Haiku Me Friday! It’s snowing…

Wampas and Tauntauns A cold desert in the snow The barren landscape

Wampas and Tauntauns
A cold desert in the snow
The barren landscape

I woke up this morning to an inch of snow.  Yesterday I was thinking to myself about how wonderful it was to finally be walking my dog with sneakers again because all the snow and ice had melted.  I must have jinxed it.

I’ve written about Hoth before in a Haiku but it always comes to the forefront of my mind when winter slams Massachusetts.  We live in a funny area of MA, closer to the coast, but not too close.  We’re on this dividing line where forecasters will often say, “West of I-495 should expect to see 6” or more of snow, whereas East of I-495 will see around 2-4”,” or vice versa depending on if it’s a land storm or a coastal storm.  But we are at that weird dividing line of I-495 so we never know what we are going to get.  Today is only an inch but tomorrow is 4-9” depending on what part of Massachusetts you live.  I would prefer 0” but it looks like I have no say in this matter.

My husband and I always thought we’d move out of here since we despise the winters.  But having family so close when you have children changes everything; I can’t imagine not living near our families now that we have ARM.

I think I just need to reframe my thinking, to go along with my New Year’s resolution to be more positive.  Every time I complain about snow I can think, “At least it’s not Hoth.”  Think about it – Hoth didn’t have any trees or greenery to be seen.  It was pretty desolate.  At least I have trees to look at and I don’t have to wear jackets indoors (ever notice how everyone in the Rebellion is wearing their jackets within Echo Base?).  It’s like when I had finals in college and was stressed.  I would say to myself, “At least the fate of the world doesn’t depend on me dropping a mind-twisting ring into Mt. Doom at Mordor.”  Do not think I’m joking.  I said that to myself at the end of every semester.

Okay, bring on the snowstorm!  At least it’s not Hoth.

 

In other news – I’m hosting my first annual Star Wars party in February.  I can’t believe it took me this long to make it an annual party.  I boba-fett-dancing-gifcan’t stand the month of February.  It’s cold, there’s a lot of snow, and Valentine’s Day is stupid.  Now I have a reason to be more positive!  I’m going to host a Star Wars party every February.  I’m trying to make it as chill as possible…open to anyone, light food, some alcohol and drinks, and one game.

Guess what the game is!

(Pun!)  The attendees have to guess what movie I am going to pick.  If they guess right, they get a prize.  Yup, no one knows what we’re watching until the day of.  This gives me a bit of a manic glee (probably similar to what General Hux experienced as Starkiller Base was charged by the sun) as I love having other people in suspense over something I control.

You guys are welcome to guess too and I’ll also send you a prize if you guess correctly.  But you won’t get the prize until after February 11th

 

Have a great weekend everyone.  I’m working on my books of 2016 post and I’m hoping to be more active here in 2017.  Xoxo.

Rogue One: A Hardened Battle Story or a Soulless Masquerade?

I have issues with Rogue One.  And apparently I have issues completely different from everyone else.

Get ready for a doozy of a review.

My main issue is: I’m not sure I liked the movie.  I keep telling myself that’s okay, and I don’t like AOTC much either, but it’s still weird to realize that I don’t like a Star Wars movie.

The two standout reasons for being disgruntled with the film were:

  1. I did not like Jyn Erso, and
  2. I did not like the cameos of Darth Vader and Princess Leia

I found Jyn to be boring.  Disney and Kathleen Kennedy are doing a great job bringing female protagonists front and center and I really admire them for it.  The whole problem with Jyn is that I don’t believe in her cause.  In fact, did she really have a cause?  Sure, once she saw

This is the same facial expression I had for the entire movie.

This is the same facial expression I had for the entire movie.

the hologram of her dad, she became part of a larger fight (the Rebellion), but I’m not sure I believed her.  Her motivational speech to the Alliance fell flat to me and left me wishing for William Wallace to give her some lessons.

I’m not sure where the writers were going with her character.  I felt like we never really “knew” Jyn.  We were given a little bit of background info on her, her parents, family, and that she knew Saw…but it was so small that it hardly led me to believe that she would all of a sudden become gung ho about the Rebellion.

