Showing posts with label star wars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label star wars. Show all posts

Monday, May 4, 2020

Ranking The Star Wars Franchise (So Far)

For forty years, Star Wars reigned as one of the best phenomenons in the world. It's captivated generations of fans to the force, stand up against the Empire, and trail the Skywalker legacy. With director and creator George Lucas's initial saga having finally completed in 2019, and the rest of the universe on-hold for both theatrical releases and Disney+, I thought it's about time to rank the film franchise and spin-offs so far. How would you rank the series? Feel free to let me know in the comments.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker (2019) Malfunctioned Beyond All Repair

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker movie review
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Since legendary filmmaker George Lucas changed movie history with a little space opera called Star Wars (1977), generations of fans have been obsessed with the imaginative sci-fi universe he created.  Slated to tell the story of the Skywalker clan over the course of nine movies, it’s been written in the stars that the epic saga would eventually close this chapter forever. Expected to stick the franchise’s landing with the latest trilogy The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), its final film The Rise of Skywalker is not the finale many of us were looking for.

In 2015, the Star Wars legacy was reignited with director and writer JJ Abrams’s The Force Awakens. A ragtag group of heroes fighting against the Empire 2.0 hit too close to home with A New Hope, but offered a chance to connect with a younger generation of characters and explore new plots. Namely, why did Luke Skywalker disappear? How did Ben Solo’s relationship with his uncle turn him to the dark side of the Force? Who was Rey from nowhere? The film was filled with endless possibilities that unraveled in the divisive follow-up The Last Jedi. Trying to answer as many questions as possible while also subverting expectations, director and writer Rian Johnson planted fresh ideas about failure in the Star Wars mythos. It gave us the chance to imagine Star Wars if it didn’t act like a formulaic blockbuster Star Wars film. Given full reigns to reinsert his own character development and plot, Abrams returned to throw everything at the wall and give fans the climatic finale they wanted. But it’s also one that we never imagined and might not have realistically needed.

After The Resistance led by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) escapes The First Order, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is tasked with completing her Jedi training to take down Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). When the prince of darkness makes an unexpected reunion with the invincible Sith Lord Emperor Palpatine, both Rey and Kylo's connection to The Force will drive them to confront their biggest fears and darkest secrets.

This review contains spoilers from the film - read at your own risk.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Geek, And You Shall Find (2019) Celebrates the Power of Superheroes Within

Geek, And You Shall Find (2019)
Superhero Faces Productions / Geek, And You Shall Find
Superman. Spider-Man. Captain America. Wonder Woman. These are just a few super-heroic characters who have become beloved icons for children and adults alike. From the famous Hall H at San Diego Comic Con to breaking box office records, it’s almost impossible to believe the arduous and inspiring evolution of geekdom. And yet, fandom not only started with the humble origins of comic books, but has also catapulted the way in which we navigate our everyday lives and the world around us.

Geek, and You Shall Find explores the fascinating past and future of comic books. Its creators and their stories have made a lasting impression on generations of readers, but where did it all start? How do the stories we love reflect society and vice versa? What can we truly gain from admiring characters that wear masks, don capes, and try to save their fellow man? Superhero Faces Productions journeys into the depths of Marvel, Westeros, Star Wars, and more to understand the life-changing impact behind our galaxy's biggest fandoms.

Starting with The Great Depression and the initial creation of Superman, Geek, and You Shall Find uncovers the rich history of beloved larger-than-life characters becoming an antidote and answer to society's greatest ordeals: war, racism, class disparity, immigration, and gender inequality. In speaking with the late Stan Lee, George R.R. Martin, Roy Thomas, and Kevin Eastman, the documentary examines the rise and challenges the comic book revolution has overcome and still faces. From censorship to international conflicts, comic books have not only withstood the test of time but also influenced reality far more than we could ever consider. Beyond the breaking down the timeline of how comic book creators imagined the fictional heroes we revere today, the film also implements Joseph Campbell’s heroes journey and how it mirrors our lives in mythological terms.

