With all of the excitement over the new 3D movie technology and the ability to convert traditional movies into 3D, many studios are understandably reviewing their archives for previous hits that might play well as a 3D movie. One example is the upcoming 3D converted release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Disney has also ventured into the world of converting previous releases with their 3D versions of Toy Story, Toy Story 2, The Lion King and the upcoming 3D release of Finding Nemo. The latest 3D-converted release by Disney is their 1991 classic, Beauty and the Beast, and after my experience viewing it, I believe that there are some things that are better left 2D. Continue reading “Tale as old as time—in three dimensions: A review of Beauty and the Beast 3D” »
“Let’s face it… the Ewoks suck, dude.”
Ok, I have a confession to make. When it was revealed that the main characters on ABC’s Lost were sent back in time to 1977, one of the first thoughts that came to my mind was, “Hey! That’s the year Star Wars came out in the theaters!” So tonight’s scenes that featured Hurley (Jorge Garcia) scribbling in his Dharma Initiative composition notebook his own script for George Lucas’ next cinematic epic, The Empire Strikes Back, were some of best fun I’ve had watching TV for a while. I figured out what he was doing when he asked Miles (Ken Leung) how to spell Bounty Hunter in the beginning of a van ride they were taking together. Since the title of tonight’s episode was, “Some Like It Hoth,” it probably wasn’t much of an investigative feat on my part.
In tonight’s episode we got to learn a lot about Miles who is one of my favorite minor characters. I’m really interested in his ability to speak with dead people and I’ve wished for a long time that they’d do more with him. I like the actor who plays him too. Ken Leung has had minor parts in a few movies that I’ve really enjoyed—mostly the Brett Ratner productions Rush Hour, The Family Man, and X-Men: The Last Stand.
We learned from the flashbacks that Miles discovered that he had the ability to speak to dead people at a very young age as his mother was trying to make a life for herself and him in the absence of his father whom he never knew. With all of his emotional baggage being left unresolved by his mother who wasn’t forthcoming about his father and their past, he attempted to fill the empty spaces in his life with money that he could earn by hiring out his services as someone who speaks to dead people for profit… whether or not he actually makes contact with the deceased.
By the end of the flashback, we see Naomi Dorritt (Marsha Thomason), recruiting him to be part of the freighter team being put together by Charles Widmore in an attempt to find the island and remove Benjamin Linus from power. You’ll remember Naomi as the first member of the freighter who was found by the Losties who fooled them into thinking that she was there to rescue them.
Before embarking on his journey to the island on the freighter, Miles was kidnapped whilst eating a fish taco by a group of guys offering him an alternative to working for Charles Widmore. I can only assume that these guys were actually working for Benjamin Linus, but who knows what Ben’s motives would have been for trying to recruit Miles other than to keep him from helping Widmore. It could be that the information that Miles can get from the dead bodies on the island will actually be very important in the grand scheme of things.
Back to the main timeline in 1977, Miles is asked to fill in for Sawyer (Josh Holloway) who is busy trying to cover up what he and Kate (Evangeline Lily) did with the recently shot, young Benjamin Linus. As we see Miles and Hurley on a top secret mission to transport a mysteriously killed person, we discover that Dr. Pierre Chang (François Chau) is none other than Miles’ long lost father who is the leading scientist on the island and is living there with his wife and 3-year-old son who is, of course, Miles. Miles now has the opportunity to get to know his long lost father who appears to be very different from someone who would abandon his wife and child the way his mother had depicted him. It’ll be interesting to see where this storyline takes us.
I realized tonight what a genius move it is to have the main characters go back in time like they have in this season. What better way to show a large amount of the history of the island than to have the main characters travel back to that period and live when that history happened? It’s interesting to see the main characters involves as the history of Dharma unfolds and it’s making me wonder if they’ll even travel farther back in time to see the history of the island during the period when the four-toed statue was in its prime. I’m guessing probably not as much as what they’re doing with Dharma, but it was interesting that one of the guys who abducted Miles in his flashback asked the question, “do you know what lies in the shadow of the statue?” as a test of whether or not he was prepared to make the journey to the island. Perhaps the history of the statue will turn out to be an important element in the grand scheme of things.
One final note, I’m very intrigued by the reappearance of Daniel Faraday at the end of tonight’s episode. They were never very clear about what happened to him, only that he wasn’t with them anymore, so we’ll see!
>The latest installment in the Star Wars franchise, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, is scheduled to hit theaters August 15th. While there have been other animated adventures in the Star Wars universe n dating back to the Boba Fett debuting short that was part of the much maligned Star Wars Holiday Special in the late 70s, and even though some people could argue that all of the Star Wars prequels were mostly animated with the likes of Jar Jar, Watto and a bazillion clones, this is the first feature length film billed as a completely animated feature.
