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Star wars

Darth Vader VR photo
Darth Vader VR

A Darth Vader VR project is in the works


Will probably be impressive
Jul 19
// Hubert Vigilla
The storytelling potential of VR is pretty fascinating, as I noted with Allumette during the Tribeca Film Festival. A virtual headset can give you this unique feeling of immersion that allows you to interact with the story. I...
Star Wars photo
What are you bringing to the table?
Update: Official poster added. Original: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story might actually excite me more than the the main franchise films. Gareth Edwards directing what is basically a space samurai/war film in the orig...

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Darth Vader returns in Roque One: A Star Wars Story


Or does he?
Jun 23
// Rick Lash
Darth Vader is back. Again (probably). It seems every round of Star Wars moviemaking must come complete with a healthy dose of the dark helmet. He is after all, arguably, Star Wars’ most iconic character. The revelation...
Star Wars photo
Star Wars

A James Bond take on Star Wars


With the better Spectre song
May 09
// Matthew Razak
We can all agree that James Bond movies are single-handedly keeping the art of the title credits sequence alive. With most films pushing them to the end of the movie you're seeing less and less quality credit sequences these ...

Star Wars photo
What will you become?
Gareth Edwards is directing a Star Wars movie. The man who has helped to redefine how you direct large objects hurtling at each other has his hands on the Death Star and all of a galaxy far, far away. I mean, that's a fa...

RIP Erik Bauersfeld (1922-2016)

Apr 05 // Hubert Vigilla
RIP Erik Bauersfeld photo
The voice of Admiral Ackbar has passed
While you may not know Erik Bauersfeld by name, he's the man behind one of the most memorable moments in Return of the Jedi. As the Rebel Alliance fleet closes in on the second Death Star, Lando realizes the shields are still...

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Star Wars' Daisy Ridley in unofficial talks for Tomb Raider reboot


More like Tomb REYder, eh?
Mar 21
// Geoff Henao
Could Daisy Ridley be the next Angelina Jolie? Maybe not, but she could be the next Lara Croft. During the Empire Awards in London this past weekend, the Star Wars: The Force Awakens star spoke to The Hollywood Reporter ...
10 more Star Wars movies photo
10 more Star Wars movies

Disney is planning 10 more Star Wars movies, leading to state of perpetual war


Perpetual Star Wars
Mar 07
// Hubert Vigilla
Disney acquired Lucasfilm back in 2012 for $4 billion, and they're going to make that golden goose keep giving until it's spent (at which point they'll make Star Wars foie gras). An inside source with the company said that th...
Kylo Ren TV photo
Kylo Ren TV

Watch Kylo Ren make appearances in other movies


The T2 one would make Emo Kylo Ren proud
Mar 07
// Hubert Vigilla
There's something wonderfully silly about Kylo Ren from The Force Awakens. Don't get me wrong, he's a menacing user of the force and also a representation of the dark side of male geekdom, but he's also a spoiled brat with a ...
Star Wars VIII photo
Star Wars VIII

Watch a few seconds of Star Wars Episode VIII in this official production announcement video


Laura Dern & Benicio Del Toro join cast
Feb 15
// Hubert Vigilla
Though the release date of Rian Johnson's Star Wars Episode VIII has been pushed back several months, Disney has announced that production is now under way. They did so with a brief video, which seems to pick up where Star Wars: The Force Awakens left off. Give the announcement video a look below.
Ewan McGregor Star Wars photo
Ewan McGregor Star Wars

Ewan McGregor discusses his Star Wars: The Force Awakens cameo


Obi-Wan Kenobi speaks
Feb 01
// Hubert Vigilla
Several months ago we reported that Ewan McGregor might have a cameo in the new Star Wars films. Turns out the rumors were true. While promoting Jane Got a Gun (a western starring Natalie Portman) on Jimmy Kimmel Live, McGreg...
Star Wars 8 pushed back photo
Star Wars 8 pushed back

Star Wars Episode VIII release date pushed back to December 2017, Rian Johnson doing rewrites


Star Wars may be a Christmas tradition
Jan 25
// Hubert Vigilla
Star Wars Episode VIII was originally going to be released on May 26, 2017, but now the film has been pushed back seven months. The new release date for Star Wars 8 is December 15, 2017. Rian Johnson is still set to begin pro...
Force Awakens/New Hope photo
Force Awakens/New Hope

