Rise, Rey, Rise Up

There’s a lot going on in The Rise Of Skywalker, and I’m actually having trouble articulating how I feel about this movie. I groaned at a lot of it, cried through more, loved it almost completely. It’s thoroughly predictable, and yet manages to satisfy regardless of that.

I’m not a big lover of twist endings, I think they’re often cheap. The predictability of a formula is not something I consider a fault in narrative. Tropes alone aren’t cheap, though they can be employed cheaply. And The Rise Of Skywalker uses tropes that it’s earned and a few that it hasn’t. It’s a mixed bag of a movie.

Like all Star Wars films it lives and dies on it’s performances. Daisy Ridley gives her strongest in this trilogy, Adam Driver gets less to do than the previous two outings. Oscar Isaac and John Boyega are a damn delight and here’s something that I never ever expected to write, Anthony Daniels really runs away with the thing.

And the score, as you may have heard is incredible. People are calling it the best Williams has done in the series. I don’t know about that. Empire and Phantom Menace are pretty high marks, but it gets close. (I need to listen to it without the film.) But it’s very good. Rey’s theme and Kylo’s theme both get mixed with The Imperial March and Force Theme’s in ways that are wonderful. Leia’s theme is also pretty prominent.

I really, really enjoyed myself.

Rankings

  1. Knive’s Out
  2. Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood
  3. Jo Jo Rabbit
  4. Frozen 2
  5. Spider-Man: Far From Home
  6. Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker
  7. Avengers: Endgame
  8. Rocketman
  9. Detective Pikachu
  10. Zombieland: Double Tap
  11. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
  12. Downton Abbey
  13. Joker

Trailers

The Jungle Cruise: This trailer does not have enough puns. It otherwise looks acceptable.

Onward: I really can’t wait for this. It looks so lovely and fun and kind of scary. Really great.

Wonder Woman 84: GIVE ME YOUR TIME TRAVEL SHENANIGANS AND CHRIS PINE IN A FANNY PACK!!!!

Anway, y’all ready for Spoilers!  THEY’RE HERE NOW

 

 

 

 

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Fangirl Loves Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

So, I’m one of those people that gave a hearty shrug to The Last Jedi. I absolutely understood the movie. I got what Rian Johnson was going for, and applaud him for the attempt. Deconstruction of something as woven into the culture as Star Wars is a bold thing to swing for.

And here’s the thing with The Last Jedi, I don’t think he quite pulled it off. Which isn’t to say I don’t admire the attempt, I do. Some of the stuff, well, some of it I absolutely adore, I think it’s wonderful. I really enjoy Vice Admiral Holdo, and the way the movie plays with Luke and Leia’s connection. (Mirroring it in Kylo and Rey.) I think it’s visually stunning. I think Luke’s ultimate fate was brilliant and lovely and deeply in line with what we know of him as a man and his Jedi training.

I do think the movie tries to do too much. Insisting that we have to move forward but doing so at the expense of stories that had been built up in it’s predecessor feels arrogant. It’s also hypocritcal to say “we’re burning down the past” while transforming the more underground Resistance into the outright Rebellion of the original trilogy. (You can’t have both, Johnson!)

Some things that I didn’t like initially have grown on me. I initially didn’t love Benecio Del Toro’s DJ, who I now think is kind of delightful. (Still think he should have been Lando…but ya know…beggars and choosers.) My anger at how Poe became a more cliched “I know better” hothead this time around has cooled so I was able to see what Johnson and Isaac were actually going for with this performance. Poe’s given it all to the Resistance, he’s exhausted and frustrated. His mentor may be dying. His boyfriend (STORMPILOT LIVES!) is off on a dangerous spy mission. He has no information about how this is going to end. He snaps.

One thing that’s held up every time I’ve watched the movie is John Boyega’s performance. It’s mind blowingly charismatic and fun. Finn’s transformation from selfish survivor to team player/leader is beautiful executed. It’s the part of the movie I always liked best.

