How The Phantom Menace Destroyed a Generation

I think now is a good time to reflect upon how fundamentally weird it is that after this weekend, Star Wars will never be the same.

Imagine a devout Christian learning that an additional testament to the bible has just been discovered. They don’t know if this newer testament will be good or bad, whether it will be in keeping with what spoke to them regarding the previous testament, whether it will be full of excellent moral guidance or a disillusioning disappointment. But the one thing they know for sure is that a significant part of their identity will change.

The same is true for Star Wars. People may dismiss it as some silly movies, but that drastically understates its importance. Movies are our culture, our mythology. They reflect our ways of viewing the world, but that causality goes both ways. The shared experience we have of the movies we watch frames and informs on how we relate to each other and the world at large.

And in this respect, no movie franchise is more important than Star Wars. We see the world through the lens that Star Wars gave us. We see the light side and the dark side; the Evil Empire and the connection between all living things; oppressive soulless dictators that can only be brought down by idealistic scrappy heroes and dashing rogues with a heart of gold; an amazing adventure that awaits from us if we can escape our boring everyday life and circumstances.

To quote from Imaginationland, my favorite episode of South Park, “Haven’t Luke Skywalker and Santa Claus affected your lives more than most real people in this room? … They’ve changed my life – changed the way I act on the earth. Doesn’t that make them kind of real? They might be imaginary but, but they’re more important than most of us here. And they’re all gonna be around here long after we’re dead. So, in a way, those things are more realer than any of us.”

And this weekend, this fundamental aspect of our culture and how we see the world is going to change.

This isn’t the first time we faced a change like this. When The Phantom Menace came out, it had an enormous impact on the culture and on ourselves, and not for the better. Nobody noticed the impact at the time. Everyone saw it as merely a disappointing movie, not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. But looking back, we can see how this bad movie changed our view of the world.

Think back to what the world was like between the releases of Return of the Jedi and Phantom Menace, from 1983 – 1999: (Or for you younger people, let me tell you.)

In the 80s, the US was locked in an existential struggle with the Soviet Union. This fit perfectly into the framework provided by Star Wars. We were the scrappy freedom-loving good-hearted individualists, while the Soviets were the dour oppressive monsters bent on universal domination. Ronald Reagan even called the Soviets the Evil Empire. But there was also hope and a sense of wonder. The world was getting better and everyone was getting happier, and we all had faith that we would prevail in this struggle.

Then Communism fell; the Empire was defeated. And we got to reap the rewards. The world was more or less at peace. Technology was accelerating at a pace never before seen in the history of the world. We had hundreds of cable channels. Video games transitioned from being kids’ toys to an entirely new form of entertainment for everyone. E-mail removed physical location as a qualification for friendship, as we could instantly correspond with anyone in the world. Amazon changed the way we bought stuff, removing from our lives the hassle of going to physical stores and trying to find what we want. Ubiquitous cell phones added another layer of convenience and awesomeness. The dot-com boom made millionaires out of anyone who glanced in the general direction of the internet.

Things were wonderful. There was optimism and hope, and the belief that everything was only going to get better.

And to top it off, we were getting new Star Wars. To those of us who came of age during this period, new Star Wars was the most amazing thing of all. The holy grail, the new book in our bible. Something we had been dreaming of since we were kids.

I remember sitting in the theater, just as the movie was about to begin, and my roommate turned to me and said, “Our whole lives have led up to this.” He was being a bit facetious and over-the-top, but in another sense this was true. Ever since we could remember, we had been anticipating and wondering what new Star Wars would be like. And it was finally happening.

Then we got this thing we had always dreamed of, and it turned out to be terrible.

That moment changed everything. The optimism and hope of the 90s gave way to the dour cynicism of the 2000s. We realized that nothing would ever be as good as we had hoped. The things people loved were all awful. The world was a cold and unforgiving place that didn’t care about your hopes and dreams. There’s was no wonder, no joy, nothing to be delighted in. The best we could do was seek out the worst of things and take ironic amusement in how bad they were. We devoted our time to tearing things down, eking out a tiny bit of comfort in our ability to point out flaws in the things that didn’t meet our standards. Since nothing ever met our standards, this meant tearing down the entire world.

