The Movies of 2016

I know I said I would see you guys next on my last post, but I lied.  My blog, I’m entitled.  Seriously though, I figure it being New Year’s Eve, I would take a look at some of the movies that are coming our way next year, and what a year it will be.  2015 has been astounding with a lot of great movies and of course, Star Wars.  I’m going to take a look at some movies that are grabbing MY attention.  Will these be any good?  Who knows?  With any movie, it’s a 50/50 chance whether it’s good or not.  There are some that look pretty iffy, while others look like they could really kick some serious ass.  So…let’s see what we should see and what we should possibly avoid.  Come on movies of 2016, don’t let me down.


I’ve been hoping for this ever since we first saw the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  The problem with that movie is that they totally fucked it up.  They got the right guy to play Wade Wilson, Ryan Reynolds, but the final “evolution” of the character in Wolverine was an absolute abomination.  Swords that come out of his arms, unable to speak, and computer controlled.  People were pissed off about that.  They were so pissed off that when the Deadpool movie was finally announced, people were understandably cautious.  Then we heard it was going to be rated R.  YES!!!  The trailers they recently put out for the film have me genuinely excited for this movie.  Is it going to be the best comic book movie ever?  Unlikely, but it’s probably going to surprise people.  God, I hope they get it right.  Deadpool’s one of my favorite comic book characters ever.  Bring it on!  Release Date: February 4, 2016.


This one looks particularly interesting.  It’s supposed to be about a woman who is searching for her sister who had disappeared into a notorious forest in Japan.  This is supposedly a supernatural film.  Aokigahara, also known as the Suicide Forest, is a real forest at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan.  It’s a notorious forest for suicides, so it kind of makes sense that this film would be inspired by such a thing.  I’m rather curious, so I will be seeing this when it comes out next Friday.  It is rated PG-13, so for horror movie fans, it may be a bit of a turn-off.  The concept is what’s drawing me to the whole thing.  So, I’m interested.


Despite not being a believer, I’m a sucker for really great Biblical epics, like The Ten Commandments.  This one is a little different as it deals with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The story is supposedly told from the perspective of a non-believer, so watching a movie like this as a non-believer, it’s an interesting approach to what is considered to be one of the most interesting aspects of Christianity.  I’m not opposed to a movie like this, but I do tend to approach subjects like this with a healthy dose of skepticism.  It could very well turn out to be a great movie, or it could bomb big time.  I’m definitely keeping an eye on this one.  Release Date: February 19, 2016.


I’m calling it now:  Gods of Egypt will be the first huge box-office bomb of 2016.  There is absolutely no way that this movie is going to be successful, despite Alex Proyas directing the film and it starring Gerard Butler as the evil god Set.  Don’t get me wrong, it looks like a hell of a lot of fun, but there is an insane amount of CGI, just from the trailer that I watched.  This movie will be compared to the Clash of the Titans re-make as the similarities are striking.  I really do like the idea of a movie based on Egyptian mythology, however.  It’s not a subject that I’m very familiar with.  So, I’m curious.  Release Date is February 26.


Olympus Has Fallen was one of the most surprising action films released in 2013.  Aaron Eckhardt played the President and Gerard Butler play a disgraced Secret Service agent when a terrorist group took down the White House in 13 minutes.  If you can get past the fact that would never, EVER happen in today’s world, Olympus was a pretty good time.  Butler is a fantastic action star, despite the fact that his American accent is atrocious.  Explosions, gun fights and Morgan Freeman:  What could go wrong?  Well, three years later, we’re getting a sequel that takes place in London…..Right.  I’m reminded of a quote from Die Hard 2:  “How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?”  I honestly didn’t think that the first movie did all that well in the box office, but it made enough money, so here we are.  Release Date: March 4…approximately.

6. This one is going to be a heavy hitter this year, whether it’s good or not.  It’s going to make some serious dough.  I’m both excited and concerned for this movie.  Here’s why:  Batman V. Superman is throwing in everything AND the kitchen sink, apparently.  Not only are they bringing in Wonder Woman, but they are also bringing in Aquaman, The Flash, Green Lantern and…….Doomsday.  I’m not sold on either Doomsday or Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor.  I’m not.  I could be wrong, and this movie could be the best action movie of the year.  I’m taking a wait and see approach, as I believe it’s still TOO early to do the Doomsday story arc.  I’m actually sold on Ben Affleck as Batman.  I think he can do it.  Henry Cavill obviously returns as Superman, so I’m grateful for that.  But there are too many issues thus far to think that Dawn of Justice is going to get through this unscathed.  Release date: March 25.


