“Rouge One: A Star Wars Story” Review

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Directed by Gareth Edwards; Written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy; Story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta; Based on Characters and Situations created by George Lucas; Starring Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Alan Tudyk, Ben Mendelsohn ; Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of sci-fi action and violence; Running time 133 minutes

Rogue One was the first Star Wars movie that I had to skip out on opening night because I made a scheduling error and told my wife that she could plan her work Christmas party on the same night. However, I was lucky enough to see it twice, for free, the next day with the first screening being with my wife and her amazing coworkers and without J. It was kind of nice not seeing my first screening of Rogue One without J because I’m usually checking on him to see how he’s taking in the movie and I usually end up missing some things. It also gave me the chance to catch as many Easter Eggs as I could so I could share those with him when we saw it together, which was an hour after my first screening.

If I had to choose one word to describe Rogue One it would be superb. The story was amazing, the actors were fantastic, and K2SO almost took the top spot for my favorite droid. Rogue One had something for everyone. I believe that even if you’ve never seen a Star Wars movie, that you would enjoy Rogue One. The action sequences were on par with any other Star Wars film (minus the lightsabers), the comedic timing of K2SO was mesmerizing (Thank you Alan Tudyk), and the drama was pulling away at my heart strings the entire time.

There have been a few articles telling parents not to take their younger kids to see Rogue One. While I get that this is one of the franchise’s “darker” films, it is still a Star Wars movie. If your kids know the difference between fantasy and reality, and have seen all of the other Star Wars movies, then they should be able to sit through Rogue One. J (5) saw it with me last night and he absolutely loved the movie. He was catching Easter Eggs like a pro, and was squeezing my hand in excitement throughout most of the movie.  That being said, you know your kids better than I or any other person writing about Rogue One would, so the final say is up to you.

Something that I would recommend that fans of the Saga do, that was recommended to me by Bryan Young from the Full of Sith Podcast, is watch A New Hope one more time before seeing Rogue One. You will never be able to watch it again without having Rogue One on your mind. As a matter of fact, I am watching it right now as I write this and all I am thinking about is Rogue One. I am really looking forward to the next time I watch A New Hope with J.

If you can’t tell, we absolutely loved Rogue One and would recommend that every man, woman, child, droid, and Jawa see it. You will leave the theater forever changed, and it is worth it. I have some spoilery things to say, but I will leave that for private messages and Facebook groups. If you’ve seen the movie and you want to talk to someone, send me a message on our Facebook page or Instagram. I’d love to hear what you thought and if you caught the same Easter Eggs as I did.

We hope you have a great holiday season and May the Force be With You. 

Disneyland or Bust!!

Hello! My name is James. I am 30 years old, and I have never been to Disneyland. I’ve always wanted to go, but life would always have a way of seeing me not being able to make the trip. My wife has also never been to Disneyland, and neither has our 5 year old son J. That will end soon. We’ve decided that we don’t want our son to live the Disneyland-less childhood that we had.

We (along with a group of friends) will be carpooling down from SLC, and we will be staying at an AirBnB near the park. We also will be celebrating my 31st birthday at Disneyland (insert childlike squeaks of joy). I have been talking with friends, who have been to Disneyland, pretty much non-stop and I still have no plan for how we are really going to spend our time at Disneyland.

One of my friends and Geek Parenting Podcast co-hosts, Dr. Sarah, gave me a book to read with J and my wife so we can try to make a plan but all looking through that book has done is leave me with more questions about how we are going to fit it all into a few days!

My level of excitement is off the charts right now. I have been wanting to go to a Disney park for about 25 years, and J has been asking to go since Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out. You only go to Disneyland for the first time once in your life. Thinking about the fact that the first time we go to Disneyland as a family will also be the first time any of us get to go to Disneyland, almost brings a tears to my eyes.

It reminds me of when J and I got to see Mark Hamill at Salt Lake Comic Con. Mark Hamill was almost finished with his 45 minute panel, and tears started rolling down my cheeks. J loves Star Wars just as much as I do, and we got to experience Mark Hamill at Salt Lake Comic Con together. If that made me cry, then Day 1 at Disneyland is going to be mostly tears (I hope tissues aren’t too expensive).

So now that I’ve told you all how easy it is to make me cry, I need your help. Those of you who’ve been to Disneyland, what should be on our “must see” list? What are some of the things you do to prepare for such an amazing trip? What costumes should J wear? Let me know by commenting here, or you can tell me on Facebook or Twitter. Also make sure you are watching the Facebook page, we will probably live stream J’s reaction to the news. 

