Tag Archives: Story Bones

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The Bones of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

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We’ve finally arrived at the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga!

Considering the rocky road we’ve been down, I’m pleased the movies got this far.

Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

If you missed any of the previous installments of Good Bones, you can find them here:
Episode I
Episode II
Episode III
Episode IV
Episode V
Episode VI
Episode VII
Episode VIII

Let’s get to it!

Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

Click HERE to see my initial review of the film.

In a nutshell, I enjoyed this film, but it was forced to cover too much ground to undo the dumb things that happened in Episode 8.

The Bones:
Reveal the big bad.
Resolve the conflict between Rey and Kylo.
Have the good guys win.
If this is the Skywalker Saga, which Skywalker is Rising?
Is there balance in the Force?

Reveal the Big Bad

This happened in the first trailer for the movie, long before it came out. Palpatine’s laughter clearly echoed in the background. Somehow Darth Sidious is still around.

Personally, I think they did this so the fans wouldn’t think the filmmakers were trying to shoehorn in a new big bad.

After watching the entire series from start to finish again, I have to say that it wasn’t a terrible choice. Palpatine (Sidious’ clone) had been meddling since Episode I. Why not have the real Sith Lord manipulating things for longer than that?

After killing Snoke in Episode 8, I wasn’t sure what they’d do. It’s hard to say if this was their plan from the beginning of the sequels. If so, they could have given us a few clues throughout episodes 7 and 8. If not, where were they going with the big bad?

Resolve the Conflict Between Rey and Kylo

These two looked like they were heading straight for the typical light side vs. dark side conflict. I’m pleasantly surprised to say that wasn’t the case.

Rey
Kylo spills the beans (again) on Rey’s heritage, this time revealing that she’s a Palpatine. Naturally this hits Rey hard, especially after she rips a ship apart when she loses control and thinks she’s killed Chewie.

Kylo asks her to stay be his side and together kill the Emperor, er, Sidious. Like Luke before her, she refuses, and jumps.

Even through her little excursion through Palpatine’s chambers on the Death Star, Rey never really wavers. She sticks to her guns, so to speak, and makes it her goal to help Kylo see he’s better as Ben Solo.

Kylo
Between Rey and his mother, Leia, Kylo doesn’t have a chance.

Okay, he chooses to turn from his dark ways, but the people in his life are very…persuasive. I loved seeing Han again, even just for a second.

Kylo and Rey finally have it out on the remains of the Death Star, and Rey prevails, stabbing Kylo!

But wait, Leia uses that last of her life force to send her son one last push to come back to the light. Leia had been training Rey, so Rey feels the woman’s death as well.

In that moment of pain, Rey comforts Kylo, and heals his wounds, basically bringing him back from the dead. Kylo gets a ghost visit from his father, and finally decides to turn away from the whisperings of Sidious and once again be Ben Solo. (Did anyone else notice that Rey healed his scar?)

I am not going to lie to you, the scene when Ben comes to Rey’s rescue on Palpatine’s planet may be one of my favorite Star Wars scenes ever.

The bonding between the two force users was sometimes clumsy, but it was there. Him running recklessly in to help her is what Star Wars, and heroes, and friendship is all about.

I didn’t love Kylo’s end. I found him easily the most interesting character in this film, and was sad they gave him the easy way out. I’m a jerk. I know it.

Who is the big bad guy?
Can Rey defeat Kylo and the big bad guy? Even if she’s “no one?”

Have the Good Guys Win

Of course the good guys are going to win. This is Star Wars, for crying out loud! And the third film in the trilogy, to be exact.

Poe, Finn, and Chewie spend a lot of time running around the galaxy trying to keep this film moving. And it moves. Much to fast in some places, but that’s the product of having to not only pack so much in, but also fixing the mistakes of the past.

Lando is a pleasant addition to the finale.

The battle over the Sith planet is impressive. I thought the horse-things on the hull of the Star Destroyers was a bit much, but it did look cool. I loved the new characters, and hope to see them again soon.

Episode 8 left the rebels with no friends. Episode 9 brings them all back and then some.

For me this is actually a plot hole. Their arrival is timely, and awesome, but as a watcher, I had no idea people would come. Why would they? We have no indication that anyone supports Leia or the rebellion.

Sidious’ force lightning attack on the fleet was amazing! My inner fan girl squeed, and my writing brain said, “good show of just how much more powerful he is than anyone else.”