Which brings us to Kylo and Rey. I think Kylo Ren is a brilliantly rendered villain, and Adam Driver plays him well. He’s all raw emotion and easily triggered anger, with the power to back that up. It’s so different for this series. Rey is desperate here, she just wants answers. And while I’ve had so much fun in the past six years playing with “who is Rey?” theories. While I’ve always been fond of “Kenobi” as a theory, watching The Last Jedi this time, brought me around a bit to  “clone.” (I don’t think she’s a gender swapped clone of Anakin of Palpatine, but I think she might be a clone.) Her lack of answers about her past, her overall competence (almost as if she’d been programmed, like a Kamino Clone), and that scene where she sees herself reflected over and over again in a line while communing in the cave.

Not to mention the “Dark Rey” images from the Rise of Skywalker trailer.

There’s a lot going on in this movie, which is part of why I think it doesn’t work quite as well as it could. Rian Johnson is trying to do a lot here and some of it therefore comes out a little bit half baked. I’m also immensely gratified that J.J. Abrams has insisted he’s not going to walk back Johnson’s decision in The Last Jedi. He could have, but he’s happy with the status quo he’s got to work with.

We shall see in a few months how this all shakes out.

We’re still a few weeks from The Mandolorian so I’m not sure what will go in this spot quite yet. Taking suggestions!

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi

The thing about Return Of The Jedi is that I really love it a lot. I like endings, and I particularly like happy endings of the fairy tale variety. Where good triumphs, and evil retreats defeated.

So, I really like Return Of The Jedi that has that in spades, plus a strong theme of family and legacy and the things we need to take. It includes some pretty strong bullshit, (from a certain point of view) and it’s certainly a more clumsy movie than either of it’s predecessors, but I love that ending. I love Luke redeeming his father. I love the rescue sequence in Jabba’s palace.

The main thing though, that again, this project has given me is perspective on the series as an organic whole, and you can really start to see the clunkiness that is Lucas’s style take shape. Luke and Leia’s conversation where he reveals their sibling relationship is about as bad as “I hate sand.” It’s better because Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are better than Hayden Christiansen, but the dialog itself is bad, bad, bad.

Luckily, it’s just the one scene, the rest of the movie feels more natural, clearer and is really lovely. Frank Oz is probably my favorite part of both Empire and Jedi. 

Yoda’s role in the saga is kind of ridiculously great and one of my favorite, “go by the seat of your pants” legacies of Star Wars, his prominence in the saga is something of a fluke because of the great performance in Empire. People love Yoda, so Lucas gave the people what they wanted. (You know, kind of.)

Overall it’s hard to describe what exactly made the original Star Wars trilogy work. It really, really shouldn’t. It’s hokey, and strange and  lovely, and I’m so glad it exists.

Next week we talk about Star Wars: Resistance, which I have already finished as of this writing and that I love with all of my heart.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope

Is there anything left to say about Star Wars, or A New Hope depending on your level of fandom pedantry?

I don’t even remember the first time I watched this movie, that’s how weaved into my life it is. I’m sure it was a rainy Saturday, and I’m sure my dad had his arm around me. I couldn’t have been older than three. I don’t remember this, I just know this is so, because that’s how we watched movies when I was little.

Here’s the thing about A New Hope that I think I, despite talking about the movie constantly, and loving what it has birthed, tend to forget. It’s a basic ass movie that is miraculously not boring. It should be boring. It’s weird that it isn’t boring.

The story is so simple. The dialogue is silly. The acting is very good. The score is sublime and the action is terrific. And this all gels to make something wonderful, something unqiue and beautiful that has since just exploded, like a death star.

I don’t know, I didn’t find anything new in this watch. I was just so happy to be watching this movie again. I was happy to watch Han, Luke and Leia all meet. I was happy to see Obi-Wan become one with the Force. I was just so damn happy. I love Star Wars.

