SPOILER ALERT ; if you plan to watch the film, don’t read the rest of the entry as some aspects of my discussion may ruin the experience for you.

i apologise for chiming in late as i saw it awhile back but out of respect for my brother i held up posting as he was “stuck” on Holidays and when he came back it was the Manila Film Festival (showcasing Filipino films). he was only able to watch it last night because of his “tight” schedule,.

IMHO, it was just alright. that said, ending a “beloved” franchise can be tricky – one only needs to consider the “disincongruous” reactions to the GoT (strangely, i never got into it given my proclivity for fantasy fiction) finale. i can understand why the “fan boys” thought it was good and why the critics panned it – it doesn’t really matter what other people think. i’ve learned being in Australia that if you like something then you like it and you shouldn’t feel “guilty” about it.

IMHO, it wasn’t the best one but it was far from being the worst one. for my money, Episode V is still the best followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story but that’s neither here nor there since i’m not an “influencer”. i was still going to watch regardless of what critics said: i have this “annoying” thing of thinking for myself – maybe if i wasn’t such a fan or on-the-fence about watching it, i’d seriously consider what others had to say. case in point, Frozen 2 (i’m not really their core demographic although i do occasionally “enjoy” their films – i prefer Pixar) was a “smash” in the cinemas in spite of their negative reviews – i don’t think their “market” truly cared. as an aside, i think Disney is really clever to also own “properties” such as Star Wars and Marvel (i have to comment as i can’t help myself: i’m a huge fan of the MCU and Infinity War but not so much of Endgame – i have this thing about using time travel to solve things but i digress…) which have lucrative franchises that gross well at the box office.

i didn’t mind that Emperor Palpatine was back – i just wanted a more plausible rationale for it and not simply glossed over like i felt the film did . i’m a fan, as well as a critic (i don’t think they’re mutually exclusive, i just don’t appreciate “lazy” writing). moreover, i found Poe’s final speech to the Rebellionbaduy“, “cheesey”, and trite.

like The Force Awakens reminded me of Episode IV , this made me think of Episode VI. there seemed to me a congruence between Rei’s and Luke’s offer to join from the Emperor (thwarted by a final “redemptive” act by Kylo Ren and Darth Vader respectively) and the “ruse” which was actually an ambush. there is nothing wrong with paying homage and parallels to the original trilogy but, for my taste, it was a little to close to home which made them predictable – i’m guessing that’s what some fans wanted.

but, all-in-all, i thought it was a valiant effort as ending something “gracefully” is always hard.

we recently came back from New Zealand (Aotearoa in Maori) to attend a wedding. no, it wasn’t bloody like the GoT episode – it was just the bride was Vietnamese and her gown was a shade of crimson.

despite also having a tea ceremony after the nuptials, it was not at all stuffy – i found their vows funny and they even had a jumping castle for the adults.

not only did we travel overseas to get there and drive a long way to attend the event but we really wanted to be there on that joyous occasion. unlike some destination weddings it made sense to me. although the groom (who’s my wife’s cousin), the bride’s a Kiwi and most of her relatives are still there. it was at a garden for people to feel more at ease and so that there could be other “fun” activities. it was a balance between fiscally responsibility and meaningfulness – i think most couples spend so much time, money, and effort on just one day instead of being mindful about the remainder of their lives together: there’s even a stat that states the more money that the couple spends on the wedding, the likelier they are to break up.

we also had a little time to do a few “touristy” things. we drove aways for most destinations but being on several OZ road trips the NZ views were much more picturesque. My son took several photos using a proper digital camera of the scenery – to keep the post downloadable, i exported a select few to “smaller” files.

Rotorua – Landscape
Rotorua Nightscape

DISCLAIMER: The copyright of all the pictures is his and these were shared with his permission.

we also saw a geyser:

Rotorua Geyser

while there are kangaroo crossing signs in OZ, NZ have them for cows. i thought the dairy products were already good in OZ, but they were better in NZ as their milk is much creamier (and i could tell as i like my cheese, coffee (although i’m partial to doppio and ristretto, i get lattes in countries that have good milk), and ice cream). That said, vegans close your ears, cows are bred better in OZ for eating.

there were too many photos so in the interest of space and download speed i’ve decided not to share all of them.

we had a chance to witness a Haka performed live – prior to that we’ve only seen it on TV, mostly by the All Blacks prior to a rugby match. we know it was for intimidation and, if possible to avoid conflict. it was also interesting to learn that it is used to “warmup” major muscles so it makes a lot of sense in the sporting context.

because i’ve always been a nerd (it would be a misnomer to call me a John Ronald Reuel Tolkien geek, although both can be socially awkward, because more than just being an enthusiast i can get quite cerebral about the topic. case in point, when Gandalf in the movies (played by Sir Ian McKellen) utters the words: “You shall not pass!’ in the original text it was will not shall – it was a “happy accident” that wasn’t edited out of the film) we also visited Hobbiton.

interestingly, the movie set is in Matamata which translated in Filipino means eye-eye and the whole Fellowship of the Ring was formed partly because of the expanding reach of the Eye of Sauron.

i even tried to read the books (as i was a fan of fantasy novels). alas, i wasn’t able to finish the books (i attempted The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring) as some words were a bit obtuse for me (my excuse was that i was young and English wasn’t my primary language) and the author was a Professor of English Literature at Oxford. i instead settled for the cartoons and movies.

in any case, i want to return for a longer time but their accessibility facilities can still be improved…