Recap 2017 Movies

Introduction:

I didn’t do as well as I usually do keeping all the movie stubs this year, but I’ll look at a list of 2017 movies and let you know what I got to see. These mini-reviews are as spoiler-free as I can get them, but no absolute promises something won’t slip by.

 

Rogue One

Dates Seen: 1/2/17, 1/3/17, 1/4/17, 1/10/17 (and another 4 times in 2016)
Rating: 5/5 stars
Comments: Okay, so anybody looking at those dates would see that I really enjoyed Rogue One. Hadn’t planned to see it 3 consecutive days, but I remember the one on the 2nd was because I wanted it to be the first movie I saw in 2017, the Tuesday one happened because the theater had $5 tickets on Tuesday, and the Wednesday one happened because I had AMC credit and wanted to see what the hype was about the Dolby digital sound.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story satisfied most of the fan base. It brought to light the grittier side of the Rebellion against the evil Empire. War is messy. I also think it did a nice job with fleshing out some of the political maneuvering going on as moffs tried to please the emperor. The rather large cast of new characters integrated well with the old favorites.

 

Lego Batman

Date Seen: 2/20/17

Rating: 4/5 stars

Comments: A decent Lego movie that didn’t hesitate to poke fun at the long and varied history of Batman movies. Surprisingly, it also showed some character growth for our dark knight. I did end up seeing it again as a dvd, but it’s not the sort of movie I could take on loop.

Logan

Date Seen: 4/10/17

Rating: 4/5 stars

Comments: I had some time to kill in New York City, so I caught this movie I’d intended to see but hadn’t gotten to before. It’s enjoyable. There’s decent action. I liked the new kid and her story. They integrated the program thing well. I’m sort of a sucker for this type of secret government experiments scifi.

 

Born in China

Date Seen: 4/22/17

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Comments: Beautiful music. Nice for a nature oriented documentary. Not sure it’s one that needs to be seen on a big screen, but it’s worth watching.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Date Seen: 5/6/17

Rating: 4/5 stars

Comments: One of those rare sequels that comes off just as enjoyable as the first. The first may still be slightly better, but this one had all the same hallmarks: snarky humor, cool fights, weird scifi.

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Date Seen: 5/27/17

Rating: 4/5 stars

Comments: A worthy successor to the Pirates saga. Like any 4th or 5th (this is the 5th right?) movie, it’s not quite as good as the first. The first movie was downright awesome, but the sequels have always fallen short of it. This particular one takes place a long time after the first few, so it’s sort of a reboot of the series. Disney’s trying to breathe new life into the franchise, and they mostly succeed.

Wonder Woman:

Dates Seen: June-ish 2017 (pretty sure I saw this one twice)

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Comments: I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It’s one I’d consider adding to a personal dvd/bluray collection. I haven’t yet, but maybe someday I’ll remember that at an opportune time. The movie has quite a bit of setup, but I enjoyed all that because I’m not familiar with the Wonder Woman lore. They even managed to throw in some character development, some humor, and a heck of a lot of action.

 

Spider-Man Homecoming:

Date Seen: June-ish 2017

Rating: 4/5 stars

Comments: Think I missed one of the reboot series for Spiderman. I don’t think I saw the ones with Andrew Garfield in the red tights. Anyway, this reboot works. I pity the poor props person who had to rebuild the Death Star they had to drop in the movie. The movie focused on Peter Parker trying to muddle his way through high school and being a superhero. Mr. Stark treats him like a kid, which has him terribly frustrated.

 

Dunkirk

Date Seen: July-ish 2017

Rating: 4/5 stars

Comments: This is definitely a movie enhanced by seeing on a big screen. There are very few lines of dialogue throughout this whole movie. It does a decent job showing the struggle to survive, and the desperation of the moment. War is messy.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Dates Seen: 12/15/17, 12/17/17, 12/28/17

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Comments: As the middle of a trilogy, it’s probably going to have the least closure of the new Star Wars movies. When people asked how many times I will see it, I’ve been answering that it’s likely to fall in between Rogue One (8) and The Force Awakens (14). The Last Jedi will likely stay in theaters longer than Rogue One, but I doubt I’ll be inclined to see this one 14 times in theaters.

I’ll definitely buy the dvd and watch it a few more times, but it doesn’t have quite as much closure as I like in stories. Note, this is the same reason Empire was never my favorite. That shocks a lot of hard core Star Wars fans. The porgs are useless but amazingly cute. The story development is intriguing. It’s definitely a Disneyfied version of Star Wars, but it’s still very good.

