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Another fan, another fan blog

6.29.2006

Star Wars Action Figures... In Action!


Star Wars Action Figures
Aaaaand... ACTION!

I saw a little clip on ye olde telly earlier, of a pretty fantastic Star Wars action figure homemade video, so I gandered on over to the internet to check it out. One thing led to another and I found a bunch o' cool stuff to inject into your brains...

First the one that started this all:

The Carbon Freeze Sequence
- This is pretty much verbatim and true to the actual scene in The Empire Strikes Back. Starring... all Star Wars action figures!

This might be backtracking, but...

Star Wars Cantina
- Yep, once again starring our beloved Star Wars action figures. The full scene, great set, stop motion and live action mixed, but (spoiler warning)... Who shot first? BOO HISSS!

Faster... more intense...

Probot's Star Wars in 3 minutes
- Another mix of stop motion and live action. Our beloved Episode IV figures zip us through the basics of everybody's true first episode ;)

- The YouTube user probot also did an original series of Star Wars EU style fan flicks with action figures: Prequel Episode 01, 02 and 03. The 03rd episode gets a little wacked (and less Star Warsy), but you'll have that when a fan takes on a life of their own.

Somewhere Else...

I stumbled upon this big little 4 part series and really thought it deserved some viewage. It's on the lengthy side (each episode is almost 9 minutes), but the homemade set gets better and better (beleive me on this one!), all the way up to the end. You just have to get past the used asthma inhalers, and it's uphill from there - I swear. The animation is really pretty good: stop motion with mouth movement. Once again we have our very own Star Wars action figures with some *ahem* customizations, along with some friends from other universes, like Transformers and is that Terminator? Somewhere Else... as in not the GFFA, or here on Earth - ? Lots of inspiration in this one. Star Wars meets anime style (some Akira and Final Fantasy references in there), meets pretty much every other sci-fi - action genre influence. It's a pity you can't get better resolution from this source to truly appreciate this set. Give it a try, you might like it:

Somewhere Else: Conflict #1

(you can link to the other three parts in the explore bar, but I'll link them here too)
Somewhere Else: Conflict #2
Somewhere Else: Conflict #3
Somewhere Else: Conflict #4
- user source


Not action figures...

This last mention goes out for I.M.P.S. The Relentless. Not an action figure flick, but pretty cool fan flick nonetheless. It's still in the works, but you can view the first part that's done on their site I linked to. It's also around the YouTube, if you want quick and easy loading but bad resolution. Some pretty good CG and live action in this one.


Come on! You want me to stay because of the way you feel about me.


Attack of the Blog
date posted: Jun 21, 2006 7:25 PM

2006 Fan Film Awards at Atom Films

Vote for 2006 Fan Film Awards!
For any of you who like to check out some of the fan films, now is your chance to have your say as to which you like the best.

Go to Atom Films on the web and put in your vote from the 10 finalists for the Audience Choice Award... because, hey, what else are you gonna do this week? George Lucas is doing it. Voting ends on July 5th.

And I was so close to a 2 line blog. Ah well, my day will come.


╠☺╣ ╠☺╣ ╠☺╣ ╠☺╣ ╠☺╣ ╠☺╣ ╠☺╣ ╠☺╣ ╠☺╣


You can find the 10 films and cast your vote here:

http://www.atomfilms.com/af/spotlight/collections/starwars/

Enjoy :)

Edit - Now that I watched them all...

My choice:

Pimp My Ship Up - I had to go with this one, even though there are so many other Star Wars spoofs that mimic reality TV. Compared to the rest of the 10 options however, I thought this one was overall the funniest, and consistent. It was just long enough (a lot of them were too short), there was some good CG in there, and the commercials were fabulous (especially the IPod/3PO spoof). Not to mention the tribute to George Lucas' "space junk". If it weren't a parody on the whole mentality, I might have been slightly offended by the stereotypical objectification of women, like the slave Leia dashboard wobbly and the logo on the seat cover... but "Booty Hunter" is just too funny! :p There were a lot of funny little gags in there. But the show host should've been greener IMO.

Close runners up for me:

Han Shoots First - This one was a close second for me, and I would have chosen this for first but it was a little too short and a bit vague as to its intentions. I'm *pretty* sure it was a spoof trailer for the OOT release in September 2006. The pure matter of emphasis on Han shooting first in the OOT was enough for me to *almost* vote for this one. Well cut. Wish these weren't so darn small screened.