Of course there were other things going on the world that contributed to this shift in outlook. The dot-com crash brought down the economy due to all those bad ideas that were making people rich in the 90s. The debacle of the 2000 election, where both sides were absolutely convinced the other was trying to steal the election, made us forget that people can disagree with us on politics without being evil. The prevalence of arguments on the internet made us forget that those people who disagree are human at all. And of course there was 9/11, the Iraq war, and the rise of Islamic terrorism.

The content of Phantom Menace gave us a negative framework that we used to view these events. Political leaders were not merely misguided, but were cynically and intentionally creating wars out of nothing in order to further their own rise to power. The so-called wise people were misguided fools who served as tools for the evil leaders’ ends. Success was not the result of hard work, diligence, or merit. Instead, annoying buffoons like Jar Jar and young Anakin bumbled their way through a series of ridiculous situations and prevailed out of dumb luck. Where we had all been confident we would triumph over the Soviet Union, nobody had any hope of winning against Islamic terrorism, or even a way to conceptualize what victory would mean. Any efforts to improve things were inevitably doomed to not only fail but actively make things worse, playing right into the hands of the evil people’s evil conspiracy. Just like the struggle between the droids/clones/Trade Federation/separatists, we see the world as depressing incoherent nonsense.

Art reflects life, but we view life through the context that art provides.

Phantom Menace also changed the way we relate to movies. We don’t want to be hurt again, so we won’t allow ourselves to love and connect to movies in the same way. For our generation, there will never again be anything like Star Wars. And it’s questionable whether any generation will have something like that in the foreseeable future. Harry Potter is huge and beloved, mostly by people who were too young to be disillusioned by The Phantom Menace. But as big as Harry Potter is, it doesn’t have anywhere near the cultural, emotional, and mythological impact of Star Wars.

Think of the hatred people have for George Lucas. He created this thing that we love, but then it took on a life of its own, and became much bigger than him. Star Wars was part of our culture, our mythology, and our souls. With Phantom Menace, Lucas reached into our souls, grabbed a piece of our identity, and crushed it. People can’t forgive that, despite the fact that he is the one that gave us the gift of the original Star Wars in the first place.

And now, once again, Star Wars is going to change. And this is going to be a different sort of change than happened in 1999. We’ll get new characters, worlds, stories, and outlooks, and early reviews indicate that these will be a vast improvement over the disaster of the prequels. But the more important change is that there’s going to be a new Star Wars movie every year.

My fear is that this is going to make Star Wars stop being special, and turn it into something more like James Bond. A new Bond movie has come out every few years for half a century. Some are better than others, and some people find them entertaining while others don’t. But they aren’t part of our culture and mythology; not in the same way as Star Wars.

If I were to ask what happens in Return of the Jedi, you could tell me. Even if you aren’t a Star Wars fan, and even if you haven’t seen the movie. There are all sorts of videos of people who have never seen the Star Wars movies describing them. While we laugh at the minor details they get wrong, everyone knows the overall gist. By contrast, if I were to ask you to describe, say, Die Another Day, you probably couldn’t. Hell, I’m a movie expert and a Bond fan, and *I* don’t remember what happened in that movie. Nor do I care enough to look it up, which is kind of the point.

There are far more James Bond movies than Star Wars movies. This makes them common, and gives us a lot less reason to care. And I fear that the same will be true of Star Wars movies once there’s a new one every year.

In a sense, this is the last time we’ll get new Star Wars as a cultural force. Instead, we’ll get yearly additions to the Star Wars franchise, and that is a very different thing.

Perhaps this is for the best. We can’t undo the damage of The Phantom Menace. It may be that all we can hope for is to end the relationship we have with Star Wars entirely. If someone breaks your heart, you can only really move on once you stop caring about them.

I’ll still be seeing The Force Awakens this weekend, and expect to see each new movie as it comes out. I am hoping to enjoy it. But I’m assuming that at best I will enjoy it on the level of a reasonably entertaining movie. It won’t be creating new mythology, and it won’t be adding a new chapter to the book that is written in our souls. That book is finished and closed, never to be opened again. This is the way things are, and we have to accept it.

I opened this essay by comparing new Star Wars to a freshly discovered testament to the Bible. And that analogy is apt in a different way: To a devout Christian, the notion of an additional testament is absurd. The bible is the bible, the revealed word of god, and it’s not going to change.

