Movie Review: SOLO A Star Wars Story

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solo a star wars storyLucasfilm / Disney
2018
PG-13

“So, what’s your name, anyways?”
“Rrraaawwgghhhyyy.”
“You’re gonna need a nickname, ’cause I ain’t saying that every time.”

The second release in Disney’s supplemental films in the Star Wars universe, Solo: A Star Wars Story delves into the back story of everyone’s favorite intergalactic scoundrel with a heart of mythra, Han Solo. While there was the Han Solo trilogy of books that was regulated to the Legacy non-cannon section since Disney acquired Lucasfilm, that didn’t stop Disney from delving into the past and giving us an official canon back story for Han — how he met Chewie, got into smuggling, and came across that little space boat called the Millennium Falcon.

Having been released a mere six months after The Last Jedi, I think that contributed to the lack of enthusiasm with the release of Solo. There wasn’t as much of a buzz, and preview reports were lackluster at best. Also, there may have been something about the change of directors midway through that could have been part of it. I have to admit, I wasn’t really all that jazzed to watch it myself, and my fellow partner in crime, Nex, kept referring to it as the “Ill-Advised Star Wars Movie”. Regardless, I watched Solo, along with the other Exalted Geeks (recording the podcast about it here), and so let’s get to my thoughts on the movie. But first, as always, the Rundown (spoilers ahead):

We open on the planet of Corellia, where a young Han is livin’ the Dickens style street urchin life, stealing shiny things for a giant worm alien gang leader. This is the day that he and his love interest named Qi’ra make their escape from the gang to get off of the planet to a better life; only, it doesn’t exactly go as plan, as Qi’ra gets recaptured, while Han manages to get off of the planet, but at the expense of joining up with the Imperial Navy as a flight cadet. Fast forward to three years later, and we find that Han and the military aren’t exactly a great fit, as he’s been downgraded to the infantry, and while on one of them Imperial conquests of a planet, Han tries to hook up with a bunch of criminals posing as infantry soldiers, but is then thrown into a pit to be fed to a beast of some sort. Of course, by the law of plot conveniences, this “beast” turns out to be none other than Chewbacca, and after a bit of a rocky start, they bond by working together to escape. They catch a ride off of the planet by the same batch of criminals Han ran into earlier, because one of the members — the one with the big neon I’M GOING TO DIE FIRST blinking on his forehead — took a shine to their moxie. Or whatever. After a heist to steal a shipment of a super hyperspace fuel called coaxium goes south due to the interference of SPACE PIRATES!, the crime lord who hired the group to steal the stuff decides to let them try and make it up to him, by taking raw coaxium from the mines on Kessel, and assigns his top lieutenant, who turns out to be Qi’ra, to tag along and make sure nothing goes wrong this time. Or, you know, death. So, they hire the guy with the fastest ship in the galaxy, which turns out to be some guy named Lando Calrissian (I’m sure he’ll be of no consequence later in the series), who pilots a certain heavily modified YT-1300 Corellian light freighter he calls the Millennium Falcon. After a bunch of chest-puffing between Han and Lando, they take off for Kessel, where they pick up the raw (and highly unstable, I should add, otherwise there wouldn’t be much tension and drama involved) coaxium, all the while causing a riot and freeing a bunch of Wookiee slaves and triggering a droid uprising. Han manages to make the jump in 12-ish parsecs through the Maw and gets the shipment safely to the planet Savareen to process the coaxium. Then the SPACE PIRATES! show up, say they really aren’t the bad guys in this movie, and then Solo tries to do the right thing by confronting the crime lord. There’s a bit of cross/double cross going on, the crime boss dies and then Han takes off while Qi’ra decides she’d rather be the new crime boss and stuff. Then Han wins the Millinnium Falcon from Lando, and he and Chewie flies off to join up with some gangster on the planet Tatooine. The end.

