Month: December 2015

Top 10… best films of 2015

It’s that time of year guys, the year’s almost up and 2016 is just around the corner but what a year for film 2015 has been, with some lows and some stratospheric highs, especially in runaway box office successes, and speaking of box office success, The Force Awakens is out and is raking in the money at the moment. Anyway pretty much all of 2015s’ theatrical releases are out so I think it’s time to continue to look back on the year that was and here are my top 10 picks for the year.

Steve Jobs – 7.5/10

Although not particularly deep, this biopic on the late Steve Jobs directed by Danny Boyle is full of life and some great drama, offering an insight into the mind of Jobs, played fantastically by Michael Fassbender, who is supported by some great performances from Kate Winslet and even Seth Rogen, the plot feels a tad repetitive but for what it’s worth, it manages to tell an interesting story based on real events, with some dramatic, creative licence of course.

2. Straight Outta Compton – 8/10

F Gary Grays biopic chronicles the origins and rise of the notorious hip group, the NWA, the big personalities in the group and the reasons why they came together and as it turns out, the true story actually makes for an interesting and compelling drama as it turns out though some parts were understandably dramatised or tweaked for the film. And with some great performances in the film from the actors, they really embody the rappers that they portrayed down to inflection and cadence in speech which was something quite interesting to watch.

3. Mad Max: Fury Road – 8/10

George Miller just went ahead and did it, knocking it well out of the park with the continuous action sequence that is Fury Road, but describing it like that is doing a bit of a disservice as the film has some nice slower dramatic moments that pair up well with the frenetic and exciting action, made well with some excellent use of practical effects for the stunts and some great CG. The performances aren’t necessarily the focus of a film like this but they’re good nonetheless, Charlize Theron especially as Furiosa is great, as is Tom Hardy, ever the stoic, dominating physical presence and if you don’t really care about the drama per se, there’s plenty of action to make up for that.

4. Jurassic World – 8/10

I just have to give credit to Jurassic World, an absolute monster hit that took everyone by surprise with its monumental box office figures and opening weekend figures but money aside, it was just very…. good, good for a Jurassic Park film at least which has been a hard thing to say, if you’re comparing each sequel before World to Jurassic Park. The doubters were proved wrong for the most part and World provided what fans wanted, a film that references the original but doesn’t completely re-hash, bringing new technology and ideas to the scene while being an entertaining romp with some fun action and set pieces and a pretty terrifying new dinosaur.

5. Inside Out – 8/10

Pixar did it again with a pretty awesome set up and premise for an original film, a great set of characters and a fun, entertaining story that brings a new idea to life with an interestingly thought up and created world, Pixar again brings the emotion, drama and humour and melds it together as Pixar does best and the result is a fantastic new entry in their film repertoire.

6. Sicario – 8/10

Tense. That’s a very short and fairly apt description of the atmosphere of Sicario, a fantastically crafted thriller with some great, interesting characters and an engaging plot chock full of engrossing and gripping moments that work in a more covert style and some brilliant cinematography, not having to rely on flashy e.g. all out shoot outs. Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro deliver some pretty fantastic performances and on the whole, the cast is on their A-game.

7. Kingsman: The Secret Service – 8/10

Kingsman is just a joy to watch, a superbly entertaining and well crafted spy thriller with a fantastic set of fun characters, great dialogue, great humour and fantastic set pieces, the sarcastic, often dark humour underlining the film really makes for a fun watch and Matthew Vaughn again knockes it out of the park with another comic book film adaptation. Coupled with some tense and thrilling set pieces, Kingsman is a great thrill ride from start to finish with great pacing, characters and an awesome plot.

8. Ex Machina – 8/10

Speculative sci-fi done right, Ex Machina is a captivating small drama with extra layers to it and more than meets the eye, with some brilliant performances from its main cast, especially Alicia Vikander, though everyone is great, the plot is nuanced enough to feel not quite like anything you’ve seen before despite some familiar themes and ideas and with some excellent use of atmosphere building in its music, it’s a surprisingly tense and engrossing affair.

