Movie Reviews: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is for folks with an IQ of One

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Directed by Gareth Edwards and Tony Gilroy

It’s not surprising to find why Rogue One needed to pay another director $5 million bucks to swoop in to “save” the film. Simply put, Rogue One is a very PG story that is essentially what you get when the focus is on mindless diversity for the sake of diversity to execute a very basic plot. There isn’t an ethnicity not filled here, almost in a Hollywood way to say the strongest teams is when everyone is different (despite the only asian guy in a galaxy far far away doing martial arts, the leading lady being a spunky white chick, the black guy being crusty and angry, the middle eastern guy being resourceful, etc). As we learned from the last election, people are tired as fuck from getting social engineered by the media and Hollywood that only diverse teams and harnessing everyone’s unique talents that impossible obstacles can be overcome.

I say bullshit.

Go to the majority of high school cafeterias, restaurants, churches, small businesses around the world and you’ll see this simply doesn’t exist in 90% of culture. People tend to stick to people similar to them, unless forced into some sort of draft or military conscription. But we are talking about Rebels here. What rebel group in the history of the world been this diverse? (Study history, because none of these writers/execs do) Usually rebels have narrow sets of ideals. In A New Hope, almost everyone on Yavin was white. Everyone in the Empire was white and spoke like a Brit. I don’t know, maybe everyone different were busy doing the real missions. (And yes, I know, in ROTJ, the rebels even has fish admirals against the white imperialists in the Empire).

I’m not totally against women leading the SW universe, but at this point, it feels forced as fuck. At least Captain Janeway had a purpose as the leader, and was legitimate because she rose up the ranks through hard work. Commander Sisko survived Wolfe 359 and was eventually assigned to Deep Space Nine to oversea a giant wormhole. Neither of them were artificially contrived for their roles because they were the son or daughter of anybody. Why couldn’t she have been just a badass? Maybe the baddest of the bad.

Despite very nostalgic visuals that are cool to see and a story where we know the ultimate ending, the story itself is made for 12 year olds. I guess they know who will buy the video games and see it 3 times over christmas break and will ask for the toys for Christmas … despite all the marketing toward girls.

Where is the Intergalactic Saving Private Ryan we were promised? Where is the darkness? Why do people talk in short sentences as if the film has to be dubbed in 38 languages? Why is the dialogue so damn simple, and frankly, dumbed down as if there can’t be any confusion to offending the “fake outrage” groups.

Fucking Disney, come on.

I sensed things had gone to shit when I saw all the action figures filling up the shelves. This is The Force Awakens Fiasco all over again. At least the overall plot here isn’t as batshit stupid as Episode VII.

The film is better than any of the prequels (except for the Darth Maul vs Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan fight, and the Jango-Obi-Wan fight, and the first 2 minutes of Revenge of the Sith).

I recommend you see it, because if you read this far, you’ll see it anyway. Just post a comment how you agree that Disney is turning Star Wars into a marvel universe where everyone is so damn likable that they want fanboys and fangirls to cry out for six thousand spinoffs so we can explore each backstory so that eventually we’ll have a thousand different characters to know and love. How can they not? Nobody says anything offensive as a rebel fighting for the galaxy. Few characters act like they have a braincell, including the oh-so-tough leading lady.

Please GRR Martin, don’t ever sell the rights to Game of Thrones expanded universe to Disney. I couldn’t imagine the “reimagining” version they would do to Westeros.

Fresh Finds of the 80s: G.I. Joe

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Got to get tough, yo Joe!

Every generation had a toy that defined their youth. Mine was undoubtedly dominated by the world of G.I.Joes. In fact, I was the “G.I. Joe kid” on my street, with an obsessive collection that topped 130 or so action figures, including a few dozen vehicles, including some of the larger, more expensive ever to be sold.

Only if I knew how much they would be worth today, I wouldn’t have built dirt trenches in my front yard and used a hose to simulate a cobra trap. I mean, the movie was based on the mythical Cobra-La so how could a kid not totally decimate the value of all their toys?

I recently went on ebay and found out exactly what my toys would have been worth. Some range from a hundred bucks new in the package and peaks around $700 for the more rare figures. Well, I wouldn’t say rare, but the figures that people managed to not open and keep in a climate controlled place out of view of sunlight.

The same phenomenon could be said for the original Star Wars set. For anyone that has ever watched Toy Hunter with Jordan Hembrough, you know just how much those toys have skyrocketed in value.

I guess I would have a hundred grand or so in toys, but I wouldn’t trade the experience of being young with no problems during the dawn of the video game age.

We traded baseball and football cards in the late 80s.

We rode bikes.

We built forts.

Played war.

Lost all our accessories to our action figures.

And didn’t give a shit. Our parents didn’t give a shit.

In essence, we were built to not live in the past in contrast to the kids today. There are a billion special editions on toy shelves each year that the meaning is lost. Funko Pops are meant to be saved in their pristine boxes. Every TV and movie show needs a line of toys, mostly marketed toward adults of the 80s who remember collecting. The value of all the crap today will be very little in 20 to 30 years because Funko Pop armies are not being lined up in trenches in the front yard ready for war. The “pristine” supply will always be high.

The same phenomenon happened in the 1980s boom of baseball cards. All the kids of the 50s grew up and had money 30 years later and started bidding up stuff from their childhood. They wanted to get the cards they never found. They wanted the best condition. Prices shot up and companies over produced baseball cards.