 

Conclusion:

I feel like the year’s movie selection held a good number of gems. Did you see any of these? What did you think?


Spoiler Talk Review for Star Wars Ep VIII: The Last Jedi

Once again, I don’t own the pic. Found it on Google. Pretty sure it’s one of the standard ones Disney released to promo the movie.

Introduction:

I thoroughly enjoyed The Last Jedi, but being the middle of a trilogy, it’s not likely to be my favorite Star Wars movie of all time. I’ll definitely see it again, but I’m still not sure if it’ll make me get out to theaters as much as The Force Awakens. (Saw that 14 times during it’s run, though to be fair it was in theaters until like March.) It’s definitely the sort of movie that’s worth seeing in theaters a few times.

Things I picked up only on the second time through:

– Luke’s fight with Kylo on the salt planet. He doesn’t leave footprints. I don’t think their lightsabers strike each other either. I think Luke dodges the whole time. Didn’t pick up on that the first time.

– The elevator conversation between Kylo Ren and Rey. They’re technically both correct.

Epic Moments:

– When Kylo Ren pulls Rey’s lightsaber toward himself and Rey and she reaches up and snatches it out of the air.

– When the Resistance ship slices through Snoke’s ship.

– Poe clearing out the surface canons on the dreadnaught.

– Luke becoming one with the Force.

Moments I could have done without:

I think it’s worth saying that the movie wasn’t perfect. The story wasn’t perfect.

– Luke getting milk.

– Rey and the mirror within mirrors. There’s probably really deep meaning in that scene, but I still find it annoying.

 

Funny Moments:

– Chewie’s dinner with a Porg audience.

– When Rey takes out the stone pillar and it tumbles down the hill, destroying the caretaker’s cart in the process.

– Poe ignoring General Hux while stalling for time.

– Yoda’s Force Ghost vs the tree on the sacred island.

 

Favorite Moments:

(There’s going to be some overlap here, but there are also some small moments that I really enjoyed that might not be tops of everybody’s picks.)

– Chewie’s dinner with a Porg audience.

– When Rey takes out the stone pillar and it tumbles down the hill, destroying the caretaker’s cart in the process.

– When Rey’s coffin-like pod from the Falcon gets dropped off in space.

– When the Resistance ship slices through Snoke’s ship.

– Porg vs Falcon window.

– Rey and Kylo Ren vs the Praetorian Guards. I especially like the last moment of that fight.

– BB-8 vs the cops on the casino planet (after being in the casino a while and having drunk patrons fill him with coins.)

– Rey lifting rocks at the end. It’s such an inglorious task but it’s exactly what the heroes needed at that moment.

 

Quotes and Exchanges:

(Only saw it twice, some of these are paraphrases.)

Luke: “Where are you from?”

Rey: “Nowhere.”

Luke: “Noone’s from nowhere.”

Rey: “Jakuu.”

Luke: “Okay, that’s pretty much nowhere.”

 

Luke: “There’s nothing you can say that can make me change my mind.”

R2D2: *Plays the recording of Princess Leia begging Obi-Wan Kenobi for help.*

Luke: “That was a cheap move.”

 

Poe: “‘Finn. Naked. Bag leaking.’ What? Did you fry a chip?”

 

 


Spoiler-Free Review of Star Wars Ep VIII: The Last Jedi

I do not own the picture…found it on Google. Thought it was pretty.

Summary:

Rey tries to enlist Luke Skywalker’s help while the Resistance fights for survival.

Additional Comments:

– As with The Force Awakens, there are about four main, interwoven threads to the story, focusing on Poe and the Resistance, Rey and Luke, Finn and Rose, and Kylo Ren. The editing is fairly decent in terms of balancing how much screen-time each major thread gets.

– Porgs = useless but absolutely adorable.

– The franchise has definitely been Disney-fied. That’s not necessarily a good or bad thing, just a way of life.

– I enjoyed the movie a lot, though probably not quite so much as The Force Awakens. The main turn-off for me is simply it being the middle of a trilogy. There are a lot of open threads at the end of this story. As a huge fan of closure, that’s annoying to me.

Conclusion:

I probably won’t see it quite so many times as I saw The Force Awakens (14), but I will definitely watch it a few more times in theaters and buy the Blu-ray when it’s available.

I’ll have a spoiler-talk review up soon too since I’m assuming most of the die-hards have seen it already.

