Still eying the 1up live blog, now from the breakouts. I'm starting to glaze over at the details of a PC MMORPG though. It does look like this is going to get developed for console platforms, but they are working on the core design now. At least they didn't say this will definitely be PC only... just that PC is all they are talking about "for now".
So, even though it's within the KOTOR time frame, it isn't actually "KOTOR 3", which I'm glad for, since by it's nature of being an MMORPG, this makes it distinctly *not* KOTOR. Instead, it is Star Wars: The Old Republic, and will be taking place around 300 years after KOTOR (2). Apparently some characters from the KOTOR series may appear if they could weather the 3 centuries.
Visit the official site - www.swtor.com
Video from game spot featuring BioWare's Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk:
Still eying the 1up live blog, now from the breakouts. I'm starting to glaze over at the details of a PC MMORPG though. It does look like this is going to get developed for console platforms, but they are working on the core design now. At least they didn't say this will definitely be PC only... just that PC is all they are talking about "for now".
Lucas Arts is engaged in a press conference at this very moment, where they are going to reveal the new project they've been working on all this time with BioWare. So we're just waiting on official, official declarations that this is KOTOR 3, MMORPG style. I'm following a live blog of the event over at 1up.com, where "KOTOR 3" has already been used to describe the project twice, as far as I can decipher from Scooter's report.
More when it's really official, official - hopefully with trailers!
Posted by starthunder at 5:31 PM
Sources: Lucas Arts, Game Focus (pictures)
LucasArts today announced that it is preparing two rounds of additional content for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed this Fall. This new content will be available for Xbox 360 owners through Xbox Live Marketplace and for PlayStation 3 owners through the PlayStation Network.
The first piece of downloadable content will be comprised of additional costumes and character models that can used while playing through the single-player campaign, including Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ki-Adi-Mundi, and Kit Fisto.
The second round of downloadable content, due later this year, will feature an entirely new single-player mission, set in the Jedi Temple on the planet Coruscant. Darth Vader’s Secret Apprentice turns to the Jedi Temple to learn more about his father, and while searching through the rubble of the destroyed building he must confront his inner demons.
Both sets of content are being created by LucasArts’ internal development team.
Additional themes and picture packs will also be released over time.
Pricing and availability for these downloadable items will be announced at a later date.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was released on September 16, and since then has become a worldwide hit. The game completely re-imagines the scope and scale of the Force and casts players as Darth Vader’s “Secret Apprentice,” unveiling new revelations about the Star Wars galaxy seen through the eyes of this mysterious new character, who is armed with unprecedented powers.
More information about the game can be found at the official website, www.theforceunleashed.com.
It was almost time to get excited in the USA for the long anticipated arrival of Wii remote lightsaber attachments, which were previously only available in the UK. Somehow, Nintendo thought it too dangerous to agree to such an attachment (but boxing gloves, other controller accessories, and the remotes themselves weren't already dangerous in the same way?), but I guess it was okay for the Brits to wack the snot out of each other.
In recent weeks, there were several different brands offering the lightsaber attachments for preorder, of which the highest quality hilts were from the Thrustmaster company. The Thrustmaster Glo Saber Duo Pack had a release date listed for September 30, with preorders available. If you check that link today (September 30, the release date) they are already temporarily out of stock. Did they ever really have them in stock, or did the preorders scoop them all up?
There are some other brands offering a lightsaber attachment, but you will be hard pressed to find any available. Amazon is also carrying the Glo Sword, which appears to ship from Target (so look for it there on shelves at some point?), in three different flavors as far as I could find; red, blue, and green. This one is "temporarily out of stock" as well, although I hadn't seen if this had a release date previous to today.
Bestbuy.com has a listing for the dreamGEAR Dual Glow Sabers, which as of yesterday was listed as "coming soon", and today - you guessed it - they are backordered.
My guess is there was a limited quantity of all of these brands that they tried to squeeze out for the already released (as of September 16) Force Unleashed game. Here's to hoping there is a large supply available for the release of the Nintendo exclusive Clone Wars game, expected for the holiday season.
Spotted these videos of Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill on the Mike Douglas Show from 1977, which aired just weeks after the original Star Wars premiered (youtube user dvp1122)
The chat is cut a little short, and the next segment brings in Pete Rose and Tom Seaver, but since it's the olden days, the Star Wars cast sticks around without saying much. Link
Posted by starthunder at 5:50 PM
This may be just what I need to actually dig into Soul Calibur IV. I have the PS3 version, but with little time to play of late (okay, I admit I got a little side tracked with Ninja Gaiden 2), I've barely customized a character and started the story.
As TFN's Curto put it in this SC4 review, we need a little back story as to the why and how our beloved Star Wars characters ended up in the Soul Calibur 'verse. The online comic at starwars.com titled Star Wars: Visions of the Blade aims to do just that. Goody!
So it seems like you always play dark roles, like Crashdown, the Secret Apprentice... and now Doomsday. Are you like the Lord of Darkness?Dang. Now I'll have to watch Smallville.
I'm trying to figure that out. Well, you know, yeah. What's funny about that is the Doomsday character, or Darth Vader's apprentice, or a lot of these characters... they're not straight dark characters. They have other dimensions to them. And I think maybe that's why they offer [those roles] to me, I'm not really sure. In The Mist, I was a nice guy. That didn't work out too well for me.