In the end the rebels finally get the control tower (why did they need the horses for that again?) and Rey bests Sidious. Not without sacrifice on all fronts.

If this is the Skywalker Saga, which Skywalker is Rising?

Uh, Rey adopts herself into the Skywalker family at the end. So it could be her. It could also be Ben, because he’s a Skywalker too.

I actually feel like the name doesn’t connect well to the movie, but that’s probably just me.

Is there balance in the Force?

This is the question they presented to us way back in Episode 1. The force is out of balance. Why?

I don’t think they actually addressed this in the film, but I could speculate that Sidious had been keeping things out of balance by being alive for so long and pulling so many strings. However, Rey is still around, and her powers seem to go both ways, so who knows?

As usual, I think this is the biggest thing they left hanging.

Maybe it’s in the comics.

As far as bones go, this film had more to do with covering the old bones than making new ones. Which works for the end of a nine film saga. I’m still disappointed that the final Star Wars film had to shoehorn in so much stuff, but they did a decent job.

I might have to watch this one again soon.

What about you? Did you like the end to the Skywalker Saga?


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The Bones of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

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This film is perhaps the most controversial of the Skywalker Saga. Whether you love it or hate it—and most people are on one end or the other—it certainly gives us a lot to talk about!

Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

If you missed any of the previous installments of Good Bones, you can find them here:
Episode I
Episode II
Episode III
Episode IV
Episode V
Episode VI
Episode VII

Let’s get to it!

Episode VII: The Last Jedi

Instead of the bones of this movie, let’s start with the expectations that Episode VII left us with, or what we were expecting as the bones of this film:

Expectations / Bones

The New Order destroyed the existing government and is taking over the galaxy. Leia and the new rebels will stand against them.
Finn is force sensitive.
Finn and Rey might be love interests.
Rey is crazy powerful with the Force. Snoke seems to know who she is, so she must be someone important!
Kylo Ren is a really bad guy.
Luke is going to train Rey like Yoda trained Luke!
Luke must be the Last Jedi.
Snoke must be Darth Plagueis.

The New Order and the rebels:
The rebels are obviously in a bad spot at the beginning of the film. They’re evacuating a base and running from the New Order, who outnumber and out-gun them.
Honestly, I loved Poe’s stalling tactic at the beginning. I hated that they made General Hux a bit of an idiot in this film, but I did laugh.

Star Wars has never been military science fiction. Yes, we’ve seen the military structure, but we’ve never been in the middle of it.

Until now. Poe goes against orders and gets a lot of people killed, but feels like it was worth it to take down the dreadnaught. Leia, who is clearly in charge, chastises him, demotes him, and tosses him off the bridge.

This is a logical move in regards to a military story, and I’m not saying the Leia is wrong, but we’re not used to such consequences in Star Wars. Heroes get pat on the back, and no one who can be of use is thrown aside.
When Admiral Holdo jumps in, she treats Poe like an idiot, instead of listening to one of her best pilots and leaders. Again, maybe fine for military sci-fi, but it didn’t sit well for Star Wars.

Also, it felt like forced conflict. The writers couldn’t make the chase (I’m going to ignore how dumb that was, BTW. Battlestar Galactica did it well, just saying…) interesting enough, so they had to thrown in Poe’s mutiny, Finn’s pseudo desertion, and their insane plan.
Wouldn’t Holdo share the goal with her staff? Maybe even the whole ship? It’s not like Poe is a private. He’s still an officer, and should be in on this plan to get to an old rebel base. That felt like the writers withholding information from me, the watcher, and that made me cranky.

In the end, no one comes to Leia’s rescue. No old friends or allies. Nothing in this film showed me that the galaxy is that afraid of the New Order until that moment, which is bad writing.

Poe’s growth as a character isn’t a bad arc, but it was so obvious I rolled my eyes and groaned in the theater. He made the mistake in the first scene, then makes the right call near the end. Ten-year-olds can write that.

Finn likes Rey and he might be force sensitive:
Both of these expectations are trashed in this film.
Which could have worked…but it didn’t fly for me.
Rose jumps in out of nowhere and spends the film becoming Finn’s love interest. Or friend? Wait, there’s kissing. No one is sure what’s going on with them.

I didn’t mind Rose, but the whole trashing the casino and freeing the oppressed animals (which are going to be rounded up and probably whipped later, along with the kids) felt like someone forcing their ideals down my throat.

