Film Review: ‘Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens’ (2015)

starwars7Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens is the best installment since The Empire Strikes Back, but it’s no brave new world; it’s well-trod territory that will make you feel like you’re watching another special edition of A New Hope.

All the signature tropes from the 1977 original are here, such as:

A disaffected orphan loner on a backwater planet? Check.

A beeping droid carrying something vital for the Resistance? Check.

A black-clad, masked Big Bad? Check.

Daddy issues? Check, check and check!

But it’s 2015, so in this reboot for the post-millennial world, the loner is a woman, Rey (newcomer Daisy Ridley), who can really handle herself in a scrap. The movie takes pains to populate the Resistance and the First Order (the evil group that succeeded the Empire) with women of various ages and races. Grrrrl Power!
Continue reading

‘Star Wars’ International Trailer Features Lots of New Footage!

The brand-spanking-new international trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens has dropped, and it is packed with… many feet of epic new footage!

Does anyone else that “Jakku” is just a publicity codename to cover up the fact that Rey lives on Tatooine? Nobody onscreen has ever called it that, and I’m getting tired of seeing footage of the outer-rim desert world with the double suns and moisture farms and a Dune Sea and the Mos Eisley-looking town. Just admit it, Lucasfilm…

I think J.J. Abrams and pals wanted to avoid all the eye rolls that doubtless would have accompanied the announcement of another return to that dustball. Tatooine may be the place furthest from the bright spot of the galaxy, but it’s inextricably linked to the fate of said galaxy…

This newest trailer looks spectacular — so why not pair it with the full U.S. trailer for a mind-blowing experience…

Can’t wait for this to open on Dec. 18!!!

Some Cool New Images From ‘The Force Awakens’ Debut!

With a December release date fast approaching, LucasFilm has unleashed a bunch of new images to keep people interested in Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens. This takes some of the sting out the announcement by director J.J. Abrams that there will be no new footage shown at Disney’s D23 Expo this weekend in Anaheim, Calif.

As you can see from the watermarks, the images make their debut in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, covering the Fall movie preview issue.

The big new revelation to me is the identity of Domhnall Gleeson‘s character: General Hux, a cruel leader of The First Order who craves to show the galaxy his might.

The hotly-anticipated film stars newcomers Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Gleeson as General Hux and Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma. Returning stars include: Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Kenny Baker as R2-D2, Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and Harrison Ford as Han Solo. Oh, and the Millennium Falcon as herself!

ST:EVII—TFA opens opens Dec. 18.

Leaked ‘Star Wars VII’ Concept Art Will Stun — If You Peek

star-wars-slateA whole bunch of concept art from Star Wars: Episode VII leaked online today. Assuming these images are legit — and I cannot vouch for their authenticity — but if they are real, they hint that this movie may be the Star Wars flick fans deserve in the wake of the disastrous I-III trilogy.

If you have the midi-chlorians (sorry) to forge ahead, follow the leap to see some truly inspirational images. If, however, you are spoiler-phobic, then get thee to a galaxy far, far away from this post. Seriously, if you don’t want Episode VII ruined — even potentially a little tiny bit, look away! Your heart will be broken to have such awesome images spoiled. You have been warned!
Continue reading

This Is Real: J.J. and X-Wing Fighter From ‘Episode VII’

Director J.J. Abrams is back to remind fans of the chance to win a cameo in Star Wars: Episode VII by making a $10 donation to UNICEF through Star Wars: A Force for Change — and this time he has upped the ante with a chance to win an advance screening of the movie. Oh, and did we mention he’s standing in front of a battle-damaged X-wing fighter and encounters a pilot dressed like a member of the rebel alliance from the first film — and there’s even a mouse droid?

After considering the madness that is the latest Episode VII plot leak, it’s good to see something straight from the horse’s mouth! We can trust J.J. himself, right? He wouldn’t lie to us about what’s in his movie… right?

Stupidest ‘Star Wars’ Rumor of the Day

lukehandConsidering the heavy blanket of secrecy thrown over the production of Star Wars: Episode VII, it’s easy to understand people grasping at the most flimsy of straws when it comes to rumors about what director J.J. Abrams is up to – but today’s alleged plot leak is so extremely ridiculous that I’m not even labeling it a spoiler. It’s just too dumb to consider.
Continue reading

‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Finally Makes Lupita Nyong’o Official

The Walt Disney Co., producers of Star Wars: Episode VII, made it official today when they formally announced the long-rumored casting of Lupita Nyong’o, who won a Best supporting Actress Oscar earlier this year for 12 Years a Slave, and Gwendoline Christie, who plays the popular Brienne of Tarth on GAME OF THRONES.

Other cast members (announced back in April) include: John Boyega (Attack the Block); Daisy Ridley (even I’ve never heard of her!); Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows); Adam Driver (GIRLS); Oscar Isaac (Sucker Punch and Inside Llewyn Davis); the legendary Max Von Sydow; and motion-capture artist Andy Serkis. Also, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker and Peter Mayhew will be returning to the roles that made them famous.

Continue reading

Star Wars: Episode VII — And So It Begins…

SWe7Today marks the start of principle photography on J.J. AbramsStar Wars: Episode VII, and this is the first official set photo, tweeted by production company Bad Robot with the only caption being #dayone.

The first slate offers no clues about the official title of the episode, even as speculation continues to swirl that it will be called The Ancient Fear.

However, notice the sprinkle of sand on the clapper board — does that suggest an exterior on Tatooine?

Dec. 18, 2015 seems both a little bit closer and a lot further away right now.

Disney Spins ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Release Delay

darthiger

Bob Iger schools Lord Vader.

We fans knew it was coming when the production dramatically shuffled its writing team, but now Disney has come out with an official spin reason for pushing the release of Star Wars: Episode VII from the summer of 2015 to Dec. 18, 2015.

Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, told Bloomberg TV:

“One of the things that was very important to us is that we give the creative team, J.J. Abrams and his writing team, the time to design, write and produce the film so we can optimize quality, so they can create a great film. Very, very important…. At one point we considered the summer of 2015 [but] it felt like, particularly with some changes we made in the writing team that that was going to create a bit of a rush and didn’t think that was optimal for obvious reasons.”

Iger went on to rationalize point out that Dec. 18 “happens to be the date which Avatar, which is the No. 1 movie of all time, was released, so we like that.”

So there you have it: Disney was always interested in the integrity and quality of the movie — not some sticking to some arbitrary release date selected long before there was even a script for the movie. Only optimizing quality.