Every Type of Star Wars Stormtrooper, Explained

So, I was making my own list of every type of Stormtrooper we see in Star Wars, and I found a definitive video explaining more types than I ever noticed. And I notice most things in science fiction films. One of the great things about Star Wars is the massive but oft-unmentioned world-building. The more you watch these movies, the more you notice.

So many Stormtroopers, so little time to spot them

Can you recall which movie features Shore Troopers? How about Snow Troopers, Riot Troopers, SandTroopers, Mud Troopers, and Scout Troopers?

Offhand, I can answer that. In order: Rogue One, The Empire Strikes Back, The Force Awakens, A New Hope, Solo, and Return of the Jedi/The Mandalorian. But that’s barely scratching the surface of Stormtrooper designs.

Some sweep by so quickly you have to stop the movies to catch the new armor and designs. Apparently, I missed a lot of brand new specialized Stormtroopers in Rise of Skywalker.

Also, Star Wars has a lot of Imperial & First Order Guard Troopers. These aren’t the same as the generic Troopers: they are elite. These are the scary ones in red that defend the Emperor and Supreme Leader Snoke. Honestly, in their scenes I mainly noticed they were red-suited, and often wore capes. Sometimes they used unique laser weapons and may have a touch of the Force.

I learned there’s a lot more to the Guard Troopers than I realized when I watched the clip below.

Lucasfilm made this video with real design crewmembers, and it’s incredibly detailed.

Obviously, the designers had a lot of fun creating these different Stormtrooper outfits. There’s a lineage that flows through the decades of storytelling in Star Wars. I’m impressed with the care and attention paid to even the smallest difference in helmet features and armor accessories.

Additionally, if you like Stormtroopers in general, and A New Hope specifically, this parody spoof Troops below is a must-see. It’s now part of my personal head canon on what went down that fateful, deadly day at the Lars Homestead on Tatooine.

“All suspects are guilty. Period:”

TROOPS – A Star Wars Parody Does COPS

Lastly, here is a high quality satire from Saturday Night Live taking place behind the First Order scenes with Kylo Ren and his off duty Stormtroopers, called Undercover Boss. Adam Driver is not to be missed as he sends up his pouty, emo character arc in The Force Awakens. I consider this head-cannon too. Why not? It fits right in.

Undercover Boss – A Star Wars Parody on SNL

Every Type of Starship and Starfighter in Star Wars, Explained

Star-wars-death-star-battle-return-of-the-jedi
There are a lot of ships in the Battle of Endor. It’s a great scene — learn how to recognize the Starfighters here.

It’s kind of interesting when this happens: I come up with an idea for a RunPee article, start my research, and then find someone made an entire video with more detail and authority then I ever could. This has been happening frequently with Star Wars.

In this case, I was personally interested in differences and uses of the Starfighters used each in each movie. (A Starfighter is a one — sometimes two — manned, dogfighting style,  maneuverable armed space attacker. Some are modified for specifically atmosphere, as in the Imperial Tie Strikers on Rogue One.)

What are these Starfighters and who flies them?

Who gets to  fly certain designs and why? What does each ship look like? Offhand, can you tell the difference between a B-Wing and an A-Wing fighter?

The Empire & First Order Ships

For example, if you’re an Imperial or First Order pilot, you might get a Tie Fighter, a Silencer, or an Interceptor. We also see a lot of distinctive Imperial Shuttles with folding bird-type wings. Darth Vader has his own elegant Tie Fighter design that we see in the Death Star trenches of A New Hope.

Capital ships include Star Destroyers and Dreadnoughts (and Death Stars), but we’re not covering the big cruisers / spacestations here. (“That’s no moon.”)

You probably noticed the Tie-Class Starfighters have a distinctive ‘whine’ sound. Here’s one minute of the classic Tie Fighter sound as they flyby and spin out:

Here is is again if you want to listen to the Tie Fighter whine as ambient sound for 12 hours, because, why not?

(Photo embed below shows Darth Vader’s Advanced X-1 Tie Fighter)

Rebels & Resistance Ships

Everyone knows what an X-Wing looks like. It’s Luke’s ship design, after all. But there are also Y-Wings, B-Wings, A-Wings, the Naboo N-1, and on and on until they merge together with minor changes of design.

