Tuesday’s Reviews – Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

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Thanks to my impromptu holiday over Christmas I didn’t get to upload my review of Star Wars Episode 8 on time. It’s been about 10 days since I saw the film and I’ve loads of time to acquaint myself with the general reactions to the film. The critical stuff has, mostly, been very positive with people praising Rian Johnson for taking some risks whilst also remaining faithful to the original trilogy. However, as you’d expect from the Star Wars franchise, the fanboys be pissed. Even before I’d seen the film I’d glanced at an article claiming fans were starting a petition to get the film removed from the canon. I mean, for fuck’s sake guys. This is why we can’t have nice things. Fans were up in arms about the film because it was too different from the previous films. First they complain that The Force Awakens is too similar to A New Hope and now The Last Jedi is too different. Well, how the fuck is anyone supposed to make a film within those parameters? Before I went to see the film, a girl I work with complained that it was underwhelming. She’s also the person who described Rogue One as the worst Star Wars film of all time. She typifies the view of the old fanboys who can’t see a Star Wars film that is centred around the Skywalker family. There’s more to the force and this universe than Luke Skywalker and, I for one, am ready to find out more. I can’t promise that my hatred of the reactions out there won’t have an influence on my review but it’s not like it’s going to be a problem. I’m not influencing anyone to change their mind about this film. It’s far too divisive.

TBT – Attack of the Clones (2002)

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I know that it’s a very subjective thing but I think we mostly all agree that, when it comes to Star Wars films, the second ever film in the franchise is the best. I know over the years I’ve changed my mind on the matter many times and can still switch whenever I’m a bit hungry or my mood changes slightly. However, The Empire Strikes Back, ended up being a far better film than A New Hope and it was certainly not surpassed by Return of the Jedi. If you were to ask me, Empire is up there with a limited number of sequels that were better than the original film. This fact may have given fans a glimmer of hope after the disappointing prequel The Phantom Menace by suggesting that lightening could strike twice. We all madly hoped that Attack of the Clones would show us how great Star Wars could be with lashings of CGI and plenty of stupid characters to keep the kids entertained. Unfortunately, it did the opposite and managed to make the first film look like fucking Shakespeare. Just as we can pretty much all agree that the original sequel is the best film in the franchise, I think we all know that the worst is the prequel sequel. So, in honour of this great day, I decided to re-watch it and rip it to shreds.

As you may remember, back in 2015 I wrote a blog post in which I defended the prequels and offered several examples that I believe were genuinely good about them. There are a fair few good things about Revenge of the Sith and some aspects of The Phantom Menace that really worked well. The only things I could think of for Attack of the Clones? The Jedi battle on Geonosis and Obi Wan’s face. Now Ewan McGregor’s face has got me to watch many questionable films over the years and definitely will do again. His casting was the best thing about the prequel films and has caused me to re-watch specific scenes in all of the prequels way too many times. He’s bloody beautiful and super talented despite the god awful lines he’s continually forced to spout. Still, there is only so much that his good looks can cover up.

For the most part, Attack of the Clones is just a long and slow continuation of Anakin’s story where very little happens until the final half hour or so. The tale picks up 10 years after the end of Phantom and Anakin is still Obi Wan’s padawan. He is cocky and still unable to control his emotions. Even if you weren’t aware of the future events in his story, it’s super obvious that he shouldn’t have been allowed into the Jedi order and I spend most of the film wondering why people didn’t realise the outcome sooner. I mean he just comes across as a fucking creep the entire time and looks as though he could kill at any minute. It’s insane that Yoda let him just wander around the galaxy freely carrying a weapon.

Unlike it’s counterpart for the original films, The Empire Strikes Back, there is no dramatic and exciting opening to this film. Instead of a great battle on Hoth, we have an introduction to space politics and a really boring assassination plot. A plot which only serves the purpose of messily putting  Anakin and Padme together to allow them to fall in love. Which is basically all this film cares about. It pushes the romance angle way more than it should, especially because it’s two stars have absolutely no chemistry. Hayden Christensen is incredibly wooden and unemotional throughout his 2 Star Wars films but when he is attempting to woo Natalie Portman there is just nothing there. It doesn’t help that the lines are the worst kind of cliches imaginable but you can’t really tell from the on-screen talent that these two characters are falling in love. It just kind of sneaks up on you and doesn’t make sense. Remember how, the more you think about it, the love story in Beauty and the Beast is super questionable and weird. This one makes that look like fucking relationship goals. It’s just not good.