Drawing strength from comic books is no different than seeing ourselves in religious, historical, or public figures. Despite the fantastical or science-fiction approach to reflect the best and worst traits humans possess, comic books aren't often recognized as 'real' entertainment. When examining political issues, expanding inclusion, and challenging the status quo, the genre's critics are often the first to protest that 'serious' issues don't belong in their fandom. Outside of connecting with the genre's 'godfathers', the documentary also features creators standing up for what they believe in, psychologists  using comic books to help patients deal with trauma, and fans reaching out to each other for support and camaraderie. The worlds escape with on-screen and on the page prove to inspire real activism, practice compassion, and break barriers with their personal views.

As a self-proclaimed geek, it’s difficult to not find one area of my life that isn’t influenced by movies, books, or shows. When we connect with superheroes, Jedis, hobbits or wizards on their adventures, we become a part of their story and vice versa. Their ability to face against greedy corporations, evil masterminds, and stand up after being knocked down gives us strength to handle our own setbacks and victories. By participating in fandom over the years, I've grown out of my introverted cave to express my love of pop culture to write, cosplay, and try to inspire others to be the best that they can be. Comic books re-affirm what I love about fandom is as true and meaningful as I think it is for myself and fellow geeks as well.

Geek, and You Shall Find celebrates the rich history of storytelling in general and profound lessons and transformation comic books has on humanity. Superhero Faces Productions creates a positive affirmation about our unique passion for storytelling, and also invites those who don’t believe in the power of geek culture to reconsider. Their work maintains a wonderful balance of personalizing fandom from its roots to its present day success. We might not literally have spiderwebs shooting out of our wrists or take it to the streets against caped villains. But when we geek out, we are embracing a part of our identities in a whole new way and reminds us to embrace the superhero within.
Rating for the film: ★★★
Have you seen Geek, and You Shall Find? What do you think?

Please Note: I was provided with a screener in exchange for an honest review. Geek, and You Shall Find is available to watch on Amazon, Vudu, YouTube, and Google Play.

Friday, May 24, 2019

MegaCon Orlando Community Zone Makes Fans' Dreams Come True

At the heart of every fandom, a sense of community remains an intricate element of every convention. At MegaCon Orlando, hundreds of thousands of attendees enjoy the opportunity to interact with local organizations to share in the love and craftsmanship of their favorite  films, television shows, anime series, or comic books.

The Community Zone at MegaCon Orlando exhibits a vast number of one-of-a-kind experiences for everyone. To benefit charities around the country, attendees can donate money in exchange to have their photo taken in front of an iconic piece of film history like the Batmobile or the Delorean from Back to the Future. Booths offer family-friendly activities like getting close to exotic wildlife to learn and donate to conservation efforts. Located in the midst of the retail section, autograph booths, and cosplay red carpet, fans act out their biggest dreams to help make the world a better place or learn something new. 

This year I discovered a few special places to geek heart that not only helped me become aware of the incredible work and craftsmanship that goes into my favorite fandoms, and also made a few of my biggest and geekiest dreams come true.

Friday, April 12, 2019

15 Favorite Reactions of Epic Return in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

LucasFilm / Disney
This weekend the 2019 Star Wars Celebration in Chicago wasted zero time getting fans pumped up for the next long-awaited installment. Opening the weekend ceremony with the title reveal of Star Wars: Episode IX and a teaser with the cast in person, our anticipation and hype was already on edge. While news of the latest actors to join the LucasFilm family was well-established for the better part of 2018, one surprise blew up the internet like the Death Stars being blasted into a million pieces.

In case you're avoiding spoilers for the next Star Wars film set for release in December 2019, this post contains info about one legendary character's epic return. Read at your risk!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) Might Just Be The Best Spin-Off in the Galaxy So Far

Some movies just have really bad luck. One wouldn't think that this would be the case for Star Wars, but since its Disneyfied resurgence in 2015 the beloved phenomenon has had its ups and downs. The highs have been relatively good enough to give the movies a new life, while the lows of critically-panned sequels and spin-offs are enough to put a kink in the franchise's hype. Overshadowed by high expectations and franchise-overexposure, Solo: A Star Wars Story has the unfortunate disadvantage of landing right in the middle.

