Writing challenge day 3: Revenge of the Sith

With the clunkiness of The Phantom Menace and the hot mess of Attack of the Clones, Star Wars fans wondered if anything good would come out of the third installment of the Prequel Trilogy. When Revenge of the Sith hit theaters fans were relived, happy, and overjoyed to find themselves in a throwback Star Wars film that brought the fun back to the franchise.

MADRID, SPAIN – DECEMBER 15: A General Grievous figure is exhibited at the ‘Star Wars Exhibition’ at Telefonica flagship store on December 15, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Eduardo Parra/Getty Images)

The movie in which Anakin Skywalker would become the monster known as Darth Vader and fans saw Palaptine’s face morph into the classic Emperor Palpatine was just the start of this fantastic Star Wars film.

There were Wookie‘s and the planet they inhabited. There was a great Yoda vs Palpatine battle. The fact is that Star Wars Revenge of the Sith has more action in it and it is almost to much to take in.

The film sets the stage for events of future Star Wars films as well as streaming shows. Which is the sort of clout this movie carries. There were some very insightful moments.

When Palpatine tells Anakin the story of Darth Plagueis the wise. How, his apprentice kills him in a moment of weakness. By the way Palpatine was that apprentice.

Anakin Skywalker trying to save the people he loved from dying gives into his emotions and embraces the dark side of the Force. No matter if you view Anakin as a sympathetic character or see him as a person who made bad choices his story comes full circle in terms of turning into a Sith Lord.

Obi-Wan Kenobi vs Anakin Skywalker is the showstopper. The lightsaber duel is the very best Star Wars has to offer. The pace is lightning fast and is set on the lava planet (and future home of Darth Vader) Mustafar.

WROCLAW, POLAND – JANUARY 17 : Planet Mustafar made of Lego bricks is displayed during a lego exhibition at Wroclaw Stadium in Wroclaw, Poland on January 17, 2018. The Lego exhibition covers an area of 1700 square meters with approximately 100 models of different attractions, including star wars ships, Air Force One and Apollo 11 Space Mission along with others. (Photo by Omar Marques/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

When the dust settled on the Prequel Trilogy it was a mixed bag. The great story, sub-par acting of the Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones had promise and widely failed. Revenge of the Sith saved the trilogy while taking it’s place as one of the best Star Wars films.

Tomorrow we start moving towards the Original Trilogy by looking at the stand-alone, Solo: a Star Wars story. See you tomorrow.

Writing challenge day 2: Star Wars Attack of the Clones

The movie that was supposed to appease the Star Wars fan base had a strong opening 20 minutes. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker chase Zam Wesell a Bounty Hunter to the point Kenobi jumps out of a window breaking glass to grab hold of a tracking devise. Attack of the Clones gave a false hope of being the Star Wars film fans had been waiting for.

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE – JANUARY 19: A puppet of iconic character, Yoda sits at a display showcase at The Star Wars Identities exhibition at The ArtScience Museum on January 19, 2021 in Singapore. The Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition will run from January 30 to June 13 and is the final stop of a world tour that has spanned six years. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

The main turn off in the second installment of the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy is the dialogue it simply was not up to the fun, energetic, witty dialogue of past Star Wars films. Not to mention there were no memorable quotes.

The real downturn happened in the much to long love scene between Anakin and Padme Amidala. With lines such as “I’m haunted by the kiss that you should never have given me” along with floating fruit it was just not well written or presented on screen.

There were some good moments of Attack of the Clones. Yoda using a lightsaber to duel Count Dooku was fun. Fans were thrilled Jar Jar Binks from The Phantom Menace had less screen time.

What did work and work well was the last 45 minutes of the film. When fans got to see the start of the Clone Wars. Perhaps some of the best Sci-fi on film. transport ships landing, big explosions lightsabers all over the place it was everything Star Wars geeks like myself enjoy.

In what has translated in today’s Star Wars streaming shows, Jango Fett a feared Bounty Hunter who also was the template for the Clone Troopers was a central character.