At the time of this posting, The Force Unleashed demo is up on Xbox Live for Gold members only (Gah! What a rip!), and it is not yet up on the Playstation Network, but I'm hoping it will be very shortly. I've heard some mumbles that PSN doesn''t update until somewhere between mid afternoon up to 9pm Pacific Time. *cries*
The Official Star Wars.com Blog just brought to our attention this huge article from Wired Magazine about Leland Chee,"continuity database administrator for the Lucas Licensing arm of Lucasfilm", but better known to the rest of us as The Keeper of the Holocron. Leland not only takes care of everything you see on the databank at starwars.com, but he's really the king of the bestest playground in this part of the galaxy.
You can see The Keeper in print in the September issue of Wired, but be sure to check out the above linked online edition for lots of sweet video and other links!
Posted by starthunder at 10:26 PM
If you haven't already checked out If Star Wars Was Real.com do it now! They've recently added some archival photographic evidence. Here's some classic one liners:
ISWWR... a protocol droid would be doing your job!
ISWWR... unfortunately, Princess Leia would have been your sister too.
ISWWR... you would be captain of the Millenium Flamingo instead of that other one.
ISWWR... Boba Fett would've disintegrated you already.
ISWWR... the Empire would be the LEAST of your worries.
ISWWR... Jabba would live in the midwest and wouldn't be considered obese!
ISWWR... Jabba would be the #1 Hip Hop / R&B artist in America!
ISWWR... you would have failed as a jedi.
Posted by starthunder at 9:46 PM
I've come to the conclusion that in the Terminator 'verse you get to wear ass-kicking boots all the time.
Caught this little interview with Summer Glau on IGN. Glau stars in The new TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles on FOX. It's first season got cut short last fall due to the writer's strike, just as some people were starting (or trying) to warm up to the show. I for one had some pretty high expectations for both the writing and FX to be good, given the talent, competition, and technology we have available for the small screen these days. Then again, I am a Battlestar Galactica (reimagined) fan, so my expectations are probably too high. Nevertheless, TSCC had it's moments, and most of them were carried out by Glau, for me at least. I'm hoping the second season, which starts September 8, will kick it up a notch.
Demo for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed coming on August 21 on Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Network
On August 21st, PLAYSTATION®3 and Xbox®360 owners will be able to unleash the Force in the comfort of their own homes by downloading the demo of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed from Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network. The demo gives players a taste of one of the early levels in the game: the TIE Fighter Construction Facility, under siege by a Jedi General named Rahm Kota. The Secret Apprentice has been sent by Darth Vader to hunt down and destroy the General, but is also told that, in order to remain a secret, he is to leave no witnesses.
Click the above link for the rest of the article. Yay!
Unfortunately, this new TIE webcam offered by Wesco LTD has a clip that looks like a butt, or one set of Yarna's boobs. That won't hold us back from adding it to our ultimate collection of Star Wars computer peripherals! (Amazon.uk, via Engadget)
I love G4. They have gaming, technology, pop culture stuff, but most of all because they're Star Wars fans, and recently G4 has been letting it all hang out.
They've been rerunning the 1.5 hour Celebration Japan special frequently, with awesome interviews from cast biggies, and have pretty much all of it divided into mutliple video segments on the website. Click here to see them all (I started at page 2, since the end is the beginning in this case). I have to post my favorite video from the lot though, which features our very own starwars.com fellow blogger and GHG Geek 'greenandwhitejedi', who aces the Star Wars quiz while the others flounder (how they didn't know the answers to those questions and still paid to go to Celebration Japan is way beyond me). Sorry fanboys, no Slave Leia Olivia this year, but they do flash back to those golden days with a Japanese twist! More info after the video:
Aside from this awesome Celebration Japan spectacular, X-Play is also running some Star Wars heavy programming centered around the upcoming Force Unleashed release (yeay!). As with CJ, most of the TFU segments are available to view via the site (scroll down to X-Play Previews), sans commercials. Some of the best news from X-Play concerning TFU is that the game is finished and they're putting the playable demo together which we can expect this month!
I've also heard that Steve Sansweet will be on Attack of the Show, but haven't seen it in the programming and I'm not sure if it's happened yet. Anybody?
I went to a matinee of The Clone Wars on this opening day as per the family tradition. What kind of fan would I be if I didn't write about the experience? I was a little surprised to see how few people were in the theater (less than 100 out of several hundred seats?), and that I was one of the few people donning at least a Star Wars t-shirt (that I could see), never mind a full costume. I held off on going to a midnight release, even though one was available in my local, suburban multiplex. For every single Star Wars movie, I've gone the afternoon of the opening day, ever since 1977. I wondered if I had missed the commotion from the midnight show. I was both disappointed and relieved to hear that there were only "like three" people there, apparently mostly bar stragglers, according to one attendee's account.
I didn't really know what to expect, although in general I didn't expect much judging from the lukewarm (or worse) reviews from the advanced screenings. Having low expectations was probably a good thing, because I was actually thoroughly impressed. I was almost as thrilled with the experience as I had been with other Star Wars movies. This was just different, and that I expected, but I just didn't know how it would be different nor how I would feel about it (being all Star Wars emo and all). From this point on, this review contains spoilers...
