Archives for posts with tag: John Boyega

“Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” takes place about three decades after “Return Of The Jedi.”  A new threat to freedom and the Republic has risen: The First Order, led by Dark Side of The Force practitioner Snoke and his right hand man, Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver).  A weapon more powerful than the Death Star has been created that can destroy multiple planets at the same time from a great distance; and The First Order is on the verge of using this weapon to wipe out the Senate and the Republic, as well as the Resistance which is lead by Leia Organa (played by Carrie Fisher).  Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill), last of the Jedi Knights, is nowhere to be found; and the hopes of the Resistance and the Republic lie within BB-8, a droid that hides a map that can lead the Resistance to the whereabouts of Hamill.

Unfortunately for the Resistance, BB-8’s owner has been captured by TFO, and the droid is forced to fend for itself on a desert planet.  It wanders the sand dunes until it is rescued by a young woman named Rey (played by Daisy Ridley) who, with the help of John Boyega (playing the ex-Stormtrooper character of Finn), makes the dangerous journey to bring BB-8 and it’s precious cargo to the Resistance fighters.

Second place for my memorable moments of this movie is **SPOILER ALERT HERE** the revelation of who Kylo Ren is: the son of Han Solo.

Top honors for my most memorable, movie moment of “The Force Awakens” is **SPOILER ALERT HERE** the scene when Harrison Ford (playing Han Solo) confronts Driver to bring his son home and into the Light Side of The Force.  Driver confesses to Ford that he is torn between the Light Side and the Dark Side, and he needs Ford’s help.  Driver presents his lightsaber to Ford, who holds it along with his son.  Driver suddenly activates his lightsaber, and the blade goes through Ford’s body, killing him.  What no bounty hunter, gangster, or Stormtrooper could do, the son of Han Solo has done.  I can’t say I was shocked as I kind of saw the set-up for it, but…it was hard to accept that the cocky pilot, hero, pirate and rebel is gone.

Other Episode VII movie moments that deserve honorable mentions are: 1) the introduction of the Millennium Falcon by Ridley, who calls the ship garbage; 2) a Stormtrooper wielding a baton that can parry a lightsaber; and 3) the appearance of a female Stormtrooper — no, not Captain Phasma, but a low-ranking Stormtrooper (the voice is clearly that of a woman).

Writer/director J.J. Abrams and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan have brought their talent and love to the third set of “Star Wars” movies, finally freeing “Star Wars” fans from the shadows of Lucas’ failures.  But before you start raising your Force FX Lightsabers into the air in triumph, “Empire Strikes Back” is still the best “Star Wars” movie so far; and “The Force Awakens” does stumble a few times.  Boyega’s Finn is too often the clown, ruining a great character (a soldier with PTSD seeking redemption and peace).  Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber (the one he lost when his father cut off his hand in “Empire…”) is in a chest owned by a character with small eyes and big glasses — what the hell!  Boyega’s lightsaber duel with Driver, and Ridley’s lightsaber duel with Driver produces so many unanswered questions that fans were forced to seek answers elsewhere (such as comic books or the novels) — hey, if I have to go online for answers, then the filmmakers didn’t do their jobs.  And some of the questions are still unanswered because some of the “answers” are just guesses.  Then you have rookie mistakes by Abrams in showing the face of Kylo Ren too early in the movie (which ruins the mystery of what is behind the mask) and an ending which belongs in a television series instead of the movies.  Oy!

Have we “Star Wars” fans been freed from the vile clutches of Lucas only to fall into hands of The First Order led by J.J. Abrams?  Difficult to see, always in motion is the future.

— M

You may want to turn on your subtitles for this movie, because most of the actors have extremely thick accents.  From England comes “Attack The Block,” a hybrid sci-fi/comedy movie that has aliens attacking a poor neighborhood in London.  It all starts when an alien crashes into a car near a group of teenaged hoodlums (led by John Boyega) who are in the process of mugging a nurse who is on her way home (played by Jodie Whittaker).   Boyega investigates the damaged car, looking for something valuable to steal, and instead he gets attacked by the alien.  This doesn’t go too well with Boyega and his crew, so they decide to chase  the alien and make it sorry that it messed with the local toughs.   Having done battle with a tiny alien and coming out victorious, Boyega and his gang go home to the apartment complex where they all live in order to celebrate by getting high.  But their celebration is cut short when more aliens arrive, and the aliens — the size of small gorillas with glowing mouths and teeth — seem to be focusing their attacks on Boyega and his gang.

It was hard for me to root for the teenaged gang at first, because the first time they are shown is when they are wearing hoods/hats/handkerchiefs over their faces as they block the path of Whittaker so they can mug her.  It’s not a comedic scene at all; it was actually a bit terrifying.  I hated these kids, and I wanted them to get their low-life bodies crushed by a falling, giant anvil like in the cartoons.  Then I realized these are the main characters — the heroes, I guess — of the movie!  D’oh.  But halfway through the movie, when the street toughs and their muggee join forces to survive this alien attack, my anger eased up a bit and I found myself somewhat liking them and wanting them to live.  By the way, writing likeable characters is easy.  Writing unlikeable characters that forces the audience to eventually like them is very hard to do, and risky.  Risky because the audience could wind up hating them throughout the movie and emotionally distancing themselves from the movie, which leads to an unhappy movie experience, and bad reviews, and low profits for the movie.  So, I give a lot of props to the director/screenwriter for not taking the easy way out.

One of my memorable, movie moments of “Attack The Block” is the scene when Boyega is making a run for his apartment while the monsters are running after him, just a few feet away from taking big chunks out of his body.  The scene is in slow-motion, elongating the nightmarish scenario of a person running for all his worth in order to not suffer a painful death of being ripped apart by sharp teeth.

A comedic scene gets the award for being my most memorable, movie moment of “Attack The Block.”  And that would be the part when two little kids — wanna-be gangsters who call themselves Probs and Mayhem — are about to attack an alien so they can get street cred.  Mayhem keeps asking Probs questions about what would happen to them if they fail to kill the monster.  Probs finally shuts him up by saying something like, “Nobody is going to call you Mayhem if you keep acting like a pussy.”  Buwahahahahaha!

For those who think this is some laugh out loud, silly alien movie…it’s not.  It’s more serious than it is funny; and there are many parts of grisly violence when people are ripped to pieces by the aliens.  The screenwriter/director did a great job of blending the two genres, as well as keeping the tension high throughout the movie.   I was glad I took a chance on this indie flick, as it provided me with very good entertainment for 88 minutes; and it was free (thanks, Library!).

M

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