voice only

vol 99

Thuesday night i read an article about the alterations made to Superman II[1]. In the back of my head my mind rattled down a list of movies that we’re probablynever going to see redone in that way. The only thing i came up with was Rogue One – A Star Wars Story.
I’m aware that the reshoots for this movie are nothing exceptional. But how would Gareth Edward’s true vision for it looked like. Because while he is fit to illustrate Star Wars directing is not his strong suit. And with a weak story like Rogue One’s a firmer hand would have helped[2].
Enter Ron Howard.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller, they were the only reason to look forward to the Han Solo movie[3]. They’re brand of sugar rush movies would have been an interesting thing to see. Reading that director Colin Trevorrow and Lucasfilm decided to part ways on the production of Episode IX is a move that makes me hope for a better movie. I only know him from Jurrasic World, but that movie wouldn’t have been as well received if it came out before Guardians Of The Galaxy.

No director plans to do a bad job. And with Star Wars they wouldn’t; it’s a thing you can put in your resume with the boldest font known to mankind. But i think it was Kenneth Branagh who said on the commentary for Thor:

This job is like an audiobook. You are hired to read it not to write it.

And that is something we see in video games too. The recipes are almost the same the seasoning is different. There is a rumor that Lucasfilm is not interested in working with "fresh" directors anymore. But the thing is: should there be directors cast for Marvel and Star Wars movies anymore? Could they be Lead Designers in that regard?
How come that Rian Johnson has sailed the directorial ship through the waters of Lucasfilm without any noteworthy troubles? Because he is a filmmaker with a unique sense of humor and vision. i'd rather thought he'd part over differences. The difference between him and Mr. Treverrow could be the lengths they are willing to walk (away).


[1] Sequart.org – Remembering and Celebrating Superman II – The Richard Donner Cut
[2] Recently i had a very civilized conversation with a person about how the “prequel” novel and the novelization of Rogue One helped the movie, but my opposite in that talk never even considered that there are people who’d have needed that knowledge to be conveyed in the cinema.
[3] And Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian. But i’d rather see a Lando movie directed by Lord Miller. Perhaps even with the idea from the expanded universe that Lando was considered as a template for the clone army because it would have goven us the opportunity to see Billy Dee Williams alongside Donald Glover!

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Forked Friday II

vol 98

I was the third person to enter the local TRU on this Force Friday. The third of eight, we were four couples where the men were the reasons for being there.
I did not get any bonus out of my placement because it seems like they already had the stuff out for either a day or a while. Three full complements of Black Series figures were out, which is kind of amazing, and of course the 3.75″ figures that we will find caseloads of in a few years; namely Rose, ….her sister the Gunner….Paige (who could forget her), ol’ pasty face Hux, Chewbacca and 3PO. Chewbacca has a Porg (resistance is futile!) in the blister! Why does nobody buy him? I’m just glad that customers seem to dislike Hux the most, nothing like the Finn-cident from two years ago[1].
I picked up a Black Series Hera figure to complete my Rebels set and all of the 3.75″ figures. Trying to get the figures from the online presence of the local TRU wasn’t a good idea, because they were sold out of everything except Hux again. But what bummed me out is: The new gimmick of the toy line borrows from the Phantom Menace one, place the figures near an extra accessory and it plays phrases and sounds in accordance to the figure or vehicle; Hasbro calls it Force Link[2], and while every figure has the logo of the cashgrab as big as the franchise logo on the figures packaging, the thing was not available in store or online. I even saved up enough money to get the BB-8 Stardestroyer set that comes with the Force Link glove at a ridiculous high price but that wasn’t on shelves as well. Not even the new Lego sets were there. And this feeds into a discussion that came up at work a few days ago: why are local businesses struggling? Because i bought the damn Force Link set from Amazon and then went to an ebay seller from the states that from time to time helps me out with getting Star Wars related figures and bought a whole case of 3.75″ figures and the two pack sets for the price that the figures from the case would have cost at TRU with shipping and import tax.

I’m aware this is all superfluous and i’m ashamed that i spend so much energy on the topic and anger leads to hate and so on, but i don’t get it, even if kids are done with toys, i walked in there willing to spend a lot of money and all i get is “uhhhh, nobody wants this shit, go away and buy it somewhere else”.

BUT there was a highlight! When the cashier, an asian woman, picked up the Rose figure she took a closer look and said “She looks like me.” to which i answered: “isn’t it awesome?” and we both smiled and went our ways.

Sorry, i had to vent.
I wanted to look like the Lego advert guy who really digs his 800 euro Millennium Falcon. He surely thinks something like “This is it guys, i’m never using my arms for anything other than keeping this baby save.” Look at his eyes and his mouth, he’s determined but happy.

lego_millennium_love

Thank You for Your time!
Stay cosmic!


