Tag: Force Awakens

Teaser Tuesdays: Force Awakens Novelization

Yesterday I saw Star Wars Force Awakens for the 4th time, so you could say I liked it!  It’s the Star Wars movie we’ve all been waiting for.  It also didn’t explain everything that happened before the events of the movie; nor, did it hesitate to leave questions unanswered.  This weekend my friend Jeremy, Abby and I are going to be talking Force Awakens like we have the previous 6 films over on my youtube channel.  To prepare for that discussion I decided to read (or listen too) the novelization of the movie.  So far there isn’t a ton of new information but there are little details I’m getting out of it that I didn’t notice in the movie.  The book is written b Alan Dean Foster and if you liked Force Awakens I recommend reading it.  The audiobook is excellently done.


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm.

force awakens novelizationAnyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page.
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.

Here’s my teaser from  of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at 1 hr 10 min:

She tried to think of something else.  Something that had changed.  Something that seemed different- if only to keep her mind from atrophying.  But there was nothing. Nothing was different.  Nothing was new. On Jakku things never changed

I actually love that quote because I think it is a side of Rey we don’t get to see in the movie.  She’s restless and bored, and I got more tired in the movie.  That’s why reading these types of books are fun.  You get to relive a favorite movie while adding on new details only in the book.

My brother and I talk all about Force Awakens if you are curious for our review. I would love if you checked it out and gave it a thumbs up.  Share what you thought of the movie.

What are you reading right now? Anything you are anticipating in 2016?

I’d love to convince other readers to do the Tuesday Teasers because I am always looking for good book recommendations.  Give it a try!

Here is the link to our discussion video for Sunday if you want to join us.  If you have questions you’d like answered email them to me at smilingldsgirl@yahoo.com



Why We Love Star Wars

star wars rachelAs everyone knows yesterday was the official premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the latest installment of the Star Wars franchise.  I have now seen it twice and will be posting my review both on youtube and at my movie blog by the end of the day tomorrow (I’m so behind nearly everyone else I know!).  Recently I also did a series on my channel with my friends Abby and Jeremy looking at all 6 Star Wars films proceeding Force Awakens, so it has been on my mind for some time. 

Without giving anything away on my review I will say the new film made me very happy.  I’ve seen it twice now and left with a huge smile on my face each time.  That said, I have read a few reviews from people mystified at the whole Star Wars thing.  To them it was just a generic space movie and the series has always been a bunch of generic space movies.

To a certain extent they are right.  At its core the plot for any Star Wars movie is generic serials going back to the 50s and earlier.  Why then does it matter and connect with so many people?  Why when many of us saw the trailers did we cry?  Why did people buy their tickets to the premiere months before?  Even with the near universal displeasure with the prequel trilogy, why do so many still love Star Wars?

I’ve given this a lot of thought and I think it comes down to world building.  While the plot structure of a Star Wars movie may be generic, the world Lucas created is not.  Other iconic characters such as Indiana Jones or Superman may be great but the world they inhabit isn’t very different from our own.  It is a rare film that not only gives you a story but also creates a whole new world.  So while we may have seen sword fighting before we hadn’t seen light saber battles.  We have seen the battle of good vs evil before but never a force of light and darkness and a spiritual leadership known as the jedi. The original Star Wars gave us new planets, characters, armor, and even the most humorous robots we’d seen in movies. All of that combined to take a somewhat generic story into something that inspires imagination, creativity and discussion.

It’s this immersive world that allowed Star Wars to still matter despite the prequels because the love of Star Wars was never really about the story to begin with.  The world is still there however tarnished.  We just had to work through it waiting for the movie that would do something right with that world. 

And the other thing to consider is while the prequels disappointed there was other product in books and animation that did not, and there was always the stories we told each other while playing in that world as kids. And of course the original trilogy was still there to watch on vhs.

Look at Wizard of Oz in contrast which has to take off of the novels and a movie owned by Warner Brothers. As a result, when a studio tries to give us that world back they can’t really do it.  This leaves us with a ton of bad films, none of which are set in the Oz of the original movie (there is little to no similarities to between the Oz of Return to Oz, The Wiz, Oz the Great and Powerful and Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return.)  Even when Star Wars made a bad movie it was always in the world we loved and so we could find things to hang our hopes on and talk about.

Lord of the Rings is probably the closest counter- example as we got mythic world building but even that followed novels, which in a way limits creativity a little bit.  It’s harder to tell our own stories in our play and conversation in a world where the stories have already been laid out so meticulously.  Star Wars never had that.  The world always had great potential for stories instead of the stories dictating the world.

I don’t know if any of this makes sense but I’ve just heard people exclaim ‘why does everyone care about Star Wars?  Isn’t it a movie made for children?’.  Well the answer is yes it is but it’s the world that we love and the stories we saw on screen and the one’s we played out by ourselves or with our friends.

The other reason Star Wars is important to people is because it laid out a decisive right and wrong, light and darkness in the force.  We live in a PC era where nobody wants to say anything is bad or good.  It’s refreshing to find a source material where it is clearly delineated.  Especially kids need to see that kind of dichotomy.   They need a way to order their life and know how to make the right choices.  If it is just because ‘Mom says no’ than they aren’t likely to follow but if they know about good vs evil and have a reason to follow the light than they will. 