9. The Martian – 8.5/10

Exploring the human condition and the will of a person to survive… on Mars, with that person being Matt Damon/Marc Watney, what could be better? The Martian is an excellent piece of sci-fi with a surprisingly filled out and entertaining story that really shouldn’t be as good and entertaining as it is, with a stellar cast and some great performances, from Matt Damon especially, there are very few dull moments present here. And coupled with some fantastic visuals and cinematography from sci-fi guru Ridley Scott who returns to some of his best work with a great, engaging and engrossing plot and moments that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

10. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens – 8.5/10 (my pick for favourite film of 2015)

The latest film in the Star Wars franchise is a blast (pun intended), it’s a fun thrill ride with a great set of new and iconic, beloved characters and a story that is a tad derivative but still great nonetheless, the film brings the great idea of duality and shades of grey regarding the dark and light side and force users back to Star Wars in Kylo Ren and Finn among some other new interesting ideas and themes. The action and set pieces are a fantastic and it’s a visual feast, easily the best looking Star Wars film to date and one of the most entertaining, emotionally engaging and engrossing in the franchise.

And I feel like as there were some good films this year that didn’t quite make my list, I still want to list leave a mention to a few of them.

Honourable mentions:

Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant ManMission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, It Follows, Dope.

Steve Jobs review

Danny Boyle directs biopic Steve Jobs, which follows the late inventor and former CEO of Apple Steve Jobs, behind the scenes of three key product launches at different stages in his career, the film stars Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg.

Aaron Sorkins signature writing shines right through Steve Jobs and is clearly evident, working in tandem well with Danny Boyles direction and the films structure, we see Jobs in key, important moments in his career at Apple as he and his closest advisor’s plan for different product launches. The film isn’t a story chronicling Jobs life from childhood to manhood or the foundations of Apples but what it is, is an interesting look at the man, the way his mind worked and some of the drama that surrounded him because of his personality, with some added dramatic and cinematic flare of course.

Certain scenes are tense and suspenseful affairs as Jobs squares off against people and sometimes rubs people up the wrong way but you do come to understand in a way, why he functioned the way he did and why he may have come across as stubborn in his relentless drive for success, notoriety for exclusive features and popularity.

And understandably, it’s a bit of a love hate affair with the story and its structure I feel, though the performances are great, Fassbender especially disappears into the role as Jobs and gives a stellar performance and Kate Winslet is fantastic as his long time friend and aide Joanna Hoffman, who proves to be more than a match for Jobs demeanour and sharp wit. The dialogue is great in Sorkins typical fast moving, entertaining style and it makes for some great drama but I can understand if this takes away from the dramatic impact and makes some points in the plot feel more like a scripted drama than real life events that actually happened. But that being said, the writing is great and though myself, you and many people around the world didn’t know Jobs personally and can’t really say, the writing helps to create an interesting, captivating picture of the man and what he was like, the dialogue makes him feel like a character but Fassbender brings a bit of humanity to the role to make him feel more human and ‘real’.

Steve Jobs is a good film, entertaining and interesting with some great drama, it’s not quite the hard hitting emotional package that you may go into it expecting but it has some good performances nonetheless and seeing shades of Jobs get revealed as the plot goes on makes for some interesting viewing, the writing is a highlight for sure with some brilliant, fast moving dialogue which does at times make things feel a bit more unrealistic and TV drama as opposed to real life story. But all in all, the result is a good drama, not a particularly deep one but still an engaging watch.

7/10

. Has some great performances from Fassbender, Winslet

. Writing is fantastic, entertaining but a bit overly dramatic at times

. Plot is engaging throughout, holds your interest

Are people still excited for X-Men Apocalypse?

This is a bit of a weird thing to say but y’know, Foxs ‘X-Men films are huge, pretty much always box office hits and very popular, they’re very much a staple in the modern superhero film slate and have their own distinct presence and with the new re-booted films, there’s a freshness and good feeling around the series again. X-Men Apocalypse is on the way and set for release next May after wrapping filming and we know what to expect, having seen the first trailer for it, there a bunch of new loo characters, a new Storm (Alexandra Shipp) Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) as well as Apocalypse himself (Oscar Isaac) and everything looks good so far.

What’s cool about Apocalypse is that it probably won’t quite feel like First Class or Days Of Future Past and will have its own distinct feeling story, we’ve dealt with a period film in which nuclear apocalypse almost happened in First Class and a post apocalyptic world in Days of Future Past but this time around we have one single mutant who can sway and influence other mutants with his powers and will be the big bad that everyone needs to confront in one way or another. A villain that can influence and control others and will also be using a few X-Men to do his bidding.

