Hey there Star Wars fans! We’re here to bring you your weekly assortment of Star Wars spoilery goodness. This week is no exception. We’re now 19 days from The Force Awakens, and new pieces of info are coming in. Almost as if it is carefully timed to keep us in a constant state of anticipation for this film…Let’s get into it!
It’s Friday, so that means I’ll be reviewing another Star Wars movie in Episodic Order as we lead up to The Force Awakens. The good news is, I get to spend the day after Thanksgiving re-watching A New Hope, the bad news is reviewing it is kind of a challenge.
It definitely feels weird watching A New Hope to review it. I mean, I’ve seen it probably hundreds of times. It’s hard to look at it objectively given what an influence it has had to movies, culturally, and to me personally. Given that, what can I possibly say that hasn’t been said hundreds of times about this movie? I’ll do my best to give my favorite and least favorite moments.
My favorite moments
I think I always liked the Jawas. Something about them always intrigued me. I think when I was a kid, their clothes probably connected more to the fantasy genre (I don’t know like the Smurfs cartoon) where a character would wear the same attire as the Jawas. So this was the first point in the movie when you realize that this is more than your typical Sci-Fi movie, but also dips into other genres.
I still like hearing Obi Wan telling Luke about the Jedi and his father. I like how after a certain point you realize that this movie has everything. Old wizards, giant dragon skeletons, space ships, robots, Smuggler with side-arms, bounty hunters and somehow it succeeds in presenting it with credibility on all fronts. In other words, none of those parts come across as cheesy or not well done. It works on all fronts, and this is certainly not an easy task.
It’s very interesting how infrequently the Force is used in this movie, and I think that’s a plus in a way. After this movie, you are left wondering what exactly the Force is capable of, but you’ve seen some amazing things. Let’s see, you have the Jedi Mind-trick from Obi Wan, The Force-choke from Vader, the Noise-at-a-distance from Obi Wan (in the Death Star), Luke using the Force to target an exhaust port at full-throttle, and Vader Force-sensing Lukes’ Force powers from a distance. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that is it. So you might say this is a less-is-more kind of approach and it works.
My least favorite moments
That spin that Obi Wan does when fighting Vader. Just seems like he is putting himself into a vulnerable position. I don’t know, maybe he is doing some sort of Force-block or something that I don’t know about, but it just seems too slow to be a wise move.
I don’t know, lately when I watch the end, I can’t help but get sad for Chewie and the fact that he didn’t get a medal. It almost looks like Chewie goes through a series of emotions. From “proud”, to “child-like nervousness”, to “wait a minute, why are you starting with Han and not left to right”, to “WTF. I’m not getting a medal am I”. I feel like if this movie were made today, Chewie would have gotten a medal.
OK, so somehow this movie does feel a little bit slow at times. I don’t know if my tastes have become a little modernized and I want something to be a little more fast-paced. I feel like movies these days try to keep you on the edge of your seats either with intense action or intense drama. So, now rewatching A New Hope, there are times when it does seem to dip to a slightly lower pace. This is a very minor thing, and isn’t a huge negative because the movie still works.
The movie’s great. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
I am going to state this from the beginning; this is my least favorite Star Wars movie but when it first came out it was my second or third favorite. As time passed from its initial release its faults became more apparent and its shiny parts became duller to the point that I no longer saw them. I will say that now I can view everything that it truly is a good movie with a few bad spots. Lets just say Star Wars movies are like pizza there isn’t a bad one and I have had pizza that was worse than AotC could ever be viewed.
What didn’t work
Dialog: this is the root of every problem in AotC. Related would be the development of Anakin and Padme’s relationship however I believe with proper dialog I think this would not have been bad. Much of the dialog is telling us things that we should be able to see instead. Anakin telling us how great Obi-Wan is as a master would have been better shown. Perhaps open the movie with them working together well. The chase Obi-wan and Anakin participate in could have done a better job of them cooperating and Obi-Wan being a mentor with the better dialog and interaction. Instead Obi-wan acts like Anakin is a child that needs minding and Anakin acts as though he HAS to just do things or his abilities aren’t recognized. The development of Anakin and Padme’s relationship uneven while parts are great they veer off into uncomfortable territory. The much maligned sand scene actually is pretty great however the scene with fireplace is terrible and could have been so much better. I could give more examples of where the dialog failed the story but that’s been overdone (Almost everything with C3PO).
The only other thing that doesn’t work is the lack of continuity between AotC and ANH. After Anakin and Padme decide to leave Tatoonie I would have like to have seen Owen try to convince Anakin to stay and not get involved, the Jedi are idealistic fools on a hopeless crusade.
Anakin’s talent with the force was highlighted well, he seemed to be better than everyone else with exception of Yoda. He is also cocky about his abilities which to me matches well with Vader’s opinion of himself. Obi-wan’s entire storyline was great and if anything could have been expanded. I found the acting to be as good as the material presented unfortunately Hayden and Natalie’s performance suffered because of the poorly done scenes however MOST of their work is great. Yoda teaching the younglings scene was fantastic and the interaction with Obi-wan and the other masters fit with how we saw them. The story and plot are quite good in themselves and though and despite it being the longest run time for any Star Wars movie it feels shorter.
The lightsaber battles were very good. Obi-wan vs Dooku was great as it showed Anakin’s rashness was a weakness and Obi-wan’s methods had there place. One thing about the movie that the book did better was Anakin vs Dooku. The movie was not as dynamic as the book made the battle seem and Anakin seemed more of a badass in the book but it was still good. However the best was Yoda vs Dooku. I have heard people complaining of how Yoda fought with a lightsaber but because its so unexpected is why I love it. When the battle is over and Yoda goes back to his walking stick… that is just pure awesome.
I wish the Jedi council had raised Anakin to a Knight but basically a be with Padme and leave us or give that up and stay, with Anakin choosing Padme. Palpatine could have then asked Anakin to be his personal Jedi and represent him on the council with no vote. Thereby putting Anakin in the hands of the Sith Lord but allowing him to continue to work with Obi-wan. This would have set up the next film nicely. I still like this movie even though I can see its faults and missed opportunities.
On the latest episode of “Now this is podcasting”, there was a discussion about the latest interviews about Snoke. Interestingly, there wasn’t complete agreement on how to interpret some things in the interview from Empire last week, in particular the thing about Serkis filming atop a 25 foot podium. While Jeremy Conrad, from furiousfanboys.com thought that it definitely meant a regular sized character sitting atop a real podium. Jason Ward from makingstarwars.net and Randy Lo Gudice (@cursinguser), however, interpreted it that Snoke might be really large character.
Although this discrepency between the usually agreeing hosts reveals how little we actually know about Snoke, the answer to what this says about Snoke may be right in front of our noses.
This is because Jason further points out that the set piece is called “The Great Hall”, presumably the place where Snoke is staying, like a throne room, where he communicates with Hux (who was recently confirmed by the Empire interview to have scenes with Serkis) and Kylo Ren. In fact, the connection jumps out of one of the few pieces of concept art for TFA that could be of Snoke (above an old concept from Ralph McQuarrie via SWNN):
Therefore, we could have a more extreme version of the top concept, with a much higher throne, possibly in a much bigger cavern on the StarKiller base planet. It seems like it has to be on StarKiller base planet, because that’s the only place where he could talk to both Hux and Kylo. Many people thought that this was Luke, but the comparison to an old Emperor concept from RMcQ reveals that this is more likely Snoke. It is long well known that they are mining old McQuarrie concept art for TFA all over the place, and as fans know, McQuarrie also worked on Battle Star Galactica. There are some early concept work of the Boltar that resembles ideas that could be used with Snoke. The 25 foot podium mentioned by Serkis definitely brings this to mind:
Would JJ and Lucasfilm dig up old McQuarrie pieces that are not Star Wars, but BSG? They might if it sparked some ideas that could be incorporated into the other pieces. If they did, then that would explain what’s going on with the podium…except for the fact that in the other interview from Entertainment Weekly, Serkis also says that “He is large. He appears tall.” So which is it? Is he tall, or is he very tall? Meaning is he as tall as the Early Emperor concepts from McQuarrie?
Actually there were revisions in the early concept of the Emperor that may shed some light on what Snoke could look like. The first version looked like this:
which looks a bit decrepit in the face, fitting with other Serkis comments, and it also fits the quote “distinctive, idiosyncratic bone and facial structure” by Serkis (see below). This piece was later revised into something more like the Emperor we know (albeit taller and bluer):
We know the latter image inspired the McDiarmid’s Emperor, but could the earlier version have inspired some of the new concepts for Snoke? In both cases, this concept is very large, and could actually be 25 foot tall, and fits the description.
The Empire article also reiterates some stuff from interview from Entertainment Weekly, in particular the part about Snoke being a damaged, scarred, and disfigured character. We can’t help but make the connection with one of the early rumors of “Uber”, the early code-name for Snoke, where the guys at StarWarsUnderworld state that:
Andy Serkis’ character basically looks like an old man, zombie like, almost risen from the dead.
If we also connect this to some old McQuarrie concept art for the Emperor (found here), the first one that jumps out is this one:
we can see that this old McQ concept looks Zombie-like with skin hanging down off his fingers. Could this be what Serkis means when he says (in the EW article):
“there is a strange vulnerability to him, which belies his true agenda, I suppose.”
