Tag Archives: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Last Jedi Movie Review-Spoilers Ahead

Warning: This movie review contain spoilers for The Last Jedi. I will not be offended if you choose to read this review until after you have seen the movie. 

The Star Wars trilogy created the movie sequels as we know them to be today.

In The Last Jedi, the resistance, led by General Leia Organa (the late and very missed Carrie Fisher) is on the run from The First Order. Leia’s son, Kylo Ren/Ben Solo (Adam Driver) is hell-bent on destroying the resistance, as per the command of Snoke (Andy Serkis). Kylo’s second in command, General Hux (Domnhall Gleason) is as eager as his bosses to see the resistance blown to smithereens.

Meanwhile, Rey (Daisy Ridley) has found Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), but Luke is not happy to found. However, at the same time, he sees the power in Rey and knows that she must receive some sort of training.  At the same time, Finn (John Boyega) has woken from his coma and is teaming up with previously unknown Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) to find a way to defeat The First Order. Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is all for the plan, but he has been rebuked for his wild ways by Leia and Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) for his wild ways.

Director Rian Johnson has hit it out of the park with this film. A throwback to The Empire Strikes Back, Johnson is a fanboy who has used his love of the franchise to create a remarkable film.

While all of the cast were at peak performance mode, my favorite performances belonged to Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Adam Driver. Luke, who was only seen briefly and without any dialogue at the end of The Force Awakens, is a man who is torn apart by his past and the decisions he made.  His twin, Leia is watching the resistance fall apart and is trying to lead the remnants as best she can.  Kylo is unsure as to the path he has taken. While he has sworn loyalty to Snoke, there is still a part of him that clings to the light side of the force and the family he left behind when he flipped to the dark side.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Last Jedi is presently in theaters. 

 

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Solo: A Star Wars Story Mini Trailer

Yesterday, director Ron Howard announced the title of the upcoming Han Solo stand alone movie. It’s called Solo: A Star Wars Story. Set to be released next May, it’s not a surprise that the details of the movie, other than the general plot are being kept under wraps for the present. What is known is that the film is a prequel to Episode 4 and will tell the story of Han’s life before he met Luke, Leia and company.

Given the success of Rogue One and The Force Awakens and the hype surrounding The Last Jedi, I hope that this prequel/standalone film will only add to the luster of the Star Wars legacy and given fans a new reason to be loud and proud of their fandom.

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You Do You-Why We Miss Carrie Fisher

For the most part, when someone famous dies the response is as follows: their death is reported in the media, there maybe some smatterings of memorials on social media and then they are remembered during in memoriam section during the next awards ceremony.

When Carrie Fisher passed away suddenly from a heart attack at the end of last year, it was a shock to the cultural system. As an actress, writer and mental health advocate, she has been a part of our cultural landscape since 1977.

I recently purchased the Vanity Fair 40th anniversary Star Wars editions.

The one section of the article that struck me was a conversation that she had with John Boyega in 2014 when the original trailer for The Force Awakens was released. The backlash of having not just a black storm trooper,but also a black leading man did not sit well with some fans. Fisher’s response to the backlash and Boyega’s reaction to the backlash was simple: “you do you”.

Out of everything that I remember her for, it is the fact that she was her authentic self, warts and all. While some of us present a certain image depending on whom we are with, Fisher was not afraid to be herself, even if that meant revealing her demons or her less than ideal past.

She encouraged her fans to be themselves and not be afraid to reveal their own dark sides.

While I will always adore her as Princess Leia, it is her fearlessness that will continue to inspire me and her fans around the world.

RIP Carrie. Gone, but never, ever forgotten.

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Rey is Not a Skywalker, She is a Kenobi

*The theory below is strictly based on the narrative and characters presented in the movies, not on any of other media. This post also contains spoilers about the Star Wars movies, read at your own risk if you have not seen them.

In Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), fans were introduced to a new heroine: Rey (Daisy Ridley). We are introduced to Rey as she is climbing through the remains of a downed Empire battleship, scavenging for metal that she can sell. While the audience has yet to be told anything about Rey other than the details that were released in The Force Awakens, multiple fan theories have been flying around the internet since the film’s release.