[1] the Finn-cident
[2] we call it “they took away the extra weapons to make the figures a buck cheaper but earn 29 more with this thing that we totally need because we’re afraid to miss out”

Seems i like the Star Wars Centerpiece figures

When i hear the announcement about the “reboot” of the Star Wars Unleashed figures, this time under the Centerpiece brand.
Looking at the promotional image of Luke Skywalker in his flightsuit from Empire, lightsaber in hand stepping over the foot of a fallen AT-AT, i was reminded of how much i liked the Unleashed series back in the days, but ultimately let them go.

Jedinews.co.uk has photos from Toy Fair 2017 that shows how two of the Centerpiece figures look like combined with the regular six inch figures from The Black Series; and that ignited a sense of symphathy for them in my inner collector.

But with the onslaught of products that will be released due to the 40th anniversary of A New Hope and all the unknown things that will swim in on the tidal wave that is Episode VIII collectors like memight have to prioritize even more than we’re used to.

Star Wars Filmumentaries

Jamie Benning makes Filmumentaries. That means that he cuts audio snippets, concept art, alternate takes/angles and general information into a movie, a multi-media commentary of sorts. And he made one for every Star Wars movie of The Trilogy.

At first i thought that i would not like this method of conveying additional information [1] but to my surprise it works very well. I was not only watching some of my favourite movies, i was educated about them. Little things like Peter Cushing’s footwear in a certain scene are still getting a delightful chuckle out of me.

Hopefully they’ll entertain you as much as they did me.

# Star Wars Begins
# Building Empire
# Returning To Jedi

[1] Sometimes a commentary track is to much for me and i have to rip them and play them on a portable playback device.

K-2SO featurette

In case you have not noticed, Rogue One is arriving in theatres this week and it will feature what should be almost everybodies favourite droid, K-2SO, which is based/voiced on an performance by Alan Tudyk.
The design has already sold me on the character. It feels like a logical variation on the protocol droid design with an emphasis on intimidation.
Hopefully the canon version is as good as my head-canon one.

[rambling] Rogue One trailer #2 thoughts

Yesterday we got the final trailer for the next cinematic Star Wars installment, Rogue One.
Of course i was looking forward to its release, but after watching it, i must admit that it did not excite me as the other trailers did.

Lets start on a high note shall we?
The few glimpses of material do remind us that this is not a “classic” Star Wars movie. The opening of the trailer, which also serves as an introduction to Galen Erso reminded me of a western. And the look that Orson Krennic gives him does imply that there is more than just a “i have come to take you away” story but an actual history between them.
Scale is also an important component of this movie. The fallen statue of what i presume is a jedi knight, the Star Destroyer looming above a town, the AT-ST walker in urban combat, the feet of an AT-ACT walker in pursuit of Baze Malbus and Chirrut Imwe[1], how large Krennic seems when he explains the magnitude of power the silent but deadly centerpiece of the movie, the Death Star.
And there is tension. Nobody in this movie seems save[2]. The plans for the death star need to be acquired, we never hear about the fate of the people who procured the plans of the first battle station.
The costumes are great. It feels like a blend of the uniforms and clothing we saw in the 70s and 80s in episodes IV and V.
Also, we finally got to see Bodhi Rook the character instead of the action figure and K-2SO will be a more active droid than we’ve previously witnessed.

And here is where my gripes start. And they’re all made up on assumptions, so please add a grain of salt to the following words.
Rogue One seems to be the callsign of the U-Wing starship and while i understand the significance of the designation and the history that it probably will have among the rebellion, it always seem odd to have the name of the movie mentioned in its narrative[3].
All the motivational talk, while surely being necessary in running a rebellion against a regime and also being a great callback to the intention of the original movie[4], but kind of took me out of the experience.
And Vader….why bring Vader in when Tarkin would have fit better into the story (from what i know of it at this point in time). Yes, replicating Peter Cushing’s likeness could have resulted in a CGI mess and it is far easier and cost efficient to put someone into a full body costume and get James Earl Jones to say a few lines. But we know Vader’s opinion about the death star and while his visit might have the intention of giving Krennic a slap on the wrist, i’d rather have Tarkin trying to take the project away from him.
And the Death Troopers….i took a looooong look at the various toys and for me, their design works much better when they’re in motion. So perhaps we should file them under “they’re alright”.

Anyway, after the 16th of december we’ll all be smarter in that department, and with all the merchandise that has already been purchased, the movie probably earned a small sum of money.

[1] the names in this movie are amazing!
[2] except Vader of course.
[3] someone at the end could add “with all the different planets we’ve visited in the last couple of days and the planet sized weapon we’ve encountered, we could call our memoirs “A Star Wars Story“.
[4] being a war movie inspired sci-fi movie.