Spoiler-Free Review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi [[Guest Post]]

This week we have a very special guest post. My darling Gear has reviewed Star Wars: The Last Jedi! Now, we saw it on Thursday night and It was so fun. As much as I love Star Wars though, it is my husband’s heart and soul, so I felt it only fitting that he should be the one to review it.

Star Wars, Episode VIII, Episode 8

So without further Ado, here is his review!


The Last Jedi Review

My lovely wife had come up to me on Wednesday saying “I’m going to have a guest writer for this week” and as I asked who a smirk crept upon her face as she gleefully said “You!”

That’s right folks! With the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Mama Michine requested, nay, demanded that I write a review. A first time for everything, right?
So strap yourselves in as I try my very best to give a spoiler-free review.

First off, a little note on what Star Wars means to me to get an idea of how I view this movie. I Have enjoyed Star Wars since I was a small child, but only became an obsessed fan in the middle of high school. While I understand that the prequels are bad, I enjoy the hell out of them. I can understand where they go wrong and what they ruined. I watch and read almost all Star Wars side-media. The original trilogy is better than the prequels, perhaps because people weren’t afraid to tell George when something was a bad idea. Episode V (The Empire Strikes Back) is bigger and deeper than the original STAR WARS (Episode IV), however, Episode IV (A New Hope) is still the best film of them all. I enjoyed Episode VII (The Force Awakens) up until the halfway point when ‘Death Star 3.0’ came into play. Episode III (Attack of the Clones) is my personal favourite of all the Star Wars films.

Now, with all that out of the way, I went into The Last Jedi very excited. The Force Awakens¬†had set a lot of questions up while sending the universe into a different, if not narratively similar, setting. I enjoyed the new cast a lot and was eager to see where they would go next, not to mention the excitement of finally seeing Luke Skywalker again after his …cameo? in The Force Awakens.

I loved this movie.

The Last Jedi picks up almost immediately where The Force Awakens left us. The resistance is outrunning the first order as Rey (Daisy Ridley) deals with Luke Skywalker. I was delighted to see that it actually worked! I was very worried that this would make them remove the opening crawl, or alter the format that Star Wars has used for 7 movies prior. But it was laid out in a way to give us that satisfying STAR WARS flash across the screen and opening crawl that lead right into the story.

My one major complaint with The Force Awakens was how much it had to borrow from the original Star Wars. It held back on any big changes, avoiding risks and playing it safe (understandably so, as it was the spark of this whole Disney reboot and had to be done right). The Last Jedi however, is brave. It is not afraid to play with your expectations, not afraid to show failure or defeat. This film did it in such a way that I felt nobody was safe and literally anything could happen. Mistakes are made. Characters have to deal with consequences. The Last Jedi feels like the least classically Star Wars film of them all, while still being a great Star Wars film.

There is fantastic acting across the board. Luke Skywalker stole the show for me. I love Mark Hamill in anything he does and it felt like he gave it his all. To not bring up Carrie Fisher would be a crime. I was happy to see her in The Force Awakens but it did kind of feel like pulling someone out of retirement for their obligatory lines. She truly shined in this one.My heart broke every time I saw her on screen knowing that this would be the last time she would appear. I’m very glad they kept everything she filmed for The Last Jedi in tact after her death, and I am curious how they will handle Leia in the next movie.

That’s not to say there wasn’t anything that didn’t work for me. A chunk of the humour they had was really good, while other bits felt incredibly out of place. Acting in a way that feels less like a galaxy far far away and more like a sitcom near you.

This movie was the longest Star Wars yet, and it showed. For the first half of the film they jump between so many characters and story points. There was a whole side story with Finn (John Boyega) and the new character Rose (Kelly Marie Tran). Rose was adorable, her and Finn made a great team, but their mission was tonally off from the rest of the film, almost as though it should have been for a different movie. I enjoyed the character Bellissimo Del Toro played but felt he was too underused to be added to such a large array of characters. A lot of these things really made the movie lag in the middle.

One personal gripe of mine with The Force Awakens was I felt none of the technology had advanced. They were using vehicles and wearing clothes very similar to the original trilogy for the sole purpose of nostalgia. Sadly, this movie continues that.

They really dropped the ball with some of the mysteries. A lot of lingering threads were cut in this film. and while a few were underwhelming, I felt they built up to a message to the Star Wars franchise as a whole that I really got behind. It’s time to move forward and let go of the past.

