Tag Archives: reviews

Video: Unboxing Star Wars: TFA Visual Dictionary, Rey’s Story & Rebels ‘Shroud of Darkness’

Unboxing Star Wars 3-13-16 title card

Time for another episode of Unboxing Star Wars with Baby Jawa, Yowie, and me! Yowie and I discuss the Star Wars Rebels episode ‘Shroud of Darkness’ and then review two recent books: The Force Awakens: Rey’s Story by Elizabeth Schaefer, from Disney-Lucasfilm Press, and Pablo Hidalgo’s The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary, from DK Publishing. Meanwhile, Baby Jawa does baby things.


Quick reviews
The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary – An enjoyable must-have guide for all Star Wars fans!
The Force Awakens: Rey’s Story – A great retelling of TFA from Rey’s point of view. Intended for young readers, but can be enjoyed by any fan. Love that artwork by Brian Rood!
‘Shroud of Darkness’ – Thumbs-up! Force visions reveal some interesting secrets for our characters, and provide for some cool scenes and the return of several legendary SW voices.

Get more info on Wear Star Wars Every Day or make a donation at GoFundMe. Check out my article on the best quotes from Hondo Ohnaka on StarWars.com, and Hondo’s take on this year’s ‘This is Madness’ brackets.

Note: Disney-Lucasfilm Press provided a copy of The Force Awakens: Rey’s Story for review.

Roundup: The Force Awakens reviews

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The Force Awakens reviews came off embargo very early this morning, and there are a lot of them (I did one!) They are also, for the most part, overwhelmingly positive, and as of Wednesday afternoon the film is 94% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Here are a select few:

→ The prize for most innovative goes to Hannah Lodge at The Beat, which is helpfully divided to let you choose your own spoiler level. (It’s still not all that spoilery.)

io9’s Charlie Jane Anders has become one of my favorite reviewers, and her take on TFA is mostly positive – it passes her “grin test.”

→ I’m super jealous of Chris Taylor’s opening line at Mashable, if only because he said it better than I did. I could not pull off his Beatles references, though.

→ Our pal Bryan Young at Big Shiny Robot is a little more hesitant, particularly on the editing front.

→ Drew McWeeny at Hitfix praises how TFA grapples with the legacy both on and off screen.

The Guardian’s Jordan Hoffman is heavy on the detail – mainly of the Easter Egg variety, not so much the spoilers.

→ Devin Faraci of Birth. Movies. Death. calls The Force Awakens “the Star Wars movie for remix and remake culture,” a fair enough assessment. He’s cynical on a lot of things – that’s Faraci for you – but he’s also full of praise for the characters and the final saber battle.

→ Among a handful of not-so-positive reviews is Scott Mendelson at Forbes, who found the nostalgia a bit too overpowering, and the details not sketched in enough.

Review: The Force Awakens is everything I hoped it would be

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Let’s just cut to the chase: The Force Awakens is a pretty good Star Wars movie.

Some are saying great, but I’m not sure if a single viewing is enough. (And I don’t do rankings, because that’s tedious.) But the important thing, for our purposes, is that I enjoyed it.

Granted, I’m an easy mark for this one. I’ve been a Star Wars fan for both the special editions and the prequels – I waited in those lines. (Briefly.) But I never approached any of them with anything beyond idle curiosity. They were not a cornerstone of my personal fandom. The Force Awakens is the first brand-new Star Wars film that’s actually important to me. The first film where I was actually a little scared to watch, because what if I don’t like it?

In the theater, none of that mattered.

UPDATE: Please do not leave spoilers in the comments of the review. We have a special discussion post for that sort of thing!

