April 7, 2018
The Last Jedi seemed to pick up immediately where The Force Awakens ends, although my memory is a bit hazy since Rogue One happened in the middle of the two movies. David is still running from the Goliath and Luke Skywalker has some part to play in the whole thing. While I felt a need to watch this movie, I guess I wasn’t excited about knowing more about the universe. Thinking back, this was probably my feeling when I watched the prequel movies (guess who’s not a Star Wars nut).
The one thing I was interested in seeing resolved in this movie was how they would write Carrie Fisher out, or what parts did they use CG to film/post-process after she died. I never found out the answer to that question. What I did realize though, was that these Star Wars movie are the opposite of Pixar movies – I felt like an adult watching a kid movie. There were so many scenes where I felt I was being bludgeoned by plot explanations (Dameron learned his lesson). I can only explain it as being a movie being targeted towards young adults, as I thought the movie industry was moving to plots that required the audience to make inferences.
The one thing that I liked about this movie is that it seemed to move away from the light vs dark cliche, and the formulaic good vs bad story arch that seemed to govern the entire series. The loose ends weren’t tied up when the movie finished (there is still one more movie of course), but I do wonder if it’s going to return to light vs dark or end up a different way.
The Last Jedi had all the visual cues of a Star Wars movie (weird aliens and worlds), but it just wasn’t inspiring. It wasn’t bad though so I can’t give it less than a 3 out of 5 stars.
April 11, 2017
There was a great selection of movies this month on Air Canada flights. I didn’t have enough flight time to see them all so I had to prioritize, and Rogue One was top on my list. I actually thought about seeing this in theatres because Apollo is interested in Star Wars; however, we decided it was probably too violent and scary for him. I’m glad we didn’t because it is definitely too scary for him.
Rogue One is like a prequel to A New Hope, and you can actually watch them back-to-back:
"Rogue One" Spliced with "A New Hope" from Barre Fong on Vimeo.
The story follows a rag tag team of characters who have to steal the plans for the death star and deliver it to Princess Leia & R2D2. As a story, it’s quite predictable and uses common themes (including the RPG trope of the reluctant hero). However, it is fun and enjoyable to watch, and I didn’t notice the over-two-hours run time.
The cast of characters were interesting, without a traditional white male lead character. It’s refreshing to see the diversity in this and The Force Awakens, although it’s almost like the traditional white male is underrepresented (or maybe they are being subliminally portrayed as bad guys). Also K-2SO is the characer that Jar Jar should have been!
I’m curious how Rogue One will be thought of within the entire volume of Star Wars movies (now that Disney has the franchise, I can see it being more like James Bond than Indiana Jones). It was a fun and polished movie, but it’s just too cookie cutter for it to be more than 3 stars.
April 18, 2016
Although I’m not a Star Wars fan, this was the movie I was most interested in watching on my flight to Korea. It’s probably as close to a must-watch movie as there is nowadays. The good thing about not being a Star Wars fan is that it’s easy to avoid spoilers or knowing too much about the movie – the only thing I knew were the protagonists (thanks to some battery commercials on TV) and some mentions on my Facebook feed that it was like A New Hope.
I think the comparisons are pretty apt, the theme and basic plot line is the same thing. One way to think about it is that it is a reboot of the franchise for this generation in addition to being a continuation of the series for old timers. You don’t mess with a formula that works but existing fans will still enjoy it (while reboots like Batman were interesting, Spider-Man was not).
I was a bit surprised at home dumbed down the dialogue and characters were at the beginning. Even though they are probably in their 20s, they acted like kids less than 10. Maybe that was a Disney influence, trying to spawn a generation of young fans. It got better as the action picked up though. I enjoyed watching it but I wasn’t enamoured with the mythos or the universe. There are too many different franchises and the Star Wars universe is just one more. I’m curious to see where the rest of the series goes but this movie by itself rates as a 3 out of 5 stars for me.