10 Thoughts On The Star Wars Teaser Trailer

FA8

Earlier today, the first official teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens debuted online and in a handful of movie theaters. If you’ve been fighting the urge to watch it in fear of spoilers (or if you just want to watch it again and again and again and again, like I do), click the big red button:

Though I have no  experience in film or critique, I do feel qualified enough to give a few of my first impressions.

FA1

  1. I liked the concept of a masked man-killer. That was my favorite thing about a stormtrooper: you knew there was a person in there, but you never saw a person. He was human and inhuman at the same time. So am I excited to see this? Not really. But it could potentially be interesting to see the personal story of an exceptional stormtrooper. Maybe.

FA2

  1. So… a soccer ball mated with an astromech droid?

FA3

  1. This screamed I, Robot to me. Is this a remaining faction of imperial troops trying to kill the new republic? Is the fight still not over for the rebellion? We’ve received word that the movies will not necessarily follow “canon” that the fans have established since release of Return in 1983, but Disney has declared the Expanded Universe—the fan-determined future of Luke, Han, Leia and Co—will “fit into” their new storyline. But there are no promises. They technically have artistic freedom. So really, we don’t know what’s happening. At all.

FA4

  1. Well, this looks familiar:

Speeder Bike

Callback? Or am I seeing things?

FA5

  1. Oh. My. THAT is the single coolest shot in the entire trailer. I could always use some more X-Wing dogfights in my life. It’s just beautiful. If I wasn’t excited before, I was sold when I saw this. Just… way to go, Disney. Thank you so much.

FA6

  1. Now, this is simultaneously extremely stupid and mind-blowingly awesome. That second blade isn’t particularly useful unless used in super-close, super-careful combat; the crossgaurd (also called a quillon) on a sword is meant to protect the wielder’s hand, not chop it off. But that little extra blade could do something we’ve never seen before. It’s Star Wars; anything could happen And is it cool looking? Yes. Yes it is.

FA7

  1. Finally, we see something that even casual fans will recognize right off the bat: the Millennium Falcon, in all its butt-kicking glory. Again, always happy to see air/space combat. Also the first time I knew I was watching a J.J. Abrams production because I saw my first lens flair. As a huge fan of Abram’s work with Star Trek, I’m not surprised.
  1. Voice-over in the trailer. I’m not a movie person, but these ominous voice-overs remind me of 70s/80s movies—ET, the original three Star Wars movies, and The Omen come to mind first. Granted, those trailers usually did a narration thing, and this trailer uses what I suspect are in-universe quotes (one of the characters might say this but I can’t tell). So not a direct connection, but I also think that it threw me off more than any other element of this trailer.
  1. John Williams’ music. This isn’t specific to the trailer, but I just wanted to add that I am very, very, very excited that Mr. Williams is up to working on these next films. Star Wars would lose a lot of its appeal, to me, without his name on the score.

FA9

  1. I have to wait a full year for this? If they push the release date back at all, Disney is going to have a mob of impatient fans to deal with. And I will be a member of that mob.

Who’s ready for trailer number two? Anybody have any thoughts?

All photos and screenshots are property of LucasFilm

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(The Ballad Of) Sharknado

SHARKNADO 2

When I found out that SyFy was airing a sequel to Sharknado (appropriately named Sharknado 2: The Second One) I made sure that I kept the night of July 30th free. Nothing was going to keep me from the premiere of Sharknado 2. I was giddy. I screamed the phrase “Let’s go kill some sharks!” no less than five times yesterday. And that steaming pile of shark sh*t did not disappoint. Continue reading

Who Am I?

Watch this video. I don’t care what you’re doing right now. I don’t care if you’re on your phone, on a computer, in public or in private.  If you have three minutes of time, click the play button right now. Click it. I’m not joking.

Did you watch it? I can wait. No matter your opinion of the US Army, click on the big red “play” button.

Watch it. Now.

Alright, I’ve given you three chances. If you haven’t yet watched that clip, it’s your loss. That video completely changed my life, and there’s a chance it can change yours.

One morning in the fall of 2012, during my senior year, I was on Facebook before going to school. An acquaintance of mine posted this video. I was in the process of applying for an Army ROTC scholarship, and I was infatuated with anything that was even remotely related to the service. So I clicked on the link. And three minutes later, I clicked on it again. And Again. Again and again until I had the audio half-memorized. I was bouncing off of the walls; the voice in the video was speaking directly to me, piecing my heart, sending inhuman amounts of energy through my veins.

I loaded the clip onto my iPhone and I had the entire thing down pat in two days. A few weeks later, I recited the words right before going in for my scholarship interview. A few months later, I gave the speech to the Drill Team during a particularly hard morning at a meet. Almost a full year later, I watched the video in my dorm room as I readied for my first morning in the Blue Jay Battalion. And I watched it tonight for the first time since then.

True, the video is not of the highest quality. The music in the background is from The Last of the Mohicans (good choice, internet). The speech itself was originally given by a football coach. The pictures are of different units, a sort of collage, and they aren’t exactly taken by experts. But that doesn’t diminish its value to me. I could write forever about how much this clip means to me, but I’d never stop.

I wish I could have this thing projected on a loop everywhere I went. Not all of the words are entirely appropriate for every occasion (“I will rip the heart from my enemy and leave it bleeding on the ground” won’t go over so well with everyone), but many of them are. They are sacred words to me, words of strength, power, honor, personal courage, and camaraderie.

If I absolutely had to get a tattoo, I’d get the words “Who am I?” because the phrase has become something of a motto for me. It forces me to answer positively. It makes me think of success and triumph. These days, those two things are hard to come by, and it’s good to have a reminder.

I understand victory, and I understand never surrendering.

Who Am I?

I am a champion.

Soundtrack for St. Patrick’s Day

Today is Saint Patrick’s Day. That means different things to different people. For some, it’s a religious holiday. For others, it’s a feast day. For most of us here in the good old US of A, it’s a day of green – green clothing, green beer, green vomit to accompany the green beer, green eggs and ham, green everything. It’s kind of fun.

I’ve never been to Ireland; I hope that I will get to go eventually. I hear it’s a beautiful place, beautiful beyond what a painting or photograph can depict. The Irish accent is sexy and I can’t imagine an entire nation of people that speak like that. It’s a country full of history and culture that I’d love to explore firsthand. I’m not a fan of corned beef and cabbage, but the place can’t be perfect…

One aspect of Irish culture that I have a tiny bit of experience with is the music. For some reason, band directors love Irish and Celtic music. Love it. Love it. I can’t think of a band I’ve played in that hasn’t done something Irish. Usually it’s the whole “jig with a million notes” type thing and it’s often the most infamous piece in a concert set. When I was a kid, my friends and I would joke that the Irish should be banned from the music industry for making us work so hard. My fellow clarinet players and I would have to ice our fingers after hacking away at The Irish Washerwoman for an hour.

Though the Irish pieces were tough, they were always among my favorite. The slower pieces are chord-heavy, fluid and powerful. They do a fantastic job of capturing the beauty of the landscape and the heritage of the nation – how I understand it, anyway. The faster pieces, the jigs, are just fun! They’re challenging, but to say they’re lively is an understatement.

No matter the medium of the performance – traditional Celtic instruments, voice, or a full orchestra – the music of Ireland provides a perfect soundtrack for this day, a day where every one of us wants to have Irish in our blood.

But why tell you when I can just let you listen?

The Irish Washerwoman:

Danny Boy:

Toss the Feathers:

The Rakes of Mallow:

O Waly Waly:

A lovely mix of tunes for the Irish Pennywhistle/Tin Whistle:

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling:

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!