It also seemed like they wanted to make her a “tough girl”.  I love tough girls.  But tough girls that go haywire at the slightest provocation make me roll my eyes.  Why did she beat up everyone when the Imperial transport was stopped and she was rescued?  Further, if you are going to make her a tough girl and you want to stick with that – why did you have Cassian come in and save the day at the very end?  The entire movie was trying to make Jyn seem independent and tough but I never got to see her independence.  Sure, the point of the movie was this was a team job, but it would have been nice to have ONE MOMENT where Jyn shone without anyone else backing her up.

I can’t remember one line from Jyn because everything she said was unmemorable.  And bland.  And meh.

As for the cameos – I thought both Darth Vader and Princess Leia were unnecessary.  Darth Vader’s spa retreat on Mustafar was weird and do you really think he would have time for weazily little Directors like Krennic?  Even if Krennic is in charge of the Death Star?  No.  Or, if he did want to see Krennic, do you think he would call Krennic to his private sanctuary on Mustafar?  (Please realize I have no problems with Darth Vader having his home on Mustafar and it’s been hinted at before with canon material)

Further, the end scene when Darth Vader kicks some butt is cool.  I agree.  However, it kind of messes up ANH a little bit which irked me.  darth-vader-rogue-oneVader watches the Tantive IV disappear into the galaxy, yet Princess Leia has the nerve to say she’s on a “diplomatic mission to Alderaan”, when they are captured.  Even though we all know she is lying in ANH, now it seems slightly more ridiculous, and on top of that all her statements of being a member of the Imperial Senate makes me wonder…well why were you at Scarif?  Because now we all know she was at Scarif and it’s so RANDOM.  It wasn’t played right.  But okay, I could argue that was minor tweaking of the plot and only something devout fans would recognize.  (It’s not as bad as Leia claiming she remembers her mother, but Padmé dies in childbirth.)

Seeing how Darth Vader was used, I believe it should have been one scene or the other, and even though I have all those issues with the last scene – I would have preferred that scene of Vader kept in the movie versus the Mustafar spa retreat.

Actually, personally, truth speak – I would rather Vader and Leia not be in the movie at all.  I think the movie would have been stronger without them and that Disney should have taken the chance not to pull them into the story and see how people liked it without familiar main characters.

Those are my two issues that seriously detracted from my enjoyment of the movie.  That being done, here is what I liked and didn’t like to smaller degrees.

 

What worked:

  • I liked that Disney took a chance. I like that the movie was different and not what you expected from Star Wars.  It was fun to have new characters and see unexplored areas of the galaxy.
  • No romance. I know this is debatable due to one of the last scenes between Jyn and Cassian, but I liked seeing teamwork and no undercurrents of “Will they, won’t they?” romantic entanglements.
  • Everyone dies! Yes!  I like that!  In fact, I loved it!  I thought the way the deaths played out could have been better.  I’m not sure they really gave the protagonist characters justice with their deaths, but it made so much sense for everyone to die that I really appreciated that step forward in the Star Wars movies.
  • Director Krennic. I really, really liked him.  I thought he was a perfect addition to the Star Wars universe and his death gave his orson-krennic-and-deathtrooperscharacter justice.  The way he strove so hard, yet was kicked and pushed aside by those higher than him really made me feel for him, more than anyone else in the movie.  He was the only one I kind of related to, in a weird way.  He’s very Machiavellian, for realz, but I liked him.
  • Diversity.  I won’t say much on this because it’s been written on plenty by others, but it was refreshing and so totally needed.
  • I liked the revelation of the Death Star purposefully having that exhaust port which is it’s one flaw, done by Galen Erso.  My husband said, “This helps the 4th movie make so much more sense!”  Though I had never really thought about it, it does help ANH make more sense and makes Luke’s victory taste sweeter.
  • CGI Tarkin. I believe I am one of the few people out there that liked CGI Tarkin.  I thought he was really well done and I liked seeing his role in the Star Wars universe expanded on.  I didn’t find his face that disturbing either…I know some people had a lot of trouble with the use of CGI on faces, but I had way more trouble accepting Leia than Tarkin.  Maybe because I thought Leia was unnecessary to the plot, whereas Tarkin moved the plot along so I had no problems accepting the CGI.
  • K-2SO. Thank God for K-2SO.  Without him, the movie would have been very serious and hard to watch.  He was definitely funny and a much needed droid for the Rogue One team.
  • I loved that “Rogue One” could have many different meanings. The fact that Bodhi was the one who made it up, added a completely different layer.  Does Rogue One refer to the rag tag team that goes to Scarif as we are meant to believe?  Or does it refer to Jyn?  Or Bodhi, the deserter Imperial pilot?  Or does it refer to the entire Rebel Alliance?
  • I enjoyed seeing the Rebellion as a more rough and tough team, with Cassian having to murder someone in the beginning of the movie. This guerilla feel to the Alliance felt more real for me.  Cassian was one of my favorite characters, along with Krennic.  I thought he represented someone who had been hurt, knew the price the Rebellion would pay for losing, but still moved forward anyway and would do what it takes to get his team to have home field advantage.
  • The space battle above Scarif. Bravo!  That was wonderfully done, especially the Hammerhead hitting the Star Destroyer.

