martes, 25 de junio de 2013

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi is the epic conclusion to the greatest film franchise of all time. At least, until 2015 comes around. George Lucas had previously planned for Episode VI to be a mere continuation of the saga, having the episode be a bittersweet ending that would lead in to VII, VIII and IX. However, he had a change of heart at one point, which led to Gary Kurtz be kicked out of the producers seat. Kurtz has since then been on a vendetta against George, accusing him of being ''greedy'' and in favor of the marketing of toys instead of the films. In all honesty, over the years George has proven to be anything BUT a greedy man, which only shows that Kurtz accusations and the hateboys efforts have been a colossal waste of time.  
Anyway, going back to Episode VI. At this point, Palpatine is near final victory in his quest to purge the galaxy from adherents of the light side. Now that the second Death Star has been in construction for a few years, and is reaching near completion, he has personally allowed for the Bothan spies to know the location of the Death Star, in order to lure the Rebel fleet in a battle that will destroy them, and seduce Luke Skywalker into the dark side, therefore replacing the ill and robotic Darth Vader. Palpatine has always achieved his evil and diabolical goals in the past, why should it be any different now? 

Darth Vader in the meantime, has every intention of joining with his son in order to defeat the Emperor.  Both of them have the Sith Rule of Two in mind, but the difference is, that while Darth Sidious demonic soul only wants to finally achieve victory for the Sith and the dark side, Vader is beginning to feel conflicted in the inside regarding what he should do. 

On the other side of the galaxy, while Admiral Ackbar and Mon Mothma are preparing themselves against the decisive fight over the control of the galaxy, Leia, Luke, Lando, Chewie and the droids are over at Tatooine figuring out how to free Han Solo from the clutches of Jabba the Hutt. Lando entered firstly undercover, and later the droids would follow as a way to see if Jabba would give Han. After he refused and kept the droids, Leia had to enter disguised as a bounty hunter, with Chewbacca as a ''prisoner'', in order to free Han. Leia would later take the droids and Chewie, with the help of Lando. Since that also failed, Luke Skywalker, as a near trained Jedi had to come and bargain by force with Jabba. Luke then falls into a pit and faces the monstrous rancor, only to end up killing him as he chokes with the door. Han, Luke and Chewbacca are all sentenced to death, to be eaten by the Sarlacc.

Once R2-D2 releases Luke's lightsaber, and Luke uses it, we clearly see that in the interim between Empire and Jedi, Luke has gone into training of his own. The EU goes off to reveal that Luke went into Obi-Wan's home in Tatooine and uncovered a journal that allowed Luke to continue his training, and had instructions into the construction of a lightsaber. Boba Fett dies in the most comedic way possible, something undermining for such a serious character. Jabba also dies at the hands of slave Leia.  Leia, Han, Lando and Chewie go to reunite with the rest of the Rebel fleet. Luke meanwhile, goes to Dagobah in order to fulfill his promise to Yoda.

Yoda on the other hand, is very ill at this point, facing death at the age of 900 years. He talks with Luke for one last time, confirming Vader's parentage to Luke, and reminding him that he is the last of the Jedi. After Yoda vanishes, Luke talks to Obi-Wan's Force Ghost. He gives us the famous A Certain Point of View line, reveals that Luke is Leia's sister, and says that he must defeat Vader and the Emperor in order to be a full fledged Jedi. Luke however, believes he can redeem his father.

Luke then arrives and meets with the other Rebels, in order to plan their battle. The Big Three along with Chewie and the droids must go into the Sanctuary Moon of Endor in a stolen Imperial Ship in order to infiltrate the shield that is protecting the Death Star and destroy it. Along the way in Endor, they meet with the Ewoks, a strange group of beings all the size of a 6 year-old. The Rebels ally with the Ewoks in order to infiltrate the shield generator. In the night before the epic battle, Luke must go into the Death Star, and fulfill his destiny as a Jedi. Before he goes however, Luke tells Leia about not only her parentage, but their relation as siblings. Leia is obviously affected by this, as Luke leaves to the unknown.

The Battle of Endor begins the next day. Admiral Ackbar and Lando Calrissian using the Millenium Falcon are ready to lead the Alliance into victory. As they realize that the shield generator is still up, they are forced to attack the Imperial Fleet first. Han, Leia and Chewie lead the fight with the Ewoks to infiltrate the shield generator and destroy it. Neither fight goes well at first, since the Death Star destroys two Rebel cruisers, and the Ewoks have several casualties.