Of course, there was some choking up right from the get-go. You can flash the Lucasfilm logo and the "A long time ago..." opener at me anytime and I get misty-eyed. This is certainly a fan bias factor, but what is anything Star Wars if not a personal connection for most fans. However, this is where the major familiarity to the saga films ends. No 20th Century Fox fanfare. No opening crawl. No John Williams. No tilt from space to a ship or planet, although the "Clone Wars" logo did jettison into a space abyss, like the Star Wars logo usually does in the films. Instead, space cut to a voice like a news announcer from the WWII news reels they used to show in theaters before a movie. Alternately the voice, which overlayed "footage" of scenes relevant to the build up of the actual Clone Wars (yes, I know this is fiction), was similar in style to that of those action hero serials from the 40's and 50's Saturday matinees where the narrator would bring the audience up to speed by saying something like "Last time, our heroes narrowly escaped...". My immediate impression with this unexpected opening scene was that this really is a personal touch from George Lucas, who was raised on and inspired by those Saturday matinees, and who also can't get enough of WWII style dogfighting. Being a fan and follower of George's career, I was touched by this. It felt personal to me too, especially since I was raised on George.
One thing that did keep The Clone Wars similar in tone to the rest of the saga was the cinematography. I know that sounds strange when comparing an animation to live-action, but in Clones, the camera framing, angle, and composition were very similar to the films, and I think it gave it some of the same epic, bigger-than-life appeal.
The opening sequence subsided into a scene with some fighters over Coruscant, which was reminiscent of the opening battle sequence from Revenge of the Sith in both the look and the way the camera moved. It seemed like some sort of intermediate evolution of the space tilt we usually see right after the opening crawl. It's the first real taste we get of the whole style, look, and depth of The Clone Wars. The animation truly is unique and frankly gorgeous. It's also a little confusing at first. Some of the close-ups reveal details that are photorealistic, yet you know it's animated, especially because of the way the characters look. It looks as if they are real models made out of clay, wood, or metal - yet stylized. Maybe the digital projection helped this effect along a bit. I noticed the same thing with Wall.E, except in that case the animated human characters were cartoonish and less defined.
When I saw footage on the web, and later on TV, I had a real distaste for the look of the human characters. Their big eyes, little necks, stringy bodies, and angular faces just looked creepy (I couldn't help picturing the Bratz franchise). All the other species looked cool to me, especially Ahsoka. This all changed when I finally saw it all together on the big screen. All the characters fit into their environment (although I have to say that everyone in The Clone Wars 'verse needs some major moisturizer).
I also felt unsure about many of the voice actors for familiar characters being different from those from the movies, but they also all fit really well when watching it on the big screen. I grew into the way James Arnold Taylor captured the wit of Obi-Wan, but there were a few times the character went a little overboard, particularly when he called the Ventress "darling". That actually creeped me out. Some of the other semi-creepout moments were the hints of what seemed to me like sexual tension between Anakin and his new and very young padawan. I think the intentions behind the prolonged gazes into each others eyes, the quarreling, and other bonding experiences were geared toward invoking emotions about what we know Anakin does to the padawans and younglings later on. Maybe my mind is just in the gutter, but I could help thinking Anakin was about to cheat on Padme with intergalactic prison-bait. I wouldn't put it past him!
Also, maybe I just missed this with everything that was happening at once, but why did Anakin all of a sudden start calling Ahsoka "Snips"? For the life of me, I couldn't remember what that could possibly reference, and I was paying attention, I swear!
The bonding issue with Anakin, and what Yoda explained about wanting it to teach him to let go, is one of the most interesting themes for me, and I think this is what hurls us into the larger journey of the TV series, along with that whole war thing and the Clones and all that. I'm already starting to predict several different ways this will be portrayed. Will it redeem the Jedi for how Anakin turned out, or will it simply make us hate Anakin even more and make him impossible to redeem for slaying younglings? No matter what, I'm sure there will be as many different fan reactions, theories, and opinions as there are stars in the galaxy far, far away.
So overall I was extremely pleased, and even though it wasn't without faults in the story and dialogue department (even though it was easy enough to follow the main story points), it was filled with so much visual awesomeness and action that the faults didn't distract me, even with the all the kids chattering in the theater. And action galore there was. A lot of reviewers seem to feel there was too much action, but for me, as soon as it started to seem like it was going to be too long, something came in to move the story forward. It definitely calls me back for return theater viewings, for both the visual experience and to catch the things I couldn't absorb the first time.
So yeah, it looks like a lightsaber game. It acts like a lightsaber game. But it's not a "lightsaber" game. Sony unveiled an interesting new motion tracking game-play system for the PS2 at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival on August 12, which should be available by the holidays this year. The new games will be using the PS2's Eye Toy, which isn't so new anymore. Some of the things that will make the new Eye Toy games different are the 1:1 motion-tracking capabilities, which should make movement instantaneous on screen, as well as the updated color-tracking system. The most notable game to be introduced is 'Hero', which will feature a fluorescent green sword used by the player which the Eye Toy will track and represent on screen as a glowing sword used to deflect objects and parray enemies.
