Posted in 1UP, Blog Posts, Star Wars

LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, based off of Star Wars Episodes 4-6, created by George Lucas: a Video Game Review

What are we playing:

The original trilogy is BACK but now in LEGO form!  Relive Episodes 4-6 as you play through the films all the while destroying everything in sight!  Become a part of the film.

This set of LEGO games walks through the world of Star Wars Episodes 4-6, in playable levels which you can go back after completing in Story Mode and play again to collect everything. 

General Information:

-Genre: Collectathon

-Creator: Traveller’s Tales in partnership with LEGO and Lucasfilm

-Number of Levels:

-Collectables: 68 characters, 2 customizable characters,

-Rating: E10+ (mild cartoon nudity, moderate violence but cartoony and in LEGO, several scenes in a bar)

-How to Play: local game stores (explore your area and support local!), used game stores, online or in box stores, or look for it at your local library (many libraries now have video games and even tabletop games for checkout)

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62-64

Review (contains spoilers):

Just like all other LEGO games these are your fairly standard collectathon style game and it is achievable to get a 100% completion, you just have to return after Story Mode to get everything.

LEGO games are some of my favorite games to play.  Since the majority of the game is just beating everything in sight to actually figure out what has stuff in it and what doesn’t it makes for awesome stress relief and I absolutely love that you can’t really die.  You just burst into bits…aka LEGO currency.

This version is a really fun way to play through the next three movies.  The story lines are comprehensive and follow the original trilogy in a way that is still true to the feel of the films.  You just get to explore some more.  This series allowed for the designers to do some interesting things and not just focus on the same play style in each and every level.  You get a really nice combination of platforming, vehicle based levels, exploration and scripted play through.  Plus coming back and replaying levels makes for some really entertaining challenges.

These are super fun and are great to play with kids but challenging enough for adult players to really enjoy.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 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.
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.