Last month I received a cryptic e-mail inviting me to a private screening of a new Star Wars film edited by Topher Grace — which is funny because I had no idea there was a new Star Wars film in the works, with or without Grace’s involvement. I was told the screening was a secret private event arranged only for friends only and was asked not to talk about it beforehand. The event was held somewhere in the Hollywood area in a a screening room filled with filmmakers, editors, actors, actresses and only a few press friends. I was told I could blog about it afterwards if I wanted, so here goes…
For those of you who don’t know, Topher Grace is a film geek. He loves the Star Wars films, the Back to the Future movies and all the same signature titles of any film geek who grew up in the 1980s. He recently became interested in the editing process and wanted to learn more about the art form. Instead of cutting a short film, he wanted to use something he was more familiar with.
His idea was to edit the Star Wars prequels into one movie, as they would provide him a lot of footage to work with. He used footage from all three prequels, a couple cuts from the original trilogy, some music from The Clone Wars television series, and even a dialogue bit from Anthony Daniels’ (C-3PO) audio book recordings. He even created a new opening text crawl to set up his version of the story.
The result is an 85-minute movie titled Star Wars: Episode III.5: The Editor Strikes Back. It should be noted that the Star Wars prequel trilogy is almost 7 hours in total length, and the shortest film (Episode 1) is more than 51 minutes longer than Grace’s fan cut. What this means is a lot of footage ended up on the editing room floor, and a lot of creative choices were made in the editing process. And the result? Topher Grace’s Star Wars film is probably the best possible edit of the Star Wars prequels given the footage released and available.
Whats most shocking is that with only 85 minutes of footage, Topher was able to completely tell the main narrative of Anakin Skywalker’s road from Jedi to the Sith. While I know the missing pieces and could even fill in the blanks in my head as the film raced past, none of those points were really needed. Whats better is that the character motivations are even more clear and identifiable, a real character arc not bogged down by podraces, galactic senates, Jar Jar Binks, politics or most of the needless parts of the Star Wars prequels. It not only clarifies the story, but makes the film a lot more action-packed.
Read More »
Please Recommend /Film on Facebook
Briefly: After years and years of thinking about the movie and prepping ideas for the project, Darren Aronofsky is finally going to get his chance to re-tell the story of Noah, the Ark and the Flood. Aronofsky is now in talks with Russell Crowe to have the actor play the title role in Noah when the film shoots starting in July. Read More »
I’ll say this for Jonathan Liebesman‘s Clash of the Titans sequel Wrath of the Titans: the movie really doesn’t look to skimp on the creatures and mythical monsters. Not only that, but it gives the returning Sam Worthington a haircut that is really worthy of the legacy of Harry Hamlin’s style from the 1981 Clash of the Titans. (Not sure that’s a good thing, actually.)
Anyway, the sequel has Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes reprising their roles as Zeus and Hades, and adds Toby Kebbell and Rosamund Pike, both of whom get a couple good shots in this new trailer. But most of what this new look affers is monsters, monsters, monsters. Which is a big part of what we really need from a movie like this, after all. Check it out below. Read More »
Lots of sequel news today so let’s get right to it. After the jump, read about the following:
- Shawn Levy gives an update on a sequel to Real Steel.
- There’s already been talk of a third Ghost Rider according to directors Neveldine and Taylor, who are also still considering Crank 3D.
- Latino Review has revealed some major plot points in Taken 2.
- Fox is still moving ahead with a Waiting to Exhale sequel after the death of Whitney Houston.
- Steven Spielberg says Peter Jackson will be starting production on The Adventures of Tintin 2 this year.
Read More »
We’ll probably never see Russell Crowe in a sequel to Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, but what about having Crowe play the commander of another ship in another epic adventure film? How about if he was the commander of the ship — by which I mean Noah, and his ark. And then throw in Liam Neeson in another major role, under the direction of Darren Aronofsky. That’s how the cast of Aronofsky’s long-gestating Noah is starting to take shape. Read More »
In another time, The Grey would have been considered a b-movie, but it would have been the best sort of b-movie: one made with a clever craftman’s skill, pulsing with an insistent tension and featuring familiar characters that grow beyond stock types as they reveal their true personalities.
The temptation now is to simply refer to The Grey as an action movie. The film is about a man named Ottway (Liam Neeson) who, with a crew of roughnecks on their way back to civilization from a remote oil field job, crash lands in the Alaskan wilderness, where a pack of wolves stalks the survivors to the last man.
As directed by Joe Carnahan, however, The Grey is also the antithesis of the action-movie template. Most action films exist explicitly to reject death — consider “death-defying stunts,” that clichéd huckster’s pitch — and in doing so define an existence in which reality and death are marginalized by the expression of a blind, inextinguishable will to live.
Carnahan’s last film, The A-Team, was very much cut from that broad action-movie mold. This one, however, could not be further removed from The A-Team‘s bluster and bravado. Here, Carnahan employs a fine-tuned instinct for revealing character through action, and directs with a feeling of stability atypical to most action movies. But amid this movie’s thrilling beats he places scenes characterized by serene compassion. The Grey is an exiting movie that captures the roughnecks’ walk through an icy valley of the shadow of death. It is also a film that accepts human fragility, and suggests that finding faith is a natural step in facing our inevitable end. Read More »
January movies are usually terrible. It’s a time studios generally reserve for films that are either not good enough to compete during awards seasons or not exciting enough to play during the summer. Every once in a while, though, a really great one slips through the cracks and that happens this month with Joe Carnahan‘s The Grey. In a way, though, it does fit the January mold though because it’s not quite an awards film, but too heady for the summer. Plus it’ll make you feel really cold.
The Grey follows Liam Neeson and a group of blue collar workers whose plane crashes over Alaska. They’re then forced to survive in the freezing wilderness along with a pack of vicious wolves. The film blends elements of action, horror, drama and even romance in an all-together satisfying and bad-ass package. I mean, did you not see the trailer with Neeson fighting wolves with broken bottles on his hands?
/Film spoke to the film’s writer/director Joe Carnahan about the origins of that scene (hint: Wolverine) as well as parallels between the film and Neeson’s real-life tragedy, working with a small, up and coming distributor and how online media is changing the way filmmakers make movies. Read about it all after the jump. Read More »
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Joe Carnahan‘s new film The Grey opens this week, and the movie is a return to the early promise of Carnahan’s movie Narc, which was released in 2004. The Grey is a solid little movie that combines familiar characters with tense action and survival situations, and it should do pretty well with audiences. And if the movie does click with the public, we might see it back in theaters late this year, the better to position it for possible awards. Read More »