Summary: The Addams get tangled up in more wacky adventures and find themselves involved in hilarious run-ins with all sorts of unsuspecting characters. Sequel to the 2019 animated film, ‘The Addams Family’.
Cinema Release Dates: 6th January 2022 (Australia), 28th October 2021 (Thailand), 8th October 2021 (UK), 1st October 2021 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: 1st October 2021 (USA)
Country: USA, Canada
Director: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon
Screenwriter: Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Ben Queen, Susanna Fogel
Cast: Ted Evans (Pongo (voice)), Mary Faber (Miss Lurleen/Texas Lady/Pageant Lady/PA (voice)), Bill Hader (Cyrus Strange (voice)), Oscar Isaac (Gomez Adams (voice)), Nick Kroll (Uncle Fester (voice)), Cherami Leigh (Ophelia (voice)), Bette Midler (Grandma (voice)), Chloe Grace Moretz (Wednesday Adams (voice)), Wallace Shawn (Mr. Mustela (voice)), Snoop Dogg (It (voice)), Brian Sommer (Big Bad Ronny (voice)), Charlize Theron (Morticia Adams (voice)), Conrad Vernon (Lurch/Spirit Of The House (voice)), Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton (Pugsley Addams (voice)),
Running Time: 93 mins
Classification: PG (Australia), G (Thailand), PG (UK), PG (USA)
Summary: Feature adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.
Cinema Release Dates: 2nd December 2021 (Australia), 21st October 2021 (Thailand), 21st October 2021 (UK), 22nd October 2021 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Country: USA, Canada
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Screenwriter: Jon Spaihts, Dennis Villeneuve, Eric Roth
Cast: Javier Bardem (Stilgar), Dave Bautista (Beast Rabban Harkonnen), Neil Bell (Sardaukar Bashar), Josh Brolin (Gurney Halleck), Timothee Chamalet (Paul Atreides), Chang Chen (Dr. Wellington Yueh), David Dastmalchian (Piter de Vries), Sharon Duncan-Brewster (Dr. Liet Kynes), Elmi Rashir Elmi (Shamir), Rebecca Ferguson (Lady Jessica Atreides), Stephn McKinley Henderson (Thufir Hawat), Oscar Isaac (Duke Leto Atreides), Jason Momoa (Duncan Idaho), Tachia Newall (Tanat), Babs Olusanmokun (Jamis), Charlotte Rampling (Reverend Mother Mohiam), Golda Rosheuvel (Shadout Mapes), Stellan Skarsgard (Baron Vladimir Harkonnen), Roger Yuan (Lietenant Lanville), Zendaya (Chani)
Running Time: 155 mins
Classification: M (Australia), 12A (UK), PG-13 (USA)
OUR DUNE REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ Dune Review:
Dune has always felt really personal to me. I read the novel, by Frank Herbert, in my first year at High School and completely fell in love with it. I then made the mistake of watching the David Lynch film adaption, an adaption I loathed and Sting’s costume still haunts me to this day.
During my time at uni a friend suggested that I watch the mini-series and told me “that it was remarkably better than the film.” To her credit it was better but it never even went close to reaching the lofty expectations that I had in my head for what the world of Dune should look like since reading the novel.
So as you could imagine I was pretty nervous going in to watch the Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049) version. Actually perhaps nervous isn’t the right way to describe how I was feeling. To be honest I was trying not to feel excited because in the pit of my stomach I had a feeling that I was once again going to have hopes dashed. But, I am happy to say I was wrong, I was very wrong because Villeneuve has delivered a masterpiece.
For those who do not know the Dune story. It is told through the eyes of a young Duke-to-be, Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet – Lady Bird). He has watched his father, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac – Ex Machina), build their family empire to make them one of the most respected families in the galaxy. With the likes of Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin – Avengers: Endgame) and Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa – Aquaman) training their Army they feel safe and secure.
