Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens, based on the universe created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Thirty years have passed since the Galactic Civil War and the events on the moon of Endor.  A new regime has risen from the decimated Galactic Empire.  The First Order seeks to wipe out the New Republic.

A new rebel group known as The Resistance has emerged, backed by the New Republic and led by General Leia Organa to oppose everything that is going on with the First Order.  In a desperate attempt to helps save the galaxy once again, Leia is on a mission to find her brother, Luke Skywalker, who has gone missing…disappearing into myth and legend.

Resistance pilot Poe Dameron has sought out and successfully discovered a map that is said to lead to the legendary Jedi Knight.  While on Jakku retrieving the data, he is captured by members of the First Order and their leader Kylo Ren.  Little do they know that the map has been hidden in a BB-8 unit and sent to hide in the vast desert.  As Dameron is being tortured by Kylo Ren himself, a First Order Stormtrooper attempts to defect taking Poe with him to get them off the base.

Meanwhile on Jakku, a scavenger named Rey runs into and saves BB-8.  As Poe and Finn, the defecting Trooper, crash planet side they discover that they are about to need to run far and fast if they are going to make it away from the First Order.  When Finn and Rey accidently cross paths they steal the Millennium Falcon to avoid capture they set in motion a series of events that no one could predict would happen.  Will the Resistance be able to stop the First Order or will the Republic fall once again to the Dark Side?

General Information:

-Genre: Space Opera

-Creator: based on the universe created by George Lucas

-Length: 135 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate science-fiction violence and gore, mild profanity, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Max von Sydow

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

So, I’ll probably be called a bad geek (and have been in many other instances) but I actually love the newest trilogy for the Skywalker Saga.  The characters like Rey and Poe, even Finn at times, are all extremely relatable to me.  They have real emotions and pasts that I connect to very easily.  I even love the struggle that Kylo Ren begins in this film is something that I enjoyed experiencing.

That being said though there are a lot of things that I do find difficult about the series.  It isn’t exactly the most even footed of the set.  But I’ll leave more of that for the final episode review to not give away too much in this episode.

In this movie I feel like everything is a little to fast paced.  Its sometimes feels like they tried to shove 3 movies worth of information into one film.  And while none of it truly feels forced the way a lot of the exposition does in Episode 1 of the series…it just…it’s a lot.

There is a lot going on and that is totally fine.  But I feel like quite a bit of it could have happened in the second film and it would have felt a little more balanced. 

There are lots of little parallels to Episode 4 in this film.  Between the journey that Rey begins and all the other returning characters it is nice to know that, while people developed and grew and changed, they still stayed very much the same.

And Kylo Ren is one of my favorite characters, particularly for his redemption arc.  He is so ridiculously strong in the Force but struggles with balance.  It is truly a fight that is as old as time.  Finding balance in life.  Fighting evil.

I defiantly think this film is far better than Episodes 1-3…regardless of its flaws.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars, Uncategorized

Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back, created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Three years have passed since the Rebel Alliance destroyed the Death Star.  The Imperial Fleet, led by the notorious Darth Vader, is in pursuit of the new Rebel base.  As they send out probe droids across the galaxy to try and locate the group and their leader, Princess Leia.

One of the probes locates the base on the ice planet Hoth, a cold and deserted chunk of rock ignored by most of the galaxy.  Groups of the Rebel forces take turns to monitor the outer plains for the safety of the base.  Luke Skywalker is captured during one of his shifts, having gone further to investigate the mysterious asteroid that hit the surface…discovering that it was an Imperial Probe Droid.

As Han Solo goes out to rescue his friend, the rest of the Rebels begin to pack up and evacuate before the Empire shows up to launch a full-scale attack on the base.  Luke is saved but is convinced that he must seek out Jedi Master Yoda when the Empire arrives on Hoth.  The Rebels set out to meet the Imperial Army.

The Empire manages to push the Rebels to evacuate, cutting off the route that Princess Leia needs to get off the base.  Luckily, Han Solo is able to draw her away to the Millennium Falcon and their small contingency escapes the planet.  Luke makes it off world as well, heading to the Dagobah system.  As the group is spread across the galaxy in an attempt to escape and then reconvene to attack the Empire once again they learn hard lessons on who to trust and who to cast aside.