Star Wars is moving in a new direction, as it should. One reason I enjoy the prequels so much is because of how different they are from the original trilogy. If I wanted more of the same I would just re watch what worked. This movie is going to be very polarizing. I feel that fans who really liked The Force Awakens are going to have a hard time with a few things. And fans who felt underwhelmed are going to get a breath of fresh air. And for all those who didn’t care much for star wars and found themselves surprisingly liking Episode VII, I think this is a great sequel to jump into.


A big thanks to Gear for writing this weeks post. Do you have any thoughts on the newest movie? Do you agree or disagree with my husband’s review? Let us know in the comments!

Harrow County Volume 1 Review

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So, some of you might know this about me, but before becoming a mom I worked at a comic shop. After having Cog my boss would have the occasional staffing hiccup, so I’ve picked up a few shifts. One of the new staff members and I were chatting about what kind of horror we like. I told her that, while I’m not into excessive gore or torture stuff, I’m into creepy things. She eagerly asked me how I felt about witches, and it took me a second to respond because I wasn’t sure if she was talking about witches or ‘Wytches‘ (which is next on my reading list). After I told her that I LOVE witches, she recommended Harrow County.

Before I talk about the plot, I’ve just got to say, the art in Harrow County is gorgeous. Instead of colouring digitally, Tyler Crook (the artist) used watercolor. Personally, I find the texture that can be achieved in watercolor really brings a whole ‘nother level to horror comics. In fact, when Gear and I finally get around to working on our comic, I hope to use watercolor as well. Crook uses thick bold lines for the characters, and more delicate, fine lines for the details. One thing that I find especially interesting is that, other than the night-time scenes which used mostly cool colours, the comic mainly uses warm colours which is pretty unusual for a horror comic.

The characters in this book are brought to life by the fact that they look like average people. Not super-models. The main character, Emmy, looks rather ordinary which makes her seem all the more interesting with how fantastical her story is.

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Getting on to the plot (there will be some spoilers), the story starts off telling the story of the witch Hester Beck. She was a healer to the townsfolk, a friend, but also did some sinister, shady things that the people could no longer ignore. They beat her, they shoot her, they hang her, and finally, they burn her. As she burns she tells the townsfolk that she will return.

The story then follows a girl named Emmy on the cusp of her 18th birthday. She lives on a farm with her Pa, somewhere in southern USA (circa 1930, judging by the fashions). The closer she gets to her birthday, the more strange things start happening around her. The livestock are getting sick. She’s having nightmares. Things start to get strange when she goes out to walk through the forest near her farm and sees a boy. Emmy tries to call out to him and he runs. She chases after him, and warns him not to go a certain way because there are thorns and brambles. He still runs. She follows through the brambles and finds flesh. A sentient flesh, of the boy who ran through.

I won’t say any more than that about the plot because honestly guys, you need to read Harrow County for yourself. It is sooooo good. It kept me very engaged while I was reading it. There are many comics that I feel I can set down and pick up later, but this one was one that I couldn’t set down. I put it up there with Locke and Key, and Coraline.

I enjoyed this comic so much, that I’ve already put out an order for volume two! The trade for Vol. 1 included character sketches, notes, watercolor tests, as well as the original script for the first volume (which was originally intended to be an online serial!).

If you guys decide to read it, let me know what you think!!

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review

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Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been lauded as the best addition to the LoZ franchise. The stunning visuals, beautiful score, and fun challenges are enough to bring a tear to a gamer’s eye. Though it isn’t quite at the very top for me (love Wind Waker too much), it is still up there.

 

One thing that really blew me away about BotW, is how every character has their own story, their own lives. There were so many times I came across characters having problems I thought would end up being a quest, or have a way for Link to intervene. But, there wasn’t. Link can’t come along and fix a couple’s failing marriage, or a lifelong rivalry between two old men. He can’t mend the heart of a lonely Gerudo who has lost her chance at love, nor can he aid an eager history buff who can’t explore ruins because it’s too dangerous. All these characters have depth, they are rich, developed and beyond being random NPCs.