 

Rebel and Resistance capital ships include Cruisers, Bombers, and Ramming ships (and some rag tag unique boats, like the Millennium Falcon, owned by scrappy individuals like Han Solo). But again, the video below has enough to cover without leaving the realm of Star Fighter.

Where do we see these Starfighters?

The best space battles are in A New Hope, Return of the Jedi, The Last Jedi, Rogue One, and finally, Rise of Skywalker. I’m not going to include The Phantom Menace, which does have a space battle, but is kind of dodgy. Except for Rise of Skywalker, you can find these scenes on You Tube, so you can easily start and stop the action to pick out the different Starfighters and big capital ships.

(Here are all the Star Wars movies ranked by my thoughts on re-watchability.)

OK, where’s the Starfighter Video?

Honestly, I’d been listing things on my own, looking over scenes in various movies, and then I found THIS. It’s the definitive answer, taking almost 18 minutes to watch, created/hosted by design crewmembers of Lucasfilms.

I can’t compete with that. 😉

So here’s the video. Can you name each type of Starfighter as it appears on the screen? 

The other big article I’m no longer going to write is about Stormtroopers. There are more types of troopers than I originally noticed, and I really thought my personal list was pretty good. Oh well! This video is also by Lucasfilm designers, and I’ve written about that here.

Star Wars – Death Stars and Planet Killers: Enough Already

The 6 Most Epic Lightsaber Fights in Star Wars (plus 3 that didn’t make the cut)

Who rated Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker higher, men or women?

The 6 Most Epic Lightsaber Fights in Star Wars (plus 3 that didn’t make the cut)

So many Star Wars movies. So many lightsaber and “lightsaber-adjacent” fight scenes over 42 years. Which saber duels are the best, the most visually stunning, or emotionally moving?

I don’t know much about sword technique (<—- we wrote about that here) beyond endlessly watching Lord of the Rings or Xena: Warrior Princess, but I know when a scene satisfies. Of course, this ranking is subjective. DUH. 😉 

Warning: spoilers ahead for the saga through Star Wars – Rise of Skywalker.

Counting down my top lightsaber fight scenes, with the videos to illustrate them…here we go!

6. Old Ben vs Darth Vader — (A New Hope)

It was slow;  it was sluggish, but it was our first lightsaber fight, and the emotional stakes were sky(walker) high. Looking back, it’s a wonderful galaxy-building scene, and when Luke sees Obi-Wan die, it packs a punch every time. Even after dozens of viewings.

(Even though the old Jedi Master doesn’t seem to become more powerful. I blame this on Sir Alec Guinness, who famously hated the role. That’s probably why we got Yoda in the first place.)

But this real life knight didn’t let us down — his expression when he sees Luke at the end of his Vader duel is subtle and fantastic. He gives a small smile to Vader before he puts up his sword. Iconic. Look for it. Well done, by a true acting legend.

RunPee Dan has a video explaining why this is actually one of the most realistic sword fighting styles shown in Star Wars, and here is the scene in question:

5. Young Obi-Wan vs Anakin Skywalker — (Revenge of the Sith)

I’m not a big fan of the prequels, but some scenes stand out. In Revenge of the Sith, I kept waiting for it to feel like Star Wars, instead of a documentary. I got that in the last half hour of Revenge of the Sith. And in my recent saga rewatch, I felt terrible for new quadruple amputee Anakin. Then he caught on fire and cried to his former ‘brother’ Obi-Wan. Ob-Wan is clearly full of torment, but almost casually picks up Anakin’s lightsaber and walks off. A real pal would have killed Anakin, instead of wandering away to let him burn to death. But then we would never have had Darth Vader, so….go with it.

The deciding fight on Mustafar is nicely done, if we can ignore the problems with the estranged Jedi duo fighting a foot away from LAVA. LAVA. I feel like I need to say this a third time: LAVA. Does being a Jedi give you heat resistance?

Oh well; the fight was still good. I think it gave us the emotional catharsis that we, the fans, needed, to buy fully into Akakin’s final fall from grace. As in killing Jedi Younglings and genociding the Sandwalker race isn’t enough!

For an up to date reference: Rey healed a serpent monster. Respect! And that worked into the rest of the narrative (including The Mandalorian, on Disney Plus). That made me happy and gave us important exposition without shoving our noses in it. Rey FTW.

