Stranger Things Season 2 Review

Even though season 2 of Stranger Things came out just under 2 weeks ago I feel like I am woefully late in logging this review. Most of the world binge watched it in the first weekend but I didn’t have the time and I hate binge watching so I just finished today and I thought I would share with you my response. First, I loved the original because of the intriguing story, nostalgic atmosphere, and the strong performances. This second season was entertaining but for me it fell short of that first season.

Let’s talk about the strengths first. The biggest one is the performances. The kids are all so great and have amazing chemistry with each other. These feel like real kids with unique personalities, bonds and conflicts. As a child of the 80s I can’t help but think back to my friends while watching and the adventures we would have in our neighborhood riding our bikes and pretending in our backyards. Noah Schnapp as Will does a particularly nice job portraying a child trying to sort out his time in the Upside Down. Millie Bobby Brown is fantastic as Eleven and Gaten Matarazzo couldn’t be cuter as Dustin. Sadie Sink is a nice newcomer as Maxine (or Madmax as the boys call her). All the kids are great and completely adorable.

The returning teens are also all good with Natalia Dyer as Nancy, Charlie Heaton as Jonathan and Joe Keery as Steve (he steals the show as the assistant for Dustin hunting down a monster). The one miss for me was Dacre Montgomery as Billy, Max’s racist brother. I didn’t really see the purpose of his character except to just be racist and not take care of Max. I thought he might get eaten by the monsters in some humorous way but no such luck. He was just there to be an unused bad guy from what I could see.

The adults are all good with the nice addition of Sean Astin as Bob Newby (the boyfriend of Winona Ryder’s Joyce). Paul Reiser is also fine as a government doctor keeping tabs on Will’s recovery.

The atmosphere is also really good with terrific music and dialogue that works. The one exception of that was episode 7 that focuses on Eleven and her sister Eight. These characters remind me of the gang in Chappie, which if you know me that is not a good thing. They were very annoying, and I feel like the episode didn’t show me anything I didn’t already know about Eleven aside from giving her a chance at revenge and not taking it. It felt superfluous to me.

Now let’s talk about the parts I didn’t like as much. In the first season the Upside Down is a total mystery. We know Will is gone and all of these strange things keep happening, so when for example Joyce is making an alphabet wall with Christmas lights to communicate with her son it is tense and we as a viewer have no idea what is happening. She could be insane or it could be leading to something sinister? We must keep watching to find out.

There are so many elements of mystery in the first season that kept me engaged and excited. Who is 11? What happened to Barb? What is the strange government facility etc? For the first 3 or 4 episodes of season 2 they do a good job continuing to build mystery by having Will’s character experience new fears and pain. They try to have a similar scene to the lights on the wall by having Will draw a puzzle that gets put together all over the walls and it mostly works if a little repetitive. They also have Nancy and Jonathan looking into Barb’s disappearance and Dustin finding a new mysterious life-form. All of this works pretty well and is entertaining. The problem is eventually Dustin’s life form turns into a monster called a demogorgon and the narrative changes to a standard monster movie.

It kind of reminded me of the movie I am Legend, which is so fantastic for the first 45 minutes when Will Smith is alone and the unknown surrounds him. It is scary and full of surprises. Then the zombies appear and it becomes pretty generic and lame. That’s how I felt about season 2 of Stranger Things

Part of the problem is we get too much of the monsters (as in I Am Legend). Creatures are more scary when we don’t see them and I think you can tell from the image above these monsters are pretty cheesy looking and they are in packs so we see a lot of them. I can enjoy a monster hunting people scene. I love Jurassic Park after all, but it just felt less special than the mystery of the first season. Monsters on the prowl in a hospital with intermittent electricity is fun but not something you speculate about for weeks amongst your friends.

So all in all, I had a good time watching Stranger Things 2. The acting alone makes it worth a watch, but I don’t think it will be something that will stay with me like the first season did especially the last half of the season that got monster-heavy.

I seem to be in the minority with this view but what else is new! LOL. What about you? What did you think of Stranger Things season 2? Which season do you prefer?

Overall Grade- B

Advertisements

Watcher in the Woods 2017 Review

I’ve always said if you are going to remake a movie pick a flawed movie that has potential. Then you have something to improve upon. The 1980’s Disney film The Watcher in the Woods is a good example. The original is entertaining but it is saddled with bad acting and cheesy dialogue. A new version aired last weekend on Lifetime Channel and it does make some improvements to the original. Unfortunately it also makes odd choices that made it less interesting as a narrative.

Spoilers below

If you want to hear my thoughts on the original film here is my review:

The biggest improvement the new film makes is in the acting. Tallulah Evans is a serious step up as Jan. She is beautiful, expressive and a much better actress than Lynn-Holly Johnson. She also looks like she could be Britt Robertson’s doppleganger.

I honestly thought all the acting was better in this new version. The little girl was better. The boyfriend was better. The parents were better. You get the idea.

Anjelica Huston is about as good a replacement for Bette Davis as you could cast. Unfortunately she’s not in the movie near as much. I wonder if they only had her for a few days of shooting? It feels that way. Still she makes good work of the scenes she is in and elevates the film just as Davis did. You feel for her as this wounded mother and yet those big eyes are terrifying.

The story of Watcher in the Woods focuses on a family that moves into an old house with a weird old woman living in the guest house. Years before the woman’s daughter Karen went missing and ever since the woods nearby are full of creepy goings-on. As the family lives in the house, the mystery of the daughter starts to unfold putting them all at risk.

The problem with the remake is it takes this basic premise and makes it very conventional. Where the original made strange choices, that added mystery in this version you see everything coming a mile away. For example, in the original the teens make a conscious choice to hold a seance and experiment with the occult. Then Karen is taken by an alien known as the Watcher. Even though the acting is hokey this is interesting because it was their choice to become involved. It’s hard for Jan and crew to figure out what happened to Karen when it is shrouded in an eclipse with the occult.

In this new version the Watcher is a puritan doctor who was killed by townspeople because they feared he had the plague. Now he stalks the forest waiting for the townspeople to recognize him and the work he did. This is less interesting because it is a monster movie. There is no sense of mystery at why the students had the seance and what Karen was all about. She’s just an innocent girl who was taken by a monster.

There were other little things that were less interesting. Like when the glass shatters it is a cross instead of a triangle. This is probably a nitpick but to me a triangle is more unusual. What does a triangle mean? Where it is obvious what a cross means. Another example is the ‘Nerak’ scenes aren’t as interesting. In the original the little girl randomly writes Nerak backwards before anyone knows about Karen and names her dog Nerak. This is more interesting than writing it on the window 30 minutes in and then waking up and screaming the the name once the investigation has started. It doesn’t leave you as the viewer asking questions which is part of what makes the original scary. This new version has family friendly scares but it’s not as thoughtful a narrative as the original. Oh well.

All that said, if you are looking for a family friendly horror movie you could do worse than the new Watcher in the Woods. It’s a pretty bland movie but it does have good performances and some scary sequences. It’s a little frustrating because with just a few changes it could have been special but it’s an okay watch.

Just barely smile worthy.

My friend AJ did a podcast comparing the 2 films

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Wonder Woman (TV 1976)

This week for Hit Me with Your Best Shot Nathaniel at The Film Experience has given us a fun challenge. In honor of Wonder Woman we were assigned a 2 part episode of the iconic 1976 Wonder Woman television show to pick a best shot from. The episode is called The Feminum Myystique and it aired November 6 and 8, 1976

I used to watch Wonder Woman reruns when I was a little girl but it had been years since I revisited it and I must confess I found it to be a complete delight. I may have to get this show on bluray!

Lynda Carter radiates charisma as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince. Her smile disarms you immediately and yet she is no bimbo especially as Diana working in the navy. It is easy to compare her to Christopher Reeves’ Superman as both are strong, immortal characters with old fashioned charm but I never viewed Reeves’ Clark Kent as all that bright like Diana is. Anyway, they are both great.

In this double episode a group of Nazi spies are trying to get information on the latest US fighter jet.  Diana’s sister, Drusilla (Wonder Girl), comes to bring Diana back to Paradise Island but becomes abducted by the Nazis. Eventually Queen Hippolyta and the rest of the Amazons must group together to defeat these Nazis. This requires them to understand men and evil in a way they never had before.

I thoroughly enjoyed these episodes. I suppose I like traditional superhero narratives with good guys and bad guys facing off with little weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth that we so often see now. It’s just simple smarts and goodness facing off against Nazis!

The best shot becomes difficult because it is shot in a fairly standard way without a lot of epic moments. So, the shot I have chosen is a more subtle one. Towards the end of part 2 Hippolyta tells the girls about lying:

“I know it’s impossible for you to lie but men don’t know that.

They lie all the time”

What I love about this moment is I feel we have lost the ability to be cheeky when it comes to the sexes. Everyone is always offended by everything. Look at the uproar over a lovely notion of a women’s only Wonder Woman screening? It has to be used as some kind of feminist revenge plot by idiotic men…

Anyway, we can’t tease each other or have fun any more. It’s all cries of misogyny from women and anger over radical feminism from the men. I include myself in this group.

I love being a woman and I don’t think we are the same as men- thank goodness. It’s ok to admit differences and tease each other every now and then.

Just have fun with freakin Wonder Woman folks and chill out!

Anne with an E Series Review (Spoilers)

* A few spoilers ahead

Anyone who knows me knows of my love of Anne of Green Gables. Anne and her series of books was essentially my childhood’s Harry Potter. I read them over and over again and I loved the 1985 series with Megan Follows. So it was with great anticipation I heard a new version was coming on Netflix this week! Unfortunately I have viewed the 7 episode first season and not only is it not an Anne series but it doesn’t replace her with anything very compelling. I really didn’t care for this version of Anne.

It cannot be denied there is a darkness to Anne’s story. Many of her most attractive qualities such as her window friends or active imagination when you dig into them are coping mechanisms, survival strategies more than anything else. She had to create an imagination in order to live as a slave with the Hammonds or in the miserable asylum. So, on the surface I don’t have a problem with them exploring this darker side of Anne’s personality. However, what they forgot to show is how Anne is a survivor and how her optimism brightens all around her. The dark is good to show but the lightness is also important.

This is the main problem with Anne with an E- it’s unrelenting bleakness. Most of the series bears no resemblance to the novel and even the scenes that do, come across as cold and sterile where they are mixed to sweet in the book. For example, in the book Marilla accuses Anne of taking her broach. Anne confesses to stealing it even though she hasn’t because she wants to go to a party. Marilla finds the broach and asks Anne’s forgiveness.This is a tense but honest moment where the two become closer.

Unfortunately in this version Marilla sends Anne away to Charleston on the train back to the asylum for stealing the broach!! Gone are any chance to learn or have the characters bond from this simple sweet experience. Plus you have the ridiculous sequence of Matthew racing on a horse to find Anne like a knight in shining armor (and much more melodrama hunting her down in the city crashing into carriages and the like).

Another example can be seen in the school sequences. In the book Josie Pye is a snob that looks down on Anne because of the attention Gilbert gives her. In this series Josie is unceasingly cruel and the entire town talks about Anne and what a retrograde orphan she is. Anne literally has to go into a burning building to get anyone to trust her at all.

Even scenes that should be fun are made ponderous like Matthew buying the puffed sleeves dress. In this version he is confronted with the woman he once loved but couldn’t marry and then Anne must sell the dress back when the house is going to be foreclosed on. It’s just a joyless enterprise!

They even manage to work in themes of suicide, mental illness and abuse to make things really fun. And they are sooooo heavy handed with the modern messaging and feminism. Anne isn’t just as good as a boy but a boy is sent to protect her at one point and he literally gets beat up by thugs while she is unharmed. There is also a weird scene where she tells the other kids about sex and that Prissy Andrews and the teacher are making a baby together. I get the writers wanted to modernize Anne but in so doing they created an entirely different bland feminist character. I like Anne just the way she was!

It is nicely shot and the performances aren’t bad but that’s all I can really say in its defense. As it moved along I became less and less engaged. By episode 5 if I wasn’t podcasting about it I would have stopped watching. Like I said, it’s not just that they changed everything. It’s that they didn’t replace it with something compelling or engaging. It was just grim and joyless.

I would definitely not recommend Anne with an E for children and even teens should be warned. My advice is to watch the 1985 version and even better read the books. This is new series isn’t good. In fact, it is kind of awful.

Overall Grade- D (Yes, that’s what I really feel it deserves)

Check out our podcast on the series:

Tangled: Before Ever After TV Movie Review

Evidently this is the week for Disney expanding upon my favorite animated classics. On Thursday I will see the new take on Beauty and the Beast (for better of worse) and this weekend I saw the TV movie that goes with the new series based on Tangled called Tangled: Before Ever After.

If you’ve read this blog you know Tangled has a special place in my heart. I wasn’t really into animation except for Pixar for years and then I went and saw Tangled in 3D and it blew me away. I loved the characters, songs, writing and being surrounded with those floating lanterns. Tangled is Disney’s first romantic comedy and still boasts their best movie couple in Eugene/Flynn and Rapunzel. I just love it.

With such strong feelings about the original it is probably no surprise I approached this TV movie and new series hesitantly and honestly my response is mixed. I liked some things about it but other parts felt extremely generic and bland.

The best thing by far about it is the visual style and animation. I really think the 2D flash animation is cool and looks inventive and new. I like all the bright colors and the way it moved and flowed.

I also thought the music was decent. It’s poppy but so was the original so it works. The voice cast including Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi is back and they do a great job.

So good animation and music that’s pretty good start for a new series, right?  Well, unfortunately I have some big problems also.

My biggest problem by far is what they did with Rapunzel as a character. In the original she is positive but also real. She’s open with Flynn, a stranger, very quickly, making deals and sharing her dreams. We also see her struggling with her loyalties to her mother and her joys at being free. This makes her feel very real and human.

Also, she is able to entertain herself and be happy in her environment in a tower for years. Yes, she wants to see the lanterns but over all she is positive and upbeat despite being in the tower. The same is true when she meets the ruffians and thugs. Sure she’s scared at first but she quickly becomes positive and warm with them.

So that brings me to my problem with the series. They try to paint her as this disgruntled teenager dying to break free from the bonds of castle life and I don’t buy it. Again, she kept herself happy in a tower for years. I don’t think she would be complaining about a castle especially when she has so many people to talk to and can leave whenever she wants (she goes out into the town with no real problems or penalties).

To make matters more unbelievable she lies to Eugene and spurns his proposals and advances a little bit, which feels completely out of character. This also turns Eugene into a bit of a dope fawning over Rapunzel and her parents into boring strict parents. Max and Pascal are pretty much non-factors in the TV movie.

Surprisingly I’m okay with their somewhat convoluted explanation of how Rapunzel gets her hair back. I don’t know why they decided to go the hair route but I suppose it’s just about as good an explanation as anyone could come up with.

The other problem in Tangled: Before Ever After is not only do they hurt the original characters but the new additions are very forgettable. She has an attendant/best friend named Cassandra who she somehow listens more to than Eugene. I know exactly where her character is going. Bland…

And then there is Lady Cain who isn’t a a listed recurring character so she may not be the villain for long but she was very generic and boring. She’s certainly no Mother Gothel- who is coming back after falling off that tower. Don’t ask me how…

I guess it might sound like I completely hated this Tangled: Before Ever After, but I didn’t. It just annoys me when characters I love are changed like they do with Rapunzel here. It is visually inventive and I see some potential with the songs and voice cast. I hope it will be like Elena of Avalor and build as a series becoming entertaining. However, just on this TV movie I can’t give it a very high grade. I hope for better in the future but there were definitely big problems that I am not happy with.

Overall Grade- C

Sherlock Season 4 Sucked

sherlockWell, we have reached my Batman v Superman. You know how last year Batman fans were so disappointed with Zack Snyder’s latest film? Well, I’ve never been that big on Batman so I wasn’t that disappointed that it sucked. What I have always been is a huge Sherlock Holmes fan and as such I was eagerly anticipating season 4 of the BBC show Sherlock. Boy was I let down. Actually that’s not strong enough. Sherlock Season 4 sucked so bad I can hardly believe I sat through it.

I have been a big fan of Sherlock since way back in 2011 when it first aired in the US. I wrote about it on my other blog- https://smilingldsgirl.com/2011/01/14/sherlock/. I normally don’t like modern retellings of classic stories but this managed to keep true to the spirit of the Conan Doyle books and characters and so I fell in love with it. Plus, it introduced me to Benedict Cumberbatch who we have all grown to love as one of the great actors working today.

Since then we have gotten 2 more seasons that were solid but season 3 started to feel a little bit gimmicky with Sherlock escaping death and them never explaining it. I should have known because season 4 took that path and went off the deep end.

Spoilers ahead!

So why does season 4 suck so much? Let me count the ways.

Episode 1

Episode 1 started out with some promise as it was focused on an actual case involving the disappearance and death of a young man. There are busts of Margaret Thatcher being destroyed at homes across town, which totally seems like classic Sherlock Holmes style storyline.

Then they have to tie it back into Mary and her being a super spy, a plotline I hated from season 3. I really could care less about Mary as some secret spy and then the melodrama keeps getting piled on.

And worst of all THEY MAKE JOHN A CHEATER!!!  John Watson who is the moral center of the series cheats on his wife and daughter for no discernible reason at all (not that there is ever a good reason to cheat). It seriously goes nowhere the cheating plot. Urgh!!!

And then Mary dies and we are supposed to feel bad about this but I so didn’t care. Plus, knowing this show I felt it wasn’t a real death so it didn’t really move me the way it should have.

Episode 2

So I was very annoyed by Episode 1 but little did I know that episode 2 was going to be even worse.

In this episode they abandon the simple case all together and have it be focused on a murderer named Culverton Smith played annoyingly by Toby Jones (and his teeth are so gross!). Then the episode becomes a cat and mouse game between the two of them with one cheap reveal after another.

We get tons of fan service in this episode with lines like ‘The game’s afoot’ designed to appease hard core Sherlock fans- which I thought I was. In between you have groan inducing gimmicks that are supposed to shock the viewer but just made me angry instead.

There is nothing smart about what Sherlock does to solve the problems. He kind of just survives the melodrama. And of course we have more Mary sentiment thrown in to annoy me.

Episode 2 was also shot poorly and felt like a cheap M. Night Shyamalan knock-off.

Episode 3-

How could it get worse than episode 2? Well, step right up to episode 3 my friends.  Oh my gosh. I just can’t believe how awful it was.

This episode leans on every tired and boring horror movie cliche. The last hour I felt like I was watching a Saw movie not an episode of Sherlock. Again, they dilute Sherlock down so that everyone is smarter than him and they spend the entire time in a room basically getting tortured.

The fact the torturer is his secret sister is just more annoying than anything else. And we see people shot and kill themselves and tortured with nothing interesting to say about anything and no character development for anybody. It was horrible. Occasionally they would show Moriarty laughing to titillate fans I guess but it was just annoying. I didn’t feel fear or tension or anything but mindless gore.

There’s some gay baiting that is lame. It’s just all lame.

We also get this lovely bit of special effects…

sherlock2I just can’t believe how bad it was. The dialogue was horrible. The stories were plodding, melodramatic garbage and the episodes weren’t even well made.  It was first class junk!

I can’t overstate how much I disliked Sherlock Season 4 and what a complete disappointment it was. If I wanted to see a lame gimmicky horror movie I could go see The Bye Bye Man in theaters this week. Not watch Sherlock. They manage to ruin all of the characters especially John Watson and focus on Mary, a character I could care less about.

I’m very annoyed and very upset right now. Garbage. Total junk.

Stranger Things Series Review

stranger-things2I realized I haven’t posted in nearly a week. Sorry about that!! Make sure you are subscribed to my youtube channel where I do family movie nights (just posted review of Land Before Time) and weekly Disney Canon reviews (just did review of Fantasia 2000). Part of the reason I didn’t post anything for 6 days is there wasn’t any movies I was interested in seeing beyond Magnificent 7 and Storks which I already reviewed. But I also was kept away from the theater, busily  finally catching up on the new hit Netflix miniseries Stranger Things! I thought I would share with you guys some of my thoughts. Spoiler free of course.

So Stranger Things is a creation of the Duffer Brothers and directed by Shawn Levy of Night at the Museum fame (big step up for him!). Pulling from the style and lore of 80s television and movies (particularly Stephen Spielberg and Stephen King) Stranger Things tells an absorbing story with compelling characters and fantastic atmosphere.

stranger-things3Stranger Things is about a woman named Joyce (Winona Ryder) who’s son Will ends up missing. Like so many movies it is set in a small town in Indiana (go Hoosiers!) and Will is friends with a group of boys that he likes to play Dungeon and Dragons with. These boys try to find Will and they find a mysterious girl named Eleven. There is also a sheriff looking into the disappearance and teenage girl named Nancy who’s friend Barb also is lost. Nancy has relationship drama with a boy named Steve and Will’s brother Jonathan, who is creepy but likable. stranger-things-smallerThe best thing about Stranger Things is the cast. I particularly loved the kid actors. They are completely adorable but also believable as real kids. They spoke like real kids and had conflict and supported each other in realistic ways. When Lucas gets mad at Mike over Eleven it feels completely believable.

stranger-things6Millie Bobby Brown is also sensational as Eleven. She is mysterious and weird but not in the ‘creepy child from horror movie’ kind of way. You feel deeply sorry for her and much like Mike quickly want to protect her. It always seems like she is a hair away from bursting into tears but then she throws vans into the air. That mixture of strength and vulnerability really works.

stranger-things4That is also true for the teenagers who aren’t just one note bad/good guys.  While I liked their storylines less than the kids they still did a good job. I like that Jonathan was kind of creepy and weird and Nancy wasn’t just a damsel in distress. They could have given Barb a better storyline but you can’t have everything for every character I suppose. They were just different enough to keep you guessing.

stranger-things10Winona Ryder is fantastic as Joyce who is paranoid and crazy but is she…I don’t think she completely knows for most of the show, which makes her a compelling character. She’s a grieving frantic mother but also warm and sympathetic when she needs to be. It’s also refreshing that she isn’t given a love interest to cling on to in the show. She must be strong for herself and her family but she’s a mess at times as well. A great character!

stranger-things19David Harbour is also terrific as Sheriff Jim Hopper. He’s used to nothing big ever happening in the small town but with Will missing he faces one obstacle after another. Then Barb is gone and other strange things happen. He also has a tragedy in his past which makes him more than just the typical macho cop.

I think you can get an idea from this trailer the tone and atmosphere of the show. It is so well done. I was completely absorbed and watched it in 4 hour batches so set aside time if you do watch it. Also the music by Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon is perfect.

The cool thing is I don’t think Stranger Things is just nostalgia porn. It pays heavy homages to past properties but it is its own story with compelling characters. On its own it is as good as anything it is paying homage to and in some cases better. I think you will all love it.

As far as content there are some scares and bloody moments but nothing too bad. If you can handle a movie like Gremlins or The Burbs you will be fine. There is a little bit of language and one scene of sensuality. I would rate it pg13.

Overall Grade- A+ if it was a movie it would be in my top 10 for sure, maybe top 5

2016 Animated Emmy Nominations

Outstanding Animated Program
Archer
Bob’s Burgers
Phineas and Ferb Last Day of Summer
The Simpsons
South Park

Outstanding Short Form Animated Program
Adventure Time
The Powerpuff Girls
Robot Chicken
SpongeBob SquarePants
Steven Universe

So the Emmy nominations are in which include 2 animation categories, program and short form animated program. After getting it really right last year with Over the Garden Wall taking home the prize I am very disappointed with this year’s nominees.  It’s not that any of the shows are awful but some really great shows were missed. No nomination for Rick and Morty and I am sorry but they have taken what South Park did and ran away with it. And no nomination for Gravity Falls. Their 3 hour epic finale was so great and inventive. As much as I love The Simpsons there was nothing last year that came close to Gravity Falls.

Then you have Star Wars Rebels which was so captivating last season with a finale episode that had me in tears and cheering all at the same time. There is no way that Phineas and Ferb Last Day of Summer is better than Rebels. We also get the Powerpuff Girls reboot with a nomination which everyone I know hates and nothing for the final season of Wander Over Yonder.

Netflix’s Voltron also deserved a nomination over one of these tired shows. If you haven’t caught it yet it is so well written and animated.  I haven’t finished but will do a review when I’m done. I also wouldn’t have been sad if The Lion Guard had made it in because that show is very well done for kids.

So all in all it is an epic fail for this year’s emmy nominations. What else is new? These award shows rarely get it right.

Why Star Wars Rebels is the Best Star Wars…

Happy Star Wars Day!  And May the 4th be with you! I’m kicking myself for not filming something Star Wars related for my youtube channel but it gives me the opportunity to give the blog my main focus!  If you haven’t watched my Star Wars content on the channel I think you will really enjoy it. My friends and I break down each of the movies and rank them.  They are really fun videos.

But that’s neither here nor there.  What I want to talk about in this post is Star Wars Rebels. Check out this trailer for the last half of season 2. If it doesn’t get you excited about Rebels than your Star Wars fandom is of a different kind than mine!

But not only is Star Wars Rebels fantastic show, in some ways I think it is the best Star Wars property out there. Let me explain why

star-wars-rebels-space-whales-05

1. Animation- as an animation buff that’s a huge plus. But even putting that love aside an animated Star Wars world has no limits. You can have space whales and then an amazing light saber battle in the same 20 minutes of screen time. The creators are only limited by their imagination.

ezra2. Non-Skywalkers- Don’t get me wrong I love the Skywalker family but Star Wars is a galaxy full of planets and people. Aside from the occasional cameo, how great is it to have main stories about new characters that aren’t Skywalkers? It makes it unpredictable. A character like Ezra we see leanings towards the dark side but we don’t know him; therefore, am never positive what he will do. His heart is in the right place which can be the greatest threat to darkness of all!

kanan3. Fantastic characters- There are some amazing characters in the Star Wars films but in Rebels we dive into these characters and live with them in a way you just can’t in a movie. Kanan has survived Order 66 and is according to creator Dave Filoni a “cowboy Jedi”.  He was never fully trained but he is force strong.  This makes him unpredictable yet still strong.

rebels women4. Fantastic Female Characters- Aside from Rey, who I will defend until I’m blue in the face, Star Wars hasn’t been the strongest when it comes to female characters. Leia is great but one note and Padme…less said about her the better. In Star Wars Rebels you have Hera and Sabine who have complex backstories involving their family, training, conflicts and everything else. They are not there to have love interests or be tough and I don’t know how anyone claims they are Mary Sue!

asoka5. Ahsoka- Speaking of female characters Ahsoka is an amazing character. She worked along side Anakin and saw him descend into Vader. A part of her still feels loyal to her former master and yet he destroyed everything in her life.  She was once in the Jedi Order but now she is free from such restrictions, yet she is still force strong. This makes her very complex and heart breaking.  And the season 2 finale. Wow!

ahsoka6. Great Writing- Rebels definitely has dud episodes. Don’t get me wrong but for the most part the writing is so good. These feel like real people not just action adventure characters. The dialogue feels genuine and can be very heartfelt and intense. Creator Dave Filoni has a real vision for the series and a love for these characters. It’s unpredictable and layered in a way you can’t accomplish in a movie.

chopper7. Chopper- While not quite BB8 greatness Chopper is such a fun droid. It’s a good example of the spirit of fun in the show. It is after all on Disney XD so there are childlike moments that are very enjoyable. Star Wars started as a film for children and then it appealed to adults second and Rebels gets that balance right.

KananCrew8. Weekly Lore- Let’s be honest waiting 2 years to find out what happens to Rey is brutal!  How great is Star Wars Rebels when each week we learn more about the lore, characters and stories. Even in the less successful episodes none of them are awful with JarJar, so no big let down as some of the movies have been. This is great storytelling and we don’t have to wait!

leia rebels9. Movie Winks- As much as I love the new characters in Rebels we also get winks and cameos from the prequels and original trilogy. Rebels is set 14 years after Revenge of the Sith so we see Vader, Yoda, Tarkin others and this last season we got to meet a young Princess Leia which was awesome. Plus, I think Rebels redeems a lot of what the prequels ruined for Anakin/Vader especially with Ahsoka’s storyline.

Star-Wars-Rebels10. Everything and More- Basically Star Wars Rebels gives you everything you love about Star Wars and even more. It has great action, light saber fights, words of wisdom, adventure, terrific characters and strong world building. It’s a great blend of being its own thing but also being a fantastic Star Wars property.  You could just watch Rebels and enjoy it without watching any other Star Wars property. I don’t know if you could say that about any of the movies? Maybe New Hope? The movies are fantastic as a series and Rebels is just that a series but you don’t have to wait 2 years in between episodes!

rebels2Honestly I like to think of Star Wars Rebels as the true prequels. We learn everything we need to know about Anakin and his fall but it is through the eyes of characters I really care about- something that definitely wasn’t the case for me in the prequels. Rebels shows the world before New Hope in a way that is gripping, heart breaking and exciting. If you haven’t seen it. WATCH IT!!

And may the 4th be with you!

Do you watch Rebels? Why do you love it?