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Posts tagged “star wars episode vii

Likes, Gripes & Theories: The Last Jedi

Well this post is long overdue. I’ve seen the movie 8 times in the theater now, and I find myself mulling over parts of it at any given point during the day. Will probably try to see it twice more before it leaves theaters.

Before I go any further, the obligatory spoiler warning. If you haven’t seen The Last Jedi yet, consider yourself warned… ***SPOILERS***

Things I loved about TLJ:
• THAT REN/REY TEAMUP!!!!!!! This was on my wish list for things to see, and it surprised the heck out of me that it happened. And I’m gonna be honest, I really wanted her to join him (#Reylo sorry not sorry)
• All of the Ren-Rey Force connection scenes
• Ren was very ROTS Anakin-esque in this; I loved Driver’s balance of evil and vulnerable
• Poe’s “happy beeps” and Hux call scene in the opening
• Loved the opening space battle in general, what a great opening!
• Finn walking around with water spouting out of his bacta suit was fun
• Leia and Poe’s exchange about jumping in the X-Wing and blowing stuff up
• The R2 Leia transmission aboard the falcon <sniff sniff>
• Rey thinking she was feeling the Force when it was Luke holding some foliage*
• The way the electricity glinted off of Phasma’s armor as she faced off against Finn; we saw it all over the trailers and it was every bit as beautiful as expected in the film
• Everyone treating 3PO the way a lot of us feel, especially Poe telling him to shut up
• Could Leia have looked more gorgeous (even if it was more than a little photoshopped) standing at the big door on Crait?!
• Crait itself was visually stunning
• I need a crystal fox in my life
• Had last-minute concerns going into it, but I remain pro-porg
• I didn’t think I’d care for Rose but I really enjoyed the addition of her character—and if you’re not following Kelly Marie Tran on instagram, you need to
• Have I mentioned how much I loved the Rey-Ren dynamic?!
• I like that Ren doesn’t report to anyone now
• The Luke/Leia reunion was so touching and reminiscent of their chat in ROTJ
Luke seeing a sort of binary sunset before his death hit me in the feels
• Poe’s “what the hell?” line when his foot went through the Crait ski ship (he’s got much better comedic timing than I would’ve thought)

• I really appreciate how unpredictable the majority of the movie was; aforementioned teamup, Yoda’s appearance and Luke’s death were all unexpected for me

*Even though I personally enjoyed the funny bits and one-liners, some of the humor seemed a little out of character for Luke; it felt like they were writing some of the dialogue for Mark Hamill not for Luke Skywalker.

 

Things I didn’t love about TLJ:
• Mixed bag on the Yoda scene, visually; he looked right when the burning temple was behind him but other shots just looked wrong*
• Leia’s hokey return to the ship—visually it looked cheesy, and I don’t love that our first time witnessing Leia actively use the Force was to save herself
• I thought it would have been more powerful to have Leia and Holdo switch places as the one to go down with the ship
• I know it was planned before the fact, but seeing Leia injured and unconscious for so much of the film hurt my heart
• We now wait 2 more years to find out how they resolve the “Leia Lives” puzzle
• Snoke: 1) I was holding onto hope that he was Plagueis for added impact to both PT and OT; 2) Loved how Kylo tricked him and took him down, but it sure seemed easy to polish off someone so allegedly wise and powerful; 3) his throne room looked like they forgot to finish decorating
• Canto Bight sequence: felt very prequel-esque, which was fine as a sort of bridge for the trilogies, but it ended up being a waste of time overall with regards to propelling the plot, felt shoehorned with other more important goings-on and just wasn’t particularly well done (though I generally loved Rose and Finn during the whole sequence)
• Rey’s parentage (assuming it’s true): yeah, it’s cool that people who don’t come from familiar backgrounds can be strong with the Force, it just seems to lessen the impact of the Force visions from TFA
• Rey’s foray to the dark side of the island was a little blah…except that it set up the scene of her confiding in Kylo (which I LOVED)
• Phasma died like a chump, only slightly better than the trash compactor. Another waste of an awesome-looking villain (I’m looking at you, Darth Maul)
• BB-8 driving an AT-ST… didn’t hate it but meh
• Holdo felt generally unnecessary except to create conflict for Poe—see note above regarding her role being switched with Leia
• Luke milking the animal on Ahch-To was just really uncomfortable to watch

*I have come to the conclusion that either we’ve grown too savvy as a collective audience or I might expect too much from CG on Star Wars. It wasn’t anywhere near Justice League CG levels of bad but even when it is just ever so slightly off now it sticks out like a sore thumb.

