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Star Wars has lost its mystique, and The Rise of Skywalker is to blame

Friday, July 2nd, 2021

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The Rise of Skywalker was a crowd pleaser for the worst possible crowd.


Walt Disney Pictures

Today is May 4th. Yep, that day. Star Wars day. May the 4th be with you, etc. A pun that, thanks to the internet, somehow transformed a regular day into a global holiday of Star Wars worship. But there’s only one problem: I don’t really want to worship at that altar any more. 

And The Rise of Skywalker is to blame.

It’s embarrassing, but there was a point in the pre-pandemic days — during my first watch of The Rise of Skywalker — where, in a packed theater, I audibly said “what the hell?” 

I can’t remember exactly which part. There were a few candidates.

It could have been right at the beginning, when Rose Tico (played by Kelly Marie Tran) was yanked from The Rise of Skywalker like Poochie from The Simpsons. A move that felt designed to placate the racist trolls who’d bullied Tran off social media in 2018

That sucked. Big time. Definitely worth a “what the hell?”

It could have been the moment they “unkilled” Chewbacca, rewinding perhaps the only challenging moment in a first act that felt like it was written and edited by a 5-year-old high on sherbet. 

11-star-wars-the-last-jedi-t8zl5211-star-wars-the-last-jedi-t8zl52

What the hell?


Disney

But if I had to place bets, I’d say my “what the hell” moment came during the big “Rey’s origins” reveal. 

Undoing one of The Last Jedi‘s most interesting choices, Kylo Ren tells Rey she wasn’t the daughter of drunkards who sold her off for booze money. Nah, scratch that. In a desperate attempt to tie everything back to the original trilogy (making the Star Wars universe feel smaller than a snow globe), Rey was revealed to be the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine: The big baddie who magically re-appeared in the third movie, minus any foreshadowing in the previous two.  

“What the hell?”

Years later, distanced from the warped bubble of Star Wars “discourse” — and its place in the culture wars that consume all light and reason — it’s still difficult to explain why this choice annoyed me so much. 

In hindsight Rey’s reveal was the moment when Star Wars stopped existing as an object I could believe in and transformed into banal fan fiction catering to the worst type of fan. When Star Wars shrank into a story in a Reddit thread far, far away. Designed to offend the least amount of people possible, built for people to sit in movie theatres and point. “LOOK, IT’S LANDO. LANDO’S HERE!”

I was pissed. 

Pity my poor wife, eyes glazing over, who had to endure the train journey home. Me, arms waving like a madman, trying to explain why the passable sci-fi flick she’d just watched (and immediately began forgetting, like a normal adult) was a betrayal. That it deliberately and systematically unraveled every attempt made by The Last Jedi to reinvent Star Wars and have it successfully escape the dull nostalgia pit it’s now fully descended into.

I stand by the assessment. The Last Jedi was a movie that demanded we “let the past die.” It railed against casual nostalgia. Entire sections, like the casino scene on Canto Bight, were far from perfect, but The Last Jedi was bold and inventive. It never invited us to point, “LOOK, LANDO’S HERE!” Instead, it did a fantastic job of shredding all fan expectations. It murdered its main villain halfway through the run time; transformed Luke Skywalker from a dull do-the-right-thing hero-type into a vicious, bitter hermit tortured by his own failings. 

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Sunday, June 27th, 2021

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Crown had 'mindset' problem, inquiry told

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021

Crown’s anti-money laundering chief told an independent risk expert the group had a “mindset” and “culture” problem and was “too focussed on wealth”, a royal commission has heard.

The inquiry into whether Crown remains suitable to keep its licence for its Melbourne operations on Friday saw the group’s anti-money laundering chief Nick Stokes grilled about his first impressions upon taking over in December 2019.

Mr Stokes, it was revealed, aired concerns about Crown’s junket operations and their potential exposure to organised crime and money laundering with Deloitte partner Murray Lawson.

Dr Lawson, a risk expert, was engaged by Crown in 2020 during a NSW inquiry that found the James Packer-backed group unsuitable to run its newly built casino in Sydney’s Barangaroo.

