Wednesday, 29 October 2014

What are my thoughts on Star Wars?

The short answer is ILOVESTARWARSTHEEND. But I promised a friend and fellow SW fan, the dear Miss Jane Bennet, that I'd write a nice long analytical post on 'em.  You know, exploring the characters. Especially Anakin, because she loves Anakin. :-P
Anyway. Moving on. So I think the thing about the Star Wars movies is, you either love them or you hate them. But it's weird, because I was never into science fiction at all. I just stuck my nose deeper into Anne of Green Gables or whatever classic literature I was reading back then. So I wasn't expecting to like Star Wars. But I do!! Kind of surprised myself, actually. Now I warn you: this post is about my thoughts on Star Wars, not a plot summary. This is because a) I have only watched them once (saw #2 twice, however--should be an expert on that now :-D) and b) I was probably too preoccupied with the costumes and creatures and whatnot to follow the plots carefully. So this post is likely to be full of missing plot points. I need to watch these again.

I've heard a lot of people say the plot of Star Wars is predictable, but I don't think it detracts from them at all. Maybe they're predictable, but they're classic and funny and sad and epic and full of my (now) favourite fictional people. 
So I'll do two posts: one on the prequel trilogy and one on the original trilogy.

Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

(blurb from back of dvd case)
Return to a galaxy far, far away in the first chapter of the mythic Star Wars saga. Set over 30 years before the first film, EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE introduces a young Anakin Skywalker, a boy with special powers, unaware that the journey he is beginning will transform him into Darth Vader. It is a time when Jedi Knights are guardians of peace in a turbulent galaxy and a young Queen fights to save her people, but in the shadows lurks an evil force waiting to strike.
Turmoil has engulfed the Galactic Republic. The taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute. Hoping to resolve the matter with a blockade of deadly battleships, the greedy Trade Federation has stopped all shipping to the small planet of Naboo. While the Congress of the Republic endlessly debates this alarming chain of events, the Supreme Chancellor has secretly dispatched two Jedi Knights, the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, to settle the conflict.........
(opening credits)
This episode begins with Jean Valjean  Jedi Master Qui Gon Jinn and Frank Churchill a young Obi Wan Kenobi, his Padawan apprentice, travelling to talk with the Trade Federation that has stopped trading with Naboo. I missed a few scenes because I was baking chocolate muffins, ahem, but I managed to get the general gist. On Naboo Qui Gon and Obi Wan meet Jar Jar Binks, a clumsy Gungan creature who joins them. 

In order to protect the Queen of Naboo, Amidala, the Jedi must escort her to Coruscant, a different planet. Along the way their star ship crashes on the sandy planet of Tatooine. Disguised as peasants, Qui Gon and Amidala (Padme) search for someone who can fix their ship and come across a young slave boy named Anakin.

Qui Gon senses that the Force is strong with the boy, who also becomes friends with the disguised Queen. On a wager that Anakin can win a space pod race, Qui Gon barters with his owner Watto to take the boy with him. Anakin wins the race and goes with Qui Gon. That was where Anakin's downward spiral began, really. Being taken from his mother. However, his mother Shmi tells Qui Gon that Anakin has no father, and it seems that he was created by the Force. The dark side has the power to create life, so in a way you could say Anakin just returned to where he came from. Not that he didn't have a choice.

Back on Naboo, a battle ensues between the forces of the Federation and the Gungans, who at Padme's suggestion have joined forces with her people. Meanwhile, the two Jedi fight a Sith warrior, Darth Maul. Qui Gon is killed and Obi Wan kills the Sith. 

After the battle is over Qui Gon's body is burned and after the funeral, the Queen and the Gungans celebrate the freedom they have won for their planet. Obi Wan resolves to train Anakin as a Jedi, although Yoda voices his fears that Anakin is too old to be trained. 

Episode 2: Attack of the Clones

The film is set 10 years after the events in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, when the galaxy is on the brink of civil war. Under the leadership of a renegade Jedi named Count Dooku, thousands of planetary systems threaten to secede from the Galactic Republic. When an assassination attempt is made on Senator Padmé Amidala, the former Queen of Naboo, Jedi apprentice Anakin Skywalker is assigned to protect her, while his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi is assigned to investigate the assassination attempt. Soon, Anakin, Padmé, and Obi-Wan are drawn into the heart of the Separatist territories and the beginning of a new threat to the galaxy, the Clone Wars. (Wikipedia)

Anakin has grown into a Padawan Jedi, trained by his master Obi Wan Kenobi. They arrive on Coruscant, assigned to protect Padme, now a Senator. When a bounty hunter attempts to kill Padme in the night, the Jedi pursue the assassin through Coruscant. She dies before she can reveal who is giving her orders. Obi Wan investigates the assassination attempt, discovering that an army of clones is in preparation on the distant planet of Kamino. He has his suspicions of the clone original, Jango Fett, who was in league with the assassin.

