How “Star Wars: Duel of the Fates” fixes “The Rise of Skywalker”

star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker-2019-21Writing movie reviews can be tricky because we can only judge a film based on what we see on screen. We can’t compare the movie we got with the one we might have gotten. Usually. With the leak of Colin Trevorrow’s script for Episode IX, we have a rare treat: a look at a possible alternative to the film we got. The story, titled Duel of the Fates, is quite different from the story told by J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio. I don’t know if I’m ready to declare that it’s “better” than The Rise of Skywalker (TROS), but do think Trevorrow’s script does a better job than the final film of continuing the themes and character arcs set up in The Last Jedi. Continue reading “How “Star Wars: Duel of the Fates” fixes “The Rise of Skywalker””

Review: “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”


The final episode of the Skywalker saga is here and my feelings about it are… complicated. While I’ve criticized some of the story choices in JJ Abrams’ previous films (such as his 2009 Star Trek reboot), I’d always believe that he is a talented director who knows how to infuse a movie with energy and at least take viewers on a fun roller coaster ride. As such, I was incredibly disappointed that The Rise of Skywalker (TROS) felt so cluttered and rushed. There’s a lot of plot in the movie, partly because it seems Abrams didn’t agree with the direction that Rian Johnson took the story in The Last Jedi (TLJ). TROS retcons certain plot points and themes in TLJ, and in doing so crams enough plot for two movies into the space of just over two hours. It’s hard to escape the impression that Johnson and Abrams never met to discuss the overall direction of the story.  Continue reading “Review: “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker””

First Impressions of The Last Jedi through other Sci-Fi

the-last-jedi-theatrical-blogOne of my biggest critiques of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was that it relied too much on nostalgia. At times, it seemed like a soft reboot of A New Hope. Naturally, this led me to worry that Disney was too reluctant, too concerned with profits to take risks with the franchise. When promotional images for The Last Jedi included vehicles that looked suspiciously like AT-AT walkers, I worried that Director Rian Johnson’s new Star Wars film would again play it safe by retreading the plot of The Empire Strikes Back.

I was wrong. I am glad. Continue reading “First Impressions of The Last Jedi through other Sci-Fi”

Star Trek Beyond (part 2)

Star+Trek+Beyond+PosterIn Part 1 of my review, I focused on how Star Trek Beyond handles the characters of Kirk and Spock. In Part 2, I address problems with the villain Krall…

Unfortunately, like its predecessors, Star Trek Beyond struggles when it comes to giving the crew of the Enterprise a worthy adversary. Krall isn’t nearly as offensive to Trek sensibilities as Khan was in Star Trek Into Darkness, but the character is easily the weakest part of the film.

*** SPOILER WARNING: I will discuss some major spoilers, so it is best to watch the film before reading any further. *** Continue reading “Star Trek Beyond (part 2)”

Star Trek Beyond (part 1)


Star Trek Beyond is a sequel to J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, but it takes greater effort than either of those two films to root itself in the spirit of The Original SeriesBeyond is first and foremost an action film, yet it’s not afraid to slow down and allow the characters to interact. …

*** SPOILER WARNING: I will discuss some major spoilers, so it is best to watch the film before reading any further. *** Continue reading “Star Trek Beyond (part 1)”

Star Trek Into Darkness

Star_Trek_Into_Darkness_DVD_Region_1_coverStar Trek Into Darkness is a decent enough action film, but it’s not a good “Star Trek” film. On the level of pure spectacle, I probably enjoyed this film more than the 2009 reboot. However, Into Darkness suffers from basic storytelling problems. There are some interesting ideas in the film, but it’s as if the writers didn’t know what to do with them.

SPOILER WARNING: I’ll be discussing spoilers, so tread cautiously if you haven’t seen this movie. One character revelation in particular will probably prove maddening to older Trek fans.

Continue reading “Star Trek Into Darkness”

Star Trek (2009)

Star-Trek-2009J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek is easily the most polished Star Trek movie ever made. It looks great. Abrams moves the story along at such a brisk pace that it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement. The new actors step into the iconic roles of Kirk, Spock, and Uhura with grace and ease. It’s a well produced summer action film.

Yet, that’s part of the problem. The 2009 film was the beginning of a reboot intended to introduce Star Trek to younger audiences. Unfortunately, that meant stripping the franchise of much of what made it “Star Trek.” This was quite deliberate on Paramount’s part. It even ran a marketing campaign boasting that this wasn’t “your father’s Star Trek.” The end result is a somewhat generic film. Continue reading “Star Trek (2009)”

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*)”