So, overall, while I feel that Solo wasn’t exactly necessary as a movie, it was still pretty good. There were plenty of cheesy bits in there — how Han got his last name, an inverse of the “I love you / I know” exchange, and a surprise cameo that seemed a tad shoehorned in. Also, did we really need a social justice warrior droid, or implied human/droid sex? Did they really contribute to the story, here? But, I digress (I look forward to all of your comments and emails)…

Alden Enrenreich does a decent job portraying the younger Han. But Donald Glover is the best one here as Lando, channeling his inner Billy Dee Williams, convincing me he’s gonna break out a Colt 45 at a moment’s notice.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is an enjoyable distraction but not exactly essential watching. It’s a good matinĂ©e flick, and I’ll probably watch this again sometime when the DVD gets released.

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Movie Review: STAR WARS Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

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The Last JediDisney / Lucasfilm
2017
PG-13

“What do you know about the force?”
“It’s a power that Jedi have that lets them control people and…make things float.”
“Impressive. Every word in that sentence was wrong.”

So, this is a first. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi happens to be the first Star Wars movie that has left me without a fully-formed opinion about it immediately after the credits rolled. And even now, as I write this a day or two after watching this with the Exalted Geeks, I find myself chewing over what I really thing about this newest entry in the ongoing saga from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. But, I’m gonna give it the ol’ college try, I am I am.

Let’s take some time, then, to warn about SPOILERS, as I have no earthly idea how to keep things spoiler-free while talking about my thoughts on this movie. But, considering I know this won’t be scheduled to be posted until the second day of 2018, I don’t know if there will be anyone in existence that will need the spoiler warning, but just in case there is, be ye warned. If somehow you’re reading this and haven’t seen The Last Jedi, this is your chance to jump ship and go do so. Go on, I can wait.

So, The Last Jedi begins with the First Order striking back against the Resistance lead by General Leia (she’ll always be the Princess to me). After narrowly escaping following a botched defensive attack, the Resistance find themselves on the run and hotly pursued by the First Order. Meanwhile, Ray is finding that Master Skywalker’s reaction to her arrival is not what she was expecting. Which was the Jedi hero of legend. Instead, she’s confronted with a grumpy old man who wants nothing to do with Jedi, and has cut himself off from the Force. But, Ray proves to be a persistent whipper-snapper and manages to get Luke to agree on three lessons. They don’t go as expected. Oh, and Chewy may or may not have gone vegetarian, I don’t know. Meanwhile, a revived Finn has gone off with some new character named Rose to find a master code breaker at a posh high-roller casino so they could get past the defenses on Snoke’s ship so they can shut down the techno-McGuffin so they can outrun and escape the First Order. That goes as well as expected. Ray comes to odds with Luke and leaves, while the surviving Resistance squares off against the First Order at a long-abandoned Rebel base, and then Luke finally squares off against his nephew Kylo Ren. To quote Luke Skywalker from this movie, this is not going to go the way you think.

All that, and I still left out a whole bunch from that synopsis. And there is a lot to take in. And quite frankly, rather than analyze the film (there are plenty of blog and YouTube posts out there, so take your pick), I’ll just cut to the chase: I rather enjoyed The Last Jedi. I thought it built up on and continued the previous story nicely, not just rehashing what has come before while still retaining the overarching saga; there wasn’t just a reliance on the older characters, but a much-needed passing of the torch to the new characters involved. The story was dark, like the second installment in the trilogy should be, and deliciously so. The characters weren’t just 2-dimensional, but had depth and conflict, regardless of what side of the fight they were on. Luke turning out to be jaded and unwilling to get back into the fight, let alone training Ray, is something unexpected, yes…but I loved this character development. It was unexpected, given the hopeful and (admittedly) slightly naive Jedi Knight Luke we last saw at the end of The Return Of The Jedi. Not that I was rooting for a curmudgeonly Skywalker…I too was surprised at his reaction, but I accepted it as one of the logical conclusions his character arc would take. Kylo Ren is turning out to be a far more compelling character than expected. Also, I’m glad those Porgs didn’t end up being this movie’s Ewoks. They’re just there, not really needing to be in the movie as much as they were, but good for some light comedy relief when needed.