They duel on Kamino and Fett escapes. Meanwhile, Anakin escorts Padme to her home planet of Naboo, where she will be safe, and they find that they are falling in love. 

But because Anakin will be a Jedi and Padme is a Senator, their feelings are not their own and they reluctantly decide not to fall in love. Anakin has a dream that his mother is suffering on Tatooine and disobeys his master's orders to stay on Naboo. When they arrive they find that Shmi married a moisture farmer, and was captured by Tusken Raiders. In a fury Anakin goes after her and finds the Tusken camp.

After she dies in his arms he is consumed with rage and destroys every Tusken in the camp. he let his anger control him. Throughout the movie I'd kind of had my suspicions about him, but I felt so sorry for him in the scene in his workshop where Padme comforts him. It's also quite a significant scene because he says : "One day I will even learn to stop people from dying. I will be the most powerful Jedi ever."

Meanwhile Obi Wan is trying to contact Anakin, as he has been captured by Count Dooku. Mace Windu and the other Jedi set out to save him, while Jar Jar Binks, left in charge of the Senate, has unwittingly placed the suspicious Chancellor Palpatine in a position of absolute authority in view of the crisis. Anakin is ordered to protect Padme at all costs. Because they are closer to Obi Wan than the other Jedi, Padme persuades Anakin to go with her to rescue him. They fail and are sentenced to execution along with Obi Wan, by Count Dooku.

Padme manages to free herself and as they are about to be attacked by strange vicious monsters whose names I can't even imagine, a huge battle sequence ensues. The Jedi arrive and Dooku escapes, pursued by the clone army, whom Yoda has recruited.

Padme falls from the ship and Obi Wan forbids Anakin from helping her as they must defeat Dooku. Reluctantly, Anakin obeys. Dooku wounds Obi Wan and cuts off Anakin's hand and it is left to Yoda to defeat him.

In spite of the problems they will face, Padme and Anakin marry against Anakin's Jedi code. His severed arm has been replaced by a mechanical one which foreshadows his descent to the dark side in Episode 3.

Three years after the onset of the Clone Wars; the noble Jedi Knights are spread out across the galaxy leading a massive clone army in the war against the Separatists. After Chancellor Palpatine is kidnapped, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and his former Padawan, Anakin Skywalker, are dispatched to eliminate the evil General Grievous. Meanwhile, Anakin's friendship with the Chancellor arouses suspicion in the Jedi Order, and dangerous to the Jedi Knight himself. When the sinister Sith Lord, Darth Sidious, unveils a plot to take over the galaxy, the fate of Anakin, the Jedi order, and the entire galaxy is at stake. Upon his return, Anakin Skywalker's wife Padme Amidala is pregnant, but he is having visions of her dying in childbirth. Anakin Skywalker ultimately turns his back on the Jedi, thus completing his journey to the dark side and his transformation into Darth Vader. Obi-Wan Kenobi must face his former apprentice in a ferocious lightsaber duel on the fiery world of Mustafar.
(from imdb)

Count Dooku and his master have succeeded in starting the Clone War. Palpatine orders Anakin to kill Count Dooku and Anakin obeys despite the fact that it is against the Jedi Order to kill a defenceless person. Palpatine begins to gain control over Anakin's mind.

Anakin's skill as a pilot has increased and he is known in the galaxy as the hero without fear. He and Obi-Wan Kenobi are sent to destroy General Grievous. I missed this part but my siblings tell me the cyborg was killed, so yeah. Oh, and at this point we didn't know Anakin was going to become Darth Vader. Mum told us and we were like:
Sadly, yes.

The Chancellor becomes friends with Anakin and gradually persuades him that the Jedi are no longer powerful, telling him that the dark side is "a path to many abilities some consider to be......unnatural."
Anakin, haunted by terrible dreams that Padme will die when her baby is born, listens to the Chancellor, who promises him that he can save her.