This is one that I’m really excited about.  They are using elements from the Civil War story line from the comics, with Cap and Iron Man basically being on opposite sides now.  The film follows the events of Age of Ultron where people are considering legislating registration for superheroes and whether or not they should be allowed to act unchecked.  Steve Rogers believes that they should be able to do so without government intervention and Tony Stark believes that regulation is necessary to keep the collateral damage at bay.  From the trailer that was released, Iron Man and Captain America do go head to head.  There’s obviously more to the story than what we’ve seen, but I’m genuinely excited for how all this turns out.  Release Date: May 6.


This is the OTHER big damn movie being released this year.  X-MenApocalypse is the third in a series of X-Men films that were rebooted with First Class, starring James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as the younger versions of Xavier and Magneto, respectively.  This could very well be the biggest X-Men film to date.  We’re finally dealing with the first mutant, Apocalypse and his Four Horsemen.  People were and are still concerned about the look of the title villain.  To be fair, most of the stuff that we saw was behind-the-scenes footage.  We got a first look at the character in the trailer that was released a short while ago.  Given how awesome the previous two films were, I’m definitely checking this one out.  I love massive destruction.  Release Date: May 27.


Not a whole lot is known about this one, since it’s still a long ways off.  But what we do know is that Benedict Cumberbatch has been cast as Doctor Strange.  They just released a new photo of Cumberbatch dressed up as Stange, so I’m hopeful they get the character right.  As for the rest of the film?  It’s too early to tell.  Doctor Strange isn’t the most well-known of comic book characters, so the lack of familiarity may hurt the film.  But the same was said of Guardians of the Galaxy, and that film was a runaway success.  Who knows?  Release Date: November 4


It looks like Disney is making good on it’s promise to release a Star Wars film every year.  We just saw the release of The Force Awakens, the first in a new trilogy of films.  While I’m definitely excited for Episodes VIII and IX, it’s the ones in between that I’m really curious about.  For example: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  This is a film that’s supposed to be set just prior to the events of Episode IV, the original film.  The story is basically going to revolve around how the Rebel Alliance got their hands on the plans for the Empire’s Death Star.  I’m excited for this one, because not only does it star Mads Mikkelson and Donnie Yen, it’s also directed by the same guy that directed the Godzilla movie in 2014: Gareth Edwards.  He’s got his work cut out for him, but I believe that he can really make a stand-out film with Rogue One.  Release Date: December 16.

There is definitely a hell of a lot more movies than this coming out next year, but these are the ones that really caught my attention the most.  Be aware that some of these movie are 6 months or more away from being released, so patience is required.  Some of these could be good, some could be bad, but it looks like another really strong year for movies.  So, I don’t know about any of you, but I’m genuinely excited.  This will be my final post for 2015, so I will see everybody next year.  Have a happy New Year and be safe, and try to drink responsibly…..or not.  Just have fun.

Worst Movies of 2015

Well, with my Best Movies of 2015 finished, it’s time to look at the movies that…well…didn’t fare so well.  I was going to do a separate list for the most disappointing movies of 2015, but I think it would make more sense to put those here.  Now, the disappointing ones aren’t necessarily irredeemable, it’s just they weren’t quite what I was hoping for.  Make no mistake, I will be getting to some of the worst movies I’ve seen this year, but the first half of this post is going to be dedicated to the ones that just didn’t quite make it.  So, let’s have some fun, eh?


1.When The Avengers came out back in 2012, it was a sight to behold.  Some of Marvel’s most iconic heroes on the big screen together.  A movie like that has never happened before.  It was one of the most spectacular, exciting and entertaining movies of that year.  It was a movie that could’ve EASILY gone horribly wrong.  But thanks to Joss Whedon, it didn’t.  So, I was genuinely excited when Age of Ultron was announced.  The Avengers going up against one of their most notorious and dangerous enemies?  Hell, yeah.  Count me in.  But what did we get?  An overstuffed movie with some of the worst character development I’ve seen in years.  Ultron himself was actually kind of cool, being performed by James Spader.  Awesome.  Most of the character interactions between the Avengers are pretty amusing.  However, the romantic angle between Banner and Black Widow was poorly done.  Those two had NO chemistry, and it just came off as….awkward.  The whole AI thing just made the whole movie feel….generic.  The action is fantastic, the pacing is pretty good, but overall, the movie was just….not what it should have been.


