Tag Archives: Harrison Ford

Thoughts On Star Wars Day

For some of us, May 4th is just May 4th. But for Star Wars fans, May 4th is a momentous day.

Today is Star Wars Day, or as fans refer to today, May The Fourth Be With You.

What makes Star Wars special for me is that underneath the special effects and other-worldly story is the fight against tyranny and oppression. It is a story that is as old as humanity itself and a fight that still continues to this day.

Though George Lucas may have mucked up the narrative with the prequels, the basic narrative still holds up decades later for a reason. The story of farm boy, a princess and a pirate coming together to fight for freedom is still as emotionally and politically relevant as it was in 1977.

Though the narrative is a basic one, Lucas (at least in the 70’s), knew how to expand on the expand on this basic premise. He knew that Princess Leia (the late and still very missed Carrie Fisher) had to be more than the standard damsel in distress. There had to be something more to Han Solo (Harrison Ford) that just a space pirate who is looking for the next job. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) had to have a future other than running his Uncle and Aunt’s farm.

To my fellow Star Wars fans around the world, May The 4th Be With You!

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RIP Peter Mayhew

I’ve stopped counting the number of movies that I’ve seen over the years. Most movies come and go, but there are only a small handful that I will go back to again and again.

The Star Wars films are among the films that I go back to. Tuesday, we lost Peter Mayhew, who brought Chewbacca to life.

Chewbacca was more than Han’s (Harrison Ford) co-pilot. He was the smart ass to Han’s arrogance and the muscle when brute strength was needed. He also had a heart of gold.

In recent years, Mayhew was experiencing health problems and had passed his iconic role to Joonas Suotamo.

May his memory be a blessing not just to the millions of Star Wars fans around the world, but to those who knew and loved him as a person.

RIP and may the force always be with him.

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Flashback Friday-Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

On paper, sequels look like an easy money-maker for movie studios. They know that there is a built-in fan base who know and love the characters. The question is, does this sequel hold up to reputation of its predecessor?

In 2008,  Indiana Jones once again returned to the big screen in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It’s been quite a few years since the audience saw Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford). It’s 1957 and The Cold War is red-hot.  A young man, Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) bring Indy a cryptic message from an old colleague, Professor Oxley (John Hurt). Following the message, Indy and Mutt travel to Peru. Hot on their trail is Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), a Soviet spy who will do anything to complete her mission. It’s up to Indy, Mutt, Professor Oxley and Indy’s ex-girlfriend, Marian Ravenwood (Karen Allen) to discover the secret of the crystal skull and prevent it from getting into the wrong hands.

Compared to other sequels, this film is is pretty good. It holds true to the Indiana Jones cannon while introducing/re-introducing characters that don’t feel forced or out of place in this world.

I recommend it.

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Star Wars Character Review: Kylo Ren/Ben Solo

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the new characters that were introduced to audiences for the episodes seven and eight in the Star Wars franchise. Read at your own risk if you have not seen The Force Awakens Or The Last Jedi.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Star Wars to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Life is often a series of choices. What we don’t know is the the repercussions that may come about from those choices. In The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) was introduced as the film’s baddie. Like Darth Vader before him, Kylo was determined with a capital D to destroy the rebellion at any cost, regardless of the ties to the heroes of the rebellion.

Kylo Ren’s birth name was Ben Solo. He is the son of Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford), the nephew of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and the grandson Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman). With his lineage and natural abilities when it comes the force, he could have followed his uncle Luke to become a Jedi. Instead he took the same path his grandfather took. Seduced by the dark side and Supreme Leader Snoke, Ben Solo becomes a think of the past. He is now Kylo Ren, master of the knights of Ren and supreme leader of The First Order.

In The Force Awakens, while Kylo is committed the destroying the rebellion, there is a part of him that still goes back to the light and the family he left behind. That is, until he kills his father. Even so, the questions about his loyalties still never quite disappear. His interactions with Rey (Daisy Ridley) bring those questions to the surface, especially he has the opportunity to kill his mother in The Last Jedi. But, he makes the split second decision not to.

In the end of The Last Jedi, after Rey has rejected Kylo’s offer to join The First Order, he frames her for the murder of Supreme Leader Snoke and goes after in the rebellion with everything he’s got. He has made the choice to completely give into the dark side.

To sum it up: Kylo Ren/ Ben Solo made the choice to forego any return to the light side and completely become one with the dark side of the force.  In this process, he killed his father, nearly killed his mother and become a younger version of his grandfather. Characters make choices and like all of us, will have to live with those choices. Episode 9 starting filming this week. While we will have to wait until next year to see the repercussions of his choices, he made them and will have to deal with them.

 

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Thoughts On The Full Trailer Of Solo: A Star Wars Story

It takes a brave (or foolhardy, depending on your point of view) actor to step into the shoes of a character that is known and beloved the world over. Especially in a prequel or sequel.

The full trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story was released on Sunday.

Alden Ehrenreich will be stepping into the very large shoes that Harrison Ford first made famous 41 years ago when Han Solo was introduced to audiences. Taking place 10 years before A New Hope, Han is still Han. Brash, cocky and still hell of a pilot, he gets entangled in the criminal underworld and goes on a journey that will lead him to the rebellion. His journey to the rebellion is incomplete without Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover).

