11
Jan
20

The Rise of Skywalker – Not Rising to the Occasion

I had the dubious pleasure of watching Rise of Skywalker this week.

Too long, didn’t read? I hated it. I hated everything about it. It managed to claim the coveted spot of Worst Star Wars Media Ever, knocking the dipso duo of the holiday special and The Last Jedi out of the way in its hurry to claim the title.

That probably marks me as one of those sycophantic fanboys who just gets mad every time the studios, writers, directors or whoever don’t do what I want. I had to hear that enough when I said I didn’t like Last Jedi, too. I don’t think that’s what I am; I just think there was that much garbage in this thing. Of course, I’m probably wrong; I also think Rose Tico sucked, which makes me a misogynist racist and not someone who just thought her plot was stupid, pointless, bloating an already bloated movie or shattering the chance for one of the good characters to have an epic, heroic moment. (For the record, I quite like Finn, and while some have claimed “Because patriarchy!” I don’t care what gender the character is. I just think a reformed stormtrooper who actually does some of the cool stuff is fun.) Also, as much as Holdo irritates me, she’s got some awesome moments, and that lightspeed collision was freakin’ awesome (though I think it should have been Leia, so she got a suitably heroic and awesome death instead of that idiotic flying thing she did and what happens to her in RoS.)

Most folks who accused me of being a misogynistic fanboy who hates all joy would probably be confused as to why I hate Rise of Skywalker even more; after all, Rose Tico becomes a piece of the background, there’s dominant male figures, Reylo happens, Palpatine is back, we get an explanation for Snoke, everything’s back to normal. Except that’s not ever what it was about. It was about telling a good goddamn story that makes freakin’ sense.

That’s where Rise of Skywalker falls flat on it’s face. There’s other problems – that the whole thing feels like 45 or so unrelated 5 minute vignettes instead of a whole movie, that it never takes a second to just breathe and let us take in what happened, that the plot devices were silly and too convoluted, that every time something actually interesting might happen we have to go all Michael Bay and blow some shit up and that most of it feels like Abrahms giving the middle finger to Johnson – but I spent the whole damn time going “That doesn’t make any goddamn sense in this universe!”

So, spoilers ahoy, because I’m just going to run down the list of shit that infuriated me with the level of stupid, the plot holes, the gloss overs, the idiot plans of the characters. Ready? Go.

1. Palpatine is back. If he was a clone (or if the Emperor seen in Return of the Jedi was), that’s fine, I guess. Stupid, but fine. But no indication is made of that. Instead I’m supposed to believe he survived getting hucked down a reactor core, electrocuted, exploding (twice) and planetfall in the remains of a destroyed superstation. Horse shit.

2. Palpatine wants to drain the life of Kylo and Rey to regenerate. Sure, sounds like a plan. Except, if he needs life force, why not eat all those cultists or whatever they were who were bobbing their heads and chanting the Sephiroth theme? Why not suck dry the few thousand Sith troopers who just happen to be on the planet (which is also stupid)? How about the Snokes-in-a-jar (or hell, clone more of ’em and them, too.) There’s no reason for him to sit around waiting for those two. They may be quality eats, but I’m willing to bet devouring a few thousand is going to get the job done. Quantity, in this case, is likely to trump quality.

3. Palpatine wants to eat Kylo and Rey, and lures Kylo to Exegal. Okay. Then, instead of eating him, he lies to him and sends him off to go fetch Rey. Meanwhile, he’s made it stupidly convoluted for Rey to find her way there without Kylo. Apparently, the Emperor has Alzheimers, as he forgot what happened the last time he took a Sith Skywalker and a Jedi into his inner chambers for nefarious purposes. Even if he could somehow keep Kylo loyal, Kylo isn’t a bloody idiot and showed up wanting to gank Palpy anyway. Better to get rid of him and lure Rey in nice and easy.

