The Last Jedi

It can be a difficult task to write a review about something which expands on a source of childhood joy. When I thought about going to see this movie, the one thing I braced myself for was the idea that Luke would die as Obi-Wan did, or worse yet, as Darth Vader did. I couldn’t take an unfair death for Luke, I couldn’t accept it. It was my only worry heading into the theater.

Here is where the spoilers start, so if you’ve managed to get this far without experiencing any, please stop reading and go see the movie.

I needn’t have worried. To be honest the movie, which I expected to feel like The Empire Strikes Back, felt more like a Disney cartoon mini-series where we all learn lessons and are hopeful for the future. A bit early in this trilogy for that feel.

Poe learns a lesson about leadership!

Rey learns a lesson about balance!

Finn learns what matters!

Rose becomes a hero!

The children are our future!

Do you guys even remember how The Empire Strikes Back ended? Luke’s hand was sliced off, Han was frozen in carbonite, the rebellion was suffering, we’ve learned some very important information and been betrayed, we’ve met Yoda, we’re worried about Luke. I can only imagine how people cried out for episode 6. WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT OMGWTFBBQ!!!

This movie was all over the place. The side quests were distracting and confusing. Why is Brienne even in this series if we only see her like 3 times and is in that shiny suit the whole time? Is she even a villain? Who cares? Also who cares about Rey anymore? I 100% figured there was going to be a “my father is also your father” reveal in this movie and I was disappointed. Rey is 100% a Solo, whether she is Ben’s twin or younger sibling I’m not sureĀ  yet, but that knowledge has to be given to me in the next movie or I’m gonna be real mad. There is no cliffhanger in this movie like Empire. Everyone is together, everyone is safe, Luke’s story has come to a conclusion. What am I looking forward to in the next episode, the directors and writers dealing awkwardly with Leia? No thank you.

The brilliance in this movie is not in the new. To be honest none of the new characters stayed with me, and without seeing the movie again I would be unable to recount their antics with any reliable detail. The brilliance in this movie is in the old favorites. Mark Hamill provides us with some of his best acting here. I loved the conflict in him in dealing with his failure. He’s not only failed Ben, Leia, and Han, but he’s failed all the Jedi that came before him. He cannot live with this, and so he exiles himself, cuts himself off from the Force, and resolves to die angry and alone. I see you Luke.

Rey comes, of course, but her persistence isn’t what wins Luke over as we expect. She leaves to help her friends and face Kylo Ren, much like Luke does in The Empire Strikes Back after they escape from Hoth. What changes Luke’s mind is a visit from Yoda. This encounter is hands down the best part of the entire movie. Yoda’s wisdom, his reminder to Luke that failure is the best teacher, his recognition that yes, Luke did mess up, but he should have learned from it and continued to do, for there is no try – all of it just washed over me as clearly as a sermon in a church might. I cried because it was like Yoda was talking to me. Sometimes to move forward, we just need someone to look at us and say “It’s gonna be okay, everybody fucks up. It’s whether or not you learn from it and move forward as a better person that matters.”

Luke’s re-acceptance of the Force and his journey to face Kylo Ren, protect Leia, and the rebellion is everything. It was just everything he was capable of and more. He was the Jedi I dreamed he would become after Return of the Jedi. He was strong and clever and finally one with the Force. And I cried again when he disappeared into the wind, having cemented his legend and the fact that the Jedi may be gone, but the spirit of that old religion lives on. I left the theater wanting nothing more than the requisite amount of midichlorians in my system so I could be a Jedi. I left wishing that Luke and I had been given more time.

This movie was a mixed bag with gems hidden throughout that were bright enough to make up for the parts that were dull. Go and see it because you have to, it’s Star Wars for crying out loud, but when you’re done ask yourself, “Do I really need an Episode 9”? The answer might surprise you.

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

pirates

Arrrr, there be spoilers ahead. No way around it, missy.

Pirates is always a fun movie to watch. Jack seems to be out of his depth or has no clue what is going on, and then somehow everything works out okay in the end and it turns out that he knew what was going on all along. This movie doesn’t stray too far from that formula with a few exceptions.

First, instead of Will Turner (who is now the captain of the Dutchman in place of Davey Jones), we have his son Henry Turner who is determined to free is father of the curse that is upon him. This alone is a weird thing, because I thought that someone had to captain the Dutchman to lead souls to the afterlife. If I remember correctly it wasn’t a curse, just a job, and Jack did it to save his life. Initially Jack was going to stab the heart and live forever but because Will was so badly wounded and wouldn’t survive, he took his hand with a knife and stabbed the heart instead. So curse? Not really. It’s an ancient agreement – that was my first big problem with the storyline.

