7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Star Wars: Rogue One Review

All right, it’s time to take a look at the first Star Wars spinoff movie. This one helps to bridge the gap between film III and IV by showing us how the rebellion managed to actually acquire the plans to the Death Star. After all, how could they hope to get such secretive intel from the Empire? There’s a lot of action here and it’s always fun to see The Force move about. It’s a little hard to go back to the days when the Jedi weren’t fighting with their cool abilities, but Rogue One is a solid action movie. It’ll help get you ready for the Episode VIII movie which is coming soon.

Jyn is the main character of the film (Could have sworn that it was Jane) and she witnessed her parents get captured by the Empire. She escapes and was rescued by a tough resistance fighter. Many years passed and Jyn is now a very aggressive person who dislikes the Empire and the Rebellion. She is thrown back into the fray when the rebellion shows up and decides to use her to get to the resistance member. Jyn isn’t thrilled about this arrangement, but she doesn’t have much of a choice. Planets are on the line and the planetary destruction weapon is now complete so the clock is ticking.

The film gets to the plot right away as Jyn’s backstory flies by and her first big mission is upon us. There is no need for a super large build up and that’s really the point. In a war, you don’t have time to go to the local deli first, it’s just on to the mission. As soon as Jyn and Cassian are at the first planet, the skirmish between the Rebellion and the Empire begins. From there we get a lot of other action scenes and the big climax is certainly the largest scale one in the movie. When you think that the fight is about to end, it ends up continuing and continuing. The film doesn’t let up right up through the very end. Naturally I won’t go into any details at all about the ending, but it is quite great and the perfect way to end things on a high note. It also explains why a ship wasn’t pulled back with The Force. I suppose it may not have been the wisest move anyway. You’ll definitely want to watch Episode IV afterwards to put all of this into perspective.

The graphics are good as you would expect. Due to the layout of the Star Wars universe, we don’t get a chance to see many futuristic tech or cities lying about, but the heroes do go to one cool city. It’s a fun camera pan out as we see what the city looks like from afar and then see how desolate it really is when the heroes land. The lightsaber that Darth Vader has looks cool as always and I did appreciate the beam battles that we got as always. That being said, I feel like they heavily nerfed the blasters here. Numerous characters are blasted in the chest with no serious injury. I don’t really think anyone should survive getting his by a blast, especially considering that everyone had their phasers set to stun kill.

I also enjoyed the soundtrack. It was fun hearing the classical themes of the series. I also really like the death wail that all of the machines make when they’re about to explode. I’ve been hearing it more and more as I play the video game and it certainly is catchy. The film doesn’t really have any new tunes, but the classic ones are all that you need in the end. Also, there weren’t really any one on one fights so there wouldn’t be much of a chance to use any new battle music.

Before getting into the characters, I have to talk about one in particular. A guy runs off during the film spouting some nonsense about finding an ultra powerful Jedi warrior who could turn the tables. He said that he trusts her with his life before running off and now we know why. This would give him an excuse to escape before things got messy. What other reason is there for him dashing off and not returning? The Jedi warrior never got to show up unless she was a cameo somewhere and that was just mind boggling. Hardcore Star War fans may know who is was talking about and why it was significant, but for a super casual (At least that’s what I let people think!) fan like myself, it was just rather random.

Jyn makes for a good heroine. I do think that her personality was maybe a little too similar to Rey’s though. Both of them are really tough “Me against the world” characters who know hand to hand skills and dislike everybody. Both of them eventually mellow out though and learn how to be team players. A big difference is the fact that Rey knows the Force though. Regardless of comparisons, Jyn was fun to have around although she maybe became a nice person a little too quickly. Her character arc was a little rushed, but I’ll take action over drama any day so I’m pretty fine with it in the end. Cassian was the main guy in the film and I can’t say that I cared for him. He doesn’t mind putting aside his morals when in the line of duty and even though he got too scared to pull the trigger, it’s hard to put aside the fact that he was willing to do the deed. Jyn calls him out on it and Cassian basically runs off to sulk, after insulting everyone and trying to pick a fight. I know that Cassian’s supposed to be a likable guy by the end, but I just wasn’t buying it. He could fight, which is a nice start, but he was just very annoying.

Speaking of annoying characters though, one of the worst was probably Chirrut. I dislike this fan favorite because he got on my nerves immediately. His whole “I’m one with the Force” gimmick was boring and repetitive. He couldn’t really back it up either as he would have died several times without his generic partner. He came across as a fake Jedi and the only way that I would have liked him would have been if he had an actual lightsaber and used the Force to attack. If the film wanted to have a Jedi around, then they should have gone the whole way. Have him fight Darth Vader near the end or something like that. Yes, Chirrut would have certainly died, but it would have been a good fight and it would have been a way to actually cement the fact that Chirrut was a fighter. His character arc just felt very empty and while it’s cool that we had someone with powers, I was hoping that we’d have someone who knew how to use those abilities.

