The Rise of Reylo: The Toxic Heart of Disney's Star Wars

INTRODUCTION

Disney’s Star Wars Sequel Trilogy. Episodes 7, 8, and 9. The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker will go down as one of the most lucrative filmic trios ever made.  After buying the brand (along with the rest of Lucasfilm) in 2012 for a mere $4 billion US dollars, Disney immediately lurched into action, determined to churn out profit through the creation of a full three-film addition to the Star Wars “saga” by the end of the decade. 

But where The Force Awakens and its gross returns of more than $2 billion dollars only three years after the purchase suggested clear skies and smooth sailing for the franchise, Lucasfilm under Disney would soon find itself desperately searching for any port in the storm: The Last Jedi would be released to $700 million less than Force Awakens – Solo, another billion less than that. 

Correction was needed, and correction (of a sort) would be found in 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker, the end of what Disney would eventually call “The Skywalker Saga”.

But where the path to the dark side is quick, easy, and sometimes even successful, it is also corrupting, and with The Rise of Skywalker, Disney would eventually sell the soul of Star Wars…for a kiss. 

Continue reading “The Rise of Reylo: The Toxic Heart of Disney's Star Wars”

Busting the Block – How Avengers: Infinity War Changed the Game…for Everyone

While Rules of the Game is largely intended to reflect on the rules, regulations, and incentives that help influence our lives, occasionally something hits close enough to home that I feel compelled to write about it on this blog.  This is one of those times.

SPOILERS ABOUND

Check out the video here! – YouTube

***
On October 29, 2014, Disney’s Marvel Studios announced Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (“MCU”), the culmination of a decade-long effort to infuse 20+ major motion pictures with just enough connective tissue to plausibly bring them together in one universe-shaking, climatic, cross-over event.

Well, that event is here.  Avengers: Infinity War (“Infinity War“) has arrived.

40+ characters.

A dozen galaxy-spanning locations.

6 Infinity Stones.

1 damn triumph.

As the MCU has grown to dominate the box office, almost every other movie studio has at least feigned interest in starting their own “universe” of interlocking films and other materials.  But whether Warner BrothersUniversal, or others, none have come close to what Marvel has achieved, and after Infinity War, the bar has been set even higher.

How does Infinity War do what it does?  How does the MCU work so well when seemingly all others have faltered? And how does Infinity War successfully navigate the “impossible” task of serving as the climax of dozens of plots over almost 20 movies and half as many years?

How? Let’s dig in.

Continue reading “Busting the Block – How Avengers: Infinity War Changed the Game…for Everyone”

The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker, and Heroism in the Age of Trump

While Rules of the Game is largely intended to reflect on the rules, regulations, and incentives that help influence our lives, occasionally something hits close enough to home that I feel compelled to write about it on this blog.  This is one of those times.

SPOILERS ABOUND

***

NOW A (NOT SO) MAJOR MOTION PICTURE ON YOUTUBE!

***

Let’s get this out of the way first.  The Last Jedi is a poor film (91% fresh!).  As a Star Wars film, it’s even worse.

Before breaking down The Last Jedi, I feel it’s important to make some disclaimers.  I have attended Star Wars Celebration.  Multiple times.  I have a robot BB-8 and a Millennium Falcon pillow. My wife dressed as Padme Amidala for the release of Episode II.  My Internet handle has been (and apparently always will be) a major Star Wars character.  From any angle in either my formal or home offices you can see something from Star Wars.

I am invested.

With that as context, I sat down last Thursday with hope in my heart ready to be taken on another journey to that galaxy far, far away.  While The Force Awakens was not my favorite Star Wars film, it was a decent enough re-entry for the franchise, and I was excited to see what the series could do outside of the long shadow of A New Hope.  I had no particular “theories” about where the story would go, or what Writer/Director Rian Johnson and Disney would do with some of the hooks that The Force Awakens had left to them.  I simply wanted to be told a good story.

Roughly three hours later, my excitement was largely dashed, and more than anything I was surprised to find how negative my reaction was.  I didn’t feel I had “over-hyped” the film in my own mind going in.  I knew that it had received strong critical reviews, but I had not read them, and I had been relatively luke warm (no pun intended) towards the two trailers I had seen.  But still, Last Jedi felt like a punch in the gut.

Only days later do I feel I’ve digested enough about the film to understand what I think went wrong.

Let’s dive in.

Continue reading “The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker, and Heroism in the Age of Trump”

TGIF: March 31, 2017 – On Contemptible Passengers

Despite what you may have heard, lawyers are, in fact, human beings with interests and hobbies all their own. They are not, I repeat not, robots sent from the future solely for the purpose of billing hours, drafting documents, and negotiating terms.  Not all of them anyway.  

In TGIF, I touch on some of my own interests primarily through the lens of the “Rules of the Game”, focusing on the rules and incentives that ultimately affect all of us in pursuing our life’s endeavors. I may even crack a joke or two.  Hard to say.

TGIF will be published regularly on (surprisingly enough) Friday mornings. For more information, check out www.hoeglaw.com or drop Rick a line at rhoeg@hoeglaw.com.

***

Passengers Fails to Balance the Cold Equations

There is very little I love more in the world of pop culture than genre fiction.  Whether it’s ice zombies, robot cowboys, or, I guess, anything else on HBO, I’ve always been fascinated by both fantasy and science fiction.  About considering the impossibilities of magic and mystery against the inevitabilities of technology and change.  It is against this backdrop that I came to watch Passengers, the Chris Pratt/Jennifer Lawrence vehicle released in theaters about three months ago.  To say I was not impressed would be disrespectful to the concept of being impressed.  I was livid.  Let’s talk about why.

Spoilers for three month old movie to follow.

Continue reading “TGIF: March 31, 2017 – On Contemptible Passengers”