nyt star wars book

nytstarwars

The NYT has a coffee table book out called In a Galaxy Far, Far Away which collects all NYT articles about Star Wars. It starts with a 1973 feature on George Lucas who was

working on another science fiction screenplay, ‘The Star Wars,’ which he describes as a ‘real gee whiz movie’ in the Flash Gordon-Buck Rogers tradition.

Obviously there are reviews when ep4 opened in 1977, and has a total of 85 articles. Articles in the Style section about Leia; a timeline when ep1 was released to remind people about where we were; and analysis just before December’s release of ep8.

It’s in the in-between zone, at US$70 ($80 if personalised). As a coffee table book, it’s a tad on the expensive side. As a collector’s item, it’s certainly something die-hard fans will want to get. I can’t help feeling it’s jumped the gun, why not wait till ep9 is out to be more complete?

the last jedi

lastjedi

I saw The Last Jedi on the first day it came out. My initial reaction was wow, it’s brilliant. Hard to articulate emotions or responses because I was trying to absorb it all.

Second viewing, and I was able to pick out specific scenes, dialogue and action. I still couldn’t absorb everything.

There must be a pavlovian response, because my entire body and mind reacted to the logo, the first bar of the music, and the scroll. There were other trigger points during the next 153 minutes that evoked similar visceral responses. Someone said something; someone did something; a certain scene or shot appeared. The response was duller the second time, because I knew what was happening.

My overall impression, it’s quite Empire like, not only because it’s the middle one of a trilogy, but: a) it’s quite personal and b) the MCs spend the film separated in different places. I thought Kelly Marie Tran as Rose was the standout, not only of the new characters, but of the entire cast. Laura Dern did a good job as Holdo but I didn’t think the character was needed. Benicio del Toro was intriguing. Of the ep7 characters, all the new generation actors did a fantastic job, I followed their progress–rooting for them, being frustrated at and for them, crossed my fingers for them, went on their journeys with them. Mark Hamill acted his socks off and Carrie Fisher was so natural as Leia. Can’t help but have a lump in my throat every time she appeared on screen.

Spoilers from this point, and apologies that there’s not much logic to my thoughts.



Skellig Michael is so beautiful it takes your breath away and it’s the perfect setting for the location of Dagobah v2.0 because of how different the two planets look. Ahch-To is barren and yet as Rey sees in her first Jedi lesson, there is life and death and life again. And we learn the first lesson with her. The Force is around and inside all of us, it’s an energy not just a power that can be gained to do party tricks like lift rocks. And not due to some stupid midichlorian count ridiculousness. The prequels suggested genetics play a big part in acquiring the Force, even though we don’t get any explanation of, say, Obi-Wan’s or Yoda’s parentage. Now we learn that no, that’s not entirely true. A Nobody from Nowhere like Rey (and the broom boy at the end) can also be strong with the Force. When mm asked me about it at the end of the film, I explained it in terms of Harry Potter, which she is more familiar with. Hermione’s parents are muggles and she’s both talented and powerful whereas Ron, with his long Weasley heritage, isn’t automatically born a great wizard.

Luke, in spite of his experience and age, hasn’t changed a whole lot. He’s still whiny and full of self-pity. It’s irritating to hear him say “go away” to Rey one more time. Lucky for him, Yoda is still around to be the voice of reason. With a few sharp words and a few sharp prods he admonishes Luke. Keeping the sacred texts sacred for no good reason, riveting reading they are not. Failure is a part of learning. And when he says, “We are what they grow beyond” it ties in with one of the two biggest messages of Last Jedi: change and renewal. Kylo Ren says it in many ways too: let the past die, kill it, time for something new. GQ‘s review:

This is The Last Jedi’s most brilliant subversion of The Empire Strikes Back, and the moment when it severs ties with the Chosen One narrative that has driven Star Wars since the very beginning.

And that’s why the film is called The Last Jedi. Luke is the last of the old Jedi tradition, and Rey and others will become new Jedi or create a new Jedi-like entity. I think of it as being like Buffy‘s last episode. Instead of one girl in each generation who has the burden of being the slayer, all the Potentials are activated so there will be many, many slayers. The way things work, the universe, everything will be new and different.