In other words, it might be that Snoke is a half-dead, damaged, and disfigured, almost hanging by a thread to life, but at the same time emerging in a very long elaborate plot to take over he entire galaxy. He’s a “long-term schemer”, that’s been around through the much of the previous events in the Star Wars movies, so he could be some sort of undead character that goes back to the prequels.
But what if they combine these two? What if we have a 25 foot tall zombie character, broken and frail because his weakened undead bones can barely support the weight of his 25 foot lumbering body? So either this is the vulnerability that Serkis is talking about, or it is a reason to reject this and accept that Snoke is a regular-sized guy that has a tall throne.
The other key point we have from these new interviews is that Snoke is a new character. This is key because in one fell swoop seems to take down both the Darth Plagueis and the Darth Jar Jar theories.
Is there any other concept art that might be relevant? Maybe one ther piece:
This early concept from Indie Revolver, depicts what appears to be Luke battling a very tall, yellow-lightsaber-wielding bad guy. We know it’s Luke because of the green lightsaber, given that Finn/Rey have Luke/Anakin’s old blue one. At this height could this be our tall Snoke character? This could certainly be an early Kylo Ren concept, but check that height! That character is actually almost twice the size of Luke, if not taller. However, almost everything points to Luke only being present for the very last scene of the movie. Therefore, could this showdown have been moved to Episode VIII?
I talked to @mazlow01 about this, and he is of the opinion that Snoke will be between 8-12 ft tall and be seated on a 10-15 ft tall podium. He doubts we will see him do anything physical in this film except for he will light a lightsaber at least once. Andy Serkis said something about Snoke would carry one and Mazlow01 thinks he will, and will have a look that’s a mix of early concepts of the Emperor and Voldemort.
One thing we can be sure of is, by not telling us about Snoke, and getting us to debate and dig through the details, there are creating incredible anticipation. In a way, it would be in their best interest to not tell us anything about Snoke! I’m glad they left us a few crumbs to chew one.
Here’s a summary of these two articles:
Interview from Entertainment Weekly. To paraphrase Serkis, we have the following facts about Snoke:
- Snoke kept changing, not only through principle photography
- Snoke is not compulsive, rather he is a long-range schemer with a huge agenda.
- Supreme Leader Snoke is strangely vulnerable at the same time as being quite powerful
- He has suffered a lot of damage.
- He could not be done without CGI
- He has a distinctive, idiosyncratic bone and facial structure.
- Snoke is a new character in this universe. It is very much a newly-introduced character,
- Snoke has been around and is aware of prior events, and is aware of the past to a great degree.
- Snoke is large and tall, with a facial design that coudn’t be done without CGI
Interview from Empire last week. Again, paraphrasing we get this info:
- Serkis worked specifically with, presumably filmed scenes with, Domhnall Gleeson and with Adam Driver.
- Snoke was very high up, alone, but talking to Hux and Kylo Ren.
- Serkis first day involved sitting on a 25-foot podium doing Lord Snoke, not knowing who the character was.
- Snoke is severely damaged, scarred, and disfigured.
We’re now 24 days away from The Force Awakens! We’re now entering the big time of Force Awakens news. The news is coming so fast and furious that it can be hard to keep track of everything! Spoiled Blue Milk is here to do our best to at least give you the most important stuff. It’s time for your Weekly Recap!
1. First footage of The Force Awakens! This was played at the start of a tribute to John Williams
@mazlow01: Dialog! I love dialog. John Boyega seemed to be making a crap ton of noise when running. I found that odd. And Daisy’s dialog seemed to me to be calm considering everything. However based on this scene I think the Finn trailer dialog where he says we need to run is him talking to Daisy.
@davestrrr: I was really surprised how different a short bit of footage could be from a trailer. HUGE difference. The music, the excitement. We’ve seen those shots a few times, and it was really cool to see that there is dialogue going on at the same time. Cool that we know Rey is already a pilot. I mean, we sort of already knew this because it was long known that she would fly the Falcon. However, still cool that she calls herself a pilot, just like Anakin and Luke did before here. Rey is a young, precocious pilot on a desert planet…Hmmm.
2. Yahoo News has just reported that The Force Awakens is finished (found via MakingStarWars)
Abrams officially finished the final mix of Force Awakens at 2am this morning. Movie is done folks!
— Yahoo Movies (@YahooMovies) November 22, 2015
@mazlow01: Sweet! Hopefully we will get a rating soon then. I’m thinking its going to be PG.
@davestrrr: Nice to hear that it’s done done. My money is on PG. If it is PG-13, then we’ll know that this one is more intense than thought.
3. New leaks from the Look-and-Find book have been compiled here. For example, this image:
@mazlow01: This basically confirmed about 10 of MSW earlier reports. I now feel that the plot he has out there is the basic bones of the movie and anyone disagreeing just doesn’t like Jason.
@davestrrr: So lots of details here. We know know that the resistance base planet is called D’Qar, and we know that Leia sends the squadron to help our heroes at Maz’s castle. We also get our first live image of Lor San Tekka. Looks like the old cyborg rumors are false, unless he has a cyborg arm off screen or something. Lots of good details here.
4. New TV Spot! This one has a shot of Nien Nunb and Jessica Pava:
@mazlow01: Anyone else think Jessica is going to die? Just me? Anyway that is pretty cool. Every time I see Finn fight that stormie I get excited. There is a shorter version of this commercial that shows off BB-8 using cables to stabilize himself too.
@davestrrr: This is great. Nice to see good old Nunb in action live. Just like old times. The voice is exactly the same.
5. There is a new rumor about the livestock on Han’s freighter at Making Star Wars.
@mazlow01: I suspect this gets cut. I don’t know why but its seems an odd break in the narrative the way it is described.
@davestrrr: So this is where the Octopus ended up. I hope this doesn’t end up looking really cheesy and overly CGI. Something about too many tentacles ends up looking strange.
6. Disney has only shown 5% of the marketing campaign according to a new report.
@mazlow01: Jebus save me! I will never leave the couch if I’m getting more Star Wars! That being said I think that the 5% is an exaggeration.
@davestrrr: Hope they don’t oversaturate. I don’t know, it feels like we’ve already seen 5% of the film. What could the rest of the ad campaign possibly bring?
7. First live shot of Maz Kanata found in a new commercial (source):
Compare this shot to the leaked Lego image and the Poster:
@mazlow01: The video has been removed… I think maybe it wasn’t supposed to be released. Maz looks different than I expected even after what we have seen already. Maybe there are a few shots needed more CGI work?
@davestrrr: The video is no where to be found. Hopefully this image is OK. My first impression was that Maz is cuter than I expected! Almost certainly will be a top selling toy/new character.
8. GamesRadar is reporting an interview with Mark Hammil where he claims to be holding a huge rumor secret.
@mazlow01: I saw on twitter he said this was about a Joker project. Then again maybe he’s just throwing us off.
@davestrrr: I’m not sure about it being about Joker. It seemed like in the context of Star Wars. Yes, the interview was something for Joker, but I definitely got the impression that he was talking about Star Wars. I would assume that this has something to do about the intervening years before TFA, or the parentage of some of the main characters.
9. Yet another spot showing off a couple of new scene and new dialog from Maz
@mazlow01: I love Maz’s line here. Rey is looking for belonging and family. Its not in her past but her future… aka LUKE!
@davestrrr: Seems like a lot of the same footage, but I like the new shot of Rey. Yeah, the Maz thing is very optimistic about the future. I feel like we’ve been getting a lot of little sound bytes from a motivational speech that Maz will give. Still seems bizarre, with that little alien character sounding like that, but hopefully it will make sense on screen.
9. Bonus: Watch Jimmy Kimmel Tonight for interviews with the cast of The Force Awakens
It’s Friday night! That means it’s time for the reviews of the Star Wars movies in episodic order. As I did with The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, I’m reviewing the entire saga as we lead up to The Force Awakens, and today, I’ll be reviewing RotS. By far, Revenge of the Sith is my favorite prequel. It’s witty, it moves fast, the visual effects are nearly impeccable. In my mind, a lot of the flak that the prequels got was because they wanted RotS all along. Ever since Vader says “When we last met, I was but a learner, now I am the master” in ANH, we’ve been yearning to see that last time. It’s said that Tom Stoppard gave the script a “polish”, and I think it worked because to me the script is tight, compact, and funny without being cheesy. I think it has more wittily structured lines than any of the prequels. Compare:
Greivous: It is a volcanic planet. You will be safe there.
Nute Gunray: Safe?!
from RotS to
C3P0: Oh! This is such a drag.
from AotC. I mean both are funny, but RotS just lacks the cheeseball factor. Appropriate too, given the dark nature of the film. There are moments like this that really bump this movie up and up in the saga for me.
I think Ian McDiarmid is one of my favorite Star Wars actors, and he shines in this film. I think his delivery is amazing for the vast majority of the film. In a way, McDiarmid is sort of Lucas’ “ace in the hole” for the prequels. An amazing actor that he uses sparingly until the third act. Although his performances in TPM and AotC were downright brilliant, his performance in RotS brings him to the forefront where he can really “bring it”. I actually think he is better in the first half of the film. Some of his most amazing lines in my mind: all the scenes when he is manipulating Anakin, “Do it”, “And we shall have peace” and “Execute order 66” when we see him say it in person the first time, are all so brilliantly executed.