So this weekend, let’s all enjoy a (hopefully) fun romp of a movie, while saying goodbye to the connection we hold in our hearts for the original trilogy. We may not be ready to let go, and we may prefer it was otherwise, but we don’t have any choice in the matter.

And hey, there’s a new Harry Potter movie coming out next year.


Xena: Warrior Princess Reboot

This is the first I’ve heard of the Xena reboot. Normally I’m skeptical of this sort of thing, but I think this could actually work out.

The original show had a fun camp factor that is sorely lacking from today’s media landscape. At least, it did until it went off the rails in its later seasons, as the show started taking itself seriously, tried to take a darker tone, and collapsed under the weight of its own mythology.

Hiring Javier Grillo-Marxuach is a good sign. His show The Middleman  is possibly my all-time favorite obscure show you’ve never heard of, and is exactly the right tone that would make Xena work.

So I’m looking forward to this.

Survivor – The Best Show on TV

Are any of you still watching Survivor?

For those of you thinking, “What, that show from 15 years ago? That’s still on?” you should definitely give it another chance. I think it’s the best show currently on TV, and it’s coming to the exciting conclusion of it’s all-time best season.

The thing about Survivor is that it’s constantly evolving. Contestants figure out winning strategies, other contestants figure out strategies to beat those, and the producers come up with ways to shake up the game and force the contestants into entirely new strategies.

If you care at all about psychology, strategy, game theory, or behavioral economics, you definitely need to be watching. There are all sorts of open questions in these fields that would be impractical to study in a lab. But CBS has been kind enough to spend millions of dollars running an ongoing experiment for us.

The first season started off being about personalities rather than strategy. Contestants voted to get rid of the people they didn’t like. Then someone figured out that if he got four people to vote as a bloc while everyone else was voting for whomever, they could control the game. Thus the concept of alliances was born, which laid the foundation of the game for the next 15 years.

The next several seasons were all about alliances. Whoever formed the bigger alliance and kept it faithful would eliminate all the other players, until they were the only ones left, at which point whichever sub-alliance was biggest would take over. This made the show predictable and boring, and you all stopped watching.

The producers recognized this was boring, and figured out ways to shake it up. They started having people swap tribes early on, to keep them from maintaining an alliance. Would people stick with an alliance from their original tribe, or stick with their new tribe, or pull in some of each? They also introduced a bunch of smaller features to add new twists and wrinkles to strategy. Hidden immunity idols, returning players, special advantages, Redemption Island, Exile Island, rewards that involve picking a handful of people to be physically separated from everyone else, a Final Three instead of a Final Two, etc.

Partly in response to these shakeups, and partly out of the idea that in order to win you need a strategy better than everyone else’s, contestants evolved. Instead of sticking with an alliance until they were the only ones left and then scrambling for a suballiance, contestants started thinking, “If I wait until there’s a few people left outside of my alliance, I can recruit them to knock off the strongest people in my alliance but outside of my suballiance. The target will never see it coming, and the people who are out of the alliance entirely will be thrilled to go along with me because it means they aren’t the ones getting voted out.” This became known as a blindside.

That become the norm, at which point strategy evolved again, as the smarter contestants said “I better pull off that coup earlier, so I can do it before someone else does it to me.” So alliance infighting kept happening earlier and earlier.

This season we’ve reached a point where the intra-alliance battles spark up before the alliance can even form. In other words, there aren’t alliances at all. The entire concept of an alliance has been replaced by temporary voting blocs, which last for at most one vote, and often don’t even last that long. A bloc will form, and then people will change their mind and form a different bloc a few hours later.

Another evolution of strategy is that contestants used to have the attitude of “I’m in my alliance and sticking with it, so if someone outside my alliance tries to talk to me, I’ll just tell them to buzz off.” But then they figured out that they want to preserve their options for a coup, or make sure they’re on the right side of things if someone else tries for a coup, so it’s much better to talk to everyone and be open to whatever they propose. Also you never know who has a secret hidden immunity idol, so it’s better to keep someone comfortable even if you’re planning to vote them off immediately. So now whenever anyone proposes a plan, everyone they’re talking to will generally say, “Yes, I will definitely go along with that,” regardless of if that’s a complete lie. Combine this with the demise of alliances, and it creates a wonderful chaos. Nobody, including the viewer, knows who is really in whose voting bloc, and none of the contestants have any certainty of what’s going to happen at any vote.