Back to cool characters though, I certainly enjoyed K2SO. He was a fun sarcastic version of C3PO and he got most of the best lines in the film. He can actually fight, which is a big improvement from C3PO and had some fun action scenes. He is very useful as an undercover robot since the Empire always thinks that he is one of them and the design is cool as well. The heroes would have been utterly doomed without his expertise. Another cool character is naturally Darth Vader. He gets a pair of pivotal scenes, which was nice for his fans. He’s definitely one of the biggest symbols in the franchise and any moment with him in it is always neat. I don’t think his very first scene was necessary as we see him in the water tank since it makes him a little less threatening, but I suppose it was to help acknowledge him as more than just a Sith Lord who wrecks everyone, but I’m actually fine with the latter. You definitely can’t escape from Darth Vader, as many of the characters quickly figure out. It’s why I want a proper light saber fight with him since today’s effects could make it quite epic.

One character that you’ll probably feel bad for is Bodhi. He’s a pilot who had an important message to give to the extremest rebel, but ends up nearly being brain fried for his troubles. It shows just how shady this rebel was and I can see why the rebellion wanted nothing to do with him initially. Not that the rebellion is a whole lot better either. While they aren’t evil like the other guy, some of their members aren’t very courageous. The fact that a lot of them wanted to join the Empire speaks volumes about their resolve. I don’t know how they got a seat in the council. The “It’s a Trap!” guy continues to be a great character though. Now that guy’s a true leader!

Orson and Tarkin are two fun sub villains to have around as well. They’re both political villains who talk a good game and hide in the shadows. They use mind games and overwhelming numbers to take the heroes on while they debate among themselves the whole time. They both have personality and are fun to have around so I actually enjoyed them. They certainly can’t fight all that much, but Orson did manage to take on Cassian in a gun fight so he does have some skills. That or Cassian just isn’t that good and the latter is a real possibility.

I’m probably one of the only ones who feels this way, but I felt bad for the Storm Troopers a lot of the time. They’re constantly defeated through cheap tricks and sneak attacks so it was always cool to see them land some counter hits. The Storm Troopers may be on the wrong side, but they have cool armors and they do try their best. Only plot hax is enough to stop them at times. Rebellions are built on that after all. This film was fairly reasonable on that angle though. There’s no way that the attack should have worked and the Rebellion should have been squashed, but it’s hard to realistically have such a small group attack a big army. The Empire just has too many options at their disposal.

In the end, this film is definitely better than I, II, V, and VI, but it loses to IV and VII. It’s pretty close with III though since that film had a lot more action and big fight scenes while this one leaves you with more of a “Feels Good” feeling. III’s ending is rather somber and dark. In the end, I suppose the epicness wins out so that still puts this film as the 4th best among the 7. 8 if we count the animated film, but it’s really been a super long time since I watched that one. That one could potentially be the best, but I remember always being annoyed that some of the fights are so close to happening and yet they don’t happen. They were probably saving that for the TV show or something.
Overall, Star Wars Rogue One is a fun prequel. It’s a good way of expanding the universe of Star Wars mythos and allowing us to see some classic characters like Darth Vader again. It’ll remind you that the rebellion certainly went through a lot of hardships before they got to claim some victories. The universe desperately needed some more Jedi. If you haven’t watched a Star Wars film before, then you can certainly jump into this one. In a way, it can be a new starting point for fans since it links into IV so well. I have always been with the crowd that says watching IV before I is crucial so this is the only exception to the original trilogy rule. The film accomplished what it set out to do here so I look forward to seeing if the next prequel will be as good. They definitely put a lot of work into these films so I’m confident that they will keep on checking through the script until it’s just right.

Overall 7/10

5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Galaxy Quest Review

I saw this film a while back, but the review has been in limbo for quite a while. I’m always up for a parody even if they can get a little dicey at times. This one is pretty well done for the most part, but it still does have enough dicey moments and plots to hold it back quite a bit. The bright side is that this film is much better than some older Sci-Fi films like The Forbidden Planet. The bad side is that it’s no Star Trek and the parody should always be better than the original.

The plot revolves around Peter. (Again?) Well, Jason to be more specific, but he played Peter in the Star Trek parody show and it still has a very strong following among its fans. The problem is that the show was too popular and aliens from other solar systems have seen it as well. A group of them come to Earth to enlist the aid of the actors who they believe to be the real characters. Jason naturally agrees since he loves to be in the spotlight, but his comrades are a lot more reluctant. Jason may have been good in the show, but can he really hack it against a group of tyrannical aliens who have come to destroy everything that we know and hold dear? It’ll take a lot of gusto to hold these guys in check!

