Posts Tagged ‘Star Wars’

It All Began (AGAIN) Here

Twenty years ago, a resurgence of Star Wars began not on the big screen but on the printed page.  Back in 1991, the franchise itself was in danger of becoming obsolete and forgotten.  It had been 8 years since Return of the Jedi ( long before the Special Editions and bloody prequels came along).  Enter Lucasfilm Publishing who got the ball rolling and eventually leading to Timothy Zahn penning a three volume series chronicling the further adventures of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and all the rest following the events of the final film.

Yesterday, I finally received my copy of the 20th Anniversary edition of said novel: Heir to the Empire.  It has been sometime since I have checked the novel out from the library.  The book itself is gorgeous featuring a silver-colored dustcover with the New Republic emblem prominently displayed.  Underneath the cover is a rendering of the original cover.  Inside in the introductory remarks, the author and his editor provide insight into the story behind the new trilogy.  Something new in the meat of the book is annotations by Zahn providing insight into the development of characters and events.  Names of friends, acquaintances, and contest winners became a part of the Expanded Universe!  I have not yet begun to read the story itself but was captivated by the anecdotes including some flack from fans the author took for introducing such “Earthly” items as hot chocolate into the SW universe.  Also a well-known Trek term was given some highlight but was quickly defended.

I must say that I am throughly enjoying the book and I haven’t even started it yet!

Ok… ok… should I or shouldn’t I comment on the OTHER big Star Wars event that happened yesterday.  All right I will.  For the first time, the entire cinematic saga (Episodes I-VI) are available on Blu-Ray.  Personally, I have no problem with the release itself.  I just grow weary of George Lucas changing the movies for each new release.  I accepted the Special Edition releases of the original films prior to the much-inferior (IMHO) prequels.  Now it seems that he adds pointless bits every 10 years or so.  I agree with those who state that they are his movies and can do what he likes with them but do not like the “inclusion for the sake of inclusion.”  Aliens being included via the wonder of CGI that were not there before.  And the most awful inclusion of all:

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Not Only Good For Walks

On today’s beautiful, sunny, 40+ degree weather I did enjoy the company of my song filled ipod.  However, I found an even better use for it.  While cleaning the beauty shop, I had it plugged in and it made the time zoom by.  Before I had finished, an hour had passed and it seemed like no time at all!  The power of music… it is able to transport you to a “long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” or to “Space: the final frontier.” It can also take you to Neverland, Narnia, Krypton, Hogwarts, or Missitucky.

My ipod library is not limited only to film scores or Broadway shows.  I do enjoy some popular music pas and present.  For every selection from my vast collection of John Williams masterworks (from the 6 Star Wars movies (even the prequels), the four Indiana Jones movies (have ’em all), SupermanHook, E.T., etc) and James Bond scores  there is some Jason Mraz (I think I’ve read about him somewhere?) with some Elvis, Beatles, Carrie Underwood, Mariah Carey, and Motown classics thrown in for good measure.

Of course when the (in my humble opinion) best recording of “This is the Moment” popped up… it was NOT the Hoff’s butchering,  I had to sing along as I walked the sidewalk.  Yep… one of those.  I get carried away but still focus on little things like cars at intersections.  I did feel like the pied piper on a recent walk as three dogs began following me until I turned around and they went safely back to their home.  And, yes I did stop as a I came upon a school bus which was on its way back from the morning kindergarten return trip 😉

A Super Weekend With Family Guy and A Robot

I had two days packed with fun and a little work.  Saturday night, I arrived late for what was dubbed Michaelpalooza at the home of some of my new friends I made over the past year through the Village Players.  While some of the revelers played some games, the rest of us were treated to two hilarious… if not totally family-friendly spoofs of Star Wars.

The Robot Chicken (an animated series definitely best left to overnight television on Cartoon Network) episode was more of a spoof of the entire six films.

Family Guy actually had a previous spoof dealing with the original film.  We watched the episode based upon The Empire Strikes Back.  Several questions were raised by the episode.  One being why Lando Calrissian wore Han Solo’s uniform st the end of the movie.  And if you watch closely, he actually does.  Also, a very obscure factoid about the movie Teen Wolf (one of my favorites growing up… please skip the horrendous sequel) was alluded to.  One which obviously missed the censors but I have it on good authority actually exists.  If you are curious, you will have to do your own research because I do like to run a family-friendly blog.  I will lead you to the crowd in the stands of the final basketball game.

Today, Super Bowl Sunday, I had to work, go to play practice for our dinner theatre coming up NEXT WEEKEND folks, and then went to our annual game bash full of fun, awesome friends, lots of laughs, and a new addition that I will let taylhis share… but he is adorable.  In case you did not know.. the Saints defeated the Colts 31-17.  Thoughts on the game?  The ads?  Da Who? Will we ever get beyond the Boobygate scandal and have quit having grandpa and company perform… although the drummer looked like he was not even thought of in the Pinball Wizard’s heyday?

A Little Push From J.S.