J.J. Abrams talks Star Wars: The Force Awakens and similarities to A New Hope


In short: I meant to do that!
Jan 11
// Hubert Vigilla
Whether you liked The Force Awakens or not, there's one thing everyone can agree on: Episode VII is very similar to A New Hope and The Original Trilogy. As director J.J. Abrams recently explained, that was by design. "It was ...
Star Wars petition photo
Star Wars petition

Star Wars nerds petition George Lucas to direct Episode IX instead of Colin Trevorrow


Yousa gotta be kidding me
Jan 08
// Hubert Vigilla
Star Wars nerds (nerds in general, really) can be pretty irrational at times. Don't get me wrong, a lot of them are fun people, but some of them are total drags. I mean, you get calls for boycotts due to "white genocide" and ...

MRA anger over Mad Max and Star Wars reveals the dark side of male geek identity

Jan 06 // Hubert Vigilla
When I wrote about the #BoycottStarWarsVII campaign last year, I mentioned that "the ethnic, cultural, religious, or gendered 'other' is a threat to white male hegemony and homogeneity." I didn't get into it much deeper in that piece, but I've always noticed this ugly sense of gatekeeping in geekdom. By that I mean people acting geekier than thou or passing judgement on who's a real geek and who's a poseur/fake geek, as if there's only a few set ways to be authentic when it comes to geek culture. I've been guilty of that behavior multiple times in the past, but you know what I eventually realized? It's a sign of immaturity and selfishness, and it's just plain stupid. Why not share the stuff you love, or at least appreciate another person's enthusiasm for it? Because here's the thing: that movie, that book, that comic, that game you love isn't yours alone. For insecure male geeks, these outside groups (i.e., women, people of color, newcomers to a medium or genre, etc.) are invaders storming the walls looking to pollute the wells of familiar geekdom with their alien influence. Oooh, scary! They'll bring new perspectives, new ideas, new conversations, and new modes of engagement with them. And if these scary noobs enjoy these works so much that they're driven to create their own work, that means they'll add new characters and new stories and new contexts for the discussion of geekdom. What this means is that geekdom gets to evolve and reflect the actual multitude of experiences of the 21st century. Yet you have these calls for boycotts, you have online harassment, you have violent threats, you have efforts to silence or marginalize different voices, you have these immediate calls to discount a point of view without hearing it out and considering its potential merits. There's no self-reflection, there's just self-preservation. There can be no conversation beyond the prevailing conversation. The echo chamber must be maintained. The "No Girls Allowed" sign must stay by the ladder to the treehouse. Boys will be boys. My friend Michael Carlisle had a great metacultural read on Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens following the film's release, one shared by Damien Walter at The Independent. As a villain, Kylo Ren embodies all the worst male geek tendencies. Heck, Kylo Ren's main adversaries are a woman and a person of color--it's a little too perfect, so much so that it had to be just a little bit intentional. Since The Force Awakens is, as AA Dowd said, essentially like watching Star Wars nerds in a Star Wars movie, Kylo Ren is the worst kind of Star Wars nerd. This is the sort of guy who'd overreact and make claims about white genocide, or spend an evening harassing SJWs on Twitter. All Kylo Ren's missing is an ill-fitting fedora. (Was discussing this with fellow Flixist writer Matt Liparota, and truly MRAs ruin everything, even stylish headwear.) Walter writes, "Kylo Ren impotently thrashing a computer with his big red sword is the perfect portrait of Gamergate." He adds, "If Kylo Ren's buddies in the First Order have a manifesto, don't be surprised if point one is 'actually it's about ethics in galactic domination'." The villains in both The Force Awakens and Fury Road embody aspects of toxic masculinity, and it's telling that MRAs would be against both films. If Kylo Ren is a frustrated neckbeard, Immortan Joe is this patriarchal force of control and subjugation. He controls access to water and doles it out only when he sees fits, playing a kind of gatekeeper. Women are either for pleasure/breeding (his sexual slaves) or used as a tool to maintain power (the milk mothers, Furiosa), but they're never equals. And all he wants is to breed a healthy, pure boy to inherit the ugly world he maintains. Hegemony and homogeneity, all shiny and chrome. But remember, it's feminist/SJW propaganda to say that a petulant Space Nazi and a ruthless post-apocalyptic dictator are villains and that the ideological motivations for their actions are poisonous. The thing is, there are models for better male geekdom in each of these films. Walter's piece in The Independent is all about trying to find a better kind of geek masculinity in 2016, one that's less like Kylo Ren (or Emo Kylo Ren) or his PUA and MRA ilk. Poe and Finn seem like good guys, so maybe that's a potential place to start the conversation of a healthier male geekdom. Angie Han at /Film had a great piece about