Saturday, August 20, 2016

Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

IT'S HERE!! I'VE MADE IT!! THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY IS FINALLY BEHIND ME!! AND WHAT BETTER WAY TO CELEBRATE THAN GETTING TO WATCH MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE OF ALL THE MOVIES?! Are you really shocked that this is my favorite? I feel like Star Wars fans are divided between their favorite movie in the trilogy - either they love The Empire Strikes Back the most, or Return of the Jedi most. What can I say? I am hopelessly in love with the Ewoks and I really want one for myself. Now let's dive on it, the sooner we finish here then the sooner I can get my butt in gear and watch Episode 7 for the very first time!

6 movies's been a wild ride!!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Luke Skywalker has returned to his home planet of Tattooine
 in an attempt to rescue his friend Han Solo from the clutches
 of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt.

Little does Luke know that the GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly
 begun construction in a new armored space station even more 
powerful than the first dreaded Death Star. 

When completed, this ultimate weapon will spell certain doom for the 
small band of rebels struggling to restore freedom to the galaxy...

After losing his arm in an epic battle with Sith Lord Darth Vader (played by David Prowse, and voiced by James Earl Jones), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) narrowly escapes with his life and reunites with Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) to plot their next move. Rather than instantly going to realign with the Rebel Alliance and begin their next attack on the Galactic Empire, Luke and Leia have to think of their friends. Han Solo (Harrison Ford), who had been captured alongside Princess Leia by Darth Vader, was frozen in Carbonite and was given to notorious bounty Hunter Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch). Boba Fett will be taking Han Solo's frozen form to crime lord Jabba the Hutt (voiced by Larry Ward) to collect the enormous bounty placed on Han's head...but Luke and Leia don't want to see Han turned in. So the two pair up with Han's first mate Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and friend-turned-traitor-turned-friend-again Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) to get Han back!

Time to spring into action yet again!

Leia infiltrates Jabba's palace on Tattooine while Luke distracts Jabba himself...but their plot is quickly foiled and the two are captured! Leia did manage to free Han, but she is found out, taken prisoner and chained to Jabba's side, while Luke and Han are thrown into a dungeon and planned to be fed to a formidable beast Jabba keeps within a pit in the palace. But when Luke and Han defeat the beast in the pit, Jabba comes up with a more lasting punishment for the two. Luke and Han are sent into the deserts to be fed to the Saralacc - a dreaded pit monster! However, Leia manages to strangle Jabba to death with her own chains while Luke and Han fight bravely against the guards overseeing their death sentence and win! Leia and Han escape with Chewbacca back to the Rebel base, but Luke heads back to the planet of Dagobah where he plans to continue his training with Jedi Master Yoda.

Mission Rescue Han was a success!

Upon arriving back at Dagobah, Luke comes to find Master Yoda (voiced by Franz Oz) on his deathbed. Luke tries to urge his master not to give up, but Yoda consoles the boy - he is strong and The Force is strong within him, Luke only has to believe in himself. With his last breathe, Yoda confirms what Luke learned in his last battle against Darth Vader: Darth Vader is indeed Luke's father. And something else too - Yoda reveals that there is another Skywalker, but with that he passes on. Luke is shocked! Another Skywalker? He isn't alone? But with no one to turn to for answers for the time being, Luke leaves the Dagobah system and meets once more with the Rebel Alliance who has some frightening news.

"Another Skywalker, there is..."

After the destruction of the Death Star, the Galactic Empire has begun construction on a new starship that will be far more powerful than any weapon that was built in the past, including their beloved Death Star. Construction is being overseen by The Emperor himself (Ian McDiarmid) and this time they've learned from their mistakes. The Rebel Alliance starts formulating a plan of attack only to realize that there is an impenetrable energy field encompassing the new starship...they can't do anything with that shield up. After a little research, Han and Leia travel to a small planet called Endor where the generator for the starship energy shield is stationed. The plan of attack is that Leia and Han will disable the shield and an attack will be led by Lando piloting the Millennium Falcon to take down the second Death Star for good! But naturally, there are a couple of hiccups.

The new Death Star must be destroyed!!

All seemed to be going well for Han, Leia, R2-D2, and C-3PO on Endor when suddenly they are captured by a small primitive tribe of teddy bear-like creatures called Ewoks! Luckily for Han and Leia, the Ewoks see C-3PO as some kind of Deity and they offer to help the Rebels with their plan on taking down the shield generator! While all of this is happening on Endor, Luke makes his way back to Darth Vader's ship where he plans to confront his father. If he has once been on the Light Side of The Force, there must still be some goodness left in Vader's heart...maybe Luke can persuade him to come back and to end this riff between the Empire and the Rebels. But it's never that easy. Instead, Luke will be put to the ultimate test! But if he can harness the power of The Force, he could save the galaxy once and for all!

Is victory finally at hand??

