Return of the Jedi (1983): I See the Good

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It is day 6 of 7 in 7 Days of Star Wars, and today we will be finishing the original trilogy reviews! We’ve already talked about 1977’s “Star Wars,” 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back,” so by process of elimination, it only makes sense that today we talk about 1983’s “Return of the Jedi.” When it comes to “Star Wars,” my childhood was quite a weird one. Because regarding the original trilogy, I saw “The Empire Strikes Back” first, and I ended up watching “Return of the Jedi” before “A New Hope.” But then again, I was of single-digit ages and I did not care what order I watched these movies in as long as things moved on a screen. But as an adult, much like the other two films in the original trilogy, I should note that as I picked up certain things and opened my imagination a little more, my appreciation for “Return of the Jedi” only grew. We will dive into this during the review.

It is time for the penultimate entry to the epic Scene Before saga, a miniseries I’m calling… 7 DAYS OF STAR WARS!

“Return of the Jedi” is directed by Richard Marquand and stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, and Frank Oz. This film is the final installment in the original “Star Wars” trilogy. Taking place one year after the end of “The Empire Strikes Back,” our heroes journey to Jabba’s Palace to retrieve Han Solo, who has previously been frozen in carbonite. After a daring adventure, the rebels are tasked with destroying a second Death Star, this time set above the moon of Endor, where tiny, furry creatures known as Ewoks reside.

Okay… When it comes to the original trilogy, I was excited to talk about “A New Hope.” I was arguably even more excited to talk about “The Empire Strikes Back.” But after watching “Return of the Jedi,” I think I became absolutely freaking stoked to talk about what I saw. Much like quite a few other movies in this 7 Days of Star Wars series, I have watched this film countless times on physical media and television. So this should already tell you what I think of this movie.

I will be straight up with you. Regardless of what I think about “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back,” both of which are technically beautiful and marvelously written masterpieces, I’d say that “Return of the Jedi” had the biggest impact on me of the three original films. Some of my best memories of watching “Star Wars” as a kid harken back to some of my earliest viewings of “Return of the Jedi.” It is a film that I would stop every once in a while to watch when it is on TV too. To this day, I can say that like some of my favorite films, which I will not list for the sake of time, this is a film that gets better the more I watch it. But I will say, and this won’t affect my score, it is probably by far the worst of the “special editions” between Jedi Rocks, the odd-looking CGI creatures in Jabba’s Palace, and Darth Vader’s “no” scream towards the end of the film.

Let’s dive into the tone of the movie, but before we do, I want to point out to those who are not in the know, to me, “A New Hope” is a lighthearted space adventure. “The Empire Strikes Back” maintains a lot of elements that made “A New Hope” great but also dives into a route of depression to give itself a new flair. “Return of the Jedi,” is honestly somewhere in between. It has the lightheartedness and excitement of “A New Hope,” not to mention a Death Star, but also some darkness that you’d find in “The Empire Strikes Back.” We see our heroes’ journeys and where they have led to at this point. Many of the characters we have come to know in the previous films maintain their admirability and charisma here in this installment. In fact, remember how in the other two films in the trilogy, I mentioned Luke Skywalker was a whiner? Not anymore! He’s a Jedi Knight now, not to mention one of the most badass individuals in the galaxy. He’s got a green lightsaber, which probably helped sell more toys for a period of time. From the first scene he’s in, I have gotten the sense that I DO NOT want to f*ck with Skywalker. He just steps into Jabba’s Palace, walks up to a couple guards and chokes them. It is a truly bold sight for the eyes. “Return of the Jedi” easily has the most likable version of Luke because he is still a great pilot like he was in the previous two films, but now he has gone from occasional whiner to… sorry, I literally have no other definition that could be better… guardian of the galaxy.

Speaking of Jabba’s Palace and other similarities to “A New Hope,” we get to see early scenes in the film exclusively with R2-D2 and C-3PO, and the first sight we get of the iconic duo in the film is of them walking to Jabba’s Palace and seeing if they can get in. Much like “A New Hope,” this is a very well done, not to mention wonderfully placed scene because it lets the movie kick off in an intimate manner and it overall just builds up, getting bigger by the second. “Return of the Jedi” understands that we got to start small before we go big. Plus the droids themselves have amazing chemistry. They’re almost like two roommates who barely have anything in common but the things they do have in common, which is very little, perhaps makes them inseparable.

I also really like the Rancor fight. It felt like a strategy video game where Luke had to learn the tricks of the boss as he went along. It’s not like he was just able to find its weaknesses straight up and go for the kill. He had no choice but to open his eyes and his mind. It was rather exciting to watch. Only thing is, and I know this is somewhat intentional, the lighting in some clips of it is rather dark, I feel like turning up the light just a tad would have had me as a viewer look back and not feel lost in that underground space. Then again, that may have been the intention.

But speaking of brightness, let’s talk about the Sarlacc Pit scene. It is to this day, one of the most exciting and fun “Star Wars” scenes to date. First off, the music in it, unsurprisingly smashed by John Williams, is incredible from the slow build up to the glorious blow that brings us into the iconic “Star Wars” theme tune that you hear either in the crawl or the credits. It just screams “Star Wars” whenever I think about it. There’s a lot going on here between Luke trying to retrieve his lightsaber from R2, who is busy serving drinks, Leia being chained by Jabba’s side, and… Boba Fett? Wait, where’d he go? Oh, that’s right. Yeah, he comes and goes instantaneously. Well, kind of, depending on whether you’re watching “The Mandalorian,” which I do need to catch up on. But this is a fast-paced scene from gunslinging to saber-wielding to chain-honking. Lando is there too, and there is some action between him and Han. Everything building up to the final blow at the end led to a sense of satisfaction.

Let’s move onto Dagobah. Going back to what I said about this film getting better the more I watch it. I do not just mean it gets better despite its age. Although like the other two films in the original trilogy, I can declare “Return of the Jedi” is timeless. There is a quote that I picked up from Yoda during the film.

Now I am just gonna warn everyone, even though I did not get into heavy spoilers for “The Empire Strikes Back,” this quote does contain an important point from the film, and I’m sure it is one a lot of you know even if you missed out on the movie. So sorry in advance as this does dive into spoiler territory.

Luke: Master Yoda… is Darth Vader my father?

Yoda: [avoiding the subject] Rest I need. Yes. Rest.

Luke: Yoda, I must know. If you know, tell me.

Yoda: Your father he is.

[pause]

Yoda: Told you, did he?

Luke: Yes.

Yoda: Unexpected this is. And unfortunate.

Luke: Unfortunate that I know the truth?

Yoda: No! Unfortunate that you rushed to face him… that incomplete was your training. That… not ready for the burden were you.

Not only does this confirm the exciting twist from the previous film, but it goes a step further. In “The Empire Strikes Back,” you may remember that Luke was discouraged by Yoda from going into Cloud City to confront Vader. Luke went regardless of the advice, but he did promise that he would return, as he did in this very film. While I will agree that it is unfortunate to know that Luke’s father is a power-hungry half man half machine overlord who is capable of chopping off hands, Yoda just states that Luke rushed into action without thinking things through, even though Luke foresaw grave danger for his friends. Not only were his skills incomplete, but he had no idea what would lie ahead in regards to emotional attachment. I often look back at “The Empire Strikes Back” and I think of the scene where Yoda tells Luke to avoid going to Cloud City as a warning that Luke’s skills as a Jedi still need work, which they did. But little did I realize after all these years, Yoda, along with ghost Obi-Wan, was likely trying to protect Luke from losing control of his emotions. After all, they knew who Darth Vader was. They knew he was Luke’s father. Yoda took Luke under his wing and not only treated him like a student, but almost as if he was his own son. And like many parents, Yoda perhaps became slightly overprotective of Luke’s inner and outer thoughts.

I will also add, that last line from Yoda, where he notes Luke’s training was incomplete, this feels like the “Star Wars” way of saying, “I’m not mad. I’m just disappointed.” Luke, despite his seemingly on track instincts, had no idea what he was in for. That is the power of being an inexperienced Jedi who barely has any attachment to the force. Yes, Luke did screw up. But part of me also wants to think that even with the amount of doubt that could have been brought to the table, Yoda, or perhaps even ghost Obi-Wan had an inkling of faith in him.

Not long after we see plans for a second Death Star, our heroes go to the moon of Endor, where we get a FUN speeder chase between Luke and Leia who are trying to keep themselves from getting shot by Stormtroopers. There’s no music. No other sounds except for the speeders themselves. It feels like the extreme version of riding a bike in the woods. But of course, when I talk about Endor, I have to talk about the Ewoks.

I have seen people talk about the Ewoks and how they tend to be annoying. I even remember watching “Ride Along 2” of all movies and the characters were talking about “Star Wars” and one character said they enjoyed “Return of the Jedi” to which another pointed out how annoying Ewoks are. Here’s the thing. Unlike Jar Jar, the Ewoks actually come off as useful. Yes, they emit weird sounds every once in a while, but it’s a delightful kind of weird. They have their own army, they’ve become civilized in the woods, and the movie does a really good job at highlighting their sense of community. When it comes to the final battle at the end of the film, seeing them get creative with how they go about killing troopers is nearly goofy, but also kind of exciting. Plus, we do get to see them, along with the wookie Chewbacca in an AT-ST, which was pretty badass. But to me, this movie’s second half comes in three tiers. These tiers, starting with the lowest and going to highest, are “awesome,” “extraordinary,” and “perfect.”

The “awesome” tier goes to the Battle of Endor, where we get to see our heroes on the ground fighting troops with the Ewoks and destroying a base that has an effect on how the “extraordinary” tier task goes, which is destroying the Death Star.

If the space battle at the end of “A New Hope” was exciting, then the one in “Return of the Jedi” is SUPER exciting. I will admit, it does suffer from not having Luke in it because I admittedly have become much more attached to Luke compared to Lando, who is a great character, but not as involved in the franchise as Luke has become. Then again, Luke’s off doing something else which we’ll get to momentarily. This battle has a ton of ships on the light and dark sides. We get to see the Death Star blowing ships up. People are dying left and right. And what makes this even more interesting is that the outcome of this battle could not be realized unless the Battle of Endor likely ends up going in the heroes’ favor. But BY FAR the best part of the movie, is any scene between Luke, Vader, and the Emperor.

I want to avoid giving a ton of spoilers for this review. In fact I had a whole thing planned to talk about one particular problem I had with the film. It’s NOT A BIG ONE, it does not even affect the score that much, but it makes want to see another version of the film if you will. Let’s just say, if I have the time, I may end up doing a separate post on it. The thing I will say about it is that it is about death. But that is about it. Luke and Vader meet in Endor, they flock to the Death Star, where the Emperor introduces himself to Luke and looking back, this provided for some of my favorite close-up shots in the franchise.

I mean, look at the Emperor’s face!

And the Emperor, at least in this film, has such a way with words. It’s almost like he spent an extended period of time studying poetry.

The Emperor : You want this, don’t you? The hate is swelling in you now. Take your Jedi weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it. Give in to your anger. With each passing moment you make yourself more my servant.

Luke : No.

The Emperor : It is unavoidable. It is your destiny. You, like your father, are now *mine*.

I cannot think of a time in this franchise, maybe with the exception of Palpatine perhaps doing the same wordplay thing to Anakin and maybe Count Dooku getting into that same character’s head, where words have been used so effectively as a weapon. Plus that voice… It’s so grizzly and old. IT IS PERFECT. This is quite literally, the “perfect” tier. And this is in addition to the badass lightsaber stuff that goes down at the end, which I really don’t want to talk about because even though “Return of the Jedi” has been around for 38 years, it’s kind of like “The Empire Strikes Back.” The less newcomers know, the better. I’ll just say this, I often talk about in the prequels how one of the better things about those movies is the choreography in the lightsaber fights. That is true. That is clear. But in “Return of the Jedi,” there feels like there is a reason to occasionally have a lack of choreography. It shows more of the emotion between characters. The final lightsaber duel of the movie feels rough. It feels tough. But the strokes that come out from one specific individual just feel like they are coming through because of pent up emotion. This is, well… perfect.

I want to talk about the thing that happens afterwards, I really do. But it involves heavy spoilers. If you have never seen “Return of the Jedi,” PLEASE watch it. If you want to avoid spoilers… Skip this next paragraph. Go to the part that IS NOT italicized like so.

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My favorite part of the film comes around the time Luke slices off Vader’s hand. BAM! Hammurabi Code! Almost like payback for the last movie! This may have been part of why the original title for this film was “Revenge of the Jedi,” until it was changed at the last minute. But the Emperor tries to convince Luke to join the Dark Side, to which he just denies the request after looking at Vader on the ground. At this point, the Emperor’s a little pissed and disappointed, he casts out his hands and unleashes force lightning, which has been used in the prequels by multiple characters, but “Return of the Jedi,” in terms of release, was the movie introduction to the force lightning concept. He continues his wordsmith tendencies, and he just goes all out on Luke. The hero is screaming for his life, he’s going to Vader asking for help. But no dice.

“Now young Skywalker, you will die.”

We have a brief beat, but the Emperor ain’t done yet because he momentarily unveils more lightning and Luke is just screaming and spasming. He has never been in so much rapid physical pain in his entire life. But the other great part about this is that the camera is getting shots of Vader and we can tell based on the directions he turns his head, he’s almost conflicted. But he decides to do the right thing and lifts the Emperor from the ground and throws him down the shaft. The Emperor perhaps lets out the most epic death scream in film history, and he is just TOAST. Why did “The Rise of Skywalker” bring him back from this? Who knows? But it is not over. Because Luke and Vader reunite, just experiencing whatever sense of relief they need to. Unfortunately for Vader, the journey does not end well for him.

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People often argue that the later additions to the sequel trilogy, specifically “The Last Jedi” and “The Rise of Skywalker,” feel like nothing more than pieces of course correction. They take what was previously shown in the last movie and try to divert from it to a degree hopefully going in a competent direction, perhaps one that the primary filmmaker or producer prefers, that will not end up being a slap in the face (hopefully). While there are definitely many ideas that felt like they could have been sprinkled in later into production, “Return of the Jedi” is the end of a trilogy that feels perfectly planned and realized from start to finish. The original “Star Wars” trilogy is up there to me with “Lord of the Rings” and “Toy Story” as one of the greatest trilogies of all time. And at the same time, there may have been some course correcting here. This movie feels a lot lighter than “The Empire Strikes Back,” especially with the Ewoks in the mix. So part of me wondered if Lucas wanted to win some fans back by making the series “fun” again. He even brought back the Death Star concept, which despite being in “A New Hope,” did not feel entirely repetitive. And ultimately, the darkness of “The Empire Strikes Back” still exists here in some places, but the mix between the light and dark tones oddly enough never felt out of place or disorienting. They’re two tones that combine together to form something special, whereas “The Phantom Menace” had a plethora of tones to combine together to form something… well, it’s special alright. What an ending. Well, kind of. Before the prequels and the sequels, but my gosh this movie is a work of art!

In the end, I often have trouble deciding which of the original “Star Wars” movies is my favorite. Is it “A New Hope?” “The Empire Strikes Back?” Or is it “Return of the Jedi?” They’re all great for different reasons. But of all of the movies, I’d say “Return of the Jedi” had the best climax and conclusion, which really says something because this is something that the “Star Wars” franchise, even on its worst day, at least goes out of its way to make “fun.” Here, they just go balls out with it. Three different interweaving storylines that do not feel convoluted and I actually care about. Each one is about as thrilling as the last. From the heroes and Ewoks taking down troops on Endor to the Rebels and Empire duking it out in space to Vader and Luke dealing with their father and son issues in the Death Star. This film has the best interpretation of Luke. It comes with great chemistry amongst our heroes. And on top of that, the best lightsaber action of the original trilogy. LIGHTSABERS. ARE. AWESOME. You cannot convince me otherwise. With all this, and considering this film’s insane replay value over the years, I’m going to give “Return of the Jedi” a 10/10!

Would ya look at that? All three films in the original trilogy have earned a 10! These films truly are timeless. I will say once again, there is one particular “problem” with the film I wanted to discuss, but I won’t for the sake of spoilers. It won’t affect my score, but I may bring it up another time. Once again, it has to do with death. I do not know my fate regarding this topic, but if I am ever in the mood, I will discuss it.

Thanks for reading this review! Just a few days ago we have finished the prequel trilogy, and now we finished the original trilogy, which means it is time to move on to the SEQUEL trilogy! For the record, I have already reviewed “The Last Jedi” and “The Rise of Skywalker,” so we will not be talking about those films. By process of elimination, tomorrow I will have my review up for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens!” Disney’s first foray into the world of “Star Wars” movies and one of the most successful films of all time at the box office. What do I think of it? You’ll find out tomorrow in the FINAL installment of 7 Days of Star Wars! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account and also like the Facebook page so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Return of the Jedi?” What did you think about it? Also, two questions. First, what is your favorite movie in the “Star Wars” original trilogy? AND, what do you think is the greatest trilogy of all time? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

THE PHANTOM MENACE: https://flicknerd.com/2021/05/23/star-wars-episode-i-the-phantom-menace-1999-worst-for-chronologically-first/

ATTACK OF THE CLONES: https://flicknerd.com/2021/05/24/star-wars-episode-ii-attack-of-the-clones-2002-a-revisit-to-my-first-star-wars-movie/

REVENGE OF THE SITH: https://flicknerd.com/2021/05/25/star-wars-episode-iii-revenge-of-the-sith-2005-my-favorite-star-wars-prequel-ever/

STAR WARS/A NEW HOPE: https://flicknerd.com/2021/05/26/star-wars-1977-an-ageless-adventure/

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: https://flicknerd.com/2021/05/27/the-empire-strikes-back-1980-i-love-you/

ROGUE ONE: https://flicknerd.com/2016/12/16/rogue-one-a-star-wars-story-a-movie-built-on-hope/

THE LAST JEDI: https://flicknerd.com/2017/12/15/star-wars-episode-viii-the-last-jedi-2017-another-year-another-star-wars-movie/

SOLO: https://flicknerd.com/2018/05/25/solo-a-star-wars-story-2018-somehow-this-star-wars-movie-exists/

THE RISE OF SKYWALKER: https://flicknerd.com/2019/12/20/star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker-2019-the-final-word-in-the-story/

Star Wars Episode IV 4K Blu-ray Contains 2019 Disney+ “Maclunkey” Cut (And Other Thoughts on Star Wars in 4K)

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! As we are cooped up in our homes, I’ve been making more of a habit of buying my Blu-rays online given how we cannot go out into stores and buy them in as easy as a manner as we once could. Yes, Walmart and Target still have them, but those places are becoming more petri dish-like by the second. Best Buy is offering curbside pickup, but that takes the fun out of going into a massive electronics store. However, when surfing on BestBuy.com recently, I picked up some of the new “Star Wars” 4K Blu-rays. Is it a movie I already own? Yes. In fact I own multiple copies of several installments. But who cares? “Star Wars” rocks!

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Just last night, I watched my recently purchased 4K copy of “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope,” or as the old-timers call it, “Star Wars.” But if you are reading this and want to know my thoughts on it, I think the transfer overall is pretty satisfying. The color grading is off and on, but there are several scenes that look very stunning in 4K. The film also comes with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision. The sound quality is immersive, but also did not seem to come off as too obnoxious.

Although, if you are wondering if Disney has decided to release the same cut that has been put out in recent years, specifically one introduced through a Blu-ray set from 2011, back when 20th Century Fox still owned “Star Wars,” that’s not what has happened.

Yes, a lot of that 2011 Blu-ray is still intact. Some of the changes they have made specifically for that film is in this new 2020 4K edition as well. Between R2-D2 being improbably hidden by so many rocks on Tatooine to Obi-Wan’s introduction sounding more fantastical than the idea of White Castle serving monster-sized hamburgers, those changes, along with others over the years, have survived. But wait, there’s more!

May the maclunkey be with you!

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about. When Disney+ came out less than a year ago, one of the draw-ins for a lot of people was the large “Star Wars” collection, which included the all new series, “The Mandalorian,” and the most up to date versions of a good amount of the older movies. In Episode IV, people began to notice that there was a new change added, and it is as meme-worthy as Elon Musk.

Remember how George Lucas went back and changed the scene in the cantina where Han shoots Greedo, leaving him dead with his head on the table? Well, he did that in 1997, then again in 2004, once more in 2011, and even one more time just last year! The infamous change signifying that Han does not shoot first anymore was just the beginning, because recently they added Greedo’s new line, “Maclunkey,” which has been suggested to be Huttese for “I’ll end you.”