I wish there was more to this post, but I just don’t know what’s left to say. It’s a really good movie and I like it a lot and I will watch it again many times in my life.

Next Week We’re heading into the Star Wars GOAT with The Empire Strikes Back, I don”t know exactly what I’m going to be writing about, but there’s a good chance is that it’s going to rhyme with “Brando.”

Let The Past Die

The Last Jedi

 

*SPOILERS FOR DAYS*

 

 

Star Wars: Episode VII: The Last Jedi is a strange movie. There’s no getting around that. It’s paced oddly. (Poorly in certain spots) It’s full of weird looking creatures and off center character beats, and more weirdo philosophy than the seven movies that preceded it combined.

It’s also Carrie Fisher’s best performance of the five that she’s in, a fitting goodbye to a legend that we all love, allows Mark Hamill to play the comedy that he’s excellent at, deepens both Kylo Ren and Rey, and executes a B-Plot with exactly 0 white guys. (Seriously, the B-Plot heist is centered around Poe, Finn, new character Rose, Leia, new character Vice Admiral Holdo, and a surprise appearance by Benicio Del Toro.)

I need to see the movie again before I really evaluate it. But I enjoyed it immensely, if only for it’s truly spectacular moments. (This is why I want to see it again. I felt similarly about Revenge Of The Sith, so I want to watch it a bit more calmly.) Rey and Kylo fighting off Snoke’s guards after Kylo assasinates him. The force connection between Rey and Kylo convincing each of them that the other can be turned. Luke’s final conversation with Yoda. (Who after 40+ years is finally fed up with the Skywalker boys and their shit) The Star Wars version of the battle of Helm’s Deep. (Just when you thought there was nothing left from Tolkien for this series to mine!) Holdo’s sacrifice. Leia using the force to survive in space. That final moment between Luke and Leia. Luke brushing his shoulder off after a barrage of bullets in the battle.

The plot is what it is. There’s a maguffin, there’s a confrontation, there is, truly the best saber battle we’ve seen yet. The performances are strong, the character beats mostly work. The themes discussed including legacy, corruption and hope are well explored. It’s way too long. There’s definitely fat that could be trimmed, but for the most part it’s worth it.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say. I’ve got plenty of family time to log this week, and talking Star Wars with my family is my favorite thing.

Rankings:

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. The Big Sick
  3. Coco
  4. Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
  5. Battle Of The Sexes
  6. Dunkirk
  7. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  8. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  9. Thor: Ragnarok
  10. Justice League
  11. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  12. The Dark Tower
  13. Cars 3
  14. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Like My Father Before Me

I think it’s just my slight contrarion nature that makes me dig my heels in about Empire. I get that it’s objectively from a filmmaking perspective the best movie. But it doesn’t move my heart the way Return of The Jedi does. (I realize that after tomorrow, we can no longer just call it Jedi…that’s kind of weird…)

Anyway, here’s some stuff we get:

  • Jabba The Hutt and his weirdly psycho sexual den of inequity. This also leads to Twi’lek slave girls, and of course, Leia in that damn bikini. (But also Leia the Hutt Slayer)
  • Han and Leia are an official couple! YAY!
  • Luke is a Jedi (almost) though Yoda and Obi-Wan’s ghost claim that he can’t be a real Jedi until he kills his dad. I mean, I love them and all, but that’s a real dick move. (Turns out that in order to be a real Jedi, all Luke has to actually do is stand up and declare it.)
  • Obi-Wan reveals that Luke has a sister. Luke thinks about it and notes that he only knows like one girl, so it’s probably her.
  • We meet the Emperor. So that’s pretty cool. He’s a huge asshole. He no longer controls everyone around him, but he still thinks he does.
  • Yoda dies. After the rebels win, Luke sees his ghost standing alongside Obi-Wan’s, and suddenly, Ooooh, his father, who appears as his sexy-pants, 20-something self. (This is controversial, a lot of people are made very angry by it. I think it’s sort of dumb, but eh.)
  • Vader straight up refers to Luke as “My son” the whole movie. This is because he is awakening to his true self.
  • Luke never attacks in that light saber fight. It’s not the Jedi way.
  • Everytime that I see Luke burn Vader’s body now, I think about how weird it is that Kylo Ren went to Endor and took the helmet all melty like so that he could mope in front of it begging for guidance to the dark side.