Palpatine meanwhile, is in his tower on top of the Death Star, seeking to turn Luke into the dark side, telling him that the only way to save his friends and family from dying in battle is to join him, much like how his father was turned decades back. Luke faces uncertainty, and despite the fact that he can overpower his father in combat, he isn't sure of what to do. Darth Vader, feels even more conflicted as the story progresses.

Han Solo, then with the help of Chewie, figures out how to trick the Empire and enters the shield generator. After implanting some bombs, the shield gets destroyed, and Lando along with Wedge and other Rebel pilots charge deep into the heart of the Death Star, in order to destroy it. Darth Vader meanwhile, discovers that Leia is Luke's sister after reading his mind. Once Vader threatens to turn Leia to the dark side, Luke reacts violently, defeating his father in confrontation. and caling the attention of Sidious. Sidious orders Luke to kill his father, and finally embrace his apprenticeship to the Order of the Sith Lords. Luke looks in disgust to see that Darth Vader had a robotic hand, much like how he also has one. He realizes in horror, how his vision in the cave of Dagobah of becoming another Darth Vader is becoming more and more real. He then rejects the dark side of the Force and declares himself a Jedi, like his father before him.

Palpatine gets upset to realize that the ultimate apprentice won't turn, so he decides to electrocute him with Force lightning. As Luke Skywalker stands on the door of death, his father realizes that Luke is the only person who ever loved him that has a chance of being saved. That's when Darth Vader returns to being Anakin Skywalker, and throws Emperor Palpatine down a reactor shaft, destroying the Sith Lords once and for all. Of course, Anakin's sacrifice comes at a high cost, having his own lung respirator largely damaged. He tells Luke to take his mask off, in order to look at him with his own eyes. Once that happens, Anakin says his final words to Luke, before he dies.

Luke manages to escape the Death Star on time, as Wedge and Lando blow up the Death Star on time. Han and Leia declare their love for each other, while Luke burns up his father in a Jedi-type funeral. As we see, various planets around the galaxy, including Naboo, Coruscant and Tatooine celebrate the victory of the Rebel Alliance over the Empire, and the restoration of democracy into the galaxy. As the Rebels celebrate on Endor, Luke notices the force ghosts of Yoda, Obi-Wan and a younger Anakin Skywalker. The Jedi have returned.

Return of the Jedi is by far my favorite Star Wars film. It's a great way of ending a mythic saga that tells us in the end that good will prevail over evil, that their is a transcendence beyond the universal tragedy of man, one of redemption and hope, that lives on in many of the worlds mythic traditions. Star Wars brings up that concept, and no better example exists of that than Return of the Jedi.

Finest Moments of the Film:

1. The entire sequence in Jabba's Palace and the Sarlacc pit. It has always been one of my favorites.

2. The arrival of the Emperor, the death of Yoda, and Obi-Wan's conversation with Luke.

3. The Space Battle of Endor, including the ''It's a Trap'' moment.

4. The Fight Between Darth Vader, Luke and the Emperor.

5. Vader's redemption and his death. Makes me tear up every time.

6. The Victory Celebration.

Rating: 10/10

lunes, 24 de junio de 2013

George Lucas gets Married

This past Saturday, Star Wars creator George Lucas got married to Mellody Hobson in Skywalker Ranch. All I can say is congratulations to George, I hope he married the person he truly loved, and I hope he keeps some eye on Star Wars and enjoys retirement.

May The Force Be With You. Always.

miércoles, 19 de junio de 2013

Casting Call from Episode VII Confirmed

Bryan Young from Big Shiny Robot and Eric Geller from TheForce.Net have officially confirmed after contact with a Lucasfilm employee that the casting call the website Schmoes Know leaked is the one from Episode VII. It's one of the very few rumors confirmed to be true of the film. 