That’s not to say that The Last Jedi doesn’t have its flaws. Leia surviving being blown into the vacuum of space being my first point of contention while watching this. I realize this is a movie about space wizards with lazer swords fighting space Nazis; still, presuming this is the same kind of space that we’re subjected to here in our galaxy, that was quite a bit of stretching of my suspension of disbelief, there. And while I get the feeling we’re not necessarily done with him just yet, I still think that Snoke was wasted here. Such a buildup with The Force Awakens, and then…well, rather let down, I was.

Overall, I think the good things about The Last Jedi far outweigh all the bad, especially the cries of this being the “worst Star Wars movie since The Phantom Menace” I’ve seen on some blogs and reviews. I think what may have happened is that The Last Jedi wasn’t what they were expecting, and because it didn’t cater to their own needy sense of entitlement, they couldn’t see past that to just enjoy a friggin’ Star Wars movie. I for one highly recommend seeing this.

Book Review: The THRAWN TRILOGY

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Timothy Zahn
Bantam Spectra
1991-1993

As long as I’m getting the novels that I have read a long, long time ago (see what I did, there?), I might as well knock one out on the Thrawn Trilogy of novels that I read, most in part due to my friend introducing me to some of his favorite Star Wars characters, both from the movies and the Expanded Universe. And while now, in the post-Disney acquired Star Wars that we have, most if not all of the previous Expanded Universe stories have been rendered glorified fan-fic, in the case of one Grand Admiral Thrawn, things are a bit different.

Back in the early 1990s, interest in Star Wars was waning from what it was in the 1980s, mostly due to lack of movies and general tie-ins to keep the momentum going. With the release of this trilogy, Star Wars fans were introduced to a character that was never in the Original Trilogy of movies–Grand Admiral Thrawn, a remnant of the now-defunct Imperial Empire. Suddenly, a character that was never in the movies, nor had a toy made out of him became a fan favorite, and more or less revitalized the Star Wars franchise, at least in the Expanded Universe form.

And thus it was, in the early days of the 21st Century, my friend Nex lent me his copies of the Thrawn Trilogy, to introduce me to one of his favorite characters, and I obliged by reading them. And here’s my belated assessment of what I did thus read:

book-review_-star-wars_-the-thrawn-trilogy-1Book One: HEIR TO THE EMPIRE
It’s been five years since the second Death Star went boom, and along with it the Empire was shattered and the New Republic arose from the smoke and ash. Well, metaphorically speaking, give or take. Leia Organa is married to Han Solo, and they’re expecting twins. Luke is working to re-establish the Jedi, and everyone is working to mop up the remaining Imperial remnant while making sure everyone in the galaxy plays nice. Unfortunately, there’s one hold out that’s causing problems to the fledgling government, one Grand Admiral Thrawn, a high-ranking and brilliant tactician, and one of the rare non-human officers in the Imperial fleet. Thrawn spends time gathering a bunch of critters called ysalamiri, which cancels out the Force within a short radius, and in the process runs into and recruits a mad Jedi by the name of Joruus C’baoth, whose only request is to have Thrawn obtain Luke and Leia so that he may train them in his vision of the Force. Meanwhile, Han is trying to recruit fellow smugglers to help with rebuilding the Republic with much-needed cargo transport, Thrawn launches a bunch of hit-and-run offensives in New Republic territory, Luke gets stranded on a planet and encounters the Wild Karrde, the official smuggler ship of one Talon Karrde, the guy who is supplying Thrawn with the ysalamiri. On board is Mara Jade, who kinda sorta has a hate-on for Luke for reasons stemming from her time as Emperor Palpatine’s assassin tasked in eliminating Luke Skywalker. Leia experiences a bunch of kidnapping attempts by the Noghri, an alien species that can be described as Golum if trained as ninja assassins. Most of these attempts fail, but since they’re persistent little buggars, they manage to come close to succeeding…until the one that nearly gets her stops suddenly for no apparent reason before slapping it into “B” for “Boogie” and splitting. Meanwhile, Lando has his newest operation invaded by Thrawn, and Admiral Ackbar is arrested on Coruscant on charges of treason. To be continued…