The same shit is happening today. All current toys will crash in value. There is a reason why The Phantom Menace toys sell less today than they did when the movie came out. There is simply too much of it. Add in Disney over producing Star Wars each and every Christmas from her and forever and what you have is basically the end of collecting. G.I. keeps releasing different lines of toys, confusing new collectors and annoying the old faithful.

But hey! People collecting for fun, right?

Bullshit.

People like both. The same goes for car collecting and vintage comic books and fine art. People want their rare stuff to go up in value. People speculate. They commiserate with friends. They take trips to conventions around the world for the thrill of the hunt.

The prices of the original line of Star Wars and G.I. Joes will always go up in value, even as the original kids grow old and die. The franchises will continue.

I just look forward to when trenches are built in yards again.

As for me, this all started because my wife found for me a 1992 G.I. Joe still sealed in the package, purchased for $3 at a thrift shop. I guess it’s worth a couple Subway Sandwiches more, but I don’t care, I’ll keep it. Hopefully someday, I’ll be able to get the toy I never got; An original B.A.T.S sealed in the package.

In the end, I have the memory, and that’s all that counts.

Game Reviews: Star Wars Rebel Assault (PC)

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Do any of you remember Star Wars Rebel Assault? It was quite the unique game that was ahead of its time in many ways, but had a bunch of confusing moments that made my head spin. I owned this game back in the day and played it around the same time as X-Wing for the PC. The game aimed more for a cinematic experience and had numerous movie cut scenes between chapters. What bothered me and still bothers me a little is they used a new character on Tatooine to train up, disregarding the movie canon in some flabbergasting ways. Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.38.43 PM.png

This guy, “Commander Farrell” is confusing to me. I don’t remember seeing him in the movie (more on him later) and think if anything, he actually resembles Tycho from Return of the Jedi more. (Tycho was the one who led the tie fighters away from Lando in the flight to the core reactor). Anyhow, this guy along with a woman pilot are your primary teachers in the game.

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The game is a pretty closed world. The flight paths are very narrow. You can move a little bit, but for the most part, you are taking the hits and dodging stuff while shooting targets and accomplishing objectives. When this came out, it looked state of the art. Now it seems a bit constrictive. Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.40.04 PM.png

I still remember this stage. I called it “Stone Pillar” stage and remember getting frustrated as hell. I don’t remember how many A-wings I lost, but let’s just say I would question the logic of training of the rebellion for putting their pilots through crazy shit like this.

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One X-Wing vs a Star Destroyer? Of course! This was the big sell of the game. Everyone wanted to go heads up and take one of these suckers down and boast to your lunch table that you were the greatest star pilot in the galaxy pretty good at the game. This was the most memorable stage of the game for me.

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Now we are on Hoth attacking AT-AT’s? Okay, who cares about movie cannon. I guess the Empire is striking back really hard now even though the rebels haven’t blown up the Death Star yet. It was a fun stage and ahead of its time. Many games since then have done a version of this stage. What I found funny was seeing the lasers actually having an impact on the armor.

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If you managed to get through the Hoth stage, you would finally get to the attack you bought the game for. The cinematic cut was pretty cool, although a random Star Destroyer shows up to defend the death star with tie fighters then jumps into hyperspace. I don’t know if the game designers had the game done and said to themselves “hey, the game isn’t long enough, so lets add some random stages.”

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Here we are in the trench. The cockpit looks pretty cool, however the trench looks a bit like the old Hollywood movies and the green screen look for the background. There were a bunch of random objectives just to get to this point that I don’t remember from the movies. By this point, I just want to blow this thing and get the heck out of here. Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.44.14 PM.png

But then WHAT? Did Lucasarts not have rights to show the Falcon and Han Solo in their own game? Commander Farrell aka Tycho shows up in his puny A-wing and saves the day and shoots Vader outta there. For the life of me, I didn’t understand why they couldn’t give fans the satisfaction of Han and the Falcon coming in to save the day.Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.43.51 PM.png

Are you confused again? You just got saved by the A-Wing and blow up the Death Star, then all of a sudden you are being celebrated on Yavin IV all by your lonesome. I was so confused. You were not Luke Skywalker in the game, but now you dress just like him from the movie? Instead of Han and Chewie walking down, they have nobody? Not even Commander Farrell?

Overall, the game has some nostalgic appeal to me, however, I don’t think I ever want to play through it ever gain. It was clearly one of the many Star Wars games that let fans down and was a money grab to exploit fans who only wanted to replay the events of the movie.

Rogue One Trailer Analysis

If you have not seen the 90 seconds of the epic Rogue One trailer, it is mandatory viewing for any Star Wars fan. Some of you might say, “Hey, trailers ruin movies” and for the most part I agree with you. The vast majority of blockbusters show all the good parts to get people in the seats. Some of the few directors that do trailers right include JJ Abrams and Christopher Nolan. It provided just enough of a glimpse without ruining the surprises. And I’m with the other group of you that want to have the fresh Star Wars experience. I did the same thing with The Force Awakens. I avoided all trailers and went into the movie with only a few stills that were unavoidable on the internet. The feeling I got when I saw STAR WARS flash on the screen and the music pounded and the first 40 minutes of the film jumped scene to scene so fast, I was in awe. It was simply breathtaking. For the first time since The Matrix, I saw an awesome movie without knowing anything about it and it put me on the edge of my seat. I mean, when the camera pans over to see the “piece of garbage” and it’s the Millennium Falcon, I think my body actually electrified. (For a discussion on the middle of that story and the Dumbo-Finn, Starkiller-Stupidness, and First Order-YA Edition, see my other blog on the 57 plot holes of that film)

https://mmleonard.com/2016/03/27/top-57-inconceivable-things-in-star-wars-episode-7/

For Rogue One, I wasn’t sure if I would take the same approach. After hearing banter about it both online and at work, I decided I would take a peak since I was told it didn’t reveal too much. I put on my headphones, put it on full screen, and felt the power of this franchise rip alive. I was always unsure if this movie could stand alone. They’ve advertised it as Saving Private Ryan in space, and from the preview, I believe them. Simply put, the trailer was amazing.

