Tag Archives: Star Wars

Favorite Games I Played in 2015

2015 was another good year for video games for me and I played a variety of them ranging from indie games (a rarity for myself) to big blockbuster hits and from JRPGS to an unique spin on the first person shooter genre.  Many of these games I’ll likely play again down the road but for now lets dive in!

Games I played in 2015

3DS: Link Between Worlds, Phoenix Wright-Dual Destinies, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, Majora’s Mask

DS: Apollo Justice (started), Hotel Dusk: Room 212 (started) Fossil Fighters (gave up on)

PS2: Dragonquest 8

PS3: South Park: Stick of Truth

Wii U: Mario Maker, Splatoon, Xenoblade Chronicles X

PC Games: Her Story, Undertale, Huniepop, Tales from the Borderlands, Wolf Among Us, Star Wars: KotOR

image from gamerevolution.com

Biggest Timesink: Dragonquest 8

So I bought this game on a whim at my local video game store shortly before my internship last summer.  With no internet in the residence building, my primary entertainment indoors was either Battlestar Galatica and Dragonquest 8.  The funny thing was that I was planning on playing multiple games but this game was so big and I had sank so much time on it (last check was well above 70 hours) that not only was it the only game I played, even King Trode scolded me for lollygagging.  But I can’t help it!  The minigames, the sidequests, and those damn Minimedals took up a lot of my time.  The game was fun (even if the voice acting was a bit hokey), challenging, and entertaining all around.

Favorite Indie Game: Undertale

At initial glance, Undertale appears to be another SNES-style RPG with the only thing going for it a unique combat system. However, this is definitely not the case as the game will make you question many standard video game tropes and what it means to be the protagonist of your story. These ideas were further enhanced for myself as I had just played Dragonquest VIII, a fairly typical RPG, which adhered strictly to these tropes. The characters were stellar, the music was top notch, and the story was a wild ride, definitely check it out.

Biggest Guilty Pleasure: Huniepop

Okay, just hear me out; I initially bought this game because I saw YouTube-star Markiplier enjoying the hell out of it. From what I saw, it was a crude, raunchy, dating-sim parody that you play for laughs. What I got was not only a, dare I say, strategic game where you have to plan your gifts and puzzle actions, but a tongue-in-cheek look at how video games clumsily handle women characters. Is the game’s humor and overall appeal satirical or intentional? You’ll be the judge of that. Who knows, I might even dedicate an article to this game on my blog but for now, let’s just let it be.

Best Moment: The Fart Battle in South Park: Stick of Truth

God this game.  Unsurprisingly, this game was so damn funny and I understand why people like it so much.  There were so many great moments but the one that I have to go for is the epic Fart Battle I had against Cartman.  When this happened, I was simultaneously laughing my ass off while pressing the button as fast as I could.  This went on for at least five minutes and in the end I couldn’t make it but god damn was that great.

Worst Line Delivery: The Character Nikki Ann-Marie in Huniepop

In Huniepop, you can date a variety of girls that fit the standard tropes in anime, video games, and so forth.  One of those girls, is the geeky introvert, Nikki Ann-Marie.  Rather than trying to pass her off as aloof but still have some sense of humor, kindness, and passion, Nikki’s voice actress instead portrays her as a character whose constantly bored.  It’s kind of annoying after awhile as Nikki has the potential to be as memorable as some of the other girls.  I think what really seals it for me though is Nikki’s reaction towards your gifts comes off as feign interest rather than genuine intrigue and that’s too bad.

Best Supporting Cast: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Ah KotOR, although I’ve had my fair share of amazing characters, especially in Undertale and Tales from the Borderlands, KotOR takes the cake.  You can’t help but love your ragtag team even if Carth is a wee bit of a nuisance with his “Carth wants to talk about something/no he actually doesn’t.”  What I like about my crew is that there’s always a situation for one of them even if I use some more than others.  Plus they got great chemistry!

