REVIEW: ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

CAST

Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
Diego luna (Milk)
Alan Tudyk (Powerless)
Donnie Yen (Highlander: Endgame)
Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal)
Forest Whitaker (Arrival)
Jimmy Smits (NYPD Blue)
Wen Jiang (Devils on The Doorstep)
Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises)
Guy Henry (V For Vendetta)
Riz Ahmed (Four Lions)
Genevieve O’Reilly (The Legend of Tarzan)
Ian McElhinney (Game of Thrones)
James Earl Jones (Conan The Barbarian)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Ingvild Deila (This Is Not Happening)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)

Research scientist Galen Erso and his family are in hiding on the planet Lah’mu. Imperial weapons developer Orson Krennic arrives to press him into completing the Death Star, a space station-based superweapon capable of destroying planets. Galen’s wife Lyra is killed in the confrontation while their daughter Jyn escapes and is taken to safety by Rebel extremist Saw Gerrera.
Fifteen years later, cargo pilot Bodhi Rook defects from the Empire, smuggling a holographic message from Galen to Gerrera on the desert moon Jedha. Rebel intelligence officer Cassian Andor frees Jyn from an Imperial labor camp at Wobani before bringing her to the Rebel leader Mon Mothma, who convinces her to find and rescue Galen so the Alliance can learn more about the Death Star. Cassian is covertly ordered by General Draven, an Alliance military officer, to kill Galen rather than extract him.
Jyn, Cassian, and reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2SO travel to Jedha, where the Empire is removing kyber crystals from the holy city to power the Death Star while Gerrera and his partisans are engaged in an armed insurgency against them. With the aid of blind spiritual warrior Chirrut Îmwe and his mercenary friend Baze Malbus, Jyn makes contact with Gerrera, who has been holding Rook captive. Gerrera shows her the message, in which Galen reveals he has secretly built a vulnerability into the Death Star and directs them to retrieve the schematics from a high-security Imperial data bank on the planet Scarif.
On the Death Star, Krennic orders a low-powered shot from the superlaser to destroy Jedha’s capital. Jyn and her group take Rook and flee the planet, but Gerrera remains to die with the city. Grand Moff Tarkin congratulates Krennic before using Rook’s defection and security leak as a pretext to take control of the project.
Rook leads the group to Galen’s Imperial research facility on the planet Eadu, where Cassian chooses not to kill Galen. When Krennic orders Galen’s team killed for causing the security leak, Galen confesses that he is responsible. The research team is executed anyway. Jyn makes her presence known moments before Rebel bombers attack the facility. Galen is wounded and dies in his daughter’s arms, before she escapes with her group on board a stolen Imperial cargo shuttle. Krennic is summoned by Darth Vader, to answer for the attack on Eadu. Krennic seeks his support for an audience with the Emperor, Vader ignores it and orders him instead to ensure no further leaks about the Death Star occur.
Jyn proposes a plan to steal the Death Star schematics using the Rebel fleet but fails to get approval from the Alliance Council, who feel victory against the Empire is now impossible. Frustrated at their inaction, Jyn’s group is supported by a small squad of Rebel volunteers intent on raiding the databank themselves. Arriving at Scarif via the stolen Imperial ship, which Rook dubs “Rogue One”, a disguised Jyn and Cassian enter the base with K-2SO while the other Rebels attack the resident Imperial garrison as a distraction. The Rebel fleet learns about the raid from intercepted Imperial communications and deploy in support. K-2SO sacrifices himself so Jyn and Cassian can retrieve the data. Îmwe is killed after activating the master switch to allow communication with the Rebel fleet. Rook is killed by a grenade after informing the Rebel fleet that it must deactivate the shield surrounding the planet to allow the transmission of the schematics. Malbus dies in battle shortly after. Jyn and Cassian seize the schematics, but they are ambushed by Krennic, who shoots Cassian.
Krennic corners Jyn, declaring the Empire’s victory, but Cassian, who has survived, shoots and wounds Krennic. Jyn transmits the schematics to the Rebel command ship. The Death Star enters orbit above Scarif, where Tarkin uses another low-power shot from the superlaser to destroy the Empire’s base. Krennic is killed instantly, while Jyn and Cassian embrace on a beach before dying in the blastwave. The Rebel fleet prepares to jump to hyperspace but are intercepted by Vader’s flagship. Vader invades the command ship and kills many rebels in his pursuit of the schematics, but a small starship escapes with them on board. Aboard the fleeing ship, Princess Leia declares that the schematics will provide hope for the Rebellion.I would find it hard to believe anyone would not be impressed by this movie, if you are a serious Star Wars fan. Perhaps if you don’t take Star Wars seriously but prefer films that are all action and special effects you might find the slow build hard to take. But for me, and a large number of other Star Wars fans this is the best Star Wars movie since Empire Strikes Back. It may be a dark time for the Rebellion, but its a great time to be a fan of Star Wars.

