Saturday, January 25, 2014

Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) review


This final addition to the Star Wars saga is a definite crowd-pleaser for all fans of the franchise. The action, story, and emotion is fully driven so that it sucks you in very easily. It doesn't reach the emotional heights of the classics, but it ties the whole story in together.

PLOT:Since the last battle on Geonosis, the clone wars have only gotten more intense. The droid army, under the control of Count Dooku (Christopher Lloyd) and the half-droid, half-alien, General Grievous (Matthew Wood), has gotten more of a threat with new technologies forming often. After Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) is kidnapped by the droid army, fully-grown Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and wise Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) must rescure him from the hands from evil. However, once this is done, the remaining Sith threats must be hunted down and destroyed by the Jedi. Obi-Wan is sent to track down General Grievous on planet Utapau, while Anakin stays on Coruscant to keep the Chancellor safe and protect his pregnant wife, Senator Padme (Natalie Portman), who he's been having bad dreams about. The war is looking up until Anakin starts finding out important information about his wife's fate and the Chancellor's excessive knowledge of the dark side. Little does everyone know that an evil plan is unfolding to the Sith Lord's liking that could be the end of the Jedi. It's a great plot executed excellently.


ACTING:The performances in this Star Wars were excellent as well. Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen played off each other's dialogue perfectly, playing a top-notch job of Anakin and Obi-Wan. The best performances aside from our two leads would have to be from Natalie Portman as Padme, Ian McDiarmid as Chancellor Palpatine, Frank Oz as Yoda, and Matthew Wood as General Grievous. These performances were some of the best in the movie aside from the main duo. I was really convinced, drawn in, and linked with the emotions the actors succeeded at creating. There really wasn't a bad performance throughout the whole movie. The minor characters I have to give a mention to would be Temuera Morrison as Commander Cody and Amy Allen as Aayla Secura.

SCORE:The score in this Star Wars is one of the best out of the new ones. Every track was either greatly reminiscent of the original Star Wars films or a new, epic theme to capture the emotion greatly, as did the track, "Battle of the Heroes". I have to give credit to John Williams for taking this film franchise and making the music from it so memorable and so good.

EFFECTS:The effects in this Star Wars had to have been the best effects of all of the prequels. The planets looked more realistically detailed, the battles looked more smooth and epic, the lightsaber combat seemed way more realistic, and the newer alien creatures and Jedi, such as General Grievous, looked cooler and more futuristic. The effects in here must have taken a long time to do, for everything is either beyond our time or unreal. I give credit for the effects team for making this movie so out there.

OTHER CONTENT:This Star Wars is definitely the one to end it all. Compared to its two predecessors, this one has little to no major flaws in its production. The action is lively and exciting, the story is focused on more, and the emotional impact in this one is more enhanced and serious than that of its predecessors. George Lucas really decided to buckle down with the making of this epic Star Wars conclusion. The heights of this Star Wars prequel conclusion may not reach the heights of the original trilogy in iconic imagery and classic-style film-making, but this Star Wars does its job to entertain all audiences.

OVERALL,an awesome Star Wars with and great plot, excellent performances, epic score, realistic and futuristic effects, exciting action, a more focused story, and a larger emotional impact, however, this one had yet to reach the heights of the original trilogy in film-making skill.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones (2002) review


Most fans see this as a major improvement over its predecessor. However, this addition to the franchise happens to be my least favorite. The acting is bland for the first half of the movie, the script's an awful letdown, and a lot of the movie just feels lazy. However, when the love story, character studies, and epic battles start to kick in, the movie picks up with a near saving grace.

PLOT:After an attempt to assassinate Senator Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and the now-grown Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) are assigned on a mission to guard her from any further disruption. However, Skywalker's rebellious attitude toward life brings the two into a hunt for the potential killer, believed to be a bounty hunter named Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison). In the search, Anakin takes Padme back to her home planet of Naboo for refuge, and Obi-Wan investigates the mystery planet of Kamino, where an unauthorized clone army is being made in the Jedis' favor. Within the investigation, Obi-Wan becomes captured by the evil Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) and finds out about his plans for the dark side. Also, Anakin and Padme start falling in love with each other: something forbidden to the Jedi way. With the making of a clone army, the capture of Obi-Wan, and the young rebellion in Anakin's heart, it is evident the clone wars are about to start and the fate of the Jedi is locked in. It's a great plot executed decently.

ACTING:The acting in here is pretty okay. For the first half of the movie, I felt the acting was lazily done. I felt like the actors weren't really feeling their performances until about halfway through the movie. Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen didn't pick up their performances as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker for a little bit. Most of the actors appeared this way, but when they really got into their roles, the performances turned out excellent. Some of the best performances in this movie would have to be from Natalie Portman as Padme, Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, Frank Oz as Yoda, Christopher Lee as Count Dooku, Pernilla August as Shmi Skywalker, and Ian McDiarmid as Chancellor Palpatine. After the acting picked up, the performances became pretty well done.

