REVIEW: STAR WARS – EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH

 

CAST
Hayeden Christensen (Awake)
Natalie Portman (No Strings Attached)
Ewan McGregor (Cassandra’s Dream)
Ian McDiarmid (Margaret)
Samuel L. Jackson (Jackie Brown)
Jimmy Smits (Cane)
Frank Oz (Sesame Street)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Kenny Baker (Labyrinth)
Christopher Lee (Lord of The Rings)
Keisha Castle-Hughes (Game of thrones)
Ahmed Best (Poolboy)
Jay Laga’ala (Xena)
Bruce Spence (Mad Max 2)
Temuera Morrison (Once Were Warriors)
Oliver Ford Davies (Johnny English)
Peter Mayhew (Killer Ink)
Joel Edgerton (The Gift)
Rena Owen (The Last Witch HUnter)
James Earl Jones (Conan The Barbarian)
Wayne Pygram (Farscape)
Jeremy Bulloch (Starhyke)
Genevieve O’Reilly (THe Legend of Tarzan)
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is the best Star Wars movie in the prequel trilogy, hands down.

Objectively speaking, Revenge of the Sith’s greatest contribution to the Star Wars family is first and foremost the massive improvement of the quality of the visual effects. This film was released in 2005, and yet even today I have absolutely zero issues with any of the special effects, even in blu-ray format. They look stunning, detailed and realistic to the point of complete satisfaction. I think pretty much everyone can agree on this at least.

To me, Revenge of the Sith was a jaw dropping sci-fi movie from start till finish. I don’t remember any other science fiction film having action of this magnitude and scale going on in the history of film making. We are treated to probably the largest space battle ever shown in cinema when the film opens. This entire sequence, from Anakin and Obi-Wan fighting their way through the thick of battle to Count Dooku’s flagship all the way to them landing the damaged space ship on Coruscant, takes over half an hour and you’re completely engaged throughout.

The film then quietens down to politics and Anakin spending time with his wife Padme. Again, I never felt bored or checked my watch during these sequences as I felt they added much to the story, which is ultimately about Anakin’s fall. Now, a person who just watched this film might say Palpatine barely did anything to make Anakin turn to the Dark Side of the Force, and therefore all of this is a big disappointment. However, Anakin’s fall makes far more sense if you have recently watched The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Things that step by step shake his faith in the Jedi order are all strewn across these two films, which then culminate in the third. The initial rejection of the Jedi council to train young Anakin, the death of his mentor Qui-Gon, his romantic feelings for Padme despite his oaths of celibacy and detachment as Jedi, the lack of trust he gets from Mace Windu, Yoda and even Obi-Wan at times, the death of his mother Shmi and the visions that foretell the death of Padme in childbirth all contribute to him feeling confused, lonely and isolated – vulnerable for one particular Sith, who after all, had managed to not only fool the entire galactic senate, but also the Jedi order itself about being a good natured and harmless Chancellor. To blame troubled Anakin for buying into the deception of Palpatine, who had pretty much managed to deceive everyone else so far, would indeed be unfair.

The rest of the film is top notch. We are taken to many stunning locations that serve as backdrops for large scale battles, and General Grievous does a far better job of being an interesting antagonist than the stoic and almost vampiric Count Dooku did in Episode II. The film builds up in tension until it treats us to the greatest light saber duel in the entire series, bar none. Amazingly filmed by Steven Spielberg, who George Lucas allowed to be in charge of this part of the movie. The hellish landscape of Mustafar is a fitting place for such a titanic clash between Anakin and Obi-Wan, one that we had been waiting for so long and, I believe satisfied us all. The final portion of the film is spent tying up loose ends in the same fashion that the final section of Return of the King did – many short, disjointed scenes taking place in different locations, but necessary to complete the overarching narrative. There are some deleted scenes which I think could have been added to give this film the finishing touches it needed, but overall I am still very happy about the quality, presentation and entertainment Revenge of the Sith offers from start till finish.

Of course the end will leave a sour taste in your mouth since it isn’t a happy ending, but that was the whole point of the prequel trilogy, wasnt it – to explain how Darth Vader became Darth Vader and what led to the fall of the Republic and the creation of the totalitarian Galactic Empire. If you’re like me and watch the films in the order I to VI, you can sit back with satisfaction and anticipation after the conclusion of III, because the story will go on and we’re just getting started!