 

What did not work:

  • Jyn’s character. Boring, unbelievable, and not enough moments to shine.
  • The cameos of Vader and Leia.
  • The entire first half of the movie. Star Wars has a lot of planets, but this movie really jumped around for a while.  They also listed every planet’s name and a description with it, which kind of jolted me out a little bit.  To me, Star Wars is primarily about common themes jedhaand a relatable core. I felt like Rogue One, especially the parts with Saw Gerrera, fell flat in that department.  The beginning was as uneven as Jyn’s ride to the Imperial Base.  It jumped to so many different planets, didn’t flesh out characters, and I even got bored at some points.  I think once they go to Yavin 4 and were trying to convince the Rebel Alliance to steal the Death Star plans and go to Scarif, it started getting a lot better.
  • Motivations.  Not only with the characters but also with the Rebellion.  I couldn’t figure out the motivations of some of the characters and that made it hard for me to connect with them or even care about their death – specifically Baze and Chirrut.  On a larger scale, I had trouble feeling for the Rebellion and rooting for their cause.  I’m a Rebellion girl through and through but this movie made me more interested in the Empire (so weird writing that).   The Empire was where it was at!  They were organized, efficient and had very clear reasons for what they were doing.  I didn’t feel like the Rebellion would inspire hope in me if I was going to choose one or the other.  That left me a little down because I wanted to cheer for who I knew were the good guys, but instead I felt like they needed to get their act together.

The movie and its characters needed more soul.  If this was not a Star Wars movie, would I like it?  Probably not.  I understand why Disney wanted to make this a battle story, and the second half really worked.  But they forgot that what attracts fans and casual viewers to Star Wars in the first place.  If I care about the characters, I care about their fight.  Sadly, I think Rogue One fell short in many aspects of this.

Share your thoughts. Please.

Fan Art Friday! Wicket’s Cuteness Overload

I am really happy with the way this Fan Art Friday turned out.  If you read my other ones, especially the ones with characters, there was always some problem I had with the way I colored them.  This time – I am pleased with almost everything.  I love the colors I chose, I’m happy that Wicket turned out slightly similar to how he looks in ROTJ, and when I combined colors they came out the way I envisioned in my head.

Usually I have a lot more to say about my colorings but because I’m so happy with this, there’s very little to go into.  Be sure to check out Mei-Mei‘s picture as well!  For those of you who are new to my blog, Mei-Mei and I have the same coloring book and color the same page monthly and compare/contrast.

Overall, a success!

wicket-2

I know there are fans that hate the Ewoks but I don’t get it.  I’ve written about this before, but stop with the Ewok hate!  Or, at least learn to accept them.  All the complaining in the world won’t get rid of Jar Jar or change the fact that the Empire was brought down by little teddy bears.  I still think that’s one of the coolest takeaways from ROTJ – you can be small, but change the fate of an entire galaxy.  What a great message for so many people!  And further, look what happens when you keep an open mind.