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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 VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI

CAST
Mark Hamill (Batman: TAS)
Harrison Ford (Blade Runner)
Carrie Fisher (Sorority Row)
Billy Dee Williams (Batman)
Alec Guinness (Doctor Zhivago)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Kenny Baker (Labyrinth)
Peter Mayhew (Killer Ink)
David Prowse (Comic Book: The Movie)
Frank Oz (Inside Out)
Jeremy Bulloch (Swing Kids)
Sebastian Shaw (The Spy In Black)
Ian McDiarmid (Sleepy Hollow)
James Earl Jones (Conan The Barbarian)
Warwick Davis (Willow)
Luke Skywalker initiates a plan to rescue Han Solo from the crime lord Jabba the Hutt with the help of Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2. Leia infiltrates Jabba’s palace on Tatooine, disguised as a bounty hunter with Chewbacca as her prisoner. Lando is already there, disguised as a guard. Leia releases Han from the carbonite, but she is captured and enslaved. Luke arrives soon afterward but, after a tense standoff with Jabba and a battle with his rancor, is captured. Jabba sentences him and Han to death, planning to feed them to the Sarlacc, a pit monster. They are taken to the Great Pit of Carkoon, the Sarlacc’s nesting ground. Luke, with R2-D2’s help, frees himself and battles Jabba’s guards with his new constructed lightsaber. During the chaos, Boba Fett attempts to attack Luke, but Han, temporarily blinded from the carbonite, inadvertently knocks him into the Sarlacc pit to his doom. Meanwhile, Leia strangles Jabba, and Luke destroys Jabba’s sail barge as the group escapes. While the others rendezvous with the Rebel Alliance, Luke returns to Dagobah, where he finds that Yoda is on his deathbed. Before he dies, Yoda confirms that Darth Vader, once known as Anakin Skywalker, is Luke’s father, and that “there is another”. The ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi confirms that this “other” is Luke’s twin sister: Leia. Obi-Wan tells Luke that he must fight Vader again to defeat the Empire. Obi-Wan also warns Luke to keep his emotions in check, as his anger could lead him to the Dark Side.
The Rebels learns that the Empire has been constructing a second Death Star under the direct supervision of the Emperor himself. As the station is protected by an energy shield, Han leads a strike team to destroy the shield generator on the forest moon of Endor; doing so would allow a squadron of starfighters to destroy the Death Star. The strike team, accompanied by Luke and Leia, travels to Endor in a stolen Imperial shuttle. On Endor, Luke and his companions encounter a tribe of Ewoks and, after an initial conflict, gain their trust. Later, Luke tells Leia that she is his sister, Vader is their father, and he must go and confront him. Luke surrenders to Imperial troops and is taken to Vader. Luke tries to convince Vader to turn from the dark side of the Force, but fails.
Vader takes Luke to the new Death Star to meet the Emperor, who is intent on turning him to the dark side. The Emperor reveals that the Death Star is fully operational and the Rebel fleet will fall into a trap. On Endor, Han’s strike team is captured by Imperial forces, but a surprise counterattack by the Ewoks allows the Rebels to battle the Imperials. Meanwhile, Lando, piloting the Millennium Falcon, leads the Rebel fleet to the Death Star, only to find that the station’s shield is still active and the Imperial fleet is waiting for them. The Emperor tempts Luke to give in to his anger and join him. Luke engages Vader in a lightsaber duel. Vader senses that Luke has a sister and suggests turning her to the dark side. Enraged, Luke overpowers Vader and severs his father’s prosthetic right hand. Upon seeing the remnants of Vader’s prosthetic, he sees a parallel between himself and Vader, and fears he will become like Vader. The Emperor tells Luke to kill Vader and take his place, but Luke refuses, declaring himself a Jedi as his father had been. On Endor, the strike team defeats the Imperial forces and destroys the shield generator, allowing the Rebel fleet to launch their assault on the Death Star. Simultaneously, the Emperor tortures Luke with Force lightning. Unwilling to let his son die, Vader kills the Emperor, but is mortally wounded in the process. He asks Luke to remove his mask, and after a brief talk, he dies peacefully, having redeemed himself.
As the battle between the Imperial and Alliance fleets continues, Lando leads a group of Rebel ships into the Death Star’s core and destroys the main reactor. As Luke escapes on a shuttle with his father’s body, the Falcon flies out of the Death Star as the station explodes. On Endor, Leia reveals to Han that Luke is her brother, and they kiss. Luke returns to Endor and cremates his father’s body on a funeral pyre. As the Rebels celebrate their victory over the Empire, Luke smiles as he sees the ghosts of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and the redeemed Anakin watching over them.
This is the best of the series & not just because of the victory over the Empire. It springs a surprise in Luke having a sister, & completes Luke confronting what is left of his father. It destroys an empire & an emperor. It introduces Ewoks & then has them join in an alliance to create the victory. It even makes C3PO a God, & you can’t top that.