And all of this plays out in the pressure cooker of physical deprivation, having to deal with the elements and lack of food, while performing in incredibly demanding physical challenges.

It used to be that you could predict what would happen 4-5 episodes in advance. Now you can’t predict 4-5 minutes in advance.

The show has become completely brilliant, and I highly recommend you watch it. Also, let me know if you’re interested in joining my discussion list for the show.

The Daniel Craig James Bond Movies

I think Daniel Craig is an excellent action movie actor, but I am very happy to hear that he is moving on from James Bond. (And not at all surprised to learn that he hates the character and hates playing the character.) I think that he, along with Paul Haggis’s writing and Sam Mendes’s directing, have absolutely destroyed the James Bond franchise, to the point that the only hope to save the franchise is a complete reboot, and a new actor playing bond is a necessary piece to that.

James Bond is supposed to be a wish fulfillment fantasy. That’s both its inspiration and its appeal.

Ian Fleming worked as a secretary in a spy agency during World War II, where he got to watch other men go out on amazing adventures, but was never allowed in the field himself because he knew too many secrets to risk his capture. He desperately wanted to be one of those spies, and after the war channelled that frustrated desire into a character that could wildly surpass the real-life escapades he witnessed with every crazy scheme he could dream up. Everything from crippling an arms dealer through his luck in gambling, to recovering stolen nuclear weapons, to fighting a giant squid. (Yes, James Bond fought a giant squid in one of the books.

The fantasy of James Bond is that he kicks all the ass, plays with all the awesome toys, beds all the women, saves the world like it’s no big deal, and has a great time doing it. The most important factor about James Bond is that he has to freaking love being James Bond, so the audience can buy in to the wish fulfillment fantasy. Without that, there’s no point at all to the story or character. It’s just an arbitrary generic action movie with random things exploding and no emotional connection to the audience.

I understand that James Bond isn’t for everyone. Many people find his character, and particularly his relations with women, to be unrelatable, misogynistic, or gross. That’s fine. People have different tastes, you like what you like, and if you don’t care for James Bond I’m not going to try to convince you to change your mind. You are free to not watch the movies or read the books.

But here’s the thing: If you have complete contempt for the idea of James Bond, you probably shouldn’t be making James Bond movies. That’s a rather obvious point that Daniel Craig, Paul Haggis, and Sam Mendes seem to have missed. They should have simply said “I think James Bond is stupid, I don’t want anything to do with it, so instead I’m going to spend my time and energy making a movie I actually care about.” Instead, they decided to spend nine years, four movies, and hundreds of millions of dollars to create a deconstructivist takedown of the Bond mythos meant to subvert and destroy the franchise.

In the Daniel Craig movies, Bond’s an idiot screw-up who keeps making things worse. He’s constantly getting tortured and seeing the people he cares about killed due to his own incompetence. Instead of bedding all the women, he gets sexually dominated by men. And in the biggest inversion of what makes Bond Bond, it is clear that he loathes being James Bond and sees it as a horriffic burden.

There’s another serious problem with the Daniel Craig Bond movies: James Bond books and movies have always been, for lack of a better word, kind of dumb. (See the note above about Bond fighting a giant squid.) The villains have wild crazy schemes that don’t make a lick of sense, everyone acts bizarrely, Bond does ridiculously stupid things that would get him killed in the real world, somehow comes out of 100% fatal situations without a scratch, has unprotected sex with every beautiful woman on Earth with zero consequences, and always saves the day no matter how unlikely. But this is okay. A movie can get away with being dumb as long as it’s fun. You ignore the stupid stuff and come along for the ride.

But when a dumb movie takes itself seriously, it’s just painful. Cinemasins has an excellent rundown of just how insanely stupid/nonsensical/impossible Silva’s plan is in Skyfall. Now, we wouldn’t have cared about how ridiculous this was if we saw it in a Pierce Brosnan Bond movie, especially if it led to a car chase involving a tank. And we didn’t care about the stupidity of the end sequence in Skyfall when we saw it in the silly comedy Home Alone. But when this absurdity happened in a pretentious movie, I was rolling my eyes hard enough that you could have hooked a generator to my face and powered the projector.

Now, I understand that the Pierce Brosnan bond movies went too far in the other direction. The invisible car in Die Another Day was so silly that a reboot was the only way to recover from that. But the Craig movies way overshot this, to the point that they weren’t even recognizable as James Bond movies at all, and were just dripping with contempt for their own story, characters, and audience.

