Star Wars- The Force Awakens Review

9 01 2016

Star_Wars_Episode_VII_The_Force_Awakens_official_poster

It’s now been long time ago in a theater not that far away that I watched the new trilogy in the Star Wars saga begin, but that doesn’t mean I can’t write a review a month later, does it? Thanks to the power of procrastination, this late review is later than I ever thought it would be, but at least no good movie ever gets released in January (looking at you, Dirty Grandpa, The 5th Wave, etc). Also, this seems relevant, because not only did this movie break almost every box office record in the books, but it has achieved enough popularity for hipsters to now dislike it.  Depending which one you ask, it’s either a blatant theft of Episode IV’s plot, or it’s a complete departure from the series that makes no sense.

Like many fans, I was nervous- what if this was the ghost of the prequels rising again to destroy the original characters that everyone loved? What if they killed off a beloved character? Wouldn’t that be a debbie downer?!  But hey, mission accomplished- this film didn’t suck. In fact, in this fanboy’s opinion, The Force Awakens is miles ahead of the cheesy, CGI filled sequels.

star-wars-7-force-awakens-rey-finn

Why? Well for one, the new set of actors/actresses were great (Daisy Ridley as Rey steals the spotlight), and they weren’t instructed to speak in the wooden manner of the prequels. Harrison Ford, stealing every scene? Check. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega bringing us two likable new leads? Check. Adam Driver being a combination of psychotic Sith trainee and hair product model? Check. Carrie Fisher with a voice like she smoked too many death sticks? Uh, check.

The writing was also light years ahead of our past three movies, with the majority of the jokes actually being funny (why was that so hard, prequels?!), although maybe was a little too heavy with joke volume at times. It’s nice to have jokes based on timing and humor instead of Jar Jar dropping the ENTIRE tray of tools (hysterical, right?) or Anakin saying a one-liner so bad your brain melts out your ears. Some of the best moments weren’t even spoken, such as stormtroopers walking the other way from Kylo’s tantrum or Han’s childlike joy using Chewie’s crossbow.

star-wars-7-force-awakens-han-solo-chewbacca-harrison-ford

After the first viewing, my thoughts on the music was that it didn’t fall flat, but I didn’t pick up on any new themes. Since I love John Williams and the memorable music he always brings, this was somewhat disappointing. However, after my second viewing, I couldn’t understand how I missed them all the first time- Rey’s theme, The Resistance’s march, etc., are all welcome additions to this saga’s musical legacy. Hopefully we’ll get some Imperial March or Duel of the Fates successor in the next entry.

Resistance-Star-Wars-7-Force-Awakens_X-Wing.jpg

On that note, basically every part of the movie got better the second time I watched this film. I picked up more details, twists and changes from what seemed at first to be a bit of a rehash of certain storylines. I could set aside years of expectations of what a Star Wars sequel should include, and just enjoy the second viewing. I honestly didn’t realize how much I missed this universe until I was in the middle of experiencing it again. And yes, it was somehow even more sad to see (SPOILER) my favorite character, Han Solo, die, and his lil’ Wookie friend deal with sudden loss. (END SPOILER)

star-wars-7-force-awakens-rey-han_harrison_Ford

Time will tell where this is all going (hopefully someone has this all planned out). Hopefully we’ll have more Mark Hammill in Episode 8. He looked good in this film during his intense staring scene, but I guess we know why Luke wasn’t very prominent in the marketing now, huh? One of my only real disappointments with the movie was how we never (nor ever will) got to see Luke and Han Solo meet again. It just seems like a missed opportunity for a film that seemed to be all about fan service. However, I can say besides that point, this was a genuinely fun ride back into the legend of Star Wars.

Final thoughts:

  • Why do they keep building giant explodable weapons? Why not put eggs in other baskets, too?
  • I like how Kylo Ren story continues the Skywalker saga, but where does the supreme leader fall into this?
  • What if Supreme Leader Snoke was just four feet tall in his real form?
  • Captain Phasma- aka Chrome Trooper- was way underused for the amount of marketing that went into her character. You can’t just look Boba Fett cool, you have to BE Boba Fett cool (fight a little).

star-wars-7-force-awakens-kylo-ren-first-order-phasma

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100% Accurate Movie Predictions for 2015

4 01 2015

Well it’s that time of the year again, where I make shockingly-on-point predictions about upcoming cinematic offerings. These have all been carefully selected using Google and an impossibly low level of effort. Are we in for a treat this year, or a big, steaming pile of sequels?

