I’m going to be real with you all. I screened The Last Jedi yesterday. And it was absolutely incredible. It makes this an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan. The Last Jedi just might be the best Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back.
I don’t even know where to begin with this post. When the credits rolled, I looked at my friend and said how am I suppose to write about this? It was everything I thought it would be and so much more. How can I translate that into a spoiler free review?
The truth is I don’t think I can. No, I’m not going to write spoilers, I just have to approach this one differently than I usually do. As you can see, I didn’t give this a fun title like 5 Reasons To See The Last Jedi or Lessons Learned From The Last Jedi. Nope. One, you’re going to go see it, you want to see it. And two I might give away something and I do not want to spoil this movie for anyone. So I kept it simple- Star Wars The Last Jedi Spoiler Free Review. Although how much of a review it is versus how much I’m just trying to work through everything I saw and felt remains to be seen.
Okay, lets start here. It was an intense, emotional rollercoaster ride from start to finish. Pretty positive I didn’t exhale until the end. I was legitimately on the edge of my seat, holding hands with my friends. All around us you could hear gasps, woahs, sharp intakes of breath, OMGs, laughter, and cheering.
I could just end this here with a go see it and PM me later so we can talk about it. It feels like to say something, or even barely something says too much. I understand a bit of what the cast felt like, the burden of talking about The Last Jedi without giving anything away. It is difficult. Each scene of the film told us something, showed us things we needed to see, and held us tightly in the moment so that all other things melted away.
You came here for a review. And I’m going to try my best to pull my thoughts together and give you what I can.
The Last Jedi welcomes to the family Rose Tico, Vice Admiral Holdo, The Porgs, and BB-9E. Rose is a slightly awkward and endearing maintenance worker for The Resistance. She shows us that ordinary people can make a big difference. After all, the heroes wouldn’t have X-Wings to pilot if someone wasn’t repairing them. My interview with Kelly Marie Tran about Rose is coming later this week.
Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, is as formidable as she is intelligent. She’s in charge and is not afraid to remind you of that. Laura Dern shared her inspiration for the Vice Admiral in our interview. Holdo is a strong female character walking in the footsteps of the great General Leia.
I loved the Porgs. They are cute and not at all nefarious like I thought they might be. My kids are definitely Team Porg.
BB-9E on the other hand is quite nefarious. But I kinda learned that when I met him during the press junket. We aren’t use to seeing Dark Side droids on screen, at least not long enough to glean some ideas of their personality. I hope we see more of him in the next film. He’s a sassy one.
The Last Jedi is more Rogue One in tone than it is The Force Awakens. The film deals with war in a way that we haven’t seen in the prior Episodes. It explores the duality of the human spirit- we all have light and dark inside of us. Is anyone wholly one or the other? The humor sprinkled throughout really helps in lightening the emotional weight of certain scenes.
We see each of our main characters grow in this film, some for the better, others not so much. They all make choices that put them on the trajectory of who I think they will ultimately become. When The Last Jedi opens we find them each dealing with the consequences of The Force Awakens.
Rey has made it to Luke but our heroes are not always what we expected them to be. She is also working through the death of Han Solo and how to respond to the awakening of The Force inside her. Finn must discover what it means to be a real hero and decide once and for all if he is going to stand and fight or turn and flee. Poe is still the best pilot in the galaxy, but he must grow in his instincts beyond his flying abilities, to become a true leader. Kylo Ren and General Hux are nursing their wounds both physical and mental from their last encounter with The Resistance. Sure The First Order is powerful, but these two still struggle under the weight of Supreme Leader Snoke.
I think every fan is going into this film with a certain anticipation and maybe even anxiety about what is going to happen to Leia. There is something intense about watching Carrie Fisher’s scenes. Knowing that Carrie poured her heart into this role, and unfortunately passed away too soon, places monumental importance on those scenes that might not have been there otherwise. We will never know, but I do know she will forever be our Princess.
Rian Johnson shared that The Empire Strikes Back is his favorite of the Star Wars films. You can see that inspiration in The Last Jedi. No it is not a copy of Empire. I could feel it in the lighting and the gravity of the overall story. Like Empire, The Last Jedi is a turning point for our characters and the entire galaxy.
