Rogue One (First + Second Impressions)

The Rebel Alliance sends criminal Jyn Erso with an intelligence officer, Cassian Andor, to retrieve an Imperial defector who’s being held by an extremist named Saw Gerrera. Not coincidentally, Saw raise Jyn after her father, Galen Erso, was forced to return to Imperial service as a weapons designer and her mother was killed. The Alliance also wants to find Galen, who turns out to be one of the prominent figures behind the design of the Death Star.

Brief opinion: Far better than The Force Awakens, and that is entirely due to the last third of the film.

Spoilers ahead!

(Update, 18 Dec 2016: I watched the movie a second time, so am adding any extra impressions to this post. Text will be in blue.)

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Fanfiction Plot

I am rather enjoying all the random Star Wars-related discussion I have with various people. I may not adore the movie, but it sure is good for conversation!

Putting this snippet from a chat with Day here so I don’t forget it. I was so amused…

Day: Maybe Kylo underperformed [in the final fight with Rey] because he gets nervous around women

Y (me): But initially he dealt with her just fine? He could literally freeze her in place and make her pass out

D: That’s before he realized his physical attraction to her – or at least that’s what might be said in a psychosexual analysis of the movie haha
After all, his nerves begin to show after he “reveals” himself to her. And fight scenes can be read as a sort of stand-in for intimacy

Y: I feel like there will probably be (if there isn’t already) a fanfic that does exactly what you say
In this fanfic, Kylo would find himself terribly attracted to her latent force powers as well as her looks and fighting prowess
And he will find himself more drawn to the light side as a result
Snoke will promptly say he now has to kill Rey
Kylo Ren will then suffer agonies of conscience and heart
Before ultimately meeting Rey in a fight and discovering that he cannot bring himself to do it
Falls to his knees and begs Rey to kill him
But of course she doesn’t and they run off together – he reforms, and repents of course
The end

D: Sounds like it writes itself! Probably already has been written haha

Y: This would become very disturbing if in later movies we discover that they are siblings

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

the force awakens

Star Wars Episode VII has finally landed in cinemas and what a frenzy of adoration it has generated. But here I would like to add my contrary opinion to the mix: I did not love it, nor did I hate it.

I’m no stranger to Star Wars, having been a fan since 2001. But perhaps there lies part of the problem. I have had about 13 years of Star Wars Expanded Universe novel-reading before Disney acquired Star Wars and chose to blast away all the EU material and relegate them to nothingness. Sure, they have “Legends” status but that’s very little consolation. In the blink of an eye, characters I’d come to love (Jaina Solo! Jag Fel!) were just erased from canon. Sure, the EU had lots of weird stuff and some books were just not good, but some were amazing – primarily those by Timothy Zahn (Grand Admiral Thrawn is one of the most impressive and intimidating fictional villains across the board, I say), and the series revolving around the Yuuzhan Vong and the New Jedi Order was pretty impressive in construction. So to lose all those things, as well as the development of characters I already know and hold dear… Not fun.

Anyway, on to the movie!

Spoilers, there are here. Be warned…

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My Star Wars Books

I’m trying to be a bit more orderly in sorting out my books this time round. That is, I’m creating a proper Excel file where I can list them all down. And I’m packing all the Star Wars books (that I don’t plan to take with me) in one box.

the books

So far I’ve counted approximately 32 Star Wars novels. (There are about 180 books on the two shelves.) I’m sure I have at least 4 more somewhere around – in another box, presumably – so the final count might be 36 or so. And why do I have so many? Because my friends don’t read them so I have no choice but to buy the books myself if I want to read them. :( (This habit may cease, depending on how future Star Wars movies affect the Expanded Universe… Or if they kill off my favourite characters…)

 Edit, 11.37PM: Make that 49 in all. I was missing more books that I thought. Found them all though. hahah

Best Film Fights

I was looking through some movies a couple of weeks ago, searching for some clips to use in one of my classes, and in the middle of that search I started wondering: what would I pick as the best movie fights I’ve seen?

After some contemplation, I’ve managed to whittle it down to a top five, with a bunch of honourable mentions. And in compiling this list, I’ve discovered the elements that make an on-screen fight “good” to me: outstanding (or at least interesting) fight choreography, good pacing, injections of humour or some sort of emotional gravity to the scene… and preferably, no one dies or is mortally injured.

So here’s what I think are the best five fights on film (in order of appearance):

Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Maul (Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, 1999)

The original Star Wars trilogy is better than the prequel trilogy in terms of storytelling and innovation but the fights simply cannot compare. For their time, the lightsaber battles in Episodes IV to VI were good, but the choreography of the prequel fights is rather different and much better – or better, at least, for the contemporary viewer’s eyes. It’s more fluid and more complex, as Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan demonstrate here when they take on Darth Maul and his double-bladed lightsaber. (I appreciate how the person who uploaded the video has edited out all the other scenes – because in the movie, the fight was crosscut with Anakin’s scenes and Padme’s, which made it harder to appreciate the fight setup.)  There’s no humourous angle to this fight, but there is the shock of Qui-Gon’s death, which adds weight to the fight and makes Obi-Wan’s win at the end bittersweet. I daresay Obi-Wan wouldn’t have beat Darth Maul on his own if he wasn’t propelled by the agony of seeing his master go down like that…

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