That scene. That moment half way through the film when Anakin sits the the Jedi Council chambers watching the sunset over Coruscant. In my opinion, this scene is meant to mirror the famous sunset scene over Tatooine with Luke looking to the horizon. Whereas Luke longs for a more meaningful life off that planet, and for a more meaningful future; Anakin contemplates his own future and Padme’s. Right after Luke’s sunset moment, he starts on a path that would ultimately make him a hero. Right after Anakin’s moment he starts on a path, past the point of no return, to become an anti-hero. This scene in RotS has amazing lighting, great music, and one of Hayden’s best non-verbal performances. Speaking of Hayden, upon this viewing I feel that his performances in RotS, on the whole, are actually pretty darn good. I think his performance in this film, except for maybe one or two lines, are right on the money. He is certainly the main character of this film as the story follows him very closely. As I said in my last review, I liked Hayden in AotC except for a few scenes. In RotS there are just a couple of spots where the emotion doesn’t come through (when he says “No, it’s because I’m so in love with you” doesn’t do it for me), but he more than makes up for it in other scenes. Some other Hayden high points are “I’m doing for you…to protect you”, and the furious disdain he shows for Obi Wan after the fight.
I still think the CGI version of Yoda in the blue ray version of TPM is the best animation of Yoda in the whole prequels. Admittedly, the technology had improved because it was the most recent, but still. I wouldn’t be opposed to refreshed CGI to touch up a few spots of the whole prequels in a new 4K version of them. I mean, most of the CGI is great, but you know there are just a couple of shots here and there. The truth is though, it actually isn’t always clear which parts of the prequels are CGI and which are practical, but there’s a couple of CGI effects that could be better. In RotS, for example, the face of Dooku and Sidious on their respective stuntmen during lightsaber duels look fake at times. Certainly, those scenes were a major achievement for their time, but just imagine if, say in 2020, they took the old raw digital footage from RotS, and improved the digital model of Palpatine and Dooku, and beefed up those scenes. For example, if you took the original 3D scans used to make those models, performed some sort of 2020 3D anti-aliasing technology on them and rebuilt those models. With Yoda, some of the scenes are amazing, and no doubt better than AotC, but there are just a couple of shots that I could see improving. Probably not this one though:
OK, so at the end, when Yoda says that the twins need to be split up and protected from the Emperor, the logic baffles me. I know Luke and Leia have to end up in a particular location with particular people, but why send Leia with a high profile Senator when the Emperor is still in power? Why send Luke with the only family Anakin has left? Sure, Vader assumes that Luke and Leia died with Padme, but what if he ever had a clairvoyant image of his children alive? If he had one of his vivid dreams, and he recognized something in the dream, he would go looking for them. Why not send them to a completely obscure planet that no one would ever visit? At any rate, we know how the ending needs to end up to match with ANH, so we let this one slide.
The other thing that has always bothered me was Anakin’s motivations for killing the Jedi could have been beefed up just a bit. It isn’t made crystal clear why he needs to wipe out the Jedi, and he must “show no mercy in order to be strong enough with the darkside in order to save Padme”. I mean, I understand it. I understand that the darkside flows stronger when there is no mercy. I just think Anakin takes a huge leap here, and some more dialogue to motivate why he would go from “trying to save Padme” to blindly committing heinous acts wouldn’t hurt here. Maybe they left it simple because trying to explain only made things even less believable.
Upon re-watching the prequels, it has become more apparent of the idea of emerging characters, and also, for lack of a better term, vanishing characters. For example, although Padme plays a key role in the film, her scenes feel fewer compared to TPM and AotC. She gives some of her strongest acting of the prequels in these scenes, but it does seem like less screen time. Jar Jar has just a brief glimpse. As far as I can tell, Jar Jar just says “Excuse me” when he bumps into another major senator, possibly Orn Free Taa. In contrast to the much maligned “Exqueeze me” of TPM, in this one brief moment we see that Jar Jar is still a little clumsy, but has assimilated as a senator. Palpatine seems to keeps Jar Jar close, because he is easily manipulated, and other senators love him. He’s a lovable yokel-turned-Senator that is well liked and easy to control.
The high points of the film are numerous. The opening shot space battle. The moment when Palpatine tells Anakin the story of Plagueis. Many of the exchanges between Anakin and Padme are quite good, and a welcome change to some of the dud scenes in AotC. The lightsaber battles are pretty excellent all around. I love the way the prequel style is morphed into the OT style smoothly in this film, until the end, we have a style very similar to the OT. I like the encounter between Mace and Palpatine.
The number of great scenes outnumber the scenes that are not so great by a large margin. In fact, my minor criticisms are a real stretch, I know. That’s because, I think it’s a great film. This is the film that people somehow thought the prequels would begin with. As a whole the prequels have been fun to watch again. RotS was certainly the best for me as it has always been, followed by TPM, then AotC. We’re now like 27 days from TFA, and if anything the only thing holding me back from enjoying the prequels more was the anticipation for new Star Wars in less than a month.
Excellent! 4 out of 5 stars.
I’m going to open up this review by leveling with you my dear readers about how much of a nerd I really am. I saw The Phantom Menace(TPM) at midnight on opening day. I waited in line all day long(I was second in line). I beat the real life version of The Simpsons comic book guy(serious looked just like him) in Star Wars Trivial Pursuit, twice, and I only missed one answer between the two games(Worst nerd beating ever). I was in costume. As Darth Maul. I did all of my own make up, made the horns and did my own sewing. I made the local news. So TPM has a special place in my heart. That being said I am not one the new breed that defends TPM ignoring its faults but I also recognize it is much better than people have given it credit for over the last ten years or so.
Dis is bombad
I’m going to start off with what I didn’t like in TPM and most of that is in the first third of the movie. Jar-Jar’s dialog and reactions in the first part of the movie were over the top. As you watch the rest of movie the character and his speech settles down and he becomes tolerable if not a favorite. I also didn’t like Qui-Gon’s attitude toward Jar-Jar when he first meets him. He’s arrogant in way that he is not for the rest of the film. The fight scenes of Obi-wan and Qui-Gon as they rescue the Queen and when they escape Naboo are kind of terrible. Droids are randomly close so the Jedi can cut them down and it just isn’t visually appealing.
Speaking of visually appealing the CGI in the vista type scenes does not hold up well. I am speaking of the droid army approach to Thead and in the final battle when the droid army approaches the Gungan and after the Gungan shield falls. But those are the only CGI fails I have.
There is one other mistake made in the first third of the movie. For example the way R2 is introduced. Too much telling not enough showing. We never knew what R2 was doing to fix things just that he fixed it. Instead of just throwing us in to the universe as ANH did TPM tends to explain everything its setting up. This is the real basis of the people’s problems with the movie as a whole. Fortunately this is limited to the first third.
Finally lets discuss Anakin Skywalker, the character not the actor that portrayed him. Anakin has some goofy lines but nothing terrible, in fact there are only two terrible things that revolve around Anakin. First is the hanging speech. By that I mean the two scenes where Anakin is speaking and Padme and Qui-Gon “interrupt” him. Its obvious he has nothing more to say and his fellow actors are supposed to interrupt him. This a failure in editing, scripting, and direction. If the actor had been given full lines and was actually interrupted or if the interruptions we cut in quicker it would work better. The second is Anakin’s line and actions during the space battle. This is a boy we just saw fly in and win a podrace. During that podrace he made on the fly adjustments and repairs while keeping his cool and righting his pod while it was spinning and under the control of one engine. He would not accidentally fly into a control ship or say “spinning is a good trick” The character could have and should have been more purposeful in his actions. It appears luck helps him out as it stands and we all know “There’s no such thing as luck”.
This is SO Wizard
Alright lets get to the good stuff which pretty much includes everything after we meet Anakin. Which brings me to my first great thing, this movie is not about introducing us to Anakin, its about introducing Padme. Padme’s world is the one used by the Trade Federation, its her decision to leave with the Jedi, then to come with Qui-Gon to Mos Espa, she is entire reason Anakin tries to catch up with them after he leaves Wattos, she decides to call for no confidence in the chancellor, then she heads back to Naboo, forms an alliance with the Gungans and formulates the plan to take back her planet. Just about every decision that moves the plot forward is made by Padme. Her interactions with Anakin when they first meet are great and show that Jake Lloyd was a good child actor. Overall Padme’s character is my favorite in TPM.
Shmi, Watto and Sebulba are all great characters. The CGI on Watto and Sebulba was the kind of work that has held up. I actually felt that Shmi wanted only for him to be free. Everything she had suffered through would be worth it if he was allowed to leave with the Jedi. The podrace was absolutely fantastic work both visually and storytelling. It showed us how resourceful Anakin was and he was something special. There was tension both in the race and for those watching it. Our first introduction of Darth Maul vs Qui-Gon was a fantastic little battle. Once they arrive at Coruscant we finally get to meet the Jedi council and see the Senate. The Jedi are arrogant and dismissive of a fellow master Qui-Gon because he doesn’t follow the party line. Its awesome! The Jedi are ripe for a fall from prestige due to their attitude. And then we see the Sneate and Palpatine, good lord he’s fantastic. Why isn’t Ian McDiarmid in more movies? The Senate itself is another institution that has festered and is ripe for manipulation and destruction. I don’t think people expected that when they walked and they missed the undercurrent of how this sets up the rise of the Empire.