There is nothing at the end of the credits, but I think you should sit through them. If only to give yourself time to process what you saw.
Star Wars The Last Jedi is in theaters everywhere December 15th 2017
Find the Force online #TheLastJedi
What is it like to sit down to an interview with Captain Phasma Gwendoline Christie? She was positively brilliant. I wish I could convey the depth of her emotions as she talked about Captain Phasma, and being a woman in unconventional roles. If you aren’t already a fan of Gwendoline Christie, you will be by the end of this interview. And yes Game of Thrones fans, Gwendoline does share a bit about Brienne of Tarth!
Phasma is an interesting character. We don’t know much about her or where she came from. Will Captain Phasma reveal anything to us in The Last Jedi?
In the first film, Phasma is an enigma, isn’t she? She’s a mystery. She turns up out of nowhere. She has this very confrontational, threatening presence, and that’s sort of compounded or emphasized by what she’s wearing- by this suit of armor.
There’s something about those characters that are masked, that we want to see what’s behind the mask. What I loved about it is that in the world that we live in, we are met with deluge of information all of the time, and the idea of having that moment- the sort of suspension of disbelief where you have the space and are forced to wonder who is this, and who are they, I was very attracted by that.
So we do see more Phasma in the film, and what we see is her resilience, her need to fulfill an overriding sense of revenge, and we see something that we don’t commonly see in female characters. We see this violence that comes from deep within her. That’s something I find interesting about this character, is that women are not conventionally supposed to have a violence that comes from deep within.
On how her amazing costume informs her acting:
Everything you’re given, as an actor, informs you. Working with all these different people- it’s not just you. It’s all these different people and what they think about the character, and how they’ve executed that creatively, informs you who that person is. So, of course you put this armor on, and you feel rigid and uncompromising.
As an actor, you have the challenge of just how to move. Just walking becomes a challenge. But you realize that that person is exerting a great deal of force just to move, and that force is coming from within. This is something they’ve elected to do, to dress this way. The idea of the senses being shut down, sometimes entirely, that’s an interesting choice to make to elect to have all of your senses shut down- to exist entirely practically.
With someone like Captain Phasma, she has a degree of strength that has to exist muscularly, so she is a strong person, physically.
The question I think every Game of Thrones fans needs to know: Phasma or Brienne? Although she doesn’t say which character she prefers, Gwendoline does share which costume is her favorite.
With Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones, the brilliant Michele Clapton, the costume designer, wanted the armor to be cobbled together pieces that Brienne had found and put together so she could have a suit of armor.
So it was a literal representation of her building herself; of her self-creation. Michael Kaplan who designed Captain Phasma’s costume is someone that I had absolutely always loved his work.
And it’s just so shiny. (Laughs) Who couldn’t resist something as shiny as that? I don’t ever like to make preferences, but I think in this case, it has to be Captain Phasma.
You can go deeper into the world of Star Wars by picking up the novels that are based on the characters. One of the latest is “Phasma: Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi” which if you haven’t read yet, you need to, because even Captain Phasma herself is reading it.
I’ve been very lucky to be really busy but I will tell you that on my breaks from Game of Thrones on-set, I’m reading the book. And I’m reading it off my phone because otherwise people are gonna ask me constantly about what is happening. (Laughter) It’s really brilliant. It’s genuinely so good and it just explains so much about the character. It’s just framed so interestingly and the depth of imagination is- I’m very excited that we have similar ideas.
And with her answer about lightsaber colors, I knew we could be best friends. She said exactly, and more eloquently, what I was thinking.
I think it would be pink, (Laughter), because of what that represents, you know? It’s a pink ribbon that represents wanting to stand with the further research into breast cancer, and the pink pound with the gay community which is a community I’ve always had a strong relationship with. Also because it’s kind of a double-edged sword. When something’s pink, you think it’s soft and fluffy, and then, whoop, I just cut your head off. (Laughter)
On what it is like training for the physically demanding roles of Brienne of Tarth and Captain Phasma:
I was reunited with the brilliant stunt director/stuntman, C.C. Sniff. (He) taught me to fight on Game of Thrones. (He) taught me to fight, to swordfight, and was with me in all of those scenes. C.C. was the person that set me on the path that training is a part of my life, sometimes more, sometimes less. When I have a break I love it to be less! (Laughs)
He’s the person that helped to give me the courage in the first place, to say you can do more than you ever thought, physically, and to do it with a great deal of humor, charm, and humanity. I mean, what an amazing teacher. He’s also so brilliant about how he puts things together, and how they evolve about pushing you further, and in terms of your strength.
