REVIEW: JACK THE GIANT SLAYER

CAST

Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class)
Eleanor Tomlinson (The White Queen)
Stanley Tucci (The LVoely Bones)
Ian McShane (Hercules)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Ewan McGregor (Big Fish)
Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes)
Ewen Bremner (Wonder Woman)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)

In the Kingdom of Cloister, Jack, a young farm boy, is fascinated by the legend of Erik, an ancient king who defeated an army of invading giants from a realm in the sky by controlling them with a magical crown. At the same time, Princess Isabelle becomes fascinated with the same legend.Ten years later, Jack goes into town to sell his horse to support his uncle’s farm. There, Jack spots Isabelle and becomes enamored with her after defending her honor from a group of hooligans. Meanwhile, Lord Roderick returns to his study, only to find that a monk has robbed him. The monk offers Jack some magic beans he stole from Roderick as collateral for Jack’s horse. Back at the castle, Isabelle quarrels with her father King Brahmwell as she wants to explore the kingdom, but he wants her to stay and marry Roderick. Likewise, Jack’s uncle scolds him for being foolish before throwing the beans on the floor and leaving the house.Determined to be free, Isabelle sneaks out of the castle and seeks shelter from the rain in Jack’s house. As it rains, one of the beans takes root and grows into a massive beanstalk that carries the house and Isabelle into the sky as Jack falls to the ground. Jack, Roderick, and Roderick’s attendant Wicke volunteer to join the king’s knights, led by Elmont and his second in-command, Crawe, and climb the beanstalk in search of Isabelle. As they climb, Roderick and Wicke cut the safety rope, intentionally killing some of the knights. At the top, they discover the giants’ realm and decide to split into two groups: one with Jack, Elmont, and Crawe, and the other including Roderick and Wicke, but not before Roderick forcibly takes the remaining beans from Jack (although Jack manages to save one for himself).Jack’s group is trapped by a giant, who takes everyone prisoner except Jack. Meanwhile, Roderick’s group encounters two other giants; one eats Wicke, but before the other can do the same to Roderick, Roderick dons the magic crown. Jack follows the giant to their stronghold, where the two-headed giant leader, Fallon, has killed Crawe. Jack finds Isabelle and Elmont imprisoned there. As the giants prepare to kill their remaining prisoners, Roderick walks in and enslaves the giants with the crown. He tells the giants they will attack Cloister at dawn and gives them permission to eat Isabelle and Elmont. Jack rescues Isabelle and Elmont as one of the giants prepares to cook Elmont as a pig-in-a-blanket. The trio makes for the beanstalk, where Jack causes the giant guarding the beanstalk to fall off the realm’s edge. Seeing the giant’s body, Brahmwell orders the beanstalk cut down to avoid an invasion by the giants.Jack and Isabelle head down the beanstalk, while Elmont stays to confront Roderick. Elmont kills Roderick, but Fallon takes the crown before Elmont can claim it, and Elmont is forced to escape down the beanstalk. Jack, Isabelle, and Elmont all survive the fall after the beanstalk is cut down. As everyone returns home, Jack warns that the giants are using Roderick’s beans to create beanstalks to descend down to Earth and attack Cloister. The giants chase Jack, Isabelle, and Brahmwell into the castle, where Elmont fills the moat with oil and sets it on fire. Fallon falls in the moat and breaks into the castle from below. As the siege continues, Fallon captures Jack and Isabelle, but Jack throws the final bean down Fallon’s throat, causing a beanstalk to rip apart his body. Jack takes the crown and sends the giants back to their realm. Jack and Isabelle marry and tell the story of the giants to their children. As time passes, the magic crown is crafted into St Edward’s Crown and is secured in the Tower of London.This was a lot better than I was expecting, so that was quite a pleasant surprise.  I was prepared to make an early exit from watching the retelling of another favourite fairy tale. But it was actually done very well, with a wonderfully impressive CGI beanstalk and superb giants. All in all, it was a very enjoyable film to watch.