Let's take a look at it: 
Tuesday, Jun. 18, 2013, 9:00 AM Pacific
Feature Film
Walt Disney Pictures/LucasFilm/Bad Robot
Executive Producer: Tommy Harper
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, JJ Abrams, Bryan Burk
Director: JJ Abrams
Writers: Michael Arndt
Casting Directors: April Webster, Alyssa Weisberg & Nina Gold
Casting Associate: Jessica Sherman
Casting Assistant: Rachel Dill
Start Date: Early 2014
Location: UK
[YOUNG MAN] Early 20s.  Not classically handsome.  He is witty and smart.  Physically fit.
[MAN] Late 20s.  Physically fit, handsome and confident.
[YOUNG WOMAN] Late teens.  Physically fit, independent and with a great sense of humor.
[YOUNG WOMAN #2] Late teens.  Tough, smart, physically fit.
[MAN - 40S] Physically fit, military type.
[MAN - 30ISH] An intellectual.
[MAN - 65-75] Tough and opinionated.

We can infer a couple of things from this casting call:

1. The story treatments and characters likely came from George Lucas, given the fact that none of those descriptions fit already established EU characters.

2. The EU post ROTJ is essentially toast at this point. Not only do none of those descriptions fit the children of Leia and Han Solo, but also none of them fit the description of Luke's wife, Mara Jade. It is either because they have already cast an actor to play the role of Luke's wife (be Mara Jade or not), she is not going to show up in the film (either Luke is single or a widow) or her character's description is simply not on the casting call.

This is good news I guess, in the sense that the EU won't be a determining factor in the plot and story of the films, and is instead a product of George Lucas's imagination and possibly Michael Arndt. Here we only have 7 roles on a movie that will likely have as cast leading roles of anywhere from 12-19 actors. With Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford having all but confirmed their roles, and with the extremely likely possibility of the Droids being back, including maybe Peter Mayhew and Billy Dee Williams, we have approximately 14 characters in the can. So, from the looks of things, Mara Jade is not likely to be in the film.

However, their is one thing that worries me from the casting call, at it's the fact that their is no female role that could be considered for the Nightsisters. So it does beg the question: Who the hell is going to be the villain? A Sith can't be, or else you are destroying the purpose of the previous films. Something's got a give folks. At the same time, we don't know if they have already cast the female villain that would be the role of the head Nightsister.

Let's just hope that the villain issue is figured out, and that somehow, in someway, we are NOT throwing out the Prophecy of the Chosen One out the window. Or else, Michael Arndt and JJ have some explaining to do.

Does anyone have any idea of a male villain that could work and NOT be a Sith? Share your thoughts. 

Top 100 Star Wars Characters 50-41

As we move forward into the list, you will find that the characters will become more and more important to the overall Star Wars saga. 

To see the previous lists, click here: 

lunes, 17 de junio de 2013

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is the follow up to the extremely successful and world-changing space opera that was A New Hope. Lucas aimed to make a very different film from it's predecessor, leaving the end with a cliffhanger that left the audience divided. Nowadays it is widely regarded as the best Star Wars film, but more on that later. 
According to the EU, Darth Vader goes off in the 3 year gap between Empire and Hope, to find out who was the Rebel pilot that destroyed the Death Star. After all, he had sensed that the pilot was Force-sensitive and that he had been possibly trained by Obi-Wan. Eventually he found out the pilot's name. 

Luke Skywalker. 

Vader was more than obsessed with finding out who was Luke Skywalker. He began at that point to ask himself if whether or not the Emperor had told him the truth regarding Padme's death at his hands. He realized that his last name could not be a mere coincidence and he was determined to find out at all costs, whether or not Luke was his son. Empire is essentially, Darth Vader's hunt down for Luke Skywalker, although several don't actually see it that way. It's also important to note that the events that take place in Episode V are spread out in a matter of a few months, while the events in all the other Star Wars films take place in a matter of days. 

Palpatine on the other hand, finds out after a disturbance in the Force, that Luke Skywalker is becoming stronger in the Force, and comes somehow to the conclusion that he is both the son of Anakin and the Rebel pilot who destroyed the Death Star. He then contacts Vader while he is in hot pursuit of the Millenium Falcon, and tells him his discovery. It is in that moment, when Sidious tells Vader that Luke is his son, that he finds out. The 2004 Edition changed the narrative of the story, and in several ways, I believe it improved it. Palpatine obviously knows that Luke is an enemy that has to be destroyed. Vader offers the possibility of turning him to the dark side, something the Emperor had apparently not thought about until Vader mentions it. Darth Vader from that point on, has only one goal in the remainder of the Star Wars saga: To make Luke his Sith apprentice and overthrow the Emperor. Palpatine on the other hand, wants to replace Vader with Luke. 