REVIEW: STAR WARS – EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

CAST

Mark Hamill (Batman: TAS)
Harrison Ford (Blade Runner)
Carrie Fisher (Sorority Row)
Billy Dee Williams (Batman)
Alec Guinness (Doctor Zhivago)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Kenny Baker (Labyrinth)
Peter Mayhew (Killer Ink)
David Prowse (Comic Book: The Movie)
Frank Oz (Inside Out)
Jeremy Bulloch (Swing Kids)
Julian Glover (Game of Thrones)
James Earl Jones (Conan The Barbarian)
Three years after the destruction of the Death Star, the Rebel Alliance has been driven from their former base on Yavin IV by the Galactic Empire. The Rebels, led by Princess Leia, set up their new base on the ice planet Hoth. The Imperial fleet, led by Darth Vader, continues to hunt for the Rebels’ new base by dispatching probe droids across the galaxy.
While investigating a potential meteor strike, Luke Skywalker is captured by a wampa. He manages to escape from its cave with his lightsaber, but soon succumbs to the brutally cold temperatures. The ghost of his late mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, instructs him to go to the Dagobah system to train under Jedi Master Yoda. He is found by Han Solo, who uses the warmth of his dead tauntaun to keep Luke warm while he sets up a shelter. Han and Luke make it through the night and are rescued by Zev Senesca.
On patrol, Han and Chewbacca discover the asteroid Luke had planned to investigate is actually a probe droid, which alerts the Empire to the Rebels’ location. The Empire launches a large-scale attack, using AT-AT Walkers to capture the base. Han and Leia escape on the Millennium Falcon with C-3PO and Chewbacca, but their hyperdrive malfunctions. They hide in an asteroid field, where Han and Leia grow closer. Vader summons bounty hunters, including the notorious Boba Fett, to assist in finding the Falcon. Luke, meanwhile, escapes with R2-D2 in his X-wing fighter and crash-lands on the swamp planet Dagobah. He meets a diminutive creature who is revealed to be Yoda; after conferring with Obi-Wan’s spirit, Yoda reluctantly accepts Luke as his pupil.
After evading the Empire, Han sets a course for Cloud City, a floating colony in the skies of the planet Bespin. Cloud City is run by Han’s old friend, Lando Calrissian. Unknowingly, the Millennium Falcon has been tracked by Boba Fett; shortly after they arrive, Lando leads the group into a trap and they are handed over to Darth Vader. Vader plans to use the group as bait to lure out Luke, intending to capture him alive and take him to the Emperor. During his training on Dagobah, Luke sees a premonition of Han and Leia in pain and, against Yoda’s wishes, leaves to save them.
Vader goes back on his agreement with Lando and takes Leia and Chewbacca into custody. He intends to hold Luke in suspended animation via carbon freezing, and, as a test, freezes Han in a block of carbonite. He hands the frozen Han over to Fett, who intends to leave for Tatooine to deliver Han to Jabba the Hutt and claim the bounty on Solo’s head. Lando, who was forced into cooperating with the Empire, initiates an escape and frees Leia and the others. They try to save Han but are unable to stop Fett. They then flee Cloud City in the Falcon.
Luke arrives at Cloud City and falls into Vader’s trap. The two engage in a lightsaber duel that leads them over the city’s central air shaft where, as his mentors warned, Luke proves to be no match for Vader who severs Luke’s right hand, causing him to lose his weapon. After Luke refuses to join Vader against the Emperor, Vader reveals that he is Luke’s father. Horrified, Luke falls through the air shaft. He is ejected beneath the floating city and makes a desperate telepathic plea to Leia, who senses it and persuades Lando to return for him in the Falcon. R2-D2 repairs the Falcon’s hyperdrive, allowing them to escape the Empire. Later, aboard a Rebel medical frigate, Luke’s amputated hand is replaced with a robotic prosthetic. Lando and Chewbacca set off for Tatooine in the Falcon in order to save Han. As the Falcon departs, Luke, Leia, R2-D2, and C-3PO look on and await word from Lando.
Tho more famed for its dark undertones, Empire is for sure still a very fun movie, C3PO goes into camp overdrive and Han Solo ups his quip quota by some margin. Then of course there is Yoda, in himself a comedic joy. The action sequences beg for repeat viewings, a battle on the ice laden planet Hoth is a marvel and the choreography for Skywalker’s fight with Darth Vader is out of the top draw. But ultimately it’s with the dark side that the picture excels. Complex and amazingly posing moral quandary’s, The Empire Strikes Back is quite an experience, one that will forever hold up to repeat viewings for this particular viewer.