4. Rey is Palpy’s granddaughter. Excuse me, fuck what? So, the Emperor had a kid, who we’ve never heard of but that he knew about. Somehow this kid is not on the Imperial payroll, and manages to stay hidden until he’s got a six year old, and further somehow manages to hide that six year old from a Jedi hunter. You know, those guys who are frequently force sensitive, trained to track and kill people, and who had the full backing of the Empire? Yeah, them. Somehow missed a six year old (who’s so super Force powerful she learns all the tricks within seconds of being exposed to it, adopts a rare lightsaber form from instinct, and scares the piss out of Luke she’s so strong) just because she’s hanging with a junk trader. Bullshit.

5. Leia being Rey’s trainer. Okay, Luke’s “dead” (not that it stops him), Yoda’s a ghost (who doesn’t bother saying “hey, my presence might be helpful), Obi-Wan, Qui-Gonn, Ezra, Asokha and god knows how many other force ghosts don’t care. She’s got the bloody texts, and what does she need training for anyway? She knows all the tricks and is better at them than anyone else anyway. But Leia, who trained a little under Luke (that we never heard about until now) is now Jedi Master enough to train the next Jedi Messiah? Bullshit.

6. Anakin’s lightsaber. Maybe I missed something, but I could have sworn Kylo and Rey blew it up while playing tug-o-war with it at the end of Last Jedi, and I don’t remember Rey stopping to pick up the pieces before she booked it. But don’t worry, it’s fine, now.

7. The ATVs the stormtroopers use during the chase scene. Why treads? Useless and causing more trouble than they’re worth (both with potential for mechanical failure, and the added cost of having to repair that AND the antigravity thrusters, since it looks like they still float in the back.) Plus the little “launch” hiccup when they have the jetpack troopers take off looks dumb and is unnecessary.

8. “They can fly, now?” Not because I have a problem with jetpack troopers, because that tech has already been shown in Star Wars (Boba/Jango Fett, and I could swear I had a jetpack trooper action figure back in the 80s, though I might be wrong.) But because Finn and Poe are surprised by it.

9. Healing the snake. That was flat out retarded. “Hey, lookit this cool new Force power which has never been indicated to exist in any way previously that I just know how to do, and lookit how I show it off for no bloody reason when I could just cut this obviously hostile – and probably responsible for the death of the Jedi hunter – monster in half and move along! And lookit how it shows gratitude and wanders off!” Stupid.

10. The multi-layer MagGuffins. “I need to get this thing. But to get this thing, I have to find this other thing. Which means hunting for a third thing. Luke and Lando were looking for the thing (and never mind how they knew to look for the thing or what they were doing or why they just gave up) so there’s a clue trail, let’s go!” Further, since Palpy wants her to come, you think he’d make it easier to get there, instead of giving her more chances to show off, learn new Jedi tricks, or harden herself.

11. The magic captain’s coin. I don’t give a crap if you have a magic coin or not (the Empire has previously been shown to be very lax on security, so it not being deactivated or reported stolen I’m willing to overlook), if you fly in there in the friggin’ Millenium Falcon – you know, that ship that was present for two of your greatest defeats, that is the known vessel of several of your Most Wanted targets, that has the Hutts looking for it – general protocol should be to just blow the sucker up. The odds of it showing up and actually having a Sith/Imperial/First Order guy on board who just forgot to phone ahead and submit to screening is essentially 0.

12. Chewbacca’s “death.” Aside from it being a cheap fake-out, you’re telling me Rey and Kylo couldn’t still sense him being alive? Bullshit.

13. C3P0’s memory wipe. “Here, have a touching moment. Have some actual stakes. We’ll make a couple jokes about it. Oh, you thought that would stick? Nope. He’s fixed, back to himself. No worries.”

14. I hate them, but what happened to the Porgs on the Millenium Falcon? They tore the whole thing up and turned it into a giant nest, and one of them acted like it was Chewbacca’s new pet. Now they’re just gone.