 

Tak3n

Stop taking his blasted stuff!

January 9- Taken 3

Haha! That last question was a joke! Get ready for the third Taken movie- hot on the heels of the first mediocre sequel. So, what gets taken this time, besides Liam Neeson’s soul? Well it turns out the only thing taken this time (SPOILER ALERT) is Bryan Mill’s wife- permanently. Yep, remember those happy endings, where he saves his family and reunites with his wife Lenore (Famke Janssen)? Well, to quote the studios, “Forget that junk, let’s have Neeson get framed for her murder!” Meanwhile, the CIA, FBI and police all try to hunt down our hero.

Prediction: It’s Liam Neeson kicking butt, so you can bet this will at least enjoy mild success for a weekend or two. Word of mouth will ultimately kill it, because some people will miss the whole American-beating-up-foreigners aspect.

 

mila_kunis

I see we’re trying the Matrix outfits again.

Feb 6- Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is found on Earth by Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered action hero, who tells her she’s important (because of confusing reasons or something) and will “alter the balance of the cosmos” (I swear that’s a quote from the official description). Also, Jupiter Jones is a terrible name.

Prediction: The promos say “From the Creators of the Matrix Trilogy,” which isn’t the best reference, but honestly have the Wachowski siblings come out with anything else that’s worth mentioning? If all people mercifully remember is the first Matrix movie, and nothing else about the other two, you may get some tickets from an audience that’s willing to forgive Mila Kunis for her awful witch in Oz the Great and Powerful.

 

Feb 13- Fifty Shades of Grey

I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this article, you are already an educated and discerning individual who doesn’t need my sarcasm to know a bad movie.

Prediction: Some will say this embarrassing pimple of a film didn’t go far enough, and others too far. Either way, let’s have a moment of silence for all the poor bro’s who will get forced into the theater by their emotionally-unstable significant others.

 

Kevin James

Wow! April looks awful!

April 17- Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

Paul Blart (Kevin James) continues his cautionary tale for washed-up comedians in the sequel to the critically-acclaimed Mall Cop. I sure hope there’s some fat jokes in this one!

Prediction: Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy will be jealous they weren’t involved. The positive side is you can instantly de-friend anyone on Facebook who mentions this film in a positive light.

 

Avengers_teaser

*Spider-Man not included.

May 1- The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and the rest of the Avengers reassemble to further build their retirement funds. Expect awkward conversations about why they didn’t assemble to help out on Thor 2, where the universe practically imploded, or why not even one of them called to check up on Captain America after his near-death experience. Also count on Captain Cameo (Stan Lee) making an appearance.

Prediction: Hah, you don’t need a blog to tell you that this movie will create a shower of gold bars over Marvel Studios, and will push them full steam into their next 75 comic book movies.

May 15- Pitch Perfect 2

Because the ladies need something to watch while their guy friends watch Avengers the third weekend in a row.

Prediction: See above.

 

Comic-Con

Because Disney World was closed.

June 12- Jurassic World

Imagine a world where citizens are willing to pay to see dinosaurs up-close again, even after one or two disastrous encounters where lives were lost. Imagine this awful business plan is again picked up by well-meaning but ultimately profit-driven people in suits who know that the jaded public will fall for anything. Are the story writers being intentionally ironic with us?

Prediction: Obviously this isn’t going to be better than the original, so the most I can hope for this is gentle critics and lowered expectations from fans. Because profits…find a way.

 

Jai Arnold Schwarzenegger

Terminator heads hate sunny fields.

July 1- Terminator: Genisys

It’s a new Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) and a new Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke)…with an aging Terminator robot (Aging Arnold Schwarzenegger) in an alternate timeline. Apparently Terminators actually age now. They probably will have a crazy shootout scene in the Terminator Retirement Home, with all the other time-traveling robot assassins who couldn’t take out one dude.  At least the misspelled title will drive my OCD friends crazy.

Prediction: Arnold hasn’t been the biggest draw lately, and this is a tired series that should have gone to bed a couple of decades ago. They’ll probably draw a profit, but we won’t be telling our grandchildren about where we were when we first saw Terminator: Genisys.

 

Hunger Games Jennifer Lawrence

(Cue whistling)

Nov 20 – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2

It’s the second part of a sequel to a sequel, based on the least popular book of The Hunger Games trilogy. Even with all that cynicism, you and I will probably be in the ticket line opening weekend.

