action, adventure, fantasy, movie, movie review

May 31st, 2018 Movie – Willow

willowSo here’s the deal about today’s movie. I never saw this in theaters and honestly, had no real desire to go see it. However, I do remember an arcade game for the movie and playing it at Putt-Putt every now and then. Then there was the Nintendo game, which was a little fun but also had some annoying moments to it, and I finally decided to go ahead and rent it one day. Yes, video games compelled me to watch a movie, instead of the other way around. So let’s have a little fun and go back with today’s movie, Willow.

The plot: When a young baby girl with a special birthmark is born in a dungeon, the mother pleads with the midwife to smuggle her baby out of there or else the sorceress Queen Bavmorda will kill her. The midwife agrees and smuggles the baby out of there in a basket of laundry but when Bavmorda learns the baby is missing, she kills the mother and then sends her hounds after the midwife. Hearing the hounds approaching, the midwife places the baby in a makeshift raft and sends it floating downstream on the river before the hounds attack and kill her. The raft ends up coming to a stop near the home of Willow Ufgood, a Nelwyn (dwarf), who doesn’t want to have anything to do with the baby but his wife Kaiya and children fall in love with the baby and take it back to their home and after being forced to hold the baby, Willow reluctantly agrees to let Kaiya take care of the baby, growing to care for it as well. The next day, Willow and the kids head to the town festival, where Willow hopes to become the new apprentice to the High Aldwin. When the High Aldwin appears, he asks the three contenders to choose which finger has the power to rule the world. The first two choose incorrectly and Willow hesitates before making his choice but he is also wrong. Suddenly, a Nockmarr hound appears in the village, terrorizing everyone before it attacks an empty cradle. Nelwyn warriors manage to kill the hound and when they figure that it was after a baby, Willow rushes home to check on Kaiya and the baby. Reluctantly, Willow takes the baby to the high council, where the High Aldwin determines that the baby has a prophecy about her and must be taken to the Daikini crossroads. After speaking quietly with Willow, the High Aldwin says that Willow is in charge of the baby’s care, then asks for volunteers to go with him. Willow’s friend Meegosh volunteers as does Vohnkar, the village’s strongest warrior, but Burglekutt, a powerful villager that constantly bullies and belittles Willow, refuses to allow Vohnkar to go, until the High Aldwin says that Burglekutt must also go. The Nelwyn’s set out for the crossroads, avoiding Nockmarr soldiers when they learn that they are searching for them. The eventually reach the crossroads but see no sigsn of any Daikinis, except for Madmartigan, who is locked inside a prisoner’s cage. Burglekutt wants to free Madmartigan and give the baby to him but Willow refuses so Burglekutt leaves Willow and Meegosh there on their own while he leads the other Nelwyns back to their village. When an army approaches, led by Airk Thaughbaer, Willow tries to get them to take the baby but Airk refuses, as they are on their way to battle Bavmorda’s forces. Madmartigan, who is a former comrade in arms with Airk, tries to convince him to release him and let him help fight but Airk refuses, saying he is still loyal to his city while Madmartigan is loyal to nobody but himself. After Airk’s army leaves, Meegosh frees Madmartigan and Willow reluctantly hands the baby over to him. As Meegosh and Willow make their way home, they see the baby being carried off by some brownies and when they give chase, they end up captured. The brownies take Willow and Meegosh to the Fairy Queen Cherlindrea, who tells Willow that the baby’s name is Elora Danan and she is the future queen of Tir Asleen. She tasks Willow with taking the baby to see Fin Raziel, a sorceress, and help keep Elora safe so she can fulfill her destiny of bringing Bavmorda down. Willow sends Meegosh back to their village and then heads off, with two Brownies, Franjean and Rool, to help guide him to Fin Razael. The eventually stop at an inn, where they run into Madmartigan, who is dressing as a woman to avoid being attacked by a jealous husband, Lug. Suddenly, Sorsha, Bavmorda’s daughter, and Nockmarr troops arrive at the inn and begin searching the babies there. When Sorsha goes to examine Elora, Madmartigan shoves her away but she quickly reveals that he is a man. Discovering Madmartigan is a man, Lug attacks the soldiers in an attempt to get to Madmartigan and Madmartigan quickly escape on a horse and cart, with Willow jumping on board as well. Sorsha’s soldiers chase after them and Madmartigan fends them off before they are able to hide from the rest of Sorsha’s forces. As Madmartigan leaves, Willow follows after him to try and convince him to help them get safely to the lake and Madmartigan, having grown fond of Elora, agrees. They reach the lake and Willow finds a boat to take him and Elora to the island where Razael has been exiled and Madmartigan says his goodbyes to them. When Willow reaches the island, he finds that Razael has been changed into possum by Bavmorda’s spells and she asks Willow to help change her back. When they return to the mainland, they find that Madmartigan has been captured and forced to show Sorsha and her men where Willow is. Willow and Razael are captured and taken with Madmartigan to rendezvous with Kael’s troops on a snow covered mountain. As night falls, Razael tells Willow to try and change her back to human but he only manages to change her into a raven. Franjean and Rool show up and work on freeing Willow and Madmartigan and when Madmartigan tries to do it himself, Franjean hits Madmaritgan with the Dust of Broken Hearts. They eventually free Willow and Madmartigan and they go to find Elora but when Madmartigan goes to try and grab Elora from Sorsha’s tent, he ends up falling in love with Sorsha. Madmartigan approaches her, reciting poetry when she threatens him with a knife. Kael captures Willow as he tries to escape with Elora and Sorsha believes Madmartigan was simply saying things to distract her but Madmartigan grabs a sword and cuts the tent support, then kisses Sorsha before the tent collapses. Willow and Madmartigan escape the tent and then use a shield to slide down the mountain, reaching a village near the base. As Kael and his troops approach, they are given shelter by one of the villagers only to discover Airk and some of his men hiding there, as the most of his army was slaughtered by Bavmorda’s troops. As Kael takes some of his men to search elsewhere, Sorsha searches the house and discovers the hidden basement only to be captured by Madmartigan, who forces her troops to back off. Willow and Madmartigan take Sorsha with them as they head to Tir Asleen, and Airk and his men kill the rest of Sorsha’s forces. During the journey, Madmartigan and Sorsha discuss what happened the night before and Sorsha is angered when Madmartigan says it was merely fairy dust that made him say those things. She struggles with him and manages to get away and Madmartigan tries chasing after and recapturing her but as Razael warns that Kael is coming, he is forced to keep going with Willow, though he does look back at her while she does the same before they go their separate ways. Willow and Madmartigan reach Tir Asleen only to discover that the castle’s residents have been cursed by Bavmorda and turned to stone, while the castle itself has become infested with trolls. Madmartigan is upset at first but then quickly works on arming himself and setting up some defenses to fend off Kael and his men. As Willow goes to hide Elora, he is attacked by a troll and uses the wand on it, which cause it to change form and Willow quickly kicks it into the water below the tower. Kael’s forces break into the castle and Madmartigan starts to attack them when they suddenly turn and leave the castle, and Madmartigan turns to find the troll had changed into an Eborsisk, a giant, two-headed, fire breathing creature, and he quickly runs as well but then heads back inside when Kael tries to have his men attack him. As Madmartigan starts fending off Kael’s men, Sorsha watches him and starts to realize she is attracted to him. Willow comes under attack by some more trolls and he manages to deal with one, and Madmartigan helps him with the second one. Madmartigan then hands Willow a short sword before jumping onto one of the Eborsisk’s heads and plunging his sword into it’s neck. As he recovers on the ground, Sorsha approaches and helps him to his feet, then kisses him while the Eborsisk’s head explodes, killing the creature. Some of Kael’s men discover Elore but Willow manages to kill them, only to be knocked down by Kael. As Airk and the rest of his army arrive, Kael rides off with Elora, noting that Sorsha is fighting alongside Madmartigan as he does, and takes Elora to Nockmarr castle. After checking on Willow, Madmartigan, Sorsha, and Willow chase after him, joined by Airk and his men, and they prepare to lay siege to the castle. Kael presents Elora to Bavmorda and tells her of Sorsha’s betrayal and Bavmorda angrily tells her wisemen to prepare for the ritual. She approaches the castle ramparts and looks down on the army and starts laughing. Razael, who had been turned into a goat by Willow in Tir Asleen, quickly shoves Willow into a tent and tells him to use the wand to cast a protection spell on him. When Madmartigan calls out that they want Elora, Bavmorda tells them they aren’t an army but merely pigs, changing the men into pigs, including Franjean and Rool. When Sorsha begs her mother to stop, Bavmorda changes her into a pig as well. When Willow looks out the tent and sees everyone turned into pigs, he begins to despair but Razael says there is still hope and tells him to try and turn her back to human again. Willow tries, changing her into several animals before finally changing her back to human and after recovering for a bit, Razael tells Willow to start letting the pigs into the tent so she can change them back. As Bavmorda and her council begin the ritual to banish Elora’s spirit, Willow, Madmartigan, Sorsha, Razael, and Airk discuss their plans to try and rescue Elora and Willow comes up with a plan. In the morning, Willow and Razael approach the castle and call out for them to surrender Elora. Kael laughs at the request and sends his men to kill them but as the men approach, Willow gives a signal and Madmartigan and the other soldiers, who had been hiding in holes dug inside the tents, burst from hiding and charge the soldiers and the castle. As the fighting commences, Sorsha leads Willow and Razael up to Bavmorda’s tower to rescue Elora. Bavmorda sends her council to stop them but Sorsha easily deals with them but when she goes to grab Elora, Bavmorda uses her magic to send her flying towards a spiked gate. Razael stops Sorsha and Bavmorda drops her, then turns her attention to Razael and the two sorceresses begin battling. During the fight, Willow enters the room and attempts to grab Elora but a stray blast from Cherlindrea’s wand causes a table to come to life and attack him. Outside, the battle continues raging and Kael fights with Airk, stabbing him. Madmartigan sees his friend fall and goes after Kael eventually managing to impale him with his own sword. Back in the tower, Bavmorda manages to overpower Razael and then stops Willow from escaping with Elora. As Bavmorda demands Willow place Elora on the sacrificial altar, Willow refuses and uses his “disappearing pig” trick to make it seem like he sent Elora to another dimension. An enraged Bavmorda goes to attack Willow but accidentally knocks over the blood on the altar and a bolt of lighting strikes Cherlindrea’s wand, which she was holding, completing the ritual and banishing Bavmorda’s spirit instead of Elora’s. In the restored Tir Asleen, Razael gives Willow a spellbook, telling him he is on his way to becoming a great sorcerer, and Madmartigan and Sorsha, who are staying there as Elora’s guardians, say their goodbyes to him as he heads home. When he returns to his village, he is greeted by a cheering crowd and watch in amazement as he changes an apple into a bird, which poops on Burglekutt, before Willow sees Kaiya and his family and rushes forward to embrace them.