Raise your hands if you think it’s any Dark Side coincidence that Darth Vader made his Mustafar Burad-Dur fortress on the planet he lost everything on. The Dark Side needs a constant source of pain and hatred fueled to keep fully aligned with the Sith need for anger/fear/resentment. Good way to keep hatred burning in your heart! I do get that: it gives unlimited Dark Side vested interest.

Yet…every time we see Vader in the Bacta Tank, or meditating in his oxygen cocoon, we can’t help but think he longs for his body/soul purity back. At this point I think he wants to escape the Emperor, but realizes he’s trapped by a mostly mechanical body and a well of bad deeds — he’s burned bridges from everyone who might have helped him purge the anger. It’s hard to redeem yourself after genocidal acts, even if” bringing order” to the galaxy seemed seductive at the time. No one thinks they are the Bad Guy in their story. I think Anakin did think he was helping the known worlds, and that the Jedi were the ones in the wrong with their non-attachment credo.

This video section is in 2 parts on You Tube:

4. Darth Vader vs the Data Tape — (Rogue One)

This bit gives me chills every time. It’s only a few minutes, and only at the very end, but we get to see Vader in his Sith-y prime, effortlessly wiping the walls with rebel troops. It’s a desperate scene, tracking the Death Star data tape, but fits into the beginning of A New Hope with crackling style. Even though  I knew the rebels got the plans, I was on the edge of my seat, urging, “Hurry, hurry, OMG HURRY.” So wonderfully done. When the Tantive 5 speeds away I couldn’t help but cheer. If you watch this scene directly before A New Hope you’ll notice some continuity problems, but that doesn’t diminish the power of this…raw slaughter. This is why we love to fear Vader:

3.  Luke vs Kylo Ren — (The Last Jedi)

By the Maker, this was an excellent duel: even better on repeat when you know Luke is just a Force projection. In my theater viewing, I noticed Luke’s feet didn’t stir up the salt or red iron soil beneath, unlike every other person or vehicle on Planet Crait. I chalked it up to bad continuity at the time, but then cheered like a fool when I realized this was no mistake. Mark Hamill sells the deception for all it’s worth, and when he dusts an imaginary speck off his shoulder I had to give him props for the ultimate in cool. Way. To. Go.

And the top 2 lightsaber fights…

2. Rey and Kylo vs Snoke and the Imperial Guard — (The Last Jedi)

For one thing, it was neat to see different laser weapons than sabers (the Guards’ weapons), and two…the rewatchability level of this battle royale is outstanding. The choreography was unprecedented — seeing two Force users playing off each other’s skills to fight together, like Hercules and Iolaus in The Legendary Journeys. It also lit a lot of shipper’s torches for the star-crossed couple of Rey and Kylo Ren. This was simply an outstanding scene. Great chemistry and a few really creative moves.

It lacked a distinctive theme soundtrack, and that brings it down a little.  It just isn’t the number one lightsaber fight, and that might contribute. Listen to this as it plays: it’s an “action wallpaper” of sound. But…it’s still emotionally satisfying, and impressively choreographed to show two people totally in sync.

1. The Duel of the Fates — (The Phantom Menace)

Say what you will about The Phantom Menace, but this prequel has the single best lightsaber battle in the live action Star Wars stories. John William’s soaring, ominous, chant-filled score is among the best tracks in any Star Wars movie, and Darth Maul is legit skilled and scary. When we see Qui-Gon quietly meditating on the floor, while Maul paces like a caged tiger who can’t wait to kill, it’s a perfect wordless exposition on the Dark and Light sides of the Force. And when the red laser walls kept Obi-Wan out of the fight while he watches Maul kills Qui-Gon…MAN. This was a stunning 5-minute scene that never drags.

I was surprised Obi-Wan bested Maul, despite knowing he lives through A New Hope. And losing Qui-Gon Jinn really hurt. He’s my favorite Jedi, and I was thrilled to hear his voice in Rise of Skywalker. (I held out hope til the end that Qui-Gon got together with Shmi Skywalker, so Rey could be a grandchild of the Skywalkers. Or a Kenobi: my favorite theory. But wishing does not make it so. At least we found out the truth in the end, and it didn’t fully suck.)