Pitching Lucas - This one was pretty good. Well cut, good effects, interesting enough story, acting was good (from certain angles the Lucas actor almost looked like him). There was something about it I didn't like though. Maybe it just wasn't interesting enough for me.

Blue Milk - Definitely funny, but a little too low budget-esque for me. Must be why they had to hire Rive Caedo for the leading part. She did a great job, but those Imps were just as mindless as usual.

Memoirs of a Padawan - This one would definitely be an honorable mention. I just liked it.. especially picking up the hot end of the rotoscoped wiffle ball bat :p The whole thing was a nice thought.

sith'd is a great concept, and they filmed it well. The acting and idea (for this particular "episode") is only so-so. I think they could do some great stuff with the concept though. Maybe there will be future episodes.

All the others... not too inspired in my opinion. Overall, I'm not feeling this is the best crop to choose from, but it's still good to see fans hard at work in honor of the saga.

Anyone wanna place bets on what George Lucas will pick? Republic credits only of course, since they're not worth a dram of exposed glitterstim. I wonder how he'll take Pitching Lucas.

:D

Master Skywalker, there are too many of them. What are we going to do?
:_|

This has been a public service announcement... with power converters!

Hate how they always cut Leia out of that.

*I'm in one of those moods today*

Attack of the Blog
date posted: Jun 26, 2006 12:21 PM | updated: Jun 26, 2006 3:51 PM

6.25.2006

Twin suns shining down on me...




Disclaimer: Serenity and Firefly don't touch my Star Wars fandom by even 12 parsecs, nor is it anywhere near as great, awesome, incredible and inspiring as the Star Wars saga in my opinion... but it's still fun stuff, it ain't too bad and it's brought some fans together along with the filmmaker, which is just, well... nice. Don't worry - this is only minimally about Serenity and Firefly, in observance of Serenity Day.

Edited for post-Serenity Day:

Serenity Day has now passed. Did you buy it? Rent it? Watch it? I would think that the proceeds from rentals also will all tally in to show how popular Serenity is, as fans pulled together on June 23rd. The show of support by fans of Firefly led to the making of Serenity in the first place. Star Wars would not have gotten far if it weren't for the fan reaction to Episode IV, and George Lucas has acknowledged this. Now we'll see what Serenity Day will lead to.

I didn't think I would be able to get a copy on the day, as I was stuck on the outer rim world of East Yapeepee, at a graduation dinner party type thing. Lo and behold, I found an oasis of a commercial center whilst navigating the speeder truck back to home base (and enjoying an incredible twin sunset on the way - serenity sure is a good word for it).

The last widescreen edition on the shelf? I'll take it. I enlightened the shop dude as to the reason I was purchasing my copy, and he mentioned there were a few other life forms inquiring about the very same movie and or Firefly TV series that day.

Fan participation is pretty fun. I felt so a part of something picking up my DVD of Serenity on Serenity Day, just as I felt a part of the Star Wars fandom when I went to see ROTS, and any other SW film in theaters as much as I could, to put my small part in and boost box office scores. And what a success the fans have made of Star Wars.

Bragging rights: I got to catch a few of the Firefly episodes when they were originally aired several years back, which drew me to see Serenity when it hit theaters last year. I liked it then, and I like it now - but I think nowhere near as zealously as some I've seen (I'm a Star Wars fan who enjoys a little fan fun in some other things too). So I feel a little extra special at participating in Serenity Day.

Bummer that the DVD came with a coupon for $10 off if I bought any Battlestar Galactica season along with it. They didn't have any of them in stock! I'm still waiting on the complete BSG second season anyway, and Serenity was on sale too. I strongly urge anyone who hasn't checked out the new BSG, to do so.

Of course I couldn't stop there with the Star Wars on the brain that I have. Always looking for cool things related to our beloved saga and it's actors. Looking through the selections, I had my paws on a copy of Long Way Round, but it was a bit too pricey, so I put it back with a mental note to find it online for a nicer price. I'll just have to wait a little longer to see Ewan's glory ride to the fullest. I did find a copy of Comic Book the Movie for 6 bucks. I love anything Mark Hamill. Score! I'll take it... I did take it.