Star Wars Rebels: Shroud of Darkness

Since the time when Vader and Ahsoka first showed up on Rebels, we have been waiting for that moment when they would face each other. This is not that episode, but the wheels are in motion.

Shroud of Darkness starts off with an amazing Lightsaber duel with Ezra and Kanan taking on the inquisitors. Ezra’s powers and lightsaber skills are growing and he and Kanan are able to fight the inquisitors and escape with their lives. Kanan and Ezra meet back with the Ghost crew with news that they have yet to find the perfect planet for the Rebellion to make a base.

When they return to the Ghost, Ezra finds Ahsoka watching an old Holocron of Anakin teaching some lightsaber techniques. After a brief discussion, Kanan, Ezra, and Ahsoka decide it’s time to take the fight to the inquisitors, but to do so they must speak with Yoda through the force. What happens next? You will just have to watch and find out.

This episode has so much going for it and viewers young and old will go through so many emotions watching it. You may want to keep a box of tissue next to you, as tears may flow. Shrouds of Darkness has raised my level of excitement for the remainder of the season and I can’t wait to see what our Rebels will do next.

Star Wars Rebels: Homecoming

Meeting your significant other’s parents can be somewhat of a challenge. A good impression can lead to happy interactions throughout the rest of the relationships, one bad impression will lead to a life of awkward dinners and holidays. How will Kanan do when he meets Hera’s father in this weeks episode of Rebels.

The Rebels are in need of a carrier so the Rebellion can house it’s fighters while they are in search for a new planet to make their base. Commander Jun Sato tells the Ghost crew about a rebel cell that is in need of help taking down an Imperial Carrier that is stationed in orbit around the planet of Ryloth, Hera’s home world. Hera contacts the rebel cell leader Cham Syndulla, Hera’s father, and thus beings one amazing episode.

Frustrated with the Empire, Cham Syndulla wants Hera and the Rebels to help him destroy the carrier, in hopes that the Twi’lek people on Ryloth would be inspired to fight by seeing the destruction. Who’s plan will succeed? Will the Rebels get their carrier or will Cham inspire his people to fight the Empire?

We really enjoyed this episode (I feel like I say that a lot). The script was inspiring, and the action was spectacular. If you are a father of a daughter, or a daughter of a father you will love a lot of what you see in Homecoming. The relationship between Cham and Hera felt real, and we loved everything about it. Great job Lucasfilms Animation on another spectacular episode.

Catch new episodes of Star Wars Rebels every Wednesday night at 9/8c

Star Wars Rebels: The Call

***There will be spoilers***

The Call is both visually stunning and filled with action, just what we love from our Rebels episodes. The Rebels are on a mission to find a shipment of clouzon-36 that the Mining Guild has been refining for the Empire. With their own fuel supply running low, the Rebels must limit fuel consumption until they find what they are looking for.

The Ghost is almost running on fumes, Hera is forced to take power from the ship’s heating system to keep the Ghost flying, and the crew is freezing and complaining. Ezra hears something of a distress call, and then all of the sudden the Ghost is being overrun by a swarm of purrgil (space whales). If the purrgil were not enough, two modified Tie-Fighters swoop in and start shooting at the purrgil and the Rebels.

After the battle is done, Ezra gets an impression that the Ghost should follow the purrgil and that impression is verified by Sabine’s calculations of where the Tie-Fighters came from. The purgill lead the Rebels to the Mining Guild’s refinery and the Empire’s shipment.

We enjoyed The Call, and it left us with that “you can’t alway judge a book by it’s cover” vibe. If you are a fan of space whales traveling through hyperspace, you will be a fan of this episode. Let us know what you think, and May the Force be With You.

Catch new episodes of Star Wars Rebels every Wednesday night at 9/8c

Star Wars Rebels: Legends of the Lasat

For the past 2 seasons, we’ve been led to believe that Zeb is the last of his kind. While viewers usually sense that he feels like part of a family with his Ghost crew, we feel like something is missing. In the first 90 seconds, we find that everything we think we know about Zeb has been wrong.

Zeb Reaction

©2016 – Disney xD

The Ghost crew is on an Ezra led mission to free some captives held by the Empire. Unbeknownst to them, these refugees happen to be Zeb’s people (Lasat). In this week’s episode we get to dig a little deeper into Zeb’s past while he and the Ghost crew try to help the Lasat refugees find their prophesied new world of Lira San.