SAINT-DENIS, FRANCE – FEBRUARY 13: The costume of character Plo Koon from the Star Wars film series is displayed during the presentation of the exhibition “Star Wars Identities” at the Cite du Cinema on February 13, 2014, in Saint-Denis, outside Paris. The exhibition displays more than 200 original pieces from the archives of Lucas Arts Museum, including models, props, costumes and sketches who built the Star Wars universe created by George Lucas. The exhibition opens From February 15 until June 30, 2014 at the Cite du Cinema. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)

Attack of the Clones was unevenly paced and could be considered the worst Star Wars film. Yet, as I said it did have some good moments. In the end the problems were simply to bad and could not be overcome by the little bit of good.

Up next is Revenge of the Sith which will conclude our look at the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy.

Writing challenge day 1: Star Wars The Phantom Menace

The one thing that makes The Phantom Menace such a stunning film is George Lucas pushed film making to a new level with the use of CGI. In fact Lucas did so throughout the entire Prequel Trilogy. The Phantom Menace had pressure on it from the very beginning, after all it was the film after the beloved Original Star Wars Trilogy. Still Lucas and company pulled it off nicely.

JAPAN – JUNE 02: George Lucas Promotes His New Film ‘ The Phantom Menace’ In Tokyo, Japan On June 02, 1999 – George Lucas promotes his new film ‘ The Phantom Menace’. (Photo by Kurita KAKU/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

While The Phantom Menace is clunky in areas and some characters are not fully developed, the story offers perhaps the best of all the Star Wars films. The most interesting aspect of the film is that George Lucas used embargoes and blockades to set the stage for the birth of the galactic empire.

Also, Lucas gives us a look at a young Anakin Skywalker a child so innocent that it is hard to imagine the rage he would develop as he grew up. Obi-Wan Kenobi had been introduced in the Original Trilogy as an older, wiser Jedi. Alas, The Phantom Menace gives the audience a young Kenobi who is still learning the ways of the Jedi under his Master Qui-Gon Jinn.

The fun begins when we see Senator Palpatine, from Naboo. Palaptine was a member of the Republic Senate. Because “The dark side clouds everything,” (Yoda) Palpatine and his motives went undetected. Not to mention one small detail, Palpatine was secretly a Sith Lord.

The brilliance of The Phantom Menace is that Palpatine played both sides. He single handedly orchestrated the fall of the Republic Senate and later the Jedi Order. He then set up the Galactic Empire for his own reign and rulership.

Underwater cities, the senate chamber, a city with a beautiful waterfall are all part of the visually pleasing offerings from The Phantom Menace. The pod race is fantastic fun as well.

REDLANDS, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 27: General view of Darth Maul collectables at Inland Empire Toy Store on February 27, 2021 in Redlands, California. (Photo by Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

Groundbreaking and ahead of it’s time. George Lucas pushed film making to the next level with the use of computers. It was bashed by the Star Wars fan base at the time, but as time has passed The Phantom Menace has been embraced as it should be.

The saga continues tomorrow with a look at Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Let’s continue the journey then.

 

For the next 11 days I am going to take a look at 11 Star Wars films as part of a writing challenge

Is this a fun yet challenging expedition? Yes. One that was suggested by my beautiful wife of 26 years. My wife is very gifted in the art realm so when she suggests something I have learned it is generally for the greater good. So why Star Wars? First off I really enjoy the films that I have been blessed to see all 9 in their original releases in the theater, secondly 11 films gives quite a bit of subject matter to write about.

HOLLYWOOD, CA – MAY 10: Filmmaker George Lucas arrives at the premiere of Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm’s ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ at the El Capitan Theatre on May 10, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Eleven Star Wars films. Just typing it out appears to be a bit intimidating and daunting. One subject for 11 days feels like it is putting me in a box. I am more of a what pops in my head type of blogger. So this is indeed going to be a fun voyage.

Here is the list of films I will be exploring. I am sure many if not all of you already know them. I have chosen films and not tv series to be the main focus. Also in my choice selection is doing the films in chronological order and not release date order.

Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Solo: A Star Wars story

Rogue One a Star Wars story

Episode IV: A New Hope

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 20: An original ILM Darth Vader costume at the opening of Rich Correll’s “Icons Of Darkness” VIP celebration on October 20, 2021 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away a six year old boy sat down in a movie theater and became absorbed in what was unfolding in front of him. the battle of good vs evil, a galactic empire pitted against a small group of rebels. Who was right who was wrong depends “a certain point of view.”

Join me on this adventure.

Rick Nash becomes the first Columbus Blue Jackets to have his number retired

2 Season into the franchises existence the Columbus Blue Jackets needed a game changer. A face of the franchise to give the team traction and fans hope. Enter Rick Nash who would be that player. At the tender age of 18, Nash earned a roster spot and just like that he was the best player the Blue Jackets had. Now the all-time leading scorer in Columbus Blue Jackets history, Rick Nash will see his #61 rise to the rafters as the organizations first player to reach such an honor.

NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 24: Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets looks on during a break in game action against the New York Rangers on February 24, 2007 at Madision Square Garden in New York City. The Blue Jackets defeated the Rangers 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Rick Nash is the Columbus Blue Jackets all-time leader in games played, goals, assists and points as he tallied 289 goals,  258 assists with 547 points along with 568 penalty minutes in 674 games from 2002-12.

For a decade Rick Nash was the leader (captain as well) of the Blue Jackets. During one of the worst seasons in Blue Jackets history (2012) Nash asked to be traded. Nash was sent to the New York Rangers and it paved the way to some very good hockey teams in Columbus due to the return for Nash.

In 2019 Rick Nash returned to the Columbus Blue Jackets, not as a player but  as a a special assistant to general manager Jarmo Kekalainen signaling he may be interested in become a GM at some point.

Rick Nash is a player, well former player who absolutely should have his number hanging from the rafters because Nash still owns nearly every Columbus Blue Jackets record.

To have any other player enter the Blue Jackets organization and wear #61 would seem odd and not right given the level of play Nash played with every single game. That would be a lot to live up to.

COLUMBUS, OH – NOVEMBER 12: Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets takes the ice before the game against the Winnipeg Jets at Nationwide Arena on November 12, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. The Blue Jackets defeated the Jets 2-1. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

Rick Nash now becomes the first player to have his number retired by Columbus. Nash did things on the ice that are still talked about around Nationwide Arena. He is still a fan favorite who gets a fitting ending to his playing days.

Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager, Jarmo Kekalainen may have the last laugh

Jarmo Kekalainen, tried to tell us. He never wavered in his assessment of the Columbus Blue Jackets roster he put together. While media outlets and fans not to mention hockey experts scoffed at the notion that the Blue Jackets were not reloading but about to enter a full-blown rebuild. Kekalainen insisted his team was indeed reloading. At 7-3, tying the best start in franchise history, Jarmo Kekalainen has to be grinning.

COLUMBUS, OH – November 6th: Alexandre Texier #42 of the Columbus Blue Jackets celebrates with teammates after his goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the third period at Nationwide Arena on November 6th, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images)

What is going on with the Columbus Blue Jackets? A massive roster overhaul chalked full of young players, some of which have barely any NHL experience while others are rookies sprinkled with some veterans have the Blue Jackets playing well.

I dare say not many people (myself included) saw this coming. Yet, here the Blue Jackets are and it appears they are not going away anytime soon. Is this a playoff team? It is still early in the season so that is difficult to forecast. That is not to say they are not. After the start they have had and as young players seem to be getting better with each game played, anything is possible.

Gritty, savvy, undeterred, pick one. Shoot pick all three. This is what I feel best describes the start of the 2021-22 Columbus Blue Jackets season. It has been very good to witness the job head coach Brad Larsen and his coaching staff has done. From game preparation to in-game adjustments Larsen is pushing all the right buttons.

Sure the 3 losses were clunkers, that said every team has clunker games during the course of the season including would be Stanley Cup champions. The bad games aside, the Blue Jackets have bounced back after the bad losses to win the next game played.

NEWARK, NJ – OCTOBER 31: Head Coach Brad Larsen of the Columbus Blue Jackets reacts to a call on the ice from the bench against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on October 31, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

While a losing streak could turn up, so could a winning streak. How about the third periods for the Blue Jackets? In what use to be a bad timeframe the Blue Jackets are now finding a way to finish games. In fact, Columbus is making a  thing out of third period comebacks and wins.

