Random Thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi

December 29, 2017 at 10:24 PM | Posted in Film Reviews, Movies | Leave a comment
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SPOILER WARNING: This post contains major spoilers from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Read at your own risk!

Much has been said and done about Star Wars: The Last Jedi (a.k.a Episode VIII) in recent weeks and I for one, enjoyed the movie very much and didn’t hate it unlike some rabid fans.

In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, director Rian Johnson has reset the button and made everything new. The movie felt fresh and so… today. There were so many fan theories that came out long before The Last Jedi came out and some people were expecting them to come true. And when their theories didn’t materialize in the movie, they got disappointed and have gone crazy with those various online petitions.

I don’t read fan theories of Star Wars because I know most of them are just speculations and possibly won’t even become real. There’s a possibility that I would just set myself for a major disappointment if I invest too much on these theories and expectations. That’s why I didn’t get angry when I first watched The Last Jedi because I saw it with a fresh mind – untainted from those theories that were widespread online.

Was I disappointed that Luke Skywalker died? Or that Rey wasn’t trained enough by Luke when she was in Ahch-To? Of course I was. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying the rest of the movie. I can understand that Johnson might have deliberately went against the high expectations from fans and did something of the opposite. People expected an epic fight between a real Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren. They expected something similar to The Empire Strikes Back where a young Luke was trained by Yoda. They expected an older Luke of the present to fight with the Resistance along with Rey, Poe Dameron and Finn.

Photo credit: inverse.com

Instead, they saw a jaded Luke Skywalker who practically became a hermit and refused to help the Resistance fight the First Order. But like what Kylo Ren said in the movie, it’s time to kill the past and start over. I think that’s what Johnson was trying to do. I think he wanted something new out of the franchise – something that would appeal to the generation of today. And yes, that would include a few jokes thrown in (because duh… Marvel movies). At least that’s what my interpretation of his intention.

One of the things I loved about the movie was General Leia’s scenes. Granted that she and the ship’s crew got blown up by the First Order, she still survived and managed to steer the remaining Resistance fighters to a safe haven. It was a delight to see Leia use the Force to propel her injured self towards the destroyed ship. That was the first time I ever saw her use the Force. In the original Star Wars films, it was always the other Jedi who use the Force.

Photo credit: digitalspy.com

Some fans are angry that Admiral Ackbar was killed off in that scene with Leia. Honestly I couldn’t care less about Ackbar. Others are mad that Luke gave up on being a Jedi. I may be disappointed that Luke became a curmudgeon but I can see that it could happen, especially after Ben Solo turned into Kylo Ren. It was too much for Luke. He became dejected. He’s a hero with a flaw.

Of course I still have questions about the movie that weren’t answered in The Last Jedi (e.g. what was the backstory of Supreme Leader Snoke? Who were really Rey’s parents? Who will train Rey now that Luke is dead?). But I can only hope that they would be answered when Episode IX rolls out in 2019.

Righting the Wrongs of Many: Orphan Black Series Finale Review

August 17, 2017 at 11:34 PM | Posted in TV | Leave a comment
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SPOILER WARNING: This review contains major spoilers of season 5 of Orphan Black. Read at your own risk!

 

Weeks prior to the show’s series finale, I was in total denial that Orphan Black was ending. I mean, I love the show, most especially the story and the characters. There’s nothing like it on TV that I’ve ever seen.

It felt like it wasn’t that long ago when I first watched the pilot episode of the show. I remember watching the main character, Sarah Manning, meeting her clone Beth Childs at the train station for the first time. And I was hooked after that.

For it to end after five seasons is really sad. But I know that the show’s creators, Graeme Manson and John Fawcett, wanted it so. And I agree. The story didn’t need to be stretched for several seasons more. This was a little BBC show that could. It became a hit despite the low viewership. Its story could be told in few seasons only.

So I braced myself to watch the final episode of Orphan Black this week. And it did not disappoint. It’s only fitting that the title of the final episode is “To Right the Wrongs of Many” because it spoke of the wrongs that the villains have inflicted on many people – the wrongs that Sarah, Cosima, Delphine and the rest of the Clone Club wanted to right. The title also alluded to the entire five seasons as the final episode tied the loose ends and everything just fell into place perfectly.

Photo credit: vulture.com

The final episode started with a flashback between Sarah and Mrs. S. I was pleasantly surprised to see Mrs. S again. Most fans were still reeling from the previous episode where she was killed by Ferdinand. The episode shifted quickly to the scene where Sarah and a very pregnant Helena were trying to escape the facility where Helena was being kept in. I was on the edge of my seat as I watched them escape because Helena was about to give birth and Virginia Coady’s men were after them.

I love to hate Coady. She’s a cold-hearted villain who would not hesitate to kill anyone that gets in her way – not even the last Castor clone Mark, her beloved “son.”

