Star Wars TFA – Reaction

So this isn’t really a review – more of a reaction to the movie.  It would be very hard for someone like me to review a Star Wars movie.  Just too close and too invested in the SW mythos and all that entails, which is why my reactions and viewing experience are what they are.

Which is to say…  Saddened and a bit neurotic.  And by the way, spoiler alert – you probably don’t want to read this if you haven’t yet seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


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The Anticipations

We’ve been busy enough around here the date sort of sneaked in on us, but tonight is Star Wars Night.


Per usual, I’ve remained willfully ignorant of spoilers, advanced reviews, youtubes, and general speculation.  That said, positives, man, positives.

Many of the questions about how they’ll use the veteran characters, will the new actors be able to hold up, what direction will Abrams take us…  Tonight.

The kids are almost as excited as I am.  They are the perfect age for this.  So we’re going to go early to wait in line.  They may dress up if they’re feeling it…  We will check back in with reactions soon!

Awaken… Teaser Breakdown

By now most with an interest have seen this:

The music, sounds, all of it has a Pavlovian effect on many from my generation…  Just skin-tingly, goosebumping excitement.  Grip your stadium seats, and let’s get bucket of popcorn and hightail it Tatooine!

Of course since the original Star Wars kids are now older with our own kids, there will be a certain subset of young viewers who will shrug their shoulders in adolescent defiance.  Why is my dad so excited?  This is dumb.  We pity the fools.  Fortunately that’s not the Beemsville kids (at least not yet).

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Books: Star Wars – Scoundrels

In Brief:  Set right after Episode IV, Timothy Zahn’s Scoundrels finds Han Solo and Chewbecca looking to score some bank from a heist of a local crime lord.  Of course it’s more complicated then that, especially when Lando shows up…

Pros:  Zahn’s done his homework on plotting – anything from The Sting to Sneakers to Oceans 11.  He also knows the Star Wars universe well enough to add some easter eggs for the hardcore fans and has a good sense of dialogue for the established characters.

Cons:  Any good heist story involves a lengthy setup and establishment of the rules of the target.  While Zahn does a solid job here, especially with incorporating the tech of the SW universe, this may cause the book to drag for some readers.

Review:  Your devoted Star Wars geek knows of Timothy Zahn, long considered one of the best novelization authors out there.  His Heir to the Empire series, which takes place soon after Episode VI, was good enough to draw me in to several more of Zahn’s books.  With that history, the Scoundrels premise (and cover) grabbed me as soon as I saw it in the store.

Scoundrels has Han and Chewie looking for work in the months after the destruction of the first Death Star.  Han has already lost his reward from the Rebel’s victory at Yavin, and Jabba’s bounty hunters are moving on him again.  An encounter with a young man called Eanjer opens up an opportunity. Continue reading

The Falcon will fly again

Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Scottie in the new StarTreks) said of J.J. Abrams’ approach to the Star Wars reboot:

“He’ll bring the fun back. Lucas seemed to misread what made the first ones great, and concentrate on things that people didn’t really care about, or willfully ignore the things that people cared about. Whereas J.J. will embrace them all.”

We’re going to see the Millennium Falcon again. We’re going to see those characters again. All the things that we loved about the first three, we will see again.”

The part about the Falcon really hit me for some reason.  Maybe it’s because we’ve been watching all the movies in Beemsville, slowly rolling them out for the kids in episodic order.  Watching them get all excited about Star Wars, listening to my son wax philosophical about the finer points of Star Destroyer technology, or my daughter’s drawings fusing fairies with Jedi…  They are excited.  That’s what I remember when I saw the Falcon on the big screen or heard the hiss-hum of a lightsaber igniting.

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Blame the Legos

Star Wars.  Yes, I’m a fan.  Not an obsessive, obnoxious fanboy.  Not someone who can’t see the flaws or critical failings of certain aspects of various media and, er, films…  But I am someone who’s read my share of tie-in novels, and comics, played the video games, reveled in the Robot Chicken and Family Guy episodes.  I’ve even tracked down and watched the Star Wars Holiday Special.  As an adult.  Sober.

And there’s this:

Han & LeiaThe photo you don’t see here (because I don’t put the kids’ photos on the blog) features the two of them along with us in their jedi gear to, you know, complete the theme.

Despite this, I haven’t pushed the movies or even the Clone Wars show on the kids.  In fact, I haven’t let them watch the movies all the way through yet because I wanted them to be old enough to appreciate it (and hopefully realize that Jar Jar ain’t cool).

Kids love Jar Jar, though.  Lucas wasn’t wrong about that.

I’m also torn on the whole question of sequencing.  Do you start with the original or do you go in Episodic order?  Seriously, this is an important decision.  See here for more wisdom on this.

Thanks to the Lego Star Wars video games,  the sequencing question is sort of moot now.  So too, any concerns about enthusiasm or pushing my own geek agenda on my kids…

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Droids you were looking for

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far yard sale not far away…

So the wife goes sale-ing most Saturdays when the weather gets nicer, on the lookout for deals and such.  Yesterday at such a sale she spotted some Star Wars stuff.  Of course that was an afterthought.  She was mainly looking for a bike for our son and stopped to see what was available.

“We should stop by this sale,” she says.   “It’s a couple blocks away.  They have a bike and some Star Wars toys.”

OK, I’m thinking.  So we made the stop on the way to the morning soccer game.

The bike was decent and the right size for the boy’s next step up this summer.  But what immediately caught my eye was the original Darth Vader carrying case.  Circa Empire if I’m not mistaken, but could be from the original.  The handle was broken off and it looked a little worn, but I was excited.

And when I opened said carrying case, what should I find?


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Youtubery: Do or Do Not

Do talk to your kids about Star Wars.  It’s important to them, to you.  Think about how you will approach this.  Have a game plan.  Know your sequence and your preferred editions.  And if you need assistance, consider this public service announcement…

Do use the power of cheap video editing and the inter-tubes to mash-up cool scenes that didn’t happen, but perhaps should have…

Do not mess with Chuck Norris – even on Endor…

Chuck and Yoda agree:  there is no try.

More Fun with Lucasfilm

Star Wars: the franchise that will probably entertain my generation until we’re all dead and buried…  Inspiring younglings and jedi masters alike, through cheap video production and interwebs storage capacity.

Who really defines the term, interesting:


In the hood, you better come correct:


More after the bump…

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Star Wars from the fans

Lucasfilm’s latest trip to the cash trough, The Clone Wars, has been pretty much panned by the jedi faithful.  Here at Beemsville, we didn’t pony up for the theatrical release but will likely attempt to watch the DVD at some point despite the bad reviews.  These days your options for some Star Wars goodness are limited.  You’re pretty much left with some video games (Lego Star Wars, The Force Unleashed), the Dark Horse comics (some are good, some are weak), and your own sense of nostalgia.  Of course you can also go comedy with the Family Guy and Robot Chicken send-ups, both of which we wholeheartedly endorse.

And if you want to stick with the comedy vibe, you can also go with the fans.  Check out Atom TV which has the 2008 Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge.  Atom TV airs on Comdey Central, which replays it a couple of times throughout the week.  And of course you can view the shorts via the interweb link above or the icon below.

We’ve been enjoying Star Wars fan films since a few years back when we saw ‘Troops’, a clever Cops/Stormtroopers mash-up.  The tradition continues with ‘Padme’ (Juneau send-up), ‘Chad Vader’ (Sith wannabe at the grocery), Ewok Grindhouse (self-explanatory), and more.  Good stuff for the Star Wars geek in all of us.