A first look at Rogue One:A Star Wars Story

Like every Star Wars fan, we were excited by the prospect of a standalone Star Wars film. This was a project that lived in the realm of a galaxy far, far away but was free to explore a plot that was not linked to the rise and fall of the Skywalkers.


Director Garett Edwards had very big shoes to fill. How does one pay homage to the biggest film franchise in the world yet create a brand new storyline that could gather new fans? Rian Johnson did a commendable job with The Force Awakens but it is our opinion that Edwards did not.


Sure, the movie was great as an action flick. It had witty one-liners, fantastic camerawork that let you feel like you’re part of the action (we might actually consider watching this on a D-Box), and so many cameos from A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back that would bring any fan of the original trilogy back to their childhood. And its end provided a direct link to the beginning of Star Wars, the movie that started the craziness.


But it didn’t capture the mood of Star Wars. Maybe it was because fans were already vested in the characters of the Original Trilogy, the Prequels and the Sequels. In the Prequels, you had the origin stories of Anakin Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Palpatine. In the Sequels, you were reunited with Han Solo, General Leia and Luke Skywalker, old heroes of the Original Trilogy. These characters provided continuance.


Not so here. Even as the cameos brought sparks to the timeline, they were not enough to lift the movie. The characters Jyn Erso, Captain Cassian Andor, Chirrut Imwe struggled to find a voice – quite literally in Saw Gerrera’s case, the rebel militant played by Forest Whitaker even had a low-cost version of Darth Vader’s ventilator.

(Potential spoiler if you haven’t read anything before the movie premiere)

rogue-one-ghost

We knew the rebels were not getting home alive (even though these are not the Bothans – they’re the ones who delivered plans for the Death Star II). We knew who designed the Death Star. There was no plot twist going in. This was the perfect opportunity to turn Star Wars on its head. We could not help but feel a better script with more convicted acting could have drawn out the human (aliens too) emotion of the rebellion. Their struggles under the Empire and what made them rebel. A more convincing story could have the franchise more legs to crank out TV series, comics, novels or more standalone films.rogue-one-a-star-wars-story-diego-luna-as-cassian-andor-felicity-jones-as-jyn-erso-wen-jiang-as-baze-malbus-header

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story could have moved away from the comic, action genre into a whole different world but it didn’t. In the end, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is like a distant relative you meet at Chinese New Year. You see the family resemblance but you’re not interested enough to want to meet them more than once.

Rating: 2/5

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Rogue One tickets giveaway

‘Tis the season for giving and we’re giving away a pair of tickets to watch Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at the biggest geek gathering together with Geek Culture and Here Be Geeks.

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The silver lining for Star Wars

It’s after halloween and nearing December; and everyone is getting into the Star Wars mood. With myriad merchandise rolling out from Disney and its affiliates, the only thing we haven’t yet seen is a Star Wars car.

Even though the products that have excited us thus far have been the toys (Millennium Falcon drone, anyone?), more products have been pushed towards the adult fans of late. Have you seen the Nixon Star Wars #Darkside collection yet? Another brand to target the Star Wars fans who had grown up with the original 1977 release is Royal Selangor Pewter. Continue reading →

Thank God for Force Friday

So it’s 4am and I’m too excited to sleep.

I’d just returned from the Singapore leg of the global unveiling of Star Wars: The Force Awakens merchandise. Even before the midnight launch at Toys R US United Square, there had been a global unboxing livestreamed around the world on YouTube. While there had been many toys touted and coveted, I had personally kept my eye on the Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens MIllennium Falcon, which has – gasp! – an old Han Solo minifig! Of course, it was available at our Force Friday launch for $299 but being on crutches meant I had to choose my purchases carefully.

The queue into United Square atrium snaked around the mall

Rebels and Empire forces worked together to keep the rabble in line

Wisely, I decided to keep to a BB8 theme for the night. I’d arrived an hour ahead of the event and was promptly labeled 165 in the queue – which had, by this time, snaked around the basement atrium at United Square. Then it’s hunkering down for the hour.

My queue number – 165. Almost a lucky number, I think

My queue number – 165, almost a lucky number. I think. This ticket also lets me collect a goodie bag at the end of the night.

Nearing midnight, there was a sudden countdown and the queue lurched forward. It didn’t move very fast nor very long though. We’d barely taken five steps before the queue stopped again. This wasn’t unexpected, here was a very determined crowd of people who are craving the latest toys for The Force Awakens – and they WILL NOT BE rushed.

The entrance to the toyshop! I feel like a kid at Christmas!

The entrance to the toy shop! I feel like a kid at Christmas all over again!