I just finished watching a little movie that was released last winter/early spring that received little notice but was released by the same distribution company as Knowing.  Unfortunately, the latter got more publicity.  I will direct you to a much more in depth description of Push from taylhis.  I will say that I absolutely adored this little gem.  It is very action-packed and filled with enough twists and turns to keep me glued to the seat.  Much more enjoyable than watching a NASCAR race.

What I found fascinating was the choice of casting the male lead.  Chris Evans previously played Johnny Storm aka The Human Torch in The Fantastic Four and its sequel (odd that I have not seen Rise of the Silver Surfer but from what I have heard… I’m not missing a great deal… maybe one day).  In Push, Mr. Evans plays Nick who has the power of telekinesis… the ability to move objects with one’s mind.  My question is: has any other actor played more than one character with a unique superhuman ability?  I know multiple actors have played the same superhuman character (Batman, Superman, the Hulk, etc) but I think this reversal is unique.  The closest I could come up with is Hayden Christensen who played Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars episodes II and III and went on to star in Jumper, but that is a stretch.

J’ai Besoin Dix Bonbons

I have posted numerous times about my favorite teacher, role model, etc (it is very nearly the first anniversary of her passing).  Tonight at work, I had a surprise when my high school French came into my line.  “Bonjour, Professeur Peters! Comment allez-vous?”  She looked really well.  A few years following my graduation, she had some health problems.  She asked me if I was still a Star Trek/Star Wars fan.  AH, she knows me so well.  I made flash cards of French vocabulary in the shape of the NCC-1701 (“No bloody -A, -B, -C, Or -D”).  We would get bonbons or other rewards for creativity.  I told her that I have been doing plays around the area over the last several years.  She has seen pictures in the paper but has yet to come to any.

One of my favorite parts of French class was the video contest.  I believe it was a countywide (or maybe even longer reaching than that) contest in which classes could submit short skits to be judged for prizes.  How I wish YouTube was around back then.  I did not think to ask Madame if she kept any of the videos.  Anyway, the senior year video Nicolas, Thomas, Jean, and I made was by far our most hilarious.  It was a cooking spoof in which we made lapin a la moutarde (or… rabbit in mustard sauce).  Think the Swedish Chef (or Julia Child it was French after all) meets the Three Stooges and you pretty well get the idea.  Whoever decided to give me the role I undertook, I’ll never know but… it was memorable to say the least.

What a fun trip down memory lane!

However You Spell It

I used to enjoy a good afternoon of Monopoly, but as I grew older I discovered that it takes FOREVER to play and who can actually say that they have ever played a full, complete, by the book game?  In any case, here is a bit of useless trivia that might come up on a night of fun and games.  Which is the only property on the original Atlantic City edition of Monopoly to not be named after an Atlantic City location?  Marven Gardens is a housing development in Margate City, New Jersey and is not located in the Atlantic City limits. It is on the border of Margate and Ventnor City (there must be a Ventnor Avenue 😀 )… hence the name Marven Gardens.  Another bit of useless trivia: the Monopoly game has mispelled the name for the decades in which it has been produced.  Charles Darrow’s mispelling “M-a-r-v-i-n” was copied when Parker Bros. bought the game rights and a formal apology was made to the residents of Marven Gardens in 1995 (better late than never I guess).  I was recently introduced to a new Monopoly card game entitled MONOPOLY DEAL which does not take the never ending hours of the traditional ( board game (or one of the hundreds of variations).  If you can name any pop culture creation I am sure there is a version or soon to be… let’s make a list:

  • Star Wars Original Trilogy Edition
  • Star Wars Episode I Edition

Great Christmas Gift

While sitting at home trying to recover my voice or to allow it to get beyond sounding like Froggy from the Our Gang/Little Rascals shorts (primarily by keeping my mouth shut), I have been listening to my favorite gift.  For years, I have been torn between two iconic series of film scores by the same composer: Star Wars and Indiana Jones.  John Williams supplied all of the music for the 6 Star Wars films (yes, even the 3 prequel films) and the 4 films featuring the world-traveling archaeologist.  Just hearing music from either series is enough for me to want to pop in the DVD and sit back and enjoy but I also like kicking back and listening to a good movie score and picturing the events in my mind.  I have had the Star Wars collection of CDs for sometime.  However, the music for the Indy films have been rare indeed and even those recordings have lacked in length, until recently (I had a cassette of the Last Crusade soundtrack that featured only 30 minutes of the score).  Particularly the score for The Temple of Doom.  Williams expertly created scores for each of the films.  Raiders, Last Crusade, and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull each are much lighter in tone and fun while Temple is full of dark, sinister, blood curdling themes.  However, it also features the Cole Porter tune “Anything Goes” sung in Mandarin Chinese and a fun theme for Indy’s young protege, Short Round.

Indiana Jones: The Soundtracks Collection contains the four scores with previously unreleased tracks along with a fifth disc of ultra rare recordings with a fifteen minute interview with Williams, George Lucas, and the man, Steven Spielberg reminiscing about the creation of the films and the musical motifs throughout each movie.  Extremely cool.  Now I will post a poll that I know most people who frequent this blog can answer and you must choose, but choose wisely.

