Monday, December 14, 2015

The Star Wars Files

---The Star Wars main title and crawl

---"Star Wars in 1977: How the Saga Began With That ‘Old Desert Rat’ Obi-Wan Kenobi" by Tim Gray

---"10 Films that Influenced Star Wars" by Tim Robey

---The Star Wars Prequels Might Be Good

---“I don’t consider it cashing in, but I have invested in a toy company operation." --George Lucas

---Every Use of the Force Ever and Every On-Screen Death of the Original Star Wars Trilogy

---"Brian De Palma, the director of Carrie, helped to write the opening crawl ('Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire'). Christopher Walken was originally cast as Han Solo, and Solo was partly based on Francis Ford Coppola." --Joshua Rothman

---Star Wars Minus Star Wars--Between the Lines

---"Was Star Wars Influenced by a French Science Fiction Comic?" by Reed Beebe

---Star Wars bloopers

---"Apple and Star Wars together explain why much of the world around you looks the way it does" by Nicholas de Monchaux

---the original reviews of Star Wars

---"The issue was ultimately, they looked at the stories and they said, 'We want to make something for the fans,'" Lucas said. "People don't actually realize it's actually a soap opera and it's all about family problems - it's not about spaceships. So they decided they didn't want to use those stories, they decided they were going to do their own thing so I decided, 'fine.... I'll go my way and I let them go their way.'"

---Lucas discusses the origins of Star Wars

---Anna Kendrick in the Star Wars Battlefront trailer

---the film careers of the original cast of Star Wars

---"A more focused study, however, is needed to truly understand that the Star Wars films are actually the story of the radicalization of Luke Skywalker. From introducing him to us in A New Hope (as a simple farm boy gazing into the Tatooine sunset), to his eventual transformation into the radicalized insurgent of Return of the Jedi (as one who sets his own father’s corpse on fire and celebrates the successful bombing of the Death Star), each film in the original trilogy is another step in Luke’s descent into terrorism. By carefully looking for the same signs governments and scholars use to detect radicalization, we can witness Luke’s dark journey into religious fundamentalism and extremism happen before our very eyes."

---the despecialized edition of Star Wars

---the outer rim characters of Star Wars

---Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy

---"The picture that the Lucasfilm faithful relentlessly call A New Hope but everyone else calls Star Wars came out in 1977. It and its sequels (and TV movies and cartoons and toys and bedsheets) burrowed deep into popular culture. And if the people at the Walt Disney Company, which bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012, have anything to say about it, the past four decades of Star Wars were merely prologue. They are making more. A lot more. The company intends to put out a new Star Wars movie every year for as long as people will buy tickets. Let me put it another way: If everything works out for Disney, and if you are (like me) old enough to have been conscious for the first Star Wars film, you will probably not live to see the last one. It’s the forever franchise." --Adam Rogers

---behind the scenes of the Star Wars Cantina bar set

---"Star Wars, Elvis, and Me" by A. O. Scott

---Siskel and Ebert defend Star Wars

---Star Wars drunk driving PSA

---Hardware Wars

---The Top 5 Most Shameless Star Wars Rip-Offs

---"5 Reasons Why Star Wars Spaceships Make No Sense" --Kyle Mizokami

---60 Minutes considers Star Wars: The Force Awakens

---Rare Star Wars photos from movie set

---the Star Wars fonts

---Star Wars: The Force Awakens supercut trailer

---"5 Things Star Wars Fans Don't Understand About Star Wars" by David Wong

---Star Wars: 15 Books About the Films That Created a Galaxy and Changed the World"

---"What's Behind the Star Wars Phenomenon"

---"The Real Science Inspired by Star Wars" --Michael Greshko

---Star Wars: The Force Awakens critical reactions

---6 Star Wars movies in just 3 minutes

---"Droids and The Force: How the Science in Star Wars Is Actually Real" --P.W. Singer and August Cole

3 comments:

Philippe Leblanc said...