I want to make it clear that I really enjoyed this movie.  I really did.  My disappointment with this film comes from the fact that the damn marketing team spoiled what could have been one of the most interesting twists in the film.  And it wasn’t just the one, they pretty revealed the whole fucking thing in that one trailer.  So, when I saw this in theaters, I wasn’t as thrilled as I should have been.  It got better on repeat viewings, but I just couldn’t shake my initial impression of Terminator: Genisys.  The movie suffered statewide, because of that and the fact that it was released on a Wednesday instead of a Friday.  Internationally, it did a hell of a lot better, but I still think Paramount is still smarting over the film’s poor domestic performance.  I know I am.  Is there going to be a Terminator 6 in the future?  Pun intended, only time will tell.


Honestly, I went into this movie knowing it was probably going to be bad, but I had hope that it was going to be at least fun.  Some of it was.  Seeing Vin Diesel as a Viking-style warrior is awesome.  I think Diesel would make a hell of a Viking.  The movie reminds me too much of I, Frankenstein, which was a complete disaster.  I really wanted to like this one, but the poor special effects, the incompetently written story and characters, just made for a very lackluster experience.  It ain’t the worst movie I’ve seen, we’re getting to that, but The Last Witch Hunter was just horribly mediocre.


So we come to it at last, the great disappointments of our time….or, you know, the year…just….yeah.  2015 was a very strong year for movies.  We saw a whole lot of great action movies, drama, comedy and horror.  We also saw the return of Star Wars.  There’s that.  Sadly, there are always two sides to every coin.  A yin to every yang.  The films of 2015 are no different.  For every Star Wars, we get a Fant4stic.  Let’s begin, shall we?


This movie was a cash grab, pure and simple.  There’s no getting around that.  How Taken ever managed to become a trilogy boggles my mind.  The first film was amazing, and it should have been a one and done kind of deal.  But no, we get a sequel, which to be honest, really wasn’t that bad.  Taken 3 shouldn’t have been made.  Olivier Megaton doesn’t seem to have the greatest idea of what makes an action movie, an action movie.  It’s incredibly poorly edited, shot and a whole lot of other things.  The other thing is that the story is pretty much The Fugitive-lite.  This is just not a good movie in any form.


Oh, this one hurts soooooo bad.  I really wanted this to be good.  This had the potential to be a very unique and brand new IP in cinema.  It’s a visually spectacular film, with some great music, set pieces and costumes.  The problem: The Wachowskis.  Their ego has gone to their heads.  There’s a lot of philosophical mumbo-jumbo going on here with some really pathetic acting.  Channing Tatum looks….goofy with those damned ears.  Mila Kunis, while beautiful, is just woefully underwhelming.  Eddie Redmayne could possibly be the poster child for over-acting.  The one big sin that this movie has committed, is that it’s boring as hell.  Yeah, the action is pretty good.  But there’s not enough of it.  The writing and dialogue are George Lucas level of awful.  Yeah, I gave the film an 8 out of 10, and I stand by that, but the fact is that this is not a good movie whatsoever.


This one had issues from the moment it was announced.  This was a movie that nobody wanted.  After three poor films based on The Fantastic Four, it is inconceivable that anybody would even touch this franchise again.  It’s a shame, too, because the potential for a great movie is there.  Fant4stic is a blatant attempt to hold on to a failing film franchise.  Fox Studios was naive enough to think that this would end well.  It sure as hell didn’t.  Once the dirty laundry behind the film was aired, there was just no way this movie going to succeed.  Between Josh Trank’s drunken tirades to his abuse of the cast and crew, Fant4stic was destined to crash and burn.  The horrible writing, acting and visuals didn’t help matters any.  Fox Studios took a massive 60 million dollar loss on the film, and at one point they had even tried to remain open to the possibility of a sequel.  As for Josh Trank, I don’t think he will ever direct another triple-A movie again in his career.  Again, the biggest sin a movie can be is boring, and Fant4stic had NOTHING going on until the last 10 minutes.  I like the direction the film was going, it was just terrible execution.  Oh, and a note to other movie studios looking to make a comic book movie: NO ORIGIN STORIES!!  We’ve had enough of those.

