Tag Archives: George Lucas

“Rogue One, May The Force Be With You”… Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Russian teaser posterI will say upfront, I was not as hesitant to see this Star Wars film as I was about Episode VII, probably because the expectations to carry on the legacy were so much higher and demanding (which VII, in a few ways, failed to meet), however I was gung-ho for ‘Rogue One’.  I went in blind, with little expectation and wasn’t disappointed.  It isn’t a ‘great’ movie, but as an entry into the Star Wars universe, it certainly is good.

A hybrid between Star Wars and WWII (which I think George Lucas on some level would appreciate), Rogue One helps tie a few of the loose ends that Episode III left hanging in the minds of the fandom, at least in immediate relation to Episode IV (I realize that statement nearly pulls a string that may not ever stop unravelling in fandom circles…) in terms of place setting for ‘A New Hope’.  Ah yes, hope.  If it isn’t a word you appreciate, cover your ears because it will be hammered into your brain for the next two hours.  Yes, ‘Hope’… we get it.  The usage of hope is one of say, less than a handful of things, force-fed to the viewer as reminder that EPISODE IV FOLLOWS THIS..!! Again, we know and we get it.  Even the most common of movie layperson who may have only seen Episode IV in passing a time or two will know the common ideas and the familiar thread.  *SPOILER* When a certain Senator begins reminding us of a certain Jedi Master and what he’s been doing for 18 years… we know.  A great fandom scene, over talked and poorly set for the sake of pushing the next chapter in case you weren’t familiar with it.

rogue-one-rebels

Now, if you can get past the swiftly changing settings of the opening twenty minutes and forgive a bit of the cardboard dialogue… you’re in.  The film settles in and unfolds fairly well, sure there are a few dragged transitions, more for fitting periphery story / characters in (Vader Vader Vader) but it does work to progress into Act Three.  Now technically, you know how this ends, don’t kid yourself or you’ll be sad and sniffling like a few of the other theatre goers.  We all know who the man in black is and he’s as badass as ever.  On a happier note, it was very cool to see old Star Wars faces in new places even if some were unexpected and others a little creepy (not Grand Moff Tarkin… that was cool).

vader-milk-bath

Pretty good once it gets rolling, fairly well paced and with enough characterization to be more than a mere place mat for Luke, Rogue One supplies a bit more setting and angst for our lovable, desperate yet hopeful rebellion.  Sno-Caps or M&M’s, no bathroom breaks.

4 Stars

 

Who Is the Best ‘Star Wars’ Villain of All Time?

From Star Wars.com via Yahoo!

Emperial DuoThere is no shortage of bad guys in the Star Wars universe: A huge cast of characters — from Darth Vader to lowly Stormtrooper TK-421 — who fight on the side of darkness. But who among them is the baddest of the bad? The worst of the worst? The villain we most love to hate?

The staff of StarWars.com took a stab at answering that question and cameSenator Palpatine up with what we think is a very reasonable and well-thought out roster of candidates. Topping their list: Emperor Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious). Makes sense. He’s the head honcho, pulling the strings, responsible in many ways for Anakin Skywalker’s ultimate downfall. Plus, he’s really creepy looking: while we know it’s not wise to judge a book by its cover, one look at Sidious and you know he’s up to no good.

Emperor PalpatineFollowing the Emperor, Star Wars staffers placed Darth Vader in the number-two slot, followed by Grand Moff Tarkin (a.k.a., the guy with the “foul stench”). Here’s their complete list:

1. Darth Sidious / Emperor Palpatine
2. Darth Vader
3. Grand Moff Tarkin
4. Darth MaulDarth Maul
5. Jabba the Hutt
6. Count Dooku / Darth Tyranus
7. General Grievous
8. Asajj Ventress
9. Nute Gunray
10. Pong Krell

Darth TyranusBut, but, but! What about Boba Fett! Where is he? How could they forget Boba Fett?!?! Relax. This was no oversight: Staffers plan to release a separate list of their top ten bounty hunters. We’ve got a feeling he’ll be at the top.

For the sake of argument, though, let’s say Boba Fett was included in the above list. Where would he place? In his favor: He plays by his own rules, utters only cool lines (“He’s no good to me dead”), and isn’t afraid of anything. On the minus side — he meets his end (in Return of the Jedi) in a most undignified manner.

Delivering Solo

That said, we feel comfortable placing Fett in the spot ahead of Jabba. A solid showing. We could see him ahead of Maul, but Maul went out with a bang. Fett went out with a whimper. The best bad guys don’t do that.

