Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Star Wars movies (so far)


As every fan knows: the episode numbers don’t match the sequence in which these were made… we made it to episode VIII thus far. And now...

Are you ready for the final movie?

4 5 6 1 2 3 C 7 8 9 = 1 2 C 3 R 4 5 6 7 8 9

Movie 1 (the oldest, made in 1977) is Episode IV, followed by V and VI. Episodes I, II and III (movies 4, 5 and 6) were made afterwards, and then we got Episode VII, which matches the style of the older movies yet was made 38 years later.

In case you have been living under a rock and didn’t know...

Some minor spoilers ahead. It's not as if there is anybody who hasn't seen these movies yet...

Star Wars I - The Phantom Menace

Too much CGI. And Jar Jar Binks. (Though in hindsight he wasn't as obnoxious in this movie as many claim.) And oh my, horrible scripting, casting, and let's never ever again talk about 'midichlorians', okay?

The only good part of this movie is the pod race, which is a great track to demonstrate your home cinema setup...

Star Wars II - Attack of the Clones

A million clones... And there is young Boba Fett, we will encounter him again...

Of the three prequels this one is the most interesting. The movie would be even better if we'd just cut Anakin out of every scene...

Star Wars - The Clone Wars

Note that there's a movie as well as a cartoon TV show. I've not seen the movie but I did see the animated series. The cartoon, in its own angular graphical style, had been considered below par when it started broadcasting. Critical acclaim improved as the story progressed.

Personally I think the cartoon might be, no, definitely ist better than the first three 'real' live action movies (episode I II and III). You could consider the cartoons additional background on Anakin and his turn towards the dark side. In the cartoons you can see him sliding towards the edge, step by step. The arc where Snips is falsely accused and leaves the Jedi is perhaps more telling than the whole Padme / Anakin thing.

If you haven't watched this series you should give it a chance. If you can overcome the kid friendly nature of the combat then it is pretty good in the later seasons.

Star Wars III - Revenge of the Sith

Anakin turns evil in fifteen minutes. Or so it seems. If you can find the right spot, you might want to stop the movie at a certain point, then watch all the episodes of The Clone Wars before continuing. At least his sudden 'turn to evil' starts making a little sense then...

And the ‘Nooooooooo’ is sooooooo wrong…

Still, as a grand concept, the three movies worked: a democracy, top heavy, corrupted from the inside by a hidden master puppeteer, who uses a trusted army of clones to wipe out the Jedi… yeah, that works.

It’s just these three prequel movies that weren’t that great themselves...

Rogue One

It's Star Wars, but grittier. A kind of war movie, set in the same universe, and bridging the gap between the 'shiny' prequels and the old fashioned Episode IV.

The trailers were quite misleading, and the ending bittersweet, but it was a good movie. (Hey, Rian Johnson, pay attention, yes?)

Star Wars IV - A New Hope

The one that shaped the world as we know it... There were two primary movie posters for this movie, both depicted below. But for some strange reason my mind only recalls the bottom one…

Anyway. It’s slow. It’s old. It’s charming. I love it.

Episode IV… Where it all started. I remember this as the very first movie I visited on my own, in an old, crappy cinema in my hometown, then racing back on my bicycle, imagining myself as an X-wing pilot... (Damn, that’s hard to admit 😁 but I was 12 or so at the time, and I still remember!) On reflection, I am amazed my parents let me go and watch it alone at that age. Well, they never liked SF anyway 😊

I must have seen this movie about 6 or 7 times or so, once when I was very young (re. the bicycle incident), on two subsequent evenings during an SF week in the local cinema, sometime in between, on television, VHS, DVD, and, well, last week, to be well prepared for Episode VII 😊

It was part of my youth. It is part of who I am.

Amazingly this isn’t my favorite movie. That honor still goes to (drumroll)...  Aliens! (Yeah, the second Alien movie.) I must have seen that one 10 times… or more.

Still, it's the original Star Wars Episode IV movie that kindled my interest in Science Fiction, and set me firmly on this path to self destruction 😌

Most people seem to be familiar with the poster above, but I can only remember this one:

Star Wars V - The Empire Strikes Back

Han gets frozen. Luke becomes a Jedi and stops kissing his sister (ouch). The soundtrack is fantastic, and represents the Empire in all its dark glory. It’s cold and mechanical, in facts it’s not outright evil, just a close relative.

And perhaps the best movie of the series?

Star Wars VI - Return of the Jedi

Silly stuff but entertaining. Still not sure if I like the Ewoks or just outright hate them...

Star Wars VII - The Force Awakens

16.12.2015 Haven't seen the new movie yet, but the few trailers I saw almost brought tears to my eyes. I simply have to admit: Star Wars made a huge impact when I was just 12 years old... (Yeah, it's that long ago...) But... I can't watch it yet! First I have to see all 6 previous movies...And now, once I’ve finished typing this, I am leaving for the cinema, together with the kids, to relive part of my youth, and (hopefully) enjoy every second of it...

When The Force Awakens was written and recorded, they must have done so after watching multiple reruns of episode VI. It’s ‘Indiana Jones’ in space (well, at least Harrison Ford in space). Throw episode IV and VI in a blender and you get VII.

The Force Awakens is a great trip to the past, enjoyable, perfectly matching tone and texture of the Star Wars universe.

(In some way I'm sad Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy wasn't adapted to the big screen, but this will do.)

Verdict? Enjoy!

Star Wars VIII - The Last Jedi

Hopes were high for The Last Jedi. Unfortunately it was a complete disappointment.

We got Luke back. But only for a while. We got some great cinematics (the red sand in a white desert was nice). The posters were great. But the story ? It was awful.

It was Science Fiction, yes, but it was not Star Wars. It's not that I haven't seen worse movies, but I've rarely been that disappointed with one the way I was disappointed with this one.

Star Wars IX - The Rise of Skywalker

Coming up... J.J. Abrams did a good job on The Force Awakens, now can he recover from the train wreck that was The Last Jedi?

We will know soon... December 18 it's released in the cinemas here in the Netherlands... I'm scared. But I hope J.J. Abrams can pull it off one more time...

Be still, my frightened heart...

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