First, I’ve definitely gotta say that the TV show looks pretty hype. It definitely feels like Star Trek, but possibly with higher stakes. I wouldn’t mind seeing a movie that adapts the actual show rather than showing the real world. As it stands, the actors…range from good characters to iffy ones although luckily none of them are downright terrible or even really bad, which is good.

The best member is easily Alexander. He really disliked his role in the TV show and tries to forget it, but that task is incredibly difficult when the fans always recite your famous lines. He dislikes the fans and isn’t afraid to show it, but Jason always plays on his ego. Alexander wants to be a great stage magician or something like that so he must answer the curtain call or he’ll be a fraud. Towards the end he lives out some of his lines and learns the values of friendship, but I’ll definitely miss his cynical/dramatic self from the opening.

Jason’s the lead and well…he’s a little dicey. He’s actually similar to the Peter from Men In Black Alien Crisis, but he’s a little less obvious and also doesn’t seem as far gone. We learn through exposition that he basically was like Kirk and he flirts with Gwen a lot during the film, but luckily he is typically shot down. I was glad that he actually took the alien situation in stride and talked tough to the villains even if he thought it was a dream. He certainly has more guts than the rest of the crew so it is one of those cases where he has a lot of good traits, but tries to balance himself out with bad ones. It’s not as extreme as it could have been though.

Gwen’s a decent character although the film sadly uses her for fanservice on more than one occasion. One scene in particular makes no sense as her outfit just happens to rip during the climax. It’s a shame since her other gimmick of repeating the computer was a pretty original one. I think her character would have been fine with just that one trait. Gwen lacks the charisma that Jason and Alexander have, but she’s better than Fred. Fred was a decent character, but his romance at the end really was unneeded and wrecked his emotionless front. He would typically just go along with whatever plan Jason thought of and that was also enough for his character. I think the film just went overboard with how much personality it wanted each member to have.

Unfortunately, the same can be said for the alien allies as well. They all have very annoying voices and their lack of knowledge about Earth can also drag on and on. I’ve never liked the trope of aliens not knowing Earth’s customs which makes them look bad for long periods of time. We get that they don’t know about Earth, but there’s no need to dwell on it. The sounds that the alien allies make when they panic can also be annoying and it doesn’t grow on you the same way that Chewy’s roars do. I just didn’t like any of the allies from the get go. If they were less naive and a little more hardcore then that could be different, but at it stands, they needed more vigor and gusto.

The main villain is fairly decent. He’s a little on the generic side of course, but the main thing that matters is that he has a cool design and he can fight. He isn’t here to ask for help from the humans and he doesn’t back down to their threats either. His army is also pretty intelligent and there was a pretty big shock moment towards the end as the villains took the ship. It’s a good thing the heroes are in a place that houses a legendary weapon with an unknown power. I can definitely buy into that twist and I wouldn’t even call it all that plot haxed. Well…okay, there was plot hax involved.

Now, I can buy the fans figuring out the true purpose of the device, but how? The explanations in the film that were given were unsatisfying to be honest and this may be a parody, but I still want to know how the deux ex machinas are known to the general public. It was great to see the fans getting their props and it proves my age old theory that sometimes the fans know the characters better than the writers. A little plot hax never hurt anyone and it doesn’t hurt the film either, but it’s something to think about. Hopefully the main characters will keep this in mind the next time they have a press conference.

A sequel dealing with the fallout from this film could also be fun. After all, they probably suspect that aliens exist now since a spaceship was launched in the middle of the awards and Jason actually disintegrated an alien. It’s easy to play off the alien as a trick, but the spaceship? I don’t think so. A sequel with the government recruiting the cast into their space program to fight off some invaders would be pretty hype even if a reboot is probably more likely at this point.

Overall, Galaxy Quest is a decent parody. It certainly has its flaws, but I’d still call it a “decent” film in the end. This is a classic one and done film as you’ll never need to re watch it. It has enough solid moments to keep it afloat and Alexander definitely steals the show even if you end up feeling bad for the fans at some points. They didn’t ask for this! They just wanted to have a good time, but they really took a verbal beating at times. The romance can be iffy and the characters can be dicey, but the film never goes too far with these points. The part that made this film get to a 5 was the alien allies and I think they were just enough to tip it down. It all adds up of course, but they were the main culprits. I could recommend this to you all to watch, but you may be better off checking out Star Trek Into Darkness! That film has the right blend of action and hype!

Overall 5/10

5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

2010 The Year We Made Contact Review

“It’s full of stars” is something that you probably said as you finished 2001: A Space Odyssey a while back, but little did we know that the line would be used to death in this film. It’s probably said like 5-10 times in the film. No worries, it’s a decent line….but it doesn’t really mean anything. Think of it as a red herring and then back away to the plot. This film plays is straight as opposed to the last one and it’s actually a decent film. It was much better than I could have hoped and it fixed just about all of the problems from the first film.