Having seen the new change myself on the 4K Blu-ray, I’m in three different mindsets. First and foremost… WHY? Greedo’s mouth almost moves like a Jumanji-esque vacuum, and the delivery of the line almost feels kind of cheesy. Second, this change, as awful as it is, is simultaneously hilarious. Granted, it would be weirder to have Greedo say something in English given how every other line he has given so far was not in English, but saying maclunkey is kind of like uttering cattywampus, or lollygag, or boobies. It just rolls off the tongue, it’s funny-sounding! And third, this is just yet another reason why I want an unaltered edition of these movies in a modernized format. I don’t know if Disney will have permission from George Lucas or if they just don’t care as long as they get their money, but if I were to show “Star Wars” to my kid one day, I don’t think I’d want him or her to remember the original movie due to the “maclunkey” scene as opposed to the moment where Han shoots Greedo like a boss. As for when the blaster firing occurs, the two fire each other around the same time, kind of like in the 2011 Blu-ray edition.

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There are other changes too, most notably the color palette. From my point of view, when watching “A New Hope,” some of the scenes look kind of pale, but there are some scenes where color stands out and there are not as many occurrences where someone looks like they got sunburned. I will also point out that I saw “The Empire Strikes Back” last night as well. The colors in that movie also look a little darker, but in that movie, I think it works because “The Empire Strikes Back” is a slightly more depressing movie whereas “A New Hope” is a fun, throwback adventure. A lot of the other changes are not that noticeable to the average viewer. There are scenes where colors are corrected to a certain form. Specifically, during the scene where Luke is training on the Millennium Falcon, his lightsaber has been corrected to match an appropriate blue color. The laser bolts fired by the training remote in said scene also had their colors restored to red.

One of my favorite alterations however is one that I don’t know exactly how many people think about. For those of you don’t know, “Star Wars” has a “Digital Movie Collection” that came out in 2015, which features the Lucasfilm logo in the beginning, but the movies have gotten rid of the 20th Century Fox logo. The only film that didn’t do that was “A New Hope” because 20th Century Fox owns permanent distribution rights. As of now, the 20th Century Fox logo is attached to all the older “Star Wars” movies again, which may likely be due to the merger between Disney and Fox from 2019. They use the 1994 20th Century Fox fanfare minus the tagline, “A News Corporation Company.” However, they did update the Lucasfilm logo to match those from “The Force Awakens” and so on. Speaking of restorations, the opening phrase “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away” was restored to the original typeface featured in the older cuts. This is a change from the typeface used in the 2004 DVDs to match the prequels.

If you purchased any of the 4K editions of the “Star Wars” movies, perhaps including ones I didn’t, please let me know your thoughts on them! I already own “The Last Jedi” on 4K, which I will admit the sound could probably be better. By the way, I have the Best Buy Steelbook Collector’s Edition as well. I also own the “Solo: A Star Wars Story” Collector’s steelbook, which is still in the wrap, which may signify that I probably never want to watch the film again. But, the collector’s gotta collect. I also own the 4K Best Buy Steelbook for “The Rise of Skywalker,” which has adequate sound quality and stunning picture quality. I saw the boxset of The Skywalker Saga, but I didn’t get that because it contains movies I already own on 4K, so as cool as it would be to own, I didn’t think it was all that necessary.

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Thanks for reading this post! TOMORROW, ten years return, because we need those ten years now more than ever! It is the return of the original countdown series “Top Movies of the 2010s!” I’m going to be debuting an all new category, THE DISAPPOINTING 25, where I talk about 25 movies that I went into with expectations only to be underwhelmed or let down. If you want to check out the trailer for the countdown, go to the end of this post and see it for yourself! Want to see more great content? Follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out the blog’s Facebook page as opposed to getting into fights in the comments section from the latest political post from your local news outlet! If you are going to watch “Star Wars” on 4K anytime soon, may the 4K be with you! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019): The Final Word in the Story

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“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is directed by J.J. Abrams (Mission: Impossible: III, Star Trek), who also directed 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” This film stars Daisy Ridley (Peter Rabbit, Murder on the Orient Express), John Boyega (Pacific Rim: Uprising, The Circle), Adam Driver (Paterson, Girls), Carrie Fisher (The Blues Brothers, Family Guy), Mark Hamill (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Batman: The Animated Series), Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina, Operation Finale), Anthony Daniels (I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle, The Lord of the Rings), Naomi Ackie (The End of the F***ing World, Lady MacBeth), Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina, American Made), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Logan), Lupita Nyong’o (Us, 12 Years a Slave), Keri Russell (Waitress, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Joonas Suotamo (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Solo: A Star Wars Story), Kelly Marie Tran (Adam Ruins Everything, XOXO), Ian McDiarmid (The Lost City of Z, Sleepy Hollow), and Billy Dee Williams (Batman, Dynasty). This film is the conclusion to the sequel trilogy of the “Star Wars” franchise, bringing an end to the now trendily-named “Skywalker Saga” and follows the heroes we have come to know so far as the Resistance is dwindled. Where do they go next? Wherever they can to face off against the First Order one last time.

Oh, and of course… There’s a REAL LIFE plot to this movie too! After the events of “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi,” audiences are divided! Between playing it too safe in one movie and trying to find unlocked paths in another movie, there is no way to impress every single “Star Wars” fan out there! So now it is the job of J.J. Abrams to bring balance to the “Star Wars” fandom and take on the near impossible task of sticking the landing in terms of directing “Episode IX.”

Now, for those of you who have been following Scene Before for some time, I do have to say, I make an effort to provide as little spoilers as possible for every movie review I do. There may be a case where I either have to or want to put in spoilers for one reason or another, but most of the time, I make an effort to be as secretive as possible in regards to the film’s key points that could potentially alter how one would see the movie if it had been revealed to them beforehand. With that being said, this is a “Star Wars” movie. “Star Wars” is a franchise that I would be eternally heartbroken had spoilers for it come my way. I imagine most of my viewers would feel the same way. So let me just say, this is a SPOILER-FREE review. Knowing that I just saw the movie on one of the earliest showtimes the public can access, I am going to raise my shield to avoid all effects from blasters, lightsabers, pistols, force lightning, and if possible (and I’m not saying I am weak-minded), Jedi mind tricks. So without further ado, let’s talk some “Star Wars.”

The “Star Wars” sequel trilogy has been a mixed bag for me so far. I for one LOVE “The Force Awakens.” I’m not gonna lie, it is one of my favorite “Star Wars” movies for sure. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was a movie I was looking forward to, saw in the theater on opening weekend, and walked out of it feeling like I saw the second coming of Christ on screen. Every now and then I’ll walk out of a movie feeling something inside me that made me feel like I leveled up. That was one of them. In fact, it might even be my favorite movie of 2015. Is it a copy paste of the original “Star Wars” movie? Sure, you can definitely bring up that point. But the thing is, the movie did exactly what a film of its kind needed to do. Deliver crowd-pleasing moments, provide stunning visuals, unleash great characters, start something special, and take you away from reality. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was able to do that. I will admit, I liked “Episode III,” in fact I personally admire it much more than most people, but as someone who looks back at the prequels as a slight step in the wrong direction, what Disney and J.J. Abrams did with “The Force Awakens” was exactly what I believe the “Star Wars” community and fanbase needed. Something familiar, but immensely entertaining.

Then we got “The Last Jedi” which was… Mediocre. Now if you have ever read my initial review for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” you’d know I dug it. The reason being is because as much as I enjoyed “The Force Awakens,” I saw it partially as a throwback. But it’s a good throwback, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind movies or media jumping on the nostalgia train, but I wanted something new out of this “Star Wars” trilogy that could separate them from the other two. As good as “The Empire Strikes Back” is, I was afraid that this movie, like “The Force Awakens” did with “A New Hope,” would be a rehash of “The Empire Strikes Back.” However, based on what the movie provided from a story perspective, that did not seem to be the case. The movie made some bold, expectation-subverting choices. While I admire director Rian Johnson for trying to take “Star Wars” in a new direction, it didn’t pay off. Originally, I gave the movie a 9/10 for the steps it took in finding new storytelling paths, but as I thought about the movie more, I dug it less and less. Mark Hamill is GREAT as Luke though, I’ll give the movie that. I will admit, the film is beautifully directed, it’s wonderfully shot, and the visuals are sometimes incredible. But the screenplay is almost the worst in “Star Wars” history. “The Last Jedi” felt like a passion project that ended up splattering in someone’s face. I will admit, as much as I don’t like Johnson’s vision for “The Last Jedi,” I do think he is a damn fine director with the right project. He made “Knives Out,” which is one of the best movies of the year, and I just saw “Looper,” another film he wrote and directed, and it’s nothing short of dope. I would be SOMEWHAT open to him directing another “Star Wars” project, but not writing one.

Now we’re here! “The Rise of Skywalker” is upon us. I will admit, I did not have the most pleasurable thoughts going into it. But nevertheless, I scored tickets for the first show of the film at one of my all-time favorite movie theatres, so the fan inside me felt ready for this experience. I will admit, some of the trailers were really good, and part of me was curious to see how this saga will end (until Disney needs more money and they make Episode X). What are my thoughts on the ultimate story of the “Skywalker Saga?” The top of Mount “Star Wars!” The height of the force! WHAT? DID? I? THINK OF IT?

Well… uhhhh…. It was better than “Cats.”

To be completely serious with you, I really enjoyed this movie A LOT MORE THAN I THOUGHT I WOULD going into it. “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is up there to me with “Toy Story 4” and “Alita: Battle Angel” as one of 2019’s most pleasant surprises. I could honestly end the review by pointing out that against each and every single odd, J.J. Abrams delivered something watchable. But, ending the review here would be boring, and y’all will probably feel cheated, so let’s move on.

Sticking with J.J. Abrams, he was the right choice to direct this film. I love what he did with “The Force Awakens” as mentioned earlier. And I think those who have complained in the past about “The Force Awakens,” specifically about it playing it too safe might dig this movie a little more than that. Granted, this movie relies HEAVILY on nostalgia. There are many iconic themes from John Williams that are brought back, nods to past “Star Wars” films and TV programs, the return of Lando, and Palpatine is even somehow in this movie. But even with that, this movie introduces quite a few new things. I am not exactly going to go into each and every one of them, but they are there nonetheless. In fact, as someone who doesn’t like “The Last Jedi,” I think the thing about it that I at least appreciate is its willingness to take risks. They didn’t pay off, but they are still risks. This movie was able to take me to my happy place, sort of back to my childhood, while also introducing some fresh ideas. Not all of them worked, kind of like in “The Last Jedi,” but there are some that played into how fun this movie ultimately is.

One thing you are going to hear me repeat often throughout this review is that I won’t spoil something, so bear with me here. But I want to mention that without going into much detail, C-3PO had a bit to do with the movie’s story, and I think this may be my favorite 3PO story yet. In fact, 3PO honestly feels like a necessary character for this movie to go on. And even though he has been in just about every “Star Wars” film so far, this may be the first story where I felt 3PO’s presence was required in order for certain events to take place since the original trilogy, or maybe “The Phantom Menace.” I mean, most of his stories since just involved him being in the movie to have a random character be a comic relief (which he was before, but still) or just give some random perspective of what’s going on. Well that, and he needs his red arm replaced. It’s nice seeing him in the prequels and the last couple of sequel films, but seeing him as a core part of the story here is an utter delight, knowing the legacy this character has overall.

As for our main characters, I think Rey, Finn, and Poe, the main human trio we have come to know so far throughout this trilogy are hypnotizing to watch. Seeing them on screen again was a blast, in fact there is a scene early on between Finn and Poe that might be one of the most ridiculously fast-paced and bonkers “Star Wars” moments ever. Without saying much, it involves the Millennium Falcon. Personally, the scenes involving Rey when she was separated from her friends were a bit more fun than those between her friends. Honestly, there are a few scenes between the main trio, not every scene, but there is one that stands out in particular, where I just began to question the chemistry between them. I know that one of the key differences between this and the other two trilogies is that it is the shortest of the timelines. The original trilogy spans about four or five years and the prequels last even longer. This entire trilogy lasts about a year. It’s kind of mind-boggling if you think about it. Even though you have less time to develop these characters off-screen, it still somewhat unfortunate that the movie’s quality suffered as a result.

Speaking of character flaws, let’s talk about some of the newer additions to the movie. I’m not gonna go too deep into the new characters, but what I can say about them is that they sort of make me reflect upon “The Last Jedi.” What I mean is that whenever a new character in that movie is introduced, it takes some amount of time for me to just want them to disappear. The only new character in that film that really brought something to the table for me was the one played by Benicio Del Toro because he seemed to have some hint of swagger to him. I didn’t like Holdo, I didn’t like Rose (who is much better in this movie better by the way), the force kids didn’t really seem to add much of anything. Kind of like that, the new characters introduced to this film were also kind of forgettable. Granted, they’re better than those introduced in “Episode VIII,” but nevertheless. Nobody made me roll my eyes and no one took away my dignity. Even if the new characters were not that great, you could still tell me that they were in the movie for a reason and I’d probably be on your side.

Case and point, Keri Russell’s character of Zorii Bliss. As the main adventurers are in the middle of their quest, they run into this woman, thus leading to an explanation of her past history with one of the film’s other characters. Again, I’m trying to be vague with this review, because knowing some people, they consider minute details spoilers, so I am going to fulfill those people’s wishes. I like her costume design, and I’ll reiterate, she serves her purpose when the movie needs her, but if she was taken out of the movie, I would probably not care all that much. But, movie’s gotta movie.

Speaking of new characters, I also, to my disappointment, didn’t like D-O, the new green droid that was introduced. I am not saying I was highly anticipating D-O to be the scene stealer of the film or anything, but if there was one character that was probably created SPECIFICALLY for this movie just to get somebody out of the house to go buy a toy, this would be the one. D-O is along for the ride, but it’s another one of those characters that could literally be removed from the script and bring no negative effect to the table. Well, maybe except Disney who won’t be making as much money from people who may go out and buy D-O merchandise in the meantime. It would be fine if D-O had more dimension as a character, but there’s barely anything that I could say about D-O that makes him resemble a character full of personality, and full of charisma. You can make the argument that a character like BB-8 was mainly created to sell toys, but the thing is, BB-8 is charming, serves the plot very well, and doesn’t necessarily feel tacked on. BB-8 has basically been a centerpiece to the films he’s appeared in so far, not to mention this entire trilogy. D-O could have been something special, but the somewhat lackluster writing says otherwise.

I also gotta be honest, and I don’t know if I should be entirely surprised, but General Hux has become more of a joke for each movie that he’s in. Here, it’s almost insulting. He starts out well in this film for the most part, and I was entertained when he was on screen, but as the movie gets a bit closer to finishing its first hour, his character does something that honestly got on my nerves. I am not gonna go into detail about what he does, but I don’t know if J.J. Abrams or Chris Terrio or even Colin Trevorrow years back, when he was scheduled to helm this movie, made this decision, but it come off HORRIBLY when delivered on screen. It felt like something ways off from Hux’s personality and it was rainbows and unicorns kinds of impractical. Some people I know have been somewhat displeased with Hux in “The Last Jedi,” a notion I kind of agree with by the way. However, in that movie, I still got a sense of Hux being himself. He still felt like the same character introduced in “The Force Awakens.” It felt like a sligthly natural progression. While Hux is still kind of himself in this film as well, there’s just a moment where I felt dumbfounded as a viewer watching him on screen.

I’ll say this again, Lando’s back! This is something I was personally rather excited for, because I think Lando is one of the many highlights of the original trilogy. It’s hard to list any bad characters from said trilogy, but if there are any, Lando ain’t one of them. How is he in this movie? Well, without spoiling much, he brings some fun to the table, but he isn’t really in the movie all that much. Is that a bad thing? Given the movie’s story structure, I wouldn’t say that’s a bad thing at all, but if you were expecting a Lando extravaganza, you’re not gonna get that. He plays a somewhat minor role in the film, but all of his scenes are watchable and easy to enjoy.

Now let’s get to this one of the most odd yet interesting additions to this film’s cast of characters, Palpatine. Before we go any further, let me just address that people behind this film have stated that it was always the plan to bring back The Emperor. I honestly don’t know if I buy that. I think that’s just a protective statement to avoid turning audiences off. I would have NEVER envisioned The Emperor coming back for this movie, or the sequel trilogy in the first place. Remember that first trailer for the movie? The one they showed at Star Wars Celebration in April? Once I heard Palpatine’s infamous laugh for the first time, I was shivering to my core. It was something so out of left field at the time, that it made my interest meter for the movie go up a couple notches. At the same time however, the more I thought about it, the more nervous I became. I say that because as much as I love the fact that we get to see Palpatine one more time, I was worried that his appearance here would undermine everything in previously established material. Most specifically, “Return of the Jedi,” which may be his most prominent film. Why? Becuase SPOILERS, it’s been 36 years since that movie came out, WHO CARES? He dies. And it’s not just the fact that he dies that I was worried about, I also felt apprehensive because of the way he died. The ending of “Return of the Jedi” is probably my favorite endings of the “Star Wars” franchise (aside from “Rogue One”), partially because the way The Emperor goes out is chill-inducing. Between the powerful score given by John Williams, Vader’s conflict, Luke’s near-death experience, and the massive stakes at hand, it makes The Emperor’s fate all the more meaningful and emotionally satisfying. Seeing the smoke rise from the pit is a feast for the eyes and ears, and I thought that was a fine bow tie for his character. But no, I guess for some reason he’s returned to the party. I was honestly worried for a number of reasons. Two of which I’ll give here. 1. Again, The Emperor died in a way that was satisfying and the way he went out feels like a way that would be difficult to recover from. 2. The marketing seemed to promise Palpatine, but I did not think it was clear as to how much of him we’d be getting. After all, his voice is heard a lot, but I only remember seeing him physically in probably just one TV spot. That and one of the early posters.

So how was Palpatine? Not bad, to be quite honest. There is no way, at least at this point that I could be convinced that Palpatine was supposed to be the endgame the whole time, but inserting him in this movie was surprisingly solid. I mean, you can make the argument that Palpatine’s character being a centerpiece of all three trilogies in some way bring something to the table, but I’m not sure I’d completely agree. Nevertheless, just about any character interaction with him was tense and had my full attention. Ian McDiarmid played him like Slash can play a guitar! I am not going to dive deep into his character because there is a good chance that any effective thing I can say about him would be somewhere in spoiler-territory. I’ll just say this… He doesn’t just feel like a bad guy who wants to do bad guy things. He legit feels like a threat, as he should, and a necessary part of the film’s overall story and conflict. Overall, I dug him being here.

Speaking of things I dug, one thing that stood out to me at the start of the movie happened to be Rey, and the reason for that is because she apparently is kind of the Jedi definition of a showoff. She has these abilities that I think almost no other person in history could ever achieve. I will admit, when I first saw this, I kind of liked it. This new trilogy has shown was in which the force has perhaps evolved so to have this all powerful being is not completely unbelievable. Again, I already said I dug it, such a comment about liking this might almost be irrelevant at this point. BUT… There are a couple moments where I legit thought I was watching a piece of fantastical and far-fetched fan-fiction come to life. There are some things done with the force in this movie that I do not remember seeing much in “Star Wars” prior to this movie. This movie has a point where it becomes seemingly convenient in terms of how the force works. Sometimes it might be cool, maybe even badass, sometimes it just doesn’t work. There’s a moment in particular between Rey and Kylo on a desert that I want to say I like, but the Movie Reviewing Moron part of me wants to question whatever it was I just saw.

Sticking with Rey and Kylo, they have a number of scenes together in the movie, and there are some neat moments between them. Specifically fights, conversations, and more. Although if I had to list a complaint in the movie that might be my biggest of all, it would have to be this one scene between the two of them at the very end. It’s something that starts off as charming and sweet, and then becomes something that continues to piss me off. I have a feeling that if you are under a certain mindset going into the film you might enjoy whatever it is I won’t talk about whatsoever, but it just didn’t work for me.