Han Solo wanted to shoot the Ewoks.  His first reaction was to shoot and ask questions later.  Very Han.  Leia and Luke decided to pause and assess the situation.  Maybe they had a good feeling through the Force, knowing with some inkling that the Ewoks could be a great “asset”.  Both did not shoot and possibly create a bad encounter right away.  Sure, they almost got eaten but they still didn’t resort to blowing up the village (I don’t know, if I was tied up to stakes with a fire getting ready to roast me, I would probably not be as calm as Luke) once they were free.  Because of Leia and Luke’s open mind, they befriended the Ewoks.

That friendship with a species they couldn’t understand helped them bring down a government the Rebellion only had a 1% chance of defeating (this fact was in the last Rebels episode so is now canon booya).  Life lessons from Ewoks y’all, life lessons.

 

Stay tuned for next month’s Fan Art Friday!  We’re doing the most feared bounty hunter….(Mei-Mei, it’s the Boba Fett drawing that’s on the left of Grand Moff Tarkin. Closer to the end of the book.)

 

Rogue One is Around the Corner!

So.  Rogue One.  I haven’t talked about it a lot and I was a little skeptical when the first teaser trailer was released.  Since then, we’ve received two more legit trailers and I’m beginning to look more forward to it.  Actually, scratch that, I’m really looking forward to it!

I’m not sure what was with all the rumored re-shooting of it…the only thing I can think of is that Jyn no longer seems like she has an attitude and the trailers are not quite as dark.  Jyn seems more eager to jump into this Rebellion and help, whereas before she seemed to be portrayed as someone who might not be able to be trusted, someone the Rebellion was wary of.

It seems like once again in the Star Wars universe, the heart of Rogue One will be family.  Looks like Galen Erso is connected to the creation of the Death Star, either by helping significantly with the blueprint of it or specifically with the laser.  I find the laser theory more plausible because the Prequels point to the Geonosians being responsible for the actual mechanics of the Death Star.

The question remains though – why was Jyn’s father involved in the first place?  All he says is that he is doing it to protect her.  And on top of that, why would the Rebellion choose Jyn to lead the mission?  If anything, I would think she would be too effected by her feelings in the operation for them to trust her with something so significant.

So does she know something by being the daughter of Galen that no one else does?  Does she understand the Empire better than anyone else in the Rebellion?  We see her in a cell in the last trailer.  After seeing her father taken by the Empire, is she always on a mission to get him out?

An interesting theory was presented to me by my friend – does Vader give the plans to Krennic on purpose to allow him to lose them?  His theory was that Krennic is ambitious and after Vader’s rank in the Empire – or perhaps they are equals and Krennic wants to get ahead – so Vader purposefully allows him to screw up so that he can be “disposed of”.  I’m not sure I believe that.  I don’t know if it fits well with ANH where Vader was obsessed with the plans.  Unless we finally get to see Darth Vader making a mistake?  Nah…I still don’t like this theory because I don’t think Vader plays into this movie too much.  Kennedy said he would only come into the movie at a significant moment.

rogue-one-cast

Coming away from this trailer, I’m not wondering a lot about the plot like I did with the TFA trailers.  This seems pretty straight forward and the excitement of the movie will be in the journey, not so much the plot or end result.  We know the end result so I feel like Disney may have to try even harder to make it good and engaging.

By the way, I love the diversity of these characters!  At this point we’ve almost taken it for granted as we get subliminally used to seeing them and accepting them as part of the Star Wars universe.  It’s quite refreshing and I want to say groundbreaking but I’m not sure if that’s true yet.  We have a female lead who is Caucasian but every other supporting character in the Rogue One mission are of different nationalities.  I do love seeing both Rogue One and TFA with female leads though.

When looking at the movie posters, I was wondering if any of the Death Star blueprints that show on their faces have anything to do with specific parts of the mission.  For instance, it looks like Jyn and Cassian have similar blueprints on their face.  Baze and Chirrut also have a similar blueprint.  But Bodhi, 2-KSO, Saw, and Krennic all are different.  Krennic definitely has the laser part of the Death Star so that would play into the theory of him capturing Galen Erso to help with the laser.  Some of me feels like everything Disney does is for a very good reason and I don’t think they slapped on random blueprints.  I’m probably being a little too nitpicky about these posters, but that’s half the fun of being an obsessed fan!