Lightsaber Battle

Note: For my money, this is obviously a bit of flawed list just to grab some social media play.  Boba Fett is a villain, plain and simple and should have been on the list but obviously isn’t ‘Number One’ material which may offend the Fett fans.  Too bad.  Fett has been overrated for years and has had the advantage of being (in the film universe) a fairly undeveloped character (which is good for the forthcoming ‘one-shot’ film).  We know more about his Dad than we do him.  He is, however, the coolest of the Bounty Hunters… Maybe I’m biased because I’m a Han Solo fan.

 

The ‘Saturday Matinee’ idol who never was… Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal … (2008)

Crystal Skull TeaserBut is still the greatest ‘Serial’ adventure hero to not star in a 10 part series… yet. Yes, the Saturday matinée serials that inspired Spielberg and Lucas are in full glory as we can see. Sure a lot of critics said this that and the other… it’s a fun movie that takes you on the journey for under three hours.

A Movie! That’s what it is supposed to do. Doctor Jones is at it again, just as we love. Yes, the film and script does swerve a little off the formula, but not near as bad as ‘Temple of Doom’, and delivers Indy to a genre we hadn’t imagined.. Sci-Fi. So, aliens and Russians instead of Nazi’s and Christ Almighty. It still works. Now, Indy’s calling to Junior.. it works.. if not in some corny reversal. He’s still Doctor Jones, named after the dog and saving the free world from the forces of whatever earthly or other worldly evil threatens us… all in the name of archeology.

In Search OfAnd what a wonderful gift we may have in the form of Indy’s WWII adventures in the form of prequels… ah but to challenge Lucas and Spielberg just a little more.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull movie image Harrison FordAdventure epic.. popcorn and no breaks.

4 Stars

“We named the dog ‘Indiana’…” Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Last Crusade TeaserWell, yes it is true… there was a dog named ‘Indiana’, as well as ‘Short Round’ and ‘Mutt’… see a pattern? But, the guy named after a dog kicked some serious Nazi ass… again.

From the start with a great flashback we are taken for a ride, and like the original ‘Raiders’, we are taken on the journey. Easily a match for the 1981 Blockbuster, this version simply raises the bar in epic scope and adventure. Temple of what? The sweet thing about ‘Raiders’ and ‘Crusade’ is that they can both stand alone but are better together.
The Doctors JonesNot quite as Saturday matinée as the original, but there really isn’t anything else that is for that matter. Junior!

5 Stars

A Prequel sequel? Maybe, huh..? Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Temple of DoomIs there really a need to review it? I mean after all, it wasn’t nearly as interesting or compelling as the original or the sequels. Sure the supernatural aspect of pulling a beating heart out is cool, but not quite like the wrath of God tearing ass on a Nazi platoon.

Indy didn’t need a sidekick in the form of Batman’s Asian ‘Robin’, nor the typical screaming broad (Sorry Mrs. Spielberg)… While the film’s opening gave a glimmer of retro type adventure films of the Saturday matinée variety… it didn’t quite happen. Well, it’s a prequel, so maybe just categorize it under the ‘Adventures of Young Indiana Jones’ and leave it on the same shelf.
Doctor JonesKinda’ like Superman III & IV (ask Warner Bros.), just pretend it didn’t happen and move on the next sequel… Junior!

3 Stars

Saturday Matinee at it’s finest… Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

RaidersThe film, as we all know the love child of Spielberg and Lucas, was an ode to the Saturday matinée serials they grew up with.

Indiana

As if ‘Star Wars’ wasn’t enough, the film shot Harrison Ford well past superstardom and into a box office all his own. It also cemented the fact that both Spielberg and Lucas were the best at their crafts.
Save the dayEpic in scope, awesome in story with an excellent pace this film does what it needs to; Takes you on the journey.  Easily the best of the now quadrilogy, with ‘Last Crusade’ a close second.

Pinball

If you can see it in the theatre, do so.  Popcorn, SnoCaps and don’t even think about the bathroom.

5 Stars

It’s not just one of the Greatest Westerns… The Searchers (1956)

The Searchers Lobby PosterIt’s not just one of the greatest John Wayne films… it’s one of the greatest films of all times. Having inspired directors such as Spielberg and Lucas, ‘The Searchers’ mixed John Ford epic with Saturday afternoon serial western and achieved new heights.
Ethan EdwardsThe story moves along at a good pace, keeping you involved and in the dramatic adventure mix, while the characters stay crisp. As always, Ford’s cinematic rendering of western landscapes is inspired and at times, breathtaking. If you have a chance to see it on the big screen… do so.
John Wayne Jeffrey HunterOtherwise buy it and prepare for an epic.

5 Stars