 

Advertisements

REVIEW: AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY

CAST

Meryl Streep (Into The Woods)
Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror)
Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity)
Ewan McGregor (Big Fish)
Margo Martindale (Orphan)
Sam Shepard (Swordfish)
Dermot Mulroney (The Grey)
Julianne Nicholson (Kinsey)
Juliette Lewlis (Natural Born Killers)
Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange)
Newell Alexander (Sordid Lives)

The title designates time and location: an unusually hot August in a rural area outside Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Beverly Weston (Sam Shepard), an alcoholic, once-noted poet, interviews and hires a young native American woman Johnna (Misty Upham) as a live-in cook and caregiver for his strong-willed and contentious wife Violet (Meryl Streep), who is suffering from oral cancer and addiction to narcotics. Shortly after this, he disappears from the house, and Violet calls her sister and daughters for support. Her sister Mattie Fae (Margo Martindale) arrives with husband Charles Aiken (Chris Cooper). Violet’s middle daughter Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) is single and the only one living locally; Barbara (Julia Roberts), her oldest, who has inherited her mother’s mean streak, arrives from Colorado with her husband Bill (Ewan McGregor) and 14-year-old daughter Jean (Abigail Breslin). Barbara and Bill are separated, but they put up a united front for Violet.After five days, the sheriff arrives with the news that Beverly took his boat out on the lake and has drowned. Youngest daughter Karen (Juliette Lewis) arrives with the latest in a string of boyfriends, Steve Huberbrecht (Dermot Mulroney), a sleazy Florida businessman whom she introduces as her fiancé. Mattie Fae and Charles’s shy, awkward son “Little Charles” (Benedict Cumberbatch) misses the funeral because he overslept and is met at the bus station by his father. Charles loves his son, whereas Mattie constantly belittles him. Ivy confides to Barbara that she is in love with her cousin, “Little Charles”, who plans to move to New York, and she cannot have children because she had a hysterectomy. She feels this is her only chance to finally marry.The family sits down to dinner after the funeral, fueled by Violet’s brutal “truth telling”, which results in Barbara pouncing on her mother. She decides she has had enough of her mother’s drug addiction and confiscates all her several kinds of pills. Later, after Violet has had a chance to sober up, she has a tender moment with her daughters and shares a story that demonstrates how cruel her own mother was when she longed for a new pair of cowgirl boots when she was in her early teens.As “Little Charles” sings Ivy a song he has written for her, Mattie Fae walks in and berates him. This exhausts Charles’s patience with his wife’s lack of love and compassion for her son, and he threatens to leave her if she keeps it up. Mattie subsequently reveals to Barbara, who unintentionally listened in, that she had a long-ago affair with Beverly, and Charles is in fact their younger half-brother and that is the true reason why Ivy and “Little Charles” cannot be together. That evening, Steve and Jean are playfully sharing a joint of marijuana. Johnna sees this and, sensing that he intends on molesting her, goes after him with a shovel. Barbara confronts Jean and slaps her. This impels Bill to take Jean back to Colorado, leaving Barbara. Karen also leaves with Steve.Later, Ivy tries to tell her mother about her love for “Little Charles”. Barbara tries to deflect the admission. Violet tells Ivy Charles is actually her brother, something she knew all along. Ivy leaves and promises to never come back. In the last confrontation between Violet and Barbara, Violet admits she was contacted by Beverly from his motel the week after he had left home, but did nothing to help him until after she removed money from the couple’s joint safe deposit box. By this time he had already drowned. This revelation leads Barbara to depart, realizing that her mother has slipped beyond help. Violet is left with only Johnna. Barbara is driving through the plains, stops, gets out of the car, cries then gets back in the car and follows signage showing highways and number of miles to Wichita, Salina and Denver.Fantastic film – see it if you enjoy witty, clever writing, a strong storyline and a first rate cast.