But also recognizing, which I think is the most important thing- how to keep you safe, and when to keep you safe because I’m lucky enough to have never broken a bone, and I would like to keep it that way. (Laughter)
On Captain Phasma:
She’s a person. You think about why people behave the way that they do. Often people that behave in a malevolent way, it’s because at the base of it- they’re fearful, and the fear overtakes them and it can manifest itself in a total loss of empathy. And that the total loss of empathy causes the person to only think about themselves and their own needs, how they feel attacked, and how they’re going to fight back. It also becomes about the individual rather than the needs of the group.
I’ve been lucky enough to be in Game of Thrones for a long time. Well, for me, it’s a long time; with my short career, it’s a long time. (Laughs). I love the character of Brienne of Tarth who has this incredible moral compass. And it’s great to see an unconventional woman be the hero, even for a moment. Brienne of Tarth has the strength that is in every fiber of her being.
The opportunity to play the opposite of that (in) someone like Captain Phasma. In every fiber of her being (is) the need for ambition; the need for revenge; the need to be ultimate; the need to destroy. A woman as a destructive force. When women are seen as mother- whatever that means which is a multidimensional thing, I truly believe. The idea of that inverted; the opposite of that, fascinated me and I felt like the opportunities were limitless. (Cheers)
Find out if Finn has what it takes to defeat Captain Phasma when Star Wars The Last Jedi opens in theaters everywhere December 15th 2017!
Find the Force online #TheLastJedi
I was invited by Disney to share my experience of The Last Jedi with my readers. All opinions are my own. Interview photos courtesy of Louise of MomStart.com
After the press junket with the entire cast of Star Wars The Last Jedi, we had the opportunity to sit down with a few of the stars one-on-one. Today, I’m excited to share my interview with Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo Laura Dern! It’s not everyday you get to meet someone you grew up watching on TV, Jurassic Park anyone? See what she has to say about Star Wars The Last Jedi, her character, and continuing the legacy of strong women in space. No spoilers I promise!
Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo is the new kid on the block. What can you tell us about her and how you developed the character? Without giving anything away of course!
(Thinks for a minute) I have purple hair. (Laughter) I can tell you this and great to see you! (Laughter)
There’s a new boss in town. I have arrived in the Resistance and I am a Vice Admiral, and that’s pretty much all I can tell you. (Laughs) I can tell you how amazing it was to be inside Rian’s head. Each of these characters, particularly these new characters that he invented. It was incredible to have the privilege of collaborating on who she is and how to present a powerful woman.
And the longing which I really appreciated of Rian, Kathy Kennedy, and all of our Producers to allow a powerful female character to have her physicality to be feminine, as opposed to she’s a strong female; let’s put her in the guys’ clothes. I thought that was wonderful. I feel excited to join this amazing legacy of strong females in space starting with our magnificent icon of Princess Leia.
On how she got involved with the film:
Rian called asking to have lunch and talk about something. I was told he was an amazing independent filmmaker and he’s really excited about something that he wants to talk to you about. And then Kathy Kennedy simultaneously called me just to check in and say “Hey, how are you?” (Laughs) So [Rian & I] went to lunch and he started describing something he was looking for in a character and would love for me to help invent this with him. And it all sounded great and it wasn’t until sort of the end of the lunch, I was like (Whispers) is it Star Wars? (Laughter) And I was like “Oh my God! That’s amazing!” I was listening to this amazing story…and that’s what’s incredible about Star Wars.
