Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Force Awakens Blu-Rey

No that not a spelling mistake in the title, it’s what Lucasfilm marketing are using as the registered name for the launch of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Blu-ray as a clever pun for Rey’s character.

The Milner family have seen the movie an obscene amount of times at the cinema, so it’s really nice to hear we can finally can start watching it in the comfort of our underwear, as that date is now officially known, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be hitting digital HD on April 1st and DVD, Blu-ray on April 5 in the US and April the 18th in the UK , and ahead of that we also got a trailer showing us exactly what kind of special features we’ll find — and like me you didn’t think we’d see any more new Force Awakens trailers, especially with NEW footage!!

Star Wars : The Force Awakens Deleted Scenes

Kylo Ren enters the Millennium Falcon Deleted Scene
Kylo Ren enters the Millennium Falcon Deleted Scene

It seems from the trailer that Kylo Ren boarded the Millennium Falcon in the original cut of the movie, before JJ Abrams cut it out as part of the half-hour of footage he left on the cutting room floor.

This footage doesn’t appear to line up with fan speculation about what these deleted scenes might contain, either, although one rumor did claim Kylo shot down the Falcon in the script. It seems that the bit was originally supposed to establish that Kylo Ren had a stronger connection to Han Solo than we might have thought at first, and was ultimately cut to speed along the plot.

The scene in the trailer is very quick, and doesn’t give much context as to where and why Kylo Ren is on the Falcon, but with the presence of the those Snowtroopers it’s pretty damn sure it’s on Starkiller Base after Finn, Solo & Chewie have gone to save Rey.

And this brings up bigger questions, because why is Kylo Ren on the ship, anyway? He obviously knows whose ship it is, and did he actually go seek out his father before that lightsaber incident? And, WHY!!??

So many questions right now, so few answers. Check out the trailer for the Star Wars: Force Awakens release below.

Along with standard movie extras, like shooting documentaries, Force Awakens will include five other different deleted scenes. .

  • Finn And The Villager
  • Jakku Message
  • X-wings Prepare For Lightspeed
  • Snow Speeder Chase
  • Finn Will Be Fine

Bonus features:

  • Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey
  • The Story Awakens: The Table Read
  • Building BB-8
  • Crafting Creatures
  • Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight
  • John Williams: The Seventh Symphony

Star Wars: The Force Awakens DVD and Blu-ray Box cover artwork.

Target exclusive Force Awakens Blu-ray box artwork.

The general release of the Force Awakens in Blu-ray will come in two forms Darkside & Lightside…definitely aimed at the fanboys who will buy both!!

Best Buys has their own exclusive format as well with this steel box format.

The general DVD seems to be the same across the board with this artwork style.

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Epic Nostalgia

Confessions of a repeat Star Wars: The Force Awakens Viewer

So Star Wars: The Force Awakens has just passed $2Billion in sales, making it only the third film to surpass this figure, and even my own daughter is now into double figures in viewing the movie,  so why are people so drawn to watch Star War films over and over again? BBC Writer Helen Macdonald – who’s also seen The Force Awakens six times so far – has just offered her explanation on this subject via the BBC Website.

It was Christmas 1977 and I was seven years old. Dad had got the family tickets to a screening of Star Wars at the Odeon in Leicester Square. I didn’t really know what I was going to see, but I knew it was a big deal. Star Wars mania was then in full swing. I remember light bulbs hanging from winter branches and a steakhouse with a tartan carpet, and the words STAR WARS on hoardings full of masked men and moons and spaceships. Dusk was falling as we queued to get in, and high above us flowed thousands of starlings. Back then they still roosted in central London. I was mesmerised by these sinuous strings of oily smoke moving through the darkening sky. And part of what Star Wars means to me now is still caught up in the memory of those flocks making patterns of astonishing beauty on their way to rest and safety. I loved the film, of course, though all the times I’ve seen it since have overwritten those first memories of it on screen. It was all a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away.

I was never an obsessive fan, but still I found the later George Lucas movies thoroughly dispiriting. I put that down to having grown up, and gave up on Star Wars. But then I went to see The Force Awakens, JJ Abram’s reboot of the series, late last December, and I wept pretty much all the way through it. Proper sobs. And then I saw it again. And again. Every time, I left the cinema full of joy. I saw it sitting next to kids wearing Princess Leia costumes, and men older than me wearing Star Wars t-shirts with frayed collars and Rebel Alliance badges, and it wasn’t until the sixth viewing that I thought, wait. Hang on. Six times. Why do you love this film so much? I kept reading articles explaining that people only liked the film out of a sense of simple nostalgia. There was something of a sneer about how they said it. That dismissiveness, I thought, was interesting.

Of course The Force Awakens is nostalgic. It features original cast members and plot points from the 1977 movie. But it is also utterly true to the aesthetic of those early films. It is a memory of a 1970s dream of the future, set in the distant past. And it’s superbly old-school. Today’s battle-space technologies put pilots in boxes to control distant drones. On screen, X-wing pilots harry Tie fighters in dogfights straight out of the Battle of Britain. Controls in The Force Awakens are buttons and switches, not touchscreens. There are no mobile phones, and none of the panoptic apparatus of the modern surveillance state. While part of its hold over me is indeed down to nostalgia, there is nothing simple about it, and it is far from something to sneer at.

We think of nostalgia, so often, in a negative way – as escapism, a refusal to face up to present realities. But it is not necessarily so. Nostalgia can bring insights and new understandings. Every time I’ve watched The Force Awakens I’ve felt like a child again, wide-eyed and full of wonder. But at the same time, I’ve also been a woman in her 40s, thinking very hard about the difference between me now and me then, the world now and the world then. Nostalgia shows you just how much the world has changed. And this is one of the reasons the film thrills me. It takes a familiar world from my childhood and fills it with things I wish had been there back then.

Look at the diversity of its main protagonists – British actor Daisy Ridley as Rey, the self-reliant desert loner with more power than she knows, who isn’t ever defined by or confined by her gender, British-Nigerian actor John Boyega as Finn, the stormtrooper whose moral defection from the First Order sets everything in motion, and Guatemalan-American actor Oscar Isaac as X-wing pilot Poe Dameron. One of the loveliest things I’ve recently seen on Twitter was a report of two boys under 12 on a bus arguing over who got to play Rey and who had to be the film’s male villain Kylo Ren. Got to. Had to be. The world we live in is different from that of 40 years ago. We can reject the old, tired stories we’ve been told about who we’re supposed to be. And that makes me very glad.

More and more, The Force Awakens seems to me a meditation on how we consume stories and how they shape us. We can identify with its new characters because they too see the events of the first Star Wars films as tales from long ago. I think of the scene where Rey speeds past the vast wreck of an imperial starcruiser buried deep in sand. Her character lives inside a collapsed Imperial AT-AT walker, keeps a homemade doll dressed as a Rebel pilot, has fashioned a mask out of stormtrooper helmet parts. These new characters are as alive to the archaeology of nostalgia as any of us.

But there is something else the nostalgia of this film feeds into which is very modern – internet fandom. Fan-created Force Awakens material is all over the web, and to me, this work – the cartoons, the art, the stories, the internet memes and carefully plotted transformative fan fictions – is as much a part of this film as anything Disney can create. For every Chewbacca pencil case or R2D2 mug there’s a Tumblr gif of Kylo Ren and General Hux sniping at each other or flirting. Fan fiction is a fascinating phenomenon – works, mostly on the internet, that tell new stories about existing characters. Though many feature slow-burn romances or steamy sex scenes, others detail the everyday minutiae of newly-imagined lives. Consumption and creation blur in this rich new ecosystem.

It’s no coincidence, perhaps, that what fan fiction writers do is analogous to what Rey does on her desert planet. Scavenging bits of old technology from crashed ships, she makes her life out of the literal wreckage of stories from the earlier films. Like her, fans salvage things that aren’t quite theirs – pictures, snatches of dialogue, glances, subtexts, repurposing them and making them work in new ways. Slash fiction, for example – stories about romantic attraction between male characters – have been a mainstay of fan fiction since its earliest days.

One internet site alone features thousands of stories about one particular pairing christened Stormpilot, spurred by a scene late in the film where hotshot resistance pilot Poe Dameron gives ex-stormtrooper Finn a smouldering stare before biting his own lip. So popular is this pairing that it’s spilled out from the internet and led to broadsheet articles and frenzied speculation that Disney could make one of the lead characters gay in this continuing series. I hope this happens. Billion-dollar film franchises haven’t given people gay heroes to identify with before. But if it’s too risky for Disney to countenance, those stories are being written anyway. This is about who gets to have a voice, who gets to speak, who gets to be represented. Most fan fiction writers are young, most are women, many identify as queer – voices generally erased from mainstream culture.

Just as people sneer at nostalgia, they sneer at fan fiction. It’s emotionally immature, they say. It’s not well written. It’s soppy. This criticism seems, at heart, to rest on an assumption that the people who write it aren’t the right sort of people to have any claim on these stories. This is criticism as boundary policing. It’s fine to make derivative works if you have sufficient cultural capital. The wonderful Dickensian on BBC One would be fan fiction in any other medium. There’s a depressing tendency to see people investing their energies in the lives of fictional characters as somehow sad. But I’m awed by the sheer creative exuberance of fanwork, the way it incorporates different lives, different viewpoints, different ways of living and loving and being into the constrained narratives of mainstream movies. The starlings that fly through my earliest memories of Star Wars remind me of just what its new fans are doing now – multitudes making beautiful and moving shapes and forms out of our human need to feel part of a community, to find our way home.

Source: A Point of View: Confessions of a repeat Star Wars viewer – BBC News

Star Wars: Rogue One Character Names and Details Revealed?

News on Star Wars: Rogue One had been relatively dormant for quite a while. That is, until a couple of weeks ago, when the first supposed plot details, character descriptions, and a possible cameo by none-other than Han Solo were revealed. Given that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has already been given center stage (though it still continues to impress at the box office), it seems the time has finally come for Rogue One to have a chance in the spotlight.

While The Force Awakens combined both the old and the new to create a film that both appealed to the nostalgia of fans as well as brought something fresh to the table, Rogue One will more likely focus on the old — mostly because it takes place earlier in Star Wars history. In fact, Rogue One is set before the events of the Original Trilogy, as it will center on the band of rebels who stole the Death Star plans and propelled their mission of taking down the Empire forward.

Due to the fact that it takes place only a short time before A New Hope, it’s expected that Rogue One will feature a few cameos from notable Star Wars characters — namely Darth Vader (who may have a more substantial role than initially expected) and Boba Fett. It seems those two characters won’t be the only two elements from the Original Trilogy to appear in Rogue One. According to the latest rumors from Making Star Wars, which claim — among other things — that Felicity Jones and Diego Luna will star in a sequence that pays homage to the iconic scene from A New Hope in which Han and Luke go into disguise as Stormtroopers.

However, while the premise may be somewhat similar, there is a small but significant difference in their respective disguises. Instead of dressing up as Stormtroopers, Felicity Jones will don the apparel of an Imperial Gunner, while Diego Luna put on the attire of an Imperial Commander. Of course, one should take caution as this is nowhere near confirmed. However, assuming that it’s true, this rumored scenario would be both a brilliant way to call back to the Original Trilogy while also putting a unique spin on the situation.

In addition, the report also went onto note more details about Alan Tudyk’s character in particular. The character is said to somehow be “more than a droid,” while also being “a commando droid” that “looks really cool.” Of course, the preceding sentence could be taken as being seemingly contradictory, but it appears that while Tudyk will be playing a droid character, that specific droid will be more complex than the others we have already seen in the Star Wars universe.

The report also goes on to give a few codenames being used for the characters in the production of Rogue One. Felicity Jones’ character is said to be codenamed Green Seal Leader, Jiang Wen’s is Seal Communicator Blue, Forest Whitaker’s is Eel Commander, and Alan Tudyk’s is Seal Droid. Additionally, the report also claims that all of the villainous characters “have codenames related to sharks.”

Again, before taking this as fact, bear in mind that none of this is confirmed. Even then, it’s possible that this is not actually what the characters are referred to as in the film itself. Remember, during the production of The Force Awakens, Daisy Ridley’s character was referred to as Kira, but we later found out that her actual name in the film was Rey. It seems this may be a similar situation, although given that these appear to be actual military-esque codenames, perhaps it’s not the same situation.