REVIEW: BLACK HAWK DOWN

 

CAST

Josh Hartnett (30 Days of Night)
Ewan McGregor (Mortdecai)
Eric Bana (Hulk)
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)
Tom Sizemore (Dreamcatcher)
Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting)
Hugh Dancy (Hannibal)
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)
Brian Van Holt (House of Wax)
Tom Hardy (Mad MAx( Fury Road)
Orlando Boom (Lord of The Rings)
Matthew Marsden (DOA)
Michael Roof (XXX)
Sam Shepard (True West)
Kim Coates (Goon)
Željko Ivanek (Heroes)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones)
Jeremy Piven (Kiss Teh Girls)
Ty Burrell (Muppets Most wanted)

Following the ousting of the central government and start of a civil war, a major United Nations military operation in Somalia was authorized with a peacekeeping mandate. Following the withdrawal of the bulk of the peacekeepers, Mogadishu-based Mohamed Farrah Aidid militia loyalists declare war on remaining UN personnel. In response, U.S. Army Rangers, Delta Force counter-terrorist operators, and 160th SOAR aviators are deployed to Mogadishu to capture Aidid, who has proclaimed himself president. To cement his power and subdue the population in the south, Aided’s militia, led by Yousuf Dahir Mo’alim (Razaaq Adoti), is shown seizing Red Cross food shipments, killing anyone who get in their way.  A patrolling Black Hawk helicopter (‘Super Six-Four’ piloted by CWO Michael Durant played by Ron Eldard) requests permission to engage the militia after witnessing the massacre but he is told to stand down and return to base as the UN has jurisdiction. Outside Mogadishu, Delta Force operators capture Osman Ali Atto (George Harris), a faction leader selling arms to Aidid’s militia and bring him to their main base at the Mogadishu Airport.

Atto is interrogated by MG William F. Garrison (Sam Shepard) who states that they will not leave Somalia until they find Aidid. A mission is planned to capture Omar Salad Elmi and Abdi Hassan Awale Qeybdiid, two of Aidid’s top advisers, the US force including experienced men as well as new recruits, including the young and naive PFC Todd Blackburn (Orlando Bloom), SPC John Grimes (Ewan McGregor) a desk clerk going on his first field mission. SSG Matthew Eversmann (Josh Hartnett) is given his first command – Ranger Chalk Four – by commanding officer CPT Mike Steele (Jason Isaacs) after his Lieutenant, 1LT Beales (Ioan Gruffudd), suffers an epileptic seizure. In Mogadishu, a paid informant gives the location of Aidid’s advisors to Garrison, who soon gives the code word (Irene) thus commencing the operation. Delta Force operators, led by SFC Norm “Hoot” Gibson (Eric Bana) and SFC Jeff Sanderson (William Fichtner), capture Aidid’s advisers inside the target building, but the Rangers and helicopters escorting the ground-extraction convoy take heavy fire, while Eversmann’s Chalk Four is dropped a block away in error.


