Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My thoughts on Star Wars: The Force Awakens

My thoughts on SW: TFA (probably spoilers)

JJ went all-out with the callbacks to the original three films. In fact, there are plenty of situations which are almost virtual repeats of scenes (and the entire plot) of the first three movies.

This is clearly a movie made by a Star Wars fan, rather than by a studio per se. Though there's plenty of aspects about it that I can see easily being turned into cash grabs in the form of toys and other merch.

Harrison Ford has more screen time in this movie than he did in the first three combined! He returns to that character with ease, apparently.

This movie does what the first three (first SIX, really) didn't do: acknowledge that there are more than white males in the Star Wars universe! Holy crap! There's actually FEMALE villains!? FEMALE pilots!? Hell, the two leads are a black dude and a woman. Though, ironically enough, I'm not sure if this film passed the Bechdell Test.

Speaking of which, I thought John Boyega and Daisy Ridley were both very good and managed to carry the bulk of the movie rather well. Though Ridley's character was a bit 1-dimenisional. At least Boyega got to do a little more.

Why the hell does Mark Hamill get second billing? He was in it for literally a minute and didn't even utter a line. Also, old Mark Hamill looks a lot like football coach Rob Ryan (yes, Rob Ryan - not Rex).

The whole premise of this movie essentially means that everything the Rebel Alliance accomplished in the first trilogy was all for naught. The First Order is identical to the Galactic Empire - so what did the rebels accomplish at the end of Return of the Jedi if everything is back to the way it was already?

I find myself more interested with wanting to know what happened BETWEEN Star Wars movies than what's happening DURING them. Luke Skywalker has a helluva lot of explaining to do. From the way the story is told, he bolted rather quickly at the first sign of trouble. I'm sure that'll be explained in the Episode 8.

There's a huge plot hole at the end: The Resistance blows up the Death PLANET (much like in chapters 4 and 6), but we never saw Kylo Ren or any of the upper echelon villains escape - so I'm assuming they're dead.

Also, it appears that the entire villain organization was all wiped out. What's the next movie going to be?

There may have been a Clerks reference when "Finn" says he worked in sanitation as a Storm Trooper.

After all these years, I can't believe spaceships are still relying on point-and-shoot laser blasters. That'd be like if our Air Force still used gattling guns. Missiles are so much more accurate and effective than blasters.

The best thing about this movie: Not as much in-your-face CGI characters or anything resembling those crappy prequel movies. A few funny moments, but not as goofy and corny as the Lucas films.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

What's up with the whole "Chad'z" thing?

A lot of people have been asking me this lately, so I thought I would put it up here as its own separate post once and for all:

Well, it's a long story, but in a nutshell it's just a nickname my friends came up with all the way back in high school. It's just a shortening of my first and last names into one name. I always used it back in the 90s in the early days of the Internet. It sounded cool at the time.

When I started doing the beer reviews in 2008 I resurrected it because I thought it would be ironically clever and nostalgic and I never really expected anyone other than my friends to see my beer reviews anyway. Once my site started gaining traction I realized it had become part of my online persona. In other words, "Chad'z" was my brand and I had to stick with it. In retrospect, I wish I had come up with a completely different and more professional-sounding name. It's too late to try to re-brand myself at this point.

Trolls and haters constantly try to mock me by putting 'z at the end of random words (see the comments section for examples). As if that's supposed to hurt my feelings or something. In actuality, I completely agree with them: "Chad'z" absolutely IS a silly moniker! However, that goes to show that the whole 'z thing does indeed work as a branding identity! Huzzah!

Though I will point out that I'm not the only one to use the 'z brand. There's a chain of pizza and wing joints in the Virginia Beach area called Cal'z.