But is Luke really gone? I doubt it. If he’s as powerful as we know he is, and also with the way he physically fades away with the tell-tale flutter of his robe, a reasonable explanation is he will return as a Jedi ghost like Yoda and Obi-Wan. He all but assured us of that, his last words to Leia:

No one’s ever really gone.

And to Kylo Ren, sounding just like Han:

See you around, kid.

So we have a good foundation to build on for ep9 and the various spinoff films to come. Even though the entire surviving Resistance can fit comfortably into the Falcon, they will rise again and ignite the spark that Leia talks about again and again.

What about the dark side?

I didn’t see Snoke’s end coming and it took the second viewing to fully appreciate where Kylo Ren is coming from. Forget Snoke, forget Vader, forget the Skywalker/Solo legacy. He’s going to dictate his own future his own way. Well, he wants Rey in with him, but after rejecting him multiple times and finally, symbolically, closing the Falcon‘s door on him, he should learn that it’ll never happen. His character development has been pretty outstanding and it’s time to stop the “bad guy who has good in him” trope and make him a worthy villain. There’s still the power struggle with Hux, and I’d like to see the fabled Knights of Ren make an appearance next.

The battle betwen good and evil will be epic because the other biggest mesage of the film is: balance. The more powerful Light or Dark grows, there will be an equally powerful counter growing to balance it out. That isn’t always addressed in literature or film. Good always wins, and evil is always banished forever. Isn’t Balance a better target because many books and films are about “good turning into bad because there’s no counterbalance.”

Jumping around, sad about the demise of Phasma, she had so much buzz. Not much hope that she can be revived, falling into a huge ball of fire like that. I read a review that questioned the entire exercise of hiring Gwendoline Christie and the most we get to see is one eye. She’s destined to be the Boba Fett of this trilogy.

Sad also about Holdo, but there are some commenters that say it’s a waste of a new character. While an act of heroism is needed, why not have Admiral Ackbar be the one? He’s been with us for so long. Whatever the opinion about Holdo, there is absolutely no question that the scene of the cruiser smashing into Snoke’s ship at light speed is a masterstroke of cinematography. The Atlantic:

Using big ships to crash into other ones is a trope of Star Wars space battles…So: Viewers saw this coming, perhaps shortly before General Hux did. But they didn’t see coming just how beautiful it would look and sound.

The use of slow motion, black and white, and the utter silence. The standout shot for me.

Other random thoughts:

  • love the porgs and the caretakers on Ahch-To; fathiers on Canto Bright are a good idea but the CGI too obvious and they seem fake; meh about the crystal critters on Crait
  • not sure what the point is of Luke milking those lounging creatures then drinking the milk. To show his routine, as Rey says, he’s not busy. To try to shock her? A callback to the blue milk we first saw him drink when he was still living with his aunt and uncle on Tatooine?
  • Rey getting sucked into the black hole that symbolises the dark side and confronting her darkest fears is exactly the same as Luke going into the cave at Dagobah
  • “I’m holding for General Hugs” — the subtitles say “Hugs” and even if it’s creative licence from the subtitlers it’s great
  • Leia surviving space and floating back to the cruiser defies all logic and yes, I know they are trying to say it’s the Force
  • rebel cruiser running away from first order fleet to stay out of canon range before running out of fuel sounds almost like a joke
  • Canto Bright is too contrived, our first look at the casino and the music sounds a little like the Cantina but it all falls short
  • R2D2 being crafty and playing Leia’s message from all those years ago to Luke
  • Crait is very cool, red clay underneath a salt crust
  • how did Rey get from Snoke’s ship to the Falcon in time to lure the First Order fighters away? Anyway, love love love when Finn says, “Oooh, they HATE that ship”
  • “I changed my hair” — cry
  • “lifting rocks”
  • it was more obvious on subsequent watching that it’s Luke’s projection that is fighting against Kylo Ren, I didn’t catch Luke’s shoes twisting on the ground and no red footprints first time
  • nobody said “I have a bad feeling about this”

Last words? I don’t have any myself. I’ll borrow from a redditor who described himself as a jaded fan:

I have always maintained that a movie isnt good unless you can leave from it with something changed within you. And looking back, there was more meaning in this movie than I would have ever given it credit for going into it. Was it a good story? It was alright. Was it perfect? In no way. But it did its job. It took a jaded fan, broke his heart and rebuilt it with new hope. It gave me a different perspective on my life, and the changes I’ve made since I was that 6yo kid first watching Star Wars. And it showed me that its ok to feel that way, too…but to never forget why.