It’s hard to tell exactly where this movie is supposed to fit in to the overall timeline of everything that’s been produced—possibly somewhere between the first Cartoon Network animated Clone Wars series and the second one that lead up to the events directly before Episode III: Revenge of the Sith—but this storyline shows Anakin as a Jedi Master with a Padawan learner, Ahsoka Tano (the red-faced Jedi in the next two pictures shown below), as they depart on a mission involving crime boss, Jabba the Hutt.
Anyone who has read my reviews in the past would know that I’ve been a long time fan of the Star Wars universe, but like many people I have hang-ups about what has been done with the prequels. In large measure it seems to me that George Lucas is using the Star Wars galaxy as a portfolio piece for what his company, Lucasfilm, is capable of producing. In so doing, the story lines have tended to be a little shallow.
While the voice impersonations are impressive as can be heard in the trailer, Star Wars: The Clone Wars contains none of the actors who appeared in any of the Star Wars Prequels except for Anthony Daniels as C-3PO; Christopher Lee (impressive that he’s in it) as Count Dooku; and Samuel L. Jackson (more impressive…) as Mace Windu.
As the Clone Wars sweep through the galaxy, the heroic Jedi Knights struggle to maintain order and restore peace. More and more systems are falling prey to the forces of the dark side as the Galactic Republic slips further and further under the sway of the Separatists and their never-ending droid army.
Anakin Skywalker and his Padawan learner Ahsoka Tano find themselves on a mission with far-reaching consequences, one that brings them face-to-face with crime lord Jabba the Hutt. But Count Dooku and his sinister agents, including the nefarious Asajj Ventress, will stop at nothing to ensure that Anakin and Ahsoka fail at their quest.
Meanwhile, on the front lines of the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Master Yoda lead the massive clone army in a valiant effort to resist the forces of the dark side…
Though it may not sound this way, I am optimistic that this will be an enjoyable movie. I’m excited to see what fresh writers and directors have done in this upcoming movie and I’ll definitely check it out when it hits the theaters and will probably have my kids right there with me. I just wish it would have been set in an era with a bit more of a blank canvas, like after the fall of the Empire, post Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. If that were the case, we would be watching something where there would be real danger for the main characters, because we know that Anakin, Obi-Wan, and all of the others will make it through whatever dangers they find themselves in because we see them in the later episodes of Star Wars. I think it would be nice if Anakin’s padawan, Ahsoka Tano becomes the central character in this movie so when the TV series begins, it’s with a fresh group dealing with fresh issues other than Anakin’s inevitable dark deeds.
I guess I just have to hope that if this movie and subsequent series are successful, then maybe someday in the future we’ll get to see a Television series or movie about the rise of the New Jedi Order featuring an older Luke Skywalker—it’s HIS story I’m most interested in hearing told.
Stay tuned to this site for a review once the movie hits the theaters.
“Where did you dig up that old fossil?”
From the StarWars.com announcement: “In response to overwhelming demand, Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release attractively priced individual two-disc releases of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Each release includes the 2004 digitally remastered version of the movie and, as bonus material, the theatrical edition of the film. That means you’ll be able to enjoy Star Wars as it first appeared in 1977, Empire in 1980, and Jedi in 1983.”
It’s exciting to think of being able to view the version of Star Wars that I fell in love with when I was 7 years old and seeing it in the theater, before the “Episode IV” subtitle had been added to the opening crawl.
I’d like to be able to think that it was my recent article about Star Wars that prompted this event, but I know that many fans over the years have anguished over the desire to own a DVD where Han shoots Greedo first.
Other things that I’m excited to see are the original songs in Jabba’s palace and in the Ewok village in Return of the Jedi, as well as the excising of the CGI Jabba from A New Hope.
From what it sounds like, though, is that in these packages you get the 2004 versions that include the Extra Special Editions that I already own. Who knows, though, maybe I’ll be able to find someone who wants to buy my current copies, cheap.
Now that I’m contributing to this site, I thought this would be a good time to talk about something that’s on my mind quite often. Actually it’s literally something that I’ve been “into” since I was 7-years old. The only problem is, that if I start talking about it, I’m liable to start rambling like an idiot and not make a lick of sense. But I still feel inclined to share my thoughts and feelings, so I’ll try to use restraint and limit myself in my ramblings.