book-review_-star-wars_-the-thrawn-trilogy-2Book Two: DARK FORCE RISING
Grand Admiral Thrawn now has full access to Emperor Palpatine’s private storehouse on the planet Wayland, and he begins planning for a massive attack against the New republic. Part of the plan is to find the fabled Katana fleet, a fleet of highly automated Dreadnaughts that were constructed in the days before the Clone Wars, that went missing after the crews went mad due to a virus, slaved the controls to each other, and sent them all into hyperspace, never to be heard from again. Until now, it appears. Seems a former Republic Senator that Han and Lando try to recruit in their fight against Thrawn has a few of those particular Dreadnaughts in his own fleet. Meanwhile, Joruus C’baoth summons Luke to the planet Jomark to train him, with Mara Jade still trying to take him out. Leia and Chewbacca take their captive Noghri back to his planet, where it’s discovered that previously the Empire made promises to restore their ecosystem when in actuality they were keeping them oppressed to do their bidding. Leia seems a bit squicky about being referred to as “Lady Vader”, but she does have Vader’s scent due to her being his daughter and all. Luke then manages to escape and join up with Lando and Han with securing the Katana fleet, although Thrawn had captured all but 15 of the Dreadnaughts. To be continued…

book-review_-star-wars_-the-thrawn-trilogy-3Book Three: The LAST COMMAND
Grand Admiral Thrawn has a bunch of Dreadnaughts now, and he launches his offensive against the New Republic. Along with the might of his newly commandeered fleet, he uses certain highly effective deception techniques that result in the capture of several planets back into the Imperial Empire. He then manages to immobilize Coruscant by cloaking a bunch of asteroids. Meanwhile, due to an Imperial raid on one of their meetings, the Smuggler Alliance decide to join in the fight against the remnant of the Empire, rather than stay on the sidelines. Mara Jade joins up with Leia and Han in stopping their twins from being kidnapped for Joruus C’baoth, who really wants to turn them to the Dark Side. Luke, Han, Lando, Chewie and Mara–along with some help from the Noghri and a couple of local alien races on Wayland–where they rig the cloning facility to go boom. They face off against C’baoth, who seems to have cloned his own Luke (going by the name of Luuke, because that extra “u” should help differentiate against the actual Luke, I guess) by using the hand that was lopped off of him in The Empire Strikes Back. That pesky thing. Mara kills Luuke, and thus fulfills the Emperor’s orders on a technicality. The Republic then organizes an assault on Thrawn, who nearly pulverizes the fleet, but then gets assassinated by the one Noghri he kept on board. All the Imperial forces retreat, and later Luke gives Mara Jade his first lightsaber (which came with the hand) and invites her to train as a Jedi.

Overall, I do remember a goodly portion of the Thrawn Trilogy from when I originally read them. They all were engaging, and managed to stick inside my brain for all this time. It is amazing that the popularity of Thrawn is such that Disney has added him to their own Star Wars canon within the show Star Wars Rebels. Even though the Thrawn Trilogy has been regulated to Legends status, it is a rather intriguing yarn, one that doesn’t feel as bloated as it could have been with three novels. Very much recommended.

Book Review: STAR WARS: The Bounty Hunter Wars

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K. W. Jeter
Bantam Spectra
1998/1999

Back in the magical year of 2001, I was in the midst of reading the vast array of Star Wars novels that my friend Nex had in his personal library. I was something of a Star Wars novice at the time, and he was picking out certain Expanded Universe stories that I would probably enjoy. This was long before Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars, and consequently declared all of the Expanded Universe stories null and void. And since up to that time Boba Fett was essentially that character that said a few things, took Han Solo to Jaba, and then was swallowed by a giant sand pit creature, but for some reason was massively popular for many Star Wars fanatic. Which included Nex. So, in the course of a few days, I took the Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy of novels and read them, taking in what was said was going to cement why Boba Fett was such a cool badass. Did it do as such? Let’s go through the three books and find out, shall we?

