Tag: star wars

The Medavaukian watches the Mandalorian : Chapter 1

Chapter 1: The Mandalorian

In a galaxy far far away, where everyone wants to talk, where everyone wants their opinion valued (but not corrected); there is a lot of comfort in a protagonist who doesn’t talk much. 

Maybe it is the expanse, the vast nothingness that makes them wordless; or it is the knowledge of having seen more than others make them shut up. Maybe it’s just the helmet- a great way to cut off the world while walking through it. The helmet also shields them from me making immediate impressions on their morals. 

Them being the space bounty hunters, those who trace their lineage from the Duke by way of Eastwood (who had hats and not helmets) ,now who hop-on and hop-off planets with only their mission under the helmets.

I meet Mandalorian in the middle of a mission. With wind pipes and the gentle guitar strumming giving him company in his quest. 

Someone needs to be caught and no one can come in between the Mandalorian and his quarry. 

While watching the first episode, my mind wandered about how I could put this whole thing in a sentence, something that could get me to watch- this is purely an imagined thought, because ever since the Mandalorian was announced I dreamed of watching it. Somewhere maybe even a western theme played within my head. 

I came up with “ a western TV series set in the Star Wars universe”- pretty lame right but then I quickly changed it into “ a Star Wars western starring Werner Herzog”. Now that would make sure that I sit through the entire series. 

Old Herzie’s turn as the villain in Jack Reacher is one of the most chilling performances in recent times and my top voice choice for any ebook narration. Actually, there is a lot more than Herzog to make me sit through. First- it looks amazing, unbelievable worlds made believable- (the pilot was shot by Grieg Fraser who did amazing work on Rogue One and won an Academy Award the same year)  so even if there are potential shortcomings in story, it would make it up in wallpaper material. 

They have kept it simple, just know the Mandalorian’s mission- yet keeping enough mystery to sustain interest. Maybe not knowing more about the main character would add to the charm of it all. 

Let’s see how this goes. TV series writing is something new. Let’s see how this goes too. 

Wait! Is that a Lawrence of Arabia nod?

Hmm. Interesting. 

Speaking of Endings- Star Wars:The Rise Of Skywalker

So yeah. 

When I came to the very end of the end of “The Rise of Skywalker” which is the end of this new trilogy of Star Wars films, but it is also the end of the end of all the Star Wars films so far (yet). 

Only one thing struck me, they had ONLY planned the end of the end. 

So the rest of the movie was just to get to the end of the end? 

At least they could have been honest. They could have put in a slide saying, “you know we think the best ending for this Star Wars is Rey doing a Luke and watching the binary sunset, we just don’t know how to get there”, but of course honesty is that value which is quite in shortage in this world, can’t expect much. 

They should have gotten our email address and just mailed the ending. With consent and all for GDPR.

Instead I was treated to more than two hours of lessons on finding the self, being a good leader, not seeking revenge, standing up for brethren and more importantly, never losing hope. In short the movie was trying to emulate a good twitter account and wait for the RTs to ring. 

Look now, I’m not opposed to hope; let me just make that clear,I am just tired that it is being sold again. Yeah people fall for it, deep down everyone feels they are special, of course that is why a character of Rey would appeal to everyone, a nobody who saves the universe- the last jedi- our last hope. 

I have seen this. Next one please. 

Movies can be about anything, it can be about hope, it can be about despair, it can be about friendship, it can be about tiredness; but a film about hope should evoke hopeful qualities not make me tired and a movie about tiredness should not make me hopeful.

The Dead Speak! The Audience Yawn!

The Dead Speak! Screams the familiar opening crawl, as though to make us forget the ending of the previous movie, the entire galaxy has now heard a broadcast, obviously it cannot be someone new, someone whose story we have to build from the start, someone whose exploits we need to follow over time so we get accustomed to their behaviour and then decide whether to fear him or not. 

No no no, it must be an old and familiar face whose appearance might bring some amount of excitement back into the fan bloodstream. So yeah let’s get the old main villain and try and sell the “i’m the puppet master behind everything that happened till now” narrative. 

I paused. So this is where they went a little bit like Infinity War, although without the infinity stones- they just had two-pathfinders-to the villain’s lair. Umm nothing dramatic, I have seen enough movies to know what will ultimately happen in a villain’s lair. 

Irresponsible Expectations 

Partly I am to blame, where did I think they would go with it? 

A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy With More Of The Same

On the Laureate, we try to write about genre a lot, but we skipped franchises. Yes they are deeply steeped in genre lore, but also deeply bound in risk. A franchise exists only to make money. Yep. 

It’s not enough if just the fans see it, it should appeal to everyone and in the end, add more star wars fans. The movies themselves are made timed to not allow enough time for the fans to figure out why they liked it in the first place. They have to see the next one and be disappointed until they announce another series, a few years later- another series where someone’s grandson is now leading the resistance against another black robe clad father figure, I mean Vader figure. 

By this time, another enthusiastic innocent generation would have been pulled into the fandom, this fandom which will include buying t-shirts, dolls, plastic light sabers, theme parks and voice over gigs for Vijay Sethupathi. 

A new paste of slimy culture over mine, made to make me feel how my slime (now hardened) was actually better. No it wasn’t. . 

For some like, it is now a habit. I have seen the films. They are more of the same. I don’t even have the mind to say, “but in the original trilogy…” Nevermind. As someone said, these movies are about space wizards intended for children. 

Good sunset. BTW. 

The Stuff Stories are made of: Vasool Raja MBBS

Are all stories, the same?

Ever since I heard about the monomyth or hero’s journey, I have been intrigued; the fact that all the stories at some level are the same may seem disturbing, some writers even might find it alarming, readers might think they are reading the same stuff again and again, Manmohan Singh might feel that we are all dead in the long run anyways.