heroic masculinity in Mad Max: Fury Road, and how Max and Nux embody better ways for men to be. Again, another place to start that conversation. This isn't to say that you can't disagree with a feminist read or SJW interpretation of something you enjoy. I don't agree with Anita Sarkeesian's read of Mad Max: Fury Road, for instance, in which she says the movie glorifies violence and engages in the type of objectification it's trying to critique. Violence is the only viable mode of discourse in Fury Road, and as in many great action movies, there winds up being a disjunction between the violence being aesthetically and viscerally awesome and the violence also having emotional stakes and tragic consequences. (The "heroic bloodshed" genre is called that for a reason.) Similarly, I think a disjunction necessarily has to exist with regard to Immortan Joe's sexual slaves. Since they are on the one hand objectified while also asserting they are not things, the film plays with this tension of images and how they're interpreted, and how competing and even paradoxical interpretations can exist simultaneously in the same image. Ceci n'est pas une pipe (This is not a pipe) = We are not things. While I disagree with Sarkeesian in this regard, that doesn't mean I want her to stop engaging with culture. It's the opposite, in fact. She's got insight, she's got opinions, and she should keep engaging with culture and the way culture manifests ideologies the way she does. Everyone should, and we should have this ongoing cultural conversation with as many voices as possible. And just because I don't agree doesn't mean an opinion has no merit or value. Sarkeesian made me rethink some of my assessments of Fury Road and realize what else might be going on visually, and also made me think about how violence functions as rhetoric and discourse in different kinds of action movies. The point is that rather than trying to shutdown discussion or threatening someone because of matter of taste or opinion, we should get into discussions. Male geeks shouldn't be so frightened of new ideas, and we shouldn't be so insecure about our opinions changing or being malleable either. The other person is not a thing. It's part of being an adult. I've been re-reading Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's Preacher for a project I'm working on, and it's got some good models for all kinds of geekdom. It's such a 90s comic but also forward-thinking in so many ways. One of the most striking aspects of Preacher is how it deals with the changing gender roles of the decade. You've got Tulip O'Hare, who's one of the best badass women in comics breaking down old paradigms about how a lady ought to act. "So you're a girl," Tulip's dad says to her as a newborn. "That needn't be so bad." In other words, she's not getting hemmed in as a damsel in distress--Tulip is her own woman, and she'll bury a bullet in your face if you question that, and she'd probably be into Neko Case's song "Man." Jesse Custer also learns more about what it means to be a man, and that you (male or female) can make your own way and define yourself. Maybe the biggest takeaway of Preacher is that the pre-existing roles the world has assigned to you don't have to be the way they are. Ideological orthodoxy is a kind of inbreeding, and if you keep that sort of insularity going long enough, you wind up like the Habsburgs. There's a better way to be. So c'mon, fellas. I know a lot of you male geeks are better than this insecure MRA bullshit. Remember what Jesse's daddy told him about being a man: "You judge a person by what's in 'em, not how they look. An' you do the right thing. You gotta be one of the good guys, son, 'cause there's way too many of the bad." Man up.
MRAs, Mad Max, Star Wars photo
It's actually about male insecurity
The other day we reported about Return of Kings' limp boycott of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, an attempt to combat the movie's supposed feminist and SJW propaganda. (This is unrelated to #BoycottStarWarsVII, another call to ...

MRAs vs. Star Wars photo
MRAs vs. Star Wars

Men's Rights Activists claim tiny victory over Star Wars: The Force Awakens, feminists, SJWs


A very small victory is still a victory
Jan 04
// Hubert Vigilla
Star Wars: The Force Awakens continues to dominate the box office. As of this writing, the film has earned more than $740 million in the US alone. When you add the international box office to that, the film has made a stagger...
Star Wars: Episode VII photo
Star Wars: Episode VII

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has already made a billion dollars


S.W.R.E.A.M.
Dec 28
// Nick Valdez
To no one's surprise, Star Wars: The Force Awakens still dominated the box office over the holiday weekend. Some saw it for the first time, others their third or fourth outing, it's certainly made bank as it broke all sorts o...
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J.J. Abrams explains why [SPOILER] had to [SPOILER] in Star Wars: The Force Awakens


[SPOILER]
Dec 22
// Matt Liparota
Note: If it's not clear already, this post is going to have some heavy-duty SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If you haven't seen it yet and want to go in clean, read ahead at your own risk. Seriously, though, we're ...