Well, we are here at the end of the year, and the time has come for me to reveal what I consider to be the worst movie of the year:

I’ve seen my fair share of bad movies, but never before has a movie made me walk out of a movie theater in the middle of the film.  Pixels did just that.  It started off innocently enough, but the moment Adam Sandler stepped on the screen, everything went downhill from there.  Not only that, Kevin James was cast as the President of the United States.  That was a really fucking stupid decision to make.  Not only is Sandler basically sleep-walking through the film, but Kevin James was just horribly miscast.  Josh Gad just needed to have his trap duct-taped.  I honestly made it about 40 minutes into the film, before I said, “Fuck it.”  Any movie that has me walking out of the theater before it’s finished, has royally screwed up.  I managed to sit through ALL of Fant4stic.  That should tell you how horrible Pixels is.

Thankfully, I’ve managed to not see EVERY bad movie out there, but these ones got under my skin the most this year.  That’s pretty much it.  2016 looks to be pretty damn good for movies, but I’m bracing for a lot of shitty movies too.  So…..bring it on.  I hope everyone has had a great year, and I will see you next year.


Best Movies of 2015

With Christmas over and 2015 quickly coming to a close, I figured I would spend the next few posts going over the movies that were released this year.  This was a huge year for movies.  I would love to tell you that I’ve seen every movie this year, but that would be a lie.  There were simply way too many for me to catch, either in theaters or on DVD.  Remember, this is my personal list, so if I didn’t mention one that you thought should be on this list, I probably didn’t get to it.  The movies released this year were mostly sequels, reboots and/or remakes.  Doesn’t necessarily mean they were all bad, a good chunk of them were actually really good.  But, a good chunk of these movies were also really, really bad.  Now, understand, some of these movies may not necessarily be critical success, but the ones I found particularly entertaining.  For this post, I’m going to go over what I thought were some of the best movies I’ve seen this year.   Now:  On to the BEST MOVIES OF 2015!!


Maggie is quite the surprise that I found earlier this year.  There’s nothing particularly original about the film, but it’s not your typical zombie movie.  It’s more of a drama with an emphasis on family and the consequences of the titular character being bitten by a zombie.  Unlike most zombie movies, the transformation into a zombie isn’t immediate.  It takes a couple of weeks according to the film.  Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the father of Abigail Breslin’s character.  This is not an action-packed movie, but it is a very compelling experience, mainly due to the performances of Arnold and Abigail.  The interaction between the two characters is simply wonderful, with Schwarzenegger delivering one of the best performances of his career.  It’s not a perfect movie, but it is definitely a well-made film.


Oddly enough, one of my favorite action movies of the year is a disaster picture.  This movie opens with a bang and doesn’t let up.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that the film is anchored by a strong performance by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  Scientific accuracy/inaccuracy aside, the idea of the San Andreas Fault setting off a chain reaction is actually rather spectacular.  Buildings collapse, people falling out of buildings, and massive tidal waves.  Yeah, it’s your standard run-of-the-mill disaster flick, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun.  Awesome special effects, epic and cheesy music and a breakneck pace make for a decent hour and a half.


Believe it or not, one of my favorite pictures of 2015 is a direct-to-video sequel.  It’s also the latest entry into one of my favorite franchises, Tremors.  The original film was something a classic when it came out back in 1990, and it managed to get 4 sequels and a television series.  None of it was actually terrible.  Tremors 5 takes us to Africa where the ravenous Graboids have resurfaced in a meaner capacity.  For a DTV film, it’s got some pretty decent visual effects and CG.  With wild performances by series staple, Michael Gross as Burt Gummer and Jamie Kennedy as Welker.  It’s well shot and has a pretty decent sense of humor, while also being very intense and thrilling.  Not bad for a DTV sequel, eh?


