Darth Vader

October 14, 2016

Trailer Hot Take: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer #2

Full disclosure: Up to this point, I had really only seen the teaser trailers. I’m trying to go into this newest, or older, Star Wars experience with as little information as possible. Of course, many of us know the fate of the people we are going to meet in “Rogue One” but it’s going to be the journey and emotional attachment that we fell when we all watch this one, two three, four, or however many times you’re going to decide to see this in the theater (I’ll dial it back from my seven times in the theater for “The Force Awakens”).

Without further adieu, let’s breakdown some of the highlights from this newest trailer for “Rogue One.”

It’s always cool to see a moisture evaporator with an Empire transport ship in the background

Looks like Mads is filming a sequel for both Valhalla Rising and Doctor Strange at the same time
Jyn in a cage with an alien friend
Jedi Rock Formations…but on what planet?
Rogue….Rogue One
Krennic speaking with the Dark Lord of the Sith himself
We have hope….Rebellions are built on hope…
This still doesn’t do true justice to what is actually happening here…
Definitely reminds me of a young Zev Senesca
The goosebump moment that we all knew was coming, but still….
Overall, a bone-chilling trailer that should put to sleep most of the bad publicity this film has been getting the last few months. This trailer plays to many emotions, and yes, while some of the dialogue and catchphrases will come off as a tad bit contrite and cliche, that doesn’t mean this is going to be a bad film, not one bit. Is it a Hollywood Blockbuster? Of course, but this trailer sold to me the notion that the people making this little “one-off stories” care about the lore, fans, and the universe that has been expertly crafted, most of the time, since 1977.
December 17, 2015

Countdown to the Force Awakens (Episode V) – Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

APEX

Why do we love The Empire Strikes Back?  A film that is universally considered the best Star Wars film ever.  A film considered one of the best sci-fi/fantasy films ever.  Is it because we’re nerds?  No.  Well…yeah…but it’s much more than that.

Maybe it’s because the great John Williams, from the Imperial March to the Han and Leia Love Theme, created a score that is not only the oxygen of this universe but a constant manipulator of our heartstrings even today.

Maybe it’s because of the Millennium Falcon encapsulates cool, freedom, adventure, and hope with every bank turn and asteroid avoiding barrel roll.

Maybe it’s because Jim Henson and Frank Oz, two men responsible for bringing to life a majority of our imaginary friends for decades, brought to life yet another creature with more pathos and iconography than many seasoned actors…all while speaking in some strange form of pig Latin.

Maybe it’s because Darth Vader, one of the top 3 best cinematic villains of all time, is more villainous and oddly clever in Empire than he is in any other film in the series…but still manages to make us feel for him at the end?

Maybe it’s because the romance between Han and Leia was unconventional, confrontational, mean spirited…and still one of the best, most heartfelt and tragic couplings in cinema history…especially since it was originally supposed to end with Han dying.

Maybe it’s because it really took the time it did on the self-actualization and development of Luke Skywalker from a meek farm-boy to a confident and capable Jedi upstart…something that would almost never happen today.

Maybe it’s because it had one of the most jaw dropping, franchise-altering, twists of all time during a time where twists weren’t a cliched Hollywood trope.

Maybe it’s because the camaraderie and love felt between Han and Luke and Leia and Chewie and the Droids didn’t seem like some manufactured thing for a movie.  It felt obviously genuine.  So genuine, you didn’t need to hear Han and Luke say it when they spoke to each other for the last time in that icy Hoth hangar bay

You didn’t need to understand the yelping of Chewie when he took those wookiee arms of his, primarily used for tearing off droid arms, and snatched Luke up in a hug.

You didn’t need to hear Han tell Leia “I love you too” before he was frozen in carbonite. We knew just like he did.

Maybe it’s because George Lucas had the foresight and humility to relinquish the reigns of his creation to another director who had a better understanding of how to bring the heart out of the film.

To be honest, it’s all those things and more.  The Empire Strikes Back is the bar.  It is the very APEX of the Star Wars universe and countless childhoods.  It is what every sci-fi adventure film has aspired to be as good as…but not presume to ever be better than.  Because there is nothing that will eclipse The Godfather…nothing that will eclipse Psycho…nothing that will eclipse The Shawshank Redemption…and NOTHING that will eclipse The Empire Strikes Back.  It will forever hold a place in our heart.  AND I DIDN’T EVEN MENTION HOW AWESOME LANDO IS!!!!