Light years away, Luke Skywalker is training on Dagobah at the hands of revered Jedi Master Yoda. Yoda struggles to teach an impatient Luke in the ways of the Force, but still manages to accomplish a significant change in only a few months on young Luke. However, a disturbing vision that Luke has makes him realize that his friends are in danger, and must leave to the Bespin system. Obi-Wan and Yoda fear that he might fall in the same trap his father fell, and loose hope of saving the galaxy. 

Luke goes off to the lion's den in order to save his friends. Meanwhile, after Han Solo, Leia, Chewie and C-3PO have been running around the galaxy to escape from the Empire, they decide to go into Cloud City, a small post in the gas giant Bespin, that is not only run by Han Solo's best friend Lando Calrissian, but is also small enough to not be noticed by the Empire. The only problem is, basically, that the now elite bounty hunter Boba Fett, a mere kid in Attack of the Clones, is after Solo due to the fact that he owes money to Jabba the Hutt, and Jabba has already got very impatient with him. Boba Fett gets assistance from the Empire in order to capture Han Solo, due to the fact that Darth Vader knows it will lure Luke Skywalker. 

Han Solo gets frozen in carbonite and flies off in Boba's Slave I. Leia meanwhile, is torn for his love with the smuggler and her duty in the Rebellion. Luke then goes off to confront Darth Vader. Despite the fact that he has trained hard in order to confront him, he is still no match for him. Later, after Luke looses his arm and lightsaber, he is confronted with the horrible truth of his parentage. 

Vader: If only you knew the power of the Dark Side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
Skywalker: He told me enough! He told me you killed him!
Vader: No, I am your father.

That my friends, was the phrase that changed the story dramatically. Luke then falls to his death before being rescued by the Millenium Falcon. Vader is later, conflicted about what to do with regards to his son. 

Empire is widely regarded today as the best Star Wars film. While several of the hateboys use it as ''proof'' to say that Lucas was a bad director,  I tend to think that while a great Star Wars film, it's not neccesarily the best. 

Best Moments of the Film: 

1. Obi-Wan's call to Luke to go to Dagobah. It's the first time we see Obi-Wan as a force ghost. 

2. Yoda's training of Luke, in particular the scene in which they lift the X-Wing. 

3. Palpatine's and Darth Vader's conversation in the Executor

4. Lando's greeting of Han Solo. One of the funniest moments in the films. 

5. Han and Leia's love departure before Han Solo is frozen in carbonite. 

6. ''I Am Your Father''

Rating: 10/10

martes, 11 de junio de 2013

Possible Villains in Star Wars Rebels

I have to say that ever since the announcement of the new animated series Star Wars: Rebels, my mind has gone wild. Literally. Their is so much potential for this series set between Episodes III and IV. Heck, I am WAY more excited about this series than I am for Episode VII. 

So, lets take a look at possible villains that may appear in Star Wars: Rebels.

lunes, 10 de junio de 2013

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is the first Star Wars film to have been made, but it's chronologically the 4th in the series. George Lucas had the idea of making an epic space opera inspired by the serials of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, American Westerns, The epic cinema of Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, and the mythological archetypes of Joseph Campbell. With this came the first in a series of films that would change the world forever. 
Palpatine has been for the past 19 years furthering his grip on the galaxy as Emperor. He has now at this point disbanded the Imperial Senate, thus leaving the control of the Star systems over regional governors or Moffs. With the newly operational Death Star, Sidious seeks to destroy any motivation of rebellion, as that would mean complete annihilation. He has been likely, for a while now, searching for a new apprentice, to replace the shackled Darth Vader. 

Darth Vader, Palpatine's Sith apprentice, has been going further into the path of the dark side for the past 19 years, hunting down the last of the Jedi and waiting for reports on the locations of Obi-Wan and Yoda. However, we must not forget that he is the Chosen One, and he is destined to bring balance to the Force. So is their any chance of redemption for Vader? 

Bail Organa, former senator of Alderaan on the other hand, has been waiting patiently for the past 19 years in order to start the Alliance to Restore the Republic. The Alliance as off recently won it's first decisive battle against the Empire, gaining the plans for the Death Star. With this, Darth Vader and the 501st Legion go off to hunt down the Tantive IV, where Princess Leia has the plans and has gone to Tatooine to enlist Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. Bail Organa obviously realizes that the Jedi are quintessential for the defeat of Darth Vader and the Emperor. 