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Return of the Jedi is my absolute favorite simply because of the Ewoks...but I'm really starting to struggle with these movies at this point. Yes, Star Wars is iconic and it forever changed the face of practical effects and Sci-Fi movies forever...but I'm starting to feel like it's not all that and a bag of chips. These movies are really, really long and it gets very difficult to pay attention to the plots. Plus.... I'm trying to understand why I am having no emotional reaction to any of these movies so far? With every other franchise I've binge-watched (horror movies excluded for obvious reasons), I've started cheering and championing and crying...why not Star Wars? I can't seem to figure that part out. But, I won't deny that these movies are classics and I'm so glad that I've been able to take the time to watch all of them and rediscover them again. And now, the moment of truth is upon us! I am finally preparing for my first viewing of Star Wars: Episode 7 - The Force Awakens....this is such a big moment! I cannot wait!!

I will never not love the Ewoks, this has to be my favorite of the
original trilogy....any chance they'll make an appearance in the new movies???

Friday, August 19, 2016

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

I am so happy to finally be watching the original Star Wars trilogy! Partly, this is because watching the prequels was just painful, but also because I literally haven't seen these movies in years! My first introduction to Star Wars actually came when I was really young and I remember bits and pieces of one of the movies being played on TV at some family the time, I also remember seeing the VHS trilogy pack in the movie cabinet...oh how I wish I had had the good sense at the time to remember to keep my hands on those babies! But after those days, I didn't see anything Star Wars related until I watched the trilogy in high school....and that's been it. This is my 3rd ever experience with the original trilogy, thankfully it's been a wonderful revisit!

I'm getting so close to the end....oh, it's such a wonderful feeling!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away....

It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Although the Death Star has been 
destroyed, Imperial troops have drives the Rebel forces from their 
hidden base and pursued them across the galaxy. 

Evading the dreaded Imperial Starfleet, a group of freedom fighters led
 by Luke Skywalker have established a new secret base on the 
remote ice world of Hoth. 

The evil lord Darth Vader, obsessed with finding young Skywalker,
 has dispatched thousands of remote probes into the far reaches of space...

It has been three years since the Rebel Alliance claimed victory and destroyed the Galactic Empire's weapon of mass destruction: the Death Star. But this victory came at a cost. The Revel base on Yavin IV was found out so the Alliance was forced to find a new hide out...and this is where we find our brave heroes Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), at the new Revel base on the ice planet Hoth. With secrecy as their utmost priority, Luke has joind a team of scouts who patrol the surrounding ice fields for signs of Galactic Empire spies. On his latest venture, Luke is captured and taken hostage by a formidable snow beast called a Wampa. Luckily for Luke, he is able to use The Force to break free of the Wampa's clutches and tries to make his way across the ice fields and back to the base...but he is no match for the blistering cold. But some good does come out of this venture.

Don't worry Luke, you'll wiggle your way out of this one!

During his escape, Luke has a vision of his dearly passed friend, Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guiness). Obi-Wan's spirit urges Luke to go to the planet in the far off Dagobah system where Luke must continue his training with someone called Master Yoda. Worried that Luke hadn't returned to the base, Han and his wookie co-pilot Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) go out and recover Luke's unconscious body...and find something else along the way. A Galactic Empire droid had found it's way onto Hoth, but the Rebels discover it too late! Word get back to the Empire that the Rebels are based on Hoth and battle immediately ensues! Han, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia board Han's ship - the Millennium Falcon - and flee Hoth, losing the attacking forces in an asteroid field. Meanwhile, Luke and his droid R2-D2 board their own Fighter ship and jet off for Degobah to find Master Yoda.

Safe travels friends, and may the Force be with you!

Needing a new safe space to hide, Han calls on the help of an old friend named Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams). Han and his companions are received by Lando in Cloud City...who has set his own trap for them! Lando hands over Han, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia to Darth Vader (David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones) himself, who intends on using them to lure Luke to his ship. But Luke has yet to pick up on the capture of his friends. Luke and R2-D2 crash land on the swampy planet of Dagobah, where his ship becomes lodged in a marsh. Without much choice and no where else to go, Luke goes looking for Master Yoda. And finds him! But Yoda isn't exactly who Luke imagined as being a great Jedi Master... Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz) is a 900-year-old, tiny green creature who speaks in erratic, backwards riddles. Luke is sure now that his vision of Obi-Wan coming to him must have been a hallucination. But when Yoda starts conferring with Obi-Wan's spirit and shows Luke his true powers, then Luke knows he's come to the right place.

"Train hard, you must. If Jedi Master, you wish to become."

Luke's training begins and it is nothing short of grueling. His mind and body are pushed to their absolute limit but Yoda still pushes Luke onward. As the days go on, however, Yoda is troubled by the amount of fear in Luke's heart. If Luke cannot conquer his fear then he will never fully conquer The Force. But in the midst of their training, Luke finally senses the danger that his friends are in. Yoda pleades with Luke to stay and complete his training but Luke refuses to listen and races from Dagobah to Cloud City...where he falls right into Darth Vader's trap. The two engage in a furious lightsaber battle where Vader urges Luke to surrender his powerful mind to the Dark Side. Luke continues to refuse and bravely fends off Vader...but in the heat of battle, Darth Vader reveals an earth-shattering secret that could cause Luke's mind to wane...