Continuing off of what I just said, the final half hour to forty five minutes of this movie is full of fan service. Almost in the same way such a fraction of “Avengers: Endgame” was for the MCU. I won’t go into details about the fan service specifically. Some of it worked and some of it didn’t. Listen, that thing that I mentioned pissed me off in the last paragraph, I AM NOT GONNA SPOIL A THING, but if you pay attention, the thing that pissed me off personally is part of said fan service. And having said that, I almost wonder what the people behind this movie were thinking while making it. Keep in mind, while a good number of people seemed to enjoy “The Last Jedi,” I and many others was not really satisfied with it. This movie, in a way, seems to try to give something to everyone. Whether they liked “The Last Jedi,” hated it. Or whether they liked the other “Star Wars” movies, maybe hated those as well, it seems that a lot of time writing the screenplay went into focusing on elements that made other “Star Wars” screenplays what they are, but also what made “The Last Jedi” liked by certain people. This movie, even though it acknowledges the existence of “The Last Jedi,” sort of feels like an apology letter to viewers for “The Last Jedi.” Having disliked “The Last Jedi” myself, I can’t complain too much, but it feels like a script that is supposed to cater to anybody who ever watched “Star Wars” and admired a piece of it. This brings a complication into the mix. There will be things that will inevitably piss off some people, but there will also be things that will floor those same people in a positive way. For all I know, there could be someone out there that loves all things “Star Wars” that might end up liking EVERYTHING in this movie. I’m sure they’re out there.

I do not have all that much more to say about “The Rise of Skywalker,” but I gotta say as an ending to a nine film saga, this is surprisingly satisfying. I was worried that J.J. Abrams wouldn’t stick the landing, I was worried that I would feel unfulfilled for some reason, or the direction in this film will highlight a completely rushed ending. I gotta say one thing though. As much I enjoy having gotten my own opportunity to see an entire “Star Wars” trilogy with both previously established and newly established characters in theaters, I do not know if this film in particular is as fulfilling overall compared to the ending of “Return of the Jedi.” Again, I’m not going to spoil anything, but that film ended on such a note where the characters many of us have come to love got just about everything that they have come to earn. Admittedly, having seen this new ending, I WON’T GO INTO detail, but one character “acquires” something new that hasn’t been acquired yet that combines fan service and pure emotion. It also solves a complaint. What complaint? Not gonna tell ya. If I ever do a spoiler talk, I’ll be sure to bring this up.

Overall, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is entertaining, visually impressive (which shouldn’t be surprising, it’s “Star Wars”), and one more thing I will mention is this, because I feel I should not leave you all hanging without a mention of John Williams kicking ass with his score. I mentioned earlier that his score is heavily reliant on nostalgic themes, but whenever there is a scene that is heavy on said nostalgia or one that really needs a certain mood, Williams is there to bring the goods. I need time to see where I’ll rank this score, but as of now, this is one of the absolute best “Star Wars” scores I have ever heard. Having witnessed comments about this being the last “Star Wars” score from John Williams, I think he went out with an absolute bang. Williams, this world, nor does a galaxy far far away, deserve you. You are a god, enough said.

In the end, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is a flawed, but simultaneously charming finale to a nine film saga that has been going on for over forty years. Once more, I’ll bring up “The Last Jedi,” and I will say even though that film has glimmers of entertainment, it does not feel like a story worthy of the “Star Wars” name. This sequel is a bombastic roller coaster that is worth seeing, especially if you are a fan of the “Star Wars” franchise because I can probably guarantee that even if you end up not liking the movie overall, there will ultimately be SOMETHING to enjoy. But I must say one thing, and this is probably going to piss off some people.

So I have the unpopular opinion, although over the years I have found this unpopular opinion to be a bit more popular than I anticipated, of “Revenge of the Sith,” the finale to the prequel trilogy, being one of my favorite “Star Wars” movies. Another movie which I consider to be just as great is “Return of the Jedi,” the finale of the original trilogy. If I had to be honest, my thoughts on “The Rise of Skywalker” are not that positive compared to my thoughts on the other two movies I mentioned. I liked it, quite a bit in fact. But if I had to give the honest truth, “The Rise of Skywalker” is my least favorite of the three trilogy finales the saga has had so far. Even with that in mind, it’s still good. At the same time though, this does bring up one positive regarding the “Star Wars” saga as a whole, and a negative as well, depending on how you look at it. The finales of all the trilogies make up the one portion of the saga that is entirely positive in one way or another. Keep in mind, I love all the films in the original trilogy, so the beginning, middle, and end all work there. But “The Phantom Menace” was a fail to start off the prequel trilogy, and speaking of prequel failures, I also wasn’t a fan of the middle act of the trio of films, “Attack of the Clones.” Similarly, this most recent sequel trilogy had the disappointing middle entry “The Last Jedi.” The finales all worked, even this one, to my complete surprise. With that being said, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is worth a watch, especially in a big, obnoxious movie theater with fantastic sound, and I’m going to give it a rather high 6/10. As much as I enjoyed the movie, I think a 6 is a fair grade. Would I watch it again? Oh, you betcha. And technically, this film has some of the best sound and visual effects of the year, which isn’t new for a “Star Wars” film. But story-wise, there is an argument to make that even though I love how quick this movie progresses, it almost gets to that point where it becomes rushed. If the newer characters were better and if MAYBE it tried to focus going down one particular path as opposed to catering to a bunch of different demographics, the score could potentially be higher.

With all of what I just said in mind, this movie honestly has notable flaws, not to mention things that piss me off. But this movie is also satisfying overall, and the many positives of the movie tend to outweigh the negatives. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be, and most importantly, it’s better than both “The Last Jedi” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” both movies which by the way, I felt disappointed by. I want to thank everyone for giving a great saga of films to remember. I hope various future “Star Wars” projects work out and I am looking forward to the future of the franchise should I continue to tune in. Thanks for reading this review! Next week is the limited release of the all new war film “1917.” It is going to be hitting theaters everywhere this January, but honestly this is a movie that I need to see as soon as possible because I have a feeling that it is going to be one of the best directed and well-shot movies of this particular release year. It comes out Christmas Day, which I’m busy on, but hopefully I can get my butt in a seat as soon as possible. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or if you want greater access to the blog, use a WordPress account. Be sure to like this post and share it with your friends, and check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker?” What did you think about it? Or, now that the three main “Star Wars” trilogies are concluded, which is your favorite? The prequels? The originals? Or the sequels? You know what, here’s another question. How would you personally rank the three trilogies? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Scene Before 2019 HALFTIME REPORT (And Glance Into the Future)

WARNING: The following post is over 8,000 words long. Disappointingly, it’s not over 9,000.

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! 2019 is midway through and this year is going by fast! As far as my personal life goes, I’m in between my first and second year of college, I am enjoying my time off, and I’m the same movie reviewing moron as usual. Things have changed, but at the same time, I’m still the same flick nerd I have always been. And I mean that literally, but we’ll get to that later. However, I wanted to try something I haven’t done before on this blog. At the end of the year, I tend to do some reflective work, most notably countdowns. And while I am not going to do that at this current midway point, I would at least like to sit myself down and go over some recent highlights related to Scene Before. At the same time, I’d like to also look into the future. Admittedly, some of this is still in planning stages, but still.

I’d like to start off with something I’d like to call “TERRIFIC 3” and “TERRIBLE 3.” I am going to list 3 movies that I have watched this year that I would recommend to people and 3 other movies that I would tell people to avoid. Now, of course, these picks are subjective, if you think differently about these films than I, it might be slightly harder to talk to each other, but you are nevertheless entitled to your different thoughts. In fact, these are not supposed to be my top 3 best or worst of the year so far. If I like a film, I’ll list it, if I don’t like a film, I’ll also list it. These are not meant to be in any particular order. Anyway, let’s begin!

TERRIFIC 3!

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Starting off the Terrific 3 is “John Wick: Chapter 3!” I went to see this film in Dolby Cinema alongside my dad, who might be a bigger “John Wick” fan than anyone else I know. He and I walked out agreeing that the action in the film is absolutely top-notch. The action in “John Wick” films is certainly the aspect that would grab my attention more than any other. Long takes, innovative setpieces, gritty violence, all of it adds up to make some of my favorite action scenes of all time. When it comes to current action franchises, I am having some slight trouble deciding whether I prefer this or “Mission: Impossible.” It’s that good!

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Up next is a stellar DreamWorks animation whose franchise I never watched religiously, but always liked, “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” If you have ever seen the game show “Deal or No Deal,” the show always highlights the phrase “timing is everything,” and when it comes to “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” that phrase becomes more relevant than ever. This movie came out in the middle of my second semester of college, and I could not help but feel like the people behind the movie were trying to consider me in its target audience. After all, while “How To Train Your Dragon” may be a franchise directed towards families and children, this growing adult could not help but feel like a kid again. In fact, to add more to this true masterpiece of an animated film, I became more emotional during this movie than I did during perhaps more than any other. Even more than “Toy Story 3.”

Last but not least for the Terrific 3 is a movie that I decided to list because it’s on a slightly different end of the spectrum. Because let’s face it, I’m kind of recommending movies to you, and why recommend “Avengers: Endgame” when almost everyone went to see it? So let’s recommend a smaller movie, such as Terry Gilliam’s “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.” Now some would argue that this is a 2018 flick, but in the United States, which is where I live, this didn’t come out until 2019. For those of you who don’t know this movie, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” took decades to make, and it’s about a guy who reunites with someone he worked with during a production. This person he meets with is convinced that he is Don Quixote. This did not get that big of a release in theaters, but it is worth seeing just because of its history, because despite going through “development hell,” it managed to turn out quite well! The movie is now available on home video including various VOD options.

Now let’s move onto something that probably doesn’t deserve any attention, but because I believe in equality, we’re talking about it anyway, the Terrible 3!

TERRIBLE 3!

First up is a movie that I want to put on here because what’s the harm with having an unpopular opinion? Oh wait, everything. Who cares? One of the most successful movies of the year, “Captain Marvel,” just didn’t stick the landing for me. This had a lot of hype building up to it, but I personally just couldn’t relate. And when I saw the final product, I felt like… Wait, why’s everybody laughing and cheering? Yes, there are a couple of cool moments in the movie. For example, I dug the 90’s references such as Blockbuster Video and Dial-Up Internet. Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson have some good chemistry, but when it comes to Larson in general, her performance was kind of mediocre. Granted, I know grade-A acting isn’t the biggest component of a comic book movie, but Brie Larson, an Academy Award winner, felt more like she was in a couple straight to DVD films and that’s it. Granted, I think she did a slightly better job in “Avengers: Endgame,” but her performance here simply underwhelmed me. Plus, there’s a moment in this movie that references a significant part of the MCU lore (having to do with Samuel L. Jackson) and quite honestly, the way they go about it just killed my brain.

Up next is a movie that could have been great but was simply wasted. From the creators of NOT “Firefly” comes “Serenity.” “Serenity” could be somewhat fun, not to mention a great “thinker” movie, but it manages to become more boring the more I think about it. I love the movie “Interstellar,” so I was somewhat excited to see Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway unite once again for another project. Both have talent as actors and they’ve proven they have great chemistry. Honestly, I’d just go back to watching “Interstellar” if this is the movie we’re getting. Although this movie came out in January so it should not be surprising that we would get a movie of this quality.

And finally, we have what may be my worst movie of the year should nothing surpass it, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” The sad thing about “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is that I was actually desperately anticipating this movie. When I went to see it, I was ready for what was about to happen. Or was I? Seeing movies in IMAX may be great because it feels so big, but when they’re a big mess, what is the point? Maybe the monster fights could be fun, but if I wanted to watch this movie again, I’d probably have to be heavily drugged. Because let’s face it, as cool as big monsters are, the unforgivable part of “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” are the one-dimensional human characters. This could be slightly less intolerable if the human characters were less of a focal point during the movie, but they made me want to go back and check out some of the “Transformers” movies again! They’re THAT horrible!

I just showed you all my terrific and terrible picks, now let’s go over a few recent highlights from my blogging journey.

As usual, I kicked off my 2019 with my traditional countdowns to reflect on the year of 2018 in film. I went over the best of the year along with the worst of the year. Some of my top picks included “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “Eighth Grade,” and “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Some of my bottom picks included “The 15:17 To Paris,” “Uncle Drew,” and “Life of the Party.” I enjoy doing these countdowns every year and this is the first year that I started writing what I would put in the countdowns as early as August. I did not do this for every single movie, but I visualized the lists a long time prior to actually releasing them. This does not suggest that I avoided considering movies released past August, as evidenced by some of my picks.

After I did my lists, I saw my first 2019 release, which according to IMDb, is actually a 2017 release. Based on my experience and research, I’d call it a 2019 release, but still. That film by the way is “The Upside,” which is a remake of 2011’s “The Intouchables.” I personally have not seen “The Intouchables,” and while “The Upside” from my perspective is not really anything special when it comes to cinema, it is still a fun time. I went to see it at a press screening, and there were tons of laughs to be heard.

A couple weeks later I went to one of my local arthouse theatres to see a flick that I almost ended up passing on. Specifically, “Roma.” Why? Because when it comes to today’s media, Netflix is a company that I traditionally tend to avoid. But one of my local theaters managed to get access to a 70mm film print of “Roma,” which would be presented for a limited time. I took advantage of the opportunity and purchased a few tickets for a matinee show. Not only was the experience breathtaking, but the movie was one of the best of the past year. If I had to redo my top 10 lists of 2018, this would be on the best list, but I saw “Roma” after completing said lists.

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I also decided to try out a new concept this year which I have decided to make an annual tradition, the Jackoff Awards. For awhile, over the past year, I have grown to admire the Oscars based on how much respect they tend to pay towards the film industry. Granted, they’re not perfect, but what they’ve done over the years is absolutely intriguing. I thought to myself, why not do a big awards related post? Present similar categories to other major shows, I do my own comedy bits, and it was perhaps the most ambitious post I have ever done. As for Best Picture, I decided to present what was then my top 10 of 2018, which DID include “Roma,” and instead of having me choose Best Picture, I would allow my audience to choose the winner. I figured it would allow for diversity in terms of opinions, and I managed to get a surprisingly diverse number of votes. I got some votes for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “First Man,” “Ready Player One,” but the winner turned out to be last year’s biggest comic book movie, “Avengers: Infinity War.” Honestly, if there were any movie to put in my Blu-ray player on a Friday night at this point, it would most certainly be that one.

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I then continued my journey in March by going to the place that I would associate with film more than any other, Los Angeles. My family and I stayed right near Hollywood Boulevard and I got to visit a few media-related sights including Warner Brothers Studios, the TCL Chinese Theatre (where I saw “Captain Marvel”), and Universal Studios Hollywood. I also got the chance to witness a live taping of “Conan.” While I didn’t make a big post related to this, I managed to briefly discuss some of my highlights here and there.

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For those of you who are curious about my “Conan” taping experience, I managed to witness almost two full shows. Why? Conan O’Brien had to be somewhere when his Thursday show would air, so naturally, he had a demand, he wanted us, Thursday’s audience, to “make Tuesday’s audience look like s*it.” We got see all of Tuesday’s show, which had a couple comedy bits and an interview with Timothy Olyphant (Live Free or Die Hard, Santa Clarita Diet) and a good fraction of a Thursday night show which featured comedian Moses Storm, who joked about cell phone users, “Shark Tank,” and revealed a story where he would tape episodes of Conan O’Brien’s older talk show episodes over his religion-related educational programming. By the way, Conan in person looks like a real life action figure. Maybe it’s the makeup. Maybe it’s the lighting in the studio, but my gosh.

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I also got to visit an RPX venue for the first time. For those who don’t know about RPX, they are a premium format that can be found exclusively in cinemas under Regal Entertainment Group ownership. I didn’t plan on attending RPX when I did, but I managed to get something off my list of movie-related things to do before I died. After all, “Us” just came out, and I was in the Boston area. I figured just to save time, I’d go for the earlier, but more expensive show that Regal Cinemas Fenway was providing, as opposed to another show which would be starting a half hour later. For your information, I was aware that I was going into an RPX screen. I didn’t mind my decision, I figured if I wanted to see “Us,” I’d go see it in full scale glory because I was really anticipating it. While I have still yet to see “Get Out” to this day, I have heard about its overwhelmingly positive reception and I was expecting that Jordan Peele would deliver another sick movie. While “Us” was not perfect, it was definitely worth seeing, and I wouldn’t mind watching it again. As for the RPX experience itself, I thought the seats were not too bad. The capacity was through the roof, the screen, while not entirely wall to wall, was huge. As for the sound… It is undeniably better than a standard theater, but I was a little underwhelmed. Maybe I went to see the wrong movie, maybe the employees turned the speakers down, but when I compare the sound to something like IMAX or Dolby Cinema at AMC, I would go back to both of those places first.

Moving onto April, I managed to survive the whole “Avengers: Endgame” ticket buying craze. For those not fully immersed into what I just stated, I must point out that “Avengers: Endgame” tickets went on sale April 2nd, and the Internet went balls to the wall nuts when it came to snagging tickets. I had to wait in Fandango’s line, AMC was having problems, and it got to the point where I had to buy tickets from a somewhat local cinema chain, on their own, slightly buggy website, just to make sure I could get into school on time. I almost took the train to one of my local AMCs because I could stop by there on the way to school. If I did that, I am willing to bet I would have missed out on opening night of “Endgame,” which was the day I was shooting for. After all I did want to get my review out as soon as possible, and I did manage to score a couple tickets on remaining good seats for a 9PM show. Not at an AMC, but at a Showcase Cinemas. While it was not my first choice, I don’t regret going there, because an hour before going into the cinema, I got a glimpse at everyone leaving the 22 MCU movie marathon the theater was showing over a few days. Everyone was being applauded, and they left with some merch. I recorded this aftermath on Facebook Live, and despite my camera’s focusing problems and poor cellular service, I managed to get some respectable footage. Also as a Bostonian, I was proud of myself to catch a reporter from one of my local news channels, WBZ, or CBS Channel 4. To be specific, Tashanea Whitlow. As for the premiere itself, the movie was fun, and the three hour runtime was rather justified given what we as an audience received. I didn’t think it was perfect, I’d much rather watch “Infinity War,” but it was a great finale to over ten years of films. I will also say, this may be due to where I went to see the movie, seeing “Infinity War” was also a better experience. Because I went to see it at a 7PM show on opening Thursday on an eight story IMAX screen. If you have ever gone to see an event-type film in India, that is one of the most solid comparisons I could make to my experience. It was like going to a Stanley Cup game or something. “Endgame,” which was in a sold out theater in regular 2D, had barely any applause (although some reactions here and there), and out of everyone in the theater, I may have been the most obnoxious. If I had to make a sports comparison, I’d probably say it was like going to a slightly more competitive golf tournament. It was lively at times, but not like the roof was being blown off the place. I know some people are not particularly fans of going to theaters where everyone is reacting to the film’s key moments, but as a fan of the MCU, it’s something that I considered to be a privilege during my “Infinity War” experience.

May was an interesting month for me, because I just finished my first year of college, so I got a little more active on the Scene Before side of things. I’m now trying to earn revenue with the blog, I saw more movies than I did in months such as March or February, and I even changed my domain name. Unfortunately, scenebefore.com was taken, so I wanted to make sure I can fit something that would associate with me, but also be precise. I thought something like moviereviewingmoron.com, while definitely appropriate, is a tad too long. Luckily, after some searching, I found out that flicknerd.com was available. Did I ever call myself “flick nerd” on this blog? No, but I figured it would be a cool name to have because its simplicity will probably gain enough traction overtime. It’s hard to tell though, because this advanced blogging journey, at least from my point of view, is just getting started. I’m looking for sponsors, more potential viewers, but I’m also trying to be the same movie reviewing moron that everyone has come to know.

One of my highlight posts of the month is titled “What THE BIG BANG THEORY Has Meant To Me: A Nerd’s Perspective.” For those who are unaware, CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” just finished it’s twelfth and final season on the air, so I figured I’d take some time to remind the world of what the show has meant to me as a fan, as someone who would constantly tune in to new episodes, and most of all, as a nerd on the autism spectrum. I probably won’t have time to give a detailed description of everything I said, so if you want to read the post, click this link!

I also saw another one of my favorite films so far this year, “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum!” Not only that, but like I mentioned earlier, I managed to catch a Dolby Cinema presentation of it, which surprisingly, didn’t make me feel like I was getting shot in the head, which may be a good thing. Seriously though, “John Wick: Chapter 3” is probably the best installment of the franchise yet, and Keanu Reeves might now just have a better trilogy than “The Matrix!”

