There isn’t a good way to start a review of the most anticipated film of 2015. But, we have to start somewhere. And all I can think of is…
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away….
The Star Wars franchise wasn’t in the best of shape. From 1999 to 2005, George “These are my toys” Lucas released prequels to the beloved Star Wars franchise. He wrote and directed each film and after 17 years since Return of the Jedi, his creation fell flat. Perhaps it was an expectation that could not be matched by any film trilogy. However, The Force Awakens seems to disagree with the anticipation vs. fan enjoyment argument, seeing as it could become the number one grossing film of all time. That’s right, it’ll pass Avatar by James Cameron.
When the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney was completed (to the tune of $4.05 Billion) in 2012, they wasted no time in announcing new Star Wars films. A great tremor was felt in the collective fan community. How could the ‘House of Mouse’ ever do this franchise properly? Could they possibly do the The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn (which this reviewer thinks is the best Expanded Universe tale ever told)? What would happen to the excellent Clone Wars animated show? All questions, but no answers.
Finally, after what seemed like ages, news slowly trickled out about the state of our Galaxy Far Far Away.
From the movie production:
Who was the director? J.J. Abrams.
How much CGI? Lots, but hey they’re using practical effects too!
Reasonable expectations began for the film. Then came the dark times. Clone Wars was cancelled in favor of a new Disney Star Wars cartoon. The Expanded Universe many fans had been reading since the 1980’s was disbanded as canon and rendered to a “Legacy” status. It seemed that our worst fears had been realized, Disney had taken away everything we loved and filled it with hollow promises of movies, shows, and merchandise. Then a new hope arose in the form of a trailer in November 2014:
In my opinion, that’s when the tide changed. Instantly everyone changed into a five year old with their Star Wars toys. Of course a lot of people made fun of Kylo Ren’s cross guard lightsaber, but everyone was pumped and just like that…December 2015 couldn’t get here fast enough for anyone.
More trailers came out. And so did the merchandise. “Star Wars all the things!” cried every manufacturer and retailer. I honestly don’t have a problem with this as long as it wouldn’t effect the storytelling. Now if Luke Skywalker had been playing with the amazing Hot Wheels line while some dialogue, I think there might have been a problem.
There are a lot of things to be said about the film itself. I could really go into the amazing space battles, which were the center of the action over any lightsaber battle shown. Truly, it was well done. Then there was the acting. Every single person there was excited to be in a Star Wars filmed and their enthusiasm and talent showed.
The old cast really meshed well with the new characters introduced and the delight was very evident on everyone’s face. The writing, the actors, the sets, the CG, and the thrill…it was all there. Star Wars is back and I cannot wait for the next iteration.
Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:
You didn’t need my review to decide if you were going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you were either going to see it or you were never going to see it. Sure there are plenty questions left unanswered and of course I could really nitpick at details and find reasons why this issue or that issue…blah blah blah. Nothing I can say will change what you’re going to do. I can say it’s as simple as this: I really enjoyed the film. And I hope you do as well.
And today is the last day of the year, and the last post of 2015. We hope that you all enjoyed our random writing, be it reviews or some of our other content.
Manchicken and I will likely share our favorites from 2015 over the next few days, but the best all around movie in 2015 was The Martian. There is lots more to say (comedy, action, failures, etc.) but I’ll get to that in another post. For now, I wish you all a wonderful New Years and hope you’re looking forward to 2016 as I am!
Good morning Bleary-Eyed fans, are you awake enough after your third or fourth viewing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Well, prepare to drop the soap as we spend some time on how amazing Star Wars did this weekend.
1) Star Wars: The Force Awakens- $238M
There isn’t going to be much else to talk about this morning, so we’re going to get really involved with this film. And from now on, I’m just going to type “Star Wars” as the movie title so I don’t contract irreversible mega-carpel-tunnel syndrome. Like I said last week, we all knew that Star Wars was going to break records, but had no idea that it would break all the records. Let me quickly tick off the records it shattered:
Largest opening weekend: $238M, previously held by Jurassic World earlier this year ($208.8M).
Largest Thursday showings: $57M, previously held by the final Harry Potter installment ($43.5M) four years ago.
Largest opening day (FYI, this does include the above Thursday showings): $120.5M, beating the crap out of the Kid Wizard again which previously held it at $91.1M
Largest dollar amount per theater of a wide release: $57.6k per theater, with Star Wars releasing in 4,134 theaters. There really is no comparison to any other movie here, that’s how far it eclipses everything else.
Largest IMAX release: $30.1M out of 391 IMAX screens, making extinct the dinosaurs from earlier this year which had $20.9M. I’ll do the math for you, that’s $77k per screen…
International opening of $279M. They still have India, Greece, and China (opening in January) to go.
The entire global weekend gross for Star Wars was $517M. If each person who saw Star Wars only once (not the case, but for sake of jaw-dropping figure), then each human of the Earth’s population (7.3 Billion), will have spent an average of $14.12 a ticket. That’s right, even toddlers spent $14.12 on average to see Star Wars.
