Star Wars Rebels, Season Finale

Star Wars Rebels gets more and more fun by the season. And they get grander, too. This season has Admiral Thrawn as the main obstacle. It’s not an inquisitor any more! Admiral Thrawn is a tactician, and quite a devious one. There are a lot of other things happening, too. Rebels now really feels connected to the rest of the Star Wars universe.

And I think that’s why it’s so much more enjoyable now. In season one, Rebels was mostly self contained. It also had a bit of when is his happening within the Star Wars timeline? Are they the first rebels and such. All that slowly got answered, and the Ghost got drawn into a much larger plan.

Now we have a lot more answers on when this takes place and a lot more interaction with both Star Wars movie characters and Clone War characters. Yep, it draws from the entire current Star Wars canon. I think season one was sort of them just testing it out. Once the show became popular, the writers got a lot more leeway to involve the Ghost in real Star Wars stuff. Now I think it’s a fantastic addition to the universe.

Individual episodes has its ups and downs, but rebels always pulls off great, breath-taking episodes. They show a wonderful universe out there full of mystery and intrigue. Some of it is related to the Jedi, others are not.

This season is also darker and more violent. They no longer imply people are dying. They just offscreen it a bit. Everyone is more mature now and the stakes are higher. The Rebellion is really kicking into things now, but so is the Empire. Seeing the two sides fight against each over a long period really gives a better sense of tactics and resources each side has.

And seeing the struggles that the rebels have to do just to get to the point where they could fight the Death Star in episode 4 made me appreciate episode 4 that much more. In the movie, everything was sort of already set up for Luke. But Rebels pulls back a bit and shows just how much work it really took. Like Clone Wars enhancing the prequel trilogy, Rebels enhances the original trilogy.

Can’t wait for the next season.

Thinking About Sequels

This is just me rambling on, thinking about sequels and other stuff. It’s not going to be too long. This will just be some thoughts on stuff. I mean, yeah, most of my stuff is sort of just what I think as it comes, but I sometimes go back and edit them. I’ll probably edit this a bit, too. So really. There’s not a huge difference other than that this isn’t going to be about one movie or tv show in particular.

There will be nothing insightful here, I’ll tell you that right now. I don’t really know anything about how the industry works.

My first thoughts are on sequels. They always seem more bombastic than the original, and sometimes, it feels worse. I think part of the problem is that a the main character already got a healthy dose of development in the first film, so they skip past that kind of thing in the second film. And to replace it? More action!

Another issue might be because people really like one part of the film. And yeah, it’s pretty good. The movie writers hear about it and decide to make it a larger part of the second film. Now, this might cause a problem because the original elemnt only works really well once or in small amounts. Once it takes over a larger part of the movie, it just becomes obnoxious.

These might be a cause as to why sequel movies feel busier, less cohesive, and less interesting overall. The best sequels do something new, instead and remembers to keep the right balance that made the first installment work so well.

As for the second topic of this post, I’ll mention real quick why I always point out if I saw any adaptations of movies or TV shows before. The reason is because knowing the original work can color my opinion of the adaptation. I might be more interested in pointing out why the adaptation pales or works compared to the original. If I haven’t seen the original, I would just be looking at the adaptation by itself.

It’s important to know what both people that know and don’t know the original say. Then, you can get an idea of how close the adaptation is and also how a completely new set of eyes feel about the work.

Ok. That’s all for my rambling today.

Beauty and the Beast (Live Action)

A tale as old as time, eh? The beauty and the beast. Random note, why are the actors in this film mostly British? Where are the French actors? Um, but don’t ask me who since I don’t know that many.

Anyway, this is a live action remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Out of all of the ones made so far, I think this is the most accurate to the animated version out of what they’ve done so far. The film does add some things, which I’ll talk about in the spoiler section, but it doesn’t really change anything. So if you want some Beauty and the Beast goodness in live action, this will do it.

The visuals of this film really work well. The castle has a foreboding, decayed look. The servants look great. I was unsure when I first saw images of Lumiere and Cogsworth, but in action, they look both great and adorable. You know, I did not recognize any of the actors as playing the servants despite knowing most of them. Haha, I enjoyed the servants, though.

Emma Watson does a fine Belle, and Dan Stevens is fine as the Beast. I don’t have too much to say. They hit the right marks and notes. I think we do need more of the Beast being beastly, though, like more claw destruction. I mean, I know the Beast doesn’t actually have any training doing any of that stuff, but it would still make for some impactful scenes. I think his less monstrous look is fine.

Gaston, here played by Luke Evans, could be stronger. Other than that, he’s fine. Now Lefou, he became a character I enjoyed. There’s just more to him now than being the silly sidekick. And I think Josh Gad does a wonderful job portraying the subtle emotions of Lefou.

The songs in this movie are great. So are the visuals. Be Our Guest and the ball are both wonderful. Visually, this movie is fantasy Disney all the way. So if you want some Beauty and the Beast, but now in live action, this movie will give you almost exactly that.

Now on to some spoiler thoughts.

The film does add some things to make the run time longer. Why? I’m not certain. Nothing really changes in the story because of the new information. The characters do get fleshed out more, but they weren’t particularly simple in the original movie.

About my Lefou comments, I just liked how he slowly realizes Gaston is a jerk and how he decides to defect. Lefou is great here just starting out as Gaston’s hype man and moving away from that over the course of the movie. And it’s mostly subtle shots, but you know it’s there and coming.

