In 2017, I made good on my promise to watch more movies than I did in 2016. In total, I watched 167 movies. Naturally, I watched nearly all of the Star Wars movies, some several times as needed for discussions on Bantha Fodder. I also spent a lot of time watching anime that I’ve had backed up on my Plex server for several years. My list ranking Studio Ghibli’s films is still in progress.
These are some of the movies that came out in 2017 that I enjoyed the most.
- The Big Sick ✮✮✮✮ ½
- Blade Runner ★★★★ ½
- Logan ✮✮✮✮½
- Get Out ✮✮✮✮½
- Coco ✮✮✮✮½
- Dunkirk ✮✮✮✮½
- Phantom Thread ✮✮✮✮½
- A Ghost Story ✮✮✮✮
- Your Name ✮✮✮✮
- IT ✮✮✮✮
- Baby Driver ✮✮✮✮
- Spider-Man: Homecoming ✮✮✮✮
- Lady Bird ✮✮✮✮
- Call Me By Your Name ✮✮✮✮
- Split ✮✮✮✮
- It Comes at Night ✮✮✮✮
- Life ✮✮✮✮
- Wonder Woman ✮✮✮✮
- Logan Lucky ✮✮✮✮
- Alien Covenant ✮✮✮✮
In 2013 A friend introduced me to Old Best Friends’s ‘Keep In Touch,’ an EP that changed my world. Over the next year Mike Comite and I became friends.
In 2015, we started a podcast called Bantha Fodder. We’ve recorded 26 episodes including two holiday specials.
This year I wrote a self-reflective parody of “Things That Happen,” one of my favorites from that ‘Keep In Touch’ EP and Mike actually recorded it.
In the twenty-sixth episode of Bantha Fodder, Mike and Jacob are up late again in their apartment. Jacob walks in on Mike re-recording songs he released five years ago. Together they revisit past songs, present vices, and potential futures.
Well, another Star Wars movie has arrived and I had some thoughts. This is the best place to get my initial reaction this year.
In the twenty-fifth episode of Bantha Fodder, Mike and Jacob take their time on The Last Jedi. Mike loves the Thala-sirens and Jacob likes the Vulptices. Neither have strong feelings about the porgs. There’s a lot to discuss.
The trailer for The Last Jedi has arrived. Chapter two of the sequel trilogy is imminent and drawing ever closer. As I tend to do, I'm breaking down the trailer to pick out the nitty gritty details to draw any conclusions that I can.
Here we go...
Snoke: "When I found you..."
If the photos published by Entertainment Weekly are any indication, this shot shows Kylo Ren overseeing the assembly of an armada which appears to include First Order equivalents to AT-ATs, AT-STs, and convoy ships designed to deploy them en masse.
"...I saw raw..."
These appear to be more heavily armored than those of Galactic Civil Wars past. These have more formidable canons affixed to the top of a more hunchbacked bodies. In fact, the feet drag across the ground with longer pads in a manner not unlike a lowland gorilla. This change in design may have been informed by Imperial defeats at the hands of the Rebellion at Hoth and Endor.
It's hard to say where Kylo Ren is leading this formation of flametroopers, but the red streaks and context indicate this may be Crait. However, the black soil here contrasts the shots of white surfaces we've seen thus far. It's almost Sullustian, but what could the First Order need there?
"And beyond that, something truly special."
The voice of Supreme Leader Snoke growls notes of affirmation to an unknown entity. What jumps out at me is the echo to the first teaser for The Force Awakens. Will this audio bite be used in full come December?
Could he be speaking to Kylo? I bet he'd enjoy that sort of patronly attention.
Could he be speaking to Rey? Later in this trailer we see a shot were the two of them are almost certainly in a room together, but it doesn't seem like Rey is reacting to a pep talk.
Here Ren picks up his lightsaber. Yes, it's the same one as before.
