Tag Archives: Star Wars

Star Wars: The Last Jedi-The Ugly

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My thoughts on The Last Jedi finally conclude with highlighting everything that infuriated me about this movie (aka the “ugly” parts). I have to admit this list was actually a lot bigger about a month ago, but since I’ve had time to think about it, I’ve realized there wasn’t actually that much to infuriate me. Nevertheless, certain details need to be highlighted.

  • Rey’s parentage (or the lack thereof): It was one of the biggest questions posed by fans coming out of The Force Awakens: Who is Rey and what is her connection to the Star Wars universe? It almost went without saying that a Force user with this level of power had to be related to somebody we knew. Over the last two years I heard every theory under the sun: Rey’s a Skywalker, a Solo, a Kenobi, a Palpatine (don’t even ask me how that one is possible), or (one of the most far-out), she’s the long lost great-great-great times infinity great granddaughter of some legendary Jedi from the Old Republic. It’s no surprise that when The Last Jedi finally arrived that we were all holding our breath to see who Rey was related to (because Rian Johnson had promised we would get our answer).

The reveal was…anticlimactic to say the very least. After all of that speculation, all of the theories, it seems that Rey is actually…nobody. If Kylo Ren is to be believed, Rey wasn’t hidden on Jakku because she was this big secret Force user. According to Kylo, Rey was left on Jakku because her parents sold her for drinking money. Considering how much time I invested into these theories, I was more than a little upset by this (even though a part of me does understand why they’re going this way). Still…one has to wonder if Kylo IS being truthful. Even if her parents are “nobodies” in the great scheme of things, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re dead or that they sold Rey for drinking money; Kylo may have just wanted her to think that so she would be more inclined to join him. Maybe they’ll clarify a little more in Episode IX (but then again maybe they won’t, after this film I’m afraid to predict anything).

  • Snoke’s premature demise: Before I begin my tirade, let me say that I DID appreciate how Snoke’s apparent death went down. The Supreme Leader is oblivious to the fact that Kylo has turned on him and is subtly maneuvering Anakin’s old lightsaber into a position to impale him. And even though I saw it happening, part of me was sure that Snoke would stop him at the last minute/second…except he didn’t. When the Supreme Leader dropped dead from this throne, my first reaction was “Oh my god, what just happened?” My second reaction was “How could you KILL him like that??” This is the moment that made me really angry because you know and I know that there has to be a backstory for this character, he didn’t just come out of nowhere. Considering we only saw the character in hologram form in The Force Awakens, we were all eagerly waiting to see what we would learn about the character in this film. But we ultimately learned nothing!! Not where Snoke came from, not why he took Kylo under his wing, not even if he’s connected to Palpatine or Darth Plagueis. I’m sorry, I don’t care how many explanations we get, you can’t just introduce this big mysterious character and then kill him before explaining where he came from!! Of course there is a theory that Snoke isn’t really dead (that he pulled a trick similar to Luke) but I don’t necessarily know if this is true.
  • Kylo’s version of the “Join me and we’ll rule the galaxy speech”: I was on cloud nine when Rey and Kylo teamed up to take out the Praetorian Guard after the death of Snoke. It was brilliantly done, and once they were all dead, it truly seemed as if Rey had gotten through to Kylo, that he was going to come with her, he’d be Ben Solo again and it would set up an epic confrontation for Episode IX…and then the Speech started. You know, the one given by Anakin in Episode III; by Vader in Episode V: the “join me, we’ll defeat *insert enemy here* together and rule the galaxy side by side.” When Kylo started on this all-too-familiar spiel with Rey, my first reaction was to groan and roll my eyes. I know part of Star Wars is to deliberately hearken back to earlier moments, but this felt completely forced and it kind of ruined the moment for me. Of course I understand that what happened is Kylo heard Rey’s advice and took it in the wrong direction, but surely they could’ve skipped “the Speech.”