Why the heck do I have a picture of George Lucas with our fuzzy and shiny friends? The reasons are several. For one, I really do feel a sense of serenity when I gaze upon this picture. Another is that I'm giving George Lucas props for largely creating the environment that allowed for a series like Firefly and Serenity to come into being, both CG/SFX-wise and conceptually. Star Wars has set the stage and pioneered for so much of the "genre" as we know it today. I don't think Star Trek would even be what it has become throughout the years if it weren't for George Lucas and Star Wars. Joss Whedon has attested to being greatly inspired by George and the saga in his Serenifly ventures.

Here's to creativity and filmmakers who hear their fan base, and speak back to them in their art.

But what REALLY made my day is when I saw my dad. "You'll never guess what I pulled out of the basement" the dark lord of the thunderwalker clan said to me with a twinkle of excitement at our mutual family love of Star Wars. The Force is strong in our family and I knew something good was coming. He pulled out an original 1983 copy of the authorized biography of George Lucas: Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas. I felt like I did getting Star Wars toys on the holidays as a kid as he handed it over to me, as if he were handing down the family lightsaber. I'm so excited, I scanned the cover.

Overall a pretty good and shiny day today. As the hour grows late here in the unknown regions, I'm going to put in my spiffy new Serenity DVD. Who else got their DVD today? Anybody watching tonight?

Now let's blow this thing and go home!

And if you haven't already, check out these sweet Star Wars action figure movies.

:)

jkthunder
Attack of the Blog

6.24.2006

Since I found Serenity

... I can kill you with my brain.

Are you a Star Wars fan and crave some more swashbuckling fun and excitement in outer space?

Do you think Han Solo is one of the coolest junk heap driving, blaster appreciatin', good guy scoundrels around (and want to see more characters like him and his ship)?

Do you wonder what in the ruttin' heck Sol and Vic are talking about when they say "I'll be in my bunk"?

Have you laughed at Rive's use of the expletives "gorram" and "shiny" but had no idea where the prissy little 10 year old ribbon barrette weilding cookie slinging girl scout came up with them?

Wonder where all those other quotes the cool kids keep spewing are coming from, because for the life of you, you can't find them anywhere in the Star Wars films?

The time is now to get crackin' and get educated. See for yourself why so many fans of Star Wars also think the 2002 one season wonder Firefly is so gorram shiny. You may love it, you may hate it, you may not get it, but you'll never know until you give it a try. Go out and rent the four disc TV series on DVD, or better yet - buy it. But hold off for 9 more days (is my math right?) on buying the subsequent movie that takes off from the Firefly series, called Serenity.

Why now you ask? Why are all these Firefly and Serenity blog entries popping up at blogs.starwars.com? Well, I won't take up your precious time and attention spans talking about why I like it... not now at least. Find out for yourself why there's a large and growing fan base behind the show and the movie, and see if you want to be part of the fun, part of a community that can make something happen through each individual's participation. Start watching Firefly today.

The fans are keeping the spirit of Serenity (the ship and the film named for it) alive by getting together, and spreading the word to the uninformed, to purchase a copy of Serenity on DVD on June 23rd.

So if you're not a fan yet, the next 9 days are a good time to watch the Firefly series and decide for yourself if it's something worth joining in with the fan fun, and supporting by buying Serenity on June 23rd. If you have to order the movie, make sure you do it on the 23rd... and you can always rent it on that day too if you want to watch it (rental sales count too!) - Have a Serenity party! Already own the movie? Buy it as a gift for someone on the 23rd. Been thinking of buying it anyway? Hold off until the 23rd and watch the Firefly series in the meantime.

Worse could happen is you'll pick up soom cool Chinese terminology ching-wao tsao duh liou mahng! Dong-ma?

With a show of enough fan interest and support, we may see another Firefly/Serenity movie come about, and possibly even the continuation of the TV series in some form.

Yeah... so I promised guitars with this public service announcement. Um, pop in one of them there Firefly DVDs and you'll get a nice little guitar ballad with every episode, written by master of the black, Joss Whedon himself. Joss who? Click around some of the links in here to find out about him.

jkthunder
Attack of the Blog




6.10.2006

9FF4


GFFA with a twist, and a splash of ambrose.

