The first of many I’m sure, teasers that is. I enjoyed VII immensely, significantly more than the disappointing Rogue One, and in there careful way this teases just enough to keep even us remotely interested nerds salivating like a Sarlacc in mating season;
Hmm, having watched, and thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Strange over the weekend I think I’ll give this a chance, even though I don’t particularly care for the Thor movies;
Well, in true cowardly fashion I for one welcome our new Soviet cinematic overlords;
Given all the disruption in the wider world concerning anglo- Soviet relations this is almost satiric, right? Like a comedy sketch of a Russian film adopting the Hollywood blockbuster aesthetics? Welcome to 2017 comrades…..
Not exactly off to a punctual start of the year are we? It’s been a few weeks since I caught Rogue One, the long anticipated first wider universe film set in the Star Wars universe, and to be frank I just haven’t been able to muster the enthusiasm to collect my thoughts. Then of course tragedy struck which threw an entirely new shadow across the film, with the passing of Carrie Fisher the first loss of the primary acting talent of the franchise although we also lost Kenny Baker earlier in 2016. Just to be a hideous, privileged soul I remember sitting at Frightfest 2010 when Monsters was showing, a mere five feet from Gareth Edwards who took to the stage for a rapturous Q&A, and look at him now, one of the corralled and manageable directors that seems to be the current studio executive strategy in controlling these dollar spinning franchises – see also Disney’s Marvel imprint, Universal’s Jurassic Park behemoth, and the Warner Bros. DC Universe. I loved Monsters, a genuine achievement of a fresh new talent assembling a movie at zero budget, utilising the new trajectories and abilities of digital equipment, with a fine understanding of story, character and empathy. Something is intergalactically amiss in this film in those crucial areas as although it’s already cliche to state this Rogue One is the biggest fan-fiction movie ever made, stuffed full of lip-service and nerd nuggets for the converted to mutter and coo appreciatively, but fatally lacking in anything resembling rich and engaging characters, or even the slightest dregs of emotional drive which is so crucial to this specific franchise. I didn’t hate the film, it had its moments and strengths that we will come to shortly, but until it reached its final act I was deathly bored, and even then none of the climactic story beats detonated with any impact whatsoever.
It’s all about keeping it in the family for this franchise, and this first picture nested away from the tragedy of the Skywalker clan flirts with the same territory of estranged patriarchs and hidden secrets. A nordic flavoured opening sequence introduces us to Jyn Erso, a young woman separated from her parents when the Empire arrive and threaten her father to return to work for them on their secret, planet devouring super-weapon. After her mother is killed and father (Mads Mikkelsen) captured we smash-cut to some time later, with Jyn all grown up and played by a neutered Felicity Jones – more on that phraseology later. It’s murky but she’s either a thief or scoundrel of some sort, soon rescued from the prison camp by the Rebel Alliance in order to join the effort to rescue her father, a mission led by intelligence officer Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). Eventually this chemistry free couple manage to recruit Imperial defector Bodhi (Riz Ahmed), the blind monk Chirrut (Donnie Yen) and his heavily armed grunt Baze (Jiang Wen) – all of their ideologies and motivations I perfect mystery, other than Chirruts mystical ramblings about some strange alchemy known as the force. So, from a kernel of familial strife and guilt the film warps into a mission movie, in a scrappy and fractured narrative line which fails at numerous dramatic hurdles.
The neutron core problem with Rogue One is just how manufactured it feels, how designed by committee, with a critical and fatal disregard for character. From the potentially offensive Zatochi clone and his mate I just didn’t care about anyone in this picture, just like it appears neither did the screenwriters who were clearly directing their efforts into the avenues of fan-service, references, and crafting a film whose sole purpose is to reference other entries in its own bloody franchise. None of the principals get any decent lines or tangible development moments, the first half feels very fractured and scattershot, and whilst I’d concur that the final section is a marked improvement it all comes to little too late to save this plundering product. If you compare and contrast with The Force Awakens (or indeed Episode IV or V) within seconds we given enough information to form our own ideas and backstories – Ren’s a mischievous and resourceful with dreams of getting off-world and into wild adventures, Finn’s a fractured yet spirited conscript whom is struggling with his moral compass. In this film we know nothing of our main protagonists, the prologue aside we learn nothing of Jyn’s interviewing struggle, her drive or reasoning, so when the character moments arrive they don’t land with any density whatsoever – her sudden transformation for inspirational speech orator was ridiculous. In his role as some sort of mentor / father surrogate / Afrika Bambaataa clone Forrest Whitaker is a terrible over-actor with his wheezing portentousness and husky, and quite frankly the main character we met in the trailer, the arrogant and brooding Jyn has been transformed into a much more, well, feminised archetype . There was so much they could have done here, the thriller trope of this being an assassination mission not a rescue mission, and what about the notion of Jyn, our heroine, spending her life as a the daughter of a collaborator – theres plenty of drama and tension to mine. Instead we got some limping procession from one planet to another, drizzled in flat and inspired dialogue, and some feeble stabs at humour from the reprogrammed Imperial droid K2-SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk) which missed my funny bone by about 10 trillion parsecs.