Could this be it? The battle to end all battles??

Do not get me wrong, I am so happy to be watching these movies and The Empire Strikes Back is when major plot points start coming to light....but I was less than thrilled with this one for a couple of reasons. I felt like this installment felt a little too long, I got bored during much of the dialogue and drawn out battle scenes. I also was not a fan of how the Yoda character was introduced - he's supposed to be this wise, noble master teacher and yet he's flopping around like a riddle-spewing, frog? What? I like that he starts to get more serious as his relationship with Luke develops but, I still wasn't the most pleased. But aside from these minor details I was very happy with this one as well! The Empire Strikes back is another solid installment, and I'm even more excited to move on to Return of the Jedi...which means The Force Awakens is getting that much closer!! Yay!!

Return of the Jedi is coming up next, and you know what
that means....EWOKS!!!!! 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

Now the real movies can begin!! Thank you all so much for bearing with me through the Star Wars Prequels...those were so difficult to get through. But these are the movies that truly make it worth it. Watching the Prequels was like hiking up the really steep, rocky, slippery front side of a mountain but now that I'm at the original trilogy it's like I've cruising down a well-kept path down the backside of the mountain. Nothing but smooth sailing here! While I am still a little tired of all the Science Fiction I'm trying to swallow, it helps that these are at least decent movies. The Force is strongest with these ones!

Shout out to my amazing sister-in-law Tiffany for being a fantastic
Sci-Fi nerd and letting me borrow her ultra fancy blu ray-DVD original trilogy pack!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away....

It is a period of civil war. Rebel starships, striking from a hidden 
base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, Rebel spies manage to steal secret plans to the 
Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored star 
station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Princess Leia races home
 aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her
 people and restore freedom to the galaxy...

On the desert planet of Tattooine, we meet a young man named Luke Skywalker. Luke (Mark Hamill) lives with his aunt and uncle, owners of a moisture farm, and he spends his days helping with chores and tinkering with mechanical parts and pieces...but he dreams of bigger things. Like leaving this boring old Tattooine. There's nothing for him here, he wants adventure! One day, Luke and his father meet up with a race of Jawa who act as traders. Luke's father purchases two droids to help them around the farm - a bubbly little unit named R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and a formal cyborg named C-3PO (Anthony Daniels). While Luke is making conversation with C-3PO and cleaning up R2, he accidentally hits a button on R2 that triggers a message from a beautiful young woman begging for the help of a man named Obi-Wan Kenobi. Luke doesn't know of an Obi-Wan, but he's heard of a loner named Ben Kenobi who lives out in the desert. Maybe it's him!

Luke could never have guessed the incredible adventure awaiting him...

The next day, Luke sets out with R2-D2 and C-3PO into the desert and sure enough, they find old Ben Kenobi...who is quick to reveal that he is really Obi-Wan when Luke explains that there is a message for him on the R2 unit. Obi-Wan watches the message, sent by Princess Leia of Alderaan who reveals that she was captured by Imperial Forces and is being held hostage by their leader - the infamous Sith Lord Darth Vader (played by David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones). Princess Leia reveals that she has stolen the plans for the Death Star - a large star station being constructed by the Galactic Empire that will have enough power to destroy whole planets - and she wants Obi-Wan to get the plans to her father so he can analyze them. Overhearing this message, Luke is confused and curious. What does all of this mean? And so Obi-Wan explains.

"Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."

Obi-Wan Kenobi reveals that he is a Jedi Knight, a keeper of the peace for the long lost Galactic Republic. Years ago, the galaxy was peaceful but the Galactic Republic was taken over by an Evil Sith Lord - a man who tapped into the Dark Side of the energy field that gave Jedi Knights their powers, an energy field known as The Force. This Sith Lord took over the Republic and transformed it into an evil empire hellbent on taking over and ruling the entire galaxy. It was he who commanded that all the Jedi be killed years and years ago, which is why Obi-Wan is one of the last of his kind. Now seeing that the forces of good - the Rebels - need his help, Obi-Wan offers Luke a chance to come with him to Alderaan to complete Princess Leia's request. Luke is hesitant at first...this seems to big for a small town kid like him. But Luke quickly changes his mind when he returns home...

There is nothing left for Luke here on Tattooine. It's time to leave home!