But I cannot say the end of the month was great, because “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” happened. Sad day. Even though I went to see the film in full scale IMAX glory, it didn’t feel like something worth my time.

Moving onto June, I managed to do something pretty cool with my dad. He and I go to the movies together a lot because for the most part we have similar tastes. We match together when it comes to sci-fi, action, comic book-based material, comedy, etc. However he has never been to an advance press screening, so I thought just for fun he and I could do so for the new movie, “Men In Black: International.” It’s a movie that I probably would have checked out had I waited for it to release everywhere. After all, “Men In Black 3” is my favorite movie of 2012. However, since this was free, not to mention, early, I thought dad and I could trek to the theater and see what this movie had in store. I personally enjoyed it. I know some people were scared of how this movie would turn out based on the marketing (Then again, it’s a Sony film, whaddya expect these days?). I thought the first trailer was alright, but not great. The second trailer was an improvement and actually got me more interested in the film. As for the film itself, it is not Shakespeare, but it’s a fun time at the movies. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson have great chemistry together and I think Kumail Nanjiani’s character is a fantastic comic relief.

The best movie I saw this month was “Toy Story 4,” which I must point out, I probably was not even looking forward to back when it was announced. Boy, times do change! Unfortunately, I had to witness brain cell erasers such as “Replicas,” which I bought on Blu-ray since I had some Best Buy rewards to waste. I also saw “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” which is worse than getting scratched in the eye by a cat. Yes, Harrison Ford is in it. Yes, he is the best part of the movie. But I might as well be at the point where I would rather have a dog sniff my butt then go so that film again!

Now that I have recapped my highlights, I just want to remind everyone of what’s being planned for the future. Here is my unofficial schedule for the second half of 2019!

JULY:

Throughout the month of July, there are not that many movies coming out compared to other months in the year (at least according to Wikipedia), but I am planning on catching a few blockbuster highlights such as “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” despite how little anticipation I have for it. I also really want to catch Disney’s live-action remake of “The Lion King.” I am not a fan of the Disney live-action remake trend, but I feel that this movie will be a great theater experience and also rather compelling. I don’t know how much it is going to be a carbon copy of the original or how much it’ll go in its own direction, but I am somewhat curious as to what will come of it. I know it is longer than the original, which slightly worries me, because it could add something that perhaps the 1990s film didn’t even need, therefore ruining my experience. Plus, it’s being directed by Jon Faverau, who also worked on 2016’s “The Jungle Book,” another Disney live-action remake, which was one of my favorite movies of said year. I also really want to check out “Crawl.” The trailer didn’t have me fully onboard, but I am still curious as to how this film will turn out. Plus, it’s being produced by Sam Raimi, who is known for his work in the horror industry, and one of my favorite comic book movie directors.

This does not mean that I want to ignore independent work, because on the same weekend as “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” A24 is releasing one of my most anticipated movies of the summer. Specifically, “Midsommar.” When your movie is A: Directed by Ari Aster, who had a phenomenal feature-length directorial debut last year with “Hereditary,” another A24 film, and B: Described by Aster as “a Wizard of Oz for perverts,” I am instantly intrigued. “Midsommar” takes place in rural Sweden as a young couple takes a vacation and settles in the area. Alongside their friends, they eventually discover that this area has a festival that takes place once every ninety years, which creeps them all out. I want to see Ari Aster succeed, so hopefully this film does well.

Speaking of successful filmmakers, another well-known director in the industry, specifically Quentin Tarantino, is going to be releasing his ninth film, “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.” And to be honest, as anticipated as I am to see this film, I have to let something out. I have not seen much of Tarantino’s work. I will most likely be going to see “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” when it comes out, maybe in 35mm, but before I do that, I am going to be doing a small series of reviews for Quentin Tarantino movies. In fact, I already have a few lined up. Specifically, “Pulp Fiction,” “Django Unchained,” and “The Hateful Eight.” Those reviews will be done as weekly projects and they should all be up before the official release date of “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood,” July 26th.

 

AUGUST:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESRemember how I would occasionally announce I am going to cons from time to time? For some reason I have failed to do that this year. It’s not like I am not going anywhere, but I have just failed to put myself in front of my keyboard and try to say, “Hey guys, here’s where I’m going, stalk me!” Not that don’t mind the attention, I’m just saying. But if you really want to know about my next con, I do have it booked, and I will be going to Terrificon, which for those of you who have been following me for some time, you’d know that is also the first con I ever documented on this blog. And I am thinking of doing something a little different this time, just to spice things up. I’m trying to push more video content into my posts, maybe I’ll insert a compilation of the con’s highlights. I’ll record it on my camera, maybe my phone, whichever has more memory at the time. Maybe I’ll post it on YouTube and link it here. Who knows? But here on Scene Before I am trying find ways to innovate, and maybe this could be one of them.

Speaking of cons, this is NO GUARANTEE, partially because I have not even bought tickets, but there is one convention that is about a half hour away from my house that I kind of want to go to. Whether or not I am going, that’s a different story, but should things go in a certain direction, I may end up going to Fan Expo Boston, which is a con I have surprisingly never been to. And the guest list this year, aside from a couple big cancellations, is solid so far. You’ve got Zachary Levi (Shazam!, Tangled), who I will say, even if you are not into his work, he is a fun guy to meet, he is upbeat and has a massive sense of charm. Part of the cast of “Blade Runner” is going to be there including Sean Young, Rutger Hauer, and Edward James Olmos. I have a feeling there are more guest announcements coming our way, and if there are, I cannot wait to hear them, because there have been a lot of cool names who were there over the years to the point where I almost have slight regrets on missing out. If I were to get tickets to Fan Expo, I’d probably just go for one day. After all, Terrificon is the week prior, and I am staying overnight during that weekend, so my budget might be slightly higher at that event compared to Fan Expo.

Moving away from cons, I will say that my biggest film catches for August right now have to be “Hobbs & Shaw,” “Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” “Good Boys,” “Where’d You Go Bernadette?,” and “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” There is not much from August that I am truly anticipating, but I will inevitably go see a few things here and there. And if you want to know something, I only put down “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” because let’s face it, “Dora the Explorer” was a part of my childhood, and nostalgia equals money nowadays. Granted, this movie looks a tad more adult-friendly than the cartoon. But am I looking forward to it? Hell no. In fact, I am thinking it is only going to ruin my childhood, but I might as well give it a chance just because I am a nice guy. I saw the recent “Power Rangers” film partially out of nostalgia and that worked for me, might as well do it with “Dora” and see if that works.

 

SEPTEMBER:
If I had to predict my least active month for the rest of the year, I have to call it right now, September is certainly a contender. For one thing, I’m going back to college, so I need to adjust to a new routine. I’m still going to keep my promise of doing at least one post within every 7 days or so, that way you can keep witnessing my constant dedication to this blog. I’m probably not gonna go see “IT: Chapter Two” mainly because I still have not seen the first one. Although the cast is pretty nifty from what I have experienced. But I am interested in “The Goldfinch,” I have some slight intrigue towards “The Report,” and maybe I’ll check out “Abominable.” I saw one of the trailers for it, and it looks like it might not be a new animated classic or anything, but I am somewhat curious to check it out, partially because even as an adult, I still have a slight need to check out animations from time to time. Plus, it is from DreamWorks, and I’m currently trying to seek out their next big thing. “Kung Fu Panda” is done, “How to Train Your Dragon” seems to be done, maybe this, or something else, can be their next kickstarter to a solid franchise. Then again, apparently they’re making sequels to “The Boss Baby,” “The Croods,” and “Trolls,” so why should I expect absolute quality? Nevertheless, it’s worth a shot.

Although if you had to ask me what my most anticipated movie would be for the month of September, it’s a no brainer, “Ad Astra.” I love space, I love compelling, dramatic stories involving space travel, even if it is close to Earth. Plus, the second half of the year for numerous ages of my life have typically contained at least one epic space movie. Maybe “Ad Astra” will be the next to join the ranks with other movies from this decade like “The Martian” and “Interstellar.”

 

OCTOBER:

This October is pretty interesting to me, because there will be a weekend where my mother and sister are out of the house and I will quite honestly, need something to do. I can’t just stay trapped behind walls! I have to see the world! Nevertheless, that particular weekend is the release of “Joker,” which I am inevitably going to check out no matter what, but for the sake of having an early review, I’m going to check it out as soon as possible. I have Fridays off from school this upcoming semester, maybe I’ll do it then. The following week is the release of Will Smith’s “Gemini Man,” directed by Ang Lee, so I might see that. And the week after is slightly bigger because Taika Waititi is coming out with his latest directorial feature, “Jojo Rabbit,” where believe it or not, Waititi himself plays Hitler. I never pictured that, but this film certainly has my attention. That same week is also the release of “Zombieland: Double Tap.” I had fun with the first “Zombieland.” I enjoyed the chemistry between Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson, and it has, at least to me, a pure highlight from Bill Murray’s acting career. And to my surprise, he’s coming back for this movie! I also want to check out “The Aeronauts” which is being released by Amazon, and the reason why I want to check it out is because it is Amazon’s first attempt at an IMAX run and it is also being released a week early in that format. The film will technically be in standard theaters in November after it’s week-long IMAX run. And if this is the case, this reminds me of the excitement I had for Robert Zemeckis’ “The Walk,” because that released a week early in IMAX and that was quite an experience.

Speaking of lesser known films, one other thing I want to check out is the South Korean flick “Parasite.” It’s getting tons of buzz at film festivals, having earned Palme d’Or at Cannes, winning the Sydney Film Festival, and already making tons of money in Korea. The film’s US release is this October, which would put it in a reasonable spot to be remembered by Academy and Golden Globe voters.

 

NOVEMBER:
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This November is particularly interesting. Because November 1st is the day I’m heading off to Providence for Rhode Island Comic Con, and that’s the day after Halloween! I’m not cosplaying (at least I have no plans to right now) at this con, but I just want to walk around the convention floor for hours and stumble upon every costumed individual and wish them a Happy Halloween. Nevertheless, I am staying true to my annual tradition of going to Rhode Island Comic Con. The guest list is usually filled to the brim, so I cannot wait to hear more announcements over these upcoming months. Even so, the convention has had some huge announcements for guests thus far. Some guests include Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Blade Runner 2049), William Shatner (Star Trek: The Original Series, Boston Legal), George Takei (Star Trek: The Original Series, Kim Possible), Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead, Final Space), and to my utter surprise, and possible delight, Chevy Chase. By the way, Chase made an announcement about his upcoming appearance online and the video he made for it is very funny.

Sticking to the announcement wishlist concept, I recently made a submission on the con’s website suggesting names of five possible guests that I want to see. They include: James Murray, Curtis Armstrong, Kunal Nayyar, Doug Walker, and James Holzhauer. I could be mistaking Doug Walker for somebody else, but even if I am, he would be fun to see at the con. Of all these names, the one that really stands out to me is James Holzhauer. Out of all the people on this list, he is the least “celebrity-like” of all of them. James Murray comes close, but barely misses the mark. For those who are unaware, Holzhauer is the name of the recent “Jeopardy!” contestant who wouldn’t stop taking the show’s money. He has nearly broken Ken Jennings’ regular winnings record, only to be stopped by an opponent who beat him by more than double his final total for the game he lost. I think Holzhauer appearing at Rhode Island Comic Con would not just be unique, but also entirely appropriate. After all, it would probably bring in a new audience of people who would otherwise skip out on cons. Plus, as a game show enthusiast, I cannot help but keep talking about Holzhauer like he’s my own child. It’s almost as if being able to catch the latest “Jeopardy!” episode or at least reading up on the latest stats was the ultimate bragging right. Also, this year I’m going with a VIP ticket, which comes with various perks.

VIP Ticket Perks:

  • 3 day admission
  • Early bird admission (9AM Sat & Sun)
  • Private VIP Entrance
  • Private VIP Lounge
  • 3 Exclusive RI Comic Con Show Prints
  • Rhode Island Comic Con Swag Bag
  • 20% off RICC Branded Merchandise
  • Exclusive VIP 2019 RI Comic Con Badge
  • Exclusive RICC AR Comics-Comic Book
  • Exclusive RICC Comic Book
  • VIP Autograph Fast Pass Line
  • VIP Photo Op Fast Pass Line
  • Chance to Win 2020 VIP Pass
  • One Exclusive Mystery Item

I am personally excited for the con, and believe it or not, it is not the first time I’m getting a VIP badge, because the first time I went, which was in 2015, I managed to get said badge as well.

That same weekend is also the release of the new “Terminator” film, “Terminator: Dark Fate.” It is a cliche title, but its first trailer, personally had me intrigued. I’m excited to see what Tim Miller has up his sleeve in terms of direction. I am somewhat excited to see James Cameron involved again, although I am slightly worried because we now have more disposable “Terminator” movies than memorable “Terminator” movies. Let’s just hope we can change that.

Some of my other most anticipated films of the month include “Ford v. Ferrari,” “Knives Out,” and “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” “Ford v. Ferrari” takes place during a race to determine which of the two recently specified car brands will dominate. “Knives Out” is an upcoming mystery crime film directed by Rian Johnson. I did not like his interpretation of the “Star Wars” universe, but it does not mean I am not willing to check out his future work. Plus, this movie has a number of big names that I imagine a lot of people would like to see. Some include Daniel Craig (Casino Royale, Logan Lucky), Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger, Gifted), Lakeith Stanfield (Black Panther, Sorry To Bother You), Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049, War Dogs), Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween, Scream Queens), the world’s best Kevin Spacey impersonator, Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World, A Beautiful Mind), and recent Jackoff winner Toni Collette (Hereditary, The Sixth Sense). As for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” it is in the current conversation to be my most anticipated film for the remainder of the year. For one thing, I saw “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” last year, which much like “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” is about Mister Rogers. That documentary not only compelled me, but reminded me of my personal flaws in my childhood, and maybe inspired me to be a better person. I still rage out on this blog a lot, but it’s something that I don’t really do for me, I do it for the entertainment of others, so that’s different. But it reminded me of how much it pays to respect those around you. Plus, TOM HANKS IS PLAYING THE STARRING ROLE?! Who else could do that?! He’s practically the nicest guy in Hollywood! SIGN ME UP! Believe it or not, that comes out the same weekend as “Frozen II,” but who cares about that?! Rogers for life!

 

DECEMBER:

The end of the year is always a crazy time for me, but just like last year, it’ll perhaps be less busy than it has been in other years. My fall semester will end during the month, and I’ll be in the cycle of watching previous movies from the year at home. This does not mean that I’ll be skipping theatrical releases, because award season is in full swing. This means I’ll be paying extra close attention to films that receive Golden Globe nominations, and as for reviewing movies I watch at home, the chances of that are very slim. But this does not mean that big blockbusters are entirely off the table. For one thing, they tend to sometimes do pretty well in certain technical categories, and we have another “Star Wars” film this year. I have intentions to go see “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” opening Thursday night, mainly because I want to buy tickets as early as possible. If I can’t do that, I am going to try extra hard to find an available press screening, because aside from “Endgame,” “The Rise of Skywalker” is perhaps the biggest movie of 2019. Aside from being titled “Star Wars,” it is supposed to end “The Skywalker Saga,” and J.J. Abrams is directing again. I was not a huge fan of “The Last Jedi,” but I love “The Force Awakens” like it is my own brother. I am honestly more excited for “The Rise of Skywalker” than I was for “The Last Jedi” before that came out because I was somewhat worried that “The Last Jedi” would be a carbon copy of “The Empire Strikes Back.” Turns out it wasn’t, despite similarities to older films in the saga. And I even say this knowing how some things in “The Last Jedi” turned out. Having seen the trailer back in April, knowing certain plot points that could play out, and realizing J.J. Abrams could save this sequel trilogy, I am rather giddy for this December. But despite my excitement, I gotta ask. HOW IS PALPATINE STILL ALIVE?! I am excited to possibly see him in this film, but really?! When he was thrown down the pit in “Return of the Jedi,” yeeaah, HE F*CKING DIED. There is no coming back from that. I’m intrigued, I just need to be convinced.

When it comes to smaller films, one such film I am very excited for is “Little Women.” The film is supposed to explore the lives of sisters as they live in 1860s Massachusetts. It may not be my type of movie on paper, but one reason why I am excited is because the film is being directed by Greta Gerwig, who also helmed one of the best coming of age stories I have seen in recent years, “Lady Bird.” In addition to that, the cast is killer! This movie’s got Meryl Streep (Sophie’s Choice, The Iron Lady), Emma Watson (Beauty and the Beast, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone), Laura Dern (Big Little Lies, Jurassic Park), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird, Mary Queen of Scots), and Timothée Chalamet (Interstellar, Beautiful Boy)! I am also probably going to be looking into “1917,” which is a war film. Those tend to often go for awards, which is why I have my sights set on it. There are a couple films that I might check out that I would probably regret seeing, but the only real film that I’d struggle with reviewing is “Fair and Balanced.” Granted, this does not mean I am not looking forward to the film, nor am I expecting to be underwhelmed with it, in fact it sounds rather intriguing from a storytelling point of view. But the movie is about relationships between women and Fox News owner Roger Ailes, and I feel that it is going to be rather hard to keep my political opinions out of the review. I’m not saying I am a core conservative that keeps a closed mind, I try to see all sides and then form my own opinion. I have made various political jokes here and there on Scene Before, but politics is not my top priority, especially when you consider how divided we are as a country right now. Although I did manage to check out “Vice” last year, which was pretty good, but part of it had to do with the buzz it has been getting. Who knows? Maybe I’ll check out “Fair and Balanced,” for all I know it could be the best movie of the year, but I feel like it would be hard to review if I’m going to have to inject my experience with how the world operates in terms of politics. We’ll just have to see.

And of course, I’ll be finishing off the year, or perhaps more likely, kicking off next year, by recapping my top 10 BEST and WORST movies of 2019. I enjoy doing these countdowns every year, because I get to honor films one more time, and also give myself a minor stress release.

Although I must remind you, it is 2019, and here on Scene Before I am trying to constantly find new ways to deliver exciting content to you all. In 2017, I did a couple of cutaway style parodies, in 2018 I did a post talking about my Blu-ray collection, and just this year I introduced the world to the Jackoff Awards. The question is, where I do I go next? I’ve done tons of countdowns, reviews of the past, reviews of the present, what could be next? I know! ALL OF IT IN ONE. Ladies and gentlemen, if you have been following Scene Before and saw one of my posts in April, you’d know that I put out a trailer for something I once referred to as “Project 2020.” Although, based on statistics, I doubt many of you have even glanced at that post. But for those of you who know what I’m talking about, good for you. You get a “good job” sticker! But for those of you who don’t know, watch this trailer down below!

*ALL COPYRIGHTS BELONG TO THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS*

That’s right! I am going to be crafting a list of my highlight movies of the 2010’s, and I must have you know, I am setting this list up to be bigger than the lists I traditionally do at the end of the year. While this is still in planning stages, I will be intending to make this list perhaps a top 25, maybe a top 50. I was also debating on a top 100 as well. Depends on how much time I have. I am honestly MORE THAN EXCITED to work on this list, and release it to you all. I started Scene Before in 2016, which means I did not get too many chances to talk about films from years prior, so not only is this a personal reflection of various films I watched during my blogging journey, but a reflection of an entire ten year span that I lived through before becoming this active on the Internet. I’m not gonna say anything, but 2014 was a great year for film as far I’m concerned, so depending on how the rest of 2019 plays out, we might see a good number of films I’m passionate about from that year make the list. This is not to put down any other year from this decade, I’m just giddy of what’s to come…

And by the way, a worst list is in the works too.

At home I am making an effort to watch various films that have come out this decade just to catch up, and maybe add something to the best or worst list at the end of the year. I’m not gonna get into too much detail, because I do want to save some secrets for when the list comes out, but I am stoked just to be working on this.

Thanks for reading this post! If you like Scene Before and want to see more content, consider following me either with an email or WordPress account! As for upcoming content, I want to remind everyone, in case they forgot by now, I will soon be starting my Quentin Tarantino review series, which will eventually culminate with a review either at the end of July or beginning of August with my thoughts on “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” I cannot wait to get started on this, Tarantino is a filmmaker I have often admired behind the scenes, but I have barely seen any of his material. Now is a good time to start! Also, be sure to check out my Facebook page! Get your latest updates from the movie reviewing moron by using Facebook, the home of some of the all-time laziest efforts at wishing someone a happy birthday. Be sure to stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, is there something that you would like to see be done here on Scene Before, perhaps for this half of 2019? Or, what is your favorite Scene Before moment, post, anything that I have done so far this year? It can even be this one for all I care! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Will STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER Be Shown On IMAX 70mm Film?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Last year, I created a post asking the following question. Will “First Man” be shown on IMAX 70mm film? The answer, no. This year, there is another movie that I have followed for some time that is making me ask the same question. Specifically, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” Why? Because despite a majority of this decade’s “Star Wars” films getting 70mm IMAX releases, there are reasons to believe that “The Rise of Skywalker,” the final film in The Skywalker Saga, will miss the mark.