Just watch this again without Jar-Jar-Colored blinders and you’ll see this is inevitably the best Lightsaber duel on any level: 

Honorable Mention: Kylo Ren vs Finn

Finn’s desperate “traitor” stand against Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens was an emotional and successful moment — but missed out on the BEST OF scenes because it wasn’t that great a fight, overall. Finn was wildly overmatched, and that he stood as long as he did was a tribute to the character’s determination and concern for Rey. He also might have a touch of Force Sensitivity (See Rise of Skywalker). But a great lightsaber scene? Not as such.

Just Missing the Cut – Luke vs Darth Vader (Twice)

I didn’t include either of Luke’s lightsaber fights with Darth Vader for a few reasons that took a lot of time to consider. For one thing, Vader in Empire and RotJ was clearly toying with Luke. Vader basically Force-tossed the scenery at his son, instead of actually dueling. He wanted to make a point and then turn him to the Dark Side, not kill him. Mostly. “All too easy.” Until the whole ‘Sister’ thing came up in RotJ, when Luke started wailing on his father in rage.

The people Luke loves are his sore spot, and probably why he went into exile eventually. When Luke got angry enough in RotJ, his fighting style changed to swing, hack, swing, hack…and it’s clear he was using the Dark Side when he battered his father and cut his arm back off. (With the Emperor cackling like a damn fool from the sidelines.)  It’s a very emotional moment, but the lightsaber action isn’t that exciting. If this article was about meaningful fight scenes, this would be ranked highly. But as for a lightsaber showdown, it doesn’t perform.

 

Which top duel and/or lightsaber fight scenes did I miss? Yoda vs Count Dooku? Anakin and Dooku? Obi-Wan and General Grievous? Yoda and Palpatine? The big Order 66 showdown? Does anything from Rise of Skywalker make the grade? Tell me your thoughts in the comment section below.

Video Essay – How to Film a Good Sword Fight

All Star Wars Movies, ranked by personal watchablility. Now including Rise of Skywalker

 

Infographic of every Star Wars movie ranked by fans on IMDb and RottenTomatoes

Star Wars Revealed: Obi-Wan Kenobi is a lying liar who lies

Shallow – A Star Wars Parody

I never get tired of Star Wars parodies. Do you? I am mean, really, Star Wars is beyond iconic.

Here’s a good one for you. Lots of cool little nods to the movies. Notice the green milk. Luke sure loves his colorful lactose. Green, blue…all good.

Seriously, this song is just fabulous. I think I like it better than the original in A Star is Born.  Enjoy!

TROOPS – A Star Wars Parody Does COPS

Undercover Boss – A Star Wars Parody on SNL

I have a bad feeling about this…

Ray McKinnon in Ford v Ferrari – where have I seen him before?

Ray McKinnon - Ford v Ferrari
Ray McKinnon as Phil Remington in Ford v Ferrari

The actor Ray McKinnon plays Phil Remington in Ford v Ferrari — Le Mans ’66 for those on the right side of the Atlantic.

Ray McKinnon may not be a household name — I had to look him up myself — but I recognized him straight away when I saw him because he plays a very similar character in Apollo 13. Which coincidentally enough takes place at roughly the same time period — Ford v Ferrari takes place in 1966-67 and Apollo 13 takes place in 1967-1970.  I guess Ray just has that “I’m an engineer look,” about him — whatever that might be like.

Ray McKinnon - Apollo 13
Ray McKinnon as Jerry Bostick – FIDO White – in Apollo 13

Ray has quite an extensive filmography, including 83 actor credits, from Sons of Anarchy to The X Files.

Check out this interview with Ray discussing his work in Ford v Ferrari.

Watch the trailer for Ford v Ferrari.

Read my movie review of Ford v Ferrari (Grade: A+)

What happened to Pete Miles – Ken’s son in Ford v Ferrari?

Frozen Adventures You May Have Missed

Disney has finally given in to the demands of countless children, and made a sequel to their hit film Frozen.  I already have my tickets and will be seeing it opening weekend with my girlfriend, the world’s biggest Olaf fan.  (No, seriously.  I can’t sleep at night anymore because of all the stuffed snowmen staring at me.)  In-between the two films, Anna, Elsa, and Olaf had a few adventures you may not know about.

So, in case you’re a completist like me, here’s three Frozen adventures you might want to see.

Frozen Fever

This seven minute short debuted in theaters in front of Disney’s live-action Cinderella in 2015.  Elsa tries to give Anna a surprise birthday party.  However, Elsa has caught a cold, and with every sneeze she produces a bunch of “Snowgies” — adorable snowball-like creatures — who begin dismantling the decorations.  The cartoon features a catchy new song: “Making Today a Perfect Day.”