This is the team that Jarmo Kekalainen has put together. With it doubters have been silenced.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are fun to watch

Rebuilds are not suppose to net many wins. In fact teams are supposed to struggle game in and game out. At 6-3 the Columbus Blue Jackets rebuild is off to an odd but fun start. The teams 3 losses were closer to a rebuild teams in terms of scores. Yet, head coach Brad Larsen has the NHL’s youngest team playing a fast tempo, puck pushing style that has netted some fantastic wins.

COLUMBUS, OH – OCTOBER 14: Jakub Voracek #93 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates during the third period of a game against the Arizona Coyotes at Nationwide Arena on October 14, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Columbus Blue Jackets have had 3 blowout losses, 4-1 to the Detroit Red Wings, 5-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes, and 4-0 to the New York Rangers. It would be easy to get caught up in that. But after each loss the Blue Jackets bounced back and won. A sign of good coaching and players who forget fast.

In the teams 6 wins a new hero has shown himself each game. Yet, another good sign that the Blue Jackets are more than Patrik Laine who in case you were unaware is off to a great start.

In training camp the defense was one of the biggest question marks entering the season. The young defense has played well mostly (in the 3 losses there were struggles.)

The other question mark that dates back a few seasons was the power play. The addition of Jakub Voracek has been a God-send. Voracek has been working with players in practice getting them to understand what they need to do in certain situations. The teams power play has been solid.

COLUMBUS, OH – OCTOBER 23: Patrik Laine #29 of the Columbus Blue Jackets controls the puck in the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes at Nationwide Arena on October 23, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images)

As noted, the Blue Jackets are playing a style that pushes the puck, the offense has been wide open allowing the team to get good looks at the net. This is indeed a new dawning of Blue Jackets hockey.

While there is still a lot of hockey left to play (thank goodness!!!) and losing streaks are sure to happen, so are winning streaks. The biggest hope the young Blue Jackets have shown is the ability to overcome a tough loss or blowout and come back the next game with some fight.

Star Wars villain Maul appears to be getting his own show

Disney + appears to be bringing another popular Star Wars character to the small screen. The former “Darth,” Maul looks to be in the works. The story will be focused around the former Sith Lord’s time running the criminal syndicate Crimson Dawn. The show which started out as a live-action idea is now said to be animated.

While the exact title of the show which will feature Maul is unknown, is known to take place after the events of the widely successful “The Bad Batch.” What the exact timeline is is still unknown.

BERLIN, GERMANY – DECEMBER 16: Boba Fett character at the German premiere for the film ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ (german title: ‘Star Wars: Das Erwachen der Macht’) at Zoo Palast on December 16, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Franziska Krug/Getty Images)

What seems interesting yet calculated, word of the Maul show broke yesterday after The Book of Boba Fett had it’s trailer release. Maul has an interesting history in the Star Wars Universe.

In The Phantom Menace, Maul appeared to die at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Yet, he survived out of anger and was fitted with robotic legs. His role in both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels left fans wanting more.

Maul made a cameo in Solo: A Star Wars Story as the leader of Crimson Dawn. So the question is how does Maul, Crimson Dawn and Boba Fett connect? I can only submit my thoughts here. So her goes.

I believe it is possible that the Maul show will show how he put Crimson Dawn together and the effects of the groups work had on the galaxy far far away. In The Book of Boba Fett trailers there is a quick shot of Fett talking to a group of people.

STAR WARS REBELS – “Twilight of the Apprentice: Part I and II” – After gaining information about the Sith, Kanan, Ezra and Ahsoka battle the Inquisitors with the help of a new ally, but are overmatched when Vader arrives. This episode of “Star Wars Rebels” airs Wednesday, March 30 (9:00 10:00 P.M. EST) on Disney XD. (Disney XD via Getty Images)
DARTH MAUL

I believe those people are none other than the members of Crimson Dawn, the same Crimson Dawn that ( I am going out on a limb here) Boba Fett now runs. While those are my thoughts, I believe this is how they can connect the stories together.