15. Palpatine’s Death Star Destroyers. Whether he conjured them with the Force or had a secret factory under Exegal, why sit on them for 30+ years? If you want the galaxy, the time to use them would have been right after you got back from your double explosion. Luke’s the only known Jedi, the Republic is still trying to put itself back together. Nuke a few planets and announce “You thought I was gone, bitches? Nah ah ah!” Alternatively, should have just sent Snoke with a few of those instead of the Starkiller base bullshit. In fact, Palpy being alive and having his Death Star Destroyers makes the whole Snoke ploy utterly pointless.

16. Palpatine’s plan. When not yet up to full strength and planning to eat a couple of uber-Jedi to get there, let’s tell everyone you’re there and about to start killin’ folks. No, idiot. Wait until you’re going to do it, then do it and wait a little longer for whatever terrorist act you commit to sink in, then tell them you’re there. Bragging about how you’re coming is just going to rile up potential resistance, which has never gone well for him in the past.

17. Palpy’s plan, part two. Announce you’re back and ready to blow shit up, lure in your wayward children, eat them. Except, no, that’s not the plan; the plan is to die and possess Rey and make her Empress. This is very stupid. If Reypatine turns up and demands subservience, people are probably not going to obey (at least at first) because Palpy told everyone he’s coming. They’re more likely to be scared of him, and assume that supporting – or accepting – Rey as Empress is just going to make the Emperor mad. Again, don’t tell them you’re coming until you’re actually doing it, dipshit!

18. Palpy’s a dumbass, mark… 208, I imagine. Try to force lightning your granddaughter? Okay; but when the granddaughter starts reflecting the lightning back at you, turn that shit off, yo! Just… stop. Don’t keep firing and disintegrate yourself, you idiot.

19. Kylo magically learns the healing trick, uses it on Rey, dies. Just dumb all around, though at this point I guess Rey fans should be glad she’s not a Skywalker; every Skywalker who uses a cool Force trick dies right after, so…

There’s more. So many more. I could go on for ages about it, but I’m not MauLer, so I’ll stop there. All in all? I hated it, thought it was the stupidest Star Wars media ever made, and want to die.

Your opinions? Did I miss something? Did some of these make more sense to you than me? Let me know down below!

09
Jan
20

Not a Dog

It looked like a dog, but it wasn’t one.

I should know; I’d been watching it for a week. It wasn’t a dog. Just like the things that looked like little girls skipping rope up the street weren’t little girls, how the flickering lights in the office building around the corner wasn’t an electrical malfunction, and how the rattling fence in front of juvie over on Saliman wasn’t just the wind.

So I watched it. I sat outside the Qwik Stop all day and most of the night, pretending to be just another panhandler. I was invisible to most folks coming and going, even the staff. To a few, I was a figure of ridicule, getting an insult, a dirty look, or sometimes a kick if no one else was looking. To a handful, I was something to be pitied, handed one of the godawful things the store claimed were cheeseburgers but tasted like styrofoam, or maybe a few spare coins. None of them concerned me. I preferred to be invisible, but the occasional cheeseburger kept my stomach from growling and the kicks or insults kept me awake on the long nights when the dog-thing either didn’t show or did nothing but stare back at me.

Why did I do it? A simple question, with a simple answer: I had to. Someone had to, anyway, and nobody else was volunteering. For a little podunk wannabe city, this place was lousy with ghosts and spooks of all flavors, and if someone wasn’t keeping watch and cleaning up the messes the unsolved crimes part of the police blotter would be a hell of a lot bigger than it already was.

So I wait. I watch. The dog that isn’t a dog is up to something – waiting for something, maybe – and I need to be ready when it happens.

06
Jan
20

Trophy Hunt – 1/6

Trophy Test

I gave up. Kingdom Hearts is on its way back to GameFly. Between hating Chain of Memories even more than I hate the rest of the series, boredom with Birth By Sleep as I went to fill in Aqua and Ventus’ reports after already having done everything with Terra, and beating my head against the wall repeatedly trying to finish the EX Gummi Missions in Kingdom Hearts II, I decided it was best to walk away. I can always come back to it later, I suppose.