The Jedi Council do not trust the Chancellor and tell Anakin to inform them of all he does. Anakin, furious that he has not been given the rank of Jedi Master and with growing distrust of the Jedi, is angry to find his friends disagreeing with one another.

Meanwhile, Palpatine has revealed to Anakin that he is in fact Darth Sidious, a Sith Lord. Anakin is horrified and notifies Mace Windu instantly. A group of  Jedi goes to Palpatine's headquarters to arrest him, but Palpatine displays unexpected force and kills three of them.

Anakin is torn between saving Mace Windu and his new Sith Master. This part was terrible. Mace Windu is one of my favourite Jedi and he was killed by the Force lightning and Anakin cutting off his arm.

Anakin bows to his new master and is given a new name. "Henceforth you will be called Darth Vader."

The Chancellor convinces the Senate that the Jedi can no longer be trusted and proclaims himself Emperor. Padme looks on with horror. "So this is how liberty dies--with thunderous applause."

Anakin carries out Palpatine's orders to rid the planet of the Jedi.
"Do what must be done, Lord Vader."

This part...I can't even..
Anakin has turned into a monster, executing every Jedi he comes across. Obi Wan visits Padme and asks her where Anakin is. Padme is hurt and confused when Obi Wan tells her what her husband has done.

She follows him to the fiery planet of Mustafar, unaware that Obi Wan has stowed away on her transport. Anakin is happy to see her at first, but when she confronts him and tries to persuade him to return to Coruscant with her, he becomes angry. He tries to tempt her to join him, saying, "We can rule the galaxy together." Padme's heart is breaking.

Obi Wan senses that Padme is in danger and reveals himself, but his appearance infuriates Anakin and he half-chokes Padme with the force. Obi Wan and his former apprentice begin a dangerous duel.

Anakin is defeated and lies burning in the lava, but Obi Wan is reluctant to kill him.

The two saddest lines in the whole movie :-(

Palpatine finds the remains of Anakin's body, brings him to a medical centre and turns him into a cyborg with an artificial lung system and distinctive black body armour. His journey to the Dark Side is complete and he is Darth Vader.

Yoda's duel with Palpatine in the senate ends with the Sith escaping and the two remaining Jedi, Obi Wan and Yoda, must go into hiding. Meanwhile Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia, but sadly she does not survive. Her last words to Obi Wan are , "There is good in him still..."

She is taken back to Naboo, buried with the good luck charm Anakin carved for her when he was a little boy. Obi Wan and Yoda agree that the twins must be separated and kept safe, and perhaps they will bring new hope to the galaxy in the future.

Leia goes to Alderaan with Bail Organa and his wife, while Luke is taken to Tatooine and given to Anakin's stepbrother Owen and his wife Beru.

Meanwhile, Emperor Palpatine and his apprentice Darth Vader have plans to create a new and terrible weapon, the Death Star................

Whew. So I thought I'd wait until I've seen the original trilogy again before writing a review of them. And here is a nice picture to cheer you up after all that :-)

What are your thoughts on Star Wars?

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

War Horse ~ A Review

This picture is my favourite. x)

Hey everyone! So I watched War Horse last week and thought I'd do a review on it. I loved it:) So the basic storyline is:
Dartmoor,1914: To his wife's dismay farmer Narracott buys a thoroughbred horse rather than a plough animal, but when his teenaged son Albert trains the horse and calls him Joey, the two become inseparable. When his harvest fails, the farmer has to sell Joey to the British cavalry and he is shipped to France where, after a disastrous offensive he is captured by the Germans and changes hands twice more before he is found, caught in the barbed wire in No Man's Land four years later and freed. He is returned behind British lines where Albert, now a private, has been temporarily blinded by gas, but still recognizes his beloved Joey. However, as the Armistice is declared Joey is set to be auctioned off. After all they have been through will Albert and Joey return home together? Written by don @ minifie-1 (from IMDB)

Will they return home together?
Keep reading. 

Albert watches Joey grow from a foal to a beautiful horse. He learns to ride him. There's a funny scene where he overtakes the snobby landlord's son in his flash car......and ends up falling off.

Albert is a very determined and persevering boy. He trains Joey against all odds, so that his family can keep their farm and he wants to enlist as soon as Joey is sold to the army. He promises Joey that they will be together again. They are very close friends. Both go through incredible dangers and hardships on the battlefields of WW1.