Mr Stokes told Dr Lawson that Crown was “too focussed on wealth and not enough on risk”, according to notes of the meeting read out to the inquiry.

When the Deloitte partner asked Mr Stokes what was the biggest obstacle to change, he said: “mindset, culture”.

The Crown employee told the inquiry these notes were not a transcript of his meeting with Dr Lawson.

Former Federal Court judge Raymond Finkelstein QC, who is overseeing the royal commission, then asked Mr Stokes if, at that time, he did in fact believe Crown was too focussed on profits rather than the risks of money laundering.

“I cannot say with any certainty that I had thought about it in that way,” Mr Stokes said.

Commissioner Finkelstein then asked: “Does that mean you are reluctant to answer the question?”

Mr Stokes denied this.

“This is not a conversation that happened 10 years ago,” Commissioner Finkelstein responded.

“And it was an important conversation – but you don’t remember it. Alright.”

Notes from the meeting with Dr Lawson also had Mr Stokes saying his anti-money laundering team “definitely needs to be strengthened”.

But on Friday he said Crown’s anti-money laundering team now had the “foundation of a robust framework”.

Junket operators brought customers to the casino from overseas, in exchange for a cut, and netted Crown Melbourne more than $900 million between 2017 and 2019.

However, they exposed the gaming giant to money laundering, with one criminally-linked junket group gambling $20.5 billion at the Southbank casino from 2015 to 2018.

Crown ceased all junket operations in November 2020, following the NSW inquiry led by former Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin.

The Bergin inquiry found Crown facilitated money laundering, partnered with junket operators with links to organised crime groups even after being made aware of these connections, and exposed staff to the risk of detention in China.

The Victorian inquiry, set up by the Andrews government, began its public hearings this week.

It has been told Crown lied to Victoria’s gambling regulator about what it knew of China’s foreign casino crackdown after its own staff were arrested overseas.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation looked into the arrests of 19 Crown staff in China in 2016.

All were charged with gambling promotion offences, and remain the subject of an ongoing class action against Crown.

The inquiry also heard a Crown representative was “furious” and threatened to call Victoria’s gaming minister after the VCGLR probed its scrutiny of junket players.

It continues on Monday.

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Australia's Crown, suitor Star vow to go cashless in casinos,…

Sunday, May 30th, 2021

By Paulina Duran

SYDNEY, May 13 (Reuters) – Australian takeover target Crown Resorts has committed to end international gambling tours, or “junket” operations, and go cashless in its casinos, the gaming regulator in the country’s biggest state said on Thursday.

After being deemed unsuitable for a gambling licence in New South Wales in February, when an inquiry found Crown had enabled money laundering on its premises, the Melbourne-based casino operator has emerged as the target of a bidding war.

Star Entertainment Group proposed an all-stock buyout this week of its larger rival Crown that values it at A$9 billion ($6.96 billion), taking on private equity giants Blackstone and Oaktree Capital Group for control of the troubled company.

The New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA), which would need to approve any potential merger, said on Thursday it had held talks with Star, which had also agreed to end junket tours.

The Sydney-based casino suitor had also agreed to work with the authority in moving towards cashless gaming, using a card linked to identity and to a recognised financial institution, it added.

“Any changes to Crown’s ownership structure, including takeover or merger proposals, require the authority to consider a range of issues,” the regulator’s chairman, Philip Crawford, said.

These cover aspects such as how a merged entity would operate, and the extent to which any existing agreements with Crown would need to be reviewed, he added.

In a stock exchange filing, Crown said its pact with the regulator over its Sydney property provided for the firm to contribute A$12.5 million as the cost of the inquiry, along with an annual casino supervisory fee of A$5 million for two years.

It will consult the regulator over any supervisory fee from 2023 onwards, it added.

“While we recognise we have more work to do, we welcome ILGA’s indication today that Crown’s reform implementation is well advanced towards suitability to operate gaming at Crown Sydney,” the firm’s executive chairman, Helen Coonan, said.