As though attempting to purge myself of the taint, I went back to a few games that still needed some love. Redownloaded Dishonored, and made it through the first couple of chapters (both lethal and non-lethal), snatching a nice double handful of trophies along the way. Don’t know if it’s grabbed me enough to make me bludgeon through the whole thing on the way to the platinum just yet, but it was a nice change of pace.

Also picked up Resident Evil 6 again; I’d previously beaten Chris and Jake’s campaigns, but Ada and Leon still needed love as well as most of the miscellaneous trophies. Picked up a handful of the misc. stuff in a couple of sessions, but not much story progress. I’ll get there. Probably going to speed through Leon’s campaign tonight, then pick at Ada and the collectibles while I wait to see what torture GameFly inflicts on me next.

While on the subject of RE6, I just want to point out: It isn’t nearly as bad as some folks make it out to be. Is it a good Resident Evil? Oh, good Christ, no. But is it a decent game with lots of content and fun to be found? Yes. (Note, I am considered a pariah in the RE fandom for this opinion, as well as the one that says RE4 isn’t all that great.)

Mega Man X Legacy Collection is going strong, even though I’m awful at it. Finished all the X1 content, and knocked out most of X4; still have to kill the last boss with Rookie Hunter mode turned off. (Sigma kicked my ass for about 3 hours, I decided I’d had enough, and in a moment of weakness I turned to easy mode. Sue me.) Haven’t touched X3 as of yet, and X2 is made of hatred (can’t even take out Overdrive Ostrich so far), but I’ll get there eventually, I’m sure.

Also came back to Doom (Reboot/2016/4 or whatever you want to call it.) I’d knocked out all the multiplayer trophies a while ago, but hadn’t gotten far in singleplayer. Trying to rectify that. Just got back from my first trip into hell, which I think is around the 1/3rd to halfway point. Picking up collectibles and weapon challenges as I go, unless they prove to be too big a pain in the ass (I can always use chapter select to pick them up later when I’m a dark god fully stocked with Runes and the BFG), and only got one trophy out of it so far (the one for going to hell the first time), since the other basic stuff had already been knocked out when I picked at it initially, but it’ll steamroll eventually, I’m sure.

The living room in the (no longer exactly) new place is coming together, and the streaming PC was located at last, so I may get back to doing some streams soon; any suggestions on what you’d like to see played if and when I do? Always open. What trophies are you looking at, or have recently been added to your cabinet? Let us know down below!

KA Spiral no signature

04
Jan
20

Reading Up

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I failed last year’s Goodreads reading goal. Miserably, in fact. The year before, I had set it to 100 books, thinking I’d plow through easily; didn’t even make it halfway, but at least there was reading being done. Last year, I set it at a more realistic 20 and did… three, I think? If that. Almost all of it was towards the beginning of the year.

Yeah, I’ve had a shitty time, but I know I should read more. Should be doing that instead of bringing the Vita into the bathroom. I haven’t set a goal (and probably won’t) since goals just depress me when I inevitably fail them. See for reference my performance in NaNoWriMo, where the manuscript I started is still stalled at the 12k words it was mid-November. But I intend to read something.

I’m starting with a pair of books I’ve had for a while and just never opened up to get to. The first is Confessions of a Yakuza; it’s a pseudo-memoir of a former Japanese crime boss. I have a strange fascination with the Japanese mafia that carries across all forms of media, and I’ve managed to get through 1/5th of it in the day since I started, so odds are good I will actually finish it. It’s interesting so far, though most of what’s already happened involved learning how they treated syphilis in the 1910s, pretty graphically. Fun stuff.

The other is Spooked: Science Tackles the Afterlife. I’ve owned it for a while – and had it marked as To Read for a lot longer – but hadn’t done much but crack it and glance at the first page beforehand. About 20 pages in, which may not seem like much, but I imagine the pace’ll pick up once they actually start getting into the title topic instead of musings about the nature of death and the spirituality surrounding it.