They're beautiful things, lightsaber ignition shots. Rey is mentally preparing to actually learn how to use this thing properly, not that she had any trouble before.
Lucasfilm's logo, GIFable as ever.
"Something," Rey says softly, "inside me has always been there..."
More drone shots of Ach To confirmed. Rey approaches and officially hands off the saber to Luke, seamlessly bridging The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Luke's hand is skinless like we saw in Rey's vision and has a big old scorch mark just behind the sleeve. Maybe an unrepaired reminder of the time he was shot on Jabba's barge?
Luke still has an incredulous look on his face. I'd imagine he's probably surprised to see someone and a flood of significance probably washes over him when Rey passes the baton.
Jedi training requirement: visit a decaying tree in the mist.
This definitely takes place on Ach To. Lots of leaked images of this circulated some months ago. A Force Tree perhaps, like the one from Shattered Empire or the one from Clone Wars.
"...but now it's awake..."
As Rey finishes a cryptic line about her Force awakening, she draws near to the wooden shelf we saw in the first teaser. I think we're seeing a cavern of sorts among the roots of the Force Tree.
"and I need help."
Oops! She wasn't quite done yet. Presumably talking to Luke here, she formally asks for some training.
Note: She needs help, she's not asking him to save the Resistance.
Looks like she gets what she asked for to some degree, because she's swinging that saber around with newfound form and control while Luke watches from further uphill.
An extended shot of the one we saw in the teaser. Rey levitates pebbles in a nice callback to Empire, but to Luke's surprise she also puts a crack in the goddamn ground!
Rey is obviously very powerful and very awesome...
...and apparently very scary.
"I've seen this raw strength only once before," stammers Jedi Master/hermit Luke Skywalker, "It didn't scare me enough then. It does now."
This shot almost certainly confirms what we suspected. Luke's Jedi Academy was burnt to the ground at the hands of his nephew.
So many possibilities here.
Let's list a few:
- "Wow, this water stuff is really great."
- "Oh geez, I never made it back to Jakku. I hope I didn't miss my family's return."
- "This dude just straight up told me I'm 'too powerful' to train even though I'm here to take down the punk that messed his whole life up."
- "Chewbacca... he... he just kept popping porgs into his mouth like it was nothing... it was terrible..."
"Let the past die," drones Kylo Ren.
The tantrums aren't over, folks. Killing his father did not end his emo streak. In fact...
"Kill it, if you have to."
He's even more early '00s Victory Records than before. The plus side is what looks like some fantastic space battle scenes.
What is up with the metallic bandage looking thing on the lower half of his scar?
"That's the only way to become who you were meant to be."
As well as some additional family tension. This trailer edit clearly wants us to believe he has his mother in his sights, and perhaps he does. It's difficult to say. I'd be willing to bet Poe comes through to send Kylo off-course. That in mind, it would be a ballsy move to finish Leia's storyline here.
It is good to see Carrie here. It's going to be an emotional visit to the theater this December.
Well, 10 days before the holiday. I have tickets for two showings already, so I reckon I'll have 3 or 4 viewings under my belt before Santa arrives.
This is my favorite shot. At first glance, this is your typical Millennium Falcon soaring through tight spaces sequence. Space Worm, Death Star 2, Imperial Star Destroyer submerged in sand, to name a few references.
But no! Look closely! This is a cave full of crystals! Red crystals, even, and perhaps cyber crystals? I -want- need to know more.
You love them, you hate them, the exist to sell plush toys this holiday season... porgs. They squawk!
Poe Dameron: "We are the spark..."
It's hard to say if this is the same space battle we saw before. Poe appears to be aboard a resistance shuttle as the fleet suffers an unexpected attack from behind.
"...that'll light the fire..."
I think this shot is part of the same scene where Kylo made his flight debut. I'm counting on an encounter between the two ace pilots.
What's really peaked my interest here is the ship Poe is flying over. It's big, but as the following shot with BB-8 might show, not Death Star big.
