Tag Archives: Star Wars

Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, and Emilia Clarke in Solo A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story – We Finally Have a Trailer, and It’s Not Looking Good

Solo: A Star Wars Story has been plagued by production problems for almost a year now. The original directors were fired over creative differences well into principal photography. Ron Howard was brought in to take over and reportedly reshot most of it. There has been rampant speculation that the lack of a trailer was a sign of impending disaster. Now, finally, less than four months before release, we have our first trailer. You can see it for yourself here. It is not at all encouraging.

It would be easy to confuse this with a fan-made effort. You would expect more polish from a studio giving the public their very first look at a film scheduled for release over Memorial Day weekend. Take “Star Wars” out of the title, and you have a generic, pedestrian sci-fi movie – possibly entertaining in a mindless way, but nothing special. Put “Star Wars” back in the title, and you have a crass Disney cash grab.

Alden Ehrenreich has none of the cool cockiness we expect from Han Solo, unless you envision young Solo as a smug, insufferable millennial. Emilia Clarke has just enough screen time to remind us that she can’t act to save herself. This thing has train wreck written all over it.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Suddenly Jar Jar Binks Doesn’t Seem So bad

Star Wars: The Last Jedi achieves the near impossible task of making the wretched prequels look like beautifully written masterpieces and George Lucas’ dialogue seem brilliant. It’s unmitigated crap from the very get-go.

After the obligatory text crawl, this 152-minute agony-fest leaps right into General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) pacing his bridge as he closes in on the Resistance base. Apparently, Mr. Gleeson thought he was in a theater-in-the-park production of The Pirates of Penzance. I expected him to burst into a rendition of “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General” at any moment. And then things started to go downhill fast.

It would take a novel to detail all this movie’s sins, so, for the sake of readability, I will limit myself to the most egregious infractions.

Adam Driver, reprising his role as Kylo Ren, once again fails to be even slightly menacing. There’s just no way to take this guy seriously as a Big Bad, no matter how many force powers he throws around. Even so, he comes off better than most by simply managing to be an actual character. No one else in the film accomplishes this. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Leia (the late Carrie Fisher), Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac), and vapid newcomer Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) are all soulless puppets, blandly performing their assigned tasks and reciting seemingly endless speeches. Rey (Daisy Ridley), supposedly the main protagonist, is little more than a piece of uninteresting scenery. The worst failing in this department is Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). He has zero character development and zero backstory. Without so much as a hint about who he is or where he came from, he becomes nothing more than a stock bad guy figuratively twirling his mustache and cackling as he ties Rey to the railroad tracks.

Adam Driver in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Adam Driver in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Continue reading

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a Lackluster Remake

I thought Star Wars was a fantastic movie. The first time I saw it. Almost 40 years ago. But this unimaginative, formulaic remake doesn’t really cut it. The first sign of trouble was the opening text crawl. The Empire is now the First Order and the Rebel Alliance is now the Resistance. Wait! What the hell? I know it’s supposed to be a 30 year time jump, but at the end of Return of the Jedi, the Rebels had destroyed the second Death Star, the Emperor was dead, and the teddy bears were using stormtrooper helmets as drum kits. Now a renamed Empire is back in control? So apparently everything that happened in the original trilogy was a big waste of time because now we’re back to square one. We’ve even got Supreme Leader Snookie, err Snoke, seamlessly replacing Emperor Palpatine.

Yes, I know there is a big mass of Star Wars cannon attempting to explain all this away, but here’s the thing – I’m not going to buy novels and comic books and study supplemental material just to understand what’s going on. Providing all that information for the nerds to enjoy, and pay for, is fine, but a movie needs to stand on its own. If a movie can’t stand on its own, then that’s just bad writing. Continue reading