On Sunday my friends Abby and Jeremy and I continued our Star Wars analysis by talking all about the new film. We ended up talking for 2 hours and we could have gone even longer! For a movie that seems simple on the surface there is a surprising amount to it.
I think this would be an entertaining listen for you when you are cleaning or working, maybe on your commute. I would love your feedback.
You can listen to our discussion on the entire series with this playlist.
I loved doing these discussions and feel encouraged to do more of them. Abby and Jeremy also said they had a good time. If you have suggestions you’d like to us to discuss put in the comments section. I was thinking of the Marvel movies or Harry Potter later in the year.
Congrats to JJ Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, and the team at Disney/Lucasfilm for making a very special movie! And thanks to George Lucas for creating such a wonderful world. I appreciate even his prequels now better after this series and watching them in chronological order. It’s been a great experience so I hope you all enjoy listening to it.
I feel like I am the only one of my blogging friends to not post their Force Awakens review. Well, I wanted to see the movie twice to make sure I wasn’t just gushing over the experience more than the film itself. It was definitely one of the most memorable movie-going experiences I’ve ever had. I even dressed up
Fortunately I’m happy to tell all of you that the movie lived up to the experience. Star Wars is back and the great world Lucas gave us in 1977 will continue on in good form for a whole new generation. I couldn’t be happier!
I’ll give you a few plot points that are basically available on the trailer (I tried to keep it spoiler free but if you are very sensitive stay away).
The focus on Force Awakens is on a young woman named Rey (Daisy Ridley) who is a scavenger on the planet Jakku. One day she meets a droid named BB8 who has a message from his master, a pilot named Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) meant for the resistance. Along the way to deliver the message she meets Finn (John Boyega) a stormtrooper who has deserted his post.
They all take the millennium falcon and meet Hon Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and they face off with a leader in the new empire named Kylo Ren.
I’ll leave the rest for you to uncover. The characters were probably my favorite thing about Force Awakens- both old and new. I thought they did such a good job merging the worlds together. I especially loved Finn and Rey who are very well portrayed by their respective actors. Kylo Ren was also a more complex villain than we have seen in many a Star Wars film (at least at first).
Harrison Ford is really trying here unlike some of his grumbling recent performances. It feels like he and Chewie are back and at home again on the Millennium Falcon. I honestly was prepared to ‘put up’ with his performance but he did a great job.
A few of the characters I could have had more of particularly captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) who I was hoping would be a bit more of an awesome female villain, which Star Wars has never really had. Hopefully in the next film she will be used even more.
I also wasn’t crazy about the main villain played by Andy Serkis named Supreme Leader Snoke. I didn’t love the design and he didn’t seem menacing enough.
But it is a small problem in a very entertaining film. Like I said the characters were wonderful. There was a ton of comedy without it being moronic or annoying like JarJar Binks. I particularly loved the BB8 droid who is my new droid crush (sorry R2D2!). He was beyond adorable. You did get to see R2D2 and C3PO which was a lot of fun as well.
I also enjoyed the action in the film and I never got bored the entire movie! It was great to see practical, earthy feeling special effects and the battle sequences were awesome. I particularly liked the light saber duels which felt more visceral than in previous films. It felt like the light was a knife not just a pretty light you could put your hand through. As we knew Kylo Ren has a special light saber with a hilt on it and he fought like a man possessed at times. It was so mesmerizing to watch.
What’s really interesting about Kylo Ren is he is a villain that is battling not with the darkness but with the light. He wants to be like his idol Vader but he falls woefully short. This is such a contrast to the prequels with the whiny Anakin futilely resisting the dark side. He’s an interesting contrast to Finn who has left the darkness because he had an ‘awakening’ of what was the right thing to do.
Lupita Nyong’o appears in a motion capture performance as Maz Kanata a cantina owner who gives counsel to the crew and I really liked her character. All the characters and actors except for Phasma and Snoke were great.