Waiting in line didn’t wane our excitement. Of course, the good folks at the 501st Legion made sure we had lots of photo opportunities and there were many kids bashfully asking for portraits with their favourite Sith, Jedis, stormtroopers, scout troopers, rebel pilots and TIE pilots.

Jedis, stormtroopers, everyone wants to lay their hands on The Force Awakens merchandise

Jedis, stormtroopers, everyone wants to lay their hands on The Force Awakens merchandise

When push came to shove, even TIE pilots had to help direct fans to the nearest cashiers. With about 10 cashiers on hand, the queue moved very quickly as you can tell.

TIE Pilots were roped in to manage the very well controlled crowd

TIE pilots were roped in to match fans with cashiers

A “drone” view of the crowd taken by this lonely photographer from the top.

A lone photographer taking aerial shots

A lone photographer taking aerial shots

Lots of merchandise were on display but these First Order stormtroopers were begging to be shot.

Bag these First Order Stormtroopers!

Bag these First Order Stormtroopers!

After an hour of waiting, and another hour browsing the store on crutches – trying very hard not to get my foot trampled on – these were my two precious buys. The coveted Sphero BB8 app-enabled droid ($239) and the Hasbro Black Series Rey with BB8 doll.

Purchases for the night: Sphero BB8 and Black Series Rey with BB8

Purchases for the night: Sphero BB8 ($239) and Black Series Rey with BB8 ($39.90). Considering what i was up against, I think the purchases have been tempered.

Before I head to dreamland to play with my new acquisitions, I leave you with an unboxing of the Sphero BB8 droid. I hope you enjoy it!

Things you learn from blogging

As much as my friends would disagree, I wouldn’t call myself a Star Wars fan. At most, I like it very much. Even though I have the Imperial March as the soundtrack to my life, I did not get very much into the Expanded Universe — a crime serious enough to revoke my membership to the Star Wars fan club. Which is why I love to blog about Star Wars. It is an opportunity to learn more about the made-up universe that I love so much. For example, while guest blogging on the new Star wars Lego sets for the geekerati, Geekculture.co, I was reminded that Luke Skywalker had played with a model of the T-16 Skyhopper in a scene from A New Hope, while a background matte painting of his actual craft was displayed in the window! I had totally forgotten about the craft if I hadn’t researched it.

Luke Skywalker playing with T-16 model. You can see the engine of his craft peeking in the window.

Luke Skywalker playing with T-16 model. You can see the chassis of his craft peeking in the window.

You may be the hottest bush pilot this side of Mos Eisley, Luke, but those little skyhoppers can be dangerous. They move awfully fast for tropospheric craft—faster than they need to. Keep playing engine jockey with one and someday, whammo! You’re going to be nothing more than a dark spot on the damp side of a canyon wall. – Biggs Darklighter

Another lesson I’d learned from writing the same blog was Ralph McQuarrie had designed a series of Star Wars greeting cards in the late 70s, which were later turned into Holiday Edition collectibles by Hasbro. Hello, #mindblown! If I had the capacity, I’d hunt down those figurines for my display shelf. You can also get the Lego versions of this adorable set in the 2015 Star Wars Advent Calendar 2015.

C3PO Santa and Rd@D Rudolph as Hasbro toys. Picture: Starwars.com

C3PO Santa and Rd@D Rudolph as Hasbro toys. Picture: Starwars.com

But the biggest lesson I’d taken away from this experience is I’d love to own the Star Wars Lego The Death Star Final Duel (75093) set if only to have a Darth Vader minifig that opens into two parts, just like in the movie. Nah, I’m just kidding. The biggest lesson is to know that only by improving what I know, only then will my love grow.

75093 The Death Star Final Duel 3

75093 The Death Star Final Duel

I hope you’ll continue to teach and guide me along, and I hope I have been able to offer something new for you to learn.

May the 4th be with you!

Singaporeans are pretty lucky to be ahead of the time zone in America. For one, we get to watch Avengers: Age of Ultron before the U.S. audience, and we’re smart enough to make use of the Long Labour Day weekend to celebrate May the 4th, also known as Star Wars Day (for the by-now-obvious May the 4th be with you — imagine saying the Jedi mantra with a lisp — parallel) three full days ahead of the North American audience. In accordance to Star Wars creed, one must make use of any opportunity to celebrate this momentous occasion with pomp and lots of capitalistic procurement of coveted Star Wars toys.

This ever-vigilant Arc Trooper was on duty to prevent any Jedi shenanigans... oh, err, never mind. Move along...

This ever-vigilant Arc Trooper was on duty to prevent any Jedi shenanigans… oh, err, never mind. Move along…

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Mace and Palpatine: The Force is strong with Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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