And those are my thoughts on what really infuriated me in The Last Jedi. Do you agree or disagree with my reasoning? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

See also:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Good

Star Wars: The Last Jedi- The Bad

A Random Thought on “The Force Awakens”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, My Thoughts!!

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi- The Bad

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Today I’m going to look at parts of The Last Jedi that I considered “bad” (but not infuriating, that comes later). This likely won’t be a comprehensive list, but I’m hoping to hit the major points. Off we go!

  • The entire Canto Bight sub-plot: Part of what really bugged me about The Last Jedi is that, compared to other Star Wars films, we don’t really go anywhere for 90% of the story. Instead we spend the majority of our time in a slow-motion chase with the First Order patiently waiting for the Resistance fleet to literally run out of gas. So when Finn and Rose come up with the plot to get a hacker from Canto Bight, I was excited because we were finally getting away from skipping back and forth from the fleet to Ach-To. And while I don’t deny the planet is beautifully rendered and the chase scenes with the animals are good too, it’s all ultimately meaningless. Think about it: the entire point of bringing in a hacker was to break into Snoke’s mega-destroyer to disable the tracking system so the fleet could jump to hyperspace without being followed. Not only are Rose and Finn caught before they can do this, but the Resistance ultimately abandons their fleet to escape to Crait before squeezing onto the Millennium Falcon to finally get away. So there was really no point in Rose and Finn going to Canto Bight because we’d have arrived at the same end point regardless (in simpler terms: the Canto Bight story is pure filler to add time to the story).

  • “Holding for General Hux.”: This is just barely on the “Bad” list because I did find Poe’s teasing of the First Order funny the first time, but then the joke kept going (with Hux literally saying words to the effect of “Can you hear me now?”) and I found myself squirming with impatience (and not in a good way) for them to get on with the story. I don’t mind humor in a Star Wars film but this went on a few beats too long.
  • Captain Phasma: Is it just me or is the chrome-plated Phasma notably absent from most of this story? When they first introduced her in Episode VII, I was excited to see where they would go with her. And then this movie comes out and we get ONE fight scene; a cool glimpse at an eye under her helmet and then…does she die?? Just like that? There’s not even a shock factor because she appears in the trailers for the movie so we knew this moment was coming.
  • Luke Skywalker for most of the movie: I’m probably going to get grief for this but I had a hard time with Mark Hamill’s performance for a good chunk of his scenes. I don’t know if this is “bad” so much as it “royally subverted my expectations” but at any rate how I feel about it isn’t good so it’s on this list. It started when Luke received his father’s lightsaber, we all held our breath in anticipation of what he’d say…and then he tosses the lightsaber over his shoulder like it’s nothing. Of all the things I was expecting, it wasn’t that. I could also mention how his “training” of Rey really wasn’t what I was led to believe it was based on the trailers but that’s another argument for another list. Note though, that I say “for most of the movie” because by the end (i.e. his appearance on Crait) I’m in love with how he’s acting.
  • Where are the Knights of Ren?: Considering Kylo is considered “Master of the Knights of Ren”, you’d think we’d have seen them by now (or at least heard from them). But as of yet, except for that brief scene during Rey’s vision in The Force Awakens, we have not seen a trace of these “Knights of Ren” and now only a single film remains for them to be properly introduced and made use of. That doesn’t seem quite right to me, especially since the film seems to hint that some of them were fellow Jedi trainees at Luke’s school (he did say that Kylo didn’t kill ALL of the students).
  • The Rey/Kylo visions: On one level, this was really cool, but for the most part this came across as super AWKWARD. The one conversation where Rey is distracted because Kylo is shirtless had me groaning because it sounded like two teenagers having a telephone conversation (I mean, Kylo and Rey aren’t supposed to be teenagers…are they?). I understand the plot purpose of doing this, but there were some moments where it just felt wrong.

And those are the highlights of what I thought was bad about Star Wars: The Last Jedi! Did I leave anything significant out? Do you agree/disagree? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

See also:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Good

Star Wars: The Last Jedi-The Ugly

A Random Thought on “The Force Awakens”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, My Thoughts!!