Thankfully, there is Obi Wan’s side-plot to keep people interested but even that veers off into dull territory from time to time. We see some new worlds and meet some interesting new characters but it isn’t until way down the line that the excitement really kicks in. He goes on a rather tame Space tour and follows bounty hunter Jango Fett to Geonosis. It’s not much to write home about. Until he, and in a painfully laboured way, Anakin and Padme get captured by Separatists and forced to fight in a massive death arena. It is here that the fucking awesome Jedi battle I mentioned as the main positive takes place. It’s a great sequence that really, for the first time in the franchise, shows us the real scope of the Jedi Order. We see why they are considered the Space Police of the whole Galaxy and understand why they were remembered as great warriors.

Still, that’s only 1 scene. We have to wade through an immense amount of shit to get there. We all wanted to love Attack of the Clones and, if it’s sequel brother was anything to go by, it should have been great. Instead it featured and some really boring narrative points and some of the worst writing in cinematic history. The lead couple never really gels enough to sell the only part of the film that George Lucas gives a fuck about and there just isn’t enough of Obi Wan’s face. This film, even more than Phantom, is just a mess of CGI backdrops and awful cartoon characters for the kids. There are moments when I start to feel embarrassed for the people involved in making it. I mean the scene between Obi Wan and Dex the Diner owner is just pure children’s cartoon. Then there’s the moment that could fit in any B movie or soap opera when the director attempts to trick us into thinking Padme is about to be melted. Or, finally, the laughable moment when Christopher Lee’s Count Dooku is speeding along on a CGI space scooter. Who the fuck signed off on that visual? Lee looks super uncomfortable and the end result looks so shitty.

Ultimately though, the problem with Attack of the Clones is that nobody really gave a shit about it. It was just a placeholder. It didn’t matter to the story and was just the inevitable 3rd movie to let the whole double trilogy thing come to life. Phantom was about introducing us to Anakin and explaining how he became a Jedi. Revenge would show us the moment Anakin became Darth Vader. Attack? Nobody really knew what that needed to be about so it was just about nothing really. It was let down by lack of plot and sense of direction. It’s aimless so there is nothing it can do to make up for any shortfalls. If it weren’t for a couple of great moments and some decent acting from the likes of Ewan McGregor, Christopher Lee and Samuel L Jackson then it would have completely crumbled. Also, CGI Yoda is the fucking bomb!


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Tomorrow is the biggest day in any Star Wars fan’s diary. Yes, May the 4th is upon us all again and, as we started last year, it’s time for our yearly Star Wars Top 10. I have to be honest, I’ve only done 1 of these so far and I was already struggling to find a decent idea here. It didn’t help that I got back late from the cinema. I’ve just watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and I have too many feelings to be able to process this top 10. Still, I’m soldiering on and am ready to right a list of my top moments in the Star Wars films. All the Star Wars films that it. Even the newer ones were up for grabs. That’s probably controversial but, as I’ve said before, all of the newer films have their positives.

Ten: The Jedi Battle – Attack of the Clones

The great moments in the second prequel film were definitely few and far between. However, the huge Jedi battle on Geonosis is just amazing. It’s the first time we really see the sheer force and size of the Jedis before Order 66 destroys them. They are a force to be reckoned with and you can see how they are able to keep the Galaxy in order.

Nine: The Pod Race – The Phantom Menace

The Pod Race gave so much hope early on in this film. It’s such a fantastic sequence that uses CGI in a really good way. You know, unlike the other scenes in the prequels. Ignoring the rest of the film, this sequence is exciting and exhilarating. We see Anakin as the great pilot that Obi Wan always claimed he was. It looks great and it adds a lot to the opening of the new film.

Eight: The Battle of Hoth – The Empire Strikes Back

This opening battle is bloody brilliant, right? It picks up off straight away after the dramatic tension of A New Hope and takes it to a new ice planet. I mean if nothing else, Hoth is a fucking great place for the series’ first land battle. Then look at the huge AT-ATs against the tiny rebel ships. It’s a great battle with a great background. It showed us that this sequel was ready to start with a bang and keep on going. It is chaotic, energetic and brilliantly set out. A great sequence.

