FILM

"Cats" Is the Worst "Star Wars" Movie Yet

If you were hoping that Cats would be a great Star Wars movie, you're in for a disappointment. It's a bad one.

Movieweb

As a huge Star Wars fan, I've spent months looking forward to the latest entry in the saga: Cats.

I wish I could say that all the anticipation was worth it, but I honestly think it's the worst Star Wars movie yet—and yes, I'm including the prequels. While I understood the backlash to The Last Jedi, I didn't expect J.J. Abrams to so thoroughly retcon all of Rian Johnson's contributions to the Star Wars universe. It was like starting over from scratch.

cats

Perhaps that's why he also felt the need to throw in such a huge cast of new characters we've never heard of before. New characters appear and are introduced so quickly that it's hard to know who we're supposed to care about, which really saps the energy out of all the intrigue and interpersonal drama. Leaving aside the introduction of new elements like the Heaviside Layer—which promises new life, erasing the stakes of mortal danger—I just didn't find myself invested in any member of the Jellicle tribe (who seem to be the new faction of the Resistance).

James Corden as Bustopher Jones

Early in the film it seemed that Rum Tum Tugger—a rebellious character with a lot of sex appeal, in the mold of Han Solo—was going to be central to the action now that Han himself has been killed off. But as things progressed, I was less and less sure. Was I supposed to be looking for some conflict to arise with the new Jabba the Hutt character—an imposing plutocrat named Bustopher Jones? Or is the true villain the kidnapper Macavity, played by Idris Elba, who steals away the sage, Obi-Wanesque Old Deuteronomy, as portrayed by Judi Dench?

And can we please talk about these new names? Star Wars has always had some weird ones—I'm not going to defend Jek Porkins—but Munkustrap? Skimbleshanks? Bombalurina? Do all the new characters have to have dumb names like this? Obviously I'll make an exception for the bright spot that is Mr. Mistoffelees—whose name is almost as cool as his mysterious new force powers.

Mr. Mistoffelees

Speaking of force powers, it's great that there are so many new force-users performing acrobatic Jedi moves, but does it have to be such a focus? The newest installment was so obsessed with showcasing these impressive abilities that it seemed to forget entirely about Star Wars staples. With very little in the way of training montages, characters seem to be able to perform superhuman feats the likes of which we've never seen before, but I don't think I saw a single light saber battle.

Speaking of Star Wars staples, did John Williams drop out of this one or something? The music in this one was fun at times, but it lacked the thrilling, epic scale of Williams' orchestral sound. And all the characters singing about themselves and each other didn't really help. I also thought it was a strange decision to make the switch back to CGI from the practical effects that have dominated in the sequels so far.

acrobatics

That said, replacing all the characters with sexy anthropomorphic cat people was a great call, and made me really excited for the future of Star Wars. Go see this one with your parents.

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Two summers ago, during one of the darkest periods in my personal life, I found solace in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a sitcom that stars Andy Samberg as Jake Peralta, an NYPD detective with an impressive track record of solved cases despite his goofy, unsophisticated demeanor. Since its premiere in 2013, the show has been commended for its representation of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC people; the recurring cast includes two very smart (and never overtly sexualized) Latina women, as well as two Black men in the precinct's top roles. In 2018, the show received a GLAAD Media Award for its depiction of queer characters. Throughout its seven seasons, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has addressed serious issues like workplace sexual harassment, reconciling with an absent parent, and coming out to disapproving family members, all while retaining a sharp, tasteful sense of silly humor. Rotten Tomatoes has given multiple seasons of Brooklyn Nine-Nine a perfect 100% rating, likening it to "comfort food."

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CULTURE

Deepfake George Lucas Is More Convincing Than Actual George Lucas

Baudrillard was right, and I have lost all sense of what's real.

Collider

A video purporting to show George Lucas camping out for the premiere of Rise of Skywalker was unleashed upon the world yesterday, and has thrown reality into turmoil.

We have been warned that Deepfakes have the potential to undermine democracy by casting doubt on the veracity of video evidence. If the alleged "pee tape" came out tomorrow, is there any doubt that Donald Trump and his defenders would shout fake? Even if the footage was clear and unmistakable, the existence of technology that can seamlessly meld a famous face onto a stranger's speech and mannerisms can throw any video into contention. But this new George Lucas video has done something much deeper, and much more troubling.

George Lucas Camps Out & Reacts to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Deepfake Saga www.youtube.com

Having watched George Lucas being sarcastic and self-aggrandizing in a bad George Lucas wig and a cheap fat suit, I don't know if I believe in the real George Lucas anymore. You can tell me that it's actually an actor and impersonator named Josh Robert Thompson, but when he rolls his eyes at Baby Yoda with perfect contempt, I know that he's the real deal. The essence of George Lucas lives in this video more purely than any footage of the man himself, and I am no longer convinced that George "it's like poetry" Lucas was ever anything other than a character embodied by Josh Robert Thompson.

Josh Robert Thompson How?!

He seems certain that American culture leaving him behind can only be a damning sign for society. Couple that with the sigh of a disaffected boomer billionaire—pining for Woodstock while he contemplates buying a movie theater to simplify his schedule—and you have enacted George Lucas' entire being since 2005. Skywalker Ranch has been officially relocated to the Uncanny Valley, and I'm now convinced that the original George Lucas, in all his pompous glory, was the first CGI creation of Industrial Light & Magic.

boss nass and george lucas Which of these is the more offensive caricature?Industrial Light & Magic

If you haven't watched the video yet, save yourself from the existential dread. It's too late for me. The map has subsumed the territory. All that remains is the simulacrum, and I am left to wonder, if George Lucas is nothing more than this basic character study in a beard and glasses, who actually created Star Wars? I do not have the answer, but If I had to guess, I'd say it's probably Hatsune Miku.