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Is Disney Killing Star Wars?

SKJ News Bureau

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By: The Cinema Cynic

Since Disney bought Lucasfilms and the rights to Star Wars, the franchise has been in crisis. With its latest lacklustre release – Solo – and its previous abomination – The Last Jedi, Disney has presided over the effective destruction of one of cinema’s most beloved franchises. Indeed, in terms of narrative and plot, the decidedly sub-par prequels of Episodes I to III are being much more favourably viewed as the mediocrity of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi become evident. While Disney did produce a fantastic film in Rogue One and an excellent television series on Disney XD – Star Wars Rebels – in the main, an arrogant and lazy approach with little by way of novelty or quality control has proved to be the bane of Disney’s Star Wars saga.

So what went wrong?

1) Disney is treating this purely as a commercial venture with special effects taking precedence over plots, acting and scripts which have been of very poor quality.

2) Narrative continuity has gone out the window with a complete disconnect between the original Star Wars universe and the current crop of crud.

3) Pandering to demographics – I’m all in favour of strong female characters but simply plopping them in is patronizing in the extreme. Rey is at best a poor shadow of Luke Skywalker but is a know-it-all already – pilot, lightsaber expert etc. she knows everything without any training. Then there was the nonsensical Vice Admiral Holdo in The Last Jedi who couldn’t even get the rank structure right much less deliver a convincing performance as somebody with the least military ability.

4) Playing it too safe. What was the difference between Episode IV and The Force Awakens? Episode IV was at the time original and fresh. What did the Force Awakens offer? Virtually the same plot with a female lead– and a poor one at that.

5) Bad character development. It says something when Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford owned their scenes but the new characters were cardboard caricatures. Even Princess Leia was catatonically portrayed by Carrie Fisher who’s deficiencies as an actress were evident in both her last two films.

How did it go wrong? Disney has nobody but itself to blame. Star Wars may have belonged to Lucasfilms but it was really owned by its legions of fans. Fans kept the franchise alive and after The Return of the Jedi, when the franchise seemed dead, the extended universe was born.

The Star Wars Extended Universe was largely brought to life in a series of novels that fleshed out the stories pre a New Hope and post Return of the Jedi. Timothy Zahn’s superlative Heir to the Empire trilogy and then its two successor novels set the trend as we saw Luke, Leia and Han grow, develop, face numerous challenges and betrayals – including Jacen Solo (Han and Leia’s son) going over to the dark side and killing Luke’s wife (Mara Jade-Skywalker). Throughout the Extended Universe, there was narrative continuity and the stories tried to remain faithful to the original vision of Star Wars.

What does Disney do? One of its first acts was to announce that the whole Extended Universe was no longer canon. In other words all those books and all the efforts that went into them were nullified to suit the bloated ego of a company who has neither respect for nor concern for the franchise or its fans.

This demonstrates a degree of laziness that is beyond belief. Instead of working with or around the Extended Universe, Disney chose to scrap the whole thing. But what did it create in its stead? It created a narrative mess and while the films are making money – with the exception of Solo – the intense affection and loyalty of Star Wars fans has been lost forever along with all the goodwill that resurrected the franchise from death.

Yet all of this might have been forgiven had Disney delivered good films. With the notable exception of Rogue One, it did not. While Rogue One was easily one of the best Star Wars films ever, Solo, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi were at best mediocre and at worst abysmal. The extreme negative reaction to The Last Jedi rubbed off on Solo which has become the first Star Wars film to be a box office disaster.

Disney might do well to go back to the drawing board and reassess its plans to release a plethora of unnecessary stand-alone stories. Rogue One worked because it was a critical part of Star Wars lore. Few other things are and attempting to drag the series on simply to satisfy a company’s insatiable greed is not necessary. Solo was the first major flop. If Disney doesn’t make amends, it will not be the last and fans will not be forgiving towards their future efforts.