REVIEW: STAR WARS – EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE

CAST

Mark Hamill (Batman: TAS)
Harrison Ford (Blade Runner)
Carrie Fisher (Sorority Row)
Peter Cushing (Dracula 1958)
Alec Guinness (Doctor Zhivago)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Kenny Baker (Labyrinth)
Peter Mayhew (Killer Ink)
David Prowse (Comic Book: The Movie)
James Earl Jones (Conan The Barbarian)

The galaxy is in a civil war. Spies for the Rebel Alliance have stolen plans to the Galactic Empire’s Death Star, a heavily armed space station capable of destroying planets. Rebel leader Princess Leia has the plans, but her ship is captured by Imperial forces under the command of the evil Sith lord Darth Vader. Before she is captured, Leia hides the plans in the memory of an astromech droid, R2-D2, along with a holographic recording. The droid flees to the surface of the desert planet Tatooine with fellow droid C-3PO.
Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
The droids are captured by Jawa traders, who sell them to moisture farmers Owen and Beru Lars and their nephew, Luke Skywalker. While cleaning R2-D2, Luke accidentally triggers part of Leia’s message, in which she requests help from Obi-Wan Kenobi. The next morning, Luke finds R2-D2 searching for Obi-Wan, and meets Ben Kenobi, an old hermit who lives in the hills and reveals himself to be Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan tells Luke of his days as a Jedi Knight, former Galactic Republic peacekeepers with supernatural powers derived from an energy called The Force but were wiped out by the Empire. Contrary to his uncle’s statements, Luke learns that his father fought alongside Obi-Wan as a Jedi Knight. Obi-Wan tells Luke that Vader was his former pupil who turned to the dark side of the Force and killed Luke’s father, Anakin. Obi-Wan offers Luke his father’s lightsaber, a Jedi weapon.
Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
Obi-Wan views Leia’s complete message, in which she begs him to take the Death Star plans to her home planet of Alderaan and give them to her father for analysis. Obi-Wan invites Luke to accompany him to Alderaan and learn the ways of the Force. Luke declines, but changes his mind after discovering that Imperial stormtroopers searching for C-3PO and R2-D2 have destroyed his home and killed his aunt and uncle. Obi-Wan and Luke hire smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee first mate Chewbacca to transport them to Alderaan on Han’s ship, the Millennium Falcon.