The final battle really works for me. The gungans are no Ewoks and came to fight and brought their own tech and army. They are for the most part formidable fighters and do quite will against superior tech and numbers. Then we have the Duel of Fates. Second best lightsaber duel behind Empire. This was what we wanted to see. Jedi at their absolute height of power and skill. The only thing I would have done to improve it was give Maul taunting dialog to both Qui-Gon and Obi-wan. The space scenes were great and I wish they had given us more including more Anakin fighting in space. At the end of the movie we once again see the Jedi’s failure. In their arrogance the masters refuse to choose Anakin as a padawan forcing Obi-wan’s hand.
I have gone though all range of emotions regarding TPM over the past 16 years, I loved it when I first saw just because it was new Star Wars, I hated because I could only focus on its faults, and finally I’ve come to love it again while still recognizing it is not perfect. There things I wish had been done better however it does compete for best of the prequels for me and it is a great addition to the Star Wars mythos.
What’s not to love about BB-8? This little droid has taken the Star Wars fandom by storm, and has also had a huge impact on mainstream audiences. I’d like to take a moment to dig deep into the internet, to old rumors, and the latest spoilers to present 8 “tricks” that this new little droid has up his, ahem, ports.
First things first, BB-8 is a male. There are a lot of instances of people referring to him as a “he”. For example, there is a recent interview with JJ Abrams where he refers to BB-8 multiple times as a “he”. There is a recent post by Making Star Wars, that is supported by others, suggesting that BB-8 is in fact male. The report initially said female, but the update at the top says that there is some evidence that rules out him being female. So hereafter, I’ll use male pronouns to refer to BB-8.
Although we have known about this droid for a while, the full details are still being fleshed out. BB-8 begins this movie as Poe Dameron’s astromech droid. We see him in the same spot that R2 is known to sit, behind the cockpit in Poe’s X-wing.
After Poe lands, he goes and talks to the Vicar, and is able to get the Luke’s saber, the MacGuffin of the movie, from him. At this point, Poe sees the First Order troopers coming in and landing. The First Order comes to wipe out a village that they believe harbors the saber. Poe tells BB-8 to run away with the saber, while he is taken captive (mirroring Leia in ANH, perhaps?). Of course at this point, Poe is taken back to the First Order ship where he meets Finn. At some point, BB-8 is captured by Teedo, and is then found by Rey. Rey then seems to rescue BB-8, thinking that she could make some money off of the droid. Actually, this particular point I’m not sure about. She could have genuinely been trying to help the little guy and save him from captivity.
We all know that R2D2 has a ton of gadgets. So what kind of equipment does BB-8 have? Here is our list of the top 8 features of BB-8:
1. A compartment for storing a lightsaber. BB-8 shares this functionality with R2D2. We know this because he carries Luke’s saber for half the movie. Poe Dameron gives him the saber and tells him to run away with it.
2. A buzzsaw (see toy photo below). One possibility is BB-8 will use this buzzsaw to try to get out of the net he is trapped in by Teedo (photo above). This could be reminiscent of R2 using his buzzsaw to escape from the Ewok trap in RotJ. This scene is pure speculation on my part, but it seems all the pieces are there for this to happen. From the photo above, it is clear that Rey let’s him out before BB-8 can seal the deal and cut all the way through.
By the way, the taser thing was featured on a new promotional campaign/special effects app from Bad Robot! Twitter user @GonzagoRaSa‘s tweet made me aware of this:
— Gonzalo Ramírez S (@GonzaloRaSa) November 5, 2015
OK, so technically toys and apps aren’t “canon”, but I think it’s a strong indication that we’ll see something like this in the movies.
4. Escape mode: BB-8 has the ability to bring his head inside the ball for “escape mode”. We know this from a Walmart exclusive T-shirt. Again, this could come in handy to escape from the incoming stormtroopers in the Jakku village, or from the thugs in Cratertown. There are other functionalities labeled on this shirt, but it’s hard to read:
5. Possibly pufferfish spikes. There was an old Making Star Wars rumor about a year ago about BB-8 shooting out spikes in all directions like a pufferfish, then using these spikes to take out a Stormtrooper that tried to pick him up. That would indeed be cool to see, and presumably there would be some CGI involved in that shot.
6. A full articulated hand: There is an old report (again from MSW) that suggest that he has a foldable hand with articulated fingers. What will he use this hand for? One can only imagine. Maybe to pick something up, or to pull some lever on the Falcon. Anybody’s guess is good at this point, I guess.
7. A “scomp link” or data arm to interface a dataports on a computer terminal. This is probably similar to R2D2’s scomp link. At least, there is a recent Verizon commercial where BB-8 has this functionality. Somehow, I think if they built this functionality into the puppet for a commercial, I think this means that we’ll see it at some point in the movies as well:
8. Grappling Hooks! OK so this one is possibly the shakiest one on this list, but worth mentioning. There is another functionality seen in the #ActionMovieFX app, and in this video for example, BB-8 shoots out two grappling hooks, or some sort of cable that enables him to pull himself up and through a trap door:
— Tim Sarquis (@PromoTim) November 12, 2015
Will we see this in the movie? This one isn’t as clear as the taser thing because it isn’t in the toys, but it would certainly be a cool thing to see! Let’s face it, if he does half of the things on this list, he will be nothing short of one badass little robot.
So the cool thing is BB-8 is practical. You probably already know that (although there was a time not too long ago when this was debated), but did you know there are in fact multiple puppets used for different scenes? The droid that came out and wheeled around during SDCC was actually built after filming. For example, in this scene from the first trailer, we can see that the head is lifted up higher, suggesting it is a different type of droid for going those kinds of speeds. Actually, this puppet could be based on a model more similar to this early drawing by Jason Ward here, so that it would be stable for fast speeds.
This version could be the “trike” mentioned in StarWars.com, in a list of versions of the droid:
There was the “wiggler,” which was static, but could twist and turn on the spot and was used for close-ups. There were two trike versions, which had stabilizer wheels, allowing them to be driven by remote control without a puppeteer in the shot. There was a version that could be picked up by actors and controlled via remote for specific reactions and movements. There was the “bowling ball” version, which could literally be thrown into a shot and never fall down (like a Weeble toy). Finally, there was the rod-puppet version, which was operated by Chapman and Herring — one controlling the head, adding nuance and attitude, and the other the body — who would then be digitally erased.
We’re now less than a month until The Force Awakens! Less than a month until we officially see this little guy in action. Speculation and anticipation is half the fun!
We are just about one month away. By tomorrow at 7pm we’ll be one month from the first showings of The Force Awakens. The news is coming fast and furious. It can be tough to keep up at times. That’s where your friends at Spoiled Blue Milk come in. We’re here today to review the past week’s news and leaks for Star Wars. Let’s begin:
1.) New TV Spot!
Looks like Carrie Fisher’s daughter’s in this screen cap of the Strategy Room.
@mazlow01: That’s her! The TIE escaping is really cool. I like than Han moment of handing Rey the blaster. I was hoping he was giving her his when I heard of the scene but still. I don’t think Rey and Finn are holding hand as much as they are trying to stay together, based on what we’ve seen so far they don’t even know each other’s names at this point
@davestrrr: Some great shots here. Finn and Rey holding hands? What does this say of a possible love story there? I love the TIE fighter being pulled by a cable, ultimately to be released. The physics there looks cool. This is certainly the moment when Finn and Poe escape. The shot of Han handing over the blaster to Rey is pretty cool, other than Rey’s expression. She looks kind of dazed. Can’t blame her from what she’s been through. Love the shot of Finn fighting that Stormtrooper with the lightsaber, more on that below.
2.) New UK TV Spot:
@mazlow01: Man I love all this new footage! Kylo deflecting shots looks like a mix of OT and PT styles of blade work. I think him reaching out is stealing the blaster from Rey using the force. Finn and Rey in the Falcon “Get ready!” “For what?” awesomeness. When the quadship blows up is obviously what forces them to the falcon The attack on Maz’s castle looks intense. And the best part is rumor has it the music is John Williams.
@davestrrr: Some good stuff here. The best is the shot of Maz’s castle, confirming the previous concept art that we’ve seen like this one:
That art has been around for a while and it looks spot-on. The music! Yes, it was confirmed that this is John Williams. The crashing TIE! Hey, I think they scene with Rey saying “Get ready!” and Finn saying “For what?” has got to be before the big loopdeloop that the Falcon does in the first teaser.
3.) A pretty cool new Verizon add featuring Chewie and BB-8
@mazlow01: Honestly that could almost be a scene from the movie. I am betting we are seeing how BB-8’s personality is. Chopper meets R2
@davestrrr: No doubt these are movie-props and costumes, and I would think that the set is also movie-quality too. Excellent shots there. The puppetry of BB-8 is great. Hopefully some of this will shine through in the movie.
4.) New Disney XD UK Featurette:
Also, StarWarsNewsNet did a nice report on it.
@mazlow01: Nothing breaking here but still cool to see a few new angles on shots.
@davestrrr: Not much too new here, a few of the behind the scenes shots are new. Among the new stuff is a shot of General Hux saying “Fire!”, and he says it with such character. He says it like a greasy villain and almost spits out the word with disdain. The shot of Han and Chew saying “We’re home!” is a different version from what we’ve seen, this time with a bigger, goofier smile. I wonder which version will make the final cut.
5.) New interview with Andy Serkis dicussing Snoke. From the article we have the following quotes about Snoke:
He is large. He appears tall. And also just the facial design – you couldn’t have gotten there with prosthetics. It’s too extreme. Without giving too much away at this point, he has a very distinctive, idiosyncratic bone structure and facial structure. You could never have done it [in real life.]
