Review: Star Wars Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)

8

“Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. That’s the only way to become what you are meant to be.”
– Kylo Ren

SYNOPSIS: Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order. – via IMDB

Oh my gooooosh! I loved this. Yeah, I hear there is some hate, but there is a lot of love, too. I am one of those that thought this was really good. After The Force Awakens, I have been so amped to see where the story goes, and The Last Jedi totally rewarded for my excitement, for the most part (even with the little niggles).

Kylo Ren is baaaaack bitches, and he is freaking awesome! This is something my husband and I will debate for many years to come. This time around we get to see more of Adam Driver’s face and that gorgeous hair, and man, we totally got to explore more of his conflict. Imagine your legacy is Anakin and Luke Skywalker, the light side and the dark? Polar opposites. Imagine that you have been manipulated by someone and it was easy to do so because someone you trusted betrayed you (from what you could see), and you are a kid? Confusion! I love it. I could watch that battle rage forever.

There were new things introduced in this one, too. Kylo’s new plan  has definitely piqued my interest. War profiteering reared its head in here, too, so there was some social commentary on the go. I was so pleased to see BB-8 back in action, he is so adorable! Poe, too, is back in action. The Last Jedi brings up some really solid, strong moments for our female cast, and has some awesome action sequences, too. So it is great to watch like that. I quite enjoyed Beneicio del Toro’s appearance, and would like to see if he pops up again.

Let’s not deny that the movie had flaws – those freaking porgs annoyed me. Cute the first time you saw them, and then they were just jammed in all over the show. There is the super cheese between Finn and Rose, which also got a bit annoying quickly. Also, a lot of questions that JJ Abrams had set up in The Force Awakens were glibly answered here (I am hoping they go back and give us real, fleshed out answers, because if these are the answers, that is bitterly disappointing). Another thing, the story is not overly solid, and the pacing is a little off at times, but nothing too extreme. I was totally engrossed, even with the hiccups. I adore Andy Serkis, for reals, and I really wish there was more to Snoke than we eventually got – so short lived and a bit meh 😦

There is a lot of back and forth about Luke Skywalker and his role here. I expected to see more Luke Skywalker, and I didn’t think he would be quite so bitter and ready to end the Jedi lines like he has, though it brings up the notion that the Force is not just accessible by a small group of elite individuals. Not sure where this is going, but I will give them enough rope and see what they do with it. Anyway, it was strange to see him go the way he did, but I was really impressed with where his character went later on.

Continuing with unpopular opinion time, Rey is still a flat, bland, annoying character for me. I just don’t get the love man, not at all. Every time she was on screen, I felt like precious time was being wasted. I don’t like her, and it sucks that she is one of our new, major protagonists. Oh well. Also, the whole Skywalker legacy is something to wonder about – where are we going from here? I feel that the original characters have been handled a little more poorly than I expected, to be honest.

Ultimately, I still preferred Abrams’s The Force Awakens over this – it looked better, sounded better, and was handled better, though The Last Jedi is by no means a bad movie and does not deserve the hate being flung its way. There is a hell of a lot to like about it – it is fun, it is dark, there are some new concepts being introduced, and has plenty of action. I am seriously looking forward to watching it again sometime and seeing how it holds up. Maybe because I have mad Abrams love and want him to keep going with the story…

Rapid Review: Jurassic Park (1993)

13

jurassic park poster

“Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
– Dr Ian Malcolm

SYNOPSIS: Huge advancements in scientific technology have enabled a mogul to create an island full of living dinosaurs. John Hammond has invited four individuals, along with his two grandchildren, to join him at Jurassic Park. But will everything go according to plan? A park employee attempts to steal dinosaur embryos, critical security systems are shut down and it now becomes a race for survival with dinosaurs roaming freely over the island. – via IMDB

