The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force AwakensDecades after the defeat of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine at Endor, the Republic has been restored but is still terrorized by remnants of the Empire now known as the First Order, led by General Hux and Kylo Ren, a self-styled but temperamental disciple of the dark side of the Force. A resistance movement has arisen to combat the First Order, and one of the Resistance’s best pilots, Poe Dameron, has gone to the planet Jakku to search for clues to the whereabouts of missing Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker. Poe gets the information he came for, but he has been followed by the First Order. Poe seals the secrets inside his trusty droid, BB-8, and sends it away for safety; Poe himself is captured, and is tortured by Kylo Ren. Poe finds an unlikely ally in a stormtrooper who wants to escape and defect from the First Order, so they steal a TIE Fighter and blast their way out of a Star Destroyer’s hangar, only to be shot down over Jakku. The former stormtrooper, given the name “Finn” by his new comrade, ejects from the fighter, but finds no sign that Poe survived. He heads for the nearest settlement he can find on foot, where he meets a young scavenger named Rey, who has befriended BB-8. Finn tries to help Rey out of a scrape with some other scavengers trying to take the droid off her hands, but quickly discovers that she’s actually more capable than Finn is at fighting her way out of the situation. But the arrival of First Order forces is more than either of them can handle, and they try to make their escape in a dilapidated Corellian freighter that hasn’t taken off in years. Rey manages to get it flying – barely – and with Finn manning the guns, they’re able to fight their way into space, where the neglected, cannibalized ship promptly breaks down, leaving it helpless as a larger freighter takes it on board. Finn, Rey and BB-8 prepare to mount a last-ditch defense when their newly-acquired ship is boarded by its former owner, Han Solo. With Chewbacca beside him, Han is delighted to take back his old ship, the Millennium Falcon, but is more than a little annoyed to find two young people and a plucky droid aboard. At the first mention of BB-8’s mission to take vital information to the Resistance, Han is once again being pulled into saving the galaxy, whether he likes it or not. Taking the controls of the Falcon and abandoning his smuggling life again, Han takes Rey and Finn to a watering hole on another planet, intending to hand them over to his friend, Maz, who has with ties to the Resistance. But Maz is able to pick up on other things as well: she knows Finn is a coward on the run, and not the hero he claims to be, and she has a gift for Rey – a Jedi lightsaber that once belonged to Anakin Skywalker and was then passed on to his son. Even touching the saber fills Rey’s head with unfamiliar visions and a few painful memories of her own childhood, such as being left on Jakku by her parents. Rey races outside, and when Han, Chewie and Finn try to find her, they witness a terrifying sight: a vast beam of energy streaking across the sky, the superweapon of the First Order’s planet-sized Starkiller Base firing at the seat of the New Republic government and destroying every planet in its solar system. The First Order storms in, and Kylo Ren kidnaps Rey because he can sense that Rey has seen BB-8’s partial map to Luke’s whereabouts. Resistance X-Wing fighters arrive, and as Han and Chewie blast their way through legions of stormtroopers, Finn takes the First Order in with the lightsaber that Rey rejected, only to find he doesn’t have the skill to fight with it properly. The Falcon follows the Resistance fleet back to its base, which is Starkiller Base’s next target. Han is reunited with Leia, and tells her that he has seen their son – who happens to have taken the name Kylo Ren. The Resistance prepares an audacious attack on Starkiller Base itself, but Finn wants to do something even more outlandish: he wants to go there and rescue Rey. Leia wants Han to go with Finn and bring back the son they lost to the dark side of the Force when he rejected Luke’s training. As Starkiller Base charges its weapon to wipe out the Resistance, the Resistance makes a last desperate play to relieve the First Order of its seat of power…and it’s a mission from which not everyone will return.

written by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt
directed by J.J. Abrams
music by John Williams

