“The Last Jedi” by Jason Fry

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Jason Fry’s novelization of The Last Jedi is a retelling of Rian Johnson’s film, with a greater emphasis on the characters and less humor. Like most novelizations, the book sticks pretty close to the story we saw on screen back in December. However, Fry gets to spend time inside the characters’ heads, shedding light on how the characters viewed certain events.

This technique provides quite a bit of insight into Luke Skywalker. In The Last Jedi, Luke is a bitter old man, a far cry from the optimistic youth we saw in the Original Trilogy. I enjoyed this take on the character, but also felt the film should have done more to explain Luke’s arc between the films. Fry’s novelization offers a few tantalizing hints. One early sequence in the book hints that Luke yearns for a more normal life. He comes to regret not only his infamous encounter with Ben Solo, but also other life decisions. Seeing Luke doubt not just that one moment but a whole lifetime helps explain his radical transformation since Return of the Jedi. Continue reading ““The Last Jedi” by Jason Fry”

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Mythgard Movie Club: The Last Jedi

I had the honor of joining the Mythgard Movie Club last week to talk about The Last Jedi. It was honestly one of the better discussions I’ve heard about the film. Whereas most of the discussion has been dominated by the polarized reaction to certain scenes, we tried to focus on understanding the themes in this film.

You can listen to the audio-only version here or watch the video below:

The Last Jedi and Me

luke-last-jedi-posterIn the weeks since I shared my first impressions of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Episode VIII has become the most divisive film in the Star Wars canon. Professional reviewers, who tend to prioritize the acting and themes in a film, have overwhelmingly praised the way director Rian Johnson deconstructs Star Wars tropes and subverts expectations. By contrast, fans, who often care more about the characters and story continuity, have been much more mixed in their response. Some love that the film takes the franchise in new directions, while others complain about the self-aware humor and the slow middle act. The Last Jedi has become a sort of Star Wars Rorschach test in that each viewer’s response says as much about that person’s relationship with Star Wars as it does about the film. Continue reading “The Last Jedi and Me”

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 Wars: Thrawn” by Timothy Zahn

Star_Wars_Thrawn-Timothy_ZahnStar Wars fans who never read the Expanded Universe novels might not recognize Grand Admiral Thrawn, but he’s become one of the most popular characters in the franchise. Thrawn initially appeared in Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire trilogy, which was in the early 1990s as the official sequel to the Original Trilogy. For the first time, we learned what happened to Luke, Leia, and Han after Return of the Jedi. With Vader and the Emperor dead, Thrawn took lead the remnants of the Empire against the New Republic government. Thrawn was a new type of Star Wars villain, a mix of Sherlock Holmes and Erwin Rommel who used brilliant military tactics to defeat his opponents. Moreover, he was an alien who rose through the ranks of the xenophobic Empire. Continue reading ““Star Wars: Thrawn” by Timothy Zahn”

“George Lucas” by Brian Jay Jones

I read Brian Jay Jones’ biography of Jim Henson when it first came out and found myself captivated. Jones conveyed Henson’s passion for his work and his joie de vivre. When I saw that Jones had written a book about George Lucas, I was cautiously optimistic. I was interested to see what somebody with Jones’ talent could do with one of the most influential filmmakers in history. On the other hand, I wondered if the world really needed another biography of George Lucas. Continue reading ““George Lucas” by Brian Jay Jones”

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

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When news broke in 2012 that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm, some fans worried that Disney would “Disneyfy” the Star Wars franchise by making it too kid-friendly. After all, despite George Lucas’ protestations that Star Wars was made for kids, the original six had some very dark moments. Lucas even consulted a psychologist to make sure the big revelation in “The Empire Strikes Back” would not scar young children (the psychologist concluded most kids simply wouldn’t believe that Vader was Luke’s father). Would Disney dare to tell a story with shades of gray and dark undertones? Continue reading ““Rogue One: A Star Wars Story””

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Teaser Trailer First Reactions

Rogue-One-A-Star-Wars-Story-3Originally published on Legendarium Media

Ever since Disney announced Rogue One: A Star Wars Story last March, fans haven’t seemed sure what to expect of the film. All seven previous Star Wars films focused on the Skywalker family saga. However, Rogue One, directed by Gareth Edwards and starring Felicity Jones, has been advertised as something different. It’s the story about the Rebellion’s attempts to steal the Death Star plans before A New Hope. No Skywalkers or Jedi are expected to appear in the film (with the possible exception of Darth Vader). How would fans react to a Star Wars film lacking many of the elements that made the franchise what it is in the first place? Continue reading “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Teaser Trailer First Reactions”

Is Rey a Superhero?

Originally posted on Legendarium Media

For the most part, audiences fell in love with Rey in The Force Awakens. Daisy Ridley brought an irrepressible charm and energy to the role. Over the holidays, people were frustrated by the lack of Rey merchandising available in stores. But there have been questions about her development as a character. For example, screenwriter Max Landis calls Rey too perfect and unrealistic. I admit I initially agreed with this critique – after all, Rey does master many new skills with relative ease. However, I started to realize that this might be the point. Rey’s story isn’t about learning new skills, but rather the complications that arise in being so powerful. Continue reading “Is Rey a Superhero?”

Adding The Force Awakens to the Star Wars Ring

This article originally appeared on Legendarium Media

The Force Awakens is clearly soaked in nostalgia, to the point where some critics allege that it’s little more than a copy of the original Star Wars film. I addressed this claim in my last post. The film isn’t just a remake, reboot, or “requel” of A New Hope. The film mirrors the past, but often does so in new and interesting ways. Other times, the parallels do come across as straight up copying. Here, I attempt to understand what those similarities between the Original Trilogy and The Force Awakens do for the overall story. Continue reading “Adding The Force Awakens to the Star Wars Ring”