TOP 10 WEN-SDAY – TOP TEN STAR WARS

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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?

Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 Films I’m Looking Forward To This Year

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So last week I released my list of books that I’m most looking forward to (probably not) reading this year. So I decided, as it’s that time of the month when I need to create a list of 10 random things, that it was only fair that I put down on e-paper the films that I’m most excited to see this year. It turns out that was really fucking hard. There are a lot of great films coming out and I’m super excited about all of them. Even really surprising ones. I mean, had you asked me this time last year, that I’d be quite looking forward to seeing Michael Keaton star in the story of the founder of McDonalds I’d have thought you were mad. Now, however, I think it looks pretty good. I mean I love Keaton and it stars the internet’s favourite man’s man Nick Offerman. Plus, there was a point when I didn’t think I wanted to see The Social Network but that turned out better than expect. I also, even more shockingly, became fairly interested in the Justice League film. I’m still not ecstatic about the release because the last two films in DC’s arsenal were utter dogshit. I think it’s basically just down to Jason Momoa though. And Batfleck. But, before I get distracted by sexy superheroes, I should present the list… with more than enough sexy superheroes.
Ten: War for the Planet of the Apes

I really enjoyed 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and I loved Rise of the Planet of the Apes back in 2011. The rebooted franchise has created some fantastic pequels so I’m incredibly keen to see what’s coming next.

Nine: Blade Runner 2049

Of course I’m excited about the prospect of Harrison Ford returning to the role of Rick Deckard but there is still a part of me that worries. It’s been a long time. Still, everything we’ve seen so far looks good and gives a positive feeling. Plus, director Denis Villeneuve directed last year’s Arrival which everyone seemed to fucking love. So it’s probably in safe hands.

Eight: Murder on the Orient Express

Probably not going to be top of too many people’s lists but I think I’m going to enjoy this one. It’s Kenneth Branagh directing himself and a shitload of really famous actors to retell the classic Hercule Poirot tale. Yes, we all know who did it but that’s not the point. It’s about watching our favourite Belgian detective work out those “leetle grey cells” to figure it out. And, at this point, I think I’d allow Branagh to play anybody.

 Seven: Alien: Covenant

I know it received mixed reviews but I kinda liked Prometheus. I mean it was a bit of a fucking mess but, for the most part, I think it was a decent film. I get why people were upset though. It was billed as the epic prequel to one of the best films ever made but it didn’t even feature the titular alien creature. So, this year’s follow up should make amends for that if the poster is anything to go by. Really, this could be a retelling of the first Alien film and this would fair better than Prometheus. Plus, you know, Michael Fassbender is fucking weird in this role.

 Six: Logan Lucky

I’m kinda getting sick of Steven Soderbergh telling us he’s retiring and then making another film. Or at least I would be sick of it if it wasn’t for the idea of another Soderbergh film. It’s been 4 years since he made the announcement and now he’s back making a comedy about a robbery duing a NASCAR race. It’s got an interesting and star-studded line-up. What we know about the plot sounds kinda ropey but it’s fucking Soderbergh. How can you ignore it?

Five: Thor: Ragnorak

I know Thor isn’t everyone’s favourite part of the MCU but I’m a massive fan of his first film. I think the second was kind of dodgy but I still have faith in this series. The huge-armed Norse God is back for his third film and, for anyone that knows anything about Norse mythology will know, Ragnorok can only mean trouble. Thankfully, Thor is helped by his pal the Hulk and Marvel’s newest sign-up Doctor Strange. We’ve lost the unnecessary and bland Jane but I’m sure nobody, Natalie Portman included, is crying about that.

Four: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy was a sort of surprisingly huge hit when it came out 3 years ago. It introduced us to the ragtag bunch of people who accidentally get caught up in trying to save the world. Their second film promises much of the things that made the first one great so obviously I’m excited. But, as we’ve learnt by now, Marvel sequels don’t have the greatest track record. I mean, to date, only 1 follow-up manages to equal/improve on the first film: The Winter Soldier. At the worst we have Iron Man 2 (happily improved upon with Iron Man 3) but the rest were all just kind of meh. So, I do have a fear that Guardians 2 will just try and replay all of it’s greatest hits without offering up any new material. As much as I love him, I need more than just “I am Groot” but said in a baby voice now.

Three: Spider-Man: Homecoming

If Civil War taught us anything it was that a Marvel controlled Spider-Man film could be the best thing ever. Then the trailer for Homecoming was released and it definitely backed up the claim. Tom Holland looks set to steal Andrew Garfield’s crown as best portrayal of the web-slinger. Still, this is the 3 time in about 15 years that this franchise has been rebooted and it’s the 3 different actor to lend his face to the role. I’m not sure it was necessary and, more worryingly, I feel that Marvel are pushing Tony Stark too much. Maybe his role will work in the film as a whole but, from what we’ve seen so far, this could very easily become the Iron Man show. And that would be an injustice.

Two: Star Wars Episode 8 

Well, duh! Rogue One was the best Star Wars film to be released since the originals and it got me incredibly excited for what’s coming next. The Force Awakens did a great job of bringing us back into the world but left so many things unanswered. This is the time to find out. Plus, it’s directed by Rian Johnson who also did Brick and Looper so we’re in pretty safe hands.  

