The Force Awakens Review

The moment we’ve been waiting for since it was announced in 2012 has finally arrived…and with a bang. Did it live up to the high expectations? Read on and find out.

I got to be one of the early ones to see Star Wars because of holding tickets to a special pre-screening show. Surprisingly, more people than I expected showed up to this event so they must have all been in on the gameplan. People came dressed in their Jedi robes and stormtrooper suits. A bucket of popcorn cost over six dollars, almost as much as a single ticket. Ridiculous, but the bills have to be paid somehow.

These review will avoid spoilers at all costs and will instead focus on the good and bad aspects of the film.

First off, the movie was incredible, hitting every note perfectly. The explosions were powerful, the sound was electrifying.  J.J. Abrams used those three years (the typical number of years between films) making this film wonderfully. He did not disappoint. Being passed the torch from George Lucas as director of his beloved creation is a serious responsibility and Abrams handled it well. He didn’t try to change too much in this movie (keeping the iconic title intro, music, and “Windows Movie Maker” transitions) to keep it in consistency with the films before it, but did add his own personal touches to make it look newer.

BB-8 was the most adorable droid of any Star Wars film, rolling around like a ball and making cute sounds. But it was not just there for laughs and cries, it had a pivotal role in the story, containing clues to something really important.

There were a few, however, things I didn’t like about the film:

  • Having about the same plot as Episode IV
  • Not developing the characters very well
  • No chemistry between Finn and Rey
  • Too many battle scenes and not enough downtime with humor or any iconic moments. Actually, there weren’t any moments that really stand out in my mind. The movie was just one long noisefest.
  • Han and Chewbacca seemed to be thrown into the film at the last minute

It was the first time I’d seen a Star Wars installment in theaters. The last time it graced the silver screen for Revenge of the Sith, I was a little more than 14 years old. I wasn’t at all into Star Wars back then, only being vaguely familiar with the characters of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, not knowing they were related, and not giving the saga much thought. I just watched all six films for the first time last year and finally figured out that there was a man behind the Darth Vader mask. Somehow, that took away the mystique about the whole character for me. Knowing now that it was just a man in a suit didn’t exactly strike fear in me anymore. But basically, he is man and machine united together, but without knowing it’s a man, the character takes on a much sinister role, doesn’t seem so fake – and silly. Yup, ever since I saw Anakin Skywalker turn into Vader, I’ve had a hard time believing it was still the same mythical, scary villian as before. Maybe it was because the one who played Anakin, Hayden Christiansen, wasn’t very believable in his transformation over to the dark side. It seemed so forced and unnatural and the fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin not justified enough.

The Force Awakens awoke all of our inner science fiction interests, resurrecting a franchise that, for a while, was beginning to live off of its past and rely on video games, books, and other merchandise to keep it alive. It really tells you about the legacy of a film franchise when after almost 40 years, new and old fans are turning out to see their favorite heroes once more and get to know new ones as well.

Episode VIII is set to be released in May of 2017, Episode IX in 2019. I’m eager to see where this new trilogy goes and how the future of the Star Wars universe plays out. In my own mind, I can only believe that the plot ideas will be more or less the same as previous films (like blowing up the Death Star again in The Force Awakens). The excitement and anticipation will still be as high as ever, but there does come a time when things start getting a little long in the tooth. Which is why having two different directors on the next two films will prevent stale ideas from happening. It’s going to be fun the next five or so years. The Star Wars fandom machine is officially at full power again.

As for that triple lightsaber, called a crossguard lightsaber, well, let’s just say it’s more than just for show but can do some serious damage at close range.

 

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If Morgan Freeman Says So…

There comes a point in every person’s life where they wish they could do more. They wish they could take the world by storm and call it their own, could claim countries, buy entire islands, build skyscrapers named after them. Unfortunately, the average person does not have the money and power to do that but what if they did? By unlocking the full potential of your brain, the other 90%, wild and exciting things could be bound to happen.

If I could use all 100% of my brain, I would probably open up doors, real and figurative ones, that I thought would be locked forever. I could control my destiny in ways unimaginable to the mortal being. Imagine me being able to manipulate the skies to my desire, or get the job I want by using the power of persuasion and a little bit of mind control (it’s possible). I believe that hidden within the unused percent of our noggins is the ability to learn multiple languages, from Spanish to Russian to Swahili, in as little as an hour. I would become an instant genius, able to solve any problem with relative ease, able to play the stock market brilliantly and become a rich, rich man – a wolf of Wall Street.