Is Star Wars: The Force Awakens Too Much Like A New Hope? (SPOILERS)

Dec 21 // Hubert Vigilla
We've seen a few soft reboots and sequels this year that take familiar elements from earlier entries in a series to move in their own directions. The better models of this are Creed, which builds off the Rocky movies to tell its own story, and Mad Max: Fury Road, which uses recurring elements like the other sequels in the franchise. Jurassic World was a middling model of this, albeit a highly lucrative one. The nadir might be 2006's Superman Returns, a sequel that was basically a joyless rehash of Richard Donner's 1978 film. The similarities between A New Hope and The Force Awakens are plentiful. Important information is stashed inside of a beep-booping droid (a distress message to Obi-Wan Kenobi in R2-D2, a map to find Luke Skywalker in BB-8). The droid wanders a desert planet (Tatooine, Jakku) and is eventually found by an unassuming person (Uncle Owen and Luke, Rey). They leave the desert planet in The Millennium Falcon. Both movies have their own cantina scene (Mos Eisley Spaceport, Moz Kanata's bar). Both movies have a weaponized planet (The Death Star, The Starkiller Base) that blows stuff up real good before getting blowed up real good. Both movies feature the lightsaber death of a fatherly figure (Obi-Wan, Han Solo) at the hands of a bad guy in black (Darth Vader, Kylo Ren). There are fan service-y moments throughout as well, from the hologram chess board to the remote training ball to mentions of a trash compactor. And yes, there is a Wilhelm scream, and someone has a bad feeling about something. I missed some, and there are loads of allusions to Empire and Jedi as well, but you get the picture. The Force Awakens follows a lot of A New Hope, which in some ways confirms many of the biggest fears fans had about Abrams being on board. His two Star Trek films were full of fan service and repeats of familiar ideas, and Super 8 was a riff on Steven Spielberg's early output and the misfit kid movies of the 80s. All creators are swayed by their influences, but the work usually suffers when slavish devotion to influences becomes more important than using those influences to create something new. It's why The Wrath of Khan (inspired in part by A Tale of Two Cities and Moby-Dick, among other works) will always be better than Star Trek Into Darkness (a joyless rehash of The Wrath of Khan)--Wrath of Khan gives itself room to play with its pastiche, which yields something new. There's always an underlying question of "How much is too much?" when it comes to homages, and with The Force Awakens it seems like the "too much" threshold is crossed in the second half once we see The Starkiller Base. As The Resistance plots how to blow it up (a rehash of the Death Star plan of attack in A New Hope and Return of the Jedi), one of the fighter pilots shouts out almost mockingly, "It's another Death Star!" Either Han or Leia then quips, "Where's the weak point?" Even the characters in the film seem to be saying, "Christ, a third time? Wasn't this freakin' silly enough when we re-used this plot device in Jedi?" Death Star 3.0 is lazy, sure, and it makes all the other original trilogy references seem glaring (it's a fish head in your soup--suddenly all the other ingredients taste like fish head), but maybe there's some meta-commentary on Star Wars here. The film seems to be aware of its role as a reintroduction to Star Wars for a new generation of viewers and a show of good faith to an older generation of viewers who suffered through the prequels. The Star Wars Trilogy became one of the primary models for rollicking cinematic adventure. It's an international cultural phenomenon, it's a point of comparison for other major films, it's an inescapable force in its own right. And here are some characters of a new generation who get to experience that moment for themselves. Lucas invented a model from previous models, while Abrams inherits and riffs on the ubiquitous influential model that Lucas invented and failed to improve upon in the prequels. (They seem to blow up Coruscant or an analog for Coruscant in The Force Awakens, as if to say, "Yeah, we're getting rid of that prequel stuff, guys.") Over at the AV Club, A.A. Dowd and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky had a brief discussion about The Force Awakens. Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, and Poe are new Star Wars characters who are aware of the legacy of Star Wars characters of the past. They know the stories, the players in the fictional history of the world they inhabit. These are Star Wars movie characters in a post-Star Wars cinematic world. Rey speeds by the husk of a Super Star Destroyer, and she eats lunch in the shadow of a collapsed AT-AT. It's like kids playing Star Wars in a Star Wars movie, or as Dowd put it: "We're essentially watching a bunch of Star Wars nerds in a Star Wars movie." Even when the fan service and repetition gets overbearing, there's at least something good to be found, and most of it involves the new characters. That may be a testament to how compelling and likable they are. Even though Poe Dameron is a supporting character who's only around for a couple of minutes, he makes such a great impression as the cocksure flying ace of The Resistance. His appearance in the mid-film cavalry scene is a fresh bit of derring-do--Finn looks on from the ground like an audience surrogate as Poe loops and dives and swoops to bring down TIE fighter after TIE fighter. It's a shame that the Starkiller Base sequence at the end doesn't offer any unique challenges for Poe and his fellow X-wing pilots. All they do is pew-pew-pew the hell out of a target and that's it. Finn offers loads of story potential as a First Order turncoat. He's raised from birth to be a fascist soldier (This. Is. Nazi-Sparta!), and not even given a name. He's a pawn and cannon fodder and an extension of another