"...that will burn the First Order down."
Spoken like a true rebel, Poe.
The faceoff we've been waiting for, and after this crazy year we've had in the States, the one I think we deserve.
Finn v Phasma. Z6 Riot Control Baton vs a pike? Finn, dressed in First Order officer garb, appears to be in full health once more and eager to engage the not-so-trash-compacted Captain Phasma amongst the burning wreckage of large structure. I spot a two-edged Walker behind Finn and to the right. I also spot Finn in Phasma's impeccably shiny helmet. After catching up on Thrones I'm ready for more of Gwendoline Christie's moves.
Did you know that droids can shake off lightning like dogs can water?
Here's that big ship I mentioned before. Looks creepy and mean, don't you think?
Luke: "This is not going to go..."
Scenario: Luke hesitantly trains Rey after she gives him a speech about how dire the situation is. In a trial, she bests Luke and he falls to the ground. Knowing that she may feel ready for the conflict ahead, he warns her like Yoda did he so long ago.
"...the way you think."
I want all of the merchandise Lucasfilm can produce for these ice/salt/crystal foxes.
Leia looks out over the plains while the door closes, pretty much exactly like she did in Empire on Hoth.
Splash... Rey dives into a pool and past what looks like a large reptilian skull, thank you very much. Another shot shows her rising in a cave with Luke present, slightly more dry.
Finn again in First Order gear, being led with a look on his face that says "I'm not happy with this situation."
Those walkers on Crait are joined by some TIE fighters, some of which are destroyed by something accompanying the new B-Wing-looking speeders. I say that because we don't see the speeders really leave the ground. The shot that forcibly eliminates the TIE in the close-up came from above.
In The Last Jedi, Snoke and Rey meet. Unfortunately for Rey, it looks like Snoke is dominating the conversation.
Now these shots don't line up exactly. Snoke is wearing his goofy golden gown in both, but he's force gesturing towards the ceiling in the first one, not forwards where Rey is being tortured (again).
Rey: "I need someone to show me my place in all of this."
I'm pretty sure Rey is talking to Luke in the overdub, but I see two combined scenes here. Where is Kylo here? What's on fire? It's not a flashback because he has the scar, but he doesn't have the metallic filling like he does in the space battle shots.
Will the two young Force users meet again in this film at all? She runs into Snoke somehow, but how will Kylo play into that equation?
It's 2017 and we're getting another star wars movie. Rejoice!
There is a lot of dialogue in this one. How much strictly ties to what we see is up for anyone to guess. There are clearly some visual misdirects throughout as well.
Whereas Episode VII had plenty of similarities to Episode IV, I see Episode VII sharing just as much, if not more, to Episode V. The Crait/Hoth parallels are clear. Thematically, Rey is to Luke as Luke is to Yoda in *Empire* with a remote planet and a reclusive Jedi Master in hiding there. There will no doubt be challenges in the training and while Rey appears to have surpassed Luke at the same point in his training, she will likely remain unprepared to take on what's coming by herself. While she's undergoing this Force tutelage, our other heroes are embarking on their own adventures—just as Leia and Han did.
I predict we're going to find out exactly where Kylo's allegiances lay by the credits of this movie. I think Finn is going to grow a lot with his mission and run-ins with old foes. Poe will probably fly well and maybe even die. I mean come on, corny speech about sparks and flames and high stakes space battles with an ominous red hue covering 3/4ths of what we've seen? Someone's not going to live to see the third movie and Leia isn't going to be the only one to go—if she's even killed off.
Luckily for the dorks, there appears to be plenty of world-building on Ach To. Force relics, manuscripts, and a tree are canon fodder. It's my hope and expectation that the Force is explored more thoroughly in movies going forward.
Questions: Who Benecio Del Toro's character DJ? Laura Dern, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, same question. Also, Praetorian Guards—more please.
Overall, lovely trailer. Really fun and super exciting. I can't wait for December 14th.