Favorite Antagonist: Handsome Jack from Tales from the Borderlands

Flowey is evil because he has no soul, the Crooked Man does what he does to improve fable lives, and Dhoulmagus wants to resurrect the greatest evil of all time.  These are all noteworthy antagonists but the one to take the cake is Handsome Jack.  Although we see Handsome Jack prominently in Borderlands 2, the biggest change here is Rhys.  Now, Jack can directly interact with you and it’s awesome.  How far should you trust him?  He’s a smooth talker with bouts of rage and lots of charisma.  Jack dramatically affects Rhys’ storyline and makes him change for the better.  Jack is insane, conniving, and hilarious and I love every bit of it.

Surprise Hit: The Wolf Among Us (tWAU) and Her Story

So I bought tWAU on a Steam sale around March, 2015 as I always wanted to try out a TellTale game but without paying full price for a game. After checking a few reviews online, I thought this looked good and dove into it. Wow, that’s all I have to say about that. I kept coming back again and again to play this game. Many times, I would start and end each chapter in almost one sitting. TellTale really told an immersive story that made you think about your decisions. Bigby is a great protagonist whose personality can range from angry law enforcer to a “jerk with a heart of gold” depending on how you play him. This game was great and I’m sad there’s not a sequel to it yet.

Her Story is another game that took me by surprise. I actually played it fairly late in the year (December) after I first heard about it in the Video Game Awards. Going into the game, the only thing I knew about it was the tagline “A Video Game About a Woman Talking to the Police.” Mary actually played this game with me and she was my note taker. We went back and forth what to look up next and she would write down many different dates and search terms to help us organize the story in our head. If you want a good detective game with no hand-holding, go for this one!

image from craveonline.com

Favorite Game I played: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

In 2015, I sunk a lot of time into several games, especially when I was interning at Fossil Butte. Even after I turned off the TV, I still looked forward to playing these games again whether it was because of their comedic value (South Park), story (Wolf Among Us), characters (Undertale), or immersive gameplay (Splatoon+South Park). It’s quite hard to pick which is the overall favorite new game I played in 2015 cause a lot of the games were good for their own reasons. However, if I had to pick my favorite it would be Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic just edging out the Legend of Zelda: A Link between Worlds.  Both of these games were great RPGs that gave you a large degree of choice in progressing the narrative.  But while a Link Between Worlds basically retold a Link to the Past, KotOR told a whole new story using the Star Wars background.  So many characters were good and I wish I got to know more about them like Canderous, HK-47, and Jolee.  The morality scale, the missions, and the planets were so well done.  It’s too bad I got spoiled for the game or else it would have ranked even higher in my love for it.  After playing this game, I really wanted to try out Mass Effect so that may be for another day but still, this game was amazing and definitely my favorite game I played in 2015.

This could work: Star Wars KotoR and One Piece mash up

Surprisingly, I played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic for the first time this year after some pressure from my friends and Mary. Despite a few buggy issues, the game was marvelous (even if I was spoiled). The characters are funny, complex, and memorable, and the combat system is neat with a diverse range of upgrade options. This game has convinced me to try out the Mass Effect games sometime in the future as not only does the same company make them but they also have been highly praised as well.

Now with that said, wouldn’t it be cool if there was a KotoR-style game in the One Piece universe? Imagine it, you are a captain of a pirate crew and you travel the world of One Piece while recruiting members, fighting the marines, and establishing yourself as King of the Pirates! Now, you could do a game following the Straw Hat Pirate crew but that can be limiting in terms of story and character development (plus the story is not even done yet). Instead, this game should follow KotoR’s path and establish itself far in the past, free from all the restrictions of Luffy and his crew’s main storyline.

Of course, the immediately clear benefit of this is that all the Devil Fruits are ripe for the eating! All the Paramecian, Zoan, and Logian fruits would be available for yourself, your crew, and the variety of enemies you can fight! Maybe at the beginning of the game, while you are designing your character, gender, and so forth, you can choose (or Hell just forego completely!) a certain selection of Devil Fruits for your captain-to-be. Afterwards, you can name your ship, your crew name, and the design of your flag.

After you pick your character and his fighting style, you can then recruit characters as you sail the four seas and the Grand Line. Maybe certain characters would want to be a great brawler, swordsman, or sniper. As they level up, put skill points on the variety of fighting styles to improve their profession.