SPOILERS SECTION – Yes, Darth effortlessly scything through doomed hordes of Rebel redshirts was highly amusing albeit pure fanboy masturbation, I felt his appearances were listless and not exactly squirming with menace, and very poorly written – what the hell was that ‘choke’ ‘gag;?.\ The entire connection of this story into the opening frames of Episode IV smacks of huge executive interference, it is clunky, it is ugly, and stinks of pure incoherent ‘hey this would be cool’ rather than letting the story be guided by any inconvenient diversions such as character arcs, logic or emotional closure. Some of the other cameos were almost embarrassing – the droids moment might retain their fidelity as the central characters who have appeared in every Star Wars film but it’s just pointless and distracting. Unfortunately Hollywood still hasn’t cracked the uncanny valley as the Peter Cushing resurrection was just weird and deployed far too often, it completely threw me out of the film, although I guess it is meta-commentary amusing to see na actor who spent his entire career grappling with the undead back on the screen a couple of decades since he slipped this mortal country. I quite liked the Leia cameo though, unlike most that kinda worked for me, even with the rather clunky line delivery – although I saw it before the sad news so I’m not sure if this just won’t play as deeply disrespectful. I also quite like the idea of the two reprobates from Mos Eisley engaged in some intergalactic pub crawl after they inadvertently bumped into Jyn, I’m sure there are numerous other references I missed but this is what has just curdled in the memory banks. Just to be really picky, the decision to nuke the final battleground, considering that they hold all the Empire’s plans and numerous intelligence assets seems a little extreme, a bit like nuking the Pentagon if the generals learned that some F23’s secret blueprints had been compromised. Why did Forrest Whitaker’s character just stay in his home intoning gravely instead of getting the fuck out of dodge with everyone else, and what was the fucking point of the psychic tentacle thing? SPOILERS ENDS
Most amusingly I have recently learnt that director Gareth Edwards, also graduated from the same Surrey University as me back in the mid 1990’s, I don’t specifically remember him as he would have been on a different course, but it was a small colleague so I’m sure our paths crossed at me point. I don’t quite know why he was stalking me at Frightfest but here we are. Not wishing to psychoanalyse his intent but he’s evidently one for apocalyptic instincts, big broad metaphors like the creatures in his debut and his Godzilla remake, but like the new generation of malleable directors they serve in obvious thrall to the franchise behemoth, delivering some acceptable product with any fiscal polluting edges and controversies whittled away. Thankfully the film improves dramatically once it reaches the final stretch and the climax begins to coalesce begins, it almost transforms into an actual Star Wars movie with the cross cutting between parallel planes of action to power the dramatic crescendos, but without any genuine investment in any of the occurrences it is all too little too late. To be a little more positive I did enjoy spending some more time in this franchise world from a nostalgic perspective, seeing the ship designs and costumes was fun, including Bahamas Stormtrooper © and was that a new horizontal TIE fighter design I spied? To deny that didn’t depress some nerd buttons would be dishonest. I also did like the sense of a teeming and populous universe which the film just about mustered, skipping from one planet to the next, and I wonder if the lack of traditional wipe edit patterns and inclusion of planet inter-title introductions (which haven’t been deployed in the franchise before) weren’t a deliberate effort to distinguish this movie from the Skywalker saga. But none of this can fully detract from an imaginary realm populated with dull and uninvolved characters, a bruising lack of camaraderie or comradeship, and an utterly unearned heroes journey from jaded criminal vagabond to inspired guerrilla leader who can inspire noble souls to join her on a doomed suicide mission. Oh and a quick memo to the next film producers – decide who your villain is, for fuck sake. Rogue One has at least three villains oozing around the galaxy and cackling over their nefarious plots, which left Ben Mendelsohn flailing for any presence or nefarious heft, in a completely wasted role.