The one new addition that puzzles me is having the Enchantress stay a relevant character. She doesn’t really change the story, and no one ever finds out she’s the one that caused all of it. So it’s a bit of why are you here? I mean, she does seem a bit more sympathetic now since she didn’t just curse and run. She’s trying to help the Beast out. She still cursed an entire castle, though.

I think we should have gotten more enchantress and less added scenes with the other characters.

Now go be a guest of some place playing the film.

Astroboy, 2009 Film

Astro Boy, 2009 film! Why, yes, that is also the title of this post. Just reiterating. I have not seen any of the original Astro Boy stuff, so I won’t be comparing the movie to anything else. That’s also why I didn’t see the movie when it first came out. I just didn’t know it. But it’s on TV, so I decided to give it a watch.

Astroy Boy is a CGI film about a young robot boy trying to find his place in the world. He’s also the most awesome robot around, being super powerful, can fly really fast, and is also kitted out with weapons. I don’t know why he has weapons when the doctor that built him made Astro Boy to be a replacement for his son.

The film is colorful and whimsical. It doesn’t have a lot of bite or twist to it, though. For younger viewers, it’s pretty fun. There is a scene that is disturbing, though. I mean, whoa. Older viewers will most likely know everything that’s going to happen, since nothing surprising happens.

It’s a simple and fun movie about a robot boy. He meets up with quirky characters, mean characters, but mostly quirky. The visuals are pretty amazing. No performance really stands out, but I think that’s due to the movie not really needing any amazing performances. Doctor Tenma, perhaps, gets some of the most serious scenes, and he does them well.

The movie is fun, but nothing really special. The setting isn’t fully explored. There are hints of it around, but they fall by the wayside as some background information or funny moments. The final conflict can be seen coming from a long time away, and it just doesn’t feel as interesting as some of the stuff that happens in the middle.

Overall, it’s an alright, movie. If you want to waste an afternoon or evening on a children’s film, you could find weirder. And, hey, it’s sci-fi, which is always great for me.

Mad Max, Road Warrior, Beyond the Thunder Dome

My first experience with Mad Max was Fury Road. And it was fantastic. I recently saw the original Mad Max, Mad Max: Road Warrior, and Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome on television. Let’s see how they are! There will be spoilers here.

Ok, as weird as it is to say this, Mad Max did not feel like a Mad Max film. Somehow, the post-apocalyptic, mauraders on cars, desert style has become so well-known for Mad Max that the first movie felt like something else.

It wasn’t post-apocalyptic. It was just an ordinary time in Australia, right? I’m kidding. I’m sorry. Stuff is clearly starting to break down, but not that much. Society is still standing. There are just more gangs on the road. Mad Max is a world in the middle of breaking down. Max still hasn’t become surly. He has a wife and kid and a job being a police officer.

I was kind of surprised at how slow-paced the movie was. Yes, it still has great car and bike stunts, but not as many. I knew that Max’s wife and kid would die, but I just wasn’t thinking it would take the entire movie for it to happen. Really, Max doesn’t go on his revenge until the last half hour or so.

And maybe it was just the TV edit, but for a guy named Toecutter, there were no cut toes.

Now, Road Warrior felt really Mad Max. There are no communities and neighborhoods anymore. The world has turned into huddled settlements and vehicle-riding gangs.

Road Warrior stands high up there with not just a surly Max but also interesting side characters. And the vehicle action scenes from this are much crazier than the first one. I really wonder how they manage to do these things safely.

It’s odd how well Max works as more of an ass-kicking force rather than the main character. He’s just helping people solve problems and then leaving, and rather than anyone having a problem with him directly, they just want him gone because he’s annoying.

Road Warrior has all the fun of a post-apocalyptic world made in the 1980’s. The gyro captain was a highlight for me. And most of the settlement people, even though I didn’t know there names, had just enough on screen. That seems to be a strength of Mad Max, just show things on screen and that’s enough. No need to talk about it or linger on it.

The villain of the movie was also pretty cool, though these earlier Mad Max films really took the most direct approach with dealing with the bad guys. Just run them over in a larger car. I kind of wanted some cool fight scenes, but yeah, the pragmatic way works well.

Mad Max: Road Warrior was definitely great fun. I probably like Fury Road better for the production values and more 21st century sensibilities, though. Also, nothing comes close to the flamethrowing guitar, yet.

Beyond the Thunderdome was an interesting one. It felt like two separate movies combined into one. One movie was the dirty post-apocalyspe of Barter Town, where people are trying to have a normal semblance of life through clear laws and punishments. Where the Thunderdome is the answer to disputes. And where two people are vying for control.

The other movie is a wild post-apocalypse where society has devolved into a bunch of kids with strange beliefs. A place that’s lighthearted when compared to everything else around and maybe even a bit goofy. Not that the rest of Mad Max doesn’t have it’s strange moments, but the wild children tribe just feels totally different.

The two sides of the movie doesn’t even mesh well. The tribal kids have no real reason to go to Barter Town and Barter Town has no idea they even exist. It’s just Max that brings them together. And at the end of the movie, the kids are living in a city, but that place is still nothing but ruins. Not sure how it’s better than where they were living before. Barter Town may or may not still exist depending on if they can get someone else to fix their stuff.

It’s an odd one. I think them focusing just on Barter Town and the Thunderdome would have been great. The tribal childen did not feel like a great fit for the Mad Max world. Tina Turner was pretty great, though.

So, if I was to order things in my preference of Mad Max, it would be Road Warrior, Fury Road, somewhat of a tie between Mad Max and Beyond the Thunderdome. I just can’t get over how different the first Mad Max is.