Leveling up would also give you noncombat skill points for carpeting, navigation, cooking, music playing, and first-aid. Navigation I think would be especially important as every crew needs a good navigator to get through the seas with their wild and crazy storms. Certain islands would need a navigation skill level, and of course the required log post, in order to reach them. Especially high would be islands in the New World. Likewise, carpeting can improve your ship’s sailing and battling capabilities as well as needed repairs. Carpeting could also improve your ship’s accessibility to treacherous waters that would otherwise capsize or demolish it. Cooking would give you handy healing and morale-boosting items that would otherwise be unavailable during the game while first-aid training would serve as your standard “Healer” role in RPGs. As for musician training, you can do your standard morale-boosting spells but also incorporate music into your attacks, that would be great!

YOHOHOHOHOHOHO

Now your crew members, I think, should already be their own characters in the same vein as Mass Effect and KotoR. They were what made KotoR so great, all the great characters like HK-47 and Jolee really made the game fun to play. Likewise, having kooky characters with a variety of personalities or traits would bestow a real charm to your crew (plus the bickering would be quite amusing).

One important aspect of KotoR that would also be incorporated into this One Piece game would be the moral decision making. Do you choose to be honorable pirates or pirates that do whatever the hell they want or pirates who burn, pillage, and kill anyone and anything in its path? One Piece has certainly given us a variety of pirate crews that vary considerably on this sliding scale of morality. Key scenes such as whether or not to kill some captive marines, stealing a poor town’s treasure, or a simple good deed can reflect your popularity (and notoriety) with citizens, the marines, and other pirate crews. The same could be said with your actions whether it’s finding a little girl’s mom or toppling an island’s ruthless dictatorship. This would be very similar to Red Dead Redemption’s morality and popularity scales.

Speaking of which, bounties in the game can be interesting as depending on your actions, yours and your crew’s bounties could increase over time. The marines are very bias (and corrupt) though so certain actions, like sinking a marine ship, could raise your bounty faster than stealing a town’s gold. I can only imagine how that will affect your performance during the game as what would happen if you got caught or lost a battle? Maybe it will reset to your last save point but I haven’t come up a good way in handling bounties yet in this One Piece RPG.

Something that also could be incorporated into the game is having your own fleet. Once you achieve a certain amount of popularity, you could recruit other pirate crews to be your division commanders and that would be AWESOME. Having a fleet means you can storm guarded bases like Impel Down or Enies Lobby or even topple an entire country! You could have an army of ships, ready at your beck and call and take down any pirate crews who stand in your way!

There are still other potential ideas that I have untouched like bounty hunting, ship customization, and haki training. Aaaaaah. Just writing this article makes me so excited even though this game doesn’t exist. This game should be made, I would play the hell out of it!

The Extensive Timeline for “Tales from Jabba’s Palace”

I can’t believe it but I finally achieved what I wanted to do for almost ten years. I finally constructed the timeline in Tales from Jabba’s Palace. As mentioned Yesterday, I love this book and all its glorious characters and I even reread the novel solely so I can reconstruct the timeline. Without further ado, here it is!

Tales from Jabba's Palace Timeline, Star Wars, Jabba the Hutt, Jabba's Palace, Tales from Jabba's Palace

If you’re at this point in the article then you probably want to hear how I constructed the timeline. It wasn’t hard but it certainly took awhile.

I decided fairly early on that I wanted two things to be represented in the timeline. The first one was when each of the Tales happened and the second one, and the one I was most interested at, was when each of the major book events happened and at what order. Many times, the protagonists would meet up at crucial plot points that affected their story. I wanted to record these events and know how they fit into the overall grand story.

The first step was to, obviously, become familiar with the events that transpired in Return of the Jedi. All of the characters, with the exception of Melvosh Bloor because his Tale takes place at a completely different time than the others, reference at least one of the movie events during their respective Tales. As such, knowing the order and the relative time these events happen is quite important. C-3PO and R2’s arrival, Oola’s death, and Luke killing the Rancor are probably the most referenced movie events.