“This just in – a group of tourists have been blocked inside a cave by a pile of massive boulders. Rescue workers are on the scene trying to free the captives. Everyone is calm as the situation is being approached, family members holding their breath and – wait…who is this? Oh my God, this is incredible. This man…is moving the boulders…with, do I dare say telekinesis?

“Amazing! The tourists are now crawling out through their entrance to safety. It is unbelievable what we have just witnessed. A miracle. This man’s a God send, this –

“Please. Save it for my book”, I say, walking away from the scene ever so nonchalantly as if this particular ability of mine was as normal as ketchup on hamburgers. The press flash their cameras at me as I pass, begging me for information about my super power.

The only thing I say?

“I’m using 100% of my brain, 70% of it to save the world, 20% to beat the odds, and the last 10% to finally remember where I parked my car.”

Now all of this sounds fine and dandy. But let’s get real here – I’m basing this post, and all of the wonderful gifts discussed, on some science fiction lore; movies such as “Lucy” and “Limitles that break all kinds of scientific laws, only make sense when not taken seriously, not nitpicked and compared to the real world.

The truth is, according to a PRI article from July 2014, that we are already using 100% of our brains – just not all the time though, that would cause a massive seizure. That 100% is used for processes such as “transcribing DNA, making proteins, and moving around ions.” Like any organ in the body, the brain, or more specifically the cells within, is working at full volume to keep us alive and well. If it did less, we wouldn’t function properly.

So while we might not have the ability to make the world bow before us or bend steel with our mind, we have potential to achieve great things if we try our hardest, use everything we have. That’s the only reason why most people are mediocre at best – they choose not to use their brains effectively, not to tap into its full potential because they are just plain lazy.

The 10% statement is a misquote that has found its way into the money hungry veins of Hollywood blockbusters – take it with a grain of salt the next time you listen to Morgan Freeman say it in his Godly voice.

“I have no idea.”


In response to The Daily Prompt: “Brain Power.”

1.21 Gigawatts!

You get to spend a day inside your favorite movie. Tell us which one it is — and what happens to you while you’re there.


Time to hit 88 miles per hour and break down the fourth wall of one of my all time favorites! The title’s a dead giveaway. I would definitely like to live in the eccentric Doc Brown’s and Marty “Nobody calls me chicken” McFly’s universe. The second movie is where I would probably go because of the chance to see the future, which will soon be the present in about three months, and laugh at everyone because they have no idea what the Internet is! The first one is okay but not as fun. Going to the third film is just plain suicide. Oh, who cares? All three of them are classics and I could watch them again and again without getting bored.

What happens while I’m in pseudo, never going to happen 2015?

Well, I steal the time machine, causing all of the other events in the movies to change and simply putting the main characters out of business. I also get that famous Grays Sports Almanac and instead of using it to become a complete jerkwad like Biff, I become Bill Gates before there ever was a Bill Gates, using the money to start up his future Microsoft (and remembering to fix Vista and Windows 8 in the process, of course) – or do I go the Apple way and Think Different? I would also donate my fortunes to charities around the world. Spread the wealth. I take thy hover board back to our 2014, only one year ago, and start my own Extreme Hoverboarding Games, complete with a big line of merchandise bearing my name. Everyone has an ego. Of course, near the end of the movie (or just a real life fantasy now?), Michael J. Fox calls up Crispin Glover to give me one of his pathetic punches of density and gets the DeLorean back, going back to the future and changing everything back again. I end up the same person I am right now. But in the spirit of time travel lore, there is a paradox where I still am the king in alternate universes! Still the king in alternate universes! Still the king in alternate universes! Get killed in alternate universes! Still the king in alternate universes! (And on and on it goes…)

“Great Scott! Do you know what this means? I’m getting hungry to watch all three movies again!”

Pikachu Learned 1.21 Gigawatts. I luled. Hope you did, too. credit to darkauthor81 on DevArt. learned 1. 21 Gigawatts. Great scott!
Do these two remind you of two other characters by chance?

Daily Prompt 10/19/14

– If I enter the film from the air, aren’t I breaking the fifth wall then? And from underground, the sixth wall?

– 1.21 gigawatts? My brain can produce more energy than that! OK, maybe not, just trying to be funny.

