We’re all getting excited about the practical effects we’ve seen from the set of Star Wars Episode 7. Many people complain about the abundance of computer-generated effects in George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels, but what they don’t realize is more practical miniature models were created for any one of the Star Wars prequel films than were made for the entire combined original trilogy. I thought that bit of Star Wars prequels miniatures trivia might surprise many of you.
While I don’t dislike the films as much as most, I’m in no way a prequel apologist — the movies are what they are. That said, there are some things to admire in the prequel trilogy. So take a trip with me back in time to look at some of the amazing handcrafted artistry that went into the most despised trilogy of films in movie history. You will be shocked at what parts and at just how much of it was created practically by the visual effects magicians at Industrial Light and Magic.
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In 1999, anticipation was so high for George Lucas’ Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, many of us initially overlooked the film’s obvious problems. The awe and spectacle of seeing a new Star Wars film on the big screen outweighed the plot holes, terrible dialogue and awful characters. Years have passed, and now many viewers agree the movie is deeply flawed. But maybe, just maybe, it could have been fixed with a few quick changes. Enter the How It Should Have Ended team, which has created a funny new video centered around the film. Check it out below. Read More »
Almost 15 years have passed and we just can’t get over Jar Jar Binks. The kid-friendly addition to Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was a technological marvel when he first appeared in 1999, but his voice, antics and incredibly annoying luck quickly made him the most hated character in the Star Wars universe. Even though George Lucas himself cut the character back in the subsequent films (even going so far as blaming the entire creation of the Empire on him), fans still act like Jar Jar Binks was the only problem with the prequels.
Jokes about killing Jar Jar are about as old as the Internet itself but, this latest one is probably the best yet. A fan re-edited a deleted scene from The Phantom Menace in such a way that Jar Jar meets his untimely demise. Yousa check it out belowsa, okeeday? Read More »
Enough of this Batman crap, let’s get back to what’s really important in 2015: Star Wars! Here’s the latest from a galaxy far far away.
- Check out three covers and more from The Star Wars comic books.
- Read about how Samuel L. Jackson tried to ask J.J. Abrams about possibly being in Star Wars Episode VII.
- EA wants to reinvent Star Wars video games to make “people’s jaws drop.”
- A minor update on the rumored December 2015 release date.
- Carrie Fisher now refuses to comment about Episode VII.
- There’s a Kickstarter to make a documentary about Chewbacca himself, Peter Mayhew.
- Star Wars: Force Collection, a card-based mobile game, will be out September 4.
- Listen to the voice of Darth Maul, Peter Serafinowicz, talk about his hilarious experiences making Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
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Now that Disney owns Lucasfilm, the sky is the limit in terms of Star Wars films. We know there’s a sequel trilogy on the way. We know there are spin-off movies in the works and we know they’re hoping to release a new Star Wars movie every single year for the foreseeable future. That’s a lot of Star Wars.
A few months back, I wrote a little editorial suggesting these developments might allow Lucasfilm to remake the prequels. I even offered some ideas of how to do that story wise. Turns out, I wasn’t the only person to have some version of that idea. Back in early 2012, Belated Media on YouTube released a video called “What If Star Wars Episode I Were Good” and, this week, they released the sequel, “What If Star Wars Episode II Was Good?” It’s 16 minute pitch dissecting the film’s problems and offering solutions.
Belated Media is decidedly less vicious than Red Letter Media, but just as insightful, if not more so. We’ve embedded both videos below. They’re well worth watching. Read More »
Disney shutting down Lucasarts is certainly the biggest Star Wars news of the day, but there’s plenty more where that came from. After the jump read about the following:
- J.J. Abrams talks about the comparisons between his 2009 Star Trek and Star Wars.
- Read Eli Roth‘s scathing review of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, written in 1999.
- Lego recalls a potentially offensive Star Wars set.
- Oscar-winning Star Wars Art director Roger Christian doesn’t plan to return for Star Wars Episode VII.
- Peter Jackson dropped in a little Star Wars April Fools joke into his recent video.
- So too did Star Trek alum George Takai.
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Say what you want about Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace as an overall film, but John Williams‘ score is fantastic. Duel of the Fates is one of the most exhilarating pieces of music in the entire Star Wars series; Anakin’s Theme is beautifully weaved through the film; and The Flag Parade is an amazing build up to a huge action setpiece. The unfortunate side is that listening to the score could be a reminder that the film doesn’t live up to the music.
If you can separate the two (which shouldn’t be too difficult now, going on 15 years later) Williams’ score is now being released as a limited edition vinyl on March 4. Check out the specs and a few images below. Read More »
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.
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