book-review_-star-wars_-the-bounty-hunter-wars-1Book One: The MANDALORIAN ARMOR
Book One in the Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy opens with Dengar (that one bounty hunter on Darth Vader’s super star destroyer in Empire Strikes Back, with the turban) sifting through the wreckage of Jabba the Hutt’s barge for something valuable, when he comes across a very dead-looking Sarlacc, and then a still-alive Boba Fett. Seems Fett was able to blast his way out of the Sarlacc, and he’s a bit worse for wear. So, Dengar takes Fett to a nearby cave to nurse him back to health. Then we have a flashback to about the time between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, where an independently-minded Fett gets the drop on a Bounty Hunters Guild assignment, and delivers it to an arachnid go-between that gave Fett the counter-assignment. Fett is then given his next contract: join the Bounty Hunters Guild and take it down from within. Meanwhile, in the present time, the head of an Imperial ship building yard wonders if Fett is really dead, while a lady suffering from a bit of amnesia really, really needs to talk with Fett. Then we flash back to Fett successfully joining the Guild, despite some objections by Bossk (the lizard guy in Empire Strikes Back…who also says “damn straight” a lot), and then there’s a meeting between the Emperor and Darth Vader with crime boss Prince Xizor, who apparently was the one who gave Fett the contract to take down the Guild by joining in a plot to trim the fat, as it were. To be continued…

book-review_-star-wars_-the-bounty-hunter-wars-2Book Two: SLAVE SHIP
Back in the present, the Imperial ship yard is experiencing a bit of a coup, while Bossk is stranded on Tatooine after Boba Fett plants a fake bomb on his ship and takes it, Dengar and that amnesiac lady along for the ride. To pass the time, Dengar tells the tale of the Bounty Hunters’ Guild split: seems after Bossk killed (and eaten) the head of the Bounty Hunter’s Guild (which happened to be his father), the Guild split into the True Guild, which comprised of the older members, and the Guild Reform Committee, which was made up of the younger bounty hunters, and headed up by Bossk. Meanwhile, the Empire allows the head of the Black Sun to continue weeding out the weaker bounty hunters and leaving the strong ones to be hired by the Empire, by way of a bounty on a former stormtrooper wanted for the slaughter of his entire ship’s crew. This leads Boba Fett to team up with Bossk and Zuckuss to help capture said stormtrooper, leading to Fett to double cross his temporary partners to keep the bounty all for himself. Because he’s Boba Fett, that’s why. Fett delivers the bounty to a giant galactic spider; meanwhile, one of the galactic spider’s minions is plotting against his master with the head of Black Sun. To be continued…

book-review_-star-wars_-the-bounty-hunter-wars-3Book Three: HARD MERCHANDISE
In the present time, bounty hunters Zuckuss and 4-LOM takes down a gambler that wages on battles being waged during the Galactic Civil War; Bossk sets up shop in Mos Eisley to pawn off the forged evidence against the head of the Black Sun. In another flashback, Fett arrives at the Giant Galactic Spider’s lair with his bounty to deliver, only to almost get killed by the mutinous minion’s trap. The bounty is delivered, Fett is spared, and the Giant Galactic Spider is blowed up but good. Back to present time, Fett has returned to the ruins of the Giant Galactic Spider, does a bit of techno-necromancy to get some answers, only to be ambushed by the minion again. Fett then heads out to the Kuat shipyards, which is under siege. Answers to the mysteries surrounding who was trying to kill Boba Fett and the amnesiac slave girl are…answered, I guess, and then things blow up. The End.

Overall, while reading them (and finding them entertaining enough), I got the sense that maybe, just maybe, instead of spreading things out in three novels, things could have been narrowed down to two books easily. There’s a lot of bouncing around between flashback and the present day narrative, and while things didn’t get confusing because of that, there could have been a way to keep the past tale contained in one book, then continue on with the present day in the second novel. But, instead we got three books, written by the guy who wrote the extended novel sequels to the Blade Runner movie.

