Tag Archives: Star Wars Episode Seven

Star Wars Rise Prep: The Last Jedi | I Have Missed You, Skywalker


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THE LAST JEDI

Thoughts….

  • Almost everything in this movie is unexpected. And that’s GREAT.
  • I love how EVVIILL General Hux is.
  • Hux and Poe Dameron have a terrific dialogue and one of the most fun scenes in the sequel trilogy (to date) early in the movie.
  • BB-8 remains a wonderful creation.
  • This is a surprisingly funny movie!
  • I love Luke in this movie. Love him.
  • The cameo by Maz Kanata feels … forced. Very forced.
  • Rey is perfect throughout. Perfect.
  • I would have liked more of Rose and Finn …
  • … and I would have liked more of our heroes together!
  • I had no idea what was going to happen in the Snoke/Rey/Ren scene. None. LOVE that!
  • The entire Resistance fits on the Millennium Falcon?!?
  • Where are the Crystal Critter toys?

Retro-Reaction

Layered, complex, compelling and taut, The Last Jedi blows up the expectations set up by The Force Awakens by definite design and with wanton abandon and a terrific movie is the result. Writer/Director Rian Johnson takes what we think we know about the new heroes and spins that out in ways that are unexpected and are terrific. Characters are given space to grow and to change and that is something special.

I really like the new leads, particularly Kylo Ren and Poe Dameron. Obviously, Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren is the breakout star and character and he should be. But Poe Dameron is pretty darn fun. Oscar Issac is a perfectly lovable rogue.

The Last Jedi was divisive. Perhaps it was because it didn’t give us exactly what we expected or what we wanted. Give me more of that, I say. I don’t want to know the story. I don’t want to have been able to write the story.  I want to think Kylo might just be ready to turn to the Light Side. I want to think Luke is there, standing up to a First Order Battalion. I want to wonder if characters are going to live or die.

I want to be surprised.

The Last Jedi surprises as it entertains… what more could I want?

The Schedule 

  • Review One: The Phantom Menace
  • Review Two: Attack of the Clones
  • Review Three: Revenge of the Sith
  • Review Four: Solo
  • Review Five: Rogue One
  • Review Six: A New Hope
  • Review Seven: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Review Eight: Return of the Jedi
  • Review Nine: The Force Awakens
  • Review Ten: The Last Jedi

May the Force Be With Us!

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Star Wars Rise Prep: The Force Awakens | That’s Not How the Force Works!


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THE FORCE AWAKENS

Thoughts….

  • It is possible that waiting for decades for this movie made me more receptive to it on my first 20 viewings than I might have been otherwise, but, in rewatching to prepare for The Rise of Skywalker, I find that it is really a very good Star Wars story…
  • … if you loved A New Hope.
  • Because, as we all know, JJ Abrams’ film is more than an homage to the first Star Wars movie, it approaches a beat-for-beat recreation of it.
  • Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
  • I remain saddened that our three heroes could not make things work in a galaxy-wide a a personal sense. They are scattered to the winds, and that’s a shame.
  • Harrison Ford gives a wonderful performance as Han Solo – getting the swan song he seemed to have always wanted for the character.
  • Carrie Fisher is terrific as General Organa.
  • Mark Hamill does very much with a brief cameo and no lines.
  • The new leads may have a chance to be as compelling as the originals, but they don’t quite make it here.
  • Kylo Ren is one of the most interesting Star Wars characters ever.
  • The movie hits all the right – if familiar – emotional notes.

Retro-Reaction

Just because something is familiar doesn’t mean it’s bad and I love The Force Awakens and would put it in my top five favorite Star Wars movies. It’s got the excitement that makes Star Wars run. It introduces a new generation of heroes that have a chance to become characters fans love. It gives a coda to my favorite Star Wars character of all time. And it simply looks like a Star Wars movie. Somehow it looks and feels more like a Star Wars movie than the George Lucas directed prequels.