When J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” came out in December 2015, that released in a number of IMAX 70mm locations, along with standard 35mm and 70mm theaters. It also was projected on IMAX’s then new laser technology in other locations. While that’s not film based, it is a digital response to IMAX’s film projection. When it comes to being projected in IMAX 70mm, the following locations took action.

US/CANADA

Alabama
McWane Center IMAX Dome Theatre – Birmingham
IMAX, U.S. Space & Rocket Center – Huntsville

California
Hackworth IMAX Dome, The Tech Museum – San Jose

Canada
Kramer IMAX, Saskatchewan Science Centre – Regina

Florida
Museum of Discovery & Science AutoNation IMAX – Ft. Lauderdale
IMAX Dome, Museum of Science & Industry – Tampa

Indiana
IMAX, Indiana State Museum – Indianapolis

Iowa
Blank IMAX Dome, Science Center of Iowa – Des Moines

Missouri
Branson’s IMAX, Entertainment Complex – Branson
St. Louis Science Center OMNIMAX Theatre – St. Louis

Pennsylvania
Tuttleman IMAX, The Franklin Institute– Philadelphia

Washington, DC
Lockheed Martin IMAX, National Air & Space Museum

Texas
Omni, Fort Worth Museum of Science & History – Fort Worth

INTERNATIONAL
LG IMAX, Darling Harbour – Sydney, Australia
The Science Museum – London, England

That’s 15 locations. That is less than the number of seasons of “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” “NCIS,” “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “Judge Judy,” “Dr. Phil,” “South Park,” “The Bachelor,” and the combined seasons for “Star Trek: The Original Series,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” also came out in certain IMAX 70mm locations, but the difference between that and “The Force Awakens,” aside from being a spinoff, is that the film was not shot specifically for 70mm IMAX projection. “The Force Awakens” was shot using IMAX branded cameras, and when a number of films were shot using that, IMAX presented the movie having those scenes fill the entire screen. This is true for many of their digital-based locations, as well as those running film. In fact, the film was shot completely in digital using an ARRI Alexa 65. Nevertheless, it still managed to hit 13 IMAX 70mm screens.

Alabama
IMAX, US Space & Rocket Center
IMAX Dome, McWane Center

California
AMC Universal CityWalk Stadium 19 & IMAX – Universal City
Esquire IMAX – Sacramento
Hackworth IMAX Dome, The Tech Museum

Canada
Kramer IMAX, Saskatchewan Science Centre

Florida
IMAX Dome, Museum of Science & Industry

Iowa
Blank IMAX Dome, Science Center Iowa

Indiana
IMAX, Indiana Stare Museum

Minnesota
IMAX Theatre, Minnesota Zoo

Missouri
OMNIMAX, St. Louis Science Center

Pennsylvania
Tuttleman IMAX, The Franklin Institute

Texas
Omni Theatre Fort Worth Museum of Science & History

Granted, this was a starting list. I say so because “Rogue One” was shown in more IMAX 70mm theaters after its initial release, including one in Connecticut’s Maritime Aquarium, which is one of the closest venues of its kind to where I live. When it comes to this specific theater, they managed to do the same for “The Force Awakens.”

Then came “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” directed by Rian Johsnon. Much like its chronological predecessor, “The Force Awakens,” this was partially shot using IMAX cameras. I will say though, personally, I missed out on the IMAX experience for this film when it came out. But based on research, I did not miss much. Why? Multiple sources suggest that the film never had any scenes projected from top to bottom on IMAX 70mm screens. The entire movie was projected in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1, which is conventional in the movie industry. The original IMAX-specific aspect ratio is 1.43:1. “The Force Awakens” had 5 minutes of IMAX footage intact. All five minutes was blown up to fill the brand’s screens. But for those who went to see “The Last Jedi” in IMAX, they may have gotten crystal clear images, but black bars up the wazoo. Turns out, as a matter of fact, IMAX was the only film format in which this movie happened to be presented. No standard 35mm or standard 70mm was available. And if viewers did manage to check out these types of IMAX screenings, chances are they flocked to one of these places.

US/CANADA

Alabama
IMAX Dome, McWane Center – Birmingham
IMAX, U.S. Space & Rocket Center – Huntsville

California
Hackworth IMAX Dome, The Tech Museum – San Jose

Canada
Kramer IMAX, Saskatchewan Science Centre – Regina

Connecticut
IMAX, The Maritime Aquarium – Norwalk

Indiana
IMAX, Indiana State Museum – Indianapolis

Iowa
Blank IMAX Dome, Science Center of Iowa – Des Moines

Missouri
OMNIMAX, St. Louis Science Center – St. Louis

North Carolina
The Charlotte Observer IMAX Dome, Discovery Place – Charlotte

Pennsylvania
Tuttleman IMAX, The Franklin Institute– Philadelphia

Texas
Omnitheatre, Fort Worth Museum of Science & History – Fort Worth

UK
London Science Museum – London

That’s 11 locations. That is less than the number of seasons of “The Big Bang Theory,” “Supernatural,” “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia,” “Criminal Minds,” “America’s Got Talent,” “Ridiculousness,” “Bones,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Face Off,” “The Bachelorette,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Dallas,” “Two and a Half Men,” and “Love Connection.”

As for “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” which released almost half a year after “The Last Jedi,” that was not filmed with any IMAX technology. It still released in the IMAX format however, going through a traditional DMR (Digital Media Remastering) process. Here are the theaters that presented “Solo: A Star Wars Story” in IMAX 70mm.

There aren’t any, the film was entirely released in digital formats.

That’s 0 locations. That is less than the number of seasons of “Freaks and Geeks,” “Firefly,” “Clone High,” “Swamp Thing,” “Whiskey Cavalier,” “The Michael J. Fox Show,” “Bam’s Bad Ass Game Show,” “Son of Zorn,” “Bordertown,” “Inhumans,” “Selfie,” “Heroes: Reborn,” “Ghosted,” “America’s Next Best Weatherman,” and “State of Georgia.” FYI, ALL OF THESE got cancelled after one season.

To be honest though, I can’t complain too much because the entire movie was shot digitally on ARRI Alexa cameras.

And when it comes to a good portion of the locations that have played a few of these recent “Star Wars” movies in 70mm, not only are they few and far between, but many of them rarely play Hollywood features. Many of these theaters simply show IMAX-distributed documentaries that are either new or cater to a theme that would associate with a venue. Not to mention, a glaring fraction of these are domes, and while I will say I rarely go to domed IMAX theaters, one thing to point out about them is the 180° style of the screen. With a number of cinema screens, it is sometimes easy to notice a slight curve they can provide, and traditional IMAX screens are no exception. Forget about a curve with an IMAX Dome, it’s practically a boulder sliced in half. Not only do they rarely show Hollywood features, but they also can have a quirky looking image when there are black bars involved. Granted, I have yet to see something like this for myself in person, but from what I’ve seen online, it’s almost weird looking. I almost wonder if it would turn off a good portion of general audience members.

History aside, let’s move onto the present and the future. Despite IMDb’s current claims that this film will be shot with IMAX cameras, no word of mouth from Disney, J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, etc., has said anything related to such a claim (except this one, based on brief research). After all, I don’t know for sure, it could have been inserted long before, or maybe just as soon as the film happened to be starting production. However, IMDb is also claiming that the movie will be presented in multiple film formats. These include 35mm, 70mm, and IMAX 70mm. By the way, they are also suggesting these were also formats used for shooting.

“Shot on 35mm, 70mm, and 70mm IMAX, this is the third Star Wars film to be shot in the IMAX format, the first film in the franchise to be shot on 70mm film, and the first Star Wars film since Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983) to be shot entirely on celluloid.”

OK, I can buy this movie entirely being shot on film. After all, one of the things that J.J. Abrams wanted out of “Episode VII” was the nostalgia factor, which was partially brought to the table through filming the movie in celluloid, an action that the prequels neglected for the most part. But to be fair, “new technology” sometimes has a ring to it.

As for what technology was used specifically, I think we still need updated information on it. Because when it comes to technical specifications, that is still a mystery kept by those who made this film. Yes, there are articles suggesting a mixture of 35mm and 70mm cinematography in the movie, but many of them are from the end of 2016, a month before “Rogue One” came out. However, perhaps the most credible information I came across was this occasionally updated article as seen on fromthegrapevine.com. For those who are lazy, there is a suggestion via an image that this next “Star Wars” film will be shot in 70mm.

Granted, I highly doubt that this movie will be mostly shot in digital. The past two films in the trilogy have been shot using film for a good portion of the runtime, therefore to maintain a similar feel, Abrams must have said film was the way to go.

And with this information in mind, I will point out that IMAX has a vast history of showcasing movies that were not shot through their technology on their true projection format. The thing is however, that time happened back when the DMR process was starting to get into full swing. With IMAX’s jump into digital projection in 2008, it wasn’t too long before IMAX started getting picky with what films would be shown in their original format. “Rogue One” was a rare exception back when it came out in 2016.

In fact, let’s look at IMAX in 2018 and what they have done with this technology. Unfortunately, IMAX missed the opportunity to put “First Man,” their only new release that year shot with IMAX 70mm tech, in theaters catering to that format. They were shown in IMAX Laser theaters, which is a nice consolation, but having been in both venues for different movies, it’s not the same. The only “new” 70mm experience that came out was a limited 50th anniversary engagement of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Aside from that, there was a 10th anniversary limited engagement of Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” which played around the same time period. There was another movie released in IMAX shot with their technology (Avengers: Infinity War), but that film was shot completely in digital. This allowed a complete fill of the screen in many, smaller, digital venues, but not for the venues IMAX was originally known for.

If you think I am pulling these facts out of my butt, let me just point out to you, I am not. There is a Wikipedia page that lists every single IMAX film that has gone through a DMR process. Yes, Wikipedia is not the most scholarly source of all time, but over the years, this has been pretty reliable for this subject matter.

List of IMAX DMR Films

In fact, if you scour the list, go to the section labeled “2019,” and scroll down to “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” you’ll notice it does not suggest there will be any IMAX 70mm screenings, nor does it say anything about the cinematic equipment. Granted, a lot of the information related to this does not exactly need to be displayed now, the movie does not even release until December. Even with that in mind however, it is slightly concerning. I can live with a lack of IMAX 70mm screenings if it wasn’t shot in that exact format, but if it was, I feel like we are gonna be in a “First Man” situation all over again. Although that movie flopped as far as I am aware so, who knows? It might have been for the best. I enjoyed the movie, in fact it was one of my favorites of the year, but regardless, it didn’t have proper financial legs.

It is perhaps slightly inevitable that “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” will be a financial success. I say SLIGHTLY inevitable, because while a number of recent Disney “Star Wars” flicks made over $1 billion at the box office, the most recent one, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” did not meet the financial standards of films that came prior to it, including the spinoff “Rogue One.” At the same time, it has things going for it. For one thing, it’s the conclusive chapter to The Skywalker Saga, it involves characters we have known for the past two films and even further into the past, Lando is back, and Palpatine seems to be making an appearance as well. It has the potential to win audiences and a portion of the fanbase overall. Well, that depends on how divided said fanbase is by the time this movie comes out, because it’s pretty ugly right now. And even though that ugliness is a thing, there are enough fans in the “Star Wars” community that could potentially show up for a new flick in the franchise.

If you ask me, I think Disney, Lucasfilm, Bob Iger, IMAX, among others would not have minded the idea of releasing the film in IMAX 70mm. Sure, “Solo” didn’t do as well as they would have hoped, but based on how that is a film that not many audiences asked for in the first place, added onto the prior success of films that came before it, they wouldn’t mind releasing the film in an IMAX 70mm format. They’re making more money with the Skywalker films compared to the spinoffs, and let’s face it, audiences care about Rey, they care about Kylo, they care about Chewie, they care about Lando, they care about BB-8. The praise is there, the studio just has to make a decision. Another factor to consider is the transition to go back to how Disney originally released these types of films. Specifically, by doing so in December. This is a good strategy because people are home for the holidays, kids are on break, and with a bunch of Oscar-bait films competing against each other, this blockbuster has a significant chance of standing out.

Do I want to see a reality where we get the opportunity to go check out “The Rise of Skywalker” in IMAX 70mm? I would, but I know it’s not certain. Given my clustered knowledge of how this movie is being shot, I don’t know if it is being shot in the IMAX format, but even if it isn’t, I would be willing to show up for an IMAX 70mm presentation simply because it is the clearest picture in existence. And… Disney, if you are planning on releasing this in IMAX 70mm… PLEASE… Consider releasing it at the Providence Place IMAX. It’s one of the closest true IMAX venues to my house, and one of the best theaters I have ever been to. I will flock there immediately if you release your film there in this specified format.

Am I being an obsessive nerd about this? Probably. Do I care? Hell no! In fact, with all statistics being considered, it makes me worried for the future of how IMAX movies are presented. Yes, we are likely getting Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” in IMAX 70mm next year, but are we simply doing so because it’s a Christopher Nolan film? Is it because of the director’s power in the industry? He’s my favorite director working today, but it’s still a question I can’t help but ask! “Star Wars” is a big franchise. And this latest film is seemingly shot in a big resolution. So why not let us as an audience look at the big picture?

YUP. PUN ABSOLUTELY INTENDED.

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” hits theaters December 20th, 2019. I am looking forward (although I am also slightly apprehensive) to seeing how this sequel trilogy will conclude. I do have faith in J.J. Abrams, especially after the excellent job he did with “The Force Awakens.” It also seems inevitable that I am going to see the movie on opening night, even if I get access to a press screening before the movie hits theaters everywhere. As for IMAX, I don’t care what you do with this movie. If it is shot in your format, release it in 70mm. But based on the popularity of this franchise, consider that sort of release even if this movie was shot in a smaller format. What will happen? I don’t know, only time will tell! Thanks for reading this post! I just want to remind everyone that next week starts the second half of 2019, so I will be creating a mega-post containing a halftime report and a glimpse into the future of Scene Before. Be sure to look forward to that! Also, stay tuned for my second trailer of “Project 2020.” If you have seen one of my posts back in April, you know what I am talking about. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, do you have any thoughts on this “Rise of Skywalker” in IMAX 70mm matter? Or am I just batcrap crazy? Also, are you looking forward to “The Rise of Skywalker?” Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Top 10 WORST Star Wars Original Trilogy Special Edition Changes *SPOILERS*

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! In 1977, George Lucas released “Star Wars.” It became an instant hit with critics, audiences, and has spawned a fandom that has lasted for decades. Years ahead, two sequels which have also been met with positive reception have been released. I have just watched Harmy’s Despecialized Edition of the original “Star Wars” trilogy, and going through all three movies in HD quality was an utter blast. These editions eliminate the changes provided over the years to the original trilogy by George Lucas since 1997 which have been bashed by fans over the years, and I wholeheartedly approve of these editions. As much as I appreciate George Lucas for starting the “Star Wars” craze, he has also brought tons of chaos tons of chaos to the franchise from making notable changes to it in the series’s so-called “Special Editions” in 1997, again in 2004, and once more in 2011. Today, we’re going to look at the worst of these changes, specifically the top 10 WORST of these changes. If you like these changes, that’s your opinion, not mine. You’re allowed to have that thought, even though we are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Just because I have a certain change listed here that you like, it doesn’t make your opinion invalid. If you like these changes, rock on. Also, just in case you didn’t look hard enough, these changes pertain towards the original trilogy only. There have been changes made overtime in the prequel trilogy as well, but that’s not what this list is about. So let’s dive into it, these are the top 10 WORST “Star Wars” original trilogy “Special Edition” changes.

#10: Echo Change (Episode IV: A New Hope)

This change here is one that I’m surprised I don’t hear more people don’t talk about. Maybe it doesn’t bother other people all that much, but in reality, it kind of irks me. As our heroes are escaping from the Death Star, we see them running around in various directions. We also see Luke and Leia together, they pass through a door, and they almost fall into an abyss. It’s at this point that Luke says “I think we took a wrong turn!” A few lines of dialogue are spoken by Luke and Leia as they try to find their way through to the opposite side, because after all, you can’t get there by foot. In the original version, as this dialogue is uttered, we hear echos. Although in 2004, this has been redone. According to Wookiepedia, AKA Wikipedia for “Star Wars,” this has been “redone more realistically.” Regardless of realism, the original echo had an effect that felt rather chilling. There was something about that echo when I watched the movie that just felt like it was irreplaceable. This echo, doesn’t even feel like it’s there. When I watched the movie and I heard what I heard, I just wondered, where’s the echo? I don’t even hear an echo. This is an early spot on the list as I’m able to tolerate this and it doesn’t really have much an effect on what I’m watching. Speaking of this spot, I almost put the “Jedi Rocks” song on here, but it barely lost because there was some music playing before it that wasn’t in the original cut of the film that sounded fine. These two could change, but you never know.

#9: “It’s all right, I can see a lot better!” (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)

It was established in “The Empire Strikes Back” that Han Solo has a relationship with Lando Calrissian. Unfortunately, in “Return of the Jedi,” the relationship was nearing an end. During the battle that takes place on Tatooine during the movie, the Sarlacc which has been introduced during around said time frame, snatches Lando. He’s about to be consumed, but luckily, Han Solo’s here to save the day! In the original movie, the way it goes down is pretty much how I explained it, Han is aiming at the creature with his body upside down. At one point, Lando shouts “No, wait! I thought you were blind!” Han replies saying “It’s all right, trust me!” Han soon pulls the trigger of his blaster thus saving Lando. The 1997 Special Edition didn’t exactly play out the same way. Instead of Han saying “It’s all right, trust me” he said “It’s all right, I can see a lot better!” For those of you who forgot or haven’t seen the movie, the beginning of “Return of the Jedi” is when Han Solo was released from the carbonite which kept him frozen. He couldn’t see a thing, but according to Leia, who at that point was dressed as a bounty hunter, his eyesight would return in time. This is one of those moments on this list, where a line happened to be changed when it didn’t need to be because it was already good enough. I’m not entirely against line changing as long as it’s effective, but in my view, the first line was good, but this wasn’t. Speaking of Han Solo…

#8: Greedo Shoots First (Episode IV: A New Hope)

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This is a change that pretty much every single “Star Wars” fan has known about if they’ve paid close enough attention. I have three words for you: HAN SHOT FIRST! Although according to the first Special Edition, he didn’t. Instead, the bounty hunter referred to as Greedo pulls his trigger first. For those of you who don’t know, the first “Star Wars” film had a scene where we get information that Han Solo was being searched by bounty hunters all over. This is because he hasn’t yet paid Jabba the Hutt. So in the scene where we find this out, one bounty hunter by the name of Greedo stops him and Han Solo tells him that he doesn’t have money at the moment to pay Jabba. Their conversation goes down until a point where Greedo is shot by Han. Greedo getting shot doesn’t change, but the execution of the scene has gone through multiple changes. Let’s go through them one by one.

In 1997, when the first Special Editions released, most of the dialogue in the scene is the same as the original, but there’s one piece that’s missing. The line last line given by Greedo here is this: “That’s the idea… I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.” That line wasn’t changed, however the following line given by Han Solo, which was originally “Yeah, I’ll bet you have,” changed in the first Special Edition to “I’ll bet you have.” Here we see a shot fired not only by Han, but also by Greedo. Also, if you observe closely in the shot, you can see Greedo’s shot coming out of his blaster before Han’s! This is a change which from a general perspective, has probably outraged more fans than any other when it comes to the “Star Wars” saga. In fact, it doesn’t end there!

In 2004, when the original trilogy released on DVD, George Lucas decided to change it again! He took the 1997 “I’ll bet you have” and altered it back to the way it was in 1977 which was “Yeah, I’ll bet you have.” After that, Greedo still shoots first, but Han pulls his trigger faster than he did in the 1997 version, not to mention he dodges Greedo’s shot. Guess what? THIS TRAIN KEEPS ON ROLLING!