A Link to the Past

There are two time machines before me: one goes to the past and one goes to the future…which one should I enter?

Because I’m scared of finding utter disappointment in my future, I would definitely go with the past model. Why? Because the past is where all of my most cherished memories reside; I had one of the funnest, happiest childhoods that seemed to never want to end. It would be comforting to see my two grandmas and grandpa once more. When they were around my life was pure content and innocence with no worries at all. The smell of brunch in the morning, grandpa cooking up his delicious waffles, eggs, sausage, and cutting up vegetables in front of us kids like a master chef. Grandma H serving our favorite mac and cheese hot from the nuke, preparing her creamy jello, spread sandwiches, and cutting up musk melon as she called cantaloupe. My other grandma and her ice cold glasses of tea always sitting on the end table that I could never get enough of, her wide assortment of beanie babies, her loving, calm demeanor that made myself at home. She would be sitting in the corner in her old yellow chair with the texture of rough trousers and watch over me while the rest of the family was away. There I would be, in the wood paneled dining room, playing with the toys from the box or trying so hard to get a yard stick to stand upright on the floor. To this day, my mom teases me about that. I came extremely close to accomplishing the feat though yesterday.

There are a number of things that I would change if I could ride the slipstream of time into yesteryear. For one thing, I would definitely get into sports more and not be scared to fight for the ball; baseball would be the one sport I would set out to excel myself in. Oh, yes…there’s a HUGE advantage to going into the past. I would be able to know the answers to the all the tests and every piece of homework I’ve ever witnessed…surely getting perfect marks with ease – knowing the inside scoop on the ACT/SAT would jump my original score up by at least a couple points and U of M here I come! Or maybe I shoot for the stars and go for an Ivy League school? It’s fun to dream.

What exactly does this time machine look like? Is it a phone booth, souped up DeLorean, or The Time Machine itself? Can I wear it on my wrist or unravel and set it on the ground? Is it egg shaped? Hot tub shaped?

But I could do so much more with this revolutionary invention. I could go back to significant events and fine tune them in my favor. There’s the sports scores I could predict ahead of time, like having my very own Grays Sports Almanacbecoming a very rich man in the process but not after some skepticism and investigation by the police and every higher up intelligence group this side of SVU. My friends would be amazed, my many servants obedient, my many wives the ever more adventurous and exuberant – yup, I would be a regular Hefner in the Playboy mansion, probably contracting every single viral infection known in the universe.

Would I dare try to stop September 11 from happening? Well, there’s the pros and cons to doing that. The pros are that obviously over 2,000 people would still be living, but the bad side is that America would not be prepared for future, imminent terrorist attacks and or have improved security measures. bin Laden would still be out there, angrier than ever that his diabolical plans were futile and would surely cook up something even more sinister. I touched up on this issue in a post of mine a long time ago called A Two Way Mirror of Events, that talked about various alternate universe outcomes. Mostly opinions and guesses but some of those predictions are extremely plausible.

But why am I just telling you, I should just go and do it of course?

Okay, so I have decided to use my time device and set the year to 1991 when I was born, transporting myself back to this same exact spot, on the floor by the wall, on this same October evening 23 years ago. Only there is no floor here, not even a house; I’m lying face down in a field of crabgrass and prickly weeds, hand sunk in wet mud; I feel a worm crawling up my finger.  My mobile home park has not been built yet as well as everything by the main county road going by it. Somewhere, about ten miles away, my newborn self is crawling on the floor, a helpless, innocent being with my dad and mom watching him curiously. What marvelous and incredible things could I tell him if he could possibly understand me? Or would I tell my mom and dad, not saying I was their son of course, to not split up in 2002 and stay together just a little longer? I think I’ll pull myself out of this quarry and head for them, maybe not going inside the house but just observing it from the outside, watching surreal events unfold again from an entirely new point of view. My life story at the very beginning. I might follow this journey of mine for many years, observing and recording things that were not readily apparent to me while I was there and maybe slipping some advice along to my past tense, helping him avoid and learn to overcome troubles and adversities that he would ultimately come face to face with.


Congrats! You’re the owner of a new time machine. The catch? It comes in two models, each traveling one way only: the past OR the future. Which do you choose, and why?

 – That is still not going to stop the savvy hacker from jail breaking and making it go both ways!