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Good

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I have been trying for a long time now to gather my thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which says a lot about the film given how I was able to gush over Rogue One pretty easily. I’ve finally decided on a way to get my thoughts out there: rather than dumping everything into a single post (which is my usual method), I’m going to break this review up into what I liked (the good); what I didn’t like (the bad); and what downright infuriated me (the ugly). So this post will be highlights of what I liked in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

  • The return of Yoda: I LOVED this scene! When the camera panned over to reveal a familiar set of pointy ears with a familiar blue haze, my first reaction was “OMG yes it’s YODA!!” Somehow I just knew that we would see the deceased Jedi Grand Master before the movie was over (and for the record, I did not know about Frank Oz talking about the film before release, this was a complete surprise to me). This scene, combined with Luke’s reunion with R2-D2 were the two times I really felt like the “old” Luke from the original trilogy was back. The way he griped to Yoda like a pouting child, only to be whacked on the head with Yoda’s cane was just priceless! Bringing in Yoda was an excellent decision on Rian Johnson’s part.
  • Rey+Kylo+Throne Room = EPIC: Leaving aside what happened immediately before this scene, the fight between Kylo and Rey and the Praetorian Guard was absolutely beautiful. It’s kind of scary how well those two work together on short notice (if Rey ever did align herself with Kylo they might just be unstoppable). This is one of those scenes that helps to make Star Wars so special.

  • Luke’s final stand: In hindsight, I should have known that Luke wasn’t actually on Crait. All the hints were thrown out there beforehand: Kylo and Rey can see each other when they aren’t really there, they can even touch and it feels real. Not to mention Kylo’s ominous hint that “the strain (of projecting yourself) would kill you.” But I was so caught up in the moment of seeing Luke Skywalker, the legendary Jedi Master, walking out to face the First Order that I really didn’t think about how he got there or when. I just assumed that (off-screen), he’d thought about Rey’s words (and Yoda’s), raised up his X-Wing and hotfooted it to Crait where he could sense everything going down. One big clue that this was an illusion? Luke’s appearance is identical to how he looked on the night Kylo destroyed the new Jedi temple. That alone should have told me something was up (at the time I assumed that Luke had cleaned himself up before heading out). Even when the First Order fired on him at point blank range, I still didn’t get it. I just thought “Well he’s a Jedi Master, he can dodge and deflect anything.” It was only when Kylo went to slash Luke through the middle, clearly made contact, and Luke was still standing that I realized it…he wasn’t really there, he never had been. And I don’t feel disappointed by this revelation (because some have told me that this ruins the last meeting between Luke and Leia because Luke “wasn’t really there.”) I disagree; Leia knew the whole time (I’m sure) that Luke was only an illusion, but that didn’t matter. She could see him, and touch him, and it was their way of saying goodbye. And speaking of goodbyes…
  • Binary sunset: The revelation that Ach-To has twin suns like Tatooine was unexpected, momentarily confusing, but ultimately satisfying. Luke’s face as he took the sunset in said it all. In that moment, he was thinking back over everything: the sunset he saw on Tatooine the night before his life changed forever; saving Leia, destroying the Death Star, going to save his father, it all flashed through his mind. And then…with his work done, he vanished. This moment destroyed me, as I’d dared to hope that we’d sidestepped seeing Luke die when it was revealed that Luke wasn’t really on Crait. It didn’t help that Carrie Fisher had passed away the year before (so after her death and watching Han and now Luke die onscreen, it was pretty emotional for me).
  • The Supreme Leader is dead (?): Finally, I have to share my thoughts on the scene when General Hux discovers that Supreme Leader Snoke is (apparently) dead. He seemingly accepts Kylo’s version of events (that Rey killed him when it was really Kylo) and begins to lament that the Supreme Leader is dead, they have no leader now, when a furious Kylo seizes Hux with a Force choke and queries “The Supreme Leader is dead? Catching on, Hux chokes out “Long live the Supreme Leader!” I liked this scene because of how it played out. Hux is oblivious to the fact that Snoke’s death (his apparent death anyway) means that Kylo is now in charge. I’m calling it now: Kylo and Hux will come to blows before Episode IX is over, especially if Hux figures out that Kylo is the one who killed Snoke.