Legends of the Lasat is an action packed episode with an appearance by everyone’s favorite Weequay pirate, Hondo Ohnaka. We follow Zeb through an emotional journey as he goes from believing he failed the Lasat to the realization that he is the one to lead his people to Lira San. In my opinion, Legends of the Lasat leaves Star Wars Rebels viewers with a great message that if we believe in ourselves, we will find the path to our own personal Lira San.

Catch new episodes of Star Wars Rebels every Wednesday night at 9/8c

I Guess I Should Say Something About Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Finally, after seeing the movie more times than we can count on our hands, we have decided to put down some thoughts about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I know there are a lot of people out there saying things like, “It’s too much like Episode IV”, but like many great opera’s, Star Wars movies have reoccurring themes. It happens in the prequel trilogy, and now it’s happening in the new trilogy. There are still a lot of elements of The Force Awakens that do not appear in Episode IV, so don’t let that deter you from seeing the film.

Not very many movies can keep a 4 year old at the edge of their seat with their eyes glued to the screen for 2 hours and 15 minutes, but The Force Awakens had J at the edge of his seat the entire time. The first time we saw it, I couldn’t help but look over at J to see his reactions. His first words after the first viewing were, “I LOVE THE FORCE AWAKENS!! CAN WE SEE IT AGAIN?!?!?!” J wanted to talk about so many things, but since there were people lined up for the next showing, J held in his words until we got in the car. That way he wouldn’t spoil it for all the people who had tickets after we did. He was telling me who he thought certain characters, and why certain things had to happen to others. It was a car ride I will never forget.

Star Wars1

J after our second viewing.

The script was amazing, the acting was on point, and the scenery and practical effects were superb. The leads were fantastic, Daisy Ridley’s “Rey” is a strong young woman who had to survive on the desert planet of Jaku by herself from a young age. She’s a scavenger who always had to lookout for herself and never had anyone show an interest in how she felt or how she was doing, so please don’t misinterpret her reactions toward others. There isn’t a lot I can say about John Boyega’s “Finn/FN-2187” without giving too much away, but just believe me when I say that he did a fantastic job and I can’t wait to see what becomes of his character. Oscar Isaac did a wonderful job as rebel pilot/black leader “Poe Dameron”. He was smart, funny, and had the attitude of the “best pilot in the resistance”. While he was amazing as Poe, I think that my favorite thing that Isaac brought to the table was that amazing 70s/80s looking hairstyle, now that took me back to the original trilogy. I know that a lot of people are criticizing Adam Driver’s “Kylo Ren”, but in all honesty I thought he was so much better than I could have hoped for. The fact that he is guided by his emotions makes him unpredictable and terrifying, even more so than Anakin in Episode III. One last thing about the new cast, I am so glad that BB-8 was as amazing as I had hoped. BB-8 has such an amazing emotional range for a droid. When he is sad, you feel sad. Thank you J.J. for giving fans old and new such an amazing droid to follow on this adventure.

How can I write something about Star Wars without mentioning the original cast? Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Peter Mayhew all reprised their roles from the original trilogy, and I am so glad they did. Fisher leads the resistance in a way that only Leia can, Han and Chewie do what they do best aboard the Falcon, and Luke does a great job of pulling off that Obi-Wan Kenobi hermit look.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens had so much going for it; a more diverse universe, more women, the old gang, and a new little ball droid. In my opinion J.J. Abrams and the cast and crew knocked this one out of the park. Some articles have come out saying there are “plot holes” or they just blast the film for the sake of blasting the film. The former must not understand the concept of setting up trilogies and not giving all of the information right away (I should mention that the novelization answers quite a few of those so called “plot holes), while the latter just don’t get it and frankly don’t want to try. I will say that one of my big criticisms is that I wish there was more Captain Phasma, but I don’t want to linger on that because maybe we will get more of her in the next two films.

If you haven’t seen The Force Awakens yet, then this is one that I highly recommend. As far as young children go, I would say to gauge it on your children’s understanding of reality and science fiction. If they have seen Episode III (only because this is the darkest of the prequel trilogy) and all of the original trilogy, then they should have no problem with The Force Awakens. There is a little blood shown in the first battle scene, but it is quick and not gory. Be aware that by seeing The Force Awakens, you may find it necessary to see it again right away. That is totally normal, many of us have seen it more than once and are planning on seeing it again…and again…and again. There is a reason why Star Wars has passed both Titanic and Avatar as the highest grossing film, and you should definitely go find out why for yourself.