I’m pretty excited for the film but are other people? It’s hard to gauge audience anticipation for it but it seems like a film that no one’s really talking about, or at least not in the same capacity as people are talking about Batman V Superman or Captain America Civil War and remember, we don’t have a trailer for Civil War either and that’s out just 3 weeks before X-Men Apocalypse. But I don’t need to tell you how hyped Civil War already is, which is understandable with Marvel putting together so many of their characters in a pretty thrilling story line but still, the Apocalypse story line that the film is going with is also pretty big and the character himself is one of the strongest mutants, despite some X-Men fans being a bit iffy about the way he looks. Maybe when it comes to sheer hype, X-Men films simply doesn’t hold the same weight as big DC hitters in Superman and Batman and Marvels top tier but the X-Men still has a great roster of characters and a few of them are some of Marvels favourites e.g. Wolverine, Magneto, Jean Grey.

It makes sense for X-Men to come out third best compared to 2016s other 2 big superhero movies but still, I would have thought the film would have some more anticipation to it with the film out in just 5 months, though people did seem to generally like the trailer, I did see a few vocal critics of how the trailer looks. I’m fairly sure X-Men Apocalypse will be another hit for Bryan Singer but I’m wondering if it will get a bit lost among the crowd in a year with Batman V Superman, Captain America: Civil War, Dr Strange and Suicide Squad, we’ll have to wait and see how audiences take it in (or not) and it should be an interesting barometer of how people still feel about the X-Men franchise.

Merry Christmas

So yeah this isn’t a film related post but it is Christmas so yeah, merry Christmas from me, the Doc, to all of you out there and I hope you have a great, wonderful day of present opening, quality family time however awkward and uncomfortable it may be at times (but that’s Christmas) and eating way to much food, to end the day watching some Christmas films (and yes, Die Hard is absolutely a Christmas film so it counts).

Enjoy the day everyone!

4 great things about the Star Wars prequels

So I saw The Force Awakens recently and it got me thinking about Star Wars in general but specifically the prequels and

Okay, so this may be controversial or debatable as the prequels themselves are but you know what, the prequels aren’t completely terrible and they do have some cool aspects to them, as bad as the acting and plot points are here and there, there is some good among the bad so here are my thoughts.

New Ideas

You can criticise the prequels for a lot and many people already have, many, many times but one thing I do commend them and George Lucas for is trying new things, things that didn’t all work, granted but they were something new and different, not re-hashes of old themes or story arcs from the original trilogy but completely new characters, events etc, like Podracing. And yeah, podracing wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I enjoyed it, like the idea of a non-Jedi mercenary like General Grievous knowing how to use a lightsaber, seeing how and why the Empire and Death Star came to be for some better examples. The prequels for better or for worse brought some new ideas to the table and importantly expanded the Star Wars universe so for that, I think the franchise is a bit better off for it.

 

Energetic and exciting lightsaber duels

Something the original trilogy did lack was some more action, not to decry the near perfect original trilogy of course but it’s something I did always think would be cool to see, simply seeing Jedi go toe to toe with Sith in elaborate fights, the prequels definitely delivered on this and we got some great match ups. The duel of the fates in The Phantom Menace is of course the best example and the best choreographed fight in the entire franchise in my opinion, the fights in the prequels for the most part are exciting and tense affairs and in The Phantom Menace and at the end of Revenge of The Sith at least, they’re really well done.

There’s something a bit magical about Jedi and Sith with near level powers duke it out with laser swords, with the grace and poise of a medieval duel, in a universe where hyperspeed travel, massive space ships and blasters, it’s almost noble to opt to fight that way, if it’s a Sith that’s going around hacking people down then maybe not so much, but you get my point.

 

Seeing the rise and fall of the Jedi

This is a personal choice but I really liked the Jedis overall arc in the prequels, charting their dominance and power to their decline, leading to the original trilogy, it was a great story and a necessary explanation in terms of why there were so few Jedi (well about 2) in the original trilogy, what happened to this mystical and magical order of space knights, a staple of modern sci-fi. And as it turns out, what happened to the Jedi is a pretty depressing story but it was great to see the Jedi at their height of their powers, with them having their own council and seat in high power in the galactic Republic, though seeing the Jedi sit around and discuss politics may not be the most exciting thing ever, we did get to see a whole bunch of them wage war for the Republic in Episode II, so there’s that.

The Music

Saying this almost feels like a cheat as all Star Wars films have some great music but hey, the prequels do also have great music, it’s atmospheric, grandiose at times and has a weighty, epic feel to it in some of the films, with the theme for the Phantom Menace in particular being just fantastic, fitting perfectly and adding a great sense of tone to certain scenes. The themes for Episode II and III may not be as memorable but they’re still good and again fitting for the films, if the prequels are remembered by almost everyone as being bad, the music from them at least is a plus.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens review

Oh boy, the force is most certainly awake, alive and kicking as a brand new Star Wars trilogy kicks off with The Force Awakens, set 30 years after the events of Return of The Jedi as we follow a set of new and some old characters in the galaxy as the first order battles the resistance, the film stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domnhall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christine, Lupita N’yongo, Anthony Daniels.

