Star Wars: The Force Awakens: A Review

Tuesday, December 22, AD 2015



My family and I saw the latest Star Wars on Saturday and I greatly enjoyed it.  It was a fine example of slam bam space opera and a rousing tribute to the best in the original trilogy of films.  Not deep entertainment but quite satisfying.  My review follows below the fold and the usual spoilers warning is in full effect.

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7 Responses to Star Wars: The Force Awakens: A Review

  • This was a welcome return to greatness by the franchise. My only minor complaint is an odd one considering the criticisms of the prequels, but they actually could have spent just a little more time explaining the politics. I had a hard time understanding just what the First Order was, and what happened to the republic, but I was able to better understand it from some quick internet searches.

    FWIW, recent photos of Hamill show he has trimmed down quite a bit, so it’s safe to assume he will play a more active role in the next film.

  • Actually, I’m mixed. Thought the elimination of cutesy characters was good. Also the effort harkened back to the first trilogy in story telling though weaker than the first two movies.

    Somewhat depressed by the aged Leia and Han though this was perhaps in part due to my advancing age. Also dismayed by the poor performance of Fischer. Maybe she is ill or whatever – just felt very stiff.

    I also thought Ren had more of a the feel of a 21st Century Millennial – conflicted and in need of therapy. Thought it paradoxical that he should seek to emulate his grandfather Darth Vader when it was Vader who in the end turned back to the light and destroyed the Emperor.

    My biggest complaint was with Rey. I thought Ridley did a very good job with the role but I had a problem with how Rey basically came to master the Force through her own efforts. In the past, Jedi needed to be trained by a Master. Now, Rey comes to be able to control the Force through her own self. She gains such control that she is able to beat Ren who one presumes has been trained for years. Felt this ability on Rey’s part was a betrayal of discipleship and humility taught in the first two movies.

    As for prognostications about Finn, I suspect he is also a Jedi (note how he was able to so effectively shoot down enemy fighters though he had limited training in the equipment.) So we shall see him in the future performing some heroic role.

  • You didn’t mention the Skellig Michael monastery scene. (Catholic content!)

    Amusingly (to me), Skellig Michael in pagan times was known as Teach Donn, the house of the god of the dead, Donn. In Christian times, it was said that if you were really desperately lovelorn and wanted to get married, you should go on pilgrimage to Skellig Michael. (And there’s at least one old song about it, which was sung every Spring to tease the local confirmed bachelors and old maids.) So that may be movie-relevant, heh!

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  • His death by his geeky son with Princess Leia, Vader wannabe, Kylo Ren, (Ben Solo) portrayed well by former Marine Adam Driver, was truly shocking.

    Oh c’mon, how could that possibly have shocked you. They telegraphed that the minute Kylo Ren stopped in mid-stride and cocked his head. Even through the mask you could see him thinking I sense something; a presence I have not felt since….

    And like Phillip I’m pretty sure Finn’s not really dead, just sleepy.

  • “Oh c’mon, how could that possibly have shocked you.”

    I expected an attack. I did not expect him to kill Hans Solo.

  • Repeat to yourself three times: “It’s just a film”. As Samuel Goldwyn is reputed to have said, ” If want to send a message, I’ll call Western Union.”

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Death Comes For The Brigadier

Wednesday, February 23, AD 2011

A sad day for Dr. Who fans everywhere.  Nicholas Courtney, who brilliantly portrayed the Brigadier in over 100 Dr. Who episodes, has died at age 81 of cancer:

Nicholas Courtney (born William Nicholas Stone Courtney on 16th December 1929) played first Colonel and then Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, beginning in “The Web of Fear” and finally in “Battlefield”. He reprised the role for the fan video “Downtime” (later adapted into one of the Virgin Missing Adventures), and for several audio dramas for the BBC and Big Finish Productions.

He was born in Cairo, Egypt, the son of a British diplomat and educated in France, Kenya and Egypt. He served his National Service in the British Army, leaving after 18 months as a private, not wanting to pursue a military career. He next joined the Webber Douglas drama school, and after two years began doing repertory theatre in Northampton, and from there moved to London.

His first appearance in Doctor Who was in the 1965 serial The Daleks’ Master Plan, where he played Space Security Agent Bret Vyon opposite William Hartnell as the Doctor. The director Douglas Camfield liked Courtney’s performance, and when Camfield was assigned the 1968 serial The Web of Fear, he cast Courtney as Captain Knight. However, David Langton, who was to play the character of Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, gave up the role to work elsewhere, so Camfield recast Captain Knight and gave the Colonel’s part to Courtney instead.

Lethbridge-Stewart reappeared later that year in The Invasion, promoted to Brigadier and in charge of the British contingent of UNIT, an organization that protected the Earth from alien invasion. It was in that recurring role that he became most famous, appearing semi-regularly from 1970 to 1975. Courtney made return appearances in the series in 1983 and his last Doctor Who television appearance was in 1989 (in the serial Battlefield).

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5 Responses to Death Comes For The Brigadier

  • Donald – I always suspected you were a man of class and good taste. This post confirms it. To the TARDIS!!

  • Never trust a man or a woman Larry who doesn’t like at least one of the Doctors!

  • God rest his soul. Certainly, the years when the Brigadier was paired with Jonathan Pertwee and then Tom Baker were just about the best Dr. Who ever had.

  • DC,

    When I was a kid I lived in England and we only had three TV channels. Dr. Who was one of the best things on and since I lived there in the late 70s, I thought Tom Baker was the only Doctor. I even had a Dr. Who-like scarf that I wore on cold wet days, which on that little island is quite often.

    I can’t remember the last time I discussed Dr. Who with anyone because I am trying to hide my inner geek.

    Mr. McClarey, thanks for the memories.

    Since the geek is out. When I watch NCIS, I don’t recall Ducky from The Man From UNCLE, I remember him as Steel, from Sapphire and Steel. If any of you know about that series then you must be ultra geeks.

  • May God rest his soul.
    Tom Baker Doctor Who episodes are an enduring favorite for easygoing after-midnight entertainment. Nostalgic (for seventies kid), and most enjoyable.