A New Hope

December 18, 2015

Simplistic Theater: Star Wars -The Complete Saga (Episodes I-VI)

George Lucas did it.
Why can’t we?
We figured it was best since today
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
comes out. 
So don’t get mad and if you would like to write out letter to complain, send that mail to
5858 Lucas Valley Road, Nicasio, CA 94946

December 15, 2015

Countdown to the Force Awakens (Episode IV) – Star Wars: A New Hope – Episode IV

Star Wars: A New Hope – Episode IV
2hr/1min | Action/Adventure/Fantasy | 1977

Magical

In 1977, with a cast of mostly unknowns, the world changed forever. An unknown film called, Star Wars took our imagination and times it by 10. A simple story that became iconic, Star Wars: A New Hope is simply put, Magical. From its cast, to its look, the scope of this film which is just incredible. When you present this film in front of a kid’s eyes, it is almost like a magician preforming tricks. Even now it still kinda comes off like that.
I can’t really review this film because there is a power, a force if you will that is more important then a review. Star Wars is not just a film, for some its life and for others it was their youth. This film is a magical experience.
And it really is amazing just how magical A New Hope is. When I first saw it as a kid in the 90’s my mind was captured by its force. Everything about Episode IV is amazing. When I say that I’m not talking about how it looks or the story, because that stuff is just part of it. But to get this film made is a magical thing in itself. At the time everyone was passing on it. Why not the story on paper probably comes off crazy right?. Imagine reading a script with a Wookie, some droids, the force and a death star. Everyone was probably going, “What the hell is a damn Wookie??!!” 
Yet for $11 million in the 70’s to get this film made is something to behold. Even today this could not be done. Keep in mind as well original ideas were easier to sell back then then today. Thats true, today it’s ether a sequel or remake.  But nonetheless that is still a feat to accomplish.
Star Wars wouldn’t be made today it just wouldn’t
A New Hope is an incredible film to watch. It doesn’t come off cheap or jokey. It’s one of those films that the entire time you’re watching you are just in awe over it. And to think this is the second best film in the saga, and the next one is even more amazing is just wow.

Its sound design is fantastic, sets are incredible, its actors feel perfect and the story is simple.  At any given time, if one of these gears in filmmaking failed the film would have been a joke and bombed big time.

Let’s not forget John Williams killing it with that theme song! Tell me the hair on your neck doesn’t respond to that song.

The truth is I am not a big Star Wars fan. I watched Star Trek more often then Star Wars yet Star Wars is more embed into my youth. From toys to lunchboxes, Star Wars was there. Of course I had many lightsaber battles, because you know Star Wars! Without A New Hope none of that would of happened.
To watch A New Hope as a child your mind is given a B12 shot and sent into a world of pure imagination. Every kid, boy or girl, since 1977 on has had Star Wars in their life at one part. Star Wars changed the filmmaking world for the better, including the life of a kid.
and that is magical.

December 15, 2015

Simplistic Theater Episode IV : Star Wars – A New Hope

With only 3 days till the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Along with Jay Cluitt, the gang from Simplistic Reviews thought it would be best to do some reenacting of all 6 films. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is

Simplistic Theater

And today we bring you

Episode IV
A New Hope

 

November 10, 2015

Countdown to The Force Awakens (Episode I) – Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

As we inch closer to the release of this year’s most anticipated release, “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip” I thought it only appropriate to bring up another film that might garner some attention in the next month or so; “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” I know much hasn’t been made of this film and it’s flying under the radar, but to get everyone in the mood and to be completely original, it seemed time to take a look back and discuss the previous six entries in the “Star Wars” franchise and do a little retrospective.

While many people don’t like to admit that they exist, the “Star Wars” prequels do in fact, and they are canon to the entire “Star Wars” universe. Sorry people, but they do. With that being said, let’s start ripping the band-aid off right away and jump right into 1999’s “The Phantom Menace” released 16 years after “Return of the Jedi.”

