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THEATRICAL REVIEW – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

December 18, 2016 2 comments
Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryDirected by: Gareth Edwards
Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Sheamur, Simon Emanuel
Screenplay by: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy
Story by: John Knoll, Gary Whitta
Edited by: John Gilroy, Colin Goudie, Jabez Olssen
Cinematography by: Greig Fraser
Music by: Michael Giacchino
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Genevieve O’Reilly, James Earl Jones, Valene Kane
Based on characters and concepts by George Lucas
Year: 2016

 

Disappointment. No, that’s not my reaction to Rogue One. Heck no! But it was the general consensus I gathered from people after they were told that the 2016 Star Wars film was not a follow-up to last year’s The Force Awakens but rather an ominously pre-A New Hope film that was mostly independent from the Skywalker family and friends’ saga. Most of that was just because they were eager to see that story continue, but, for some, there was also an added level of scorn for a film they seemed to consider… illegitimate. Which is unfortunate, as Rogue One, in both style and focus, is a much more important and bolder move forward for Disney and their still nascent new property, signaling a promising future for the franchise that isn’t beholden to repeating itself for the sake of nostalgia and familiarity. Read more…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

December 21, 2015 6 comments
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force AwakensDirected by: J.J. Abrams
Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk
Written by: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt
Edited by: Mary Jo Markey, Maryann Brandon
Cinematography by: Dan Mindel
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Max von Sydow
Based on characters created by George Lucas
Year: 2015

 

Good Lord, it’s finally here!! Read more…

REVIEW: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

June 19, 2014 2 comments
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the SithDirected by: George Lucas
Produced by: Rick McCallum
Written by: George Lucas
Edited by: Roger Barton, Ben Burtt
Cinematography by: David Tattersall
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Frank Oz, Samuel L. Jackson, Mathew Wood, Jimmy Smits, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Silas Carson, Temuera Morrison, Christopher Lee, Peter Mayhew
Year: 2005

 

My wait in line for this movie, released during the final days of my senior year of high school, will probably remain the longest amount of time and the largest amount of people I will ever experience. The theatre had to move the line outside and let it flow into the parking lot – there were just way too many people to let them stay within the mall without causing some sort of hazard! I’ve seen footage for the releases of the original films, and this was pretty much what I had imagined that would have been like. People were dressed up as characters, waving around their lightsabers ranging in price from plastic extendable sword to one of those incredible swords with the authentic hilts and the blade that lit up from the bottom up and made authentic sounds when moved around and clashed with another which I still really freaking want. And there was a ton of discussion about the lore of the series, both fictional and real. And, most of all, there was excitement for the movie, because, despite the inadequacies of the previous two, everyone was hoping that Episode III was going to be the ironic redemption of the prequel series. Finally, we were going to get to see Anakin’s descent into the Dark Side and the extermination of the Jedi. And we all knew it was going to be awesome because – dun dun duuuuun – this was also the first Star Wars movie to get a PG-13 rating! George Lucas was finally getting serious, everyone! Read more…

REVIEW: Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

June 6, 2014 18 comments
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the ClonesDirected by: George Lucas
Produced by: Rick McCallum
Written by: George Lucas, Jonathan Hales
Edited by: Ben Burtt
Cinematography by: David Tattersall
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Christopher Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Temuera Morrison, Frank Oz, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Daniel Logan, Silas Carson, Jack Thompson, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Ahmed Best, Rose Byrne, Jay Laga’aia, Pernilla August, Leeanna Walsman
Year: 2002

 