We then get to 2011, which is the year the entire saga came out on Blu-Ray. The change here is minor, no lines have been altered this time around, but the scene is shorter.

What’s so striking to me about these changes is that George can’t even make up his mind. The scene has been changed not once, not twice, but thrice! The change in general also makes Han Solo look like less of a badass. In the original cut, you see him talking and you get this sense that he’s just capable of handling himself in battle or in near death experiences. And while he was still able to handle himself, this almost feels like a lighter version of the scene we’ve gotten before, the other one just had a feel that made Han Solo Han Solo. He took no nonsense and you don’t want to mess around with him. Let me just say, if someone asks me, “Who shot first?” I’d always respond with, “Han Solo.”

#7: “You were lucky to get out of there.” (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)

When it comes to “The Empire Strikes Back,” I own both the 2004 and original edition, but I watched the 2004 version many more times, so this was one of those changes I either didn’t notice or didn’t care about for awhile. So, Luke is in his X-Wing, he’s entering the Dagobah system, which he assures to the droid alongside him, R2-D2, is “perfectly safe for droids.” Yeeeeah. Totally safe. It’s so safe that R2-D2 drowns in water moments upon entering the planet! To be accurate, he didn’t drown due to not being suited to being in water, he was still able to to move just fine. Although his disappearance was due to a dragonsnake swallowing him. Apparently R2 wasn’t down for that long because he’s spat out and goes flying. Luke moves over to R2 as he lands on the ground. At one point he helps get R2 back on his “feet.” It’s here when Luke says “You’re lucky you don’t taste very good.” That was what many audiences may have heard for the first time until 1997. When 1997’s Special Editions came out, the line was changed to “You were lucky to get out of there.” It’s a change that dwindles a chuckle from viewers and ultimately makes the moment feel a little more cliche. Let me ask you something. You are in the ocean, and a great white shark is approaching, you are the one that’s almost about to get eaten as everyone is escaping. Somehow you make it out, but you wasted a lot more time getting out. Would you feel more satisfaction hearing “You’re lucky you don’t taste very good” or “You were lucky to get out of there?” Not to mention, the way these two phrases are uttered kind of make a difference. Luke almost sounds more depressed when he says the “Special Edition” quote. Luke seems a little more optimistic when he says the original quote. Sure, he is in a strange situation, but you can still be in a strange situation and provide at least a glass half full tone.

#6: Boba Fett Voice Change (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)

Many people who watched “The Empire Strikes Back” were introduced to the character of Boba Fett, a bounty hunter who is contacted by Darth Vader in order to help in the pursuit for Han Solo. Believe it or not, this wasn’t the fellow’s first appearance. Those who were unfortunate enough to watch “Star Wars: The Holiday Special” on TV back in 1978 got a glimpse of Boba Fett before he appeared in “Empire.” Also, if you watch the newer editions of “A New Hope,” he appears in that too after being digitally remastered. In 1980, people may not have been curious to know who did the voice for Boba Fett. By the way, that person is Jason Wingreen. Although in George Lucas’s universe, that’s false. In 2004, he changed the voice in order to match with how Boba Fett was portrayed in “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.” This didn’t just apply to Boba Fett in that movie, but also his father, Jango Fett. In “Attack of the Clones,” it is established that Boba Fett is an unaltered clone raised by Jango. This lead to a change that involved replacing the execution of four lines given by Boba considering those four lines happen to be all the dialogue he said. Who did the talking for this? Temuera Morrison, AKA the guy who played Jango Fett in “Attack of the Clones.” I wouldn’t mind this if it were done with a sense of enthusiasm or a lack of robotic talking. The original voiceover artist for Boba Fett seemed to display more emotion in terms of their delivery. These newer voiceovers done by Morrison, just feel like the actor went into a booth, didn’t care about what they were doing, maybe they either never saw “Empire” or its been awhile since they’ve seen it to understand the character of Boba Fett, and it just turned a great voiceover to a crappy voiceover. The original voice sounded like Boba Fett was constantly on the hunt, always on the move. This new voice just sounded like a guy who just served people of higher power. I will say, if George Lucas actually got Gilbert Gottfried to do the voice of Boba Fett as a Special Edition change, I’d actually watch that non-stop, because Gilbert Gottfried’s f*cking awesome! Gilbert Gottfried can appear in “Super Mario Bros.: The Movie” and I’d probably watch it just for him. Maybe not the whole movie, but the scenes featuring Gilbert Gottfried as long as he’s not in the whole picture.

#5: Jabba the Hutt (Episode IV: A New Hope)

In 1983, audiences everywhere were introduced to the chubby slug known as Jabba the Hutt. These viewers may have heard Jabba’s name before, specifically in 1977 during the Han and Greedo conversation, but they never saw Jabba on screen in that film, nor did they see him in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Well, that all changed in 1997. Turns out prior to our heroes escaping Mos Eisley in the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo has a conversation with Jabba. Harrison Ford didn’t come back to shoot this, the scene was actually done while the film was originally in production, and Jabba wasn’t even a slug. He was actually human. Although when the 1997 release came out, the Jabba and Solo conversation was added on and Jabba received CGI achievement. For those of you who don’t know, CGI is short for computer-generated imagery. In this circumstance, I think CGI actually stands for completely gruesome insanity! LOOK AT THIS CRAP (top image)! To be fair, it was 1997, but it’s still revolting! So the two have a conversation that has similar dialogue given in the Han and Greedo scene, which just contributes to redundancy. At one point, Han steps on Jabba’s tail, making him utter a sound the world would have never heard had he been a human. Han says he’ll pay Jabba back with extra, to which Jabba is happy to hear, but if Han fails, he would be searched for and the price on his head would be significantly enormous. The thing that really makes this scene fail is Han’s final line. “Jabba, you’re a wonderful human being.” If this were the original movie in 1977 and they kept this scene in, it would have worked better. Not completely, but it would work. George Lucas would have kept human Jabba, that way we don’t have to see terrible CGI and Han stepping on a tail. This would have still failed as a scene due to what’s written in the script, but it still would have been better. The final line given by Han Solo would have worked better too. After all, why would A SLUG be called A HUMAN BEING?! Not to mention, a WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING?! So basically, Jabba says that he’d put a price on Han’s head, and the conversation ends by saying “You’re a wonderful human being?!” Oy vey! Not to mention, this change takes away some of the suspense people originally had about Jabba the Hutt. Imagine if someone who watched this movie a lot prior to the Special Editions showed these flicks to their kids, and that person ends up showing an unoriginal version. The kid would know what Jabba looks like before progressing into “Return of the Jedi!” It just takes away some of the mystery of Jabba as a character and now he’s just shoved in your face. You know, like pie. Unfortunately, this change has not been erased in any of the newer versions, although in 2004, the CGI for Jabba was redone (bottom image) and it looks a lot better.

#4: R2-D2 Behind Rocks (Episode IV: A New Hope)

One thing that has been changed more than once throughout the original “Star Wars” film is the scream given when Obi-Wan appears to scare off the Tusken Raiders. For the record, neither of those on the list. A change that IS however on this list takes place around the same time. In the 2011 Blu-Ray release, you might notice R2 before and after the scream occurs. Although guess what? He’s covered behind lots of rocks! I hate this change because it basically insults your intelligence! Sure, Han not shooting first is irritating to see because of how it diminishes the character in terms of how badass he is, but in reality, you can show Han shooting first to someone that’s observant enough and they won’t question the realism or accuracy of what’s happening on screen. Here with this, you just question humanity itself! How does R2, a droid the size he is with the capabilities he’s got, get in that hiding spot? There was no establishment behind how he got there! If you look at the hole, it’s smaller than R2 itself! In the original scene, you can see R2 near some rocks, but it’s not enough to create a shadow upon him! I have one thing to say about this scene, it doesn’t ROCK!

#3: Luke Screams Down the Pit (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)

A lot of people consider “The Empire Strikes Back” the best “Star Wars” film and one of the best sequels of all time. Part of this is due to its iconic scenes, how its characters develop. it’s emotional score, and how it brought a twist that not many people saw coming, the fact that Darth Vader is Luke’s father. Interesting fact by the way, the Dutch word for father is vader (fah-der), and the German word is vater (pronounced similarly to Dutch word), so as much as audiences may have been shocked by this reveal, this does leave me to wonder, how shocked were the Dutch and Germans? Anyway, if you’ve seen the movie, chances are you’d be familiar with this reveal. Luke and Vader are in a duel, Luke’s hand gets sliced off by Vader’s lightsaber, Vader is trying to convince Luke to join the Dark Side, and he also tells Luke the truth about his father, the fact that Vader himself, is Luke’s father. Moments later, Luke falls down a pit. In the original version, Luke is just falling, he isn’t really making any random noises. However in the 1997 version, he is. After Darth Vader says “Come with me, it is the only way,” Luke makes his dissent down the pit, and at one point, comes out this strange, peculiar, ridiculous noise. If you want to be more simplistic, that noise was a scream. That scream by the way, wasn’t even Mark Hamill’s voice. That voice, was Ian McDiarmid’s. If you don’t know who Ian McDiarmid is, he plays the Emperor and Palpatine in the saga. For the record, McDiarmid didn’t come in to let out a scream, they actually took the scream from when he died in “Return of the Jedi.” This moment might as well be called “Return of the Scream.” I for one, admittedly, haven’t watched the 1997 Special Edition all the way through, but I’ve seen a clip on YouTube where this all goes down. Luckily, when George Lucas was making more changes to the trilogy in 2004, this scream of insanity has been removed. And no, it has not been brought back when the Blu-Ray release came out in 2011.

#2: Get Out of the Way, Dinosaur! (Episode IV: A New Hope)

This is a change that starts out as somewhat tolerable. Just a little extra bits to introduce Mos Eisley. Granted it’s unnecessary, but it’s not like we’re watching a couple of Stormtroopers engage in intercourse or something. Then we get to footage audiences have seen prior to the Special Editions’ arrival. As the four Stormtroopers from the mind-trick scene gather around Luke’s speeder, we get one of the worst uses of CGI of all time! While these four troops are moving, a giant dinosaur is literally blocking EVERYTHING on the screen! What’s going on?! Let us see the damn movie! We don’t want to see some random green piece of s*it covering the frame! It’s abominable! If I wanted to see a movie where there was CGI covering the frame, I’d go watch “Guardians of the Galaxy!” The whole dinosaur placement just doesn’t make sense in general because it doesn’t let you observe the landscape of Mos Eisley unlike the original scene. There’s not really much to say about this except that it just makes you want more than one galaxy to have its dinosaurs extinct.

#1: Darth Vader Yells “No!” (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)

Before we get into my #1 pick, let me just have you know that I don’t own the 2011 Blu-Ray for “Return of the Jedi,” however I have seen this online and when it played on TV once on Halloween in the year of 2016 on TBS. If I owned the Blu-Ray, I’d feel like a completionist, although at the same time, I’d be ashamed because that means I own the version where Darth Vader screams “no” at the end of the movie! I’ve watched “Return of the Jedi” countless times as a kid. Both the original and 2004 edition since I possessed the 2006 limited release. I’ve never had to deal with this crap then. It wasn’t awhile til I found out this change existed and it literally just changed everything. I could tolerate minor dialogue changes! I could tolerate random CGI moments! I could tolerate Han shooting second! But this! THIS! I’ll be back, I just gotta go jump out a window!

*OPENS WINDOW*

*JUMPS*

*FALLS FLAT ON THE GROUND WITH BLOOD EVERYWHERE, SCREAMS IN PAIN, SWEARING, TAKING THE LORD’S NAME IN VAIN, GETS WEAKER BY THE SECOND. SOMEONE SEES ME, THE NARRATOR, TRUST ME, THE NARRATOR, ON THIS STATEMENT, AND USES MAGICAL POWERS TO REHABILITATE ME, THE NARRATOR, BACK TO NORMAL*

(CATCHES BREATH) OK, I’m back! Just so you know, one of my favorite scenes in the original trilogy is in “Return of the Jedi” where Luke is being electrocuted by The Emperor. Before that, Darth Vader’s hand is cut off by Luke, almost as if it were revenge from when Vader cut Luke’s off in “Empire.” We see through symbolism that Luke has a line between the light and dark sides. We see one hand that’s without a glove and one that’s with a black glove. The Emperor is telling Luke to fulfill his destiny and join the Dark Side. Luke then decides that he won’t turn. This leaves the Emperor to start killing him with his bare hands (and the lightning coming out of them). Darth Vader is standing up, watching all of this go down. The Emperor is just brutally striking him down (literally) and Luke is begging to Darth Vader for help. There’s a brief pause, we see The Emperor’s face and he says, “Now young Skywalker, you will die.” Seconds later, The Emperor’s hands are releasing lightning again and Luke is screaming like crazy. We see Darth Vader moving his helmet back and forth toward Skywalker and the Emperor, the music achieves cinematic bliss levels as if it weren’t at those levels to begin with, and Darth Vader uses the strength he has left to lift up the Emperor and throw him down a pit where he screams like a wimp. We then see tons of smoke signifying he died from an explosion after hitting a core and it’s just a small portion of what I consider to be one of the most powerful scenes in the “Star Wars” saga, and possibly cinematic history. It’s a scene that I feel covers conflict, not to mention resolving it and choosing to do good. The music is one of the greatest musical achievements (as far as my opinion is concerned, in all of cinema). The explosion sends chills down my spine whenever I see it. Unfortunately, Lucas had to ruin a defining scene in the saga. Just. F*ck. My. Life.

Leading up to the electrocution, the scene is similar to how it was in previous versions, but as soon as we get to the part after the brief pause, we see Darth Vader once again, glancing in one direction and switching to the other, then we hear this:

DARTH VADER: No. (Turns to The Emperor) NOOOOOOOOOO!

As the second, everlasting “no” is uttered by Vader, he lifts up the Emperor, and like in the original scene, throws him down the pit.

As if changing the movies in 1997 and 2004 weren’t crazy enough, Lucas had this “brilliant” idea to screw it up just a tad more. Here’s the thing about that scene, not only is it, like these movies, somewhat nostalgic, but also powerful. That power is lost because Vader spoke, ruining the scene’s dramatic and chilling effect. You hear that music swell up from one level to another, you realize, this is the moment Darth Vader changed his ways, he’s now a good soul. Now, the movie shoves it in your face. During this scene, we KNOW Darth Vader isn’t happy about this situation, we KNOW how he feels! This whole change, I imagine, not only erases history, but it also just vandalizes a moment where we can all see what’s going down, and get the point. Here on the Blu-Ray, it feels like we are viewed as unintelligent and need something as simple as pressing a button explained to us. Not to mention, it reminds a lot of fans the time Darth Vader yelled “no” at the end of “Revenge of the Sith,” which a lot of those folks didn’t like. There have been multiple scenes that have been altered in any way, shape, or form, and when that has been done in 1997 and 2004, I imagine some people thought “Hey, at least the last moments before The Emperor dies is fine!” Well according to George Lucas, it wasn’t. He’s an interesting man. He spent the seventies establishing childhoods, and went on later in life to ruin them.

That’s all for this post. Thanks for reading this countdown! Please stay tuned for more content as I will have you know if you didn’t already that I’m going to see “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” on December 14th, which is the night it opens. While I am admittedly, worried for how this film will turn out, I am also stoked because this is the first main film in the “Star Wars” universe that I’m seeing it the night it comes out. Also, for those of you who are planning to go see the new “Star Wars” movie in theaters, I’ll remind you that yes, it’s playing just about anywhere, but there are ELEVEN special theaters, which is technically TEN in the United States and ONE in the United Kingdom, that will be playing “Star Wars Episode VIII” in IMAX 70mm. You don’t want to miss out on this one of a kind experience, so if you want more information on that plus a history of “Star Wars” in IMAX, click the link below and that’ll take you right where you need to go. Stay tuned for more reviews and posts! Also, what do you think is the worst change in the original “Star Wars” trilogy? Why do you despise it? Do you like any of the changes? If so, tell me why you do. Leave your thoughts in the comments below and let’s see if we can agree with each other! Scene Before is your click to the flicks, and to conclude this post, here’s a line from “Blade Runner” that describes how I feel about these Special Edition changes.

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-Beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain… Time to die. –Batty

“STAR WARS EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI IS GETTING THE IMAX 70MM TREATMENT AND A HISTORY OF STAR WARS IN IMAX https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/10/17/star-wars-episode-viii-the-last-jedi-is-getting-the-imax-70mm-treatment-and-a-history-of-star-wars-in-imax/

Rhode Island Comic Con 2017 Review and Haul

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! If you were in Providence, RI last weekend like I was, there’s a good chance you were there for Rhode Island Comic Con, which advertises itself to be “The BIGGEST show in the smallest state!” I went for my third year in a row, I had my reasons for going, and despite wanting to go right away just because I had a lot of fun at this event for the past two years I went, new enormous reasons developed along the way. Mainly the fact that a good number of the people who were in “Revenge of the Nerds” were showing up. Not to mention, you’ve also got the legends I like to call Curtis Armstrong (Booger) and Robert Carradine (Lewis), the hosts of “King of the Nerds,” which is perhaps one of the most overlooked shows I’ve ever watched in my entire life.

The convention had one of the biggest lineups for any con I’ve seen. If you want to come here for autographs or photo ops, you’ve got the whole day ahead of you because you’ve got a plethora of guests from various realms including movies, TV, and music. For movies, I’ve recently mentioned the cast of “Revenge of the Nerds” was having a reunion, but you’ve also got a couple folks from the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies including Dave Bautista, who you may know as Drax the Destroyer, Sebastian Stan, who you may know as the Winter Soldier, and Paul Bettany, who you may know as Vision and JARVIS. Not to mention you’ve even got a couple folks from “Back to the Future” including Tom Wilson (Biff Tannen) and Christopher Lloyd (Doc Emmett Brown). For TV, you’ve got a number of “Star Trek” cast members, mostly from “The Next Generation,” which includes Brent Spiner (Data), Michael Dorn (Worf), Gates McFadden (Beverly Crusher), Marina Sitris (Deanna Troi), and Jonathan Frakes (William Riker). You’ve also got a cast member from CBS All Access’s/CBS All Cash-Cow’s “Star Trek: Discovery,” Jason Isaacs (Gabriel Lorca) and a man who needs no introduction, but I’ll introduce him anyway, William f*cking Shatner (Kirk), who moderated a panel dedicated to the cast members of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” There also happened to be some cast members from “Married with Children” including Ted McGinley (Jefferson), Amanda Bearse (Marcy), and David Garrison (Steve). Also there were a couple of musical artists including Gene Simmons and Al Yankovic. This is just scratching the surface of the neverending guest list, I could write every single person’s name down, but for the sake of not killing my keyboard, I’m just gonna stop here.

There were a number of guests who also happened to be artists. I didn’t really take much of a gander at them, but I did notice that there were a lot of these people. A lot of them happened to be local, I actually happened to talk with one of them, in fact since we’re on that I actually will bring something in particular up to you all next.

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Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce, “The Overlords!” “The Overlords” is a book series written by J. Michael Squatrito Jr.. According to the website, it’s a “fantasy adventure set in the times of warriors and magic.” Seven men and a special dog embark on a journey to find the coveted treasure of the land, the bounty left behind by the ancient Four Kings. The main character is referred to as Harrison Cross, an orphaned warrior. There’s an antagonist who goes by the name of Lord Nigel Hammer, which by the way, badass name! That might even be a better name than Taserface! This antagonist has an army and often gains the upper hand which damages the adventurers. There’s also a humanoid race known as the Seynthians, who want to eliminate humanity as a whole. If you want to find out more about this, click the link below to find out about these books on their website. Also, if you’re reading this before December 2nd, the author of this book will be attending the 5th Annual Rhode Island Author Expo, where many Rhode Island authors show off their material. This takes place in Cranston, RI, so if you’re into that, check it out!