Star’s approach this week follows buyout giant Blackstone Group upping its all-cash indicative bid to A$8.4 billion, and Oaktree’s proposal to bankroll a A$3 billion buyback of Crown’s founder’s stake to remove a regulatory concern.

The regulator had also struck a pact with CPH, a vehicle owned by founder and 37% owner James Packer, to tackle issues regarding influence and control, it added, without giving details.

($1=1.2948 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Paulina Duran and Renju Jose in Sydney, Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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Star Wars lost its mystique, and The Rise of Skywalker is to blame

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

Agen Poker Terpercaya Daunpoker.orgid=”article-body” class=”row” section=”article-body”>

The Rise of Skywalker was a crowd pleaser for the worst possible crowd.

Walt Disney Pictures

Today is May 4th. Yep, that day. Star Wars day. May the 4th be with you, etc. The pun that, thanks to the internet, somehow transformed a regular day into a global holiday of Star Wars worship. But there’s only one problem: I don’t really want to worship at that altar any more. 

And The Rise of Skywalker is to blame.

It’s embarrassing, but there was a point during my first watch of The Rise of Skywalker where, in a packed theater, I audibly said “what the hell?” 

I can’t remember exactly which part. There were a few candidates.

CNET Culture

Entertain your brain with the coolest news from space to superheroes, memes to robots.

It could have been right at the beginning, when Rose Tico (played by Kelly Marie Tran) was yanked from The Rise of Skywalker like Poochie from The Simpsons. It absolutely felt like a move designed to placate the racist trolls who’d bullied Tran off social media in 2018. 

That sucked. Big time. Definitely worth a “what the hell?”

Could have been the moment they “unkilled” Chewbacca, rewinding perhaps the only challenging moment in a first act that felt like it was written and edited by a 5-year-old high on sherbet. 

What the hell?

Disney

But if I had to place bets, I’d say my “what the hell” moment came during the big “Rey’s origins” reveal. 

Undoing one of The Last Jedi’s most interesting choices, Kylo Ren tells Rey she wasn’t the daughter of drunkards who sold her off for booze money. Nah, scratch that. In a desperate attempt to tie everything back to the original trilogy (making the Star Wars universe feel smaller than a snow globe), Rey was revealed to be the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine: The big baddie who magically appeared in the third movie, minus any foreshadowing in the previous two movies.  

“What the hell?”

Six months later, distanced from the warped bubble of Star Wars “discourse” — and its place in the culture wars that consume all light and reason — it’s still difficult to explain why this choice annoyed me so much. 

In hindsight Rey’s reveal was the moment when Star Wars stopped existing as an object I could believe in and transformed into banal fan fiction catering to the worst type of fan. When Star Wars shrank into a story set in a Reddit thread far, far away. Designed to offend the least amount of people possible, built for people to sit in movie theatres and point: “LOOK, IT’S LANDO. LANDO’S HERE!”

I was pissed. 

Pity my poor wife, eyes glazing over, who had to endure the train journey home. Me, arms waving like a madman, trying to explain why the passable sci-fi flick she’d just watched (and immediately began forgetting, like a normal adult) was a betrayal. That it deliberately and systematically unraveled every attempt made by The Last Jedi to reinvent Star Wars and have it successfully escape the dull nostalgia pit it’s now fully descended into.

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I stand by the assessment. The Last Jedi was a movie that demanded we “let the past die.” It railed against casual nostalgia. Entire sections, like the casino scene on Canto Bight, were far from perfect, but The Last Jedi was bold and inventive. It never invited us to point, “LOOK, LANDO’S HERE!” Instead, it did a fantastic job of shredding all fan expectations. It murdered its main villain halfway through the run time; transformed Luke Skywalker from a dull do-the-right-thing hero-type into a vicious, bitter hermit tortured by his own failings. 

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Thursday, March 26th, 2020

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You know there have been studies that “LED lights” of certain colors do trigger health dangers, specifically blue and crimson spectrum of LEDs. You can look this up, it’s interesting. I think individuals have no clue about this. Some people are much more sensitive and it can even trigger seizures. These are all issues to be regarded as.