Meanwhile both Gurney and Duncan train Paul in combat, in case there is ever a need for it, while his mother, Lady Jessica Atreides (Rebecca Ferguson – The Greatest Showman) trains him to saddle the special abilities that have been handed down to him through his family line. And while Paul attempts that those abilities are providing him of dreams and visions of Chani (Zendaya – The Greatest Showman), a young native Fremen from the planet Arrakis.
Paul has no idea what the visions mean but is soon worried by them when he learns that the Atreides family have just been ordered to travel to Arrakis to bring peace to the planet and to stabilise and operate the ‘spice’ mining operation on the planet.
Villeneuve’s vision of Dune is nothing short of amazing. It is like he somehow went into my head and took my visions of what the Dune universe would look like and brought it to the screen. The first thing that hits you when watching Dune is the understanding of the themes and morals of the original novel that Villeneuve had the second is the fact that his film-making makes even the harshest scenes of the film look like a thing of beauty.
It was funny because when the credits were rolling after the screening the other night a stranger sitting next to me started to use a loud voice to say why he hated the film. I realised that every reason he said he hated the film was a reason why I loved it. He said he hated that it wasn’t like Star Wars – while I loved the fact that Villeneuve gave respect to the novel and didn’t decide to include cheesy ‘creatures’ or ridiculous one off lines.
The stranger said he didn’t like the fact that the film felt dark. Well of course it was dark, the themes explored in the film are not exactly something that you can make light. I was actually in awe of the way that the director kept a dark tone throughout the film without depressing his audience in a way that made the film a chore to watch. Talking of that the stranger also didn’t like that fact that he had to think during the film. Yes, he is right Villeneuve doesn’t spell out everything to the audience like they are dunces he makes you work at times to figure out what is happening and the result of that is you become so engrossed in the film itself that you feel like you are part of the universe alongside the characters at hand.
The power of this film really comes through the way that it looks on the big screen though. There is a dark, foreboding feeling that remains while the film throughout. Having said that though the film does reach epic heights that match the special moments of a film like Lord Of The Rings but there is an alternative feel to this film that allows for more character development then you would expect from a film of this magnitude, while Villeneuve never fails to remember one thing – at the heart of this film it is a coming-of-age story and even during epic battles etc the storyline of the film still remains a learning curve for Paul. I don’t say this very often about films that are supposed to be a spectacle or blockbuster. But this is truly a masterpiece and it shows that is okay to make a blockbuster film have an alternative edge to it. This is a film of true beauty and I cannot wait to revisit it again.
Oscar nominee Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival,” “Blade Runner 2049”) directs Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ “Dune,” the big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal bestseller of the same name. A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.
The film stars Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me by Your Name,” “Little Women”), Rebecca Ferguson (“Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep,” “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”), Oscar Isaac (the “Star Wars” franchise) Oscar nominee Josh Brolin (“Milk,” “Avengers: Infinity War”), Stellan Skarsgård (HBO’s “Chernobyl,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron”), Dave Bautista (the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, “Avengers: Endgame”), Stephen McKinley Henderson (“Fences,” “Lady Bird”), Zendaya (“Spider-Man: Homecoming,” HBO’s “Euphoria”), Chang Chen (“Mr. Long,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), David Dastmalchian (“Blade Runner 2049,” “The Dark Knight”), Sharon Duncan-Brewster (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” Netflix’s “Sex Education”), with Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years,” “Assassin’s Creed”), with Jason Momoa (“Aquaman,” HBO’s “Game of Thrones”), and Oscar winner Javier Bardem (“No Country for Old Men,” “Skyfall”).