While fans worldwide will be able to dissect the new trilogy in its entirety in a few days, I maintain that The Force Awakens set the table very, very well for this new generation of Star Wars films. Rey, whatever her background, is a wonderful lead hero. Finn gives all kinds of insight into areas of the movies we’ve never traveled before and Poe is all Solo swagger and grit. They are a fun trio and I wanted more of them when the movie ended.

I also wanted more of the original trio together, but you cannot have everything!

The Schedule 

  • Review One: The Phantom Menace
  • Review Two: Attack of the Clones
  • Review Three: Revenge of the Sith
  • Review Four: Solo
  • Review Five: Rogue One
  • Review Six: A New Hope
  • Review Seven: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Review Eight: Return of the Jedi
  • Review Nine: The Force Awakens
  • Review Ten: The Last Jedi

May the Force Be With Us!

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Star Wars Rise Prep: Return of the Jedi | Hey, It’s Me!


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RETURN OF THE JEDI

Thoughts….

  • A very good Star Wars movie… perhaps not a top 3, but certainly in the second 3.
  • The Ewoks didn’t annoy me as much as I had thought they might… it has been a while since I re-watched.
  • The climactic battle waged in three separate locations works very well.
  • The camaraderie among the lead characters, including Chewie and the droids, is handled really well here. It’s good to see them together.
  • I wasn’t bothered at all by the Lucas additions… the shots of the celebrations on other planets at the fall of the Emperor are very cool.
  • The new music for the Ewok celebration is superior to the original in every way and really changes a scene that used to feel quite silly into one with some appropriate gravitas.
  • Han is played a little too much for laughs… but Harrison Ford gets the last one in the next movie, doesn’t he?
  • The empowerment of Leia is all but forgotten here. She’s reduced to playing a hostage.
  • I remember when I first saw the amount of ships in the Battle for Endor and thought it was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen… it’s still pretty cool.

Retro-Reaction

Return of the Jedi, while a fitting conclusion to the first trilogy, is a return to more overt Lucas control and, like it or not, Lucas believes Star Wars movies are primarily for children. The dark stakes of Empire are all but washed away here. There is no real sense that Luke will turn to the Dark Side and, therefore, while exciting, the conflict in him plays out fairly bloodlessly. The addition of the Ewoks is widely and correctly cited as a moment the whole thing turned towards kiddies. I was not as offended by them as I once was, but I am also not sure why they need to be teddy bears.

Luke’s story is really terrifically realized. Though I always bump a bit on the fact that his training was complete even though it really wasn’t, I buy him as a Jedi at the end of the movie, poised to bring back the order. Interesting how that played out…

Return of the Jedi takes its lumps for being a bit silly and a bit childish, but it’s the last movie that the characters I love were featured together and I will NEVER complain about that!

The Schedule 

  • Review One: The Phantom Menace
  • Review Two: Attack of the Clones
  • Review Three: Revenge of the Sith
  • Review Four: Solo
  • Review Five: Rogue One
  • Review Six: A New Hope
  • Review Seven: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Review Eight: Return of the Jedi
  • Review Nine: The Force Awakens
  • Review Ten: The Last Jedi

May the Force Be With Us!

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Star Wars Rise Prep: The Empire Strikes Back | No, There Is Another


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the countdown is on!

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THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

 

Thoughts….

  • Without question – for me – the is the best of all 8 movies thus far.
  • It takes everything we learned in A New Hope and turns it on its ear.
  • Han Solo is utterly awesome here. THIS is the Han I come to Star Wars for, without question.
  • Luke comes off better in Empire than I remembered.
  • Leia is, likewise, very strong in Empire. She’s more general than princess and, for a movie filmed in the late 1970s, she’s surprisingly in charge.
  • The pace of the film is perfect.
  • The set pieces are a lot of fun and give life to one of the best, least quoted moments of the entire saga – “I can still outmaneuver ’em!”
  • The introduction of Lando is terrific as is Billy Dee Williams.
  • I watched the Disney + versions and I do like the additional graphics, especially on Cloud City. The place looks beautiful and far more expansive.
  • This was the first time I’d seen Empire since The Last Jedi and I was very struck at how Last Jedi director Rian Johnson used this film as a blueprint for his movie. It’s pretty cool to see both in that fashion.
  • THE. BEST.