Accept Captain Needa’s apology…watch out for mynocks…never tell me the odds…watch it…then tell me I’m wrong.

December 1, 2015

Countdown to the Force Awakens (Episode III) – Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Exiting “Attack of the Clones” you might feel a little woozy and maybe even feel a little lost, and think to yourself, “is there any hope?” Well, as much as people might disagree with me, this entry in the “Star Wars” film universe if not only one of my favorites, but also one of the better shot, directed, and acting in the series as well. Let’s not stand on ceremony, let’s commence with 2005’s “Revenge of the Sith.”

“Sith” begins in the middle of a giant space battle with both Anakin Skywalker, now a full Jedi Knight, and his master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, hunting down General Grevious, the leader of the Droid Army who has kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine. After a daring rescue, Kenobi and Skywalker are met with a heroes welcome back on Coruscant.

The plot thickens as Anakin and Padme reunite and she reveals to him that she is pregnant, however visions of Padme dying during childbirth haunt Anakin who first seeks counsel with Jedi Master Yoda, and later with Palpatine who regales Skywalker with stories of the Dark Side of The Force and and Sith Lord named Darth Plagueis.

There is also worry within the Jedi ranks as Chancellor Palpatine looks to expand his power within the Senate. Many are worried they will need to remove the Chancellor after the Clone Wars has come to an end. Master Jedi Mace Windu and the Council decide that Anakin should keep tabs on Palpatine, who agrees with their plan, but remains conflicted on his loyalty to the Jedi, his friendship to Palpatine, and his worry for Padme.

As Kenobi dispatches of General Grievous on the planet Utapau, meanwhile on Coruscant, Palpatine reveals his true identity to Anakin as the Sith Lord, Dark Sidious, who promises that he can help Anakin save Padme.

After reporting his findings to Windu, a task force of Jedi, led by Windu, look to take Palpatine into custody and re-establish order. Arriving just in time, Skywalker tries to talk Windu into sparing the life of Palpatine, but before Windu can land the killing blow, Anakin cuts off Windu’s hand and allows Palpatine to land his own killing blow. Having saved the life of Palpatine, Skywalker pledges himself to the Chancellor and becomes his newest apprentice; Darth Vader.

It’s all downhill from here, as Jedi are wiped out with “Order 66,” Anakin kills what remains of the Trade Federation, and Obi-Wan and Anakin duel on the fiery planet of Mustafar. The 3rd act moves quick and ties up all loose ends and leads right into what we all know as “The Original Trilogy.”

THE BIG…..NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

As much as people give shit to the prequels, this is by far the strongest of the three, and for me at least, my 2nd favorite film in the series. I love the way the tension builds and seeing the descent into darkness for Anakin Skywalker as he finally turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader is a highlight of just not these films, but the franchise as a whole.

There certainly seem to be things that George Lucas learned from his previous mistakes in Episode I and II, including;

1. Keeping the love story almost completely out. While we still know that Anakin and Padme love each other and they are about to have kids, that story is told with less dialogue, which helps moves the action along.

2. He let’s the actors act this time. While Natalie Portman was pretty much a disaster in this film, a select few actually improved the material they were given, namely Ewan McGregor and albeit some silly faces, Ian McDiarmid, gives a creepy performance as the manipulator of all the events in the prequels. And let me not forget Christopher Lee, who is, well, Christopher Lee.

3. I buy Hayden Christensen this time. Hey, I mean he’s acting isn’t the best, but it’s head and shoulders much better than his performance in “Attack of the Clones” and his scowling is in full effect as the Dark Lord of the Sith.

SILLY FACE…..ACTIVATE

All in all, there isn’t much I can tear apart in this film aside from some atrocious acting and of course the SFX porn that became a staple in the prequels, but honestly, “Revenge of the Sith” is entirely watchable and all together enjoyable. As someone who’s favorite in the franchise is “The Empire Strikes Back” this film does a great job of painting scenes that are full of darkness and impending doom, which for me, is when the series is at it’s best; dark and gloomy, with just enough light where you think there is hope; and that hope in the darkness for these prequels has to be “Revenge.”

Coming up next in Part IV will we go back in time, but fast-forwarding ahead about 20 years in “Star Wars” time with “A New Hope,” May the Force Be With You.