Pros: Looks like a lightsaber. You get to swing a sword around. It's not for Wii.
Cons: It's not a lightsaber (Sony, did you even ask George Lucas?). You have to swing a sword around (Put on a sweatsuit and remove breakables from living room). The glowing sword on screen just hovers with no hands or character attached to it. Not even a mention of PS3 compatibility (even for backwards compatible systems). It's not a lightsaber.
Read more from:
Looking for something different while waiting for the fall TV line-up? NBCU announced the launch of a new sci-fi web series titled Gemini Division, which will air it's first "webisode" on August 18. Tune in weekly for continuing webisodes on the official Gemini Division website, or "on VOD via Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS and DISH Network, in addition to EST (Electronic Sell-Through) via Amazon Unbox, Microsoft's Xbox LIVE and Zune, NBC Mobile and several online video portals."(Sci Fi Wire)
Set in the "not too distant future", Gemini Division tells a tale of an agent who experiences loss while a war is waged against simulated organic beings (Uh, Cylons?). Below is a preview and a trailer. Also available on the site are making-of videos, which I am avoiding to try and keep it somehwhat real (but maybe I'll cave since I'm a sucker for extras). The filming style looks different. It looks like they're going for a presentation that will easily transfer on mobile devices and web streaming. Not exactly fond of that look, but I'm willing to give it a go.
With technology and science advancing at what seems to be an exponential rate, a lot has happened since Jeanne Cavelos first published The Science of Star Wars back in 2000. Scientific American magazine caught up with the author and updated on some of the more recent breakthroughs. Read the interview here, and check out excerpts from the book here. Don't get any funny ideas about DNA though.
I know - The animated Clone Wars movies hasn't even hit regular theaters yet, although it has premiered at the historic LA Egyptian theater already. If you put in a quick Google search, you'll find tons of reviews from the event (or check out the previous entry here). But what a lot of us are really excited for (at least *I* am) is the live-action series. Let the kids have The Clone Wars. However, with all the Clone Wars publicity going on lately, it seems some of the media have finally squeezed a little more live-action info from Lucas. I like this from The Herald UK (and not just because of the tie-in to my other fandom, the new Battlestar Galactica. But since it was mentioned, I'll just throw in that part too):
"After that comes a live action TV series, akin to the recent Battlestar Galactica series - which is ironic given that the original Battlestar TV series from the 1970s was regarded as something of a Star Wars rip-off.
"The live action programme is completely separate from the Star Wars film," he says. "The animated Clone Wars film and show, however, has all of the characters that everybody knows - everybody from Yoda to Anakin to Mace Windu to Obi-Wan - everybody's there. But the live-action series has nobody there, because it's after Episode III, so everybody's dead, basically, or hiding somewhere."
There are just too many reviews out there, so I'll just post the following video of the event courtesy of The Associated Press, and this LA Times article. From what I've heard, there was swag a-plenty to go around, then... nothing.
The Clone Wars opens in theater nation-wide on Friday August 15, 2008. In case anyone was wondering.
This handmade miniature Chewbacca Mouse by Etsy (spotted by i09) is so cute, that it was tested against Ewoks. The Chewbacca Mouse trumped the Ewok's in cuteness so much, it actually made the Ewoks look like ogres. Just see the test results for yourself:
Even in a standalone trial, the Chewbacca Mouse is undeniably cute
But when put side by side with an Ewok, the results are quite clear. Ewoks start looking like slobbering ogres, and the Chewbacca Mouse actually becomes even cuter!
The trial was even performed with baby Ewoks after the beta stage, just to be sure. I think you can guess what the outcome was.
= CUTEST EVAR
No Chewbacca Mice or Ewoks were harmed during this trial (Well, not a lot of Ewoks anyway)
Yeah, I *wish* it were a live fangirl moment. I was looking at something on youtube, of which whatever it was I've completely forgotten at this point... one thing led to another, and next thing I knew I had about 20 tabs open, all with video of various Ewan McGregor interviews and clips. Some highlights:
Ewan on Craig Ferguson (his show you dirty monkeys!) from April, parts 1 and 2
Awesome brawl with Leno
Talking about Long Way Round
Same show a year (or two?) later, but this time talking Othello and Long Way Down (and more), parts 1 and 2
Warning: This post may be continued at any time ;)
George apparently talked to the press yesterday. Not much we haven't heard before, but knowing Indy 5 is a possibility for now, and that there's an intentional girl-centric focus going on in Clone Wars... well, they're just nice reminders. Both from SciFi Wire:
|12:00 AM, 05-AUGUST-08|
George Lucas told SCI FI Wire that preliminary research has begun on a story for a possible fifth Indiana Jones movie, but added that such a film is one of dozens of potential projects currently crowding his schedule.
"It sits on the shelf there as one of 50 projects that I have to deal with," Lucas said in an interview on Aug. 4 at his Big Rock Ranch in San Rafael, Calif., where he was promoting the upcoming computer-animated feature film Star Wars: The Clone Wars. "And if I can come up with a story ..."