The Bounty Hunter Wars utilizes a lot of exposition, with a bit of action thrown in. That may be the standard for, say, a Star Trek novel, but for Star Wars, a lot of the enjoyment rests on the action. Also, Bossk says “Damn skippy” a lot. Didn’t think that was a general catch phrase for a reptile humanoid. The Giant Galactic Spider was a neat concept, I would pay to see more with that guy introduced back into the Disney-era Star Wars Universe.

In the end, although I did enjoy reading the novels at the time, when they ended, I found myself forgetting a lot of what I just went through. I managed to make myself remember to get a proper review done (I read them at a time when I wasn’t doing book reviews at the time…that came years later). If I utilized the Five Star rating system, I would give it three out of five. That’s being generous, though.

Movie Review: ROGUE ONE: A Star Wars Story

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movie-review-rogue-oneLucasfilm/Disney
2016
PG-13

“I’ll be there for you. The Captain said I had to.”

In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key even in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.

Ever since Disney acquired the rights to the Star Wars franchise, and began to produce more movies set in the Star Wars universe continuing the story of the space opera set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, we’ve known that there was going to be a pattern where there would be a movie set in the Star Wars saga proper, then followed by a kind of side story to fill the gaps between the long-awaited Star Wars movies. Since Episode VII dropped last year, and while we wait for Episode VIII in another year, this year we got the side story of Rogue One.

Rogue One tells the tale of how the plans for the Death Star managed to get stolen and in the hands of the Rebellion in Episode IV. Going into this, I was expecting a decent enough movie, but something that, since it wasn’t a full-on Star Wars episode that features none of the main characters, maybe wouldn’t have been given the same kind of attention as those would. Fortunately, I was way off about that.

I’ve decided to go with a Spoiler Free review of Rogue One. I think the reasoning behind it would be self-evident. Nerd rage is never a good thing to endure. Anyway…

The story of Rogue One takes place pretty much immediately before the events of A New Hope. And by that, I mean that you can edit out the end credits to Rogue One and edit out the opening crawl to A New Hope, splice them both end to end, and it would flow together continuously. Construction on the Death Star has finished up, and the Empire is itching to take its new toy on some test runs. The Rebellion was informed of said weapon, and enlists the help of a young lady to try and get her former mentor to help out with getting intel. When that goes south, and when it looks like the Alliance is about to crumble, it’s up to this scrappy young lady and a group of scruffy-looking Nerf herders (and one reprogrammed Imperial droid with some serious gallows humor) to sneak into the facilities where the Death Star plans are kept and try and get them to the Rebel faction.

Rogue One is another example of why it was a very, very good thing that Disney took over the franchise. While this was really just a supplemental side story, the movie was nonetheless made in the same quality as if it was one of the main Star Wars movie. The story and the visuals were great, the characters were engaging, and while the tone is a very dark one (it brings out the “war” aspect of the Star Wars theme, making this the Dirty Dozen, or Inglorious Bastards of the franchise), there are some lighter spots, mostly with the awesomeness that is K-2SO. The movie is also doesn’t shy away from presenting the members of the Rebellion as having a bit of tarnish on their shining armor. And finally, in case you haven’t read any of the other reviews, Rogue One re-establishes Darth Vader as the intergalactic badass once again. I got chills.

On the parts that I didn’t really find all that great, though…well, let’s just say there’s a couple of instances where CGI was very much used to resurrect the dead for one, and de-age for another. While these were way better renderings than was done on, say, Tron: Legacy, there still was that Uncanny Valley effect that was a tad off-putting. Also, there were a couple of cameos that served pretty much nothing but fan wankery, but whatever. Minor quibble.

Overall, Rogue One could have been just a quickie side story in the Star Wars cannon (kind of like those two Ewok TV movies back in the 1980s), but instead it turned out to be a Star Wars story (see what I did, there?) of the same high quality of the others, something that ranks near the high-water mark which is The Empire Strikes Back. Highly recommended that you see this in the theaters while you can.

Movie Review: STAR WARS The Force Awakens

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star wars the force awakensDisney/Lucasfilm
2015
PG-13

“This is the ship that made the Kessel Run in fourteen parsecs!”
“TWELVE!”