General Information:

-Genre: Space Opera

-Creator: George Lucas

-Length: 124 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild violence and gore, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billie Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Frank Oz

-Page of Reference in RP1: 22

Review (contains spoilers):

This is probably my least favorite of the Original Trilogy.  It is necessary story wise, and I get that…but honestly I don’t like a lot of the characters and the situations that they are put in.

Between Cloud City and Dagobah, Hoth and the issues with the Falcon…and of course, Han Solo in carbonite…its just not as satisfying to watch.  I know that all of this is needed.  The betrayals, the secrets revealed.  The beginnings of the balance of the Force in Luke.  Leia realizing her feelings for Solo so she can make the rash decisions that she does in the third film.

While it isn’t as unbalanced as the issues in Episodes 1-3, this one is quite hard for me to watch.  It’s a lot of hurry up and wait.  Which is needed.  The next movie needs the groundwork built here. 

Luke needs to grow.  He needs Yoda to learn what he is missing with the Force.  We need the reveal of Vader as his father.  We need the tidbits of Leia being his sister.  The balance that he begins to bring to himself in the movie.

Leia and Han need to find their grounding together.  And need to have an adventure away from Luke.  They need to learn that they can rely on each other (and Chewie of course).  Lando needs his redeeming moments.

We need to learn more about the reach of the Empire.  And how the people outside of the scope we see are being treated.  How difficult the world is around the Rebels and why they are fighting so hard to end the tyranny.

This is all necessary.  But its just a long movie to get through.  And not in the same way as the first parts of the Skywalker Saga.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope, created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

The galactic civil war has raged for many years with losses on both sides.  The Rebel Alliance has stolen plans for the Galactic Empire’s Death Star, a moon sized space station with capabilities to destroy entire worlds.  Imperial Senator Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan is secretly one of the Rebel Spies and has the schematics in her possession when she passes them onto a droid amidst an attack on her vessel.  She sends the droid to the nearest planet as the ruthless Darth Vader makes way onto her ship.

The small droid, R2-D2, accompanied by a protocol droid, C-3PO, are captured on the planet by Jawa traders and eventually make their way into the hands of Owen Lars, a moisture farmer.  Lars sends his rebellious teenaged nephew, Luke, to clean the droids and while doing so he stumbles across the message that Princess Leia has left behind.  Luke connects the “Obi-wan Kenobi” in the message to Old Ben Kenobi, the elderly hermit that lives in the hills.

When Luke takes the droids to Ben, he uncovers the truth behind Ben’s past.  That he was a Jedi Knight, a galactic peacekeeper, studied in the ways of the Force…a metaphysical energy that runs through all things.  They had been nearly hunted to extinction during the course of the civil war by the Imperial Army and the notorious Darth Vader.

As R2-D2 plays the Princesses full message a course of action becomes clear.  They must go and help her no matter the danger.  For they are her “only hope”.

General Information:

-Genre: Space Opera

-Creator: George Lucas

-Length: 121 minutes

-Rating: PG (moderate violence without blood and gore, mild use of alcohol, moderate intense science fiction scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse

-Page of Reference in RP1: 22

Review (contains spoilers):

I do really love this film.  The original film is wonderful.  It’s a beautiful world that Lucas built with a perfect balance between action and exposition. This film has what is truly lacking in the prequel films.

The story is told at times that make sense from Obi-wan Kenobi explaining the Force to Luke when they are dealing with R2-D2, to the bits and pieces that you get from Han Solo and from the council sessions of the Imperial Army.  Nothing feels forced like in Episode 1 yet we get enough information to feel included in the world and its goings on unlike Episode 3.

The characters are real and fleshed out with all their faults and strengths and weaknesses. The practical effects still hold up today.  Extraordinarily little looks bad to a modern audience (a little in the sabers and the laser blasts…a bit in the space scenes) and I credit this to the fact that more modern CGI techniques were not really a thing.

It’s a great film and quite family friendly.  There is violence but it is mostly gore free with the exception of one minor dispute on Tatooine. Great story and great film.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

SOLO: a Star Wars Story, based on characters from George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Set a decade before Star Wars: A New Hope we discover the beginnings of Han Solo’s story.

Han and his love, Qi’ra, are orphans on the planet of Corellia trying to escape from the local gang…a place that is run by them and often the only way to stay alive is to be part of the mob.  Having stolen a vial of pure hyperdrive fuel, called coaxium, the pair attempt to flee by bribing an Imperial Officer.

Han manages to escape but Qi’ra was recaptured by the gang.  He vows to come back for her and as he continues to flee, Han is nearly caught.  So he joins the Imperial Navy and is given the last name “Solo” since he had no last name.

