The “Star Wars” Films… Plus “Star Wars The Force Awakens”… In Review
What Star Wars Means To Me; Many of you who’ve followed me for a bit, are probably aware that the Original “Star Wars” & “The Empire Strikes Back” were the reasons I became a Filmmaker.
In fact, way back in August 18th, 2011 I did a short Post called “Star Wars (DarkJade’s First Look), Followed by an actual Review of the Original “Star Wars“, on September 13th, 2011.
And in December 11th, 2011 I did a piece on my Filmcraft Series about “The Empire Strikes Back” (Though it looks like since then many of the Videos I linked on that post have since been blocked… Disney perhaps)
In a nutshell, the most important things to me in Film, are Story/Story Scope, And Strong Characters/Character Development… Which was at the Core of the First Two “Star Wars”.
In fact Story and Characters are so important to me, that, that is probably why I began this Blog back at the end of 2011, so I might Write a few myself.
George Lucas; To me George Lucas epitomizes what it is to bring your Vision to life… And as it turned out, he’s a Pretty Brilliant Businessman, which doesn’t hurt, if you like to have a lot of Freedom on your Projects, which I do.
He’s one of my Heroes, along with the likes of Walt Disney (The man), Bruce Lee (The Legend), Captain America (Not the movie version, the Comic version), John Hughes (Director of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, And The Breakfast Club) & Gary Gygax (Creator and/or Co-Creator of Dungeons & Dragons).
The Original “Star Wars” was mind boggling for me, and game changing for the Film Industry. Great Story Scope (Starting on Chapter IV, Brilliant), Amazing Characters (Han Solo/The Rebellious Handsome Rogue & Darth Vader/The Best Villain Ever to make his way on Film were my favorites). And…
Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on the gantry in the reactor shaft in the Cloud City at Bespin. © Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
…”The Empire Strikes Back” was the Best Sequel ever made (Some may say God Father II Was, but I’d really need to watch those Films again to comment, lol).
For me the First Film was ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’s’ Film (Though many might say it was Luke’s Film), and “The Empire Strikes Back” was ‘Han Solo’s’ Film… His character was brilliant… I remember experiencing what felt like the Best Film ever watching it (Same feeling with the First), and then the ‘Cliffhanger’ Ending just pissing everyone off, lol
“Return Of The Jedi” – I loved the Scenes with Luke on the Deathstar with the Emperor & Darth Vader… Did not personally care for the Ewoks (But I was 14 Years Old, so… I think Lucas was aiming a bit younger, as I know many who loved them), and didn’t care for Endor in general. The Jaba stuff was alright… Also, ‘HATED’ the way Boba Fett Died… Terrible… So terrible. For me “Return Of The Jedi” was Luke’s Film, and he did a brilliant job.
“Phantom Menace” – For me this Film fell way short… I liked Liam and McGregor (Above) as Jedi’s, but couldn’t stand the kid that played Anikan. Natalie Portman was good, but none of it really grabbed me. Really didn’t like Jar Jar Binks (Like Ewoks, he made the Film too silly… But once again, I believe he was aimed at a younger Audience, I was 30, lol), but have come to find out that he’s some people’s favorite character. The one Scene that did, however, ‘feel’ like “Star Wars”, was the Fight Scene towards the end between Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon & Darth Maul. Though many felt Darth Maul looked too Demonic (Not the fans, more likely some Parents And/Or Religious affiliates), I thought he represented ‘true’ Evil.
Overall, because Darth Vader is my Favorite all time Villian, and “Star Wars” Character, I just couldn’t stand what Lucas did with Anikan.
“Attack Of The Clones” – “Attack of the Clones” was Brilliant… Not the calibur of the Original Two Films, but a really Great Film. First of all, this was definitely ‘Obi-Wan’s’ Film… Starting with the scene where he and Anikan were guarding Padme, and he ‘Leaped!’ through the window Fearlessly (I knew then that Obi-Wan was the truest Jedi, more than even Luke), through to the scene where he confronts Jango Fett in the rain… Just Brilliant… Followed by that ‘Film Industry Changing’ space battle (Largely because of the Sound of Boba’s explosives from his ship)…
“Attack Of The Clones” was George Lucas’s way of saying #@@R@R YOU! To all the haters who slammed him for “Phantom Menace”…
I Loved “Attack Of The Clones”… Except… Anikan… As much as I thought that Actor was a good choice (Though I would have preferred Leonardo Dicaprio, lol)… I really felt that Anikan was a ‘whining’ wet rag… Sorry Haden, no offense… He just seemed like an annoying brat who was Hyper Active… Not the Future ‘Darth Vader’.
“Revenge Of The Sith” – “Revenge Of The Sith” for me was like an Opera… Or what you might refer to as George Lucas’s ‘Swan Song’ (In regards to “Star Wars” anyway), or Swan Song To date… This Film was a perfect piece (Not meaning it was a perfect Film, but perfect for what it was) to end Lucas’s Series of Six Films.
For me the ‘use of music’ and ‘cinematography’ in this Film were pretty much flawless… And though, once again, Anikan never reached the kind of level I felt that Character had potential to reach, I do feel that Hayden did a better job in this Film.