Blackburn is severely injured after falling from one of the Black Hawk helicopters, so three Humvees led by SSG Jeff Struecker (Brian Van Holt) are detached from the convoy to return Blackburn to base. With many Rangers occupied by incoming militia forces, Hoot and his Delta Team volunteer to escort the Humvees. SGT Dominick Pilla (Danny Hoch) is shot and killed just as Struecker’s column departs while manning one of the humvees’ M2 Browning .50-caliber machine gun, and shortly thereafter Black Hawk Super Six One, piloted by CWO Clifton “Elvis” Wolcott (Jeremy Piven), is shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG), crashing deep within the militia-controlled city. Both Wolcott and his co-pilot are killed on impact and both crew chiefs critically injured. Delta Force sniper SSG Daniel Busch (Richard Tyson) pulls himself out of the wreckage and attempts to defend the crash site from incoming militia, but is severely wounded by gunfire. Eversmann and the rest of Chalk Four reach the crash site on foot, providing covering fire while Busch is evacuated by a Little Bird scout/attack helicopter. Meanwhile, a vehicle convoy rerouted to evacuate them is stopped by militia roadblocks. Somali forces inflict heavy casualties, but two more Ranger units manage to reach the site on foot and occupy several nearby houses, awaiting evacuation.
Durant is ordered to Super Six One’s previous position but it is also shot down by an RPG. Having witnessed the crash, Mo’alim leads an enormous mob, consisting of his own militiamen and many angry locals, to the second crash site. Durant, sole survivor of the crash, attempts to exit the downed helicopter, but discovers that his leg is broken and he is unable to escape, so defends himself from incoming militia as best he can with his MP5. With CPT Steele’s Rangers pinned down and sustaining heavy casualties no ground forces can reach Super Six-Four’s crash site, nor reinforce the Rangers defending Super Six One. Onboard Super Six Two, a pair of Delta Force snipers, SFC Randy Shughart (Johnny Strong) and MSG Gary Gordon (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), volunteer to defend the crash site for the time being. Their requests are denied by command, as Mo’alim’s mob has massed into the hundreds and there is no guarantee when reinforcements will arrive. Eventually, their third request is approved and the pair are landed at the site, where they find Durant still alive. Pulling him from the wreckage, Shughart and Gordon hold off the incoming Somali insurgents until Gordon is killed with a shot to the head. Shughart hands Gordon’s CAR-15 to Durant, then kills several more insurgents before he is surrounded and shot to death by the mob when one gets close enough to dump his entire pistol magazine into Shughart. Durant is then found and nearly beaten to death before Mo’alim arrives to have the mob stand down so he can take Durant alive as a prisoner of war.McKnight’s column gives up the attempt to reach the first crash site, returning to base with their prisoners and the casualties. Garrison begins assembling a second convoy to rescue those still trapped in Mogadishu, this time including tanks and APCs from Malaysian and Pakistani UN forces operating with the 10th Mountain Division. As night falls, Aidid’s militia, led again by Mo’alim, launch a sustained assault on the trapped Americans at the first crash site. On route to Super Six One, Gibson receives an update on the status of the second crash site and is given permission to secure it, taking his Delta Team and a single Ranger with him. When he reaches Durant’s crash site, he finds and scares away the remaining members of the mob, who have begun to strip the crashed helicopter of its parts as well as any remaining gear and ammunition on board. While they are unable to find the bodies of Gordon, Shughart and the rest of Six-Four’s crew, Hoot finds a badly damaged Delta helmet and takes a brief moment to mourn his fallen comrades before destroying the remains of the helicopter to ensure the classified equipment on board cannot be salvaged by Aidid’s militia.

Meanwhile, a badly beaten Durant is being interrogated by one of Aidid’s lieutenants, Firimbi (Treva Etienne), who, when Durant insists that the U.S. government will never trade him for Aidid’s captured advisors, tells him even if Aidid himself is taken or killed, nothing will stop the killing. Throughout the night, militia attacks are fended off by strafing runs and rocket attacks from AH-6J Little Bird helicopter gunships of the Nightstalkers. The next morning, a joint Pakistani-Malay-American relief column is able to reach and save the American forces. Hoot and his team eventually regroup with Eversmann’s “Chalk-Four”, finally killing Mo’alim in the process with one of his own technicals. While casualties are evacuated inside the armored vehicles, a handful of Rangers and Delta Force soldiers are forced to run from the crash site back to the Pakistani compound, a sports stadium inside the UN Safe Zone, while under fire from the militia as they retreat back to friendly territory. The closing credits detail the results of the raid. Nineteen American soldiers were killed; over 1,000 Somali militants and civilians died. After 11 days of captivity Durant was released; Delta Force snipers Gordon and Shughart were the first soldiers to be awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously since the Vietnam War, and two weeks later President Bill Clinton withdrew Delta Force and the Rangers from Somalia. Major General William F. Garrison accepted full responsibility for the outcome of the raid. On August 1, 1996, Aidid was killed in a battle with a rival faction. General Garrison retired the following day.Black Hawk Down is a great movie that is both an eye opener that sticks to the facts as well as a quality film. I recommend this movie to any war-film fan, as well as anyone that likes watching movies in general.