April 16, 2015

Simplistic Talk: Things to take away from the newest Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser #2

Sorry “Batman V Superman” you lose again. Sure, it’s over a year until your film is released, but there is only so much dick teasing people can take before they are going to forget about you and move on to the next best thing; and that “next best thing” is obvious; the unveiling of the newest “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” trailer, and awakens is a perfect term for this; it awoke my inner child, and while I’m still a huge cynic, which so many people can attest to, and I’ll still troll to get a rise out of people, that doesn’t take away the fact that next to this year’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” this Jew can’t wait for this Hanukkah gift come Christmas.

Moving on from fan boying, which I really hate to do, the real purpose of this article is to point out some of the more obvious, and maybe one not so obvious thing from this newest trailer, which you can check out right HERE. So here we go:

One of the main things that we learned today is that the desert planet that we thought was Tatooine, is in fact the desert planet of Jakku. Will Tatooine still make an appearance somewhere in this film, or the other two films in this newest trilogy, I’m sure.

As you can see from the picture above we have both a downed X-Wing and a downed Star Destroyer. What we don’t know is when and where this takes place. As we know the Rebellion took place all over the galaxy and there are likely downed ships on every planet. Is this Jakku, Tatooine, or some other unnamed desert planet we don’t know about yet?

We also get our first look at charred remains of Darth Vader’s helmet above. The last we saw of this helmet was during the funeral pyre scene on Endor in “Return of the Jedi.” Was Vader’s helmet found by someone, is it being used in some sort of propaganda by the newly re-formed Galactic Empire, or is it in some sort of war museum.

Next we see our old friend R2-D2, and a metal hand. Conventional wisdom would say this is obviously Luke Skywalker seeing his old friend again. As we know, JJ Abrams likes to play with people’s heads, so could this be a misguide. I’m sure a lot of people lost hands and arms during the Rebellion.

Here is one of the most interesting scenes in the trailer. On the surface we see a lightsaber being handed to someone off screen. If you look closely, however, you will notice that this is some type of alien being handing a lightsaber to someone off-screen. Knowing the species might go a long way in explaining what is possible in this scene.

Here is a better shot of one of our principle characters, Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Issac. It’s clear he is still fighting the good fight for the Rebellion, and having a hell of a time doing it.

Here is our best shot so far of the newest “Sith” threat, Kylo Ren. I especially like his Kanye West glasses, and he pretty much looks like Snake Eyes from “G.I. Joe.” Conventional wisdom would say Ren is a Sith, but could be be something else?

Now, this could just be speculation, but I find this frame to be very interesting. Here we have the newest version of the Galactic Empire symbol overlayed with one of our newest character’s Rey, played by Daisy Ridley. We all think that Rey is supposed to be one of our newest heroes joining the fight against evil, but could this all be a ploy and she is actually a villain, maybe even Kylo Ren? Or could she be a former member of the Empire looking for revenge or penance for her crimes against the Rebels?

In this scene we see Finn, played by John Boyega, in a Stormtrooper uniform with what seems to be a bloody hand print on his helmet. Are Stormtroopers nothing more that roving death squads going from planet to planet exterminating any rebel sympathizers? 

This is one of my favorite things in the teaser; a bad ass silver Stormtrooper with what looks to be a red cloak. It almost seems like a mash-up between an Imperial Guard and the conventional Stormtrooper. The interior also resembles an Imperial Star Destroyer with some cave-like attributes. Has the Empire gone underground?

Here is a better shot of Finn in what resembles either a fly-ass Michael Jackson jacket, or see below:

Could Finn be related in some way to General Panaka from “The Phantom Menace” or be the son or nephew of Gregar Typho, the nephew of Panaka. I know a lot of people want to forget about the prequels and any and everything to do with them, but just going off the fresh gear that Finn is rocking, could he have been an officer in Naboo’s military, or is he incognito while hiding on Jakku.

Here’ a better look at our new TIE Fighter pilots. The red on their helmets and uniforms make we think that the Sith have a tighter grip on the new Empire and have pretty much become one.

Of course here is the still when all the fanboys lost it and creamed their pants; the first look at Han and Chewbacca. 30 years seem to have treated Han well, for the most part, and it’s just an awesome thing to see both of these guys back. The still doesn’t say much but when Han says “Chewie……we’re home….” its not only chilling, but is he talking about being back on the Millenium Falcon, or maybe back in Mos Eisley Cantina. Either way, I’m cool with it.