Villeneuve directed “Dune” from a screenplay by Jon Spaihts and Villeneuve and Eric Roth based on the novel of the same name written by Frank Herbert. Villeneuve also produced the film with Mary Parent, Cale Boyter and Joe Caracciolo, Jr. The executive producers are Tanya Lapointe, Joshua Grode, Herbert W. Gains, Jon Spaihts, Thomas Tull, Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt and Kim Herbert. Behind the scenes, Villeneuve reteamed with two-time Oscar-nominated production designer Patrice Vermette (“Arrival,” “Sicario,” “The Young Victoria”), two-time Oscar-nominated editor Joe Walker (“Blade Runner 2049,” “Arrival,” “12 Years a Slave”), two-time Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Paul Lambert (“First Man,” “Blade Runner 2049”), and Oscar-winning special effects supervisor Gerd Nefzer (“Blade Runner 2049”). He also collaborated for the first time with Oscar-nominated director of photography Greig Fraser (“Lion,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”); three-time Oscar-nominated costume designer Jacqueline West (“The Revenant,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Quills”) and co-costume designer Bob Morgan; and stunt coordinator Tom Struthers (“The Dark Knight” trilogy, “Inception”). Oscar-winning and multiple Oscar-nominated composer Hans Zimmer (“Blade Runner 2049,” “Inception,” “Gladiator,” “The Lion King”) is creating the score.
Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures Present a Legendary Pictures Production, a Film by Denis Villeneuve, “Dune.” The film is slated to be released in Australian theaters beginning 2 December 2021
Oscar nominee Denis Villeneuve directs Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ “Dune,” the big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal bestseller of the same name.
A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.
DUNE stars Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Chang Chen, David Dastmalchian, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling with Jason Momoa and Javier Bardem.
DUNE releases in Australia and New Zealand in cinemas on December 26, 2020.
Summary: The surviving members of the resistance face the First Order once again, and the legendary conflict between the Jedi and the Sith reaches its peak bringing the Skywalker saga to its end.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 19th December 2019
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 19th December 2019
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States
Screenwriter: J.J. Abrams, Chris Terrio
Cast: Gerald W Abrams (Captain Cypress), J.J. Abrams (D-O (voice)), Naomi Ackie (Jannah), Josef Altin (Pilot Vanik), John Boyega (Finn), Lynn Robertson Bruce (D-O/Sith Alchamist), Dave Chapman (BB-8), Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker (voice)), Richard Coombs (Maz Kanata), Aidan Cook (Boolio), Liam Cook (Ochi of Bestoon), Olivia d’Abo (Luminara Unduli (voice)), Anthony Daniels (c-3PO), Harrison Davis (Pommet Warrick), Warwick Davis (Wicket W. Warrick), Matt Denton (Maz Kanata), Mandeep Dhillon (Lieutenant Garam), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano (voice)), Amir El-Masry (Commander Track), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa (archival footage)), Cailey Fleming (Young Rey), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Geff Francis (Admiral Griss), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Richard E. Grant (General Pryde), Greg Grunberg (Snap Wexley), Alec Guiness (Obi Wan Kenobi (voice)), Robin Guiver (D-O), Amanda Hale (Officer Kandia), Jennifer Hale (Aayla Secura (voice)), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Claire Roi Harvey (Maz Kanata), Shirley Henderson (Babu Frik (voice)), Carolyn Hennesy (Demine Lithe), Brian Herring (BB-8), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Josefine Irrera Jackson (Young Rey), Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu (voice)), James Earl Jones (Darth Vader (voice)), Paul Kasey (Cai Threnalli), Nick Kellington (Klaud), Diana Kent (General Engell), Amanda Lawrence (Commander D’Arcy), Denis Lawson (Wedge Antilles), Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix), Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine), Ewan McGregor (Obi Wan Kenobi (voice)), Dominic Monaghan (Beaumont), Tanya Moodie (General Parnadee), Liam Neeson (Qui-Gon Jinn (voice)), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Frank Oz (Yoda (voice)), Simon Paisley Day (General Quinn), Angelique Perrin (Adi Gallia (voice)), Freddie Prinze Jnr. (Kana Jarrus (voice)), Mike Quinn (Nien Nunb), Daisy Ridley (Rey), Vinette Robinson (Pilot Tyce), Alison Rose (Lieutenant Draper), Kipsang Rotich (Nien Nunb (voice)), Keri Russell (Zorii Bliss), Philica Saunders (Tabala Zo), Andy Serkis (Snoke (voice)), Kiran Shah (Nambi Ghima), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Hassan Taj (R2-D2), Chris Terrio (Colonel Aftab Ackbar (voice)), Lee Towersey (R2-D2), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), John Williams (Oma Tres), Patrick Williams (Boolio (voice)), Debra Wilson (Nambi Ghima (voice)), Tom Wilton (Colonel Aftab Ackbar), Matthew Wood (Cai Threnally (voice))
Running Time: 142 mins
Classification: M (Australia) TBC (Thailand)
OUR STAR WARS: RISE OF SKYWALKER REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths Review:
It has taken forty-two years to get there, but finally the Skywalker saga is drawing to a close. No other cinematic franchise has ever reached the massive heights that Star Wars has and to say that this is a beloved series is under-selling it in a very big way. It is for that reason that J.J. Abrams has had one of the most difficult jobs that any filmmaker could ever dream of, it is up to him to close this much loved chapter in the Star Wars story in a way that will please a legion of fans world-wide.