Willow met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 53% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Good production value and decent special effects, but the story is too insipid and slowly paced.” The movie was a modest success at the box office, earning $57.3 million off of a $35 million budget. With the box office receipts less than expected, George Lucas chose to continue Willow’s story in books rather than movie sequels, and co-wrote them with Chris Claremont, of X-Men comics fame. Recently, Director Ron Howard and Val Kilmer have both stated that there have been talks of a Willow sequel being considered.

This is still a pretty entertaining movie to watch, though it does have it’s flaws. The acting was pretty good for most of the characters. I thought Warwick Davis (Willow) and Val Kilmer (Madmartigan) had some great chemistry on the screen. I also liked Jean Marsh (Bavmorda) and Patricia Hayes (Razael) and thought that Kevin Pollak (Rool) and Rick Overton (Franjean) were absolutely hilarious but Joanne Whalley (Sorsha) was kind of bland while Pat Roach (Kael) was honestly to over the top, with his almost always yelling out commands. The story was really good and definitely showcased George Lucas’s ability for creating a unique universe. The special effects were pretty good for the most part except for one or two instances. Mainly the scene where the trolls were crawling along the buildings, as the looked really fake, and the scene where the table came to life and attacked Willow, as it just didn’t seem to synch perfectly with the background. Those aside, this is still a fun fantasy movie that is worth giving another watch.

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Standard
comedy, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review

January 8th, 2018 Movie – Leprechaun 4: In Space

leprechaun 4

Okay, I think we can safely say that this is where this series has jumped the shark. I remember hearing about this movie years ago, long after I thought the franchise had already ended, and thinking that it made absolutely no sense. I mean, what would a Leprechaun be doing in space, and how did he get there in the first place. Of course, I feel like this was the start of several other horror icons showing up in space; from Dracula to Jason Voorhees. Well, let’s see how good, or bad, this movie is as I watch today’s movie, Leprechaun 4: In Space.

The plot: A group of space marines are preparing to head down to a nearby planet and kill an alien that has been disrupting mining operations for the past 6 months. As Sgt. Metal Head Hooker begins briefing his men on the mission, he notices Dr. Tina Reeves in the room and questions why she is there. When she tells him she was assigned to the team as a medical/science officer, he contacts Dr. Mittenhand, the ship’s commanding officer to confirm what she said, then assigns Books Malloy to serve as her chaperone/bodyguard. Meanwhile, on the planet’s surface, the Leprechaun has captured the princess Zarina and attempts to seduce her in order to wed her and claim the throne for himself. Zarina is against the idea but the Leprechaun tempts her by offering her gold and jewels, appealing to the princess’ greed as her father had given most of his kingdom’s riches to the people, which Zarina is against as the lack of money has people calling her “common”. The marines enter the Leprechaun’s but when one of them kills an alien creature, the Leprechaun is alerted to their presence. Zarina says it is probably men sent by her father and the Leprechaun asks if she will leave with them but Zarina says she will choose to stay with the Leprechaun and his riches. When one of the marines enters the chamber and starts grabbing some of the various treasures, the Leprechaun sneaks up behind him and kills him. The rest of the marines were alerted to the dying man’s screams and rush into the chamber and begin attacking the Leprechaun, eventually killing him by blowing him up with a grenade. As Tina checks on the injured Zarina, who had lost her hand in the explosion, one of the marines, Kowalski, decides to pee on the Leprechaun’s corpse only to have the Leprechaun’s essence flow up the stream and enter his body. The marines head back to the ship and as Tina tends to Zarina’s injuries, she realizes who she is and says that helping her can improve relations with her people. Meanwhile, Metal Head is overseeing the storage of all the treasure they found in the cave when Dr. Mittenhand contacts him and says that they are to stay in orbit around the planet and act as security until a mining team arrives. Metal Head argues that their assignment ends at midnight but Mittenhand says that nobody is allowed to leave the ship before signing off. As the rest of the marines start drinking and unwinding in the ship’s cantina, Kowalski sneaks off with Delores, the only female marine, so they can have sex. As they start fooling around, Kowalski suddenly starts screaming in pain and collapses to the ground as the Leprechaun emerges from his groin. Delores checks on Kowalski but when she finds him dead, she attempts to shoot the Leprechaun but he shoots the gun out of her hand and attempts to attack her but she manages to get away. Back in the cantina, Books is talking to his friend Sticks about how he likes Tina when Delores enters the room and tells them about the Leprechaun. In the med bay, Mittenhand’s assistant Harold is examining Zarina’s body when he notices that her hand has regenerated and Mittenhand, who was observing from a viewscreen, tells him not to say anything about it to anyone. The marines and Tina head out to where Kowalski’s body is and begin searching for the Leprechaun. Metal Head has Books and Mooch check the waste disposal area and Tina warns against it, as the chamber contains flesh eating bacteria,  but when he insists, she has the men don protective suits and sends them in, keeping an eye on things from the control panel. The two split up to look for the Leprechaun but the Leprechaun slashes Mooch’s suit, exposing him to the bacteria, and Books drags him out of the chamber but is too late as Mooch is reduced to a skeleton. Metal Head and the others contact Mittenhand and tell him that since the Leprechaun just wants Zarina, they should give her to him in order to spare the rest of their lives. Mittenhand refuses and when Metal Head and the others threaten to leave, Mittenhand emerges from his hidden compartment, revealing himself to be a cyborg, with most of his body robotic parts, and manages to convince Metal Head to stay on board and kill the Leprechaun. As the Marines and Tina begin searching for the Leprechaun, Mittenhand and Harold are in Mittenhand’s secret lab, where they test some of Zarina’s blood on some of Mittenhand’s skin cells. When it grows a new finger, Mittenhand is excited and plans to use Zarina’s blood to help grow him a new body. Books and Tina locate the Leprechaun and contact Metal Head so they can help take him out but the Leprechaun attacks them, forcing them to retreat, where they meet up with Metal Head and Delores. Meanwhile, Sticks and Danny lost contact with the others and Danny decides to save himself but he encounters the Leprechaun and ends up getting killed. Back in the lab, Harold begins draining some of Zarina’s blood as Mittenhand rants about how he will be reborn and even more impressive than he is now. The marines continue searching for the Leprechaun when Delores gets cut off from the group and is confronted by the Leprechaun. She shoots the Leprechaun, seemingly blowing him up, but he quickly regenerates and knocks her off the railing, then smashes her hands until she falls to her death. The Leprechaun tracks down where Zarina is being held, then tricks Harold into opening the door so he can enter the biolab. Mittenhand confronts the Leprechaun and distracts him long enough for Harold to stab it in the back but the Leprechaun uses his magic to kill Harold, then prepares a punishment for Mittenhand. The Leprechaun rouses Zarina, who screams when she first sees him but then recognizes him and, commenting on how Mittenhand was draining her blood, asks the Leprechaun to kill him. The Leprechaun says he has something better planned and proceeds to mix up some items with Zarina’s blood, then injects it into Mittenhand’s head. The marines show up in the lab and begin shooting at the Leprechaun, who escapes with Zarina, but when they follow after them, the Leprechaun uses his magic to strap explosives to Metal Head and hold him hostage. He then takes control of Metal Head and has him escort him and Zarina to the shuttle. Books, Sticks, and Tina chase after them, not noticing that Mittenhand has disappeared. When they reach the cantina, they discover the Leprechaun has turned Metal Head into a woman and sends her to attack them, while the Leprechaun and Zarina head to the cargo hold to retrieve the Leprechaun’s gold. Meanwhile, Mittenhand is shown to have mutated and as he works on backing up his files, begins calling himself Mittenspider. The Leprechaun and Zarina reach the cargo bay and the Leprechaun places a force field around the shuttle to prevent anyone from taking it, then activates the ship’s self destruct before he starts searching for his gold. Hearing the alert for the self destruct, Books sends Sticks to cancel the self destruct but he gets trapped in Mittenspider’s web. The Leprechaun finds his gold and is upset that it has been shrunk down, then knocks out Zarina, as he has grown tired of her constant complaining. Books and Tina confront the Leprechaun and during the fight, Tina accidentally hits the Leprechaun with Mittenhand’s enlarging ray, causing him to become giant. Books tells Tina to go help Sticks while he deals with the Leprechaun and as she makes her way through the ventilation shaft, Mittenspider attacks her but she is able to get away. Tina eventually reaches the control room and sees Sticks suspended in the web but Mittenspider attacks her. She manages to kill it by freezing it with liquid nitrogen, then shooting it. Back in the cargo hold, Books finds Zarina and carries her to safety, then tells Tina to open the outer cargo bay door, causing the Leprechaun to be sucked out into space and explode. Books heads to the control room and when they try to figure out the password, Books suggest “wizard”, as Mttenhand had compared himself to the Wizard of Oz. The manage to cancel the self destruct at the last minute, and Tina and Books embrace and kiss before Sticks points their attention to the pieces of the Leprechaun, and they see one of it’s hands extend it’s middle finger towards them.