For starters…well, let’s talk about the plot first. Dave and his crew died/vanished so now Earth is sending in a new fleet. The Americans were slacking off a little this time so Russia builds the spaceship first. This means that three Americans have to join them on the journey. They are heading to where the black coffin was so that they can find the ship and get some answers. Once they restore Hal 9000, everything should be peachy..right? Let’s just say that the aliens are not done yet!

First of all, this film has no animal violence. That’s already a huge improvement from the first film. The start of this movie was so much more interesting that it was almost criminal. In the 5 seconds that 2001 needed to make me dislike the film, I was already getting ready for an epic adventure here. The difference between the two films is simply astounding and I’m proud of the fact that this film dared to be different from 2001. The beginning is very interesting because it plays out like a video game. We don’t know what happened to the previous crew, but the dialogue and pictures as pretty off so you suspect that aliens must have been involved.

To be honest, this is the kind of film that may be even more interesting if you had not seen the first film. The reason is that the beginning gets even more intriguing when they mention that the last line was “It’s full of Stars” before the hero vanished. That really hints that something major is going to happen. Unfortunately, the film drops the ball there, but we’ll get into that in a moment.

The film still doesn’t have the problem of being dragged out. A lot of the scenes simply last a little longer than they should and it’s noticeable. The dinner scene is definitely guilty of this as well as most of the space scenes. Even the beginning as the film recaps the last one, the text goes a little slower than necessary. Of course, it’s not nearly as bad as it could have been so this isn’t much of a negative.

After watching this film, I’m confident that the black coffin shaped objects are spaceships. The film alludes to this in one of the scenes as they believe that the aliens are warning them away from the planet. When you attempt to land on the object with hostile intent, then they simply blast you away with a cool energy blast. At the end of the film, all of the black objects head to one of the planets and the aliens claim that they will be peaceful so long as we never try to set foot there. I trust them about as much as I can throw the aliens, but there’s not much that the humans can do at this point. That being said, in the after ending scene, we see that one of the objects has stayed on Earth. Looks like the Extinction of humanity may be sooner than we had figured eh? It’s always a little sad to see the humans look so outmatched, but it’s not as frustrating as usual since we don’t actually see the aliens kick them around.

That being said, it is also pretty sad that we don’t get to see the aliens. We only see one of their people and it is the newly awakened Dave who comes to greet the heroes. It seems like his mind has been absorbed by the collective so he still remembers everything, but he is not actually Dave. His persona tries to emerge several times, but he has lost this battle. He definitely shouldn’t have decided to use the portal eh? His fate was certainly not pleasant, but at least he warns the heroes to leave. He was allowed to by the rulers….or so he says.

It’s fun to see Hal 9000 back on the big screen. He still seems like a likable character and the plot twist is pretty interesting. Was he really a bad guy? The film implies that he isn’t, but it’s still pretty intriguing to think about based on what happened last time. I like to think that he is still evil and he just let the humans live this time, but it’s definitely something to think about.

You may be wondering why I have not really mentioned the humans yet. Well, that’s because they really are not of much consequence this time around. The human sub plot simply isn’t very interesting and nothing really happens. The Russians and Americans learn to team up while they are stranded in space, but none of them ever become really good characters. I liked the overweight politician from the beginning, but then he was written out of the film before he really got to make some waves. The main guy isn’t bad, but he’s just pretty generic. Hal’s creator is someone that you probably don’t want to trust and the Engineer is afraid of heights. They’re not a bad crew and they do manage to avoid the romance angle, but that’s about all that I can say for them.

We don’t get any intense visuals like last time, but it’s certainly worth the trade off. Not a lot happens during the film, but it’s a pretty interesting ride while you’re experiencing it. It’s not the kind of film that I would care to watch again, but it wasn’t a bad film. It really made no mistakes and the one reason why I can’t give it a positive rating is because there wasn’t much to it. Not doing anything wrong can be tough, but it’s also important to do something right as well. Throwing in some actual aliens or some more likable characters could have helped push this to a 6. Still, compared to the first film, a 5 definitely isn’t bad.

Overall, 2010 is a pretty good sequel. It’s one of the few sequels that can say that it easily smashed the original. You have to admit that this is serious bragging rights when you really think about it. The atmospheare of the film is also a lot more intense than 2001’s as it feels like a horror/thriller at some points. When the aliens are typing “All your worlds…” a certain line will likely come to mind. Unfortunately, what they wrote wasn’t very cool, but it was still a moment where you may have to take a step back from the intensity of the film. I recommend checking this out if you want to see a dialogue based sci-fi film. It can be interesting just don’t expect the aliens to show up. On the other hand, I would sooner recommend renting Centipede Infestation for the Wii so that you can play it over the weekend.

Overall 5/10