Posts Tagged ‘Star Wars’

Pardon our pixels!

Monday, December 28th, 2015

Yes, I know.  We’re back to the default theme.  But hey, at least the site is back up!

Back in August, I was informed that there was an infection of some of the WordPress files in ALL of my blogs (including some that are effectively invisible!), and if I didn’t purge the infected files my entire site would be taken down.  That rendered all blogs inoperable, and since then I’ve had a dickens of a time getting these problems fixed.

See…I’m moving.  All of my time since March of this year has been spent packing boxes and decluttering this household.  I didn’t have any time for anything else until December 1!  On top of that, I’ve had to redo my computer with a new motherboard, and reinstalling software has been difficult because all of my physical software is in storage!  I don’t have my audio editing software or equipment, or my video equipment, or video software.  I don’t even have DreamWeaver back.

But I got the site up, finally, with the help of folks at Powweb.  Barely.  I don’t know why, but whenever I try to use anything but the basic theme, it doesn’t work.  I’ll get on that.  But at the very least…it’s HERE!

You know how horrible it’s been having a pop culture geek blog when there’s a new Star Wars movie…and the blog isn’t working?!?!

The All-Important Soundtrack

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

An excellent soundtrack will work so well that you aren’t aware of how it’s manipulating you.  Oh, you’ll hear it and perhaps enjoy it, but you aren’t truly cognizant of how essential it is to the experience until you see raw footage and realize most of the emotional thrust of a moment was the music.  Without that, and a good sound effect engineer, you just have uncomfortably awkward moments with Chewbacca screeching like a cockatiel.

Good Lord!  How pivotal were John Williams and Ben Burtt?!!!  Yeesh!

In Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, there’s a…

Okay, I know it’s not a great movie.  It’s a good movie, and at the time we all appreciated that it gave everyone  in the cast a moment or two to shine, but the ending is a snoozer.  Still, it’s got some great moments.  One of the highlights is “Stealing the Enterprise,” mainly due to the soundtrack by James Horner.

Why the soundtrack?  It’s not just the thrill of the soaring horns once the doors open, it’s the entire piece…and how it plays you.  Because this scene shouldn’t work at all.

How much tension is there, really, in Scotty’s trouble getting the doors to open?  Is the Enterprise going to smash into the doors?  Are they going to fail in their attempt and all go to prison?  So how can there be tension in this scene?

But James Horner pulls it off.

James Horner composed the sountracks to 125 films, many of which played a big part of my life,  including many hours spent listening to them on CD.  He died Monday in a plane crash, only 61 years of age.  R.I.P.



International Star Wars Day

Monday, May 4th, 2015

I obviously have nothing prepared.

Podcast 11: Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Erik Burnham and I finally get to review two summer hits, Iron Man 3 and Star Trek 2, er, Into Darkness.  Includes my discovery of the key difference of J.J. Abrams’ version of Star Trek, and our proposal of how Wil Wheaton can save Star Trek.  We also talk about MCBA FallCon, which we will be attending October 5th at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

Also mentioned:  How It Should Have Ended and their version of Iron Man 3.

And Red Letter Media’s Mr. Plinkett reviews of Star Trek and Star Wars.  I know it’s gauche to link to things that everyone on the planet knows about.  Oddly enough, neither Erik nor our TOS-obsessed friend John Morgan Neal has seen them.

A triumphant Darth Vader

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

The warlord Obi-Wan Kenobi, who has been hiding in a cave-ridden desert region for 20 years, has been found and killed.  This according to Darth Vader.

Plinkett Reviews Sith – coming soon!

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

I’m psyched! Are you psyched?

I didn’t realize he’d done a Star Trek ’09 review. Here it is. Language warning, of course.

Wife Crying at end of Return of the Jedi

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

This is too hilarious!

See more at The Official Wife Crying at Movies Site

Of course, if there’s anything to cry about, it’s that they appear to have watched the Star Wars movies in the order of 1-6, because she keeps sobbing about Anakin and Padme.  It’s disturbing that there’s a whole generation for whom the revelation in “Empire Strikes Back” is not a plot twist.

