The Star Wars: The Force Awakens Lives Up To A New Hope’s Legacy – Quick Thoughts On The Premiere (unedited)

Dec 17

Just finished watching it at The Grand Cathay 6 minutes ago. Sitting outside a coffee place (yep, at 2+ AM) typing all this out – just excited to get my thoughts on record ASAP. Just a word of caution – spoilers a plenty in here.

Let me begin by saying Star Wars: The Force Awakens lived up to ‘Star Wars: A New Hope

01. John Boyega & Han Solo
Let me be the first to say, John Boyega is a ‘Han Solo.’ He seems to be ready to carry this “responsibility” on his shoulders. Good expressions and comedic timing.

02. All new key characters introduced in under 15 minutes.
Mr. Abrams introduces us to all the new key characters (BB8, Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren, Finn and Rey) and some idea of where they are in their lives, in under 14 minutes of the film. Loved it. This probably helped set up what I am going to share in my next point.

03. Fast and snappy flow
The whole movie moved from scene to scene, fast. Very George Lucas, “A New Hope.”

04. When Kylo Ren is in his private quarters:
If the lines “Show me again the power of the Darkness. I will let nothing stand in our way. Show me grandfather, and I will finish what you started,” would have served the scene better if it were phrased “Show me again the power of the Darkness, I will let nothing stated in our way. Show me, and I will finish what you started… grandfather,” because the word ‘grandfather’ could have been timed at the moment the audience is shown Darth Vader’s mangled helmet. (I’ve only seen the movie once so far, obviously, so excuse me if I left out some words in that line. Doing my best to type from memory here.)

05. Poe Dameron’s Flying
I like the way they gave Poe Dameron a cool flying style. If you watch closely you can see that he pilots his X-Wing with a “pulsing” rhythm. He accelerates, then quickly decelerates and allows the weight of his fighter to make it ‘slide’ (glide?) a little, to enable him take very quick turns. It was like watching Andretti or Hakkinen weave around opponents on a racetrack.

06. Poe Dameron’s bruises
The ones he received during from interrogation on Kylo Ren’s Stardestroyer remain consistent throughout the film. I thought this was a nice touch.

07. Just some of my quick observations on The Force
You’ll see that Kylo Ren uses fear to overwhelm another. He’s pretty aware of his abilities in intimidating people to their core. If they’re not strong with The Force, unlike Rey, there’s nothing they can do to resist the way he shrouds a “cloud of fear” over them. But by the end of the film you will see that he’s pretty unstable. Perhaps due to issues with his legacy and his betraying his family. It seems like he’s been swimming in fear, uncertainty and doubt for sometime. This, I believe, got the better of him a couple of times in the movie. He used fear to manipulate Rey, but in the process  flicked a switch — probably triggered a sort of “awakening” in The Force (See, what I did there?) Rey, on the other hand, is filled with fear but she seems to posses the right emotional tools to rein in that fear well, and limit how far she will allow anger to consume her. You may notice this especially during her lightsaber duel scenes with Kylo Ren. Perhaps it’s because she always lived on her own and she never really had anybody close beside here. Whenever she faced trouble she had to ‘suck it up’ and try her best not perish in the sinking fields, or get mauled by a desert creature, or occasionally deal with unreasonable scavengers or junk dealers. The Force was dormant in her for a long time, but when it presented itself, she knew she could try a couple of things to harness it the best she can. When I have the time I will write more about this. Right now I just want to finish this list πŸ™‚

08. BB8’s bendy antenna.
BB8’s antenna changes at numerous places throughout the movie.

09. Rey hopping onto her speeder
There’s a scene in the first Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser from last year, where Rey’ looks a little tense as she jumps onto her speeder. Well, that scene is nowhere to be found.

10. Who are you?
You will not hear the “Who are you?,” line which I believe came from Maz Kanata, and Rey’s reply, “I’m no one.” Though you’ll hear this in the Japanese version of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ trailer.

11. The “Sith Army Knife”
We won’t see the scene that first introduced us to this lightsaber, from the first teaser for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, but not all scenes you see in a trailer are necessarily from the movie it’s promoting. Still, I was looking out for them.

12. A cruciform lightsaber
I still believe Kylo Ren’s cruciform lightsaber makes for an ineffective blade-type weapon.

13. Rey gets a flashback
In a scene where Rey touches Luke’s lightsaber (get that smirk off your face!) …she’ll experience some kind of flashback or a ‘flash forward’ (yeah, I know I too was a little disappointed when ‘Flash Forward,’ got cancelled) . In that flashback, I swear you’ll hear Obi-wan saying, “These are her first steps.” It was pretty quick, so it sounded more Sir Alec Guinness than Ewan McGregor to me, or maybe it’s just my nostalgia making me think that πŸ™‚

14. Kylo’s posse
When you do get around to watching ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, you’ll see 6 humanoid looking beings standing behind Kylo Ren, in Rey’s ‘flash forward.’ If you haven’t figured it out already, they’re ‘The Knights of Ren.’