Hold on Star Wars fans, it’s about to get interesting and fun. Very soon.

With the 2021 NFL trade deadline coming, will the Detroit Lions make a move

Detroit Lions principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp, recently said about her franchise’s current rebuild, “Everyone knew this was going to be a hard year. A rebuild, no one wanted to say that exactly, but we all kind of knew it was going to be and I think, as I say, the good news is that our young guys are getting a lot of experience, probably a lot more than they would have normally, So, I think at the end of this year, we’ll really know what we have. I think we’re building our foundation, and as you know, we have a slew of draft picks coming up the next few years. So, I see nothing but positive going forward. I think we’ll have a chance to really, really improve ourselves, and I feel like we’ve got the right leaders to get us there.”

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 24: D’Andre Swift #32 of the Detroit Lions rushes for a touchdown during the first half in the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

For the 0-7 Detroit Lions who’s record hides the fact that rookies have played very well and improved week to week, the trade deadline can speed up the painstaking rebuild.

Lions General Manager, Brad Holmes who knows the Los Angeles Rams very well, could swing a massive trade is he chooses to do so. The Rams are in the market for a running back. Not that the Lions want to deal one, but one player could net a huge return.

D’Andre Swift, who is one of the NFL’s versatile running backs could net the Detroit Lions a return they simply could not turn down. Rams general manager Les Snead, has never shied away from dealing draft picks to gain talent.

The Lions who currently holds two first round draft picks in next springs draft could add more. Dealing a player like Swift, the Rams could cough up draft picks that include:

2022 second round draft pick

2023 second round draft pick

2023 third round draft pick

GLENDALE, AZ – DECEMBER 09: A Detroit Lions Helmet sits on the field before the NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the Arizona Cardinals on December 9, 2018 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

That is not an overvalue of D’Andre Swift. As I stated he is very talented and would fit seamlessly into the Rams offense. I am not saying this will happen. But in a rebuild nothing is or should be off the table. Including one of the better young players in the league.

Will Brad Holmes swing a massive deal like this? We will find out next week.

 

Cornerback Jerry Jacobs has been a surprise for the Detroit Lions

Everyone loves an underdog story. The person who is unassuming that reaches heights few believed they could. For the rebuilding Detroit Lions undrafted rookie cornerback Jerry Jacobs is that underdog. Season ending injuries to  Jeff Okudah and 2021 third-round draft pick Ifeatu Melifonwu, left the Lions with little choice but to insert Jacobs into the starting lineup. Jerry Jacobs has taken full advantage of the opportunity.

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – OCTOBER 10: Alexander Mattison #25 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball as Jerry Jacobs #39 of the Detroit Lions defends at U.S. Bank Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Detroit Lions 19-17. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Entering Sundays tilt against the Los Angeles Rams, Jerry Jacobs will be starting his third game for the Detroit Lions. Head coach Dan Campbell went on record as saying that Jacobs has grown a lot since he walked through the Lions doors on a try out.

Jerry Jacobs plays with a tenacity. To pinpoint where that tenacity comes from it could be safe to say that Jacobs feels the need to prove himself everyday. Be it practice or game day. This is what being an underdog can do, it can bring the absolute best out of a person.

What has been fun to watch, is the times that he has been beaten, Jacobs bounces back. He is still learning, still applying what he is learning and it shows in his steady play.

Once a player “makes it” it is easy to forget how they got there. For an underdog, they generally never forget. They do not forget teams that passed on them in the draft or in free agency or a try out. The work they put in. The belief they have in themselves when it seems no one else does. Tom Brady is a prime example, of an underdog that reached heights few thought he would, but Brady is a high bar for underdogs.

ALLEN PARK, MICHIGAN – JULY 28: Jerry Jacobs #39 of the Detroit Lions walks out to the field during the Detroit Lions Training Camp on July 28, 2021 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

In the pass-happy NFL, Jerry Jacobs game is centered around physicality that he uses to his advantage. In a rebuild, teams need a player like Jacobs to come along. They need to find a player that turns heads and grows. Jerry Jacobs has turned heads and has shown he fits into the Lions future.