@mazlow01: I’m guessing based on the size comments and the facial structure comments that Snoke will end up looking very similar to the original Emperor Designs
@davestrrr: This is pretty exciting. Justin Bolger (@theApexFan) was on Collider Jedi Council recently, and those guys are pretty convinced this means a certain Muun. Muuns are really large and can have a narrow body structure, impossible to be created with prosthetics. Sure, countless other alien species are the same way, but one can’t help but wonder…
6.) Looks like a StormTrooper with an Electrostaff/baton! Although this was part of the TV spot, it might be worth mentioning because it could say something about the weapons of the First Order in The Force Awakens:
@mazlow01: It definitely implies they received some training related to lightsabers. Whether it was defending against them or actually using them its pretty cool.
@davestrrr: This is pretty interesting. The weapon that the StormTrooper has is a type of “riot baton” that is electrified. You can see it in this toy pic here. So this raises the question “Why would the Storm Troopers have a lightsaber-proof riot baton? Why would they add that functionality unless they were expecting it?” Makes you wonder if lightsabers have become more common.
7.) Larry Kasdan is retiring after the Han Solo Anthology film (source The Hollywood Reporter)
@mazlow01: Honestly I’m ok with this. Its great he’s going out on Star Wars
@davestrrr: Larry Kasdan has probably had one of the biggest impacts on Star Wars, next to Lucas. The good news is we still have two forthcoming movies written by him, and he will get to go on and do other things that he wants to do after this, and enjoy a well-deserved break. That is, unless he goes straight back into directing after this.
8.) Darth Vader Sculptor working on Rouge One.
@mazlow01: Vader in Rouge One has been mentioned about a million times this seems like confirmation to me!
@davestrrr: I hope this means that we do see Vader in Rogue One. It would make sense given the time frame. This would be the key time to have a young-ish Vader in the suit, doing a lot of badass Sith fighting. I can only imagine they will jump to that opportunity.
9.) Gina Rodrguez cast for Episode 8
@mazlow01: This is pretty thin.. and I wonder what her role will be? Pilot? Jedi in training?
@davestrrr: I guess this is worth reporting, but way to early to say anything about it. I think it’s great that they are expanding an already diverse cast and continuing to bring in diverse talent.
10.) A Slew of interviews from EW.com
@mazlow01: There wasn’t much in the way of news in these articles but they did provide great insight into the actors.
@davestrrr: The key new piece of info there was Maz Kanata being over 1000 years old. This makes her character quite intriguing. Looking forward for more info there.
Attack of the Clones! I’m doing a series of reviews leading up to The Force Awakens in chronological order. Last week, I reviewed the Phantom Menace. In the end, TPM is a pretty good film, but AotC just falls short of it in my opinion. I think it’s the weakest of the movies, due to a few small low points. The high points soar pretty high, balancing it out to make overall a decent film. Although it’s my least favorite, it’s still Star Wars and still a fun time, and still has some excellent moments.
The Low Points
Some of the Yoda shots seem weak. Weaker than the BluRay version of TPM at least. Some of the close up shots just seem flat and a little too fluid at the same time. Just doesn’t come across as a physical object. Other shots look very good. When Yoda is seen at a distance, the detail is spot-on, and he looks like the puppet from ESB, but there are just those few scenes. In particular toward the beginning when Yoda says “Impossible to see the future is…”. Great line, but the CGI animation work just doesn’t pan out for me.
Obi Wan’s laugh in the elevator with Anakin just doesn’t seem real. I’m sorry, and I love Ewan McGregor’s performance for the most part and he carries most of the film, but that laugh just didn’t come off as genuine.
I don’t like the sound design for Zam Wesell’s speeder. It just sounds jarring to me and takes me out of the moment. Maybe that was the effect they are going for, but for me it just is kind of irksome. There are some parts of the whole speeder chase through Coruscant that bother me or just don’t seem right. The sound design, some of the dialogue. Even some of the CGI doesn’t work as well as it should.
Theres a point when Padme and Anakin are sitting in the grass talking, and they both let out a really fake laugh after Anakin says “I like two or three [politicians], but I’m not really sure about one of them”. It just jumps out at me. It is sort of a sigh crossed with a laugh. It gives the impression that the two of them are already sick of making the movie, which is not the impression you want to have.
The frustrated love scene. This is the one where Padme wears the black dress that has a choker built in. I think the design of this dress was made by George Lucas, and it is made to be symbolic of choking, in the sense that the neck part of the dress looks like Vader’s hand. All that stuff is excellent and downright brilliant. The part that gets me is when Anakin says “I wish I could just wish away my feelings, but I can’t” and squints his eyes. It just doesn’t feel right or real. Also, when Anakin says “I’m in agony” just doesn’t feel like it is suitable. Maybe it’s because Hayden doesn’t convey the necessary gravitas to use a word like “agony” instead of “I’m pissed!” or something else. I don’t know. I know I’m not the only one that feels this scene falls a little short in places.
“I am a slow learner”. Sounds weird, doesn’t come out right. Feels lame. Nuff said.
I think that is about it. Just those couple of scenes. I feel like my issues with the movie are pretty minor, but the problem is that a lot of these little moments tend to have a ripple effect and take down entire scenes with them. That’s unfortunate because to me they stick out like a sore thumb. I’m not saying I could do a better job. I’m sure if I were to write and direct Attack of the Clones it would be much, much worse. However, it’s just frustrating because so much of the film works. It’s just these little scenes that should have been rejected and replaced in reshoots or something, or rewritten and reworked. But again, that’s easy for me to say.
The High Points
I think Hayden Christiansen for the most part plays the part pefectly, apart from the couple scenes I mention above. Yeah, at times he comes across as a bit of a whiny, angsty teenager, but I think that was the point. I think that was exactly what he was supposed to be. I actually like the scene where he confesses to Padme that he killed the Sand people. I think he hits every note right. I know some people don’t like that, but it works for me. In short, I think this is a very tough part and I think he nailed it for the most part.
I love the scene where Palpatine manipulates Jar Jar. The expression on Jar Jar’s face is just perfect when he is sitting there contemplating the situation what Mas Amedda says “If only Senator Amidala were here”. As if little gears are turning. In fact, it is this scene, and how well it works that makes me reject the Darth Jar Jar theory. I discussed this theory a little bit in my last review of TPM, and I did a little excursion into the Darth Jar Jar theory. Although I do think the early concept art Indie Revolver posted of Snoke does look like it has the same shape as Jar Jar, in the end, I think that the theory has been taken too far by the internet. Although I think it is possible that Jar Jar, on account of him being so damned lucky, might be unwittingly tapping into the Force, I think he is still an idiot. If anything, I think he was manipulated by Darth SIdious and was never in control. Even if the whole part about Jar Jar using the Force is true, and even if the idea of Jar Jar manipulating some people is true, I think at best he was a pawn of Darth Sidious.
All the scenes with Jango Fett and Obi Wan are great. These two just went well with each other. The chemistry was there. I love their few interactions and wish there was more. In general, Temura Morrison is excellent, as is Ewan; therefore, putting them together is superb.
The encounter of Dooku and Obi Wan holds up nicely. I especially love the moment when Dooku says “It may be difficult to secure your release”. That look on his face…This scene is in many ways the “I am your father moment” of AotC in the ring composition. Not because Dooku says “I am your master’s master” in so many words, because that was given such a matter-of-fact way that it wasn’t even that interesting. It was because Dooku asks Obi Wan to join him to destroy the Sith, just as Vader asked Luke to join him to defeat the Emperor in ESB. Does it compare to ESB in any way in terms of quality? Of course not. But it’s still a decent scene nonetheless and holds up.
The last thirty minutes of this movie are fantastic. From basically the the point at which Mace Windu walks out into the arena the the end is great. In fact the cinematography and directing of Mace Windu entering the arena and ultimately taking out Jango is almost perfect. I certainly couldn’t imagine what could be improved. I’m in the camp that the Yoda fight scene was awesome. Yeah, it isn’t as cool as it was in 2002 when I saw this movie countless times, shelling out for the awesome projector at the Metreon in San Francisco, viewing after viewing, but it still is exciting for me despite how jading the past 13 years have been.
For me, the Phantom Menace flowed quite nicely, with no scenes for me that kind of fall flat and stand out as jarring. That’s why it ranks higher on my list than AotC. There are just a couple of minor points of AotC that I trip on, but for the most part, it’s pretty entertaining.
Good movie, but weak at times. 3.5 out of 5 stars
Empire Strikes Back, may favorite Star Wars film. I finished watching this again this morning and took copious notes that I didn’t really need because I have seen this movie two hundreds times or so. You can read my A New Hope Review here and next week will be The Phantom Menace. Lets jump right in!
The opening scroll sets the tone for this movie to me. It boils down to Death Star is gone but now the Empire is really pissed off and the rebels are in trouble. Our first shot is of probe droids being sent out into the galaxy and we see one land on an ice planet, Hoth. Next is our shot of Luke which shows the droid land on Hoth again. I don’t get showing it twice and I don’t like it. Its honestly a flaw I don’t think I ever really noticed until now. Luke and Han converse and Han still calls Luke kid. There is a brotherly feel to these two. Then on a planet with very little life a giant predator attacks Luke. What does it live off of? Anyway Han is back at base unaware that Luke is in trouble and lets the Rebels know he is leaving to pay off Leia. Han and Leia have a confrontation about her feelings for him(and his for her) that Han gets the better of. Though why he can’t go pay off Jabba and come right back is beyond me. Not sure why this is a big deal. Eventually people notice Luke isn’t back yet and when C3PO informs Han he’s both worried and a smart ass. “Impossible man” says C3PO and the way Han speaks to him I can understand why. Han then takes off after Luke despite warnings he will die. Luke is his friend and Han will die for his friends. Luke gets away and we see a new force power and then we see a force ghost right before Han finds him. Yay everyone is safe.