And I hope I dont.

“It’s not about fighting what we hate, but saving what we love.”

the last jedi supercut

It’s December, which means ep 8 soon.

Someone put together a 4min supercut of all trailers and commercials we’ve seen so far. There are naturally A LOT of theories and analysis of the trailers, and I’m trying to stay away from them all. I’m focusing on reading about the events that happened between ep6 and ep7, all gathered from canon and EU places like novels, games, comics.

But anyway, mm has promised to watch it with me. She has a few days off after the 15th so we can even try going on a weekday.

mm darth vader

mmdarthvader

I was asked to comment on mm’s application where she had to write a personality sketch. There was one paragraph where I knew what she wanted to say, but she didn’t articulate it as well. She was writing about how meditation enabled her to expand her self-view and to acknowledge that she has flaws like everyone else. I commented that talking about her “dark” side made her sound like Darth Vader and since it’s a school application, may be rewrite using more positive wording.

vaderchamber

She called me and we had a good laugh about it. I mean, say dark side and I immediately think about Anakin. Plus the association with meditation put the image of Vader in his meditation chamber immediately in my head.

Now I have to go and find a lego vader keychain to give to her.

rogue one

Saw Rogue One. Took mum to the first showing at 11.30am, she even got a senior discount.

I’ve been not very in touch with what’s happening in the world lately, so I was less familiar with R1 than ep 7. I knew it’s coming out, I knew it’s about the rebels getting their hands on the death star plans, I knew it’s a spin-off / side story. And I knew I need to go see it.

rogueone

It was totally worth it. They chose the timeline and setting for this first spin-off perfectly. Eps 7-9 is on-going so we should get to ep 9 before tackling that universe. Eps 1-3, ugh. Nostalgia for the shappy space chic of ep 4 is more bankable and fan-acceptable. And every fan will have a great time spotting familiar elements. One of the first scenes, with Galen Erso standing next to a piece of equipment on his farm, an echo to a similar shot with Luke on Tatooine. So many nods to what we already know and recognise. And yet enough differences for it to hold its own as a standalone.

I haven’t seen ep 4 in a while, but like everyone who grew up with it, it’s ingrained in my mind. Variety called R1 Episode 3.9 and said,

for the original generation of “Star Wars” fans who weren’t sure what to make of episodes one, two, and three, “Rogue One” is the prequel they’ve always wanted.

It does the impossible, it explained one of the biggest plot holes of the entire series–how can the indestructable death star be destroyed by one single shot. That said, the journey to that single shot by Luke is not easy. The rebels are horribly outnumbered and R1 doesn’t cushion us with touchy-feely, feel-good vibes about their situation. It’s very grim. Vox summed up R1’s theme:

People die in wars.

It’s obvious, the whole franchise is called Star Wars. The Atlantic goes further, describing R1 a war movie, with

a different, and somewhat more impersonal, story to tell. None of its protagonists are discovering hidden blood relatives or training to be Jedi masters.

The majority of the characters are humans or normal of their species, only Chirrut Îmwe has a vague ability with the Force. Even the Imperial characters like the main villian Orson Krennic are simply human. It’s a bit like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. focusing on the humans of S.H.I.E.L.D. rather than the superheroes. That’s why Vader is so deadly and scary when he finally appears. The problematic part is that the rebel team, when we finally get to the action after planet-hopping in the gigantic interplanetary geography lesson that is Act 1, is a bit clichéd. The war movie is now interspaced with a heist movie

and like every good heist movie, it must assemble a motley crew of specialists.

There’s Jyn Erso, our hero with a tragic background who turns from being cynical to giving a rousing rebel speech. There’s Cassian Andor, a supposedly cruel, unfeeling rebel captain whom she has zero chemistry with. Bodhi Root, an Imperial pilot who defected to the rebels. The best characters IMHO are blind warrior monk Chirrut Îmwe and his guard Baze Malbus who has this awesome machine gun blaster. The team goes off, with Cassian’s snarky droid K-2SO to steal and send the Death Star’s blueprints.

