Friday, December 27, 2019

kenobi Fan Film

For a fan film, this is surprisingly good.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker


Star Wars fans are hard to please.  If you make a new Star Wars movie that is too much like any of the previous films, i.e. The Force Awakens, the fans complain that the movie just recycles old plots.  However, if a Star Wars film takes the franchise in new directions, i.e. The Last Jedi, fans complain that it messes with Star Wars canon and doesn't feel right.  When George Lucas made Star Wars movies, each film would visit new exotic locations, introduce new creatures, while presenting new ideas that quite frankly pissed off some of the fans.  I think that the Lucas-made Star Wars prequels were brilliant, but there was such a backlash to them that Lucas decided to get out of the Star Wars business altogether and sell the Lucasfilm company to Disney.  This is the problem with Star Wars movies: they are either repetitive, or they are original in ways that some of the hardcore fans can't accept.  To his credit, George Lucas was always original.  Not everyone liked his vision, but he always took each movie in a new direction.

When I saw the first Disney made Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, I felt uneasy afterward.  The movie is plenty entertaining, but I wrote that it felt like an imperfect imitation of a Star Wars film, like they almost got it right but not quite.  Had Lucas made the movie, it wouldn't have felt so familiar, but instead would have been different, and this would have displeased many people.  This is why The Last Jedi feels to me more like a real Star Wars film.  The movie was solely Rian Johnson's vision, and he made many questionable choices, but he did what Lucas would do, which is to take us to new exotic locations and introduce new ideas that we had not seen before.  However, about half the audience rejected the movie outright.  There was such a backlash to The Last Jedi that when the movie Solo came out six months later, hardly anybody went to see it.  Disney lost money on Solo, and reportedly there were serious discussions at Disney about how to fix this problem going forward.

One of the problems with The Rise of Skywalker is that it tries too hard to not piss anyone off.  It is loaded with crowd-pleasing moments, which makes it entertaining, but it is not very original.  Instead of introducing new ideas, new locations, and new creatures, everything is comfortably familiar.  The movie tries so hard to be crowd-pleasing that parts of it, especially toward the end, seem a little hokey.  The ending has a Return of The Jedi hokiness to it.

I'm not sure that the movie makes sense. They chose to bring back a character in a way that makes no sense at all, but this was probably the most entertaining choice they could have made.  There are many twists that are problematic, and the movie proceeds at such a frenetic pace and so much happens and so many characters come and go that it is hard to grasp it all.   Had this been a George Lucas film it would have taken time to develop a less complicated story.

The plot is not unlike a video game, where the heroes need to get to a location, but to get there they have find an item, and before they can find the item they have to complete a task, and then they have to complete a sub-task before they can complete the main task.  It is enough to make your head spin, and this doesn't quite feel like what a Star Wars movie should be.

On the plus side, the movie is beautifully made.

Because of all this, it is hard for me to take this film as seriously as I would other Star Wars movies.  It is not quite the payoff I had hoped for, although there is some payoff.  However, I don't think it matters.  It is a fast-paced well-made entertaining movie, so the audience just wants to ride with it.  It doesn't have to make sense; it just has to entertain and make money.

Rating: B+.

As of today, The Rise of Skywalker has a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  It deserves much better than this.


STAR WARS RISE OF SKYWALKER FIRST REACTION (Sad Jarbo Edition)

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The Mandalorian - Critical Response

Cats (2019) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Rise of Skywalker



I'm expecting good things from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. However, I also see a bunch of ways this could go wrong. It could be too campy, or it could be too serious, or it could just be ridiculous in the way it is implemented. Or it could just be a bad movie.

Part of the problem with Star Wars is that it is limited by its original source material. The sequel trilogy tried to take the franchise in new directions by introducing new ideas and killing off old characters, but this made people unhappy.

Kathleen Kennedy, head of LucasFilm, recently said that Star Wars is not like Marvel where it can get stories from decades of comic books. Huh? There is a huge Star Wars Expanded Universe with books and comics going back decades that has many rich stories. After the Disney takeover, they chose to disregard the Expanded Universe, but they are missing out on great source material.



Saturday, December 14, 2019

The Last Jedi

I'm not someone who was bent out of shape over The Last Jedi because Luke Skywalker and the film didn't match my preconceived notion of what they should be. I think that there is a pretty entertaining story there, and I am very much invested in the new characters. I think that much of the negativity is NOT deserved. However, I do blame Rian Johnson for what appears to be sloppiness in the writing and the direction. It makes the film feel like it has plotholes.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Midway

Seriously, why is 'Midway' only 43% on Rotten Tomatoes. I just saw it and thought it was fantastic. The style is kind of a mix of old fashioned war movie and modern war film.

I'm not the only one. The audience score is 92%.

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/midway_2019


Best wishes,

John Coffey

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Frozen II


The snow queen Elsa hears a voice calling her from the northern enchanted forest.  Elsa, along with her sister Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven travel north to uncover this mystery and a dark secret from their past.

I was pleasantly surprised that Frozen II is a musical, but I should have known this because the original Frozen surprised me in the same way.  At first, I was very impressed, but a couple of the later songs fall flat.  Overall the music is competent and does a good job of conveying the emotions of the characters, but none of the songs are particularly memorable, and none rise to the level of "Let It Go" or "Summer" from the first film.  I get the impression that the movie is trying very hard to reach the musical level of its predecessor, but falls short.

Visually this an amazing movie to look at.  The story is reasonably good, but it has the problem that it keeps promising a big payoff in the end because the characters are supposed to be journeying toward something wonderful, but the payoff is only just okay, which is what I suspected would happen.  The movie also throws in an environmental political message that seems a little out of place in a Disney film.  The story is also a bit convoluted because there are many storylines and characters to keep track of, so it wasn't clear to me if it all made sense.

Olaf, the snowman, is used for comic relief, and this works, but I found him more charming in the first movie.  Kristoff and Sven are also used as comic relief, but they feel underutilized because they had more important roles in the first film

Overall, Frozen 2 feels like a pretty good movie that is also visually very impressive, but it also feels like it didn't reach its full potential.

I think the problem with sequels is that it is hard to recapture the same magic.  Movies have release dates and production schedules that they have to meet, so the movies are only as good as they can make them in the time frame that they have.

Rating:  B+.