Once I got that going, I had to establish relative dates in reference to a certain event. Star Wars fans like to use the Battle of Yavin from A New Hope as a reference point for the overall Star Wars timeline. For Tales from Jabba’s Palace though, we need something more exact. Luke’s Arrival was chosen as the zero mark because the book made a special case at the beginning how

“Jabba is always on his guard, but little does he suspect that his greatest nemesis will come in the form of a single Jedi Knight, who walks in alone from the desert…”

            Indeed, many of the protagonists in the novel plot against Jabba and all fail because of Jabba’s cunningness. However, even Jabba’s intelligence was no match for the unstoppable force that was Luke that day. Jabba planned against many things but a Jedi Knight was definitely not one.

Pictured: A Thorn in Jabba’s Fat Ass. Picture from http://piximggif.com/luke-skywalker-return-of-the-jedi-wallpaper

One thing I struggled with fairly early on was if Luke came two days or one day after Leia arrives as I was initially under the impression that Luke came two days afterwards judging from Malakili’s Tale. Halfway through the novel, I realized this was not the case and I had to adjust because of which. Many of the other movie events, however, were easily interpreted time-wise and naturally built the framework for my two goals.

The protagonist’s Tales were very easy to build on the timeline as the characters would react to a movie event early on in their story and usually react to other movie events as their Tale progressed. Some adjustments were made along the way to account the major book events or if an another protagonist clarifies when that event happened. A good example of this be when J’Quille killed the monk and took the thermal detonator (TD) he was holding. J’Quille’s story ends there but we don’t know when exactly that is. Well, we know this happens shortly before Luke kills the Rancor because Bib Fortuna mentioned how he stole the TD from J’Quille during the Luke vs. Rancor commotion.

Some protagonists’ Tales, admittedly, are unclear when they begin or end and this is represented on the timeline with a question mark. For instance, Max Rebo and co. become Jabba’s Band after Carbonite Han was delivered to Jabba but other than that we have no idea when they were hired. Dannik Jerriko is another example as his POV is very hazy and time progress either very slow or fast depending on the scenario (and in general his Tale is very dreamlike which adds an extra level of confusion to the whole thing).

The book events were definitely the most difficult part of the whole thing as I had to take constant notes who was where at what time. Phlegmin’s death is probably in the top three most important book events as so many characters are affected by his death in one form or another. Hell, soooo many protagonists were present at one time or another when his body was discovered. First Dannik killed him, than Porcellus discovered the body, then Ree-Yees, and finally Gartogg comes by and takes the body to figure out who killed him. All the while, J’Quille and Bubo watch from afar as they witness this strange scenario.

Even trickier to figure out was Leia’s TD. That weapon jumped from person to person and weaved an unclear mesh on who has what. Though it’s not 100 percent confirmed, I believe a monk steals Leia’s TD shortly after she’s unmasked and gives the weapon to J’Quille. I again believe this weapon was stolen by Bib Fortuna but I’m unsure as Bib only said he stole it off of a Whiphid guard. But considering we’re only familiar with one Whiphid, we can assume that was J’Quille.

Even more confusing is the second bomb that was planted on Jabba’s Sail Barge. Tessek gets Barada to plant a bomb on Jabba’s Palace but we’re unsure if this is the same bomb that the Weequay people find in their Tale. Their “God” Quay said it was a bomb planted by J’Quille but we know that’s not true because Bib Fortuna stole it, right? And it also can’t be the same bomb because Bib planted the bomb shortly before their attempted execution of Luke and co. and the Weequays had already found their bomb by then. I thus assume this was the same bomb planted by Barada then.

One thing I realized as I was finishing up this timeline was that a certain degree of interpretation has to be made in order to fit everything as best as it could. Unfortunately, not all of the Tales perfectly line up with each other and may even have some slight transgressions from the movie itself.  For the most part though, things lined up easily enough

In the end, I’m pretty happy with the end result as I think the timeline looks good, albeit amateurish, but it gets the message across well enough. I can finally check this off of my bucket list and now get back to my life…this took too long to make…haha

If you have any suggestions or improvements to the timeline then I will be more than willing to hear them!