Honestly, I knew it was going to be big, but I had no idea the power of the Force, I mean hype. Now it is estimated that the production costs of Star Wars was north of $200M (not including advertising). If that is a true number, then Disney/Lucasfilm might eek out a tiny profit…
All this success does cause a little bit of a problem for I Watch Too Many Movies: we’d love to do a review of Star Wars, but we’ve got a few roadblocks in our way. We don’t want to spoil it for the 1% who didn’t go this week, and those of you who did see it (likely ANYONE who reads this site) you’ve already made up your mind about how you feel about the film and did your own micro-review on Facebook or Twitter. I think Manchicken and I will give our thoughts on the film separately in the next few days, but I’m pretty sure those opinions won’t differ too much.
2) Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip- $14.4M
Apparently some film studios decided to find a convenient excuse for their movies failing by sacrificing, er, releasing them against Star Wars. 20th Century Fox pulled this move by releasing the fourth movie in the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie franchise. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that being a Babysitter this weekend was quite lucrative. And likely this is the film the babysitters’ took the kids to while their parents went and saw Star Wars in the theater next door.
3) Sisters- $13.4M
Universal pulled this trick with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s new comedy, Sisters. Apparently this wasn’t a horrible film, so I don’t know if they just dumped it here or had the misfortune of having this weekend booked for quite a while. At any rate, it’s a comedy, so it likely didn’t cost much to make and the fact that it made any movie this weekend was an achievement. The audience consisted mostly of women over 25, so that fits squarely in the demographic that grew up watching these two on Saturday Night Live and haven’t seen or don’t care about seeing Star Wars.
4) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2- $5.6M ($254.4M Total)
Katniss’ bow, speeches, or constantly waking up in a hospital bed were no match for a good blaster at Star Wars’ side. After being in the top spot for four straight weeks, the final chapter in The Hunger Games film series finally toppled. It’s okay, Lionsgate made their money and now they’ll just have to wait for the Blu-Ray/Digital release. This shouldn’t surprise anyone since it was more or less the same crowd seeing Star Wars.
5) Creed- $5.1M ($87.9M Total)
Since this is likely the last week in the Top 5 for Creed, there isn’t much to say except we’re looking forward to any type of continuation to this franchise. Good job Sly, you did a good job here.
That my friends was an intense box office recap session. I think I need to take a nap. Sadly, I’ve got movies to watch (I feel like seeing Apollo 13 today), and real jobs to apply for (unless someone wants to pay me for this gig…yeah…didn’t think so).
One thing I worry about is that we continue to teach Hollywood and their evil Tribunal the wrong lessons. Everyone went to see Star Wars because it was Star Wars and we had faith it was handled properly by J.J. What they learned: “Franchise all the things! Revive every film from the 1970’s! Reboot everything!” They’ve heard this lesson for so long it’s more of a mantra they chant than something new.
Have a great week my friends and wake up, I know you saw Star Wars four times, but falling asleep in the shower is dangerous to yourself and others.
Good Morning Bleary Eyed Fans and welcome to a special segment of Wednesday Wars!
Yes, it’s that time again that we celebrate all things Star Wars and continue our countdown till we can return to a Galaxy Far Far Away. This is a special session of Wednesday Wars as we salute the Veterans of our Local Galaxy and those from long time ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away.
First off, we want to make it clear that we at I Watch Too Many Movies will not express our own personal beliefs on war and the various outcomes. Today is meant to honor those that chose or were chosen by their Governments, Resistances, or Empires to fight for their cause. Even if that cause was to enslave an entire galaxy. Now, onto our countdown!
5) The Sith Order
While many would call the Sith the primary antagonists in the Star Wars Universe, I propose that they were fighting a Holy War against the Jedi Order. Their basic dogma was one of control and order while exploiting the Force for power, aggression or personal gain. Unfortunately for many Sith, this inevitably led to both imperial conquest and their own self-destruction. Tyrannical despots such as Emperor Palpatine are prime examples of how their belief caused corruption, pain, and enslavement of others while engineering their own downfall. Other Sith, such as Darth Vader, who turned to the Dark Side due to fear and love for another were manipulated into the Sith Order’s Doctrine. Above we honor Darth Vader, previously Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, by presenting the only remaining fragment of his existence. A powerful reminder to not let Religious Dogma, fear, and charismatic tyrants influence you or anyone you hold dear.
4) The Jedi Order
Similar in many ways to the Sith, the Jedi Order were an ancient monk-like peacekeeping organization unified by the belief and observance of the Light Side of the Force. Again we have many heroes and veterans of the Jedi Order. One of the greatest Jedi to ever have lived perished after a long life of 874 years. We honor Jedi Master Yoda:
Due to a cruel purge of the Jedi Order by Emperor Palpatine, many of the veterans of The Clone Wars were exterminated quickly once the Emperor seized power of the Galactic Senate and formed the Empire. One such fallen hero, Jedi Master Mace Windu, was the first to be claimed by the rise to power of Emperor Palpatine. We honor this brave warrior:
A final hero and veteran of The Clone Wars, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, also known as General Kenobi, fought in a noble manner for the Jedi Order and Peace in the Galaxy. Master Kenobi was one of the only survivors of the Jedi Purge known as “Order 66”, thus beginning a silent and lonesome war against the Galactic Empire and even his friend and apprentice Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker.