REVIEW: THE ISLAND

CAST
Ewan McGregor (Mordecai)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Djimon Hounsou (Stargate)
Sean Bean (Game of Thrones)
Steve Buscemi (Ghost World)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Finder)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Shawnee Smith (Anger Management)
Trent Ford (Gosford Park)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Chuck)
In the year 2019, Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two Delta live with others in an isolated compound. Their community is governed by a set of strict rules. The residents believe the outer world has become too contaminated for human life with the exception of one contagion-free island. Every week, a lottery is conducted and the winner gets to leave the compound to live on the island.
Lincoln begins having dreams that he knows are not from his own experiences. Dr. Merrick, a scientist who runs the compound, is concerned and places probes in Lincoln’s body to monitor his cerebral activity. While secretly visiting an off-limits power facility in the basement where his friend, technician James McCord, works, Lincoln discovers a live moth in a ventilation shaft, leading him to deduce the outside world is not really contaminated. Lincoln follows the moth to another section, where he discovers the “lottery” is actually a disguise to remove inhabitants from the compound, where the “winner” is then used for organ harvesting, surrogate motherhood, and other purposes for each one’s sponsor, who is identical to them in appearance.
Merrick learns Lincoln has discovered the truth, which forces Lincoln to escape. Meanwhile, Jordan has been selected for the island. Lincoln and Jordan escape the facility, where they emerge in an Arizona desert. Lincoln explains the truth to her, and they set out to discover the real world. Merrick hires Burkinabé mercenary Albert Laurent to find and return them unharmed to the compound. Lincoln and Jordan find McCord, who explains that all the facility residents are clones of wealthy and/or desperate sponsors, who are kept ignorant about the real world and conditioned to never question their environment or history. McCord provides the name of Lincoln’s sponsor in Los Angeles, and helps them to the Yucca railway station, before mercenaries kill him. Jordan’s sponsor, model Sarah Jordan, is comatose following a car accident and requires transplants from Jordan to survive. Lincoln’s sponsor, Tom Lincoln, gives Lincoln some explanation about the cloning institute, causing Lincoln to realize he has gained Tom’s memories. Tom agrees to help Lincoln and Jordan but, secretly contacts Merrick who sends Laurent and the mercenaries to their location. Lincoln tricks Laurent into killing Tom, allowing him to assume Tom’s identity.
Merrick realizes that a cloning defect was responsible for Lincoln’s memories and behavior, resulting in him and every future clone generation to question their environment and even tap into their sponsor’s memories. To prevent this, he decides to eliminate the four newest generations of clones. Lincoln and Jordan, however, plan to liberate their fellow clones. Posing as Tom, Lincoln returns to the compound (allegedly to have a new clone created) to destroy the holographic projectors that conceal the outside world. Jordan allows herself to be caught to assist Lincoln’s plan. Laurent, who has moral qualms about the clones’ treatment after witnessing their fight for survival and learning that Sarah Jordan may not survive even with transplants from Jordan, helps Lincoln. Merrick is killed and the clones are freed, seeing the outside world for the first time. The film fades out with Lincoln and Jordan sailing off in a boat together.
This is a slow film to start of with but the second half more than makes up for this with some great chase scenes using some futuristic style vehicles! If you like a film with a good twist or great big budget action scenes, or a fan of Scarlett Johasson you’ll love this!