Retro-Reaction

I fell in love with A New Hope. I became committed with The Empire Strikes Back. What a wonderful movie and one that is so much of its time. The darker turn, the bleak themes, the truly shocking, cliffhanger outcome all seem more like the work of George Lucas’ counterparts from film school than from him. It’s ironic as this is widely regarded as the movie in the original trilogy over which he had the least control.

This is a movie that has plenty for its 3 main characters to do. Luke, Leia and Han all shine and they all are most the heroes I want them to be here in Empire. So much time is spent on the Millennium Falcon, too, and I love that. For my dollar, it’s the most iconic ship in science fiction.

Though it’s difficult in places to see Lucas begin to re-con his universe, it’s also exciting each time the “I am your father” reveal hits.

And Yoda! What an amazing creation.

The Empire Strikes Back is the best of the best. Period.

The Schedule 

  • Review One: The Phantom Menace
  • Review Two: Attack of the Clones
  • Review Three: Revenge of the Sith
  • Review Four: Solo
  • Review Five: Rogue One
  • Review Six: A New Hope
  • Review Seven: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Review Eight: Return of the Jedi
  • Review Nine: The Force Awakens
  • Review Ten: The Last Jedi

May the Force Be With Us!

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Star Wars Rise Prep: A New Hope | … Always


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A NEW HOPE

 

Thoughts….

  • THIS. HOLDS. UP.
  • I mean, it really, really does. Was there ever a question that it would?
  • I watched in on Disney + to see if the changes were significant or egregious. They were neither. They were fine, though the Han/Greedo scene remains troublesome.
  • The Han/Jabba scene remains fun. I’ve never minded its inclusion.
  • This is the one that started it all and the one that JJ Abrams tried to (and, on many levels, did) remake with The Force Awakens.
  • All of the introductions are really perfect.
  • There are still lingering continuity questions with some of the dialogue, especially some of Obi Wan Kenobi’s lines. This illustrates, pretty clearly, that Lucas did not really know where this all was going on had no idea he’d get another movie in this universe.
  • That, during the filming of The Force Awakens, Mark Hamill was older than Alec Guinness was during the filming of this movie will NEVER cease blowing my mind.
  • Han Solo HAS to be on any Top Ten list of the greatest characters in American cinema, right? Go ahead, make a list that doesn’t include him. I’ll wait.
  • I’ve seen this movie more times than I’ve seen any other and I could watch it again right now.

Retro-Reaction

It’s easy now to look at A New Hope and say, of course, this was perfect. Of course it spawned a universe. Of course people who passed on it were idiots. It’s easy now.

I remember so well waiting to see it as a kid and going in the second year (you read that right, folks) of its release knowing NOTHING about it and being blown away. I was eight and I was forever changed.

I am older than eight now and the swells of music, the daring do, the character combinations and, yes, even the dialogue can still take me right back to the feelings I had then. They were feelings inspired by light triumphing over the darkness in the worst possible situations.

These are feeling I ALWAYS want to carry with me.

The Schedule 

  • Review One: The Phantom Menace
  • Review Two: Attack of the Clones
  • Review Week Three: Revenge of the Sith
  • Review Week Four: Solo
  • Review Week Five: Rogue One
  • Review Week Six: A New Hope
  • Review Week Seven: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Review Week Eight: Return of the Jedi
  • Review Week Nine: The Force Awakens
  • Review Week Ten: The Last Jedi

May the Force Be With Us!

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Star Wars Rise Prep: Rogue One – A Star Wars Story | Built on Hope


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ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

 

Thoughts….