Aside:

I’m not sure if I’ll read the book or listen to the audiobook. I think the book has a lot of potential to expand on things, but I did not enjoy their last pick for an author to do the novelization. This round should be better, but I’m just hesitant.

Come back for the spoiler talk…

 


5 Reasons to Love it – Rogue One Spoiler Free Review

*Please note, I do not own the rights to any pictures on here. I looked them up on Google images*

Overview

The movie is amazing. You should definitely go see it. I’ve seen it 3 times since it opened on the 16th of December, and I fully intend to go see it a few more times. It’s actually convinced me to buy more Star Wars books. I’d pretty much sworn off Star Wars back when the expanded universe got massively stupid post-New Jedi Order. When they kicked off The Force Awakens, I did buy a few of the kiddie adaptations. I couldn’t bring myself to buy the official novelization because I don’t like Alan Dean Foster, but this time around, they have Alexander Freed penning the adaptation, so I’ll give it a go. But I digress … this is about the movie.

 

  1. Visually Stunning

Although I didn’t see much of an advantage to 3D vs 2D, this is overall a gorgeous movie. The ironic part is that it’s dirty, it’s gritty, yet the most beautiful scenes have the most power behind the emotional punch. Can’t say too much more without spoilers. The prettiest scenes were the ones that showed the scope of the Death Star.

orson-krennic

  1. Memorable Characters (Good Development in Jyn)

Star Wars has always excelled at creating characters that you care about. Jyn Erso’s character is probably the one that develops the most throughout this narrative. There are a ton of main characters, so it’s hard to get them all to be fully developed. There are cool insights into them, but we don’t see too much into their backstories. I’m hoping the book expands on this a bit. It’s a surprisingly large cast of main characters with some key cameos by fan favorites.

I love Galen Erso and the dynamic he has with Orson Krennic.

K2SO is awesome.

I will say there’s not anybody immediately adorable like BB-8 was for The Force Awakens, although the kid they got to play Young Jyn is lovable.

  1. Good Replay Value

While a simplistic story on the surface, there are a lot of lines and nuances to pick up on subsequent viewings.

  1. Sets up A New Hope Brilliantly (includes orienting tangent)

Sorry for being vague here. Star Wars can be a bit odd and confusing for non-fans. The classic Star Wars trilogy consists of Episode IV A New Hope, Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, and Episode VI Return of the Jedi. These were made back in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. The Prequel Trilogy started out in 1999 with Episode I The Phantom Menace, followed in 2002 by Attack of the Clones, and rounded out in 2005 with Revenge of the Sith. This later trilogy is set roughly twenty to thirty-something years before the events in A New Hope.

The vast majority of hard core Star Wars fans (over 20) love the classic trilogy and are pained by the prequel trilogy. Those younger than 20 might love the prequel trilogy more because they grew up with it?? Not sure. I’d have to ask ’em.

In any case, 2015 brought us Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which is set roughly thirty years after Return of the Jedi. This was the first movie put out post-Disney buyout.

This movie, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is set immediately before  A New Hope. Although many of us loved Star Wars from the beginning, it started in the middle of the story. We kind of learned to just go with the flow, but now, we have some answers to burning questions.

  1. Easter Eggs!

While a decent action movie, I’m not sure how many non-Star Wars fans are going to really fall in love with this movie. It’s not really fair to compare The Force Awakens to Rogue One, but I’m gonna do it anyway because it seems the rest of the world wants to do so. That said, TFA has a lot of kid appeal that will be lacking in Rogue One. That’s not a knock against the movie, like I said, it’s amazing. There are a lot of things to look for, and as far as I know, they did a spot-on job with continuity.

Conclusion

It’s worth seeing … a few times.

Favorite Quotes from Rogue One

*Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers*
*I have no rights to any of the pictures. I found them on google images.*

Needless to say, this will have spoilers … a lot of them. So if you haven’t seen Rogue One, don’t read this post. I will have my spoiler free review up sometime soon, followed by my spoiler filled reaction. But I wanted to get this post together while I could remember most of the quotes. Many are probably just paraphrases, but I should be close on a bunch.

Inspiring

Jyn Erso: May the Force be with us.

Jyn Erso: When we reach the ground, we’ll take the next chance and the next and on and on until we win … or the chances are spent.

Chirrut Imwe: I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.

Touching

Bail Organa: I would trust her with my life.

Baze Malbus: Good luck, little sister.

Cassian: Welcome home.

Turning Points

Lyra Erso: Saw, it’s happened. He’s come for us!

