A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, George Lucas created a franchise that would invade pop culture like no other.
Archive for the 'Star Wars' Category
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It's less than a week to The Hobbit's premiere, wherein we see the One Ring fall into the hands of the unlikeliest person, setting into motion the last battle to come from the War of the Ring. These many evils were perpetuated by Sauron, the power-hungry lord of the rings who was defeated only through the combined forces of the good races of Middle-Earth, many of them led by the wizard Gandalf.
But what if Sauron was not the greatest foe Gandalf ever faced? Surely there is no more powerful evil on Middle-Earth — but what if we were to look to the stars? What if the Dark Lord that Gandalf the Grey faced was not Sauron — but Darth Vader?
The battle's outcome was decided by a popular vote, though I can't say I agree with the result. I feel we've witnessed more powerful users of the Force in the Star Wars universe, and even they were defeated. Of course, leaving Darth Vader as the ringbearer presents a far more interesting scenario: what now?
This video is, surprisingly, not from the same team that brought us Batman vs. Captain America. It seems celebrity superhero mashups are all the rage on YouTube. Which two powers do you want to see clash next?
Filed under Humor, Star Wars; leave a comment.
Star Wars and John Williams' soundtrack for same have inspired many lyrical masterpieces that pay homage to the original while creating their own unique variation and atmosphere. The format and style has ranged from the faithful Star Wars: In Concert tour to a corny Star Wars: The Musical the interpretive Dancing with the Stars.
Adding to that eclectic body of work and currently topping the YouTube charts is what's sure to be an instant classic. Please enjoy Cello Wars:
And yes, that's the same guy on both sides of the duel. In the YouTube video description, artists The Piano Guys detail the investment in this production: "70 days later, more than 7,000 frames, 72 audio tracks, 24 hours of filming through the night in front of a green screen, the most props and costumes we've ever used, several broken bows and strings, and over 1,000 hours of editing and rendering". I'd say it was worth the effort!
You can download the MP3 version for free, though it features only 75% of the above video's soundtrack. Snagging this file (which has no ID3 tags) requires engaging in a viral marketing campaign by sharing a link via Facebook page or Twitter; far less obnoxious is subscribing to their YouTube channel — a pretty low price for such a quality product.
May the strings be with you!
(Hat tip to Jessica Kreutter)
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Go to any science fiction convention and you'll see geeks sporting their hearts on their sleeves — or, more accurately, their license plates. Vanity plates reading everything from "X-WING" to "FIREFLY" are not uncommon sightings.
However, such a display was not something I expected to see in my own workplace's parking lot:
I eventually tracked down the Jeep Wrangler's owner to Computerworld's COO, whom I quizzed: "So are you a big Star Wars nut? Or were you just looking to intimidate folks?" His response:
My family has a tradition of having grandchildren call their grandparents some name other than grandpa or grandma. Nana, papa, grandma, granddad, etc. are some of names selected over time by various grandparents. I chose Vader pretty much just to bug my mother. So my three grandchildren are going to call me Vader — as soon as they can talk; all are under six months old at this point.
Courtesy this gentleman's vivid imagination, an entire generation will grow up unafraid of the Dark Lord of the Sith. How will they feel when they learn his true origin? Will they rebel against their seemingly loving grandfather? Will the Star Wars saga play out once again, pitting blood against blood? Only time will tell… Until then, he can at least be counted on for a lollipop or two.
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Spoofing Star Wars never seems to go out of style. From RiffTrax to Robot Chicken to Family Guy, many artists have used this theme for more than just an independent one-off, making it a continuing commercial venture.
But few have the history or duration of Pink Five, which debuted as far back as 2002 with sequels appearing in 2004 and 2006. This independent fan series presents an alternative perspective on the events of the original Star Wars trilogy (episodes IV–VI). Paralleling the well-known tale of a rebellious young moisture farmer, the audience instead follows a dim-witted but obstinate Valley girl. It may sound annoying as all heck, but stick with it, as the writing is actually quite clever — her landing on Dagobah will have you laughing out loud. The character even proved popular enough to have a cameo in the official Star Wars expanded universe. The shorts' special effects are also inspired, their many subtle touches effectively inserting our heroine into George Lucas' universe.
Filed under Star Wars, Television; leave a comment.
Here's yet another TV preview, this time for Family Guy, which two years ago performed its own rendition of Star Wars: A New Hope with its animated spoof episode, "Blue Harvest". Faster than LucasArts can pump out sequels, you can already catch the Family Guy's Empire Strikes Back, "Something Something Something Darkside", released today on DVD. Here's the trailer:
A sequel parodying Return of the Jedi titled "We Have A Bad Feeling About This" is planned.
Filed under Star Wars, Television; 3 comments.
The holidays are upon us, and with them are a sleighful of television specials. The Eighties were a particularly good decade for the genre, presenting the season in schmaltzy but memorable vignettes, whether it be a one-off or a very special episode of a regular series.