Upon the Falcon’s arrival at the location of Alderaan, the group discover that the planet has been destroyed by order of the Death Star’s commanding officer, Grand Moff Tarkin, as a show of power. The Falcon is captured by the Death Star’s tractor beam and brought into its hangar bay. While Obi-Wan goes to disable the tractor beam, Luke discovers that Leia is imprisoned aboard and, with the help of Han and Chewbacca, rescues her. After several escapes, the group makes its way back to the Falcon. Obi-Wan disables the tractor beam and, on the way back to the Falcon, engages in a lightsaber duel with Vader. Once he is sure the others can escape, Obi-Wan allows himself to be killed. The Falcon escapes the Death Star, unknowingly carrying a tracking beacon, which the Empire follows to the Rebels’ hidden base on Yavin IV.

The Rebels analyze the Death Star’s plans and identify a vulnerable exhaust port that connects to the station’s main reactor. Luke joins the Rebel assault squadron, while Han collects his payment for the transport and intends to leave, despite Luke’s request that he stay and help. In the ensuing battle, the Rebels suffer heavy losses after several unsuccessful attack runs, leaving Luke one of the few surviving pilots. Vader leads a squad of TIE fighters and prepares to attack Luke’s X-wing fighter, but Han returns and fires on the Imperials, sending Vader spiraling away. Helped by guidance from Obi-Wan’s spirit, Luke uses the Force and successfully destroys the Death Star seconds before it can fire on the Rebel base. Leia awards Luke and Han with medals for their heroism.

Here begins the greatest cinematic epic of all time, and arguably one of the greatest stories ever told. Originally conceived as a serialized popcorn movie in the manner of the old action movies that Lucas grew up with, Star Wars surpassed even George’s keen and bombastic imagination to become a central part of movie history.

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!

 

REVIEW: LEGO STAR WARS: THE YODA CHRONICLES

CAST (VOICES)

Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Billy Dee Williams (Batman)
Tom Kane (The Powerpuff Girls)

Conceived as a tie-in to the re-branded LEGO range of Star Wars playsets, LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles features two more totally brand-new and 100% original 22 minute specials – this time based on George Lucas’ prequels, namely episodes one and two, and the adventures of Anakin, Obi-Wan Yoda and Mace Windu as they take on the evil Darth Sidious, Count Dooku and General Grevious.

In Episode I: The Phantom Clone, the action-packed adventure begins when Darth Sidious unveils his plan to create a new super-weapon — an enhanced Sith clone named Jek-14 — to help him defeat the Republic once and for all. It’s up to Jedi Master Yoda and his young Padawan students to work together and save the galaxy. Episode II: Menace of the Sith sees Count Dooku use his new and improved Clone-a-Matic to create an army of Jek clones, but the original Jek-14 wants no part of the sinister scheme. Now, with the help of some old friends and two familiar Droids, substitute teacher Anakin Skywalker must lead Yoda’s Padawan class to victory.

It seems that given the makers of this particular set of LEGO Star Wars specials had to focus on the  prequel movies, they decided to up the comedy quotient in comparison to the already available CG-animated LEGO tales – throwing many more jokes at the screen this time out, most of which had me literally laughing out loud! If it’s not General Grevious “accidentally” suffering a coughing fit when Darth Sidious praises Count Dooku and not him; then it’s the glorious afro-haired coupling of a young Lando Calrissian and his father Lindo (voiced by Billy Dee Williams), who also rocks the curly chest hair and gold medallion, who run a 70s style disco out of the Millenium Falcon; and there’s Yoda’s references to settling down on Dagobah as “it looks nice” and R2D2 using a clip from the live-action movies to make a point to the animated Anakin. The comedy comes thick and fast – yes some of it is childish, after all these are kids “movies” – but a lot of the jokes will hit home for Star Wars fans of all ages.