REVIEW: BIG FISH

CAST
Ewan McGregor (Mordecai)
Albert Finney (Skyfall)
Billy Crudup (Watchmen)
Jessica Lange (Cape Fear)
Helena Bonham Carter (Sweney Todd)
Alison Lohman (Drag Me To Hell)
Robert Guillaume (Benson)
Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises)
David Denman (Power Rangers)
Missi Pyle (Gone Girl)
Steve Buscemi (Ghost World)
Ada Tai (Rush Hour)
Arlene Tai (Painkiller Jane)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)
Deep Roy (Star Trek Into Dasrkness)
Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana)
At his son Will’s wedding party, Edward Bloom recalls the tale of the day Will was born, claiming he successfully caught an enormous catfish using his wedding ring as bait. Will, having heard these stories all his life, believes them to be lies and falls out with his father. Three years on, Edward has fallen ill with terminal cancer, Will returning to his childhood home, accompanied by his pregnant wife Joséphine. Edward’s life is told through flashbacks, beginning with his encounter with a witch in his hometown Ashton, who shows him his death but he reacts no fear to it. As he grows into adulthood, he found his home too small and set out with a misunderstood giant Karl.
Edward and Karl find a fork in the road and travel down separate paths. Edward follows a path through a swamp and discovers the secret town of Spectre, the cheery locals claiming he was expected. There, he befriends Ashton poet Norther Winslow and the mayor’s daughter Jenny. However, Edward leaves Spectre, unwilling to settle down but promises Jenny he will return. In the present day, Joséphine speaks to the bed-ridden Edward and asks him to tell her the story of how he met his wife Sandra, with Will listening outside the door. Edward reunites with Karl and they visit the Calloway Circus, where Edward falls in love with a beautiful woman. Along with Karl, Edward gets a job in the circus where the ringmaster Amos Calloway reveals to him trivia about the woman at the end of every month.
Three years on, Edward discovers Amos is secretly a werewolf but shows no ill-will towards his employer. Amos, upon returning to normal, reveals the woman is Sandra, and she attends Auburn University. Edward confesses his love to Sandra but she declines his wedding proposal despite numerous romantic gestures. He then learns she is already engaged to Don Price, a fellow Ashton citizen. Don beats Edward, prompting Sandra to break off their engagement and she marries Edward. Shortly after, Edward is conscripted into the army and sent to fight in the Korean War. He parachutes into the middle of a North Korean military show, steals important documents, and convinces Siamese twins Ping and Jing to help him go home in exchange for making them celebrities.
Upon returning home, Edward becomes a travelling salesman and crosses paths with Winslow, unwittingly helping him rob a failing bank, inspiring the poet to work on Wall Street. In the present, Will investigates the truth behind his father’s tales and travels to Spectre. He meets an older Jenny, who explains Edward rescued the town from bankruptcy and rebuilt it with help from his friends. Will suggests Jenny had an affair with his father, but she reveals while she loved Edward, he remained loyal to Sandra. Will returns home but learns Edward has had a stroke and stays with him at the hospital.
Edward wakes up but, unable to speak much, asks Will to narrate how his life ends. Though struggling, Will tells his father of their imagined daring escape from the hospital to the nearby lake, where everyone from Edward’s past is there to see him off. Will takes Edward into the river, where he transforms into the giant catfish and swims away. A satisfied Edward passes away, knowing Will understands his love for storytelling. At the funeral, Will and Joséphine are surprised when all the people from Edward’s stories come to the service, though less fantastical than described. Will, understanding his father’s love for life, passes on Edward’s stories to his own son.
Big Fish is a truly marvelous film, a tear-jerking, smile-inducing journey through a whole bag of fairy-tales, all wrapped up in the evolving relationship between a good son and his larger-than-life father.

REVIEW: STAR WARS – EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS

 

