The Force Awakened….

The-Force-Awakens-PosterWell friends, I finally watched The Force Awakens (TFA) January 3rd.  In a nutshell it was good.  It wasn’t anything like I expected and none of my theories were correct but alas, I expected that.

Unfortunately, much like The Phantom Menace, I left the theatre with more questions than answers, as did many fans. There were a lot of gaps and there were a lot of things that just didn’t really seem to fit.

Was it better the The Empire Strikes Back? In my opinion, no, although it came close.  It certainly was entertaining enough to help me forget about the prequels! I did like JJ Abrams style and thank god he backed off on all the “lens flare” effects…in the Star Trek movies that he helmed, that effect drove me nuts!

To add to my thoughts on TFA, I was disappointed with a few things. (Spoliers) I didn’t like the fact that Luke shows up at the very end of the movie.  I didn’t like the fact that we didn’t get to see much of R2 and 3PO.  The villain was a whiny baby IMHO.  Captain Phasma seemed to be more of an extra than anything else.  Who the fuck is Snoke?  Han gets wasted in a very shitty way and the response from his lifelong friend Chewbacca is laughable and poorly handled by writers JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan.

And finally, I totally agree with George Lucas.  This was a retro film. Although it pays homage to Star Wars of old, it seemed a bit recycled: Another desert planet, another ice planet, another rebellion, another Death Star type weapon. another scenario where everyone is looking for a small droid, another young person dreaming of a different life then being thrust into a whole new world, another villain robed all in black wearing a mask and sporting a red lightsaber, another cantina scene full of assorted aliens, another large “projected” version of the “leader” of the bad dudes, the list goes on.

Don’t get me wrong.  I thoroughly enjoyed this film because I am old school Original Trilogy so it brought back a lot of fond memories. Having said this I hope, like The Empire Strikes Back, the second installment is much better…Goodbye, General Solo…you will be missed.

 

Wookies are known to do that

chewieBe very tall that is.  Rumour is swirling that there is a casting call for an individual that is 7’2″ – 7’6″ and not too stocky (not thin but not muscular either) for a role in an upcoming as yet untitled feature film being produced by Lucasfilm and Bad Robot (JJ Abrams production company).

Apparently Peter Mayhew, the original and IMHO the only actor to play Chewbacca in 4 of the 6 Star Wars films, is said to be suffering from health issues (legs mostly) and will not be recast as the favorite “walking carpet” in the upcoming Episode VII.

In a way it’s kind of sad.  I remember reading an article once about how excited he was to reprise his role as everyone’s  favorite co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon in Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.  Even though the part was very small, George Lucas still considered the aging Englishman as the person to fill the fuzzball suit one more time.

Personally knowing that it won’t be the same actor portraying a character that died a hero’s death in the Yuuzhan Vong War. in the expanded universe novels will be just one more reason why I hope Disney doesn’t destroy Star Wars in favor of capitalism.

Does this mean Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) will be the only Star Wars Alumni to be cast in every film? All I can say is: Peter, get well soon! We need you, Chewie!

Star Wars in 3D…overkill or perfect format?

Happy New Year to all the Star Wars fans out there.

2012 brings more news from the Star Wars Universe…3D!!!  Episode I: The Phantom Menace will hit theatres this spring in full blown digital 3D.  Sure, it would be nice to see the saga in 3D – yes all of them will be converted to 3D –  but I wonder if some things are better left alone.

We as fans know that George Lucas didn’t get the right “cut” when he first made Star Wars, hence the re-release as the Special edition versions of Episode IV,V & VI.  Having said this I’m certain Mr. Lucas never envisioned Star Wars in 3D back in 1977 so I have to believe that this is just another way to (sadly) make another buck off the franchise.

Mr. Lucas has been recently quoted as saying that because he has pissed off fans so much in recent years (by constantly tweaking Star Wars), that he has decided to retire from mainstream movie making.

Personally I think the money spent on converting the saga to 3D is an expense that would be better utilized in the production of the Live Action TV series that has been postponed due to budget and technology restraints.  I’m staring to think that perhaps George is finally starting to lose his marbles.  All genius’ eventually do, some sooner than others.

Star Wars on Blu-Ray: Is High Definition too much?

I was recently gifted the re-release of the complete Star Wars Saga on Blu-ray disc.

First off let me say that this is probably my 4th version of the Saga (from VHS through DVD to Blu-ray) and I am always thrilled to watch it all over again.

Having said this I am left wondering if HD (High Definition) is really the right format for the Star Wars films.  Personally I believe some things are best left alone.  Although I strongly agree that a digital overhaul of the Saga was a necessity (The Special Edition and Episodes I thru III), I don’t believe HD has done it justice.