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Like the frame above. I was like “Holy Shit” that looks like A New Hope. They are putting some heart and soul in this thing. Copying the look of it and adding a spin adds nostalgia and hope to the story. I mean, just look at the trashcan bot! Look at those helmets. Yes! Where have they been? Aerodynamic and awesome. From the picture, I am not sure if she is captured or not (from the red light), because for a woman who lives by no rules, she sure seems to be following Aerodynamic-man.

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I just about lost my damn mind when I saw this. I don’t know how many Bothans died to get a Mon Mothma lookalike, but it was worth it. Just look at her! She looks like a clone. And look at the cheesy screen behind her! That is so damn classic from the 1977 look and feel of A New Hope. I didn’t have much faith from the director of Godzilla, but wow, this tells me that he cares about the fans and franchise and want to do it right.Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 11.31.15 AM.png

We get a close up of our heroine, Felicity Jones, and damn she looks serious. Nice touch with a simple shot of the cheesy glass chart behind her, and thank you thank you thank you for not putting some dumb cameo like JJ Abrams did with Greg Grunberg photobombing the second half of The Force Awakens.

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I have no idea who this is, as I’m still in the dark with the script leaks, but I assume he is against this whole idea and doesn’t trust Felicity Jones. Perhaps he will at the end of the movie.  What I’ve noticed so far is everyone has a “proper” accent. Hmmm…..

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Then BOOM! The trailer money shot. Just look at that Star Destroyer. Why are fans going nuts over this?  It’s because it looks so much like A New Hope. I’m not sure if it’s a model or not, but damn it looks good. Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 11.31.41 AM.png

Then to give you some scale, they give you context. It was the final installation of the laser array. Wow! I was surprised they added such an epic shot like this in a trailer, and to me, either shows confidence or might have been showing too much. I don’t know. It got me pumped up so it did its job.

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Now Felicity Jones is a woman that follows nobody! Look at her walk in front of Diego Luna. (Not side by side, but in front). Even the X-Wing pilots are avoiding her. And no, I don’t think there is an alarm going off in the movie because the people in the background don’t seem too engaged or worried. Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 11.35.32 AM.png

This is probably a good time to introduce Diego Luna, who oddly has the a similar intro shot as the first 4 characters (By the blue-ish green glass). Look at his gaze. He knows something. Is it good? Is it bad? Who knows. I think maybe he just digs chicks that say “I rebel.” (I have a thing for it too)

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We see what Felicity Jones can do. (Shoot the ground? WTF?) I guess this works. I don’t know why I never saw Han Solo do this wonderful trick, but I guess I’ll turn off my brain. (It looked cool, so who cares…I dunno) I am assuming this is the beginning of the film when something goes wrong and she gets sent to the rebel base. This is a POV shot of someone watching this thing, so maybe she had to be captured.

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Holy fucking shit. I don’t know who this guy is, but he looks confident and menacing and awesome. The director didn’t put some 25 year old tweener-screamer like Hux in the film. He put Ben Mendelsohn who looks so damn swag in that white cape and Grand Mof uniform holding a gun that I truly feel I would just watch 90 minutes of him. Since I was a kid I always wanted to see Grand Admiral Thrawn in a movie, but if we can’t get the blue skin and red eyes, that’s okay with me after Dooku and Grevious and Hux and Snoke. This feels like Star Wars.

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After some battle, maybe in the tropical climate, we see this Mof walk to the aftermath of the battle like a badass. Look at him. He doesn’t give a shit there are dead stormtroopers everywhere. He is a man on a mission. (Real men walk towards explosions)

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How many of you lost it with this shot? Is that Lord Vader’s chamber? Look at those guards. I thought they protected the Emperor, so I am confused by the shot. Who is the guy in the cloak? He is about to kneel (A concept lost in The Force Awakens plot mess) which makes me happy.  Like in Game of Thrones, people bend-the-fucking-knee to their master. Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 11.32.24 AM.png

We get a close up of this guy. I have no idea who he is. The picture has been used on a few marketing promos, so I can only assume Mads or something we didn’t see in the preview is beneath the helmet. Who knows. Maybe it’s Felicity Jones. Maybe that is how they sneak on board.

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In the preview it looked cool. On the frame, it does appear a bit CGI-ish, just like a cartoon. Pretty shitty. I hope they clean this up before the film release. Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 11.32.43 AM.png

Hi, it’s me, Felicity Jones again. I’m a hardcore fighting woman, yet, I’m running away from something. And a robot can keep up. Are they in NYC? Is that a subway? I was a little confused, but who knows. Maybe that is a heist in the beginning of the film. Or in the Death Star. Who is she looking back for though? Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 11.33.00 AM.png

Now we get to the cast. We have IP Man, Donnie Yen, but somehow in a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, Asians can only do Kung Fu. (Maybe in Rogue Two, Donnie Yen will be visiting his parents Liquor store or Laundrymat) I rolled my eyes a little at this clear stereotype, but who knows, if Disney wants to give an Asian a role in any film, they might as well take it. I was confused why the storm troopers look around and watched instead of just shooting him. (Any why the hell is the stormtrooper leaning over and pre-twisting in order to do a real good flip as if he was hit by the 3000 tons of force? … what the hell is that armor good for?)Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 11.31.58 AM.png