Leading into Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker that story had been thrown into turmoil both on and off the screen. On screen we saw the death of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and the apparent return of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). Off screen all Star Wars fans were rocked with the tragic death of actress Carrie Fisher which they knew would impact the storyline of the final film.
Abrams doesn’t leave fans waiting with The Rise Of Skywalker very quickly getting down to business. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is on the hunt for Palpatine, while Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) search for an artefact that will allow Rey (Daisy Ridley) to face Palpatine, while they try to stop the massive First Order forces who are ready to once again take over the universe.
The plot maybe simple but certainly does not fail to entertain. Early on the film feels episodic simply moving from one story to another in a specific order but once it breaks those shackles the film mirrors the energy and entertainment that we all come to love from the original Star Wars films. But while the film does entertain it also does have its flaws. With the plot having so much going on there are times when it feels like it doesn’t spend enough time raising the levels of suspense, something that is very surprising considering that some of the lives in danger here are some of the most loved characters in cinematic history.
Still for the most of the part of the film Abrams keeps things simple but effective. Once it established that all characters could meet their end this time around that goes some way to keeping the audience on their toes while the final epic battle is something that true Star Wars fans have dreamt of for a long time. Unlike a lot of franchises this chapter does close with a finale that will leave fans happy and is should be noted that Disney does leave the door slightly ajar if they ever wish to continue the saga.
What makes this instalment so enjoyable though is the acting, and that is not something we have been able to say about every Star Wars instalment. Adam Driver shows in this film why he is one of the best actors in Hollywood at the moment. It is obvious that he doesn’t move into a lower acting gear because he is in an epic blockbuster here, instead he puts as much drama and emotion into his Marriage Story and Paterson… the former role which is talked about possibly earning him an Oscar nomination.
Driver is well matched on screen by Daisy Ridley whose acting prowess has continued to grow throughout this trilogy. Johy Boyega and Oscar Isaac also deliver their goods but at the end of the day this film is literally Driver versus Ridley and that shows right up to the last amazing and memorable crescendo.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is a film that is going to be embraced by the hardened Star Wars fans out there, something we can breathe a sigh of relief over since the disappointment of the Game Of Thrones finale. The Rise Of Skywalker is light but thoroughly entertains.
Average Subculture Rating:
Other Subculture Entertainment Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Reviews:
Summary: Set thirty years after the events of Return Of The Jedi the universe is once again facing upheaval. Rising from the ashes of Darth Vader before him Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) leads the First Order as they strive to conquer (and in some cases) destroy the galaxy. In order to do so they know they must kill every remaining Jedi which means they need to hunt down Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who has been missing for years.