 

Outstanding questions about TLJ:
• I initially wondered if it was Rey or Yoda who put the ancient Jedi texts on the Falcon… I have since decided it was Rey since you see her closing the drawer before she jumps in her personal jet pod to go meet Ren for some kissyface tension (have I mentioned how much I LOVED their teamup?!)
• How is “Leia Lives” resolved? Off-screen death set between movies doesn’t seem good enough for her
• It took until my 8th viewing to notice that the Falcon’s dish got knocked off again on Crait. We will see it rectangular in Ep. 9, or will it be back to the classic dish?
• Does the kid at the end play into Johnson’s new non-Skywalker trilogy or is he just symbolizing the spark of hope and/or that you can be a nobody like Rey and be strong in the Force? If we’re being honest, I hope he and his friends aren’t part of the end game here. They all seemed a little cartoony, and I’m not too keen on the idea of another little boy who yells “yahoo!”
• Speaking of Rey-Nobody… were her parents really nobodies or was Ren lying to manipulate her? I think he was legitimately honest and vulnerable with her but still exploited that weakness. And, more importantly, I think there’s a possibility that Snoke could have planted that vision for him to believe and try to leverage against her./
• Did Snoke really create the Force bond between them? I think the answer to this is a resounding ‘no’ and that he rather realized what was happening and took credit for it so they would believe he was as powerful as he claimed
• So who was Snoke? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter anymore, I guess and it’s low on my list of questions for a reason. I was taken aback, though, at how similar his cadence and diction reflected that of Palpatine. Coincidence?

What say you? Did you love The Last Jedi, hate it, feel conflicted? Let’s chat in the comments!

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Of Sulu and Solo, Organa and Uhura

We’re just a month away from the day that many Trekkers* have awaited and still others no doubt loathe—the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness. The fact that I even know, let alone care, about this stirs more than a little shame in me.

*Note my use of “Trekker” versus”Trekkie.”

R2 got his mitts on my TNG Phaser

Drop the Phaser, R2. This isn’t about TNG!

J.J. Abrams transformed Trek into something sleek and shiny, cool and even compelling. There are plenty of franchise purists who disagree, but the fact that I finally bought into it is evidence enough for me. I guess you could call the 2009 adaptation my ‘gateway drug.’
The morose edge that’s teased in trailers for Into Darkness furthers the appeal—our culture loves when something familiar takes an ominous turn, a la The Walking Dead, The Dark Knight and what I suspect will be a hugely successful rebranding with Man of Steel. Did you see the transmission from General Zod that surfaced the other day?! I got goosebumps, not even kidding.

Anyway, the Abrams factor has me somewhat conflicted about Star Wars Episode VII.
I welcome a darker direction yet I’m concerned about the potential of a slick and sexy, stylized take on it…with lots of lens flares. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If this dude can single-handedly make me like Star Trek, I can’t wait to see what he’ll do with Star Wars.
But I’m not without apprehension.

The original trilogy laid the foundation for everything that I love and associate with the brand to this day. As numerous people have said over the last 36 years, the original Star Wars universe is “lived-in.” Ships are modest at best and aside from a few pretentious settings, most of the surroundings are mundane. The SW of yore feels organic, not overly idealized like most fantasy.
And I think we all remember what unfortunate things happened with the prequel trilogy* when everything took a smooth, digitized turn.

*Granted, I really enjoy most elements of Revenge of the Sith.

It sounds stupid, I know, but Star Wars makes me feel like I could belong there.

Unlike so many hero journeys that ultimately draw every protagonist as a hot shot superstar, SW characters are utterly relatable. Aside from the Jedi, Sith and a few arguable exceptions, you don’t get the impression that anyone has extraordinary powers or talents. {Insert your favorite Stormtrooper missed-target joke here.} In spite of queens and princesses and dignitaries, everything isn’t beautiful and flawless like in fairy tales. Attractive, yes, but not unattainably so*. Average people like me, we could fit in there.

*Okay, except for Natalie Portman who has that ridiculous classic beauty.

Even ‘gritty’ shows like The Walking Dead, which should (theoretically) feel more like the real world, are borderline glamorous. I don’t know how long the zombie apocalypse is supposed to have been going on by this point, but most of those people still look dang good. Muddy and bloody? No problem—they stay generally well-kempt and sport clothes that fit like a glove. So implausible.
I’m gonna keep it real here: in the event of an actual zombie apocalypse, I’m more likely to resemble the Walkers than I am most of the characters on TWD.

I digress.

In spite of the fact that we’re talking about spaceships and aliens and droids and strange planets, Star Wars somehow feels authentic. Like maybe all of that really did happen a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Maybe there was even a dorky chick working in her cube at an undisclosed location writing propaganda pieces for the Empire. For reals, y’all, I could totally belong there!

And that is why I temper my optimism with a generous amount of caution when contemplating the fate of my favorite franchise. I’m all for Star Wars becoming a cool kid with popular, attractive friends, I just hope it maintains its rugged and “real” good looks.