Having tracked down the droids carrying the stolen Death Star plans, Imperial soldiers descended on the planet of Tattooine and left complete chaos in their wake. Unable to find the droid in Luke's home while he was away finding Obi-Wan Kenobi, his home was burned to the ground and both his aunt and uncle were killed as well! Wanting to avenge their wrongful deaths, Luke finds Obi-Wan and agrees to go with him to Alderaan. And now the real adventure beings. Obi-Wan and Luke must find a ship with a pilot that are able to get them to Alderaan safely and without asking a whole lot of questions. And sure enough, they find the best pair. Han Solo (Harrison Ford), is an arrogant smuggler who works alongside his Wookie first mate named Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). The twosome agree to ferry Obi-Wan, Luke, and their droids to Alderaan for a price and a deal is struck!

On their way to Alderaan!

As they travel through space, Obi-Wan reveals to Luke that his father was a Jedi Knight too. Luke's father, a man named Anakin had fought bravely alongside Obi-Wan but was killed by Obi-Wan's pupil who had turned to the Dark Side...and that pupil was none other than Dark Vader himself! Obi-Wan offers to teach Luke the ways of The Force and begin his training as a Jedi, which Luke gladly accepts. Meanwhile, Darth Vader has grown tired of questioning Leia about where she has hidden the plans for the Death Star...the last thing he wants is for those plans to fall in Rebel hands! He may know exactly the right way to make Leia will cost millions of people their lives, but Vader has no scruples when it comes to the lives of the innocent. Will Obi-Wan make it to Alderaan to deliver the plans before Vader does something drastic or they are discovered? All Leia can do is hope!

Nothing will stop Darth Vader from getting those plans back...well, maybe. 

So much better!! I don't know why this is, but because this was the original Star Wars movie of the whole entire franchise it explains all the concepts of The Force, Jedis, and the history of the Galactic Empire in so much simpler terms than any of the three prequels ever did! I adore the simple, but interesting plot in this movie. The introduction of new characters is also great - this is the movie that first had me fall in love with Wookies - and the practical effects are definitely top notch! Anyone who plans on getting their hands on a DVD copy of the Stars Wars original trilogy should NOT skimp out on the bonus features! My only nag? The versions that I had on hand were the ones with the added CGI scenes and images...which really don't fit and totally cheapen all of the movies. Unnecessary CGI characters and robots that add some kind of stupid humor....ugh. Gag me. But aside from that discrepancy, I am finally ready and raring to go for the next two movies!

So excited to be moving upward and onward to better things. 
More precisely - The Empire Strikes Back!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

We finally made it to the last of the prequels, but unfortunately this post falls on a rather sad day. A couple of hours ago, I found out that Kenny Baker - the actor behind that precious, robotic personality of R2-D2 - has passed away today. And while I'm still working my way through my less than favorite movies, I am going to push forward in Kenny's memory. You were apart of something fantastic and iconic Kenny Baker, may your memory live on forever here and in galaxies far, far away! Now. To the matter at hand. These prequels were really getting on my nerves and I wanted them to be over sooner than later. Which is a hard thing to want when each movie is 2 hours and 20 minutes long...but feels much longer! At least I knew there was a shining light at the end of the tunnel, a literal New Hope with the next 3 movies - I could definitely count on the original Star Wars movies to give me exactly what I needed. Well...once I got to them any way. But more on that later!

Rest in peace Kenny Baker - heroes get remembered, but legends never die.
Thank you for your amazing contribution to the Science Fiction world.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away....

War! The Republic is crumbling under attacks by the ruthless Sith 
Lord, Count Dooku. There are heroes on both sides. Evil is everywhere.

In a stunning movie, the fiendish droid leader, General Grievous, has 
swept into the Republic capital and kidnapped Chancellor
 Palpatine, leader of the Galactic Senate.

As the Separatist Droid Army attempts to flee the besieged capital
 with their valuable hostage, two Jedi Knights lead a desperate 
mission to rescue the captive Chancellor...

It's been 3 years since the Galactic Republic has been plunged into the Clone Wars. We return to our story now as the Capital Planet Coruscant is under attack. Separatist commander General Grievous (Matthew Wood) has taken Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) hostage, but our Jedi Knight heroes Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Chistensen) are close behind Lord Grievous and won't let him take the Supreme Chancellor without a fight. Following the General back to his flagship, Obi-Wan and Anakin are met with another surprise - Count Dooku (Christpher Lee), the infamous Jedi Master who turned to the Dark Side, is also there! A furious battle engages between the Jedis and the Separatist leaders until finally Anakin overpowers Count Dooku...and then is urged on by Chancellor Palpatine to kill the former Jedi Master...and Anakin does not disobey. Lord Grievous flees the whole scene, and the Jedi Knights return Chancellor Palpatine back to Coruscant.

Anakin! Beware of who you listen to!

Overjoyed at the skills of young Anakin, Chancellor Palpatine appoints Anakin to the Jedi Council to act as his own personal representative. But the council is unhappy about this. Both Jedi Masters Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) and Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz) don't feel that Anakin is ready to be truly among the Jedi Masters and will not grant him the title, so instead they appoint Anakin to act as their spy and to report back to them on Chancellor Palpatine's behavior. Anakin is furious, but there is nothing he can do but accept his new dual-role. Which is just another added worry to his mind. Three years ago, at the beginning of the Clone Wars Anakin secretly married his sweetheart - former Queen of Naboo, Padme Amidala - and the two have been hiding their marriage. But when Padme reveals to Anakin that she is pregnant, Anakin's mind becomes clouded with visions of Padme dying in childbirth and a dark cloud shadows his mind.