Battle of Hoth
After Luke is recovered we have a little reunion where Han is once again a smart ass but Leia gets the best of the exchange by kissing Luke. This is not weird because the writers did not know they were related at the time, I swear. Han and Chewie investigate the probe droid and the Rebels begin their evacuation. Back with the Empire we see a Super Star destroyer and damn its big. The Admiral is condescending to Vader when Vader says Hoth is where the Rebels are, its like he doesn’t know or believe what he has heard about him. Or thinks he is safe which no one is. When they come out of hyperspace the rebels are ready with a shield up. Vader blames the Admiral and kills him. Vader ain’t playing around. Captain Piett gets a promotion though so that’s nice! The battle of Hoth is visually very cool but for me what makes it great is the music. John Williams takes a good battle and just makes it incredible. We get to see Leia not as a Princess but as a military leader also which is pretty cool. Han has to convince her to leave and ends up taking her off planet himself. Vader just misses out on them. Luke and R2 head out after the battle and instead of meeting up with the rest of the rebels Luke heads toward Dagobah. R2 obviously thinks something is wrong with Luke and offers to take control. R2 is definitely worried Luke has gone crazy.
Han and Leia
I’m going to follow the Character story lines for the rest of this review until they met up. So lets jump into what is going on with Leia and Han! After leaving Hoth they are being chased by Imperials ships. Three Star Destroyers and a bunch of TIE fighters however Han can out maneuver them. When he goes to hit the hyper-drive it fails and C3PO is finally allowed to finish a sentence to inform them he noticed it was busted. Han and Chewie attempt to fix it on the fly but have to head back to cockpit when they encounter an asteroid field. Han does what Han does and enters the asteroid field despite everyone else thinking its crazy. He is able to successfully destroy his pursuers and find them a hiding place to repair the Falcon. Han an leia are left in the cockpit alone and one of my favorite all time scenes happens. (Ends at 1:57)
Han once again gets the better of the exchange. Han and Leia then have a great little flirt/fight scene when they finally kiss. Unfortunately C3PO ruins it. Han really does care and you can see it in his face, Leia looks confused. Han finally gets the Falcon put back together and then realizes they are not in a cave. Leia is a little slow on the pick up though. When the hyper-drive fails again Han pulls a cool little trick out of his pocket and hides ON a star destroyer. This leads to Vader killing yet another Imperial. After this trick its as though Leia realizes how much more to Han there is and she may have been selling him short and they don’t fight again for the rest of the movie. They head to Cloud City unfortunately Boba Fett knew of Han’s trick and was ready to follow.
Once they land at cloud city we meet Lando Calrissian and he seems nice. Honestly I do think Lando is happy to see Han and is in an unenviable position. Lando promises to repair the Falcon and sets up Han and Leia with nice digs and clothes. When he leads Han, Leia and Chewie to Vader he is being honest. Han’s reaction is pure awesome. He puts himself between Vader and Leia immediately and begins firing at Vader, no hesitation. Later Han is tortured and we find out Vader is continuing to worsen the deal Lando made with him. Lando reveals that the deal wasn’t about Han and Leia its about Luke. This doesn’t mitigate him lying to his friends but he obviously didn’t actively give them to Vader and thought they would be left unharmed and in the end free to go. Han and Leia have their moment before Han is put into carbonite. After this Leia is once again slow on the uptake as Lando sets in motion to free them. It makes me wonder if Chewie hadn’t attacked him would they have had a chance to catch up to Boba Fett and free Han. Lando and the rest of them head to the Falcon after not catching up to Boba Fett in time. Once on the Falcon they take off and another aspect of Williams score comes to the front. They strings in unison with the lasers hitting Falcon is just a great shot. They are all set to leave when Leia has Chewie turn around to get Luke. Speaking of Luke lets catch up to what he’s been doing.
After Luke lands on Dagobah he meets Yoda and is quite frankly kind of a petulant child. Rude and dismissive its as though he has spent too much time hanging around Han, which he probably has. Yoda however rolls with it acting like a simple crazy little creature, and its awesome. Finally Yoda speaks to Obi-wan and Luke realizes what a fool he has been. I noticed Yoda’s speech pattern becomes normalized once he stops acting and starts talking to Obi-wan. Anyway Luke does a bunch of training with Yoda and fails in the cave because he took his weapons. Luke’s x-wing sinks further into the swamp and Yoda challenges him to lift it out with the force. Yoda describes what the force really is and how size does not matter. Its quite beautiful. Luke fails and tells Yoda he asks the for impossible. Yoda then lifts the X-wing and Luke is again put in his place and properly ashamed. Luke then has a vision of his friends in trouble and decides to leave. I’m not sure why Yoda doesn’t come with him here. Surely the two of them would easily defeat Vader right? Yoda tells Luke to mind what he gas learned and it will save him. He and Obi-wan speak and he mentions another hope.
Once Luke lands at Cloud City he runs into both Boba Fett and Leia but he does nothing to pursue either which is odd since that’s kind of the reason he is there. In the end he faces Vader in what is easily the best Lightsaber battle in any of the movies. There is emotion in every scene and great dialog. Luke obviously thinks he can handle Vader at first and Vader underestimates Luke. By the end of the battle Vader has stopped holding back and shown who is the better fighter. Then there is the reveal, Vader is Luke’s father and Luke is given the chance to Join him. Luke chooses a possible death instead falls toward the planet. Luke reaches out to Leia and Leia responds getting Chewie to go back for Luke.
Once they rescue Luke they end up meeting with the rest of the Rebellion. Luke gets a new hand and Lando is earning his way in to the fold by tracking down Jabba and the bounty hunter Boba Fett. Things look terrible for the group but there is still hope.
Women want him, men want to be him, bounty hunters want to find him, he is Han Solo. Throughout the original trilogy Han grew more than any other character, even Luke. Coolest guy in the Star Wars universe (sorry Lando) and he always found a way but who is he now? Lets explore who Han was and where he is going in The Force Awakens. Also, be forewarned. If you’re trying to avoid possible spoilers, you don’t want to read on.
When we first met Han he was cocky and a bit of a braggart. He also was in debt to a gangster name Jabba. Throughout the first movie Han repeatedly acted as though he had no personal stake in any of situations they were in. He was worried about protecting himself and getting paid. In the end he came back to help Luke and the rebellion, showing his true self. In Empire we see Han has accepted responsibility in the rebellion and has become a leader. He also has found love and of course he approaches it in the same sarcastic way he approaches everything else. Finally, in Return of the Jedi, Han grows even more. He is still sarcastic and independent but he is also thankful for his friends. He has grown enough to be willing to step out of the way thinking Luke and Leia have something they don’t. He’s also willing to accept help, something he always seemed reluctant to do. The scoundrel grew into a responsible somewhat mature man and Leia’s obvious paramour.
So lets figure out what we know about Han in The Force Awakens. First off, he doesn’t seem to own the Millennium Falcon anymore based off of his line “Chewy, we’re home”. Just from the way it is said it appears Han and Chewy haven’t been on the Falcon for a while. In fact, there was an old rumor at MSW where they claim that:
probably lost the Falcon days–if not moments–before The Force Awakens begins.
However, we think the time span was longer than this based on his comment to Chewy.
There is a brand new article on EW that suggests that Han Solo has continued to have money troubles which leads me to believe he either sold the Falcon or had it taken to pay a debt.
Based off of this information I also believe its safe to say that Han and Leia are not together at the start of The Force Awakens. Why would they have fallen apart? Its not unknown for couples to be unable to survive the loss of a child and I believe that this would certainly tear them apart. If their child was assumed dead or knowingly chose a path that was counter to what Leia and Han had fought for I could see them separating. The pain of loss is something both of them would take out on each other. Is Han a father? I think yes based on the idea that he and Leia are no longer together. As to who is Han’s child I am not 100% sure but it will be either Rey, Kylo, or both.
Han also still has his contacts in the underworld of the galaxy. He is the one that takes Rey and Finn to see Maz Katana and from the rumors and leaks we know he was on a large ship with various criminal organizations when the Falcon is captured. So it seems in the 30 years since Return of the Jedi Han is once again single and reverted to his pirate/scoundrel ways. However it appears he still has the heart that made him a lovable character based on the interview with EW .
What is Han’s character arc and actions in The Force Awakens(This information is based off the numerous reports from MakingStarwars.net and official media). We meet Han and Chewy, still best buds, when they board the Falcon and meet our new heroes. One thing is for sure, Han has warmed up to the idea of the Force. He went from a vocal skeptic to saying “It’s true…all of it” in the TFA trailer. So it might be fair to say that Han has found a spiritual side in his later years.
