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Josh Reviews Star Wars: Resistance Season One

The latest Star Wars animated series, Resistance, is set in the months prior to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Kazuda Xiono is a young pilot in the Resistance, recruited to act as a spy on the Colossus, a refueling platform in the middle of an ocean on the planet Castilon.  General Organa and Poe Dameron suspect that the First Order is up to something on or near the Colossus, and they want Kaz to find the truth.  And so the enthusiastic, bumbling Kaz finds work as a mechanic on the Colossus, in the employ of Jarek Yeager, a grizzled former Rebel pilot.  Kaz befriends fellow mechanics Neeku and Tam, while secretly trying to uncover the details of the First Order’s plot.  Meanwhile, Kaz dreams of being a great pilot, and, like most others on the Colossus, looks up to the “aces,” a squadron of pilots who engage in dangerous races around the Colossus.

Star Wars: Resistance is a very kid-friendly show.  Although stories carry through across this first season, for the most part the show is very episodic, with each new episode giving us a new adventure for Kaz and friends.  Although the First Order is present as a looming threat, the tone of Resistance is, for the most part, light and silly, and things tend to work out for our heroes by the end of each twenty-ish-minute episode.

There is a lot about this first season of Star Wars: Resistance that reminded me of the first season of the previous Star Wars animated TV series, Star Wars: Rebels.  Rebels also started out as a very kid-friendly show, and that’s a main reason why I was quite mixed about Rebels as I watched that first season.  It was enjoyable, but it didn’t feel that interesting to me.  However, by the end of Rebels’ four-year run, that show had deepened into an enormously sophisticated, emotionally rich show.  I have hope that the same transformation will occur for Resistance.  However, while the closing episodes of Rebels’ first season started to demonstrate what the show would eventually become (with a terrific three-episode arc featuring Tarkin), Resistance hasn’t yet made that turn.  (Resistance’s final two-part episode felt like a move in that direction, as those were the most compelling episodes of the season so far, but I’m still not quite hooked.)  But I have hope (rebellions are built on hope), and I am eager to see where the show goes in season two.

Resistance has a very different look than Rebels and The Clone Wars, the two previous Star Wars animated shows, did.  The show has a flatter, 2-D look as opposed to the rounded, computer-generated three-dimensionality of … [continued]

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Let’s start with the long-awaited look at the new Hellboy film:

There’s a lot to take in here.  I’m excited for this film, though not nearly as blown away by this first teaser as I’d hoped.  David Harbour’s Hellboy is quite different in look and personality from Ron Perlman’s near-perfect version and, well, it takes some getting used to.  There are moments in this trailer where Mr. Harbour inhabits HB to perfection — such as his delivery of “he’s an asshole” late in the trailer.  But other moments — like his first appearance in the trailer, gesticulating wildly and shouting “I’m on your side!” — that feel a little too over-the-top silly, and where the make-up and prosthetics didn’t look quite as convincing as I’d hoped.  The tone of the trailer isn’t gothic majesty, but hip, fast-paced humor.  That’s not necessarily a bad tone for a Hellboy story, just not quite what I’d expected.  I’m intrigued to see lots of glimpses of what look like story-points from the Darkness Calls saga from the comics (which I discussed at length here).  I caught shots of the “Wild Hunt,” and Nimue.  I grinned wildly when I saw Gruguach (the large pig-creature)!  The saga that stretched from Darkness Calls through The Fury in the comics was a high-point of the long-running Hellboy series, and this could make a cool movie.  I am hoping for a winner with this one…!

I’ve been a reader of Bill Hunt’s The Digital Bits website for about two decades, and I find Mr. Hunt to be one of if not the very best writers covering home entertainment, DVDs, blu-rays, etc.  Last week he published a pessimistic editorial declaring the beginning of the end for physical media.  It’s a great read, albeit a depressing one.  I wish I could disagree with any of Mr. Hunt’s points.  I am a collector, and I love physical media.  Many people ask me why I bother, in the age of streaming.  I love streaming, and I stream movies and TV shows all the time via Netflix, Amazon prime, Verizon Fios On Demand, etc.  But physical media has many advantages over streaming.  Here’s a great editorial by Mr. Hunt from a few months ago explaining why.  Here are the three reasons that are the most important to me:  1) Special features — I love in-depth special features, making-of documentaries, deleted scenes, bloopers, etc.  It’s no coincidence that in recent years as streaming (which comes without those bells and whistles) has risen in popularity, the quality of great DVD/blu-ray special features has dramatically declined.  2) Higher quality and fewer interruptions — My wife and I have streamed a number of movies … [continued]

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Josh Reviews Star Wars: Resistance

Star Wars: Resistance is the latest Star Wars animated TV show.  Coming on the heels of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, this new show is, intriguingly, set in the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

The show takes place on the Colossus, an aircraft-refueling station on an ocean planet.  The Colossus is a hub for pilots who compete in dangerous races in the air around the facility.  The main character on Resistance is a young man named Kaz, who is recruited by Poe Dameron to work as a spy, looking for evidence of the First Order.

I have watched the two-part premiere, and the two half-hour episodes that have followed.  So far, I quite like this show!

Resistance is clearly aimed at kids, which makes it a bit lighter than I’d ideally like.  But it’s compelling enough, so far, to be of interest to adults as well.  Both Clone Wars and Rebels also started off as very kid-focused, and then both developed into far more interesting, sophisticated shows.  So I have hope that Resistance will do that same, and I’m not turned off by these early, more kid-focused installments.

So far, I am enjoying this new cast of characters.  I like the main charater, Kazuda Xiono.  He’s a bit of a doofus, but as a good-hearted youngster, he’s a Star Wars hero in the classic mold.  His mechanic boss is a man named Yaeger.  The show has teased us with hints about Yaeger’s past as a rebel pilot who was at the battle of Jakku.  I look forward to learning more of his story.  Neeku is the very friendly, very literal first friend who Kaz makes on the Colossus.  These sorts of comic relief sidekick characters are very easy to screw up, but I think Neeku is great, very sweet and very funny.  Tam is the far-more talented young mechanic who also works for Yaeger.  She seems like she could be a very interesting character, but the show hasn’t allowed us to get to know too much about her yet.

I suspect there are a number of other characters who will eventually become important, such as the star pilots on the Colossus.  The early promotional material for Resistance focused on those characters, but we’ve seen very little of them so far.  (For example: I was excited that Scrubs’ Donald Faison would be playing a character named after him, Hype Faison, but he hasn’t really been in the show at all so far!)  Hopefully these pilots will enter the story in a more significant way as the show progresses.  I am interested by the slow-burn approach the show is using so … [continued]