Star Wars has just never looked this good, from stunning shots of hyperspace to thrilling, engaging dogfights and visceral, awesome set pieces, Abrams, a master of the visually stunning does it again and really leaves his mark in certain scenes, the action is frenetic, tense and has weight to it now with more practical effects as opposed to the CGI fest that was the prequels. Characters really look like they get hurt when they take a hit and you can see that play out more ‘realistically’ as fights go on.

And as such, fights – lightsaber fights carry more weight, are more brutal and are even more tense with some great visual effects, like with Kylo Rens’ fierce, wild lightsaber and the lightsaber effects for the film in general. And overall, a great blending of practical effects and excellent CG makes for a wonderful mix with scenes that flow seamlessly and importantly are – fun, something again lost in the often overly serious tone from the prequels, The Force Awakens is a joy to watch and at 135 minutes at runtime, it certainly flies by with some great, well placed jokes and some great humour.

This is probably the funniest Star Wars film to date in fact and the comic relief was a great aspect of the film, helped a lot by the films leads in Boyega and Ridley who have some great chemistry and have a believable relationship as well as Harrison Ford as the returning Han, who fits back into the role perfectly and seems to revel in it. And Adam Driver, ladies and gentleman, he was surprisingly good in the role and played Kylo Ren with some intriguing vulnerability and with a lot of emotion and he was a great villain, meanwhile Domnhal Gleeson made a passable albeit underused General Hux. We of course have the throwbacks to the original trilogy in imagery, some line of dialogue and characters in C3PO, R2D2 and Carrie Fisher returning as Leia and Luke…. but for the most part, said callbacks are great nostalgic touches and never felt too cheesy, though some moments felt a bit forced and were predictable, though in saying that it, it’s great to see some things we love from the original trilogy.

Are there too many throwbacks to the originals though? Not necessarily, while I do think the plot could have benefited from some alternative plot arcs and parts did really echo the original trilogy, it was still a great thrill ride and I was eager to see what happened next at each plot turn and new development. The Force Awakens is reverential and honours its foundations but it also goes in some interesting and exciting new directions, regarding 2 certain characters, the force and some expansion of the lore of Star Wars makes for room for a lot of speculation and some awesome theorising.

The Force Awakens is a fantastically thrilling and exciting return to Star Wars with a blending of great action, humour and the return of the iconic characters, themes and motifs that made so many fall in love with the franchise, it has a few predictable elements and familiar feeling beats but nowhere near enough to take away from the experience as a whole and the result is a brilliant new entry to the franchise and a great sign of things to come.

8.5/10

. Does a good job of honouring the original trilogy but standing on its own as an exciting story

. Has some fantastic visuals, well done weighty fight ceness and great set pieces

. It’s great to see iconic characters return, though there are a fair amount of callbacks

Spectre review

Sam Mendes returns for his 2nd Bond outing and Daniel Craig for his 4th as the ever suave super spy, James Bond in Spectre as Bond is forced to face his dark remnants from his parts and the shadowy organization, Spectre, the film stars Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Rory Kinnear.

Spectre is… okay, arguably the most divisive of Craigs bond films (as everyone loves SkyfallCasino Royale and hates Quantum of Solace) but I lean towards the film being decent, not reaching the quality and narrative cohesion of Casino Royale but also not being as incomprehensible or dull as Quantum of Solace. Many things have been said about Spectre in criticism, including it being too Bond-like for a Bond film which is a fair point and fans feel like the film sort of went through the motions, going through familiar Bond tropes and clichés but for what it does, it does decently.

Another decent thing about the film is its cast, no one is particularly spectacular but I think Craig does a decent enough job, I didn’t get the impression that he sleepwalked through the role and I thought he was passable, Waltz was good, as was Fiennes as M and Léa Seydoux was alright as Madeleine Swann, albeit a tad unremarkable in her performance. Also the other side plot point to the film involving M trying to protect the existence of MI6 felt a bit throwaway and simply wasn’t that interesting, though having M and Q do more in the plot was a welcome addition.