I have to admit, this wasn’t that bad of a movie as far as B-movies go. The acting was ok, with Warwick Davis doing his usual good job as the Leprechaun. The rest of the actors were ok but honestly, nobody really stood out. The story was interesting but kind of bounced around between several different themes, which made it feel sloppy at times. The biggest thing that I wished they would have explained is how the Leprechaun wound up on an alien planet in the first place. I did think the whole Mittenspider bit was a little much but got a kick out of the nod to The Fly when he starts saying “Help me!” before Tina shoots him. Unfortunately, the special effects were a little weak but they kind of added to the slight charm of the movie. It’s not the worst cheap B-movie out there but it can be a little entertaining to watch.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

Standard
comedy, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review

January 7th, 2018 Movie – Leprechaun 3

leprechaun 3

So everyone’s favorite homicidal leprechaun has found himself relegated out of theaters and in the video stores. To be honest, I am not that surprised about that, because that seems to be the way for many horror and sci-fi movies that spawn multiple sequels. What does surprise me is that this was the highest selling direct-to-video movie of 1995. That absolutely blows my mind and actually makes me curious to see just what I am getting with today’s movie, Leprechaun 3.

The plot: In Las Vegas, a terrified one-armed, one-eyed, one-legged man enters a pawn shop with a large sack and tells the shop owner, Gupta, he needs money to get out of town. Gupta opens the sack to reveal a strange statue with a medallion around it’s neck. The man tells Gupta the statue is a “good luck charm” and warns him not to remove the medallion. Gupta pays the man $20 and after he leaves, Gupta takes the medallion off of the statue and examines it. Thinking it is cheap junk, Gupta puts the medallion around his neck and turns around to find the statue is gone and a pot of gold is sitting on his counter in it’s place. As Gupta goes to examine the gold, the Leprechaun, which had been imprisoned in the statue, jumps on his back and bites his ear. Claiming Gupta to be a greedy thief after his gold, the Leprechaun knocks him down and bites off one of his toes but when he goes to kill Gupta, Gupta holds up the medallion and the Leprechaun backs away. Telling Gupta to keep it away from him, the Leprechaun grabs his pot of gold and heads down into the basement, not noticing one piece of gold falling out of the pot as he leaves, and Gupta quickly locks the door behind him. Meanwhile, Scott McCoy is driving into town and as he stares at all of the lights, he almost hits a woman named Tammy Larsen, who was trying to hitch a ride to work due to car trouble. After checking to see what was wrong with her car, Scott offers her a ride to the Lucky Shamrock casino where she works and the two start talking. Back at the pawn shop, Gupta looks up leprechauns online and decides to try and kill it and keep the gold for himself. As he heads to the basement, he finds the shilling and pockets it, missing the computer saying that he gets a wish for each piece of Leprechaun gold he possesses. In the basement, the Leprechaun realizes he is missing a shilling and hides his pot inside Gupta’s safe, then makes plans to find his missing gold. When Gupta enters the basement, the Leprechaun uses a statue to attack him but when he goes to finish him off, Gupta shoves the medallion in the Leprechaun’s mouth, then makes his way out of there as the Leprechaun recoils in pain. Back at the casino, Tammy thanks Scott for the ride and he asks her to help sneak him inside, as he is not 21 yet, and she reluctantly agrees. As Scott wanders around the casino, Tammy gets ready for work as a magicians assistant but when the magician, Fazio, says he wants to try a new act involving setting the box Tammy is in on fire, the casino owner, Mitch, nixes the idea and then demotes Fazio, wanting Tammy to end up being the headliner. Back in the casino, Scott gets dazzled by all of the gambling going on and decides to take his cashier check for tuition and housing and use it to start gambling. Back at the pawn shop, Gupta tries to make a bargain with the Leprechaun, giving him the medallion in exchange for half of his gold, but when Gupta relinquishes the medallion, the Leprechaun kills him. Back at the casino, Scott loses all of his money and Loretta, the table runner, tells him to go to the pawn shop and pawn his grandfather’s watch so he can try to win his money back. Scott heads to the pawn shop only to find it a mess and Gupta lying dead behind the counter. Scott calls the police and as he hangs up, he notices the shilling on the computer and picks it up, waking the computer from sleep mode. When the computer talks about getting a wish from a piece of gold, Scott wishes he was back at the casino on a winning streak and he is transported back there, just before the Leprechaun can kill him. At the casino, Scott is confused but finds himself on a winning streak, despite Loretta’s efforts to rig the table against him. Eventually, the owner shuts the table down and comps Scott a room at the casino, hoping to win back some of Scott’s money later that night or the next day. Scott runs into Tammy and tells her what happened and she is upset that he gambled but when Scott says he wants to split his winnings with her, she tells him to head up to his room and she will meet him after her show. The Leprechaun tracks down Scott and enters the casino, playing a trick on Fazio as he passes by him. When Fazio goes to speak with Loretta, she points out Scott and tells him his winning streak and asks that he steal the gold coin he uses as a good luck charm. In his room, Scott is getting cleaned up when Fazio sneaks into his room and steals the shilling, then punches Scott when he tries to stop him before quickly leaving. As Scott stares at the doorway, the Leprechaun appears with Scott’s room service order and demands his shilling. The Leprechaun proceeds to bite Scott and Scott grabs a knife and stabs the Leprechaun in the head, then throws him out the window. Unfortunately, some of the Leprechaun’s blood mixes with Scott’s blood and begins turning him into a Leprechaun. Back in the casino, Fazio meets up with Loretta and tells her he got the coin but didn’t get the money and Loretta grabs the coin from him as Mitch shows up and tells Fazio to get to work. Seeing the gold coin, Mitch grabs it from Loretta and they start arguing, Mitch wishes that Tammy would sleep with him. Tammy, who is nearby, is suddenly overcome with lust and approaches Mitch, saying she wants to sleep with him, and Mitch quickly leaves with her and heads to his room. Realizing that the coin’s powers work by wishing for something, Loretta sneaks up to Mitch’s room and steals the coin from him, then quickly leaves the room. With the coin no longer in his possession, Tammy comes to her senses and attacks him, then quickly gathers her clothes and leaves as Mitch fires her. As Mitch tries to comfort himself, the Leprechaun sneaks into his room and uses his magic to make a dream girl for Mitch, which comes out of the TV and starts seducing him. Meanwhile, Scott begins randomly speaking in random limericks and craving potatoes. When Scott spots Loretta and asks if she has seen Tammy, she tells him she is in Mitch’s office and a jealous Scott starts to head up there only to encounter a crying Tammy in the elevator. Scott asks her what’s wrong and she says nothing that hasn’t happened before only she was fired and asks him to forget it but Scott refuses, saying that if they don’t do something then Mitch will just do it again to someone else and Tammy goes with Scott up to Mitch’s office. Back in the office, Mitch realizes the girl he is making out with is actually a robot and he is electrocuted. When Scott and Tammy enter the office and see the body, they are confronted by the Leprechaun but Scott throws a bust at it and they escape out the fire escape just as two mobsters that Mitch owes money too enter the room. The mobsters go to confront the Leprechaun but the Leprechaun quickly kills them, then senses his shilling and smells Loretta’s perfume, heading off to find her. Outside, Tammy asks what they are going to do about everything but Scott begins going through some more changes and asks Tammy to help him. Back at the casino, Loretta wishes that she had her younger body back and once her wish is granted, she goes to show it off to Fazio. Explaining what happened to him, Fazio quickly grabs the coin and runs out of the room, then wishes for himself to be the world’s greatest magician. Back in the dressing room, Loretta continues to admire her new body when the Leprechaun appears and begins inflating her chest, lips, and butt. Loretta tries to escape but her widened proportions cause her to get stuck in the door and she ends up exploding. Scott and Tammy head to the pawn shop to see if there is anything there to help them deal with the Leprechaun. When Tammy picks up the medallion, Scott recoils in horror and tells her to put it away. Scott then tells her something is calling out to him and he finds the pot of gold. Tammy says they should destroy it so they can kill the Leprechaun but Scott, becoming more like a Leprechaun, tells her they can’t destroy it. Tammy manages to slap Scott to his senses just as the Leprechaun appears and tries to kill them but they manage to get away and Tammy takes Scott to the hospital, stopping to grab the medallion on the way out. In the hospital, Scott begins changing more and more and is placed into isolation as doctors try to treat him. Sensing Scott turning into another Leprechaun and not wanting any competition for his gold, the Leprechaun makes his way to the hospital to kill him. Tammy gets paged down to the morgue and when she gets there, she finds the mortician dead and is captured by the Leprechaun. Meanwhile, the doctors discover Scott’s money and decide to spend order more needless tests on him but Scott comes too and uses his magic to subdue the doctors and as he gathers his money, he senses the Leprechaun and heads out to confront him. In the morgue, the Leprechaun asks Tammy about his shilling and when she says she doesn’t have it, he threatens to cut off her nose but Scott stops him and the two confront each other but Scott manages to free Tammy and she chases off the Leprechaun with the medallion. The Leprechaun heads to the casino to get the shilling from Fazio, as Scott told him who took the shilling, and Tammy and Scott follow to try and stop him. Fazio is in the middle of an act when the Leprechaun appears and traps Fazio in a box and proceeds to saw him in half. Scott and Tammy show up and tell the crowd to get out of there and Tammy tries to grab the coin but the Leprechaun grabs her. Scott threatens the Leprechaun with a flamethrower and the Leprechaun tries to reason with him, offering the pot of gold if Scott will join him. Tammy pleads with Scott not to listen and Scott turns the flamethrower on the gold, destroying it and causing the Leprechaun to burst into flames and be killed. Scott is returned to normal and Tammy kisses him and as they leave, she reveals that she had grabbed the last shilling, Scott says it is her call if she wants to use it but Tammy says she already has everything she could want and tosses the coin away as the two embrace and head out of town.