The original Jurassic Park remains one of the most revolutionary and visually spectacular films I’ve ever seen.  You couldn’t tell where the animatronics ended and the CGI began.  After two sub-par sequels, we finally get a worthy follow-up to Jurassic Park.  With Jurassic World, we finally get to see an actual park open to the public.  There’s a ton of CGI, but still….DINOSAURS!!  Now, with any good sci-fi flick, we get scientists doing what they should never do, and that’s play God with things that were better left extinct.  Typical….so typical.  Jurassic World is a fun romp through an island with Chris Pratt in the lead.  This guy could be the next action hero.  It’s got problems, but it’s still a hefty blockbuster.


Of the superhero movies that were released this year, Ant-Man is easily the best one.  It’s essentially a heist movie that happens to have a superhero.  The writing is spot on, with some amazing performances by Paul Rudd, who plays Scott Lang, and Michael Douglas, who plays Dr. Hank Pym.  I missed this one in theaters because I thought it looked kind of stupid.  Boy, I’m glad I was wrong, because this film is really a great deal of fun.  It’s got a sense of humor and some pretty impressive visual effects.  One of the best things about this movie is that it’s not about saving the world.  It’s a much smaller kind of superhero movie, and one that is really worth seeing.


This one’s a bit of a cheat, as The Green Inferno was technically finished back in 2013, but Eli Roth couldn’t find a distributor.  The film was finally released towards the end of September.  Wow.  Let me tell you, this one is a brutal piece of cinema.  The film is Eli Roth’s love letter to Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust, which was a very savage film itself.  But Eli Roth, being Eli Roth, he decided to really jab the whole Social Justice Warrior thing right in the eye, with an inexperienced group of people heading into the Amazon to “protect” a local tribe from extinction.  What they don’t know is that the tribe they want to protect are cannibals.  What follows is a gruesome and gory spectacle that doesn’t slow down.  If you’re a fan of Eli Roth, this one needs to be seen.  It’s a horror movie, so it’s not going to be for everybody.  I loved the hell out of it, though.


The Western is a particular favorite genre of mine.  From The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly to Tombstone, the Western is one of the most well-known genres of both film and TV.  Most Westerns are generally American-made.  You don’t really see a European-made American Western that often, though.  The Salvation is one of the most interesting and intense Westerns I’ve ever seen.  That’s due in part to Mads Mikkelsen’s steel-eyed performance.  Eva Green is also great, even though she doesn’t say a damn thing.  It’s a revenge thriller set in the Old West as Mikkelson’s character is beset by tragedy is his family is brutally murdered.  This film has some really great shots and scenery as it was shot on location in South Africa.  This was one of my favorite movies of the year.


Martial arts movies are a particular specialty of mine.  I tend to know which ones are good and which ones are bad.  Redeemer is one of the good ones.  Featuring a fairly solid performance by Marko Zaror, who also choreographed the film’s fight scenes, Redeemer is actually a very solid actioner with a message of sorts.  Marko Zaror plays a former hitman who takes out criminals and the corrupt if they refuse to ask for forgiveness.  Zaror is one of the most spectacular martial arts actors in the industry today.  At 6’2″, he’s pretty damn big, but he moves like Jackie Chan.  The movie gets pretty brutal at times, but it is pretty memorable.


Mad Max: Fury Road has been in development for over a decade, going through multiple incarnations.  At one point, Mel Gibson was attached to reprise his role, but after his meltdown, the project was shelved.  In the summer, Fury Road was finally released to critical acclaim.  This is a very solid action film, featuring Tom Hardy as Max and the Charlize Theron as Furiosa.  Theron pretty much steals the show.  With an emphasis on practical effects and stunt-work, Fury Road is one of the most spectacular action films of the year.  It’s also a worthy follow-up to Mel Gibson’s films.  There’s definitely CGI involved, especially during the storm sequence, but it just adds to the experience.  It’s nuts, plain and simple.

And my number one film of 2015 is….drum roll, please:

I’ll be honest with you, I was not expecting Star Wars to be as good as it was.  I’ve already seen it twice, and I plan on seeing it again.  This is the movie that the fans have been waiting for, and it was J.J. Abrams who delivered.  Yeah, it follows the same story beats as the original film, but it also gives us something fresh.  The new characters, Finn, Rey, and Kylo Ren are some of the most compelling characters in the entire series.  You follow that up with an incredible performance by Harrison Ford as Han Solo, and with some of the most incredible effects I’ve seen in Star Wars, and you have one of the best entries in the entire Star Wars Saga.  With a great story, great characters and great action, The Force Awakens reminds me why I was a fan of Star Wars in the first place.  Anybody who knows me, knows that this may have been pretty predictable, but it surprised the hell out of me.  Not only is it a great movie, it is a great sequel.  I can only hope that Rian Johnson can up the ante with Episode VIII.  Yeah, The Force Awakens leaves questions to be answered, but these are the questions that you WANT answered.  Hopefully, they will be.