All Anakin wants to do is keep his beloved Padme safe...

As Anakin goes about his duties for both the Jedi Council and for Chancellor Palpatine, the Chancellor starts planting small seeds in Anakin's mind about the Dark Side. How supreme power lies on that side of The Force, how you can even keep those you love from dying...Anakin is intrigued and while he does struggle with the teachings instilled in him by his Master Obi-Wan, he can't help but want to know more. Obi-Wan is soon sent to planet Utapau to track down and bring General Grievous to justice, and at the same time Jedi Master Yoda is sent to planet Kashyyyk where an impending Separatist invasion is set to take place. There is no one to keep an eye on Anakin...which is exactly as Chancellor Palpatine would prefer it. Palpatine continues to twist Anakin's ear about the Dark Side and potentially saving Padme's life should she die in childbirth like Anakin had envisioned. But Anakin's soul is still conflicted.

Listen to your heart Anakin, not Chancellor Palpatine!!

Wanting to do the right thing, Anakin goes to Mace Windu and reports that Chancellor Palpatine is indeed involved in the Dark Side of The Force. Mace Windu doesn't hesitate to approach the Chancellor and confront him about his workings with the Dark Side, he even manages to overpower Palpatine! But Anakin has a last-minute change of heart and helps the Chancellor into killing Mace Windu! And with that final straw, Anakin swears himself to Palpatine and to the Dark Side. The Chancellor, who in actuality has been a Sith Lord - someone who draws on the Dark Side for power - this whole time, takes Anakin under his wing and christens him with his new Sith name: Darth Vader. And now their true work begins.

Has the Dark Side finally won???

Anakin is sent alongside members of the Clone Army to kill all those who remained in the Jedi Temple, and are then dispatched to the last remaining planets where Separatist movement members are hiding and continue onward with the slaughter. Meanwhile, Sith Lord Palpatine calls a meeting of the Galactic Senate to announce that with his appointed powers, the Galactic Republic shall now be known as the Galactic Empire and he shall be it's Emperor. Obi-Wan and Yoda return from their missions abroad only to discover Anakin's complete transformation over to the Dark Side. Obi-Wan reveals the sad news to Padme who cannot believe that her beloved husband would turn to evil. Padme boards her ship and sets a course for the planet Mustafar where Anakin was sent by the newly appointed Emperor to hunt out the last of the Separatist leaders, hoping that when she finds him Padme can convinced Anakin that there is still good in his heart and that it's not too late to come back. But is there any hope? Or is Anakin...I mean, Darth Vader, too far gone?

The final battle is here...who will champion?

THE END OF THE PREQUELS IS HERE!!! FINALLY!!! Of all of the horrific horribleness I've endured during The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, this prequel is by far the least's still not great, but everything goes down in this movie so it gets pretty exciting. We have deaths of some really major characters, we find out why Yoda lives in isolation, we've got the metaphoric birth of Darth Vader and we see how he came to be, plus we've also got the introduction of the Galactic Empire and the little Skywalker twins who will eventually save the galaxy in the next movies....sorry for the spoilers but I really don't care at this point. Now I need to be completely honest. After I watched Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith in one night I totally wanted to give up on this Star Wars adventure. I was so burned out on the characters, the plot, and Science Fiction movies in general. I was really done.Granted, I probably shouldn't have tried to watch nearly 8 hours of Star Wars in a 30 hour period...that's my bad. But I've come to the end and I am still alive! Come next, we've got the ORIGINAL Star Wars trilogy!! Let's get excited!!

I am DEFINITELY smiling now because the prequels are OVER!!
Onward to the original trilogy!!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

After I finished The Phantom Menace, I still held out hope for the remaining two prequels. Maybe The Phantom Menace was just rocky because it was the first one, the writers and directors just hadn't found their footing yet! So in a desperate attempt to cover more ground, I ended up watching both of the remaining prequels in a row. That's right, both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith in one sitting. 4 hours and 40 minutes worth of Star Wars prequels in between coming home from work and going to bed early so I wasn't late for work in the morning. So was I saved? Did Attack of the Clones revive my faith in the prequels. do I put this lightly? No.

Making painful, but steady, progress!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away....

There is unrest in the Galactic Senate. Several thousand solar systems 
have declared their intentions to leave the Republic.

This Separatist movement, under the leadership of the mysterious 
Count Dooku, has made it difficult for the limited number of Jedi Knights 
to maintain peace and order in the galaxy.

Senator Amidala, the former Queen of Naboo, is returning to the
 Senate to vote on the critical issue of creating an ARMY OF THE 
REPUBLIC to assist the overwhelmed Jedi...