jurassic park

GRADE 8.5Ah, the joy, the love, this movie! I know you are all fans. Why? Because Jurassic Park. Do I need to elaborate? This was the things that dreams were made of as a kid. A dinosaur park? Count me in! Even if the T-Rex was on a munch mission, I still wanted to see it then, and I would still like to see it now, though I honestly don’t think I will be getting out of any vehicle, anywhere, and I won’t be travelling in something that is anything short of a tank. Why? That T-Rex. And anything that big. Any meatosaurus. I am not sticking around for that for longer than needs be. The raptors were also scary as hell, definitely dinosaurs to be afraid of to the nth degree. They are just too damn smart. Anyway, Jurassic Park is a right adventure, even with the kids all over the show. I thoroughly enjoyed Sam Neill here, his Alan Grant was just way cool. Then, of course, there was the rockstar Ian Malcolm, portrayed b y Jeff Goldblum. My biggest question? Why in the world did his chest need to be on full display for so long?! Other than that, he provided plenty laughs. There was Samuel L Jackson and his totally strange “hold on to your butts” line, and Richard Attenborough was a crazy old coot with huge, elaborate ideas that he certainly did not think through properly. Laura Dern was a very good Ellie – she was smart and worked hard, though goodness she could hanker after having kids! Besides that painfully obvious “she must be a woman” moments, she was sassy and she knew what she was doing, super capable and I liked that. Also, the way the entire concept was laid out in the beginning was great – concise, fast, let’s you know what’s happening without inundating you with an overkill of information, and then you are good to go. The deliberate setup worked wonders, too, because you really get involved with discovering this amazing new world with the crew. Jurassic Park is just magical. There is so much work that went into it, and it is extremely obvious, and it comes together well. The movie also holds up wonderfully 22 years later. Steven Spielberg just understands how to realise adventure movies, and this was no exception. It was fun and it was intense, because the movie is set up in such a way that you never really know if anyone is safe. There is so much tension and doubt about everything, which keeps you on the edge of your seat, and the dinosaurs themselves look fantastic so you very easily get sucked in and see how quickly they can go from fascinating to terrifying. John Williams scored this wonderfully, too, and his music just rounded this out, as his scores always do. They always contribute to the films they are in – always so super memorable. Obviously I really loved this, everything about it was fantastic – the concept, the implementation, the dinosaurs, the terrifying situations, all of it gives us an immensely fun and enjoyable adventure film.

Review: The Fault In Our Stars (2014)

43

the fault in our stars poster

“I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”
– Augustus Waters

Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) has cancer, and she has been nothing but terminal her whole life. Her mother, Frannie (Laura Dern), is convinced that Hazel is depressed, and her doctor agrees. Hazel is also forced to go to a support group, which she absolutely hates but goes to because it makes her parents happy. Hazel is sure that she is never going to be a regular teenager, and has sort of come to terms with that. However, one day at group, she meets the insanely gorgeous and witty Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort). She thinks he is gorgeous, but that she doesn’t stand a chance. Augustus has survived his cancer, though it was at the cost of his leg. After group Augustus makes it clear to Hazel that he likes her and that he finds her beautiful, and she feels herself getting reeled in by him. Her mother, naturally, is happy that she is making friends. Visiting at Augustus’s house after group, she tells him about her favourite book, An Imperial Affliction, and he vows to read it if she reads a novelisation of his favourite video game.

the fault in our stars meeting gus

“Even though you have freaking cancer, you are willing to give money to corporation for a chance to acquire even more cancer? Let me just assure you that not being able to breathe? Sucks. Totally disappointing. Totally.” – Hazel Grace Lancaster