 Seven: The asteroid field – The Empire Strikes Back

Never tell me the odds of this scene ending up in this top 10. This scene is, quite frankly, a roller-coaster ride. We follow Han Solo as he tries to escape in the Millennium Falcon from the Imperial fleet in the middle of an asteroid field. There’s near misses, snappy dialogue and some great visuals. This scene just works so well and is helped along by John William’s great score. It’s a dramatic moment where you genuinely fear for the safety of our heroes.

 Six: The trash compactor – A New Hope

Not exactly something you’d see as a key moment but this scene is the first to feature out main foursome together for the first time. It’s the moment when we really see the relationships develop and see how the character’s bounce off each other. Add to that the tension and fear. The dialogue is great and the sense of danger is always present. Then we have things popping up all over the place and random trash monsters. It’s a great little scene.

Five: “I love you” “I know” – The Empire Strikes Back

Another memorable and quotable moment. The history of the behind the scenes are now as famous as the words themselves. When Harrison Ford decided he wanted to change the line from “I love you to” to “I know” he really cemented his character’s attitude. Han Solo is the egotistical, frustrating, scruffy-looking Nerf-herder. Yes, he’s lovable but he’s still a rogue. More than any other line in the trilogy, these 3 words sum up exactly who he is. It’s why we all love it so much.

Four: Duel of the Fates – The Phantom Menace

Before the prequels came along the lightsabre fights we, if we’re honest, really fucking lame. The new films introduced us to what a Jedi battle could really be with this showdown and, boy, did it rewrite the rules. First, we have Darth Maul and his double-ended sword and then we have the Jedi twosome working together. It’s a brilliantly choreographed sequence and is full of tension, excitement and offers an emotional punch in the middle. It’s the best thing about the first film and the prequels. It’s just mesmerising.

Three: The Death Star Attack – A New Hope

Another super iconic scene and such a memorable moment. At the basic level, without this scene the original films wouldn’t have it’s story. I mean if the Death Star hadn’t been destroyed then there wouldn’t be a rebel alliance any more. At the same time, this is the moment when we really see the potential of the force and Luke’s Jedi abilities. There are also the fantastic illusions to WW2 and the aerial dogfights. It feels real yet completely sci-fi at the same time. It’s a game changer.
Two: Darth Vader unleashed – Rogue One

I’m not sure if it’s cheating having this moment in my top 10 because it’s from one of the newer films. However, this is the Darth Vader scene we’ve all been waiting for. Darth is one of the greatest villains in cinema history but, when you think about it, there’s little reason for this to be true. In the originals we never see him do anything that terrifying and the Anakin in the prequels doesn’t get beyond killing a few annoying younglings. We needed this scene to show us exactly why the rebels were so fucking afraid of him. It’s a breathtaking scene.

One: The Big Reveal – The Empire Strikes Back

As if there could be any other moment in the number 1 spot. We all remember that moment we first watched the films and saw this moment. It’s number 1 simply because of how iconic it is. Without this, the original films don’t have their emotional core. It’s one of the best lines in the series and it’s one of the most memorable lines in cinematic history. How could I possibly pick anything else?

Tuesday’s Reviews – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

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I obviously have a lot of love for Star Wars fan. I mean I am one myself and so are a load of my friends and colleagues. They’re a great bunch of people who share an often insane amount of love for a really great set of films. However, they are an infuriating bunch of people. Or, at least, a select group of them are. When The Force Awakens opened last December people were rejoicing that JJ Abrams had undone the damage of the prequels by making a decent Star Wars film but there was still criticism that the film was too much like A New Hope. I can see what they mean but their argument is absurd when you consider how pissed off they were about the prequels: three films that went wildly beyond the scope and lore. So we’ve learnt that Star Wars fans don’t want anything new nor do they want anything old. Well, is it any wonder George Lucas couldn’t do a damn thing right when you’re all so fucking undecided? It meant that there was even greater risk for the newest film Rogue One because it was bridging the gap between old and new. It was telling the, as yet, untold but all too familiar story of how the rebellion got their hands on the plans for the Death Star. With news of its release came the usual questioning of “is it necessary?” and people claiming enough was enough. I can’t help but feel that Star Wars fans needs to take some tips from the Harry Potter fandom. Those guys are always after more: even when it’s absolutely balls.