It has been 10 years since the Trade Federation invaded the planet of Naboo, and since then the galaxy has plunged into chaos. A former Jedi Master named Count Dooku has become the leader of a movement which has enlisted thousands of solar systems all planning to separate themselves from the Galactic Republic. Worried about an inevitable war, the Galactic Senate has called upon all of it's members to vote on the assembly of an army to help defend the Republic against these Separatists, should things turn ugly. Normally, it would be the responsibility of the Jedi Knights to keep the peace in the galaxy, but as there are so few of them they do need help. And that is what the Republic believes this army will do.

The Jedi are too few - they need help!

Senator Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), no longer the Queen of Naboo, is one of the last Senators to be called upon to join in the vote of the Army of the Republic. But while she is making her way to the capital planet of Coruscant by means of escort provided by accomplished Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) - Senator Amidala is attacked by an assassin who is unsuccessful in taking her life! Obi-Wan and Anakin give chase but lose the assassin. Not wanting to risk another attack on the Senator's life, both Obi-Wan and Anakin are assigned special tasks by the Republic. Anakin is to take Padme back to Naboo where she will remain in hiding under his protection, meanwhile Obi-Wan is to track down and learn more about who has an price on Senator Amidala's head...

The dream team is splitting up...for the time being. 

Anakin and Padme return to Naboo where the two spend  very day together. As the days go on, Anakin reveals that ever since he met Padme as a young boy he's always had special feelings for her. And that's it, the two fall hopelessly in love with one another. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan's investigations take him to an isolated ocean planet called Kamino where he learns that a clone army is already being manufactured for the Republic....what? Obi-Wan also learns that the clones are fashioned after master assassin Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison) who is set to leave planet Kamino soon with his young son Boba. Placing a tracking device on Jango Fett's ship, Obi-Wan follows the assassin to the desert planet Geonosis where the Jedi makes more gut-wrenching discoveries. The elusive Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) is here, he is the one who wants Senator Amidala dead, and he is working with the Trade Federation to create an army of battle droids!! Obi-Wan must alert the Republic! He goes to transmit a message to send to Anakin who can forward it on to the Jedi council...but in the middle of his transmission, Obi-Wan is discovered and captured. But this isn't the end of the problems for any of the Jedi.

An assembly line of clone soldiers!

While Obi-Wan was making headway with the investigation of the clone army, Anakin was still on Naboo with Padme...but the young Jedi was growing more and more troubled. Anakin could sense that his mother Shmi (Pernilla August) was in great amounts of pain and anguish, he needed to find his mother and help her. Together, Anakin and Padme travel to the desert planet of Tattooine where Anakin was born to find what has become of his mother. Anakin learns that his mother was sold to a moisture farmer outside of the city who married her, but when Anakin made his way to the man's farm he learns that his mother was kidnapped by a tribe of Tusken Raiders. Without hesitation, Anakin speeds off into the desert and finds his mother severely wounded and clinging to life. Overcome with rage, Anakin slaughters the Tuskens before bringing his mother back to the farm to be buried. And that is when the worry starts to set in.

Uh oh...Anakin is headed for trouble...

Every Jedi Knight apprentice learns that there are two sides of The Force. The Light Side is where Jedi must be, they must be content and passive and strong and brave. And then there's the Dark Side, which is ruled by hate and anger and fear....all emotions that Jedi are to avoid so they can master The Force and keep the best interest of the Galactic Republic at the forefront of their minds. But when Anakin reveals to Padme what he did to the Tusken Raiders, and that all he wishes to do is prevent death...she begins to worry about him. But there isn't time to dwell. Obi-Wan's transmission has come through, and now Anakin and Padme must race off to planet Geonosis to save Obi-Wan from the Separatists and Count Dooku. Anakin does forward on what message Obi-Wan was able to send, and upon viewing it the Galactic Senate grants Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) emergency powers, which he uses to call forth the Clone Army from Kamino and send them into battle. But this may not have been the best course of action on the Senate's part, and I'm not just talking about the Clone Army deployment...

Moral of the story? TRUST NO ONE. 

Once more, I feel completely stone-walled by the second prequel! I was so bummed out! I was met with the exact same crazy-condensed plot that didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, all interspersed with these crazy cut-away scenes that jump around between 4-6 different subplots. It's all just too much to keep track of! But we have the introduction of Christopher Lee and Samuel L. Jackson's characters in this movie, so I was really happy about that. These prequels have a great cast...but that's really all they have going for them. The two shining moments I will say though, are the blossoming love story between Anakin and Padme - they are so sweet together and I love that - and also seeing the mounting evil in Anakin's character, talk about the birth of a psychopath!! But even these two things don't make up for the rest of the movie. One additional bonus? Jar Jar Binks is only around like 3 times in this movie. Finally!!