Set before the original Star Wars films, young Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) joins forces with a group of smugglers in order to make good on a deal that went sour. Along the way, he reconciles with a partner-in-crime he thought he'd lost for good, gains enemies, and makes new friends as he aims to become the best pilot in the galaxy.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Ashley Eckstein's It's Your Universe: You Have the Power to Make It Happen Book Launch

Ask any Star Wars fan, especially of The Clone Wars, and they probably know the name of Ashley Eckstein and her voice for the popular character Ahsoka Tano. Same goes for female geeks of all ages who love the adorable and comfortable clothing line known as Her Universe. Having loved Her Universe and been following Eckstein on Instagram, I learned that she was going to be in Orlando for the launch of her book It's Your Universe: You Have the Power to Make It Happen. Though I prefer to stay inside my hut on Jakku, this wasn't an opportunity I was going to pass up! I hadn't even met her yet, and already she was pushing me out of my comfort zone.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Stars I Love: Carrie Fisher

Despite being a huge geek, Star Wars wasn't a fandom I easily connected with growing up. My mom and sister have always been obsessed with George Lucas's space opera. Even though they took me to the prequels released in theaters, always had the original trio playing on tv, and even attended conventions to meet a parade of castmates, The Force failed to click with me.

Even though I didn't get the hype of the original movies, the iconography of the damsel-without-the-distress was a simple concept to love. My interest in the Star Wars realm wasn't strong, but I hugely admired Carrie Fisher.
When it’s out, it’s someone else’s version of what’s the matter with me. I want it to be my version of what it is. My recourse is to do my version. (x)
In 2015, when the original cast was announced to return to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, knowing Carrie Fisher would be on press tours and much more involved in the public than she had been was an absolute gift for me. If there was one person I looked forward to hearing from, it was her - that sharp humor, vulnerable candor, and unvarnished approach to life in and out of Hollywood.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Thank you Carrie: 13 Moving Tributes to Our Princess Leia

Princess Leia Carrie Fisher Artwork Tributes
Carrie Fisher didn't expect to become famous, let alone the icon of a major franchise. 

Daughter to actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, she started studying the arts as a young adult, and then sort of fell into showbusiness by taking one small job and then landing the role of a lifetime. In 1977, Princess Leia in George Lucas's A New Hope became a beacon for what would become generations of fans. Her character's intelligence, tenacity and resilient attitude set herself among the best and most beloved heroines in film history.

After being absent from the big screen for nearly thirty years, the fandom never thought Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia would ever return. When Disney rebooted the franchise in 2015 with The Force Awakens, one of the greatest most anticipating moments was to see the original characters come back. Leia returned as a sophisticated General still fighting the good fight against evil. Though Fisher unexpectedly passed away in December 2016, a year before the eighth film and most recent installment The Last Jedi hit theaters, her character and performance became a sudden a goodbye that has meant the world to so many fans, including myself.

The legacy she leaves behind both on and off the screen is unforgettable. Now that the eighth movie has hit theaters, I thought now would be the best time to send out a simple Thank You to Carrie and our Princess Leia with thirteen moving tributes celebrating her humor, confidence, bravery, spontaneity, vulnerability, and pure bad-assery. May the Force Be With You.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) Is Not the Sequel We Were Looking For

Star Wars The Last Jedi movie review
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
In 2015, Disney brought back George Lucas's Star Wars with ambitious plans to churn out films until 2020. Following a long-awaited ten years after the prequels disappointed the masses, Star Wars: The Force Awakens renewed the beloved franchise to a solid, mixed reaction. Leaving its sequel with a lot of questions to answer, The Last Jedi had one job to do, and unfortunately, didn't get it exactly right.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS. Please return when you've seen the movie.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

5 Questions That Need To Be Answered in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

In 2015, Disney revitalized the galactically popular Star Wars franchise with the exciting reboot Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In the seventh installment, Rey (Daisy Ridley) was an orphaned scavenger who discovers her astonishing Jedi abilities and becomes entangled in Luke Skywalker's legacy, the rise of the First Order, and the dark Jedi-in-training Kylo Ren. As the follow-up to the previous flick, The Last Jedi aims to be a massive success at the box office and hopefully answers a lot of questions its predecessor left behind. Before we hop into our Millennium Falcons and hit hyperdrive to the movie theaters this weekend, here are five questions that need to be answered in Star Wars: The Last Jedi! Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) Trailer Reaction

Star Wars The Last Jedi Trailer Poster
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
The time has finally arrived young Padawans! After months of the first teaser release, the Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer dropped. As expected excitement for the eighth film, which will return to the Resistance's fight against the First Order, and Rey's ascent/descent with the force, was absolutely insane as we get a bigger idea of what's going to happen next.