I watched transfixed as the following scenes unfolded. Sarah had a one-on-one encounter with main villain P.T. Westmoreland. This guy was something else. He wanted to prolong his life through parabiosis. His evil plans to use Helena’s babies to be forever young needed to be stopped. And Sarah was right there to stop him – for good. And I felt a sense of satisfaction when Helena finally killed Coady. Yup, Helena who was minutes away from delivering her twin babies still managed to fool Coady and finish her off with the help of Art.

Coady and Westmoreland’s death was the final blow to Neolution, as the group was crumbling and several of its members had died. Their evil plans had been exposed, thanks to Cosima and Delphine leaking the files to the media.

Photo credit: observer.com

Helena giving birth in the basement of the facility was pretty intense. It was the first time I ever saw Helena so vulnerable and scared like that. And I’m so glad that Sarah and Art were right there with her to help her give birth. The look of relief and happiness on Helena’s face when she cradled her twin babies were touching and heartbreaking at the same time. It was a moment of pure sisterhood between Helena and Sarah. They were initial adversaries in earlier seasons but now they bonded as true sisters.

I know that Tatiana Maslany played the different clones in the show but it still amazes me to watch her play the part of every clone. She truly deserved that Emmy win as best actress.

The second part of the series finale was lighter than the first half. Here we saw the sestras several months later after the incident at the facility. Sarah went back to finish high school – at least she’s trying to. Cosima was still busy with her science and searching for the rest of the Leda clones. Alison was living a new, happy life with Donnie, and Helena couldn’t make up her mind what to name her babies – so she temporarily named them Orange and Purple. Crazy, right? But that’s Helena.

Orphan Black has always been known to end a season with something special. Season 2 ended with the now-famous Clone Club dance party. Season 3 ended with a dinner scene involving the four clones – Sarah, Cosima, Alison and Helena. And now the series finale featured a baby shower. Practically every notable character was in that scene – Felix, Kira, Art, Delphine, Donnie, Scott, and even Charlotte.

Photo credit: digitalspy.com

There was a poignant scene of the four clones hanging out together after the baby shower. Sarah at this point was feeling lost and apparently still grieving about the death of Mrs. S. But her sestras were there to show their support. It was a delight for fans like me to find out why the show was called Orphan Black in the first place. Helena called her written autobiographical book as “Orphan Black” – a story about them and about sisterhood. And guess what she finally named her babies? It’s Arthur and Donnie – named after Art and Donnie – the two important men in her life who treated her like family.

Overall, the Orphan Black series finale was beautifully written and ended in a very satisfying note. Kudos to the brilliant writers of the show for their consistent quality work and their dedication to show science as accurately as possible. This was truly a remarkable show and would go down in my list as one of the best sci-fi shows out there.

 

Side Notes

  • Rachel becoming a softie. I think deep down she cared about the Clone Club.
  • What happened to Krystal? I guess she would forever believe there’s a conspiracy among the cosmetics companies. I would love to see more of her vlog and her beauty tutorials, though.
  • The fact that there were more than 200 Leda clones out there spread across the globe.
  • Whatever happened to Kira’s dad Cal and Helena’s boyfriend Jessie?
  • Anybody ever tried making Helena’s “jamburgers?”
  • Art: You alright?

 Helena: Most excellent! (Just one of the many Helena-isms)

 

Opposites

February 1, 2014 at 11:33 PM | Posted in Books | Leave a comment
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I recently bought two books as a birthday treat for myself. I didn’t splurge on my birthday because I thought there’s no need to. I just wanted something simple for myself, nothing fancy. And since there’s a couple of books I’ve been wanting to read, I thought that would be the perfect gift for me.

These are actually two contrasting books because the first one is a classic while the other one is science fiction. I love the classics but I like sci-fi, too.

TheGift & Robopocalypse

I bought Daniel H. Wilson’s Robopocalypse because I was intrigued by the storyline of robots with artificial intelligence raging a war against humans. Yes, I know this sounds like I, Robot or The Terminator but it’s exactly the reason why I got interested in the book. I’m always fascinated with robots and futuristic scenarios since I was a child. I saw the first Terminator movie while I was a kid and loved it. Since then I’ve been a fan of its franchise, including the now-defunct but worth watching Sarah Connor Chronicles. I just started reading the book and so far, it’s good.

I’ve also been wanting to read a Nabokov ever since I can remember but somehow I haven’t got the chance. I got distracted by other books and had to put it aside. But lately I felt nostalgic about reading the classics so I bought myself The Gift (no pun intended). A Vladimir Nabokov novel is just something that I have got to have, and it’s been in my list of books to read.

Most people I know are now in the habit of reading e-books. I’ve read a few e-books myself but for me, there’s no substitute for the real thing. I’m old-fashioned that way. I don’t mind reading newspapers and magazines online but when it comes to books, I still prefer to read them in print. There’s nothing like the feel and smell of a real book. You can have your Kindles and Nooks but I still prefer a shelf filled with my favorite books.

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