Posts Tagged Star Wars

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

solo-a-star-wars-story-uk-poster12A | 2h 15min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy | 24 May 2018 (UK)
Director: Ron Howard
Writers: Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan | 1 more credit »
Stars: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke

I hadn’t realised how hated Disney were by some till I started reading the reviews for Solo! Whilst this movie has its flaws I found it entertaining.

The plot is simple and straighforward. A young Han Solo joins a gang of galactic smugglers and travel to the mining planet Kessel to steal valuable coaxium (used to make fuel). Alden Ehrenreich as the young Solo isn’t as rugged or cynical as Harrison Ford’s version. That’s part of the problem. Many Star Wars fans found they young Solo unconvincing. Could this “pretty boy” really survive amongst the scum of the universe and become the older Solo? A man who seems to owe all the most dangerous people in the Universe money and lives on the edge and on the run. The answer for many was a resounding “No!”. Yet this is a younger Solo, setting out, learning lessons and becoming a man.

The film also has to tick some boxes along the way. He has to get his ship the Millennium Falcon. He must meet a certain Wookie etc. This is all weaved in fairly convincingly though.

Great action scenes and an interesting love interest in the form of eye-candy and great actor Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra. The dynamic of the relationship between Han and Qi’ra is fascinating. As Emillia said: “They grew up as comrades, essentially. They grew up as pals, as partners in crime. There is obviously the romantic side of things. But they grew up together. So they were kids together.”

There are some great supporting actors too, Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca, Paul Bettany as Dryden Vos, Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett (to name just a few).

Go with an open mind and you may enjoy it!

Reviewed by Patrick Harrington

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The Last Jedi (2017)

WARNING – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

star_wars_the_last_jedi_poster

Some have seen symbolism of a wider view of The Force in this poster

This film was great. Audiences seem to have liked it too. It received a Cinemascore of “A,” exactly the same as The Force Awakens and Rogue One, and its average rating from moviegoers surveyed by Comscore was five out of five stars. In its opening weekend alone it grossed $220,009,584. Worldwide it has grossed $892,107,89 so far. I was surprised, therefore, at some of the hostile reactions to it online. What may lie behind that says more about our society than the film.

Dave Schilling points out at Birth Movies Death The Last Jedi can be seen as a metaphorical depiction of the baby boomer generation (a generation that featured a lot of white men — good and bad — in positions of power) handing off leadership roles to younger generations, particularly millennials, who tend to be more racially diverse and to advocate having more women in positions of power. The good guys are a young white woman, a black man, a woman of Asian descent, and a Latino man, while the bad guys are two white men.

Of course there are many other criticims relating to the plot itself. To give one example, Finn and Rose’s journey to the casino planet of Canto Bight is seen by some as an unnecessary diversion from the main plot. It’s certainly something you can make a case for although I take a different view. To me the corruption of Canto Bight (whose wealth is based on selling armanents to both The First Order and The Resistance) is clearly intended to provide the moral core – the contrast between the Jedi and everyone else (including the Rebels, to a degree). Perhaps that needs restating because of the suggestion that Skywalker wants to create something new embracing both the light and the dark (embracing “a larger view of the Force”). Some have even seen a symbolism of this in the first poster. Here it is depicted by Luke’s face (light side) on one side, Kylo Ren’s (dark side) on the other, with Rey in the middle separating the two and her lightsaber going from blue to red. Or so some say! So, I don’t see the visit to Canto Bight as a diversion but a small part of the film that helps you understand the rest.

This is a good movie which has a substance to it that makes you think. The action scenes are great, particularly the space battles between the bad guys and The Resistance. The fight scenes are also worthy of mention, particularly the Throne Room scene.

It was great to see Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) again, sadly in her last role and, of course, Mark Hamil (Luke Skywalker) as a sullen, bearded recluse who has lost faith in the Jedi. Both provoked suprisingly emotional reactions in me. Real sadness in the case of Leia and disappointment, at least at first, in Skywalker.