THE OVERLORDS WEBSITE: http://the-overlords.com/Default.aspx

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Moving onto the con itself, the con was more organized than I thought it would be. I say this because I’ve gone the past couple of years and they kind of f*cked up. I remember going in 2015 and it happened to be overcrowded, which interfered with me as I was simply attempting to go to a panel. In 2016, the autograph system was a little different than I was expecting it to be (in ways). The convention had multiple headliners including Millie Bobby Brown, Stan Lee, Frank Grillo, and Alice Cooper. They had you pay for your autograph at a box office before heading in line, which I didn’t even know about until the moment I was near a celebrity when I went. I don’t know how many other conventions are like this, but I don’t really think that’s a good idea, because for what I know, it’s non-refundable, which only benefits the con and not the customer, but also it prevents you from deciding whether or not getting an autograph from someone is actually a good plan. By the way, they had the same system this year for the headliners. Although one thing I did notice this year that I didn’t notice last year, is that for certain celebrities on the Dunkin Donuts Center floor, you don’t even have to pay at the box office, you can just give the money at the table. Sticking with last year’s headliners, the line for Gal Gadot was all over the place, and I know that because I was in that line. For what I know, none of the issues I encountered, including one I had this year which I’ll mention in a second, were as abysmal as 2014, a year I didn’t go. I first heard about this from a con-goer as I was facing my 2015 incident. Unlike the years I went, 2014’s Rhode Island Comic Con took place in the Rhode Island Convention Center. While it still happens there, 2015 has brought an expansion to the mix at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Although before that happened, 20,000 people had tickets, but the convention center could only hold 17,000. The convention center had to shut down due to overcapacity, making this a first in the building’s history. I had an issue where you had to literally make a loop around the Dunkin Donuts Center to get to the convention center, but that’s not the big problem I had. My main issue this year was the organization for a panel I was attending. Granted it was in a tiny room with people you’d probably only know if you were constantly surfing the web, but nevertheless, it irked me. A lot of people were in line for a panel, and when you hear what it is, you’d understand why. Apparently, around the time of my panel, which was for Channel Awesome, there was a “Game of Thrones” panel. There was almost no line whatsoever for Channel Awesome because “Game of Thrones” is more popular, but what really caught me off guard is that there were basically people next to the walls of the doors to the room which I was trying to reach happened to be located. They were in the “Game of Thrones” line. I guess size DOES matter. My suggestion is that you’d put down barriers for each panel room. When “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” came out, I went to a local theater and they had barriers for each auditorium dedicated to showing the movie so you can discern which auditorium is showing it and which line you should get into. The photo ops were organized and they didn’t even use barriers. Although it makes sense because they were in a tent which is covering the sky, and the lines happened to be drawn in yellow chalk. The staff was a mix between nice, unaware of various situations, or just there to organize. Some of the staff could have used a more pleasant tone when this happened, but still. Speaking of misunderstandings, I have a story for you, but we’ll dive into that later. For now, let’s talk about a purchase I made.

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If you like “Star Wars” but hate the changes George Lucas made to the original trilogy, you’ll love what you’re about to hear. This here is the original theatrical version reconstruction of what’s now commonly referred to as “Star Wars Episodes IV-VI.” This started out as a fan project which involved tons of Photoshopping, reconstructing, color correcting, and all sorts of other stuff in order to create an HD version of the original “Star Wars” trilogy. Hardcore fans are aware of this, but in case you don’t know, there was a time when “Star Wars” started releasing what became known as “special editions.” A name which nowadays a good number of people disapprove, because the only thing that could be considered special about the special editions is not watching them. Granted, they are still the original movies, but they’ve added some changes here and there. Pretty much all of them are unnecessary. Some of them have enraged fans, including me. What made many viewers outraged is the change made during the conversation Han Solo and Greedo have in the Cantina. Specifically, they changed Han shooting first and made Greedo shoot first. There was also a Blu-Ray release in 2011, which brought more changes, including a change to the Cantina scene where Han and Greedo shoot simultaneously. This also brought my least favorite change, which happens to be featured in “Return of the Jedi.” During the scene when Luke is being electrocuted by the Emperor, Darth Vader screams “No!” like he did at the end of “Revenge of the Sith.” So essentially, these three discs take that pile of unfortunate s*it, and throws it into a trash compactor, leaving it to die. I already have seen the original versions of the “Star Wars” original trilogy, but I can’t say I’ve seen them all in HD yet. I will say though, one complaint I have, and it’s rather minor for now, is that the discs are in 720p HD as opposed to what Blu-rays traditionally have, which is 1080p. Speaking of stars, let’s move onto some “stars” I ran into during my visit.

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Let’s start off with a guest I took a professional photo op with. This is also the first pro photo op I’ve ever done at a con. I’m pretty sure you’ll be impressed with my first choice, Christopher Lloyd. For those of you who haven’t been to conventions or don’t get to experience pro photo ops, these are very quick, so I never got to say hi to Christopher or engage in conversation with him. I did utter “Hey, man” as I was walking up to him however. One pro I will give to the entire staff behind the photo ops is that they seemed nicer than the con’s main staff. Also, for those of you who don’t know, the photo op company taking charge at this year’s convention is Celeb Photo Ops. Last year the convention had Froggy’s Photos, which I heard brought some issues last year, which is why Rhode Island Comic Con made the switch.

 

Before we get into other guests, I have a story that occurred during the con that quite honestly, will make you slap your knee harder than whenever a bitch slap occurs. So I was looking for a certain guest, and I run into this man, the man you see in the five photos above alongside me. That man is David Garrison. I don’t see anything on his table worth signing, but I notice the price for a posed photo, which happened to be $20, so I’m just going, OK, I’ll do that. I take my camera out, I give it to a guy sitting next to David, the guy is then referred to by David as a “great photographer.” The camera I was using happened to be a Samsung ST150F, which I don’t think is a bad camera for the money, but it’s by no means anything professional. I pointed out that unfortunately the camera he was using was probably not the greatest, I had more professional cameras in my mind. I tried to be humorous, calling the device “a camera that looks like something traditionally used by soccer moms.” We took five shots, then I headed away from David. Only thing is, when I headed off, I had no idea what I was in for. There was another guest two seats away from David, it’s Ted McGinley.

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The placement which was just recently described makes sense, because Ted McGinley, like David, happens to be from “Married With Children.” I actually walked up to him and I had something to say. “You say that guy (David)? I thought you were him.” I even told him “I took five photos! I paid $20!” Ted responded to me saying that he was in a similar situation when he was signing autographs for people while getting off a bus and someone asked what this was. They thought McGinley was someone else. My memory remembers him saying “George Michael” or something like that. Although it could have been David because he said he’d rub this story in David’s face if I had that worded correctly. Although when we were taking a photo I said “screw George.” Before we did that, we high-fived each other. Just a little fact about Ted, he’s known for playing Stan Gable in “Revenge of the Nerds.” When I was talking to David, I was unaware of the embarrassing situation, but he said “See you on the reruns,” obviously referring to “Married With Children” as I was walking away from him. I don’t think he quite made out what I said, but I replied back saying “And the “Nerds” movies.”

F*CK. ME.

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Here we have two autographs, one of them is from Ted McGinley, specifically the one the right. If you can read the left one clearly enough, that one was from Donald Gibb.

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Here we have a picture of me alongside Donald Gibb, a guy who some folks might refer to as Don Gibb, but also a guy who as of just recently, I personally refer to as “Surprisingly Not Santa Claus in a Live Action Movie or TV Show.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I’m right. I scrolled through his IMDb. Gibb was fun to talk to, granted this was a day after a panel I attended featuring him so we had something to talk about, but we still had fun talking to each other.

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We’re not quite done with “Revenge of the Nerds” just yet, we’ll be coming back to it. For now, let’s focus on Channel Awesome. Channel Awesome, if you don’t know the name, is an online media production company. One of its popular series’ happens to be “Nostalgia Critic.” This is a series where Doug Walker, AKA the Nostalgia Critic (middle) gives a commentary on whatever random topic related to movies happens on his mind. Doug’s brother, Rob (left), and their father, Barney (right) also join in on Doug’s content. These folks have a pretty dedicated fanbase. I know someone who watches Channel Awesome’s material, and by the way, on Sunday, I went up to the trio and purchased an autograph for that friend. That wasn’t the only time I went up to them, because my sister was trying to get an autograph for her friend as well and this happened on Friday. When I went up on Friday, I informed the trio I wanted to help out someone who’s often shown in Channel Awesome material, Tamara Chambers. I had a DVD for “Point Break,” the original, not the remake. I figured I’d give it to them so they can give it to Tamara since she wasn’t at the con. Why was it exclusively for Tamara? I wasn’t sure if she saw “Point Break,” but if she didn’t, she could make this a part of her “Tamara’s Never Seen” series. I didn’t have the copy of the movie on me at the time, it was in my hotel room, I said I’d bring it over before the con ends. They said they have it and the movie can be an idea for Tamara to watch. I told them that was OK. I honestly figured Tamara just watches whatever she owns, I didn’t think she would take them from the Walkers or the Channel Awesome studio. Going back to Sunday, Rob noticed my shirt. You’ve already seen it in a few images, the one that says “Jar Jar Stinks.” By the way, remember the folks behind The Overlords? They thought it said “Star Wars Stinks” until I corrected them. Rob actually took a picture of it and sent it to his friend. I also attended their panel, which was advertised as a “Movies Everyone Disagrees With You On” panel, but was also, according to the panelists, a Q&A. Although it was mainly a “Movies Everyone Disagrees With You On” panel. The panel was fun, not to mention surprisingly calm, and Channel Awesome would agree because at one point, someone said they didn’t like “Napoleon Dynamite.” I own the Blu-ray for that film, but I haven’t seen it. Although it was mentioned that whenever Channel Awesome does these panels, “Napoleon Dynamite” has caused some violence in the past.

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Speaking of panels, let’s talk about one I attended on Friday. At 6:00, there was a panel for the “Revenge of the Nerds” cast called “Nerds on Stage.” This does make sense because two of the sequels in the series have similar subtitles. Those sequels are “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise” and “Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love.” The panel was moderated by Clare Kramer, who you may know from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” as Glory and “Bring It On” as Courtney. Each actor had something to say, Donald Gibb was trying to make everyone laugh saying that he can’t read. Curtis Armstrong was talking about how he got the role of Booger and how he didn’t want it. I heard that story multiple times and it never gets old, especially when I hear it from him because he delivers it with such passion. Julia Montgomery was saying that she didn’t appear on “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise” because her character was cheating on Lewis, played by Robert Carradine. Speaking of Robert Carradine, someone asked him to do the laugh that you’d often hear in the series. Andrew Cassesse was talking about how he was much younger he was compared to the rest of the cast as the first film was in production. This was one of his earliest films, and it’s interesting to realize Andrew, who at the time, wasn’t even a teenager, appeared in a movie containing nudity, sex, and panty raids. At one point, Curtis Armstrong brings up what was originally thought of as an attempt to cash-in on “Revenge of the Nerds.” This is now known as “King of the Nerds.” He and I basically agree that it is a show that definitely deserved lots of praise, and its passing is mourned every day. I’m trying to get it back though, and Curtis is well aware of that. Curtis also pointed out a “King of the Nerds” contestant was here at the con and he happened to attend the panel. By the way, that contestant is Colby Burnett, he’s a “Jeopardy!” champion whose combined winnings come out to $375,000. He talked about his time on the show and what it was like. I actually interacted with him before the panel, and this isn’t the first time I actually had a conversation with him, because we were once on a Google Hangout together. We talked about “Jeopardy!,” Austin Rogers, and other contestants. I wanted to talk to him one more time by the end of the con, but by the time I came up with something that I really wanted to discuss with him (“500 Questions”), he was nowhere to be found. Oh well! Nevertheless, the panel was a blast and I loved seeing these cast members come together.

Staying on the topic of the “Revenge of the Nerds” cast, I happened to meet Julia Montgomery, and when we met, it was almost like we were long lost cousins. You may know Julia Montgomery from “Revenge of the Nerds” as Betty Childs, a cheerleader and head of the Pi Delta Pi’s. We talked to each other, I ask her to sign an autograph. I also mention that she may know me from Twitter, and I happen to mention my name. She knew who I was and she said she comes across my stuff a lot. Just for the record, she follows me. She even called me “famous.” Oh yeah, if you want to join Julia in that club, be sure to search my handle, @JackDrees! When I met her on Friday, I forgot to take a photo, so I did it on Sunday. Julia Montgomery was not only nice and beautiful, but she also had a great fashion sense. Just look at what she’s wearing in the photo where I stand alongside her.

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Some of you might be wondering what this is here. Well, it’s basically everyone from “Revenge of the Nerds” who happened to be part of the Lambda Lambda Lambda fraternity. I’ve already talked about a couple of these people while I was focusing on a panel I attended. I didn’t go into full detail however, when I talked with them in person.

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Starting off with Andrew Cassesse, you may know him as Wormser. Cassesse appeared to be a nice guy, we shook hands, he gave me an autograph, we talked a little bit about the con, and we took a picture. It’s interesting to see his progression into an adult. I wonder how many people who have watched the “Revenge of the Nerds” films would recognize him now because in that movie he was very young and looked a bit different than he does when I walked up to him.

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This here is me with Brian Tochi, who you may know as Takashi. For those of you who happen to be big “Star Trek” fans, you might also recognize this guy from two episodes in the franchise. His earliest appearance was in the third season of “The Original Series” where he played Ray in “And the Children Shall Lead” and he also appeared in the fourth season of “The Next Generation” as Ensign Kenny Lin in “Night Terrors.” We talked for a short amount of time, he gave me an autograph, we took a photo, and I went off. When I went off, I actually managed to receive a sheet of paper detailing what this guy has done throughout his career.

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Right here we have Larry B. Scott. I met this fellow on Saturday, and I consider him to be a nice guy. It was almost the end of the con (as far as Saturday goes), so he said “You came in at the bottom of the ninth!” If you watched “Revenge of the Nerds,” you might know him as Lamar. I had a chat with him, he gave an autograph, we took a photo, and before I headed off, he asked if I’m coming to the after-party. I said I couldn’t because I wasn’t 21. He said “That’s OK, you’re still my friend though!” To me, that’s great, because I could use more friends. We’ll see if we run into each other again as “newfound friends.”

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Before we dive into this next photo, I will remind you that Julia Montgomery recognized my name based on her experience on Twitter and she happened to call me “famous.” This next person who you may recognize said the same thing. Although I’ll remind you that this is the second guest I ran into during the entire con, Julia was the fourth. When I was talking to Julia, and she exclaimed “You’re famous!” I shouted in a voice in a pitch higher than what I usually give off, “He said that!” Who’s he, you ask? Well, he is Robert Carradine, although I personally call him Bobby. He is one of the two hosts of “King of the Nerds” and when I walked up to him, I asked how he was doing, he said he was good, I went on saying I had a story to tell him, and I assure you this is true. I was vacationing in Delray Beach, Florida. There are barely any times I leave the New England area, but this wasn’t one that I personally enjoyed. The main parts I enjoyed was watching “King of the Nerds” because season 3 was happening. So I mention that one night I’m at a restaurant, I’m looking at my phone, and a notification pops up saying something along the lines of “@bobbyislewis is following you.” If you don’t know what @bobbyislewis is, that’s Robert Carradine’s Twitter handle. The name does make sense since Bobby plays Lewis in “Revenge of the Nerds.” That moment made my vacation. Yes, you can argue that there’s more to life than Twitter, but I was 15, and my Twitter life was just getting started. Robert guesses who I am with two words that part of me still can’t believe he uttered… “Jack Drees?” I get that I’m super active on Twitter, but for what I know, he barely goes on there! I’m just amazed he knows my name! I confirm I’m the guy he’s thinking of, he says I’m famous, and he asks how far up I am. I say to him “30 minutes north of Boston.” Although maybe he meant followers, I probably didn’t understand what he was going for during the conversation. I got an autograph from Bobby on Friday, and I took a photo with him on Sunday. This just goes to show how much one person’s dedication towards something, even after perhaps a good number of people had it erased from their memory, can pay off. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, I’m speaking of “King of the Nerds.”

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If you have followed this blog, you might already know about how much I admire “King of the Nerds.” You’d know that me talking about it here on this post isn’t necessarily a once in a blue moon event. “King of the Nerds” not only introduced me to Robert Carradine, but it also introduced me to Curtis Armstrong. My memory goes back far enough to seeing material containing Armstrong prior to “King of the Nerds,” specifically “Jingle All the Way,” but I didn’t even find out he was in that until months ago. Since we’ve been on the topic of “Revenge of the Nerds” the whole time, I might as well state Curtis plays the character of Dudley Dawson, but you can call him Booger. Let me just remind you, this isn’t the first time I met Curtis. I went to this same con during November 6-8 2015, and Curtis happened to be there all three days. I first met him on the second day because this con is large and there was an entire area which happened to be open that I didn’t even know about. I went back to him the final day saying he was the best part of the con. Then came July 12th, 2017. Curtis releases his new memoir, “Revenge of the Nerd,” great read by the way! There happened to be an event dedicated to it where Curtis talked about the book, it took place at the Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, MA. I happen to run into Curtis there, and he’s signing books for everyone who wants a signature. I already purchased a book, so I brought mine in case the autographs were bound to happen. It took a moment for him, but he recognized me. Now we’re here during the time of November 2017, it’s been a year since Donald Trump was elected, and there are still two controversial sides related to this, the Houston Astros won the World Series, and “Will & Grace” is now back on the air making new episodes! It’s also the time of my next meetup with Curtis. Instead of having to remind him of who I was, he recognized me instantaneously. He recognized me because I was wearing the same shirt I wore every time we met. In fact, a little something extra that could’ve helped, but also possibly didn’t matter, is that I was wearing the same sweatshirt I wore when we met for the first time. When he saw who I was he got up and hugged me. We talked for a moment, I told him I recently watched “Ray,” a movie he’s in, and I thought it was great. Curtis said he loved that movie. I ask him to sign an autograph, which was free by the way, I’m not trying to brag, I’m stating the truth. No fake news here! We take a photo, and I leave telling him I’ll see him at his panel, you know, the one I recently talked about. There was a point in my life where I considered Curtis to be an idol. I still do by the way, although based on our recent meetups, I consider him a friend. We may not hang out all the time. In fact, if he wanted to be alone I’d respect his privacy, I need plenty of alone time so I can understand someone else feeling the same way. I can’t thank him enough for all he’s done. By the way, if you’re weirded out by the photo of me alongside him, let me just say that I have no idea what I’m doing either. I can just tell you I’m not impersonating Booger during the belching contest in “Revenge of the Nerds.”

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If I had any other disappointments to list, it would be that I didn’t get to meet John O’Hurley, who didn’t really show up all that much despite having his name on the guest list. Although overall, I’m inevitably coming back to Rhode Island Comic Con for another year. If there are any guests that I would suggest bringing to the con (that weren’t there this year), I’d say that a few of my requests are Kevin Sussman (The Big Bang Theory, Hitch), Ezra Miller (Justice League, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), and Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Stand by Me). This convention was organized by Altered Reality, who also does conventions including ComiCONN, which is a convention that occurs once a year in the state of Connecticut. They also do Terror Con, which also occurs in the Rhode Island Convention Center, but has a dedication towards horror as opposed to comics. There’s also Colorado Springs Comic Con, which takes place in Colorado Springs, CO. And a new convention will be popping up next year called Empire State Comic Con. This new convention will take place in the Albany Capital Center in Albany, NY. One guest has already been announced, Jason David Frank, and based on what these guys have done for Rhode Island Comic Con, I’d say for some folks this could be worth checking out.

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Thanks for reading this post and thanks to Rhode Island Comic Con for providing a wonderful experience for me. It wasn’t perfect, but I hope my criticisms would help you in next year’s organization. I would like to thank the cast of “Revenge of the Nerds,” Christopher Lloyd, some of the lovely people from Channel Awesome, all of those people for providing me a great time. What will the next con be? Who knows? The Empire State Comic Con I just mentioned sounds somewhat intriguing. Maybe PAX East, maybe when Super Megafest announces their next convention, we’ll have to see. Although a little note to conventions, I want to come to you, and I know you want me there. So if you want me there, leave a comment below, send me an Email (visit my contact page), and I’ll see what I can do. As far as upcoming reviews go, I am hopefully going to see “Justice League” this weekend, but it’s not a certainty yet. Only time will tell. Stay tuned for more great content! I want to ask, did YOU go to Rhode Island Comic Con? What did you think about it? What did you do there? Have you gone in years before this one? OR what conventions do you want me to cover in the future? Let me know down below in the comments! Scene Before is your click to the flicks, and with a thanks to @ClareKramer having this tweet up, let me leave this little moment from the “Revenge of the Nerds” panel down below for you all to look at.

