*A New Hope will be referred to as ANH and Empire Strikes Back will be referred to as ESB.
Logically speaking, we know that a film (unless it is a documentary) is a work of fiction. It is the cumulative work of many who come together to create a final product that seems real. But a good film has a way of touching the audience in a way that lasts well beyond the final credits.
Thursday was the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. The second of three films in the first Star Wars trilogy, it is widely ranked as one of the best films in the overall series. While it’s predecessor, A New Hope, is the simple story of how a farm boy, a princess and a pirate destroy an evil empire, ESB takes that basic concept and expands it tenfold.
From a writing perspective, ESB is everything one would want in a sequel. The characters have grown and are facing new challenges. The world that the story takes place in is wider. The stakes are higher as the Empire has rebounded and is eager to take back the ground that they lost in ANH.
From a fan perspective, there are two major narratives that will forever hold a place in my heart. I love the will they or won’t they between Han (Harrison Ford) and Leia (the late Carrie Fisher). The tension between them is absolutely perfect. I think that it goes without saying that the exchange between Han and Leia just before he is frozen in Carbonite is simple, sexy and utterly romantic.
And then, there is the most jaw dropping revelation in film history. To this day, new fans watch this scene and their minds are still blown that Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) father is no other than Darth Vader.
Here is to the 40th anniversary of the Empire Strikes Back. May this film live on for another 40 years and beyond.
At first glance, the Star Wars film franchise seems to be nothing more than the average action/adventure film set in space. But it so much more.
There’s politics, history, religion, growing up, family, finding yourself, etc. I’ve been a fan since high school, when the original trilogy was re-released. My passion for Star Wars has only grown over the years. I love that the message underneath it all is hope. Hope is the one thing we have when all seems lost.
The thing that hooked me with this podcast and keeps me hooked is the intelligent (and sometimes eye-opening) conversations between the hosts and the guests. The most recent episode talked about The Phantom Menace. Though I love the franchise as a whole, I loathe the prequels and The Phantom Menace in particular. As both a writer and a fan, these movies fall short of the reputation that was crafted by their predecessors.
One of the topics that were brought up during the most recent episode was the glossing over of midi-chlorians. In laymen’s terms, midi-chlorians are the microscopic-sized life forms that if exist in significant numbers in an individual, give that individual Force abilities.
Writing-wise, the question asked was why midi-chlorian and the role they played in the conception of Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) was not given it’s due. Instead of being a major part of the narrative, it was a throw-away line that only the most ardent Star Wars fan would have noticed.
With most of us locked in our homes nearly 24/7, intelligent conversation seems to be one of those things that we are relying on to keep us sane. I will take any intelligent conversation about Stars Wars, especially these days.
That, dear reader is why Thank the Maker: A Star Wars Podcast is my new favorite podcast and it should be yours as well.
Joker: In this re imagined world from that Batman universe, Joaquin Phoenix adds new layers to this iconic character while talking frankly about mental illness.
The Song of Names: Based on the book of the same name, the film follows a man who is trying to discover the secrets of a missing childhood friend.
Frozen II: This sequel to the mega-hit Frozen was well worth the six year wait. Instead of doing a slap-dash direct to video type sequel, the filmmakers expanded this world in new ways, making the story even more relevant.
This will be my last post for 2019. Wherever you are, thank you for reading this year. May 2020 be bright and hopeful.
I loved this book, it is brilliant. From one geek to another, Mr. Jameson talks about geek culture as only an insider can. One of the points he brings up (which many do not) is that movie/television studios and companies that make the accompanying paraphernalia is they think that fans are blindly loyal. Slap the name of the movie or the television show on anything and we will hand over our money. It is one of several misconceptions that Mr. Jameson brilliantly discusses.
When the average person thinks of the late (and dearly missed), Carrie Fisher, they think of the iconic character she played in the Star Wars film series. Princess turned General Leia was badass, in charge, unapologetic and had no problem telling the boys off.
The woman behind the character was just as badass, in charge, unapologetic and had no problem telling the boys off.
She also was open about her struggles with drug abuse and mental illness. Both are subjects that are touchy and depending on the person, it is a no go conversation wise. But Carrie, in her unique way, was honest and upfront about her usually, almost brutally so. In doing so, she allowed the rest of us to be open and honest about our own battles, whatever they may be.
Tomorrow is the 3rd anniversary of her passing.
In the words of our mutual ancestors, may her memory be a blessing.
*-This review will be spoiler free. Loose lips sink star ships andanger fans who have not seen the film.
When Star Wars: A New Hope premiered in 1977, it appeared to be nothing more than a hokey space adventure aimed at a young audience. 42 years later, Star Wars has become part and parcel of our culture with millions of fans around the world.
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker premiered this weekend. Picking up from where The Last Jediended in 2017, the members of the rebellion are licking their collective wounds and gearing up for battle once more. Rey (Daisy Ridley) continues her Jedi training with the help of General Leia Organa (the late Carrie Fisher).
On a distant planet, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is connecting with the universe’s ultimate evil: the returned from the dead Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). The Emperor has one goal: to finally destroy the rebellion once and for all.
While Leia maintains the rebellion from home base, Rey, Poe (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega), Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) go on a journey to stop the First Order in its tracks.
The reviews of this film have been mixed. I don’t agree with them.
The only flaw that this movie had is that it could have been cut down by a few minutes. Other than that, this film is perfect. It was the perfect ending to the Star Wars saga. I loved the new characters, I loved the ending and the seamless way that Carrie Fisher’s scenes from The Force Awakens were integrated into this movie.
I absolutely recommend it.
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker is presently in theaters.
The purpose of a movie trailer is to reveal just enough about the film to entice the audience to see the movie. This trailer is really good. Like any Star Wars trailer, the details are kept under wraps (at least until December 20th).
We know that is going to be a battle between good and evil, which has always been the basis of the Star Wars story. But it is supposed to be the be all and end all for this saga and these characters. However, knowing Disney and Lucasfilm, I would not be surprised if there was another leg to the narrative released in the next twenty years.
It has been said that what defines us is not how we fall, but how we rise after a fall.
The late Carrie Fisher rose many times in her 60 years. Today would have been her 63rd birthday.
What she went through might have stopped some people in their tracks. But she found the will to survive, the courage to look her demons in the eye and the sense of humor to publicly laugh about them.
She was more than the lone female for most of the Star Wars film series. She was a daughter, a mother, a sister, one hec of a writer, a bad ass and a mental health warrior. She was not afraid to speak her mind and speak for those who could not speak for themselves. Though many might be shamed into silence by their addiction and mental health issues, Carrie spoke openly and honestly about her demons. In doing so, she allowed others to do the same.
The best characters are the one who catch you off guard. You think they know who this person is and where their narrative is going. Then there is a switch in the narrative and the character goes off in a surprising direction. When done well, this out of left field change in the character arc has the potential to shock the audience and up the dramatic ante by 100. When not done well, it can turn off the audience.
The new Star Wars firm, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters in December. As they are during the lead up to every film in the franchise, Lucasfilm is mostly mum on the details. But then they slip a delicious nugget or two into the trailers.
At this point, there are any number of theories about Dark Rey (Daisy Ridley). Is this a vision of what will or could be? Is this the ultimate manipulation of the dark side? Will we learn that Rey is actually a descendant of the late Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDairmid) and has a family?
At this point, there are so many possibilities. I could theorize all day, but I think I will let J.J. Abrams work his magic and tell us in December.