We all know they get the plans. I didn’t expect them all to die, but towards the end I realised that’s exactly what will happen. It makes sense. None of the characters are in ep 4 and it solidifies the theme. War is horrible. People die in wars, good people and bad people both. It takes guts, to kill off the entire main cast, and points to director Gareth Edwards for making me not feel gutted about it. The breathtaking the last few minutes of the film helped. The precious data disks gets away by the skin of its teeth. It’s given to none other than Princess Leia who tells us about “hope.” We get the optimism even though we know what will come literally during the next 10 minutes. We know Vader (the only time a lightsabre appears) is about to chase after her and capture her. But we also know the rest of the story. That’s the beauty of this film. We can go from the very last second of R1 and seamlessly transition to the very first second of ep 4.

The special effects are mostly great. There’s one shot of a star destroyer coming out of darkness into the light and it looks like a tiny plastic model. The battles were nicely done but I wasn’t blown away. The CGI renditions of Tarkin and Leia, wow. Some people have commented about the creepiness of using a CGI-Peter Cushing. I thought he’d only be in a scene or two; with such a significant role, they could have used a real actor. The CGI of Leia looks like CGI, sorry I’m not convinced. What I really love is using original footage of Red and Gold leaders, and that sound when the death star’s ignition sequence is fired up.

The locations–Iceland, Jordan, the Maldives–are pretty and the cinematography stellar. Where the film falls below par, for me, is in the character department. Jyn and Cassian don’t even feel like siblings / friends. There’s barely time for character development. Reviews complained of a script that would even embarrass George Lucas, summing it up as a thoroughly mediocre movie which is basically a saga of data transmission when it’s hard to find a good signal.

Ouch.

I won’t go as far. I enjoyed it and want to see it again. After all, what’s not to like about a film that gets boycotted by Trump supporters because it’s too non-white (kudos for diversity!) or because the writers changed their twitter profile to add a safety pin, or, gasp, it’s about people who believe in fairness and freedom fighting against a swampful of autocrats. If ever a film set in a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away is a fitting commentary of this crazy 2016 year, it’s Rogue One.

episode 7 #starwarsforceawakens second viewing

itacho01salmon itacho02hamachi

itacho03codliver itacho04oxtongue

Met mm for early dinner at a sushi place. Ordering was via tablet and the place only got busy towards the end of our meal. We had salmon, hamachi, cod liver, ox tongue sushi plus assorted tempura and miso soup. Not bad for a semi-chain.

ep7tickets

Reason for early dinner was we went to see episode 7. The second time for me and the first time for mm. She’s less of a fan than me so she wasn’t familiar with a lot of the connections between ep 4 and ep 7. She actually thought this was the end of the series and was loudly puzzled at the end when nothing was resolved. I explained the mythology and the progression of eps 4-6, 1-3 and now 7-9. Overall, she enjoyed it.

[No spoiler tags anymore, it’s been 3 weeks.]

I was able to pay more attention to other stuff going on. I listened more closely to the score. I can see why people are shipping Finn/Poe (first viewing, didn’t register the very hoyay! run & hug when Finn and Poe reconnected at Resistance base). I chuckled at the cameos: Daniel Craig as Rey’s first Jedi Mind Trick victim; the trash compactor joke, the reprise of Han-Luke shooting at TIE fighters with Finn-Poe and then Finn-Rey. I wanted to scream at Han to get away from Ben. I love love love BB-8 and am awestruck at how expressive he is.

I don’t believe the fan theory that Kylo Ren is actually a good guy. He’s mixed up and obviously has issues, especially with his temper, but he’s too immature to have been trusted with such a gargantuan double agent task.

Mostly I wanted to watch Rey in detail again. She and the Simon Pegg character were the only local people speaking English on Jakku (I’m not counting the Max von Sydow character) so it’s conceivable that she was allowed to keep her British accent because that’s what they speak on Jakku. The ship that young Rey shouted “come back!” at wasn’t the Falcon and whoever was holding her hand spoke gruffly and wasn’t friendly. Did she suck some Force from Kylo Ren when he was trying to mind read her? Felt like Dementor’s kiss without the smoke. Still not sure of her heritage, although I doubt she’s Han and Leia’s daughter. Everybody must have collective amnesia if that is the case.

Anyway, still loving the film. Won’t mind seeing it even more times.

episode 7 #starwarsforceawakens

starwarsbb8

This part is safe to read: teasers and trailers only

From the first few seonds to the very last scene, this was the Star Wars that we know and love. We’ve heard so many hints and statements that

everything old is new again

and that’s so true. My first reaction when I came out of the cinema was “he completely rebooted it.”

