Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: Film Review

I am one with force, the force is with me.

I would argue there are only a few things you’d never expect many Star wars fan to say. Chief among them being “The prequels were good”.  Well this was one hell of a amazing prequel.

Writers: Chris WeitzTony GilroyJohn Knoll & Gary Whitta (story). Director: Gareth Edwards. Runtime: 2h 13min.

I’m a firm believer in not seeing trailers for films I REALLY want to see. I’m glad I did that here. Everything about this film was great from start to finish. It’s easy to make comparisons to the format of this film. It does follow a format of the “Hero’s Journey”. It also could be argued that there’s some level of it being political. Though I feel the later stems from our own fears of each other rather than having real merit to the claim. But that feeling of it being one remains. With all that said I still loved everything about this film. I loved that it had all these different ways of receiving the motion picture. I think as far as films go this year, that are in the nerd/geek culture, it was the best of the year. I loved that we got to finally see a world were most if not all the hope was gone, where everyone felt like this could very well be the last day alive and in many ways, it was. People are willing to do almost anything to stop a tyrant. Throughout a bulk of the film the feeling of any optimism is lost. Nothing about the first half of the film feels hopeful. Which is fitting since the sequel to Rogue is called A New Hope. The highlight to this film is Vader.

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Vader is who he is. But if you’re strictly a fan of the “Original Saga”(OS)  then this was the film you have always wanted to see. In the OS, Vader was badass, but he never fought like one. Just kinda did stiff fencing moves. He was a Villain of the times and technology. But that’s also part of his charm in those films. I do think its safe to say that this movie got the one thing every Star Wars fan hoped for, right. A Vader worthy of his name’s reputation of why he is, and will always be, the greatest villain of all time. When He came on screen the 8 year old me was overjoyed. Every. Single. Time!

There is a lot of conceptual material for these Star Wars films generate that don’t get used as part of the overall narrative. Sometimes they show up in later mediums like shows, novels or comics. This film builds on that truth. SPOILER. That unnamed planet is indeed Mustafar. There’s a lot that film makers can build upon from what I’ve seen and read. However, that is for another day.

This film is refreshing for every aspect of what makes up a movie. They took our modern day look of tech and mixed it well with that old desperate look of the OS. The film achieved a happy cohesion between the actual Prequel Saga and the OS. Shout out to the production coordinator.

 

The few issues I have with this film were the timeline of events. For Instance the two trouble makers in A New Hope show up on an ill fated planet. Though this was annoying I did appreciate it as a fan. but as a critic and film buff it really just through me off. Additionally, I wanted more Vader. But what good thing hasn’t been the victim of someones greed?
I feel as though everyone was well casted minus Forrest W. He is a fine actor, but I feel like his contribution to the story was rather pointless. like that weird squid thing that he used on the rogue pilot… only to have him have NO effects of it later felt like a giant waste of about 30 mins. Definitely the most under developed in the film. I feel since he’s in both the rebels and Clone war cartoons, they used him hoping people knew about him. but I feel like that was a mistake on their part.

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With the recent passing of Carrie Fisher, the final 20 mins of the film felt like such a great way to send her off as. In no way was it meant to be that way, but it felt nice knowing and seeing her in the manner we do in the end. Her face brought this feeling of hope that she will forever be known for in this series.

Leia has to be the strongest of all the Skywalkers.When you think about all she’s had to endure and how she’s remained so full of hope, its hard to not picture her as the strongest considering everyone including her kid has lost their way to some extent at least once… chief example of this being her Father, Anakin.

Bottom line:
To see this movie is love it. It’s dark, its fun, and K-2SO is by far the best droid since R2-D2. if ever you wanted to see the other side of Star Wars out side of the Skywalker Saga, wanted to see the most bad ass Vader scene of all time. Wanted to feel the desolate feeling that part of the galaxy experienced during the Empires reign, Then look no further. It will surely leave you feeling hopeful at the end like you don’t already know how this ends.

  • Overall rating of the movie: 9 out of 10,
  • Cinematography: 8 out of 10,
  • Editing: 10 out of 10,
  • Audio: 9 out of 10,
  • Acting: 9 out of 10,

Theatres or wait for the blu-ray? DEFINITELY see it in theatres… Then at home. No need for Imax. It is better on a bigger screen.

THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace”. Your eLEWsive Thought Provided by: the “LEW System”

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Film Review

“That Garbage will do.” – Rey.


Writer: Michael ArndtLawrence KasdanJ.J. Abrams, Cast  Run time: 135mins

Note: there’s gonna be spoilers. It’s a review.

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After some 32 years. The intergalactic space adventure has coe back to cinema. Well really like 10 years since the revenge of the Sith. I will say it has its flaws. But it also has its strengths.

J.J. Abrams likes mysteries almost everything he’s ever been attached too is surrounded around a mystery box theme. The story seems very much centred around the question what happened. That could even be a play on the words a “long, long time ago.” When return of the jedi ends it seemed like peace and balance was was restored to the galaxy. As this film goes on. It clearly hasn’t been restored.  Or if it was… a great many tragedies have happened to upset that renewed balance. As great as this mystery box is, it does hurt the film overall. It’s simply lacking something. An element. I would point out a fair bit of explaining of what happened for 32 earth years was missing but that could be intended. A great musical score. One thing compser, John Williams got right for the majority of the prequel saga. Or even a real climatic cinematic lightsaber fight. Episode three is the best of the entire franchise for that (and arguably my favourite of the episodes). This movie felt like more of a part than a full story. That could be a marketing ploy to now encourage fans to try new mediums/media for the space opera.

Kylo Ren. He is everything Anakin Skywalker was supposed to be in the prequel saga. I kind of want them to to remake episode three with Adam as Anakin. Right from the start he seemed menacing. No one can replace Vader. But you know us nerds. We always want more… wait that’s just society at large. Ren seemed tormented by something and that is something I rather enjoyed. I hope his back story is fully fleshed out. I am curious to see just how his respective parent(s) decided to part ways as the remaining episodes come out. I’m sure it will considering just how the film ends. Some people are complaining about his voice. I’m not one of those people I loved it. I thought the actors limited facial expressions came across very well. There’s a moment him and another character using the force against eachother and I was just amazed how well they both acted in that scene. I loved just how much he contrasted vader. Even Ren’s final scene(s) in the film were a contrasting similarity to Anakin’s story arc (or just the story arc of episode III).

Finn was the one new comer I was most intrigued by. His character just seems innocent. Sadly if I was to say he reminded me of anyone, it was of Jar-Jar Binks. Before you bash me. Remind yourself Jar Jar was a ploy to get a new generation of kids into the franchise (it worked). Then remember how stupidly innocent Jar-jar was. And now tell me, once you see it. You don’t see the “same” stupid innocence in him (obviously no one is Jar-Jar Binks stupid). If I had to push it forward, John Boyega played him as a good samaritan, after the fact. I’m more than positive there is a reason he “awoke” to the evil around him on that fateful day in the manner he did, during that scene, more than its described in the film. He also seemed like an amalgamation of characters in respect to the original trilogy (as did Poe Damoren. Just not sure if that was a writing, acting or something intended. We won’t know until episode 8 or 9.

Rey. She’s probably the strongest female to be in live action star wars lore. Not just by physical activity, but the how she deals with a lot of characters. There is a significant number of contrasts & similarities between her character (which is still clouded in mystery), and the origins of both Luke and Anakin. that may very well be a hint, but its still anyone’s guess as to who is the parent or relative. What I loved about her was her acting. theres a scene where she’s captured and she uses her face to convey the forward momentum needed for that scene. it was great. I can’t wait to see what she does in the future episodes.

Visually this movie was one of the best shot film I’ve seen. That said, it’s not perfect. There are a lot of times there is noticeable camera changes. Its in the quality output. Some shots were over exposed, some, to me, looked pixelated. personal favourites are that destroyer scene which is on the trailer above and the giant weapon. Dan Mindel is great behind the camera. Minus a few instances, theres a lot to like visually.

Bottom line: Great movie, not without flaws but it was great to be back in the galaxy of Star Wars nonetheless. I think most of it’s success will come from its own hype/name alone. Han Solo steals the show. Its great that his character is the one confirming the force and the Jedi.