What are you reading this year? Have you got a target, or just taking them as they come along? Anything you think I should be reading? Let us know down below!

KA Spiral no signature

03
Jan
20

Health Update

img_0123Long and short of it, I’m still borked.

But there’s been some improvement, if only on the mental side of things. The shrinks decided “Prozac ain’t cuttin’ it. Let’s try something else.” They then introduced me to the wonders of Latuda.

On day 1, I pretty much was instantly kicked out of the depressive pit. On day 2, I saw the warning signs of a manic phase. On day 3, mania had descended. Day 4, it was fading. Day 5 and since, I’ve felt… normal. It’s weird. I’d almost forgotten what that felt like.

I believe the message here is: Take your damn meds. If what you’re on isn’t working, call the doctor and tell them so. Don’t keep quiet. Moral #2 is “don’t expect instant change.” Give it a week or two to see what changes occur. Moral #3 is “don’t get discouraged.” Easier said than done, especially for those of us laboring under depressive or bipolar disorders, but it’s key. Psychiatry is more art than science thanks to the wonders of individual chemistry, and a lot of it is throwing darts to see what sticks.

So far as the physical front, it’s only getting worse. I’m still lucky if I can get an hour or two of uninterrupted breathing, and making a quick Target run to pick up coffee and sugar or my latest prescription or getting the mail or taking out the trash is an effort that sometimes seems as monumental – and potentially lethal – as climbing Everest. But I continue to survive. It’s almost funny, really; I’ve heard a joke a few times that basically sums it up: “I have autoimmune problems. I’m so awesome, only I can kill me.” It’s true. Snake and spider bites? Nothing. Broken bones, blood loss, shredded flesh? I laugh at you. Questionable food choices hold no worry for me – except for that last trip to Red Robin – and with the exception of severe hydrophobia, I’m not worried about the elements either. But my immune system (or lack thereof, depending on how many steroids the pulmonologist has decided I need that week) certainly seem to have it in for me. They’re still saying surgery is probably the best option, and it’s still painfully out of reach.

I’m going to take a second and get semi-political and “problematic,” primarily because someone felt the need to inform me that my GoFundMe and Patreon were unnecessary and pointless because I have privilege that will protect me. This person has a fairly sizable Patreon, and has done multiple GoFundMe campaigns (usually to pay for legal costs as they have difficulty following rules like paying rent, having a driver’s license, registering their car, or leaving an establishment when told they are not welcome) that were quite successful. To them – and anyone like them – I say “fuck you.” Your imaginary concept of privilege doesn’t seem to care what color or sexuality I am; it cares that my lungs are an easy target and seems determined to rip them to shreds. Also “fuck you” that someone who flaunts the law, wants to scream victim and oppression at every point, and relies on made-up bullshit to grift people feels the need to take time out of their busy day explaining how there’s a secret squirrel account tied to their “Straw Man’s” SSN that can pay off all debts to harass me for the cardinal sin of asking for help. Wanna trade? I’ll take your skin color and sexual status if I also get your bank account and apparent immunity to criticism or consequences, and you can have my privilege and my lungs. We’ll see how that goes.

Okay, got that out of my system. Wait. Not quite. “Sovereign Citizens and Moors are giant dickbags, and if they think they’re beyond the law, then we should just start shooting the assholes and be done with it.” Go ahead. Lien my bond or whatever. It’ll be funny.

Okay, really done with that. But, in all seriousness, my lungs are fucked, my finances are worse since I haven’t been able to work in over a year, and I could really use some help. If you think you can assist, please take a minute to drop by (or share the link) my GoFundMe or Patreon. It’d really help.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Hopefully I’ll have a bit of fiction available for you next week. Still mulling it over. We’ll see how it turns out.

Until next time.