Leading the resistance against the First Order is Leia (Carrie Fisher) who despite the good intentions of her fighters, like Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), is losing the battle against the First Order. The Resistance gets a much needed boost when a map that may show the whereabouts of Luke is found. But in order to have any affect a young scavenger named Rey (Daisy Ridley), a reformed Storm Trooper named Finn (John Boyega), the legendary Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and everybody’s favourite Wookie (Peter Mayhew) must get the map (which is hidden to a droid) to the Resistance.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 18th December 2015
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: J.J. Abrams
Screenwriter: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt, George Lucas (characters)
Cast: Gerry Abrams (Captain Cypress), Sebastian Amresto (Lieutenant Mitaka), Erik Bauersfeld (Admiral Ackbar), Leanne Best (Min Sakul), Jason Boyega (Finn), Anna Brewster (Bazine Netal), Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), Crystal Clarke (Ensign Goode), Tosin Cole (Lietenant Bastian), Morgan Dameron (Commodore Meta), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Warwick Davis (Wollivan), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Emun Elliott (Brance), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Cailey Fleming (Young Rey), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Michael Giacchino (FN-3181), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Nigel Godrich (FN-9330), Stefan Grube (Yolo Ziff), Greg Gunberg (Snap Wexley), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Jessica Henwick (Jess Testor), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Andrew Jack (Major Ematt), Jeffrey Kissoon (Rear Admiral Guich), Ken Leung (Admiral Statura), Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix), Rocky Marshall (Colonel Datoo), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), James McArdle (Niv Lek), Jim McGrath (Vice Admiral Resdox), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Simon Pegg (Unkar Plutt), Mike Quinn (Nien Nunb), Maisie Richardson-Sellers (Korr Sella), Daisy Ridley (Rey), Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar), Kipsang Rotich (Nien Nunb), Yayan Ruhian (Tasu Leech), Philicia Saunders (Tabala Zo), Andy Serkis (Supreme Leader Snoke), Claudia Sermbezis (Lema Eelyak), Kiran Shah (Teedo), Mark Stanley (Knight Of Ren), Pip Torrens (Colonel Kaplan), Iko Uwais (Razoo Quin-Fee), Brian Vernel (Bala-Tik), Max von Sydow (Lor San Tekka), Harriet Walter (Dr. Kalonia)
Runtime: 135 mins
OUR STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS REVIEWS & RATINGS:
It might be a brutal thing to say but Star Wars: The Force Awakens is perhaps George Lucas’ worst nightmare. For years now we’ve heard people worldwide speculating at how Disney and J.J. Abrams were going to destroy the Star Wars universe. Well now after viewing Star Wars: The Force Awakens I can say that it seems that Abrams actually has a better understanding of that universe than what Lucas himself has had over the past few years. Episode 1 and the rest of the new trilogy made me lose my childhood love of everything Star Wars but last night The Force Awakens just awakened it inside me.
There is little wonder that true Star Wars fans at the Melbourne premiere last night clapped their hands off as the final credits rolled last night because Abrams has obviously created this film from his Star Wars fanboy point-of-view. In fact in light of day this script could have easily been lifted from any short novella on a Star Wars fan-fiction site… that’s how true to the original trilogy it was. The original Star Wars feel to the film can also be credited to Abrams’ right hand man – legendary screenwriter who has brought us gems like The Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi and Raiders Of The Lost Ark… yes the man knows how to write what audiences love.
In some ways Abrams plays the safe-card with The Force Awakens. He sticks to the tried and true tropes of the original Star Wars films even using similar storylines such as a very important map hidden inside of a droid. Instead of feeling like a blatant rip-off though it instead feels like Abrams paying homage to something that he has loved over the years. Having said that though Abrams does put his own stamp on the franchise very well. His new characters, such as Finn and Rey, are likable and unlike Lucas’ attempt with the ill-fated Jar Jar Abrams shows that his new characters don’t need gimmicks to try and win over their audience. Sure you have to wonder how much political correctness was in mind when characters like Rey, Finn and Poe were created but that doesn’t stop them from being the kind of characters that fans of the series are very quickly going to warm to. The idea of Finn being a reformed Storm Trooper is a stroke of genius from the Abrams camp, while Rey and Poe seem to have some pretty interesting back stories that need to be explored in future Star Wars film… and yes it is very obvious that Finn and Rey have some sexual tension that is guaranteed to surface in the future as well.