Forest “You are my most trusted Advisor” Whitaker is in this thing. He has a limp and is bitter as hell over something. Was he maimed? Was there a failed Rogue Zero mission? I have no idea, but did enjoy his voiceover. There seems to be so much damn weight to the movie outside the Hunger Games/Divergent/YA Dystopia feel to it. I don’t know why only pretty girls with British Accents can save the universe in the Disney versions of Star Wars. Maybe it’s the whole Disney Princess obsession. Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 11.33.34 AM.png

The shot everyone is talking about is the AT-ATs back in action.  Look at them in a tropical climate! It looks blue screen CGI as hell, but still looks pretty awesome. Maybe only the explosions just corny. I have no idea why these rebels are charging on foot toward the walkers. Is this like a Dirty Dozen type thing? They are so crazy and bold, they get lucky? (Sort of like Han Solo in charging in the Death Star)

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Then we end with our Disney Princess Katniss Felicity Jones looking serious like she is about to do something bold. Notice there isn’t a guy in front of her. She knows about the bechdel test and is gonna go save the universe in the imperial uniform. I assume based on how clean the uniform looks, this is before the mission.

Overall, how was the trailer? It was so awesome that I watched it 20 times plus some reaction videos (and made a reaction video for the future post) and looked through all the frames. The trailer did its job. I’ll be there on opening night with a big tub of popcorn. Who’s coming with me?

GUEST REVIEW: SETH WALKER THE STAR WARS SUPERFAN

Hey guys and thanks Matt for letting me write on your blog. Ever since I was little, I loved Star Wars, not because I shared the same initials as them, but because I loved going to a galaxy far far away. At school lunch, I often had to sit at the table far far away from the cool kids, but that’s ok. I got the last laugh. Star Wars is cool again. The Jar Jar embarrassment is gone. And now, with The Force Awakens and Rogue One, girls even like it! Boy, there is no better time to be an OPEN Star Wars fan. Yay.

MOVIE TRAILER RATING: 10/10 Death Stars

Top 57 Inconceivable Things in Star Wars Episode 7

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This is not my usual movie review. I’ll post that somewhere else. Overall, the movie did the impossible and rescued a franchise that was in the toilet with the prequel saga. JJ Abrams, through all the pressure from Disney (film, expanded plan of films, merchandise, and new parks) managed to make a good film. The first third and last 20 minutes in particular are really good.

But, I’m going to use this forum to tear the film apart. I recently watched it for the third time and many things stick out as batshit stupid.

1)They cast the gravitas of Max Von Sydow to open the movie as the only person in the galaxy who knows where Luke Skywalker is. Kylo lands and decides since he got insulted he kills the only person who knows where Luke is, which is baffling since this is the plot of the movie. Why doesn’t he mind-torture him? How did Max get trusted with the map? Why is he on the same planet as Rey?

2)Poe Dameron insults Kylo’s mask, but Kylo chooses to torture him instead? Does he know he is a resistance pilot or random villager?

3)How did the First Order know of the site? And … how the hell do they attack only at the moment Max Von Sydow’s character is giving Poe the coordinates? And isn’t there a more covert way to do it? Wouldn’t Kylo want to know what else Max Von Sydow has in his mind? To me, he would be a high value target with a treasure trove of information.

4)When Poe is brought to the ship, why the hell is the only thing Kylo tortures him about is the plans and the droid?  What doesn’t he torture him to get the “best pilot of the resistance” to tell the location of the resistance base? They already plan to blow up some planets with the starkiller laser gun (more on that craziness later). They could instead blow up the resistance too. Unbelievable that Darth Vader is obsessed in a New Hope to find the rebel base, but in Episode 7, the First Order doesn’t care.

5)How does Kylo know Poe is the “best pilot of the resistance?” Is this something he force grabs in Poe’s mind? Like Poe walks around strutting and thinking how awesome he is. Replace pilot with another word. “We have the best cook of the resistance” or “We have the best droid lubricator in the resistance” or “We have the best Calamari Optometrist of the resistance.” Just think about how stupid this is.

6)Kylo then meets General Hux. What? How old is this guy? 25? Is this why the remnants of the Empire have gone to shit? They promote newbies to a General?  In a new Hope, they had Grand Moff Tarkin. He was old and crusty and actually outranked Darth Vader. The Empire was run by the experienced folk.

7)It just so happens on the first battle of Finn’s life, being raised to be a killing machine stormtrooper, he decides he doesn’t want to kill? Or is it the killing or that the is on the wrong side? What makes him think he is on the wrong side? Because to me, it just seems like he is scared. But then later in the movie, he has no trouble killing his old buddies of the exact same division, when he was traumatized when his “friend-trooper” died. So baffling it nonsensical.

8)It just so happens they have the “best pilot of the resistance” and Finn goes in and escort him out? What? Leia was locked up in a dungeon under security. Han Solo was surrounded by a ton of troops. Ok. Alright, you have to get the hero out, so Finn just walks him out and they get in a dang Tie Fighter and nobody sees until it takes off? What?

9)Do Tie Fighters even have a hyperdrive? In a New Hope, they say the fighters don’t have the range to be out there alone right before discovering the death star. Finn, a stormtrooper his entire life (only in training, despite being terribly out of shape if you see the way he runs … but then again sanitation engineers might not do the most PT). Anyways, so Finn is surprised they have to go back to Jakku? Where else are they going to go?