We know from trailers and teasers that there will be new characers, and old characters like Han and Leia are back. Almost every scene is something nostalgic, something that brings a knowing smile or grimace. Rey and Finn, the newbies, meet on Jakku, a Tatooine-like planet. Rey is a local resident, a parts scavenger; Finn is a newcomer, he arrives in a stormtrooper uniform. We follow them on their adventures as they get involved in the fight between the good guys and the evil bad guys. The actors, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, do a good job although there is room for improvement. They seem to be intimidated in the presence of the more experienced actors and the entire Star Wars universe. Hopefully they will grow into their roles in eps 8-9. Can’t blame them really, I was very moved when Han, Chewbacca, Leia and others appeared and very glad to see they weren’t there to play cameo parts but were integral to the story.

The other new actors impressed too. Oscar Isaac is a resistance pilot reminiscent of Wedge. Lupita Nyong’o is great as Maz Kanata. Domhnall Gleeson suitably stiff upper lipped nasty. Andy Serkis is a master in what he does. Adam Driver brings depth and intrigue to a Vader-like villain. The CGI…I never noticed the CGI, which is a sign that it’s bloody excellent. When you see the special effects, it’s a sign that it’s done badly.

There are a lot of familiarities in ep7. From the aforementioned Tatooine-like Jakku to a Hoth-like ice planet, a Death Star like menace (prominent on posters), star destroyers, X-wings, TIE fighters, blasters, light-sabers, side characters, bickering between characters, old fashioned fight sequences. A lot of new experiences too. New characters. New information to digest. New questions raised. The dialogue is okay, way better than anything George Lucas did and, phew, no mention of midi-chlorians. At one point, someone says “I have a bad feeling about this.”

The less impressives: there’s a lot of exposition and backstory. I get that it’s necessary, to explain what’s happened in the 30 years between eps 6 and 7 but sometimes it’s like being hit by the cartoon anvil. The plot reveals aren’t exactly subtle either. Some we’ve guessed from teasers, some are obvious 10 seconds before we are shown what it is. Then again, it’s Star Wars, the plot has always been linear, with “surprises” coming at us at regular time intervals.

The biggest question is, is the film any good.

Oh hell yes.

It’s a worthy successor to eps 4-6, it carries on the tradition and rewards fans with copious nods and reminders of how good the originals were. A small scene change, a gesture, a line of dialogue and it’s like “oh, it’s just like [something from before].” Made me forgive eps 1-3.

Usually at the end of recaps and reviews people include language about whether readers should go see the film/read the book/buy the product. I know everyone will go see this one, so no need to say anything. The only thing I will say is, it’s worth it. The wait, the hype, the secrecy. I’ll probably see it a couple more times, with mm and then with sis, may be with mum. The film is meant to be seen unspoiled, which one can only do once, but I don’t mind seeing it again. And again and again.

[spoilers below, do not scroll down until you’ve seen the film, I mean it.]
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spoilers start here

Ready?

First, the New York Daily News published an enormous spoiler on Wednesday, before the rest of the US got to see the film. It’s terrible and I think they were disrespectful. Like I said above, the film is supposed to be seen with a clean slate, and we can only be unspoiled once.

I stumbled on some spoiled information before going to see the film. I wish I hadn’t, but on the other hand, it prepared me emotionally, especially for the one the NY paper spoiled.

Kylo Ren is Han and Leia’s son and he killed Han. Leia felt it when it happened.

They killed off Han.

Arrrrrggghhhh!

I can see the purpose, from a writer’s point of view. It’s like when JK Rowling killed off Dumbledore. That said, I want to see the payoff in subsequent episodes, they better make his loss worthwhile in the grand scheme of things.

But first, talk about other stuff.

There are too many places where ep7 reboots ep4, even ep5. JJ Abrams certainly used all the tropes in his arsenal. From the beginning, the iconic upscreen scroll that tells us that Luke has disappeared and the Resistance continues to fight against the evil First Order. We pan from a starry sky to a planet, and then a star destroyer moves across the screen, it’s so huge that it eclipses the planet. We move to Tattooine–oh sorry, Jakku–where we see a secret entrusted to a droid (BB-8, the new Artoo) who then is found by a poor scavenger, Rey (the Luke-like main character). Rey even dresses like Luke did on Tatooine and yells at someone looking like a Tusken raider. Oh, and Jakku is littered with crashed ships; Rey lives in a downed AT-AT.