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Does anyone have theories on this without revealing spoilers?  I am not as spoiler-free for this movie (if anyone watched the live stream at Celebration Europe than a big one was dropped there by mistake) since we kind of know the plot and what happens anyway, but for respect of others – let’s keep it as spoiler-free as possible.

Good to be back, by the way!  Hoping to get in the groove of things again.  🙂

SWCE Rogue One Update

Here’s my Star Wars round up for today: Ezra cuts his hair in the new season of Rebels and I watched SWCE Rogue One panel live for an hour and didn’t get to see the new trailer.  Sigh.

But we did see this kind of cool behind the scenes look and you know what?  I’m really looking forward to it!  I know when the first trailer came out, I had some weird reservations that it seemed too much like an Iraq or Vietnam war movie (and I still think that) but it definitely looks cool.

The most interesting parts of the reel for me:

  • Seeing an RA-7 droid! Talk about a blast from the past.
  • Director Krennic’s cape.
  • Yavin 4!!
  • Jyn in normal clothing. Not even a low cut shirt.  Thanks for not making her a Charlie’s Angel.
  • Infiltrating the Empire. We all saw Jyn in that TIE uniform in the first trailer but if you slow down the clip, you can see Cassian in an Imperial uniform throwing a stormtrooper against a wall.

There were some interesting facts from the panel.  It wasn’t all a complete waste.  For instance:

  1. James Earl Jones is confirmed to come back as the voice of Vader (excuse me if everyone already knows this – I have been SO out of it due to having a baby.)
  2. K-2SO is the name of the new droid in this movie. From what Alan said during the panel, this droid may be the comic relief.  Once an Imperial droid, he’s now been reprogrammed by Cassian so he’s “not quite all there”.
  3. Along with K-2SO, I’m wondering if Baze is also some of the comic relief. It seems like since Chirrut is the more serious warrior-monk-but-not-quite-Jedi, Baze is the foil.  He described himself as a non-believer in the Force and a “doer” whereas Chirrut is the “thinker”.  Was there some reference somewhere that they might be a little like the two guys in The Hidden Fortress whom Lucas based Artoo and Threepio off of?  I feel like I read that somewhere…Is Chirrut part of the Church of the Force like Lor San Tekka?
  4. Bodhi was a pilot who worked for the Empire. The city he is from is occupied by the Empire and makes him question his job.  We all know he joins the Rebellion but I’m not sure what the tipping point is or if we’ll find out.
  5. Jyn’s father, Galen Erso, invented something “so beautiful, so fantastic, it might change the universe.” We know from previous articles that whatever he created or knows, it’s sought by the Empire and the Rebellion.  I’m sure that will create an interesting relationship between Jyn and her father and we all know how much Star Wars loves relationships between children and fathers.
  6. Jedha and Scarrif are the new locations/planets. Jedha is the planet that looks like Iraq and people make Force-based pilgrimages.  Scarrif is where you want to go on holiday.  LFL really likes introducing planets that start with J recently.
  7. Felicity Jones said the most interesting part of her character is that while Luke and Rey don’t know their background and are searching for it – Jyn knows her story and family, but is trying to find a cause.
  8. Not sure we learned much more about Saw Gerrera. I should probably watch those TCW episodes again.  I remember that I found him annoying and slightly crazy.

 

***SPOILER ALERT***

I think the guy who plays Baze also mistakenly revealed that Chirrut dies.  I’m pretty sure I understood that correctly and the way Gwendoline got awkward and tried to change the subject was funny.

***END SPOILER***

The new poster art revealed today at SWCE for Rogue One

The new poster art revealed today at SWCE for Rogue One

There’s a Force Awakens special tonight on abc at 8pm where most people think the second trailer will also be aired.  I’ve DVR’d it anyway so hoping that it’s true and I get to see the new trailer.

Strangely, this feels very much like Star Wars Rebels to me – minus Kanan and Ezra.  I wonder if that was on purpose?  Disney is trying so hard to make everything feel cohesive within the books, novels, TV shows, and the movies.

I am happy that my interest has been re-“awakened” in Rogue One.  There’s so much even from that one clip to dissect.  I’m not sure we’ll ever know what the reshoots were about but from this clip, I still think the movie feels very “war-like”.

 

Thoughts? Let’s hope for a new trailer tonight!