party's will. But despite that, he has a moment of conscience in which he breaks his programming to make a moral choice. He gets to be his own man and define his own identity rather than accept the one that's been forced upon him since birth. Maybe it's the sign of a mass defection of Stormtroopers in the next two films, but Finn's story is about being able to define who you want to be. It's free will as a part of asserting personhood. Rey might be the best of the batch, and she's a compelling anchor for this new trilogy. She's a hero with limitless potential--she's compassionate and strong, a force-savvy gearhead, a capable pilot and problem solver--but she's never had role models to show her the way or any reason to believe in herself. Think about it. Luke Skywalker wanted to leave home and be a great pilot like his father. Rey's never believed that she could be great at anything. She led a life of limited possibility, one without aspirations. She believes she's a nobody that no one wanted or cared about, and at various points of her adventure, even though she's in awe of what she's seeing, she keeps talking about going home. Yet there's nothing for her back on Jakku--no future, no hope. She so used to solitude and banality. Rey's story is about what happens when you're finally given an opportunity to dream and show your true worth as a person, and more importantly, she finds out what happens when someone says that they believe in you. Kylo Ren is a counterpoint to Rey and Finn. His parents are Han and Leia, the heroic couple of The Rebel Alliance; his uncle and trainer is Luke Skywalker, a Jedi trained by Ben Kenobi (Kylo's real name is Ben Solo) and Yoda; his grandfather is Anakin Skywalker, the Space Jesus. Kylo's got the genes and he's got the advantages of the family lineage, but he just can't live up to the legacy he's part of. I picture him as the child of two great musicians who gets weighed down by the pressure of being as good as, if not better than, mom and dad. He's a spoiled brat obsessed with outward shows of power, which seems like a mulligan for the botched characterization of Anakin Skywalker in the prequels. Like his grandfather, there's an expectation of greatness. I sense a kind of Salieri/Mozart rivalry emerging between Kylo Ren and Rey (i.e., the fictional trope of Salieri's resentful jealousy of Mozart's talent). In their force mind battle, Rey bests Kylo even though she hasn't had the same kind of training; she even identifies his fears of inadequacy. She beats him in a lightsaber duel, scarring his face in a manner not unlike Supreme Leader Snoke's. It's Space Daniel crane kicking Space Johnny, but she didn't even have a Miyagi-figure to show her how to wax-on and wax-off. (There's already been a backlash against Rey in some corners of the internet calling her a Mary Sue, but like Tasha Robinson wrote at The Verge: "She's a fantasy wish-fulfillment character with outsized skills, an inhuman reaction time, and a clever answer to every question--but so are the other major Star Wars heroes. Are they all getting the same level of suspicion and dismissal?") These three primary characters--Rey, Finn, and Kylo--are legacy-conscious individuals who are trying to assert their own identities and make their own futures. It's ironic (or maybe fitting?) that they're all held back to varying degrees by a plot with too many callbacks to the past. J.J. Abrams might have been given the least interesting Star Wars sequel to direct and co-write. (Actually, the young Han Solo spin-off movie is probably the least interesting.) It's a set-up movie for a new story that has to revisit an old set of stories and characters. At least the 2009 Star Trek film wasn't necessarily tied to a pre-existing film and could use existing characters to go on its own semi-original fan-service adventure. It was a reboot rather than a sequel, and the latter can be much tougher, especially when you're dealing with something as big as Star Wars. Rian Johnson's Star Wars Episode VIII will probably be a much more interesting and original movie. He's got a new set of characters established, a whole lot of relationships and dangling threads to play with, and lots of ability to tell the kind of story he wants to tell. I assume he'll do his damndest to avoid rehashing The Empire Strikes Back and instead bring something new to Star Wars. Johnson's got a great knack for mimicking, paying homage to, and reinterpreting different films and film genres to do his own thing, which will be great to see after a very insular Star Wars entry. Even Gareth Edwards' Star Wars: Rogue One seems like it'll be more interesting than Episode VII. It's a prequel about the mission to get the plans for the original Death Star, and yet this could be a different kind of story that doesn't have to rely on the pre-existing beats of another Star Wars movie. This might be a full-on WWII mission flick, i.e., The Space Guns of Navarone, Where Space Eagles Dare, The Dirty Space Dozen, Inglorious Space Basterds. So yes, The Force Awakens is too much like A New Hope, but it's also got enough fresh stuff in there to make it watchable and even enjoyable. It's nerdy comfort food with a twist, and it's also nerdy comfort food about the comforts of nerdy comfort foods. (But it tastes like fish heads.) The big takeaway is that the movie gets back to basics, namely that it's always been the characters that make Star Wars worth watching, not the spectacle. A fresh plot wouldn't hurt, though. I can't wait to see what happens when these characters mold their own stories and destinies in plots befitting their potential.
Force Awakens/New Hope photo
A Star Wars movie about Star Wars movies
Like Flixist EIC Matthew Razak said in his review, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the Star Wars sequel you're looking for. It's not flawless, obviously, but it does what it has to do. (It's a little unfair that every movie i...

Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Dec 16 // Matthew Razak
[embed]220217:42739:0[/embed] Star Wars: The Force AwakensDirector: J.J. AbramsRated: PG-13Release Date: December 16, 2015 After the conclusion of Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) has disappeared and no one knows where to find him (Sidenote: In the meta world of J.J. Abrams this plays right into Hamill's absence from all advertising). In his absence the dark side has begun to establish itself once again in the form of The First Order, which is basically the Empire reconstituted. They are led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), a Sith lord in training and pupil of the Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). Meanwhile the Resistance, commanded by General Leia (Carrie Fisher), is fighting back with the support of the Republic behind it. More importantly, though, on a small desert planet a map to Luke Skywalker ends up inside a droid called BB-8, who is subsequently found by a scavenger named Rey (Daisey Ridely). She is joined by a fleeing storm trooper named Finn (John Boyega) and a few other familiar faces as they try to get the map to the Resistance.  An adorable droid with a secret message found on a desert planet. A group of rag-tag rebels fighting against a militaristic empire. A dark lord in a black helmet. A young hero drawn into the fight through chance. Sound familiar? It should. You can simply pop in A New Hope and you'll have most of the plot for this one.  Much like J.J. Abrams did with Star Trek: Into Darkness he has taken a beloved movie and remade it for the fans. Almost everything is a throwback to the original movies, and only the original movies. It's very obvious that Abrams does not want anyone even remotely thinking about Episodes I-III. As such this is a giant film of fan service from throw away lines to cameos to plot to visuals. If it's a memorable moment from Episodes IV-VI it's probably somewhere in this movie. Whether you consider that a good thing or not is up to you, for this fan it was awesome, despite some concern that we're just seeing a bit of misguided fan placation like Into Darkness. Last week Lucas let slip his opinion of the film and he said that the fans would love it. It's easy to see why that's his opinion. The movie doesn't really break new ground, which is probably its most disappointing aspect. It definitely has plenty of twists and surprises for fans, but this isn't really a universe expanding premise. It feels more like a reset. The Force Awakens is the palette cleanser that's wrapping up everything with its nods to the old guard and its introduction to the new. Hopefully, it's the new that's going to stick around. The best part of the film are our two new heroes and villain, Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren, respectively. While old faces showing up is fun and all, it's these three newcomers who breath life into the movie. It's these characters that change the movie from a bunch of fan service into something genuine and good -- something that feels like Star Wars. They are us on screen: awed by the legends they're walking with, cowed by the power they have, and establishing a new struggle between dark and light. If these are the characters we'll be joining on this new journey then we're in good hands. With Abrams sticking around we'll be in good directing hands as well. To start, someone talked with him about lens flares and despite all the opportunities that lightsabers offer for such an effect he is impressively restrained with their use. This applies to his entire style for the film, which feels closer to the gritty-ness of the original trilogy than the high gloss of the second set. You'll also be happy to hear that Lucas' stilted dialog and wooden characters are gone. The screenplay is charming and witty and without any Jar Jar Binks type antics. While the plot relies on what can only be described as a Death-Star-sized McGuffin in a space opera such as this that's exactly how it should be. Abrams also isn't going to pull any punches. He's got this franchise in his hands and it's very clear from this movie that he's going to do whatever he wants with it. Thankfully what he wants to do is make you love it again.  That is probably most evident in the fact that actual star wars occur in this Star Wars. The action is superb and creates that sense of wonder you felt watching the original trilogy's outerspace dog fights. It makes you think back to the awe you felt watching the final attack on the Death Star in A New Hope. Part of that might be the fact that much of the direction steals directly from that film, but if you're going to "pay homage" might as well go all out. It's also ironic that it's the old school special effects (actual droids, no CGI when not needed) that make the film look even better. This franchise got its legs thanks to its advanced real-world special effects, and it's finding them again by going back to them. All this said, The Force Awakens is definitely only the beginning of something, and it can feel like that. There is a lot of necessary exposition that takes place to catch folks up. Abrams does his best to make you miss it, but it starts to stand out by the end. The film is also carrying the duty of establishing a new universe after Disney wiped the entire expanded universe from canon. They're doing a lot in this one film and it can make the movie feel a little heavy handed. Then again subtlety was never the franchise's strong point. This is the beginning of something, however. It's a farewell to the old guard and a welcome to the new. As such it's hard to begrudge the film its plethora of callbacks, repeated plot line and heavy exposition. These things are necessary to pull off what is needed in order to make new Star Wars movies that can stand on their own and don't alienate the fans, who already got burned once. This is a movie that honors what came, but leads into what is to come. Hopefully, when Episode VIII rolls around it can truly be its own thing.
Star Wars photo
This is the Star Wars you're looking for
Sixteen years ago Star Wars returned, but it wasn't the return we were all hoping for. It was the return George Lucas wanted, which turned out to be not so good. Fans had constructed decades worth of universe and build up in ...

