Tag Archives: Empire Strikes Back

Disney aquires Lucasfilm


It’s official. George Lucas will no longer be the creative force behind  the Star Wars franchise.

In a shocking development today, Disney aquired  Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. All of those funds, which include stocks and cash, will go directly  to Lucas himself, since he is the sole owner of the independent company that  never went public. In exchange, Disney now has complete ownership of the  Star Wars franchise.

What does this mean for fans? It means that we might  get a decent Star Wars
film! No longer is the franchise beholden to Lucas’ wooden dialogue and bad creative decisions that he had complete control  over. In a statement today Lucas said, “For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. … It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come.”

While I am  appreciative of the Star Wars films he’s created, I am extremely excited  about the opportunity that another director and writer could have when  bringing their vision of his world to the screen. Stay tuned! This is only the start of could be many Star Wars films to come. I say that because I’m positive Disney didn’t buy it in order to shelve it away!

Films that defined us

All of us have particular movies we’ve seen, whether as an adult or child, that stay with us in a way others hadn’t before. They’re special experiences we hold onto, whether it was because you saw them with a close friend or the film connected with your life in a personal way. These are movies that define us, and we’re breaking down each by genre. Each week, one of our contributors will list the movies that defined them.


Comedy: I remember going to see Airplane! in Manhattan and being a couple of minutes late. It was a packed house and a friend and I had such a hard time finding seats because we could not stop laughing!  I am a die hard lover of slapstick comedy and of the Three Stooges and Abbott and Costello, but back in the 80s, when cerebral comedy was ruled by Woody Allen and his ilk, this film was so damn refreshing. It is unapologetic farce. It never takes itself seriously and delivers gag joke after gag joke at a machine gun pace. Even if it flies against all rhyme and reason. I immediately loved it for that alone!  A couple of my favorite scenes: The line of passengers waiting to deliver the hysterical lady her dose of violence. I love the adorable scene where the young girl tells the young little boy she likes her coffee black…like her men!

Horror: John Carpenter’s Halloween is my pick, but this was very hard because even though The Exorcist scared the crap out of me way more than Halloween ever did, Halloween managed to leave a long lasting impression on me. It struck a deep nerve in me that forever carved and shaped what I was to perceive as the horror genre. Similar to the inflection George A. Romero nearly perfected in Night of the Living Dead, Carpenter disrupts our daily, normal, routine lives by sticking a maniac into the mix — on Halloween no less. The evil that is outside is trying to get inside and in the form of an unassuming escaped maniac named Micheal Myers. Carpenter changed how I view cinema and the darkness that dwells out there. The genius of the music and camerawork is also worth noting.

Acton/Adventure: Jaws is my favorite film of all time. I am sure that the genre it’s in can be debated because it has elements of drama and horror. In the end, it is full of adventure and plenty of suspense and action. I saw this when I was 8 years old at a matinee with my mother, and once that music started during the Universal Pictures logo I was changed forever. This was a movie!  Through and through. This is why I wanted to direct and write for the movies. A monster that lurked in the sea that ate unsuspecting people and forced the townspeople to close the beaches and have a constable, salty old fisherman and scientist go out and kill it?  It gets no better than that!  Jaws has great music, great believable portrayals throughout, realistic dialog and even a landlocked villain in the form of the Mayor. For me, though, the best part was that this sea monster really exists.

Science Fiction: I was so pissed that I got to the theater late and missed the opening scroll of The Empire Strikes Back on a winter night in 1983. I got there just in time to see Luke get swiped off his Tauntaun by that snow beast. But that was OK. I caught up with what I had missed. Many, many times after. I thought the first Star Wars had  left an impression that would never go away but after Empire ended (even with me missing the opening) all that just flew out the window. Lucas set the bar extremely high with A New Hope, but blasted past that at warp speed with Empire. I was just thrilled that we were getting to know these character better. More of their likes and dislikes. More of their personalities and more action and suspense!  We were introduced to Yoda and Lando who were and still are 2 of the best Star Wars characters around. It also boasts the best of the John Williams scores. What makes this a film that defined me was that it had, above all else, eye popping effects, emotion and drama, including best revelation in all sci-fi film history. And you all know what I’m talking about.

Star Wars saga to be re-re-released… in 3D


There is now a terrible divide in me. One of my greatest loves, Star Wars, is meeting one of my greatest annoyances… 3D.

Star Wars creator George Lucas, never one to be shy from whoring his creation for a buck, will be releasing the entire Star Wars saga in 3D in 2012, according to a story by Hollywood Reporter. According to the report, the films would be released in order, starting with Episode I, “The Phantom Menace” working through “Return of the Jedi.”

I can understand how Lucas would want to release these, since he’s only worth $3 billion. Poor guy! However, I’m not sure how to feel about this. The last re-release in 1997 had some unneeded and corny scenes, like the Cantina musical number that felt forced.  I have to say, though, that it was thrilling to see them on the big screen. The only one I remember seeing in the theater is “Return of the Jedi.” The rest were made before I was born, so I never got the theater experience and I was very glad I did.

However, I hate 3D. There is nothing added by 3D’s very flawed technology and it’s clear Lucas is cashing in on the trend. We’re seeing a dearth of 3D films released, and none are good; for example, “Piranha 3-D” “Yogi Bear” “The Smurfs” and “Clash of the Titans.” The only decent 3D flick this past year was “Avatar.”

I can’t see how Star Wars in 3D will be that much improved — if at all. I have to imagine they will have to do some digital tinkering to add some lightsaber moments that weren’t in the original. When I see those familiar goldenrod words scrolling across a star-flecked sky in 3D, I may be 10 years old again, or I may just be pissed at myself that I spent ten more dollars to see Star Wars. I can tell you I’m definitely NOT going to see “The Phantom Menace” again.

Coming to Blu-ray, Star Wars Saga is


George Lucas keeps his baby safe. Star Wars fans seldom get a scoop on info, and Lucas usually is very behind the ball in releasing Star Wars products and projects — like the 25 year gap between “Return on the Jedi” and “The Phantom Menace” or the original trilogy taking years to get to DVD, and once it did it was the re-release with added new digital effects most fans didn’t want. But George Lucas finally announced that we’ll have the Saga on Blu-ray in 2011, but didn’t give an exact release date, according to a report by blu-ray.com.

We’re not sure which verion of the Saga we’ll get, either, but it sounds like they’ve been loading these babies up with tons of bonus features that will make your nerd alert set off on full blast. According to the report, they even showcased a never-before-seen clip (see video below).

For those of you who love movies and don’t own a Blu-ray player, stop wasting your time on DVD. There is nothing that looks better than a Blu-ray on a hi-def TV. Brian and I both recommend Panasonic Vierra 1080p plasmas with a Panasonic Blu-ray player. We can’t wait to see these films on Blu-ray. We’ll be so excited, we may even watch Episode I.