Let's get straight into the new trailer! SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) chokes on its aspirations

Jyn Erso Rogue One Movie Revew
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
With Princess Leia ruling the original trilogy and Rey holding up the mantle for The Force Awakens as girl power icons of the galaxy, Rogue One offers another brave warrior the opportunity to give fans a new heroine to aspire to. Renegade Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is called upon by the Rebel Alliance to steal the plans for the Death Star, and in doing so, finish her family's attempt to bring down the Galactic Empire.

Like the Star Wars movies that came before and will come after Rogue One, the immersive journey relies heavily on ordinary people, Jedis or not, to vie for light, humanity, and goodness against the darker forces threatening the galaxies. This prequel (to A New Hope) relies heavily on Erso to bring a deeper meaning to the cause, but unfortunately, the production and lead character just don't have the force on their side.

Erso has all the makings of a compelling insurgent, but her journey is surprisingly incomplete. Since the space-opera saga is not particularly new with lone heroes destined for greatness, Erso's estranged relationships recycle other similar arcs created over the years. The story itself doesn't commit to original or unique moments besides the basics: Erso is an orphan, henceforth the Death Star must be stopped. As if aware of the movie's ending before giving it away, the production goes through the motions, plucking Erso in between moments of her past to the current cause, and fails to develop her identity in the galaxy.

On the page Erso must've been truly fascinating to helm such an important part of the series, but unfortunately, she's not portrayed in the best light. Felicity Jones serving as the leading lady falls very flat. Perhaps this criticism could be pointed to Gareth Edwards's direction, but Jones struggles with her bearings almost every time she's on-screen. From delivering dialogue to letting the meaning of Erso's determination come across, Jones is often unmotivating, lacking the much-needed chemistry with her castmates. (Other actresses like Emmy Rossum or Jenna Malone could've been much more interesting casting choices.) After quite a few particular dull "rousing" speeches, it's difficult to believe she's the one other warriors want to follow into the battlefield; that presence of a misunderstood loner turned leader isn't there.

Even though Erso isn't as interesting as she could've been, background players for the Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire have a chance to be the real stars. For the former, we have Diego Luna as Cassian Andor, Donnie Yen as Chirrut Îmwe, Riz Ahmed as Bodhi Rook and Alan Tudyk does a sensational job voicing the sassy droid K-2SO. Together, they create the humorous, heartfelt band of misfits and warriors needed to anchor us to the good side. For the latter, we have Ben Mendelsohn as Orson Krennic, the Director of Advanced Weapons Research who pretty much acted by himself against extras and a creepy CGI incarnation of Peter Cushing. If you're looking to rally for one of the two teams, these guys give the emotional pull the movie deserves.

The script doesn't help by jumping between the Empire, the rebellion, and Erso. The first hour feels as if Disney needed something to fill the gap between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, and rushed to deliver this faster than the Millenium Falcon in hyperdrive. So many familiar and new places and characters are supposed to be woven together as if we naturally know everyone and everything in the Star Wars world, but rough edits and hasty dialogue rarely unites the story on the same plane. Parts of the production are wonderfully unique like the muted colors and vast cinematography, and composer Michael Giacchino is a welcome addition to challenging what a Star Wars soundtrack can sound like. What truly makes Rogue One exciting is the final battle against the Empire. Smaller characters and unexpected cameos have some amazing moments to shine and pack a punch. The non-stop action and heartbreaking sacrifices instill all of the feels and entertainment to correct what doesn't initially work. Taking over as the real showstopper, the second hour puts everything on the line and catapults the story into a fascinating finale.

Rogue One isn't the Star Wars adventure I was looking for. As an essential part of the resistance, Erso doesn't compare to her counterparts as much as she could've. If it wasn't for the movie's climatic finale offering the exciting and tragic connection to A New Hope, a lot could've been lost with this prequel. Either from a direction or studio standpoint, Gareth Edwards didn't break free from the other 'prequel-sequel-reboot' mode Disney's churning out. As if Darth Vader had his hands around the production, this installment chokes on its aspirations.