There are a few questions that have remained unanswered since the opening of Star Wars in 1977. Like how did the rebellion get their hands on the Death Star plans and who exactly put that very convenient flaw that made it so easy to destroy? Rogue One goes out to answer those questions as newcomer Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) finds herself unwittingly caught up in the fight against the Empire. As a child Jyn watched helplessly as her father, Galen (Mads Mikkelson), is taken away by Imperial Officer, Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) and her mother is shot by Stormtroopers. Turns out that Galen and Krennic are the two scientist that were given the task of creating the Empire’s great weapon, the Death Star and the job needs to be finished. Years later, Jyn is broken out of prison and asked to get them a meeting a rebel extremist Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) in order to find her father. Unfortunately, the deadly weapon has already been completed but an Imperial defector supplies a message from Galen describing a secret flaw that is to be the Death Star’s undoing. With this new information, Jyn must rally the troops to help her steal the plans and get them into the hands of rebel forces.

Really, Rogue One is attempting to fill in certain gaps between the end of Revenge of the Sith and the start of A New Hope. The ending isn’t exactly a surprise to anyone who is familiar with the first film in the franchise but that doesn’t mean it’s not a pleasant journey getting there. I’ve always been the kind of person who enjoys seeing a familiar story from a different perspective: heck I even have a certain love for the third Lion King film, which showed the events of the first film from Timon and Pumbaa’s point of view. So, Rogue One introduces us to a whole host of new faces whilst reintroducing us to a few that we haven’t seen in a long time. A lot has been said about the animation of Grand Moff Tarkin and I really want to address it in an additional post. However, I will say that I was glad to see Tarking back, because it was needed in the time frame, but I think the whole CGI thing just didn’t work. Every time he was on screen it was like the fucking Polar Express. It was just too weird and awful.

Still, as I said, I was glad he came back. Rogue One is full of in-jokes, references, and Easter eggs that will keep fans happy. I’m exactly the kind of person that filmmakers love because I instantly get all giddy when I see someone i recognise or hear someone reference something from the old films. I can see why some people would see it as a negative because it does feel like pandering. But, really, we’re dealing with the same time-frame as A New Hope so it makes sense that all these people are still around. I mean, if Grand Moff Tarkin wasn’t around for the inaugural firing of the Death Star’s laser then you’d have to ask why he was running the space station only days later. And why wouldn’t the rebels that we see in the first film also be debating what to do about the Death Star plans? Yes it’s a film that pays fan service but it’s done so well that it really doesn’t matter.

That’s not to say that there isn’t also something to be enjoyed from the new material. Pretty much all of the new characters are great additions to the Star Wars universe and Felicity Jones has made herself a fine addition to the roster of powerful females in these movies. Her rebel cohorts are equally welcome and, pleasingly, add a certain amount of moral ambiguity to the rebellion. We’re used to seeing Luke and Leia, who are two wholly good characters, fighting against the evil Empire. Whereas, Rogue One introduces us to the people who had to make tough and immoral choices for the greater good. Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), a rebel Captain, puts even Han Solo to shame in the anti-hero stakes with his willing to kill whenever the need arises. The original trilogy wanted us to see that everything is covered in darkness but it isn’t until Rogue One that we really see the price the rest of the Galaxy has had to pay.

It is great to finally see the dark and depressing consequences of the rebellion and, aside from the people you know from the future, nobody on screen is safe. It’s true that we don’t really get much time to get to know the new group of people putting their lives at risk to save the Galaxy but there are some stand out characters. Alan Tudyk is fantastic as the plucky robot K-2SO. He’s sort of like a mix between C-3PO and Chewbacca and manages to get all of the best lines. Unlike Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen), a blind warrior who strongy believes in the force, who basically says the same thing over and over or his friend Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) who is more of shoot first ask questions later kind of guy. Of course, it would have been nice to get more of a chance to get to know these characters and less time on the confusing and unnecessary beach battle near the end. That is, I think, my major criticism of the film. The final battle between Rebel and Imperial fighters just feels out of place. It is kind of distracting to the point and it isn’t as well done as some of the bigger battle in the original triology. It doesn’t add anything to either this film or it’s predecessors.

When it comes down to it though, Rogue One is the best of both worlds. It tells a good and new story without veering too far from familiar ground. It is an exciting Star Wars film with a great cast of characters. It is by no means perfect and, like every Star Wars film to date, suffers from occasional dreadful dialogue and too many ideas. Still, it was an absolutely amazing film and one I intend to watch again as soon as possible. I remember walking out of The Force Awakens and feeling satisfied but not necessarily hungry for more. This film left me stuffed but still willing to reach in for another helping. And, without spoiling it for anyone who hasn’t seen it, the final scenes are some of the most incredible Star Wars moments of all time. This just goes to show, we don’t need Jedi, Skywalkers, and Solos to have a great Star Wars film.