  • This is the darkest of the Star Wars films. It makes The Empire Strikes Back look like Attack of the Clones.  (and that is the ONLY time I will use those two films in the same sentence.
  • I am very excited for the Cassian Andor solo series coming to Disney +. What a GREAT character!
  • Felicity Jones is so terrific in this movie.
  • I love K2SO.
  • Every moment featuring Darth Vader works. Overtime.
  • I had no issue with the CGI Tarkin or the CGI Leia, but I am a forgiving type.
  • I was so surprised when I first saw the movie and thrilled again to note that A New Hope takes place immediately after this movie. That’s a clever connection – one of many in the film (though Dr. Evazan and Walrus Man were bridges too far).
  • Jimmy Smits makes it back! I had actually forgotten that… perhaps we will see him on Disney + too?
  • There is something really compelling about the grittiness of this movie.
  • Churrit and Baze are great characters… are they gay characters? That would be fine by me.
  • The scenes on Jedha before the ambush of the storm troopers by Saw Gurrera’s forces don’t make much sense. At all.

Retro-Reaction

I really, really like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Every character works and every character has a great arc. The action is pretty stunning (Churrit’s first battle on Jedha, Vader on the Tantive IV). The chemistry among the characters is wonderful. K2SO is my favorite of all the new droid creations. There is very little that detracts from this fascinating prologue to A New Hope. Perhaps one downside is that Director Krennic is such a mustache twirling adversary and Ben Mendelson is a bit wasted. Other than that, I really enjoy this movie!

The Schedule 

  • Review One: The Phantom Menace
  • Review Two: Attack of the Clones
  • Review Week Three: Revenge of the Sith
  • Review Week Four: Solo
  • Review Week Five: Rogue One
  • Review Week Six: A New Hope
  • Review Week Seven: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Review Week Eight: Return of the Jedi
  • Review Week Nine: The Force Awakens
  • Review Week Ten: The Last Jedi

May the Force Be With Us!

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Star Wars Rise Prep: Solo – A Star Wars Story | I’ve Got a Good Feeling about This


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SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY

 

Thoughts….

  • People are jerks. Did anyone “ask” for this movie? Who cares? It’s more than fine, it’s very good.
  • Alden Ehrenreich is a very good Han Solo. This is not a Harrison Ford impersonation, it’s Ehrenreich doing his own thing, and that thing works.
  • Donald Glover is a perfect Lando Calrissian and the film nails the relationship between the lovable scoundrels.
  • The first third of the movie feels a bit unfocused – perhaps due to the change in directors – but the last two thirds are terrific fun.
  • The movie is so very true to the character and the movie makes it very, very, abundantly clear that HAN. SHOT. FIRST. He always does.
  • I cannot be the only one who thinks it’s so very clever that Han Solo had a hand in starting the Rebellion, right?
  • I was shocked by the Darth Maul reveal and would love to see more of that storyline.
  • I wanted more Solo immediately after the movie ended.
  • Galaxy’s Edge – the Disney Star Wars lands – connect heavily to this movie. Maybe that bothered people, too. People! Lighten up!
  • The movie is a great addition to the Star Wars universe – certainly better, in my opinion, than The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. I think it’s as good as Revenge of the Sith.

Retro-Reaction

There is very, very little wrong with Solo: A Star Wars Story. It does have a slow start but, when it gets going, it makes the Kessel Run in less than… well, you know. The cast is having a bunch of fun and they should be. So should the audience. I really believe that the negative fanboy press coupled with the change in creative team and a reshoot of the movie that some describe as “almost total” kept the audience away. That’s a shame. If you avoided this one, do yourself a favor and see it. It’s a more than worthy installment. I would take a sequel in a heartbeat. Perhaps they can get Ehrenreich to reprise his role on Disney +. I’d sure watch!

The Schedule 

  • Review One: The Phantom Menace
  • Review Two: Attack of the Clones
  • Review Week Three: Revenge of the Sith
  • Review Week Four: Solo
  • Review Week Five: Rogue One
  • Review Week Six: A New Hope
  • Review Week Seven: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Review Week Eight: Return of the Jedi
  • Review Week Nine: The Force Awakens
  • Review Week Ten: The Last Jedi

May the Force Be With Us!

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