  • Overall rating of the movie: 8.7 out of 10,
  • Cinematography: 7 out of 10,
  • Editing: 6 out of 10,
  • Audio: 8 out of 10 (music is like a 4 though),
  • Acting: 9 out of 10,

Theatres or wait for the blu-ray? IMAX. SEE IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN IN IMAX. Because let’s be real, you’re gonna buy it on blu-ray.

THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace”. Your eLEWsive Thought Provided by: the “LEW System”

– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW

Lego Movie: Film Review

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I was shocked as anyone when I heard about this film…


Director: Phil Lord & Christopher MillerWriter: Dan HagemanKevin HagemanPhil Lord & Christopher Miller,

EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!! I really can’t complain about this movie. Its great for kids, even though I don’t see too many kids playing with lego these days. Adults had a riot, and I was well entertained.

I think this movie really helps increase or reinvent the brand that has been pretty static until the emergence of the “Lego Star Wars” games. Of course I went in not expecting much but came out near tears from all the laughing. The key to this movie’s success is that it doesn’t remotely try to take itself seriously. It is light; it is funny and makes fun of all the things “wrong” with the toys and then some. But it’s not overly complicated or too morally strong. But this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a point/moral of the story, all good stories do. It just happens to be more naturally than most comedies seem to allow these days.

The voice direction for the lego characters was great. Further helped by the bigger talent behind the Lego characters like Will Ferrell, Liam Neelson and Morgan Freeman to name a few. Interestingly enough, they were able to get actors like Billy Dee Williams, Harrison Ford to reprise their roles from their famed roles in Star Wars, and even finally, Cobie Smolders got to play Wonder Woman.

The few flaws I do have are that the story didn’t allow for other Lego franchises to be explored. Which makes sense given the movie was from Warner Bro’s and their current biggest investment is featuring Superman, Batman and the warrior princess; Wonder Woman. So that only made sense from an advertisement perspective. The other being that some characters weren’t used more than they could have been.

Bottom line: This movie is totally awesome and no surprise that it’s getting fast-tracked to a sequel. It’s definitely worth the price of admission. Perfect to a nice lil comedy with a loved one, solo, when you’re “high”, or when you’re with small ones.

  • Overall rating of the movie: 8 out of 10,
  • Cinematography: 7.5 out of 10,
  • Editing: 6 out of 10,
  • Audio: 10 out of 10
  • Acting: 8 out of 10,

Video of the Day: Star Wars Day Attack Ad

Happy Star Wars Day

THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace” . Your eLEWsive Thought Provided by: the “LEW System”, May the Forth Be With You
– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW

Video of the Day: Patton Oswalt’s Star Wars Filibuster – Parks and Recreation

On “Parks and Recreation,” Patton Oswalt ad-libbed a filibuster containing his story idea for Episode VII. Some of it is incorrect (Sony owns Spider-Man and Disney, the rest of Marvel outside of what Fox owns like X-Men for example) and there is no X-Men “Quinjet”. But does it not sound bad ass? Apparently he even got a response from J.J.Abrams (scroll to see)

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.@pattonoswalt Time ribbon it is!! – JJ #starwars pic.twitter.com/NnSALt1BEN 

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THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace” and May the Force be with you!
– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW


Darth Vader Voiced By Schwarzenegger

In case you missed it, J.J. Abrams is gonna direct Star Wars 7, so I thought this little gag was a funny way to recap the last three Star wars movie (SW:  “A New Hope”, “Empire Strikes Back”, and “Return of The Jedi”)  keep it locked here for more news as its Available.

 

BREAKING: STAR WARS VII GETS A TREK DIRECTOR?

ITS TRUE!!

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Star Trek Into Darkness helmer J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII for Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm, reports TheWrap. The site says that Ben Affleck was also in contention.

Back in November, Abrams commented on the possibility of him directing and it sounded like it wasn’t happening:

“Look, Star Wars is one of my favorite movies of all time. I frankly feel that – I almost feel that, in a weird way, the opportunity for whomever it is to direct that movie, it comes with the burden of being that kind of iconic movie and series. I was never a big Star Trek fan growing up, so for me, working on Star Trek didn’t have any of that, you know, almost fatal sacrilege, and so, I am looking forward more then anyone to the next iterations of Star Wars, but I believe I will be going as a paying moviegoer!”