Joseph Campbell, the proponent of the hero’s journey(or mono myth theory) came into pop consciousness when George Lucas did not stop with using the monomyth in the creation of Star Wars, but went on to call Joseph Campbell ‘his Yoda’. Hollywood has since churned out innumerable films year on year. His book, the hero with a thousand faces is a goldmine for writers.

Anything that is universal, must tug at the heartstrings of the viewer, make them connect themselves with one or more of the characters to follow the length of the story and at the end of it, have something to mull upon or even bring about a change in themselves.

 

This is the reason why I chose Vasool Raja MBBS as Exhibit A to see if this hero’s journey holds true and also it is one my favorites and the movie and its message has remained intact for me, even after multiple rewatch-als, I’m sure many would say the same about Munnabhai which is of course the parent film. I would also like to assume that it is a widely watched film, so that we need not dwell on plot details.

Another reason for choosing Vasoolist was because a comedy film is not so frequently dealt with when it comes to the theory of monomyth, here is a chance to see if the theory sustains immaterial in which genre it is applied to.

 

An education in management has made me look for frameworks for every damn thing, and yes there is a framework for(every damn thing) ,this one comes from Dan Harmon, the creator of Community.

 

community

Reduced to the most basic level, the story (read any story) can be expressed in the form of a circle, begins and ends at the same point.

Harmon divides the circle into four quadrants and 8 markers

But first let us look at the circle in two halves, the hero’s world is divided into known and unknown, a hero must move from a place of comfort to an unknown place. The moments in the story too work within these halves.

 

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Specifically with respect to Vasool Raja MBBS (from now Vasool) the order and chaos are represented by his rowdy state and his wish to be a doctor represented by the hospital state.

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Now we will proceed to go over the story traversing the eight points as mentioned in Harmon’s framework.

Stage 1: Character in comfort

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The most essential thing in the journey of the hero is the hero himself/herself, at the beginning they are in a place of comfort, something like how Raja (Kamal) is introduced in the film. With his buddies, going about his job; there is even a dialogue which explains his way of work (2% commission)

Stage 2 : Hero Wants Something

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Although something or someone doesn’t let things remain the same way, the journey begins with the hero’s want to do something, the trigger could be internal or external; mostly external.

Here when Raja’s parents are insulted by Dr. Vishwanath (Prakash Raj), he decides to become a doctor, the want here on one level is to become a doctor and irritate the hell out of Dr. Vishwanath, but at a deeper level is to fulfill his father’s wish of becoming a doctor  (Hero Onnu sonna senjukaatanum, adhan hero)

Stage 3: Hero enters the other world

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This is a direct consequence of the previous stage, something like to become a wizard Harry needs to go to Hogwarts, similarly to become a doctor Vasool Raja needs to join a medical college, of course here he takes the route of the fraud (93.5 FM)

Stage 4: Hero adapts to this new world

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Getting accustomed to how a class,college and hostel function and how much it is different from his earlier Vasool phase, although it is not alarming for Raja when compared to say the Ringwraiths who chase Frodo, basically this is coming face to face with the reality (and dangers) of the other world. Raja also begins to understand this hospital world.

Now he is well out of his comfort zone (remember the two halves)

Stage 5: Hero gets what he ‘wants’

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This is the tricky one, heroes like most of us do not really know what they want, they might have more than one targets, sometimes they might get what they did not plan for, drifting away from what seemed like their initial goal.

Here Raja doesn’t really want to become a doctor, he is content with his current position where he is able to irritate doctor Vishwanath, but he achieves other things like new friendships and love (with Dr. Janaki), his gregarious nature and helping tendency make him a darling at the hospital. (kattipudi vaidiyam)

Stage 6: Hero deals with loss

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Raja somewhere believes that a doctor is not just one who treats diseases but a care giver to the heart , testimony is his ability to heal people with humour and hugs, but even his best of interests cannot save the life of Zakir , the cancer patient. Raja’s inability to do anything when a man dies in his arms makes him question the very journey he has taken.

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Stage 7: The Return

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In the penultimate stage Raja is convinced that he is not going to achieve anything by prolonging his stay at the hospital, he feels responsible for giving hopes to a dying man; in the end concedes defeat to Dr. Vishwanath (again recollecting how his parents were made to do the same) and literally walks back to never become an MBBS, the return.

Stage 8: The Change

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Raja is now back to where he started, though he doesn’t want to go back to his ‘Rowdy’ days. But time has changed and it has brought his parents back, they too realise that they have been hard on their son for not becoming a doctor.

He is now a changed man.

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There and back again.

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Epilogue

An ending in a circle is in fact the point of beginning, this story of the hero might have ended, but the journey is continuous. Real heroes accept the change and learning that comes with the circle and set off on another adventure, hopefully a different one.

A framework is merely a way of understanding concepts in an easier way, there is even further scope in the framework when we drill down to the characters, I am not trying to establish that this is the only way to look at stories, but this is certainly one way and I tried it with my favourite movie.

Again a framework is not a rule book, things need not happen in all these stages, some might be skipped, maybe not in the same chronology, start somewhere in the middle and make your way both sides.The potential is immense.

The point here is that a framework gives you the freedom to experiment with it, even break down. Dan Harmon’s Community is a telling example of how imaginative you can be in using a system.

The commonalities established with examples from the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and even Star Wars and yes Vasool Raja MBBS too, brings about a feeling of universality in the way think, tell and consume stories. Yes stories can all be the same and still be different in the telling.

Do let us know if you liked this way of looking at film, do let us know if you think it is number one quality hogwash as well.

Thank You19