There’s a lot to choose from in the Star Wars universe (one might even say the market has become “saturated”); but if you look carefully enough, you might just find something worth investing your time in. Such is the case with Obi-Wan Kenobi, a dream come true for fans of the series who have always wondered about the title characters’ most secluded years on Tatoonie.
Ewan McGregor returns nearly two decades later since last portraying the role of Kenobi in Episodes I-III, and it’s as if he never left. Long story short, he is thrust into helping a young Princess Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) after she is captured, then escapes, from the Galactic Empire. This forces him into uses his long-suppressed Jedi powers while fighting off new foes from the Empire like Reva Sevander (Moses Ingram), and ultimately coming face-to-face with his former apprentice Anakin Skywalker for the first time since their battle in Episode III that transformed him into Darth Vadar (Hayden Christensen also returns in the role, with the legendary James Earl Jones voicing the character once again as well).
There’s a few other appearances that fans should also enjoy, such as the return of Jimmy Smits to the franchise, and even a small role from Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea. But chances are if none of what I just mentioned made any sense to you, then this show is most likely not going to be your cup of tea. But if these characters have been embedded in your life since birth as they have been for myself, you’re likely to eat it up, too.
This latest season of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is even more predictably wholesome than the last, yet somehow it still works. All the familiar underdog story tropes are thrown in as usual, but even the “bullies” are painfully likable this time around.
Our heroes now find themselves fish (or ducks?) out of water when they arrive unintentionally invited to an elite summer hockey camp ran by a former NHL player (Josh Duhamel). As the team and their coach (played by the returning Lauren Graham) struggle to fit in and make their own individual marks at the camp, they encounter new allies and adversaries, and plenty of conflicts to contend with.
Gone is Emilio Estevez as Gordon Bombay, replaced this time by Duhmal, who does his best take on the stereotypical alpha male role. And the returning team itself is again made up of some talented youngsters, lead by Brady Noon, Taegen Burns, Swayam Bhatia, Maxewell Simkins, and Luke Islam, this time joined by the likes of newcomer Naveen Paddock.
There’s obvious similarities to other youthful contemporary shows like Cobra Kai, though everything is kept family friendly. And as corny as it may be, both seasons of Game Changers so far have been the most fun I’ve had watching a fictional hockey-themed show since going to see D2 in the theater all the way back in 1994. With that being said, the kid in me actually enjoyed skating into this one with the fam, and you just might too if you slide into the neutral zone with an open mind.
This sequel series to the popular Mighty Ducks franchise from the ’90s is surprisingly refreshing, despite falling into some familiar cliches. Fans of the original family-friendly films will most likely rejoice with this updated take on the material, which thankfully lacks much of the corney-ness of the old films.
Now a quite literal “mighty” force to be reckoned with, the junior league Ducks have more or less become the bullies at this point. After cutting twelve-year-old Evan Morrow (Brady Noon) for not being up to par with his hockey skills, his mom (Lauren Graham) and him form a team themselves with (surprise!) more similar outcasts.
Of course they have no idea what they’re doing, and their only hope is to enlist the help of former Ducks coach himself Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez), who is now jaded and hates hockey. What follows is of course a predictable, albeit fun, story of underdogs rising up against the bad guys. The talented young cast do more than admirable jobs in their respective roles, and there’s (thankfully!) no unnecessary agenda pushing that the eye can see. There’s even an appearance or two from some of the original Ducks, which should delight many a fan.
Game Changers is not about to change much at all honestly, but it’s likely to bring a smile or two to a few faces. Simply put, it’s good, harmless fun, which is something we can all use a little more of these days.
When the original Home Alone was released in 1990, it caught lightning in a bottle, and to this day the film remains a holiday classic (if you get a chance, take a look at the 30th anniversary piece I did for Rewind It Magazine just last year). Since then, numerous sequels have tried with varying results to recapture that magic of the first film, largely missing the mark in most cases. Home SweetHome Alone, the latest retread of this all too familiar storyline, is definitely no exception to it.
Despite a promising cast lead by the young Archie Yates of Jojo Rabbit, this sixth entry never really finds its footing. The thin plot is based around two parents (played by Ellie Kemper and Rob Delaney) on the brink of financial ruin who, after listing their house for sale, discover they possess a rare doll worth a small fortune. When the doll comes up missing, they believe the child (Yates) of one of the parties that recently viewed their home, stole said doll from their house. This of course leads them to the kid’s place, who by now has been left home alone and must defend himself from the intruders.
What ensues feels so forced and devoid of any real humor, it’s almost too painful to watch. Even small throwbacks to the original film, such as the brief return of Devin Ratray as Buzz McCallister, do little to liven things up here. Somehow even the last film, 2012’s Home Alone: The Holiday Heist (which was made for TV), had more heart than this one (the one thing I will give it though, it’s still better than Home Alone 3, forever the lowest point of the franchise).They say you can’t go home again, and this latest installment to an all-too tired series, pretty much proves it.