So I’m hoping the next reboot will get back to what makes James Bond the James Bond we grew up loving. We shall see.

Movies featuring solitary characters

CNN has an interesting article about several recent movies involving solitary characters. Examples are The Martian, Cast Away, Gravity, 127 Hours, All is Lost, Life of Pi, Wild, Locke, Buried, Moon, and Wall-E.

Movies featuring solitary characters present a film-making challenge. Typically character is revealed and the story is moved forward via the protagonist’s interactions with other characters. Went there aren’t any other characters to interact with, the writer needs to come up with innovative alternatives.

Based on the examples, the most common techniques are to have the protagonist keep a journal (expressed onscreen via voiceover), give them imaginary/inanimate friends, or give them a means to communicate with others even if it’s not in person.

It’s a short article, and I wish it was longer so it could have more in-depth analysis. But it’s definitely worth the read.

Warning: The article has a huge spoiler for Gravity. For the rest of the movies discussed, there are no spoilers beyond what you would have seen in the previews.

McDonalds All-Day Breakfast

As your resident fast foodologist, I should point out to you that McDonalds now serves breakfast all-day, starting today. Though as far as I can tell from their website, it’s not the full breakfast menu. So you can enjoy an Egg McMuffin and hash browns any time you like, but not cinnamon melts. Which is a shame, because I think the cinnamon melts are the best item on their menu, and in terms of fast food sweets are second only to Taco Bell’s Cinnabon Delights.

No review, because it’s still the same breakfast items you’ve already had. If there’s one thing McDonalds excels at, it’s giving you exactly the food you expect. A Sausage McMuffin With Egg is a Sausage McMuffin With Egg, and hash browns are hash browns.

New on Netflix October 2015

Here are my recommendations for new movies and TV on Netflix this month:

On the Town (1949) – If you like (or are curious about) old-school musicals, this is one of the better ones. Features Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and some guy you’ve never heard of as three sailors having adventures in one night in New York. Not much in terms of plot, but a lot of great song and dance numbers. Plus it’s a good snapshot of a time before irony, as evidenced by this trailer. (If you have a more modern sensibility, feel free to snerk over the tagline “Twice as gay as Anchors Aweigh.”

TV Shows:

The Flash – This is a fun silly superhero show. While Arrow is broody, The Flash has a much more lighthearted tone that I think works best for this material. I would say this was my favorite new show of 2014, and now is a good time to catch up on it.

Arrow – I enjoy this show, though not as much as The Flash. It’s a little too heavy on the CW drama for my tastes. But the action is good and the characters interesting. Also, there so much crossover with The Flash that if you’re watching one show, you pretty much have to watch the other.

TV Shows You’ve Heard Of:

Reign Season 2 (10/2)
The Vampire Diaries Season 6 (10/2)
American Horror Story Freak Show (10/6)
iZombie (10/6)
Last Man Standing Season 4 (10/6)
The Flash (10/6)
Arrow Season 3 (10/7)
Supernatural Season 10
Jane the Virgin (10/12)

Movies You’ve Heard Of:

American Pie
Batman Begins
Boogie Nights
The Bourne Supremacy
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Million Dollar Baby
On the Town
August: Osage County (10/27)

Taco Bell Cap’n Crunch Delights

As I mentioned in my last post, last night I tried getting Taco Bell delivery.  This included a new item: Cap’n Crunch Delights.

Cap’n Crunch Delights are nearly the same thing as Taco Bell’s Cinnabon Delights.  The difference is that the dough has a slight Crunchberry flavor.  (If you aren’t familiar with Crunchberry cereal, it’s kind of but not quite like strawberry flavor.)  And instead of being dusted with cinnamon-sugar, it’s dusted with Cap’n Crunch and Crunchberries.  The icing/interior goo is the same.

I’ve previously said that Taco Bell Cinnabon Delights are the best dessert item you can get at any major fast-food chain.  So what do I think of this variant of them?  They’re amazingly good, but not quite as good as Cinnabon Delights.  The crunchberry tinge to the dough is interesting, but the Cap’n Crunch dust on the exterior adds less than the cinnamon-sugar.

These are only available for a limited time, so I will keep ordering them while I can get one.  But if Taco Bell is going to choose one goo-filled sweet ball to keep, I’m glad it’s the Cinnabon Delights.