CAST
Daisy Ridley (Scrawl)
John Boyega (Attack The Block)
Oscar Isaac (Ex_Machina)
Mark Hamill (Batman: TAS)
Harrison Ford (Blade Runner)
Carrie Fisher (Sorority Row)
Adam Driver (Bluebird)
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings)
Domhnall Gleeson (The Revenant)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Max Von Sydow (Conan The Barbarian)
Peter Mayhew (Killer Ink)
Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones)
Simon Pegg (The World’s End)
Kiran Shah (The Hobbit)
Greg Grunberg (Heroes)
Maisie Richardson-Sellers (The originals)
Warwick Davis (The Ewok Adventures)
Mark Stanley (Kajaki)
Ken Leung (Lost)
Billie Lourd (Scream Queens)
Thomas Brodie-Sangster (The Maze Runner)
Bill Hader (Superbad)
Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Ewan McGregor (Mordecai)
Approximately 30 years after the destruction of the second Death Star, the last remaining Jedi, Luke Skywalker, has disappeared. The First Order has risen from the fallen Galactic Empire and seeks to eliminate the New Republic. The Resistance, backed by the Republic and led by Luke’s twin sister, General Leia Organa, opposes them while searching for Luke to enlist his aid.
Resistance pilot Poe Dameron meets village elder Lor San Tekka on the planet Jakku to obtain a map to Luke’s location. Stormtroopers commanded by Kylo Ren destroy the village and capture Poe. Poe’s droid BB-8 escapes with the map, and encounters the scavenger Rey near a junkyard settlement. Ren tortures Poe using the Force, and learns of BB-8. Stormtrooper FN-2187, unable to bring himself to kill for the First Order, frees Poe, and they escape in a stolen TIE fighter; Poe dubs FN-2187 “Finn”. They crash on Jakku, and Finn survives but is unable to determine if Poe did as well. He encounters Rey and BB-8, but the First Order tracks them and launches an airstrike. Finn, Rey, and BB-8 flee the planet in the Millennium Falcon, which they steal from a junkyard.
The Falcon breaks down and is captured by a larger ship piloted by Han Solo and Chewbacca, looking to reclaim their former vessel. Two rival gangs, seeking to settle debts with Han, board and attack, but Han and company manage to escape in the Falcon. The gangs inform the First Order of the events. At the First Order’s Starkiller Base – a planet converted into a superweapon that harnesses energy from stars – Supreme Leader Snoke orders General Hux to use the weapon for the first time. Snoke questions Ren’s ability to deal with emotions relating to his father, Han Solo; Ren replies that Han means nothing to him.
The Falcon crew views BB-8’s map and determines it is incomplete. Han explains that Luke attempted to rebuild the Jedi Order but exiled himself when an apprentice turned to the dark side. The crew travels to the planet Takodana and meet with cantina owner Maz Kanata, who offers assistance in getting BB-8 to the Resistance. Rey is drawn to a vault on the lower level and finds the lightsaber that once belonged to Luke and his father Anakin Skywalker. She experiences disturbing visions and flees into the woods. Maz gives Finn the lightsaber for safekeeping.
Starkiller Base fires and destroys the Republic capital and fleet. The First Order attacks Takodana in search of BB-8. Han, Chewbacca, and Finn are saved by Resistance X-wing fighters led by Poe, revealing that he survived the earlier crash. Leia arrives at Takodana with C-3PO and reunites with Han and Chewbacca. Meanwhile, Ren captures Rey and takes her to Starkiller Base, but when he interrogates her about the map, she is able to resist his mind-reading attempts. Discovering she can use the Force, she escapes using a Jedi mind trick on a nearby guard.
At the Resistance base on D’Qar, BB-8 finds R2-D2, who has been inactive since Luke’s disappearance. As Starkiller Base prepares to fire on D’Qar, the Resistance devises a plan to destroy the superweapon by attacking a critical facility. Leia urges Han to return their son alive. Using the Falcon, Han, Chewbacca, and Finn infiltrate the facility and plant explosives. Han confronts Ren, calling him by his birth name, Ben, and implores him to abandon the dark side. Ren kills Han, enraging Chewbacca, who fires and wounds Ren. He sets off the explosives, allowing the Resistance to attack and destroy Starkiller Base.
Ren pursues Finn and Rey to the surface. A lightsaber battle between Ren and Finn ensues, leaving Finn badly wounded. Rey takes the lightsaber and uses the Force to defeat Ren, before they are separated by a fissure as the planet begins to disintegrate. Snoke orders Hux to evacuate and bring Ren to him to complete his training. Rey and Chewbacca escape with Finn in the Falcon. On D’Qar, the Resistance celebrates while Leia, Chewbacca, and Rey mourn Han’s death. R2-D2 awakens and reveals the rest of the map, which Rey follows with R2-D2 and Chewbacca to a distant planet. She finds Luke and presents him with the lightsaber.
Packed with action and populated by both familiar faces and fresh blood, The Force Awakens successfully recalls the series’ former glory while injecting it with renewed energy.

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

 

CAST
Hayeden Christensen (Awake)
Natalie Porton (No Strings Attached)
Ewen 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)
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!