An Unnecessary Star Wars Ramble

Enjoy a very belated and random review of the new Star Wars movie.

THIS IS NOT A SPOILER-FREE BLOG

I saw Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens in a packed theater on Christmas Day. It was one of those audiences that whooped when the main titles started and continued to clap whenever one of the veteran characters showed up on screen. Overly enthusiastic audiences during movies is one of my major pet peeves (Magic Mike was a nightmare), but it didn’t completely kill my spirits. I can imagine it’s how I felt when the first Harry Potter movie came out, but then again, I still didn’t outwardly show my glee. I suppose that goes along with the whole “conceal, don’t feel” a la Frozen bit I’ve got going on…but I digress.

I went into this viewing with absolutely no expectations. I agreed to see both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith for two reasons: Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen. This movie has no Ewan McGregor or Hayden Christensen. I basically signed up for R2D2, who had a minute of screen time. Boo. BB-8 ain’t got nothin’ on you.

However, I was greatly surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie. I’m not a fan of action movies, but I always enjoy a “good vs. evil and good prevails” type of film. My viewing partner aka dad was not so impressed, but maybe it’s because this wasn’t a highly anticipated film for me.

The new cast is good. That seems pretty basic to say, but it’s true. Strong, female protagonists are pretty cool, and newcomer Daisy Ridley chose the perfect film for making her debut. From the talk show appearances he’s done, John Boyega seems perfectly likeable and Adam Driver has the perfect voice for a villain. Also, props on the diversity.

**Here’s your second spoiler warning**

I’m extremely impressed that the Internet kept the death of one Han Solo underwraps. (And admit it: you had a feeling that Kylo Ren wasn’t just going to turn back to the good side that easily.) But still, for an iconic character, this was a pretty bold move. Although, I’m sure they’ll find a way to bring him back for the next two movies. A hologram or something, probably. I’m also not onboard with the actors on the shortlist for a young Mr. Solo, even though Scott Eastwood is nice to look at. Hopefully they’ll pull another Daisy Ridley and find another talented unknown to play the coveted role.

And who do I think Rey’s parents are? Jury’s still out. It would make sense for the series if she is secretly a Skywalker. If she’s Leia and Han’s kiddo that could lead to an epic brother-sister showdown with Kylo Ren, and I’m completely up for that. Or maybe we haven’t met them yet…

I still wouldn’t consider myself a devoted Star Wars fan, but this movie was generally an enjoyable experience for me. I hope the sequels bring new pretty faces and more R2D2.

REVIEW: The Unforgiving

When I am left in a confused stupor after watching a movie, it’s never a good sign. And no, I have never seen Inception. This was, hands down, the worst after-movie experience I have ever had. My head was already reeling from the jittery hand-held camera movements, add in the booming chorus of “what the hell did I just watch?” repeating inside my head, I had no choice but to take a nap. I was that exhausted. So what was this movie that made my mind work serious overtime? It was The Unforgiving, a 2010 horror film directed by Alastair Orr.

The Unforgiving tells the story of two torture victims, Alice (Claire Opperman) and Rex (Ryan Macquet), who are abducted after they are left stranded on a freeway in rural South Africa. Their abductor is a gas-mask clad madman who looks like he was plucked directly from My Bloody Valentine. Through a series of flash-backs, flash-forwards and varying viewpoints, the survivors recall their experience to Detective Hirsch (Michael Thompson), who attempts to piece together their wildly mismatched tale.

The IMDB review promised me a “horrifying climax.” Well, they were playing pretty fast and loose with the word “terrifying.” In the very least I expected either…A. One of those torture scenes a typical person can’t stand to watch; B. A twist so shocking that the viewer spouts a stream of four-lettered words; or at the very least C. The identity of the psychopath is revealed.

Granted, I am pretty desensitized at this point, but when a film is likened to the Saw series and Hostel, I expect to have to cover my eyes at some point. That did not happen. I managed to grasp enough of the plot to acknowledge that there was some kind of twist involved. And I did spout a stream of four-lettered words, but it was out of sheer frustration not shock. I will give them props for the score, however, that was pretty rad.

This is by far the crappiest review I have ever written. And I blame my inability to understand what the hell happened. Apparently everyone else understood it because I have not been able to find a complete explanation online. So I guess if you are up for a not-so gory movie that will make your head hurt in the end, look no further than The Unforgiving.