The other main character, Finn, is a stormtrooper with conscience who deserts the First Order and rescues Resistance pilot Poe Damaron in a TIE fighter. They crash on Jakku and get separated. Finn is rescued by Rey (or he thinks he rescued her) and they escape the oncoming stormtroopers on the Millenium Falcon. They meet up with Han, Chewie and then later Leia and the rest of the Resistance. The rest of the film is a lot of action and ups and downs. Pretty predictable–the Resistance needs to find a weakness in the Death Star v2.0 planet called the Weapon before it destroys entire systems. A group goes physically down to the planet to disable the shields while another group in X-wings bombard from above. There is a big emotional reveal then more gut-wrenching fights between Kylo Ren and first Finn and then Rey. Kylo Ren, a trained dark lord, is injured, which is why both Finn and Rey can use a lightsaber, a weapon they’ve never seen before, against him. And it’s Luke’s iconic blue lightsaber. At the end the group on the planet escapes with casualties and the Weapon is of course destroyed.

The action plot part is predictable, but I don’t mind that. All action movies are predictable. The fight scenes are awesome without being overwhelming. There’s enough mix between old moments (hit the target at the end of a trench) and so many new things, not just in the action scenes but other scenes too. The cantina scene is reprised. Maz Kanata is as wise as Yoda, and more streetwise. Kylo Ren does the Yorrick thing with his grandfather’s skull-like helmet. He is trained by a decidedly Emperor-looking Supreme Leader Snoke. [The CGI there is so good, we don’t realise it’s a hologram until Snoke fades out.] His lightsaber, with its 2 small crossguards, is different to familiar lightsabers and we see how the crossguards can be useful when he sizzles into Finn’s shoulder with it.

The personal aspect of the film is less predictable, only marginally. We see the embrace between Han and Leia in the teasers and now I realise it’s for the last time. *sniff* We see Han explaining the Force to Rey and Finn, remembering that Han thought it’s mumble jumble. I already figured Kylo Ren is Han and Leia’s son from the teasers. But less idea about Rey’s parentage. Someone or someones abandoned her on Jakku, for safety? Is she Han and Leia’s daughter? Luke’s? There’s one teaser of Luke’s voice telling her that the Force is strong in his family and now it’s her turn that isn’t shown in the film, suggesting she is the new New Hope. I want to see the film again to see what’s the ship that flew off with her screaming “come back” at it. It doesn’t look like the Falcon.

The “I am your father” moment is when Kylo Ren kills Han, the moment of betrayal is a literal stab in the heart. The narrow bridge even resembles the original setting. At the back of my mind, I want Han to survive. May be in a fanfic world. I doubt anyone will survive a lightsaber stab through his body and a fall to nothingness though. *cry*

The film feels like the end of Act 1, which it is. Rey is the new pilot of the Falcon and she sets off to a remote island (Skellig Michael, yay!) to find Luke. Does she find out Han is her father, thus firing up her passion just like when Uncle Owen, Aunt Beru and later Obi-wan were killed? How will she come into the Force? Will Kylo Ren go through the same redemption arc like Vader/Anakin did? What about Finn? We left him unconscious, but obviously he’ll recover. What is his role, aside from loyal hero?

I didn’t come out of the cinema whooping or smiling. Instead, I felt like I did at the end of Empire Strikes Back, and not merely because of the same bleakness surrounding what happened to Han. There are things to remember, emotions to analyse, questions to be asked. If only we didn’t have to wait 2 years for ep8.

star wars ticket

starwars2015121712am

In a few hours, The Force Awakens premieres at midnight. I’ve never been a big enough fan to queue up at midnight for something, not for the iphone, Harry Potter, Hunger Games or anything like that. The initial plan is to go see it when mm’s term ends next week.

The buzz is too tempting. So I went online idly to see if it’s feasible to catch one of the midnight shows. Ah well, only a handful of seats left at the front row. That’s settled, I’m too old to stay up so late anyway.

pt424darthmaulbb

Instead, I got a ticket for the 10.25am showing thursday morning. The advantage is that it’s the first show of the day, so there’s a discount. Now the question is, do I wear my Darth Maul hoodie? Bring my lightsaber? I gave my Jedi robe to my niece so she can wear it when she goes to see it on Friday.