And those are my highlights for what was good in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Of course there was more that I liked than this, but if I listed everything the post would be several thousand words longer!

Which parts of Star Wars: The Last Jedi did you think were good? Let me know your thoughts (on the good only) in the comments below!

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

See also:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi- The Bad

Star Wars: The Last Jedi-The Ugly

A Random Thought on “The Force Awakens”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, My Thoughts!!

Why I’m worried about Solo: A Star Wars Story

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m feeling very uneasy about Solo: A Star Wars Story, the second anthology film in the Star Wars franchise. I was never thrilled about seeing a movie about a young Han Solo to begin with, but the closer we get to the film’s release date, the less excited I feel.

Everything about this film has felt wrong. First there’s the casting: I saw Alden Ehrenreich (the “new Han Solo”) in Hail Caesar! and I didn’t like his performance at all. Consequently, I am dreading to see what he does in the role of Han Solo (no disrespect to the actor, that’s just how I feel). Then, last summer, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were fired from the project and Ron Howard took over to finish the film (and allegedly conduct extensive reshoots). It doesn’t matter what film is being worked on, it is never a good sign when the director is replaced in the middle of production. And though I have all the respect in the world for Ron Howard, to be fair, his work has been hit or miss as of late.

And then there’s the fact that, five months out from release, we have no trailer for the movie, not even a sixty second teaser. This is the worst sign of all if you think about it. Remember when we got the first teaser for The Force Awakens a full year before release and it broke the Internet? Or when we got the first teaser for Rogue One (also a year out) and THAT broke the Internet? Even The Last Jedi got its first teaser eight months out from release. I don’t know why they haven’t released a trailer yet for this film, but the potential reasons I can think of are not good. It could be that they’re still polishing the footage and trying to assemble a trailer that won’t bring an angry mob down on their heads. It could be that the rumors are true and Disney knows this film is a dud so they’re waiting as long as possible to soften the blow when the trailer does come out. Or (as crazy as it sounds), it could just be that this was Disney’s plan all along and they’re not going to give teasers a year in advance anymore.

As a lifelong Star Wars fan, I want to be wrong about this movie. I don’t want this movie to be a dud, because knowing Disney if they have a flop on their hands they’ll probably overcompensate and do something drastic and it’ll end up ruining everything. I can only hope that we get a teaser of some kind soon so we can begin to get an idea of what this film actually looks like.

May the Force be with this movie. Why do you think we haven’t gotten a trailer yet? Is this the first Star Wars film doomed to failure? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

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For more Star Wars thoughts, see here

“Jyn Erso and Hope” from Rogue One, my thoughts…

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I can’t believe it’s been nearly two months since I saw Rogue One. Since then, I have been turning over portions of the score in my mind, particularly “Jyn Erso and Hope”, the main theme for our badass heroine.

From the moment I first heard it, something wiggled in the back of my mind and said “I’ve heard something like this before.” But for the longest time I couldn’t think of what that something was.

Then I went back and listened again, and finally it dawned on me: I know EXACTLY where I’ve heard this melody before (granted it wasn’t the exact same, but the core is still intact).

“Jyn Erso and Hope” is, to put it simply, a variation on “Across the Stars”, the love theme for Padme and Anakin from Episode II/III. Here, let the music speak for itself:

Here is “Jyn Erso and Hope”

and here is “Across the Stars”

To my ears, it sounds like Giacchino took components from “Across the Stars” and rearranged a few notes. But if enough of a similarity remains, the mind will remember and try to supply the missing parts (that’s how I knew I’d heard the theme somewhere else).