So that’s about it. What do you guys think. Personally, I’m probably talking out of my ass about most of it, but I’ve provided you with plenty of ammo, so fire away, and may The Force Be With You…

April 2, 2013

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Evil Sweet 16 Results: FILM BAD

HANNIBAL LECTER (1) WINNER
DARTH VADER (4)

If there was any Star Wars character in need of psychotherapy it would be Anakin Skywalker.  Mommy issues, daddy issues, inferiority complexes, obsessive behavior, night terrors, megalomania, depression, mental trauma, and so on.  All gravy for Dr. Lecter.  Anakin has also proven to be easily duped by the kinder older gentlemen hiding a dark secret.  They don’t get much darker than Hannibal.  Not even Palpatine dined on his enemies.  

THE JOKER (2) WINNER
KHAN NOONIEN SINGH (3)

A man out for revenge is a scary thing.  A man out for chaos is even more frightening.  Khan’s relentless linear thinking eventually makes him predictable.  There is no telling what depths or what ends The Joker would go to.  The Joker’s intellect is also very comparable to Khan’s.  The difference is Khan isn’t certifiably insane.  A genius level intellect in the hands of a mad man is the personification of chaos.  

March 25, 2013

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Evil Round One Results: FILM BAD

DOLORES UMBRIDGE (16)
HANNIBAL LECTER (1) WINNER

What do you get when you have a psychopathic, cannibalistic, former-psychologist and a megalomaniacal headmistress in cahoots with an all powerful dark sorcerer?  One hell of an opening match-up.  While Dolores Umbridge was able to sneak in a few snide remarks, Hannibal “The Cannibal” asked for some “Quid pro quo” and followed it up by filleting her and eating her liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.  Bottom line; wearing purple and pink never got anyone, anywhere.  Winner: Lecter.

MAX CADY (15)
THE JOKER (2) WINNER

Max Cady is a guy that takes things way too serious.  I mean, sure, you spent a few years in jail, you don’t have to bite a woman’s cheek off during rough sex.  The Joker asks “Why so serious?”  Cady reads a bible verse, but before he can say “Amen” the Clown Prince of Crime shows him how he got his scars, and Cady is up the river without a paddle.  Victory: The Joker.

FRANK BOOTH (14)
KHAN NOONIEN SINGH (3) WINNER

Frank Booth is psychotic.  Khan is moody.  You would think that Booth would have a chance against a guy that’s simply moody.  The only problem is that Khan will stop at nothing for revenge.  While Booth is distracted by Khan’s “velvet” like hair, he turns on Genesis, and easily wins this fight.  Khan tried to be a good neighbor, but instead sent Booth straight to hell with a love letter straight from his heart.

BIFF TANNEN (13)
DARTH VADER (4) WINNER

“You failed me for the last time, Tannen”
“Listen……*cough*…..butthead.”
“I told you two coats of wax on my TIE fighter, not one.”
To say the least, The Force was not with Biff.  Vader wins.  Impressive

HANS GRUBER (5)
JOHN DOE (12) WINNER

Two men, two different plans.  What John Doe lacks in fashion sense, me makes up with patience and of course a strap-on with a knife attached.  Hans might have a collection of Valentino suits and an accent that might get him on TV, but even that doesn’t stop Doe from claiming a major upset in this battle of Bad vs. Evil.  Becoming Envious:  John Doe wins.

COMMODUS (6) WINNER
PATRICK BATEMAN (11) 

One guy will bathe in a child’s blood.  The other, well, he’ll probably bathe in it after he drinks a pint or two while listening to Huey Lewis & The News.  Pat Bateman might be able to get a 9:00 pm res at Crayons, but Commodus will simply give a thumbs down and you’ll have a spear through your back.  While Bateman put up a fight, he was simply too square to be hip.  Commodus takes this fight easily, and is late for his 9:00 pm orgy.

ANNIE WILKES (7) WINNER
FREDDY KRUEGER (10)

Hell hath no fury like a woman who’s favorite book character is killed off.  Freddy is more of a TV guy himself, and while he tries to “Welcome Annie Wilkes to Prime Time, bitch” she simply isn’t having it.  With a few sledgehammer swings, Wilkes walks away with the win, while Kreuger is left trying to fit his head back into his fedora.

AGENT SMITH (9)
ALEX FORREST (8) WINNER

There might be a lot of Agent Smiths’, but like Annie Wilkes, hell hath no fury like a woman……..with 80s hair, and an affinity for rabbit stew.  Alex Forrest has no problem not being ignored by our favorite Matrix Agent, as she fakes a drowning, only to stab him in his digitized back.

December 12, 2012

Happy Holidays: Word Association 2nd Edition

In this excerpt from the inaugural episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast, Justin Polizzi volunteers to play Word Association.  Find out how he does.

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