If you long for that era and can't find your favorite special in this year's lineup, then check out A BeTaMaXMaS, a Web site that uses YouTube to aggregate various classic specials into a retro theme. Whether you're looking for Silver Spoons, Perfect Strangers, the Smurfs, or the Muppets, you'll find them all in this family den, complete with spotty reception. Play with the antennae to reduce the snow, or use the remote control as well as a TV Guide to access additional programming. It's a charming throwback to the days before 54" high-definition televisions, 5.1 surround sound, and other audio-video standards we now take for granted.
One of my favorite treats from that era was Will Vinton's Claymation Christmas Celebration, featuring the California Raisins. The entire 24-minute special has been posted to YouTube, including musical numbers such as "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", "Carol of the Bells", and "We Three Kings" (featuring the Caramel Camels!).
Wanting something newer but still familiar? The Muppets are always happy to accommodate:
If, despite all this cheer, you're still a Scrooge, then take off the rose-tinted glasses and see these holiday specials for how terrible they really are with a bit of help from RiffTrax:
Whatever your television preferences, may your season be merry!
Filed under Potpourri, Star Trek, Star Wars; 4 comments.
The passing of Halloween means the holidays are nearly upon us — but if you're a geek in Boston, then there are far more significant festivities headed your way. The biggest and best celebrities of science fiction will be coming to Massachusetts for three different events this month:
• On Saturday, November 14th, the touring "Star Wars In Concert" comes to the TD Garden for both a 3:00 PM matinee and an 8:00 PM performance. The concert is described as "John Williams' breathtaking score from the epic Star Wars saga … performed by a live symphony orchestra and chorus, accompanied by a stunning video montage on an enormous LED screen." Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) has been narrating this concert, though it's unclear if that's only at specific venues. Us Bostonians are no stranger to hearing Mr. Williams' soundtracks performed live, as the composer is also the director emeritus of the renowned Boston Pops Orchestra and often serves as guest conductor, but a dedicated concert to this particular score is a rare treat. Tickets are $32.50, $52.50, or $72.50, plus applicable taxes and fees.
• That same weekend is the New England Fan Experience (NEFX) sci-fi convention. Star Trek headliners include Bostonian Leonard Nimoy (Spock Prime) as well as John de Lancie (Q), though the former will be available only on Saturday, competing with the aforementioned Star Wars concert. Online tickets (via a Web site that is remarkably reminiscent of a GeoCities page) are available through November 6th for $45 each, or for $50 at the door.
• NEFX 2009 is held a week earlier than in 2008, avoiding the conflict that occurred last year with the annual Super Megafest, traditionally held the weekend before Thanksgiving. That means this year, you can attend NEFX one week and Super Megafest the next! The latter is held in Framingham, less than a half-hour west of Boston. The expo — which features an unusual amalgam of sci-fi actors, comic book artists, TV show stars, and pro wrestlers — will this year present Brent Spiner (Star Trek's Data), Ray Park (Star Wars' Darth Maul and, more recently, G.I. Joe's Snake Eyes), and James Marsters (Buffy's Spike). In addition to signings, each star also has a half-hour Q&A session, though the schedule is unknowable prior to the event: an email from its coordinator informed me, "No, panels will not be posted on the site. Most celebs will do Q&A sessions both days. However sat is probably the better day to see more Q&A sessions." Last year I happened to show up just in time to see Jonathan Frakes; otherwise I would've been out of luck. The actual show floor is quite small but packs a lot into it. Tickets for the entire November 21-22 weekend are only $20.
Though the two conventions offer cheaper admittance than the orchestral concert, they also have the most potential to drain your allowance, based on how many celebrity autographs you want to go home with; typical fees range from $20 to $50 or more per signing. This will be my third Super Megafest, and I usually budget $100 for at least three autographs.
If you'll be attending either the Star Wars matinee or the Super Megafest, be sure to say hello to Showbits!
Filed under Star Wars; 2 comments.
Star Wars is a universe divided: an excellent trilogy followed by three awful prequels. Yet this division is something that unites the fans, as rarely will you find a Jedi wannabe who favors Jar-Jar Binks over Master Yoda. I'm not of a very different mind on this matter, though I have previously argued that even the prequel trilogy has its redeeming moments. If I have to choose sides, I just can't help but root for the underdog.
What is less often considered is the six series as a united whole, and the impact the prequels have on the original trilogy. Have you ever watched all six movies not in release order, but in chronological order? If so, did you notice some things that didn't make sense before suddenly take on a whole new meaning?
One creative author has organized all those threads into a logical supposition. In Keith Martin's reconsideration of Star Wars IV in the light of I-III, two characters that have always been fan favorites are cast in unexpectedly prominent yet subtle roles. Think the heroes of this film were Luke Skywalker and Han Solo? Think again. As unlikely as this casting is to be canon, it's an imaginative — and seemingly plausible — interpretation that gives George Lucas' galaxy more depth than even he intended. If you have time to read this 2,299-word dissertation, you won't be disappointed.
One point in the above essay that I had to question: was the Millennium Falcon anywhere in the prequel trilogy? I don't remember. I know it defended Earth from the Borg, roughly a century after R2-D2 went up against the Romulans. So it's entirely possible these characters would show up unexpectedly in their own franchise.
(Hat tip to Rotten Tomatoes)