Obi-Wan on the other hand, has been guarding Luke Skywalker from a distance in Tatooine. He knows that Anakin's children are the only hope the Force has of being balanced and the galaxy be somehow, someday at peace. Owen Lars is hesitant of Obi-Wan meeting with Luke, but that cannot stop Luke's destiny of becoming a Jedi Knight. 

The Galactic Empire has now captured the most important member of the Rebellion, Leia Organa, adopted daughter of Bail who possesses the strong will of her mother, Padme Amidala. Darth Vader, unaware of her relationship with Leia, sentences her to death above the Death Star, after Grand Moff Tarkin does a brutal demonstration of the power of the Death Star and destroys Alderaan. Bail Organa dies along with the planet. 

Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker embarks on the classical heroes journey, deciding to leave Tatooine after his uncle and aunt are murdered. Obi-Wan, Luke and the droids go off to the Mos Eisley Cantina, where they meet with rogue spice smuggler Han Solo, and his first mate, Chewbacca. They go off in the famed Millenium Falcon and set course for Alderaan. Once they arrive their however, the planet is gone, with an asteroid field and debris being the only thing left. The Falcon then is pulled by a tractor beam into the Death Star. 

Han Solo doesn't really care about what happens as long as he can get the hell out of the space station. Luke Skywalker has every intention of rescuing Leia. Obi-Wan however has a more complex problem once he arrives at the Death Star. He perfectly knows he won't make it out alive. He has to do everything in his power to deactivate the tractor beam and allow Luke and the others to escape. Darth Vader senses Obi-Wan's presence for the first time since Mustafar. He hopes to get revenge on his old master for cutting him down and allowing him to burn in the lava. 

Princess Leia gets rescued by Luke and Han, and they all board the Millenium Falcon in order to escape. Obi-Wan meanwhile, is having a confrontation with Darth Vader, one much less fancy than the one seen in Episode III. Obi-Wan sacrifices himself for the life of his new apprentice and his friends. Darth Vader witnesses as Obi-Wan's body mysteriously disappears. 

The heroes manage to escape and go to the Rebel base on the rainforest moon of Yavin 4. Vader and Tarkin go out in the Death Star to destroy the planet and the Rebel Alliance once and for all. the Alliance prepares a team of it's best pilots in order to destroy the Death Star before it destroys them. The Battle of Yavin commences. Luke manages to destroy the Death Star through help from Obi-Wan's ghost and the Force. Han Solo saves Luke from being destroyed in his X wing by Darth Vader, who flies out of orbit. The Rebels have won a major victory. It is now a time of revolution. 

Darth Vader meanwhile, has been left rather confused. Why did Obi-Wan disappear? And most importantly who was that Rebel pilot strong in the Force who destroyed the Death Star? Vader must find out who he is, at all cost. 

A New Hope is commonly one of the favorite Star Wars films, but a look at it retrospectively can make you realize that the film was not really as great as the ones that followed it. It's still a great Star Wars film. 

Finest Moments of the Film: 

1. The chase of the Imperial Star Destroyer over the Tantive IV. 

2. The Conversation Obi-Wan and Luke have in Obi-Wan's hut. It's very eye opening, and Obi-Wan offers an excellent backstory to the events that have taken place.

3. The Cantina Band sequence. One of the best pieces John Williams composed and a great scene. 

4. The Battle of Yavin. One of the most memorable moments of the saga. 

5. The Throne Room sequence. The music in that scene is among the best in Star Wars. 

Rating 10/10

jueves, 6 de junio de 2013

The Birth of the Hateboy Nation: Eli Roth

It's difficult to pinpoint exactly when certain historical events happen. For example, It's difficult to say exactly when the French Revolution came to an end. Some Historians say it ended when Napoleon was crowned Emperor of France, while others assert that it didn't end at that point because France had Monarchs  after the end of Napoleon's rule. In a similar fashion, it's difficult to pinpoint the birth of the Hateboy movement. Some will argue that it all started in 1997, when fans went to see the Special Editions, and they were angered by the changes George Lucas made, in particular the whole ''Han Shot First'' stupidity. Others might say that it really wasn't born until the internet united the haters and made them a powerful force. Regardless of when this Weapon of Mass Destruction was born, it's important to note that perhaps the people most influential in dispersing the seeds of this movement, either intentionally or unintentionally, where the critics who reviewed The Phantom Menace. We know that Roger Ebert liked Phantom Menace,  but other critics like Peter Travers from Rolling Stone didn't. But what most people don't know is that one of the earliest reviews of the film came from none other than Eli Roth, director of horror and violent films, since it was published before the film was ever opened to the public. In several ways, Eli Roth is one of the founding fathers of Hateboy Nation. The term Hateboys, however, was coined several years later by the blog A Certain Point of 