Director JJ Abrams has crafted a film that is entertaining for non-Star Wars fans and is chuck full of lore and new story for the die hard fans. And like I said the script is sharp, very quickly paced (sometimes too quick!), and drew me in. I cried. I laughed a lot and I think that credit has to go to the return of Lawrence Kasdan to the script. John Williams music is also wonderful as usual (while maybe missing the new standout number it’s a great score).
Overall, there has probably never been a movie more anxiously awaited than Force Awakens and while I had a few issues here and there I was greatly entertained by the film. In the case of this fan my expectations were met.
Congratulations to JJ Abrams and team for the tremendous job you have accomplished. The world has a quality new Star Wars movie! Yippee!
My brother and I did a video starting with our anticipation and then our reaction, and a few spoilers at the end (I also have it divided into smaller portions on the channel if you prefer).
As far as content it does have intense moments but I feel it isn’t more so than the original trilogy. If your kids can handle Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi I think they can watch this.
Overall Grade- A
Let me know what you think of Star Wars: Force Awakens? Did it meet your expectations? I hope so! I can’t wait to see it many more times and am so happy Star Wars is back!
I finally can share with you guys our discussion on Return of the Jedi. Abby, Jeremy and I recorded it on Sunday but there was some kind of glitch with youtube where all the Live Google Hangouts were stuck in processing limbo. People could watch the video but I couldn’t really share them and they didn’t appear on my channel or video feed. I also couldn’t put a thumbnail photo on or promote it in a serious way.
This was very concerning to me as it was a great discussion between the three of us and not always easy to duplicate that and I have no other copy of the broadcast because it goes from the live feed straight to youtube.
Anyway, after waiting nearly 3 days the video is up and I am proud of how this one turned out.
Return of the Jedi is a very different entry into the Star Wars films. It feels more like the serials that first inspired Lucas, or at least the beginning does. The first 40 minutes are focused on rescuing Han from the carbonite at Jabba the Hutt’s palace. This scene involves much action from all the key players except Vader and 2 monsters, the Rancor and Sarlac. For me this section is fun but it goes on a little bit too long. I really like when we see R2D2 serving drinks and Han and Luke fighting everyone and almost dying. That’s great but some of the violence with the slave Oola getting killed, Leia’s gold bikini, and Boba Fett dying the way he does I am not as big a fan of. It feels more like the Mummy movies with Brendan Fraser than Star Wars to me.
Once they are freed from Jabba the movie flips back and forth between 3 storylines- all of which I liked. You have 1. Luke confronting the Emperor and Vader. 2. Lando and the rebels attacking the Death Star. 3. Han, Leia, Chewie, R2D2 and C3PO on Endor with the Ewoks deactivating the Death Star’s shield.
I really like the fact that all of the characters get their moments including Lando who is now fully redeemed from actions in Empire. I also don’t mind the Ewoks and feel they are used just enough.
However, my favorite is the interactions between Vader, Luke and the Emperor. Luke is so convinced there is good in his father and I think that is part of what makes him such a likable character. He’s not only the hero but he believes in people. He see’s the good in villain. That’s very admirable. But these scenes are also great because of the interplay between the Emperor and Luke. He knows just how to stoke Luke into defending himself but then manipulates that into anger and hate. Luke is constantly having to pull himself back and then become passionate again. It’s a very fine line he walks.
Eventually when he will not give into the dark side (I love when he says Never!) the Emperor almost kills him but Vader steps in to save his son. What a great moment!
Return of the Jedi is a very satisfying end to the original trilogy. There are parts I would trim from the beginning but all in all I think it’s a great film.
Thanks so much to Abby and Jeremy for their help on this series. I had such a great time talking Star Wars with them and can’t wait for Force Awakens! 9 days till I see it!!!
Yesterday my friends Abby, Jeremy and I discussed what is widely considered the best of the Star Wars films: Empire Strikes Back.
I watched Empire Strikes Back twice last week and each time I was truly blown away by it. There was a new director for Empire Strikes Back, Irvin Kershner and new writers Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan, and you can really feel their influence on the finished film. I am not overstating my feeling when I say every decision they made works. There isn’t anything I would change in the film.