12 hours. I’ll watch the teasers and trailers before I go to bed.

star wars poetry

starwarspoetry

Everyone is looking forward to episode 7 when it comes out in December. I’m sure the build-up and the anticipation will be felt all the way across the Empire. The prequels will be, thankfully, not directed by George Lucas. I’m in the camp that thinks he messed up ep 1-3. So much so that I’ve pretty much blocked most of those films from my mind.

Some people are more generous. There’s an extensive essay, star wars ring theory, that argues that he used a technique called ring composition in the films, where themes and images are repeated. Some of the argument, and images in the essay, were put together by filmmaker pablo fernandez eyre who made a stunning video that shows the places where ep 1-3 echo ep 4-6. Fittingly titled, Star Wars Poetry:

I watched the video, then I watched it again. Then I watched frame by frame so I could take in both the top and bottom screen. And I try to remember the good things about ep 1-3, but can only come up with Darth Maul. I try. Mostly I remember Jar Jar Binks, the trainwreck that was Anakin and what the hell were midi-chlorians in relation to the Force? So I went back to the beginning of the video, where George Lucas says

you see the echo of where all is gonna go. It’s like poetry, they rhyme

and I almost believe he knew what he was doing and planning, and I forgive him a little. May be even feel sorry for him, that he’s misunderstood.

Thanks, gizmodo, for putting poetry in my feed.

teaser for episode 7 #theforceawakens

When episode 4 came out, people saw the trailer at the cinema before the regular feature, that was it.

When episode 1 came out, people again saw the trailer at the cinema, but I think it was also on tv shows as the actors and George Lucas did the media promotion rounds. Not sure if it was available online, media companies were much more cagey about sharing stuff in those days. Plus people would have had to contend with dial-up speed. If I looked around, may be some geek would have posted about it on the then brand new livejournal site.

Episode 7 is coming out next year. The first teaser, on the official youtube channel has been viewed 9 million times as of today, and shared an enormous number of times on social media. Everyone watched it multiple times within minutes, hours of it being released. Each frame has been scrutinised and dissected. There are even fan adaptations, like this lego version, itself with 1 million views.

I must admit, I love it. It feels much more like classic ep 4-7 than stupid ep 1-3. Stormtroopers, X-wings, a Tatooine-like landscape, new faces that don’t look annoying, and look at that lightsaber! (still prefer Darth Maul’s double sided one.) I can’t not share this, right? One more year to wait. 

disney star wars

So Disney buys Lucasfilm. The news was surprising, but then again not. There’s the Star Tours ride and Indiana Jones show at Hollywood Studios; and some of the themes touched by both companies’ films do overlap.

Some fans are aghast, not wanting change, not wanting the Star Wars franchise to become Disney-like (aka childish, predictable, too much sugarcoating). I get that. Will Princess Leia become yet another Disney princess? Will we get even more Jar Jar Binks soft toys?

Personally, I think it’s a good move. I fall into the camp of original Star Wars fans who absolutely hate, hate, hate Episodes 1-3. To me, George Lucas already turned the franchise into a second rate Disney with the prequels and the Ewok cartoons. Darth Maul was the only saving grace. So my take is, it’s about time someone else takes it over, inject some new ideas and give it back its edge. Yes I think Disney is capable of producing films that are a little bit darker. Plus, I’m glad that there’s the mighty Disney $$$ machine behind it that it will continue for many more years to come.

Anyway, on the Star Wars theme, here’s a fantastic flash mob by the WDR Radio Orchestra who treated an unsuspecting crowd at Cologne Wallrafplatz with a…treat.

star wars charity 5k

pt424darthmaulbb

Well no, I didn’t run in a 5k race, I’m still knackered and I had problem running across the road. I saw this event on runnersworld UK, someone is organising a star wars fancy dress fun run to coincide with the 35th anniversary of episode 4 coming out. Only £10 and 500 participants; there’s a 1k for kids, a 2k handcycle / wheelchair race and a 5k. A bit out of the way, at Watford, I’ll need to zipcar which instantly quadruples the cost. And needless to say there will be a complete lack of chip timing or anything resembling a competitive race, they actually advertise it as a run/walk for charity.

