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Film and Television

May 21

Tourism Posters

Posted by jedi58 at 12:34

Ever fancied a holiday to the swamps of Dagobah, or watching the Rogue Squadron airshow? Artist Steve Thomas has produced a number of Star Wars posters stylised to look like tourism posters advertising various planets from the Star Wars universe. At the minute he only has made two available to buy as prints, but he has another 6 on the way. The two already out, Mos Eisley and the Kessel Run were both limited runs and have now sold out. When they were available the details were as follows:

  • Retail price:  $89.00
  • Limited Edition Giclee on Paper
  • 150 piece hand-numbered edition
  • Signed by the artist Steve Thomas
  • Comes with Certificate of Authenticity
  • Measurements: 13 inches by 19 inches
  • Available framed (allow 10-14 extra business days)

UPDATE: It seems the next two have now been released. These are "Cruise the Galaxy" (Imperial Star Destroyer) and "Hoth Rebel Transport" and are available for $89 each.

Jan 20

Liam Neeson returns...

Posted by jedi58 at 06:42
Clone Wars - Qui-Gon

Reprising his role as the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, Liam Neeson will be making his way to TV screens on January 28th and February 11th for a three part story. The trailer is currently an exclusive to EW and shows the meeting of Obi-Wan with his former master.

This meeting is important because as we know it is through Qui-Gon that the knowledge of being Force spirits is passed on to Yoda and Obi-wan (not sure how Anakin ends up learning the technique). As it is Obi-wan featured in the clip and not Yoda it does raise some questions on how it will tie up with Yoda telling Obi-wan he had some training for him from Qui-Gon. Surely he'd have just taught it to Obi-Wan himself? 

Jan 06

Star Wars Saga on Blu-ray HD

Posted by jedi58 at 10:13
Star Wars Blu-ray

At CES 2011 Lucasfilm made an announcement we had all been waiting for... the details for the release of the Star Wars saga on Blu-ray in high definition.

The most anticipated Blu-ray release ever -- the Star Wars Saga -- emerges from light speed this September 2011. For the first time, all six of George Lucas' epic films (Episodes I-VI) are united in one complete set. Fans worldwide are able to pre-order now with online retailers.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release Star Wars in three distinct sets to meet the needs of every Star Wars fan:

  • Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray (9-disc Set includes all six films)
  • Star Wars: Prequel Blu-ray Trilogy (3-disc set includes Episodes I-III)
  • Star Wars: Original Blu-ray Trilogy (3-disc set includes Episodes IV-VI)

Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray will feature all six live-action Star Wars feature films utilizing the highest possible picture and audio presentation, along with three additional discs and more than 30 hours of extensive special features including never-before-seen deleted and alternate scenes, an exploration of the exclusive Star Wars archives, and much more.

At the time of writing there aren't any UK retailers listing the Region B version but in the US you can pre-order it from Amazon for $139.99 and the individual trilogies for $69.99. Personally I can't wait and will be eagerly awaiting HMV to add a pre-order option for it.

Jan 01

R.I.P. Grant McCune 1943 - 2010

Posted by jedi58 at 09:31
Grant McCune doing some of the detail work on an R

Grant McCune, one of the five special effects artists that won an Oscar for the special effects in A New Hope has died of pancreatic cancer at age 67. He was the chief model maker for the miniature and optical effects unit for the first Star Wars movie and was responsible for some of the R2-D2 models used.

Outside of the Star Wars universe he has also worked on many other cult classics such as Jaws, Die Hard, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Spaceballs. Later his model production company was also responsible for the models used in Serenity, the movie spin-off from Firefly.

For motion picture miniatures and production miniatures, I’ve always told people to get a good background in photography first. The most important thing is what you see with your eye. Movies are a lot different from reality. This is because you’ve isolated the viewer’s eye to a certain spot—you can’t look anywhere else. If you’re a photographer, you get the idea of what you need to do by analyzing what it is that needs to be set and where it is and how much detail it should have. All the best people who ever worked for me were first good with the eye.

With his credits even including some of the astounding models in Alien it is obvious that this will be a loss to movie industry.

Dec 28

Empire to be preserved by US Library

Posted by jedi58 at 07:18

It has been reported that the US Library will be preserving Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back as part of it's National Film Registry.

Also included is Star Wars director George Lucas's student film Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB, made in 1967.

Spike Lee's Malcolm X, about the black political revolutionary and Saturday Night Fever also make the list.

Each year, 25 "culturally" significant films are added to the registry, which was founded in 1989.

Lucas's Star Wars and American Graffiti are among the 550 titles already selected for preservation.

The Empire Strikes Back now takes it's place in history to guarantee future generations will also get to enjoy this movie. My thoughts though were which version they'd choose to archive. As the original film strips were in a bad way when they came to make the Special Edition they did a lot of restoration work at that point to make it usable for future releases without losing it forever. However when asked about Blu-ray versions of the original theatrical releases they claim the quality is not good enough but the DVD releases are indicating that they made their changes as they restored the film. In order to preserve the film it would require restoration work to take place if they used the original, which is what makes me think they may choose to instead archive the Special Edition or DVD edition to make the job easier and cheaper.

Nov 29

R.I.P. Irvin Kershner 1923 - 2010

Posted by jedi58 at 06:37
Irvin Kershner kissing Darth Vader helmet

Irvin Kershner, the director of Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back has passed away in his Los Angeles home at age 87. According to his goddaughter, Adriana Santini, he had been suffering with an illness for a long time and finally succumbed to it. The actual cause of death has not yet been revealed.