I don’t think the luck of the Irish could have helped make this movie more entertaining. The good news is that it isn’t any worse than the last movie, but that really isn’t saying much. Warwick Davis did a really good job in his role this time around and really seemed to be having fun with the character. Unfortunately, John Gatins (Scott) and Lee Armstrong (Tammy) were both kind of boring as the leads in the movie, with Marcelo Tubert (Gupta) and Caroline Williams (Loretta) making for much more intersting characters. The story was kind of interesting and I liked having it set in Las Vegas, as there is probably no better symbolic location of greed than Vegas. I will say that the whole bit about Scott turning into a leprechaun seemed stupid and honestly felt like it was basically a way to add some more time to the movie. The special effects left a lot to be desired and I am going to chalk that up to the fact that this had a limited budget due to being direct-to-video. It is a bit of mindless time killing entertainment but there are probably better things to wast your time with.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Standard
comedy, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review

January 6th, 2018 Movie – Leprechaun 2

leprechaun 2

As much of a fan of horror movie that I was back in my teenage years, and I admit I am still a fan now as an adult, I will admit that this one completely slipped by me when it was in theaters. Then again, I was only moderately impressed with the original Leprechaun so I don’t think it is that much of a slight on me to not catch this one. Anyways, I remember catching glimpses of this movie every now and then on late night TV back in the day but never really got around to watching the entire movie in one sitting. I guess it is fortunate that my friend decided to get me the 4-pack of the first 4 Leprechaun movies for Christmas. So lets see how good of a movie I am in store for with today’s movie, Leprechaun 2.