Podcast 4: Chatting about Movies and Star Trek

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

This started out as a test of my new equipment to see if the sound quality improved (it did). Unfortunately, you should not get two guys with extensive video store clerking experience chatting about random movies. We talked for about 50 minutes! We learn that Erik pronounces “bio-pic” without the hyphen. I tend to be vocabulary-challenged and say “like”, “um” and “you know” way too much. I prepare for an MST3K version of Star Trek, and my brother ruins “Fellowship of the Ring” forever. Also, who wants us to do a list of “Great movies you may not have seen?” (Erik talks over my sarcastic line, “Have you ever heard of The Princess Bride?” Could have been a gem. Oh well.)

Recorded June 30th. I had to laugh when I heard what I say at 55:05.

Mentioned in this podcast:
Erik’s “Creature Stole My Twinkie” T-shirt on Zazzle; we also discuss blogging at his Burnhamania site.

Phantom Menace epic review (or epic fail?)

Friday, December 25th, 2009

This one is especially filled with obscenities, so please be doubly-warned before pressing play.

But really…if you like funny reviews, you need to see this! It’s hilarious, and yet it makes some hard points…such as:
WHO was the main character of the Phantom Menace?

Everything is better with lightsabers

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Chuck Norris with lightsaber


Can’t touch this…

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Darth Vader. Sith Lord, intergalactic tyrant, hip hop master:

Why isn’t THIS the Star Wars Prequel?

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Erik’s right. This is a four-minute ad for a Star Wars video game and it is way better than the entire set of prequels that George Lucas directed. Is is more atmospheric, more intense, and the direction is better. (The Sith Lords all lighting up their sabers is amazing.) I know it’s all CGI, but I swear the acting is better!

I think the thing I like best is that it is humans vs. humans. For some reason, Lucas got squeamish about having actual people die in the prequels. It’s all Gungans vs. robots, then robots vs. clones (who are treated as disposable in the Star Wars universe). Plus there are the insectoid Geonosians who designed the Death Star. It’s weird to hear the commentary track for “Clones” where George Lucas says that Jay and Silent Bob don’t have to worry about the construction workers blowing up because they’re Geonosians, not people. First, it’s actually Dante and Randall who talk about that, so Lucas gets that wrong. More importantly, it’s bizarre to listen to a sci-fi guy talking about how only human lives are important, as though insects smart enough to design a weapon are as disposable as the mayflies on your windshield.

I would argue that Clones are not disposable either. In real life, a clone is no different than your identical twin brother or sister, and no one has ever argued that a twin brother can be scrapped because you have one and don’t need the second. (Okay, yes, some people have had that conversation in a Planned Parenthood Clinic, but you know what I’m saying.) But that’s as may be. In the Star Wars universe, nobody grieves for a clone trooper, so it’s clear that they are little different from skin-covered robots as far as Lucas and the people in his universe care.

In other words…the audience goes along with Lucas’ view of things. The robots, the clones and the Geonosians are all disposable. Lucas gets to give us even bigger battles than he’s ever shown us before, and now it’s okay for us to revel in all the awesomeness because nobody worth caring about is dying. Isn’t that just the BEST?

Ugh. I wonder if that is, in a nutshell, why the prequel series sucked? I know, there’s Jar-Jar, bad acting, bad dialogue, weak plots, poor characterization, a huge whiny villain who carves up dozens of children with his light-saber, and the transformation of the Jedi into a society of blood-testing baby-nappers who force kids into lives of servitude where a backwards-talking frog lectures you that you can’t ever fall in love and marry. Yes, that’s true. But at its heart, I think it’s because we couldn’t care about the deaths of the characters. Lucas didn’t even want us to care, and was bothered that we cared.

That poor Jedi who gets run through in this clip? I care. Even with the uncanny valley telling me that he’s just CGI, I care.

UPDATE: Oh dear. The thread that Erik posted quickly devolved into a multi-page back-and-forth about how we must all bow down to Lucas who invented it all vs. Lucas the guy who should have stayed the imagineer/producer. Our own Eric Spratling takes the former; I am very much in the latter category. I will reproduce, for posterity, my additions to the thread (apologies that I borrow a bit from this post).

Why Big Bang Theory Is Way Better Than Lost

Friday, April 24th, 2009

NOTE: Lost Season 5 spoilers, for those of you watching the boxed sets only.