Three years later, Han is determined to get back to save his girl when he encounters a group of criminals posing as Imperial soldiers.  Having been discharged from the Imperial Academy for insubordination, he attempts to blackmail the head of the crew and when that doesn’t fly he ends up arrested and tossed into jail to be fed to another prisoner, a Wookie named Chewbacca.  Han is able to persuade him to join forces and escape to, thankfully, be picked up by the criminals who had him arrested in the first place.

The crew reveals that they have been hired to do a train heist, and the payout would be enormous.  The pair can assist but are told to follow orders and their payout would be enough to buy their own ship…

General Information:

-Genre: Space Western. Science-fantasy Heist

-Creator: based on characters from George Lucas

-Length: 135 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (mild science fiction violence, mild profanity, some use of alcohol and drug innuendos, some intense scenes, moderate amounts of crime)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, Paul Bettany

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62 (see the article about why we chose to include this here )

Review (contains spoilers):

I LOVED THIS MOVIE.  I don’t know why I had waited so long to watch this one!  I’ve found lately that I tend to enjoy the stories set in the universe more than the Skywalker Saga films.

They are some of the greatest things that Disney has done with the franchise in my opinion.  Because they are (insert film genre) first and “Star Wars” second.

I don’t feel like I have to know every single last thing about the Star Wars universe to love the films.  I don’t have to understand and watch all of the Clone Wars to understand why General Grievous coughs (I looked it up because it was just weird for a droid to do that…) or feel like a fool for missing some small nuance in the background of some scene.

Just like the Marvel films, for the most part are another genre then a superhero film, the stories set in the Star Wars world are just wonderful films.  This was a GREAT heist film, it was an incredible space WESTERN.  And it was also a Star Wars movie.

It had MAJOR Firefly vibes.  It had action and daring and crime and romance. And deceit.  And everything a good heist/crime film should have in it.  THAT is what I love.  I love being able to change out the characters for fully original characters and the movie still makes sense.  I love even more that they’ve created something new with characters that we all know and love in the first place.

It gives a level of dimension that we are lacking…or fleshes out the characters in a way that we never thought of before.

Truly a great film.  But if you want a “Star Wars” film…you’ll probably be disappointed.  But I wasn’t.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

Star Wars, Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

The Clone Wars have been going on for the last three years.  The Jedi Order is scattered far across the galaxy, fighting against the Separatists.  Master Obi-wan Kenobi and Padawan Anakin Skywalker have been sent on a mission to destroy General Grievous and rescue Senator Palpatine from capture.

While their attempt at a rescue mission could be called a narrow success, the General escapes.  Upon their return Padme and Anakin are reunited and she tells him she is pregnant.  Anakin once again begins to have his premonition dreams, this time pointing to the death of his beloved wife.

As the war continues to rage about the Galaxy pulling both Master Kenobi and Master Yoda into parts unknown to search for Grievous and hopefully end the war.  Anakin continues to get closer to Senator Palpatine and begins his final descent into the Dark Side fueled by his inability to have a logical head when it comes to his attachments….

General Information:

-Genre: Space Opera

-Creator: George Lucas

-Length: 140 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate science fiction violence and epic battle scenes, moderate intense and frightening scenes including someone catching on fire)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz

-Page of Reference in RP1: 22

Review (contains spoilers):

Oof…this one is really tough for me to review because there is just so much that is bad in the film and so much that I love (mainly the romance that continues between Anakin and Padme…and the fact that the are so blatantly obvious about the whole thing…).

This is probably the one film that I wish there was more exposition in…more explanation (could we not have taken some of the tedious and horribly forced moments in Episode 1 and just…nudged them carefully into here?)  I know from my research there is a lot of what I always had questions about available online and through other television shows but come on. We couldn’t have gotten a little bit in the movie for those of us who didn’t have access to the shows or who didn’t want to watch more than the films.

Anakin is still insufferable in these movies. And while I love the romance between Anakin and Padme it is hard to get through because Padme was the mature one…but in this film she seems more childish.  I can understand that love can make us do stupid things, yet this is a bit much.  The giddy schoolgirl routine is kind of worn out at this point.

Obi-wan continues to be a wonderful character.  He has only grown well into his role.  The moments he as within the story line showing all of the dangerous of war and the deceit of fighting it are beautifully done.  There is so much going on behind the scenes of war that they do go into in little bits and pieces.  It probably one of the better things that they do in this movie.