 

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017) OFFICIAL TRAILER: Lightsabers! Space Battles! Training! …Possible Ripoff…

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Tonight I was doing something rather strange for me. I was watching football. Yeah, it was a game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears, and I’ll have you know I’m from Massachusetts so you can probably tell I don’t care about either of those teams. Oh yeah, and when I said I was watching the game, I wasn’t even technically watching it, I had it on mute. However, I watched the game for one reason and one reason only, which is to catch the new trailer for “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.” Having seen it now, I will say this. As a trailer, it’s better than the teaser we got in April, not to mention this trailer got me more hyped up for the film as opposed to that teaser. If you remember my review for the teaser, I said it made me afraid of what the movie is going to be like. Now that I’ve seen this trailer for the film, do those fears still exist? I guess you can say so, but this trailer does convince me that this movie has a tone that might be consistent throughout, and it might be at the very least, entertaining. So let’s break it down and analyze it.

The first voice we hear in the entire trailer is Snoke’s, and if you don’t know who Snoke is, he’s basically the giant in “The Force Awakens” who was in a number of scenes with General Hux and Kylo Ren. By the way, for those who don’t know, he’s played by Andy Serkis, who you may know as Gollum in “Lord of the Rings” and Caesar in the recent “Planet of the Apes” reboot installments including “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” and the recent “War for the Planet of the Apes.” He says “When I found you, I saw raw, untamed power, and beyond that, something truly special.” Throughout we get various shots, and based on a number of shots presented throughout this voiceover, I believe he’s talking about Kylo Ren. In fact according to “Episode VII” Kylo still had training left to do, so he could be training under Snoke’s wing and somewhere in the process, this is uttered. Afterwards, we get our last shot before the Lucasfilm logo appears, which is Rey unleashing a lightsaber.

We then cut to what seems to be early on in the movie, where we see the island Rey and Luke met. Rey’s telling Luke that something’s inside her, going by what I know, that’s undoubtedly the force, unless of course it’s the desire to save the galaxy. We get to see some shots that were shown in the teaser, including a shot of Rey training, followed by some shots we haven’t seen before, which by the way, makes her look like a badass. Speaking of badassery, Rey’s using the force, which makes the ground crack, kind of like what the acorn from “Ice Age” does. Luke then says “I’ve seen this raw strength once before, it didn’t scare me enough then, it does now.” This brings up two things. First of all, I have a question, how many times will the word “raw” be used in the movie? Second, I have a feeling that out of every performance Mark Hamill has given in this franchise thus far, this might end up being his best. That’s the assumption going into my mind after hearing that line.

We soon see Kylo Ren again, he’s in an elevator, and he’s doing what he does best, complaining. For some characters, you might think of this as a quality that makes them horrible to watch. But based on my experience of watching “The Force Awakens” and seeing Kylo Ren in that movie, this is something that has been proven to be funny. Not to mention, it shows how Kylo Ren is human. Let me ask you something, did Darth Vader rage out like this? No. That’s not to say that Darth Vader’s a bad character, I think he’s one of the greatest villains of all time, but this is what makes Kylo Ren, Kylo Ren. Oh yeah, and we also see him in is own ship which looks kinda cool. The best part of this montage has to be the final shots there, we hear Kylo’s voice, he’s talking in an evil manner and we see shots back and forth between him and Leia, who you may know is his mother. There’s a huge part of me that thinks that this could turn into an amazing part of the story where Kylo is terrified within his own boundaries, but at the same time, I wonder if it would be out of character for him, because he did kill his dad and he seemed not to have much of a problem with it. Maybe he’s developed since the last movie, who knows? I love the idea, but I’m skeptical towards the execution.

In the next montage, we’ve got shots of the Millennium Falcon, and one thing you may notice is the bird next to Chewbacca. That creature by the way is referred to as a Porg, and I honestly think he’s gonna be this movie’s best-selling toy. I mean, look at him! I think many kids will want that! I just really hope that he won’t turn into this movie’s version of Baby Groot, which in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” only came off to me as a toy, nothing more. I’m just hoping for at least a bit of substance with this Porg. We also get our first shots of Poe and Finn, who both seem to be in explosive situations. Oh yeah, and Finn’s facing off against Captain Phasma. In the shots showcasing the two duking it out, Phasma seems to be handling some beam or a generic sword and Finn is holding onto what appears to be a sparkly lightsaber. Also this begs the question, does Finn really have the force in him? Because the last movie says otherwise. He almost got slaughtered in the last movie in a lightsaber duel! I hope he makes it!

Next we get into a sign of my fear of the movie just being a ripoff of “The Empire Strikes Back,” which happen to be some shots that take place in what looks like a cave. You know how in “The Empire Strikes Back” Luke is training and he goes into this cave, he finds Darth Vader and there’s this very short duel between them, it’s in slow motion? Yeah, it reminds me of that. I just hope this isn’t a carbon copy or an in your face homage. If it is a homage, I personally hope it’s rather subtle. Another part that could be ripping off “Empire” is when Luke says “This is not going to go the way you think.” It almost reminds me of when Luke goes off from Dagobah to Cloud City and he hasn’t completed his training. You know, after he had a force vision, which quite honestly, is something I wouldn’t be surprised seeing Rey have in this movie. After all, the first moment of the teaser which came out in April gave me the assumption that was going to happen. We soon hear Snoke speak as we see certain shots including some containing action. He says “Fulfill your destiny,” which I can tell he’s probably saying to Kylo Ren, although the next shot of Rey might say otherwise. I personally think he’s saying something else in that circumstance and they’re hiding it. By the way, Rey looks like she’s DOOMED in that shot. If they damage her all over in that shot, I’d say this could be worth your money. I can tell she’s gonna make it, but still.

The last words we hear in the trailer comes from Rey, she says “I need someone to show me my place in all of this.” We then cut to a shot of Kylo Ren’s face, then he casts his hand out. Is he done being evil here? First off, why would the trailer show this? This seems like a little bit too much information revealed in just a number of seconds. Second, this could be really compelling and it would be interesting to see the two band together. Also, speaking of evil, I want to talk about Snoke. I have a feeling that Snoke is going to be this trilogy’s version of The Emperor. You’ve already seen him in hologram form from what it looked like, now you seen him here, he looks smaller, not to mention damaged. He’s kind of similar in terms of attitude with the exception of how he lacks a maniacal laugh. Only time will tell for sure. The trailer then ends suggesting that TICKETS HAVE NOW GONE ON SALE! Woo! Although if I can get invited to a press screening I’d love that. Hey, I review movies! Where’s my press screening?!

After seeing this trailer I do have to say that I’m a little more excited than I originally was. I still think I will end up enjoying certain movies more this year, both movies I already saw such as “Colossal” and “Dunkirk,” along with those I’ve yet to see such as “Blade Runner 2049” and “The Disaster Artist,” however I will say that this movie does look good. I still think it might rip off “Empire,” but maybe it can take certain elements, which I personally consider fine, and make something new out of it. This is also going to be the longest movie in the “Star Wars” saga, at a total of 150 minutes, which I personally find interesting because this installment has the least wipe transitions. If you ask me, I probably will be seeing this opening night, after all I’m a fan so I personally feel it’s my duty. I hope the movie’s good and I don’t think we’ll be seeing many more trailers before this film’s release. December 14th can’t come soon enough!

Having soon both trailers now, my combined excitement received from both trailers, isn’t exactly all that high, however that doesn’t stop me from thinking that “The Last Jedi” will be good. Will it be good? Who knows? We’ve got a couple months to fully determine that. As far as upcoming content goes, I am planning on seeing “Blade Runner 2049” over the upcoming weekend, and I also have a mini series of reviews coming up soon and it’s gonna be for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Thor” installments, which I plan to review in preparation for “Thor: Ragnarok,” which comes out November 3. Stay tuned for more great content, and if you have any thoughts on the new “Star Wars” trailer, tell me what they are. Also, I want to know if you’re planning on seeing “Star Wars Episode VIII.” Are you? Are you not? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks, and may the force be with you!

Terrificon 2017 Review and Haul

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! If you have followed this blog recently, you may be aware of me going to a convention called Terrificon, it is a convention dedicated to comics, superheroes, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and to the world’s misfortune, fidget spinners. The convention went from Friday, which was August 18, to Sunday, which was August 20. I was there Friday and Saturday, I had quite a bit of fun and I can’t really say I have many complaints about it.

As far as guests go, it’s your usual situation there, you’ve got your celebrities, your artists, and your vendors. I didn’t really see too many artists, however I recall my sister interacting with a number of them. When it comes to celebrities, the convention had people such as Burt Ward (TV Batman, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders), Lee Merriweather (TV Batman, Barnaby Jones), Sean Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Gilmore Girls), Chris Sullivan (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, This is Us), Shannon Purser (Riverdale, Stranger Things), Finn Jones (The Defenders, Game of Thrones), Jessica Henwick (The Defenders, Star Wars: The Force Awakens), and Benedict Samuel (Gotham, The Walk). A number of the vendors were local, the ones I bought items from were NY Collectibles from Bronx, NY, The Dragon’s Lair from Wallingford, CT, Festival Flea Market Mall from Pompano Beach, FL, Greg White Comics from Kissimmee, FL (believe that’s the correct info), and Fuzzy Fish Inc from an unknown location (There’s one in Tybee Island, GA but I highly doubt that’s even close to the correct info, who knows I might even have the wrong name.).

Throughout I met three celebrity guests, Chris Sullivan, Shannon Purser, and Violet Beane. For Chris Sullivan, I actually met him alone, we shook hands, and I took a photo with him. The photo cost $30, which I ALMOST forgot to pay because after taking the picture, I got so close to just walking away! I would have likely ended up feeling guilty if I did. I had a good laugh with Chris and a guy near him about it. Also, before we took the photo, I talked to him about “This Is Us,” a show on NBC which he plays the character of Tim. I don’t watch the show, but my grandfather does, we actually talked a bit before I went down to the con, and my grandfather told me to tell him he was angry to never find out something that some viewers may be mad about me saying because it sounds like it is in spoiler territory.

The next celebrity guest I’ll bring up is Violett Beane. My sister watches CW’s “The Flash,” I don’t commit to many TV shows, so I don’t watch it at the moment, heard good things though. She’s on there and she plays the character of Jesse Wells. My sister got an autograph from her and she was asked if she was excited for the new season. She responded saying she was, and I, being the party pooper I was, had to admit I don’t watch the show. I didn’t say I didn’t LIKE it, I said I didn’t WATCH it. I asked Violett if I should start watching, she said yes like I was stupid. I didn’t hate her for the way she said it, she may have been dumbfounded with me, but it was understandable. Plus it was almost like she said it with a hint of swag. Hate that word! For the record, I would watch it, but I’m in the middle of “Star Trek: TOS,” “Firefly,” and I need to also catch up on “The Goldbergs” and “Kevin Can Wait.” I’ll remind you, I review MOVIES, which takes away from TV.

And finally for the celebrities, we’re gonna dive into Shannon Purser, hehe, that kind of sounds like a sexual innuendo. You may know Shannon as Barb from “Stranger Things,” another show I heard good things about and don’t watch. This time I have a better defense, which is the fact that I don’t use Netflix. I went with my sister to Purser’s table, she got some custom art signed, and Purser said a few kind words about my sister’s “Doctor Who” t-shirt.

For the convention itself, this took place in the Mohegan Sun Convention Center in Uncasville, CT. The center itself is nice, and it looks fancier than other convention centers I’ve seen. This was especially noticeable with the floor and ceiling. The venue is a decent size, and there weren’t many crowds pushing each other. While the whole center isn’t exactly big, it’s definitely good enough for a convention like this. Everything seemed to be organized and clean, so I can’t give many complaints there. I didn’t go to the second floor, but there were panels and professional photo ops being done there. The first floor had the ballroom and the pre-function lobby, where a few comic artists and all the celebrity guests were. There were barely lines for anything whatsoever, and the only people that had crowd control barriers leading up to them were Burt Ward, Lee Merriweather, and Dean Cain.

Now, let’s dive into some of stuff I got at the con. First off, I got a couple license plates. They happen to be the original “Ghostbusters” Ecto-1 license plate and a license plate that said “Assman,” which you would know about if you saw “Seinfeld.”

These two license plates came from the shop which I assumed was “Fuzzy Fish Inc,” I currently don’t have any pictures or promotions to prove what I just said. I’m just going from memory and what the program map tells me based on where I remember walking around in the convention center. I mentioned the Ecto-1 license plate from the original “Ghostbusters,” but they also have the Ecto-1 license specifically from “Ghostbusters II” and the one from “Ghostbusters” 2016, or as I like to call it, “Ghostf*ckers” 2016, because the people behind this film f*cked it up so much and may have f*cked up what was so good about the 1984 “Ghostbusters.” OK, that actually sounds like a terrible nickname because that almost sounds like a porno, let’s go with “Ghostsuckers” 2016, because the movie sucks so much that it shouldn’t have been made or even thought of to begin with. Oh wait a darn minute! Sucking is what some people do during sex to a penis! Gah! Forget what I said about Shannon Purser, THOSE, are sexual innuendos! The store also has “Outatime” license plates, which you may recognize from “Back to the Future” as a license plate for the DeLorean. I actually own one of those, it’s in my room, and I’m gonna put these two plates next to it.

I got one video game at the con, it’s “Kingdom Hearts II.” I own the first game, so I figured why not get the sequel. The game cost ten bucks which I wouldn’t consider a bad deal considering how revered this game is by the gaming community. I also saw the first game for twenty bucks, but I already own it, so I saved myself some money there. This came from NY Collectibles in Bronx, NY. I actually talked to a guy who was checking out the game for me, he pointed out how scratched the game disc was, and believe me, it was scratched like hell. The scratches made me somewhat skeptical of whether or not I should actually buy this game, but then he assured me that the disc was playable. I believed him. I haven’t tried it out, but we’ll see what happens in the future. After he gave me his assurance, I said, “Well, you aren’t GameStop.” Granted, I like GameStop and I do shop there occasionally, but I hear gamers sometimes give a lot of crap about them. The guy went on saying he went to a GameStop once and he saw a disc that was so scratched it was unplayable. I said I POSSIBLY could relate, and now that I think about it, I can relate. Because in 2012, I got “The Bigs” for the Xbox 360, it’s a baseball video game and it’s kind of fun. I now own the PS2 version, which I have played occasionally. The disc was so scratched that I returned it the next day and ended up not getting another copy of the game, but instead getting a copy of “The Bigs 2.” Interestingly enough, the disc now has a circular scratch, which is likely to be my fault from once tilting the Xbox 360. I mean, I get why gamers don’t like GameStop, they only carry newer console titles, even though that’s what you find in places like Walmart, Target, or Best Buy, they are extremely corporate, meaning that you can find them everywhere, so it’s basically the McDonald’s of video game stores, and they will literally pay you nothing for selling your games. Speaking of games…

At the con, I purchased my favorite card game of all time, “Cards Against Humanity.” This was purchased at The Dragon’s Lair from Wallingford, CT for a price over $40. For your information, you can get this game for a cheaper price in other stores. Target sells it for $25 for example. For those of you who don’t know what “Cards Against Humanity” is, take “Apples to Apples,” forbid the children from joining in on the fun, and top it off with a vibe you’d find in “Sausage Party.” This game is not for kids, I play it a lot online with friends, and I laugh my ass off every single time. Although another difference between this and “Apples to Apples” is instead of associating the player’s cards with adjectives, these are fill in the blank associations. If you haven’t played the game I highly recommend it. It’s fun with friends, it might be awkward with family though, although my mom actually wanted to play this with me and I’m more than happy to let her play with me if the opportunity ever comes up. I mean, as far as nontraditional mother-son events go, this is one I’d rather do than watch “Fifty Shades of Grey,” not because of the sex and kinky scenes, but because how poorly received it was. I wouldn’t even want to watch “Fifty Shades Darker” either because I heard that’s as much of a s*itshow as “Fifty Shades of Grey.” And no! I’m not reviewing it! I already reviewed “The Emoji Movie” for you all, consider that a favor! We’ll see what happens in the future.

I also picked up four posters. Where did I pick them up? To my knowledge, I believe the place was Greg White Comics. This place had a ton of small posters, a lot of which I remember were from “Star Wars,” “Spaceballs,” and “Terminator.” Speaking of “Star Wars” and “Spaceballs,” those were two of the posters I picked up. As far as other posters I got, I got one for “Blues Brothers” and “Family Guy,” specifically, one that was a parody of the original “Star Wars” movie. You know how during season 6 the first episode was an hour long parody of the original “Star Wars?” Well this poster is associated with that. By the way, if you haven’t seen that episode, please watch it, even if you aren’t a “Star Wars” fan you’ll laugh. The “Blues Brothers” poster, from what I can tell, is foreign, which I actually didn’t notice until looking at it as I’m writing this. I saw this poster on IMDb, but something weird I noticed about it is that it said the movie was rated PG, and the poster I purchased said the movie was rated PG-13. By the way, I Googled what the rating was, and it was PG. Last but not least is for “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi,” or in this case, “Revenge of the Jedi.” If you are a hardcore “Star Wars” fan, a collector, or possibly alive during the eighties, you may be aware that before “Return of the Jedi” was released to the public, it was at one point going to be called “Revenge of the Jedi.” The store I got these from had a good deal where you could get four posters for twenty bucks, so why would I NOT get these four posters?!

I also picked up a couple t-shirts, t-shirts which in fact I can’t wait to wear. These were sold by comedian and actress from the Nickelodeon show “Every Witch Way,” Lisa Corrao. Seeing her in person, I had no idea who she was, then I Googled her to find out she was forty-two. I couldn’t even tell she was forty-two, she actually looked like she was in her twenties. It’s kind of like Julia-Louis Dreyfus, the older she gets, the younger she looks, at least to me when looking at her in real life. I purchased two shirts which were twenty bucks each, one which said “Jar Jar Stinks” and another which said “You’re not Groot.” The first shirt, if you can’t tell, is making fun of the obnoxiously horrible “Star Wars” character known as Jar Jar Binks, which may be the worst thing about the prequel trilogy, possibly rivaled by midichlorians, Anakin and Padme’s forced romance, the fact that Samuel L. Jackson never got to scream like crazy, Hayden Christensen’s performance, or Jake Lloyd’s performance. I always thought of the phrase “Jar Jar Stinks” as a nickname in my daily life and I’m glad to a see a shirt that says the same, although at the same time, I wanted to be the one to make it. You’d know what the second would mean if you know what “Guardians of the Galaxy” is, or at the very least, if you know who Groot from “Guardians of the Galaxy” is. You may know the only thing he says is “I am Groot,” and when he says it, it’s in that order. So instead of saying, “I am Groot,” the shirt says “You’re not Groot.”

Corrao also gave me a free autograph, which was also the only autograph I got at the con. I pay for a good number of autographs when I go to cons, so the fact that this was free was awesome. If the autograph was given only because I bought shirts, it’s still worth it in my book.

This con, if you didn’t know was also paying tribute to Adam West, who you may know from TV’s “Batman” as Batman, and from “Family Guy” as Mayor West. There was a lot to see when it came to “Batman.” There was a Batmobile, a Batcopter, the rope you’d see for batclimbing, a Batsignal, a Bat Kiddie Ride, a Batboat, and a Batcycle. Around the area where all of these battacular objects were, the sixtes “Batman” theme was playing in the background. There was also a screening of the 1966 “Batman” movie. I didn’t attend it, I personally I’m fine with not attending it, although I could imagine attending it would have been fun. Not to mention you have Lee Merriweather, who played Catwoman along with Burt Ward, who played Robin. The two of them were also at the screening and they even did a Q&A.

That pretty much completes my review and purchase analysis of Terrrificon 2017, I wouldn’t mind coming back next year when they do this again on August 17-19. One difference between this year and next year is that this is gonna be in a bigger space which is also in Mohegan Sun. Next year, instead of being in the Mohegan Sun Convention Center, this is going to be in the Mohegan Sun Exposition Center, which is cuurrently being built and is set to open in summer 2018. The center will have three times the space of the Mohegan Sun Convention Center, allowing more people to fit in. So I want to know, did you go to Terrificon, how was it? What did you do there? Did you buy anything? Leave a comment below, and I assure you, I do read them. Also, pretty soon I’m hoping to review “The Glass Castle,” but only time will tell when I actually get around to it. Stay tuned for more reviews, and if you guys want me to check out any cons, let me know about that down below! Also, cons, weird request, if you want me at your con either to review it, or less likely, as a guest, notify me! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!