Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker, based on the universe created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Little time has passed since the death of Luke Skywalker at the Battle of Crait.  The Resistance has found another home base.  Currently off on a variety of missions they rush to find intelligence that could help their cause in the long run.

As the Resistance retrieves information from a First Order spy, Kylo Ren seeks out information from a Sith Wayfinder he acquires.  The new Supreme Leader makes his way to the uncharted Sith home world of Exegol, only to discover that everything he had been told his whole life was a lie.  The voice in his head was not Snoke, nor his grandfather Darth Vader, but it was the dreaded Emperor Palpatine who has managed to be revived by his servants.

When Rey and her friends discover that Palpatine is alive they set off on what may be their last mission ever.  To find the second Sith Wayfarer and make it to Exegol in order to defeat him and the rest of the First Order.

With the help of new allies, old friends, and the Force, will the Resistance be successful at saving the universe or will Supreme Leader Kylo Ren and the First Order finally find complete control of the old Republic?

General Information:

-Genre: Space Opera

-Creator: based on the universe created by George Lucas

-Length: 142 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate 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: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Joonas Sutoamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

There are so many characters in this that I love.  Zorii is a great character from her fighting skills to her sarcasm.  Babu Frik, the little guy who wipes C-3PO.  The new little droid friend that BB-8 makes.

I don’t really enjoy a few parts of this film.  The majority of it is really good but I do think there were some misses when it comes to the overall movie.  The first is to make Rey a Palpatine.  She didn’t need to be related to that monster.  Honestly, I found the fact that she was so strong in the force and having been a nobody and a slave a much better parallel for the Skywalker storyline than her being a part of the Palpatine line.

And while the confirmation has happened that Palpatine also “fathered” Anakin Skywalker I find that information incomplete and feel that Palpatine is more of a creator than a father in that situation which still makes Anakin a nobody and a slave.  Go ahead and fight me about semantics but I don’t think that using the Force to create life makes you a father if you haven’t provided the DNA only the manipulation to create the life.

The second part that I don’t think was a great choice was killing Ben at the end.  By the time we get to the point of his ultimate death and him becoming gone with the Force he as been through so much.  From the manipulations of Palpatine since he was an infant (or perhaps even in the womb…this is unclear in the extended universe).  His desire to rid himself of the voices and the darkness to the ultimate Sith Lord and the Supreme Leader of the First Order as well as the Master of the Knights of Ren to his return to the Light with the help of Rey… he has been through so much and his reward is to what? Die?

I know that not everything is fair in stories or in the world…but this just felt like a cop out in my opinion.  It felt like they decided that he just had to die because they didn’t know how to handle his characters reception in the greater universe if he had actually turned from everything he had been.  It felt like such a waste of the character.

I do also wonder, as do many other fans, what the movie would have been like had Carie Fisher not passed away during the filming.  We would have obviously gotten more of Rose and her story as she stayed on base with the General.  And this movie was supposed to feature Leia heavily and as a major player in the whole plot like Han did in the first of the sequel trilogy.

While the movie doesn’t feel forced like Episodes 1-3 it does make for an uneven trilogy.

But that all being said there are so many little details that are fantastic in the film from the new passing characters that we meet to the way that Kylo Ren’s lightsaber flickers due to the broken (and unfixed) Kyber crystal.  The details are beautiful.

Though I do think that it is odd that they can kill planets so easily.  And that they do it.  Wouldn’t the full death of a planet, blown out of the sky, and scattered as asteroids change so much about the particular solar system that those planets are in?

Whatever. I guess that is semantics and neither here nor there. But its just something I never understood about the Star Wars world in general.

Overall, this is a good end to the Skywalker Saga.  There is a bunch of loose ends tied up.  We get to see that Leia had a saber too, her story was told in its entirety.  We see the return of Luke’s X-Wing.  The end of the Skywalker line, and it also being picked back up.  The end of the name of Palpatine as well as his person.  The end of the Sith. And the end of the Jedi as we have known it until now.  The destruction of Exegol.  The destruction of the First Order.  The Resistance finally does what the Republic and then the Rebellion tried so hard to do.  The Galaxy is safe once again.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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

Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi, created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Han Solo has been encased in carbonite for over a year when C-3PO and R2-D2 are sent to negotiate with the notorious crime lord Jabba the Hutt.  They are the bargaining chip to get Han back.  When this fails Princess Leia infiltrates the palace as a bounty hunter, attempting to turn in Chewbacca for the bounty on his head.  While in the palace she manages to unfreeze Han but is in turn captured.  With Leia enslaved, Chewbacca and Han Solo captured, and his droids taken as hostages Luke has no choice but to come to the surface himself to negotiate their return.  Unfortunately things don’t go as planned and the group must fight their way out.

As they rendezvous with the Rebel Alliance, Luke takes a detour back to Dagobah to complete his Jedi training with Yoda, who is sadly dying.  In his final moments Yoda does confirm for Luke what he already knows… that Darth Vader was once the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker.  His father.  And that there is another Skywalker.  He is not alone.

The Rebels discover that a new Death Star is being built, this time under the direct supervision of the Emperor himself.  They uncover the information to defeat the Empire once and for all.  In order to do this they will need all hands available and the Force on their side…

General Information:

-Genre: Space Opera

-Creator: George Lucas

-Length: 132 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild sex and nudity, mild violence and gore, mild smoking and alcohol use, mild 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, Billy 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 favorite of the Original Trilogy.  There is enough going on that it is entertaining but not overly complicated.  All the little loose ends get tied up.  We get some romance with Han and Leia.  Luke comes into his own, albeit a bit on the arrogant side. The resolution to the Skywalker family mysteries is solved.  Anakin comes back to the side of the Light.  Palpatine is dead.  Leia and Luke reunite as siblings.  The Ewoks get cuter the older I get…though they are still a silly addition in my opinion. The Empire is destroyed.  The Rebels win.  Everything is back in balance…mostly.

It’s a nice ending to the Original Trilogy.  We get to see our heroes win against the fascist Empire.  They all survive the war though not without some wounds.  Wounds that will affect them for the rest of their lives.  Han and Leia have found each other.  Everyone dances.  You can’t really ask for much more when it comes to the end of an epic trilogy.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 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.