Rosie, Albert's mother, is Rosa Hubermann Millie Warne amazing. She's a good mother and wife and worries about their future but she is incredibly strong and brave. Albert's father Ted drinks to forget his horrible experiences in the Boer War, and while Albert at first despises his father for this, after he stops Ted from shooting the (then useless) Joey, Rosie explains to Albert about his father's past.

Ted Narracott is addicted to buying things from auctions. I felt really sorry for him because he had to live with terrible memories from the war in Africa and refused to wear the medals he earned for bravery.

Oh and these two? They were amazing! And for the life of me I can't remember their names. I suppose I could look them up, but I'll just call them Tom and Benedict. Anyway, so Joey becomes Tom's horse and Benedict is the general, I think. I've only seen it once. Tom is very good at drawing and sends Albert some amazing drawings of Joey. So they go into battle, charging into a campful of Germans in the middle of their morning shaving sessions and chaos ensues. SPOILER Tom dies END OF SPOILER and SPOILER Benedict is taken prisoner and so is Joey, technically speaking. Since Joey has been trained as a farm horse and not an army mount he is used by the Germans to draw their hospital wagon instead of getting shot.

Then we get to a very sad part. Two of the Germans are brothers Gunther (left) and Michael (who is only 14 but lied about his age so he could join the army, and really, how could they not tell he was nowhere near 18? I mean, look at the part where Albert tries to join and Tom promptly says, "Ha, you can't you're not old enough..." and Albert looks waaay older than Michael. I don't know, whatever.)
Anyway, Gunther is the one who is told to stay behind and take care of the horses while Michael marches off to battle with the rest of the soldiers. However, Gunther takes two horses (Joey is one of them) and quite literally pulls Michael out of the line and takes him away because he promised his mother he would keep his little brother safe. They hide in a windmill, get found by the soldiers, and SPOILER get shot END OF SPOILER.

Joey and Topthorn ( I think that's his name) are found the next day by a French girl named Emilie who brings them back to the house where she lives with her grandfather and convinces him to let her keep them, because she is the boss. She reminds me so much of Cosette from Les Miserables (the book). She renames the two horses after boys who broke her heart. On the surface she seems a little bit spoilt, but she suffers from a disease that makes her bones weak and her parents have been killed for some reason, so you can hardly blame her grandfather for spoiling her. She hides Joey and Topthorn in her room to prevent them being found by the Germans, but eventually the two horses are confiscated "to pull artillery until they die."
War Horse (2011)
 US Disney Blu-ray 2012
 Blu-ray Screenshot #31 / 40
 (I-frame @ 1:38:57.228, #142351)

So Albert finally joins the army along with his friend Andrew and the landlord's son David. They are in the trenches at the Somme preparing for an attack. Albert keeps a picture of Joey in his pocket. Andrew is ordered to stay in the trench and shoot any soldier who turns back. Albert and the others charge into no-man's-land. When two cowards return to the trench, Andrew can't bring himself to shoot them and dashes after the others. They make it to an abandoned German trench where a gas bomb explodes. SPOILER Andrew dies END OF SPOILER and Albert is temporarily blinded but her survives.

Joey, on the Germans' side, is spooked and tries to run to safety but gets caught in barbed wire in no-man's-land. The next exchange between a German and a British soldier as they free the wounded horse is both funny and sad. Neither of them are bad men, They are simply fighting eachother because their countries are at war and neither had a choice. The Brit wins the coin toss for Joey. "That is the face of my Kaiser," says the German, "and I do not think he is pleased with me." The man and the horse return to the British camp. Albert, lying in the hospital with his eyes bandaged, hears Joey and gives an owl call he used to do to call him, and Joey comes to him.

He proves Joey is his by describing his markings and Joey is allowed to live and be treated for his barbed wire wounds. When the war end, the army horses are to be auctioned instead of returning to England. The men club their money together to help Albert buy Joey back, but Emilie's grandfather turns up and outbids him. Albert tries to but Joey from him. The old man tells him about Emilie and that she died. However, he gives Joey back to Albert and the pair return home.

The last scene,where Albert is reunited with his parents, is beautiful. But in the book it mentions that he got married, and I wish they'd put that in. I guess it was meant to be mainly about him and Joey though. So what did I think of this movie. I thought it was amazing, well scripted, beautifully acted, and any horse movie pleases me :-) I loved it. I definitely cried at some points. If you haven't watched War Horse, do so promptly. It's one of the best movies I've ever seen.