But I do think it a bit unbelievable that Anakin is constantly able to sneak off to be with Padme.  Does no one ask where he is staying at night?  It’s just fascinating.  And it leaves him so open to Palpatine’s influence in many other ways as well.

Overall, the push and pull in this film are ok.  And the acting and writing feel better than the previous two as if the writers have finally settled in.  but the issue with that is that you don’t have time to settle in doing a film franchise like this.  You have to be good right off the start.  And these films just seem to fall a little flat in that regards.

Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones, created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

A decade after the invasion and battle of Naboo, the Galactic Republic is being threatened by a Separatist movement led by the notorious Count Dooku.  Now Senator Padme Amidala is on Coruscant to vote on a motion that would create an army meant to assist the Jedi Order in their peace keeping mission and to eliminate this threat.

After an assassination attempt that went wrong, Master Kenobi and his Padawan Anakin Skywalker are assigned to protect the Senator.  When a second assassination attempt nearly kills her (narrowly avoided by her Jedi protectors) Padme is told to retire back to Naboo as a safety precaution.  Anakin is assigned as her safety detail while Master Kenobi tries to find the source of the assassin and why the Senator is being attacked.

When the information presented leads Obi-wan to a seemingly missing planet and a full scale army that seems to be waiting for his arrival (a great shock to him when told), it seems that some of the Jedi themselves might be behind the Republic’s new army.

So who is pulling the strings in the shadows?  And what will happen as the arrogant and emotional Anakin Skywalker as he works his assignment to protect Senator Amidala? And what will the Republic make of the Separatist threat?

General Information:

-Genre: Space Opera

-Creator: George Lucas

-Length: 142 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild violence, mild intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz

-Page of Reference in RP1: 22

Review (contains spoilers):

I do enjoy this film quite a bit more than the first film.  Between the better performances and the better writing, the characters seem truer to who they were trying to be set up as.  Everything feels less forced overall and the world building and expansion see more natural.

Padme and Obi-wan are by far still my favorite characters.  Anakin steps up his sass game in this film which adds a level to his character that his much younger self didn’t have.  There is more action in this film and the world building is extensively done through the background and the plot points vs the exposition.  For me personally that type of world building is much more satisfying that simply being told (and often in a condescending way) what the world is like.

The romance in the film was a nice touch for people like me who don’t often watch films like this due to the fact that we don’t follow the other cannon pieces of the world.  There just seems to be so much media to consume that it can be overwhelming… the little tidbits in this film that make that less so are quite welcome.

Of the three prequals this is probably my favorite.  Though still not the part of this series I genuinely love.  Those didn’t come till much later.

Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

32 years before Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope there was a trade dispute on the planet Naboo, an outlier planet in the Galactic Republic.  The Jedi send two of their own, a Jedi Knight by the name of Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi, to serve as ambassadors to smooth over the situation.  When they are attacked by the Federation, the pair escape to the planet’s surface in order to get to the bottom of the situation.

Meanwhile, the Trade Federation invades the planet and captures the Queen in order to solidify their forced treaty with Naboo.  The Federation is assured that the Galactic Senate will back their invasion so long as the treaty is signed by the Queen.

While the council of Naboo and their Queen are being taken away they are saved by Master Jinn and his apprentice who then help them to escape Naboo in order to plead their case in front of the Senate.  As they attempt to get through the blockade their ship is damaged forcing the small group to land on Tattoine, a planet even further on the outskirts of the Galactic Republic, where they hope to find assistance and get their ship fixed.

Here they meet a young boy strong in the force and encounter the cause behind all their problems… how will the story end?  Will Naboo fall to the power of the Trade Federation?  Who is behind the whole debacle? And is the young slave boy they have found The Chosen One that the Jedi have been searching for…the One who will bring Balance to the Force?

General Information:

-Genre: Space Opera

-Creator: George Lucas

-Length: 133 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild violence, mild intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGreggor, Natalie Portman, Jake Loyd, Ian McDiarmid, Ahmend Best, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Pernilla August, Frank Oz, Samuel L Jackson, Ray Park, Keira Knightley

-Page of Reference in RP1: 22

Review (contains spoilers):

So….as I’ve talked about several times, I am not a huge Star Wars fan (Star Trek is more my jam)…but that being said the first three prequels are the Star Wars films I really grew up with.  The Original Trilogy was shown to me as a child and I really liked them but as I got older I didn’t really connect with them in the same way.

