Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi – Review

Heir_to_the_JediHeir to the Jedi is the latest book in the canon created in the wake of Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm. Following the excellent A New Dawn and the disappointing Tarkin, Heir to the Jedi has a lot riding on it. This is a first person tale of Luke Skywalker, set after the events of A New Hope but before The Empire Strikes Back. Luke is sent on a mission by the Rebellion to recover an important defector from the Empire, along the way learning a few things about the Jedi and his own powers.

I was really looking forward to this book. Knowing it was about Luke and from his point of view before Empire had me excited. Here was our chance to get the canon answers to how Luke learns to control the lightsaber in the Wampa cave on Hoth as well as possibly integrate some of the prequel era information.

The Good

There are some good things here. Luke learning a small bit about the Jedi on Rodia as well as receiving another lightsaber was a highlight. The book did a great job showing how Luke is already eager to learn everything he can about the Jedi as well as understand more about his lightsaber and how it works. This will also help explain Luke knowing how to build a new lightsaber after the events of Empire. When the book is focused on the story of Luke as the heir of the Jedi, it’s working well.

The Bad

Unfortunately the parts of the book about Luke as the heir to the Jedi are few and far between. Maybe I expected too much from the book in this regard, yet I felt a canon novel about Luke would delve deeply into this topic and while the scenes where it does are wonderful, it’s marred by a blasé story. The rest of the book just does not have the feel of Star Wars for the most part. The technology, the weapons and the use of technobabble, hamper that feel the films created, where that was just a vehicle to tell the story, never the focus or too recognizable.

The other big issue here and it’s the same thing that Tarkin ran into, is that the story feels disposable. It’s much like the feel you’d get with the old Star Trek books written while the series were still on television, all the toys had to be back in the box, the way you found them when you closed the book. As you reach the end, you don’t feel the reward of having read the story, as if you hadn’t read it, you’d be missing something invaluable to the whole. The Clone Wars did a marvelous job for the most part of making you feel like the series had value, it added to the characters and the over all saga. This new canon of books, aside from A New Dawn has failed to truly add anything of real value to the saga. The reader needs to feel like the story has weight and until that starts happening, many will be disappointed with this new book line.

Conclusion 

I can’t recommend that you pick this up, but if you come by a copy it not a terrible diversion. Two and a half out of five stars.

Disclosure: This book was provided by Del Ray as an early review and in no way affects the thoughts or feelings of the reviewer.

The 602 Club 19: A Page-Turner of a Movie

tsc-019-th-squareThe Rocketeer.

In 1982 a comic mini series came out that harkened back to the serial adventures from the 1930’s. Dave Steven’s Rocketeer became a classic for comic enthusiasts, with it’s fast pace, noir feel, lush artwork, and more adult themes. Then the Walt Disney company did what it does best, it took a property and remade it in their own image.

In this episode of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by Darren Moser and Norman Lao to talk about The Rocketeer. We discuss the comic and whether the movie is an improvement, our first experiences with the film, Joe Johnson learning from the masters on how to direct a homage to the serial, the story, the cast, the music and whether or not it still holds up.

The 602 Club 18: Mr. Darcy Kicks Ass

tsc-018-th-squareKingsman.

In 1962 Dr. No hit the big screen and James Bond became the gold standard for spy movies. Throughout the years many films have parodied or paid homage to the spy genre Austin Powers, In Like Flint, Never Say Never Again are just a few examples. Spy movies have continued to be some of the most successful film franchises with The Bourne series as well as Bond still going strong and upcoming sequels are currently the works.

In this episode of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by Norman Lao to talk about the latest spy movie, Kingsman: The Secret Service based loosely on Mark Miller’c comic, The Secret Service. We discuss Matthew Vaughn choosing to direct Kingsman over Days of Future Past, being back in the spy game, the idea of a sequel, the themes of the film, the cast, whether seriousness ruins spy movies, plus a few things that just didn’t work.

The 602 Club 17: A Reincarnation of The Matrix

tsc-017-th-squareJupiter Ascending.

Breaking News: Marvel has the rights to use Spider-Man in it’s films and we break it down and share our thoughts on what this will mean for Spider-Man as well as the upcoming Marvel movies.

In 1999 the world of film was changed forever by a film called The Matrix. We were introduced to “bullet time” and for many, this was their first time to hear of the Wachowskis, the writers and directors. The movie left audiences cheering and eagerly anticipating more from this new powerhouse of Hollywood originality. Fast forward to 2015 and the view on them has changed; is their latest a return to the glory days or another disappointment from a once promising team?

In this episode of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by Mike Schindler to discuss Jupiter Ascending. We talk through our first impressions from the marketing, making original sic-fi movies, the story, the conversations this film as generated, the visuals, casting, music, rounding out by ranking this in the Wachowski’s body of work.

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The Parenthood Finale

enhanced-30806-1399677093-5It’s a show that has touched my heart and proved that Americans still have an affinity for family values, morality and doing the right thing even when it’s hard.

You won’t see many shows or movies these days that tackle the realities of family life in the gritty, authentic way that “Parenthood” does. For the past six seasons, the Braverman family of “Parenthood” has faced a variety of hardships that require compromise, forgiveness and unconditional love.