This is no Skyfall with an unpredictable villain and a topsy turvy plot but I still found it fairly enjoyable and I didn’t think there were many dull moments, following Bond tropes for a Bond film isn’t a cardinal sin however and it’s far from the worst thing about Spectre, said worst things would simply be the lack of a crescendo or high note for the film, that feels like it goes from set piece to set pieces without a truly exciting action sequence or mind blowing scene. Though in saying that, a few of the set pieces in the film are actually quite thrilling, the helicopter scene for example, which I thought was fantastic and the car chase scene in Milan was also a highlight, Bond returns to its thrilling classic routes with some of these sequences and they’re a joy to watch. However they should have been complimented by more lethal and menacing villains Spectre and Blofeld (we all knew it was Blofeld) – probably the biggest disappointment of the film, Christoph Waltz is a phenomenal actor and the role fits him like a glove but he really doesn’t get to do that much with it and feels like half the villain Silva is, though he’s the head of the biggest evil organization in the Bond universe.

The villains of the film in general are a weak link in fact and I simply didn’t get the feeling that Spectre was a truly formidable force, though certain scenes in their headquarters invoked the feeling of classic Bond, to the level of unintentional humour in fact. And speaking of villains, Dave Bautista as Mr Sphinx was brilliant and also slightly underused. Spectre is a perfectly decent outing, far from terrible but not great either, invoking themes and the tone of classic Bond of old while infusing Craigs swagger, new technology and some fun set pieces, the result is an engaging albeit not spectacular Bond film that probably falls short of the great thrill ride that some people were expecting.

7/10

. Has some fun, well done set pieces/sequences

. Plot is engaging, has nice moments

. The film lacks a notable, memorable ‘high point’

. Waltz is great as Blofeld but underused and Spectre feels a bit weak

Top 10…. worst films of 2015

It’s that time of year guys, the weather outside is frightful and the year’s drawing ever nearer to a close and this is my retrospective look back on 2015 and the disappointing films that came out in it, the worst ones in fact in my opinion  and here they are.

Fifty Shades of Grey – 3/10

What can be said about Fifty Shades of Grey, well it was fifty shades of terrible, adapted from an equally terrible, poorly written, tension-less and fluff novel, the material is just utterly un-appealing (I know I’m not the intended demographic but still), dull and is as shallow as the ideas that the film presents.

The Gallows – 3/10

The Gallows is just so, so bad, this is found footage at some of its worst with a paper thin plot, predictable plot points and a set up that just brings nothing whatsoever new to found footage or to horror, expect some truly horrible acting and clichés galore, avoid.

Fant4stic Four – 4/10

A film that had a decent first half but notoriously fell apart, just as Josh Tranks relationship with his studio fell apart, which was disappointing because the film actually looked alright but ended up being disappointing with some non-sensical plot points, a serious lack of character development and a clear mish-mash of tone that just didn’t really gel well. The ‘realistic’ gritty tone also just didn’t quite work with the Fantastic Four.

Minions – 4/10

Just… why? I’m a bit lost for words in relation to why this film exists and in relation to the popularity of the minion characters but yeah, I just don’t really see why they needed a film of their own or what exactly made them interesting to watch to some people, for a set of characters that mumble incoherently. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

San Andreas  – 5/10

San Andreas is just pretty bog standard, probably the most 5/10 film of 2015 with its plot, premise and just about everything about it and to be fair, it’s not a terrible film but still going by my rating, it easily gets in the top 10 worst films of the year. It’s a film you going into knowing what to expect and get those expectations met, but nothing more is brought to the table.

Poltergeist – 5/10

Poltergeist was.. just a shame really, for a remake of a fairly well liked horror film, it brought nothing new to the ideas and themes of the original and simply re-created scenes to little or no effect as the new CG effects just made things look a bit fake because they looked so digital and weightless importantly there wasn’t any tangible fear factor or real horror present and that killed the film for me.

Insidious Chapter 3 – 5/10

Insidious went out on a bit of a whimper, which was a shame because the franchise up until Chapter 3 was actually pretty decent, which is something especially for a popular horror series in this day and age, Chapter 3 was just utterly devoid of any actual scares and or nuance that Insidious brought, it did have some decent actors in it with Leigh Wannell especially but other than that, there wasn’t much else to it.

The Lazarus Effect  – 5/10

Great idea and set up, poor execution, I could apply that statement to so many films from 2015 I feel and The Lazarus Effect had some cool ideas, which devolved into pretty cliché horror territory disappointingly, with a decent cast to boot, they were mostly wasted on a paper thin plot that didn’t really go anywhere interest, after it’s interesting set up and first 1/3 or so.

