The opening crawl at the beginning of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope mentions the first victory of the Rebel Alliance against the Galactic Empire. Almost forty years later the latest Star Wars film Rogue One finally tells the story of what happened.
The movie tells the story of Jyn Erso. At a young age she lost her parents when her father, a brilliant scientist, was abducted by the Empire and her mother got killed in the process. Now the Rebel Alliance desperately needs Jyn’s help to search for her lost father. Over the past decades he has been forced to work on the Empire’s new super weapon, the Death Star. And finding him might help to somehow stop the Death Star before it can bring about the end of the rebellion
Rogue One is quite different from other Star Wars films. It is not a fairy tail, but rather a war movie. The lines between good and evil are more blurred than usual. After a slow start the film turns into a fulminant action spectacle with an all-out battle between the Empire and the Rebellion.
Rogue One is a movie for existing Star Wars fans. It makes much more sense watching it when you already know Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope although the latter is strictly speaking the sequel. I definitely enjoyed watching this latest Star Wars film, in particular due to the well placed references to the earlier movies.
The original X-Men movie trilogy was let down by its final instalment X-Men: The Last Stand. The movie plot featured two major storylines from the X-Men comic series which were awkwardly combined. And in the end it did neither of them justice. After the amazing X-Men: Days of Future Past I had once more high expectations for the third part, called X-Men: Apocalypse, in particular because Bryan Singer was directing again.
In X-Men: Apocalypse a group of cultists awakes the world’s first mutant, Apocalypse, from millennia of stasis. He wields almost god like powers which he acquired by repeatedly transferring his consciousness from one mutant’s body to another and assimilating each host’s abilities in the process. Displeased with a world ruled by normal humans and their technology Apocalypse decides to destroy civilisation on a global scale. When they become aware of his plan the X-Men lead by Professor Xavier assemble a team for a desperate attempt to stop him. This team faces not only Apocalypse himself but also the four powerful mutants that he recruited as his followers.
Like its predecessor X-Men: Apocalypse combines an action packed plot with strong characters and personal stories. The mutants are portrayed as vulnerable human beings that struggle to cope with the hate and fear for their kind. But the events set in motion by Apocalypse’s rise force them to put these struggles aside, choose a side and join the fight. It is the combination of over the top action and these very human aspects that make this movie exiting and relatable at the same time.
I greatly enjoyed X-Men: Apocalypse. It is a very complex comic adaption with a good script, good acting and excellent special effects. The only letdown was perhaps the odd locking makeup and costume of the main antagonist, Apocalypse. I’m looking forward to more excellent X-Men movies with the current cast.
There is no point in denying that I’m a big Star Wars fan. I’ve seen the movies countless times, read a lot of Star Wars books and played a lot of Star War video games. When Disney bought the rights for the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas I wasn’t sure what to expect. But when it was announced that J.J. Abrams would direct Episode VII, the next Star Wars movie, I was mildly optimistic. He had after all managed to breathe new life into the Star Trek franchise.
The story of Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after the events in the original trilogy. A fanatic group called the First Order has risen from the ashes of the Empire and seeks to destroy the Republic. Leia Organa leads a military force called the Resistance that tries to stop the First Order’s advance. Her brother Luke Skywalker has disappeared and both the First Order and the Resistance are desperately looking for him. The Resistance hopes to gain a powerful ally while the First Order wants to eliminate a dangerous threat. When the Resistance’s mission to acquire a map with Luke’s location fails a lone droid is once more on the run with information that could decide the fate of the galaxy.
The movies from the original Star Wars trilogy are among my all-time favourite movies. For over thirty years I’ve been waiting for a proper successor to Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. The prequel trilogy had its moments but was overall disappointing. Fortunately the long wait is finally over. Star Wars: The Force Awakens brings back the magic into Star Wars. There are no annoying muppets, no boy group members and no midi-chlorian. The movie is instead darker and more grown up. An ensemble of the old heroes and new likeable characters tell both a human story and a great adventure in this latest instalment of the epic space opera.
Silke and I both greatly enjoyed watching this movie. It was the movie we were both hoping for. If you already know Star Wars it is an absolute must. If not this film is a very good way to get to know this fascinating universe. I’m already looking forward to Episode VIII.