Tag Archives: chewbacca

STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (2019) – My rating: 7.5/10

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (also known as Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker) is a space-opera and is produced, co-written, and directed by J. J. Abrams. It is the third installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), and the final episode of the nine-part “Skywalker saga”. This movie was produced by Lucasfilm and Abrams’s production company Bad Robot Productions and was distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The Rise of Skywalker follows Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron as they lead the Resistance’s final stand against Kylo Ren and the First Order, who are now aided by the return of the deceased galactic emperor, Palpatine. I think I’m a little tired of Star Wars — this one was just ok.

Following a threat of revenge by the revived Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) obtains a Sith Wayfinder, leading him to the uncharted planet Exegol. There, he finds Palpatine, who reveals that he created Snoke (Andy Serkisas) a puppet to control the First Order and lure Kylo to the dark side. Palpatine unveils a secret armada of Star Destroyers and tells Kylo to find and kill Rey (Daisy Ridley), who is continuing her Jedi training under Resistance leader Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) deliver intel from a spy that Palpatine is on Exegol; Rey has learned from Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) notes that a Sith Wayfinder can lead them there. Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), BB-8, and C-3PO depart in the Millennium Falcon to Pasaana, where Luke’s search for Exegol ended.

While on Pasaana, the group encounters Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), who points them to the Wayfinder’s last suspected location. Kylo learns where Rey is through their Force bond and travels there with his warrior subordinates, the Knights of Ren. Rey and the others discover the remains of a Jedi hunter named Ochi, his ship, and a dagger inscribed with Sith text, which C-3PO’s programming forbids him from interpreting. Sensing that Kylo is nearby, Rey goes to confront him. The First Order captures the Falcon, Chewbacca, and the dagger; attempting to save Chewbacca, Rey accidentally destroys a First Order transport with Force lightning. Presuming that Chewbacca has been killed, the group escapes on Ochi’s ship.

I’m stopping here to reserve some semblance of integrity and of course, the element of surprise.  This supposedly last Star War film was not as good as some of its predecessors. I found the story rather robotic and cursory, it was all over the place. There were numerous scenes of fighting and often, without merit. The story jumped from subject to subject leaving me desperate for an explanation. Some parts were even a little boring. I think there was too much action to say very little. Despite the uneven flow, the acting was very good and the special effects were absolutely brilliant. Carrie Fisher lives through the age of repurposed unreleased footage from The Force Awakens. I also think I’ve had enough Star Wars, the whole battle between The Force and Emperor Palpatine and his stormtroopers after 43 years is a lovely adventure but is screaming for closure and “The End”. The movie received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the cast performances and visual effects but criticized the story, pacing, and perceived departures from the themes and story of The Last Jedi. It has grossed over $840 million worldwide against a production budget of $275 million, making it the ninth highest-grossing film of 2019. You Star War fans, Check It Out!

[STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER is Oscar-Nominated for Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects — Totaling 3 Oscar nominations]

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (2018) – My rating: 8/10

Solo: A Star Wars Story, or simply Solo, is a 2018 Space Western based on the Star Wars character Han Solo. Directed by Ron Howard, it was produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the second Star Wars anthology film following 2016’s Rogue One. A stand-alone installment set prior to the events of A New Hope, it explores the early adventures of Han Solo and Chewbacca. I was excited to see Solo based on trailers and my Star Wars history but wasn’t that happy about  how Solo turned out.  While I continued to be entertained, I didn’t feel as touched or as involved in the story as in the past.  Could it be that there are too many Star Wars movies giving one the feeling that it’s just a competition piece without rhyme or reason?  A money grabber, if you will.

On the shipbuilding world of Corellia, orphaned children are made to steal in order to survive. A young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and his girlfriend, Qi’ra  (Emilia Clarke) escape from a local criminal gang. They bribe an Imperial officer with a stolen sample of coaxium, a powerful hyperspace fuel, in exchange for passage on an outgoing transport, but Qi’ra is apprehended by their pursuers before she can board. Han vows to return and rescue her, he then joins the Imperial Navy as a flight cadet. Han is given the surname “Solo” by the recruiting officer.