Once notorious hateboy Mike Ryan from the Huffington Post unearthed this review, We can now see more clearly some of the ''genesis'', the reasons why most hateboys didn't like the prequels and why several at the end of the day, don't really like Star Wars. 

Let's see how it starts: 
Few films in history have had greater anticipation than The Phantom Menace. People have been waiting on line for over a month to get tickets. I know I have been waiting since 5th grade, following every rumor in "Starlog" and on the Internet. So here's the kicker: IT SUCKS. I'm sorry, it does. I know it's sacrilege to criticize George Lucas or the Holy Grail of movie trilogies, but after waiting 16 years I can honestly tell you this film is an unbelievable disappointment. People may say that waiting 16 years for anything will be a disappointment, but I waited 16 years to get laid and that really lived up to all my expectations. Okay, I'm lying, I didn't get laid until I was 18, but you get my point.
Really Eli Roth? Really? Comparing the experience of watching a Star Wars film to sexual intercourse is the lowest form of male primate ritual. Any Star Wars fan that truly loves the films knows that the Star Wars experience is one of pure connection with your soul. It's not a love affair, it has absolutely nothing to do with that. Any person who gets married because they think it's a very long love affair will be divorced very soon, because they all end in disappointment. So in truth, it's no wonder Eli Roth makes this comparison: he probably wasn't enamored with Star Wars in the first place. 

Let's start with the first problem of the movie, the title. What does it mean? I have no idea. Having seen the film, I still have no idea. I'm guessing it's a reference to Anakin Skywalker, but your guess is as good as mine.
This proofs he probably never understood the film in the first place. George Lucas managed to fool him into thinking that Palpatine and Sidious are two different persons, hence the title of the film.

At this point I realized that Han Solo and Chewbacca wouldn't be appearing any time soon, and I got a bit worried. It wasn't the fact that half the film was computer generated and it was starting to look more like A Bug's Life than Star Wars, it was the embarrassing dialogue that Lucas wrote.
The whole argument against Lucas with the ''bad dialogue'' makes you think that they never paid attention to the dialogue of the previous films. It's not meant to be Shakespeare, it's meant to sound big and epic and so forth. How could Han Solo show up if he was just a baby? Weren't we supposed to see a different story? Simply because Chewie doesn't show up, it doesn't mean its a bad film. After all, the Star Wars universe is pretty big. Apparently Eli Roth didn't bother to notice that the film was shot in Tunisia and in Italy, for Tatooine and Naboo, nor did he realize that Coruscant had to be CGI because their was no other way around it. So anyway, that argument is completely invalid. 

Imagine the worst aspects of Jedi--the Ewoks--exploited in mass form and forced upon you throughout the entire film. I was cringing every second Jar Jar was on screen.
And yet Eli Roth said that he loved the Ewoks recently, in the Return of Return of the Jedi video. Is he just making up excuses simply because the prequel hatred bandwagon is based out of emotion and not facts? 
In Phantom Menace, when a ship crashes during a race, an ESPN-type announcer says "I don't care what planet you're from, that's gotta hurt!" Is that supposed to be funny? Whereas the previous films were based heavily on Greek mythology, this film is based on popular culture.
Again, Eli Roth ignores the fact that Episode I is the most influenced by Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, as he ignores that Anakin's early stages of his hero journey is very similar to Luke's. So much for Joseph Campbell, whose influence is as much, if not more, visible in this film than in A New Hope. What about the virgin birth? What about Darth Maul, who clearly resembles Satan? And what about Qui-Gon? Did nobody notice how similar he is to Obi-Wan in Episode IV? I could go on.