The characters are the first stand-out in Empire Strikes Back. You get some new characters in Yoda who is a tough taskmaster to Luke as he teaches him about the force. You also get to know Lando Calrissian who at one moment betrays the team but there may be more too it than that.
Then of course our core group are all back with Luke learning about his father, facing his demons, and getting training from Yoda. Han Solo has become fiercely loyal to Luke and him and Leia have terrific romantic chemistry. He is asked to sacrifice everything and is frozen in carbonite in an amazingly tense scene.
The Empire led by Vader is more like a Nazi regime in this film and especially in the final confrontation with Luke there is no doubt of Vader’s strength and overwhelming control of the force. When Luke realizes his father is Vader it is such an intense, devastating moment (not to mention the greatest reveal ever in movies).
The action is all better with incredible battle sequences on Hoth and in Cloud City. The special effects are great and the writing is poignant, funny, emotional, everything you could want in a movie.
If it is possible Empire Strikes Back was even better than I remembered it on this recent rewatch. Without a doubt in my mind one of the most perfectly executed films ever made.
I hope you guys enjoy our discussion and would love if give it a thumbs up if you do. Thanks so much!
What is your favorite moment from Empire Strikes Back?
So we have gotten through the prequels and I think had a pretty good time doing it and now on to the cream of the crop! Yesterday my friends Abby and Jeremy and I discussed the original Star Wars movie. This is a film that I think is just about perfect. If I was going on a desert island it would be a film I would take with me. I love the characters, action, pacing, setting, lore, and everything else. Nevertheless, we aren’t just drooling fans but have a good discussion on the film I think you will enjoy.
Just as I have done in the past Star Wars reviews here is my summary of Episode 4.
The original Star Wars ep 4 starts 19 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith. The galaxy has split up into two groups, rebels and the larger Galactic Empire. At the opening a rebel Princess Leia has stolen plans to the Death Star in R2D2. Leia is captured but she sends R2 and C3PO to Tatooine to find Obi-Wan Kinobi.
Next we meet Luke Skywalker who is anxious to get out of his uncle’s simple farm life. Luke purchases the droids and see’s the message from Leia to Obi-Wan. They end up meeting Obi-Wan and Luke learns about the days of the Jedi, the force, and Darth Vader who studied under Obi-Wan and killed Luke’s father. Luke is also given his father’s light saber.
After viewing the message Obi-Wan decides to go to Alderaan and visit with Leia’s father. Luke decides to go with him only after he finds his uncle and aunt have been burned alive by Imperial storm troopers looking for the droids. To get to Alderaan they hire the cynical pilot Han Solo and Chewbacca who fly in the Millennium Falcon.
Meanwhile Grand Moff Tarkin decides to make a show of force to Leia and the other rebels and destroys the entire planet of Alderaan in one massive shot. The Millennium Falcon is caught by the Death Star and Han, Luke, Obi-Wan and the droids stage a rescue for Leia. However, things go wrong as they are caught and end up in a trash compactor where they narrowly escape being crushed alive. Then they escape but not before Obi-Wan and Vader duel with light sabers and Obi-Wan is killed. Luke is devastated but they must leave.
Using the plans for the Death Star the rebels discover a port that connects to the station’s main reactor. They decide if they can shoot a target directly in that port it will cause the entire Death Star to explode. Luke and a squadron join the mission and Vader is hot on their trails. Obi-Wan’s spirit helps counsel Luke to use the force and he is able to successfully get the shots into the port and destroy the Death Star. This kills Tarkin and weakens the Empire for the moment. Han and Luke receive medals for their bravery to end the film.
This is pretty much how I feel about this movie:
I love Star Wars. I love the characters especially Han and Luke. I love the journey we go on with Luke as he learns about his father and the Jedi. I love Vader as an awesome villain with a strange attachment to his ‘old religion’. I love all the world building and the special effects. I love hyperspace and the droids. I love the humor especially from C3PO. I love what Star Wars did for movies and fandom. I think the music is perfect and by the end I want to cheer.