One: Logan

There was really no other choice for the number 1 spot. Logan is a key film this year for so many reasons. Mostly because, after 17 years, Hugh Jackman is finally saying goodbye to the character. It’s so weird to think that he’s been playing the guy for so long. He basically is Wolverine at this point. I can’t imagine anyone else having taken the character this far if Jackman hadn’t got the role. Add to that the fact that it’s the character’s first film to receive an R-rating. Last year’s Deadpool showed us that it’s no bad thing to make comic book movies just for adults so it feels right that Jackman should get to show us what Logan can really do for this final time. The comic book Wolverine was always an incredibly violent character and that’s not really been able to come across in any of the others. We need to see him really letting his anger out. I’m so fucking pumped for this film.

Star Wars: The Trailer Awakens

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The last week has been fucking exhausting. Not only am I still trying to get to grips with my new job, keep up with my new schedule here and getting obsessed with Minecraft all over again, but we have a fucking huge onslaught of great trailers to get through. I’ve already mentioned that 2015 has been a quiet reading year so far but I also can’t remember the last time I went to the cinema. I’m starting to regret all those years that I’ve defended video games: having a console once again is royally fucking up my life. Thankfully, there is a shitload of great films coming this year: Age of Ultronis only days away and then we have a constant stream of potentially great films to look forward to. Something the trailers released in the last 7 days have only proved.

The most squeal-tastic trailer moment obviously came from the secondteaser for JJ Abrams The Force Awakens. This gave fans an even greater look at the new take on this much loved franchise and, for the most part, put paid to any people out there still doubting Abrams’ suitability for the task. It’s a bloody awesome trailer packed full of great imagery to get your juices flowing. Nothing I have watched in film recently comes anywhere near the sheer wonderment of seeing the wrecks of an X-wing and a Star Destroyer in the middle of a desert planet. Then, just when you think nothing could give you chills quite like the first look at the Millennium Falcon in the first teaser, along comes Harrison fucking Ford in the flesh.
There is a lot to discuss in the 1.49 minute long trailer and greater people than myself have taken the time to do so. For my part, I’m just fucking thrilled. This is the Star Warswe know and love; the Star Warsthat existed well before George Lucas fell in love with CGI and nearly fucked everything up. I’m also thrilled to see a complete lack of the classic Abrams lens flare… at least for now. Abrams himself has stated that the film has been made in such a way that it still makes sense without the effects. Now I enjoyed some fucking great books last year but that is hands up the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read.
For me, the trailer just proves what I’ve been saying ever since the director of Episode 7 was announced: JJ Abrams is going to fucking kill it. There is excitement, action and all the familiar faces you need. It’s less of a deep studying into galactic politics and back into the safer waters of a Western/space adventure. Everything looks awesome and new. The updated Stormtroopers and the Tie fighter pilots look so fucking cool and then we have the supremely badass looking Chrome Trooper. The symbol of the Empire itself is slightly different and everything is all that little bit more red. It’s all so familiar but also new and exciting.
With the release of some character names we now know that the shadowy figure with the three pronged lightsabre is Kylo Ren. Even though I’m still heartbroken that it wasn’t a hooded Gwendoline Christie that we saw in the first teaser (it seriously looked like such a Brienne walk), we have a new Sith Lord that’s even cooler than Darth Maul. (Whatever you guys think of the prequels, you have to admit Maul was outstanding.) I love his mask and am even happier with the weird lightsabre.
Speaking of lightsabres, isn’t that Anakin Skywalker’s lightsabre that we see being handed to that woman we assume is Leia? But didn’t Luke lose that on Bespin? Dun dun duh. This raises so many wonderfully exciting questions. We still don’t know who anyone is, with the exception of a couple of names, or where anyone is. Although we have a bit more information now: Oscar Isaac is the expert flyer, Poe Dameron; John Boyega as the Stormtrooper Finn; and Daisy Ridley as Rey (who I can imagine turning out to the be the offspring of someone super important what with her single name status). We have a longer look at the new, not Tatooine, planet Jaku as well as glimpses of a snowy planet, a jungley planet and a potentially flamey planet. It’s still all so mysterious.
There have been a lot of crazy theories released by fans since this trailer was released. One of the strongest comes from the use of Luke’s speech from Return of the Jediand the image of Darth Vader’s melted helmet. The voiceover can be heard saying “my father has it” and the fans have been going wild imagining that Vader is not dead or that whoever saved his burning helmet has decided to clone him or bring him back to life. Not only am I extremely doubtful but I’m also fucking hopeful this hasn’t happened. I’m OK with an older and wrinklier Harrison Ford but I couldn’t cope with an aging Vader.
However, the image of his helmet is surely one of the strongest images you could hope for in this trailer. It seems like a symbol used solely for the trailer but we still have to ask ‘who the fuck would keep it for so long?’ When you really think about it, this teaser is fucking perfect. We see little bits to get us hooked without ever being told a damn thing. The helmet, the wreckage, Luke’s robot hand reaching out to R2-D2, a TIE fighter chasing Finn and Rey, and the fucking Millennium Falcon flying into the exhaust of an Imperial Cruiser. These are the scenes we’ve been waiting for since George Lucas announced the release of the prequels. To quote Han Solo for a moment, “Chewie, we’re home.”