The plot: On March 17th, 1894, a man named William O’Day is running through the woods when he is suddenly choked and dropped to the ground. A Leprechaun appears and taunts him, as he has placed a magic collar on O’Day as punishment for trying to steal the Leprechaun’s gold. The Leprechaun tells him that as this is his 1000 birthday, he is able to choose any woman to be his bride when the chosen girl sneezes three times and says that once he is wed, he will grant O’Day his freedom. O’Day agrees to help the Leprechaun obtain his bride but when he sees the girl the Leprechaun chose, he is horrified to discover it is his own daughter. O’Day begs the Leprechaun to choose someone else but the Leprechaun begins blowing through the underbrush, causing the girl to sneeze twice. When she sneezes a third time, O’Day says “God bless you, my child.” and attempts to run but the Leprechaun stops him. He says that since O’Day stopped him from marrying his daughter, he has cursed his family and on his 2000th birthday, he will marry his descendant, then proceeds to kill O’Day. 1000 years later in Los Angeles, Bridget meets up with her boyfriend Cody, who works as a barker for a death-themed tour company run by his uncle/guardian Morty. The two plan on spending the afternoon together but when they find Morty drunk at a bar, Cody is forced to give the tour, bringing an unhappy Bridget along with him. As they go through the tour, they pass a homeless man, who happens to scare the tourists, but when the homeless man lays down by a tree, his whiskey bottle is mysteriously dragged into the tree. The man sees this and goes to grab it back only to be attacked by the Leprechaun, who notices the man’s gold tooth and grabs it from his mouth to add to his own collection. Back on the tour, Cody stops at the Go-Kart track where they were supposed to meet with their friends and Bridget gets out and storms inside, with Cody trying to follow after her. Bridget is greeted by Ian, the manager, who starts flirting with her and has someone cover his shift so he can hang out with her. When Cody enters, Ian mocks him as Cody tries to talk to Bridget and he promises that things will be different next time but Bridget tells him there won’t be a next time and walks off. A dejected Cody ends up running a red light and getting pulled over by the police and arrested for driving without a license. Morty heads down to pick up Ian and as they are leaving, they see the homeless man being brought in, telling the cops he was attacked by a leprechaun. Later that night, Ian drops off Bridget at her house and tries to convince her to invite him in but she refuses. As he is leaving, he suddenly hears Bridget calling out to him from the garage. Bridget says she is sorry and wants to make it up to him and begins removing her shirt but as Ian approaches her, it is revealed to be a trick by the Leprechaun and Ian ends up being killed by the overturned lawnmower the Leprechaun’s magic had made to look like Bridget. Meanwhile, Cody heads to Bridget’s house and brings her some flowers to apologize and as they talk, they don’t notice the Leprechaun sneaking into the house. The Leprechaun makes Bridget start sneezing and when she sneezes the third time, Cody goes to say “God bless you” but the Leprechaun causes the phone cord to wrap around his neck, stopping him. As the Leprechaun appears, Cody is able to cut himself free and confronts him but the Leprechaun drops a pot rack on him, knocking him out. Bridget tries to run and call for help but the Leprechaun says he is claiming her as his bride, tossing a gold collar around her neck. When the Leprechaun uses his magic to bring her closer to him, she knocks over his pot of gold. As the Leprechaun goes to gather his gold, a gold coin rolls along the floor into Cody’s hand, rousing him from unconsciousness. Bridget helps Cody up and they try to run but the Leprechaun knocks Cody down and grabs Bridget again. Cody throws a fire poker at the Leprechaun and the iron burns his hand when he catches it but he quickly disappears with Bridget. The Leprechaun takes Bridget to the tree where ‘he has made his home and reveals that Bridget is a descendant of O’Day. As he turns his back on Bridget and fixes a drink, she knocks him over the head with a rock and tries to run, only to find the skeleton of O’Day. The Leprechaun appears and uses his magic to wrap her in a blanket and take her to her bed. As he stands over her, he tells her that he must make some changes to her body to enable her to bear his children. As he tries to tempt her with his gold, the Leprechaun realizes he is missing a gold shilling and quickly gathers it all back into his pot. The Leprechaun plans on leaving to find his gold and Bridget begs him to let her loose, saying she want’s to look pretty for him when he gets back so the Leprechaun frees her and hands her a red dress to wear when he returns, then licks her face before leaving. At Bridget’s house, the police are there investigating Ian’s death and have found the note from Cody when he brought the flowers to Bridget but the Leprechaun grabs the note and heads off to Cody’s place. Meanwhile, Cody sees the cops talking to Morty and sneaks inside their apartment after they leave so he can talk to Morty. Morty doesn’t believe Cody’s story, despite Cody showing him the gold shilling, but the Leprechaun shows up and attacks them. Cody offers the Leprechaun the shilling back in exchange for Bridget and the Leprechaun agrees but Morty knocks a bookcase onto him, saying you can’t trust a leprechaun, and they escape out the fire escape, with the Leprechaun unable to follow due to the wrought iron bars on the window. Cody and Morty head to the bar to hide and while Cody uses the restroom, he is approached by a little person dressed as a leprechaun, who offers him one of his chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil. Noticing the little person’s gold tooth, Cody remembers the homeless man’s story at the police station and goes to tell Morty that he knows where Bridget is but Morty tells him the Leprechaun is here, pointing to the end of the bar. The Leprechaun sits next to them and demands his coin, mocking Cody’s demand to return Bridget by saying she is a married woman. Morty attempts to trick the Leprechaun by having a drinking contest with him but while the Leprechaun is drinking liquor, Morty is actually drinking soda and water. The Leprechaun becomes to drunk to properly use his magic and Morty grabs him but the Leprechaun is able to turn on the jukebox, distracting Morty enough to allow the Leprechaun to hit him over the head with a bottle and escape. Meanwhile, Bridget keeps trying to find a way out of the Leprechaun’s lair but his magic makes the place like an unending maze, where she constantly appears back in the main chamber. She eventually finds a box buried in the ground and retrieves an awl, which she keeps to use against the Leprechaun when he returns. The Leprechaun heads to a coffee bar to sober up but when the manger tries to get him to pay his bill, the Leprechaun thinks he is after his gold and kills him. Cody gets an idea and they head to the go-kart place, which has a wrought-iron safe, and make plans to capture the Leprechaun. When a security guard captures Morty, Morty is able to knock him out but is then attacked  by the Leprechaun. Cody calls out to the Leprechaun and when he goes through the doggy door after him, he ends up entering the safe, which Cody had placed in front of the opening. Cody quickly closes the door but when he goes to get some two-by-fours to help load it into the car, Morty locks him inside the storage closet. Morty then yells that since he captured the Leprechaun, he gets three wishes and uses his first wish to wish for the Leprechaun’s pot of gold. The Leprechaun fulfills the wish, but causes the pot of gold to appear inside Morty’s stomach. Scared to die from the gold inside him, Morty uses his second wish to free the Leprechaun and his third to wish the gold out of his stomach and the Leprechaun proceeds to rip open his stomach to get his gold back. Cody breaks free of the storage room but is arrested by a police officer for Morty’s death. As he is being taken to the police car, they hear a girls voice coming from the go-kart track and Cody tries to warn him but the police officer heads out there and ends up being killed by the Leprechaun in a modified go-kart. When the Leprechaun tries to kill Cody, he can’t and Cody realizes that the Leprechaun’s magic won’t hurt him as long as he has the shilling and heads off to rescue Bridget. The Leprechaun returns to his lair to prepare for Cody’s arrival and Bridget tries to seduce him and when he is distracted, stabs him with the awl but, since it is not made of wrought iron, it breaks and the Leprechaun has her tied up by some tree roots. Meanwhile, Cody reaches the tree and heads inside but ends up being attacked by O’Day’s skeleton. Cody manages to free himself and finds Bridget, who had used the awl to remove the collar from her neck, and the two try to get out of the lair, with the Leprechaun chasing after them. When the continue to find themselves in the main lair, Cody comes up with an idea when he gets separated from Bridget. When he goes looking for her, he finds her and she tells him that she found a way out. Cody wants to leave but Bridget says that he should leave the coin, as that is what the Leprechaun wants, kissing him to try and convince him. Cody hands Bridget the coin but she transforms into the Leprechaun and mocks him for giving him the coin. The real Bridget begs him not to hurt Cody but the Leprechaun uses his powers to toss Cody away. Bridget runs to Cody and says that he killed him and the Leprechaun goes to take Bridget away but Cody sits up and throws the iron poker he was carrying into the Leprechaun’s chest. He then reveals that the coin he gave the Leprechaun was the chocolate coin from the bar and Cody and Bridget quickly leave as the Leprechaun explodes. Outside the tree, Bridget asks Cody how he knew it wasn’t her and Cody says that the fake Bridget kissed different than her, then tosses the shilling away, saying it isn’t worth the trouble, as he and Bridget leave.

Leprechaun 2 was absolutely panned by the critics, holding a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics felt that it added nothing new to the original movie, which they felt was lacking to begin with. Despite the theme of the franchise, this is the only movie in the series to actually take place during St. Patrick’s Day. The movie made $2.3 million at the box office and would be the last one to be given a theatrical release, as subsequent sequels would be relegated to direct to video status.

Ok, this was boring with a capital BOR. I honestly taking a nap while watching this movie because there wasn’t really much going for it. The acting was ok, with Warwick Davis doing a good job reprising his role as the Leprechaun and I actually liked Sandy Baron as Morty. However, the two leads of Charlie Heath (Cody) and Shevonne Durkin (Bridget) were just boring. The story added a slight twist regarding the whole marriage aspect but for the most part, it was still the Leprechaun going after a missing piece of his gold. The one thing I did like was that they added the whole iron being anathema to members of the Fey race, which includes leprechauns. The special effects didn’t seem as good as the original movie and just looked overly weak at best. Chalk up one more victim to the “Sequel’s Curse” and just avoid this one.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Standard
comedy, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review

January 5th, 2018 Movie – Leprechaun

leprechaun

Ahh, the 90’s. A time when the horror franchise was starting to run out of ideas for movies and would try their best to make a new franchise. Today’s movie is one of those franchises that surprisingly, managed to find enough a niche to make a good run of series. To be honest, I don’t think many people would have given this movie much thought except for the one point of contention this movie has; that being that this was the feature film debut of one Jennifer Aniston. Now, let’s see how she did with her first starring role in today’s movie, Leprechaun.