If you want to make a statement, fine, make a statement, but be subtle about it. Don’t tell people what they should believe or think, show them a different point of view, then let them decide if they want to change their feelings on the matter.

Since when is Star Wars about hating rich people? Leia is a princess, for crying out loud.

I didn’t notice anything that leaned toward Finn being force sensitive, like they hinted in Episode VII, which I thought was disappointing. They had the kid at the very end show force powers, but not Finn? Why not?

Rey is crazy powerful with the Force. Snoke seems to know who she is, so she must be someone important!
Yes, Rey is powerful with the force, but Luke senses too much darkness in her, so she’s bad.

Also, according to Kylo Ren, she’s no one. Her parents sold her for drinking money and then left her on Jakku.
I was onboard with this, because I thought it would be cool if the force was reaching out to other beings in the galaxy, trying to reestablish itself and find balance.

Rey being no one worked for me, and I kind of like how it finally popped her stupid, “I’m no one if I don’t know who my parents are” idiot ball.

Kylo Ren is a really bad guy:
Yup. He is.

But wait, is he?

I actually loved this part of the movie. The scenes with Kylo and Rey seeing one another through the force were intriguing and eye-opening.

Seeing both Luke and Kylo’s point of view about what happened when Luke thought about killing Kylo, and then seeing the truth, was AWESOME!

That trauma is what’s driving these three films (or should be anyway). Why did Luke leave? Why are Leia and Han apart? Why did Ben Solo turn into Kylo Ren? This is a deep and poignant premise that I really loved.

Luke is going to train Rey like Yoda trained Luke!
Luke must be the Last Jedi.
Nope and nope.

Turns out Luke refuses to traditionally train Rey, and he’s not the last Jedi.

Going back to the trauma of Luke listening to the dark side and almost killing his nephew, his exile makes total sense. He inadvertently turned Ben, and blames himself for everything.

To be totally frank, THIS is the story I want to see. Showing me the aftermath kind of works, but man, if you want a heart-wrenching tale that fans will be talking about for years, give us that one.

I did love Luke’s final battle with Kylo. We got to see the grouchy old man he’d become mixed with some snark that was cool. I didn’t love that he died.

So who’s the last jedi?

We see that Leia has force powers when she pulls herself back into the ship after the bridge is hit near the beginning of the film.

There should have been little signs of this in the Episode VII. She says there is still good in Kylo, but that’s a mother talking. If they would have given us a couple of solid hints at her powers, her self-rescuing moment would have been met with cheers, instead of people cocking their heads to the side going, “huh?”

Her being the last Jedi works. Unfortunately, Carrie Fisher passed away before they could film Episode IX, so we’ll never know how that was truly supposed to play out.

Snoke must be Darth Plagueis:
Nope again.

I was so disappointed when Kylo so easily killed Snoke. (Although the scene was written well.)

Why have a cool bad guy if he’s that weak? This was maybe the last straw for me in this film. Who is the bad guy? Were they really going to throw in someone new for the very last movie of the Skywalker Saga? It made me twitch.

Other things I liked were that Finn and Rose actually failed in their crazy mission. That was kind of new for Star Wars, and it worked. I thought the fight with Rey and Kylo vs the throne room guards was great.

I also liked the two-edged sword of Kylo’s words to Rey when he says to leave the past behind or kill it if you have to. Well done there.

There’s no real mention of the balance of the force, which is what they promised us way back in Episode I. Grrr…

I think a single conversation between Holdo and Poe, where she listens to him instead of treating him like an inferior man, would have fixed a lot of this film. Sure, let him try his crazy plan. Keep him busy while Holdo work on this other plan.

The moment where Holdo dies was an amazing piece of cinematic art, but…where did that come from? Why has no one done it before? Or mentioned it as a possibility? This is just one of too many plot holes for my taste.

To me this film tossed aside or twisted too many of the expectations from Episode VII. A plot twist or two are great, but it felt like too many people said The Force Awakens was too much like A New Hope, so the director and writers of this movie said, “Fine! We’ll make it so different you won’t be able to whine about it this time!” (With some foot stomping and door slamming in there too.)

Like I said at the beginning, most people either loved this film or hated it. I don’t love it. Fresh ideas are good, but it’s still Star Wars. Respect the core material and go from there.

What are your thoughts on this film? Are you a lover or a hater?


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The Bones of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

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We’ve made it to the sequels!

Today we’re talking about the bones of the first of the sequels of the Skywalker Star Wars Saga!