So, while you may or may not be a Star Wars fan, I think it is important to remember it is not about a mere movie.  It is about a world that was introduced to many of us when we were little, a world that changed movies, pop culture and that we told our own stories within.  That’s a powerful thing.

Teaser Tuesday: How Star Wars Conquered the Universe

This week is all about Star Wars in my life including my reading (or audiobook listening). I’ve always been someone that has enjoyed non-fiction, particularly books that analyze trends and the odd behavior of groups.  The Big Sort, The Great Good Place and Bowling Alone are 3 of my favorites.  And as my last post said– nothing is a bigger trend or has more hype than Star Wars!

That’s why I decided to read Chris Taylor’s book ‘How Star Wars Conquered the Universe’.  I just started it but am finding it very interesting.  He starts  trying to find someone who has never heard of Star Wars before.   Follow me on Goodreads to find out what I thought of the book in the end.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm.

Taylor-How Star PBAnyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page.
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.

For mine I am listening to it in audiobook so I don’t have the page number but have the timecode.

Here’s my teaser from 2hr:34m of How Star Wars Conquered the Universe by Chris Taylor

“Space soldiers in their Tommy Tomorrow and Flash Gordon guises were far from the only obsession in young Lucas’ life.  Soon they weren’t even the central one. In his teens Lucas’ attention shifted from drawing and comics to cameras and cars.  An auto accident, the most important turning point in Lucas’ entire creative history led him to rethink his approach to school. He discovered the study of humanity and became fascinated by photography.  Only then belatedly did he fall into film”

So far I am really enjoying the book.  It’s more about Lucas and his history making Star Wars than I thought it would.  As a fan of Star Wars and movies in general it is fascinating to learn about.

What non-fiction do you like?

The Value of Hype

In just 2 short days I am going to be seeing what may be the most hyped movie of all time- Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  To say I am excited would be an understatement. I can’t wait!!

I’m sure many of you have heard people saying ‘it can’t match the hype’ and others will say after it was ‘overhyped’.  I honestly have a hard time understanding this reaction and so I thought I would put in a plug for hype and why it can actually be a good thing.

First of all, I should point out that somehow I was born without sensitivity to over-exposure.  I could eat the same thing, listen to the same music, watch the same movies over and over again and never grow sick of them.  It’s just the way my brain works.  If I like it on viewing 1, I like it (sometimes more so) on viewing 30.  I have books I reread every year and enjoy them just as much as the first time.

I honestly can’t think of anything that I liked and then hype ruined for me.  It just doesn’t make sense to me.

There are a few times when something has been over-sold to me.  Like the first time I saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail I had heard it quoted a million times so I was a little disappointed.  Then I saw it again without the expectations and loved it!  The Godfather would be another example that once I just watched it as a movie and not anticipating a masterpiece I liked it much better.   When I came home from my mission people way over-sold M Night Shyamalan’s movie Signs, which I think many see the flaws in now but back then I was sold quite the bill of goods.

There are also certainly times when I disagree with the hype- like last years Birdman, a movie who’s popularity baffles me to this day.  It had some good things about it but I had big issues as well.  That said, I am happy that other people found something that inspires them.  I want everyone to enjoy the cinema.

So all that said how can hype be a good thing?

I think it is actually pretty simple.

Watch the news and what do you see?- war, destruction, natural disasters, crime, racial profiling and prejudice, abuse etc.  There is so much to be downtrodden and sad about.  Then look at people watching the Star Wars trailer or a little girl belting out Frozen songs.  The smiles on their faces say it all.  People hype things up because they love them.  You build up enough of that love, amongst enough people, and it becomes hype.  I’m not sure where the line goes to over-hype but I just don’t see how a bunch of happy people is a bad thing?

The other day I was having a discussion with a friend about the whole bronies movement.  This person was very critical of this particular fandom and while I think it is unusual if it is making them happy who cares? If they find connections and enjoy something weird together what’s the harm in that?

As I said there is so much to be discouraged about these days that even if I don’t share in the fandom (say Twilight or Batman) I love seeing the joy the participants have.  It feels good to be a part of something bigger than yourself in life.  I love when that can happen going all the way back to being a little girl belting out Little Mermaid for literally years.  Some happy moments of my life were probably groan inducing for the ‘over-hype naysayers’.

Such fandom and hype also can connect you to other human beings in a way maybe every day life might not (especially with social media).  For example, this year I went to a Survivor event in New York City and got to know tons of nice people.  All over a silly TV show! It was a joyous happy time and that’s what I am anticipating on Thursday- just  having fun with my friends and being happy together watching Star Wars!

So I hope people will just enjoy that other people are happy and excited about something in their lives.  If you aren’t into Star Wars than just smile and think about your own passions and what excites you.  Please don’t be a grumbler and poo-poo people’s good times.  If someone asks your opinion than say it or if you have a blog/channel post it but let people be happy and enjoy whatever it is they are pumped about.  Positive energy folks!  If Star Wars should teach us anything it’s that a positive force is a good thing!

What fandoms are you a part of?  What have you felt great hype for in your life (It’s fun when it happens right?)?  What has let you down that you were hyped up for?