The plot: In 1983, Daniel O’Grady returns to his home in North Dakota after having gone to Ireland to bury his mother. His wife is shocked when he pulls up in a limousine, saying they could barely afford the house they are in, but Daniel pulls out an urn and smashes it to reveal a bag full of gold. He tells his wife that he stole it from a Leprechaun and goes off to hide it somewhere on the grounds. While he is gone, his wife goes to fix some tea when she hears a voice coming from Daniel’s suitcase and sees the Leprechaun emerge from it and, frightened by it’s asking for it’s gold, she ends up falling down the basement stairs and breaking her neck. When Daniel returns from hiding the gold, he finds the Leprechaun waiting for him and he races up to his room to grab a 4-leaf clover, which manages to suppress the Leprechaun’s magic. Daniel chases after the Leprechaun and manages to shoot it and place it into a crate. Placing the clover on the crate to keep the Leprechaun trapped in there while he seals the crate but as he goes to try and burn it, he ends up suffering a stroke and collapses to the ground. 10 years later, J.D. Reding and his daughter Tory rent out the O’Grady’s old house but Tory voices her complaints about having to leave Los Angeles to come out there. After seeing a large spider in the basement, Tory wants to go stay at a hotel and goes to leave when she runs into Nathan, who is there with his brother Alex and their dim-witted friend Ozzie to help fix up the house, and after talking with him for a while, she decides to stay. Tory heads down to the basement to bring Nathan some water but drops it when Nathan startles her by accidentally dropping a cloth on her head. Nathan comments about the O’Grady’s and teases Tory into helping him open the crate that the Leprechaun is trapped in but before they do, they hear a commotion outside and go the check it out. They discover Ozzie covered in paint and as Tory offers to let him go wash up in the house so Ozzie heads inside. After washing off his face, Ozzie hears a child’s voice calling out and he follows the sound to the basement and ends up brushing away the dried up clover and opening the crate. The Leprechaun emerges and asks Ozzie for his gold but his powers are too weak from being trapped for 10 years so Ozzie is able to escape. Ozzie heads out to tell Nathan, Tory, and Alex about the Leprechaun and they don’t believe him, thinking it is another of his wild tales, but head down to check out the basement, only to find a rat moving around. When they return outside, Ozzie sees a rainbow and goes chasing after it, thinking it will lead him to treasure. Alex follows after Ozzie to keep him out of trouble and they see the rainbow appearing to settle on the wreck of an old truck. Ozzie finds a gold coin, which he accidentally swallows, and Alex finds the bag filled with more coins. Ozzie is worried that this is the gold the Leprechaun was talking about but Alex tells him there is no Leprechaun and decides to take keep one coin to see if it is really gold and hide the rest in the old well. Back at the house, Tory is helping Nathan pain as the two start to flirt and when she goes to get another can of paint from his truck, the Leprechaun, who is hiding under it, begins caressing her leg. Tory thinks it is Nathan at first but when she sees him behind her, she gives out a startled yelp and jumps back, causing the Leprechaun to scratch her leg. Nathan and J.D. go to check on her and she tells them what happened but when they hear a cat meowing, they think it was just a cat brushing up against her. J.D. goes to find the cat, which is actually the Leprechaun, and when he reaches into a log to grab the cat, the Leprechaun bites him in the hand. Nathan decides to take J.D. and Tory to the hospital to get checked out and Alex and Ozzie go with them but split up to go get the coin checked out. They take it to a coin dealer, who asks to keep it overnight so they leave it with him but after the dealer locks up the shop, and tries examining it, he is attacked and killed by the Leprechaun, who takes back the coin and says there are 99 left to go. The Leprechaun heads back to the house, killing a police officer along the way, and begins searching for the rest of his gold. Meanwhile, J.D. is being kept at the hospital overnight for observation so Nathan and Tory are waiting at a diner for Alex and Ozzie and once they show up, they head back to the house only to find the kitchen a mess. They start cleaning it up, with Ozzie finding a bell that he starts playing with. After they get it cleaned up, they hear the bell ringing and Tory goes to yell at Ozzie only to see that neither he nor Alex are touching it. Hearing the sound coming from outside, Nathan goes to check it out only to step into a bear trap and the Leprechaun begins to attack him. Tory and Alex go to help him while Ozzie calls the police but the police ignore him, thinking it is another of his stories. Alex gets a shotgun to give to Nathan, who manages to shoot the Leprechaun and after Tory frees his leg from the bear trap, he continues to shoot at the Leprechaun but they find the body has vanished. Heading back inside, Tory works on tending to Nathan’s leg and they head out to the truck only to find it won’t start. The Leprechaun attacks them, biting Ozzie’s ear, but Tory burns it with the cigarette lighter and it runs off into the barn. The Leprechaun makes a miniature vehicle and knocks over the truck but the 4 kids are able to escape and run back into the house. Tory tries calling for help on her cell and the sheriff radios a car to go help them, but the Leprechaun is the one that responds. Back at the house, Ozzie comments about the gold and Tory gets Alex to come clean about the gold and where he hid it. Tory goes out to retrieve the gold when the Leprechaun appears and takes it from her. Tory runs back into the house while the Leprechaun disappears to count his gold but when he discovers one piece missing, he heads back to the house and starts attacking them again. Ozzie says that he knows why the Leprechaun is attacking them and tries to sacrifice himself to save the others but Alex and Nathan stop him from going. Ozzie says that O’Grady had told him about Leprechauns and he might know how to kill it but Nathan says that O’Grady is at the rest home after suffering his stroke. Tory, Nathan, and Alex come up with a plan and they head outside to R.D.’s jeep and when the Leprechaun goes to attack them, Nathan and Alex distract it by throwing shoes at it, which the Leprechaun impulsively begins to shine, allowing Alex to drive off in the jeep. Alex heads to the rest home and goes to O’Grady’s room only to find the Leprechaun there waiting for her. She manages to get away from the Leprechaun when O’Grady’s body drops down from the roof of the elevator. O’Grady tells her he knew the Leprechaun would come back for him and tells her that the only way to stop it was with a 4-leaf clover, which she could find in the patch by the well. Tory heads back to the house and starts looking for the clover only to be attacked by the Leprechaun. Nathan and Ozzie help her get away from it and they all start looking for a 4-leaf clover, with Tory eventually finding one. Meanwhile, Alex grabs the bear trap and tries to go looking for the leprechaun only to be attacked by it. Tory, Nathan, and Ozzie show up and Ozzie yells at the Leprechaun that he swallowed the coin and lures it away from Alex and the Leprechaun chases after him and begins attacking him. Alex grabs the clover from Tory’s hand and sticks it to a piece of bubble gum, which he shoots into the Leprechaun’s mouth. The Leprechaun begins to fall apart and falls into the well, allowing Nathan and Tory to drag Ozzie to safety, and when it starts to climb back out, Nathan knocks it back down and proceeds to pour gasoline down the well and light it on fire, seemingly killing it. The authorities arrive in the morning to tend to the 4 kids and the Leprechaun’s voice is heard coming from the well, saying he will not rest until he gets his gold back.

Leprechaun met with poor results from the critics, holding a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, several of them seemed to like Warwick Davis and Jennifer Aniston’s performance but were not as generous in their praise of the story. A scene involving the Leprechaun eating some Lucky Charms was shot but after viewing the finished film, General Mills, who had originally given their approval to use the cereal, refused to let them use the scene. The film makers had a choice as to what to do and decided to re-shoot the scene with a spoof brand but, as a way to get back at the company, they added a new line to the end of the movie, with the little kid saying “Fuck you, Lucky Charms!” as the Leprechaun dies. The movie was a box office success, earning $8.6 million off of a $1 million budget.

I forgot how much of a stupid fun movie this is to watch but I am still amazed that it spawned as many sequels as it did. The acting was pretty good, with Jennifer Aniston (Tory) and Warwick Davis (Leprechaun) both doing good jobs in their roles. I was honestly a little “meh” towards Ken Olandt (Nathan) but I really liked the dynamic and interaction between Mark Holton (Ozzie) and Robert Hy Gorman (Alex). The story was pretty good and while I know they were trying to find a good mix between horror and comedy in the movie, there were times were it felt like they tried too hard to make a scene funny. One unintentionally funny scene was at the end, where Alex shoots the Leprechaun with the clover and says, “Fuck You, Lucky Charms”, but his lips were moving out of sync as the line was added after reshoots. I did like the special effects regarding Warwick Davis’ makeup and thought the extra gore they added to increase the horror was fairly impressive without being too over the top. I admit it is not a great movie but tt is one of those stupid fun movies that can be a good way to kill some time.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Standard
action, adventure, fantasy, movie, movie review, sci-fi

November 15th, 2017 Movie – Star Wars: Episode VI – Return Of The Jedi

star wars episode VI - return of the jedi

Every series must come to an end, and so it is with Star Wars. This movie has always had a sort of bitter sweet memory to it as this came out right as my parents’ divorce was finalizing. I remember going to see this in theaters with my dad and it was one of the last movies we saw before we moved to Birmingham. On one of my weekend visits to see my dad, I remember him renting this and watching it again with him, with him pointing out how jealous Han was of Luke at one point in the movie. Bittersweet memories aside, I have a lot of good ones regarding this so let’s finish off the trilogy with today’s movie, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return Of The Jedi.

