• Entertainment Rants

    Wonky World Building and JJ

    All storytellers have different strengths and weaknesses. In telling a story, they’ll play to their strengths, and hopefully that compensates for their weaknesses. But what happens when a storyteller’s weakness is storytelling? I can’t fault director JJ Abrams’s ability to make visually stunning movies (lens flares and all). But his storytelling is terrible, which is born from his appalling world-building. Word-building is paramount to me. Get it right, and you can sell me anything. I’ll believe immortals are living among us who can only die if they lose their head; I’ll believe an eccentric inventor builds a time machine out of a DeLorean; I’ll believe an archaelogist is retained by…

  • Entertainment Rants

    Relating to Characters: Part I

    The premiere of The Rise of Skywalker (2019) nears. Scuttlebutt around plot leaks are discouraging. One of the scariest is that test audiences laughed at how easily Rey disposed of the Emperor. Sigh. Even if that’s not true, or it is true but has been corrected, I’m not expecting much. Disney’s Star Wars movies have featured an array of unrelatable one-dimensional characters. They have no depth and take no real journey (unless, like Rey, it’s to discover who they are). They’re flash and style with little substance. Just because these characters belong to an extraordinary sci-fantasy premise doesn’t mean they have to be unrelatable. You can create relatability in characters…