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Review roundup: Star Wars #1 does pretty well for itself

marvel-sw1Now that the million or so copies of Marvel’s Star Wars #1 have hit the comic books shops, let’s see what people are saying:

  • IGN: “There’s an emphatic “Give the people what they want!” feel to this issue, and the creative team certainly delivers.”
  • iDigitalTimes: “…the best character work is Princess Leia…” (spoilers)
  • /film:”Not only does Vader make a great dramatic entrance but theres a very cool tense sequence that feels ripped out of Homeland (this is a strong compliment) and Vader’s response is nothing short of bad ass.”
  • Nerdist: “Writer Jason Aaron perfectly captures the pacing, action, and humor of the original Star Wars in a way that a lot of the comics haven’t for a long time it seems.”
  • Jedi News: “The true test of any comic script is does it leave you longing for more, and I can’t imagine anyone reading this issue and not being absolutely compelled to pick up issue #2.”
  • Tosche Station: 4/5 – “At times, it was difficult to NOT hear the actors’ voices inside my head reading the lines.”
  • Big Shiny Robot (a double review from Bryan and myself): “It brings us to familiar territory while still feeling fresh.”
  • Coffee with Kenobi: “Reading “Star Wars” No. 1 is like watching a movie.”
  • EUCantina.net: “Marvel knew they had to make a big impression with their first Star Wars issue, and they have succeeded.”

Talking with the creators:

Review: A New Dawn pumps up excitement for Rebels

star-wars-a-new-dawnOn sale today, A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller is the first novel that is part of the Lucasfilm Story Group approved timeline. Set in the dark times between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, and several years before the upcoming Rebels cartoon, it’s a tale of how two of the show’s main characters, Hera and Kanan, first encounter each other and eventually decide to team up. As someone excited by Rebels, I enjoyed the novel and found it interesting to see the characters before they united for a common cause.

Miller brings his skills in combining likable characters with clashing viewpoints, in a story setting that he has mastered before in Kenobi and Knight Errant: a Jedi alone in hostile territory. Only this time, the Jedi’s not interested in being a Jedi, or even be on the hero’s path at all – while someone else is sorting out what type of people are and aren’t needed for a rebellion to the Empire’s rule. And as with Knight Errant and Lost Tribe of the Sith series, where various Sith philosophies were being forged and tested against each other, the villain, Count Vidian, has his own philosophy being pushed to the extreme, and we witness it in practice.

Minor spoilers beyond this point.

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Comic review: Legacy #18 wraps up the conflict between the Imperial Knights and the Sith and Darth Wredd, with Ania Solo and her friends caught up in the middle. Jawajames gives it a big thumbs-up for staying true to the characters and giving us a big epic Star Wars battle.

And if you missed it last week, Jawajames also reviewed Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir #4, the finale of this storyline — this would have been a fantastic episode arc of The Clone Wars, and it’s great to see it in comic form.

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Comic review: With Rebel Heist #3 taking a fresh point-of-view on Chewbacca, this series is getting better and better, says James.

Review: Maul: Lockdown is no letdown

Maul: LockdownMaul: Lockdown by Joe Schreiber is out today, and fans of the Dark Side should rejoice. Lockdown delivers a can’t-put-this-down tale of scum and villainy.

Set before The Phantom Menace, Lockdown has Darth Maul sent undercover to infiltrate a space station prison to find an elusive arms dealer operating out of inescapable penitentiary. Maul quickly becomes a contender in the warden’s profitable prison fight circuit, but there’s more to finding someone who doesn’t want to be found in a prison than just cracking heads all the way to the top. Plus, more than just prisoners and guards lurk in the dark confines of this station. And throw in Jabba the Hutt, dangerous cultists, and Darth Sidious scheming under his own master’s nose.

Darth Maul has gone through a renaissance in the past few years – he has gone from being the weapon of rage back in 1999 in The Phantom Menace and the related EU (Michael Reaves’ Shadow Hunter & Ron Marz’ comic), to his resurrection on The Clone Wars (along with Tom Taylor’s Darth Maul: Death Sentence and James Luceno’s Darth Plagueis) as some one able to scheme his way into power as he seeks vengeance on both Obi-wan Kenobi and his old master, while taking on his brother Savage as his own apprentice. And now this year, we get more of Darth Maul, with Lockdown and the upcoming Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir comic. Maul: Lockdown adds to this modern character and builds some of Maul’s roots as a plotter as this mission tests his abilities to not only survive but achieve his objective before time runs out.

Minor spoilers beyond this point.

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