After graduating from the University of Southern California, Irvin Kershner worked on many films, many of which have reached cult status. His most popular and recognisable film however was The Empire Strikes Back which most fans consider to be the best film in the Star Wars saga.

The Star Wars universe would not have been the same without his directorial contribution and I'm sure his passing will be mourned by Star Wars fans all over the world. The following was said by George Lucas on StarWars.com:

The world has lost a great director and one of the most genuine people I've had the pleasure of knowing," says Lucas. "Irvin Kershner was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. When I think of Kersh, I think of his warmth, his thoughtfulness and his talent. I knew him from USC -- I attended his lectures and he was actually on the festival panel that gave the prize to my THX short. I considered him a mentor.

Following Star Wars, I knew one thing for sure: I didn't want to direct the second movie myself. I needed someone I could trust, someone I really admired and whose work had maturity and humor. That was Kersh all over. I didn't want Empire to turn into just another sequel, another episode in a series of space adventures. I was trying to build something, and I knew Kersh was the guy to help me do it. He brought so much to the table. I am truly grateful to him.

He was a friend as well as a colleague. He will be missed.

Rest in peace, the Force will be with him, always...

Nov 17

A New Look for The Clone Wars Heroes

Posted by jedi58 at 07:38
Clone Wars Season 3: Heroes

StarWars.com have unveiled new character models that the Clone Wars will begin using as of "Heroes on Both Sides". These character models not only take advantage of the latest technology allowing them to be even more detailed, but they have also differed somewhat. Both Anakin and Obi-wan are now moving closer to their Revenge of the Sith look and have ditched the majority of their armour. Ahsoka on the otherhand not only has a costume change but is also slightly older and now wields two lightsabers.

We're getting closer to the events of Episode III, and the look of the series is moving toward that look and those designs. We don't have a live-action point of comparison for Ahsoka, but her development is definitely as pronounced as anyone's. When the war began, she was just a kid; she was strong and capable, but she had a lot to learn -- and she's been through a lot. She's been changed by the things she's seen and done, and now we're seeing that reflected in her look. She's older, more mature. In this episode, we see a significant step for her emotional development, in addition to her aesthetic development. Coming face to face with the enemy is going to be an eye-opening experience for her.

Whilst the characters are reportedly maturing it's a shame that their storytelling has not - their careless disregard for existing EU events and mythology has angered many with how they are treating the Mandalorian civilisation. Response to these changes is that they will do whatever they have to in order to "aid the story".

Sep 29

Star Wars in 3D

Posted by jedi58 at 07:40

Considering it's been posted on Starwars.com it's as official as it can get - Star Wars is being released in 3D starting with The Phantom Menace in 2012. Depending on how this films release goes will depend on whether it will then be one film released in 3D per year.

"Getting good results on a stereo conversion is a matter of taking the time and getting it right," said John Knoll, Visual Effects Supervisor for Industrial Light & Magic. "It takes a critical and artistic eye along with an incredible attention to detail to be successful. It is not something that you can rush if you want to expect good results. For Star Wars we will take our time, applying everything we know both aesthetically and technically to bring audiences a fantastic new Star Wars experience."

It's already come under a lot of criticism with some people citing that it's just a way for Lucasfilm to milk more money out of already tired fans. One other place has noted that it's a shame The Phantom Menace will be first due to it's 1 dimensional performances.

Whether a 3D release is something you're looking forward to or not, at least the "normal" versions will get their Blu-ray release first. 

Aug 20

Star Wars Uncut

Posted by jedi58 at 08:35
Star Wars Uncut logo

I think Star Wars Uncut may be one of the most ambitious fan projects ever undertaken. The idea was very simple and involved dividing the whole of Episode 4: A New Hope up into 15 second fragments for fans to claim and to film their own contribution for that scene. The end result would then be the whole movie produced by many different fans, all of which can say they've contributed to the Star Wars universe. It's a pretty different idea and it's produced a style of filming very similar to the "sweeded" concept from the movie "Be Kind Rewind".

Star Wars was a natural choice to explore the dynamics of community creation on the web - the response from fans has been overwhelming worldwide and the resulting movie is incredibly fun to watch.

At last their work is complete and the whole video is now available to watch on their site. So you can head over there, sit back, and enjoy!

Aug 14

The Notebook Strikes Back

Posted by jedi58 at 08:53
Fan film poster: The Notebook Strikes Back

For a few years now Atom Films have participated in annual Star Wars fan film awards. This year the winner for the 2010 awards was announced at Celebration V - The Notebook Strikes Back. This fan made movie is an animated re-telling of Empire Strikes Back which has been extremely cut down and points out a few questions such as if Luke was such a good pilot why did he crash twice in this movie?

The animation style is quite different and the story is told through scraps of notebook paper that appear periodically to explain what is going on in each scene. Definitely worth heading over to Atom to see the 4 minute film. 

To sum things up, it’s the film that plays in the head of a little kid that is shocked discovering the Star Wars movies. You know, your memory isn’t perfect so you skip scenes, swap characters, and distort some other parts, but you really capture the essence of that story. I visualize that naive feeling with the tools you have at the moment in your house or school: paper, cloth, scissors, glue.

If you head over to StarWars.com's official blog there is an interview with the creator.

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