And finally, Eli Roth's prediction of the future comes true, to a certain extent at least: 
I was so angry after the film I wanted to punch someone in the face. I was tempted to go to Hollywood Boulevard, outside Mann's Chinese Theatre, and scream to the crowd who have been sleeping outside since March: "It sucks. Go home. Go back to your non-existent lives! It sucks!" I have a feeling that there will be riots in the streets when this film comes out. Star Wars fans will be so shocked and appalled that they will harass George Lucas into seclusion, and he'll get so pissed off he'll just say "fuck it" and chuck the whole thing. Or he could play it smart and stick to writing the story and leave the dialogue to people who actually know what they're doing.
What is true is that for the years that followed, a small but annoying group of ''fans'' have been doing everything in their power to discredit George Lucas and his films. The funny thing is that the guy who prophecied everything is apparently no longer a hateboy anymore. At the same time that this got unearthed, Mike Ryan contacted Eli Roth, and he has some things to say that distinguish him from the guy who wrote this review in 99. 
I wrote that review very much in the style of my all time favorite movie review, which Steve Martin wrote in his book "Cruel Shoes" as a 'rejected New Yorker submission' reviewing "Alien," where he admits to falling asleep in the film and not remembering anyone's names. I knew Jordan Hoffman from NYU and had written a screenplay for him when he was working for Andrew Lauren (son of Ralph, who was producing at the time), and so Jordan asked me to write that and credited me as "Hollywood screenwriter," despite the fact I had never done anything in the business. I didn't really worry about making enemies because I was dead certain nobody I mention in the review would ever read it. Oops. Now I know the people at Skywalker and they're so nice and invite me to all kinds of Star Wars events, but I'm guessing that now that you've unearthed this treasure I won't be on their Christmas list, despite my enduring love for Star Wars.  
Now I look back at that review and all I can say is, I'm so happy I have a life now. Having received similar scathing reviews (and worse ones), I read it and laugh and realize that the only crime against cinema was getting that upset at a movie that was never intended for me. I've met so many young people who love the "new" Star Wars films, because that's who they were made for. Thinking that George Lucas made "The Phantom Menace" for me is symptomatic of my entire generation who grew up with Star Wars, because as kids in the 70's and 80's, those films were made for us. We just assumed that would continue in the 90's (and secretly hope it does with J.J. Abrams at the helm of the new ones). So while I won't be ordering the Phantom Menace special edition Blu-ray anytime soon, I don't take the film as a personal assault against my childhood. At least not in front of girls.
So at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what Eli Roth thinks with regard to Episode I, due to the fact that he obviously isn't a hateboy anymore. He realizes that their are plenty of folks who love these films, and that George always intended the film to be for kids. So Eli, I want to say personally that  your view on Episode I is forgiven and thank you for not being a hateboy. I wish Simon Pegg and the rest of the crowd, could learn Eli Roth's lesson, someday. 

miércoles, 5 de junio de 2013

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is the Star Wars film that manages to bridge the saga together. George Lucas needed to end the trilogy on a high note, and tell the story the way it was intended to be. Parts of the film, as seen in a recently released conversation between Lucas, Howard Kazanjian and Lawrence Kasdan dating back to the early 80's reveal that many of these plot points had been mapped out way back. George simply needed to make some re-writes, and improve the story. 
Palpatine is in the final stage of the Sith Grand Plan. He now has, unlike the previous two films, 3 goals in the entire film. First he needs to turn Anakin Skywalker into a fearsome Sith Lord. He has to also get rid of the Jedi in order to eliminate any threat to his rule and finally, declare himself Emperor of the galaxy. Sadly, to the disfortune of our héroes, Palpatine's plan gets carried out at the end of the day. 

Anakin, now a much more mature Jedi Knight, is seen as the kind and good hearted hero that Obi-Wan describes in A New Hope, at least at the beginning of the film. Obi-Wan is now a leading member of the Jedi Council, a very wise Jedi Master in his own right. Padme Amidala, continuing to serve as Senator of Naboo, is pregnant with twins. Padme's pregnancy puts in danger the secrecy of her relationship with Anakin, while at the same time she is increasingly worried with Palpatine's dictatorial powers, as is her fellow senatorial friends, Mon Mothma and Bail Organa. 

Anakin's defeat of Count Dooku, at the command of Palpatine further enact the character into the clutches of the dark side. But perhaps Anakin would have never turned had he not dreamed the nightmare of Padme's death in childbirth. That my friends, was the catalyst that turned everything upside down for our hero. 