The other reason its taking me so long to pull this together is that I didn’t want to start the year on such a tepid, negative posture, but for me the Scorsese season starts in earnest tomorrow with a screening of Silence so I need to disintegrate the back-log, no matter how distasteful. The film was subjected to reshoots before release which is par for the course these days, almost all major films do this so it’s not necessarily a warning sign, but the shift of emphasis from that original trailer alongside rumours and whispers coming out of the set smacks of Executive molestation a la Suicide Squad, where certain key moments have been culled to the cutting room floor to actively change the pace and tone of the narrative and the characters – ‘this will play gangbusters, so who cares about the plot’ is the corporate mantra especially with more receipts coming from overseas. Then again, apart from a few of us rare dissenters everyone seems to be loving this, or at least giving it a pass as fun couple of hours and upon reflection I can’t necessarily disagree with that for a major blockbuster, a distraction from the increasing ominous shift of the culture. Fine. Maybe I was in a bad mood when I saw this as I wasn’t particularly excited about it, as I’ve said before I’m of the generation that grew up with and was obsessed with this universe when I was a kid, but those pangs have faded partially due to its unearned ubiquity in the cultural landscape, but while I’m always down with some fun big dumb SF opera my exhaustion with this series is becoming overwhelming. So maybe it’s not for me and that’s fine, if people are throughly loving this then great, more power to you, the world is lacking in enthusiasm and genuine enjoyment these days, and perhaps a message of committing to fight against the darker forces in our world, no matter how futile as it might just make a difference isn’t such a bad shell of message to offer. Churning these out every year will inevitably tarnish the brand however, the appearance of a Stars Wars film was a major event for good or ill, and inevitably when we get to the Chewbacca: The Early Years dregs of the series it will have amassed enough in merchandising trillions to justify a reboot of the whole Skywalker saga again, from A New Hope, just in time for a 2027 50th anniversary treat. Rogue One is better than the I-III trilogy but then rampaging case of necrotic syphilis also occupies the same dubious qualities, so on that note ‘Beam Me Up Scotty’!!…wait, that’s the right franchise, right?;
Apparently, Nolan’s latest is getting a seven minute opening preview ahead of IMAX screenings of Rogue One – I’m sure we’ll get to see leaks of that soon, until then here’s the first full trailer which dropped today;
Well, tis the season I suppose, as the trailers for next years tentpole pictures are dropping thick and fast. But where is that god-damn Blade Runner 2 preview eh?
I like this rebooted franchise, its a lot more thoughtful and socially attuned that expected, with appropriate references back to the 1960’s originals. Good stuff…..
We can all do with a laugh, and this looks like it will deliver;
I generally shy away from posting every god-damn trailer in our current age of x 4 previews for the same bloody film, but I don’t know about you but I could still do with a distraction from the real world with some monsters. Some huge fucking monsters;
Hmm, not fond of that speed-ramping but I assume that’s a trailer effect they’ve thrown on the piece, and at least it looks like it has a sense of humor. – here is the greatest John C. Reily impression in recorded history. In other news, yes, we can do better – Indeed, we nust…..
