Monday, December 28, 2015

In Defense of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Some tiny spoilers. Nothing major.

Art by Virginia Poltrack
Newsflash. No one cares why you hate Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And don't tell me about plot holes. All films have plot holes. Real life has plot holes. Everything is glitchy and imperfect. Even you have plot holes.

With the new release of the latest Star Wars film and its incredible popularity, the usual cast of critics, haters, and detractors have come out of their hiding spots to squawk about everything that is wrong with the film. Cynicism and criticism of everything today has become so commonplace that people barely take notice when something fun gets ripped to sherds. Star Wars is fun.

We all know the story, so I'm not going to rehash it all here. And yes, the prequels were not what the original trilogy was. The funny thing is that The Force Awakens very consciously hit a few familiar themes that the prequels were lacking, in hopes of giving the fans what they were clamoring for. And no, The Force Awakens is not a remake of A New Hope. The film had a few plot line echoes and character parallels to ring familiar notes. Overall, the story, the characters, the scenarios, the way the entire film played out, was entirely fresh and new. Don't bother to beg to differ. No one cares about your humble negative opinion.

All of this is nonsense, though. If you do not like The Force Awakens because you think it has plot holes or too many similarities to A New Hope, then you have little business watching fantasy films. Period. (Obviously I'm joking.) People who enjoy Star Wars movies usually like The Wizard of Oz, The Lord of the Rings, Godzilla, Alice in Wonderland, The Goonies, ET, and many Disney films. We love B movies. We like animation. We like anime. We love to read novels that take us through wardrobes and into magical landscapes. We like make-believe. We cosplay. We role play—it's a bit like putting on a sports jersey. We like Dungeons and Dragons and roleplaying games. We like to pretend, even as full-grown adults, that we are not the people we actually are, but are sometimes, perhaps, a space pirate, or a princess—or even a Wookiee. We like to create things. We draw. We paint. We write. We sculpt. We photograph. We film. We invent. We build. We fix. We make. We imagine. We look for the positive in situations, not the negative. We don't like ripping things apart. I'd argue that no critic of a film has ever swayed someone who loved it to suddenly see their point of view and decide to hate it.

And you are under no obligation to like Star Wars. Just don't drive over to my house just to tell me you hated it. Or for that matter post on my social media wall that you hated it and why. No one cares.

Everyone on the planet who did not like Star Wars should go take some kids to see it. See what they say about it. Look at them while the film is playing. See the wonder in them. The excitement.  Stop looking for plot holes and revisit the holes in yourself. Because if you did not like Star Wars but are still compelled to say negative things about it to people who loved it, then you are a negative person and you should move to a galaxy far far away.

—AF


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Braxton Woods Mystique Cover Art

I'm very happy to reveal the amazing cover art for my upcoming novel, Braxton Woods Mystique. Robyn Diaz is the wonderful artist responsible for taking my wacky ideas and realizing them beyond my wildest expectations. Please check out more of her beautiful work over at her website.


Here is a brief description of the book from my literary agency, Trident Media Group

Adam Furgang's BRAXTON WOODS MYSTIQUE, following the tradition of THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY and FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER, in which two kids discover a buried and long-forgotten carnival, containing a mysterious and otherworldly carnival attraction of a portal to another dimension with eerie and deformed creatures—now they must journey underground to rescue their friends, face their darkest fears and confront the unknown (Ravenswood Publishing, 2016)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Crying While Watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer

This is the longest I've ever gone without posting here, and it has me feeling a bit bummed. On the flip side, I am also the busiest I've been in years. I did not want the new Star Wars film to come and go without me making a peep on here. Hopefully I'll be able to generate a few entries, starting with this one, and continuing after I see The Force Awakens. I've also been toying with the idea of allowing others to guest post here going forward. If this is something that interests you, please contact me with any ideas. Know in advance that there is no money involved. :)
When I first saw the full trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens I cried. I'll be 46 in May. I know I'm not alone. My emotional reaction definitely sums up who I am as a person, what films in general mean to me, and above all, how entirely embedded in me Star Wars is. Seeing the trailer opened this massive trunk full of awesomeness that has been sitting dormant inside me. The sleeper awakened.
Oh, you think Star Wars is your ally. But you merely adopted Star Wars; I was born in it, moulded by it.

I'm not saying that younger generations can't have as much appreciation for Star Wars as I can, but I am saying that people born in 1970, pretty much, have the greatest appreciation for Star Wars on the planet. ;)

If I was able to dig into my subconscious like they do in the film Inception and open up that safe buried deep in my subconscious, you probably find a figure of Luke in there.

So far I love everything that I've seen regarding Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
It has me very hopeful. As a film viewer, that is how I try to be—positive and hopeful. I like enjoying films, not hating them. If I deconstruct art, it's because I love it, not because I feel critical of it. I know a lot of people have problems with the Lucas prequels. I get it. I have issues with them too. I still enjoyed them overall. Sometimes films don't sit right with me and I wind up completely hating them. It does happen. Birdman, I'm looking at you. You won't find me harping on it endlessly though. Or blogging about it and yapping and bitching and moaning. I try and forget about those films and move on. I've even been known to revisit films I hate and give them second, third, and fourth shots.

George Lucas's negative reaction to fans' criticisms of his films bothers me much more than the problems I have with the prequel films themselves. I think The People Vs. George Lucas summed it all up very nicely so I'm not going off on a rant against George here. I personally would never have made such a documentary. I just can't see spending all that effort on why I dislike something. I get that Star Wars is crazy close to many of our hearts, but a bad film does not detract from everything that already exists that you love unless you let it.

I just don't enjoy hating things, and from what I see online, some people clearly do. I see vitriolic reactions to all sorts of media from film lovers and haters and I'm more irked by this than how a bad film could ever make me feel. I like losing myself in films and giving myself over to them. As I have gotten older I have let my guard down more and more emotionally, especially in my own home. It's not uncommon for me to sit and watch a film and easily get moved to tears from certain scenes. When Gandalf falls in The Fellowship of the Ring, I cry. When Spock dies in Wrath of Khan, I cry. I cry when Thorin Oakenshield dies in The Battle of the Five Armies. I cried when watching the Pixar film Inside Out. And I often cry when watching Breakfast ClubStand By Me, It's a Wonderful Life, Planes Trains and Automobiles, Nausicaä, and many more.
Maybe I'm an overly emotional person like X Speaker of the House John Boehner. Maybe. I do think that my getting emotional from watching films stems more from giving myself over to them, and shedding embedded codes of behavior, rather than keeping my emotions in check, or subscribing to the unspoken idea that men should supposedly be entirely stoic and not cry.

When you let down your guard and allow a film get to you—rather than smugly trying to think you could do better, or concentrating on a little bit of a film that you let ruin the whole feature—the experience can be far more rewarding. I'm hoping for such an experience from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I'm pretty sure most everyone else is too.