What George Lucas accomplished is truly remarkable and as much as the prequels aren’t my favorite I give full props to him for all he gave modern movies. I don’t know how it can be argued that Star Wars is not one of the top 10 most influential films of all time. Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane, Star Wars to me belong in the same discussion as the greatest movies of all time and 99% of people I know agree with me on that. Most of all it is so entertaining for the entire family. That’s why most of us are excited for Force Awakens because it will hopefully be a chance to relive the Star Wars we were introduced to as kids. The Star Wars that made us want to cheer.
That’s all I really have to say about Star Wars. I love it and on to Empire Strikes Back next!
Hi guys! So we just finished the third in our review and discussion of the Star Wars films with our look at Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith. This is definitely the strongest of the prequels and we had a great time talking about it.
Episode 3 starts out with war between the Republic and the Separatists. Obi-won and Anakin lead a rescue of Chancellor Palpatine from General Grevious. They confront Count Dooku who Anakin kills at Palpatine’s urging. Later on Coruscant Padme announces to Anakin that she is pregnant. Anakin is happy over the news but also worried because of the rules against Jedi loving. Anakin also becomes worried when he has dreams of Padme dying while giving birth.
Anakin is angry when the Jedi Council decide against making him a Jedi Master. Palpatine feels he will be able to manipulate Anakin and he goads his ego and tells him about the power of the dark side to possibly overcome death. He then tells Anakin that he is the Sith Lord Darth Sidious. Anakin tells Mace Windu this who then confronts Palpatine. The two fight and Palpatine is nearly defeated but Anakin decides he needs to know how to save Padme so he stops Windu who then Palpatine kills. After this Anakin pledges with the dark side and is named Darth Vader.
Obi-won kills Grevious. Then Palpatine changes the orders of the Clone army using order 66 to kill the Jedis and Anakin is sent to the Jedi Temple and he oversee’s all Jedi’s even children in training are killed. The only survivors are Obi-wan and Yoda. Vader then kills the Separatist leaders on the volcanic planet Mustafar while Palpatine convinces the Senate to change from a Republic to a Galactic Empire. Padme hears of Anakin’s betrayal and goes with Obi-wan to Mustafar. Vader feels Padme has betrayed him by continuing to associate with Obi-wan and he force chokes her and she collapses. Obi-won and Vader have a light saber battle over the lava. Obi-wan severs Vader’s limbs and he is burned in the lava.
Meanwhile, Yoda battles Palpatine with the light saber and other methods but ends up escaping. Padme has twins Luke and Leia before dying. Palpatine creates a body and respiratory mask for Vader so that he can go on living creating the iconic Darth Vader we know. Obi-wan and Yoda hide the twins, Leia with Senator Organa in Alderaan and Luke with his uncle Owen in Tatooine.
As I say in the video, my main response to Revenge of the Sith was ‘meh’. It’s not terrible but I didn’t love it either. It was ok but that’s a big improvement over 1 and 2.
There are a couple of reasons this one works better than the other 2. First of all, there is actually a story with a climax that matters and villains that are menacing. Everything in this film is leading up to the creation of Darth Vader so it gives it some momentum and excitement we didn’t get in the others. Second, there is way less dialogue in Revenge of the Sith than the other prequels, which is a good thing because George Lucas isn’t great at writing dialogue. Finally, the special effects are better and more convincing than previous endeavors.
I felt like they tried to remove a lot of the stuff people hated in episode 2. We get way less awkward romantic dialogue. We get way less political talk and we even lose the villain of Episode 2 right away, which really surprised me. Ian McDiarmid also gets to shine as Emperor Palpatine as he becomes the Emperor we know in the original trilogy.
I did think Anakin’s transformation to Darth Vader was somewhat sudden but I didn’t hate it either. I was annoyed by Padme becoming basically a Bella Swan type waiting and adoring needy woman and kind of giving up in the end.
I also found the plot to be very confusing and didn’t like General Grevious as a character. I wish they had just kept Count Dooku who I think was much better than Grevious.