Galen: Jyn, whatever I do, I do it to protect you. Say you understand.
Young Jyn: I understand.

Lyra: You’re not taking him!
Krennic: Of course not. I’m taking you all. You, you husband, your child. You’ll all live in comfort.
Lyra: As hostages.
Krennic: As heroes of the Empire.

Krennic: They have a child. Find it!

K2SO: Area clear of hostiles.
*Baze Malbus points gun at K2SO.*
K2SO: *hands fly up* One hostile!
Jyn: *jumps in front of K2SO.* He’s with us!

Rebel: What’s your call sign, pilot?
Jyn (whispers): Say something!
Bohdi Rook: It’s… um … Rogue. Rogue one.

Jyn: Here, you’re going to need this. (Hands the droid a blaster)
K2SO: Jyn Erso, your behavior is continually … unexpected. (paraphrase)

empire_rogueone
Funny (pretty much any time K2SO spoke)

K2SO: (after knocking Jyn flat) Congratulations! You are being rescued. Please do not resist.

Orson Krennic: Oh look. Here’s Lyra back from the dead. It’s a miracle!

K2SO: I see the council is sending you to Jedha with us.
Jyn: Apparently.
K2SO: That is a bad idea. I think so, and so does Cassian.

K2SO: Why does she get a blaster and I don’t?
Cassian: Where did you get it? (the blaster)
Jyn: I found it.
K2SO: I find that answer vague and unconvincing.

Jyn: Maybe we should leave Target Practice behind.
(a little later in the conversation)
K2SO: I didn’t know you’d be so concerned with my well-being.
Jyn: I’m not. I just don’t want them to miss and hit me.
K2SO: *mutters* Doesn’t sound like such a bad idea to me.

K2SO: You’re letting her keep it? Do you want to know the probability of her using it (a blaster) against you? It’s high. It’s very high.

*Jyn shoots a droid that looks identical to K2SO.*
K2SO: Did you know that wasn’t me?
Jyn: ’Course.

Cassian: I thought I told you to stay on the ship.

K2SO: You did, but I thought it was boring and you’re in trouble.

K2SO: There are an awful lot of explosions around here for two people blending in.

Darth Vader: Be careful not to choke on you aspirations, Director.

 

K2SO: I’ve got a bad feeling about—

Stormtrooper: Where are you taking these prisoners?
K2SO: These are prisoners? I am taking these prisoners to prison … to imprison them.

5/5 stars: A Force to Reckon With – A Spoiler-Free Review of The Force Awakens

Oh, come on, you saw that title coming 3 galaxies away. Indulge my crazy here. Star Wars fans have waited a long time for this movie, and on the whole, it doesn’t disappoint.

Action: Level’s nice and high.

Plotting: Typical fare yet fun all the same.
Twists: Most are predictable, but they have some tricks up their sleeves.

Nods to Original Series: Many and sundry = fun to watch and re-watch.

Integration of Old and New Characters: Done almost seamlessly.

Analysis of New Main Characters/ Main Side Characters:
Rey: Nicely acted by Daisy Ridley. Innocent, naive, brave, relatively soft-spoken, pretty, and determined to do the right thing = a winning combination for a likable character.

Finn (John Boyega): Cool addition. Stormtrooper with a conscience (not a spoiler, that can be gathered from the trailers). Brave, bold, a little nervous under fire, loyal, and occasionally the source of mild comic relief = also a winning character combo.

Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac): It’s hard to take the name Poe seriously, and I think that comes from a general fear of teletubbies. That aside, hotshot pilot = enough said; nice addition to the Star Wars cannon. Also makes a lovely action figure which I believe people are already starting to horde to resell.

BB-8 (Bill Hader/Ben Schwartz): adorable + important

Kylo Ren (Adam Driver): Okay as a baddie. Coolest lightsaber award though. Plus a cool mask. Reminiscent of Revan’s mask for those of use obsessed with the Expanded Universe games.

General Hux (Domnhall Gleeson): Decently acted but forgettable as a character. Comes across as a ranting lunatic. I think they were going for that vibe, which is … interesting.

Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie): Bit player but does have an important role here…great potential for spinoff stuff.

Conclusion: There’s a great balance here of old and new. Whether you like the movie or not is probably going to depend on whether you think there’s enough old to hold the nostalgia without it becoming a rehash. It’s definitely worth seeing. I’ll probably see it 2-3 times in theaters. Saw it 3D first time.

May the Force be with you.