SCORE:The score in this Star Wars, still composed by John Williams, is mainly composed of borrowed themes with the exception of a few new and unique themes. The score was pretty alright in this one.

EFFECTS:The effects in this Star Wars have to be some of the best yet. The effects of the great battles between the droids and the clones as well as the details put into the several new and different aliens, such as the Geonosians and the Kaminoans, were brilliantly done. I was really impressed with the effects in this Star Wars.

OTHER CONTENT:This Star Wars movie just seemed to be a great letdown to me. There were many good moments to it, however. The battle scenes, love story, and character study of Anakin really brought the movie together. The battle contains roaring, exciting action, the love story is excellently detailed, and the character study of Skywalker's dark heart is a key part in the overall story with most of the emotion emanating from it. Besides the acting problem, the script was a major kill point for me. The script at a lot of the parts in the movie just seemed too silly, especially the banter between C-3PO and R2-D2 on Geonosis. The script just ruined a lot of the movie for me, as did the lazy feeling of the first half of the movie. The first half of the movie feels lazily done. From the beginning up to either Anakin's search for his mother or the execution on Geonosis seemed fairly lazy. The effects there seemed not as creative, and the acting at that moment seemed to follow. Also, the movie feels very derivative at some points where you can tell they borrowed another movie's cliche. I'm sure most fans of the franchise will disagree with me on all of these points, but I can't help feeling this movie was just pretty out of it for the most part.

OVERALL,a neutral-feeling movie with a great plot, slow-to-pick-up performances, alright score, exciting action, detailed love story, and a key character study drawing the story together, however, the script was ridiculous for the most part, the first half of the movie felt underdone, and several cliches in here felt familiar.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace (1999) review


Most Star Wars fans really dislike this addition to the series, but I actually enjoy it a bit. The movie is quite problematic with more entertainment value than deep emotion or story, but I find it to be a good start to the prequels. The effects, score, and memories this withholds for me make it all worthwhile in the end.

PLOT:When the galactic Trade Federation cuts all trade routes to the planet Naboo, two young Jedi are sent to negotiate the disagreements out. These Jedi include the young apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson). However, when the Trade Federation becomes hostile under the Sith Lord's rule and starts sending battle droids to invade the planet, the Jedi must act and save Queen Amidala (Keira Knightley), the Naboo leader. Along the way, the Jedi meet many faces, including Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best), a clumsy Gungan from Naboo; and young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), a very skilled boy from Tatooine with much hidden power in the force. With these small alliances made, the Jedi and Queen decide it's time to act and fight back against the Trade Federation, freeing them of their treaty idea and freeing them for all trade. It's a decent plot executed fairly well.

ACTING:The acting in this movie is fairly good. There are some good and bad performances. The best performances would have to be from Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson as the wise Jedis, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn. These two seemed to play the best parts as the movie's leaders. Keira Knightley, Natalie Portman, and Ray Park also played excellent roles as Queen Amidala, Padme, and Darth Maul. The return of original actors Anthony Daniels, Ian McDiarmid, Kenny Baker, and Frank Oz for C-3PO, R2-D2, Chancellor Palpatine, and Yoda was pretty awesome as well. The voice acting was about as good as the live acting here in some cases.

SCORE:The score here is brilliantly done by the great composer, John Williams. Williams takes this Star Wars movie's score and turns it into a beautiful thing, from intense battle themes to calm and curious compositions, with "Duel of the Fates" being the key track in the movie's soundtrack. Williams seemed to really do a great job on this one.

EFFECTS:The effects in this Star Wars movie are actually really great. The visual effects of the planets from Naboo to Coruscant are very well done; I have to say the Naboo city is one of the most beautiful fictional cities I've ever seen. The effects of the aliens, also, from Jar Jar to Sebulba, and even to Boss Nass and the battle droids. Along with the score, the effects would have to be one of the best things about this movie.

OTHER CONTENT:Most fans seem to hate this addition to the Star Wars canon, but I actually like this one a good bit. The movie may have not much of an exciting plot, some apparently annoying performances, and a completely different feeling from the original trilogy, but this seems to start off an entirely new generation to the Star Wars franchise. This was the first Star Wars I ever saw, and I have to admit, it has stuck with me throughout my childhood and entire life. I just like the way George Lucas did everything; however, the lack of emotion and a tangible plot seemed to throw the movie into a bit of dismay. This Star Wars is very problematic, but it has stuck with me so long, I could hardly care.

