Ok....so, we've had three offerings from Lucasfilm ever since it was bought by The House of Mouse. I have to say, I was surprised at how good they were. In fact, one of the three has become my all time favorite Star Wars film.
Back when Episode VII's first teaser trailer hit, I have to admit, I was prepared to be disappointed. I remember even writing a journal denoting my complete displeasure with the trailer. I thought Episode VII's first trailer looked like nothing more than a fan film with good FX. Now, I love fan films...don't get me wrong.... I even like to make them myself, even though I am not a fan of anything anymore (see my previous entries for why I am no longer a fan of anything.)
Subsequent trailers looked better, so my interest was piqued.
Then I went and saw Episode VII. I enjoyed it. Liked the action and the humor, and even getting to be reunited with a few old friends. Some folks blasted it for supposedly being nothing more than a retread of the original film. So what? It was still fun. Despite my previous misgivings, I absolutely LOVED BB-8. Harrison Ford did a great turn at playing Han Solo one last time. I noticed a few sound effects were incorrect, and yeah, Kylo Ren wasn't really much of a bad guy, and the lightsaber fights were really subpar, but overall, the film was enjoyable. Far from being my favorite though.
Rogue One. This is indeed my all time favorite Star Wars film. Why? Because it plays most unapologetically like a war-movie....a WW II movie at that. The action, the humor, the acting, the direction.... to me, this movie was pitch perfect Star Wars. Everything about this movie (in my very humble opinion....remember...just an opinion ) was light years beyond what had come before.
It was great seeing the classic ships and bad guys....seeing Darth Vader in action, and once more hearing James Earl Jones voice the Dark Lord of the Sith. I liked Jyn Erso even more than I did Rey from Eps VII and VIII. This is the best of the prequel movies... and yeah, this movie is a prequel, by a few hours. I loved little touches like tac-lights mounted onto the stormtroopers' E-11 blaster rifles.
I liked the TRON LEGACY effect of Peter Cushing's face (and Carrie Fisher's as well) onto the actors playing Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin and Princess Leia Organa respectively.
Dave Filoni's contributions to the Star Wars universe were present as well. (Filoni being the showrunner of Star Wars The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels animated series). And Michael Giachino's score was perfect. I could actually see him being the successor to John Williams, whose themes Giachino deftly weaved and adapted into his own score.
The Rebels were not quite the squeaky clean white hats (helmets, I guess) from the original trilogy. They did things that were not quite up to good guy snuff. I loved how the movie touched on "The Force" without going all Jedi (the most we saw from The Force was Vader's dark side powers.) It was as it should've been.... the Jedi are all but extinct, their fire (mostly) gone out of the universe. Blasters ruled....mostly....until Vader started slicing down rebels like a hot knife through butter. There's more I can say about Rogue One, but I think I hit most of the major points (hopefully without being too spoilery, even though the film is now at least a year or so old).
Episode VIII.... well, at one point, this was the shortest Star Wars movie EVER. (Largely because the projectionist didn't realize he/she had started running the movie 15 minutes before showtime, and had to stop and reset the movie to start at the correct time... ha ha ha.)
Like VII, I thought Ep VIII was enjoyable, but also like VII, far from my favorite Star Wars film. I was so glad to see that Carrie Fisher (rest her soul) had finished the film before becoming one with The Force. (The dedication in the end credits brought a tear to my eye.) And she played her iconic role with such grace and humor...and even got to kick a little ass in the process. Mark Hamill did a fine job with his reprisal of Luke Skywalker. I thought it was a neat touch having the jaded and cynical Luke ....well, for lack of a better phrase.... fucking with Rey when she wanted to learn the ways of The Force.
I noticed that they kinda violated George Lucas' standing rule about language in this film. It didn't bother me in the least. In fact, it amused me.
Supposedly, director Rian Johnson was given the reigns to do a new "non-Skywalker" trilogy for the Star Wars universe because the powers that be felt he did such a great job with Episode VIII. Now, I think his status on the new trilogy is up in the air.
It will be very interesting to see how venerated director Ron Howard handles the helm of the upcoming Han Solo movie, titled "Solo: A Star Wars Story". Already, I look forward to it. But, i also wonder just how much of the lore they're going to keep intact. Will Han Solo be a former Imperial officer like he was in the original lore? Will he get drummed out of the service after saving Chewbacca from an Imperial slave camp? Will we see him win the Falcon from Lando Calrissian in that game of Sabaac?
The reason I ask these questions is because Rogue One (again, my favorite Star Wars film...EVAHHHH!) did kinda mess with what was established lore. The designer of the Death Star (Bevel Lemelisk) was changed to Galen Erso, and the nature of how the Death Star came into infamy was also different.....but, these things don't bother me so much, since the story was so compelling. If you would like to see how some of the original lore played out in the Death Star's construction, I highly recommend the novel "Death Star"...relegated to non-canonical "Legends" status, but still a very good read. It is my favorite Star Wars novel. I've even thought it would be a neat idea to somehow make an animation that intertwines Death Star, Rogue One, and parts of the Star Wars Radio Play from 1980.
Anyhoo....in my very humble opinion, I think Disney is off to a great start on Star Wars.