KA Spiral no signature

02
Jan
20

Trophy Hunt – 1/2

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Been a bit since I did one of these, since I decided to take a sabbatical and then everything went south for Christmas.

Not much was accomplished during the month of December, I fear. I did manage to get the Platinum in the first three Uncharted games, which was satisfying. I still have to do a few things to claim 100% in them – have to do the speed runs in Among Thieves and Drake’s Deception, and have to do Brutal difficulty on all three – but I am pleased to have finally ticked them off my list. Maybe one day I’ll go back and do the PS3 versions, just because. Also on the Uncharted train, I restarted Golden Abyss on the Vita, though given my Vita’s battery issues and comfort issues while using it, it’s significantly slower going than the console editions were.

I also delved back into one of my most hated series ever. Kingdom Hearts. I know it makes me a heartless monster, but I’ve never liked the series. I enjoy the hell out of the combat mechanics, it satisfies my semi-autistic OCD grind-loving tendencies, but the graphic style and plot – or, as I call it, “that incomprehensible mess that was the result of three dozen unmedicated schizophrenic fanboys being let loose with typewriters and nobody to tell them ‘no'” – as well as the godawful voice acting and the general attitude of most of the fans of the series irritate me. Still, it was lurking in my trophy log with only one trophy popped from ages ago, so I decided to tick it off.

Kingdom Hearts has fallen to my blade. Kingdom Hearts II is almost done; I have to do the stupid skateboard game with 5,000 points, get 1,000 points skateboarding in Twilight Town, do the posters minigame, deal with the Gummi Ship crap and beat it on hard. It’ll happen, it’s just annoying. Birth By Sleep is likewise almost done; I have to finish filling in Aqua and Ventus’ journals (mostly finish off the arena and beat the Flaming Dogturd of Hatred… I mean, the Mysterious Figure… with them) and then beat it on hard. I also have to finish the damned duck-quacking rhythm minigame, but I’m already tearing my hair out from hearing “It’s A Small World” roughly 8,000 times trying to get it. Chain of Memories, though. Ugh. I have… 3? Maybe 4? trophies in it, and I hate the damned thing. It takes away the one joy I find in these games (the combat) and replaces it with a sluggish, unintuitive and frequently annoying mess, replaces the decent exploration with an annoying collectathon that is more trouble than it’s worth, and amps up the unintelligible story to 11. Yay.

I’ll wade through – if only to say I did it – but I am not happy about it.

Other minor progress was made on the Crash Bandicoot collection, though the platinums for that are likely to remain permanently out of reach; those time trials are just not something I think I can do. The controls and frustration factor are just too aggravating for me to persevere. Also picked up volume 1 of the Mega Man X Legacy Collection, and while my ancient skills at this arcane series have long since faded, I’ve managed to bludgeon my way into Sigma’s Fortress in the first game, and feel confident that I will be able to get the platinum, given time and effort. Lastly, delved back into Silent Hill: Book of Memories, which I am aware makes me a heathen but is still a game I enjoy. The trophy grind is ridiculous here – you get one for roughly every 4 maps you complete, but it’s going to take a whole lot of grinding on each one to get some progress done – and I’ll never platinum it (can’t afford the DLC, and there’s a handful of multiplayer trophies that just aren’t happening 7 years after the game came out) but I still like it.

All in all, not a great month – especially compared to periods where I managed to platinum 10-15 games and rack up several hundred trophies – but at least a somewhat satisfying one. We’ll see how the new year goes.

What’re you working on? What games should I chase after imaginary e-penis points in next? Let us know down below!

KA Spiral no signature

02
Jan
20

A New Year, Again?

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Well. Somehow I did it. I survived 2019. If you’re reading this, you did too.

Isn’t it grand?

Of course, that means we have a whole new year of god knows what coming for us. So batten down the hatches, prepare the emergency rations, and hold fast. We made it through last year, we can handle this one.

Right?

RIGHT?

RIGHT?!

Maybe.

KA Spiral no signature




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