Frozen Fever can be found here:

  • Available for purchase on most major streaming sites like Amazon and iTunes.
  • Available as an extra on the Cinderella Blu-ray and DVD.
  • Available as part of the Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection on DVD/Blu-ray combo pack or streaming.  (There’s also a funny Tangled short in that collection.)

Lego Frozen Northern Lights

Frozen gets the Lego treatment in this four-episode TV miniseries.  Elsa and Anna journey to find the Northern Lights, which are invisible from their home of Arendelle.

  • This appears to be available for free on YouTube, with each of the four episodes running about 6 minutes.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure

This twenty-one minute cartoon debuted in theaters in front of Pixar’s Coco.

Unfortunately, many audience members didn’t come prepared to see Olaf, and didn’t like waiting nearly half an hour for their Coco feature to start.

The cartoon was eventually moved to play after the feature, and then removed completely and made available on streaming sites.

During the first Christmas since the gates reopened, Olaf tries to help Elsa and Anna start some new holiday traditions, by finding out how the residents of Arendelle celebrate.

  • This is available on Blu-ray, DVD, or from major streaming sites like Amazon and iTunes.  It comes with six classic Disney winter/holiday-themed shorts.

Don’t hold it in.  Let it go.  With the RunPee app, you don’t have to wait for the credits to go to the bathroom.  We’ll tell you the best times to go so you won’t miss the best parts of the movie.  And we always have Peetimes for the latest movies like Playing With Fire, Arctic Dogs, and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.  You can also keep up with the latest movie news and reviews by following us on Twitter @RunPee and liking us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RunPee/).

Movie Review – Frozen 2

Video – Opening Scene to La La Land (that amazing traffic jam dance)

emma stone and ryan gosling dance in la la land
I don’t buy their relationship, but they sure can dance.

It’s no secret I’m not a big fan of La La Land (as in, the movie. The city of Los Angeles is fine.) Mostly I think La La Land is a bit silly and overly sentimental. It won a lot of awards, but I just didn’t love it. (Thankfully, I didn’t have to do the Peetimes.)

Also, I think the character Ryan Gosling plays is a jerk, and the film’s ending is not my brand of bittersweet.

But…the opening number is REALLY something else. Jamming during a traffic  jam on a gridlocked Los Angeles bridge — under that bright blue California sky — is not only a charming idea, but the choreography is a showstopper.

Even if you’re not fond of movie musicals, this fantasy sequence is a pure winner. Too bad flash mobs don’t actually do this in real life! Here’s the entire video of the beginning scene that’s sure to bring a smile to your face:

Although I’d give this movie a B- myself, this dancing cold open deserves all the A plusses I can muster.

Read RunPee Mom’s capsule movie review of LaLa Land:

Movie Review – La La Land

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RunPee’s “Golden Rule”

Deep Blue Sea – First View Movie Review (With YouTube Clips)

deep blue sea team in aquatica lab
Well, the sharks are smarter now, so we’ll be best friends, right?

I just watched 1999s Deep Blue Sea for the first time, during Shark Week 2019. DBS is sort of like Jurassic World if the Mosasaurus started hunting the lab techs. With some Samuel L Jackson on the side — although someone else got his famous line. And there’s a nod to Jaws. (Licence plate, but I’m sure you noticed this right away.)

Did I have fun watching Deep Blue Sea?

You betcha!

Is it realistic?

Um. Maybe some of it could be? But mostly, no — sharks don’t seem driven by vengeance and testosterone, even if they’ve become seven times smarter by evil tech (with the best intentions, actually). Carter’s (Thomas Jane) last minute explanation of the super-sharks’ behavior works far better. I can see how the sharks might have had that plan. Shades of Aliens there — “How could they cut the power, man?! They’re animals!” And the first Jurassic Park itself: “Because we’re being hunted.”

Also, the science is a little dodgy.

I’m getting nowhere without going into spoilers, so let me continue this part and move on.

The Aquatica Set is the Star of the Film

The undersea laboratory Aquatica is an extraordinary  base for action film-making. Deep Blue Sea makes use of the whole design, conceptually. Think about it: in the water, you move around in three dimensions, rather than the two surface dwellers usually contend with. This set design fully uses all dimensions and directions, including the logic of going down to go up.

