Star Wars Review: The Force Snoozes


(Mega Spoilz)

Ok, before I start slating Star Wars, let me say that I TRIED!

I’ve never been a fan. When Abrams et al announced they were making a new version of the film, I wasn’t excited. At all.

The sort of excitement I felt was comparable with the excitement you might feel for:

  • Stacey Solomon’s new Christmas single
  • Prince George’s first tooth coming out

I was also worried. Because it’s hard in this life when you don’t like things like Star Wars, Stephen Fry and football. Conversation becomes impossible.

But then…

There was a glimmer of hope for me. Everyone was saying The Force Awakens was well good. Even Mark Kermode! And I don’t like his hair, but I respect his opinions on film. So I thought maybe I could be in the cool club too, and that my Force would awaken.

Unfortunately, my Force is DEAD. It was never alive, but now it’s gone forever.

I mean, guys, let’s be honest here. The Force Awakens is a bit rubbish.

And I don’t want people to wave their lightsabers at me, so I’ll confess I liked one part of the film. That was, the first twenty minutes, in which Oscar Isacc – a nice pilot in The Resistance – gets chased by mardy members of The First Order.

In this scene you also meet the new ‘evil guy’, aka Adam Driver. He plays Kylo Ren, whom I kept accidentally calling Darth Vader to my brothers (who looked seriously disgusted). But he is ‘the new Darth Vader’, tbh.

He has a complicated backstory. According to his mum, Princess Leia, Ren went away to what I can only describe as Jedi summer camp – where Luke Skywalker tried to teach him the ways of The Light Side. Only, he didn’t really enjoy it and ran away to The Dark Side (who can blame him: dark clothes look so much better on brunettes).

There are loads of other things that happen in the film. I won’t go into too much detail because we’ve all seen it and I’ve already given Wikipedia about 100 new hits doing incredible research for this article. Let’s just say there’s a new posh bird in it called Rey, played by Daisy Ridley. She’s ok. Half the time I expect her to pull out a lacrosse stick and start hitting Stormtroopers, but she’s actually got capital technique with a lightsaber. And there’s her friend Finn, who’s also ok. I’d go for tea with them both, but then I’d meet Ren for a few tequilas later.

Character analysis aside, the real reason why The Force is snoozing within me is because I wanted more complexity to the plot of The Force Awakens. I’ve finished Season 3 of The Bridge recently, so I’ve got used to people doing fucking weird stuff. And I wanted something wacky to happen here – whether it was a character becoming corrupted, a cheeky snog, or a flashback to Ren’s traumatic time at summer camp. There’s too much black and white, and not enough grey.

Not to get too deep, but we live in a world where there is lightness and darkness all the time. But people aren’t simply ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’ – it’s a lot more complicated than that. So a franchise where nice people run around in beige cloaks and bad people run around in scary helmets doesn’t quite cut it for me. (Not least because the Stormtroopers must be sick of wearing those outfits. In fact, Star Wars is in desperate need of Gok Wan).

If there was anything I enjoyed about Star Wars it was Harrison Ford and Chewbacca. I was less impressed with Carrie Fisher. When Princess Leia is told of Hans Solo’s death, she may as well be hearing that the Resistance’s toilet roll has run out.

I digress. But the main problem with me is the plot’s simplicity – which paves the way for a film of two-dimensional characters, and not enough emotional substance. The special effects are amazing, but it’s small ingredients that pull in the Star Wars reluctants like me – those who are a bit turned off by explosions, aviation and other stuff that mask flimsy storylines.

I’m surprised that there haven’t been more people who share my view about Star Wars. It seems that if you don’t like it you’re either trying to be controversial, you ‘don’t understand’ it or are some sort of killjoy. I actually find the marketing around it slightly oppressive, as it seems this ‘fun’ film is immune to criticism.

To be honest, I think it’s like The Dark and Light Side: there’s good taste, and there’s bad taste, with nothing in between. And I’m afraid to say that in this case, The Star Wars rejectors – thought numbered we may be – might be the ones to have seen the light.

Reggie Yates is a tour de force in investigative journalism


This bright spark has put the joy back into my BBC Three viewing

In recent years, BBC Three documentaries have been exceptionally awful. I can’t say I blame the corporation. It’s simply trying to cater to my generation: a group of men and women who feasted on Take Me Out at university – and sometimes need the big issues dumbed down.