The plot: As a Star Destroyer approaches the forest moon of Endor, an Imperial shuttle and it’s Tie-Fighter escort departs from the hangar bay and heads towards the new Death Star that is under construction and in orbit around the moon. When the shuttle lands inside the Death Star, Vader disembarks and speaks with Moff Jerjerrod, the commander of the new Death Star, telling him he is displeased that they are falling behind and that the Emperor will be paying a visit to the station to ensure things go as scheduled. Meanwhile, C-3P0 and R2-D2 are on Tatooine and making their way to the palace of Jabba the Hutt. After gaining entry inside, they are escorted by Jabba’s major domo, Bib Fortuna, to the throne room, where R2 plays a holographic message from Luke Skywalker addressed to Jabba. In the message, Luke asks to meet with Jabba to bargain for the return of Han Solo, offering R2 and 3P0 as a gift. 3P0 is shocked when he hears that but Jabba laughs, saying he has no intention of returning his favorite decoration, staring at the wall where Han’s carbonite frozen body rests while 3P0 and R2 are fitted with restraining bolts and assigned to their new tasks. Back in the throne room, the crowd is watching as Jabba feeds a slave girl to the Rancor in the dungeon beneath the dungeon when an explosion is heard and a bounty hunter named Boushh enters, dragging a captured Chewbacca with him. After negotiating on the bounty, with Boushh threatening to kill them all with a thermal detonator when Jabba offers a lower price, Chewbacca is taken away while Boushh looks around and notices Boba Fett standing nearby, who nods a sign of respect towards the other bounty hunter. That night, as everyone is asleep, Boushh sneaks into the throne room and activates the controls on the carbonite and defrosts Han, who collapses to the ground. As Boushh checks on him, he takes off his mask to reveal he is really Leia, who kisses Han before helping him up. Before they can leave, they hear Jabba laughing and Jabba and his guards pull back the curtain they were hiding behind. Han, who is temporarily blind due to hibernation sickness, tries to reason with Jabba but Jabba has him taken to the dungeon, where he is reunited with Chewbacca, while keeping Leia to serve as his newest dancing/slave girl. The next day, Luke enters Jabba’s palace, using the Force to help him get past the guards and influence Bib Fortuna to announcing him. Jabba smacks Bib Fortuna, then laughs at Luke when he tries to influence Jabba’s mind. When that doesn’t work, Luke uses the Force to grab a blaster from a guard but Jabba activates the trap door, sending Luke and a Gamorrean guard to fall into the dungeon. As the Rancor is unleashed, the Gamorrean tries to climb back up the tunnel but the Rancor quickly grabs and eats him. As the Rancor turns and grabs him, Luke picks up a large bone to defend himself with and manages to wedge it in the creatures mouth, causing it to drop him before it snaps the bone in it’s jaws. Luke makes his way to a door behind the Rancor only to find guards taunting him so Luke picks up a skull and throws it at the door controls has the Rancor starts to enter the room, bringing the heavy door crashing down on it’s head and killing it. Jabba is enraged and orders Luke, Han, and Chewbacca brought before him, where he orders them to be thrown into the Great Pit of Carkoon, where the Sarlaac that lives there will digest them over a period of 1000 years. As they make their way to the pit, Luke tells Han to stay close to Chewie and Lando, who is disguised as one of Jabba’s guards. As Luke is pushed off the gang plank, he turns and grabs it, using it to flip over the guards just as R2, who was on the barge, launches Lukes new lightsaber that was hidden in him, into the air. Luke summons the lightsaber to him and begins attacking the guards, then frees Han and Chewie. As Jabba’s guards start firing on the skiff they are on, Boba Fett uses his rocket pack to head over there and attempt to capture Luke but Luke disarms him as a blast knocks them both to the floor, then Han accidentally hits Boba Fett’s rocket pack, sending him flying into the side of Jabba’s barge before tumbling into the Sarlacc. Inside Jabba’s barge, Leia uses everyone’s shock at what is happening to strangle Jabba with the chain holding her prisoner, then she is set free by R2, who then rescues 3P0. Meanwhile, Lando is knocked off the skiff and grabbed by the Sarlacc but Han, whose vision has returned, manages to shoot the tentacle and help pull Lando back to safety. Luke jumps onto Jabba’s barge and starts attacking the guards, as Leia arrives on the deck. Luke tells her to point the deck cannon at the deck, then he fires it as he grabs Leia and swings onto the nearby skiff and they fly off, picking up R2 and 3P0 from the sand where they had jumped to safety. As they leave Tatooine, Han, Leia, LAndo, Chewbacca, and 3P0 go to meet back up with the Rebel Alliance and Luke says he will meet them later, as he and R2 head to Dagobah to keep his promise to return to Yoda to finish his training. Meanwhile, the Emperor arrives on the Death Star and meets with Vader, who says the Death Star’s construction is on schedule and wishes to go looking for Luke again but the Emperor says that Luke will come to them too and together, they will turn Luke to the Dark Side of the Force. On Dagobah, Luke looks on in sadness at his dying Jedi master Yoda, who teases Luke about his reaction. When Yoda says he is dying and tells Luke he has nothing more to teach him, Luke asks if he is a Jedi now but Yoda tells him he must face Vader one more time. Luke asks Yoda if Vader is his father and Yoda confirms it, then says it is unfortunate that Luke found out this way, as if he had finished his training instead of rushing off, he would have been better prepared to handle the burden of the truth. Yoda warns Luke to be careful of the Emperor or else he might suffer the same fate as Vader and says when he dies, Luke will be the last of the Jedi but says the Force is strong in his family and says there is another Skywalker before he dies and his body disappears into the Force. Luke heads back to his X-Wing and is visited by the ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi. When Luke asks why they never told him the truth, Obi-Wan explains that when Anakin turned into Vader, the Jedi he knew ceased to be so it was true from a certain point of view. When Luke asks about Yoda’s last words, Obi-Wan tells him that Luke had a twin sister, which was separated from him as Obi-Wan and Yoda wanted to keep them both safe from the Emperor and Vader. Luke realizes that Leia is his sister and Obi-Wan warns him to be careful, as Vader or the Emperor can use that knowledge against him. Back at the Rebellion rendezvous point, Han and the others attend a meeting, with Han expressing surprise that Lando was made a general in the Rebel Alliance. Mon Mothma brings the meeting to order and tells the assembled rebels that their spies located the location of the second Death Star. As Admiral Ackbar tells them that the Death Star’s weapons systems are non operational but is protected by an energy shield generated from Endor and that Lando will lead the attack on the Death Star once the shield is down. General Nadine then explains that they stole an Imperial shuttle and command codes and plan to use it to send a strike team to Endor to destroy the shield generator, then surprises everyone when he asks Han, calling him General Solo, if his team is ready. Han says his team is ready but not his command crew for the shuttle and Chewbacca, Leia, and a returning Luke quickly agree to go with him. As they prepare to leave, Han speaks with Lando and says tells Lando to take the Falcon on his assault, as it is the fastest ship in the fleet, and Lando agrees, promising that he won’t put a scratch on it. Han and Chewie pilot the shuttle to Endor, transmitting the code to get clearance, and as they wait, Luke senses Vader on the Super Star Destroyer that they are approaching. On board the Executor, Vader asks the ship’s commanding officer about the shuttle and when he is asked if they should hold it, Vader says to let it go. The shuttle lands on the moon and the team disembarks and starts making their way to the shield generator. When they come across a pair of Imperial Scout troopers, Han and Chewie try to take them out quietly but Han steps on a branch, alerting the troopers to their presence. As they start fighting with them, Luke and Leia see two more leaving on speeder bikes and they hop on a speeder bike and chase after them. They catch up to one of them and Luke jumps on the speeder bike, throwing the trooper into a tree, and they continue chasing after the second trooper. When two more troopers appear behind them, Luke slows down to deal with them while Leie keeps after the other trooper but both Leia and the trooper end up crashing their speeders. Luke finishes dealing with his two and heads back to Han and the others only to find that Leia hasn’t returned so Luke, Han, Chewie, R2, and 3P0 go looking for her. Leia is woken up by an Ewok named Wicket, who is cautious about her but grows more trusting as she gives him some food. Suddenly, Wicket grows nervous and starts looking out into the forest just as a laser blast is fired at them, and he quickly hides under the log they were sitting on as Leia looks for who fired at them. Leia is captured by a Scout trooper but Wicket hit’s his legs with his spear, allowing Leia to kill him and his partner, then Wicket leads Leia off into the woods. Vader goes to the Death Star to inform the Emperor that Luke is on Endor, which surprises the Emperor as he did not sense Luke’s presence, and he sends Vader to the moon’s surface, saying that Luke will come to Vader and then Vader should bring Luke to face him. Back on Endor, Luke and the others find evidence of Leia’s fight with the troopers but no sign of Leia. Chewie suddenly runs off into the forest, with the others following, but the only find a dead animal and when Chewie grabs it, they are caught in a net. R2 cuts them free and after they sit up, they find themselves surrounded by Ewoks. When the Ewoks see 3P0, they believe he is a god and take them all back to their village, where they prepare to sacrifice Han, Luke, and Chewie to appease 3P0, though 3P0 tries to tell the Ewoks to let them go. When Leia appears from a hut, she tries to convince the Ewoks to let the others go but the Ewoks refuse. Luke has 3P0 warn the Ewoks to stop or he will use his magic and when the Ewoks refuse again, Luke uses the Force to lift 3P0 and the chair he is in and start spinning in the air. The frightened Ewoks quickly free Han and the others and Luke lowers 3P0 back to the ground. That night, 3P0 tells the Ewoks of the fight between the Rebels and the Empire and the Ewoks’ leader, Chief Chirpa, and their shaman, Logray, make Han and the others members of their tribe and agree to help them. As the Ewoks all cheer, Luke steps outside and Leia follows after him and asks what is wrong. Luke tells her that Vader is on the moon and reveals that Vader is his father and Leia is his sister, and tells her he has to leave to face Vader, hoping to turn him back from the Dark Side. Luke leaves and Han goes outside to find out what is going on, getting jealous when Leia won’t tell him what her and Luke were talking about but he quickly apologizes and she hugs him. Vader arrives on Endor just as Luke surrenders to the Imperial troops and Vader speaks with Luke alone. Luke tries to convince Vader to leave with him and let him help him break free from the Emperor’s control but Vader says it is too late for him as he summons some stormtroopers to take Luke onto the shuttle. In the morning, Han and the others head to the shield generator and find it heavily guarded but the Ewoks tell them of another entrance and they make their way there. When they get there, one of the Ewoks sneaks down and steals one of the speeder bikes and rides off, with 3 scout troopers chasing after him, leaving only one guard at the entrance. Han and the others leave 3P0 and R2 behind with Wicket, then quickly subdue the guard and head inside the bunker. On the Death Star, Vader takes Luke before the Emperor and hands him Luke’s lightsaber, then taunts Luke about knowing the Rebel’s plans to attack the Death star and how he allowed the Rebel to learn of the station’s location in order to lure them into a trap. On Endor, 3P0 and R2 watch as an Imperial squad rushes into the bunker and captures Han and his team and Wicket runs off to get help. Out in space, Lando and the Rebel fleet arrive to begin their attack on the Death Star but when Lando realizes their sensors are being jammed, he realizes it is a trap and breaks off the attack. As they move away from the Death Star, they find themselves facing a fleet of Star Destroyers and are suddenly attacked by waves of Tie-fighters. On the Death Star, the Emperor has Luke watch the Rebel fleet fighting the Imperial fleet and taunts him into trying to attack him. Back on Endor, Han ad the others are led outside and 3P0 call out to the the Imperials and when some stormtroopers move to capture them, they are attacked by a group of Ewoks, who then summon more Ewoks to start attacking the Imperial troops. As the Ewoks use their primitive weapons to attack the stormtroopers, they find themselves being overwhelmed by the AT-ST’s. Out in space, Lando and the Rebel fighters continue fighting against the Tie-fighters when he notices that the Star Destroyers haven’t moved to attack them. Suddenly, the Death Star fires at the Rebel fleet and destroys one of the cruisers and Admiral Ackbar starts to order a retreat but Lando tells him that they won’t get a second chance at this, then tells him to move the Rebel fleet to attack the Star Destroyers, in order to keep the Death star from firing at them lest they hit their own ships. Back on Endor, Leia contacts R2 to try and get him to open the bunker but he is shot by a stormtrooper and damaged so Han attempts to hotwire the door. Chewie and two Ewoks swing onto an AT-ST and manage to take it over, then use it to destroy another one and begin attacking the Imperial troops while the Ewoks are finally able to destroy some of the other AT-STs. Back at the bunker, Leia is injured and when Han goes to check on her, they are captured by two stormtroopers but Han’s position has Leia hidden from the troopers’ view and she pulls out her blaster and shoots them. When Chewie arrives in the stolen AT-ST, Han starts to bring him down to help him with Leia but then changes his mind, saying he has an idea. On the Death Star, the Emperor’s taunting finally gets to Luke and he summons his lightsaber and tries to kill him but Vader stops him and the two begin battling. On Endor, Han uses the AT-STs communications system to tell the officers in the bunker that they need more men to hunt down the Rebels and when they open the blast door to send out more troops, the soldiers are captured and Han and the others head inside to set the charges. Back on the Death Star. Luke and Vader continue to battle and as Luke tries to reach out to his father and turn him from the Dark Side, Vader is able to sense Luke’s feelings and discover he has a sister. When Vader threatens to try and turn his daughter to the Dark Side, Luke becomes enraged and renews his attack on Vader, eventually cutting off his hand. The Emperor laughs and applauds Luke and tells him to kill Vader and assume his place at the Emperor’s side but Luke refuses, saying he is a Jedi like his father was. In retaliation, the Emperor begins electrocuting Luke with Force lightning and Luke cries out to Vader to help him. Seeing Luke close to death, Vader turns on the Emperor, grabbing him and throwing him down a shaft tothe power core but he is severely injured from the Emperor’s errant lightning strikes as well as the explosion of energy when the Emperor died. Han blows up the shield generator and Lando leads the fighter squads inside the Death Star to blow up the main power core, having some of the fighters break away to lure away some of the Tie-fighters chasing after them. Meanwhile, Admiral Ackbar orders his ships to concentrate their fire on the Executor and succeed in destroying the ship’s bridge, causing it to crash into the Death Star. Luke is carrying the injured Vader to a shuttle when Vader tells him to take his helmet off so he can see Luke with his own eyes. After Luke does as he asks, Vader thanks Luke for saving him and asks Luke tell his sister that Luke was right about there still being some good in him before he dies. Luke carries Vader’s body into a shuttle and escapes the Death star just as Lando and Wedge Antilles destroy the main reactor and escape themselves before the Death Star blows up. On Endor, Han, Leia, and the others see the Death Star’s explosion and Han tells Leia that Luke probably wasn’t on there when it blew. When Leia says that he wasn’t because she could feel it, Han offers to step away from the two of them but Leia explains that Luke is her brother before kissing the shocked Han, who smiles and kisses her back. That night, Luke places Vader’s body on a funeral pyre and lights it, paying his respects to his father before heading to the Ewok village and joining the others in celebrating their victory over the Empire. As the friends all greet each other and share stories, Luke walks away from the others for a bit, where he sees the ghosts of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin Skywalker smiling at him, before Leia pulls him back to join the celebration.