So, here we are, the beginning of the new year, and a handful of weeks out from when the new Star Wars movie in ten years was released to theaters, much to the collective joygasm of fanboys and fangirls everywhere. I was included in that bunch: I managed to catch a 9:15 am showing at one of the theaters the morning it was officially released to theaters (I don’t do Midnight Showings). Then another showing at the same theater at 1pm.

So, why did it take me so long to write a review for this movie? Believe me, it wasn’t easy holding back about something I wanted to immediately go on for pages and pages, gushing like a giddy school boy. But, I promised myself I would spend the rest of the month of December 2015 on holiday from writing and posting stuff; and doing so would give me ample time to sweep my thoughts together into a nice manageable pile of brain droppings. That, and by this time, there should be no further excuses for those who have not seen the movie. I can’t promise that I won’t let slip with a spoiler or two as I write this; I’m going to make this as spoiler free as possible, but if by the rare off-chance that you haven’t seen The Force Awakens yet, well…you’ve been warned.

By now, you should have heard the reports that this Seventh Episode has done the impossible, that being having washed the bad taste of all of the Prequels out of the memories of all who have watched it. This, I am happy to say, is true. I went in cautiously optimistic: George Lucas was no longer fully in charge with the movies, and Disney has had some rather good track records with other previously-owned properties given the shiny makeover they sorely needed. Also, J. J. Abrams had already shown he could make a Star Wars movie by doing so twice already. Sure, it went under the name “Star Trek”, but let’s face it, he made those like he wanted to get his grubby mitts on the Star Wars franchise to begin with.

And it works. We now have a Star Wars that’s fun again. That’s what was missing from the Prequel Trilogy–fun. In The Force Awakens, we have an action-packed story that builds upon the world that was made before, and does so masterfully. I dig on the new designs of the ships, being iconic but also slightly tweaked to show some progress over the decades that have passed between Return Of The Jedi and now. The interaction between the characters are fantastic, and the actors are much more fluid. And yes, there were the callbacks and characters from the original trilogy, but they’re introduced in a way that benefits the story, and not just ham-fisted into there for fan service wankery.

Mind you, The Force Awakens isn’t a perfect movie. If we’re honest with ourselves, none of the originals were perfect as well. And I don’t really think that’s a bad thing; this is, after all, a movie, a means of entertainment for a couple of hours. That said, there were a couple of times where the CGI noticeably clashed with the mostly practical effects used. I won’t point out where; let’s just say, I understand why they were used, but still. Kinda jarring. And, as were pointed out with the rest of the Exalted Geeks over lunch in-between showings, there were more than a couple of plot holes that may stretch one’s ability to suspend disbelief.

And so, finally, I end this belated review with this: Star Wars: The Force Awakens is every much the fantastic movie going experience that the hype built it up to be. It’s once again a fun space western that not only will bring back that sense of wonder to those who have been a fan from way back in the day, but it will continue to make all-new fans for this generation to enjoy along with us old geezers. Try and watch it on the big screen while you still can.

Star Wars and Tinsel All Around…

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star wars, deadpool, and me

And yes, I did wear a Star Trek shirt to a Star Wars premier…

Yesterday, the first new Star Wars movie in a decade (gads, I remember sitting through Revenge Of The Sith when it came out, has it really been that long?) was released officially into theaters. In case you’re wondering, yes, I did watch it yesterday. Twice. Once at 9:15am, and the post-lunch 1pm showing. Yes, it was that good.

However, since I’ve decided to take the rest of the year off, and won’t be posting anything new until the first of the year (save for the Obligatory Year End post that sums up the previous 365-ish days), and I’m keeping it for the most part, you won’t be seeing my official review of the new Star Wars until then. For now, though, I urge you all to watch it in the theaters while you still can. It’ll wash that lingering aftertaste of the prequels out of your heads.

So, for now, I bid you all a Merry Christmas and a happy rest-of-the-holidays, and will post again at the end of the year that was 2015. Cheers, all.

::END TRANSMISSION::

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