As a result, we’ve been treated to the most appalling line up of documentaries, by so-called ‘documentary makers’. And I hate to insult my members of my own gender, but the worst offenders have been the ladies. From Dawn Porter to Cherry Healy to the abominable Stacey Dooley, I feel my brain has shrunk every time I have been subjected to their thoughts on issues such as drug culture, how to be lesbian and pampered dogs.

That’s why it came as a huge breath of fresh air when the BBC signed Reggie Yates to its documentary line up.

I’ve never really thought much about Yates, other than ‘he seems like a nice guy’. But three episodes into his new series, Extreme UK, and I’m hooked – and ever so impressed by the way in which he probes into sensitive subject matter.

During Extreme UK, Yates has examined a variety of issues, such as homosexuality in BME communities and the rise of British men against feminism. In last night’s episode Dying for A Six Pack, Yates explored the UK’s new fitness culture – which sees thousands of men doing their utmost to achieve the ‘perfect’ physique.

What separates Yates from the Dooley Drooleys of this world is his tact and ability to make a television show that isn’t all about him. Yates has learnt something very masterful – that his questions, alone, are enough to expose holes in his subjects’ arguments. A rather rare feat in this censorious age, where controversial figures are often shut down or banned from debates. Rarely are they listened to.

But listen, Yates does. He drinks cups of tea with sexists and other bigots, all the while remaining calm and detached. His Socratic style not only means that his interviewees open up to him rather readily, but also makes for a far more balanced and interesting debate. He is exceptionally brave; at one point he is barraged with racist abuse for trying to find interview subjects from the ‘manosphere’ – an internet group that promotes male rights – but remains focused on his mission.

What I like most about Yates is that he can articulate his findings in a simple way. He is clearly a very clever and unassuming chap – whom I might also fancy a bit – and through his television shows I hope he can teach young people not only about the subjects he covers, but the importance of listening to different perspectives, no matter how offensive one might seem.

It’s hard to take a Radio 1 DJ and former Top of the Pops DJ seriously as an investigative journalist. But that we should. For through his BBC Three range, Yates has shown himself to be a real tour de force in this field.

I’ve had enough of celebrity bottoms

Yoko, Oh No: even this icon is getting her kit off

Paris, Amy, Serena and friends are reducing women to market cows 

Bottoms are a bit like an episode of Dinner Date: enjoyable from time to time – but too many and you switch off, and look for stimulation elsewhere.

I’m having my ‘Dinner Date’ moment right now after a week where everyone seemed to be getting their bottoms out.

First, there was the Pirelli Calendar – which was widely praised because it featured bottoms belonging to clever people. Serena Williams and Amy Schumer were just two of the iconic figures to star in the edition with said bottoms.

Then Paris Hilton was out parading hers in Paper magazine. Kylie Jenner also thought we’d also like to see her derrière in a bizarre spread for Interview. She stands there, mute and expressionless in backless latex, as if there’s something impressive about looking like you’ve been hit over the head.

Speaking about the Pirelli campaign, one journalist commented “the Pirelli pivot seems to give real substance to the theory that we are at a flexion point in the public objectification of female sexuality”.

But we’re not, are we? For the likes of Jenner, Williams and Schumer to feel need to get their bottoms out, shows women still can’t get away from the idea that they’re market cows – whose main currency is their physical form.

In undressing, celebrities grossly propagate the objectification of women. Despite really, really not needing to, these privileged individuals – many of whom have been recognised for their talents, rather than looks – stop our society from evolving. I simply do not understand what the point in being human is if we can’t get away from reducing people into physiological entities.

Quite aside from being ideologically repellant, prostituting your body to the world looks increasingly outdated. Like singing Tammy Wynette lyrics, I hope there is a day when we laugh at male popstars with brigades of scantily clad women – pitying them for their caveman perception of femkind as wigglers and wrigglers.

Ultimately female celebrities have a social responsibility to stop getting their bottoms out. Not only to the millions of hapless women who wonder if they can ever be more than a bottom – but to themselves. In their determination to be beautiful, they diminish their future legacy – and the talent they represent.