First Impressions: The Force Awakens (*Spoiler-Free*)

star-wars-force-awakens-official-posterI finally had a chance to see The Force Awakens! This review is intended to minimize the risk of spoilers for readers who have not had a chance to see the film yet. Later next week, I will write a more detailed review with spoilers to discuss some important moments in the film. [originally posted on Legendarium Media]

The Force Awakens feels very much like a representation of the transition currently underway in the Star Wars franchise. Disney and Lucasfilm realize they have to appeal to old fans of the Original Trilogy as well as attract new fans. One of the biggest obstacles the Prequel Trilogy faced was that it was too different from the core of what people loved about the original movies. Given the public backlash against the Prequels, it must have been tempting to simply rehash the original films in order to appease fan nostalgia. J.J. Abrams chose a different path, clearly harkening back to the old but using it to ease the transition into the new. Continue reading “First Impressions: The Force Awakens (*Spoiler-Free*)”

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Retrospective Review: Return of the Jedi

In preparation for The Force Awakens, I’m rewatching all six Star Wars films and sharing my thoughts here. This week, I look at Return of the Jedi, the final film in the story… until now!Star-Wars-Return-Jedi-VI-Poster_a10501d2

For almost 30 years, Return of the Jedi was the end of the Star Wars saga. Sure, there were the books and comics of the Expanded Universe, but those always had a troubled relationship with the Star Wars canon. While Lucasfilm promoted them as the official continuation of the story, George Lucas was never directly involved and always seemed to consider them separate from his creation. Despite some suggestions in the late 1970s that Lucas might write a sequel trilogy, by 1983 he clearly intended to end with Return of the Jedi. Yet, as of next week, it will no longer be the final film in the Star Wars saga. So, before we all see The Force Awakens, I wanted to spend some time thinking about the plot threads Return of the Jedi leaves unresolved. Continue reading “Retrospective Review: Return of the Jedi”

Retrospective Review: The Empire Strikes Back

Empire_strikes_back_oldIn preparation for The Force Awakens, I’m rewatching all six Star Wars films and sharing my thoughts here. This week on Legendarium Media, I look at The Empire Strikes Back, widely regarded as the best film in the series…

There are many, many resons why The Empire Strikes Back ranks as my favorite Star Wars film, from the wonderful character moments to the exciting chase scenes. As I rewatch the film, I’m truly impressed by how well everything fits together. George Lucas, Director Irvin Kershner, and Producer Gary Kurtz must have really put some thought into every aspect of the film. Everything on the screen—from the setting to the color palette—reinforces and enhances the movie’s core themes. Like a classic work of literature, you can peel back the layers and find deeper meanings. Continue reading “Retrospective Review: The Empire Strikes Back”

Retrospective Review: A New Hope

Star_wars_oldIn preparation for The Force Awakens, I’m rewatching all six Star Wars films and sharing my thoughts here. This week, I look at A New Hope, the film that started it all. (originally published at Legendarium Media)

What is there left to say about Star Wars: A New Hope that hasn’t already been said? The original Star Wars is perhaps the single most successful movie of all time, launching a multibillion dollar franchise that has profoundly affected the lives of millions of people. It has wonderful characters, impressive special effects, and a heartening story. Continue reading “Retrospective Review: A New Hope”

Retrospective Review: Revenge of the Sith

In preparation for The Force Awakens, I’m rewatching all six Star Wars films and sharing my thoughts here. This week, I look at Revenge of the Sith, the film that finally showed us Anakin’s fall. (originally published at Legendarium Media)Star-Wars-Episode-III-Revenge-of-the-Sith-2005

Revenge of the Sith dominates the Prequel Trilogy in a way that none of the classic films dominates the Original Trilogy. In interviews, George Lucas admitted that this movie contains over 60% of the material from his original story outlines (with The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones splitting the remaining 40%). Many consider ROTS to be the best of the Prequels, but it has way too much story to cover in two hours. Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the Dark Side happens too quickly to be believed. Major characters like Padmé Amidala have no character arc on screen. The ending races to wrap up several major plot lines and set everything up for A New Hope. As much as I enjoy the film for its standout moments, it always felt a bit too rushed. Continue reading “Retrospective Review: Revenge of the Sith”