Like most, I was frustrated with A.I. when it first assimilated into multiplexes during those ominous, dust choked final months of 2001. For reasons I can’t quite recall I was in a terrible mood when I went to see it at my then local multiplex on Harrow high street, despite eagerly following it’s long and unusual marketing campaign which featured such innovative elements as alt-reality interfaces and a revolutionary cluster of on-line, world building IP instruments. Kubrick’s death was still woundingly recent, making Spielberg’s inheritance of the project something of a bittersweet boon, the chance to see shards of what could have been filtered through the lens of a close colleague whose artistic instincts seem to divert at an almost molecular level. Kubrick was the cold remote nihilist, performing his autopsy on our species foibles with a detached and uncaring gaze. Spielberg was the warm humanist, celebrating the fragments of wonder and solidarity that can emerge in even the darkest corners of human experience. The melding of these two streams forged an odd elixir of form and frame, with the cloying, sentimental finale particularly derided as Spielberg suffocating Kubrick’s artistic affectations. In the intervening years however what was regarded as a mysterious misfire has coalesced into one of Spielberg’s oddest additions to his canon, some even cite it as his most misunderstood and maligned masterpiece, perverting some of the common themes that dominate his work – the bittersweet structures of family, the dark margins of wonder and adventure, our spatial relations to how the future is influenced by the past. I am in concert with these reassessments, I think through his historical films of the late 1980’s and 1990’s he matured from the blockbuster manipulation to a more serious and somber storyteller, heck I’d even posit that you could see A.I. as the central in a trilogy encompassing Minority Report and War of The Worlds, but that is a thesis for another time. It is a film which operates on a number of levels, oscillating the instincts of two great American legends, with more depth and digitized disquiet swirling helplessly like that scattered corporate paperwork tumbling over that bright, September Manhattan skyline.
For a fifteen year old film it could have made last year, it has dated exceptionally well in terms of design and SFX, which perhaps speaks for the quality of the work that Denis Muren and the ILM illusionist commissioned back at the turn of the millennium. Structurally it concertina’s out in incrementally wider sectors before deflating to a bittersweet climax, moving from the opening contextual vision of a climate change depleted future world where man has advanced artificial mechanics to a remarkable, near human sophistication via the genius of pioneering Professor Allen Hobby (William Hurt). The scene forebodingly set the narrative moves on to our initial meeting with David (Haley Joel Osment), a new model of artificial child or ‘mecha’ that has been commissioned by two bereaved parents, Henry (Sam Robards) and Monica (Frances O’Conner) after their biological son was committed to a cryogenic chamber due to a fatally incurable condition. After activation and bonding to his mother an increasingly haunting deconstruction of nurturing bonds is explored by Spielberg, as David behaves with an uncanny cherubic innocence, masking his pre-programmed precision perfected interior. A miracle sours to disaster for David when his surrogate is cured and returns to the family home, rendering him obsolete as his behaviors fails to gel with the meatbag family unit. In one of Spielberg’s cruelest ever scenes David is abandoned with his only ally, a diminutive cybernetic talking Teddy-Bear with whom he embarks on a fairy tale odyssey through the nocturnal netherworld of his binary brethren, whether as discarded slaves, sexual surrogates (in the form of Gigolo Joe, Jude Law’s male mecha escort) or cannon fodder entertainment in the ferociously cruel flesh-fair. Finally, in a truly Kubrickian disregard for narrative comfort the plot accelerates thousands of years ahead into an ice age future, where an advanced descendant of the primitive automatons resurrect David as a historical curiosity, and grant him his final fairy tale wish to be reunited with Monica in an eternal and infinite mirror of the human cage apex of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Well, that’s one way to read it but we’ll come back to that……..
Reaching for the cinematic shorthand stylus Spielberg litters the frame with symbolic reflections and distortions, indicating the murky masquerade of an artificial boy with a false algorithmic empathy, while John Williams mournful score lacquers another coating of questionable reality, a futurist fairy tale made flesh. It used to be that I wasn’t enamored with the plot of A.I. but if you approach it as a mood piece, as a feeling rather than a story the film is quite the disquieting experience, with a devilish final feint which inverts Spielberg’s entire career as a sentimental, treacle coated humanist. The world building is organic and measured, from earlier iterations of so-called ‘super-toys’ in the form of Teddy leading to advanced models such as David, like some ancient ipod (the first of which was released four months after the films release) prefiguring the powerful latest generation of iphone, a single device with more computing power than the entire NASA space programme of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Like Minority Report some of the tech has already been superseded, touch screen and voice activated mechanics are presented as vaguely revolutionary in the film, yet now commonplace and accelerating with the cool precision of Moore’s law. At its nucleus the film harbors a cold artificiality which collides with a vision of humanity which is consistently unsympathetic, detailing our greed, cruelty, hubris and selfishness across almost every speaking part in the film. Despite some of the obvious Kubrick homage reverse zooms and long dollys Spielberg’s style is also in the antecedent, those long establishing movements and temporal editing ellipses that he’s so affectionate for, in a film which is curiously diluted and drained of emotion. After the exposition set up the suburban sequence is a self-contained silo, just slightly tilted off kilter as unreal and manufactured, an almost grotesque parody of an ideal WASP nuclear family sharing idyllic summer days and bountiful mealtimes, tainted with an ignored and denied falsehood. It’s difficult to discern how much of this was Steven or Stanley and his decades of shaping the script, but it does feel like the like the best of Kubrick observing the techniques of these holy symbols – family, marriage, nature versus nurture – with his usual contemptuous silence.