15. Was Rey a Jedi youngling at one point?
This is certainly possible? Was she sold into slavery? Possible too. In Rey’s flashback, you see chubby fingers holding little Rey’s hand. Is that Unkar Plutt? Whatever the case the may be, it’s clear that it was at a traumatic time in Rey’s life and she doesn’t remember much of it.

16. A rare creature
You almost never see bird-like creatures in an Star Wars movie, so seeing one, that looked like a vulture, outside Nima Outpost was kinda’ cool. You’ll also see birds, that look more like seagulls, flying around over the island where Rey finds Luke.

17. Rey’s hands
Her manicured fingernails doesn’t give off the feeling the like she’d spent most of her adult life scavenging on Jakku. BTW, if you’re wondering why there were many downed Imperial vehicles lying around, that because the Battle of Jakku took place here.

18. Rey’s bags
They look cool. I wonder if they have a service like Timbuk2 where they get to design their own bag online and get it delivered to them, at light speed of course πŸ™‚

19. Rey’s background
I am going on record here and saying, she is not a Skywalker. I also doubt she is from the Kenobi lineage. Though I am inclined to think we may find out a little more about Rey in Rogue One. It’s clear we will see new characters in Rogue One, but there’s a possibility we’ll get insight about Rey and Poe Dameron.

20. Kevin Smith
Oh yeah, and Kevin Smith… in the end credits? Woah. If that’s the Kevin Smith I’m thinking, I mean, Woah. But I wished we got to see him in character as the famous “chubby bearded dude” he played in his movies. You have no idea how long I’ve been dreaming of seeing Silent Bob play a Jedi in a Star Wars movie. πŸ™‚ (Note: The link to the video here, is “PG”)

21. The World Champion
The closest we got to seeing a heavy set, bearded dude was Judah Friedlander. Did anybody catch him? Haha. πŸ™‚ He was at a table/bar at Maz Kanata’s watering hole.

22. The Millennium Falcon revealed
I love the way they revealed the millennium falcon. I was able to catch it as the camera zipped passed it real fast and then cuts back to a pan reveal of it in all it’s junkyard glory. It was surreal. To be clear, my eyes didn’t catch it. I mean I am cool and awesome and all, but my eyesight is just alright, especially at that time of the day. It was my brain that filled in the blanks. I suppose you could say that it was my mind’s eye that saw the Millennium Falcon first, as Rey and Finn ran past it.

23. Welcome home
The reveal of Han and Chewie was the highlight for me. And to hear Han say the words, “Chewie, were home” was a spiritual moment for me.

24. General Organa
When Leia First steps into the scene, you will think, “Amazing!” This lady went through ups and downs in her life. She always tried to be generous in spite of all the shallow criticism thrown her way over the years. But to see her on screen again like that, man, it was breathtaking. Inspiring even. The next time you think you’re going through a challenging time in your life, stop and think, “If Ms. Fisher can make a stunning come back and inspire people, I most certainly can down all these hot peppers on my plate and win “The Hot or Not Pepper Eating Classic” and inspire future hot-pepper-eating champions!”

25. A return to using a clone army?
I think we can expect The First Order to using a clone army in the coming installments. After the screw-up Finn caused to the army of the first order. I don’t know if you’ll agree, but there’s a hint in the movie, when Kylo Ren questions the loyalty of General Hux’s soldiers.

26. Twelve parsecs
I also love that they left the old Star Wars geek joke about the Millennium Falcon made the Kessel Run in 14 Parsecs, and how Han Solo gets upset hearing that. I also love that they didn’t retcon it because as any good Star Wars fan will tell you a Parsec is a measure of distance and not time. So a sense, I see it as Mr. Abrams just poking some fun at us.

27. Running from the Rathtars
When the scene cuts to Rey and Finn running through the corridors of Han & Chewie’s freighter to escape the Seguavians and Rathtars, I don’t know about you, but I can’t help be reminded of the Superfriends running through the Hall of Justice.

28. And BB8’s antenna
Yeah I know I mentioned this earlier, but it was just too obvious for me.

29. BB8 and stairs
I can’t figure out how BB8 got up the stairs to the entrance of Maz Kanata’s place. Maybe had some cool rocket boosters tucked away,that we’d only get to see in the Bluray version of the movie. Yeah, yeah! Rocket boosters! That would be crazy awesome!

30. Finn and Rey and the lightsaber
When Finn wields the lightsaber in a duel against Kylo Ren, I get glimpses of Obi-Wan’s fighting style. Broad strokes, or in this case, slashes. Powerful swings and symmetrical. Rey on the other hand had a somewhat rudimentary style. A lot of rushed stabbing and hacking, though I admit her moves had style πŸ™‚   I’d expect they’ll give Rey a more refined style once she’s had some Jedi training.

31. Lightsaber fight scenes
I know, I know a million voices will cry out in terror asking stuff like, “How the heck do they know how to fight?” The Force Awakens’ stunt team did a good job in creating these two different fighting profiles for both Finn and Rey at their early stages using a lightsaber. It was believable enough to move the story forward. From the looks of things Kylo Ren is not a Sith master, yet. Which probably is why he seemed mentally vulnerable to both Finn and Rey at times during the fight scenes.