If the latter happens to be the case, then the codenames above are a quick and easy way of both making characters’ allegiances clear and also denoting their ranks in their respective groups. It’s hard to know whether these will be their actual codenames in the film, although fans will probably not have to wait too long to find out either way, as the first trailer for Star Wars: Rogue One is rumored to be premiering alongside Captain America: Civil War this May.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be released on December 16th, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017 andd the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by a third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.

Source: Screenrant & Making Star Wars

Maz Kanata and Supreme Leader Snoke Official Character Photos

Two of the most enigmatic characters in Star Wars: The Force Awakens are finally getting an official photo release, as Disney/Lucasfilm have just released these new character stills

The movie has just passed Titanic and is now on the precipice of becoming the highest domestic grossing US film in history (un-adjusted with inflation) so there’s ‘No Spoilers’ as many of you will have already laid eyes on the barkeeper Maz Kanata and the Supreme Leader Snoke.

Prior to this release, the only publicly available shots were of Lupita Nyong’o in her performance capture make-up as Maz, a tiny glimpse of her on the official film poster and a fraction of a second in a Japanese trailer. Andy Serkis also was only seen in Mo-Cap gear for his shadowy ruler of The First Order.

But now we have a new shot of the orange-skinned piratess owner of the now destroyed Castle located on the planet of Takodana, and two showing the ominous hologram of the damaged visage of Snoke.

In a recent interview Nyong’o said Maz’s eyes, which are augmented by a series of adjustable lenses, gave her something compelling to explore about the little alien’s physicality. “As an actor for films, your eyes are a lot of the way you communicate anyway,” says Nyong’o. “So it was definitely a gift to have that be the means to her magic as a motion-capture character.”

Nyong’o and Serkis didn’t share any scenes, but the two worked closely together, since the actor has pioneered performance capture acting through his previous cinematic roles.

“The biggest advice he gave me, that was so important to hold on to, is a motion-capture character you develop the same way as any other. You have to understand who the character is and what makes them who they are,” she says.

Serkis said he sympathized with fans who were dying to know more about Snoke before the film’s debut. That’s how he felt when he started, too. “It’s the first time I’ve been on set not yet knowing what the character’s gonna look like. I mean, talk about secrecy!” 

“When we first started working on it, he had some rough notions of how Snoke was gonna look, but it really hadn’t been fully formed and it almost came out of discussion and performance,” Serkis added.

Although there was much speculation about who Snoke might turn out to be (one popular theory was that he’d turn out to be a Sith Lord known from the prequels as Darth Plagueis the Wise

The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis The Wise

Serkis said the character was aware of the events from the earlier films but was a new addition to the storyline.

“Supreme Leader Snoke is quite an enigmatic character, and strangely vulnerable at the same time as being quite powerful,” Serkis says. “Obviously he has a huge agenda. He has suffered a lot of damage. As I said, there is a strange vulnerability to him, which belies his true agenda, I suppose.”

It’s also clear from the character’s scarred, cavernous face why prosthetic make-up wasn’t an option. As Serkis explained before anyone outside the film saw Snoke, it could only have been played through motion-capture. “The scale of him, for instance, is one reason,” Serkis said. “He is large. He appears tall. And also just the facial design — you couldn’t have gotten there with prosthetics. It’s too extreme. Without giving too much away at this point, he has a very distinctive, idiosyncratic bone structure and facial structure. You could never have done it [in real life.]”

One recent revelation comes from YouTube Adam Underkofler who’s created a video, which suggests that John Williams’ musical theme for the “Darth Plagueis” seen in Revenge of the Sith is virtually identical to the one which was used for Snoke’s debut in The Force Awakens.

Sadly we’ll have to wait until Episode VIII, which starts shooting this month and debuts in May 2017, to learn more. Hopefully there will be plenty more Maz and Snoke to go around.

Han Solo and General Leia Character Poster

“I love you!” …”I know”

A new set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens promotional posters have just landed to tie-in with the individual character Poe Dameron and BB-8 posters, and the Han Solo and General Leia character poster is really exceptional.

Kylo Ren and Finn also get their own character posters.

And not forgetting what we all believe will be a major character in the film Rey played by Daisy Ridley.