10)The tie fighter crash lands, and somehow the ship lands safely, but in one of the random sand pits on Jakku? What? Talk about bad luck. Finn can walk from the crash all the way to the middle of some random spaceport and find Rey, dehydrated from the sun, and manage to avoid every sand pit? Kind of crazy odds. Maybe it is the force.

11)So Poe is thrown out of the Tie Fighter during the crash, but somehow he takes off his jacket during crash landing? Why would the “best pilot of the resistance” decide to take off his jacket while crashing back down to Jakku? Is it not a lucky jacket? How did Poe live through such an ejection?

12)So we get a scene to where Snoke is introduced and Kylo and Hux talk to him. But they don’t really give a crap who he is. In Episode 5, Darth Vader is bending the damn knee to the master. Snoke must not run a tight ship, or people don’t fear the new Sith Lord. In fact, neither of them really seem afraid of Snoke. Everyone was damn afraid of Emperor Palpatine. Just a mere mention got generals fearful in the original trilogy.

13)Is Snoke pissed off that the “best pilot of the resistance” somehow escaped? Is there any punishment? Or dark side threats? Nope. It is almost like he doesn’t even know, or care. He isn’t like “What? We need to know the location of the resistance base so we can destroy it.”

14)So we get to Rey. She is the only reason why the movie works, because the other characters don’t make any sense. She is the heart and the soul of the new franchise. (To hear the next script is being rewritten to add more meat for the popular new characters is ludicrous). But let me get this straight, so Rey can barely afford to get single packets of food to make insta-green-muffins, but she owns a damn speeder to haul stuff? What is that worth? If she can afford that, then why doesn’t she just leave to go find her parents? She is a grown woman. Who sits in the middle of nowhere to wait forever like a delusional idiot?  So Rey is a scavenger but not a good one currently when we meet her, but at one time, I guess when she was smaller, she could scavenge like a pro to be able to save enough food packets to barter for the speeder.

14)So they create this wonderful looking Cylon, I mean Captain Phasma, yet she doesn’t know how to fire her blaster? What was even the point? How dedicated is she if she brings down the shield instead of meeting her maker? And … how does she even know the code to bring down he shield? Is the First Order that open with their secrets? Why would a ground trooper need to know that? In ROTJ they had to blow up a damn station on the ground. Why couldn’t they just ask the person to turn it off? (At least Ewoks didn’t show up on Starkiller base)

15)So Rey and Finn meet. Then they get attacked and we learn they have so much evasion skills they can out-run Tie Fighters? What? And why did they send tie fighters instead of ground troops? Do they not want to capture them and the droid at this point? Are they not afraid of blowing up the droid? You know, the only damn thing that can show the location of Luke Skywalker? They just went through the whole mind torture thing just to send Tie Fighters to blow up anything in sight. Baffling. So the map is important, but that that important.

16)So Rey and Finn get out in the best scene of the film I think, that chase was awesome and I don’t mind the Falcon was randomly there. But the Tie Fighters know they are in a dogfight with the Falcon but don’t relay the ship is escaping to that Star Destroyer above? What? Why isn’t the Star Destroyer waiting for them? Why isn’t there another dozen Tie Fighers waiting in outer space above? (Props in the scene for at least addressing how BB8 has to adjust balance and position himself when not strapped in).

17)Han Solo, oh how I enjoyed seeing him come back on the ship like it was old times … but how was it that the randomly found the Falcon only after Rey got it? He couldn’t have found it sooner? And he found it before they entered hyperspace? And before the Star Destroyer that doesn’t care the Falcon is leaving Jakku with the droid and map? Crazy dumb explanation to how they randomly found it just there.

18)So Rey doesn’t know how to fix the hyperdrive before Han gets on, but after they are trying to get off the freighter, she instantly figures it out by “bypassing the compressor?” What? Coincidence at an urgent time.

19)Let me get this damn straight, so General Hux, the man with the Starkiller plan flies on a Star Destroyer with Kylo to chase down the map as the base is going through final testing? Is he the commander of the Star Destroyer or Starkiller base, or both? How does a 25 year old looking guy with an anger issue control all of this? How does he also have the time to raise his stormtroopers from a young age instead of using clones? Why does nobody fear him? Every actor to talks to him looks bored. This is such a break from the original trilogy it is downright distracting how bad Hux was cast and acted.

20)Rathtars … that’s all I’m going to say about that.

21)Going into hyperspace from inside a ship. What?

22)So Han Solo finds out they have a map to Luke Skywalker. Who wants the map the most? … I don’t know, maybe Leia. Where should they go? How about a damn watering hole for no reason. Why not take it straight to the resistance? Does he like pissing Leia off that much?

23)Mr.Resistance “Big Deal” decides he wants to find another ship out? Ok. But Rey is so smart she can bypass a compressor but doesn’t realize a “Big Deal” Finn is acting strange by wanting to leave, if part of the resistance?

24)The lightsaber and the visions. What is this? When Luke got Anakin’s lightsaber in a new hope, he didn’t have force visions. Anakin had to dream them in his sleep (or were planted by Palpatine but that’s another blog). (Although the force vision dream was cool to see)

25)I want to know the data plan these people have in the galaxy because they can transport messages past the speed of light to another location like it is nothing. Handheld walkie talkie? Boom, we now have an intergalactic walkie talkie. Then boom, the First Order is there in no time. Then boom, the resistance is there in no time….HOW? What clued them off? And why was it that it happens only after Starkiller base works for the first time. Why can’t the falcon get upgraded to get a comm like that?