My theory is that Rey is not a Skywalker, but a Kenobi. My reasons are:

  1. The force and the abilities to control the force are an inherited trait (unless your Anakin Skywalker and believed to be created by the force.) There are only a few surviving bloodlines and families within the Star Wars Universe that have transfered the force from parent to child. Unless Rey were partially created by the force, she has to have inherited her abilities from someone.
  2. If nothing else, the narrative within Star Wars is known for huge, jaw dropping, completely out of left field plot twists (i.e. the big reveal in Empire or Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) killing his father, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in The Force Awakens). While the easiest and most direct theory is that Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is Rey’s father, that would be almost too easy to predict.
  3. Rey is an outsider at the beginning of The Force Awakens. She lives on the desert of Jakku and is without family or friends to rely on. If she were Luke’s daughter, she would be wearing an outfit that is completely white. But instead, her outfit is  white, tan and grey, closer to the outfit that Obi Wan Kenobi (Sir Alec Guinness) wore in a New Hope.
  4. If Rey was Luke’s daughter, both Han and Leia (the late and very missed Carrie Fisher) would have recognized their niece.
  5. Rey could be Leia’s daughter from another relationship. In The Force Awakens, Han and Leia seemed to have separated for a time. That might have led to a relationship with another man, but again, Leia did not recognize her or make mention of another child besides Kylo Ren/Ben, so from my perspective, it is highly unlikely that she and Rey are mother and daughter.
  6. There is no mention in The Force Awakens of a relationship that between Luke and a woman that might have led to the birth of a child. Unless that is the big secret that both Daisy Ridley and J.J. Abrams have almost let slip over the past year.
  7. Unless some of Obi Wan’s history between Revenge Of The Sith and A New Hope has been alluded to in other media, the audience knows nothing of his life between those years. There could have been a relationship and a child somewhere along the way.
  8. The audience is given so little of Luke’s life in the thirty years between Jedi and The Force Awakens. Mark Hamill was not given any dialogue in The Force Awakens and he gave no indication, at least for the short time he was on screen, that he recognized Rey.
  9. Obi Wan is one of several prominent voices that Rey hears as she picks up the light saber and learns how to yield it.  Given his status as Luke’s mentor and father figure, as well Rey’s natural abilities with the light saber, it’s not hard to imagine that Obi Wan is related to Rey.

Therefore, based on the information provided provided, I believe that Rey carries Kenobi blood, not Skywalker blood in her veins.

Do you agree or disagree? I’d love to know what my fellow Star Wars fan think.

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Best & Worst Movies of 2015

2015 has been a good year for movies. With less than a week until 2016, I think it’s time to share my list of the best and worst movies of 2015.

Best Movies Of 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens & Brooklyn

If you asked me to choose between these two movies for top movies of the year, I honestly could not.  Star Wars: The Force  Awakens reminded me why I have been a fan since high school. It was everything that the first three films were and then some. Brooklyn was the perfect film. Fully formed characters, a plot that anyone can relate to, and of course, it takes place in my home town.

  Trumbo

Another surefire award winner, Trumbo is the story of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston). One of the most respected and highest paid screenwriters in the 1940’s and 1950’s, Dalton Trumbo was part of the Hollywood Ten. Accused of being a communist, Trumbo is jailed and nearly forfeits his career.

Suffragette

Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) is an ordinary woman who is pulled into the pre-World War I feminist movement in Britain. Choosing between her family and her new-found beliefs, Maud must make some hard decisions.  A reminder of why we still need the feminist movement, this film is a reminder of not just how far we have come, but how far we need to go.

Honorable Mentions Of 2015

Ricki and The Flash

Years ago, Ricki Randazzo (Meryl Streep) gave up the life of an ordinary suburban wife and mother to become a rock and roll singer. That plan has not worked out so well and Ricki must face the turmoil from her ex-husband and her children.

Pitch Perfect 2

Several years after the original movie, the girl are back.  When a performance does not go as planned and embarrasses the Bellas, Becca (Anna Kendrick) & Co must pull together and remind the rest of the world why they are the Barden Bellas.

Far From The Madding Crowd

Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) has recently inherited her late uncle’s house and his fortune. Based on the book by Thomas Hardy, Bathsheba has no interest in marrying. But three men come forward who present her with a glimpse of what married life could be.

Worst Movies Of 2015

The Intern

In this new-age e-commerce film, Ben (Robert DeNiro) is a retiree with too much time on his hands. Jules (Anne Hathaway) is the owner of an online fashion company that is looking to senior interns. While the premise was interesting, the writing felt like it was lacking.

Macbeth

Macbeth (Michael Fassbender) is one of the most respected and well-known Shakespeare plays. That does not mean that it translates well to the screen every time. While the individual pieces of the film are fine, they don’t work together as  well as they should.

See you in 2016!

 

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Ranking The Star Wars Movies

With the release of Episode 7 of Star Wars this weekend, I think it’s time I ranked all of the movies in the series so far. From worst to best, below is my definitive ranking of the Star Wars movies.

7. Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)

Everything that is wrong with this movie can be summed up in three words: Jar-Jar Binks.  George Lucas nearly turned what was a respected and beloved film series into just another overblown, special effects driven, weak on plot and character science fiction film. Even with the likes of respected actors Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor could not save this film from being just plain awful.