The Force Awakens photo
The Force Awakens

PSA - Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviews start hitting the internet December 16th


In case you want to stay spoiler-free
Dec 14
// Hubert Vigilla
Hey, guys. This is the week that Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out. I know a lot of you have avoided trailers and are trying to go into the movie blind. Even though we've been reporting on Force Awakens stuff, I've simil...

We get it, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you exist

Dec 11 // Nick Valdez
[embed]220201:42731:0[/embed] I was talking to my mom a few days ago, and she couldn't stop talking about how much she wanted to see The Force Awakens. She's a fan of the series, sure, but I never really heard her talk about it much. We didn't own the films growing up, and there wasn't a big hooplah when the prequels launched (or enough to make young me take notice, at least) so it seemed odd that she suddenly started bringing up the latest film in the series. On top of that, she was telling me that my dad wanted to see it ever since he caught one of the many, many TV spots. But what's going on? This latest sequel has done everything right so far. It's shown as little as it can to pique our interests enough, it's bringing back old stars in order to draw in an older demographic (like my mother and father, and full of marginalized sexes and races in order to better represent the rest of the world. So why is there still a need to get people to see it? It might be that Star Wars is still trapped within the stigma it always was.  When the Golden Globes were announced the other day, I noticed a weird subset of fans complaining that Star Wars was getting ignored. Unfortunately for that mass, the complaint had no legs since the film wasn't screened for critics and award consideration anyway. But even if it had, there's a good chance it would've been ignored in favor of other films that are more in line with the award selections anyway. Regardless of the film's actual quality, there's no real chance it would've gotten any of the major awards. Maybe some stuff for visuals, sound design, or score, but the bigger stuff definitely would've gone to other things. Besides, there's good chance it'll still get recognized next year. This year's big nerd film is Mad Max: Fury Road and that's going to need all the support we can give. My point beyond the tangent being, is that Star Wars is a big science fiction film and those never get recognized. Despite what the producers are saying about not caring for recognition (as they chose to withhold the film for fear of spoilers), it's like they needed to be noticed everywhere else. Like a child refusing to get the attention of their parent, Star Wars is yelling constantly and just won't sit back and just ride the already titanic wave of anticipation.  The "Hey, look at me!" mentality is rubbing me the wrong way. I get that every company wants a small part of the Star Wars money, but it's just so so much. I hate that the advertising campaign is turning me into the kind of ranting old nerd that I despise, but it rings desperate at one point. It's this unneeded desperation (it's already broken presale ticket records) that's pushing me away. For a time I entertained the thought of going to see the film opening weekend just to be part of the conversation, but now I don't really care. Remember the second full trailer? I wrote the post on it claiming I'd avoid it for fear of spoilers, but literally two second after the trailer premiered, the internet was littered with images. While I still am worried about having the film spoiled, I feel like I've been so entrenched in this film I honestly don't give a damn anymore.  [embed]220201:42732:0[/embed] But who cares what I have to say. I'm a single, nerdy voice in a mass of loud yelling. They're not going to need my ticket money. No one will care what I have to say or what I do as they drink from their Star Wars cups and eat their Star Wars shaped macaroni and cheese. And hell, even as I write this, I'm ironically bringing attention to the film yet again. There's just no way to stop the behemoth. It's a beast that's bringing about the end.  It's, well, awakened. 
The Force Awakens photo
"For behold, the Lord will come in fire"
It's everywhere. Trailers before each YouTube video, spots during each TV commercial, phone screens, videogames, books, toys, our food, our cars, our appliances, our public transit, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, our c...