26)Starkiller base. Are you kidding me? What the hell is this? Where does the First Order get manpower and resources to build this planet of doom? How does it take in the sun’s flare and not incinerate the planet? Is there some sun-sucking turbine? If they have resources for that, then why not build 1000 star destroyers? Wouldn’t that actually be better? And, why is the first order obsessed with blowing up planets instead of taking them over? Don’t you want to rule over a galaxy or just end the galaxy? Who designed it? Hux? Is that why the base has an obvious weakness that isn’t below ground?

27)If Starkiller base has a shield, okay, I don’t know how you shield an entire planet (in ROTJ they could only shield a death star from the forest moon of Endor). But how does the Falcon have the ability to hyper jump through the shield? WHAT? Did you realize they just randomly jumped in? Then, after showing us this, the resistance unit flying in with the “best pilot in the resistance” can’t do much because of the shield. Why can’t the “best pilot of the resistance” hyper jump through the shield too? Does the Falcon sitting and baking on Jakku have some better technology?

28)The resistance trusts a mission to lower shield on a 70 year old smuggler, a wookie, and an ex-stormtrooper?

29)So where is the damn Star Destroyer in this battle? It flew from Jakku to Starkiller base to Takodana and back to Starkiller base, but doesn’t participate in the battle. What?

30)Why is Kylo observing the starkiller shot (that breaks the speed of light, ironically) from the ship? Does he have a thing against Nazi rallies (Why they dumbed down the parallel and made a straight up Nazi rally in Star Wars is baffling. The whole salute thing was just batshit stupid as well.)

31)Why does the first order hate the New Republic so much? And … why does Hux have some crazy hate?  And why do all those stormtroopers stand out in the cold to listen to him (no microphone or anything) because the guy is like a juvenile with anger issues. Wouldn’t they listen to Kylo more? People actually seem afraid of Kylo at least. Why isn’t Lord Snoke talking to the troops?

32)So Finn gets a hold of the Anakin’s lightsaber and randomly fights the only stormtrooper in the galaxy with a special blaster-shock-cane thing that is as powerful as a lightsaber. WHAT? Why would they have that? How many Jedi have they battled in the last 20 years? What does Kylo think of the a bunch of anti-lightsaber weapons there are. (Also, why does he have to spin it like a toy?)

33)So the battle is chaotic and nonsensical. What are the priorities on each side? To rescue or destroy? On Earth, this could never happen because of all of the friendlies and civilians there. The big high value target, Kylo’s ship, isn’t even targeted. What? That is the one ship to hit. The “best pilot in the resistance” doesn’t recognize it, after seeing it at the beginning of the film? He doesn’t want a little revenge? Or to shoot it down?

34)When Rey confronts Kylo, why doesn’t Kylo force-stop her blaster bolts like in the beginning of the film? Why even put his cross-saber at her neck? Why can’t he just lock her in a freeze instantly like he die with Poe?  He puts her to sleep like he is spock, but he didn’t do that to Poe or Max Von Sydow or Finn or anyone else? What?

35)So the resistance plans the attack on Starkiller base, but they have no ships? The resistance is only like 25 ships in total? What? What the heck? One Star Destroyer with the location of the hidden base could end the whole thing (but nobody seems to care where it is at until later on).

36)So now we have Rey. Good ol’ mystery girl getting mind-tortured by Kylo. He sees her thoughts, but then all of a sudden she is strong with the force? Without training she can get a guard to let her go. Then the security is pretty lax on Starkiller base because now she can sneak around with no cameras saying “who is this girl prancing around the ship?”

37)Finn was a sanitation worker? Really?  Is this why he was such a terrible storm trooper? Is there a ladder of jobs? Droid lubricator, then sanitation worker, then Storm trooper?

38)So they all watch Han confront Kylo. Han meets his end. But then Chewy lands a shot on Kylo? Why doesn’t he freeze that bowcaster bolt? Do Wookies have special powers?

39)So Kylo fights Rey and Finn in the forest. Why doesn’t Kylo just force-freeze Finn? Snap his neck? Throw him? Flip him? Even being shot in his abdomen, I don’t understand why Kylo even fights him? Is he just stupid? How the heck does Finn, with no training, and being the worst stormtrooper ever all of a sudden get a hit on Kylo? Is Kylo that poor as a fighter that he forgets how to swing a lightsaber properly and doesn’t know how to use all the deadly sith tricks? Then Kylo doesn’t kill Finn, but just slices something (maybe his back, who knows). I just know Obiwan slices siths in half (Darth Maul), slices all limps off pupils (Anakin), watches his pupil decapitate Sith Lord (Count Dooku). Are the Jedi more brutal than Kylo? Do we have the story all wrong?

40)How does Rey become a Jedi lightsaber queen in 2 minutes? After never holding a lightsaber she can go toe to toe with Kylo? What? Then, just after she beats him (because he still refuses to freeze her or choke her or throw her again), he just lays on his back.

41)Just when Kylo is defeated, a crack opens right between them? Right.

42)How does Chewie know where they are?

43)How does Leia know who Rey is when they get back to the planet? Does she know something?

44)Why does R2 randomly only wake up when Rey comes back? Does Luke really not give a shit? He doesn’t tell R2 to wake up and tell people where he is at, you know, in case if the galaxy is getting blown up by super weapons again. Luke knows a thing or two about shooting swamp rats on Tatooine.

