Friday, July 3, 2015


10 years ago this past May was the tenth anniversary of STAR WARS: REVENGE OF THE SITH. Hard to believe it, but life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.

This was going to be the final Star Wars movie, again. By the release of Episode III the prequels had their haters. But love em or hate em, the premiere of the “final” Star Wars was and always will be a communal thing. A gathering of fans young and old, a celebration of everything Star Wars. Standing in line we didn't talk about our favorite moments from the prequels, we discussed what makes Star Wars special to us.

To this day the line for Episode III holds the record for most crowded line that I've waited for a movie in. 4 auditoriums all sold out.

If I had to choose a favorite prequel then I'd pick STAR WARS: REVENGE OF THE SITH. It has it's problems just like the other two films but I find it the most re-watchable of the three. Thanks in large part to the highly recommended television series STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS. The most Star Wars-ish thing concerning the Prequels. Yeah it's a cartoon, but the spirit of Star Wars is in full swing.

Pretty much what I don't like about the Prequels remains to be true in this film. The overabundance of lightsabers, Sith using lightsabers, bad dialogue, and dumbing down the story for kids. Some new criticisms are the Wookie planet, and not just bad, but terrible dialogue.

In fear of just repeating popular criticisms about this film, I am just going to highlight some criticisms that myself and some friends have developed over the years.

With the help of Red Letter Media and long discussions about Star Wars with friends and fellow peers, I've come to the belief that Siths using lightsabers is dumb. You never see The Emperor use one at the end of RETURN OF THE JEDI. In fact he mocks the weapon of a Jedi. The only reason Darth Vader uses one is because he used to be a Jedi.

Wouldn't it have been more bad ass if Palpatine had just used The Force and Force Lightning when Mace Windu and some Jedi came to arrest his? And while we're on this topic. Wasn't the death of Mace Windu some of the most awkward acting and terrible dialogue in the history of a Star Wars film?

It took 22 years but George Lucas finally got to put Wookie planet in a Star Wars film. 22 years and a whole lot of nothing. Be sure to buy your Episode III Chewbacca action figure today! To be fair, I understand that after THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK it's always been about action figures. Just ask George. And every kids first favorite Star Wars character is a Chewbacca.

What was destined to be my favorite lightsaber duel, Anakin Skywalker vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi , turned out to be cool but a little too choreographed for my taste. Unless it was to signify that they are equal in skill? But I highly doubt it.

So what did I like in STAR WARS: REVENGE OF THE SITH?

George Lucas has always said he is a visual storyteller. One of my favorite scenes in the film is when Mace Windu tells Anakin to go back to his quarters and wait for further instructions while he goes to arrest Palpatine on charges of being a Sith Lord. Anakin can't stand this while he broods in his apartment. Across the way in another building is his wife Padme. The two have a connection. You see, Anakin has foreseen the death of Padme and Palpatine is the only one who can “save her”. It's a nice quite scene and you can see the emotion of Anakin betraying the Force and trusting his feelings instead! I loved the scene in the theater and still love it today!

But my favorite scene has to be the opera house scene. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine has invited Anakin to the opera. While watch the performance Palpatine proceeds to tell Anakin a story about a Sith Lord who had the power to keep one from dying. Both actors do an excellent job. Anakin, already broken by the dark side is easily manipulated by the Supreme Chancellor's story.

So when it comes to revisiting the Prequels I'd rather just watch the cartoon series and this movie. The other two Prequels become dull to watch, especially Episode II.

Now that I've finished talking about Episodes I, II, and III it's time talk about the films that really matter. The original trilogy. And I cannot wait! Expect these not to come out so soon because I want to re-watch them and say all that I want to say about them.

Stay tuned and may the Force be with you!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


If I had to describe what I thought of TERMINATOR: GENISYS in one word, the word that I would choose is 'unnecessary'.

Once I saw the teaser trailer for this new Terminator movie, I was on board. I liked the look of the movie and how they were changing up classic moments from the original. The idea of multiple T-800's in 1984 sounded cool to me. But then I saw another trailer, and the more trailers I saw the less enthusiastic I became.