Prediction: If I remember correctly, Part I didn’t do as well in theaters, partly because of the extra fluff inserted to make the book into two movies. However, it’s the last entry of the movie series, so it’ll draw in enough profit to finance a giant party in The Capitol.

Star Wars

Admit it. You just stopped breathing for a moment.

December 18 – Star Wars: Episode VII

Like a jilted lover who doesn’t know any better, the nerd in everyone will return to the Star Wars universe this winter. Our favorite characters are now 30 years older, but there will be no Jar Jar Binks or whiny pre-Vader. Could this be the movie that finally brings balance to the Lucas? Or is it a trap?

Prediction: It’s probably a trap. But a very effective trap that will take all our money.





100% Accurate Predictions for 2013 Blockbuster Movies

24 01 2013

So what’s going to happen with this year’s top movies? Read on, if you dare, for an unbiased and gritty look into the future.

February

A Good Day to Die Hard

Poetry.

Poetry.

Prediction: Bruce Willis will wow audience in the newest Die Hard installment, leading them down a “philosophical masterpiece,” effortlessly blending  deep themes with an original story line.

March

Oz the Great and Powerful

James Franco. Now he's Oz.

James Franco. Now he’s Oz.

Prediction: James Franco, vowing vengeance against Spider Man, travels to Oz, a magical place anyone on a drug trip can visit.

April

Oblivion

Morgan Freeman Oblivion

Morgan Freeman goes Book of Eli

Prediction: Tom Cruise journeys to the late Planet Earth, which has long stopped supporting human life. This is not to be confused with M. Night Shyamalan’s (red flag!) new movie After Earth, which also features a recognizable movie star journeying to the late Planet Earth, which has long stopped supporting human life.

May

Iron Man 3

He's like Batman, only not sad that he's a superhero.

He’s like Batman, only not sad that he’s a superhero.

Prediction: Robert Downey Jr. continues being a filthy rich guy who is likable but also annoyingly self-absorbed. He also plays Iron Man.

Star Trek into Darkness

star-trek-meme-into-darkness

Prediction: KHAAAAAAN!

June

Man of Steel

Superman can be a jerk.

Superman can be a jerk.

Prediction: Man of Steel becomes the year’s most anticipated movie, answering the question if Christopher Nolan can make a Superman movie that is actually watchable.

July

The Wolverine

The Wolverine Poster

Shirt Not Included, Unnecessary Sword Is

Prediction: Hugh Jackman sings his way through this bold musical retelling of the X-Men’s origins. Can Wolverine find redemption and appear in the next twelve X-Men movies?

August

Red 2

Red 2

This time they’re wearing ridiculous costumes!

Prediction: Laugh your way through yet another action comedy about aging action stars. This one’s even a sequel, so it’s twice as fresh!

September

Star Wars Episode 2- Attack of the Clones

Mace Windu is not impressed

Nor are we with this movie.

Prediction: Re-watch George Lucas teabag your childhood, but this time it’s in glorious 3-D! Watch two generally unlikable lovers frolic in meadows and ponder to yourself how much better Darth Maul could have made this disappointment of a movie.

October

Paranormal Activity 27

Actually, this would be better.

Actually, this would be better.

 

Prediction: Gasp in horror as doors creak and toilets become possessed. However, most of the movie will feature such standbys as dumb people sleeping and dumber people making home videos. They’ll still charge 10 bucks to see this.

November

Thor: The Dark World

Thor Funny

Ladies…

Prediction: Thor returns  to pretend his movie franchise isn’t around just to advertise Avengers 2. However, Chris Hemsworth guarantees this is at least one comic book movie your girlfriend will want to see.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Peeta Meme

Awkward teen romance included!

Prediction: Will Katniss and friends leave us hungry for me, or will the movie’s appeal go up in flames? Wow, that was even painful to type. Either way, the third book’s a disaster, so it goes downhill after this.

December

The Hobbit- The Desolation of Smaug

Smaug the Draghen

Sweet Concept Art of Smaug.

Prediction: Peter Jackson continues his drawn-out film tradition, with a forty-minute segment devoted to the proper way to braid a dwarf’s beard. Rumors abound that we’ll actually get to see the dragon this time, unless Jackson decides to split it into two more movies.