 

REVIEW: STAR WARS – EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES

CAST

Hayden Christensen (Awake)
Natalie Portman (No Strings Attached)
Ewan McGregor (Cassandra’s Dream)
Christopher Lee (Lord of The Rings)
Samuel L. Jackson (Jackie Brown)
Frank Oz (Sesame Street)
Ian McDiarmid (Margaret)
Pernilla August (Search)
Temuera Morrison (Once Were Warriors)
Jimmy Smits (Cane)
Jack Thompson (Around The Block)
Ahmed Best (Poolboy)
Rose Byrne (The Voices)
Oliver Ford Davies (Johnny English)
Jay Laga’ala (Xena)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Kenny Baker (Labyrinth)
Joel Edgerton (The Gift)
Rena Owen (The Last Witch HUnter)
Marton Csokas (Aeon Flux)

MV5BMTc0Mzc0MjQwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzE4Nzg1OQ@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_Ten years after the Trade Federation’s invasion of Naboo, the Galactic Republic is threatened by a Separatist movement organized by former Jedi Master Count Dooku. Senator Padmé Amidala comes to Coruscant to vote on a plan to create an army of the Republic to assist the Jedi against this threat. Narrowly avoiding an assassination attempt upon arrival, she is placed under the protection of Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker. The two Jedi thwart another attempt on her life and subdue the assassin, Zam Wesell, a shape-shifter who is killed by her bounty hunter client with a toxic dart before she can reveal his identity. The Jedi Council assigns Obi-Wan to identify and capture the bounty hunter, while Anakin is assigned to escort Padmé back to Naboo, where the two fall in love.
MV5BNzQ2Nzg5NDMwM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTIwNTI4NA@@._V1_Obi-Wan’s investigation leads him to the remote ocean planet Kamino, where he discovers an army of clones is being produced for the Republic, with bounty hunter Jango Fett serving as their genetic template. Obi-Wan deduces Jango to be the bounty hunter he is seeking, and follows him and his clone son Boba to the desert planet Geonosis via a homing beacon placed on their ship, the Slave I. Meanwhile, Anakin becomes troubled by premonitions of his mother Shmi in pain, and travels to Tatooine with Padmé to save her. They meet Owen Lars, Anakin’s stepbrother who is the son of Shmi’s new husband Cliegg Lars. Cliegg tells Anakin that Shmi was abducted by Tusken Raiders weeks earlier and is most likely dead. Determined to find her, Anakin ventures out and finds the Tusken campsite. He discovers too late that his mother has been tortured by the tribe. As she dies from her wounds, Shmi reunites with Anakin. Anakin loses his temper and kills the Tuskens before returning to the Lars homestead with Shmi’s remains. After revealing his deed to Padmé, Anakin says that he wants to prevent death.
MV5BMjEyNTg4NjI2OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTM4Nzg1OQ@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_On Geonosis, Obi-Wan discovers a Separatist gathering led by Count Dooku, who Obi-Wan learns had authorized Padmé’s assassination and is developing a new battle droid army together with Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray. Obi-Wan transmits his findings to Anakin to relay to the Jedi Council, but is captured mid-transmission. With knowledge of the droid army, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine is voted emergency powers to send the clones into battle. Anakin and Padmé journey to Geonosis to rescue Obi-Wan, but are also captured. The three are sentenced to death, but are eventually saved by a battalion of Jedi and clone troopers led by Mace Windu and Yoda; Jango is killed by Mace during the rescue. As the clone and droid armies battle, Obi-Wan and Anakin intercept Dooku and the three engage in a lightsaber battle. Dooku subdues Obi-Wan and Anakin, but then Yoda arrives and engages the Count in a duel. Finding he is unable to defeat Yoda, Dooku flees. Arriving at Coruscant, he delivers blueprints for a superweapon to his Sith master, Darth Sidious, who confirms that everything is going well and as planned. As the Jedi gravely acknowledge the beginning of the Clone Wars, Anakin is fitted with a robotic arm and secretly marries Padmé on Naboo, with C-3PO and R2-D2 as their witnesses.MV5BMjIwNjIxNzg4NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDQwNTI4NA@@._V1_Attack of the Clones is a very good entry in the series. Ewan McGregor is superb as Obi Wan who teams up with Anakin to protect the Queen. He also has his own sub plot as he hunts down Jango Fett on a mysterious planet and we get a nice back story involving one of the coolest characters ever in Star Wars, Boba Fett. The action scenes are superb and towards the end we are introduced to Coutn Dooku, Christopher Lee who gives a superb performance. Yoda appears and fights as you’ve never seen him before and Jar Jar Binks time on screen is very limited. This movie is one hell of an underrated ride.

REVIEW: STAR WARS – EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE

CAST

Ewan McGregor (Cassandra’s Dream)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Natalie Portman (Thor)
Jake Lloyd (Jingle All The Way)
Ian McDiarmid (Margaret)
Pernilla August (Search)
Samuel J. Jackson (Jackie Brown)
Oliver Ford Davies (Johnny English)
Hugh Quarshie (Highlander)
Ahmed Best (Poolboy)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Kenny Baker (Labyrinth)
Frank Oz (Sesame Street)
Terence Stamp (Superman 1 & 2)
Brian Blessed (Flash Gordon)
Ray Park (Heroes)
Warwick Davis (Willow)
Celia Imrie (Our Zoo)
Dominic West (300)
Keira Knightley (King Arthur)
Peter Seafinowicz (Spy)
Richard Armitage (The Hobbit)
Ralph Brown (Alien 3)
Sally Hawkins (Paddington)
Sean Cronin (London Hood)

Supreme Chancellor Valorum, leader of the Galactic Republic, dispatches Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi to negotiate with the Trade Federation leadership to end a blockade of battleships around the planet Naboo. Darth Sidious, a Sith Lord and the Trade Federation’s secret adviser, orders Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray to kill the Jedi and invade Naboo with an army of battle droids. The Jedi flee to Naboo, where Qui-Gon saves Gungan outcast Jar Jar Binks from being killed during the invasion. Indebted to the Jedi, Jar Jar leads them to an underwater Gungan city. The Jedi try but fail to persuade the Gungan leader, Boss Nass, into helping the people of Naboo, though they are able to obtain transportation to Theed, the capital city on the surface. They rescue Queen Amidala, the ruler of the Naboo people, and escape the planet on her royal starship, which is damaged as they pass the Federation blockade.