And, once again, it was confirmed in my mind, and heart, that Obi-Wan, not Luke Skywalker, is, and was the ‘Truest’ of Jedi’s… More than Yoda, who I enjoyed, but always found a bit ‘demented/sarcastic’, lol via his humor… And not Mace Windu, who was strong, but a bit ‘Righteous with a dash of Ego’…
Not Obi-Wan… His Ego was completely balanced… He was, and is the Light… And though Luke Skywalker may reach his pinnacle place as a Jedi in Episode VIII (In 2017), up to this point, he has not.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” In Review…
At last, my “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Review
Let me start by saying, I am most likely one of the only people who Loves “Star Wars”, and didn’t see this Film in the Theatre…
And I have to tell you, it Wrecked me…
But, due to some Personal Issues, I never quite made it (Everything is fine, don’t worry, just never made it)
That said, we purchased a Digital Copy of it the day it became available on Itunes, and watched it that very night… And I was blown away.
Let me also say, that during the time that the Film was out, it was staggering to me how the Fans seemed to create some sort of ‘pact’ not to divulge any of the secrets of the story on Social Media…
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there were some things out there, but for the most part, I didn’t find out ‘anything’ on Twitter nor Facebook
Part of this may have been that Mark Hamil himself was Tweeting requesting people to not give anything away… A noble act, from a very cool guy
The Story; The story is a good one… (SPOILERS, don’t read on if you haven’t seen it, and don’t want to know things) First of all, Luke Skywalker has disappeared after working with new Jedi’s, only to have one of his pupils destroy everything. Brilliant.
And thus a search for Luke is underway… Why? Mainly because there is a new group called the First Order, who has brought the Dark Side back into play… In other words, World Domination is their initiative. This group is lead by some cool bad guys, who I won’t discuss much.
Next, a Storm Trooper decides, he can’t do the acts that the First Order wishes him to do, and thus, he switches sides to the good guys… Great concept.
And a young girl who seems to have natural abilities with the Force, but only begins to realize it, enters the Story. Girl, not a boy, which is a nice twist
I don’t want to say more than that, but all and all, lots of good Story to work with, and build upon for the next two chapters. Episode VIII & Episode IX.*
*Did I Mention Han Solo And Chewie Are Back?? Yeah, They Are, And They’re Great
The Characters; To my utter surprise, I Love the two new Main Characters in this Film… Especially Finn, but Rey is great too.
Finn (John Boyega); I was literally shocked how much I liked this character… But in truth, the majority credit likely belongs to the Actor, John Boyega. Not only is he a huge “Star Wars” Fan (Or so the Director says in the Behind The Scenes, the Enthusiasm was definitely there), but his Heart and Conviction in this Role, is staggering… Especially his heart, and interactions with, and about Rey.
Rey (Daisy Ridley); Rey literally never seems to stop running… But this is done in a cool way… She actually seems more like a ‘Character’ than a person… What I mean by that is, she really seems to exist in this world that Lucas & Abrams created… Hard to explain, but it was really great… You never questioned anything about her. You just watched as she moved her way through the story. She does remind me a bit of Keira Knightley in her look, and speech, but only partly… And it’s not a bad thing… The rest just seems like they did a good job finding someone for what would, or could be a difficult/pressure filled role.
Han & Chewie; Han & Chewie were back, and were just the same… Only Solo was a bit older, it didn’t cause a problem.
BB-8; Was great
Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) & Kylo Ren (Adam Driver); Both Poe & Kylo were good, but I’d like to see them more developed. Kylo’s last Scene was probably his best, but the Voice they use through the Mask is great! Poe has promise, but once again, I’d really like to see him more developed.
Remaining Characters; The remaining characters were good, especially the use of the Storm Troopers throughout.
Directing; The Directing Baton has been passed from Lucas to J.J. Abrams, who I thought was a perfect choice (Since they didn’t ask me, lol). His work in “Super 8” (If you haven’t seen it, do… It’s a great homage to Steven Spielberg’s type of Directing… Who I believe Produced it), and the New “Star Trek” movies, is brilliant.
And with this Film, he completely brought back that old “Star Wars” feeling from the Original two Films.
Producing; After watching the Behind the Scenes Feature Length Documentary of the making of “The Force Awakens”, I have to say my hat is off to Kathleen Kennedy, who Lucas had handed off the running of Lucas Films a while back. She was the heart and soul of this project.
The Review; For me, this Film was Great! I highly recommend it… I immediately wanted to watch it a Second Time, which rarely happens.
The way it moves, the Characters, the Story, the Effects… All Brilliant.
Here are the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) Ratings for all of the “Star Wars” Films, and my Ratings of the same Films;
“Star Wars” – IMDB = 8.7 – Mine = 9.3 (Like nothing anyone has ever seen)
“The Empire Strikes Back” – IMDB = 8.8 – Mine = 9.4 (Strong Story… Strong Characters/Character Development… Amazing Setting. Everything that I love in a Film)
“Return Of The Jedi” – IMDB = 8.4 – Mine = 7.5 (Some good, some not… But still great concepts)
“Phantom Menace” – IMDB = 6.5 – Mine = 7 (Lack luster, with a few good things)
“Attack Of The Clones” – IMDB = 6.7 – Mine = 8.5 (Great… Action with Intelligence)
“Revenge Of The Sith” – IMDB = 7.6 – Mine = 8.4 (Dramatic)
“The Force Awakens” – IMDB = 8.3 – Mine = 8.8 (Refreshing… Action filled return to the Essence that is “Star Wars”)
Thanks For Reading/Listening
And “May the Force be with you…”