Perhaps the biggest stamp that Abrams puts on the Star Wars franchise is his visual style. Teaming up with cinematographer Daniel Mindel (who Abrams has also worked with on the Star Trek franchise) Abrams here has created a film that doesn’t need CGI to enhance its environment. Whether it be a great light sabre in a forest, a Millennium Falcon led dog fight or a group of Tie fighters flying out of a sunset Abrams put a visual stamp on the film that George Lucas always seemed to fail at doing throughout his time in the Star Wars world. As The Force Awakens plays out you realise that Abrams’ main focus here wasn’t CGI creatures but instead developing a film that not only had a decent plot but looked damn fine as well.
The big plus for this film though is the inclusion of old favourites. Giving Han and Chewie such a big role in this film is another stroke of genius from the Abrams’ camp. It gives the film some familiarity and the fact that Han is so accepting of Rey and Finn gives them a huge ‘in’ with the film, plus the Abrams’ screenplay provides Han and Chewie with some truly great moments as well. The comedic dialogue works well between the two and once again Harrison Ford shows that even at his age he can be a believable action hero who is more than capable of carrying a film like this… plus the time on set with such a legendary actor will surely put the young stars of this film in great steed for the future.
After the disappointment of the previous three Star Wars films J.J. Abrams touch on the franchise is a welcome relief. Finally there is another Star Wars film to be proud of and yes this is one former lover of the franchise that has had his flame rekindled.
Big Star Wars fan, here. As a child I wanted to hire the original trilogy videos every week. I wanted to be Luke; loved the tale, mythology and symbolism littered throughout. I loved the prequels, despite them generally getting a bad rap these days.
Then it was finally announced – episode 7! We’d see what really happened after Return Of The Jedi. And then I saw it…
And I was sad. A brilliant opening set the scene well – I was hooked. But it falls apart more and more as we progress. The film had a habit (even before release) of building expectations, then dashing them. Even from the opening ‘story crawl’ – “…Leia has sent her most daring pilot on a secret mission to Jakku, where an old ally has discovered a clue to Luke’s whereabouts…” Most daring pilot – is it Han Solo?! No. It’s newcomer Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). That’s OK, I want to get to know him (but barely do). And the old ally… who could it be?! No-one we’ve ever met before. Played by a very famous actor, Max von Sydow, ‘old ally’ Lor San Tekka is killed-off in about 5 minutes, as just a plot device. Even Poe Dameron is seemingly killed-off within the first half hour, only to suddenly reappear later in a cheap way. It was hollow, like something wasn’t right so I kept looking for some big surprise around the corner. Nothing.
Everything builds-up to go nowhere. The opening line of the film is “Luke Skywalker has vanished” – so the story is about finding him, right? No, it’s the main crux of the story but forgotten about and sidetracked with nonsense until the last few minutes.
The new characters of Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisey Ridley) were great and the performers did well. All the impetus was put on them by Disney as what they wanted to sell. The fans wanted to see more of the classic characters along with the new generation, but the classic cast was left underdeveloped or written sometimes out-of-character. I remember when you could half understand the Droids’ bleeping, but now it’s like random sounds.
Daisey and John, at least, are great at bringing their characters to life and we enjoy following them, but there’s too much time spent sidelining the plot. It sets up questions (which kind of look like they have predictable answers – we’ll see in episode 8, probably) that don’t pay-off. You need to give the audience some pay-off, even if this is part of a trilogy. Both characters get invested in their journey then alternatingly both want to leave, then just-as-suddenly change their mind again.
So, then they look for Luke Skywalker, right? No, there are more distractions as the First Order (just a condensed copy of the Galactic Empire from the original trilogy) come to find the map to Luke Skywalker as this is also their plan… or is their plan to blow-up planets with yet another Death Star – oh, sorry: “Star Killer”? While I like the ‘Star-Killer’ nod to George Lucas’ original Star Wars script where the Skywalker clan was named Starkiller, that would have been more than enough of an in-joke. But everything else in the film is a nod to something, a re-make of an old scene, an in-joke for fans, etc… We get two hours of fan-service and maybe 30 minutes of it is story-related. Instead of finding Luke we deal with the unoriginal ‘planet-killing’ device – something we’ve seen fail TWICE already – then clumsily get to a plot point of killing-off a character.