“Phantom” takes place 32 years before “A New Hope” and regales the audience with the story of trade agreements, treaty signings, bartering for parts of a ship, diplomacy, Jedi Council meetings, oh, and some lightsaber action. If you’re a big fan of intergalactic politics, you might find some fun in “Phantom,” but for most of us, even the biggest “Star Wars” fans will find the fun and will mostly be yearning for what came before in the later “sequels,” and by sequels I mean the original three films.

During “Phantom” we meet some old faces, just younger; including Jedi in training Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Padawan learner of Jedi Knight, Qui-Gon Jinn, Senator Palpatine who will eventually become Emperor Palpatine in the later films, and of course Anakin Skywalker, the one who was thought to bring balance to The Force, but instead turned his back on the Jedi order and would become Darth Vader.

Why’sa peoples hate’sa me so much….

The main issue with “Phantom” and there are plenty, is the gall of it’s creator, George Lucas, to expect old fans of the series to like what he likes no matter what. Sure, I get it, the original trilogy was written at a different time and place. The 70s and 80s were interesting time, and while studios had priorities like selling toys, lunchboxes, collectible cups at McDonald’s and Burger King, the 90s brought about a time where not only were the kids that grew up with “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back” now adults, but many of them were wealthy adults, or at least man-children, that would eat up collectibles like candy. Not to mention, most of these adults now had children that only had to point at something they saw at K-B Toys (yes, K-B Toys used to be a thing) and it was rung up at the cash register. While I blame Lucas for 90% of what you end up seeing on screen, there is plenty of blame to go around with yes-men/women and plenty of people that would not say no to the all-mighty Lucas who created something so beloved and everlasting that nothing we could do would be wrong. Well, hindsight is 20/20 and with the rise of the Internet, “Phantom” has gone down as not only one of the worst films in the “Star Wars” Universe, but some might say one of the worst films ever made.

I’m just here for the purple lightsaber

Okay, with that out of the way, let the “Star Wars” fan come out and actually say some good things about this film, this should be short of course;

The relationship between Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan is the heartbeat of the film, albeit a weak one that isn’t fully explored or fleshed out. It’s clear that both Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson are trying their best with what they’ve been given and knowing the lore of “Star Wars” the relationship between a Jedi and his Padawan learner is a powerful thing, I just wish there was more to it. The seeds are planted early that Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon often are at odds, especially about taking Anakin to Coruscant to showcase him in front of the other Master Jedi, but there is that mutual love and respect between the two, as well as the student and teacher motif, that while it may seem lame, makes a more profound effect later on in “Revenge of the Sith.”

I could have been a contender…

Darth Maul also makes a decent showing, even though it’s far too short of one. In the original trilogy the only bad guy you worried about was Darth Vader. Sure, Boba Fett was cool, and I would almost call Maul the Boba Fett of the prequel series. While we get to see so little of him, he was turned into somewhat of a cult figure in the series, much like Fett himself. There is no denying that the final lightsaber fight between Maul, Obi-Wan, and Qui-Gon is the highlight of this film, it was so much a highlight that later we would get prequel books about the origin of Maul and the inevitable return of Maul as a half Sith, half robot with spider-legs, that was the appeal of Maul.

Of course I could beat a dead horse, but outside of those few lone bright spots, “Phantom” is plagued by issues that turn a once proud franchise into a near “MST3K” quality film. From the pratfalls of Jar Jar Binks, to the neverending Pod Racer sequence, to the cringe-worthy dialogue spewed by Jake Lloyd as the future Dark Lord of the Sith, and of course the lifeless performance by Natalie Portman, this film lacks fun, goodness, and the goofy innocence of “Star Wars” films past and replaces it with goofy out of place humor and lifeless exposition that will leave many fans, like myself, hollow and yearning for nostalgia, or at least “The Star Wars Christmas Special.”

So, has another 16 years made this film any better? Not really. The CG looks dated, the characters are just as insufferable, and outside of this film being canon, there really isn’t much you’ll get out of it. Many of the best things about “Phantom” aren’t even brought up again in the proceeding films, original trilogy included, so it begs the questions? What was the purpose of the prequels, namely this film? Oh yeah…..midi-chlorians….that’s it…..midi-chlorians……

Stay tuned in the next few days for more “Star Wars” goodness as we move on to another winner; “Star Wars Episode II Attack of the Clones.”

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