Jupiter Ascending – 6/10

Interplanetary royalty and inexplicable affiliation with bees, yeah that was Jupiter Ascending, an ambitious and sweeping sci-fi film from the Wachowskis that sort of fell apart after a decent set up, the action scenes are a tad flashy and the ideas are cool but the depth to the plot and most of its characters was lacking.

 

The Gunman  – 6/10

Action thrillers have never been this dull with Sean Penn as a… gunman, going around shooting people and stuff, this was a bit of a sleeper, not a sleeper hit, just a sleeper with a pretty dull, by the numbers plot and Sean Penn surprisingly being in action role, it wasn’t terrible to be fair but it’s also no Kingsman or Mission Impossible which are masterpieces in action by comparison.

Star Trek Beyond teaser trailer

We have our first look at the upcoming Star Trek Beyond, the 3rd film in the new Star Trek series, co-written by Simon Pegg and not directed by JJ Abrams as y’know, he was busy with a little thing called Star Wars The Force Awakens, this film is directed by Justin Lin.

The cast of the film returns as does the crew of the enterprise and they’re in a new, compromising situation as the crew appears to be separated and marooned on an alien planet with no means of escape and the signature humour of the films and feeling of adventure does again seem to be present but with a vastly different type of story from first glance.

Also interesting is the new white alien character who seems to be fairly integral to the story and may be an aid to Captain Kirk and the main characters, the film seems a fair bit more action oriented actually (though the first 2 films are ostensibly ‘action’ films, we seem to be in for a lot more ground based action rather than space based stuff. But in all in all it’s an intriguing teaser and I’m interested, it looks a fair bit different from the first 2 films and that’s not necessarily a bad thing but we’ll have to wait and see how the film does turn out as a whole.

Hopes and fears for the Force Awakens

The Force Awakens is out soon, really, really soon as in, next week in fact and it’s probably the most hyped Star Wars film that has ever existed with the advent of bringing the old cast, new young actors, better technology and a brand new story and of course I’m hugely excited for it but I also really, really don’t want it to suck and there is potential for that, as much as I don’t want to think about it. And as a fan, here are some things I hope the film is and isn’t.

I hope it isn’t:

Just a re-hash of A New Hope

The parallells are there and pretty plain to see, Rey, a possible Skywalker and girl living on a desert planet longs for something more and is attuned to the force though she doesn’t know it, she’ll meet Finn, Han and Chewie and go on an adventure and eventually fight against the (Empire) First Order and eventually taking on its super weapon, meeting Jedi along the way and becoming aware of the force. Cool premise but I’ve seen that already and so have you, A New Hope is excellent and probably my favourite Star Wars film but do we really want to just see a re-skin of it with better visuals and some new characters? I hope The Force Awakens brings in radically new story elements, characters and direction, maybe mis-direction in the case of Luke to throw us way off and give us an awesome viewing experience.

An homage to the original trilogy

The original trilogy is sacred, amazing and was a trail blazing blockbuster extravaganza that paved the way for the modern epic blockbuster as we know it and that’s great but the new trilogy should definitely not just be an homage to that and I trust JJ has the ambition and drive to take a franchise he loves into an awesome new direction without simply referencing back to the original films. It’s great to base the new films off of them but Episodes 7,8 and 9 should feel new, different and distinct from both the prequels and the original trilogy if only because they’re set in an entirely different time period, there will be new technology, maybe different, new races, new clans and factions and who knows what, anything can be added to this new continuity and that allows for a lot of creativity as far as making the films goes.

I hope it is:

An expansion on new ideas, lore and mythology for Star Wars 

As interesting as some of the ideas and lore of the prequels were, they didn’t really expand on a tonne of things, the now non-canon expanded universe did and it was awesome with various Jedi, Sith and all sorts of wacky stories but things like Dark Plaguis, possible other ancient Sith, the Knights of Ren are things that are interesting to me and things that are interesting in the world of Star Wars in general. And as classic and iconic as the ongoing war between the Rebels and the Empire has been, it’s never been the most compelling aspect of the franchise for me and I’ve always been more interested in the Jedi and Siths’ ancient struggle and both orders way of life, code and history.

The Force Awakens looks to be touching on expanded lore a bit more with the Knights of Ren and it seems there are factions out there that maybe worship and idolise Sith which is interesting, I’d also love to see more Mandalorians and potential new races as well as maybe some sort of coven for Jedi? Surely Luke can’t be the last one left in the film before Finn gets trained to be one.

Anyway these are just some of thoughts on the film and I am of course expecting good things, though we’ll see how things turn out very soon either way.