That’s it for the original triology! Tomorrow we’ll  talk about The Force Awakens, and then OMG YOU GUYS! The Last Jedi, comes out tomorrow! WHO’S EXCITED!

Do Or Do Not, I Know, I am Your Father

Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is largely regarded as the best of all the Star Wars movies. I quibble with that. (I have very strong feelings about A New Hope) But it’s a very good movie, and I always enjoy watching it.

Let’s dive in!

  • Luke is a Commander now. Way to get promoted Luke. He’s also been continuing his Jedi training somehow…instinct? Those holograms that Kanaan and Ahsoka used to teach Ezra? Kanaan or Ezra themselves???? (SHUT UP THIS IS MY HEADCANON!)
  • Obi-Wan’s force ghost shows up. Hello first Force-Ghost!
  • Han and Leia have a thing going on. It develops into a full on love affair. She finally says she loves him as he’s about to be frozen in carbonite. He responds with “I know.” Women everywhere fall on the floor.
  • Speaking of swooning, we meet Lando Calrissian, smoothest opperator in the whole dang galaxy.
  • Luke goes to Dagobah to train with Yoda. Yoda has, kind of lost in seventeen years of exile. He’s still a badass, but he’s on the bonkers side. He and Obi-Wan have some force ghost chats.
  • Luke faces a phantom version of Darth Vader in a cave. When he strikes it down, his own face is revealed inside the mask. FORESHADOWING!
  • Vader is looking for Luke, and decides the best way to find him is by torturing his friends. I assume he comes up with this plan because you know, it’s what he, Anakin Skywalker would do.
  • Luke goes to Cloud City to save Leia and Han, thus falling into Vader’s trap. Vader cut’s off his hand, reveals that he’s his father, and that he has a plan to overthrow the emperor together. (Anakin is BAD AT PLANS. Vader is SLIGHTLY BETTER AT THEM, but this one seems not so great.)
  • Yoda eludes to another who could help with the whole restarting the Jedi bussiness. (This means Leia.)
  • While Leia and Han are on the run, they are pursued by bounty hunters, including one Boba Fett. I wonder, does Vader recognize Boba as the brother clone of his former troops?
  • This is also the first instance of Wedge Antilles! (WEDGE!) And the use of the “Rogue” call sign (ROGUE!)

 

Our most desperate hour, final confrontation and ALL THE SEXY

Hey guys! We’re into Star Wars: Episide IV: A New Hope (also three posts today, whaaaatttt…) also know as simply Star Wars.

This is the one that started it all…and what a start it is!

Here’s what we get:

  • It’s been 17 years of Imperial rule. Luke Skywalker intends to enroll in the Imperial Academy, to get the eff off Tatooine.
  • Princess Leia is also a senator (badass) she’s also a spy! (Awesome!) She also sends the Death Star Plans to Obi-Wan in R2-D2! (She’s the best) unfortunately her badassery leads to her planet being blown up.
  • Alderaan blows up
  • Han Solo (he of all the sexy) transports Luke and Obi-Wan to blown up Alderaan in order to circumvent the bounty Jabba The Hutt has placed on him.
  • Obi-Wan gives Luke Anakin’s Light Saber. Also tells him a big ol lie about Darth Vader murdering Anakin
  • Speaking of, Obi-Wan and Vader face off. Vader kills him, he becomes One With The Force.
  • Luke blows up the Death Star (with a defensive assist from Han) Vader proves that he’s still a great pilot.

So that’s that! I wish I had more to say but most of what we’re told in this movie gets laid out in the prequels.