The subject I’d like to discuss today is Star Wars. I know, I know. What could I possibly contribute to the discussion of Star Wars that could possibly be a valuable contribution to the discussion? Well, maybe a little history is in order—
I first saw Star Wars in the theaters as a child in 1977. It was truly a childhood altering (and probably geek generating) experience. From then on, the movies, toys and magazines defined most of my childhood. I stopped counting at 30 viewings of the original Star Wars movie when it came out on videodisk back in the early 80’s. I owned all of the Marvel Star Wars comic books. Suffice it to say, I loved Star Wars.
The original Star Wars (now commonly refered to as Episode IV: A New Hope) was and still is my favorite of them all. I agree with many out there, that The Empire Strikes Back is probably the best of all the movies, but it’s the original Star Wars that truly impacted me, and as I’ve heard, the world of moviemaking in general.
Then in 1997 came the Special Editions. I thought that was exciting! All of the movies back in the theaters with enhanced special effects! The idea was a fun one that seemed like a good idea—a chance for poor George Lucas to fix some of the mistakes or omissions that had been nagging him for so long. Great! But the only problem is (turning on restraint) with all of the added special effects, there were also alterations which to the general public might have seemed like no big deal, but to someone like me who has watched these movies so much that they’re engrained in my consciousness, they’re like looking at a beloved painting, like the Mona Lisa, and discovering that someone decided that she would look better with her teeth showing when she smiled, and went ahead and changed it. And it’s not even the fact that they went ahead and made the change that’s the problem, but they’ve gone and destroyed all versions of her with lips closed because it’s thought of as “incorrect.”
One example I have of this is the change where he made Greedo shoot at Han Solo (Harrison Ford) first in the Cantina. Come on! That’s part of what was great about Han! He was a scoundrel—a pirate! You don’t think that if he thought that Greedo was getting ready to shoot him that he wouldn’t shoot first? Of course he would.
One more example of a change that annoys me is when R2-D2 is spat out of the swamp by whatever the thing was that was trying to eat him. In the original version, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) cleans the slime off of R2 and says, “You’re lucky you don’t taste very good!” —a witty, light hearted remark that I rather liked. In the Special Edition that line of dialogue was changed to, “You were lucky to get out of there.” Taking out a chuckle generating line and making it quite forgettable.
I could go on and on, but this really isn’t the place for it. The sad thing is that there is no plan as of now (that I’ve heard of) to release the original versions of the Original Trilogy on DVD, so it appears that those versions that are so firmly etched onto my memory, are going to have to just stay there for a little while.
When the buildup to the Prequels started, I loved the new interest that resulted. Again there were new toys being made and there were a lot of promotional items being given away in restaurants and stuff like that everywhere. I must admit, the collector in me went a little crazy with this.
When Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace hit the theaters, I was psyched! I went to the midnight show and watched it two more times the following day. To this day I don’t hate it as much as most people seem to, probably because of all of the hype that made that a generally exciting time. I didn’t even mind Jar Jar Binks so much, because I think that the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi were more annoying than him.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones didn’t stay on my good side for long, though. The first time watching it was enjoyable, but the parts where Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) is supposed to be wooing Padme (Natalie Portman) made me cringe when I first saw it, and really annoy me now. I also thought the special effects weren’t as good as should be expected.
Regarding Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, many people thought that this movie “saved” the prequels and provided a much needed link to the Original Trilogy. In my opinion, though, it has virtually ruined the saga for me.
You see, my problem is that I have young children that I would love to share what I so deeply loved as a child with them, but I’m very cautious about what they watch. Lucas has made it clear that these movies are supposed to be made for children, so why did he make this movie so intense that it garnered a PG-13 rating? I really think that if there had been a little more subtlety shown, much of the carnage could have just been hinted at and it could have been much better.
But more than that, there’s a matter of principle that I have a problem with. The redemption of Darth Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi worked, in part, because we didn’t really witness the wicked things that he had done. The only real witness of his actions came from a comment from old Ben Kenobi, saying that he “helped the Emperor hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights.” But in this movie we actually see him carrying out the act of hunting down and killing innocent Jedi. And by innocent, I’m including the killing of children (which thankfully is not shown). After watching this, I find myself not wanting Darth Vader to be redeemed at the end of Return of the Jedi! I don’t believe that the single act of killing the Emperor could have possibly paid for what he did to all of those undeserving people.
Sometimes I find myself wishing that the Prequels had never been made. Other times I just ignore my the problems I have an watch them for the nostalgia for the things that I loved as a kid. I’m sure if enough time goes by and I revisit the prequels, I won’t be bothered as much by things as I am and maybe I’m just being too sensitive—I don’t know. What do you think?