Each Cap’n Crunch Delight is 85 calories, compared to 80 calories for a Cinnabon Delight.

I didn’t think to take a picture of them, so I have to pull one off their website.  I’d say this is a fairly accurate representation of what the real life items look like, except that in reality there isn’t quite as much delicious goo in the center.

Cap'n Crunch Delights

Taco Bell Delivery

When I heard that now you can get Taco Bell delivered, I had to try it right away.  Here are my thoughts on the service, coming from a real life FastFoodophile rather than a reporter or press release.

First off, you should note that Taco Bell is not delivering directly.  They’ve partnered with a service called Door Dash.  As near as I can tell, Door Dash is kind of like Uber for food delivery.  You place an order through the app or website, and the order gets referred to some dude who will go through the drive-thru and bring your food to you.

Door Dash and the delivery person make their money through charging a $4 delivery fee, asking for a tip, and marking up the food.  Because I’m the kind of guy who knows Taco Bell’s menu/prices off the top of my head, I could recognize that each item Door Dash offered was about $0.50 to $1.00 more than it would be at the store.  All together, the order for my wife and I cost $21.56 for $11-$12 worth of food.  That’s slightly less than what we would pay for Dominos to deliver, so I’d say it’s worth the price.

The Door Dash interface needs some work.  The menu is broken down into several sub-menus, with no search function, and the categories are not particularly logical or intuitive.  This can be kind of annoying when dealing with a complicated menu like Taco Bell.  Is that item you want under “Our Favorites,” “Burritos,” “Cantina Power Menu,” “Specialites,” or “Cravings/Dessert Menu?”  You’ll have to look through each category individually to find out.

Also, they do not include Taco Bell’s complete menu.  My wife really wanted a Grilled Stuft Nacho, but for some reason you can’t get that through Door Dash.  We wasted a bunch of time digging through their arbitrary sub-menus, both in the app and on the website, before giving up.

Door Dash texts you when the order is picked up.  Because of this, I could tell that too much time passed between the driver going through the drive thru and when he arrived at our apartment.  I assume he was picking up orders for many people at once, and then delivering them in turn.  This means that your food may not arrive piping hot.  I doubt the drivers have any technology like Dominos Heatwave bags, and instead the food is just sitting in a bag in their car.  On the other hand, if they did their pick-ups and deliveries one at a time, they would probably have to charge more.  I think Taco Bell is still pretty good when it’s been sitting for half an hour.  But if you feel like you need it straight from the grill/oven, this is something to be wary about.

Another drawback is the delivery hours.  You can only get delivery between 9:30 AM and 10:00 PM.  That’s good for normal meal hours.  But if you’re a stoner or drunk looking to satisfy some late-night cravings without leaving the house, Door Dash and Taco Bell won’t help you.

Also, they made a mistake on our order in our favor.  We ordered a 4-piece Cap’n Crunch Delights, but they brought us a 12-piece.  So that was nice.  (I’ll have a review for the Cap’n Crunch Delights up shortly.)

In summary, Taco Bell delivery has some flaws. It’s not everything you wish it would be.  But it’s still Taco Bell brought to your door, which is pretty awesome in itself.

Edit: One other thing I should note: The Door Dash app will also deliver from In N Out.  The main reason I don’t eat at In N Out much is because I can’t tolerate the long lines, so this opportunity to skip the lines should be great.  But I feel like In N Out would really suffer from getting cold, so I’m hesitant to try using Door Dash for it.

Quick Thoughts on Tomorrowland

I agree completely with this review of Tomorrowland. (Below the comic, though the comic is also entertaining.)

Tomorrowland isn’t a *great* movie, but it’s a good movie. It’s entertaining, has an upbeat sense of life, and the message that optimism and a can-do spirit are better than wallowing in negativity and giving up. I feel like the critics who are bashing it are cynics who enjoy wallowing in negativity, and are offended by anyone deviating from this world view.

So if you are the kind of person who hates humanity and is eager for the apocalypse so we can finally get what’s coming to us, you probably won’t like Tomorrowland. But if you are the kind of person who is hopeful that technology will fix the problems of the world and make things better (as it has more or less continually over the last 10,000 years), you’ll find it to be a fun and enjoyable diversion.

What makes movies great and how they can be better

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