 

This map is massive. Not only is there different types of terrain, but different weather everywhere you go. The weather changes throughout the day. Most of the time it’s sunny, but you’ll also find rain, snow, and even thunderstorms. As far as traversing the land goes, horses make it much quicker. However, you are restricted to paths or flat terrain. Most people that I know who play it pretty much climb and glide everywhere they need. One thing I’m not sure whether to count as a pro or con, is that once you have a reasonable amount of shrines, the world seems much less vast. After you visit a shrine, you can warp to it, so the more shrines you have, the more warp locations. I’ll admit that I’ve had it where my stamina is juuuust about to run out and I warp to avoid death.

 

One area I felt was pretty weak in this game were the puzzles. In previous Zelda games, we’ve been accustomed to big dungeons with intricate puzzles. Whereas, in this Breath of the Wild, a handful of the shrines are fights with mini-guardians. It would have been better had they used the mini-guardians as bosses in the shrines after puzzles. Sure, there are some found through the world, like the Korok Forest, where you need to find your way, or shrine quests which sometimes involved puzzles. But, for the most part, a good deal of them were pretty disappointing. Most of them were extremely short, or very easy. A good deal of why I love the Zelda games is for the challenge the puzzles present. Redditor Mulelish did a breakdown of the shrines to see how many were blessings, fights, or puzzles.

 

Around every corner in this game is something to find. Treasure chests deep in the ocean, or buried in the sand, dirt or snow. Koroks to be found in every nook and cranny. Nods to previous games in the location names. The map is so colossal that they had room to sneak stuff and then some. One thing that is really neat to see, is that the environments are often designed to tell a story. Monsters that you see living in ruins, a well-placed skeleton pile here and there, the environment designers in this game really worked hard and it shows.

 

Boss fights are interesting in this game. There are 84 monsters that count as “mini-bosses”, (40) Hinox’, (40) Stone Talus’. and (4) Modolga. However, there are monsters that don’t count as bosses that will straight up annihilate you. Lynels are tough and can kill you with ease. If you try to run, they can teleport to you and kick your butt some more (although this is allegedly only if it is ‘stuck’). Guardians are super strong, and hard to kill. There are certain weapons that are more effective against them, but require a lot of rupees and Guardian parts to make. As far as the bosses in the divine beasts, they were all quite challenging and took me multiple attempts. However, fighting Calamity Ganon was surprisingly easy in comparison. To be fair though, if you forgo fighting the other calamity bosses, that battle is supposedly much more challenging.

 

In the world, it’s really fun that the player can choose how they like to play. A player can fight using stealth, attack from a distance, or avoid enemies entirely. You could follow all the trails, or go off-road the entire game. Link can run around in his underwear and beat up Lynels with rocks. You can choose the rudest dialogue options. Heck, you can fight Calamity Ganon right after you leave the Great Plateau (first section of the game). The game gives the player a lot of freedom in choosing how they want to play. This game doesn’t have to follow a rigid order. You can take on the divine beasts in whatever order you want. Do all of them, some of them, or none of them. You can go wherever you please, in whichever order you want to.

 

Most of my gaming gets done during nap time as, at present, I’m still doing cuddle naps with Cog. So generally I am gaming with the volume off. Now some of you might say “Blasphemy! The score and voice acting are part of the fun!”. Though that’s true, playing without the volume I noticed something pretty neat. I realized that there were visual cues for things like monsters popping up behind you. The screen would shake a little, or there would be little red ribbons indicating the Yiga clan. This got me really excited for the deaf community. There are so many games where hearing is necessary, and though not being able to listen to the game audio makes some things harder (fighting Guardians and finding Koroks), they really put in the extra thought to make it more accessible.

 

Finally, the story. Link does not start off in his cozy home as we’ve been accustomed to in many previous Zelda games. He starts off immediately roped into his adventure. The story brings so much character to Zelda. She struggles, she doubts herself, she is conflicted and unsure. The world is constantly throwing trouble at Link who is trying desperately to fulfil this destiny that he is confused about and doesn’t entirely understand. We learn more about the history and customs of the Zora. We discover the history of the Sheikah and the struggle that divided them. Zelda games at their core, are about saving Princess Zelda. But in  Breath of the Wild, in her own way, she gets to do her part to save Link.

 

Overall if I had to give it a rating, I would probably give it 8/10. Extremely enjoyable, but room for some improvements.

 

You can buy the game for Wii-U or Nintendo Switch