My Love for Tales from Jabba’s Palace

Happy Star Wars Day everyone!

The Star Wars’ anthology novel, Tales from Jabba’s Palace (TfJP), is probably one of the most underrated stories ever to be produced in the Star Wars’ universe.  So many funny, clever, and important stories happen in this oft-forgotten book that I wonder why it’s not discussed more often.  I daresay, this is the book that help got me into Star Wars back when I was in Junior High (a time that I hardly ever read to begin with).  After reading this book, I read the other two Tales books (Tales from Mos Eisely Cantina and Tales of the Bounty Hunters) and played great Star Wars video games.  TfJP was my definitive first look behind the movie’s curtains and peer into the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

Why?  Why did this book capture me and drive me towards my eventual Star Wars obsession?

Well, remember in Return of the Jedi when Luke killed the Rancor and while he was hustled away, a chubby, shirtless guy ran forward to the now dead Rancor and begin crying?  That scene, both humorous and poignant, spoke volumes about a character, about a history, that we as an audience have not been nor will ever be exposed to.

It is this character’s history, Malakili, whose tale we read first (aptly titled “A Boy and his Rancor”) in TfJP.  A strong story to start on, we are given an in-depth look at Malakili and his developing friendship with his Rancor.  The story, one of the longer ones in the book, takes its time and shows how Malakili and the Rancor eventually trusted each other as more than just a master and his pet but as actual friends, as comrades.

As a reader, we are hooked into this story and empathize with Malakili.  He is a likable character that has goals and feelings.  All of our admiration with him, and even his Rancor, culminates in the end as the Rancor’s death leaves us even sadder than if we had only see the movie.  After reading his tale, you want to learn more about the tales that this anthology has to offer.

*sniff*

Malakili and his Rancor’s tale establishes the foundation that the rest of the anthology builds off of.  Not only do we have a good reason to hate Jabba (besides all the stuff he did in the movie) but we are exposed to the variety of characters whose journey we’ll also follow (e.g., Gartogg the Gamorrean and Porcellus the chef) later on.  Through these interactions, we realize that there is so much more going on in Jabba’s Palace than we realize and that Malakili’s tale is only a part of it.

Indeed, as you read through the anthology, a feeling of unease begins to creep into you as you read each of the characters’ tales.   The protagonists might run into a dead body with an unknown murderer or find out that their plot has gone awry by an unseen force.  Many of the questions we faced during their stories are not answered until much later in the novel though hints are certainly sprinkled here and there on who (or what) are the actual puppeteers.

Generally speaking, as you progress through the novel, the protagonists’ tales usually start or end later compared to protagonists near the beginning of the book.  Hell, many of the protagonists’ stories that make up much of the latter half of the book end with Jabba’s Barge blowing up or shortly thereafter.  Even the last two stories (Boba Fett and Yarna) take place after Jabba’s death and a majority of the time spent with these two characters does not even take place in Jabba’s Palace.  As such, the editor’s deliberate action in placing all of the tales in certain sections of the anthology give a sense of an overarching story in the novel that would seemingly be lost if the stories were randomly distributed.  The result of which is quite amusing to me.

This overarching story works really well for each of the protagonists’ tales.  The best example of this I would say is Ephant Mon’s Tale.  There seems to be a shift in our overall mood towards this novel as we read his tale.  Not only do we progress further in the timeline compared to the protagonists beforehand but we get to confront Jabba through the eyes of a friend, something that no other protagonist can claim.  It’s a different side of Jabba that we rarely see and really hones in how unique all of the characters are in this book.  More importantly, Ephant Mon’s Tale hints that the Force was acting very strong in Jabba’s Palace for the past few days.  Major events, whether seen or unseen in the movie, transpired in the awful establishment and it’s hard to believe they happened purely by chance.

Speaking of chance, I want to talk about one of my favorite protagonists, Gartogg the Gamorrean.  God, this guy is great.  He means so well but he’s just so stupid, haha!  He has this uncanny ability to stumble upon a freshly murdered body with maybe even the murderer to boot.  He’s so good at this that he found the crime scene for all four murders in Jabba’s Palace!  But everyone always tricks him for the sole reason that they don’t get into trouble with Jabba and he believes them!  And he’s just so cheery about it and wants to please his boss and oh my gosh this guy is hilarious.

