Posts Tagged 'star wars: episode VII'

Review: STAR WARS: EPISODE VII- THE FORCE AWAKENS

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Vader helmet

Welcome back, friends. Please forgive my lack of productivity in this space through pretty much all of 2015, but I’ve had quite a bit going on out in the real world. On top of that, I’m much more interested in creating my own work than I am reacting to the work of others, which is what I do most of the time on this blog. That’s a result of simply wanting to get things off my chest, and over the past year I’ve become pretty good about being able to keep my mouth shut and my thoughts contained inside my head. This is my first full review since I analyzed Captain America: The Winter Soldier in April of 2014. Fuck, it has been awhile, hasn’t it?

Reviewing Star Wars movies has always been tough for me. And by “tough”, I mean “nearly impossible”. The original trilogy, collectively, occupies the #1 slot on my list of favorite movies of all time. When I watch those movies, I don’t see actors and cinematography and writing, I am watching a story unfold, nothing more. I’m not thinking at all about how it was made. That’s because I became passionate about Star Wars before I knew I was passionate about filmmaking. When it comes to the prequels, I don’t like talking about them because of how disappointing they are. I’ve never gone as far as most in saying they outright suck, but I freely admit they are a mess. I can still watch them and enjoy doing so, but they don’t feel like the original movies at all, and I’d have a very tough time watching all 6 in order, because the gap in style, both visually and in storytelling, between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope would be too big a jump to make in my mind. I’m also bitter that the way Anakin Skywalker was handled in the prequels makes original trilogy Darth Vader much less badass, which is a cinematic felony.

On to current events! Back when Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 and sent George Lucas packing, I posted my reaction to the news [HERE] and then did another piece reacting to the announcement of J.J. Abrams as Episode VII’s director [HERE]. I originally pegged Abrams’ selection at only a 2% chance of happening. In hindsight, that was foolish, but I based that doubt on the fact that I refused to believe that they’d hire the same guy who rebooted Star Trek to also revive Star Wars. I viewed that as some sort of celestial paradox. Minus the Star Trek factor, I approved of Abrams doing this, and I still approve now after we’ve all seen the finished product. Episode VII needed to be directed by a Star Wars fan, and Abrams has proven his worthiness in that regard. In many people’s views, his love for the original films is too evident in Force Awakens, but we’ll get to that.

Without further ado, let’s get straight into it. Needless to say, SPOILERS APLENTY AHEAD!

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Review: STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

star trek into darkness poster final

Star Trek Into Darkness is my new favorite movie of 2013. It’s not the best movie of 2013 thus far (that would be Mud, a great little flick and the latest stop on the Epic Matthew McConaughey Comeback Tour), but I had a blasty blast watching J.J. Abrams‘ follow-up to his successful 2009 cinematic Star Trek revival. As many critics and old-school Star Trek diehards like to point out, Abrams’ version of Trek is very different in tone and style to the previous TV shows and films. I call it “Blockbuster Star Trek”. There’s a bigger emphasis on action and humor in these films, and less on actual science and the exploration of strange, new worlds. It’s easy to understand why this “dumbing down” of Star Trek would offend the diehards (a group I count myself a member of), but this new, glossed-up style is precisely the reason the 2009 film became accessible to modern summer audiences and grossed $257.7 million domestically, by far the biggest gross of all Trek movies. In other words, so long as Abrams is directing and/or producing this series with this cast, ain’t nothin changing, folks.

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Reaction: J.J. Abrams as STAR WARS director

“Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.”

I anticipated that it wouldn’t take long after the announcement of Michael Arndt as Episode VII‘s screenwriter that we’d have a decision on the director. Well, now we know. None other than J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII. In doing so, he will face the unenviable task of bringing the Star Wars franchise back to respectability after George Lucas‘ “disappointing” (I’ll be nice) prequels, and on top of that, he has to follow Return of the Jedi. Thanks to the internet, this will probably be the most scrutinized movie project of all time. That’s Death Star-sized pressure, and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. That said, any director who took this job must have understood what he was getting into.

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A New Hope: George Lucas gives up control over STAR WARS

October 30, 2012: a date that will live in infamy. I keep re-reading the title to this post. I had to double check the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1st. I can’t believe this has actually happened. I never thought I’d live to see the day where George Lucas willingly relinquished control over Star Wars.

In a deal that has reportedly been in the works since last summer, Disney will buy Lucasfilm and its valuable San Francisco-based subsidiaries (including the best visual effects company on Earth, Industrial Light & Magic, and the best post-production audio facility in the industry, Skywalker Sound) for a reported $4.05 billion, all of it going to Lucas, who owned 100% of the company. You know, because George Lucas didn’t have enough money already. Actually, to be fair, Lucas is apparently pledging most of this windfall to various education initiatives he’s backing, which is pretty cool.

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