I'm smiling because it's over, NOT because it happened.
Only one more prequel and I am FREE!!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

For the past week and a half I have done something that ended up being much more difficult for me than I anticipated - I watched all 6 of the Star Wars movies. Considering all the different movies I've marathoned in the past - Nightmare on Elm Street, all 7 of the Rocky movies, and even the entire Godzilla franchise just to name a few - I never would have thought watching 6 Sci-Fi movies in a row would have been difficult for me....well, it was really tough. I really wanted to watch all 6 of them because I still have yet to crack open my Blu-Ray copy of the 7th installation in the Star Wars franchise - Episode 7 - The Force Awakens...and I'm one of those people who feels the need to watch an entire series all the way through before checking out a new installment. Well, here I sit. I've finally seen all 6 and I'm ready to talk about my experience with each one. And we're going to start at the figurative, although not literal, beginning.

They may not be good, but at least these Steelbook Blu Rays are pretty!

Our movie opens in the traditional Star Wars fashion with a slow crawl of text explaining the story we are about to witness:

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away....

Turmoil has engulfed the Galactic Republic. The taxation 
of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute.

Hoping to resolve the matter with a blockade of deadly battleships, the 
greedy Trade Federation has stopped all shipping to the small planet Naboo.

While the congress of the Republic endlessly debates this alarming 
chain of events, the Supreme Chancellor has secretly dispatched two 
Jedi Knights, the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, to settle the conflict...

But what does all of this mean? Let me try to explain.

The entire universe, all the planets, and all the different races that inhabit those planets all exist among one another. Among all the different beings are protectors of the peace known as Jedi Knights - soldiers of the Galactic Republic who are able to harness special powers from an energy field known as The Force. And it's two of these Jedi Knights who have been called upon to bring order to the Trade Federation. A disagreement based on taxes and trade routes has resulted in a terrifying standstill between the Trade Federation and the planet of Naboo. The Trade Federation has surrounded the planet with battleships and has halted all trading to the planet, and it is up to the Jedi to calm this standoff before it escalates. Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) are sent to negotiate with the leaders of the Trade Federation...but a trap has been laid.

They sense a disturbance in The Force...

While waiting on the ship to speak with the leaders, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan unknowingly become targets themselves. An evil advisor has instructed the Trade Federation leaders to kill the Jedi that are aboard the ship and afterward they will descend on Naboo with their battleships and commandeer the planet! Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon narrowly escape the attack and make their way to the surface of Naboo, but while still trying to flee the Trade Federation soldiers Qui-Gon manages to save the life of a doofy, alien creature named Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best) who is part of a race of creatures known as Gungans. The Gungans live in an underwater city, and despite the fact that Jar Jar Binks was banned from the city for his foolishness and clumsy ways, Qui-Gon begs Jar Jar to take him to the Gungan City and plead for help from their leader to help the people of Naboo who face inevitable invasion. Unfortunately, Qui-Gon's plea falls on deaf ears but the threesome - Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, and Jar Jar are given transportation to the Capital City of Naboo where they must find the ruler of the planet, Queen Amidala.

And with that, a Gungan joins their quest!

Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are successful in finding Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) and urge the Queen to accompany them to the Republic's capital planet - Coruscant - where she can go before the Galactic Senate and plead her case for a speedy decision regarding what is to be done with the Trade Federation who are putting the lives of her people in jeopardy. However, while trying to break through the Trade Federation blockade that is surrounding Naboo, their ship is damaged and they cannot make it all the way to Coruscant. The Jedi are forced to land their ship on a nearby desert planet called Tattooine where their only hope is to find parts for their ship so they can get to Coruscant. And it's in one of the mechanic shops that Qui-Gon meets a young boy named Anakin Skywalker. Anakin (Jake Lloyd) is a slave who works for shop owner Watto (Andy Secombe). Anakin has a real knack for fixing things and is a bright, sweet young boy. But Qui-Gon senses something special about the boy...The Force appears to be very strong with him. Could he be a young Jedi and just need the training?

The boy must join them!

Not wanting to leave Tattooine without Anakin, Qui-Gon approaches Anakin's master Watto and proposes a bet. One of the biggest excitements found in this settlement are the pod races - races involving high-speed, low-flying land cruisers that often result in fiery crashes and even death for unlucky racers - and Anakin happens to be a very talented pod racer. Qui-Gon proposes to Watto that if Anakin wins the race, the boy will be granted his freedom and Qui-Gon can have all the parts he needs to fix his ship to leave Tattooine. But if Anakin loses, then Watto gets to keep Qui-Gon's ship. It's a risky bet, but Qui-Gon knows that Anakin cannot fail. He has The Force on his side. But they have to move quickly. They still must get Queen Amidala to the Galactic Senate to plead for the rescue and safety of her people. And a new foe has landed on Tattooine, someone who is looking to capture the Queen and get rid of these pesky Jedi once and for all...

Hurry Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn!! You're Queen
 Amidala and Anakin's only hope!!