One of the underlying themes in TfJP is that not everything is as it seems.  Characters that the protagonists perceive as incompetent or inconsequential are actually quite formidable or intelligent.  Ree-Yees is an interesting example of this as he disguises his competence with his alcoholic tendencies and plays the fool most of the time.  Even though he’s an idiot, his plot goes unnoticed by many people, including the conspiracy-sniffing Ephant Mon.   Bubo is probably the best example though as even the reader does not give Bubo two cents until we realize he is a sentient being!

I have to talk about the B’omarr monks as they are definitely an important part in the anthology.  Though none of the protagonists are monks, quite a few of them interact with the monks to some degree such as J’Quille, Bib Fortuna, Bubo, Tessek, and Ree-Yees.  I think because we lack a monk POV we find them unsettling as we know little about them.  Even Bib Fortuna, who arguably is the most familiar with them out of anyone in the Palace, did not foresee the Monks takeover when Jabba was killed.  When we are revealed the fate of Jabba’s Palace, there is another uneasy shift in the novel as we wonder if the next protagonist will be able to survive both Jabba’s barge blowing up and unwanted removal of their brains in jars.

At least, that’s the way I feel, especially for the last Tale involving the fat dancer, Yarna, and the hunter, Doallyn. Just as we begin TfJP with a strong story starring a likable pair of protagonists, we end it once again with two protagonists only this time, the game has changed.  We fear that Yarna and Doallyn do not have much time in the Palace as they could easily be killed by Dannik Jerriko or operated on by the creepy B’omarr Monks.  What’s more, there is an actual risk for the two that we do not experience often in the previous Tales.  The previous Tales take place (mostly) during the events of Return of the Jedi.  As such, we know who may succeed and who may fail.  Yarna and Doallyn’s Tale, however, takes place afterwards, and therefore we venture into completely unknown territory with them.  Without the movie tying them down to any plot specific requirements, the author goes all out in making their tale stand out from the rest.

And what’s more, unlike Malakili and his unfortunate pet Rancor, they succeed, ending the dour novel in a heartwarming light.

Now…

Ever since I first read this novel, I was mesmerized and impressed on how every Tale matched the other Tales almost perfectly.  The protagonists meet each other constantly and as such, the exact same interaction can be found in two different chapters.  So many of these events, which go unnoticed in the movie, are of such importance to the characters that I’m willing to bet that someone made a grand, master timeline of the events and gave it to all the authors in making sure they follow it.  The fact that these interactions happen at all always surprises me.

But as far as I know, no one has recreated this timeline.  It’s quite daunting, that’s for sure, as you would have to be a big nerd to do that.  And guess what?  I did just that!  Tomorrow, I’m going to release my interpretation of the overall timeline of Tales from Jabba’s Palace!  Check it out because I’m super proud of the end result!

If you had read the novel, I would like to hear your opinion on it as I know only a few people who have.  Who are your favorite characters and Tales?  If I were to pick my favorite Tales/Characters it would Ephant Mon, Gartogg, Malakili and his Rancor, and Yarna and Doallyn.

Confidence Restored: Reaction to Jurassic World and The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer

Two teaser trailers for two very hyped movies have been released less than a week apart from each other. The Jurassic World trailer came out on November 25th while Star Wars VII came out on November 28th, 2014. These trailers, both covering very different franchises, are connected by a very important trait that will help make 2015 a very special cinematic year.

These two movies are representing franchises that have become on the whole tired and stale.  For instance, the last Jurassic Park movie was released in 2001 and that was on the whole not very well received and was quite underwhelming.  There were a lot of neat ideas in it that just didn’t play out like they should and there were a lot of missed opportunities.  The climax against the Spinosaurus was anti-climatic and the confrontation with the Velociraptors didn’t have any consequence.  Also, the only people who died were at the beginning of the film despite the protagonists many chances of facing their demise (*cough*BILLY*cough*).