But, Lucas added, "it's very hard to come up with stories for that thing. You know, It's really impossible. Because it has to be real. It has to be something that actually happened. It has to be something people know about. It has to be supernatural. It's a really difficult research project. Which they're researching now. You know, and last time it took 14 years. So ... "
Lucas was referring to this summer's fourth Indiana Jones film, subtitled The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which was in development for more than a decade before the pieces finally came together.
In recent press interviews, Lucas has said that the three principals--himself, director Steven Spielberg and star Harrison Ford--all have to agree on the idea for a fifth film in order to move forward. He has also said that Spielberg is more amenable to the idea of a further installment than he was last time around.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars opens Aug. 15. --Patrick Lee, News Editor
|12:00 AM, 05-AUGUST-08|
George Lucas, executive producer of the upcoming animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie, told reporters that the film features two female characters new to the movie franchise: Ahsoka Tano, the new padawan learner of Anakin Skywalker, and Asajj Ventress, a dark sorceress and apprentice to the nefarious Count Dooku.
"I wanted to develop a character that would help Anakin settle down," Lucas said about Ahsoka in a news conference at his Big Rock Ranch in San Rafael, Calif., on Aug. 4.
Lucas added: "At the end of Episode II, [Anakin's] kind of a wild child, and he and Obi-Wan don't get along. So the idea was to see how they become friends, how they become partners, how they become a team. And ... one of the ways to do that ... Because when you become a parent, when you become a teacher, you have to sort of become more responsible. You know, it forces you into this adulthood thing. So what I wanted to do was take Anakin and force him into this kind of, 'now I have to teach somebody. Now I have to be slightly more responsible.'"
Ahsoka is a teenage orange-skinned Togruta girl who is assigned by Yoda to serve under Anakin as the Clone Wars worsen. The story is set between the events of Star Wars: Episode II--Attack of the Clones and Episode III--Revenge of the Sith. Lucas said he looked to his own experience as a father in coming up with Ahsoka's storyline.
"I happen to have a couple daughters, so I have a lot of experience with that particular situation," Lucas said. "And I said, 'Rather than making it another guy, why don't we make her a girl? Because that's fun, and I have a lot of girls, and they're just as hard to deal with when they're teenagers as boys are.'"
Dave Filoni, director of The Clone Wars, added that Ventress was a character originally conceived for Episode II who has existed for a while in the Star Wars expanded universe. "There was the idea that maybe the Sith apprenticed a new one after Darth Maul, [and that she] would be a girl," Filoni said in the same news conference. "That got abandoned eventually in favor of Count Dooku and Christopher Lee's character. But the concept art existed. And the comic books and novels on the Clone Wars before had utilized that character, that concept art, and created this new character, Asajj Ventress. So when it came time to develop the idea of The Clone Wars as a series, we thought, 'Well, that's a big fan favorite character. Let's draw her out.'"
Filoni added that the two characters balance each other out in the new movie. "It just so happens that we introduced Ahsoka at the same time," he said. "So here you had these two new girls coming into this story at the same time, which was actually, there's kind of an advantage to it, because you had one that's the apprentice of Anakin Skywalker trying to be trained in the traditional ways of a Jedi, and you had one that's the hidden apprentice of Count Dooku, who was the evil opposite end, so that actually works really nicely for the stories we're trying to tell." Star Wars: The Clone Wars opens Aug. 15. --Patrick Lee, News Editor
Also on starwars.com
and BBC (with video)
A few posts below I posted the recent article about McCain challenging Obama to a lightsaber duel, and it reminded me to post a link to Worth1000.com's recent Star Wars Photoshop results, which has a Renaissance/fine art theme this year. Entries closed on 7/21, so here you go!
In the meantime, I'm busting out Photoshop concerning this most recent lightsaber duel challenge, and hopefully you are too!
Here's one of my faves from Worth1000 this year (even though all the entries are really quite stunning)
Okay John McCain. You really did it this time. Do you really think you can challenge Barak Obama to a lightsaber duel and *not* have yourself personified as the evil Emperor? I mean, c'mon.... you're a Republican, so of course your lightsaber will be red. You're what... twice the age of Obama, if not three or four times? Okay, maybe Yoda, but you're as pasty as the driven snow, and have a severely scarred face. Fans around the world are churning away with Photoshop right now. Speaking of...
There are just way too many inappropriate comebacks I could use with that title... Anyhew! I just got to see a special theater viewing event of Long Way Down; Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor's 2007 motorcycle tour from John O'Groats, the northern-most tip of Scotland, all the way down to Cape Town, South Africa.
Aside from the shoddy theater treatment (the theater pretty much ignored us in the cramped, tiniest theater in the corner of the mega-plex) where the house lights stayed on more than 10 minutes into the show, then stayed off well after the credits finished, and the also shoddy satellite feed that kept breaking up the footage - to follow the journey with the two-wheeling dynamic duo was inspiring and just plain exciting to watch. Seeing as we had the highlights of the 88 day trip edited down to just under 2 hours, one would not expect a dull moment, and there wasn't.