In the meanwhile, three years have past and Han has been expelled from the Imperial Flight Academy for insubordination. While serving as an infantryman during a battle on the planet Mimban, he encounters a gang of criminals posing as Imperial soldiers led by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson). He tries to blackmail them into taking him with them, but Beckett has him arrested for desertion and thrown into a pit to be fed to a beast – a Wookiee named Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo). Able to speak Chewbacca’s language, Han persuades him to work together to escape their confinement. In need of extra hands, Beckett rescues them and enlists them in the gang, which includes Beckett’s wife Val (Thandie Newton).  They then plot to steal a shipment of coaxium on the planet Vandor. The plan goes awry when the Cloud Riders show up with their leader Enfys Nest (Erin Kellyman), resulting in the deaths of two crew members and the destruction of the coaxium.  Beckett reveals he was ordered to steal the shipment for Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), a high-ranking crime boss in the Crimson Dawn syndicate. Han and Chewbacca volunteer to help him steal another shipment to repay the debt.

At this point, the film picks up a whole new adventure.  There are many twist and turns and some surprises you won’t see coming.  Solo is an excellent story with far fewer characters than some of the earlier Star Wars productions. You might note the character Lando Calrissian  (Donald Glover) who was formerly played by Billy De Williams has been replaced with a younger actor.  Also, Han Solo was originally played by Harrison Ford but is not played by Alden Ehrenreich.  Over all I think Solo is missing the grandiose feeling usually displayed in these type of movies but still is a very good film.  Solo is definitely not worth seeing in 3D but is worth seeing in the regular standard format.  Check it out!

 

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI: (2017) – My rating: 9/10

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an American epic space opera written and directed by Rian Johnson. It is the second installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy and the eighth main installment of the Star Wars franchise, following Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).  The Last Jedi is produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and includes an all star cast, including the late Carrie Fisher who past in December of 2016.  Star Wars never gets old.  I still find the series to be just as refreshed and interesting as the first.  The battle for the reign of the Empire is just as existing and just as much of a struggle as any two countries fighting for control of territory, Star Wars is just more modern and more futuristic.  May the Force be with them!

Many folks are still a little fuzzy about Rough One.  Some questioning why it even existed.  It almost seemed as if it was an after though or a fill in because of the disconnection from the rest of the Star Wars story and crew.  Questions like where did Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) come from and where are all the other familiar characters we have all grown to know and love?  When all was said and done, we were no closer to the answers than we were before Rough One began.  Finally, Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrived.  But as we take a long hard look, all the old characters have died, except one.  I’m not so sure this was the way to go but this is the way it went so now we are faced with a whole new era of Star War characters leaving the likes of  Mr. Yoda (Frank Oz), Luke Ski Walker and Darth Vader only briefly able to appear when needed.  There’s now only 1 hint of a female Jedi and a limited amount of the Resistance left with nowhere to live. In the Last Jedi, the Resistance fighters are led by General Leia Organa, who I figure will take her leave as well or be replaced by someone new to play her part since the beloved actress is no longer with us.  The characters from Star Wars: Rogue One are not a part of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and it’s still not clear why that whole story was presented or why they were brought into the fold.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi focuses on Rey (Daisy Ridley) traveling to the Planet Ahch0-To in order to confront Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and convince him to return to the Resistance, which is in dire need of help to survive and fight the First Order.  Rey must also complete her Jedi training to help the Resistance.  Of course Luke is resistant, stubborn and uncooperative, refusing to even talk to Rey who is equally as stubborn, camping out at his door everyday.  Eventually, after several incidents, the two come to an understanding.  Rey receives Jedi training from Luke Skywalker in hopes of turning the tide for the Resistance in the fight against Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order. Kylo is also the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke’s (Andy Serkis) disciple, who is strong with the dark side of the Force and leader to the Knights of Ren.  Meanwhile, Kylo Ren and Rey have a telepathic meeting of the minds where Kylo tries to sway Rey over to the dark side while capturing her mind even though they are in separate locations.