P.S. Pakistan’s ISI would do well to hire Priyanka Chopra and the team from Quantico as they beautifully played to Pakistan’s narrative. That a brand ambassador of India could betray the country as utterly and completely for 30 pieces of silver to parrot the Pakistani ISI narrative that “Hindu Nationalists” are committing terrorist acts to frame Pakistan is an abomination. Every Indian who was “proud” of PC for her role in Quantico should now reexamine that pride. Clearly the nation’s respect means nothing when the almighty dollar is up for grabs.

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Sui Dhaga Will Be Varun Dhawan’s Last De-Glam Role For A while

Subhash K . Jha

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2018 will be  one of  Varun Dhawan’s most creatively satisfying years since  his arrival  in Bollywood. Shoojit Sircar’s October fetched him the best reviews  of his career. Sharat Kataria’s  Sui Dhaaga which releases in October is guaranteed  to take Varun to another histrionic  peak.

But will Sui Dhaaga a   film about the common man’s common dreams, as steeeped in naturalism as Kataria’s debut film Dum Lagake  Haisha,  get the  boxoffice figures that Varun’s  big blockbusters such Badarinath Ki Dulhaniya and Judwaa 2   obtained?

Chances are Sui Dhaaga  will remains  a lowkey earner, just like October, making this Varun’s most creatively satisfying year  but also the weakest  year in terms  of  boxoffice.

While Varun is  all for doing unorthodox roles his  father  the  blockbuster machine  David Dhawan  feels the  numbers are  vital to an actor’s career.

Says  David, “I’m very proud of what Varun has done in  October and  Sui Dhaaga this  year. But boxoffice success is very  important. It is only  when a film like Judwaa 2  earns the big bucks

that  Varun  becomes empowered to do the kind of classy work he has done in 2018.”

Chances are, Varun will now   cut down on the classy and  plunge into the  massy.

Says a source very close  to Varun, “He had  decided to  do  one non-mainstream film every year. But in  2018 he did two  offbeat  films. So Varun won’t be  doing any non-mainstream films  next year.”

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Are The Ranveer-Deepika Wedding Rumours Misleading?

SKJ News Bureau

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Is it just an uncanny coincidence that the rumours  of  the Ranveer-Deepika wedding have surfaced just when  the Priyanka-Nick Jones alliance is gaining momentum?

We suddenly hear  of  another big glamorous filmland wedding in  the  offing.

Sources say this is  nothing more than a  diversionary tactic.

“The rivalry between  Priyanka and Deepika is no secret. For some very strange  reason everything that  Priyanka gets, Deepika also wants. We don’t  know why this should be so. Deepika has as much success  and stardom as Priyanka. What she doesn’t have is Priyanka’s  international fame.Now  when Priyanka has got herself an American fiancée Deepika seems  to be looking at ways  to  upstage her arch rival,” says a young filmmaker in the know.

Could the Ranveer-Deepika  marriage  rumours be  a mere reaction to Priyanka Chopra’s engagement?

Don’t looks aghast. Anything is  possible in the world of entertainment.

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Iulia Vantur To Debut With A Hardhitting Film On A True-Life Story, Salman Approves

Subhash K . Jha

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In  Radha  Kyon Gori Main Kyun Kala the film directed  by Prem Soni  that  Iulia Vantur is  doing  as her acting debut , she plays no decorative doll for sure.We can tell you  without giving away  the  plot that Iulia   plays a foreigner  in India who gets  into a situation  of tremendous  stress.

According to  sources  the  role is  a real challenge  for any seasoned actress, let alone a debutant.

Apparently  Ms Vantur was in two minds  until her mentor and  adviser Salman  Khan convinced  her.

“She  was  not  sure she wanted  to start her career with  a character so  hardhitting and intense.  But Salman  convinced her that it was right for her and that’s when she agreed,” says a source in the know.

Iulia would now be undergoing a few weeks of serious acting workshop to prepare her for her part.

 

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