He started describing a world that was about the complexity of being a human being and the battle between light and dark, not knowing which would win, and the struggle of family and the hero’s journey. You feel it all and you realize it is what filmmakers that I’ve worked with in independent film have longed to explore. To hear him describe this complicated female character in such a beautiful way also spoke to something that rebel filmmakers have asked of their collaborators, in my case as an actor of me. And then to realize, my God, that’s what George Lucas invented. That’s why I think this stands the test of time in such a profound way. It’s not a franchise, it’s a legacy of the deepest story telling we have. There isn’t a child or an adult that doesn’t connect to that question, and that it isn’t good guy vs. bad guy. All of it is contained and being wrestled within many characters, within one’s self. Particularly this film, you feel it really in every storyline and every character in a really profound and beautiful way.
We all wish we could have a real lightsaber. If you could have one in real life, what color would it be and why?
I mean, maybe we need to see a rainbow lightsaber. I think it’s time guys, I think it’s time. (Laughter)
I’m sure a lot of us remember the first time we ever saw Star Wars, whether in theaters or at home. I was laying on the floor in the living room watching A New Hope and wishing I had force powers! Laura, a big fan too, shares how going to the movies as a child profoundly changed her and made her want to be a part of that world.
I’m spoiled in my answer. I saw the first Star Wars. I was probably 6 or I don’t remember exactly, a little girl. It was the first time I stood in line for a movie at the Cinerama dome and it was blocks long. And it was profound for me. The genre seemingly would not have been something I was interested in but the spoiled part is I have been raised by actors.
I’ve been introduced into a world where every movie is magical and my parents are such fans. My mother and my father, they’re rebels and they love hard core independent film. There’s no film that doesn’t hold the potential of being the greatest thing ever, whether it’s Animation, Independent Film, or something on this scale, because they love character and they love cinema.
But in this specific case, my dad had done a Douglas Trumbull Film called “Silent Running.” I’m told it was a great influence on George Lucas in that it was my dad alone in space with 3 Droids named Huey, Dewey, and Louie. I became obsessed with these Droids. Those Droids, I’m told, were a great influence toward R2-D2. And I had a figurine of this Droid and remember that idea of being in space with these characters who are your partners. Then suddenly Star Wars opened up this kind of storytelling in this massive way. So it felt personal, as Star Wars does to all of us.
On how her parents feel, being fans, seeing her in Star Wars:
I don’t know. They seem excited. My mother’s very excited about the purple hair. She loves the look and the costume. My dad was like I didn’t know you got jewelry in space. (Laughter) I said, Yes, Holdo gets jewelry in space and nail coloring in space. (Ooo)
I’m with her mother, I love the hair! And that fierce look? I don’t think you want to get on her bad side!
Princess Leia was an incredible influence on young girls in her time. She was a strong, smart, capable woman that we all wanted to emulate. Now Star Wars features more strong women than ever before, influencing a new generation of women and girls everywhere. What is it like being a part of that and what is that influence going to bring to the whole franchise?
It’s just incredible. That’s so exciting. I know what Leia was for me as I know she was for all of you. And it was not just her strength in some super heroic way. But in the deeply human way that Carrie so incredibly embodied this fearless, irreverent, sassy, bold, vulnerable female. And all things could be true and powerful and kick butt and all of those things were in one character. We know how rarely we see that. That meant the world to me and now my daughter and all her friends have this in Rey and soon other female characters in this movie. It’s really exciting to see what the different females do.
Laura Dern is no stranger to films. She has played so many amazing roles. We were all curious how she prepared to take on this role differently than other roles in the past.
I think speaking to all of the actors, it’s incredible that we have this true shared experience of needing to have the moment, the fan freak-out moment, to let it all then disappear so you’re just telling the story of these characters. Cause it’s insane (Laughter) to get there, rehearse with Rian, and everything’s deeply personal. I’m like I got my clothes on, having coffee with Oscar Isaac and Benicio del Toro, like “Hey, I’m on another independent movie with my fellow actors.” It feels like any other movie I’ve done, which is hilarious, with Rian who’s this independent filmmaker so I’m like are you sure this is Star Wars cause look where we are? (Laughter) What is happening?