There’s the above-sea catwalks and the sky tower, set around a Sea-World-type shark enclosure. Then there’s the undersea high-tech lab levels, complete with a pressure-sealed shark bay and the obligatory bank of monitors.

Also, there’s the fancy Five Star stainless steel kitchen. Somehow this place (with only a half-dozen staff I could see) employs a full time chef. Who is also a Preacher. (Go with it, because the kitchen scenes are worth it…and ALSO call back to a certain iconic Jurassic Park scene.)

Then the lower levels feel much like sets from submarine movies — cramped, utilitarian maintenance passageways, full of ladders, bottomless shafts, and Jeffries Tubes. 😉 The story starts above the ocean, moves midway to around 60 feet under the sea, drops you down to the ocean floor…and agonizingly crawls back to the surface. This has to be one of the most creative uses of set concept I’ve seen. (Plus, the shaft here makes actual sense, unlike the ubiquitous chasms in the Star Wars Galaxy of films.)

I’m reminded a lot of the cool little film Escape Room from last year. Each set is a ‘room’, tasking the dwindling group of survivors with puzzles to solve to level up towards freedom.

Getting What You Expect in a Shark Film

Overall: Deep Blue Sea is a lot of fun, and you get what you expect in a shark movie…people torn apart and/or eaten whole, guessing who’s the last one standing (or swimming), wondering how the sharks will die in the end.

IF THEY DO. Is there a shark film out there where the shark kills all the people and gets away?

deep blue sea shark fin
Most of the shark scenes are in darkness like this. Remember, this is 1999. It’s a dodge, like having all the T-Rex scenes at night and in the rain in Jurassic Park.

Spoilers ahead for Deep Blue Sea:

You’ve been warned.

Spoilers ahead.

Really. Who lives and dies:

I absolutely wanted the Chef/Preacher to survive. I didn’t realize he was LL Cool J until the credits rolled: I just really liked his character. J had the best scenes. I loved his rude little parrot, how he hid in his own oven (yikes), and intelligently dispatched his shark.

He should have died in the explosion, but this is a movie, and here’s the thing in film: if you don’t see a dead body, you can’t take assume someone is dead. And sometimes, not even after that. (As with Zombies, decapitation of the head helps. (Unless you’re in an X-Files film.)

I was thrilled with the continuity of the flaming fragments from the kitchen level raining down the elevator shaft. The crew had to worry about hypothermia, burning rain from above, ravenously mean sharks below, and drowning as each submerged level burst open… all while climbing rickety emergency ladders that kept breaking to pieces. It could have felt over-the-top campy, but it just played right.

Who Lives, Who Dies

The deaths we did get were interesting choices. Stellan Skarsgård’s death was well executed, providing an eerie, chilling thrill that stands out as the single best scene. I was sad to lose him so early on.

This scene rocks: 

Also, shall we mourn for Jackson, whose moment we should have seen coming, but never expected (and so unceremoniously)? The A-listers are supposed to survive, right?

The bird getting eated was…shocking. That was in 1999. That kind of thing (pet deaths, unless it’s in a ‘dog movie’) doesn’t happen much these days. Didn’t even the rat survive in The Abyss?

Then, the lead scientist (Saffron Burrows) getting swallowed whole? That seemed like some Old Testament shit right there, based on the  Jurassic Park “messing with nature” theme, and Preacher’s constant commentaries to God, a la LadyHawke.

Normally the alpha female would  be the sole survivor in a shark film. This gal was smart (she took down her shark handily), had a mission that really would have helped people, and had chemistry with Carter, the manly man of the group. I salute the writers for taking the less obvious route. Her self sacrifice redeems her character, if you feel she needed redeeming. She legit wanted to cure brain aliments that devastate millions of patients and their families. She just took some morally dark shortcuts to get there, and the implication is she paid for it with her life.

These sharks don’t act like real animals, but that’s because of Man’s Hubris/Interference, so I’m okay with this. Normally it’s a pet peeve of mine when an animal acts like a “monster.” But these are chimeras, with new rules I guess, and their plan was to escape to the Deep Blue Sea (ahem) more than anything else, and whatever, and it’s not worth working this out.

Should you see Deep Blue Sea?