Some of the highlights include one of the first stops in Africa at the Lars homestead site in Tunisia. It didn't even occur to me that this stop might be a possibility until I started watching them progress down Italy, and knew they would be crossing to Tunisia before Libya. Duh! I got a little overly excited at the prospect and was pleasantly surprised to see them make the stop. Ewan admittedly wasn't so pleasantly surprised to find himself not hoarded by fans, even as they visited the "Star Wars Bar" at the site with several images of himself as Obi-Wan pinned to the walls. There were even a good amount of visitors there, and nobody seemed to recognize him! I had intermittently followed the live blog they kept through the BBC while on this trip, and totally missed the Tunisia section.
Otherwise, watching the tour through wild country was just as spectacular as it was with the first trip "Long Way Round". There's a certain quality about the way they documented both expeditions through helmet cams and from support crew riding along with them, as well as witty commentary from the boys, that captures the feeling of being on the trip with them (or at least really, really wanting to be there with them) better than any National Geographic special.
"Down" was a somewhat shorter trip than "Round" which circumnavigated the northern hemisphere (save for the trip across the Atlantic back home). This trip was aired as 6 episodes as opposed to the 10 episodes of "Round", and the general feel was that it was much more condensed as a trip and in it's media release as well. Granted, we saw them get all the research done and the preparation process kinked out for the first trip. Ewan had been shown more than once saying that he and the rest of the crew didn't want to spend that much time away from home and family again (after the first trip), so it's no big surprise they would have trimmed it down this time. Also, they were certainly more efficient this time 'round given the experience they had with the first trip. Ewan's wife Evelyn came down to south-central Africa for a leg of the trip lasting several days. She certainly seemed the timid rider for the most part, and even though she dumped every 20 kilometers or so, she toughed it out and survived. I'm a little jealous (okay, a lot). Somehow I always get distracted from those little disappointments by seeing Ewan covered with road dirt.
Both trips are now available on DVD and book form which are largely collections of journal entries from Charley and Ewan. Fun stuff if you like motorcycles, adventure, world travel, four (and two) wheeling, and Ewan and Charley. Hey, I do!
Also avaialble on DVD, which I have yet to see, is Charley Boorman's "Race to Dakar" in which Charley participates in the African endurance motorcycle race (with a bike much better equipped for that kind of terrain I might add!).
Long Way Down offficial site
Excited about Dollhouse? I am, and not only out of curiosity as to what Joss Whedon's mind will spew forth upon us, but also to see Tahmoh Penikett get a reboot as an actor. io9 chatted with him at SDCC and it looks like he'll be playing a stark contrast to the do-gooder that was Karl "Helo" Agathon. Read the article here - with video clips!
Edit: I mistakenly posted this here instead of the Battlestar Galactica blog FRAK, but since this represents an almost perfect convergence of the fandoms by just being here, I am leaving it up here.
Wired blogger Chris Kohler visited Lucasarts HQ last week and got what would be the experience of a lifetime for Star Wars fan-gamers; a hands-on sampling of The Force Unleashed on almost all the platforms. He is admittedly not a Star Wars fan which would explain the mediocre level of excitement present in the article. The "clear winner" seems to be the next-gen platform versions (if you couldn't have guessed that already) and the Wii version sounds less than impressive. Maybe they'll make up for it in The Clone Wars. Some game story spoilers present, if you haven't heard them already. Click here to read.
If you want a secret apprentice name spoiler and more, check out the Xbox 360 run through of the first few TRU levels over at Game Daily.
Every once in a while I like to browse Metacritic. Not because I give a hoot about what the critics say, but because as much as I hate statistics, I live for collective feedback and averages. Or something like that. There's just something about Metacritic that gives me hope, or perhaps an excuse. Can't quite put my finger on it.
I recently checked out how Wall.E was averaging, and was surprised (well, not really) at the amazingly high ratings it has received so far. I think we would be hard pressed to find too many more major theatrical releases that made it into the 90 percentile in the past decade, and Wall.E hit a whopping 93.
Of course, one thing led to another and I couldn't help but see how our beloved saga fared... and I couldn't believe I hadn't done this before. What I found most interesting was digging up reviews for the original trilogy. The original 1977 Star Wars received a 91, which puts it in an elite class of percentages in the 90s, but amazingly is lower than Wall.E. Perhaps more critics had more to say about Star Wars than Wall. E.
The only 100% I happened upon was for The Godfather, which also had a small amount of submissions to average out.
In the case of the Star Wars films, particularly the original trilogy, Metacritic has an average of mostly reviews from the original release dates, but there are a few mixed in that discuss the Special Editions. Namely, those by the pimp-daddy-tastic love monster that is Chris Gore. *ahem* *gathers self together*
While I'm not sure how variables like that factor in, and don't really care, what was most interesting to me was the progression of ratings, or lack thereof, that each consecutive film received. I have an unsettled arguement with a screenwriting mentor of mine who declared that The Empire Strikes Back is unanimously considered the worst of the Star Wars original trilogy. That being my all time favorite movie of the saga, of course I had bones to pick. While he mainly meant considered the worst of the OT at the time, I had no idea what a critic even was at the time TESB entered my life. All I knew then was that when winter hit, I was well prepared for any Wampa attacks.
I digress. While the ratings for The Empire Strike Back take a step down from Star Wars to a still respectible 78%, it's worth noting the declining mood of one particular NYT critic from the late 70s and 80s. Look for the reviews by Vincent Canby in each of the OT sections. Here's his 1980 review of TESB.