Anakin, having suffered painfully from the death of her mother, not being able to accept that he can't control the fate of those he loves, ultimately leads him to do anything possible to stop Padme from death. Being tormented with this vision, combined with the fact that Obi-Wan leaves to Utapau to defeat General Grievous, leaves Anakin vulnerable. Sidious takes advantage of this and starts to work on him. He makes him doubt his relationship to the Jedi Order and makes him think that good and evil are simply points of view. Ultimately, throwing in a little tale of his old master, Darth Plagueis, he manages to finally have Anakin be interested in finding the ways of the Sith, and save her wife. After all, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Anakin, unable to let go of Padme, sells his soul to the devil, and becomes the dreaded Dark Lord of the Sith, known as Darth Vader. He goes to the Jedi Temple, in order to wipe out the remaining Jedi left in Coruscant. Palpatine sends a message via the Holocron to Commander Cody and the other clone officers, to execute Order 66, and kill the Jedi. Obi-Wan survives by chance. Yoda senses the entire tragedy happen, and his expression of sadness is so tremendous you can't help but feel his pain. He realizes that Commander Gree is about to kill him, and in a move of a few seconds, kills him and the other officer. Chewbacca and Tarfful help him escape.

Palpatine on the other hand, with the Separatists basically at the mercy of the Republic at this point and the Jedi all but extinct declares the first Galactic Empire. Bail and Padme witness in horror as the apparent kind and honest man reveals himself as what he really is.

Obi-Wan and Yoda realize that they must act as quickly as possible in order to defeat the Sith. Yoda gives his best in an epic duel with Sidious, but despite his impressive skills, is simply unable to kill the Emperor. Obi-Wan on the other hand, goes off to Mustafar to try and defeat Anakin. He watches in horror and pain as his former friend burns in the lava.

Obi-Wan goes off in Padme's Naboo starship to the asteroid field of Polis Massa, where Bail Organa and Yoda await them. Padme is sent to the emergency room, where she gives birth to the twins, Luke and Leia. Padme is apparently dying, for reasons beyond comprehension. As she dies, the newly built and fully restored Darth Vader shines in the medical room in Coruscant, with his distinct black cloak, black armor and faceless mask. As Palpatine tells him that he killed Padme, Vader rages in anger, destroying whatever he had left of Anakin. Padme has her funeral in Naboo, with Jar Jar, Boss Nass and others, mourning over the death of the heroine of Naboo. Obi-Wan delivers Luke to his family in Tatooine, while Bail Organa adopts Leia in Alderaan.

Another theme that this film deals with, despite it's limited screen time, is the one of immortality. We learn from Palpatine's tale of his master, which proves to be for the most part true as seen in James Luceno's novel, that the Sith are so selfish that they can't bear the thought of death. The Jedi on the other hand, realize that the true path to immortality is that of selflessness and love, which Qui-Gon learned at some point and passed on his knowledge to Yoda and Obi-Wan. They realize that their is a good path to the afterlife, while the Sith are traumatized of dealing with hell.

Revenge of the Sith is by far the biggest Star Wars film. It has the most number of planets, most number of characters, and most number of lightsaber duels. Despite all of this, it has always been my least favorite Star Wars film. I think it's as good as the other Star Wars films, but the biggest problem it has is that it's the only Star Wars film that isn't for children. It's too tragic and dark and sad. Of course, George Lucas couldn't make the film any other way, so it stands as it is.

The hateboys tended to dislike Sith the least, probably due to its darker nature and the fact that it's the most similar to Episodes IV, V and VI.

Now that Anakin has become the fearsome Darth Vader, is he still the Chosen One? With the Empire hunting down the last of the Jedi, what hope remains for the galaxy? Or was Padme right when she said that their was still good in him? Only time will tell.

Finest Moments of the Film:

1. Battle Over Coruscant. In particular the opening scene with the Force theme.

2. The Tale of Darth Plagueis the Wise. It really made me wonder about who was Darth Plagueis and about the nature of the Sith.

3. Obi-Wan vs Grievous. Great fight.

4. Palpatine's declaration of the Empire.

5.The fight between Anakin and Obi-Wan and Yoda and Palpatine

6.The deilvery of Leia in Alderaan and Luke on Tatooine

Rating: 10/10