We see what was probably an important planet destroyed by the Starkiller (actually, the home of the New Republic; an element totally lost as the First Order seems to have such power that it seems NOTHING has changed since episode 6) but we don’t care because we never saw the planet. We see some people about to die in horror (including great actress, Freema Agyeman, who’s little more than an uncredited extra after deleting an important scene earlier in the film) but we don’t get invested in their deaths as it becomes such a non-point with little gravitas or repercussion.
Abrahams and Disney cut so much of what was filmed after already diluting so much of what George Lucas had written for them that the current universe isn’t properly established, so have little grounding. But then Abrahams goes all-out on padding the movie with stuff we’ve seen before but has little reward. We get a couple of important plot-points, but mostly this movie is just played out as an small opening act for an actual story which leaves the experience very hollow.
Gone, also, are the layers of myths and symbology that Lucas created in his original films, which I still enjoy discovering to this day, leaving with us something quite superficial.
Technically, the film is well-achieved, and if you want mindless spectacle over an adventure you’ll enjoy this film. I think Disney have been too keen to cash in on this (you can see them whoring the franchise out to anyone who will pay to have a Star Wars image on their product – including Gillette razors) and wanted to hurriedly establish their characters to use as they wish with little continuity constraints (and probably because they’ll be cheaper than the existing heroes). And a new Star Wars-related film will be out every year! Great, so long as they have actually gone to the lengths to make it GOOD.
I, of course, can’t wait for Episode 8 and have hope (A New Hope?) that it will make-up for TFA’s shortcomings and actually develop the plot and story properly. We want more than a money-making romp from Disney, and sadly that is all this film feels like in the end.
Star Wars ‘The Force Awakens’ (Directed by J.J. Abrams) is a sequel, continuing on from the original Star Wars trilogy.
The Force Awakens is said to be the biggest film release in history. But does the film live up to all the hype?
Star Wars ‘The Force Awakens’ introduces us to a new range of characters when at the same time bringing back ones from the past. At the beginning of the film we are introduced to Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and a brand new droid, BB-8. Poe is an X-Wing pilot and is on a mission to protect classified information from the hands of the First Order.
The audience is then introduced to Finn (John Boyega). Finn is a Stormtrooper who disagrees with the ways of the First Order and decides to run away. Finn escapes to the planet of Jakku where we meet Rey (Daisy Ridley). Rey is a scavenger living a life where she needs to recover any junk metal or spare parts that are good enough to be traded for food.
Any Star Wars film wouldn’t be complete without a major threat and villain fighting to make that threat a reality. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is the leader of the First Order and is accompanied by General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie).
We are of course greeted with some old faces as Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher and of course Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). It was amazing to see the characters we know and love return to the big screen and to see how they have changed after all these years. C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) also return to join the returning cast.
The one thing that stood out to me in this film was the acting. J.J Abrams chose actors who were not well known to a large audience and they have definitely shown their potential when it comes to acting.
Throughout the movie there is so much going on that it’s hard to determine your thoughts about it and what you think. After seeing the movie and taking a moment to breath I can honestly say that it was a triumphant return for the Star Wars franchise. The movie was non-stop action and intensity and it was amazing to see that J.J. Abrams kept to the old films and didn’t change anything that would leave fans disappointed. Star Wars ‘The Force Awakens’ is an amazing film for Star Wars fans and the ending has been left wide open for future stories and films to connect with.
The one thing I loved most about this film is that the only CG (Computer Graphics) used was for when they are in space or in battle, flying through the air. There was a physicality to it that made the Star Wars universe feels so real. All the character, droids, aliens, sets and locations were all real and done brilliantly.
My finale thoughts of the film are that it was a great comeback for the Star Was franchise and it’s great to see this universe be introduced to a whole new generation of fans. I would definitely see it again!