OVERALL,a good Star Wars movie with a decent plot, fairly good performances, brilliant score, really great effects, and many childhood memories, but the plot isn't very tangible, some performances can grow annoying, and the feeling the original gave is completely lost.  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) review


This last installment of the original Star Wars trilogy is very entertaining with great original effects, some very well done dialogue, and a great bit of emotion from the performers. However, this one feels less serious as compared to its predecessors.

PLOT:After Han Solo is frozen in carbonite and given to alien gangster, Jabba the Hutt, newly-trained Jedi Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) plans to trade Jabba his droids, C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) for Solo's life. However, Jabba takes the droids without releasing Solo. Soon after, Leia (Carrie Fisher) sneaks in undercover as a bounty hunter and ends up getting captured herself. Young Skywalker is forced to break into Jabba's palace and rescue Leia, Solo, Chewbacca, and the droids. After the group reunites, they have to worry about the newly-rebuilt Death Star, targetting the rebel base on the forest moon of Endor. Aside from that, Luke has to, as told by Yoda (Frank Oz), confront Darth Vader (David Prowse/James Earl Jones) and defeat him along with his master, the evil Emperor (Ian McDiarmid). Luke must learn the Jedi way of overcoming hate and being strong to truly become a Jedi master, all the while saving the galaxy from the Imperial Empire. It's a great plot executed greatly.

ACTING:The performances in this film are very good. They're almost better than the work done in this film's predecessor. The best performances would have to be from Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, David Prowse and James Earl Jones as Darth Vader, Ian McDiarmid as the Emperor, Frank Oz as Yoda, Tim Rose as Admiral Ackbar, and Toby Philpott as Jabba the Hutt. I really liked the speech between Hamill, McDiarmid, and Jones in the final scenes, as well as the speech between Oz and Hamill earlier on in the film. All of these performances are very well done overall, with only a couple falling performances, like that of Billy Dee Williams as Lando. He didn't seem to act as well in this one.

SCORE:The score in this Star Wars film actually has to be my favorite out of the old trilogy's. The score here appeared to be John Williams' best of the old trilogy. More harmony and ensemble-like pieces enhanced the emotion way more than any of the previous films' scores did.

EFFECTS:The effects in this film (that weren't added in for the new trilogy edition) were really cool and well done for their time, as well as fairly realistic. The effects of Jabba and his crew of creatures like Bib Fortuna and the Rancor looked fairly cool for the time being. Also, the Ewoks and speeder effects on Endor looked pretty decent too. I really like what they did with all of the explosions in this one. They seemed way more hyped-up than usual. The new effects, however, of the new Anakin, the band in Jabba's palace, and the alternate ending made the film feel more fake and not as authentic as it originally did. The alternate ending itself was pretty okay, but it just didn't feel the same.

OTHER CONTENT:This film was a very good ending to the original trilogy, but it wasn't as well crafted as its predecessor, with more entertainment value than cinematic excellence. I found myself entertained throughout the whole thing, but the stops in the middle with intelligent dialogue and meaningful moments seem a little too far out of place as compared to the rest of the film. It seems that this second sequel adds more action to substitute for the meaningful, true cinematic charm. The film, nevertheless, is a fitting end to the trilogy, putting a good feeling in the viewers perspective.

OVERALL,a great Star Wars film with a great plot, very good performances with some falling, more emotional score, cool original effects with okay new effects, plenty of entertaining moments, and intelligent dialogue, however, the dialogue and cinematic charm the film's predecessor had is replaced with entertainment value.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) review


This sequel to the first Star Wars installment is much more developed than its predecessor. More character development, visionary direction, nostalgic and iconic moments, and a more involving story leave the viewer more stunned as they get sucked into the world of Star Wars.

PLOT:Since the rebel base has been found on Yavin's moon, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and the other rebels move shop to the snowy planet of Hoth. However, a probe finds the rebel base, causing the remainders of the Empire and the surviving Darth Vader (David Prowse/James Earl Jones) to invade and attack Hoth. Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Chewbacca and the droids load up in the Millennium Falcon and head for safety, with an idea of peace in Cloud City. Luke, however, takes R2-D2 and heads to Dagobah, a swamp system as foretold by the spirit of Ben Kenobi. Ben tells Luke that a retired Jedi warrior will be there to teach him. Luke finds short, green, and old alien Yoda (Frank Oz) as his mentor. While Han and the rest find solitude, Luke must train with Yoda to be a great Jedi warrior and defeat Darth Vader. However, some evil plots are going on in Cloud City, and more seems to be behind Luke's family history than he even knew. It's a good plot executed brilliantly.