The Order 66 and the change of the Clones to kill the Jedi was very sad and compelling especially having watched Star Wars Rebels and seeing some of that aftermath.
There’s lots of light saber battles in this film and I enjoyed most of them even if they are a little bit cheesy special effects-wise. I’m still not a fan of Yoda using a light saber and that whole section but the Vader/Obi-wan battle lava aside looks pretty cool.
The final creation of Darth Vader is good but I didn’t like the No at the end especially because Lucas put it in Return of the Jedi at the end.
Overall, I still had problems with Revenge of the Sith in acting, a confusing plot and some character jumps that don’t quite make sense. That said, I was entertained and found it much more entertaining than Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones.
I am very excited to get to Episode 4: New Hope which is my personal favorite Star Wars film even though I admit Empire Strikes Back is the better made film. It’s going to be fun to discuss the 3 original trilogy and then Force Awakens!
What do you think about Revenge of the Sith? Put your comments down below. Thanks!
So I might have cried a bit at a movie trailer today. Yep full on nerd tears. Tonight the new Star Wars: Force Awakens trailer dropped during halftime at Monday Night Football and this trailer was epic in the truest sense of the word. It did everything you want a trailer to do. We got to see and hear from new characters. We got little nibbles of stories but no major plot points. We got to see the old and new school players (except for Luke!). It had great music. Showed the great cinematography and all the practical effects. The battle sequences look awesome.
We know there are scenes with real heart where both Finn and Rey are learning from Han Solo (initially a doubter) about the force and the Jedi and we can assume the Jedi is stuff of legend and basically gone. We see Leia and Han that seem to be embracing about something sad. We see Kylo Ren take off his mask and wield his light saber at Finn in some kind of fight. He is a disciple of Vader and has Vader’s mask- wants to be like Vader.
I was also thrilled to see Rey looking like a strong and lead character in the story. As we discussed in my recent Phantom Menace review/discussion none of the Star Wars films have passed the Bechdel test but I feel this time with Rey, Lupita Nyongo’s character and Leia we might actually do it. I think Rey might be the Luke Skywalker of the this trilogy which would be amazing.
I can’t even tell you how excited I am to see this movie! I already have my tickets purchased for Dec 17th and I will probably see it again Dec 18th in IMAX. Even at the worst with the prequels Star Wars is a battle of good verses evil and an entire world to become absorbed in. It’s about harnessing a spiritual force greater than yourself and not allowing doubt or fear to enter your heart. How many movies can say that? You have your Harry Potter or your Lord of the Rings but to me at least Star Wars trumps them all.
Here is my trailer reaction. It’s not that great but I was so excited my brain left me. There’s a lot of squealing but some of you may find it fun. Follow me on periscope by the way @smilingldsgirl (and on all other social media like snapchat, instagram etc).
My favorite of all the trailer reviews I saw was this one. It captured how I felt at least.
I was a little surprised we didn’t get the rating yet because I had heard we might but maybe the MPAA isn’t done with their review yet. I figure it will be PG-13 but it would be fine at PG because then more kids could see it but I think with those battles it will be PG-13.
So what did you think of the trailer? Are you excited and did you buy your tickets like so many of us did? Is there a spot in the trailer that stood out to you more than others Let’s share and nerd out together! 🙂
The poster looks pretty awesome too! Counting down the days…
Hi guys! So yesterday marked the start of my new Star Wars series and I am going to be doing reviews on this blog plus a new web series on my youtube channel. I am going to be discussing with my friends Abby and Jeremy each of the Star Wars movies and yesterday we tackled Episode 1: Phantom Menace. It was my first time doing a Live Google Hangout and I’m really happy with how it turned out.
Most people know I was not a fan of the Star Wars prequels but I have always stood up for Phantom Menace a little bit because Attack of the Clones seemed so much worse at the time (we will see what I think this week). But I have to say on the rewatch Phantom Menace was a lot worse than I remembered. It has some decent sequences but at the core it is an unfocused mess with no climax that matters, no developed villain or other characters, poor acting and an incredibly annoying character in Jar Jar.