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So it’s Star Wars day again and I have another chance to discuss one of the greatest franchises in movie history. Last year I defended the prequels prior to the release of The Force Awakens. They aren’t that bad, after all. It’s just a shame that The Force Awakens was so good that it makes them seem worse now. Still, this year, May 4th has fallen on a Wednesday which mean it’s time to write another top 10 list. This time my list of all time favourite characters. I’m not really a very original thinker so this is bound to be very reminiscent of most people’s top 10. Had the newest film not royally fucked her character up, Captain Phasma would no doubt have been here. Of course, that was a massive let down. Although she has time to make the cut. As does Poe who would have been here had he had more screen time. I’d love to have included Mace Windu but I feel like I needed a reason beyond “he’s fucking Samuel L Jackson and has a purple lightsabre”. So I present to you, without further ado, my top 10 Star Wars characters.

    Ten: Kit Fisto

A less obvious choice, no doubt, but since I first saw the second of the prequels I’ve had a huge soft spot for this Nautolan Jedi Master. I’m not entirely sure why he made such an impact but it’s probably something to do with the massive grin he has on his face during the epic Jedi battle on Geonosis. Yes, his death may be supremely shitty but this guy is a genuine badass.

     Nine: Kylo Ren

I was wavering about including too many newer characters onto the list because we’ve still only seen Episode 7. We haven’t really seen much of any of the new faces from The Force Awakens to tell if they deserve being given such high accolades. However, Kylo Ren was such a great addition to the new film that I couldn’t ignore him. There has been a constant struggle between the light and the dark side in all the Star Wars films that it was difficult to imagine it feeling fresh. Kylo Ren does that. Having such an avid Sith Lord being pulled back to light side was fantastic. Add to that his teenage temper tantrums and we have a potentially new iconic figure. 

Eight: Luke Skywalker

Very nearly didn’t make it into the top 10 because, as we’re all aware, Luke is a bit of a joke as the hero. He’s the annoying teenager who stumbles into the limelight and manages to be utterly annoying whilst saving everyone. Kind of like Harry Potter, we like him because he’s the main guy but we kind of wish someone else was. However, Luke is no.1 so he gets a lot of the juicy bits. His lightsabre fights are the best in the originals and he is a part of most of the iconic scenes. You don’t want to be Luke but you can’t help but admire his journey. 


Seven: R2D2/BB8

Had to lump these two adorable figures together because, let’s face it, they’re essentially the same thing. R2D2 and BB8 are the adorable droids that have taken the world of Star Wars merchandising by storm. It’s not difficult to see why they’re so popular. Both are incredibly cute and have enough personality and fun to provide comic relief in the midst of all the darkness. Not being able to speak hasn’t stopped either working they’re way into the hearts of fans. 



 Six: Chewbacca 


Chewbacca is the best friend anyone could hope for. He’s furry, handy in a fight and incredibly loyal. No wonder, considering the inspiration for his creation was taken from George Lucas’ dog. Chewie is a great fighter but, most importantly, he’s a great friend. His bromance with Han Solo has been providing squad goals way before Taylor fucking Swift came along.


 Five: Princess Leia

Princess Leia shines partly because she’s a lone female figure in a male dominated universe. She also shines because she’s so fucking awesome. She stands up against the Empire, watches her home planet destroyed and still comes out being sassy. She’s a strong, independent and self-assured leader who isn’t content to sit around waiting for evil to strike. Even if she sometimes has to play the role of sex-symbol, there is never any doubt that Leia is a hero in her own right rather than a damsel in distress. 


Four: Darth Vader

I know, I know. How can I put Darth Vader at number 4? The guy IS Star Wars. And it’s true. Darth Vader is one of, if not the, most iconic movie villains of all time. He looks and sounds the part. Absolutely terrifying, unstoppable and unforgiving. Darth Vader is the Sith Lord that very clearly has his own agenda. He may work under the banner of the Empire but it came as no surprise when he turned his back on them. He also gets the best cinematic reveal of all time.