45)They go to Luke’s island, but Chewy lands at the very bottom? Why not drop off Rey? Why doesn’t Chewy want to see his old friend? How about R2, his old droid? Wouldn’t Luke recognize the falcon and walk down? Wouldn’t that be a safer introduction?

46)Now that the resistance planet is known, and the First Order has faster communication than anyone, why don’t they send a few star destroyers to the resistance base to counter attack? This would be the best time to do it.

47)Is Poe the “best pilot in the resistance” because there are only 4 of them? The story seemed small when all the resistance has are X-Wings but only a few pilots are shown. And there was too much of Grunberg it was damn right annoying. It was like an inside JJ Abrams joke to put in his talentless actor friend in all his productions.

48)Based on the star map they have, how can they not match the coordinates? Like if you gave me a map of Arizona, I wouldn’t need a map of the US to fit it in and discover Luke is hiding in Sedona. Batshit stupid. The map even looked 3D. This was nonsense.

49)Why the hell was Greg Grunberg aka JJ Abrams friend randomly in almost every background shot on the resistance base as if he was photobombing the whole damn third act? I hope there is a fan edit that takes out Grunberg as the movie’s version of Jar Jar Binks. Absolutely distracting and stupid. Does he double as General Organa’s security guard?

50)Does nobody question if Finn can be a plant for the first order, or does all he need is some vouching from Han?

51)HOW THE HECK DOES POE’S JACKET FIT ON FINN? Have you seen the size differential between the two?  Finn is built like a linebacker.

52)After walking through the desert on Jakku, Finn doesn’t sweat enough to leave salt stains? I go to the gym for a couple hours and a have dried salty sweat stains.

53)With Starkiller blowing up, why does Hux have to run back to send a message to Snoke on what to do? For a General, he really is unbelievably stupid. Also, where do they know where Kylo is? Is there some Sith tracker that Hux has?

54)WHAT THE HECK DOES SNOKE DO ALL DAY? SIT ON A CHAIR WAITING FOR A CALL? HE DOESN’T HAVE STUFF TO DO? I mean, those messages travel really fast and he is always in the same spot.

55)Where the heck did Kylo get Vader’s helmet?

56)Where the heck did they get Anakin’s lightsaber and how did it just so happen to be in Maz’s possession. How the heck does Kylo know whose lightsaber that is instantly? Is there some Sith handbook or is Kylo just what you would call a Sith super collector?

57)For someone as special as Rey, why doesn’t any Jedi Force Ghost come back to speak to her? You know, like “Rey, go to the ____ planet and find Luke Skywalker, a great Jedi teacher.”

 

READ WHO I THINK IS THE BEST CHARACTER IN STAR WARS

OR READ ABOUT MY FAN THEORIES ON EPISODE 8

 

Fan Theories: Star Wars Episode VIII

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Will the force be strong with him still? Will he say something in the sequel? Is Luke still a little traumatized by his kiss with his sister? (If you don’t know, it doesn’t count, now does it?)

After watching Star Wars Episode 7, my mind wandered to where the story would go. This is something that never happened to me after watching the prequels where I couldn’t wait to walk to the exits. As someone who used to read TheForce.net during the peak of its popularity, I know a fan theory or two that blew up after watching Episode 7.

For the seven of you who boycotted the movie because Jar Jar wasn’t in it, I’ll fill you in and ruin it for you. They blew up the Death Star, again. Yes. Instead it wasn’t a Death Star, it was a Death Planet. It was batshit stupid of the highest level, and outside of a new character Finn being the stupidest and most naive ex-stormtrooper this side of the Alderaan system, the movie holds it own as being the best since the original trilogy. If I was to rank it, it would be 4th, only because the beginning on Jakku and end fight between Kylo/Rey was so compelling. I mean, when the music cues up and Rey pulls that lightsaber out of the snow like Luke on Hoth, you can’t but feel the emotional resonance. The only high point to match it was when the screen panned to the left to show the biggest hunk of junk in the galaxy on Jakku. The movie ends with Rey piloting the Falcon with Chewbacca after Han bites the dust, and meets the Macguffin of the film, Luke Skywalker, on some island and hands him his old lightsaber.

What will happen next?

Here are 3 theories:

1)The original script before JJ and Kasdan took the bull by its horns and made a reboot of A New Hope called out for Luke to find Rey on Jakku and heading out on a quest of some sort to Endor. By all that I read, Luke was essentially Obi-Wan guiding Rey to her destiny. Episode 8 could pick up where Episode 7 left off and show them still on the island, but with Rey more powerful than we could have ever imagined. She is obviously a very very very very fast learner. With her new powers, she flies off on the Falcon when she learns her old pal Finn is in trouble and goes to rescue him while Luke pulls a Yoda and fades into midi-chlorian oblivion. Rey then learns it’s all a trap by Snoke, after telling her that she is a clone of Anakin Skywalker, and pits her against Kylo who she easily defeats and he falls off some crazy high place, and she is converted to the Dark Side. Kylo is then rescued by who else, Leia, who feels his pain. Plus, she has a special force power for sensing when someone fell from a high place. This is where Luke’s ghost shows up and the cliffhanger ending leaves us wanting more again. Luke can even give the same mysterious brooding look to Kylo. Is he still pissed about the Knights of Ren thing? Or is he happy he finally turned back? Talk about an awkward intergalactic thanksgiving.

