Star Wars: JJ Abrams Gets It

December 18th, 2015

I just watched The Force Awakens, and I'm going to get my thoughts out while it's fresh on my mind.

First off, it's good.  Not "good," as in, "well, maybe it wasn't a total trainwreck."  No, it's "good" as in, "tons of kids are going to emulate the new characters like my generation did with Luke and Han" good.

The visuals are impeccable.  Abrams doesn't feel the need to clutter every inch of screen real estate, so the creature and building designs really stand out.  The dogfight sequences are kinetic and exhilarating.  Poe Dameron is absolutely the man.

Which brings us to the dialogue.  The earliest comedic beat in the movie comes from his back-and-forth with Finn (actually, "FN-2187").  It the kind of dialogue at which Joss Whedon excels, and a minute worth of witty banter sets up their characters perfectly.

The humor?  There are no fart jokes or awkward mascot characters.  This is old-school Star Wars humor, and it comes off naturally.  The only real "cute" character is the droid BB-8, and she comes across as charming rather than slapstick.

John Williams' score continues to be an integral part of the films.  If you never noticed, every character has their own theme.  Rey's theme is a meditative one that feels like Ralph Vaughan Williams, while Kylo Ren's theme has an undercurrent of Wagnerian violence with just a touch of the Imperial March in the brass.  There was one spot in the climax (something big blows up) when the music felt a bit generic, but it's otherwise spot on.

The characters returning from the original trilogy all have good plot reasons for being there, and the Leia/Han dynamic…well, it's heartbreaking.  How much so?  Well, I'm going to spoil it from here.

New Star Wars Trailer

April 16th, 2015

So, we have an actual trailer for the Force Awakens.  It looks like JJ Abrams has the feel of the original trilogy figured out.

I'm not even going to warn you that there are spoilers ahead.  Well, I guess I just did.  With my obligation thus fulfilled, let's get to it.

destroyer_desert

That's a Star Destroyer crashed in the desert, with a dead X-Wing in the foreground.  Notice the rounded turbines:  that's an old-school model, not one of the new ones.  The battle must have taken place during the original trilogy….

I'm Five Years Old Again

November 29th, 2014

The first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is live. Here's what we've got:

John Boyega as a stormtrooper. The armor's new, and it's a first to see one of them as person. Rumor has it he's a protagonist.
A beachball-shaped R2 unit. It's less annoying tha Jar-Jar. Then again, so are head lice.
Menacing stormtroopers being airdropped somewhere. Does this mean some remnant of the Empire is still around?
Daisy Ridley riding a giant speeder bike. Is that a lightsaber lashed to the side?
A desert planet, but possibly not Tatooine. Notice the single sun in the final shot.
X-wings skimming over a …

Rogue 2 is Down

February 18th, 2014

Christopher Malcom has passed away at the age of 67. He played Zev Senesca in the Empire Strikes Back.

If you don't know who that is, you can do your penance by watching the original trilogy again tonight.