Star Wars: The Force AwakensCast: Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Andy Serkis (Supreme Leader Snoke), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Max von Sydow (Lor San Tekka), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca Double), Pip Andersen (Lead Stormtrooper), Simon Pegg (Unkar Plutt), Kiran Shah (Teedo), Sasha Frost (Jakku Villager), Pip Torrens (Colonel Kaplan), Andrew Jack (Major Ematt), Rocky Marshall (Colonel Datoo), Greg Grunberg (Snap Wexley), Emun Elliott (Brance), Brian Vernel (Bala-Tik), Yayan Ruhian (Tasu Leech), Sebastian Armesto (Lieutenant Mitaka), Maisie Richardson-Sellers (Korr Sella), Warwick Davis (Wollivan), Cailey Fleming (Young Rey), Mark Stanley (Knight of Ren), Ken Leung (Admiral Statura), Iko Uwais (Razoo Quin-Fee), Anna Brewster (Bazine Netal), Harriet Walter (Dr. Kalonia), Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar), Erik Bauersfeld (Admiral Ackbar), Mike Quinn (Nien Nunb), Kipsang Rotich (Nien Nunb), Michael Giacchino (FN-3181), Nigel Godrich (FN-9330), Judah Friedlander (Bar Patron), Victor McGuire (Bar Patron), Miltos Yerolemou (Bar Patron), Francesca Longrigg (Bar Patron), D.C. Barnes (Bar Patron), Matt Johnson (Bar Patron), Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix), Leanne Best (Min Sakul), Crystal Clarke (Ensign Goode), Jeffery Kissoon (Rear Admiral Guich), Claudia Sermbezis (Lema Eelyak), Gerry Abrams (Captain Cypress, Jim McGrath (Vice Admiral Resdox), Philicia Saunders (Tabala Zo), Morgan Dameron (Commodore Meta), Jessica Henwick (Jess Testor), Tosin Cole (Lieutenant Bastian), James McArdle (Niv Lek), Stefan Grube (Yolo Ziff), Dixie Arnold (Resistance Soldier), Hannah John-Kamen (First Order Officer), Tom Edden (First Order Officer), Kate Fleetwood (First Order Officer), Richard Riddell (First Order Officer), Jefferson Hall (First Order Officer), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (First Order Officer), Jack Laskey (First Order Officer)

LogBook entry and review by Earl Green Read More

The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last JediThe Resistance, having enraged the leadership of the First Order by destroying Starkiller Base, is now on the run as the former Empire cuts off its supply lines and escape routes. A small flotilla of Resistance ships manages to escape, but General Hux and the First Order fleet are close behind them, pursuing at sublight speed to avoid overshooting their prey. Poe Dameron, still the most daring pilot in the Resistance, defies orders to take out the most heavily-armed dreadnought-class Star Destroyer, but his defiance – and the heavy losses incurred – cost him his rank. Kylo Ren is similarly facing the disdain of his Dark Side master, Supreme Chancellor Snoke, who chides him for not having the singular strength of will that his grandfather, Anakin Skywalker, did. Ren leads a strike on the Resistance fleet that almost results in his mother’s death; Leia’s latent Force powers save her life, but she is in no shape to lead the fleet, leaving Vice Admiral Holdo to assume command of what’s left of the Resistance. Finn, losing his nerve during the First Order’s onslaught, considers abandoning ship in an escape pod until he’s dissuaded by a young technician named Rose Tico, whose sister was one of the Resistance pilots killed in Poe’s ill-advised, unauthorized strike on the dreadnought – or, more accurately, Finn is dissuaded by a laser tool Rose is carrying for the express purpose of preventing potential deserters. When the First Order demonstrates the ability to track the Resistance fleet through hyperspace, it suddenly seems that Rose’s expertise in hyperdrive and Finn’s knowledge of First Order ship layouts is a promising combination…if only they can get aboard. A hot tip from Maz points them, with BB-8 in tow, to the luxury planet Canto Bight, where a renowned codebreaker can be found gambling in the casino. But Finn and Rose and their rolling droid stand out like sore thumbs among the Canto Bight elite, and are unable to get close enough to talk to the codebreaker in question before they’re locked up. They meet a fellow prisoner who claims to have the same skills they need to breach the defense of Snoke’s command ship.

During all of this, Rey, Chewie and R2-D2 have traveled to the obscure ocean planet Ahch-To, where Luke Skywalker (and various local life forms) tend to the ruins of what’s said to be the first Jedi temple. Luke is not at all happy to be disturbed from his solitude, informing Rey rather bluntly that he has come to this planet to age and die in peace, and to keep the sacred and ancient Jedi texts with him. Rey also discovers that he has forsaken use of the Force: Luke feels that the hubris of the Jedi led to the decades of suffering that resulted from the Sith and the Empire dominating the galaxy. The days of the Jedi, Luke has decided for himself, must come to an end. But shaken by news of Han’s death, and given a reminder of his own youthful yearning to become something greater, Luke reluctantly agrees to teach Rey the ways of the Force. He discovers along the way that her ability to tap into the Force may rival that of Kylo Ren himself – Ben Solo, Luke’s former protege who turned to the Dark Side. Luke’s fears may be founded, too: Kylo Ren and Rey are able to see and speak to one another despite the vast distances between them. Rey believes Ren can be turned away from Snoke’s influence, and since her mentor refuses to return to the fight against the First Order, she sets off to recruit Ren as an ally. Enraged, Luke sets out to burn down the last remains of the Jedi temple and the texts contained within, only to discover that his own mentor has beaten him to it…and unaware that Rey has already taken the texts with her.