Last night I went to go see the new Terminator film. For months I was on the fence about this one because of the latest trailers, but those doubts went away because of one certain promotion. James Cameron, director of the original endorsed TERMINATOR: GENISYS. And apparently his opinion was not bought and paid for. Which I hope is true, because I have a hard time believing that the director of the most successful Smurfs movie of all time really liked this movie? Because TERMINATOR: GENISYS sucks!

The convoluted plot due to the time travel and alternate time lines makes the Cameron films seem like perfect movies. I'm not kidding, trying to make sense of everything in TERMINATOR: GENISYS is enough to make your head explode. Thus leaving the film simple sound and fury. Some of the action scenes are cool but in the grand scheme of things like say plot, they don't make any sense.

One of the things I was looking forward to the most was why and how does Sarah Connor have a T-800 helping her in 1984! Who sent it? John Connor? Why is it good? And why did it show up in 1972? Was it because "Pops" (Yes, Sarah calls the T-800 Pops) went too far back it time? None of this crap is answered!

The reason this and a whole bunch of other things never get answered is because we're dealing with a poor script. This film is beyond plot holes. To compensate, the film runs on waves of nostalgia which is cool at first but becomes meaningless once you realize it does not propel the story forward. And what happens is the worst thing that can happen to a sequel or remake, TERMINATOR: GENISYS makes you wish you were watching the original film! If I am constantly thinking "man, I really wish I was watching THE TERMINATOR"! Then I am sorry, your movie has failed!

So it's the year 2026 and John Connor is leading the human resistance to infiltrate Skynet's time travel device. They don't make it in time so Kyle Reese volunteers to travel back to the year 1984 and protect Sarah Connor. Something goes wrong and Kyle Reese gets sent back to THE TERMINATOR RELOADED. In that time line it's Sarah who saves Kyle from a T-1000, and she has a sidekick which is a T-800 she calls "Pops". This Terminator is "friendly" (because it was clever in T2: JUDGEMENT DAY) for some reason. Who programed this one? Was it John? Who cares, it's kwel!!!

So Sarah and "Pops" bring Kyle up to speed on their plan to travel to the year 1997 and stop Judgment Day. But he rejects that plan with a new one. Travel to 2017 because he had a vision during his trip to 1984. After some easy convincing Kyle and Sarah travel to 2017, and "Pops" will meet them when they get there.

They get detained at the hospital by Homeland Security but John Connor saves them. If you've seen the trailer then you know this is a twist. Because John is now a Terminator, a new model, one we haven't seen before.

So now the threat level is even bigger since John Connor is trying to stop Sarah, Kyle, and "Pops" from destroying Genisys. Genisys is the new Skynet that is an app that everyone in the world has downloaded. Because apps are cool and relevant plus the fact that Judgment Day will always find a way. Can our three heroes stop Genisys? Of course because you quickly realize the movie has zero stakes. And Skynet will always find another way. Boring! Say what you will about the last sequel TERMINATOR SALVATION, but at least that movie tried something different.

I mentioned earlier about how the T-800 that got sent to 1972 is “friendly” and how it's programed to protect Sarah Connor. And seeing that we don't know who programed “Pops” to be a good guy? It makes the plot twist stupid. Why it worked in T2: JUDGEMENT DAY was because at the time it was a clever twist. The machine was stolen and programed to protect John Connor. And if you've seen the movie then you know that it took the whole film for John to make the T-800 more human.

With TERMINATOR: GENISYS Pops being a “friendly” feels empty.

Speaking of Pops, God bless Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's trying his best here but the material he has to work with is terrible. Which is sad really, Arnold deserves one last good Terminator movie. But after what I witnessed last night, I think this is the last one.

As for the rest of the characters I really tried my hardest to care what was going on with them. I think the actors were trying to because they had little to work with.

Along with a terrible script, I feel TERMINATOR: GENISYS suffers from to much exposition. What makes the Cameron films masterpieces of genre is that the what, where, and why is secondary. Especially the first film. What makes THE TERMINATOR work is that it's just a glorified B-movie about a cyborg from the future sent to kill the mother of John Connor, the leader of the resistance. We're told just the right amount of information about Skynet and Judgment Day to keep the plot moving.

When I think of TERMINATOR: GENISYS the phrase Keep It Simple Stupid comes to mind.

I recommend taking a pass on TERMINATOR: GENISYS and watch the original instead, especially if you've never seen it.