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Episode IX Star Wars binge, part 2



Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker , episode IX of George Lucas' original 9-chapter story, debuts December 20, 2019.       Back in the autumn of 2015 before  Star Wars: The Force Awakens (episode VII)  came out,  I binged the Clone Wars animated series (on Netflix  I think) and found it was mostly very good!      And now, leading up to Episode IX, I am  binging on Star Wars content again to get me in the SW mood.  On the movies side of things, I'm going to re-watch all the films in chronological story order:  Ep1, Ep2, Ep3,  Solo, Rogue One, Ep4, Ep5, Ep6, Ep7, Ep8. 


Today I re-watched Star Wars: The Phantom Menace on DVD, in full Dolby Surround Sound.  Blu-ray films always seem to use DTS sound, but most of my DVDs used Dolby Surround, which to me seems to have louder, more potentially booming dynamic range compared to the more well-mixed DTS sound ... but it could just be my 2000's era Onkyo surround sound system too. 


Watching the Phantom Menace for the first time in a few years, I found myself immediately interested and pleasantly surprised by the film!  Time has passed so my prior grievances have  kind of just become accepted in my mind.   There were too many silly Jar-Jar and Gungan mannerisms and dialogue and clumsy antics by the film's end, but not enough to ruin the film for me.   The soundtrack by John Williams is just fantastic, and I enjoyed young Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-gon Jinn and their actors.    This film was released in May  1999, and the actors appear so young to me.   Liam Neeson must have been in his mid-forties at this time -  younger than I am now.    And good grief, Natalie Portman was still a teenager!   And the Yoda puppet is very ugly! 


Overall, there is a lot of good stuff found in The Phantom Menace, in my opinion.  But I think George Lucas missed an opportunity with  his direction of young Jake Lloyd as pre-teen Anakin Skywalker.   He is a young kid at this point, but I felt he could have been directed and shot with a few more scenes which would foreshadow Vader.    Like when Anakin accidentally activates the spaceship's auto-pilot, but he survives the dogfight and flies into the control ship bay and blows it up from inside, saving the day.   My problem with the direction is that is almost seems like Anakin did all these things by accident, or was very lucky.  I'd have enjoyed watching him piloting that Naboo craft  and showing in his eyes the concentration as he piloted a scenario that he was quite familiar with due to his days of pod-racing.  It should've been a fist-pump scene when the control ship is defeated (like the mood and suspense we all felt in 1977's Death Star explosion .. wow!) .  But its not quite that. Oh well. 


I was reminded how awesome Darth Maul was, and the excellent Duel of the Fates music and the great Jedi / Sith lightsaber battle at the end.    The sequence where Maul, Jinn, and Kenobi are separated by red force-fields  -- and they can do nothing but glare at each other and wait -- is well filmed , well staged, well acted, and well scored.  Its stuff like this that makes rewatching Ep1 well worth it.  


Next up is Star Wars:  Attack of the Clones, which has historically been my least favorite of the (so far ) 8 main Star Wars films. 


Star Wars! 



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I did a similar binge before going to see Episode 8.  I remember seeing Episode 1 on opening night and enjoying it - and returning for several more theater viewings.


I still enjoy Episode 1 as I find the good parts (Darth Maul, the pod race, the battle scenes, landscape shots) are still very, very good.  I never was a Jar-Jar hater, so his goofy manner doesn't bother me, and it's interesting to watch his character develop - knowing what he later sets in motion.  I also loved Palpatine and how he clearly was pulling the strings to ensure he came out ahead no matter what happened.  This is where the Republic starts to fall.


OTOH where the prequel trilogy falls down IMHO is in trying to do what it was supposed to do - explain the origin of the Skywalkers.  Unlike Rogue One, which turned a single line into a coherent movie which was consistent with the other movies, the prequels managed to ruin some of the mythos and introduce contradictions with the original trilogy.  I understand it is very difficult to write a prequel, but George had over a decade to do so.


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Unfortunately 7, 8 and 9 have nothing to do with George Lucas or his ideas.

7 was an almost 1 to 1 ripoff from Star Wars, renamed to A New Hope.

8, was a continuation of getting rid of the old characters...some say so Disney doesn't have to pay for merchandising licenses and a portion of the profits.

9 will be much of the same.

I am astounded that people are watching what has amounted to dribble surrounded by special effects.
Then when you get to the bottom line it amounts to preaching instead of great story telling.

So much so Disney is losing a bundle to the tune of 30 Billion in franchises alone that Bob Iger used 80 Billion in assets to back up.
Marvel, Star Wars, The Muppets, Fox Films, Avatar....  Now that they lost Spiderman back to Sony that just screwed their plans for the Marvel Universe when they tried to promote Captain Marvel.  Marvel comics is on the verge of bankruptcy according to insiders because of all this SJW crap they promoted over great characters and story telling.

Galaxy Edge is also a tremendous flop at both parks.

I am not passing judgement but repeating what is already over the net.

So with all that said..Episode 9 is already not even worth a pirated download.

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Hey, to each their own Mike. I've read that Mr. Lucas used ideas from 7, 8 and 9 in Return of the Jedi when he decided to end it there.  Luke vs Emperor, for example.  I'm glad he did.  I'm not sure George's ideas of microorganisms,  Whills and Midichlorians was a better film idea for ep7 than JJs retread of Star wars Episode IV beats. Besides, the ideas in these films are being taken from Lucas but also new  and also some extended universe ideas, it seems.  Rey seems based on a different female padawan of Luke's,  that Lucas had imagined, another example.  At first I enjoyed but as disappointed with Ep7 ... but upon rewatching it on BD, I found it to be an enjoyable film.  I will see Episode IX at full price and probably more than one time!



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