BOOO! Also, how could you not know that was a Spinosaurus???? Image from http://jurassicpark.wikia.com/wiki/Billy_Brennan

Jurassic Park III’s performance certainly put a damper on the franchise and with the death of Michael Crichton I thought the film series had finally come to the end.  So imagine my surprise when I heard they were making another film…

That same surprise was magnified greatly when I heard that Star Wars was also getting a sequel.  The last three films, AKA “the prequels,” were certainly met with its fair share of criticism.  When I heard how George Lucas wasn’t going to make more films due to the response from the fans I was quietly rejoicing.  I like Star Wars but maaaaan I don’t want those kinds of films again!  To be fair though, Star Wars, unlike the dormant Jurassic Park, has quietly simmered throughout the decade with the release of a moderately successful television series, some video games, and more.  Star Wars has always been in the background of my mind, never fully forgotten but never fully focused.

And with a resounding “eh” we watched it. Image from http://www.scified.com/community/forums/topic/38773

And now, both franchises will see their release in 2015.  It cannot be stressed how important these films are to their franchises, especially for Star Wars.  The success of the franchise depends on them.

As such, the success of a film can depend on their first trailer.

So how did they do?

For starters, the Jurassic World trailer made me giddy as hell! When this trailer was released all my paleontology buddies, including yours truly, was posting this trailer on their Facebook wall and commenting back and forth on the prospects of this movie.

AND OH MY GOD THAT MOSASAUR! AFAKJBAESWIFDSFOAIDPSF

This trailer looks awesome!  My prospects for the movie went up many times after I saw it.  I couldn’t help but laugh when they were talking about the genetically modified dinosaur.  It’s great!  I can just imagine if Ian Malcolm saying something like “Life will find a way, bitches!” if he heard about the crazy dinosaur breaking through the park.  Chris Platt also looks good but I’m kind of concern about the boy…the Jurassic Park movies always have kids and they can be misses.  This kid looks like he can be as stiff as Sargent Bland from Godzilla.  I’m hoping we can get some awesome adult protagonists like in the first movie.  We’ll see…

I was at first critical on the Star Wars trailer but after viewing it for a second…and third…and fourth…and fifth time, I had a change of heart.  My initial concern came from the abundance of CGI.  I remember reading an article a year ago that the Star Wars production team was going to use a more diverse set of special effect tools instead of just CGI for their films.  The trailer didn’t showcase that too well.  But what the trailer did show were some very nice costume designs AND everything doesn’t look clean anymore!  Okay, that may have come from left field but in general, the prequels’ sets and props look quite sterile and bland while the original trilogy’s props have a more dirty and used-look to them.  This trailer brought back that used appearance and it looks really nice.  I also love that broadsword lightsaber.  Everyone has been poking fun at it but I like it, it looks kind of cool and not exaggerated.  I’m all for continuing the series forward with new and inventive ideas as long as it doesn’t look ridiculous.  Oh and that final scene with the Aluminum Millennium Falcon was AMAZING.  If I wasn’t convinced before watching the trailer, I am now thanks that that one scene alone.

And why?  Why did my cautious attitude toward both of these new films break down and replaced with newfound confidence?  If I were to point to a single source it would be the music.  Both of the franchises’ famous themes, composed by the great John Williams, made a smashing return in the trailers and salivated your nostalgic mouth.  It gave us, the fans, the restored confidence in these films.  They haven’t forgotten who they are and why they are good.  They are going back to their roots while bringing something new and exciting to them.  The slightly tweaked themes are probably the symbol of both of these new films and what they represent for their franchise.

And with that, dear readers, I leave you with this.  In the Jurassic World trailer, we are revealed that the park has officially opened but something bad has happened to it.  Not a huge surprise mind you but it’s still nice to get that confirmation.  But that’s Jurassic Park!  The whole franchise is one big analogy for Chaos Theory!  Shit’s gonna go down!  But what about The Force Awakens?  Very wisely done, we are not revealed what the plot will be…because unlike Jurassic Park, Star Wars does not have to follow a strict plot device.  And now that the new films are true sequels, they are no longer constrained on what will become.  They are now their own identity.  And what that identity will become will be most interesting indeed…