When these films released, I was between the ages that Anakin and Padme are in the movies.  Padme resonated more with me than a lot of the other characters but she was still older and had different responsibilities I didn’t really connect with.  I do attribute this to the reason why I didn’t really connect to this world in the same way (that did change with the new trilogy though and I will talk about this in those reviews and another article in more detail).

However, from an objective standpoint and re-watching these films I really struggle with them.  They are fine overall but knowing how the Original trilogy was set up is a big deal.  This movie is so full of exposition and world building…but not in the way the Original Trilogy is full of that same concept.  Everything that explains the world and the story of the Jedi (such as the midi-clorions and the whole Chosen One prophecy, the way the order trains its warriors, etc) it is all so… drawn out.

The explanations feel forced and often wordy.  Come at times that make little to no sense and it all just is…heavy.  In a way that the other films aren’t.  that’s not to say there aren’t moments in the other movies that are not like this. But this is the whole film.  Its like the movie was written just to give all this backstory and they kind of forced it to “make sense” within the world of Star Wars and its greater universe.

Overall, necessary to watch because it’s part of the universe. But not the best of the films.  However, it does truly introduce one of my favorite characters in all of his sassy glory (anyone else really excited for the show Obi-Wan to come out on Disney+???? Just me? ok.) so it gets an extra half point for that.

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Big Trouble in Little China, created by John Carpenter: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Jack Burton is the all-American truck driver.  Big, burly, and rough around the edges.  When he arrives in Chinatown, San Francisco it seems like a normal trip.  He plays cards with his friend Wang Chi winning a huge bet against him.  In order to make sure he pays up; Jack decides to accompany him to the airport to pick up Wang’s childhood sweetheart turned fiancée who is on her way from China for their wedding.

As Miao Yin steps off the plane a Chinese street gang and sex traffickers called the Lords of Death attempt to kidnap a different girl but are thwarted by Jack Burton and her friend Gracie Law.  When this happens the gang instead grabs Miao Yin making off with her.  Jack and Wang follow in pursuit hoping to simply grab her back from the gang.

But when the duo stumbles into a gang fight and ends up facing down “The Three Storms”-a trio of ancient warriors with magical powers to control thunder, rain, and lightening- rescuing Miao Yin may not be as easy as the thought.  Especially not when the mysterious underground societies of magic that rumble beneath the Chinatown Jack knows and loves rear their ugly heads.

General Information:

-Genre: Fantasy Martial Arts Action Comedy

-Creator: John Carpenter

-Length: 99 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (mild sexual innuendos and jokes, moderate fantasy and martial arts violence and gore, moderate profanity, mild use of alcohol and smoking, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Kurt Russell, Kin Cattrall, Dennis Dun

-Page of Reference in RP1: 292

Review (contains spoilers):

This movie has no business being as good as it is.  It’s a martial arts fantasy action movie…about an ancient guy who needs a special green-eyed woman to marry in order to break the curse he is under.

It is ridiculous, over the top and atrociously cheesy but absolutely fantastic.

And I don’t know why!

There is nothing particularly great about any one part of this movie.  The effects are exactly what you would expect from a 1980s film.  Its kind of a traditional old school kung fu kind of movie.  Kurt Russel is…well….Kurt Russel.  The storyline is absurd.

But it all works.  I’m so glad that I finally sat down and watched this one.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Hook, created by James V. Hart and Malia Scotch Marmo, based on the story Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Peter Banning, a successful lawyer in San Francisco, is struggling with other aspects of his life.  Between his work and his children as well as his relationship with his wife, Moira, Peter seems unaware that his devotion to his job is not only straining these relationships, but they have been brought nearly to the breaking point.  When the family goes to England to celebrate Granny Wendy’s hospital wing dedication the family is thrown back into the world of Peter and Moira’s childhood.

Granny Wendy took in Peter as the first orphan that she helped raise.  Over the years she helpd so many other lost children that there is now a wing of the local hospital being dedicated to her work.  It is on the night of the dedication that tragedy strikes.  While Peter’s children, Jack and Maggie, are staying at the house with Granny Wendy’s housekeeper and one of her friends, Liza and Tootles, someone breaks into the house and steals the children.