Chewie drops Rey off in an escape pod near the First Order flagship, where Kylo Ren awaits her arrival and introduces her to Snoke, who uses the Force to extract Luke’s whereabouts from Rey’s mind. When she continues to declare her intent to resist Snoke, he orders Ren to kill her, but Ren instead kills Snoke, and a vicious battle with Snoke’s personal retinue of bodyguards ensues, during which Rey and Ren have to fight together. But once that threat is dealt with, Ren reveals that he killed Snoke to ascend to his throne and assume his position of power, not to help the Resistance. Finn, Rose, BB-8 and their new codebreaking acquaintance also sneak aboard the flagship to disable the hyperspace tracker, only for the shifty codebreaker to sell them out to the First Order. Aboard the last surviving Resistance cruiser, Poe Dameron has grown tired of Admiral Holdo’s secretive style of command and tries to mount a mutiny, only to have that uprising personally quashed by Leia, fresh out of the medical bay, still frail, but still fiercely determined. Poe’s point of contention is that Holdo is preparing to order the entire remaining Resistance to abandon the nearly-out-of-fuel cruiser in unarmed sublight transports, which will then limp to a nearby planet and the relative safety of an abandoned Rebel base from the days of the Empire, while the First Order (hopefully) concentrates all of its attention on the cruiser. Admiral Holdo remains on the cruiser to act as a decoy, but the First Order targets the helpless transports and begins blasting them out of the sky, one by one, until Holdo suicidally jumps the cruiser to lightspeed, ramming through Snoke’s flagship. Rey, Finn, Rose and BB-8 escape and make their way to the Rebel base, where Leia has ordered a distress call to be transmitted to allies of the Resistance – a call that seems to be going unanswered as First Order forces surround the base…until Luke Skywalker, last of the Jedi, appears from nowhere, conferring briefly with Leia before going outside to personally face off against Kylo Ren. The fight does not go the way that anyone expects, and buys the Resistance time to escape…but at this point, the Resistance has been whittled down in size to the point that they all fit inside the Millennium Falcon.

Order the DVDswritten by Rian Johnson
directed by Rian Johnson
music by John Williams

The Last JediCast: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker / Dobbu Scay), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Andy Serkis (Snoke), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Domnhall Gleeson (General Hux), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), Laura Dern (Vice Admiral Holdo), Benicio Del Toro (DJ), Frank Oz (Yoda), Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Amanda Lawrence (Commander D’Arcy), Jimmy Vee (R2-D2), Brian Herring (BB-8), Dave Chapman (BB-8), Justin Theroux (Master Codebreaker), Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar), Tom Kane (Admiral Ackbar), Adrian Edmondson (Captain Peavey), Mark Lewis Jones (Captain Canady), Hermione Corfield (A-Wing Pilot Tallie), Veronica Ngo (Paige Tico), Noah Segan (X-Wing Pilot Starck), Jamie Christopher (X-Wing Pilot Tubbs), Paul Casey (C’al Threnalli), Michael Coel (Resistance Monitor), Jonathan Harden (Resistance Monitor), Dan Euston (Resistance Bombardier), Priyanga Burford (Resistance Medical Officer), Navin Chowdhry (Resistance Cargo Pilot), Andrew Jack (General Ematt),
Crystal Clarke (Resistance Transport Pilot), Aki Omoshaybi (Resistance Bridge Officer), Togo Igawa (Resistance Bridge Officer), Hugh Skinner (Holdo’s First Officer), Tim Steed (Holdo’s First Officer), Simon Lowe (Resistance Hangar Captain), Joe Van Moyland (Temporary Command Center Resistance Pilot), Shauna MacDonald (Temporary Command Center Resistance Pilot), Darren Morfitt (Transport Deck Officer), Gerard Monaco (First Order Commander), Kate Dickie (Hux’s First Order Monitor), Patrick O’Kane (Hux’s First Order Officer), Paul Bazely (Hux’s First Order Officer), Orion Lee (Canady’s First Order Monitor), Amira Ghazalla (Canady’s First Order Commander), Ralph Ineson (Senior First Order Officer), Akshay Kumar (Mega-Destroyer First Order Monitor), Michael Jibson (Kylo’s Shuttle Pilot), Luke Neal (Canto Cop), Andy Nyman (Jail Guard), Temirlan Blaev (Stable Boy), Josiah Oniha (Stable Kid), Sara Heller (Stable Kid), Matthew Sharp (Resistance Trench Sergeant “Salty”), Lily Cole (Party Girl Lovey), Warwick Davis (Wodibin), Kiran Shah (Neepers Panpick), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (voice of Slowen Lo), Mike Quinn (Nien Nunb), Gareth Edwards (Resistance Trench Soldier), Jack Greenlees (Resistance Evacuation Officer), Danny Sapani (Medical Frigate Captain), Kevin Layne (Resistance Bomber Pilot #1), Ben Morris (Resistance Bomber Pilot Teene)

LogBook entry and review by Earl Green Read More