TheWrap adds that Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy has been courting Abrams for the director’s chair for a while.

Sta r Wars: Episode VII is scheduled to hit theaters in 2015. Michael Arndt is writing the script.

(Photo Credit: Starbux / WENN.com)

Darth Vader VS Gandalf

I would consider myself a nerd, a comic book nerd at that. Though I do enjoy magic, knights in shiny armour, castles, and all that medieval stuff. I also like to dab into the intergalactic war stories. IF YOU’RE GONNA HAVE A WAR, SPACE IS THE PLACE TO DO IT! As a kid I was introduced to star wars, and I didn’t understand any of it, except that they had lightsabers, so I didn’t need to know anything more. Some couple years later, I saw the Lord of the Rings movies and was like everyone else, in love with the franchise

The Folks over at ‘Bat in the Sun’ who brought you the City of Scars & Seeds of Arkham have brought you this new segment called “Super Power Beat Down“, which I thought was a no brainer. So no spoilers, but who do you think would win? 

(If there is any difficulty just watch them on youtube)

this second vid is just the fight for people who don’t care to see all the stats and what not.

(If there is any difficulty just watch them on youtube)

THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace” and May the Force be with you!

– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW

STAR WARS EPISODE 1: The Phantom menace: 3D Movie Review

At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi

At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi

Well folks if you didn’t book the little easter egg to this here film review in the first review (seen here: http://bit.ly/xnngeZ), then.. Well you missed it!

The time was 1977 males, nerds, geeks, & the women who love them, around the world were all talking about “Star Wars”. It was a surprise hit that no one could have expected. Fox didn’t even have any faith in it, they basically let director, George Lucas keep all the various rights to Star Wars. Fast forward to 1999 and you have a new generation about to travel to a time long ago. To a galaxy far, far away.

This is the prequel to the original Star Wars saga that started with the story of Luke Skywalker, his sister Leia, and her soon to be husband, the cool as ever Han Solo. This saga is about Lukes Father, Anakin Skywalker, fated to be the greatest fictional Villain of all time, & pop culture, DARTH VADER!

This review is going to be more about technical quality since the movie has been out for years, and re done to fix minor bugs, minus the least favourite character, Jar Jar binks. Yes, he is in 3D too. So with this re-release, we’re treated to the best kind of 3D. Many never seem to know the difference. There are two kinds of 3D, “depth”, and “off the screen” 3D. For “Depth” 3D, think of the new TTC trains for you Toronto readers, or a hall way, or even a pop up book. The book is on your lap, but the “pop up” portion is coming at you, while the book is still where it has always been. The off the screen stuff.. Think of the 3D rides you’ve ever been on or what you think is to happen.. Got it? Good.

So with this movie as I was saying earlier is the best kind of 3D, depth. It by default makes the motion picture a better experience. (In case you were wondering which “release” this film was its the blu-ray version, as will be the other 5 movies.) Now 80 % of this movie works well with depth 3D being that its set in a fictional world. And mostly everything you see is CGI’d (Computer Generated Imagery) into the movie.

Some scenes to note that were best in 3D: the pod Race PoV (Point of View, think first person shooter games) shots, the intro, the senate scene, any PoV shot really, Anakin in space, and the Darth maul fight in its entirety.

Ps. Anyone who hates jar jar binks doesn’t understand that the purpose for him was to get children into it. Even the choice to start Anakin as a child. Though, I don’t know why you’d start him anywhere but at the earliest point possible.

My only two dislikes is the editing with the Darth Maul fight, I had always wished there was more of the fight, or less cuts to the other stories being told simultaneously. The other, being that with 3D tech, you have a chance to really do something special, that Pod race scene, even some of the space battles could have been redone with some extra PoV shots.

Overall rating of the movie: 3.5 out of 5, Cinematography: 3 outta 5, Editing: 4 out of 5, Audio: 5 out of 5, 3D: 3.5 out of 5

THAT IT! Cheers “To Peace” and May the Force be with you!

Xavier