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EPIC REVIEW: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (NO SPOILERS)

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? So yesterday night, after month and months of waiting I finally got to see the last of my most anticipated films of 2017; Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The amount of waiting I’ve had to endure in the lead up to this film’s release has been painful, with all the marketing, rumours and speculation about the story and characters, you almost had to jump off the internet to have a clean viewing experience. Luckily I avoided most spoilers and watched all 7 main series films and Rogue One in chronological order over the last 3 days in preparation which was fun. So with all that out of the way how was the film, well read on and find out!

So the story can be described as the following:

“Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.”

I don’t want to go into too much detail so I shall be brief. This was a really interesting chapter in the SW saga, one that had a lot more depth, intrigue and surprises than I expected, and I love the film for that. Rian Johnson confidently steps into this universe with a sense conviction, darkness, intelligence and style that is clearly his own if you know of his work and it shakes up this world in really compelling ways. This film definitely channels Empire Strikes Back in terms of the tone and certain story aspects, but it is its own beast. There are drama and emotion on a level I’ve not seen in this series for quite some time, but there’s also a sense of levity to balance things out when necessary. This was also the most thought-provoking film of the series to date, it is very psychological and causes you to think about certain things in a different light. I really enjoyed the themes of the past coming back to haunt you, feeling out of place, good and evil, and the moral and ethical shades of grey. There were also a lot of bold decisions made that I did not see coming which gave me joy, heart-pounding tension and plenty to think about. And finally, I loved how this film expanded the mythology of this universe with history and visual and verbal details that makes you look at what you know it in a different light.

As for the cast they were great, everyone in this film does a great job, whether they were main cast, secondary or just had cameos, everyone had a moment to shine. Firstly there’s Mark Hamill who was just wonderful as Luke Skywalker. This time Luke was crumpy, defeated, yet a knowledgeable and witty old man who had to deal with the mistakes of his past and deal with issues of the present via Rey and Hamill was just as captivating as ever, he had so many scene-stealing moments. Daisy Ridley as Rey was really good, I enjoyed seeing her learn about her powers, see her interact with Luke and search for answers about her past. Ridley’s very charming and engaging and has definitely improved in this role since the first film. Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa was great, Leia had a big part to play in this film and I loved it. I enjoyed seeing tough yet humorous demeanour and her perseverance in the face of adversity. Fisher had great moments individually and with others and at times I did feel like shedding a tear. Adam Driver as Kylo Ren was great, I’ve been a fan of this character since the previous film and here we get a character really wanting to prove his worth, but also find a sense of purpose and focus and Driver plays this role with flair and subtlety. John Boyega’s return as Finn was great, he still has a great sense of humour but is also has great dramatic moments, he has a lot of good moments and Boyega’s charisma shines through.

Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron was also impressive, I enjoyed seeing more of him in this film and seeing a different side to his character. Isaac certainly has a commanding presence and stands out whenever possible whether it be for dramatic or humorous purposes. Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke was good, it was nice to learn more about this guy considering the mystery surrounding him in the previous film. Snoke was sinister and intimidating and Serkis was captivating in the role. Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux was interesting, he had some good moments, also Anthony Daniels as C-3PO was just as fun as ever, Gwendoline Christie returned as Captain Phasma and definitely had a presence and Lupita Nyong’o had a great performance as Maz Kanata. Newcomers Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro do well as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo and DJ, the former had an interesting role to play and I enjoyed her performance a lot, and the latter was certainly not what I expected but he was a memorable character for sure. But the most memorable of the new characters was Kelly Marie Tran as Rose, from the time she’s introduced she’s smart, decisive and loveable and I really enjoyed her story arc and interaction with Finn.

When it comes to the presentation it was fabulous. Visually the film looked lovely. I paid extra attention to the cinematography and it looked like everything was painstakingly crafted with certain tracking shots, zooms, use of lighting and framing, everything felt like it had a purpose and was done to the highest degree possible. The space battles felt like a mix of The Force Awakens and Rogue One with its own interesting elements mixed in, certain chases sequences looked lovely and the lightsaber moments were wonderfully choreographed in a classic yet unexpected manner. The CGI was very detailed, clean and realistic, while the practical effects continue to impress me with how much these characters, creatures and robots can be make-up, animatronics and puppetry. Also, the film score from John Williams was awesome. The Force Awakens had good music, but wasn’t overly memorable, whereas this film had a score with a much stronger presence which enhanced every scene it was used in. The themes he introduced from the last film stand out even more and some of the new music he creates is wonderfully varied yet consistent with what’s come before.

In the end, The Last Jedi, was a good film, a really good film. It surprised me in many ways, it also met and exceeded my expectations in certain areas and while not everything in the story and the use of certain characters didn’t go the way I would have liked, the film was still thoroughly engaging and entertaining. After looking at some responses to the film online I know this film won’t be for everyone but I say give it a try.

So have you seen The Last Jedi and if so what did you think of it? Let me know in comments section below and I’ll see ya in the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review (Spoiler-Free!)

So the day of reckoning has arrived (at least for us in the UK), Star Wars The Force Awakens has finally been released and I saw it in IMAX yesterday, and excuse the profanity, but it was some good shit. The wait for this film has felt like an eternity but I’ve seen in this new Star Wars film, and while a spoiler-free review seems impossible. I’m going to attempt it anyway. 😀

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The plot can be described as the following:

“30 years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat rises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a ragtag group of Heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.”