I don’t think there’s any hidden symbolism behind this, as it makes no sense for there to be any connection between Anakin/Padme and Jyn (though part of me does wonder if Jyn’s mother was a Jedi, she DID have a kyber crystal after all).

I’m not particularly surprised that Giacchino borrowed from another piece of Star Wars music; this is a practice that dates back to the dawn of film music (they don’t really talk about it, but everyone knows about it), but a part of me wishes that he had done a better job of disguising the theme if he wanted to do something like that.

I’m interested to hear what all of you think about this: do you hear the similarity? Or do you hear a connection to another piece? I love discussing film music like this 🙂

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See also:

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, My Thoughts!!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, My Thoughts!!

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Warning!!! This review spoils EVERYTHING about Rogue One, if you haven’t seen the film and DON’T want to know, stop reading NOW!!!

Still here? Okay, continue!! (But remember, you were warned!!)

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, OH.MY.GOSH!!! Thursday night, 9:45 p.m., the long wait finally ended and I saw Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first stand-alone Star Wars film in the Anthology series. And oh boy did it deliver!! The film does have one flaw, but I’ll get to that after a bit, let’s start with one of the best parts of the film…

DARTH VADER IS BACK!!!

Let’s all be honest, I think most of us who have gone to see this film did it because Vader was showing up (I know that certainly helped to sway my decision). This is the first time Vader (in all his armored glory) has graced the cinematic screen since Revenge of the Sith in 2005 (though granted that was a very short appearance). In Rogue One, Vader is at the height of his power and general nastiness. Believe it or not, he’s in the film for not quite ten minutes (split into two appearances): his first scene takes place on the lava planet Mustafar where he’s since built an imposing castle-fortress to reside in when he’s not on some mission for the Emperor. I THOUGHT I recognized the planet, but I wasn’t sure until a YouTube review from @StupendousWave (my favorite source for Star Wars news) confirmed my suspicion. Not only do we see this amazing fortress, we also see Vader, briefly, as we’ve never seen him before: completely armorless in a bacta tank. It’s only a few glimpses, really, but it was more than enough to show how little remains of Vader’s human body before he re-armors in order to greet Director Krennic properly.

Speaking of Krennic, he’s the main antagonist for most of the film, or at least he tries to be. Krennic comes across as one of those villains who assigns to himself more importance than he actually has. For instance, a major sticking point (with Krennic) is that he receive the proper credit for developing the Death Star for all these years. When this credit is about to be taken away from him (by a certain character that I will discuss shortly), Krennic dares to whine about this to Vader, who Force chokes him for his troubles. I really thought that Krennic would meet his ultimate fate at Vader’s hands, but what really happened was almost as good. The film’s climax takes place on the tropical planet of Scarif, where the Death Star plans are stored in an archive. The Rebels, led by Jyn Erso and company, infiltrate the base, and Krennic (arriving around the same time) moves to stop them. Ultimately, the Death Star arrives and after a long engagement with the Rebel fleet, the Death Star is ordered to fire on the base, destroying it. Krennic, badly wounded from a blaster shot, is trapped on the base’s communication tower and witnesses the weapon he helped create firing on the planet, knowing there is no way he can escape the shockwave in time. Talk about irony!!

And who orders the Death Star to fire? Who is taking the credit for this great achievement away from Director Krennic? Why, Grand Moff Tarkin of course! You know, the villain portrayed by Peter Cushing in the original Star Wars film in 1977? Yes, him!!

But wait, I hear you all say, didn’t he die back in 1994? Yes, yes he did! And yet, here he is! I confess, I did NOT see this moment coming. I partially blame this on being buried in dissertation work, but also on a slight misunderstanding on my part. I, of course, heard the news very early this year that Disney was working on a CGI replication of Cushing’s character. However, when the main villian was announced to be Director Krennic, I was under the impression that they had scrapped the CGI-Cushing idea. It never dawned on me that they were going to do both!!