After the claustrophobic interiors of the home the narrative and space opens up as David embarks on his journey, his interactions and observations detailing a proto-catastrophic future world with humans writhing in their final extinction spasms, abandoned to an uncertain fate with all the remorse of unwanted Xmas puppy. Through this section some of those recent questions that SF cinema has probed in media such as Moon, A Clockwork Orange, entire swathes of Star Trek:The Next Generation, more recently Ex Machina, and of course Blade Runner percolate to the surface, what does it mean to be human, how do you judge what is human and where is that imaginary line to be drawn? Is it empathy and sympathy, two qualities that the mecha emit but the humans do not – that cradles the soul? Osment encapsulates this in a studiously manufactured performance, a boy playing a boy playing a boy, another unearthly juvenile performance to rival Spielberg’s discreet direction in those 1980’s family favorites. With his usual DP Janusz Kaminski the shadows coil and the palette descends through layers of oozing obsidian as David’s search for the mythical wish-granting Blue Fairy gains traction, through the lurid neon of Rogue City or the carnival cruelty of the Flesh Fair the film adopts an episodic structure so beloved of Kubrick and his ‘non-submersible units’, a programmed Pinocchio searching for a hollow dream which is fearsome in its futility.
So the story shifts fully to the mechas, their childlike yearnings and inquisitive lack of self safety again signalling the fairy tale tenacity of the tale, with specific visual and character references moving from Pinocchio to The Wizard of Oz. One observation I excavated for this section is a stretch but amusing, during the capture of the mechas the activities are spearheaded by a fellow in a leather jacket and fedora riding around in a hot-air balloon moulded to look like a full moon – or is it a Indiana Jones proxy astride the Amblin logo which in turn was yielded from one of his most favorite icons – the full moon flying shot from E.T.? What is the purpose of this directorial self-insertion from Spielberg? Well, played by a perennial gruff Brendan Gleeson this future pundit then goes on to rather pointedly explain that you shouldn’t trust any of the ’emotions’ of the robots, because the entire thing is an illusion, they aren’t real, they’re shallow simulacra designed to manipulate our own feelings. One may be able to level this charge at the forced emotional manipulation of the entire blockbuster model, programming its audience in how to feel through sound, spectacle and SFX rather than allowing any organic reactions to such old-fashioned techniques such as characters, situations, drama and plot. Speaking of ugly manipulation the flesh fair itself is reminiscent of a Roman collesium and a Trump rally, although the ugly, jeering crowds turn to pillory the ringleader does seem a little trite, once they appreciate that David may be an android but his appearance as an anthropomorphised child activates some dormant mothering instinct in them all.
The A.I. of the title is portrayed throughout this section of the film in its primitive infancy, as homo-sapien was to Homo habilis before we divined tools and fire, as Davids encounter with his maker Dr. Hobby prologues the narrative leap forward in one of the more audacious jump cuts, since, well you know what. In this dystopian twilight the automatons have been used by humans as slave labor, as simple to discard tools with the same attachment than you would have for your toaster or lawn mower, or rather more predictably used as sexual instruments in the form of Gigolo Joe (Jude Law) who betrays a glimmerings of self-awareness and curiosity beyond his seductive programming, an inquisitive adolescent to David’s single driven juvenile. Like the great sexual chronicler William Burrows said, the first thing human beings do with technology is to weaponize it in a sexual fashion, from the car and its attendant advertising industry to the heavy breathers on the phone, to the cinema immediately generating nudie and stag films all the way through to the chaste and discrete, vast pornographic canyons of the internet.