First thing I can say about this story is that it was really good. At first I thought this film would be just a retread of A New Hope, and throughout the film there’s certainly some call backs to that particular film, however as the story progresses it quickly evolves into its own tale with new characters, mythology and set up for even grander adventures in the future. What I loved about this film was its ability to connect with The Original Trilogy, but also feel totally fresh, exciting and unexpected. This film is full of humour, drama, mystery and intrigue, but at the center of it all it has heart. And for all the spectacle and larger-than-life elements, this was a very intimate and personal adventure for several of the characters involved and you could feel the emotion for sure. There’s also a lot of great references to the previous Star Wars films, and while you don’t have to have seen the previous films to understand TFA, you really can’t appreciate all of the subtle references or the dramatic moments involving the older returning cast members.

I have to hand it to J.J. Abrams and his team of writers for being able to pull this film off. This film really felt like Star Wars from a nostalgic standpoint, but it didn’t rely to heavily on it and created a lot of new material especially when it came to some of the humour and dialogue. Some of this material felt odd to be a in a Star Wars film, but it also helped the film feel relatable to modern film audiences. Also this film gets a little dark, sure it’s not the first time in this series, but certain moments were definitely violent and aggressive. Now this film isn’t perfect (although its pretty close), certain characters aren’t utilized to their full potential and certain plot points and mysteries you may be able to predict if you’re hardcore fan who has read the Expanded Universe/Legacy material or have speculated a lot online. But make no mistake, this film feels like the Star Wars you remember and it felt like a satisfactory follow-up to Return of the Jedi.

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Oh and the cast, they were great. A lot of these characters come from different backgrounds and this film did a good job of weaving them all together in coherent manner that felt natural. Firstly let me talk about Daisy Ridley and John Boyega as Rey and Finn, man I adore these two. Rey was this smart, cunning and interesting scavenger, while Finn was a defected stormtrooper from the First Order who was brave, extremely funny and emotionally scarred. Both of these characters have great chemistry together, but their separate adventures were also very personal and badass. Adam Driver as Kylo Ren was very badass, this character could have easily been a one-note villain, but there were layers to him, and discovering more about his personality and history as the film progressed was exciting and engaging. Oscar Isaac was great as Poe Dameron, just the definition of cool with a great deal of charisma, humour and confidence, and I have to give a shout out to BB-8 as he was one of the most adorable and humourous aspects of this film.

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And then there’s Harrison Ford as Han Solo, I loved him SO much. Ford, while certainly older, he felt like he hadn’t lost a step as Solo. This character was still just as charming, daring and hilarious as ever, however, he’d also aged and his perspective on certain things has changed a great deal, and while he was certainly used as a means to guide the new characters into this franchise, at the same time he had a key role to play and it was handled nicely. Carrie Fisher’s return as General Leia Organa was very nice too, Leia, while similar to the woman were known from the previous films, she’s changed too, she has a lot more responsibilities and it was cool to see a different side to her. Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata was another great new addition as she had such wonderful moments with some of the heroes, and Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke was quite fascinating, he was imposing, powerful and yet strange and mysterious too. The rest of the cast was either not given enough screen time or weren’t developed enough especially when it came to Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Max von Sydow as Lor San Tekka and Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma.

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When it comes to the presentation, dear god I could nearly explode from the feeling of happiness this film gave me. Visually the film was beyond awesome. Everything from the gorgeous, pulsating space battles to the dirty/aggressive lightsaber duels to the lovely practical effects for the aliens and robots was stunning. What was great about this film was that it looked and sounded just like the previous films, but now with a swifter pace, a different style of cinematography, better use of practical effects and the CGI was clean, sharp and flawlessly executed. Oh and the music by John Williams, it was pretty damn cool. Now I will admit there weren’t any new themes that stuck out to me (like “Duel of the Fates” in the prequels), however the music is a mixture of new and old, but it has the Williams touch, that sense of magic and wonder, fear, intensity and joy that comes from a Star Wars film and it was a joy to hear it.

In conclusion Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to put it simply, the film just made me feel good. There’s a sense of satisfaction that I got after this film ended that I haven’t felt since The Avengers, all I needed this film to be was good and it exceeded my expectations in ways I never thought would happen. With an engaging new story, brilliant performances from the main cast members and stunning production values, Star Wars in back for fans new and old. Now the film does have issues and some fans will not be entirely happy with everything that goes down, but hell I really enjoyed myself with this film and I will probably see it several more times into the new year.

Critic Rating: 8.5/10

Fan Rating: 9/10

So are you going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens and if so are you hyped or worried? And if you’ve seen the film were you pleased or disappointed? Please be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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LATE NEWS PART 2: Lupita Nyong’o & Gwendoline Christie Join Star Wars: Episode VII

Good day to you ladies and gents and welcome to part 2 of my late news stories that I wanted to blog about. With the information on Josh Trank and his involvement in Star Wars, there was a news story, again Star Wars-related that broke earlier on in the week that I feel that needs to be addressed. The following information comes from superherohype:

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Lupita Nyong’o joins the recently announced cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. This year, her breakthrough performance in 12 Years a Slave earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Gwendoline Christie, currently starring in the hit television series “Game of Thrones” as Brienne of Tarth, has also been cast in the production. She can next be seen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.

“I could not be more excited about Lupita and Gwendoline joining the cast of ‘Episode VII,’” says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “It’s thrilling to see this extraordinarily talented ensemble taking shape.”

So when I read this I was proper happy. Firstly to see that the rumours about Lupita being in Episode VII have come to pass just fills me with we happiness, I always thought it would be cool to see her in the film if she did get the part, but seeing her officially cast is fabulous. But the more surprising side of this story is the fact that Brienne from Game of Thrones is gonna be part of Star Wars, that is just insanely cool. I’ve loved Christie’s work in GoT and her performance in the show especially during season 3 made Brienne one of my favourite characters. She has a great screen presences and is hard as nails so you know she can do action too. I’m just stupid happy for the both of them to see how far they’ve come in such a short time and I’m intrigued to see who they end up playing.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2014 in Films, Media

 

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