Walt Disney Pictures has come a long way from making full-length animated features like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, and Peter Pan. In the 21st century, the company has reinvented itself with live-action blockbusters like Pirates of the Caribbean, state-of-the-art computer animated films like Cars and Frozen, and adaptations of children’s literary classics like Roald Dahl’s The BFG and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time (out in theaters this March). In recent years, Disney has expanded into more lucrative markets like comic book blockbusters (ie. Marvel comics) and, of course, the Star Wars franchise. The latest Star Wars entry, The Last Jedi, hit the $1 billion mark in worldwide box office sales barely three weeks after its US theatrical release. With a plethora of material to work with, and plenty of money coming in, one would think Disney is far passed its tipping point, but that might not be the case at all. Continue reading →
As you are no doubt aware, the next installment in the latest Star Wars trilogy, The Last Jedi (Episode VIII), is opening in theaters nationwide this Thursday, December 14th at midnight. Whether or not it will be a frame-by-frame remake of The Empire Strikes Back (1980), like The Force Awakens and A New Hope (1977), has yet to be seen, but fans will undoubtedly be packing theaters to capacity from Friday until well into the New Year. If you already have a ticket for opening weekend, then let us know what you think. If not, however, you can still get your Star Wars fix by taking a brief (and by brief, I mean roughly 12-14 hours) refresher course with watching the series in “Machete Order.” Let me explain.
The Machete Order was first suggested by a fan of the series named Rob Hilton in preparation for the release of 2015’s The Force Awakens. According to Hilton, the machete order is a more effective way of watching the previous films, particularly for young viewers who are not familiar with the series. Obviously, with seven feature-length films and an eighth coming out this week, knowing where to start to get the full experience can be an overwhelming ordeal. Should you begin with the original trilogy and work your way up, or should you start with 1999’s The Phantom Menace and proceed chronologically? Continue reading →
Last night during the Vikings-Bears Monday Night Football game, the latest trailer for the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi premiered during the halftime commercial run. The new film, which is written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper, Breaking Bad), will follow the events of JJ Abrams’ Episode VII: The Force Awakens, and feature veterans Mark Hamill and (the late) Carrie Fisher as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. Fisher had completed filming on the project prior to her untimely death last December, but her role was expected to be expanded upon even further for Episode IX, which JJ Abrams has agreed to return for after Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed, Jurassic World) fell away from the film earlier this year. The Last Jedi will focus Rey’s Jedi training with Luke Skywalker, as well as on other Force Awakens characters like Finn and Poe as they continue their campaign against the evil First Order. Actors Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and Oscar Isaac are all reprising their roles for the new installment. You can see The Last Jedi on big screens near you this December 18th. Enjoy the trailer!
For those die hard fans of the Star Wars film series, May 4th is always a special occasion. It was on May 25th, 1977 that A New Hope, the first ever Star Wars film from writer/director George Lucas made its theatrical debut. The event marked the beginning of a new phenomenon in modern cinema, and changed the way movies were made and even thought of from then on. Drawing from inspiration from early space adventure serials, George Lucas envisioned a modern space epic using classic themes and archetypes that would forever change the movie-going experience. His company, Industrial Lights and Magic, which would go on to create Pixar Animation in the 1990s, created new methods for special effects that gave movie-goers an experience never before seen on film. To celebrate this special fan day, here is the latest trailer for the next installation in the film series, The Last Jedi, which will feature original actors Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as Luke and Leia Skywalker, along with new vets Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Adam Driver, and Domhnall Gleeson. Enjoy, and May the Fourth Be With You!
*Update – this article originally stated that A New Hope was released on May 4th, 1977, hence part of the reasoning behind “May-the-Fourth Day.” A New Hope actually hit theaters on May 25th of that year, just in time for Memorial Day Weekend. My apologies for the inaccuracy!
In light of the untimely death of Carrie Fisher, movie-makers at Disney and Lucasfilm are beginning to look to Princess Leia’s future. Although Fisher has reportedly finished filming all of her scenes for the upcoming Episode VIII release this December, Leia was expected to play a much more significant part in Episode IX, which is slated for a December 2019 release. The over-arching storyline for the upcoming films included a reunion between Leia and Luke Skywalker, as well as a confrontation between Leia and Kylo Ren, who killed his father, Harrison Ford‘s Han Solo, in Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Now with Fisher gone, the fate of the character has yet to be fully realized. Continue reading →
We wanted to give it a little time so that nothing would be spoiled for anybody, but if anyone is reading this that hasn’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet, I suggest you either stop reading or be prepared for plot spoilers! To begin with, this was easily the best Star Wars film since Return of the Jedi was released in 1983. Director J.J. Abrams (Super 8, Star Trek: Into Darkness) brought legitimate filmmaking back to the series with this film, which looks more like old-fashioned Star Wars than anything we saw come from George Lucas in the early 2000s. His stylistic approach to filmmaking was the perfect merging of special effects and on-set principle photography, made better with the appearance of props and effects that appeared in the original film, such as the targeting view attached to the gun in the Millennium Falcon. The screenplay, written by Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi writer Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Arc, The Bodyguard), was also much better in terms of actual dialogue on the part of the actors, but the overall story imitated that of Jurassic World earlier this year, in the sense that it read almost as a mirror image of the original Star Wars in 1977, with the updated story-line in play, of course. Continue reading →
Director J.J. Abrams has finally released the official cast list for the long-anticipated seventh installment of the Star Wars franchise, which will follow George Lucas’s original trilogy. Returning from the original series are actors Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), as well as the droid characters Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker (C-3P0 and R2-D2), who have appeared in every Star Wars film since the original in 1977. Peter Mayhew will also reprise the role of Chewbacca, Han Solo’s Wookie co-pilot. Among the new generation of actors joining the space saga are John Boyega (Junkhearts, Half of a Yellow Sun), Daisy Ridley (Blue Season, Scrawl), Oscar Issac (Inside Llewyn Davis, Robin Hood), and Adam Driver (J. Edgar, Lincoln), although their respective roles are still unclear at this point. Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit), Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, True Grit), and veteran actor Max Von Sydow (The Exorcist, Shutter Island) will also be taking roles in the new film. The film is scheduled to begin shooting next month, so production is truly underway now. We’ll keep an eye out for more news.