Friday, December 15, 2017
...Starkiller Base has been destroyed. Everyone waived a happy goodbye to Rey, Chewbacca, and R2-D2 as they made their way to find Luke Skywalker in the Millennium Falcon. As Rey stood pensively in front of Luke, calling him back to adventure, our journey temporary ended before the next chapter could begin.
In the "The Last Jedi", while Rey was making her way to Luke's location, the EMPIRE, I mean the First Order decided to STRIKE BACK back which is what they pretty much do during the entirety of the movie. I don't understand while the First Order pursues the last of the Resistance in open space until they run out of gas. That's it. That's what seriously happens until the final act.
So what happens between full tank and empty?
1) Storyline A: Rey and Luke
Luke doesn’t want to train Rey but she sticks around anyway because where else is she going to go. Luke finally decides to train her by teaching her three lessons. The lessons include why the Jedi must end. He makes some compelling arguments but it becomes a little hard to follow because at the same time Rey is going through her own personal journey within herself, telepathically speaking with Kylo Ren, and sometimes plot from the other storylines get in the way.
Eventually, Rey leaves the island to confront Kylo Ren to save him from the dark side because Luke will not. Yoda shows up in puppet force ghost form which looks pretty horrible special-effects wise. Yoda make some valid points and Luke decides to participate.
Luke is somehow able to project himself across the galaxy to confront his nephew and former student whom he essentially created him accidentally through fear. Ultimately the confrontation is just a distraction so the last of the Resistance can get away and Luke becomes one with the Force.
2) Storyline B: Finn and Rose
These two have an adventure on Canto Bight, the casino planet, where they happen to meet a guy (Benicio Del Toro) that can break in and out of places who helps them and then betrays them. Finn fights Captain Phasma and then she dies. So her character ends up being as meaningless as her appearance in The Force Awakens.
3) Storyline C: The Resistance
Leia, Poe and what's left of the Resistance are on the Resistance cruiser a.k.a. the Raddus as I mentioned earlier going from full to empty. While on the ship, we are treated to a mutiny between newly appointed leader Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) and Poe Dameron. Thankfully Poe gets a lot more screen-time, but he appears to have learned none of his lessons from in the comic book, but that all takes place before TFA, so I guess he just forgets. I will give him a pass as he's just as impatient as the audience wondering what the hell is going on as they wait for death while the gas runs out.
Overall, I know I've mentioned a lot of negatives, but there were some positive things that happened as well if you read between the lines. At the end of the day, the light met the dark and I left the theater liking it, but not loving it. I'm sure it'll grow on me just like TFA did after multiple watches.
For now, I'll give it 3 out of 5 stars.
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Thoughts 10 hours before seeing "The Last Jedi" -
"The Force Awakens" had a huge task ahead of itself two years ago. Not only did it have to recapture the Star Wars magic of the original trilogy, but it had to bring in a fresh story that felt familiar but new. Monetarily, it succeeded in spades, but after the wonder wore off, the criticism really began.
First and foremost, the original trilogy is far from perfect, but using it as our baseline, it was what we wanted as an audience. We were actually given what we wanted - so much in fact that "The Force Awakens" felt very close to "A New Hope" where many claimed it to be just a rehash. I saw the similarities, but at its core, "The Force Awakens" was about Rey, Kylo Ren, Finn, and Poe and the movie just so happens to have Han, Leia, and Luke in it.
Remember those guys? Han, Leia, and Luke? Yeah, it's the ones we care about. And what did we get? Han was killed, Luke was in it at the end for two minutes and says nothing, and Leia was pretty much sidelined as she hadn't acted in years and was very rusty.
So the focus was thrust upon the new characters and they did a decent job of keeping us intrigued, but it wasn't the story we wanted. We wanted to see what our original trilogy heroes and what they have been up to all these years since "Return of the Jedi." Yoda told Luke to pass on what he had learned. Leia and Han were together and peace appeared to have been restored to the galaxy. So what happened next -- a huge time gap happened.
Unfortunately, due to real life, the actors who play the ironic original trilogy characters aren't young anymore and they represent the old generation. Disney decided that it was time for a new one. Disney even removed the number VII from all marketing materials and VIII isn't present anywhere that I've seen. This is a continuation of the Skywalker story, but it's almost as if they aren't even acknowledging it publicly.
So fast forward to present day and "The Last Jedi" is mere hours from being experienced for the first time. With everything in the back of my mind, I need to check myself. This story will be about Rey, Finn, Kylo, Poe, and new comer Rose. This story will happen to have Luke and Leia in it. Will Han even be mentioned or lamented? As I sit with my thoughts I am worried. I'm worried that we won't get what we wanted again. I'm sure there will be similarities with "The Last Jedi" when compared to "Empire" and "Jedi" which one can clearly do using footage from the trailers, but is this going to be a story I will care about? Once the wonder wears off and the dust settles, how will I feel?
Saturday, December 9, 2017
ESB - May 21, 1980; Again, I was not born, but my parents said they saw it so I had a womb with a view :)
ROTJ - May 25, 1983; I was 2 years old, so my parents didn't take me because I was too young (and probably wouldn't sit still).
TPM - I didn't see it at midnight, but I did go three times on Wednesday, May 19, 1999 at 10AM by myself, 4PM with my girlfriend and her friends, and 10PM with my best friend, Ernest at the Loews Cineplex, Stroud Mall, Stroudsburg, PA. I was in high school at the time, and I was 18 so I could sign myself out with a parental note. My mom wrote me a note for the front office to excuse me for a dentist appointment, but I saw no dentist at 10AM that day.
