they wrap it all up in two years.

May the Force be with us until then!

Bladerunner 2049 and the curse of the dissapointing sequel

When reading reviews of the sequel to Ridley Scotts Masterpiece from 1982, Bladerunner 2049 is getting heaps of praise. It’s 5 stars all around and even hard to please movie buffs like Mark Kermode called it “a future classic”. And I really wonder why.

Don’t worry this post is *SPOILER FREE*

Having just watched the movie I am compelled to (unfortunately) strongly disagree. After the visual dust settled and the epic soundtrack died down, nothing much of substance really stuck with me. Don’t get me wrong: The production design is fantastic and the soundtrack immense. Plus you have to applaud the filmmaker to ape the slow pace of the original. Yet the question has to be: Was all this effort warranted? Did Bladerunner even need a sequel?

Without going into any spoiler territory I felt the story was very bland and obvious, the villains very cookie cutter and the set up for a sequel felt forced. I have no idea why so many reviewers praised the movie for being a standalone story whilst it’s a pretty obvious attempt at creating a franchise. Bladerunner 2049 just has nothing new to add to the conversation apart from getting Harrison Ford back into the role of Deckard. Especially the last part of the movie was so formulaic that I felt I am watching a bad direct to DVD sequel. Harsh but true.

Plus: Can we please stop with all these prequel story mini-movies? Like Alien Covenant, Bladerunner 2049 has accompanying short movies on YouTube that supposed to fill in some additional info about the storyline. I really feel this added content cheapens the movie experience as it feels like crutches the screenwriters needed because they didn’t find a way to flesh out the story in the actual movie.

Although the cast is full of talented actors, Leto and Ford don’t actually have much to do in the film and I found the rest of the cast pretty bland as well. Even Ryan Gosling starts to grate on me, always playing the same type of brooding loner since his movie Drive from 2012. The more I think about it, the more I am disappointed that they didn’t find a way to really add something new and worthwhile to the Bladerunner universe.

So why are so few sequels great? And why do so many sequels suck? Don’t get me wrong… I have nothing against sequels generally. There are actually a lot of sequels I absolutely LOVE! I just feel most sequels try to fake it without actually making it.

So let’s have a look at some of my favorite sequels and why they work.

Expanding the storyline: The Empire Strikes Back

Let’s get the elephant out of the room first: Empire is just a fantastic sequel! After Star Wars told a pretty standard space story about good vs evil, Empire just added so many great characters, iconic moments and story twists that nothing felt like a tired rehash or simple cash grab. Yodas training, Hoth, Bespin, Boba Fett, that meteroid chase plus space slugs… fantastic! Plus it had the balls to end on a pretty bleak cliffhanger. Still the best sequel to this day. 

Go BIG in a good way: Aliens

The classic sequel concept: Just go BIGGER and LOUDER! But where lesser directors fail and fail again, James Cameron gloriously succeeded.

Doing a 180-degree on the first Alien movie and turning a claustrophobic horror piece into a full-blown war movie was just a stroke of genius that totally could have backfired. Just it didn’t!

I recently rewatched Aliens and it’s as tense, nailbiting and effective as back in 1986.

Again, it added so much new and great material to the Alien lore that it never felt boring: The space marines, the alien queen, the power loader battle… just fantastic! Even if the final end boss gets blasted into space yet again.

Have a standout performance: The Dark Knight

Although I feel that Christopher Nolan could have trimmed the runtime of The Dark Knight a little, this was basically the Batman movie I always wanted: Dark, gritty and more of a crime drama than a campy comic book movie. And most of the praise for making this an awesome flick just has to go to Heath Ledger for his portrayal of The Joker.

There is a reason why The Joker is the best villain ever to grace the pages of a comic book: Although he is a colorful jester with a variety of bold outfits, he always was a dangerous and twisted villain that should never be underestimated. This violent, psychotic and dangerous side of the character was never played before this such relish as by Heath Ledger who deservedly won a posthumous Oscar for this performance.

So to come back to Bladerunner 2049, Alien: Covenant, James Bond Spectre and the many other sequels that totally disappointed me: Without adding new, exciting and iconic material to the foundation laid by the original, there is not much merit in doing a sequel. And that’s why Bladerunner 2049 really disappointed me, despite its beautiful visuals and booming soundtrack. It just didn’t add anything fresh to the formula, just really well regurgitated the style of the first.

To wrap this blog post up… let’s talk about the only sequel that TRULY matters this year: Star Wars The Last Jedi! Let’s keep the fingers crossed that The Last Jedi will not fall into the same pitfalls I just mentioned and just rehash what came before. I really hope the film will be able to create new and exciting Star Wars moments… May finally a good sequel be with us!