But then you walk onto set and Rian was like “Somebody’s a fan, wants to say hi,” right before we were starting one day. I turned around and Chewbacca was there, embraced me and I cried. (Aww) I really cried. It was so moving to me. And then being on set and seeing R2-D2 and these characters we all fell in love with. It’s stunning. So then you have to get over it and go to work. But it’s an incredible opportunity and experience. I’m so happy to get to be part of it.
It was an incredible experience to sit in the room and hear from Laura Dern, an actress I have always respected.
You can see Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo take on The First Order when Star Wars The Last Jedi opens in theaters December 15th 2017!
Find the Force online #TheLastJedi
I was invited by Disney for a special press trip to share my experience of The Last Jedi with my readers. All opinions are my own. Interview photos courtesy of Louise of MomStart.com
Raise your hand if you love baby animals. I’m going to assume your hand is raised, if it’s not then I might have to question what is wrong with you! Seriously though, there is something about baby animals that just warms the heart and brings peace. If you or someone on your list is an animal lover I have the perfect book for you- National Geographic Kids Hey, Baby! A collection of pictures, poems, and stories from nature’s nursery.
I received this product for free from Moms Meet, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.
Hey, Baby is a book filled with adorable photos, interesting stories, poems, and fun facts about the animals and nature it features. Each section, divided by habitats, starts off with a poem and a too cute photo gallery of “more itty bitty babies” at the end.
Throughout the book your whole family will enjoy discovering some familiar and all new animal kingdom babies. The cuteness is almost too much! There are also stories of unusual animal friendships, folktales, and animal rescues that are sure to make you go awe! You will love how porcupines got their quills according to Native Americans. We also learned that unlike other big cats, Snow Leopards can’t roar.
When you give the gift of National Geographic Kids books like Hey, Baby, your purchase supports the exploration, research, and conservation efforts of the National Geographic Society.
Fun Animal Facts:
Baby porcupines are porcupettes.
Sea otters sometimes hold each others hands while sleeping.
Both Baby koalas and baby kangaroos are joeys.
Meerkats make great babysitters.
Pick up your copy today!
It might be a National Geographic Kids book, but all ages will enjoy learning more about the cutest members of the animal kingdom! Find Hey, Baby! at Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Target, Costco, Amazon, Walmart, and National Geographic.
Enter the Giveaway!
One reader will receive a copy of Hey, Baby!: A Collection of Pictures, Poems, and Stories from Nature’s Nursery!
Did you ever visit Santa or write a letter to him at Christmas? I know I did. Each year I would think very hard about what I really wanted. Then I write a letter and deliver it to him personally. Making sure he knew that I was definitely a nice list kinda kid. I know someone else on the nice list, the folks at HGTV. They have created a magical holiday experience for families to enjoy.
This post is sponsored. All opinions are my own, I promise. I don’t want to end up on the naughty list!
Get Christmas started at Santa HQ by HGTV!
HGTV and Macerich Shopping Centers have teamed-up to create Santa HQ. Trust me this is not the same mall setup you grew up with! HGTV’s Santa HQ takes families on an adventure with state-of-the-art digital effects, lights, music, games, and more!
Just look at all the fun you can have at Santa HQ!
The kids couldn’t wait to explore Santa HQ. After checking in, our first stop was the Naughty or Nice Meters. Stand on the board and find out where you land on Santa’s list.
He was a little nervous!!
She’s probably thinking about all those times she picked on her brother.
After getting sorted to the nice list we went inside to check to see what other Christmas fun was to bed had.
We also explored Santa’s Observatory using Elf-Ray Vision. Elf-Ray Vision is a special app that acts as special goggles which bring to life several augmented reality experiences throughout Santa HQ. Look for triggers at the entrance, in the workshop, underneath the Christmas Tree, and in the observatory.
No visit to Santa HQ would be complete without a photo-op with the man of the hour, Santa Claus! To reduce your time waiting in line and increase the fun of Santa HQ, you can now make a reservation online at Santa-HQ.com! You can select and pre-pay for photo packages as well as set up text reminders so you don’t miss your opportunity to see Santa.
Also at Santa HQ:
Elfie Selfie: Where visitors take a selfie and star in their own holiday video
Light Show: With more than 10,000 individual holiday lights synchronized to the tune of “Carol of the Bells” to create an illuminated orchestra