Impressive, Most Impressive

Movie Post Season: Round 5

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story inspires Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

empire

I barely had to pay attention, I have watched this movie so many times. But what to focus on, when comparing it to it’s new younger brother. (Which, I now hold as like, my fifth favorite Star Wars movie.) And while there are lots of things in Empire that I think could directly correlate with Rogue One, I think that main one is the legacy of fathers and children.

Both Luke and Jyn are out to outrun and live up to their father’s legacies simultaneously, and both wind up learning about something that they didn’t expect about said father. A) That he’s alive, and B) that he’s not on the side that they initially thought he was.

In Rogue One, Jyn has convinced herself that her father is dead, but in fact he’s alive and working for the empire, but then, twist! Turns out he’s trying his best to be a good guy. Luke, has always believed his father was a great hero, a powerful Jedi, and of course, that he’s dead. His father, like Jyn’s, not dead, and is in fact the villain to end all villains.

While Jyn gets half the movie to deal with this information, Luke gets, well, a whole movie, but it’s not this one. Both are huge bombshells that matter in not only the hero’s relationship with their father, but in their entire identity. Jyn becomes a hero because her father wanted to save the universe for her. Luke, on the other hand, considers himself the son of Anakin Skywalker, the hero, the greatest Jedi to ever live, or whatever, and instead, he learns that his father is Darth Vader and that his mentor lied to him.

That’s a lot of disillusionment for one little farm boy and one badass space pirate? (What was her deal exactly? Seriously, I was less into that movie than others…) But either way.

Cosplay Corner: A Galaxy Far Far Away

Hey guys! Remember that I sometimes do this? So, last week to gear up for Rogue One, I did some Star Wars themed closet cosplays, and I was really happy with how they came out!

I started off with Saturday and dressed as my favorite Star Wars character (before You Know Who showed up) Obi-Wan Kenobi. I love Obi-Wan for a lot of reasons, but mostly because he’s the best and you’ll never convince me otherwise. So, I wore a white tee shirt and brown leggings and a tan jacket, because Jedi wear robes.

obi-wan

The next day, Sunday, I had no intention of leaving the house, but I realized I had lounge ware that would let me channel Anakin Skywalker pretty well. I went with a black yoga pants, a brown tee shirt, and a black cardigan with grey trim. Poof! Instant Chosen One. (Brooding and Fall To The Dark Side not included.)

anakin

On Monday I was back at work, so I had to get a little more creative, as leggings and yoga pants based outfits were not really an option anymore. I realized though that with my brown skirt and cream fair isle sweater, I could easily channel Luke Skywalker. (Not pictured Uggs! I’m very much back into my Uggs this winter!) I feel like the sweater gets across the idea of Luke’s innocence very well and that’s like 80% of his character in the first movie.

luke

Tuesday I decided to go off the main movie path, and decided to dress up as Ahsoka. A maroon cardigan, like her clothes, an orange skirt, for her complection, grey leggings, like hers, and a blue scarf for her horns.

ahsoka

A LOT of planning went into this costume, which I think is appropriate as Ahsoka’s voice actress is a geek girl fashion icon.

ashley

Me with Ashley Ecksten at NYCC 2014! HerUniverse ALWAYS the best.

Wednesday was a little bit lazier, and it was time for Kylo Ren. Kylo’s easy, black sweater, black pants and a black scarf. I also wore red earrings to be his lightsaber. (I thought about it at least a little.

kylo

Thursday was movie day, and I was planning on wearing my Hoth Leia costume to the movie, but first I had my company’s Christmas party and these people don’t know me and also I wouldn’t wear a costume to a Christmas party. So, I needed to figure out a way to wear the base of the Leia costume, and have it be something else. Enter, the true hero R2-D2. Blue sweater with my white leggings. TA DA! My hair was in my Leia braids though, because those need to be done while my hair is wet.

r2

Anyway, that’s what I did to celebrate Star Wars!