"Ordinarily when one reviews a movie one attempts to tell a little something about the story. It's a measure of my mixed feelings about "The Empire Strikes Back" that I'm not at all sure that I understand the plot. That was actually one of the more charming conceits of "Star Wars," which began with a long, intensely complicated message about who was doing what to whom in the galactic confrontations we were about to witness and which, when we did see them, looked sort of like a game of neighborhood hide-and-seek at the Hayden Planetarium. One didn't worry about its politics. One only had to distinguish the good persons from the bad. This is pretty much the way one is supposed to feel about "The Empire Strikes Back," but one's impulse to know, to understand, cannot be arrested indefinitely without doing psychic damage or, worse, without risking boredom. "
- It's hard to believe how someone can be so totally 180 degrees off the mark you are on about something. I think Mr. Canby was 50 years old when he was born? It's obvious I disagree here but I still have to say... Everything happens in TESB!
I won't even get into what the above critic had to say about the final chapter in the saga Return of the Jedi, and my squeamishness may have something to do with the fact that something deep down inside never really clicked with me and the Ewoks. So therefore, do I agree with the 52% that Jedi earned? Heck no! To me, it's still one of the better movies ever made. I can easily look past fake fur and zippers to embrace the glory of a pack of rabid mutant bears taking down the high-tech Empire. Speeder bikes trump everything anyway.
Kind of on a gaming kick around here...
Thanks to ps3mods (I don't think I've posted this yet) for the GT video of Vader gameplay in the upcoming Sould Calibur IV:
And Episode V of the Star Wars Gaming Retrospective at GT is now up:
For all the episodes of the retrospective so far, go to this GT page or here at 9ff4.
Technabob posted this heads-up to the giant Pez dispensers now available at BulkCandyStore. The foot tall Pez dispensers don't just give you a single Pez, they spew out a whole pack at a time! I wanna see Palpatine puke one of these up.
This just blipped on my radar... Have you been getting itchy fingers with the eternal wait for The Force Unleashed release on September 16? Well, I have, and there will be some relief as we can expect a demo for the game sometime within the four month period before the release. Well, there are less than three months to go now! videogamer.com reports, and don't forget to check their interview with Cameron Suey, producer of the next-gen TFU versions (PS3 and Xbox 360).
And while we're at it, why not make the "Secret Apprentice" (not much of a secret anymore, eh?) part of the Lego universe? Done! Well, since it was done by legostarwarsblog.com, they have come out with Lego TFU, but I like the original homemade version much better!
Gratuitous posting of concept art below
Well, not really, but they might as well have. A Louisiana dojo mixes martial arts and Jedi arts and the results are the ultimate in awesomeness. The only drawback is the part about getting kids "up and moving and away from video games". Oh wait, I'm not a kid. I'm safe. I think I'll go play Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy while I contemplate taking up martial arts again.
The under-4-foot multi-talented actor known as Warwick Davis blew off his very own red carpet Narnia premiere so he could appear at the Disney Star Wars Weekends events. Okay, so maybe he had a pre-scheduled contract, but still... he could have broken it if he really wanted to.
So he likes us fans better. Right? Well, in that case he likes Will Smith better too, because Will is a huge fan:
"You might think he has run out of ambitions, but Smith confesses he is harbouring a secret dream: "I can remember going to see one of the Star Wars movies when I was about 12, and I was the most amazed that I have ever been in a theatre in my life. If they ever want to cast me in another of the Star Wars films, well, I would be more than interested.''" Daily Telegraph
Well, I love you too Will. Did I just say that out loud in text?
Oh, and Warwick Davis also likes these two guys on Hawaii's channel 9 Sunrise show better. Star Wars triva battle to the death!
Many may have heard about the LucasArts job layoffs and surrounding media squabble in the past week or so. In a recent game critic press event, LucasArts not only shows off TFU and the coming Nintendo Clone Wars games, but it also assures us that development continues for the future, including the next-gen Indy game. Apparently, there was some press chatter about the leaked two threes (KOTOR3 and BF3 that is *winks*). LucasArts will keep relatively quiet this year at E3 as well. Venture Beat reports.
St. Paul and Minneapolis NBC station KARE 11 has joined up with a few of our Star Wars pals for an awesome promotional campaign for both the station and the Star Wars: Where Science Meets the Imagination exhibit. Click here for videos!
It feels like forever that we've been waiting for some real next-gen content, and of course LucasArts leads the way creating completely playable environments with Digital Molecular Matter and euphoria technology (GTA4 uses euphoria, but not DDM). First we'll get The Force Unleashed, but hopefully not too long after that we'll get more of an Indy fix. Some retailers are projecting a March-or-so 2009 release date. My Lego buzz is just starting to wear off too.
The more I think about it, the more this looks like it might be Grand Theft Auto: Indy Nights... or something to that effect. Notice the San Fransisco setting?
Keep an eye on the LA Indy game site:
"Indiana Jones debuts the revolutionary new euphoria technology from NaturalMotion, which delivers never-before-seen lifelike action and awareness to every character in real time -- so you'll never see the same thing twice. For the first time ever, euphoria enables interactive characters to move, act and even think like actual human beings, adapting their behavior on the fly and resulting in a different payoff every single time. This next-gen technology imbues Indy and his opponents with unparalleled environmental awareness and survival instincts. They'll stumble, then attempt to maintain their balance; brace themselves for falls, then get back up; and reach for nearby ledges when falling. Each action results in an authentic, varied performance every time.