32. BB8’s antenna. Yes, I know. Again
I just wished someone noticed the issue with BB8’s antenna changing in terms of color and thickness. It was a different antenna in difference parts of the movie. I just hope they don’t retcon this and say something along the lines of, “when necessary, BB8 has the ability to protect its antenna with a white polymer sheath”

33. Killing off a darling
Lastly, I believe. killing off Han Solo was a brave decision, and in some ways a necessary decision. I don’t like it that Han’s dead, but I respect the filmmakers’ choice here. At least hey writers got Han to keep the running gags “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” and “Is there a garbage chute? A trash compacter?,” alive so I’m happy. Though I’ve only just watched the Star Wars: The Force Awakens, premiere, I get this nagging feeling that we haven’t seen the last of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo.

Excuse all the typos and stuff guys. It’s almoat 3:00 AM. Wrote this and managed to link to some relevant pages (if any links don’t work, please let me know) in just under 17 minutes so much of it is out of sequence. Just using this space to dump all my thoughts for now. When I have more time, I’ll come back and add more related links to the ones I already have here. So keep coming back.

World Cup Brazil 2014 Word of The Day: Irony

Jul 9

Netherlands vs. Argentina World Cup Brazil 2014 Google Doodle

irony |ˈīrΙ™nΔ“, ˈiΙ™rnΔ“|
noun (pl. ironies)
when the experience of watching the animated Google Doodle that commemorates the Netherlands vs. Argentina soccer match, in the World Cup Brazil 2014, is more overwhelming than the actual match itself.

5 Things That Tell Me You Are Not An Artist

Apr 9

The past several months we've met with many young filmmakers who've approached the Radicate Fund to get their films made. I am all for independent filmmaking, but it's the independent filmmaker thinking that's just tasteless to me. It's as tasteless as cling plastic wrap. I've tasted it. It's tasteless. Trust me.

Many young filmmakers walk into the meeting with this I-am-an-artist-and-you-should-be-grateful-for-knowing-me attitude. It's just boring, man.

Let me illustrate what I mean with an example of a conversation between us and the 'artist formerly known as artist' (afkaa):

Me: You seem to have it all figured out, so why are you speaking with us about this?

Afkaa: We need money for this project and since we're artists we thought you'd be interested in investing in it.

Me: Sorry to hear that, but no, you're not artists. We've never heard of you before you called us over the phone.

AFKAA: We're award winning

Me: Oh, you've won awards

Afkaa: Well, one award.

Me: One award?

Afkaa: Yeah, at college.

Me: (Looking at Afkaa blankly) Ahuh. So, you won one intramural award. I guess we judged you wrong.

Afkaa: No, it was an award for best art project in class.

Me: Oh. And how many of you in that class?

Afkaa: Seventeen.

Me: Yep, we judged you wrong.

So for the benefit of future afkaas who call for a meeting with our fund, here are some of the things that

Extraterrestrial life? Come on!

Apr 4

Mighty jets of Enceladus - NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The mighty jets of Enceladus appear in this image, taken by Cassini as it flew over the moon’s south pole. Image (via Wired Magazine): NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

This Wired article was an interesting read, but extraterrestrial life?

Look, I believe there's life out there… deep in the dark of… space:…

Curse you 2013!

Jan 1

What the fuchsia, 2013?!

I was waiting for it. All research pointed to it. Heck, all omens about the prophecy (if you’re into that sorta’ bull crap) pointed to it!

I waited and waited. Yet, nothing.

Goddam Lumosity!

Dec 25

I rarely have time to watch TV these days. But when I do I spend some 3 to 4 hours straight in front of the tube. What surprised me this time was the first ad I saw as soon as I turned on the TV.

It was this fuchsia-ing ad from Lumosity.

If the video of the ad doesn't appear above, you can try reloading the page or clicking this link to view it on YouTube.

Their ads are everywhere. In sidebars of blogs I visit. In ads on articles. Heck, even the articles themselves are sometimes

TV shows I’m looking forward to in Q1 2014

Dec 15

Lately time in front of the TV has made more sense. I don't waste my time with looking for news on TV. The internet filtered via Google Alerts basically does that for me. Ah, but entertainment, the TV is still my go-to device.

The second half of 2013 brought us some good stuff. The ones I've enjoyed watching are "Orange Is The New Black" "The Blacklist" and "The Following."

Lionsgate Should Dip Fingers Books Business. It Makes Sense

Dec 10

After the success with the Twilight movies, and now The Hunger Games series, at least to me Lions Gate has graduated from that endearing status of "the little studio that could" to a major contender in film production in North America.

Some cast of the film "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"

Image source: from this article on OK! Magazine

Sticking to the book-to-film (BTF) strategy in a big way, has put them in an enviable position with healthy revenue. The last time I heard of successes like theirs was from Miramax (later acquired by Disney.)

But I can't help think another interesting strategy is for Lionsgate to get into the publishing business. And I see this in the cards for 2 simple reasons: