Easter blockbusters

Over the weekend I’ve watched two high profile recent movie releases.

On Friday I watched the most recent instalment in the Star Wars franchise. I’m one of those people indifferent to the whole Star Wars hysteria. I never really got into the original movies much because they seemed too comic book and, well, childish for me. I’ve got nothing against escapist entertainment and the odd, dumb, immature movie can do wonders. Star Wars left me indifferent though – I didn’t dislike the movies, but nor did I really connect with them as so many did. I like my sci-fi with a bit more grit.

When George Lucas brought out his ‘prequels’ I went out and dutifully watched one of them at the cinema. It seemed the elements I liked least about the original movies had been enlarged upon and made a dominating thread. Characters became caricatures; ridiculous creations took centre stage; special effects over-rode storyline. They were movies hard to take seriously, churned out it seemed with all the worst excesses of George Lucas.

This re-boot of the franchise had more credibility. It was going to be made special again. George Lucas had been paid off and wunderkind J.J. Abrams was in control. Naturally all of this was greeted with breathless anticipation. And then when the movie came out it was subject not to overwhelming hype, but also good reviews.

The good news in my case is that this is probably my favourite Star Wars movie. It ‘s very entertaining and it goes easy on the silly/childish elements. There’s still a bit of fun about it, but it seems a much more serious movie than most of them. I enjoyed it for what it is – a very well crafted action adventure sci-fi movie.

Han Solo was always my favourite character, and it was good to see him back. Harrison Ford is always good. There’s a very strong female lead character in this one, and it works really well – and the performance is just right. The one odd thing about the movie was Carrie Fisher. I like her as person, but gee, she’s different. I don’t know what she’s done (or maybe I do), but she doesn’t look like herself. She looks a bit strange, and for the life of me I couldn’t relate her back to Princess Leia.

The other movie I saw was Tarantino’s latest, The Hateful Eight. This was very entertaining too, with a classic premise – the snowed-in house with a murderer inside. It’s bit more complex than that, but it works well. The scenery is great, the dialogue, as usual, fantastic, and the storyline interesting. I could watch Samuel L. Jackson all day, but the rest of the cast is excellent too.

My only criticism is that ultimately it was a bit predictable – a bit too Tarantino-esque. He has his tropes and his style and that’s great part of his appeal, but it exposes him to being a bit predictable. I didn’t how it was going to happen, but an hour from the end I just knew how it would finish (spoiler alert) – with everyone dead. Classic Tarantino. Still, very much worth a viewing.

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