But, the kid in me who actually watched episode 4 when it came out and who still has the original cinema ticktet is screaming, it’s Star Wars. May the Fourth be with you and all that. I can wear my Darth Maul hoodie and/or my Jedi robe and bring my lightsaber. So tempting.

star wars weather

starwarsweatherhoth

This fun star wars weather tool shows the weather around the world in terms of star wars places. So like it’s cold here in Chicago, but it’s much more fun to say it’s like Hoth. The description goes, “cold, ice, freezing desolation. you may have to climb inside a tauntaun for warmth.”

A little view page source tells me there are 9 places:

  • tatooine — hot, dry, occasional sarlacc — utinni!
  • dagobah — hot and wet and not in a good way — Yoda might be hiding somewhere
  • yavin 4 — hot and cloudy — bits of the Death Star might fall on your head
  • endor — temperate, grey and cloudy — stick around and you may get your own animated series
  • bespin — fog, mist, cloud, can’t see a thing — Lando is going to betray you.
  • kamino — wet — there’s also a significant chance of unconvincing CGI aliens
  • naboo — temperate, dry and pleasant — meesa like-a the weather these days
  • hoth — cold, ice, freezing desolation — you may have to climb inside a tauntaun for warmth
  • alderaan — huh? does not exist

So Hoth isn’t good, we should aim at Endor or Naboo.

[via giz]

adidas star wars collection 2010

swxwing swwalker

My running shoes, technical shirt, gloves and socks are all nikes. I’m pretty brand loyal to nike, and don’t even spare a glance for the other brands.

My point? I am probably gonna break my nike loyalty for the adidas star wars limited editions. They have vader, stormtroopers, yoda, princess leia, millennium falcon sneakers. But the ones I covet most are the orange x-wing hi-tops. deep breath

They’re coming in January, and are already on ebay for $250.

darth maul hoodie

pt424darthmaulbb

Here’s me in my new special edition darth maul hoodie by Marc Ecko, which came out just before ptown. I was brandishing the double-bladed lightsabre I made at disney. Cool, eh? (Thanks to Trin for the pic.)

eckoswhoodies

I did debate long and hard over whether to get the darth maul or the boba fett hoodie, part of me is very tempted to get the boba fett one too. It’s been around since 2007 and was out of stock at one point. Hmm, may be for Christmas.

may the wii be with you

via bb, LucasArt finally announced the Star Wars wii game. It’s every would-be Jedi’s dream come true. The wiimote is perfect for a lightsaber, and the nanchuck will be used to control the Force. Really, I can already feel the wiisaber in my hand, together with distinctive hum and vibration. smileystarwars

The actual design of the wiisaber attachment hasn’t been released but here’s a mockup which needs to be viewed while playing what I recorded when I was playing around with macsaber last year.

wiisabermockup

I can recite this in my sleep

They’re showing Original Star Wars on TV tonight. Thing is with the hotel room is, the desk faces the window and the TV be actually behind me so I can’t see it. Another reason why I watched so much football, no need to watch, just listen.

Anyway, back to Episode 4. I’m sitting here at the desk as usual and I’m listening. And I can imagine every single scene, know the dialogue and even the score.

Yeah, so I’m an original SW geek, but not Episode 1-3, okay. Only Episode 4-6, I’ve seen those so many times I really can recite the whole film in my sleep.

Episode 4-6

The DVD set is finally out (except I saw a set last weekend in one of those dodgy DVD/VCD shops, before the official launch, what’s up with that?). But I don’t have a great urge to go buy it, not cos of the price, but I’m reading people’s take on it and there’s a part of me that’s disappointed at the changes from the original version.

  • Han and Greedo’s blaster fight — they seem to fire at the same time, why even make that change?
  • Jabba appears
  • Naboo appears
  • Cosmetic changes to the Emperor’s hologram and the white face of Anakin just before he dies
  • Hayden Christiansen at the end of Jedi that’s really terrible

The 1977 version of Star Wars wasn’t perfect, looking back the effects were rather shabby. But it appealed to the imagination of whole generations. And is appreciated, warts and all. It’s a bit like airbrushing models. I’m sure the DVDs look really really good. All up-to-date CG effects and all. But does it mean that in, say 2 years time, when we have even better effects that it’s time to update?

Sometimes the fun of watching the original films is to appreciate what the filmmakers were able to do at that time, with the technology and resources available then.