Chinese Star Wars trailer photo
Chinese Star Wars trailer

Chinese Force Awakens trailer has new footage (to make up for possibly racist movie poster)


Is this trailer giving too much away?
Dec 10
// Hubert Vigilla
In case you haven't realized it, STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS COMES OUT NEXT WEEK! At least in most of the world. China has to wait until January 9th. To hype things up in China, they released a trailer for the film featuring...
George Lucas Episode VII photo
George Lucas Episode VII

George Lucas has seen The Force Awakens and offers his thoughts


He likes it from a certain point of view
Dec 08
// Hubert Vigilla
Steven Spielberg has supposedly seen The Force Awakens three times now, which means he'd probably do well in the #AlamoJedi contest. I'm sure J.J. Abrams has watched through it more, but many people wonder what George Lucas t...
Star Trek photo
Star Trek

First Star Trek Beyond trailer will play before Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Nerdfiiiiiiight
Dec 08
// Matt Liparota
It's a meeting of nerd worlds – Hollywood Reporter confirms that Paramount has secured the rights to screen the trailer for the next movie in the Star Trek film franchise, Star Trek Beyond, before arguably the biggest m...
Star Wars marathon photo
Star Wars marathon

#AlamoJedi: Alamo Drafthouse is having a bonkers Star Wars marathon with prizes


The sarlacc of movie marathons
Dec 07
// Hubert Vigilla
The Force Awakens is just 10 days away, nerds--10 days! You got your tix? You feel the hype flowing through you? Okay, how about a Star Wars marathon? That sound good? Maybe a marathon that includes a chance to win great priz...
Force Awakens clip photo
16 seconds of Star Wars 7
Here is 16 whole seconds of Star Wars: The Force Awakens for your viewing pleasure. It features Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and BB-8 (himself) running away, and there's also explosions and some repartee. Eat thes...

Lucas done with Star Wars photo
Lucas done with Star Wars

George Lucas had no input on The Force Awakens, is done with Star Wars


Disney decided to go another direction
Nov 23
// Hubert Vigilla
When people think of Star Wars, they think of George Lucas. He brought the film series to life in the late 70s and, for better and for worse, he was the driving force behind the prequel trilogy. But these new Star Wars movies...
Force Awakens TV spot 7 photo
Force Awakens TV spot 7

New Star Wars: The Force Awakens TV spot has the return of a certain character


A familiar face returns among the pilots
Nov 23
// Hubert Vigilla
Darth Feelgood back again, and I know you're looking for another fix of the force. You're shaking, but I have something for that, buddy. Here. Here's another taste of The Force Awakens in the most recent TV spot, and you migh...
Finn: The Force Awakens photo
Finn: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens TV spot focuses on John Boyega's Finn


Allow it
Nov 19
// Hubert Vigilla
Psst. Buddy. It's Darth Feelgood again. Yeah. I'm here with you're latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens fix. Got a taste for Star Wars, don't you? Yeah, well here's some more. In this new Force Awakens TV spot, the ad focuses ...

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