10 things creative people can learn from La La Land

I planned to kick off the blogging year by a self affirmative and motivational post how to best achieve your New Year resolutions. Then I went to see an early screening of La La Land… and now I have to re-shuffle my posting schedule!

 Credit:  Dale Robinette
Credit:  Dale Robinette

La La Land blew me away and touched upon a lot of points I wanted to make in that New Years motivational blog post. So I felt compelled to do this write up as a semi prequel… just with less Jar Jar Binks! 

I expected the movie to be a sweet romance with some whimsical music numbers thrown in for good measure. What I didn’t expect was getting a multi layered meditation on creative ambition, dreams, insecurities, doubt, pain, love, happiness and despair on top of it!

It’s the story of how two struggling creatives falling in love in LA: Mia being an aspiring actor, Seb dreaming of playing Jazz and owning his own club. Garnished with amazing cinematography, lush colours, a great soundtrack and fun dance numbers, this movie feels like Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers via Wes Anderson. 

  Credit:   Dale Robinette
Credit:  Dale Robinette

This is really as far as I like to go reviewing it. I urge everybody to watch this movie for him or herself first without listening to any hype or reviews!

Still, I really like to discuss some of the themes that stood out for me.

Like any piece of art, how one will read a movie is deeply personal. Some might see La La Land as just a love story, some might see it as a critique of glitzy LA and some might just enjoy the film for it’s musical numbers and forget it the next day. 

Most reviews I read after touch upon the vintage musical feel the movie successfully recreates but somehow fail to mention how perfectly it discusses what it takes to be successful as a creative person.

Personally I think director Damien Chazelle crafted yet another great film dissecting the dynamics of creative relationships. His last Oscar nominated film “Whiplash” from 2014 was showing a dysfunctional relationship between an aspiring drummer and his tyrannical mentor, asking how far is too far in order to achieve artistic greatness and immortality. 

 Photo by Daniel McFadden, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics. .
Photo by Daniel McFadden, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics. .

La La Land is far more romantic, subtle and paints a broader picture on how difficult life as a creative person struggling for success and fulfillment can be.

Being a Designer, Artist and DJ myself I loved how the film followed the characters from their humble beginnings to the conclusion of their path, touching on many obstacles designers, artists, actors and musicians face every day.

So without further gushing here are…

10 inspirational things creative people can learn from watching La La Land

1. Have passion

If you don’t care about what you are creating how will you make your client or audience excited about your output? If you are more committed to your Facebook feed than your actual work it might be time to hand in your apron.

2. Don’t be a hermit

Hiding away in your studio is no fun. Go outside and hang out with great people you can bounce ideas around with. Your brain needs fresh air!

3. Endure the pain of creativity

Nobody says it’s gonna be easy. You will be judged, applauded, torn down, insulted, celebrated, hated, mocked, loved, fired and hired. Don’t let this shaky ride discourage you!

4. Respect your fellow artists

Even if you disagree with the work of a fellow creative: Don’t dish out the same vitriol you got served by that horrible client just two hours ago! Try to be respectful and give productive feedback.

5. Just do it

If you don’t start planting seeds nothing can grow. One idea might die, the next might grow into a beautiful flower. You never know until you actually put something out there and see what happens!

6. Don’t be stuck in your ways

Maybe you become exactly the painter you dreamt to become. Or maybe you realise that teaching art is more your forte than standing in a studio in solitude working. Wherever your journey will take you, don’t be afraid to improvise!

7. Stay on target

We all need to pay our bills so you might have to make concessions in your creative endeavours to make ends meet. This is just to give you some stable foundation to build your dream on. Don’t get cushy and forget about your original ambitions! 

8. Never give up

Things can become overwhelmingly tough. Self doubt can be crippling but curling up in the fetal position is not really an option that gets you anywhere. Dust yourself off and keep on walking, who knows where it takes you.

9. Be aware of the price of success

Everybody wants to be successful, but nobody wants to pay the price to get there! Late hours, a crazy work load and pushing your dream alone in the studio whilst your mates have fun down the pub… all this can be the price you have to be willing to pay to get where you want to go. 

10. Never stop dancing!

Don’t forget that life is more than ambition, work and long hours in front of the computer. The ultimate goal of every endeavour should be to become a more happy and healthy person!

Let me know your thoughts about the movie and about my 10 things i picked up on in the comments! I would love to read them!

I wish everybody a HAPPY and CREATIVE 2017!!!


Man, it’s a crazy time to be a geek! Who would thought there would be a time where our sweatiest nerd fantasies would come true? We see The Avengers battling it out on the big screen, Star Wars sequels finally get made and Batman faces off with Supes! Sometimes I feel I slipped into an inter-dimensional crack and ended up in an alternate reality where great comic book movies actually exist. Remember this background from Will Smith’s I Am Legend movie?