I mentioned that the film has one flaw, and, please don’t be upset, but that flaw is Tarkin. Don’t misunderstand me, the character as he appears on screen is a remarkable achievement. Digital creations of a human character have come lightyears in terms of appearance and believability and Tarkin is so realistic it’s scary. But…it doesn’t quite work. The first time we see Tarkin, he has his back to the audience (though you know instantly who he is). The big reveal comes when he turns around, and the moment I saw him, I KNEW what they had done. You can see the CGI elements in the way Tarkin moves his head and speaks. The “uncanny valley”, as it were, is still in effect. I WAS able to suspend my disbelief some of the time though, so for me it wasn’t a fatal flaw. I am curious to know what you all thought of seeing Tarkin brought back to life again.

Moving on to the rest of the story and our heroes, Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor and K-2SO make a great trio. Jyn is the daughter of Galen Erso, a brilliant scientist forcibly returned to the Death Star project by Krennic, and also the man responsible for placing the fatal flaw inside the Death Star that leads to its destruction in Episode IV. Jyn, his only child, has lived on her own for years, and loves her father very much. She is initially recruited to the Rebellion because the Alliance is searching for her father, and a Rebel extremist named Saw Gerrera has in custody a defecting Imperial pilot who came from the installation where Galen works (it’s a little complicated, but still good!)

Outside of Jyn, K-2SO might be the best character on the side of the heroes: he’s an Imperial droid reprogrammed by Cassian and he has the snarkiest sense of humor you’ve ever seen, but his loyalty to Cassian (and the Rebellion) is unquestionable. He and Jyn do not get along for most of the film, but by the end, they’ve earned each other’s respect.

My other two favorite characters are Chirrut and Baze Malbus. They were formerly Guardians of the Whills (they served at the local Jedi temple on the planet Jedha, they can feel the Force, but can’t actively control it the way a Jedi could) before the Empire, and now they are inseparable. Chirrut still believes in the Force after all this time, while Baze has become more of a skeptic. Chirrut has this habit of praying over and over “I am one with the Force and the Force is with me, I am one with the Force and the Force is with me, etc.” He’s actually blind, but is so in tune with the Force that he can fight as well as any sighted person.

And speaking of the end, deep down, I think I knew this was going to happen, but I was secretly hoping at least one of them would get out alive. Yes, you heard right, in the end, none of them make it off Scarif. Jyn, Cassian, K-2SO, Chirrut, Baze, even Bodhi (the defecting Imperial pilot who has been helping them), one by one, they all die. Jyn and Cassian are the last, they successfully transmit the Death Star plans up to the fleet, but immediately afterward, the battleship fires on the planet. It’s not enough to break up the planet itself (the weapon isn’t quite finished yet), but it is enough to destroy the base. The blast is set out in the nearby ocean so it takes a few minutes for the destruction to reach the pair. Jyn and Cassian have just enough time to reach the beach, reflect on what they’ve done and embrace before they meet their end in a fiery cloud of death. It’s terrifying to me because as they sit meeting their end, Jyn is facing the shockwave as it comes, and you can’t help but wonder what she’s feeling, knowing her death is seconds away.

And the Easter eggs in this film boggle the mind, simply because there are so many of them! Let me see if I can name more than a few: there’s several sightings of Senator Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits reprising his role from the prequel trilogy); Jyn and Cassian (literally) bump into the pair that tries to assault Luke in the cantina on Tatooine (“He doesn’t like you, I don’t like you either…”); R2 and C-3PO pop up for a split second at Yavin base; in possibly one of the best Easter egg moments, the characters of Red Leader and Gold Leader are featured, briefly, in the climactic battle over Scarif in a clever re-use of some footage from Episode IV; and there are several references to the Star Wars Rebels series (listen for the page asking for “General Syndulla”). There’s more, but that’s most of them.