At some point in my life, I didn’t really know which one was worse: The Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones. On the one hand, you have one of the dullest, most inconsequential films in the series that also has some of the most childish humor, to top it off, but at least it had some killer music and Darth Maul. On the other, you have George Lucas’ depiction of teenage angst within the Jedi Order and some of the most ridiculous romantic interactions between two characters ever scripted, the likes of which will have your eyes rolling out of your head and having your mind blown from thinking about just how that line about sand ever made it through someone’s mind and into the first draft of the script, let alone the final film. It took a lot of thinking, honestly, but after a while, I did eventually settle on The Phantom Menace being the worst of the two, because it not only had a bad script, but also, overall, it had just very little impact of all the films in the saga in the process. Attack of the Clones at least finally set some things in motion that would have bigger consequences later on in the story. Also, you finally get to see both Yoda and Mace Windu in combat, so… that’s gotta count for something? Read more…

REVIEW: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

May 31, 2014 5 comments
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom MenaceDirected by: George Lucas
Produced by: Rick McCallum
Written by: George Lucas
Edited by: Ben Burtt, Paul Martin Smith
Cinematography by: David Tattersall
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Ian McDiarmid, Ahmed Best, Pernilla August, Keira Knightley, Ray Park, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Silas Carson, Hugh Quarshie, Andy Secombe, Lewis MacLeod, Frank Oz, Samuel L. Jackson, Terence Stamp, Brian Blessed, Greg Proops, Scott Capurro
Year: 1999

 

Oh man, here we go… Read more…

REVIEW: Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

May 22, 2014 3 comments
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the JediDirected by: Richard Marquand
Produced by: Howard Kazanjian
Written by: Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas
Edited by: Sean Barton, Marcia Lucas, Duwayne Dunham
Cinematography by: Alan Hume
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, James Earl Jones, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Frank Oz, Ian McDiarmid, Alec Guinness, Sebastian Shaw, Denis Lawson, Kenneth Colley, Warwick Davis, Jeremy Bulloch, Caroline Blakiston
Review based on the 1983 theatrical version
Year: 1983

 

Back when recording things from TV was the only way to obtain certain movies you didn’t want to actually buy, I recall a friend of the family giving my family their collection of TV-recorded VHS tapes, most of them set to the longest recording time in order to maximize the content they had. One of these tapes contained both the original Karate Kid (save for the first couple minutes) and, yes, Return of the Jedi, making this the first time I ever actually could claim any sort of ownership over any of the Star Wars movies. Naturally, I watched it pretty often, and the mere fact that this was the only one I could watch without having to go seek out any rentals or borrow them from friends made this movie my second favorite (because there’s just no questioning the greatness of The Empire Strikes Back, kids). Now that I do own both trilogies (twice over for the original trilogy, thanks to the 2006 “limited” release of the DVDs which contained the original theatrical versions), however, the flaws of the once-final chapter in the Star Wars saga have really become rather apparent, thanks in large part to the prequels kind of bringing them out retroactively. Read more…

REVIEW: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

May 16, 2014 8 comments
Star Wars Episode V:  The Empire Strikes BackDirected by: Irvin Kershner
Produced by: Gary Kurtz
Written by: Leigh Brackett, Lawrence Kasdan (screenplay), George Lucas (story)
Edited by: Paul Hirsch
Cinematography by: Peter Suschitzsky, BSC
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, James Earl Jones, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Frank Oz, Jeremy Bulloch, Jason Wingreen, Alec Guinness, Denis Lawson, Clive Revill
Review based on the 1980 theatrical version
Year: 1980

 

It’s all downhill from here, folks. Movie number 2, and I’m already at the best of not just the original trilogy, but the entire saga, and it’s honestly doubtful that even the new sequel trilogy will best the work put forth here. George Lucas still had some say in the story of The Empire Strikes Back, but this is the film that people point to when they want to point out how, even back then, less of Lucas was always a good thing, even if what his diminished presence improves upon is his own creation. Heck, even the subsequent retoolings couldn’t diminish the film’s quality – though sometimes they even improved upon it, as with the enhancements to Cloud City’s ambience and the insertion of Ian McDiarmid’s take on the Emperor in that holoconference scene between him and Darth Vader. Let’s just chalk all that up to the fact that The Empire Strikes Back is just too awesome for its radiance to not influence any such reconfiguring. Read more…

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