It’s been nearly eight years since James Cameron’s Avatar took the global box office by storm, and while it’s become très chic for some corners of the internet to endlessly bash Avatar, I still maintain my stubborn affection for Cameron’s movie. Very few filmmakers can create action-driven science-fiction that operates at Cameron’s level; just look at how many times people have messed up Cameron’s Terminator franchise, a near-flawless formula for blockbuster movies that studios have nevertheless run directly into the ground. We may laugh at Cameron’s planned sequels, but they are both original (technically!) and creator-driven movies. Isn’t that what we claim to want from Hollywood?
Audiences don’t turn their back on family. That’s the lesson to be learned from this past weekend, anyways, when The Fate of the Furious proved that this is one franchise showing no signs of slowing down. It was never a question of whether The Fate of the Furious would take the top spot this weekend, but even the most optimistic of projections couldn’t have expected the global domination that this movie undertook. Here’s the box office estimates as of Sunday afternoon:
It may seem strange to describe the eighth film in a blockbuster franchise as a transitional moment in the series, but then again, few franchises have had to deal with the death of an actor as essential as Paul Walker. The Fate of the Furious was always going to be a bittersweet affair for those involved; while the movie promised to push new characters and new relationships to the forefront, fans wondered how exactly they would choose to address the loss of Walker’s beloved Brian. The solution screenwriter Chris Morgan came up with should leave diehards and newcomers alike very pleased.
One of the most debated plots points of Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been the lineage of Daisy Ridley’s Rey. Could she be the daughter of Luke Skywalker? The daughter of Obi-One Kenobi? The daughter of… actually, come to think of it, those are the only two human Force-users we’ve met since the original Star Wars movie, so it’s either a very familiar face or someone totally out of the blue. Regardless, fans have now spent two years not knowing something about their favorite character, and that’s a long, long time for knowledge to be withheld in 2017. They’re ready for answers.
Fans are never satisfied. Here we are, finally enjoying the first batch of footage from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and we’re already wondering about Star Wars: Episode 9 and beyond. The resurgence of Luke Skywalker in particular has us wondering a bit about the franchise’s endgame. The Star Wars movies have always been tied to the emotional journeys of one father and one son; can this universe maintain a new Skywalker narrative after the main one is complete? Or will Star Wars: Episode 9 bring this chapter in the Star Wars universe to a close?
While fans from around the world have gathered to share their love of Star Wars at this year’s Star Wars Celebration, there has been one sobering element to the festivities. The loss of Carrie Fisher has been felt at every level of the convention, from Thursday’s bittersweet memorial video put together by Lucasfilm to the sadness felt while Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson shared his behind-the-scenes footage from the set. And since this is a convention of all things Star Wars, fans have also speculated about the role the actress might play in the next film. Is there a place for Fisher in Star Wars: Episode 9?
As a teenager in the ’90s, no actor better represented blockbuster movies than Bill Paxton. Although Paxton wasn’t typically a leading man in those movies — he would often play the brother, the second-in-command, or the comic relief — he served as a kind of talisman of quality. If you saw Paxton’s name in the opening credits of a movie, you knew that the film was going to be better for it.
Even with a little bit of distance from their initial release, there’s not a lot to enjoy about the Star Wars prequels. They’re still poorly acted, overly reliant on CGI, and too bogged down in origin stories instead of developing new characters for us to care about. That being said, give credit to George Lucas for writing a powerful arc for Senator Palpatine. Palpatine’s methodical dissolution of the Old Republic — and our mounting horror as we watch him convince the galaxy to give up freedom in exchange for a false sense of safety — aren’t enough to save the Star Wars prequels entirely, but they do represent some of the smartest writing of Lucas’ career.
While Star Wars: The Force Awakens left us with plenty of unanswered questions, perhaps no question looms as big over the franchise as the lineage of Daisy Ridley’s Rey. Ever since the film was released, fan theories have run wild with the questions of why Rey was abandoned by her parents and how she may have come by her force sensitivity. Is she the daughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi? Is she the daughter of Luke Skywalker? What is the significance of that flashback sequence? Inquiring minds want to know.
It seems like the only time that people talk about trailers is to complain about them in some fashion. They gave away too much, they gave away too little, they didn’t feature the right colors or characters or soundtrack. It’s tough to cut an enticing movie trailer in 2016, not least of all because of our culture’s increasing hand-wringing about what constitutes a spoiler. A good trailer — one that gives you just enough without giving you everything — should be celebrated as its own miniature art form.
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