So, I can already tell what you’re probably wondering right now. “Cade! Fallout 4 came out this week! Are you going to review it? It’s by Bethesda Softworks, it’s an open world RPG, buy it and review it as soon as freaking possible!” Well, I’ve been busy, but I promise I’ll have the game before Christmas, but it could take me at least two weeks to finish it and write a review. In the mean time, however, two more trailers for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens have dropped like an Internet bomb. The first one premiered during halftime on Monday Night Football in mid-October, the same night advanced tickets officially went up for sale and caused numerous theater websites to crash from the overwhelming crowd. There was second trailer in Japanese subtitles released last week, conveniently placed on the same day that the first Warcraft movie trailer also was unveiled.(I may also do an analysis on that trailer as well.) Now before you go off on a rant on how stupid the bastard lightsaber is or whether or not Star Trek is the superior franchise: No. YOU LISTEN TO ME, PAL! This is the most iconic science-fiction film franchise of all time, my childhood favorite; I REFUSE to let it be tainted by fanboys moaning about Kylo Ren’s new weapon or Star Trek fanatics calling out their rivals as underlings. So if you’re within that crowd, you are allowed to please leave the room. Everyone else who stays will get an honest look at the trailers and my speculation on certain plot points and characters. Now let’s begin. Full disclosure: I could not be more excited for the release of The Force Awakens after these two trailers. While some fans are disappointed to hear that almost none of the Extended Universe will carry over into this new trilogy, I argue that it’s an advantage to tell an original story that can surprise fans and newcomers alike. Here’s what we know so far: A year after Return of the Jedi, a battle took place on the desert planet of Jakku in an effort to stop the Rebellion. The Empire lost, but both sides suffered massive casualties. 29 years later, The Alliance has grown and spawned multiple different branches, including pilot Poe Dameron’s group The Resistance. Meanwhile, The Empire seems like it has become smaller, but a more technologically advanced army call The First Order. Kylo Ren is the member of a Sith-like group called the Knights of Ren, who seem to be Force-sensitive beings allied with the First Order. From what the trailers and T.V. spots have implicated, it can be assumed that this is going to be Rey and Finn’s story. There is a strong fan theory that Rey is the offspring of Leia and Han Solo, and I actually believe that. Speaking of Han Solo, I love how he finally believes in the Force, which shows pure character development between now and return of the Jedi. However… I can’t get through this post without discussing Luke Skywalker’s absence. He has yet to make a full appearance in both the trailers and the impressive theatrical poster. This has lead fans to spread a fan theory all across the Internet, saying that the true identity of Kylo Ren is actually Luke Skywalker, who has turned to the dark side. I detest this theory, as it goes against everything that he stood for. Then again, so did his father, Anakin Skywalker, so it’s a low hanging fruit. There’s also a strong theory that started on Reddit that Jar Jar Binks was meant to be the Sith mastermind behind everything in the prequels. It actually makes sense, considering that he was the only one who gave Chancellor Palpatine emergency powers to control the new Clone Army, managed to conveniently move his lips when other characters were speaking, and became a representative in the Galactic Senate. However, J.J. Abrams has explicitly stated that he placed Jar Jar’s skeleton in the desert of Tatooine. I feel the need to make this abundantly clear, but if you’re in the audiences and you enjoyed watching the prequels movies, that’s fine; I’m not trying to make you feel like garbage for liking them. But I’m just letting you know that certain shots in the trailer, such as when it swings around to get a look at Finn and Poe Dameron, would never come in the mind of George Lucas when he was making the prequels. Overall, I think the trailers are fantastic, and have got me even more hyped. I really don’t care if it sucks or not, but I’m just glad that the series is back in full swing.
Imagine the film Cast Away meets Apollo 13 with the sci-fi flavors of Interstellar, and what’s the final result? Ridley Scott’s modern masterpiece, The Martian. This science-fiction adventure movie was released on October 2nd, 2015, thus far earning itself $227.3 million at the worldwide box office, but has the potential to do so much better. So I’ll keep this review nice and short so you can do what I think you should be doing, SEEING THE MOVIE! Seriously, get out of your computer chair and go see it with some friends. Based upon the scientifically accurate Andy Weir novel of the same name, a group of astronauts on a mission on Mars are forced to abandon their mission in the wake of a huge planetary storm. Mark Watney is lost in the chaos and presumed dead by his teammates, who have to leave in order to stay alive. It turns out that Watney has survived, but his communications array has been destroyed, making it extremely difficult to contact NASA. Luckily he’s a botanist, saying that in order to survive the next few years on Mars that has to “science the shit of this.” Rarely has a profane statement been taken literally, as he actually uses the poop of himself and his crew mates to harvest some potatoes. Meanwhile back on Earth, NASA, who had been under the impression that he died, debate over whether it’s worth risking millions of dollars and the lives of the rest of Watney’s crew to save just one man on a distant planet. I’ll just cut to the film’s three biggest strong points to give an idea of how amazing it is. First, The Martian is a surprisingly funny and lighthearted survival story. In a premise that sounds dark and stressful, and there are a few moments like that, there are plenty of hilarious jokes and running gags that will make laugh out loud in the theater. Not only will the characters’ breakdown of the scientifically accurate devices sometimes amuse when they make a mistake or hilarious explosion, but one of the running gags is that the only music Mark Watney has on Mars is disco music. In fact the majority of the film’s soundtrack is made of disco dance tracks from the ’70s and ’80s. He constantly complains to his V-log that he’s grown irritated by it. Second, the large ensemble cast, as a whole, puts on an amazing job at their jobs. In particular, Sean Bean (who makes it to the end alive), Jeff Daniels, Donald Glover(A.K.A. Childish Gambino), Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig, Michael Pena, and Chiwetel Ejiofor give some of their most stripped down performances. At the center, Matt Damon shines as the extremely likable and intelligent botanist and astronaut stuck on Mars, Mark Watney, in perhaps his best role since Jason Bourne, Lastly, this is perhaps Ridley Scott’s only film with an optimistic tone and uplifting feel. The overall theme of people coming together to save one of their own kind and that they’re willing to make sacrifices for it is truly special. Once the film is over and humanity has celebrated with each other and made peace, you’re sure to walk out of the theater with a smile on your face. All in all, The Martian is an uplifting, hilarious, and scientifically accurate science fiction film that’s in the running for one of the best movies of the year. Now GO WATCH IT IN THEATERS!