Upon their return to find their beds empty Peter is confronted with the fact that the stories of Wendy and Peter Pan are not just stories at all…that he is actually Peter Pan.  And his children have been taken by the notorious Captain Hook and his crew.  But Peter doesn’t want to believe…can’t believe.  It is only when he is finally pulled into Neverland that Peter must confront his past.  The one that he chose to bury a long time ago when he fell in love with Wendy’s granddaughter, Moira.

General Information:

-Genre: Fantasy, Swashbuckler/Pirate, Action/Adventure, Family

-Creator: created by James V. Hart and Malia Scotch Marmo, based on the story Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie

-Length: 142 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild violence, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol and smoking, mild frightening scenes and deaths)

-Where to Watch: Netflix (with subscription), Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Dustin Hoffman, Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith, Charlie Korsmo

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

This is by far my favorite rendition of Peter Pan. 

I love the characterization of Wendy and how they aged her.  She isn’t the same Wendy that you know from the Disney version of the story…or from Finding Neverland…or any other rendition of Peter Pan. And Maggie Smith does in incomparable job in her performance.

Peter is a scared and oblivious man that took on so many of the characteristics of Captain Hook that he always fought against.  Not just growing up but greed and selfishness.  Robin Williams does a spectacular job of portraying Peter from start to finish.

Moira and the children are fabulous.  Tootles and Liza are beloved side characters.

And the Lost Boys and Tinkerbell… Rufio in particular… are just how I imagined them when reading Peter Pan as a child.  They are crazy and imaginative and just children. Tink is delightful (and much better than the cartoon version of herself).

Hook in this film is the best Hook.  He is the swashbuckling, vindictive, and overly vain.  Dustin Hoffman was by far the perfect choice for this roll (though I would have been fascinated to see David Bowie in the roll…)

I love the story and the way things develop.  The set dressing is perfect from the house in England to the Lost Boys clearing to Hook’s pirate ship.

The costumes are extravagant and over the top.  Slightly cartoony in places but not in a way that would be considered out of place.  They tell so much of the story of the characters that we don’t get to hear.

And can we just agree that the whole film is a stunning work that expands the story of Peter Pan that we all grew up with.

I ALWAYS recommend this to families with older kids.  It is a great film to watch with the family and one that I continue to enjoy immensely even into my 30s.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Blade II, based on characters from the MARVEL Comics: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Two years have passed since Blade defeated Deacon Frost and his plot to rule the vampire world.  As his search for his mentor Abraham Whistler continues, Blade discovers that Whistler is no longer human…but a vampire after having not killed himself upon infection.

Meanwhile a pandemic has hit the vampires.  A new “Reaper” virus is turning normal vampires into primal, ravenous, and mutated creatures with terrible effects to their consciousnesses. Because fo this the vampire overlord sends two of his minions to strike a deal with Blade, the newly cured Whistler, and Scud (Blade’s new sidekick). As the trio is drawn into the underbelly of the vampiric world, they are required to assist a pack of highly trained vampires who were meant to hunt Blade himself.

When the nightclub they are investigating is overrun with Reapers the pack discovers that not only are the infected vampires ravenous but they are also immune to basically everything that kills a normal vampire.  As member after member faces these animals it is more difficult for Blade to figure out just where this disease came from.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Horror

-Creator: Based on characters from the MARVEL Comics

-Length: 117 minutes

-Rating: R (mild sex and nudity, severe violence and gore, severe profanity, moderate use of drugs, moderate to severe frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman, Leonor Varela, Norman Reedus, Luke Goss

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

This was just an incredible film.  I absolutely loved it.  But I also love films that are bloody and gory (yay horror films).  The introduction of a disease that is decimating the vampires is fascinating and a great trigger for Blade to begin to infiltrate the underbelly of his enemy.

I LOVED Nyssa as a character and was really upset that she died.  While it would have been interesting for her to end up as a love interest for Blade, he doesn’t really feel like the kind of character who needs or wants this kind of relationship.  I would have loved to just see her as a new partner for him.  They worked really well together and made a good team.

The dynamic of the pack was beautifully done and while we don’t get a ton of screen time with most of them the directed body language and overall comraderie amongst the pack is great.  You can see the relationships within minutes of meeting them.  Who was in charge.  Who was a couple.  You basically get to read the group the way Blade did.  And that is great directing.

I wish for the third movie to be as good as the first two but based off of the reviews I read this is the best of the three with the first coming in a close second…and the third…is a movie, I guess…

Well, onto the next film but this one will be entering my general rotation of films when all of this is over.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.