You all remember how much I love The Big Bang Theory. If you’re a geek, this isn’t optional. You must watch this show. It’s the tale of four socially awkward physicists whose love of comic books, role-playing adventures, video games and geek trivia constantly gets in the way of their relationships with women, especially the cute blonde wannabe actress who moves in across the hall.

Leonard – The least awkward and the most driven to try to fit in to society, Leonard is short and moderately attractive.

Sheldon – A tall and skinny Texan from a Christian household, Sheldon is less of a geek and more of an alien visitor to our world. Baffled by human interaction and protocols, Sheldon is fussy and exacting.

Rajesh (Raj) – The Indian immigrant Raj is unable to speak to women unless he’s drunk (based on a real person that the producers knew with the same hang-up).

Wolowitz – Living with his mother and dressed in the most gawd-awful form-fitting clothes, the Jewish Wolowitz nevertheless sees himself as a ladies man.

Big Bang TheoryThe Big Bang Theory is obviously written by people who are immersed in the culture they are parodying. For example, “Wednesday is Comic Book Day”… which, of course, it is and any nerd worth his salt knows that, but if these writers tried to fake it and had, for instance, the guys going out to get new comics on a Friday they’d look like a bunch of posers.

On April 13, the episode “The Hofstadter Isotope” showed a trip to the comic shop, with a lengthy argument about the Batman R.I.P. storyline which referenced the Zero Hour removal of Batman finding Joe Chill as well as many more recent developments. You can’t fake this stuff.

Now, contrast that with the Lost episode “Some Like It Hoth”.

Hugo “Hurley” Reyes has been a fan fave because he’s always bringing up some fanboy reference to Scooby Doo or Star Wars. When the Oceanic flight goes down, he’s reading a Spanish language version of “Green Lantern/Flash: Faster Friends”, and on the more recent Ajira Airways flight he was reading the Spanish language version of “Y: The Last Man” (written by Lost’s own Brian K. Vaughan).

Recently, the castmembers were time-tossed back to 1974, where they spend three years working for the Dharma initiative. They don’t let anyone know they are time travelers. I remember thinking that if I was one of them and I was challenged to prove that I’m from the future, I would retell Star Wars shot-for-shot with music and sound effects and flawlessly-replicated dialogue, then tell the person to go back to the mainland and wait for Star Wars to debut.

In “Some Like It Hoth”, Hurley boasts that he’s seen Empire Strikes Back hundreds of times, which is why he’s writing the script down from memory along with a few tweaks so that he can give it to George Lucas.

Cool, right? However, the script he’s writing doesn’t quite jibe with the actual movie (ref: Chewie’s taking down the probe droid as soon as it lands). A guy who has seen it so much would be more accurate.

Later, he compares the strained relationship of Miles and his father with the relationship of Luke and Darth Vader.

“That’s was Luke’s attitude too. Darth Vader was his father and Luke didn’t want to put the light sabers down and talk it out. But at what cost? It got his hand cut off. Two Death Stars destroyed. Boba Fett got eaten by the Sarlaac. And we got Ewoks. Ewoks, dude. And let’s face it, Ewoks suck.”

What the poodoo is he talking about?

How can a guy who has supposedly memorized Empire Strikes Back not know that Luke Skywalker had already had his hand chopped off and lost his light saber when Darth Vader reveals his parentage? When Luke next meets his father, he has surrendered his light saber and attempts to reach his father through dialogue, hoping that there is still good in him. He is only goaded to fight later when Darth is unwilling to meet his son halfway.

To any Star Wars fan worth his salt, Hurley’s dialogue is merely hackwork attempting to get Star Wars fans to chuckle that Ewoks do suck. The writer of the episode tried to fake it and it shows.

Note to Hollywood: you cannot fake nerd devotion.

Star Wars + Country Music = Something Pretty Interesting

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Take Country singer Brad Paisley’s recent single “Letter to Me”, add some selective clips from all 6 Star Wars movies, do some creative editing and you wind up with an entertaining video.

What really destroyed Titanic

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

This is one of my favorite fan films. One of the first ones, really, considering it came out after Titanic and before the Prequel trilogy. The video quality is relatively poor because it was the late 90s and a 50 meg download was a killer size back then, but the production quality is still amazing.