This post doesn't even come close to explaining all the minute little details of this plot...but if I went in much deeper, this whole thing would likely be twice as long. I had to try and condense it down a smidgen. Now, I hadn't seen The Phantom Menace since I was in high school and got to skip standardized testing so I could watch these movies in the auditorium with my friends on the projector's been at least 10 years, so my memory was really fuzzy. But I remember that I did like these movies a lot so I was excited to revisit the prequels...which tons of people, including my boyfriend, hate with a passion. Well, after all this time, I have to admit something. They were right. This movie did kind of suck.

The plot was very confusing and I didn't really understand everything that was happening or why it was even happening. Plus, it felt really rushed and choppy. We would be given these small little snippets of scenes that would cut back to several other threads of the plot that were all happening was really over stimulating. There was a lot of really poor CGI used in this movie as well, which really bummed me out. And I can't lie - Jar Jar Binks is one of the worst characters in the world. He drove me nuts and every time he spoke I wished Qui-Gon Jinn hadn't saved him and that stupid Gungan has ended up dead! Harsh, yes. But Jar Jar is seriously the worst. The characters in this movie, aside from Jar Jar, are definitely solid though. I loved Liam Neeson as a Jedi, and it's so hard not to fall in love with cute little Jake Lloyd. But even they couldn't save this movie. It felt too long, too heavy, and just not all that fun. Sorry Episode 1, I tried to give you a second chance but we officially have grown apart.

I tried to smile.... I swear! My face just can't perform certain
functions while in the presence of this movie...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Period

Guys, I've made a mistake. I've made a horrible mistake. And the worst part is that this mistake I made was 1000% self-inflicted. 9 times out of 10, when someone tells me about an absolutely atrocious movie I will only watch it if it happens across my own path - this is also my fault but not so much as my current circumstance. The Period is a movie that my fellow blogger buddy The Cinemartyr warned me about. He bought it for $3 and couldn't even watch 10 minutes of this movie...but when he went to give it away on his Instagram page, I begged him to send it to me. What kind of demon was possessing my brain that day, I do not know but he warned me that this movie would be the worst thing ever....and yet I did not listen. My mistake: asking for a DVD copy of The Period, receiving it, and then watching it.

Sharrie Heiman (Angela Dix) was no one special. She was your average, edgy, chain-smoking lesbian happily living with her girlfriend Clitoria when everything changed. Sharrie was enjoying a quiet night in the bathtub when she gets her period. Normally, this wouldn't seem like that big of a deal except that Sharrie's body is forcefully ejecting whole GALLONS of blood!! Yikes! That definitely isn't normal! But Sharrie just decides to accept the fact that she's geysering blood all over the place and just goes about her life.

Back to normal life? Good luck with that Sharrie...

Obviously bleeding at this magnitude was bound to affect Sharrie's life at some point. When Sharrie reveals her ailment to her girlfriend Clitoria (Valerie Castro), mostly Clitoria is angry that her sex life and furniture are basically ruined now. Even the gynecologist (Ian Arnold) that Sharrie goes to can't see any way to help her! Weeks go by and Sharrie continues to bleed and bleed until Clitoria finally has enough. Sharrie can't hold down a job without bleeding on everything and everyone in sight, and her sex life with Clitoria doesn't even exist Clitoria kicks Sharrie to the curb.

I would gladly leave the house if she was the one I was dating...
but that's just my opinion...

On the streets with nothing but a backpack full of clothes, Sharrie gets by selling her blood at the local blood bank - gross - and using the money to rent rooms in a seedy motel where she washes her blood-soaked clothes in the bathtub. Running out of options, Sharrie turns to prostitution and heavy drinking to forget about her daily woes and heavy flow...that is, until she has a brilliant idea. Her ex girlfriend Clitoria made money as an artist who painted portraits of vaginas and made decent money at it...maybe Sharrie can expand on that concept and add her own personal "splash" of individuality to her work. But as Sharrie's art starts to get noticed and she quickly becomes famous for her work, she will be led down the garden path of danger, exploitation, and even death! Look out Sharrie! And look out audience!

When I first heard the general plot of this movie I was not expecting top quality comedy, I was expecting something jokey and silly with too many bad jokes and lots of fake blood....but those expectations would have been a cinematic masterpiece worthy of an Oscar compared to what I saw in this movie! The Period is the most poorly made movie I have ever seen in my life. As much as I hated A Serbian FilmThe Beast, and The Best of Backyard Wrestling 4 - all these movies at least TRIED to be good! No such luck here. The Period looks like it was filmed by fresh-out-of-the-gate film school students on a shakey, hand-held camera, with horrific sound quality, and the dumbest plot EVER. Half of the movie makes no sense, the other half feels like it's forcing itself to be disturbing and weird....there is nothign genuine or fun about this movie! And drinking during this movie would likely induce nightmares so I don't recommend trying to make it any better. There is no redeeming quality to this movie. Do not watch this, please! Save yourself and your time, The Period is the biggest movie letdown of my year!!


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