Second was this situation with Barbossa’s daughter. UGH. U. G. H. So she holds the secret to some secret island that will reveal the location of the trident of Poseidon which, when broken, would also break all curses that have ever been cast by or apply to the sea. Ooooooookay. *rolls eyes* Now, I ~heart eyes~ Geoffrey Rush, so seeing him sacrifice himself for her was really sad, but then I was like, “No, you don’t get to pull in a daughter I have never heard of and try to twist my emotions, that’s bullshit.”

Lastly, the story follows Jack but he’s not even really the main character. He doesn’t really do anything in this movie, which is a sharp departure from the past movies. Javier Bardem is chasing him, similar to how Jack was being hunted by Davey Jones, but I just didn’t care about that so much because it felt so much like a rerun. Also why was Javier Bardem’s character cursed instead of just dead? To many new characters and backstories needed, and not enough time to help us understand.

This movie was fun, but it was also like watching a franchise die a very sad death, gasping for one last breath, one last money grab before we should probably put it out of its misery.

This movie gets 2 stars and 5 giant shrugs from me. But Disney got my money so everybody wins, I guess.

Tale as Old as Time

I’m not using any pics on this because Disney would basically ruin me, so I apologize for the lack of visual involvement. I promise to be brief.

Since I’m not done with Empress of a Thousand Skies yet, mostly because work and school together are making my brain melt a la Raiders of the Lost Ark, I did want to come by and let you know that I went to see the live action Beauty and the Beast. “But Amanda, why weren’t you reading?” “I WAS, I BROUGHT SCARLET TO READ BEFORE THE PREVIEWS YOU JUDGMENTAL MONSTERS.” PS I love you keep coming back to judge me and go follow Angry Angel Books on Facebook and Twitter.

Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite movies when I was young. A lot of Disney movies came out while I was a kid in those puffy VHS covers. So of course I went to the Cinebistro prepared to tear shit up because HOW COULD THIS BE BETTER WHO IS FUCKING WITH MY CHILDHOOD?

It was okay. I still maintain that it is unnecessary, just re-release the cartoon on special edition DVD or something, but since it’s here let’s talk about it.

THE GOOD
1. It was really pretty. Thanks CGI!
2. Some story additions were nice – Beast has daddy/mommy issues, Belle’s mom died and she doesn’t know how. The part of the original B&B where dad steals a rose and gets locked up is there. Belle knowing that they are all under a curse really dealt with all the haters that are like SHE’S IN LOVE WITH A BUFFALO – no she’s not, she understands that there is a man under there.
3. The voices were well chosen – Sir Ian McKellen as Cogsworth was A++ and I have so much love for Emma Thompson; she rocked Mrs. Potts.
4. GASTON – WHO DID THIS CASTING IT WAS FUCKING PERFECT
5. LAFOU – JOSH GAD IS A GOD HOLY COW WHO DID THIS SEND THEM AN EDIBLE ARRANGEMENT

THE BAD
1. The CGI was so crazy that sometimes it was painfully obvious that Emma Watson was looking at an empty table trying to appear amused at nothing.
2. Emma Watson’s singing was totally fine – on pitch, etc – but it was not enough. It reminded me of how I felt when Russell Crowe played Javert in Les Mis – he sang fine but it just wasn’t enough for Javert. Belle has thisĀ longing for more, and most of the time Emma Watson was like I WILL SING THIS SONG RIGHT and all the acting kind of stopped.
3. The timeline: Go see this movie and see if you can tell me how long Belle is at the palace. In the cartoon there is ~passage of time~ and we understand that they are interacting for probably a month? This movie lines it up so that at most she’s there for 48 hours. I’m sorry, that’s not enough time for (a) the Beast to stop being a dick and (b) Belle to fall in love with his softer side.

I also have to say that the way they did the ending made me cry. Mostly because the dog footstool basically dies with all feet in the air. IT WAS THE DOG FOOTSTOOL, not any of the human knick knacks – THE DOG DIDN’T ASK FOR THIS. But don’t worry everything is okay in the end. It’s Beauty and the Beast, so see it or don’t, whatever. I mainly saw it to judge and see if it was as good. It wasn’t, but it was enough to make it worth my while.