We salute Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi as after defeating what his friend had become, he continued honoring the Jedi Order by caring for the offspring of his fallen friend. Master Kenobi met his end at the hands of his old apprentice, now the mechanized Sith Lord, Darth Vader. He also assisted the Rebel Alliance by taking part in the initial rescue of Leia Organa and saving young Luke Skywalker from Vader which would eventually be key to their victory in the Battle of Yavin. We honor Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi:
3) The Galactic Empire
While under the control of The Sith Lord, Emperor Palpatine, the veterans from the many engagements with the Rebel Alliance, remnants of the Galactic Senate, should be known but still held accountable for the various atrocities they were commanded to inflict upon innocents and other peaceful races and species in the Galaxy. Before becoming the Stormtroopers of the Galactic Empire, many were part of The Grand Army of the Republic during The Clone Wars. These veterans were once comrades in arms with the Jedi commanding during The Clone Wars. One such veteran, the Clone Trooper known as Commander Cody (CC-2224) fought with Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi until he was compelled to turn against his long time ally with his implanted loyalty program. Like all of his Clone brethren, Commander Cody executed Order 66, the Galactic Jedi purge, without question or ability to resist. His career ended with betrayal but as it was engineered into his very DNA (and brain), we still honor his service:
After The Clone Wars, many Clone Troopers were converted to the elite soldiers known as Stormtroopers to serve in the militia of the newly formed Galactic Empire. Once Clone production was slowed, and eventually halted, as others joined the Imperial War Machine, Stormtroopers became nameless soldiers of innumerable numbers. The conflicts in which they battled the Rebel Alliance, Stormtroopers were considered extremely expendable by Emperor Palpatine. After being defeated at the hands of the Rebels, prisoners of the Battle of Endor, and other conflicts throughout the Galaxy, many Stormtroopers were forced to see the horrors wrought by Palpatine. Some went into hiding and others began to develop an Imperial Remnant known as The First Order many decades later. Today we honor the fallen, the controlled, and remorseful Stormtrooper men and women:
2) The Rebel Alliance
Opposing the Galactic Empire, the Rebel Alliance has many heroes to mourn and even veterans that are still forced to continue the fight for freedom from the oppressive Galactic Empire and its Remnants, The First Order. Chief among the heroes of the Rebels is Jedi Knight (and now possibly Master) Luke Skywalker. Trained by Jedi Master’s Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, Skywalker was integral to the fall of the Galactic Empire. First, single-handedly winning The Battle of Yavin by destroying the Original Death Star with The Force and Obi-Wan’s guidance, then conquering a personal battle against the Sith Lord Palpatine by refusing to kill his father, former Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, in the form of Darth Vader. This eventually lead to the downfall of Palpatine at the hands of Darth Vader, who had been redeemed by his son. While now in suspected isolation, Luke Skywalker remains a glorious veteran of the Galactic War.
Considered two of the bravest and most heroic soldiers: Han Solo and his long time companion, the Wookiee known as Chewbacca or “Chewie” to Han. Both heroes became renown Veterans of the Rebel Alliance by assisting Luke Skywalker in the destruction of the Original Death Star in the Battle of Yavin, supporting multiple rescues of the Rebel leader, Princess Leia Organa, and lead attacks against the Empire in the Battle of Endor, aided by the local inhabitants of Endor, the Ewoks. His ship, the now legendary Millennium Falcon held up against all odds and continues to be General Solo’s trusty starship.
Other heroes and veterans of the Galactic War who fought on the side of the Rebels are also honored below:
1) The United States Armed Services
While not part of any Galaxy Far, Far Away, the men and women who are veterans of all wars, conflicts, and engagements are honored today in the United States on Veteran’s Day.
Again, today’s Wednesday Wars post was mostly satire and fiction, we are not sharing our own personal opinions on war. However, we mourn the loss of all life in any conflict. This Veteran’s Day, please attempt to understand the hardships many Veterans suffer each and every day. From homelessness, neglected healthcare needs, or psychological trauma, many Veterans could use assistance. There are many ways to support Veterans, but this is entirely your own prerogative and we leave it completely up to you. As stated above, we are just presenting satire about the Veterans of the Star Wars Universe and some insight into what Veterans face here in the United States.
Join us next week as we choose a lighter topic for Wednesday Wars and continue the hype and countdown to the film, as we’re just over a month from the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens! Until then, may the Force be with you and many others that need it.
This post is personally dedicated to my Grandfather (PawPaw) who is a Veteran of the Korean War and has been lucky with his care since returning home in 1953.