Episode VII: The Force Awakens

If you missed any of the previous installments of Good Bones, you can find them here:
Episode I
Episode II
Episode III
Episode IV
Episode V
Episode VI

Let’s get to it!

Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Funny story about this movie. We had tickets through my husband’s work, but he was out of town, so I took my sister. His office had always bought tickets to the same place…until this film.
We went to the wrong theater TWICE before we finally just bought tickets there and watched the movie. Lucky for us it was during the day, so there were still good seats.
I was so obsessed with the free tickets. We still laugh about it.

The Bones:
What’s happened since Episode VI?
Who are these movies about?
What about the Force is awakening?

What’s happened since Episode VI?
The Republic is in power, but there is a Resistance because they’re worried about the New Order.

The rebels squashed the Empire, but now it’s back, under new management (including a couple of crazy Sith Lords), and ready to take over the galaxy once again.

We find out pretty quickly that Leia is part of the Resistance, she and Han have split up, and Luke is nowhere to be found.

The writers set this up smoothly. However, that doesn’t mean it’s great.

I have a friend that says the only thing he really wanted from these films was to see Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie together again. Even if it was just a few scenes. That never happened, and I think the films were weaker for it.

Who are these movies about?
If these movies aren’t about the characters from the original trilogy, then who are they about?


Poe: The Resistance’s best pilot. He’s snarky. He’s quick. He has a cool droid. Oh, did I mention he’s the Resistance’s best pilot? Because you might have missed it as they shoved it down your throat a couple of times during the movie.


Rey: A desert planet scavenger who spends her days crawling through the remains of a Star Destroyer from the old wars. She’s a decent fighter with her staff, and takes care of things less fortunate than herself. She’s nothing special…or is she? Her obsession with finding out who her parents were is more than a little irritating. She carries that idiot ball way too long.


Fin: A Storm Trooper who decides he doesn’t want to have anything to do with killing innocent people. Can he be a normal human being? He rescues Poe from the command ship and they bolt.


Kylo Ren: Darth Vader wanna be. Broody. Volatile. Prone to fits of lightsaber rage. Uninteresting until he kills his father.


There are a few others, but these are our main characters.

What about the Force is Awakening?
Rey is force sensitive. She’s quick to pick up on pretty much anything having to do with the Force.
That’s pretty much all we get in this movie. Which I think is lame, considering that’s the title of the show!

Also, I still don’t see any evidence of bringing balance to the Force. Just sayin’

From a writing point of view this movie is pretty tight. Not perfect, but not bad.

Unfortunately, I think it suffers from the director trying too hard to recreate A New Hope:
A droid with vital information stranded on a desert planet
Rescued by an orphan
Who is then rescued by a combo of Han, Chewie, and the Millennium Falcon
There’s a cantina
They hook up with a rag-tag group of Rebels/Resistance
To take out a planet-killing super weapon

The Force Awakens is not an exact copy of A New Hope, but it hits a lot of the same beats. Too many for a lot of the fans.

I love it when Han Solo, of all people, tells the group, “That’s not how the Force works!” So ironic.

Maz is probably the most interesting character in this film. Loved her. Wanted more of her. “Where’s my boyfriend?” and “I like that Wookie.” LOL

The moment when Poe is fighting above Fin, who watches him, and after some great maneuvers, screams, “That’s one hell of a pilot!”
Worst. Line. In. The Movie.
Did the director think his audience was full of idiots? We did just see Poe do those cool things. I’m not sure we needed Fin to scream it at us.
There are a couple of spots like that in the film. Give the fans some credit. Sheesh.

The most disappointing part of this film is that Luke is only in the last minute, and he doesn’t even speak. It makes sense when you understand what’s happened in the past, but I kind of hated it. A lot of people hated it.

When the New Order blows up the government home worlds, or whatever, I literally felt nothing. Why should I care? Leia obviously doesn’t trust them, so it’s fine they’re gone. Not sure how they would have squeezed anything about that into the film, but it needed it.

I’m railing on this one a lot, but I actually liked this film more when we watched it last month than I did originally. It’s fun, moves fast and hits all the beats.
Some a bit hard, but it does hit them.


What are your thoughts on this film?


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The Bones of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

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Today we’re talking about the bones of my favorite film in the Skywalker Star Wars Saga!

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

If you missed any of the previous installments of Good Bones, you can find them here:
Episode I
Episode II
Episode III
Episode IV
Episode V

Let’s get to it!