Even things I thought I liked such as the podrace or the fight with Darth Maul weren’t as good as I remembered them being.
Phantom Menace is about Naboo being threatened by Darth Sidious and the Federation and the Jedi trying to stop said threat. They appeal to the Gungan where they meet Jar Jar. Then they stop in Tatooine and meet Anakin who Qui-Gon feels is the chosen one who can save Naboo and become a great Jedi. To get Anakin out of slavery he must win a podrace which he can do because he can predict the future with the force. Darth Maul is sent by Darth Sidious to kill stop the Jedi and capture Naboo Queen Padme Amidala.
Padme speaks in Coruscant to the Republic Senate to try and stop the blockade. The senate is corrupt and Padme returns to Naboo where she enters an alliance with the Gungans. They enter a battle with the droids from the federation. Meanwhile Anakin pilots a ship by accident and destroys the Federation battle ship. At the same time Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan battle Darth Maul and Qui-Gon is killed by Maul and Ob-Wan slices Maul in half. With the battle victorious the council decide Obi-Wan is a Jedi and he can train Anakin. Peace is declared in Naboo.
The problem with Phantom Menace is it wants to be equally appealing to kids, adults and everyone in between. It also doesn’t matter as a story to the Star Wars world. You could get rid of the movie and pick up on what is going quite well in episode 2. There is no climax, no compelling villains and no protagonist that we are rooting for. All in all it is a mess.
Some of the actors are good but they are handed material that doesn’t do them any favors. Despite all the exposition it can also feel very confusing of who is doing what and why.
I also hate the edition of midichlorians to the Star Wars lore. I always thought of the force as kind of like the priesthood. It is a spiritual force you must be trained to sense, and use. That’s why Master Yoda had to train Luke in order for him to go into battle and to use the force. The Force is the power of Good and that’s why it has such strength but it can be used for evil too. To revert it back to a little boy being able to use it without any training is disappointing.
It also feels very long and a lot boring with scenes that don’t connect well to the over all story (which there isn’t really one so it is tricky)
Jar Jar is more annoying than I remembered. There is always humor in Star Wars but this is pretty insufferable. There are also moments that are borderline offensive with particularly asian accents making me cringe.
It’s unfortunately the equivalent of a bunch of people standing together talking instead of a Star Wars movie and boy was it a let down back in 1999.
But now on to episode 2: Attack of the Clones!
What about you and Phantom Menace? What do you think of it? I would love your comments on our video if you get a chance. Thanks!
Can I just fangirl out on you all for a minute? I know some of you aren’t as big of Star Wars fans as me but holy cow what a great trailer was released today!!!! I am so pumped! It had everything you could want. We got to hear Luke’s voice. We got an image of Vader from Return of the Jedi (and anyone else notice he said ‘his father HAS the force’…) harkening back to the old movies and then we hear about Leia who has the force (which I don’t recall ever seeing her use the force in original trilogy? Anyone know?) and his son (we can presume) also has the force!
Then we get chrome troopers, John Bodega in storm trooper outfit, battles, Poe Dameron in the Xwing craft!!! Daisy Ridley looks like she is going to have a real gritty role to play. This excites me as Star Wars could be a little bit male heavy (need I remind you of Leia and the gold bikini in most of Jedi…).
And then at the end to get Chewie and Han “we’re home”. Nerdgasm!!!! So cool!
It just makes me so excited that they are doing this right. It doesn’t look all green screen. It looks like there will be sand and real fighting and grittiness. That’s what I want to see. I want to see chemistry and a story with relationships I care about, not a fluffy soap opera. I just want it to be good so bad!
It was just a perfect trailer. It didn’t show too much. It showed exactly what all the fans wanted to see without spoiling anything. I loved it! Chris Stuckmann and the Schmoes Know described it as bringing on ‘nerd tears’ and I’d agree. Chris said it was ‘the best trailer I’ve ever seen and not just because I’m a fan”. I’d agree.