There is a small skirmish and Han and Chewy leave with Rey and Finn. This is where we have our scene from the Trailer showing Han tell Rey and Finn its all true. Han, recognizing Luke’s lightsaber, takes them to Maz Kanata. There is a battle while at Maz’s and Han is ready to surrender when X-wings come to save the day. Han and Leia reunite after the battle and while awkward at first they do still love each other. Han enacts a plan that ends up with the Falcon crashing on the First Order planet, possibly coming out of hyperspace in the planet’s atmosphere to avoid detection. It is on this planet that Han meets his death. Based on the evidence I’ve seen, I am 100% certain that Han Solo dies in an effort to give Chewy a chance to finish the job and save Finn and Rey. His death will be at the hands of Kylo Ren.
Wow what a week! With no warning we got not one but two new looks at The Force Awakens footage and a slew of small news pieces. We are now just under 6 weeks from The Force Awakens! Lets get started on the news:
1) The International Trailer
mazlow01: OK so that was great! It might be better than the first full trailer, I can’t decide. I noticed the dialog that Rey has with BB-8 doesn’t actually match. It seems like a conversation but when she says “My Family” the sound quality and background noise seems different. I’m not sure the lines follow each other like we think. I love the new shots. My favorite was Rey on her knees with Kylo’s lightsaber at her neck showing yet another scene MSW got right. Loved the introduction of Rey and Finn too.
davestrr: This was a great surprise. A lot of good new shots in here. I love this opening shot better than the US trailer both visually and musically. We got a little more confirmation about Rey waiting for her Family, supporting the idea that she was left on Jakku by her family. I think this is yet another point that MakingStarWars was right on. We also got the interaction between Rey and Finn where they give each other’s names. There is definite hesitation by Finn, suggesting that he is making up the name based on his StormTrooper ID, further confirming the rumor that Finn is an orphan and his StormTrooper ID is his name. The sunset shot with the TIE fighters is great. It is very reminiscent of the helicopters in Apocalypse Now (shown in the right):
2) The TV Spot
mazlow01: I loved Maz’s castle it looks like old concept art of Vader’s castle from early ANH development. Maz is more and more becoming the character I can’t wait to see on screen. Snoke who? And the great shot of Kylo deflecting the blaster bolt is awesome. And if you pay attention you’ll notice the scene where Rey helps Finn up has been cleaned up a few things moved and BB-8 added in. And finally that shot of the Falcon crash landing? Amazing looking,
davestrr: Again, a really nice surprise. The footage keeps coming! The new shot of the approach of the Millennium Falcon to Maz’s castle on Takodana. In addition we have what is certainly a new recording of Maz Kanata. There was a recent post on EW.com by Anthony Breznican theorizing about Maz and her goggles and that they may hold some sort of power. I think it is interesting that they go to a shot of Han right after the line “I have lived long enough to see the same eyes in different people”. This might be a suggestion of a familial relationship between Han and Rey, to whom she is speaking. Other points is it looks like we get a bigger shot of the flags in front of Maz’s castle. At the top center, there is a flag not seen in the first trailer that looks like the “Broken horn” symbol seen here. We also get some great action shots of Rey. The first shows he taking out some thug with her staff on Jakku. The second is her shooting blaster shots at Kylo Ren, who deflects them expertly. We also have a shot of what looks like Rey throttling the Millennium Falcon controls, possibly punching it into hyperspace.
3) Toy with new Rey dialog (MakingStarWars.net)
mazlow01: I like the new dialog, it confirms to me that the Kylo Ren toy has actual dialog too.
davestrr: A few little details there. We have Rey saying “I’m just a scavenger”, echoing what Kylo Ren had said to her in another toy. My guess is this is Rey later repeating what Kylo had said in order to feign ignorance on something she is hiding.
4) TFA concept art became Rebels character
mazlow01: I think this was early Snoke concept art that was re-purposed. It makes me wonder what direction they went with Snoke.
davestrr: Certainly makes this guy look more Vader-like. This is so similar to the Fifth brother, I assume this is an early draft of this character, but hard to tell. Why did the dials need to be right over his nipples? This is Wat Tambor all over again.
mazlow01: We didn’t learn much but I just love their attitude. They seem so much more excited than the cast of TPM did.
davestrr: Some good stuff. Although we didn’t really learn much about the movie, we do get to see some of the chemistry between John and Daisy, which is pretty good. Hopefully that shines through in the movie. One thing that caught my attention was the guy in the CNet interview quotes Boyega as saying “Finn is on a journey that will make him a super hero”. When I heard this I felt this was the most concrete evidence that we have that Finn will become a Jedi. Yeah, I know he wields a lightsaber in the trailer, but I’m talking the Jedi super-powers that warrant the term “super hero”. It has seemed that we don’t have hard evidence of Force-powers until now, but this quote supports this idea.
mazlow01: Dude very cool shots again and they are really pushing Finn with the lightsaber. The casual fan won’t know about Rey until the movie.
davestrr: Interesting that we have all of them covering up their right eye. The only one that isn’t looking straight on is Leia for some reason. However, I’m not going to read too much into that since it could have just been a better take. Other than that, these look great. The shot of Rey is amazing. Actually everybody looks amazing in these shots and look sufficiently “bad ass”.
mazlow01: The glasses confuse me. As does her general appearance, I’m not sure if she is a Jedi or not. Did she learn from Luke? Does she have a lightsaber? Still she sounds so cool in the trailers so I am still excited about her.
davestrr: This definitely looks like the poster character. This looks a little older than the poster, and possibly more like ET. Very interesting. This isn’t very much like I would have imagined at all, and I imagined something more like Alf or Station from Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. This was in part based on rumors that I had read, but with that said, this was back when all we had were leaks of concept art.
It is interesting what purposes if any do her goggles serve. The back of her head is new. We haven’t seen this in any detail yet. However, it looks like her goggles are somehow attached to her hat/headgear. Could be just as simple as corrective lenses, but could be something more.
8) Finally we got a couple of pieces from children’s books posted at Jedibibliothek (Found via MSW). Of particular interest is this “Look and Find” cover, showing Max Von Sydow’s character in the lower right. We get two shots of the Rebel base, and one of Maz’s cantina.
We have decided to re-watch and review our favorite films in anticipation of The Force awakens. I’ll be doing a modified machete order which is 4,5,1,2,3,6. So lets jump right into it!
This shot is pure awesome. I didn’t understand how great it was until I saw it in the Theater in for SE in 97. The rebel ship comes and you can’t help bu think “That’s a big ship” then the Star Destroyer comes in and it just keeps coming. This works on the TV but its just not the same as it was on the big screen. We spend almost all of the next 20 minutes following two droids around. In today’s terms that would be like opening the first Iron Man with 20 minutes of Happy and Pepper doing stuff and bickering. I don’t people really get how unusual that is. We do meet Princess Leia and Vader during that 20 minutes but their importance isn’t known yet.
Finally we meet Luke and he is kind of a dork that works on the family farm. Honestly I’m glad they cut the scenes they shot of Luke at Tosche station because they make him look even worse. However John Williams score really helps you relate to Luke when he’s looking out at the setting suns of Tatooine. Finally the plot starts to cook when Luke and C3PO take off after R2D2 and meet the crazy old wizard Ben Kenobi. At the same time we see Vader display the power of the force by chocking a rude imperial from across a table. The intrigued but non nonchalant look on Tarkin’s face is awesome. Back with Luke and Ben, Ben looks uncomfortable when he describes how Luke’s father died which is great because at this point I don’t think George Lucas had Vader as Luke’s father.Luke wants to go with Ben to save the princess but he is weighed down by trying to do right by his Uncle. Fortunately the Empire gets rid of that obstacle in the worst way possible and Luke decides to follow in his Father’s footsteps to become a Jedi.
As we enter Mos Eisley we see yet another force power as Ben influences a couple of Storm Troopers. Luke shows us who he really is, a naive young man that is putting on bravado to compensate. His line “I’m ready for anything” shows us who he wants to be or at least thinks he should be. He is quickly shown that he is not ready for anything and Ben has to bust out his lightsaber to put some punks in their place. Ben and Luke are then introduced to our final protagonist Han Solo. Solo is a bit of a braggart here but there is a confidence there that is sincere. I’m watching the special editions so Greedo shot first but whatever Solo is still cold as hell as he tosses the bartender a coin “Sorry about the mess”. Then Han talks to Jabba, once again Han acts like a tough guy. I hate the walk on Jabba’s tail part. Just have him walk behind Jabba and disappear for a second. He has no dialog as he walks behind him so keeping his face in frame is dumb.
Han and crew escape headed to Alderaan and Luke gets some Force training with his lightsaber. Han is looking for approval and doesn’t get it so he mocks Luke. Ben ups the ante and basically shuts up Han and gives Luke a confidence boost. We learn a lot about Leia and the Empire in the destruction of Alderaan scene. Leia is willing to lie even with the death of her home planet and billions of lives are in the balance to keep the rebellion safe. Tarkin and the Empire by proxy is willing to destroy billions of innocent lives to keep the Empire safe. Same goals but yet completely different and you just know it. Great scene. Next we have the Millennium Falcon pulled into the Death Star, finally all of our players are in the same place. Ben goes to ensure they can escape and Luke plays to Han’s weakness(Money!) to get him to help rescue the princess.