Which Of The following John Williams Movie Themes Is Your Favorite?

View Results

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I Am Altering The Deal. Pray I Don’t Alter It Any Further

Sorry but no “American Idol” post tonight. I grow continuously disenchanted with it the more I watch. Pure and simply, it is nothing more than a popularity contest with the teeny-bopper who happens to have the quickest finger choosing the winner.

Last night, one of the three shows I try to make it a point to watch every week had the obligatory “Special Edition.” “Deal or No Deal” featured a fantastic Star Wars themed game. The contestants who played were both huge fans of the series. The first was a woman who was a Vietnamese refugee whose youngest memories involved seeing Episode 4 in the movie theatre. Instead of the 26 delightful models who usually hold the cases, there were 26 Stormtroopers (yes they were members of the 501st Legion). As an added bonus, Carrie Fisher
(her royal highnessness herself) appeared to root the contestant on. Man, has she aged!

The second contestant was treated to an appearance by the eight-foot walking carpet, Chewbacca and everyone’s favorite astromech droid, R2-D2. Both contestants had to face the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader as the banker. The voice was no James Earl Jones but not a bad imitation.

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I almost forgot to mention that in the second half of the show, the models appeared with their cases dressed in replicas of the slave girl outfit worn by Princess Leia in Jabba the Hutt’s palace in Return of the Jedi.

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A very entertaining episode. I wonder why they did not procure the rights last year for the 30th anniversary of the original film.

In The Beginning…..

There seems to be a fascination with franchise re-boots in movies today. If memory serves, one of the first was George Lucas’ idea of deciding to tell the back story of Darth Vader. While the idea of Star Wars Episodes 1-3 seemed good in theory, it failed in many respects.

The plot of the trilogy had more to do with political mumbo-jumbo than actual lightsaber and space battles. It took three movies to explain how a Republic failed and became the Empire of the original Star Wars trilogy. Anakin Skywalker’s transformation into Darth Vader almost seems like a secondary plot. And don’t even get me started on the ridiculous concept of “midichlorians.”

The acting seems stuffy in Episodes 1-3. Hayden Christensen’s acting style is so wooden and forced that the audience really does not care about Anakin Skywalker. The dialogue makes it sound as if the audience is watching a Shakespearean play instead of the fun, swashbuckling atmosphere of episodes 4-6.

However, there are good moments in the second trilogy. The Phantom Menace includes a lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi, his mentor Qui-Gon Ginn, and the evil Sith Lord Darth Maul. By the time Attack of the Clones came about, enough technology had been created to allow Yoda to become more than a mere puppet and engage in his own lightsaber fight. Finally, Revenge of the Sith features the climactic battle between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.

On a side note, the title Revenge of the Sith is a nod to the title which Episode 6 was to be. Revenge of the Jedi was to be the title of the final movie. At the last minute after posters, advertisements, and merchandise had already been created, George Lucas decided that a Jedi does not seek revenge. Therefore, the title was changed to Return of the Jedi. Star Wars collectors must have a field day looking for and selling these rare pieces of memorabilia on ebay and at conventions.

While both trilogies are among the most popular movies in history, the redemption of Anakin Skywalker as seen in episodes 4-6 are much more imaginative than the newer films. However, if you are a Star Wars purist and want to know how and why Darth Vader came to be then you should watch the newer films which are the first in the timeline of the series…. WOOLY SHEEP!!! MORAT CONFUSING SELF!!!!!

Really Quacks Me Up

Well, I’m kinda thinking my blog will be a hodgepodge (?) of just about everything I enjoy. I enjoy a good movie (or even some bad movies). Speaking of bad movies, the guy who created Howard the Duck, Steve Gerber, just passed away. Apparently, the comic book from the 70s was a cult hit. Somehow, Mr. George Lucas came up with the brilliant idea that it would make a box-office hit. The movie came out in 1986. The only relatively recognizable actor in it is Lea Thompson (of Back to the Future fame). I believe ol’ George was once again attempting to create a new money making franchise along with the then in-limbo Star Wars saga and the popular Indiana Jones series. Needless to say, Howard the Duck was a miserable flop. It is one of those movies which may be enjoyable with a group of friends who just want to sit around, waste a hour and a half, and laugh at the absurdity. It would also be a great way to relive the culture of the mid-1980s. Big hair, bubble gum pop music, and forgotten actors of the day (whatever became of Lea Thompson?). But, if you want to have a good laugh check out Howard the Duck just to see the duck from outer space rock and roll with Lea Thompson. I think the best part of the movie is the theme song and that is not that great. It sounds like a great movie to watch with your band of theatre chums. Thank you Bryan Times for publishing an article about an otherwise forgettable comic book writer who probably will go down in history for the creation of one of the biggest “Turkeys” or should I say “Ducks” in movie history. I also found out via IMDB.com that Tim Robbins (For comic relief?) also was in it and that no less than 8 actors are credited with playing the title role. Also, may be a good movie for children of all ages to enjoy. A Duck or a Turkey… you decide