     Three: Obi Wan Kenobi

I admit, my love of Ewan McGregor probably has a lot to do with my love of Obi Wan but I think the Jedi deserves his place at number 3. Obi Wan had the horrible task of spouting a lot of Force related nonsense but, thanks to the great job of the two actors playing him, he sounds like a fucking genius rather than a lunatic. Obi Wan was the introduction to the Jedi culture for both Luke and the audience and we were happy to follow him into unknown territories. He’s the mentor we all wished we could have had at some point in our lives.And let’s not forget, he’s also one of the biggest badasses of them all. 

     Two: Boba Fett

So very close to stealing the top spot, Boba Fett manages to walk out on top of this franchise despite having only 4 lines of dialogue. It is in these 4 lines that the character manages to show what a fucking badass he really is and bring a much needed boost of cool to the proceedings. At least until George went and fucked things up with the prequel tie-ins. Still, let’s not dwell. Boba Fett is the ultimate mercenary. Willing to do anything for anyone provided the price is right. The fact that we knew so little about him only made him all the more appealing. What a guy.

One: Han Solo

An obvious but very deserving winner. Han Solo is the true stand-out of the original trilogy. He’s the scruffy looking nerfherder of every girl’s dreams. Harrison Ford is a beautiful man in these films and is the ultimate cool space hero. Han Solo is a wisecracking, arrogant and highly annoying individual. He is also incredibly realistic and provides most of the memorable moments from the original trilogy. He’s such a well written character and shows real growth throughout the three films. Ford plays him perfectly and his flirty sparring with Leia is just addictive to watch. Yes, he may lack the use of the Force and lack the power and wisdom of the other big players. Darth Vader and Luke are cool and all but, be honest, it’s Han Solo that you wanted to be.

Mondays Are For Moaning – Episode 1: The Fan-tom Menace

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So before Christmas I finally got around to watching The Force Awakens and, after months of trying not to get myself too worked up about it, I was super fucking excited. My heart nearly burst out of my chest the second the opening titles started. It was all so familiar and fun. I mean I had some problems with it but, as a whole, it was Star Wars done as we all wanted it to be done. However, I decided not to review the film in my traditional way. The problem with picking something like this apart is that you run the risk of ruining it. So what does it matter that there are narrative issues and underdeveloped characters? It didn’t ruin my overall enjoyment. The film didn’t need to be best ever film: it just needed to be a better Star Wars film than Attack of the Clones. It was. It isn’t perfect but, we have to be honest, neither are the originals… even before Lucas edited them again. The deeper you look at something the more problems you find and that’s okay. Some films don’t need to be flawless to be great. If you came out of the cinema feeling like a kid again then Abrams did his job brilliantly.

The problem with something like Star Wars is the pressure that the fanbase put upon everything. It is a series that has, quite rightly, meant a great deal to a fuckload of people. So much so that they start to mistakenly believe they are the rightful owners of the franchise. That they have final say over decisions made to the series. We, the fans, don’t own shit. George Lucas recently gave an interview on Charlie Rose. A lot has been made of his “white slavers” comment which has meant most of the sentiment has been ignored. Yes, Lucas was a fucking idiot to compare selling his company to Disney with selling his “children… to the white slavers” but the underlying emotions got me thinking. In fact, it left me feeling a little bit sorry for the director I’ve bemoaned so many times of the years.

We all know that Lucas has faced a lot of criticism because of the underwhelming prequels but what has been forgotten in all of this is that Lucas has as much riding on those films as the rest of us. The franchise is like his child and he has spent such a large portion of his life developing it and watching it grow. Just like any other excited parent, Lucas loved his child in a way that only a parent could and had specific ideas about what he wanted it to be when it grew up. Whilst fans wanted the new films to taken them back to their childhood, George wanted them to move people forwards. Deep down, he’s an artist (of sorts). He wanted to push the boundaries and experiment with technology.

Now imagine, for a second, that you’ve spent such a large amount of time creating a piece of art that you love with only to be turned into a demon. As hard as it might be to imagine, Lucas wasn’t making Star Wars for the fans or at least he wasn’t just making it for the fans. He wanted to tell a story and he wanted to do it in his way. The fact that other people liked it too was just an added extra. That’s why he hasn’t seemed to give a shit about fan opinion in the last few years and why he won’t release a Blu Ray version of the theatrical release of the original trilogies. Whether we like it or not, the way Star Wars was before Episode VII was exactly the way George Lucas wanted it to be and he’s in charge. If other people don’t like your parenting style are you really going to turn around and say “oh yes you’re right. I am a shit father. Let me do things your way”? Fuck no,

So imagine again, that you’ve spent time and money nurturing your child, give it up for adoption and find that the new parent is much better at it than you are. Now maybe it’s just me but I feel bad for George Lucas. He was trying to perfect Star Wars and keep it fresh and new. Whenever a new technology came around he got overexcited and wanted to play with it. We can all understand that. Parents are forever showering their little bundles of joy with fucking new toys and clothes and shit. He thought he was doing the right thing. He was following his instincts as an artist, which you have to give him some respect for.