The scene depicted above has always been a favorite. When Han shoots the com panel and say “Boring conversation anyway” its funny, shows us more about Han, and seems real. Finally all three are in scenes together and you see who they are. Leia is more mature than either of them, you see she is used to being in command and expects people to follow her orders. Han is independent and has no idea what to do when someone challenges him especially a younger woman that acts like he is an idiot. And Luke is idealistic he came in with good intentions and isn’t quite ready for how the best laid plans fall apart. The way they interact and their dialog for the entire death star sequence and escape is fantastic you see there is more to Han than he lets on. The fight between Ben and Vader is simple but good. They never really seem fully into the fight though. I wonder if Vader is concerned that Ben might beat him again. Either way Ben came into the fight ready to die and once he has Luke as an audience he sacrifices himself. One final push for Luke to accept the role of Jedi.
And finally we have the big battle. Han has taken off to save his skin and Luke uses a little pity to get a kiss from Leia. Once the battle starts its all action all the time. After two failed attempts on the reactor shot Luke, Biggs and Wedge go in full steam ahead. Luke was given the go ahead to lead the final assault by Red leader. He must have impressed because Wedge and Biggs were both part of the rebellion forces before Luke even left Tatooine. As he approaches his final shot Luke loses both R2 and Biggs who he was obviously friends with. Vader is bearing down on him recognizing that the Force is with Luke when Han comes out of nowhere to save the day. Luke makes the perfect shot and they all go back to celebrate though Vader lives to see another day.
A New Hope definitely starts slow but once Luke and Obi-wan get together the plot picks up the pace and never slows down. The stakes get higher and problems get more difficult. Its an absolutely fantastic piece of cinema.
Howdy folks! Davestrrr here. As part of our countdown to the Force Awakens, I’m going review the Star Wars Saga in chronological order, every Friday until The Force Awakens! While I’m watching TPM this time, I’m going to have some fun and also contemplate the “Darth Jar Jar” theory going around. This sure sounds like an exciting task to me, so let’s get to it.
I’m among the older, original trilogy fans that likes the Prequels. The first time I saw TPM, I was 23 years old. My first reaction was “I like it”. My later reaction was “I still like it”. I was staying in Los Alamos, NM for the summer of ’99 and I saw that movie like every weekend at the local theater with a couple of other fans. Admittedly, it was a theater that only showed 2 movies and it was the only thing to do in town. I didn’t mind, and I liked the excuse to see the movie again and again. Yeah, there were some slow parts, but it was worth it for the good parts. I remember loving the fight scene with Obi Wan and Darth Maul. Still do.
Watching it again tonight was fun, but I must say I’ve seen it many many times since. On the blue-ray, a few things stand out to me. The CGI work on Yoda is amazing. Yoda is way more emotive and better in this version compared to the puppet. This is pretty much well known that this is the case, it just seemed especially true to me tonight.
A couple of CGI characters still look rubbery. Some of the pod racing pilots look a little dated, but for the most part, I think the special effects in TPM have held up quite well.
Personally, I think Jake Lloyd played the part of Anakin well. Some people wanted him to be darker, but I think it works out well by contrasting the levity of TPM with the darkness of RotS. If anything, I think Ewan McGregor’s performance could have been amped up. It seems really subdued in this film and it feels strange that he plays such a small “side role” for most of the film.
One thing jumps out to me that “Luck” plays a big role. I mean dumb luck. Let me take that back, there is some things that look like luck that are really the Force, and there are things that look like dumb luck. For example, Qui-gon winning with Watto’s chance-cube was the Force. Anakin blowing up the Droid control ship, was dumb luck. He is just fiddling with the controls and ends up shooting the main reactor. He just seems like a kid trying out the controls on a new video game, and just happens to get the high score. Makes you wonder, given how strong with the Force Anakin is, was he tapping into the Force? Was it not luck, but in fact some sort of playful use of the Force? Were other examples of dumb luck that won the day also part of the Force?
So, I have to bring up a new theory that has emerged on the internet. The “Darth Jar Jar” theory. If you haven’t read it, head over to the original post, or here for a good synopsis, here for a skeptical view, or the subreddit devoted to this theory.
Although I find this theory unlikely, I think it is a lot of fun and great to hear a new, well thought-out theory that looks at TPM in an original way, over 15 years after the movie was released. It brings up the interesting point: how did a bumbling fool make his way to one of the highest positions in the galaxy? If you consider for a moment that he isn’t a complete fool, you have to start wondering if he is a Force-sensitive genius for accomplishing what he has accomplished. Not to mention, Jar Jar, with his glowing yellow eyes (I think brighter than most Gungans), always kind of looked like a Sith.
General Binks effortlessly defeats more droids than any other Gungan.
He waves his hands around at key points in the film to get what he wants.
The list goes on. One thing that did stand out to me in support of this theory was what looked like a smile during Qui-gon’s Furneral, right before he looks down. Check this out:
I saw this in this reddit post here, but I don’t think his gif does justice to it. It’s better to see it in the context of the video. I may have also took more notice because it reminded me of the smile on Palpatine’s face when Queen Amidala prepares to leave Coruscant. You know, the one right before the wipe. That smile was a little wink wink to the fans about Palpatine. Jar Jar’s smile felt eerily similar.
Unlikely though it may be, this is still a cool way to look at TPM with some fresh eyes.
On the whole, I think TPM holds up pretty well for a 15 year old movie. Still a lot of fun. Although it is different than ANH, it came out over 20 years later in a very different time. I think it suited its time quite well.
4 out of 5 stars
We have a poster, we have a trailer, we have a lot of news and spoilerific info about The Force Awakens. The question I’m going to revisit today is might we get a shot of everyone’s favorite little green Jedi? What are the chances of seeing Yoda in The Force Awakens? Let’s take a stroll through the internet and see what we can dig up.
A recent post over at StarWarsNewsNet (formerly StarWars7News) caught my eye, and is the main impetus for this post. There were a couple of rumors in this post, but the point that Yoda will be in The Force Awakens jumped out at me. The exact wording is:
I know someone who works in the ****** media (dubbing) who assured me that there was indeed a scene with Yoda in The Force Awakens.
So, it is pretty tough to evaluate this claim given that we don’t know this source, and SWNN claims their sources are just readers of SWNN making this claim. However, given the decent credibility of SWNN, I couldn’t help but stop and think how this could even happen.
We of course know that if Yoda is to make an appearance, he’ll have to be a Force ghost. That is, if he isn’t a hologram. We’ve only seen Force ghost Yoda talking to Luke in any of the films. Therefore, we can assume that the most likely scenario is if Yoda is talking to Luke. The possible exception could be that Maz Kanata is some kind of old wise alien that somehow also knows Yoda. We’ve speculated before that Maz is also some kind of a Jedi, or perhaps a non-Jedi mystic with deep knowledge of kyber crystals and the Force.
So Maz is the only other character I can imagine at this point that could communicate with Yoda other than Luke. However, as it turns out some of the earliest rumors about The Force Awakens was that Yoda would make an appearance.
Going back to December 2nd 2014, we have this report from Galactic News One (found via Star Wars Underworld) that gives a lot of alledged details on The Force Awakens. Actually the post just references a 4chan post as the evidence. A lot of this post has held up, but there are a lot of statements that are flat-out wrong (for example Gleeson being some sort of a “scoundrel”). However, enough of them are correct that I think it is worth taking notice. Among them was the point that
Luke speaks to Yoda’s force ghost in the film.
Going back even earlier, we have a post from January 2014 suggesting that Yoda will be in the film. This article quote Cosmic Book News, who cites their “DC Entertainment Source”. Now this isn’t exactly DC Entertainment news, but maybe they have some inside info. The direct quote is:
‘We’re told that Yoda will have words with Luke Skywalker about a rising unbalance in the force and the need to preserve the Jedi.’
Where would it make sense in the film, given what we know about the film? We actually know fewer details about the second and third act of the film than we do of the first. But given the MakingStarWars plot synopsis, which seems to hold up pretty well, there might be some places where Yoda could fit in. If anything, such a scene might fit into two points in the film.
The first scene could be during the flashback scene. We don’t know many details, but there is a believed scene where Knights of Ren attack on Luke’s Academy. From the MSW synopsis:
VISION: There is what looks to be a Jedi Academy, and the dead bodies of padawans are on the ground. Luke Skywalker shows up, too late. He sits by a funeral pyre with R2-D2.
Luke returns too late to save them, and many padawan have been killed. Depending on how long the flashback is, there might be room for a quick shot of Yoda’s Force ghost consoling Luke, perhaps close to the shot of Luke consoling R2D2.
The second scene that could plausibly make sense is at the end, with a shot of Luke communicating to Yoda’s Force ghost while in his seclusion in the huts above Skellig Micheal.
This would have to be before Rey arrives, assuming that when Rey hands off the saber to Luke, we then immediately get the closing credits. We don’t know this is exactly how it ends, but that seems to be what MSW thinks. Therefore, we might have a scene with Luke and a Force-ghost Yoda talking before Rey arrives. I mean, hey, Luke has to talk to somebody while in his seclusion, right? The problem with this is it could steal the thunder of revealing Luke at the very end. However, and forgive a brief bit of fanfic here, what if the scene is Luke in a hooded Jedi robe facing away from the camera, talking to Yoda? Then the sound of a space ship causes the hooded Jedi to walk outside and greet Rey.
I’m not completely convinced that Yoda is needed, but perhaps some sort of statement to Luke, telling him that it is time to come out of seclusion and rebuild the Jedi order could work. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below if you’d like to see something like this.
Greetings, everyone! We had quite a week last week with a few leaks and news nuggets. There may be some spoilers here, so be warned. Also, thanks for making last week our biggest week yet here at SpoiledBlueMilk! Let’s begin…