Amidala’s ship is unable to sustain its hyperdrive and lands for repairs on the desert planet Tatooine. Qui-Gon, Jar Jar, astromech droid R2-D2, and Amidala (in disguise as a handmaiden) visit the settlement of Mos Espa to buy new parts at a junk shop. There they meet the shop’s owner Watto and his nine-year-old slave Anakin Skywalker, who is a gifted pilot and engineer, and has created a protocol droid called C-3PO. Qui-Gon senses a strong presence of the Force within Anakin and is convinced that he is the “chosen one” of Jedi prophecy who will bring balance to the Force. Qui-Gon wagers Anakin’s freedom with Watto in a Podrace, which Anakin wins. Anakin joins the group to be trained as a Jedi, leaving his mother Shmi behind. En route to their repaired starship, Qui-Gon enters a brief lightsaber duel with Darth Maul, Darth Sidious’ Sith apprentice who was sent to capture Amidala.

The Jedi escort Amidala to the Republic capital planet Coruscant so she can plead her people’s case to Chancellor Valorum in the Galactic Senate. Qui-Gon asks the Jedi Council to train Anakin as a Jedi, but the Council are concerned that Anakin is vulnerable to the dark side of the Force and decline. Undaunted, Qui-Gon vows to train Anakin himself. Meanwhile, Naboo senator Palpatine persuades Amidala to make a vote of no confidence in Valorum to elect a more capable chancellor to resolve the crisis on Naboo. Though she pushes for the vote, Amidala grows frustrated with the corruption in the Senate and decides to return to Naboo with the Jedi.

On Naboo, Padmé reveals herself to the Gungans as Queen Amidala and persuades them into an alliance against the Trade Federation. Jar Jar leads his people in a battle against the droid army while Padmé leads the hunt for Gunray in Theed. In a starship hangar, Anakin enters a vacant starfighter and inadvertently triggers its autopilot, joining the battle against the Federation droid control ship in space. Anakin ventures into the ship and destroys it from within, deactivating the droid army. Meanwhile, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan battle Darth Maul, who mortally wounds Qui-Gon before being bisected by Obi-Wan. As he dies, Qui-Gon asks Obi-Wan to train Anakin. Subsequently, Palpatine is elected as the new Supreme Chancellor and Gunray is arrested. The Jedi Council promotes Obi-Wan to Jedi knighthood and reluctantly accepts Anakin as Obi-Wan’s apprentice. At a festive ceremony, Padmé presents a gift of appreciation and friendship to the Gungans.I always felt it grossly unfair that many Star Wars fans are quick to denounce The Phantom Menace as the worst Star Wars film in the entire saga. I suppose in a certain aspect they are right: in every set of slightly different things, there statistically always has to be a best and a worst one. However “worst” doesn’t necessarily mean terrible. Each Star Wars film is still above and beyond in terms of budget, quality and entertainment, most other sci-fi films out there.  I can summarize that The Phantom Menace serves as a solid opener to one of the greatest sci-fi film series ever made, and does a good job setting the scene and introducing the characters who we’ll be spending a lot of time with and watching them develop over the coming films, while at the same time also serving as a workable and enjoyable film in its own right.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: 2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS

CAST

Bill Moseley (House of 1000 Corpses)
Lin Shaye (Ouija)
Trevor Wright (Vacancy 2)
Christa Campbell (Drive Angry)
Ahmed Best (Star Wars – Episode I-III)
Nivek Ogre (The Devil’s Carnival)

When this year’s round of unsuspecting Northerners fail to show up for their annual Guts N’ Glory Jubilee because the Feds are investigating the disappearances of Northerners over the years, the residents of Pleasant Valley take their twisted carnival on the road and head to Iowa, where they encounter spoiled heiresses, Rome & Tina Sheraton, and the cast and crew of their “Road Rascals” reality show. They begin killing the cast and crew. At the end, the residents of Pleasant Valley get an idea to use a TV commercial to lure in their victims.movies_images_2005_2001maniacs_movie-fs_01This film is defiantely not as good as the first, for starters no Robert Englund. However i still thought the film was quite good, it has quite a bit of humour and even some of the original cast did come back Lin shaye for instance. There are little problems though firstly the sound is not great in open spaces and the camera work does leave alot to be desired. Other than that i still think it is a desent film.