Why The Star Wars Holiday Special Represents All That Is Wrong

25 12 2012

Yes, The Star Wars Holiday Special is a real movie, and I know it sounds cheesy, but trust me it’s like getting thrown into a wood chipper in super-slow motion. It’s so bad George Lucas said if he had enough time, he would destroy every physical VHS (yes) with a hammer. It’s so bad that there’s not a single legal copy of it. It’s so bad that it played once on TV, and never again. It’s so bad Carrie Fisher says she turns it on at her parties when it’s time for people to leave. Why? Well, let me show you.

1. Commercialism

So, the real kicker of this little-known gem is that the poster for it doesn’t really look that bad (unless you read the plot description in the top right).

Star Wars Christmas Poster

IT’S A TRAP.

It’s complete commercialism. It’s a “holiday” special. About “Life Day.” “Starring” actors who probably have a combined total of fifteen minutes in the movie, and it’s pretty much a full-length movie. Not to mention the only action scene was literally footage ripped from A New Hope. The rest? Why, it’s a bunch of 15 minute segments, like a variety show from the 70’s, if a variety show means acid party. There is no plot, and the songs/segments/sketches are completely nonsensical and slowly get more horrible as they draw out, resembling the feel of getting food poisoned.

2. Humanity’s low point.

And then the movie starts. We watch a little snot of a Wookie argue for fifteen real-time minutes about chores, I think. It’s hard to tell because the whole freaking scene is in Wookie roars, WITH NO SUBTITLES. Chewie’s not even in the scene. By the time Grandpa Wookie (I think his name was Itchy, no joke) straps on his virtual goggles for a pleasure movie, I knew exactly what those saps in The Ring  felt like when the ghost kid crawls out of the TV.

Holiday Wookies

Horror.

3. The Death of Art

Take a look at this still from the movie’s cartoon segment. Take a long, hard look at it.

Star Wars Christmas Cartoon

What have they DONE to Han Solo?!

Now imagine seeing thousands of these images pieced together into a bizarre, reality-questioning drug trip of a cartoon.

Star Wars Scary Luke

Here’s another pic. You’re welcome.

Why does Han Solo look like Mick Jagger? Why do Luke Skywalker’s eyes violate your soul whenever they’re open? Why does Boba Fett ride a dinosaur (okay that’s actually kind of cool). I could add more examples of the complete artless core of this movie, but the cartoon segment does it all for me in just two shots.

4. Regret and Repressed Memories

Of course, this whole movie IS a repressed memory of regret, but it’s also made of smaller repressed memories and regret, like how a living thing is made of smaller living things called cells. Each “skit” or “segment” of this patchwork of horrors is its own self-contained hell. Whether it’s a painfully unfunny comedy routine featuring a malfunctioning android, or this racist, cross-dressing abomination, if you’re not weeping on the floor as the end credits roll, you’ve already become a soulless husk.

Star Wars Holiday Special Freak

Yes, the creeper man is drinking out of a hole on his head. Moving on.

5. Logic Destroyed

Logic was destroyed the exact moment a TV exec read through the script, saw the designs, and said, “Yeah, this looks good. Let’s put it on our channel!” Logic died the first time anyone ever decided to mix a 70’s variety show with Star Wars. Innocence crumbled the moment we first heard the haunting phrase “Stir, Whip! Stir Whip!”

Stir Whip

Pictured: Not a good idea.

6.  Life is Meaningless

This isn’t expressed in the movie directly, it more describes the general feeling each person finds themselves with as the movie ends. That’s why you should never, I repeat, never, watch this monstrosity alone. Always see it with friends, and then never again.

Star Wars Holiday wookie kid

Haha oh yes! Fear will FIND you!

Now go hug your loved ones, because it’s Christmas.

Edit: Forgot the best part! Check out the climatic scene where Carrie Fisher totally sings the Star Wars song. And then they travel to the…sun? Anyway, all the Wookies march right in with their red robes.





One Fanboy’s Reaction to Disney’s Star Wars

1 11 2012
NOOOOOO

Short version of this article.

 

Tuesday’s news that Disney now owns Lucasfilm, and thus Star Wars, came charging out of nowhere like a stampeding Bantha. Everything’s up for grabs now, and a new trilogy is in the works. But is this a victory for the light or the dark side?

 

George Lucas and Mickey

Before Tuesday, this would have been a Photoshop.