So, JJ Abrams and Disney comes along and take the franchise back to the beginning. Good news for the fans but stab in the heart to the man who was trying to keep it modern. There has been fan backing for this as soon as Abrams was announced to direct and Lucas has had to keep jovial and happy throughout it all. I mean, essentially, all it took for the fans to love the film was a few references to the original, a few new (real) faces and a retro filter. To keep flogging this dead horse of an analogy, it’s like a father telling their child to study programming instead of art because that’s where there’s more security. Then, years later, the father has to look on as his artist child is beloved by everyone and he looks like a fucking fool.

I guess what I’m saying is, George Lucas is King Lear. He’s made all the wrong decision but he was doing it for the right reasons. He was blind to what really mattered. Although, so were the fans. With fandoms becoming so much stronger and crazier these days, it’s hard to remember that we’re not in charge. Yes, films need fans to make money so our opinion matters. However, just because we pay for a cinema ticket or watch a series doesn’t mean we should have ultimate creative control. Now if you’ve read enough of my rants you’ll be ready to accuse me of being hypocritical. You’d be right. I’ve spent enough time ranting about how Steven Moffat has ruined Doctor Who with his awful plot lines and characters. I stick by my opinion on a personal level. It’s not the way I’d have it. However, I have to try and be understanding from a creative level.

I’m not such a terrible person that I can’t see the good in something I don’t like. Just look at my justification for the prequels if you don’t believe me. I still respect Doctor Who and Sherlock as being well-made television series with great moments. Yes, I’m a melodramatic twat sometimes but, deep down, I understand that Moffat hasn’t ruined Doctor Who at all. He’s ruined my vision for what Doctor Who should be but the show remains in tact. Similarly, I really love less than half of the episodes in Sherlock’s history but I still see that it is a beautifully crafted show. I still respect it; I just don’t like it all the time. Ultimately, I’m just one fan and nobody gives a shit about my views.

Fans have been demanding too much of their creators for fucking ages. I mean Arthur Conan Doyle was sick of his great detective so killed the fucker off. He was forced to bring him back from the dead thanks to the endless petitions from his fans. Forcing a man to continue writing a character he resented? Am I the only one who sees that as fucking selfish? Then we have the modern example of George RR Martin. The poor man was writing a series of books for a dedicated group of fans before HBO came along. Then the fandom exploded. Instead of his loyal fans who were willing to wait 5 years between books, Martin was now faced with impatient TV fans who wanted the writer to hurry the fuck up. Give the guy a fucking break. He wants everything to be perfect but that’s not good enough for his so-called fans.

We all just need to calm the fuck down. You’re a fan. We are being given something wonderful by hard-working and creative people. They have their vision and it doesn’t alway fit in with ours. That’s okay. It doesn’t mean your childhood is ruined. It just means life sometimes sucks. Get over it. The next time you’re about to tell someone how much better The Force Awakens is compared to the prequels, think about George Lucas. Think about him staggering around on a misty moor going slowly mad. Think about what he once gave you and give him some fucking credit for a change. If Star Wars really means that much to you then you owe George Lucas a lot more than you’re giving him now.

TBT – Revenge of the Sith (2005)

CGI, Christopher Lee, Ewan McGregor, George Lucas, review, Samuel L, sci-fi, Star Wars, TBT

This month marks the 10thanniversary of the release of the third episode in the Star Warssaga: Revenge of the Sith. As such, it marked the end of the prequel trilogy and the end of the three films that managed to break the hearts of so many people. Fans were fucking jaded and sad come 2005: the excitement pre-Phantom Menace a fading memory of a more naïve time in their lives. To a certain group of society, George Lucas was the fucking villain who pissed on their childhood thanks to an over-reliance on CGI and a fucking racist alien. Although, people still flocked to see the final film to get the closure they needed but they weren’t going to enjoy it. It turned out that after the abysmal first two films, Revenge of the Sithwas the best of Lucas’ modern trilogy but, really, what does that accolade mean?

