Star Wars (Nothing But) Star Wars
Vampyr is a guy named Gary sucking gently but oh-so-misguidedly at your shoulder, dull teeth scraping across skin, while you stand there awkwardly and wonder what about this is supposed to be sexy. To someone passing by, this exchange, in the right light—which is to say none at all—could look like some legit steamy vampire action. The name “Sookie” might even inexplicably spring to mind, the husky whisper of its cultural currency stirred by the sight. Should that passerby drift too close to the shadow play, though, they’ll see what’s really going on, share a life-haunting sad look with you, and shuffle along their way.
Like Gary, Vampyr aimed for the jugular, but missed the mark and ultimately proved itself fangless.
On Simon Pegg and the state of (Hollywood) sci-fi
There’s a lot wrong with The Last Jedi, but the wacky mix of sci-fi adventure and fantasy mysticism that makes something Star Wars isn’t one of them. While not a card-carrying fan, I’m more than casually familiar with the ins and outs of the Star Wars universe. I’ve read a Timothy Zahn book or two (okay, exactly two). I’m no Prequel Trilogy apologist—those movies sucked, through and through. I grew up playing with Star Wars toys, hanging with Star Wars boys, and watching the films whenever they rotated their way on TV.
When the credits rolled on The Last Jedi, I walked out of the theater wrestling with my feelings on the film—or if I even had any—but left with one clear thought:
That sure was a Star Wars movie.
Stargazed and Confused
Because the Internet suffers from staggering security issues about their interests, desperately seeking validation from anyone with even the remotest radar presence and quick to pounce on those who speak ill of their precious pop-culture pillars, it took only moments for websites to hurl sentiments expressed by Simon Pegg on the state of mainstream science fiction—that is, Hollywood blockbusters—at headlines to trawl traffic. And because to criticize popular media is somehow a criticism of its fans, One of Ours quickly became a Judas.
Let me preface this by saying I went into Guardians of the Galaxy excited. While not much of a comics guy, I do dig some of the superhero-based films that continue to crop up in ever-growing frequency since 2000's X-Men. Mostly, I sign up to see how smartly screenwriters and directors ground absurd source material in some semblance of reality (fully aware, of course, that many of their failings have to do with studio input and influence). And hey, I'm not so stuffy that I can't find the occasional action sequence fun. If nothing else, that's certainly one thing Marvel knows how to deliver, and Guardians is the culmination of their finely perfected formula for Big Dumb Fun That's Not Outright Bad. Of course, such strict adherence to that template is what makes Guardians disappointingly vacuous.