2)While finishing her training, they are hunted down by Captain Phasma, who is all torn up and outcast from the First Order. She is like a crusty and jaded bounty hunter who wants redemption. She lands on the island and a fight ensues. Luke sacrifices himself so that Rey can vanquish Phasma. With Luke now a force ghost, Rey has no choice but to go out and rejoin the resistance. She tells Leia what happened to Luke, and Leia gives her another random hug and tells her that she is her daughter. She gives another friend-zone hug to Finn, who is paralyzed but now is General Finn (because they promote fast-as-hell in the resistance … e.g. General Solo and General Calrissian) The resistance is then tracked down and a giant space battle ensues. Rey’s ship is captured and is defeated in a battle with Kylo. Snoke, on the New Super-Deluxe-with-extra-Cheese Super Star Destroyer gives her a choice. Join him and he will show her where she comes from and tell her where her parents are and they will end the battle, or resist and the resistance will be destroyed, including the crippled cruiser Finn is commanding. She chooses to join him and save her friends.

3)The First Order fleet tracks down the Falcon to the island, and launches an ocean assault on the island. Luke, using his Lucas-crazy powers in some script from a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, destroys an entire assault with the force and the audience is like “holy shit, did Luke just do that?” Then Luke and Rey get off the planet and meet with Leia, who he asks again how she remembers her mom being sad, and she says “okay, I lied Luke. You were about to face your crazy ass father on his home turf.” The fanboys nod in approval. Rey asks where Finn is, and is told Finn and Poe went off on a secret mission to find their hidden headquarters but went dark. Luke and Leia and Rey and Chewie go to track them down and find out Poe isn’t randomly the greatest pilot in the galaxy … he is Snoke. What? Did your mind just melt? Who has the power to cheat death? (Poe cheated a Tie Fighter crash death). Who is strong with the force? (Did you see the assault on Starkiller base?) It all comes full circle on why Poe is the man with the plan to find Skywalker. The movie ends with Poe sticking his red lightsaber though Leia while Luke and Rey are off fighting Kylo, who somehow gets turned back to the light side. The movie ends with Poe taking Finn as prisoner by freezing him in carbonite.

Conclusion (And discarded Porkins Theory)

Whichever direction they go, hopefully they will cut one of the senseless parts of Episode 7, Greg Grunberg playing himself. It was clearly one the more stupid parts of the film and a waste of screen time. When I initially heard he was cast, I thought it was going to be throw back to Porkins from the original Star Wars, who blew up, no pun intended. Most of the fanboy sites agreed and accepted the Porkins theory as almost fact, but we got tricked. It was zero nostalgia, and too many scenes of Grunberg, now one of the worst characters since Jar Jar Binks.

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Grunberg playing Grunberg

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Instead of playing Porkins Jr.

57 Inconceivable things in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Movie Reviews: The Empire Strikes Back

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Just when you think it was safe to go back to Tatooine and live happily ever after, the Empire whips out one giant can of whoop ass on those rebel scum. Han, Luke, and Leia are freezing their asses off in the Hoth System. George Lucas made a great decision getting Lawrence Kasdan to write a great script and Irvin Kershner to direct more subtle character performances because there is no more whining about the next harvest here. The story itself is simple. Darth Vader now flies around on a bigger and badder Super Star Destroyer, a ship so large that if it opened A New Hope, it would have taken seventeen minutes to fly over. Why the rebels have not found an exhaust port on that sucker (I don’t know, perhaps Ackbar thinks simply crashing into the bridge will do the trick), it baffles me

After an action packed defense of the icy planet, showing off the lost art of stop motion by Paul Tippett, the rebels depart with relative ease. I mean, they had to fire those damn ion cannons to get the transports out, but the Falcon and Luke’s X-Wing fly out despite a bajillion Star Destroyers lurking. No Matter, Luke goes to Dagobah to seek Yoda while Han and Leia get chased down by the bajillion Star Destroyers (maybe they were lurking on the other side of the planet despite assaulting a small rebel base). Lucky for them, the Millennium Falcon evidently has the greatest rear deflector shield in the Galaxy. How the hell can the Empire look at itself in the eye and call their ships Star Destroyers? (Also, can a Star Destroyer actually destroy a star? If so, why even build a Death Star?

The training and evading and romance plotline continues to the score of the mighty John Williams soundtrack until we reach Bespin, and the greatest character in the trilogy finally arrives.

Yes, I said it.

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Lando Calrissian is key component to the Empire Strikes back and goes through a faster character arc than any of the other characters. Luke in A New Hope is the same wamp rat shooting farm boy, except he uses the force one time to save the galaxy. Han Solo is a dirty smuggler who shoots first (before 1997), but goes back for a friend (The Falcon probably had the greatest forward deflector shield … and how he wasn’t tracked since that is how the Empire found Yavin … just eat your popcorn kids). Leia is Leia in all 3 films.

Lando, however, is the ex-Falcon owning, fast talking administrator of Bespin who betrays his old friend, executes a flawless carbonate freeze for his buddy, double crosses the Empire with an ambush, and escapes on his old ship with Leia without a wookie ripping his limbs off, then flies back to rescue Luke due to some weird “feeling” from Leia all while keeping his cool. The entire plot hinges on Lando’s calm and coolness under pressure. He is a man of redemption and his change happens in a span 40 minutes.  Just call him Chameleon Calrissian.

To top his exploits in saving every damn person (Han really owes him one) in The Empire Strikes Back, Lando returns like an Interstellar James Bond, and tops himself in Return of the Jedi, but that’s another blog.

The movie itself is a classic and in my list of top 10 movies of all time.

Movie Rating: 11/10 (off the damn charts)

57 Inconceivable Things in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

https://mmleonard.com/2016/03/27/top-57-inconceivable-things-in-star-wars-episode-7/