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

This movie came out when I was eight years old. I’d seen the first two, and was really upset when I found out my dad, who was in the ARMY Reserves, got to see it before we did because the ARMY had gotten a copy to show them at their two week training camp.
So. Unfair.
I still remember sitting in the old Villa theater in Salt Lake City, watching this film. One of my sisters leaned over to me to read the subtitles for Jabba the Hutt, and I was like, “I can read it myself!” I should probably apologize for that.

The Bones:
The fate of Han Solo
Return of the Jedi?
What about the rebels?

The fate of Han Solo
Han Solo has been in frozen. Leia admitted she loved him. At the end of Episode IV Lando and Chewie were headed to rescue Han. Now what???

I’d never noticed before that the first third of this movie is spent rescuing Han. I love the cheese and fun that goes along with the rescue, so I don’t mind.

The first 20-25% of any story is usually spent on set-up, or showing the character’s daily life, why they need a change, and how that change might come about.

Granted, this is the third film in the trilogy, so the characters don’t need a lengthy introduction. We know who they are and what they can do. Although we do see that Luke has a few new tricks up his sleeve, which is very cool.

The writers give us everything we’re expecting as Lando fights to redeem himself to Han, Leia is out to rescue the man she loves, and Luke, relying on his newfound powers, makes sure none of his friends are going to be left to the mercy of Jabba.

As I watched this film again, I realized that this first section is one of the reasons I love it so much. I’m all about the bonds of friendship and love. Camaraderie is maybe my favorite trope of all time, and I’m a total sucker for it.

However, I’m not sure I would have written this the same way. The characters—all of them leaders—put the rebellion on hold to rescue one man. Neither the rebellion or the Empire are really mentioned until Luke comes back from Dagobah.

I’m not sure why this works, but it does.

Return of the Jedi?

Luke’s story is the crux of this movie.

Mostly.

Luke goes back to Yoda, who dies, leaving him alone. He learns about a sister, which makes a particular scene in Episode V very awkward, and then decides he can turn Vader back from the dark side.

Is that even a thing? I haven’t read/watched everything that goes before the original trilogy, but I don’t recall anyone having gone to the dark side deciding to come back to the light side.

Maybe it’s never happened before!

Imagine Yoda and Obi Wan watching Luke run off to face Vader and shaking their heads at the fact he thinks he can bring his father back. Of course, their way didn’t work, so why not try it?

While joyful, I bet it was a bit of a slap in the face knowing that family and love are what brought Vader back. Of course that’s what turned him in the first place, so there’s that.

In the end, we have to wonder if the Jedi returning was Luke beginning a new order, or Anakin sloughing off his dark ways to re-embrace the light. Perhaps it is both.

The scene with the Emperor, while not as flashy as the prequels, is much more emotional. The callback to cutting off Luke’s hand is great. There is just enough talking to keep Luke and Vader off balance.

As a kid I used to wonder if Palpatine had just shut his stupid face if Luke would have cut Vader down. Palaptine interrupts him, which gives us the tidbit that turning to the dark side has to be a conscious act. Which is interesting.

I probably wouldn’t change much through here. It works the way it is.

What about the rebels?

While Luke is on the Death Star, fighting for the fate of his soul, his friends are on the moon, working with those silly teddy bears, trying to get the shield down so Lando and the others can attack.

Without the Emperor being on the Death Star, this mission would have been a big deal. With him there, it gives the rebellion the chance they’ve been hoping for—end the Emperor and therefore the Empire once and for all.

The stakes are high. They turn to their best people to get it done. Or should I say, their best people step up to get it done.

Each battle is fierce. Because I saw this movie when I was eight years old, I’m a fan of the Ewoks. I’m the demographic Lucas was going for. I still like them. They’re primitive, and somewhat silly, but in the end they step up and use what they know to help Han and Leia.

There is a lot of humor in this film, and for whatever reason it works. Yes, it’s campy in places. Other times the dialogue is genuinely delightful:
Han: How we doing?
Luke: Same as always.
Han: That bad, huh?

The mix of action and humor really hits the spot for me. C-3PO is sometimes over the top, but not nearly as bad as they make him in the prequels.

The Bones of this movie are spot on.

The story telling isn’t bad either.

I’ve heard that originally the Ewoks were going to be Wookies. That would have been a great callback to Episode III…if it would have been written first. In the end Lucas leaned toward merchandising, and it worked for him.

What do you think of the bones of Return of the Jedi?


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