Later, in a memorable battle, the Resistance fighters are forced to evacuate their base upon arrival of a First Order fleet. Following an effective but costly counterattack led by Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), a high-ranking X-wing Resistance fighter pilot introduced in The Force Awakens. Resistance fighters manage to destroy a First Order dreadnought, before the Resistance vessels jump into hyperspace to escape, but the First Order pursues them using a tracking device. Kylo Ren who has already killed his father, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and is also General Leia Organa’s (Carrie Fisher) son, destroys the Resistance support fighters, but hesitates to fire at the lead Resistance ship, after sensing his mother’s presence on board. However, TIE fighters destroy the bridge of the ship, killing several Resistance leaders and incapacitating Leia, who only survives by using the Force. Command falls to Vice Admiral  Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern. Disapproving of Holdo’s passive strategy, Poe, Finn (John Boyega), the former Stormtrooper of the First Order who defected to the Resistance, BB-8 (controlled by puppeteers, Dave Chapman and Brian Herring), and mechanic Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), works in maintenance but ends up becoming much more, saving many lives and appears as a possible love interest for Finn — embark on a secret plan to disable the tracking device. In the meanwhile, Kylo invites Rey to rule the galaxy with him, but Rey refuses. Using the Force, they struggle for possession of Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber, which splits in two.

As you can see, The Last Jedi is long and complex.  I’ve told much of the story but not nearly a quarter of what makes up this great story.  I suggest you check it out as soon as you can.

[Star Wars: The Last Jedi is Oscar nominated for Best Visual Effects]

 

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (2015) – My rating: 9/10

StarWars_TheForceAwakensThis Star Wars is a good one. I loved seeing some of the old gang and I loved that there will be more Star Wars on the horizon, scheduled for 2017. As much as I liked The Force Awakens, I didn’t like it as much as some of the past Star Wars episodes. About 30 years after the second Death Star was destroyed in Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) who didn’t make an appearance until the very end of this movie and is also the last Jedi, has disappeared. The “First Order” is looking to eliminate Luke and the Republic but Luke’s twin sister, Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) is opposing the First Order while searching for Luke to get his help before they are destroyed. Resistance’s X-wing fighter pilot Poe Damerson (Oscar Isaac) has a partial map of Luke’s location stored in his Droid BB-8. Poe is captured by Stormtroopers but his Droid gets away where it meets a scavenger named Rey (Daisy Ridley) who helps to conceal BB-8. In the meanwhile, the Stormtroopers torture Poe for information leading to the map, finding out the map is hidden in the Droid. Poe tries to escape when he gets help from a First Order Stormtrooper called FN-2187 who later renames himself Finn (John Boyega). Unable to continue to kill or function as a Stormtropper for the First Order, Finn joins the Resistance and escapes with Poe. Finn and Poe find BB-8 on planet Jakku where they meet Scavenger Rey. The planet is attacked by Stormtroopers, and Poe disappears, presumed dead, while Rey, Finn and BB-8 meet Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). Together they team up to continue this worthy Star Wars adventure that has more twist and turns than any other production I’ve recently seen. There are many villains leading the First Order. The dark warrior, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who is the son of Hans Solo and Leia Organa and Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), plus the ruthless commander of the First Order, General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). Lupita Nyong’o plays Maz Kanata, a wise and perceptive operator of a shady cantina on a planet called Takodana. Maz tries to help Han and his new team, giving the lightsaber that belonged to Luke and his father to Finn for safekeeping.

I opened this review stating it didn’t quite stand up to some of the former Star Wars episodes. The reason is too many scenes reminded me of too many movies I’ve recently seen. I actually found myself making a comparison right there on the spot between the scene I was watching and Maze Runners: The Scorch Trials, District 9 and Hunger Games: Mockingjay 1 & 2.  As most of you know, Disney has taken possession of the Star Wars series buying out the entire franchise from George Lucas for $4.05 billion dollars.  Not bad — So Far, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has taken in $540,058,914 in 2 weeks.  Perhaps Disney isn’t as unique in their story telling as George but there seems to be 540+ million reasons to keep trying.

[STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS is nominated for Film Editing, Original Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects]