Tag Archives: JJ Abrams

My Thoughts on: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

(author’s note: I’m BACK everyone!!)

2019 will definitely be remembered as a time of endings in cinema. Not only did this year see the 11 year Infinity Saga come to an end with Avengers: Endgame, it also saw the Skywalker Saga come to a close with the release of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.

And what an ending it is! This is a movie that I’ve been looking forward to for two years and after the teaser trailer revealed that the Emperor would be returning (a moment that completely blew my mind I assure you), I was more eager than ever to see how the final installment would play out. And while my many theories all proved to be woefully incorrect, that didn’t change the fact that I loved this film. Don’t let the critics turn you off from seeing The Rise of Skywalker, it IS a good story and a great conclusion…provided you go in with a completely open mind as to how the story can end.

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Now, I will admit that The Rise of Skywalker isn’t a perfect film by any means. Could the film have done better in explaining how the Emperor returned? Yes, it could’ve. Could a certain plot point with a certain First Order spy (name withheld because spoilers) have been expanded upon? Oh most definitely. And could we have had a lot more Force ghosts? Yup, no doubt. But really these are minor nitpicks and not gaping plot holes. Of course no movie is going to be completely perfect, and I wish people would remember that more often.

One thing this film gets completely right is its treatment of Carrie Fisher’s final appearance. As you’ve probably heard, all of her footage (minus one scene) was taken from deleted footage created for Episode VII. I wasn’t sure what that would look like going in but it works. It doesn’t feel awkward, but it does make certain scenes very emotional when you remember that Carrie isn’t here anymore. Well done to J.J Abrams and company for getting this right.

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The lightsaber battles were everything I hoped for and more. My favorite is the fight between Rey and Kylo Ren among the ruins of the second Death Star. It’s full of such raw emotion, as all the fights in the sequel trilogy have been, and the ending of this particular fight had me in tears. I have to say that it will be hard not seeing Adam Driver in Star Wars movies anymore (note: I’m not spoiling anything, Driver has said he’s moved on from the character), he’s quickly become one of my favorite parts of the sequel trilogy, and his style of lightsaber combat is a lot of fun to watch. I will admit I didn’t see his character arc going where it did, but Abrams did a really good job with it, so I’m okay with it too.

Another thing I liked about The Rise of Skywalker are the many surprises littered throughout the film. Some you’ll know about from the previews, and some you will not see coming. Of course there is one BIG spoiler that is likely dividing fans as I write this, but I for one am okay with it, even though it did torpedo my “Rey is a Skywalker clone” theory into oblivion. If you take a moment and think about it, this particular reveal is entirely plausible, and it does make a lot more sense than some of the theories I heard. Also, on a random note: D-O is my new favorite Star Wars droid.

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And it wouldn’t be a Star Wars review if I didn’t take a minute to talk about the music. For one final time, John Williams knocks it out of the park with a fantastic score that ties everything together. Since this is the final entry in the Skywalker Saga, there are a lot of musical callbacks, especially to the original trilogy. There isn’t nearly as much prequel trilogy music as I would’ve liked, but it’s also entirely possible that Williams tried to incorporate some of those themes and it just didn’t work out.

I will close by stating again that The Rise of Skywalker is a good film and a good conclusion to the nine film saga. Having rewatched Episodes I-VIII before seeing this film, I can say that this film fits in perfectly with all the rest. I’m still a little sad that there won’t be any further adventures with Rey or Poe or Finn, but at least now I can go back and watch the complete saga whenever I want. Bravo to everyone who worked over the last 42 years to bring not only The Rise of Skywalker, but all the Star Wars saga films to life.

Let me know what you think about The Rise of Skywalker in the comments below (keep it civil please) and have a great day! I’m happy to be back blogging once more!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Solo: A Star Wars Story (with spoilers!) (2018)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), My Thoughts!!

My Thoughts on: Star Wars (1977)

My Thoughts on: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Film Reviews

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Michael Giacchino talks Super 8 (2011)

Michael Giacchino talks Super 8 (2011)

What do you get when J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg collaborate together on a film? In the case of Super 8, we got a science-fiction thriller film about a strange alien invading a town in Ohio while a group of kids are shooting a movie on Super 8 film. The film did well (despite some comparisons to E.T.), though I didn’t watch it myself (I was distracted by graduating from college at the time). As with all J.J. Abrams films (except for The Force Awakens), the score was composed by Michael Giacchino, who talks with us in the behind-the-scenes clip for the making of the score of Super 8.

What’s cool about this clip is that we get to hear Giacchino talking about his memories of shooting home movies on Super 8 film back in the day, and we even get to see a few clips from said films.

It’s always great to listen to Michael Giacchino discussing his work, and I hope you enjoy his talk about Super 8.

I know this is shorter than what I usually do, but I’m still recovering from a really busy weekend and I really wanted to give you something to enjoy until tomorrow 🙂

And speaking of…Disturbing Disney returns tomorrow with my first entry from Bambi (1942), a film that pioneered the “horrifying death of a parent” decades before The Lion King ripped our hearts out with the death of Mufasa.

Also, I wanted to share that Film Music Central has gained 2,000+ hits in a month for the first time ever and I wanted to say thank you to everyone who comes to visit the blog, this is a milestone I’ve been hoping to hit for a long time 🙂

See also:

Michael Giacchino talks The Incredibles (2004)

Michael Giacchino talks Mission: Impossible 3 (2006)

Michael Giacchino talks Ratatouille (2007)

Michael Giacchino talks Up (2009)

Michael Giacchino talks Star Trek (2009)

Michael Giacchino talks John Carter (2012)

Michael Giacchino talks Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)

Michael Giacchino talks Jupiter Ascending (2015)

Michael Giacchino talks Jurassic World (2015)

Michael Giacchino scoring Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Michael Giacchino talks Zootopia (2016)

Michael Giacchino talks Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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Star Trek (2009), my (mixed) thoughts on this alternate universe

On May 8th, 2009, the universe of Star Trek, as seen by J.J Abrams, came hurtling into theaters.

Oh where to begin with this movie, with this concept! I was initially thrilled that a new Star Trek movie was being made (Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) having been billed as the final adventure) and couldn’t wait to learn more. And then details began to come out, that this movie was going to be different, the “How they all met” story, as it were. But the previews didn’t look right to me, the story they were telling seemed off somehow. And then the movie came out and I learned why. This movie was set in a totally different universe. Effectively, the Star Trek universe that had been established since 1966…really didn’t exist anymore.

I.Was.FURIOUS.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to bash the actors (they did a fine job) or the soundtrack (even though Goldsmith and Horner created much better sounds for their respective Star Trek films), it’s just, calling this an “alternate universe” is just a fancy way of saying they rebooted the series but they didn’t want it to look like one. A reboot is a reboot, and, maybe I’m in the minority but, Star Trek didn’t need one (in my opinion). I’m okay with a new cast of characters, but recasting the original crew does not sit right with me.

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The story is that in the original Star Trek universe, the planet Romulus is about to be destroyed by a huge supernova. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) has come up with a last-ditch effort plan to save Romulus but the method is utilized too late to save the planet. In the aftermath of the explosion, a time vortex is created and both Spock and a Romulan named Nero (Eric Bana) are flung back into time (due to the “red matter” that Spock had tried to use. Nero holds Spock personally responsible for the death of his family and vows to make the Vulcan suffer. How? Oh, simply by destroying the planet Vulcan, that’s all. (You know, Vulcan, the site of some of the most important events in the original series, it gets blown up.) In effect, the presence of Spock and Nero in the past creates an alternate universe because the course of events is being altered from what it should have been.

Despite my feelings, I really did try to like this movie, I really did (after all, it’s the only option for seeing Star Trek in theaters at the moment) and I just couldn’t get into it. I think the problem (for me) is, I grew up watching the original Star Trek movies and tv shows and that is the Star Trek I know and love. This Star Trek…it says most of the right things, but, as I’ve said before, it doesn’t feel quite right. To this day, I still can’t put my finger on the issue, but I’m hoping Star Trek: Beyond is different.

*poster is the property of Paramount Pictures

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See also:

Film/TV Reviews

Michael Giacchino talks Star Trek (2009)

Michael Giacchino talks Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)

Star Trek: Into Darkness is a complete rip-off of Wrath of Khan

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