I've been filling in the gaps of the TV series Battlestar Galactica recently, and watching the episodes I had missed from the first couple of seasons on DVD. I had only seen scattered episodes of its two season lifespan thus far and had a general idea of the storyline, but still really enjoyed each episode on its own.

Now that I've seen most of it all together in sequence I'm really impressed, blown away a bit in fact, and I have another TV show to look forward to (along with the Star Wars TV series) with season 3 due to air in October of 2006. This show is pretty frakking good, if not at least for the reason that it gave me a brand new swear word to play with that hasn't reached censorship status.

I highly recommend it to any Star Wars or sci-fi fan, or anyone who enjoys a good conceptual story that is well represented through its medium both visually and as written. Okay, the hand held camera shake effect can seem a little over the top at times. I guess that contributes to the overall unique style of the show, and is reminiscent of both the original Battlestar Galactica series from the 1970's as well as the whole genre of Flash Gordon through Godzilla type cinematography. I'm just not much of a fan of quick zoom and flash panning in lieu of well edited static frame shots. We have some great state of the art equipment and technology today, so why not use it.

I'll say one thing though, they did a great job with CG and SFX for a mere TV show. It gets a little retro at times, but since it's intentional, and actually looks intentional, I'll accept it. In that respect, they put modern CG tools to good use. It's also filmed completely in HD, so I guess it had to be dumbed down a bit to get the realistic look.

I did have a hard time taking the show seriously when I first heard about it, I think back in '03 or '04. A remake of the series I watched as a kid to fill the void left after seeing the new phenomenon of Star Wars in the theaters, which I quickly became consumed by (Star Wars that is), seemed like more of a novelty and I had doubts as to its success. To my amazement, the new Battlestar Gallactica "reimagined" won many awards and acclaim shortly into its first season, even though I wasn't all that surprised after having seen a couple episodes. It was nice to see something as cool as this (at least cool to me, and my version of cool is usually a bit outside the mainstream) gain such positive recognition even beyond its own sci-fi genre microcosm.

I don't remember much about the story of the original Battlestar Gallactica series, just images and feelings really ;). I suppose if I wanted to I could research it all through the websites (they do have a sufficient amount of stuff on the web to get immersed in), but frankly I have enough energy concentrated elsewhere in the online world of fandom.

The differences I've been able to see from the old to new series are that one of the main characters "Starbuck" has been transformed to a female role in the new series. The old series had Starbuck probably a little too close to a swashbuckling Han Solo 'come' X-Wing squadron leader type feel. Also, the old series had a fuzzy robot dog mascot named 'Tweekie' (edit - the name was Muffit. The "Twiki" I was thing of a robot from the 80's Buck Rogers), which would have been something like the equivalent of R2 with maybe some 'Chewie the side-kick' attributes thrown in there. There's no real mascot/side-kick character in the new series that I can say would fit into that role.

They used the same basic ship designs, especially for the Ast fighters which in the new series are museum artifacts they had to make use of after the unexpected exile from Caprica (this is the starting point for the series). They are a virtual flashback to the old series, where the Viper was certainly inspired by the X-Wing concept. But maybe it had something to do with Ralph McQuarrie working as the original concept artist for both the original BSG and original Star Wars.

There are some cool tie-ins to the old series too, from borrowed set designs to flash backs of the older model cylon troopers/robots (yeah... pretty much storm/clone troopers) that were used in the 70's show. The funniest thing I've found is the appearance of actor Richard Hatch as the character Tom Zarek in the new series. Richard Hatch played Apollo in the original series from the 70s and still has the same exact haircut. Talk about a tie-in! His new character is vastly different from that of Apollo, who is played by the young and broodish Jamie Bamber. The fact that Starbuck is now female, but Apollo is still male in the new series, puts an interesting spin on the two characters' relationship.

The new series is supposedly "re-imagined" from the original story "in which a 'rag-tag fugitive fleet' of the last remnants of mankind flees pursuing aliens (cylons - also from the original series) while simultaneously searching for their true home, Earth".

The word "alien" in this quoted plot outline from battlestargalactica.com has a much different meaning, and I question how appropriate it is here. One would learn this in the first few minutes of the introductory miniseries anyway, so it's not much of a spoiler, but the "aliens" actually originated as robot/computer/servants (another massive departure from the original series where cylons were in fact real aliens) that were created by the humans in the first place. The cylons, empowered by the intelligence instilled in them, rebelled and separated from the humans to build their own life, and to meet again many years later...

