In Appreciation Of: Samurai Jack

Earlier this year, Genndy Tartakovsky’s Cartoon Network animated series Samurai Jack concluded with a fifth and final season after a twelve-year hiatus. I never saw the series during its original run, although I was dimly aware of it by reputation, and experienced flickers of vague recognition whenever I saw the titular samurai or his demonic…Read On

Alien: A Conversation

Since the release of Ridley Scott's Alien: Covenant at the beginning of this summer, FilmFisher editor Joshua Gibbs and contributing writer Timothy Lawrence have been trading thoughts on the science fiction horror franchise. What follows is their conversation…Read On

Avengers-Infinity-War-cast

On Film Snobs: Aren’t Some Movies Just Plain Fun?

As an amateur film critic, I have panned many blockbusters and watched rote responses roll in which offer no greater defense of the panned film than, “This film was just plain fun. Why don’t you snobby film critics get it?” Self-defense is usually ugly, even when it is necessary, though I often want to swing…Read On

Star Wars: An Explication – Part 6

In these essays, and even in other writings on the franchise, I have often made special note of Star Wars’ backward-looking quality. These are films that push the medium forward into an exciting new future with groundbreaking special effects, and yet both textually and meta-textually, they are always concerned with the past. With Episode I, over two months ago, we started at the beginning and looked ahead to the story’s ending. Episode VI – as the third film released, as the sixth film in the saga, and as the final installment in this series of essays – is profoundly concerned with looking backwards. Its title is apt; Return of the Jedi is, in so many ways, about the action of returning…Read On

Star Wars: An Explication – Part 5

It has become conventionally accepted wisdom that The Empire Strikes Back is the greatest blockbuster sequel of all time, and one of the best cinematic sequels generally speaking; the only competition that springs to mind is Coppola’s The Godfather: Part II. It should come as little surprise that I’m not inclined to disagree with this assessment. The original Star Wars is one of the greatest American films of all time and a milestone in blockbuster history, but I’ve long maintained that The Empire Strikes Back is even better, and without it, I suspect the saga’s cultural impact would not have been quite so profoundly enduring. The stakes are higher and the world is expanded, but this sequel does not simply go “bigger,” trying to top its predecessor in terms of spectacle. The key to its success is that it also goes deeper, doubling down on characters and relationships that continue to grow and develop…Read On

Star Wars: An Explication – Part 4

On May 25, 1977, those words marked the American public’s first entrance into George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away. Much ink has been spilled trying to account for the film’s success – its innocence was a welcome alternative to the predominantly cynical cinema that surrounded it, American audiences were particularly hungry for escapism – but no single explanation can quite justify Star Wars’ staying power, or how exponentially Lucas’ saga has grown since that first film…Read On

Star Wars: An Explication – Part 3

Revenge of the Sith opens with one of the longest, most elaborate and ambitious shots George Lucas has ever attempted. The camera pans down from the opening crawl, past a blinding sun, to reveal a Star Destroyer flying over Coruscant, one last twist on the iconic opening image of the original 1977 film. There we saw an evil Star Destroyer from behind; here we see a good one from above. The scene is almost comforting in its familiarity and stillness, though the warlike drums of Williams’ score hint at a building energy…Read On

Star Wars: An Explication – Part 2

If Star Wars is about finding balance between the appetites and the intellect, and the best Star Wars films are those that find this ideal balance between spectacle and theme, allow me to open this review boldly, by suggesting that Attack of the Clones – the franchise’s most underrated entry – finds that balance nearly perfectly. While The Phantom Menace had perhaps too much of a tendency to convey concepts through dialogue, its sequel communicates ideas through images, sounds, and actions, fusing emotion with abstraction…Read On

Star Wars: An Explication – Part 1

I love Star Wars – perhaps too much. This is no secret, as my previous writings on the subject would attest, and I can make no pretensions to being an objective observer here. The Phantom Menace, George Lucas’ first prequel to his classic trilogy, was met with a decidedly mixed response when it premiered in 1999, but it is a source of fond memories for me…Read On