AOTC - I saw it @ midnight on May 16, 2002 with five or six college friends at the Regal Cinema 14, Easton PA.
ROTS - I saw it with my brother and sister @ midnight on May 18, 2005 at the Cinemark 20, Moosic, PA. My brother and I waited in line for 8 hours and we were probably 10th or so in line. My sister showed up later to reap the benefits.
TFA - Because of theaters selling early and site crashes, I was only able to get non reserved seats, so my brother, sister-in-law, wife, (and Ernest who came later) waited in line 5 hours at the UA Main St Theatre 6, Manayunk, PA. I packed sandwiches and bottle water for us while we waited on December 17, 2015 for the 7PM showing.
R1 - I won tickets to see it Wednesday, December 14, 2016 @ UA King of Prussia 16 and saw it with Ernest. My wife, Ernest's wife, my brother and sister in law saw it on opening day December 15, 2016 at AMC in Plymouth Meeting, PA - reserved seats, no wait!
TLJ - Reserved seats have been purchased for wife and Ernest at Movie Tavern, Exton, PA @ 7PM for Thursday December 14, 2017.
After compiling and reminiscing, I realized that I have not seen any Star Wars movies in the same theater opening night. It's always been a different theater. Funny. I wonder where I'll see Solo.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Thursday, June 29, 2017
2) Tom did a fine job, but I would say I enjoyed the choreography, cinematography, and his general quips in Civil War more than anything in Homecoming. It's not that Homecoming was bad, I just felt they could have added a few more acrobatics and maybe a few more POV shots. Nothing really jumped out at surprising and maybe that's a product of the trailers giving away too much.
3) Even though this movie isn't a Spider-man origin story, there are still moments that felt that way which is a tiny negative. We do have a 15 year old sophomore Peter who is a little whiny but thankfully he not full or angst and crybaby-esque like Maguire or Garfield, so that was very much appreciated. Tom/Peter is still slightly awkward as expected, but he's kind of graceful about it, like a swan in roller skates.
4) I did find myself smiling throughout so it was a fun ride overall with very little lulls. I don't recall any moments where it dragged. There was some good humor sprinkled throughout.
5) Small gripes: I felt Happy was used a little too much and Zendaya wasn't needed in this film.
FYI: Two end credit scenes. One after the cartoony "ball room blitz" credits before the black and white scroll ones start AND one at the very end that is a must see.
Thursday, March 30, 2017
In the world of RT, I'd give it 70%. Visually it's very stunning and I thought the CG looked really good blended into the world it was presenting. The story was also good. It's not super complicated but it is your typical "who really is the bad guy" plotline. There were shades of gray so it wasn't completely cookie-cutter. I did find the characters interesting and wouldn't mind seeing more of them if they decided to do a spin off or sequel. I'm not a huge Scarlett Johansson fan but she did an OK job. I've seen bits and pieces of the Japanese anime that it is based on but not enough to spoil this experience so I went in pretty fresh.
This isn't a must see and normally I would recommend to just wait for this on Blu-ray, but the visuals in IMAX 3-D were really good and they did not disappoint.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
The director/writers had the ability to show and not tell us in the live action adaption of what happened with the witch and the prince in the beginning, but instead we were given voice over again. Why not let the actors speak the lines?
Emma Watson can sing and did a great job, but the standout was the Beast. I wanted to see more of him and it felt like he was in the movie the least.
I appreciated the movie fixing the cursed for "10" years to "many" years, and the brainwashing of the townspeople concerning the castle and the prince made sense. I don't know how much time Belle and the Beast spent together while the events of the real world were happening, but it can be easily explained that it was "magic" or "sorcery".
Gaston was good acting wise. He was believable and his actions in "helping" Maurice made sense compared to his actions in the cartoon. I guess I expected more power from his singing voice so I was a little let down there.
LeFou was also ok and funny for the most part. I liked him spreading money around the bar to get them to sing with him about Gaston. I wish I hadn't heard that his character was gay as I would have liked to experience that organically. It's a shame that when the media got a hold of the information that it blew up the way it did.
Maurice was pretty well done. I appreciated the backstory even though I didn't think it was really needed. He was a lot better than his idiot cartoon counterpart.
I was pretty disappointed, overall, concerning the enchanted objects. The attention to detail to make them look realistic and the animation were spot on, I just think the chemistry wasn't there like it was in the cartoon version. The candle cared more about the feather duster than the clock and one of the appealing aspects of the cartoon version is Cogsworth and Lumiere's friendship which seemed pretty non existent. In the end, I cared more about the coat rack than any of the ones that could talk.
- the music: While I thought the music was culturally appropriate and fitting, none really stuck to me after viewing like other Disney musicals.
- the voice work: My fear was that the Rock was going to be too much Rock (if that makes sense), which he was at first, but thankfully he disappeared into his role as Maui. I wanted Maui the character to stand on his own regardless of who was voicing him and the movie succeeded in doing that. Props to the director.
- overall: This movie didn't blow me away like Frozen first did, but I remember it fondly as I type this review and wouldn't mind watching it again. I know as a kid I would watch the heck out of the Disney movies and the songs would just stick over time. I think the same would be true with this one after multiple viewings. It's a very fine addition to the Disney animated musical pantheon.