Complementing euphoria will be Pixelux Entertainment's Digital Molecular Matter (DMM) technology, which brings a level of realism to next-gen games never seen before by making completely interactive environments that react as they would in real life. From crumbling walls to shattering glass and even swaying organic plant life, in-game objects have material properties that behave realistically all in real time.
Indiana Jones also features completely interactive Hot Set™ environments, where every setting is open-ended and completely destructible in a way that only next-generation consoles can deliver. Use your wits and daring to make each spring-loaded environment a weapon as you dispense of foes in clever and unexpected ways. Also, embark upon thrilling chase sequences that remain true to the spirit established in scenes such as Indy's pursuit of the motorcade in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the mine-cart scene in The Temple of Doom, and the free-for-all aboard the tank in The Last Crusade. Face Indy off against a devious longtime rival, reunite him with old friends, and meet more of his most trusted allies throughout the world."
Remember last year when mean old Jim Ward taunted us with press releases saying they were developing a lightsaber game for the Wii, and he's played it? Well, after I did a little post-art school math, it seems that game is in fact the Clone Wars inspired game for the Wii. The lightsaber-centric game is tentatively titled simply Star Wars The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels. IGN talks with game producer Ken Fox all about it. Now let's all grovel to the Star Wars gaming gods so they'll really come out with the fabled Wii-saber, even though Nintendo refuses to endorse such a dangerous add-on. Um, hello? It may be the only thing that makes this game really worthwhile peeps! Don't make me operate on my Force FX lightsabers :(
The DS Clone Wars exclusive will be a vastly different game than that for the Wii apparently (Kotaku), since the mobile platform doesn't have the same motion capabilities as Nintendo's Wii console and instead uses the touch pad and stylus. Read more about Star Wars The Clone Wars: Jedi Alliance for DS at IGN here.
George has been talking about this for a long time, and over at Yahoo News we get a little glimpse at what may be up and coming:
"Producer Rick McCallum said both elements are addressed in a script by John Ridley that "balances difficult and painful issues with what is, at its heart, the story of men with a dream to fly and serve their country."
Lucas hopes to begin shooting by year's end or early 2009, McCallum said. The movie's title refers to the color of their fighter planes' tails, which were distinctive and allowed U.S. bomber crews to know they were being escorted by the aggressive .
"It is a story of incredible adventure and enormous courage," said the producer, who's scouting locations for "Red Tails" in Prague, Czech Republic, and Italy. "I think the story will speak to anyone who has ever wanted to succeed at something others told them was impossible.""
The American Film Institute has been pretty active lately, and they're churning out more lists. One of the latest is the top 10 sci-fi, of which our beloved original Star Wars "Episode IV A New Hope" comes in at #2 after 2001: A Space Odyssey. I just have to ask - Why, oh why did they have to choose that screen shot from Alien? *awful childhood memories*
Dang. I almost wish I didn't watch this but really, I'm glad I did (since it's taken so frakking long for TFU to get even close to a release date!). The newest Lucasarts TFU documentary gives away the very beginning of the story's plot, along with some other awesome clips from the game story. You could go to the official TFU site, but unless your broadband is working better than ever, the video will be more watchable at Gameriot's blog here. Found at i09
Another Pixar hit will be gracing theaters (USA) on June 27. In fact this looks to be the greatest Pixar feature yet, if the movie lives up to the talent behind it and what the trailers show us (although the 5 to 8 year old populous may continue to stand behind Ratatouille). Pixar's Andrew Stanton and our very own Star Wars sound master Ben Burtt team up to bring us a most epic robot story that is Wall.E. From Scotsman.com:
"Burtt has spent much of the past two years holed up on his own in a concrete bunker at Pixar's studios, recording the sounds made by toothbrushes, household appliances, miniature jet planes, army tanks and his own voice. "I went to a newspaper printer overnight and recorded all the gigantic scanners and presses," he says. "There are sounds in the movie I recorded when I was a kid from my grandfather's shortwave radio. I would tune it between stations and tape the weird electronic noises. I've used something from those original recordings in every science-fiction movie I've worked on.""Check out Disney's official Wall.E site for more robotic fun and games.
Nash Edgerton, stunt double to Ewan McGregor for Episode II and III, is much more than a fall guy. Even though his list of film stunt work is probably the longest, he's also an accomplished actor (his brother Joel, also an actor, played the young Owen Lars in the prequels) and now, a director to boot. His new film "The Square" made it's first screening recently at the Sydney Film Festival. Hopefully we'll get a glimpse in the USA sometime soon. Sydney Morning Herald
We now have the cover art (which, um, looks like the game cover ads thus far) and a date for The Force Unleashed TPB. Looks like we'll be seeing it just about a month before the game release date of September 16.
Thanks TFU for the point to Dark Horse's page:
| || |
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed TPB
LucasArts' game The Force Unleashed, is poised to be the Star Wars event of the year. The game-play promises to be stunning, but we think it's the story that will blow you away.