Hazel soon becomes sad when Augustus does not contact her, and she starts to think that it was just something to fade away, a great afternoon. Augustus finally talks to her about her book, something he enjoyed immensely. Their mutual friend Isaac (Nat Wolff) has just been broken up with by his girlfriend Monica (Emily Peachey), just before he is to go in for eye cancer and lose his eyesight completely. Hazel and Augustus bond some more. Augustus contacts Peter Van Houten (Willen Dafoe), author of  An Imperial Affliction, to ask him some questions about what happened. He is not given answers, but Hazel is thrilled by the fact that Augustus contacted Van Houten. She, too, sends a mail to the address, and soon receives a reply that Van Houten cannot answer her questions via email, but should she ever find herself in Amsterdam she should pop by. Hazel desperately wants to go, though she is very ill and her mother and father, Michael (Sam Trammell), cannot afford it. Hazel lets it go, but Augustus won’t. He contacts the Genies and uses his wish for them: get them to Amsterdam to meet with Van Houten so that he can answer all their questions pertaining to the end of his book.

the fault in our stars gus and hazel

“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world…but you do have some say in who hurts you.” – Augustus Waters

Hazel gets really sick before the trip, ending up in the ICU. Augustus cannot see her, and she is crushed when the doctors tell her the Amsterdam trip is most certainly off. Hazel starts to avoid Augustus, which hurts him. She does not want to cause him heartbreak, she knows that she is going to die and refuses to be responsible for his pain. Ultimately, though, she and Augustus see each other again, and he makes it abundantly clear that he does not give a damn whether she thinks she is a grenade that will hurt him or whatever, he wants to spend time with her, even if she is only willing to be friends. As a surprise, Hazel finds out that the Amsterdam trip is back on, and she is thrilled. In Amsterdam she irrevocably falls in love with Augustus, forgetting about the grenade theory, accepting that they both might hurt each other. In Amsterdam, though, things don’t go as planned because Van Houten turns out to be an absolute douchebag and a let down, Hazel and Augustus get closer than ever, and some dark secrets spill out between them, crushing both of them. Hazel has been so focused on the fact that she is sick that is never occurred to her that Augustus may get sick again, that they both may end up terminal.

the fault in our stars eggs

“The world is not a wish-granting factory.” – Augustus Waters

Why was Van Houten so terrible? What will Hazel do now that something she has always loved has turned out to be so tainted? Is their trip to Amsterdam ruined because of the jerky author? Will Hazel and Augustus be able to make the best of the time that they have together? Now that they are back to both fighting cancer, will Augustus overcome his a second time? How long will Hazel be able to go on before finally succumbing to her disease?

the-fault-in-our-stars02

“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” – Hazel Grace Lancaster

GRADE 8This was a very good adaption of the book, so any fear I had of that being messed with has been allayed. Let me put it out there, I too, like Cara, am a stone cold bitch. Nary a tear in sight from me, and that is okay. The rest of the theatre was snivelling, but that is not what I was there for. I was there to see Hazel Grace and Augustus brought to screen, and let me tell you that I was not disappointed in the slightest. Shailene Woodley was a fantastic Hazel, and she did wonders with the material. Ansel Elgort, however, stole the whole show for me. He is the most perfect actor to have cast to play the amazing and weak-knee-inducing Augustus Waters. He had the attitude, the smile, he had it all working for him. There are other cast members that need some shine, too, such as Nat Wolff, who was just a brilliant Isaac, and Sam Trammell and Laura Dern for playing Hazel’s parents Michael and Frannie perfectly. I do wish that Isaac had been given more screen time, he was a simply hilarious character and I thought he was wonderfully cast. I was not a fan of the soundtrack (sorry, but really, really cheesy, though I guess it is exactly what it needs to be, given the type of film), but it was used only when required. I enjoyed the way the film was shot, subtly, with things being emphasised where necessary, but not shoving it down your throat. Some of the humorous scenes from the book were perfectly captured here, which was a joy. Just in case you missed it somehow, I really despise romance movies and chick flicks and all, and this may tick all those boxes, I must also say that this was a story that I fell in love with when I read the book. There was a bit that was cut out of the book when the film was made, but nothing as daunting as the major butchering of things such as Harry Potter (just saying). They did not detract from the story, though I wish that more was done to hint at Augustus and what was to come, etc. Needless to say, it is worth the watch.