Rating: ★½☆☆
Have you seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story?
What do you think?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) Teaser Reaction

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Teaser Trailer
Photo Credit: Star Wars / Walt Disney Studios
This year's Star Wars Celebration has been an epic reflection of the forty-year franchise created by George Lucas. It promised an action-packed weekend of panels, tributes, and news for fans. Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm did not disappoint with a thrilling teaser of the next installment Star Wars: The Last Jedi! The anticipation for the eighth film has been galactic-sized proportions as we've waited to see what happens in the next battle of the forces.

Take a look! (Spoilers below!) What are your first reactions? Feel free to share in the comments!

My first reaction is that I want the movie too. I. WANT. IT. NOW.

In expert Disney fashion, the teaser is just as cryptic as the initial Star Wars: The Force Awakens' first look. But that just gives us further room to get hyped up and the anticipation to build.

Rey is obviously receiving training by the one and only Luke Skywalker. But will they have moved from their speechless staredown and how far long has Luke been mentoring her Empire Strikes Back style?

As she begins her journey to bring balance to the force, events surrounding the Resistance's stand against the First Order are growing direr as battle scenes take place on other planets and throughout the universe. We get a sneak peek at what her friends are up to:

Finn is shown resting in what looks like a medical bay. One fan translated the Aurebesh text to reveal that he's in stable condition. Is he recovering from the back injury he sustained during Ren and Rey's lightsaber showdown or something else he suffers in another fight? What will his journey be like in finding his place in the Resistance?

Other tidbits in the trailer include: Poe and BB8 are on the move again to fight in the sky, but the landing bay he needs to use is blown up.

Is that an old set of books on a wooden shelf in Luke's cave?

Someone's hands runs down the vintage Jedi symbol.

The Millennium Falcon flies again.

What will be Luke's first words? I'm thinking somewhere along the lines "I've been expecting you."

Not only has the trailer sparked new questions, but also calls on older questions still left over from Force Awakens to be answered Who is Rey's parents? Given Carrie Fisher's unfortunate passing, what will General Leia's role be in her last installment?

On the opposite end of the spectrum of Luke mentoring Rey, we still have much to learn about Kylo Ren and the seducer of the dark side Supreme Leader Snoke. As another planet goes up in flames with Ren walking through the rubble, obviously he is living up to his grandfather's legacy. Will we see more of Snoke other than a hologram? What planet did, Matt the Radar technician, I mean Kylo Ren scorch this time? Who falls to their knees next to R2D2?

Even though Skywalker is teaching Rey the ways of the force, his final words ominously declare: "I only know one truth. It's time for the Jedi to end." Does Skywalker believe the Jedi way is over or will it evolve into something else?

I don't know about ya'll but I can't wait! The next installment is written and directed by Rian Johnson (Brick and Looper). Making Christmas even more special, Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters December 15th, 2017.

What did you think of the Last Jedi trailer? What you most excited about? Feel free to share in the comments!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Matt the Radar Technician Cosplay at Halloween

Matt the Radar Technician Cosplay
Despite being a massive geek, I was never really a Star Wars fan. Not that my mom and sister didn't try to influence my disinterest over the years by watching the films and going to the conventions, as I grew up with the first era of early 2000s installments. But the Disney and J.J. Abrams's reboot changed my enthusiasm. And I guess you could say Saturday Night Live played a big role too.

When Adam Driver hosted the weekly sketch-comedy show, there was one clip I was totally obsessed with: Undercover Boss. The skit has Darth Vader's grandson Kylo Ren posing undercover at Starkiller Base as Matt the Radar Technician. Certain lines like "Kylo Ren is a punk-bitch", as much as I thought it was creative and funny. The entire skit became a fandom of mine ever since it aired.

Immediately, the video inspired me to make this my Halloween costume. I'm not sure there's ever been another costume I was so determined to complete as much as possible.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Out of This World Adorable Star Wars Posters and Artwork

More than any other movie in our galaxy the Star Wars series has inspired artwork from its legions of fans. Search anywhere on the world wide web and you'll discover hundreds of thousands original posters, sketches, illustrations. In celebration of the highly-anticipated release for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I've collected some adorable and out of this world artwork. I hope you enjoy!