In that light the two mechas oscillate between David and his Grimm fairy tale guidance and a simple fu*k machine, a species trapped between adolescence and maturity in a short evolutionary glitch. Perhaps by this stage there are too many half expressed and seered situations which visually slam metaphors into the narrative, there is a myriad of ideas percolating through the subsequent 9/11 imagery and climate change chin-stroking, which blends directly into Minority Report’s political pre-cog (we must pre-empt and neutralise threats before we are attacked), and The War of the Worlds dust choked, obliterated landscapes under the thrall of an implacable terror, forcing our every-men to contemplate the worst acts to defend their families. Trapped in the shadow of the Coney Island Wonder Wheel – a location noted for its frivolous childhood escapism – David almost pathetically prays to a silent and implacable idol to realise his dreams, before the most ambitious time shift in Stephen’s entire cinematic canon.
When I first saw A.I. the sheer gusto of this narrative shift caught me like a crystalline chainsaw to the cerebral cortex, the leap to David and Joe’s brethren some thousands of years hence obliterated all expectations, even as this final sequence is allegedly then poisoned by that final, saccharine seizure inducing finale of resurrection and renewal. How many films even remotely attempt to leap forward in their time frame across such vast distances and truly speculate on our and our offsprings species capacity for evolution and transcendence, heck even today films of any genre rarely trade in those intellectual infrastructures, as the shift in SF cinema has warped from intellectual curiosity or social metaphor to simple, action framed pyrotechnics. The misunderstood finale still gets written off as typical Spielberg whimsy, but I’d charge that there is something far more disturbing squirming under the surface. The entire film has been formed around a cascading narrative of sequences moving from David’s activation to decommission, seeing our species final dwindling fall through the animatronics sensors of an artificial boy. Through this vessel we witness the last ember of human life, simulated and simulacra, a not ironic Moebius strip to the film’s artificial opening and the establishment of the family unit, the supposed cradle of nurturing and evolving civilisation. Through its fairy tale logic the film engineers our quiet withdrawal from existence into the dim halls of infinity, the lock of hair a final totem of the organic and ‘real’ framed in the grasp of a artificial creature and his childlike companion. The playing of the scene makes me uncomfortable, Kinglsey’s narration in both dialogue and intonation is ugly to me, a single day of pre-augmented reality that chimes with some of the contemporary warnings of the like of Elon Musk. As has been confirmed the finale was Kubrick’s, it was always there in the pre-production storyboards, not in fact a terrible contamination of Spielberg’s instincts scattering against the bulwark of Kubrick’s nihilism. It’s nothing less than one final bitter shroud to shawl our entire civilisation, built on a artificial engineered lie, all or struggles and suffering rendered as a infinite sick joke – how Kubrickian is that?
Nevertheless, Stanley always held the view that technology would be the next phase of sentience if you’ve done your research around his discussions with his development screenwriters Brian Aldis whose novella Supertoy’s Last All Summer Long served as a main inspiration, before exhausted and leeched of ideas Kubrick fired his husk and moved onto the Ian Watson phase of development. This is a flawed film, a deeply flawed piece one could argue, but it at least reaches for something further than most films attempt and like the truly memorable pictures holds resonance and echoes today. It’s sentimental carapace shields a quite horrific core, a fantasy, an unreality which like all the immortal fairy tale story nags and nuzzles at deeply suppressed truths and terrors. It’s appearance on the recently published 100 greatest films of the century didn’t particularly surprise me, as even like Kubrick’s most maligned films they have matured and grown into the culture in which they were expressed, a feature, not a bug it seems of the associated projects when he wasn’t frenziedly harnessing the electrons in the CPU. What is human? Where does sentience begin and moral agency end? What is to become of these initial promethean tamperings with sentience beyond our carbon based stardust? Whatever the questions no-one has the answers, as this rather bizarre hybrid of two of the most influential post-war American filmmakers attests, in one of Spielberg’s strangest and richest films;
Another trailer, but this one’s a death stared doozy. I can’t be the only lapsed Star Wars fan to have been coaxed reluctantly back to the fold with some of the elements of Episode VII, with a cool suspicion of these so-called side universe films and the associated world building that is fragmenting Hollywood cinema into the mediocre and actively terrible. Rogue One however looks fantastic with a genuine tone and spirit coursing through the previews, I just hope that energy pulses in the final mission;
In other news my long cherished dream for a modern day update to Elite has finally been realised. There is no way I am purchasing a copy of that, as it would essentially dominate my life / career / reason for existence over the next, say, two or three decades. Must resist……..