6.  Episode II: Attack Of The Clones (2002)

In attempting to placate fans and make up for the awfulness that is The Phantom Menace, George Lucas moved the story forward. Replacing Jake Lloyd as a young Anakin with Hayden Christensen as a teenage Anakin did nothing for this film. It continued to be just another overblown, special effects driven, weak on plot and character science fiction film.   Thank you, George Lucas for nearly killing what was good and pure and true in Star Wars.

5. Revenge Of The Sith (2005)

In the final prequel of the Star Wars Series, George Lucas makes the second attempt to placate fans, again making up for the awfulness that is Episode I and II, while  tying up the story lines that will lead to the Episodes 4, 5 and 6. While this film was the best of the prequels, it still does not hold up to the first three films.

4. Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) 

This movie is an icon by itself. Without it, the movies today would not be what they are. In a sense, the story is a copy of the science fiction novels and books of the past, but it is so much more. It is entertaining, it is fun and it takes the audience out of their world and into a new one for a couple of hours. In short, it is perfect.

3. The Force Awakens (2015) 

Finally, Star Wars fans have a worthy successor to the first three films. Director and co-writer J.J. Abrams took out what did not work in the prequels and returned Star Wars to what it was. Practical effects, a nice mix of older cast members and newbies and a plot that feels true to the Star Wars universe makes for a dam good film.

2. Return Of The Jedi (1983)

The final film of the first three in the series begins with the rescue of Han from Jabba’s lair. It ends with a satisfying conclusion.  The empire is defeated, Darth Vader has returned to the light side and our heroes have won. All of the strings are tied together perfectly. But that did not keep fans from wanting more.

1. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Empire is the best of all of the films for a reason. Expanding the universe and the plot lines, the characters feel less 2-D and more 3-D. Breaking from their 1940’s science fiction molds, each character is given the chance to grow and change in new ways. And of course, there is one of the most famous revelations in film history:

Here’s hoping to episodes 8 & 9 are just as good as 4-7 and not a repeat of 1-3.

 

 

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

This weekend was the weekend that Star Wars fans have been waiting and hoping for. Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally premiered.

It takes place three decades after Return Of The Jedi ended. The old Empire is a thing of the past. But the dark side lingers. The new leader of the empire is Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). He is driven by one goal: to find and kill the last Jedi knight, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). But Luke has disappeared without a trace.

Luke’s sister, the former Princess now General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) is still the head of the rebellion. She sends her best pilot, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) to locate her brother. While his mission is still in progress, Poe is captured by the empire, but a storm trooper with second thoughts about his life choices, Finn (John Boyega) helps Poe to escape. Crash landing on the planet, Jakku, Finn is helped by Rey (Daisy Ridley), a scavenger whose family abandoned her long ago. Poe’s droid, BB8, holds the key to finding Luke.

Rey, Finn and BB8 find the Millennium Falcon while escaping the Empire. This brings Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) back into the fold.

Can our heroes, both new and old, defeat the new empire or will the empire win?

When it was announced several years ago that Disney had acquired the rights to Star Wars and J.J. Abrams was to direct Episode 7, many among the fan community were concerned. As much as I like Disney films, they are a world apart from Star Wars. Thankfully J.J. Abrams (who is also a fan) and co-writers Lawrence Kasdan (who had a hand in Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi) and Michael Arndt wisely returned to the elements that made the first three films instant classics: a solid story, excellent actors and practical effects.

As the director, J.J. Abrams wisely utilized film to shoot as a pose to digital cameras. The film feels very much like the first three films: fresh, fun and entertaining.

One of my favorite elements of the film is Kylo Ren. Unlike Darth Vader, there is still a humanity to him. He is a nuanced villain whose reasons I will not give away, but I will say that he is not simply a villain because the film needed one.  Another element of the film that I loved as a female fan was the element of not just more women, but strong female characters. Besides Rey and Leia,there is Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o), a Yoda like figure and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) a female captain of the empire. My only quarrel with the filmmakers was a scene where one the female characters was briefly a damsel in distress, which felt out-of-place for her, but that is all I say.

The movie clocks in at around two hours. Normally I would say that a movie that is two hours should have left some scenes for the extras section of the DVD, but for Star Wars, I will make allowances.

And, if any of my fellow Janeites have also seen this film, they will see a performer who has in the past, played a role in an adaptation of a Jane Austen novel. Her time on-screen is brief, and I will not give away who she is, but she is there.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is presently in theaters. 

 

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The Force Awakens Trailer

The full trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is officially out. I’m ready to be transported to a galaxy far far away…..

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Star Wars 7 Trailer

OH. MY. G-D.

The trailer for Episode 7, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out.

I want more. I need to see this movie now. I cannot wait until December. The fangirl in me is doing somersaults.

I only hope that JJ Abrams and George Lucas have realized their past mistakes and given the fans a film that is worthy of our adoration.

To borrow a quote from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, I WANT IT NOW!

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