I know, you must be thinking I’m crazy.  HD is “da bomb” these days and most films look incredible in this format.  I have to say though the images in certain scenes look almost too “crystal clear”.  One scene in particular is in The Empire Strikes Back.  It’s the scene where the Imperial Star Destroyers are being overshadowed by Vader’s massive Super Star Destroyer.  In my opinion, the ships look like they are just little models on a starry backdrop because the image detail is, well,  too detailed!!!.

Sometimes using a filter or a “soft focus” can make things look more appealing and believable.  Many directors use this method for obvious reasons.  HD certainly takes some of that away. The hard edges in some scenes that use matte paintings (paintings on glass) for effects shots are simply downright harsh.

All in all it’s still worth watching again, if not for all the new goodies packaged with the release,  but I’ll still be keeping my other copies…just in case I want to see it as I remember it…. a long time ago in a theatre far far away.

Star Wars Online

I didn’t realize this and it may be an anomaly.  I was looking on YouTube for a copy of the original TV trailer for Star Wars Episode IV.  When I got there, I’m not sure what I keyed into the search function but I ended up finding full versions of the all the films!

Usually they are split into many parts to avoid any “imperial entanglements” but I found all six films in their entirety and in pretty good viewing resolution.

I’m not going to provide a link as I don’t want to end up in cell block AA-23 but if you go to YouTube you’ll be able to watch any of the movies you may have missed.

It’s also a great place to look at homemade Star Wars movies from fans around the globe.  Some of the lightsaber duels are incredibly well put together for a bunch of amateurs.  Just do a search for lightsaber duels on YouTube.

Star Wars Live-Action TV Series On Hold for Another 3-4 Years

Star Wars Live-Action TV Series Plot Details Revealed, On Hold for Another 3-4 Years

Posted on Monday, June 13th, 2011 by Angie Han

It’s been six years since George Lucas first announced that he was developing a live-action Star Wars television series, and it seems we’re going to be waiting a little longer yet. In an interview, producer Rick McCallum revealed that he and Lucas would be putting the show on hold for another three to four years — but that when shooting does begin, it will be shot largely in the Czech Republic, possibly in Prague.

Ten years is a long time for a television series to be in development, and were this another filmmaker, I might’ve given up hope on this project by now. But Lucas is the guy who gave us a Star Wars prequel sixteen years after his last Star Wars film, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull nineteen years after Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. A decade to develop a series seems almost speedy in comparison.

If the series really does shoot in the Czech Republic, it’ll be a return to the county for McCallum and Lucas, who recently shot Red Tails in the country. McCallum and Lucas also filmed scenes for The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles series in Prague, back in the 1990s. In the interview with Czech Position (via Bleeding Cool), McCallum praised Czech film crews, saying he’d “absolutely” consider shooting the Star Wars television series in Prague: “This would be one of the primary places because of the talent.”

As previously reported, however, the ambitious (read: expensive) scope of the series is holding up the project. Said McCallum:

The TV series is on hold, but that has nothing to do with the Czech Republic; it has to do with [the episodes being] so ambitious… We have 50 hours of third-draft scripts, but the problem we have is there is a lot of digital animation; we don’t have the technology yet to be able to do them at a price that is safe for television. Since we would be financing them, it would be suicide for us to do this [now]. So we are going to wait three or four years.

I’m guessing those “50 hours of third-draft scripts” are the same 50 hours ready to go that Lucas mentioned last month. The delay shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to anyone who’s been following coverage of the series; Lucas has been frank about the problem with trying to make feature-quality episodes on a television budget. Still, depending on how much you trust Lucas to put out a good series, it’s either a grave disappointment or a huge relief to hear we may have still more years of waiting ahead.

That is, if we see the series at all. McCallum expressed his (in my opinion, not entirely reasonable) worry that there might not be a place on television for his series at all by the time it’s ready to go:

Network television and cable television as we know it are completely imploding, so we’re not really sure that in five years’ time we can release a dramatic one-hour episode because it is all reality TV now.

McCallum also spoke a bit about the plotline of the show, which will take place between Episodes III and IV in the Star Wars timeline — during Luke’s teen years, though the series won’t actually have anything to do with Luke himself.

Basically, it is like ‘The Godfather’; it’s the Empire slowly building up its power base around the galaxy, what happens in Coruscant, which is the major capital, and it’s [about] a group of underground bosses who live there and control drugs, prostitution.

Bleeding Cool likens McCallum’s description to /Filmcast favorite The Wire, which seems apt except that I don’t believe for a second that Lucas will demonstrate the same nuance and devotion to character that made the HBO series so beloved.

So to recap: In about three to five years, we can expect to see a Czech-shot live-action Star Wars television series that plays like an unsubtle, sci-fi version of The Wire — but only if Keeping Up with the Kardashians hasn’t ruined American television by then.

via Star Wars Live-Action TV Series Plot Details Revealed, On Hold for Another 3-4 Years | /Film.