ACTING:The performances in this film are great and even more improved over its predecessor. Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher all play excellently improved parts as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. Everybody did an improved job, from Prowse/Jones as Darth Vader to Anthony Daniels as C-3P0 and even to Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca. The introduction of new characters Yoda, Lando Calrissian and Boba Fett are also pleasant, excellently played by Frank Oz, Billy Dee Williams and Jeremy Bulloch. The performances in this film are just much more improved overall.

SCORE:The score in this film is about as great as its predecessor. John Williams borrows some themes, like the title, from the original and adds a few new in the middle. "The Imperial March" also seemed to be a nice touch throughout the film.

EFFECTS:The effects in this one aren't as well done or realistic, as stop-motion Taun-Tauns and puppet Yoda prove, but the set designs and other effects really made up for it. The set designs were pretty well crafted, as well as the effects for Luke's hand near the end of the film. Most effects were a fall, but the sets and latter effects made up for it.

OTHER CONTENT:This Star Wars film doesn't even need effects to keep it good and interesting. The added character development, love story, and many twists make the film work out even better. Much more character development is added from Luke and Vader's relationships to Yoda's relationship with Ben. A lot more is found out, causing some major twists. Even without the character development, several unexpected twists take place, swinging everything out of proportion. Also with the character development, a love story takes place between Solo and Leia that escalates into pure chemistry. Aside from all of this, the film also contains many iconic scenes and lines that make it nostalgic and memorable. Not one year has passed for me where I haven't heard an "I am your father" reference. This is one of the most well known Star Wars film in content, also accompanied by visionary direction by Irvin Kershner. Kerhner really took the film and put it on a different course, and I loved it.

OVERALL,an epic Star Wars film with a brilliant plot, great and improved performances, nice classic and new themes, mixed effects, more character development, many unexpected twists, a love story with great chemistry, iconic scenes and lines that everyone remembers, and visionary direction that improved the film.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Star Wars IV: A New Hope (1977) review


This really great start to the beloved and ever-famous franchise is actually a very exciting, interesting, and well-crafted sci-fi film with a lot of interesting perks to it.

PLOT:A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a great war was going on between the all-powerful Imperial empire and a group of rebels bent on keeping their freedom. Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) of Aalderon escapes to the Death Star, a great space station that can destroy planets whole, to stand up for the rebel forces. Leading this station is the evil Sith lord, Darth Vader (David Prowse/James Earl Jones). Leia manages to send out a cry for help and the space station's blueprints within droid R2-D2 (Kenny Baker). Accompanied by his counterpart, C-3P0 (Anthony Daniels), the two escape to sandy planet Tatooine where they are captured then bought by young Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and his family. While cleaning the droids, Luke finds Leia's cry for help to old Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi, a.k.a. old Ben Kenobi (Alec Guinness). After the Imperial forces land and slaughter Luke's family, Luke decides to join Ben and become a Jedi warrior like his father was. In looking for a transport, the two stumble upon in-debt Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his friend, the Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). In the great ship Millennium Falcon, the group head out on a mission to rescue the princess, protect the rebels, and crush the empire. It's an excellent plot executed greatly.

ACTING:The acting in this film was very top-notch. The best performances had to be mainly from James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Alec Guinness as Ben Kenobi, and Anthony Daniels as C-3P0. Every performance in the film is excellent, but these are the few that really convinced me. David Prowse also played a good job as the suit stand-in for Darth Vader. Aside from these I just mentioned previously, Kenny Baker as R2-D2, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, and Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin were also pretty good.

SCORE:The score in here is excellently done by the great John Williams. The themes in this film score have become well known, memorable, and very greatly composed, from the main title to Mos Eisley to the end title. I really enjoyed Williams' compositions in this film.

EFFECTS:The effects in this film (aside from the extras added in the trilogy edition) were really great for their time. The costumes, droids, and creatures all looked fairly real and creatively new.The original Star Wars effects were excellently done. for the time, from saber to blaster, and were more authentic then the added effects. The effects added in the trilogy edition were pretty cool, but threw me off. It didn't feel as original. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed the effects.

OTHER CONTENT:This sci-fi classic is more than just a blockbuster sci-fi flick with loads of new and creative action; it's also an excellent story with thought-out twists and turns and great performances. I loved almost every part about this film except for the interruption by the unoriginal trilogy scenes. I enjoyed watching them, but they didn't go with the flow of the original film. I prefer the authenticity of the original. Either way, this is a wonderfully crafted sci-fi.

OVERALL,an awesome sci-fi with an excellent plot, top-notch acting, excellent score, really great effects, a lot of action, an excellent story, and great performances all around, but the trilogy edition interrupts the authentic feel of the original's flow.