Biblical Reasons to Doubt the Creation Days Were 24-Hour Periods

Creation-hands-LR. C. Sproul, who drafted the original Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy, once said, “When people ask me how old the earth is, I tell them I don’t know—because I don’t.”

Contrary to what is often implied or claimed by young-earth creationists, the Bible nowhere directly teaches the age of the earth.

Rather, it is a deduction from a combination of beliefs, such as (1) Genesis 1:1 is not the actual act of creation but rather a summary of or title over Genesis 1:2-2:3; (2) the creation week of Genesis 1:2-2:3 is referring to the act of creation itself; (3) each “day” (Heb. yom) of the creation week is referring to an 24-hour period of time (reinforced by the statement in Exodus 20:11); (4) an old-earth geology would necessarily entail macroevolution, hominids, and animal death before the Fall—each of which contradicts what Scripture tells us; and (5) the approximate age of the earth can be reconstructed backward from the genealogical time-markers in Genesis.

George Lucas Rips Hollywood, ‘Stupid’ Cat Videos at Sundance

LUCASFILM-01George Lucas offered a bleak assessment of the current state of the film business during a panel discussion with Robert Redford at the Sundance Film Festival on Thursday, saying that the movies are “more and more circus without any substance behind it.”

However, the “Star Wars” director hit back at critics who said his role in kicking off the blockbuster film business has watered down cinematic storytelling.

‘American Sniper’ exemplifies a new kind of war film: The professional procedural

american-sniper-poster‘American Sniper’ exemplifies a new kind of war film: The professional proceduralThere’s no doubt that “American Sniper” is a big hit with the red-state constituencies from which Kyle and many of his fellow service members hail. But the movie — a well-acted, absorbing portrait of Kyle in action during the Iraq war and coping with trauma and dislocation when he returns home — has been a hit with viewers of all philosophical stripes. It may be the first — and last — movie to earn Twitter love from Sarah Palin and Jane Fonda.

The Complete Works: Ranking All 121 Billy Joel Songs

Billy Joel and Elton John in ConcertBilly Joel is the closest thing Madison Square Garden has to a sure thing — certainly more than the Knicks or the Rangers or the Liberty. It’s been 21 years since Joel released a new pop album, yet he sold out the arena 12 times in 2014 alone, and he’ll play his second (also sold-out) show of 2015 tonight. He has established a standing residency there, like a guy who plays a monthly nightclub gig, except that the club happens to seat 18,000.

Padmé Didn’t Die of a Broken Heart

PadmegreenscrshotThere’s something you missed.

I find it odd that one of the most pivotal and mysterious moments in the Star Wars saga is discussed infrequently, and when it is the case is closed. Some time between 2005 and now the greater part of people who’ve watched this movie have all come to the same conclusion, and all that is debated is if they like this course of events or not.

Of course, I’m talking about the end of Revenge of the Sith, one of my all-time favorite films. I haven’t been counting, but I’ve seen this movie 500 times, and I’m still finding new things to consider. The final hour of this movie is densely packed with information, but it doesn’t hold your hand. Where a lesser film would have wrapped thing up with an expositive voiceover, Revenge of the Sith demands that the viewer watches how things unfold, and then asks the viewer to put the pieces together themselves. Unfortunately, not everyone has put them together the proper way, and that leads to a lot of differing conclusions regarding the anticlimax of the movie.

The Catholic Writer Today

old-booksFor years I’ve pondered a cultural and social paradox that diminishes the vitality and diversity of the American arts. This cultural conundrum also reveals the intellectual retreat and creative inertia of American religious life. Stated simply, the paradox is that, although Roman Catholicism constitutes the largest religious and cultural group in the United States, Catholicism currently enjoys almost no positive presence in the American fine arts—not in literature, music, sculpture, or painting. This situation not only represents a demographic paradox. It also marks a major historical change—an impoverishment, indeed even a disfigurement—for Catholicism, which has for two millennia played a hugely formative and inspirational role in the arts.

 

The 602 Club 16: There’s A Comic For That

tsc-016-th-squareComics.

On April 18, 1938 the world of publishing changed forever with the release of Action Comics #1 featuring the first superhero, Superman and in May of 1939 Batman was introduced to the world in Detective Comics #27. Since then, the proliferation of comics as been astounding. Leading to a world where comic book characters are everywhere, in film, on TV and ever conceivable type of merchandise. Yet many have never read the comics these icons come from.

In this episode of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by Jose Munoz and Norman Lao to talk about the medium. We discuss what lead us to pick up our first comic, what we read monthly and why, our favorites and our recommendations as well as the pros and cons to continuity. Listen Here

The 602 Club 15: Road to Becoming the Icon

tsc-015-th-squareMan of Steel.

Every once in a while there is a film that arrives that ignites fandom and creates visceral polarization, Man of Steel has been one of those movies. People seem to love it or hate it, in fact it’s Rotten Tomatoes score indicates that in it’s 55% critical reception. As the cornerstone of the DC cinematic universe, it’s an important film that has set the tone for the movies slated to arrive through the year 2020.

In this super edition of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by Justice League members Daniel Proulx, Norman Lao and Will Nguyen to discuss this new take on the original superhero’s beginning. We talk about Krypton, the new Superman suit, the nonlinear nature of the storytelling, Lois Lane and the military, the deaths of Jonathan Kent and Zod as well as the nature of this film as a true origins movie. Listen Here.