What started as an in-joke in 2007 actually becomes nerd reality in 2016… how crazy is that? I just hope that doesn’t mean a breed of mutated vampires will take over the world in a couple of months… 

Whilst I have no idea if the movie will be good or bad ( early reviews indicate a mix of both ), the anticipation of watching this epic team up on the big screen makes me want to talk a little bit about my relationship with the bat-eared vigilante called Batman. Because although I am aware of multiple comic book heroes superficially, only Batman made a lasting impression. So am I Team Batman? F**K YEAH!

I started, like any honest Batman fan, as a young nipper watching re-runs of the camp 1966 TV show. I actually taped each episode on audio cassette by holding the recorder next to the TV set and created custom tape covers after. I think I never listened to them afterwards, I just loved collecting them and adding my own spin on it… what a foreshadowing of things to come! #collector / #hoarder

I even painted a movie poster for my local cinema when they screened the movie from 1968 one weekend. Man was I proud seeing it hanging in the lobby! Good old days! *sigh*

Fast forward a couple of years and I enter Batman’s world again in the late 80ties, actually reading the comics when Batman was spelled Bat-Man. I just loved the premise of Batman being without super powers, having to win using his gadgets, intellect and obsession with avenging his parents death. No cosmic eye lasers here! The logo and his costume were so damn iconic as well. Let’s talk villains: To this day I think Batman has just the best gallery of rogues of any comic book hero out there: Scarecrow, Penguin, Joker, Riddler, Poison Ivy… I just loved the richness and uniqueness of Batman’s world.

I think what kept me personally invested in the character was that Batman’s struggle and villains always were relatable. It was like Batman had to battle his inner demons which were manifested in his villains. I loved Two-Faces coin, Jokers pure insanity and Scarecrows psychedelic horror trips. Somehow other superheroes like X-Men or Superman were just too out there for me to relate to. Batman was the guy every angsty kid wanted to be. And don’t get me started on the pimp Batcave with the massive coin and stuffed T-Rex: Super playalistic fo sho!

Then this happened…

Tim Burtons movie from 1989 just blew my mind. Loved the crazy costumes, the iconic vehicles, the tidal wave of Batman merch and the soundtrack, being it the swooping theme from Danny Elfman or the insane Funk of Prince. The only things that were horrible about this movie were the Amiga 500 computer games which I still played night after night anyway!

The older I got the more I got invested into the f**ked-upness that underlies Batman’s obsessed fight against crime and Jokers psychopathic mass mudering. Things got dark! “The Killing Joke” and “A Death in the Family” really shook me. Seeing Robin being beaten to death with a crowbar by the Joker is as far away from the 1966 Batman vibe as you could get!

Whilst we are on the Joker: My favorite one is of cause Heath Ledger as he nailed the insanity and creepiness the Joker needs to possess to be effective. In that aspect I am very interested in what Jared Leto will bring to the table as he might go more day-glo but is definitely not less unhinged than Ledgers Joker was.


Now things really got exciting when Frank Miller wrote the Dark Knight Returns and it’s sequel: The Dark Knight Strikes Again. Dark as hell, loaded with political allegories and the genius idea to pit clean cut and dull Superman against gritty and mistrusting old Batman. Till this day these books are benchmarks in visual storytelling and I would recommend them HIGHLY… even to people who might not feel like reading comics!

So when I go to the cinema tomorrow I expect a lot of nods to this fan favorite. Ben Affleck already dons the combat suit as we know through the trailers so I am really looking forward to all the other easter eggs they will cram in there surely…

Plus: FINALLY the see some white Bat-Eyes!!!

So am I hyped? YES! Loved Man of Steel and apparently Batfleck nails the darker more violent tone of the new Batman incarnation. So bring it on!!!

Of cause I can’t sign off without giving you my top 5 Batman items out there!

1. 1966 Batman and Robin Hot Toys

Absolute killer, they come even with a can of shark repellent. The detail on these are insane as expected of Hot Toys and they capture the awesomeness AND naffness of the costumes perfectly.

2. 1966 Batmobile Hot Toys


Another thing to love from the 1966 incarnation of Batman is the vintage Batmobile! I had a small Hotwheels version of it back in the days and seeing this beauty blown up to fit 12″ toys is a view to behold. Pure raw uncut awesomeness!!!

3. Mondo Batman Vinyl… ALL OF IT!

Mondo doesn’t only creates the best alternative movie posters out there but brings the extra amazingness with their vinyl releases. Although I never watched The Animated Series these vinyl releases are just breathtaking!

4. Rainbow Batman 6 Figure Pack

So apparently these are based on a comic from back in the day but me being a sucker for bright colours and weird variants this is definitely on my shopping list, breaking my self imposed toy buying embargo!


5) The friggin’ 1966 cowl by Mattel!!!

Do I need to say anything more?