As usual, Lucasfilm (and Disney by extension) gave fans just enough to get us excited without giving too much away. At this point, the film can go one of two ways. It can be like Rogue One and open the door to new characters/narratives within the Star Wars universe. Or, it can be like the prequels and basically suck.

Only time will tell. I can only hope and pray that the film lives up to the promises laid out in the trailer.

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Thoughts On The Release Of The Full Trailer Of Solo: A Star Wars Story

Yesterday, Lucasfilm teased us with the teaser trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Today the full trailer was released.

Needless to say, I am very excited about this film. Han is such a dynamic force of a character. To see where he came from and how he became the man the audiences meet in the bar on Tatooine in A New Hope is very exciting.

Han would not be Han without Chewbacca (played by Peter Mayhew in the original film and played by Joonas Suotamo in this film) Lando Calrissian (played by Billy Dee Williams in the original trilogy and played by Donald Glover in this film). There are also new characters, Qi’Ra (played by Emilia Clarke) and Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson).

So far, based on the trailer, it looks to be a good film. I can only hope that the film lives up to the promise in the trailer.

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Solo: A Star Wars Story Preview Trailer

Han Solo is one of the most recognizable characters in film history.

Played by Harrison Ford in four of the nine released Star Wars movies, Han Solo was the space cowboy who became a hero of the rebellion.

This summer, Solo: A Star Wars Story is slated to hit theaters. A prequel to A New Hope, the movie tells Han’s story before he joins the rebellion. Alden Ehrenreich will be stepping into the very big shoes that Ford created forty-one years ago.

While Lucasfilm is not releasing any details beyond what is in trailer (which is not unexpected), I can only hope that this film not only lives up to the legacy of  the series, but also gives the audience new insight into one of our favorite heroes.

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The Life & Legacy Of Luke Skywalker

Luke Skywalker is one of our culture’s most recognizable characters. One of the three lead characters in the original Star Wars series, Luke, played by Mark Hamill is every man. Unlike Han (Harrison Ford) or Leia (the late and very missed Carrie Fisher), Luke is the character we can all relate to.

I could go on, but I think the video below says it all.

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Throwback Thursday- The Fugitive (1993)

The crime drama genre has had a pull on audiences for many generations. The cat and mouse game between the criminals and the police makes for a riveting narrative, if done properly.

In 1993, Harrison Ford starred in The Fugitive, a reboot of the 1963 television series of the same name. Ford plays Dr. Richard Kimble, a man accused of murdering his wife. While he hunts down the real killer, Dr. Kimble is also running from Deputy U.S. Marshall Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones). Deputy Gerard does not believe that Dr. Kimble is innocent and is determined to see him locked up.

Before we go any farther, I must warn that I have never seen the television series, this review is strictly based on the movie. What I like about this movie is that the action works well with the narrative. While some other films in this genre never quite have the right mix of action and narrative, the film finds the perfect balance between the two. I also thoroughly enjoy the game of one-upmanship that Dr. Kimble and Deputy Gerard play, trying to prove that the other is wrong and he is right.

I recommend it.

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Star Wars Character Review: Obi-Wan Kenobi

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the original Stars Wars trilogy. Read at your own risk if you are just now discovering the original trilogy. For this post, I will also be briefly delving into some of the narratives in the prequels.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from the original Star Wars trilogy to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In previous posts, I have examined Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan (the late Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford). In this post, I will be writing about Obi-Wan Kenobi (the late Alec Guinness).

There are two perspectives in life: one of youth and one of maturity. If Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) represents youth, then Obi-Wan Kenobi (the late Alec Guinness) represents maturity. Known to Luke as Ben Kenobi, he seems like an old man who has chosen a life of solidarity. But, Ben or Obi-Wan, has a secret. He is the one of last of the last surviving Jedi, going into hiding after watching his brethren killed by Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. After watching his former pupil turn to the dark side, Obi-Wan separates Anakin’s motherless twins, Luke and Leia and watches Luke grow up from afar.

A generation later, with the Empire closing on her ship, Leia contacts her adopted father’s old friend, Obi-Wan. She is in peril and needs his help.  Taking Luke and the droids, R2D2 (the late Kenny Baker) and C3PO (Anthony Daniels) with him, they meet up with space pirate Han Solo (Harrison Ford)  and his lieutenant, Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), who agree to help them with the rescue.

While Obi-Wan dies at the hands of Darth Vader in Episode 4, he lives on in spirit, watching over Luke and guiding him in Episodes 5 and 6.

Obi-Wan is to Merlin as Luke is to a young King Arthur. While Obi-Wan is briefly in the narrative in physical form, his presence and memory as Luke’s mentor/father figure remains throughout the entire narrative of the original trilogy.  Every hero needs a guiding hand, someone who can help the hero to overcome the obstacles in his or her path. Obi-Wan Kenobi is that guiding hand.

To sum it up: Sometimes in life, we need someone older and wiser to guide us. In creating the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi, George Lucas paved the way for Luke Skywalker to become the Jedi that he eventually becomes. We may not appreciate the mentor characters in the short-term, but in the long-term, we begin to see how important they are to the growth and destiny of their student.

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