Lastly, I have to talk about the music. I was so nervous about Michael Giacchino composing the score for this film, and I was terrified it wouldn’t be any good. While I still need to go back and analyze the score, my first impression was very favorable. It definitely helps that Giacchino re-used several of Williams’ themes at key points in the story (particularly the Imperial March, I would’ve been furious if he’d left THAT out). The music definitely isn’t bad, but how GOOD it ultimately is I can’t say just yet (I need to listen to the soundtrack separate from the film before I can give a definite opinion).

Final thoughts:

Rogue One is a worthy addition to the Star Wars canon, though it treads dangerously close to the line with its use of CGI to recreate certain characters. The Easter eggs make this film a fun watch for any Star Wars fan.

It was WEIRD having no opening crawl (and no Star Wars fanfare), I almost wish they would go back and recreate the opening to have a crawl anyway.

It was cool (and a little freaky) to see Peter Cushing’s Tarkin walking and talking again, they’ve almost nailed recreating a human character in full CGI (but NOT QUITE)

Ending the film moments before Episode IV begins was a nice touch, though I am somewhat not okay with how they recreated Princess Leia. I would have preferred seeing her from the back only.

I am so happy we got to see Vader use his lightsaber!!!!! After the first scene, I was terrified that we weren’t going to get any more Vader, not even with his lightsaber, so seeing that at the end was fantastic!

And those are my thoughts on Rogue One. What did YOU think of the film? Loved it? Hated it? Already in line to see it again? Let me know in the comments below (first chance I get I’m going to see this film again, that’s for sure). Just to let everyone know, I’ll be heading home Friday for the holidays, so I’ll probably post a few more times this week and then hang it up until Christmas is over 🙂 Have a good one! -Becky

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Why did Vader Lose in Return of the Jedi? Some thoughts…

So several months ago, I did a summary of Return of the Jedi, including my thoughts on why I believed Vader was overpowered by Luke at the climax of their duel. Some people criticize this moment because only a year or so before (in story time), Vader was completely dominating Luke, and yet here he is being chased back by the young Jedi.

I had several theories, one of which involved my belief that possibly Vader was “rusty” with the lightsaber, and only made it look easy in The Empire Strikes Back because Luke was in way over his head.

Now that Rogue One is close to coming out and especially now that I’ve seen two seasons of Rebels, I’ve realized that my thoughts on this subject were way off base. See, I initially thought that after the Jedi were all but annihilated in the first few years of the Empire, that Vader really didn’t need to use his lightsaber until the events of Episode IV and onward. But Rebels has established that Vader has spent all this time inbetween Episodes III and IV training the Inquisitors (which involves heavy lightsaber training), flushing out what few Jedi remain (also involving lightsaber combat), not to mention engaging in a heart-pounding duel with former apprentice Ahsoka Tano (and given this duel takes place less than five years before Episode IV, it’s clear Vader’s lightsaber skills are beyond exemplary). So clearly this theory on why Vader lost is incorrect.

I had two other theories though, which could still be valid. The most likely scenario is that Vader was hampered by his lack of connection to the living Force, which, according to canon established in the prequel trilogy, is dependent on the amount of midichlorians in one’s body. And as we know from Revenge of the Sith, Vader doesn’t really have much of a body left (he lost both arms, both legs, so the only human parts are his torso and head) and therefore much less of a connection to the Force than when he was fully human. Luke, by contrast, only has one artificial hand, and has also inherited Vader’s tremendous fighting abilities. Combine that with a surge of anger when his sister is threatened, and Vader doesn’t stand a chance.

The other theory is that, due to Vader’s inner conflict (which began after discovering he had a living child from his beloved Padme), his heart really isn’t into fighting and killing Luke anymore. He denies any conflict, but his actions immediately before the duel hint otherwise. And it’s because of this conflict that Luke is able to hold his own against Vader so well.

Either of these theories could be correct, or it might even be a combination of the two. It probably doesn’t matter in the long run, but I enjoy speculating on why certain things happen in a given film’s universe. Hope you enjoyed my thoughts on this duel!

I’ll be back with more Pocahontas tomorrow 🙂 -Becky

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