Tag Archives: star wars trilogy

‘Rogue One’ trailer sets tone for expanded ‘Star Wars’ movie universe

Star Wars: Rogue One teaser trailer

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….we all kind of assumed the “Star Wars” saga ended with 2005’s “Revenge of the Sith”, the third prequel from George Lucas, detailing the fall to the dark side by Anakin Skywalker. Based on the quality of that flick, most fans thought it was for the best.

Then Marvel struck financial gold by developing a cinematic universe with individual stories seamlessly interweaving throughout larger stories. Then Disney bought Lucasfilm and locked George Lucas out, promising to produce movies for “the fans”.

Felicity Jones takes the lead in "Rogue One" and sets out to steal plans to destroy Darth Vader's Death Star. (Lucasfilm)
Felicity Jones takes the lead in “Rogue One” and sets out to steal plans to destroy Darth Vader’s Death Star. (Lucasfilm)

Last December, we got “The Force Awakens”, Episode VII in a new trilogy following the Skywalker family and their battle against the evil Sith and the dark side of the force. But that is only the beginning. Disney is not only planning a new trilogy (Episode VIII in 2017, Episode IX in 2019), but they are expanding into telling individual, isolated stories — i.e. non-Skywalker tales.

These solo movies are being called, for lack of a more creative term: “A Star Wars story…”.

First up is “Rogue One” directed by Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla”). Set just prior to the events of “A New Hope”, the first non-trilogy movie will take us back to show us the the daring and dangerous mission that went into securing the Death Star plans for the Rebel Alliance.

The tone for the trailer is a much darker tone that we’ve seen in the saga, indicating we are getting something closer to a full blown military war movie than the simple sci-fi fairy tales we’ve seen in the past. But don’t fret, Lord Vader is expected to make an appearance.

“Rogue One” will hit theatres on December 16th, 2016 and stars Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Tudyk, Forest Whitaker, and Donnie Yen.

Rogue One, A Star Wars Story — Property of Disney and Lucasfilm

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

Following the release of “The Phantom Mencace”, fans and moviegoers alike hoped the second act of the prequel trilogy would would strike gold the way “The Empire Strikes Back” was able to for the original trilogy. George Lucas continued his homage to old school Saturday morning serials by calling Episode II, “Attack of the Clones”. Of course, because most everyone knew that this trilogy was supposed to focus on the mysterious Clone Wars alluded to by Obi Wan Kenobi and Princess Leia in “A New Hope”, there was a significant buzz surrounding this flick.

Jumping ahead 10 years following the events of “The Phantom Mencace”, Anakin Skywalker was recast. Hayden Christensen replaced the much maligned Jake Lloyd. Lucas promised a darker tone for this movie that would continue the fall of Anakin to the dark side before he finally became Darth Vader. This time around, we meet an older Anakin, who has become the Padawan apprentice of Obi Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). Anakin is cocky and eager for power. After an bounty hunter tries to assassinate Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), now a senator from the planet Naboo, Anakin realizes he still digs her and his emotions begin to get the better of him. As the movie unfolds, Anakin and Obi Wan split up as Anakin is put in charge of protecting Padme by Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid); while Obi Wan is dispatched to an isolated planet to investigate some evidence that leads him to the discovery of a clone army which has allegedly been sanctioned by the Jedi Council.

“Attack of the Clones” does offer more action sequences including a bounty hunter chase through Coruscant early on, an Obi Wan Kenobi vs. Jango Fett battle around the middle of the flick and a Clones vs. Battle Droids on the planet Geonosis, which is ultimately the start of the Clone Wars. While the plot sounds interesting, we are left with little development of the relationship between Anakin and Obi Wan. The Anakin and Padme affair feels a little forced and there a lot of things that could have been connected back to “The Phantom Menace” but instead Lucas introduces more characters and plots where he could have really dug deep into a mythology.

All we are left with is the fact that Anakin doesn’t like being told what to do. We don’t ever get the sense that he is the powerful Jedi he supposedly becomes nor do we get a bond of friendship between he and Obi Wan. Their relationship plays more like a step-father/step-son situation. The bad guys are still plotting from the shadows. Introduced here is Count Dooku, played by Christopher Lee, a fallen Jedi who grew tired of his associates and now works for Darth Sidious. He tries and fails to recruit Obi Wan, kicks Anakin’s butt in a duel but that’s about all he does. Like Darth Maul, he is grossly under used.

“Attack of the Clones” is a step up from the inferior “Phantom Menace” but still fails to capture the magic and awe of the original trilogy. At this point we are 2/3 of the way through the fall of Anakin and the Rise of the Empire and we have yet to see why either is about to happen. The much hyped Clone Wars start at the very end of the movie but it never feels like it is the realization of what was promised with Leia’s fateful message to old Obi Wan in “A New Hope” when she uttered the famous line, “Obi Wan Kenobi, years ago, you served my father in the Clone Wars…”.

‘Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace’ (1999) movie review

The world waited breathlessly for nearly twenty years as George Lucas teased that someday he would go back and tell the story of how Anakin Skywalker fell from grace and became the greatest villain of all time, Darth Vader. It’s almost unfair how much pressure was on this movie. After all, the original “Star Wars” trilogy is considered probably the best trilogy of all-time– at least it was until Peter Jackson and his “Lord of the Rings” trilogy came along.

“The Phantom Menace”, Episode One of the prequel trilogy, was released in 1999 and might go down as the most over-hyped film ever. Ewan McGregor donned the robes of Jedi master Obi Wan Kenobi (played by Sir Alec Guiness in the original), Natalie Portman was cast as Padme Amidala, the Queen of Nabbo and the woman who would go on to give birth to Luke Skywalker and his sister Leia. Given the daunting task of bringing young Anakin to the big screen was little Jake Lloyd. To give the film a bit of depth, writer and director Lucas cast Liam Neeson as Obi Wan’s master, Qui Gon Jinn, who would become responsible for finding little Anakin on the desert planet of Tattooine, Luke’s home planet in the original trilogy.

The movie never manages to capture the fun or imagination of any of the first three movies. It is spectacular to look at though. At the time of its release, the character of Jar Jar Binks was the first computer generated character to use the motion capture sensor system, since perfected by Jackson’s Gollum in LOTR. The problem with “The Phantom Menace” is it never truly gives you anything or anyone to care about. There really isn’t a primary character to get behind. The plot centers around a Trade Federation blockade of Queen Amidala’s home planet. The Jedi, Obi Wan and Qui Gon, are sent to settle the dispute but of course there is more going on than anyone in the Galactic Senate realizes.

Jake Lloyd and Ahmed Best, who plays Jar Jar, are the targets of much of fan hatred in this movie. Lloyd isn’t much of an actor, but he is given so little to work with in Lucas’ simplistic script. The movie boasts several stunning action sequences such as the pod race on Tattooine and the three-way lightsaber duel between Qui Gon, Obi Wan and the film’s main bad guy, the seriously misused Darth Maul, but it never captures the magic of the old flicks and relies too much on its amazing special effects, rather than solid characters and story.

Read my Examiner review for “The Phantom Menace 3-D”.