As mentioned in my last post, Revenge of the Sithstarts with by swiftly slapping you in the face with an epic space battle taking place of Coruscant. It starts fast and the pace rarely slows. Well except for those moments when characters just sit in silence looking longingly into the distance: you can’t fucking get away from those moments. However, there is no denying that there is plenty of action on offer and enough Jedi duelling to keep your attention for the most part. If Revenge of the Sithisn’t a good film then it is at least a pretty decent spectacle. Even those maudlin moments of starring are fucking visual treats in their own CGI’d way.
Of course, in terms of story there isn’t much to write home about. Although, this is mostly down to the fact that Sithhas the awful job of revealing several plot twists that were revealed up to 30 years previously. That’s no excuse for the dismal use of language throughout, of course. Some of the lines in this film are so horrible that I’m pretty sure I’ve lost a necessary number of brain cells with each watch. I don’t think I can afford to do it again guys.
Poor Natalie Portman gets the brunt of these lines, having been relegated to pregnant love interest. It really isn’t the Padmé that was suggested to us from the last films. Although, to make it up to Portman, she is also given one of the film’s greatest lines: “so this how liberty dies… with thunderous applause”. That line gives me fucking chills every single time. Portman often finds herself lost in this shitty role that is becomes more emotionally charge than Padmé’s inevitable and uninspiring death.
Of course, acting was something that the films always had a lot of potential with and in Siththe likes of Ewan McGregor and Samuel L Jackson continue to revel in their respective positions as Jedi badasses. There are moments when it’s impossible to ignore the sheer joy on McGregor’s beautiful, beardy face as he nears completion in his transformation into Alec Guinness. Even Hayden Christensen seems to have taken some notes after Clones and started to really think about what his fucking job entails. Sure he’ll never be a great performer but there are moments when it’s almost forgiveable.
Of course, he’s in full evil mode now: something which is very apparent from the opening scene thanks to the tell-tale scar of immorality over his right eye. Although, to hammer the point home, Anakin is the only Jedi wearing all-black robes (you’d think someone would have picked up on it), only ever appears half-lit and looks fucking evil. I know we all knew he was going to become Darth Vader but this is half-arsed even for George Lucas.
So far, Revenge of the Sithsounds much like the first films but there are a few inspiring moments. I’ve discussed a couple in my last post and maintain that the fight on Mustafar and General Grievous in general are fucking fantastic. Then there is the almost perfect scene at the end when the action cuts between Padmé enduring a painful labour and Anakin’s “rebirth” as Darth Vader. There are some genuinely inspired moments of filmmaking from a director who’s name has become synonymous with shitting over a beloved series of films.
Of course, before we get too comfortable with Lucas again that are a lot of questionable choices within his direction. Most worryingly of all, his apparent obsession with extreme close-ups. There’s no need for it and they crop up at the most inconvenient times. He is on shaky ground still and attempts to mask the film’s many flaws by bombarding the audience with endless scenes of action and CGI wonderment. Sithtakes on board the frustration many felt with the prolonged exposure to Galactic politics and decided the best way to keep people happy is to blow all the shit up. Hey, as strategies go I’ve hear worse.
Revenge of the Sithis as good a science-fiction film as you’d want from 2005 once you remove it from the nostalgia tainted world of the Star Wars fandom. People were never going to welcome it with open arms and many stubbornly failed to see any of its good points out of sheer spite to Lucasfilm. It’s a visual feast and has enough within it to keep an audience entertained. I’m not ashamed to say that I have a certain fondness for this film despite my unending devotion to the original trilogy. It’s the part of the franchise that I’ve watched the most in recent years but that might have more to do with that beard I mentioned earlier. I’m not going to beat around the bush here: Sith is good. Not great by any stretch but a good film.

Until you start comparing your viewing experience with your first taste of original Star Wars. You can’t compare watching A New Hopefor the feeling you got for this film and come out singing George Lucas’ praises. Die hard Star Warsfans are, perhaps, some of the most stubborn people on the planet and would have no doubt hated the films even if they were Oscar worthy. Let us not forget the initial hyperbolic reaction when it was announced that JJ Abrams was to direct the next one. People acted like it was the worst thing to happen to mankind in the whole of existence. It’s about time they stopped being such fucking cry babies about everything.