Those are my picks for my favorite movies of 2015.  Yeah, they fall heavy on the blockbuster side, but honestly, I had a hell of a lot of fun with these movies.  These aren’t the only ones that I saw this year, but they are very good.  My next post will be about the ones that AREN’T so good.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Released: December 18, 2015

Director: J.J. Abrams

Rated PG-13

Run Time: 135 Minutes

Distributor: Walt Disney Studios

Harrison Ford: Han Solo
Carrie Fisher: General Leia Organa
Mark Hamill: Luke Skywalker
John Boyega: Finn
Daisy Ridley: Rey
Adam Driver: Kylo Ren
Oscar Isaac: Poe Dameron
Peter Mayhew: Chewbacca


When the original Star Wars trilogy concluded with Return of the Jedi, there was a lot of speculation about what happened before the rise of the Empire and what happened after the destruction of the second Death Star.  In the mid-90s, we saw George Lucas begin work on what would become the Prequel Trilogy.  The purpose of this trilogy was to explain the fall of the Old Republic and Anakin Skywalker’s turn to the Dark Side of the Force.  Truth be told, when I first saw each prequel film in the theaters, it was a blast.  I was watching Star Wars on the big screen, as it was meant to be.  I never got to see the original trilogy in theaters, and I hope they re-release them in theaters at some point so I can.  I was enamored with the Prequel Trilogy, but like everybody else, I began to see the problems with each movie.  The horrendous dialogue, piss-poor casting and overall humorless affair was awful.  Yeah, great visuals, action and amazing light-saber duels, but there was no substance.  No really memorable characters outside of Palpatine, Yoda and Obi-Wan.  It was clear that George Lucas had lost touch with what made Star Wars what it is.  It was also clear that after Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas would not do any more Star Wars movies.  That really disappointed people, because people were clamoring for a 7th film that explained what happened after Episode VI.  In 2012, Lucas sold his company and the Star Wars franchise to Disney for 4 billion dollars.  Now, towards the end of 2015, we have what many people have been wanting for decades: Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Out of the ashes of the old Empire, comes a new sadistic First Order, whose aim is complete galactic dominance.  In order to do that, they must first find and destroy Luke Skywalker, the Jedi who helped destroy the Empire.  Skywalker, after a mysterious tragedy, has vanished from the face of the galaxy.  The film begins as the First Order begins their search on the planet Jakku, with Dark Side user Kylo Ren at the forefront.  That’s about as far into the story as I’m going to go because there is so much that’s going on.  I was honestly not expecting The Force Awakens to be as packed full of story and character development as it was.

What draws me to Star Wars is its characters and story.  Star Wars has some of the most interesting and varied characters I’ve seen in any franchise.  The Force Awakens proudly carries on that tradition.  We got a whole slate of new characters that are not only deep, but also very, very interesting.  Finn is a former storm-trooper who witnesses something terrible at the hands of the Order.  Rey is a scavenger on the desert planet of Jakku who gets caught up with Finn.  We have a great new droid in BB-8.  For a roaming ball, it’s surprisingly a great character.  Kylo Ren is a Sith wannabe who desperately wants to be the second Darth Vader, but is nowhere near that level.  I think it’s great that we have a villain that is currently in the process of becoming a potential Sith Lord.  I think what a lot of people were expecting was the return of the old crew from the original trilogy and for the most part, they do show up.  I’ll make a separate post that will go into detail about the movie, especially when it comes to Luke Skywalker.  But the rest of the crew, Han Solo, Leia and Chewbacca, make a return and it is something to behold.  In fact, some of the best scenes in the film involve Han and Chewy.  The truth of the matter is, is that everybody does a fantastic job.  John Boyega really gives his storm-trooper a humanity that you don’t see out of a storm-trooper.  Adam Driver is fantastic as Kylo Ren.  He plays the character that’s a human being.  The character isn’t perfect and he makes mistakes, but he’s clearly unstable and that makes a serious threat.  Oscar Isaac is great as the Resistance’s best pilot, Poe Dameron.  The character doesn’t come across as cocky, but very sure of his skills as a pilot and it really shows.  There’s not a whole lot of negatives when it comes to the characters, except for two: Supreme Leader Snoke and Captain Phasma.  Snoke is clearly a CGI character, and to be honest, not really all that intimidating.  I’m sure that will change when Episode VIII comes around, but for now, he’s kind of a background character.  For all the hype and all the commercials, Captain Phasma, the chrome trooper, isn’t in the film a whole lot and isn’t given a whole lot to do.

The writing is definitely one of the movie’s strongest points.  We’ve got a surprising amount of character development here.  There’s development not just on the light side, but on the dark side as well, with Kylo Ren having issues trying to stay with the Dark Side.  The movie also throws a whole lot of history at you, and it comes across quite well.  That’s 30 years of history between Episode VI and VII that needs to be addressed, and The Force Awakens does it pretty well.  There are a few things about the First Order that are still in the dark as far as I’m concerned, but I’m sure those questions will be answered with the upcoming Episodes VIII and IX.  The Force Awakens is also a genuinely funny movie.  The humor here comes across as very natural and spot on, and it is laugh out loud hilarious at times.  We can thank Star Wars veteran Lawrence Kasdan and J.J. Abrams for that.  The writing is incredibly sharp.

The action is second to none.  From the opening escape from the Star Destroyer to the attack on Maz’s cantina, and the assault on the Starkiller Base, the film doesn’t let up.  It’s action that you can see too.  My personal favorite moments and this is a little bit of a spoiler, is when Rey and Finn get into the Millenium Falcon and fend off a couple of Tie Fighters.  That was absolutely incredible.  Seeing Han and Chewy take on storm-troopers never gets old.  Han has his trusty old blaster that he’s not afraid to use.    The aerial combat with the X-Wings and Tie Fighters is awesome.  The light-saber duel towards the end of the film is one of the most brutal I’ve seen.  It’s not the super-flashy nonsense of the prequel trilogy, either.  This is down-to-earth hack and slash.  It’s great.  What also distinguishes this entry into Star Wars from the prequels is its equal use of CG and practical effects.  I’m not just talking about explosions either, they actually use real sets, locations and real costumes.  This is extremely apparent when Han, Finn and Rey go to visit Maz.  There’s a great mix of new and old throughout the film.

The musical score by the legendary John Williams is ever present and very exciting.  It’s one of the most incredible musical scores I’ve heard this year.  My biggest issue is that the First Order doesn’t seem to have a theme of its own.  That’s a bit of a misnomer at this point, as the Empire didn’t get its theme until The Empire Strikes Back.  This is the first film in a brand new trilogy so I’m definitely forgiving in that regard.  I had to listen to it a couple of times, but I really like Williams’ rendition of the main theme this time around.  Overall, it’s top-notch.

J.J. Abrams and Disney have managed to do what George Lucas could not with the Prequel Trilogy, and that is bring Star Wars back.  While I certainly have issues with the film, The Force Awakens reminds me of why I love Star Wars in the first place.  It brings us back to that incredible sense of wonder and adventure that Star Wars is known for.  Having seen the film for a second time, so I can really give you my actual thoughts on it, it’s a great movie and a damn good Star Wars film.  There is so much more that I want to talk about, but I’m going to have to leave that for another post.  Honestly, this one comes HIGHLY recommended.  It’s not perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the prequels ever were.  As it stands right now, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has brought in a total of $813,451,329 world-wide.  That’s just ONE week, and I would not be surprised if it breaks the billion dollar barrier by the end of December.  I think it’s safe to say that Star Wars is back in a very big way, and I’m truly excited about this franchise again.  Episode VIII will hit theaters in the summer of 2017, but we will be seeing a spin-off movie next year called Rogue One.  My final score for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a 9/10.  If you consider yourself a fan of the Original Trilogy, you owe it to yourself to see this one in theaters.  I’m planning on seeing it again, in IMAX 3D.  I’m also making a prediction for the home video release of Episode VII:  This is will be the best selling Blu-Ray of 2016.