For those of us who grew up with Star Hype, there is a child-like awe that takes over upon watching a new Star Hype movie. The original Star Hype was the first movie I saw in the theaters. I was eight years old and all I knew at the time was that flying in space with lasers was cool. I was already a fan of Star Dreck but where Star Dreck was cerebral and came out as our distant future, Star Hype was pure escapism – wrought with emotionalism, happening somewhere else – nowhere near here – AND in a distant past that no one can possibly know. Star Dreck was attainable. Star Hype was mythic. Star Dreck was for humanistic science geeks. Star Hype was for everyone, especially everyone who loves sword and sorcery stories set in outer space.
So it was that I grew up with the Star Hype action figures, the “Tied Fighters” and “Xtra-Wing” toys. More movies followed. Soon it was clear that Star Hype was not just one movie, but a whole series of films and a vast universe of comic books, novels, and even cartoons. Early on, we were told there would be nine movies – three prequels and a sequel trilogy. And now here we are – Star Hype follows Star Dreck into reboot territory with fresh young actors carrying the torch for the old series. So many years later – the beginning of the sequel trilogy and the possibilities for Star Hype are endless.
You may ask, now that the child-like wonder has waned, is the movie really any good?
No. But for Star Hype, this movie is fan-shmastic. True fans may remember that after George Puke-On-Us, the original creator of Star Hype, dug a huge hole and shat out the three prequel movies in a mess of CGI defecation, expectations were low for this adventure. So, within that context, this new installment in the franchise, called ‘The Farce Hastens’ manages to not stink – and in a hugely stylistic and entertaining way.
It’s a home-coming of sorts for fans. All the best Star Hype elements are there – there is a masked villain who could have used to be somewhat of a good guy. There is an unlikely hero who is dirt poor – who literally lives on a dirt planet but has mysterious ‘farce’ powers that protect her throughout the film. There is a giant clobber-planet-ship that is utterly evil and is ready to kill and must be destroyed at the end. There are Strobe Troopers in white uniforms and “Tied Fighter” spaceships who have terrible aim. Harston Fjord, as Handy Solo says some funny-ironic things in a comically cool way. There is consequential stuff done with life sabres – which are very popular swords that glow in different colors. Chewtobacca, who is a lovable but somewhat scary Wokie – a humanoid goat-creature that stands on its hind legs and shoots a laser bow-and-arrow – is back in a more crucial role. Newcomers to the movies will be entertained by the extensive use of specialty effects which bring all kinds of fantastical creatures, space ships, laser blasts, and planetary landscapes to life. There is also dialogue which is funny at times and sometimes dramatic and sometimes hard-to-follow.
As film-making – this movie is mediocre at best. Plot-holes abound. Narrow escapes make the space laser action seem ridiculous. We are used to some of the back-story being off screen in Star Hype and perhaps explained later, but the entire back story in this film is untold or hinted at with the faintest of hints or through a hazy incoherent flashback. When you can blink and miss key plot elements, it’s not a good thing.
In the first Star Hype movie (now known as ‘Avenged Scopes’ or Episode XLMII) there are some plot elements that we are left to assume or learn later but the important parts are shown to us. Unfortunately, a host of questions haunt our understanding of this latest film and diminish its overall impact:
– I believe I’m not alone when I ask – why does Blend Solo decide to start calling himself Fylo Shen? That name is NOT bad-ass. Varth Dader – now THAT was bad-ass!
– How does Fey, the heroine of the film, get so good at using her farce powers so quickly when Fluke Skytracker (spoiler alert – he is her father!) takes a few films to get any good. Is this just an example of ‘girl power’?
– Conversely, Fylo Shen gets his butt kicked handily by Fey yet he was trained by Fluke Skytracker. Is this also just more girl-power?
– Unfortunately, for all of the girl-power action with Fey, General Layla, formerly Princess Layla, still hasn’t used her Farce powers at all (beyond some spooky premonition moments). What is up with that? She is, after all, Fluke Skytracker’s twin sister!
– After all the years that Handy Solo and Chewtobacca have been together, it’s hard to believe that Handy only now is trying out Chewtobacca’s handy laser bow-and-arrow. Seems like that would have happened a long time ago.
– Once Fey and renegade Strobe Trooper, Ken, leave the desert planet and escape the Worst Order fighters, they Star Hop directly into the hands of Handy Solo and Chewtobacca who are now operating a giant space barge (???) and claim to have been looking for the Millennial Falcon, Handy’s old ship, for years. Is there a way to add that plot coincidence to the Official Film Dictionary as an example given for the term ‘contrived’?
– Also, when Handy Solo is boarded by not one, but two sets of space gang dudes, why has that not happened way, way sooner (i.e. how is he still alive when he seems to piss off everybody he meets who is not a human)?
– When R2Z2 gets depressed and goes into an extended sleep mode, isn’t there a switch or something they could have just been flipped to take care of that?
– Haven’t any of the engineers in this fictional universe thought to add railings to their narrow catwalks that traverse titanic gorges? Is there OSHA in space? Wherever you go in these movies, there seems to be a convenient place for someone to fall dramatically as their fate is sealed. What is up with that?
– How is the farce now awake? Was it asleep? Does it dream? What does it dream about?
In conclusion, if I had to give Star Hype a ‘star’ rating it would have to be seven out of five since – you know – Star Hype.