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return Of The Jedi met with mostly praise from the critics, holding an 80% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though failing to reach the cinematic heights of its predecessors, Return of the Jedi remains an entertaining sci-fi adventure and a fitting end to the classic trilogy.” The Imperial officer who attempts to stop the Rebels in the bunker and is knocked off the railing when a satchel bomb is thrown at him is Ben Brutt, the man who rediscovered and made famous the “Wilhelm Scream”, and attempts to recreate it when he falls. The movie was a box office hit, earning $475.1 million off of a $32.5 million, making it the least profitable movie in the franchise.

I am not the least bit ashamed to admit this, this was my least favorite Star Wars movie before the prequels came out. The acting was good, with Mark Hamill (Luke), Harrison Ford (Han), and Carrie Fisher (Leia) all doing great jobs in their roles. I also liked Ian McDiarmid’s performance as the Emperor, as he really made the character feel like the embodiment of ultimate evil, and was glad that he was recast to play Palpatine in the prequels. The story was also good but I felt like the “tidy” ending was somewhat rushed, which it kind of was due to some personal issues in George Lucas’ life causing him to change how he originally visioned it. The puppetry with some of the character, such as Jabba and the Rancor, was very well done though some of the blue screen with the Rancor was a little weak. My favorite part of this movie though was the score, with the music during Luke and Vader’s fight helping to showcase the emotion involved in the fight. A good movie to watch and a fitting end to the series, but I still wish we could have seen things play out how Lucas originally wanted to do it.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

Standard