That is quite an extensive list of Star Wars resources. I would add one to your list. The Red Letter Media Star Wars Prequel reviews (http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-wars/). Red Letter Media is a filmmaker group from Milwaukee. They created a characters that reviews various movies in a comedic way using various film theories, clip from the movies and clips from behind the scenes to achieve comedic effect. While I could do without the crude humour scattered throughout, their analysis of each Star Wars prequels is incredible. Their main point is that no one challenged Lucas on these movies, from the script, to the characters, to the way the movies they were made. This made the film the product of a single vision, but an unrefined one. They argue that it seems like it was all a first draft that they went with without questions because from a producer point of view, a Star Wars movie will be a hit regardless of content. Which harkens back to a point you made a few weeks ago (Why haven't the three deplorable Star Wars prequels (Revenge of the Sith, etc.) done anything to dampen public enthusiasm for Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Has the failure of those movies somehow enhanced the franchise through some sort of media herd hypnosis reverse psychology?).

For example, they take down the way the movies was shot. Apart from the action scenes, every sequence where character delivers line is always shot in the same two ways. Either people are walking slowly somewhere, they’ll slow down and talk before walking again OR people will be sitting on a couch and it’s all done in shot/reverse-shot. When things get boring, people will stand-up, usually walking to a window and look out. The location will vary, the position will vary, but it’s the same thing throughout the prequel movies. It’s shot for efficiency, not for artistic reason. Lucas can make his computer creates all sort of visually dazzling scenes through the use of computers, but when he has two real person he can’t make it work (they argue it’s a boring messy disaster and I tend to agree). He wants to take those boring scenes out of the way quickly to get back to the action scene. But this prevents you from feeling terribly engaged in those films.

They also compare George Lucas and the Star Wars prequel Episode III: Revenge of the Sith to Citizen Kane. You have two directors with complete control over their films, Welles used special effect to extensively tell a story, while Lucas used a story to make special effects. While Citizen Kane is about William Randall Hearst, in his own way Lucas became his own Charles Foster Kane. Going from an idealistic young director rebelling against the system to becoming the system and a bit of a weird recluse himself. Same goes for the character of Anakin Skywalker and maybe Lucas even hoped it would be his own cinematic masterpiece.

I highly recommend it. I watched these reviews more often than the movies themselves. Their blend of analysis and comedy made them highly enjoyable. The reviews are quite long (about 80 minutes per prequel movies) it’s a bit of a time investment, but I highly enjoyed them.

I’m not particularly looking forward to this movie, the ubiquity of the marketing makes it unbearable to be alive. I’m sure the movie will be fine, doing a remix of the greatest hits with new and old character should hit that nostalgia/newness sweet spot. But I mean, there are Star Wars shower heads and Star Wars windshield wiper blades… we can’t escape it, none of us can. It’s in the grocery stores, the libraries, the radio, the internet, the street… It’s everywhere… It’s everywhere...

FilmDr said...

"the ubiquity of the marketing makes it unbearable to be alive." --good point. Have you seen this?

https://pbs.twimg.com/tweet_video/CWdpyKQWUAEr4Qk.mp4

Philippe Leblanc said...

I hadn't seen it, but it's completely appropriate. Abrams made a career of repackaging nostalgia and selling it in a new package. The movie is a gateway to consumerism. With the original movie it seemed as though the toys were a bi-product or a sort of unintended consequence of the popularity of the movies. Kind of like "we got all these cool looking ships and aliens, kids seem to like this movie, maybe they'd like toys of it". Although I wasn't there at the time and I can' tell for sure, but it seemed more innocent. Now every single frame of the movie will be made into toys, action figures, poster, video games. bath products, make-up...

I did see this new movie. It was alright. The first half an hour works well, particularly because it focuses on new things. The second it turns its head toward the past, it goes downhill and the logic of the story implodes. I won't spoil anything just yet, but it will be interesting to see how this movie is received in a few years, once the novelty has worn off. Will it be seen as a weak retelling of the first movie, or will people OBEY the corporate overlord and nostalgia deity and say it's the best thing ever made? What about when there are 28 Star Wars movies?