My major criticism of the film is that the Dark Side of the Force was just not Dark enough! That’s probably, partly, because the likes of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious are such tough acts to follow. It’s also because Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is just too clean-cut and boyish to convince as a villain. I guess I expect my villains to be more rugged!The most interesting thing about Kylo Ren is his ambivalence toward the Light and Dark, the Sith and Jedi. In both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi we see that. Is that fully milked as a theme. In The Last Jedi it seems that Rey could win him over but I don’t think the turmoil in Kylo was ever fully developed as a theme. There was just not enough tension.

Still, despite any flaws, this is a great film with and ensemble cast (special mention of Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Vice-Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern).

Reviewed by Pat Harrington

Cast and Crew

Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Actors: Mark Hamill
Carrie Fisher
Adam Driver
Daisy Ridley
John Boyega
Oscar Isaac
Lupita Nyong’o
Andy Serkis
Domhnall Gleeson
Anthony Daniels
Laura Dern
Benicio Del Toro
Peter Mayhew
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Ram Bergman
Composer: John Williams

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

starwarsforceawakensStar Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
12A | 135 min | 17 December 2015 (UK)
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writers: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams
Stars: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac

I saw the long awaited Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the day it came out here in the UK. I’m well acquainted with all 6 of its predecessors and I won’t be the only one as the franchise, of course, boasts legions of fans.

The film includes some of the original cast, including Harrison Ford, Carrie fisher, and Mark Hamill. The new cast includes little known faces John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Adam Driver, as well as a nice supporting role from ever rising actor, Domhnall Gleeson, of Ex Machina fame.

The story takes place a few decades on from the destruction of the second Death Star which occured late in the original trilogy that was followed by a prequel trilogy. The new baddie is Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver. He is in fact the grandson of Darth Vader, being the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia who is the sister of Luke Skywalker and daughter of Anakin Skywalker (aka Darth Vader).

Now while I enjoyed the entirety of the film and was not bored for one moment, I do have some criticisms. Kylo Ren wears a scary mask that muffles his voice as he speaks through it, and I thought that was brilliant, but it turned out he didn’t actually need it. I presume he wore it simply because he was a bit of a fanboy of his good old granddad, Vader.

He is also far less intimidating with his mask off and hood down, as he has quite soft features for a man of the dark side, as well as long flowing hair, unfortunately making him a Fabio-like dark lord of the Sith. To be fair to him he did try and channel a bit of the dark side in his facial expression but he didn’t do as good a job, as for instance, Hayden Christensen or Ian Mcdiarmid in the prequels.

It’s called, ‘The Force Awakens,’ and I suspect this is partly the case because Daisy Ridley’s character, Rey, seems to be force sensitive and has her abilities activated when Kylo Ren uses the force on her. So it’s sort of as if the force awakens in her. Annoyingly, the force has attained mythological status for most characters that populate the film, and the film isn’t awash with Sith nor Jedi and merely has only a very small helping of each.

Rey appears to have combat training, but with a type of staff, not a lightsabre, yet she manages to fight at master level against a Sith Lord somewhat just figuring out how to do so in the moment. She even manages to pull off Jedi mind tricks without any training. Now it is clear from earlier films that the Jedi must be selected at a young age for their innate talent and also extensively trained by a Jedi Master. The film glosses over these fundamentals and allows for the ludicrousness of an untrained young woman being able to convincingly face off with a formidable foe using a weapon she’s never wielded before.

John Boyega has a good part and plays it well, but from memory, if I recall correctly, he uses a fake American accent, which was ok, but a couple of the characters have English accents and I just thought, why not have him have one as well seeing as he would be able to do it perfectly, being from London, England, himself.

I would have liked the film to have had more than one basic thread or storyline so I could have seen more landscapes and architecture, as well as other interesting characters, but for the most part it follows a linear thread, deviating little from it. It reminded me a bit of the sitcom, ‘Friends,’ where they’re almost always in one of 3 basic locations.

All criticisms aside, it’s still pretty good and I’ll watch it again when it comes out on DVD and Bluray.

Reviewed by Alistair Martin

 

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