See Deep Blue Sea if you like action-adventure and don’t mind some mild gore. This barely classifies as horror. I looked away once, and that wasn’t even too nasty (poor Scoggs — Michael Rapaport — he was cool. I like smart people in movies).

If you can handle the Jurassic Park and Aliens films, you’re good to go. Toss in some philosophy about the ethics of “saving mankind through DNA fun”, and you’ve got a super enjoyable B monster movie. I enjoyed this one greatly, as I work my way through shark films over Shark Week, just before 47 Meters 2 premiers.

Recommended!

Movie Grade: B

More of RunPee’s Shark Movie Reviews:

Easter Eggs in Aladdin and The Lion King

Lion King: Timon
Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test!

Who knew classic, straight-laced, non-Pixar, Original Flavor Disney would start using Easter Eggs? It’s possible they’ve been doing this all along and I haven’t noticed, but usually there’s not a whiff of cross-pollination between, say, Princess properties. No nods to Snow White in Sleeping Beauty, for example, even though both feature winsome lasses in comas needing True Love’s Kiss. (Great plot resolution, folks. Sheesh.)

But then Pixar came around, relying on fresh humor often aimed squarely at adults. Pixar wasn’t afraid to mix up their universes with dozens of Easter Eggs for sharp-eyed fans to spot, especially on re-watches.

The Pixar Theory, and Beyond

In fact, there’s an entire Pixar Theory devoted to the notion that every Pixar film — with settings from the dawn of the dinosaurs, through to man’s diaspora through space — is one long, related story. Eagle-eyed viewers pour over every frame of Pixar films to spot connections between them. I’ve looked for, and found, Rex from Toy Story as a wood carving in Brave. This lends credence to the Boo (from Monsters, Inc) Theory. These things aren’t accidents.

The Carlin Brothers do a great job illustrating the Pixar Theory in their longish video (below). I think some of it’s too reachy, but the idea is fabulous and I’m willing to go all in.

It’s not just Pixar that does Easter Eggs now. Every genre franchise, including those of Star Wars, Marvel Studios, DC, Dreamworks, Sony, and “beyond” use Easter Eggs as a matter of principle.

Then…Disney bought Pixar (and Star Wars, and Marvel too).

Live Action Disney Does Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs are finally appearing in even the sacred Princess films, which were always the most straight-laced offerings in the Disney Vault. But since we’re seeing Eggs now in the live-action/CGI remakes, maybe this is where Disney decided to test the waters.

I’m going to mention a few Easter Eggs I spotted in Aladdin and The Lion King, the most recently remade Disney films, which both have Princesses.

(I’m counting Nala here. If Simba is a King, then Nala is a Queen.)

Lion King: Nala
Totally a Disney Princess.

Note: I’m not going to even try to mention Easter Eggs in Ralph Breaks the Internet, which doesn’t qualify as a remake of a Disney Classic, and is honestly one long series of amusing Easter Eggs. Feel free to mention those in the comments below, along with any other Eggs you’ve spotted elsewhere.

ralph breaks the internet and princess venelope
Uncountable Easter Eggs. Do you realize how long an article would have to be to list them all?

Easter Eggs in 2019’s Aladdin and Lion King Remakes

  • Aladdin: This one is a self-contained movie reference. The Disney studio logo opens, showing a sailing ship on their river, then pulls back to see the Disney Castle. Then the movie itself opens on a sailing ship. I need to see this again now to determine if it’s the same boat.
    will smith as genie in Aladdin and the live action disney remake
    You ain’t never had a friend like Genie, in either version.
  • When Genie is dressing Aladdin in the desert, the magic carpet plays in the sand in the background. Over a series of shots, we see Carpet making a sand castle. In the final shot of this, it’s clear the castle is a sand replica of the Disney Castle from the studio logo, and Carpet shoots a stream of sand over it that looks like the shooting star we see at the end of the logo sequence.

I didn’t even notice what Carpet was doing on my first watch. But it’s obvious now and very clever. (Logo sequence below is from 2011, but shows the castle and star.)