Earth, however, is more of a prophecy that no one is sure really exists. A lot of interesting and familiar themes are chocked up in the main concept here, especially relative to Star Wars themes (except of course the concept of Earth) which the original series was perhaps rightfully accused of spinning off. The plot revolves primarily around the commander and pilots and lead ship of the fleet, much like our X-Wing, Jedi and clone pilot aviation theme in Star Wars. There's definitely a lot of X-Wing pilot/Luke Skywalker moments. But at the same time, the series draws some of the elements from other popular shows today, like JAG and West Wing for example, with gritty realistic military life overlapped with a subplot of the intimacies of political leadership.

Another cool theme of the show is the spiritual aspect of these humans from another time and another place. It could be a long time ago in a GFFA (okay, look back at the blog title now if you couldn't read it at first glance - whatever, I thought it looked sorta cool), or is it far off into the distant future and still in the same galaxy.

If the relative timeline was specified in the show, I guess I missed that, but it seems to be a question begging to be asked as well as a big nod to Star Wars itself. The humans, for the most part, believe in the same pantheon of Greek Gods we know from the ancient mythology and the story of the Iliad. The cylons have a formulated beleif system of sorts too, but that of a single god.

But the question is as to whether these were the "ones" who brought these ideas to our Earth long ago, or are they remnants of our original Earth ideas projected long into the distant future? There is much borrowed from other Earth spiritual traditions we know on the show, but the main focus stays with the Hellenistic v. Judeo-Christian mindset, which I find really interesting. Not bad for someone who claims to not be the religious type. I guess it's the mindless philosopher in me, more than an actual practitioner. To keep this whole conceptual ball rolling, the idea that "this has all happened before, and will happen again" is frequently mentioned, suggesting that the events of the human drama are played out in a constant loop throughout infinity, and that our reality fluctuates in perspectives.

Star Wars seemingly spawned some thinking on the question of "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" and humanity's role in the cycle of time relative to our present lives on Earth. It brings me back to another one of my favorite shows from the late 70's called Star Blazers, which was an early anime series featuring another rag-tag band of human space travelers who had a mission to save the human race. Like BSG, Star Blazers made an attempt to bring the concept of the human role in the universe implied with the GFFA, into the context of Earth relevance.

I especially appreciate the notion that the two main spiritual/cultural perspectives differ in that one is a more dualistic view of good v. evil, and the other is more of a tragic view of humanity involving less defined contrasts. Okay, at least this is where stories like this take my thought processes, the same way Star Wars inspires deeper thinking. I am obviously attracted to the ideas of ancient mythology being embedded into the story, which BSG does, but in a different fashion than Star Wars. The whole cylon DNA cloning thing is another theme that is a big part of Star Wars and also relevant today, and straddles the ideas about what makes us human yada yada... We've got all of our other crucial character and plot elements here too: faulted heroes finding their way, family ties that can make or break the survival of the masses, scoundrels gone good, etc. However, nothing is an exact copy of the same scenario in Star wars.

Before the scroll bar gets too big, I'll tie this up and just end it with a high recommendation for the series. It's earned two thumbs up from this fangirl. And really, I never considered myself so much of a sci-fi fan as much as a good story and concept enthusiast. But then again, supposedly if you don't think you're crazy, you probably are.

:D

A little edit here - Thought I'd post some links to a couple of the other websites aside from the one I included above.

As anyone could have probably predicted, theres a Wiki page for BSG: Battlestar Wiki. They actually have one of my favorite quotes up today from the miniseries...

Starbuck: I thought you were dead.
Apollo: I thought you were in hack.
Starbuck: It's good to be wrong.
Apollo: You should be used to that by now.
Starbuck: Everyone's got a skill.


Scifi.com also has thier own Battlestar Galactica site.

Note - If you plan on purchasing the DVD sets, only the first half of season 2 has been put to DVD as of the date of this blog. Season 1 was my personal favorite (especially since it includes the mini series in the set), and I probably wouldn't bother owning season 2 until the second half comes out on DVD, and if they compile it to one set.

:)