 

At first, I was all like, “Don’t touch my childhood! What if they ruin the original trilogy and make disappointing movies…oh, wait. Never mind.”  Let’s be serious, what’s the worst that can happen? Star Wars completely sells itself out? Bad dialogue? Jar Jar? C’mon, it’s all been done, and I really don’t see Disney possibly letting down fans any more than George Lucas arguably did. Expectations are incredibly low, especially with Mickey Mouse piloting the Death Star.

Let’s not forget Disney’s idea of a “space epic.”

 

However, I’m not sure anything Disney comes out with could even gain the same  “wow” effect level, even with Star Wars fans. Ignore all other factors besides story- director, actors, cinematography-everything. There’s only so many routes they can take.

Perhaps the most dominant theory is a Return of the Jedi sequel trilogy, (the new movie’s already referred to as “Episode VII”) and this is even hinted at by Mark Hammill. But here’s a problem! Carrie Fisher, Mark Hammill, Harrison Ford, and very much Carrie Fisher are all old. Ford still does movies, and Hammill does Joker voicework, and Fisher is doing… (cricket noises). My point is, it’s been a while, and even though some works go into the years after ROTJ that feature an older Luke, Leia, and Han, I’m not sure that’s what fans want, and less want a movie with digitally-younger actors (hello, Tron!). Not to mention every one of those stories eventually turn into the same plotlines of the original trilogy (sith take over, new killer space weapon, the fall and redemption of Skywalkers), so it’d be a strange case of deja-vu.

The other option would be the (bloated) expanded universe of Star Wars, told through such non-canon media as comics, cartoons, books, video games, and the prequel trilogy (ha!). I admit, there’s vast potential here, but at the end of the day, it’ll be hard to put it on the same level as the two trilogies, which for all their problems tell a single epic dealing with the Skywalkers, and the absence of Vader or Obi-Wan or Luke would be a giant zit on whatever polished story they conceive. That’s at least what it would be to anyone who hasn’t been exposed to anything but the movies.So, at the end of the day, I gotta admit the idea of a new trilogy is exciting, but there’s a lot of gas in this burrito. Unless, of course, they follow my fail-proof idea- make the “new trilogy” a reboot of the three prequels. And Maul lasts all three movies. And kills Jar Jar Binks. Violently.

 

Jar Jar Killed by Darth Maul

Here’s one suggestion.





100% Accurate Predictions for 2012 Movies- Part 1

23 01 2012

Look out! I’m releasing my fashionably late predictions for this (month-old) new year! First up, lights! Camera! 3D price inflation! Get ready for your must-see movies this year!

Haywire- January 20

OK, so this may already be out, so at least this prediction will be right. “Haywire” pits Gina Carano, former MMA fighter, against Obi-Wan Kenobi, in a very Bourne-ish way. Without the writing, dialogue, and story of Bourne, that is. This falls into the “Could’ve Been Good But They Showed The Whole Thing In The Trailer” category.

None of these characters are really used.

Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace….IN 3D!!!- February 10

George Lucas has pooped out a new golden egg! It’s the same movie that disappointed you back in the 1999, but this time, the wasted opportunities jump out even more in glorious 3-D! Rumor has it that Lucas makes a cameo as young Han Solo.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

The ticket even costs twice as much as it did then!

The Hunger Games- March 23

Fans will annoy non-readers about how much better the books were. Reviews will contain at least 3 bad puns, such as, “left me HUNGRY for more,” or, “a decidedly four-star MEAL.”

Cover of "The Hunger Games"

The Dark Knight Rises- July 20

The Dark Knight Rises is released and crowned “the definitive comic book movie,” leading to the cancellation of all other planned comic book movies for the next 10 years. Critics cite the only drawback in the movie to be the animatronic Heath Ledger, who “makes Batman’s enunciation sound natural and clear by comparison.”

The Bourne Legacy- August 3

Alternate title: The Bourne Sellout.

Too hard to find the movie poster.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II- November 16

The final “Twilight” entry stuns the world, receiving the ever-elusive 100% rating on rottentomatoes.com. Roger Ebert eats crow, calling the installment, “quite frankly, beautiful.” Time calls it “THE visual and creative triumph of this century.” Congress responds by declaring acid trips during movie reviews illegal.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn

OHMYGOSHTHEY’RESOHOT.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey- December 14

Disappointment ensues when the much-anticipated prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy turns out to be a mash-up of deleted scenes, Youtube parodies, and fan videos, all cobbled together into one semi-coherent plot. Peter Jackson still doubles his wealth.

The poster should have tipped everyone off.