  • Aladdin: There’s a great nod to Shrek when he turns Abu into a donkey. Shrek is the tentpole of DreamWorks, a competitor, which is interesting. Genie utters a line like, “No, too obvious,” — pretty amusing, and only makes sense if it’s a subtle dig on Shrek.
  • Aladdin: My sister is an even bigger fan of Disney than I, and we went to see Aladdin together. She noticed Jafar had a lion sculpture on his desk that looked like Uncle Scar from The Lion King. I’d love to hear if anyone can confirm this.
    Lion King Scar
    Scar is actually his nickname. I looked it up. It’s a little cruel that Mufasa calls him that in public.
  • Aladdin: I can’t say for certain if this was intentional, but when Iago (just Parrot in the remake) becomes Giant Parrot, there’s a sequence suspiciously like one in Jurassic World
  • The Lion King: I only saw the remake once, but found one very obvious Easter Egg. It’s when Timon calls out to the hyenas to come and eat them (Timon and Pumbaa are acting as ‘bait’ for Simba and Nala) — it’s the beginning phrase of the big showstopping number Be Our Guest from Beauty and the Beast. I laughed out loud at that one. Timon even uses a mock French accent as he says dramatically, “Be…our…guest”: it looks like he’s about to burst into song, as the music swells. Then the chase begins. It’s a super fun moment.
    Lion King: Pumbaa
    Delicious pork bait.

    Only a few other people in the audience laughed, though, so they clearly missed it. If I’d seen The Lion King opening night, you BET the die-hard fans would have exploded into wild appreciation. (Disney superfans are fanatic. These are the people that dressed in ballgowns during the remade Beauty and the Beast on opening night.)

That’s All, Folks

Unfortunately, that’s all I have right now from The Lion King. I’ll be looking for Eggs if I catch it again at the theater. On first viewings, it’s hard to notice background events. Naturally. Easter Eggs delight and reward us during subsequent watches.

I’m glad Disney’s decided to join the new century finally and break down their 4th wall here and there. (Maybe acquiring Deadpool was a good influence!)

Movie Review – The Lion King (2019)

Surprise! The Lion King is a Hamlet Remake

Movie Review – Aladdin (2019) – A Live Action Remake, Good for the Target Audience

 

 

Top Five Movies about the Civil War

Cold Mountain Civil War Movie
This is exactly no one’s idea of fun. But the Civil War made for some great films.

What makes a great American Civil War movie? The battles, the politics, the inhumanity of slavery, brother against brother, the great generals of both sides, the personal sides of war, families being torn apart, or all of the above?

The movies I’ve listed contain all or most of the issues listed above, and are in no particular order. Enjoy, for an excellent Civil War oriented binge watch (or re-watch) over your favorite American holidays.

Cold Mountain: (2003)
IMDb score: 7.2
Winner of 1 Oscar. Another 19 wins & 101 nominations
Starring: Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger, and Natalie Portman.

Cold Mountain contains no extended battle scenes, but relies heavily on emotions and personal conflict.

Lincoln: (2012)
IMDb score: 7.4
Winner of two Oscars. Another 108 wins & 245 nominations.
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, James Spader, and Tommy Lee Jones.

Lincoln leans heavily on the politics of the war, especially in the decision to emancipate the slaves. Here’s our review of this A+ film.

Gettysburg: (1993)
IMDb score: 7.7
Jeff Daniels was nominated for Best Supporting Actor by the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times said of Gettysburg“This is a film that Civil War buffs will find indispensable, even if others might find it interminable.” I’ve seen the movie several times, and have personally walked the battlefields of Gettysburg, from Little Round Top to Pickett’s Charge. So I can enthusiastically recommend Gettysburgnot only for it’s historical accuracy but for also bringing the soldiers from both sides to life in a spectacular way.

Glory: (1989)
IMDb score: 7.9
Winner of three Oscars, Glory was Densel Washington’s first Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Also, Glory received 14 other wins & another 18 nominations.

This was the first major motion picture to tell the story of black U.S. soldiers fighting for their freedom from slavery during the Civil War. Everything about this movie was done on a grand scale, including hiring Shelby Foote as a technical adviser.

Foote later became well known for his contributions to Ken Burns’ The Civil War, a nine episode documentary in 1990, which I highly, highly recommend.

 

The Conspirator: (2010)
IMDb score: 6.9
Directed by Robert Redford

The Conspirator is the story of Mary Surratt, the only female conspirator charged in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the first woman to be executed by the U.S. Federal Government. This alone is enough to make the list, but also for the uniqueness of the crime. Great movie.

Movie Review – Lincoln – An A+ Presidential Biography

Movie Review – They Shall Not Grow Old

Movie Review – A Private War