LUKE SKYWALKER RETURNS TO THE GALAXY, FROM DECEMBER 15TH, 2017

ARRIVING IN THE NETHERLANDS, FROM 30/9/17. BOOK NOW FOR THE ULTIMATE 'STAR WARS' EXHIBITION

Monday, 31 January 2011

CLASSIC IMAGE: "FIRE AT WILL, COMMANDER"


Under orders from The Emperor, Moff Jerjerrod (Michael Pennington) prepares to use the Death Star II battle stations primary weapon against the trapped Rebel fleet in this rare RETURN OF THE JEDI image, previously supplied to KENNER TOYS in 1982/3 in scratched reference form so that it couldn't be copied.

For more on Moff Jerjerrod's lost scenes in JEDI, head here: STAR WARS AFICIONADO WEBSITE: MOFF JERJERROD

Saturday, 29 January 2011

"CLONE WARS" PREVIEW: "WITCHES OF THE MIST"


The very nice people at SKY MOVIES have sent us their latest press release for the new episode this week showing exclusively in the UK on SKY MOVIES PREMIERE and HD.

Here's the info:

The Must-See Conclusion to an Epic Three-Part Clone Wars Arc

Sent to track down the mysterious figure behind the deaths of several Jedi, Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi find themselves on the trail of Count Dooku’s newest apprentice – the monstrous Savage Opress. However, Dooku and Asajj Ventress discover that their creation has a will of his own, and that he has grown more powerful than either of them had anticipated – perhaps even more powerful than the combined forces of the Jedi and the Sith. The end begins in “Witches of the Mist,” the final chapter of a thrilling, three-part Clone Wars arc – airing at Saturday 29th January on Sky Movies Premiere/HD.

Driven by the Machiavellian machinations of Count Dooku, the series’ various villains come face to face at last in a climactic clash of red sabers. Dooku, Opress and Ventress – all are manifestations of evil, yet each is so distinct. It’s not until these three titans are brought together in the heat of conflict, however, that their nuances and differences become truly clear.

“With Dooku, the series' direction is pushing his character more towards that of a masterful diplomat, concealing a sinister agenda beneath a veil of polite sophistication,” says Corey Burton, voice of Dooku – and countless other Clone Wars characters, both good and evil. “He's a subversive political overlord – a major marketing force and seducer for the dark side ‘brand.’ It's all about his personal enrichment, power and position within the hierarchy; there's nothing intentionally cruel or vengeful in his manner, or behind his dastardly actions – as a Sith Lord, it's just how things are done to most efficiently preside over the fate of the galaxy. Mustache-twirling displays are beneath his sense of dignity.”

While Dooku is as consumed by his quest for power as he is by his own sense of sophistication, Ventress is wholly unconcerned by the niceties of evil. Driven by a desire for revenge, her motivation is raw and real – a product and a reflection of her own difficult past.

“She’s been wronged by so many, and I believe her experiences will lead her in an even more powerful direction,” says Nika Futterman, voice of Ventress. “We are finally beginning to understand what makes Asajj tick; I think this is her quest for revenge and not power like the Sith. That’s what separates her. She does things that may seem like her quest for power, but, I think she aligned herself with the dark side as a means to an end. She doesn’t ever forget who has done right by her and, of course, who has done her wrong. All this time, I had hoped that I would be able to delve into what made her so fabulous and complex. It turns out my hopes are coming true!”

Serving as a foil for the final confrontation between the former master and his jilted apprentice is the massively powerful Opress. Ostensibly a blunt instrument of evil, the monstrous creation is nonetheless imbued with a perverse humanity of his own – brought to the surface by sharp writing and a soulful performance by screen legend Clancy Brown (Highlander, The Shawshank Redemption).

“I'd been a fan of The Clone Wars since the first season; and then caught up with the second season with my son,” says Brown. “He was excited because it was Star Wars and I was excited about the role not just because it was in the Star Wars universe but because the writing is so sophisticated. There was never any question from me about Savage's motives and what was going on because I was familiar with the characters, and you can go another layer deeper.”

Friday, 28 January 2011

CLASSIC ART: A DIFFERENT KIND OF JEDI...


An intriguing image by Doug Chiang showing his idea for the Jedi Knights of the Old Republic (this is presumably Obi-Wan with the Battle Droids) rendered probably sometime between 1996 and 1997 (note the braids idea which would be tried on Ewan McGregor as seen in THE BEGINNING documentary, before only one was decided on, and at a shorter length), before the attired look was eventually pinned down to resemble Sir Alec Guinness's Obi costume from the first STAR WARS movie in 1977. During that period, Chiang's early design for the Jedi would also make its way into several of his pre-production conceptual paintings for EPISODE I.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

CLASSIC IMAGE: THE EMPEROR'S NEW PLAYGROUND!


Here's a great behind the scenes shot of Ian McDiarmid at the Australian FOX STUDIOS in 2003 filming his scenes within the now familiar and hideous make-up guise of Emperor Palpatine, aka Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith. And the creature who now resides in full charge of the First Galactic Empire...

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

ILM CLASSIC IMAGE: Y-WING CLOSE-UP!


Here's a great scale reference photo from ILM for the iconic Y-wing fighter seen in Death Star trench running action from the original STAR WARS filming of 1976/77. Note the tremendous model kit detail on the craft. Love the little Astro droid companion!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

AFICIONADO REVIEW: "STAR WARS BEGINS"

Complete at last! Jambe Davdar's STAR WARS BEGINS documentary
Rising star UK filmmaker and STAR WARS fan Jambe Davdar has finally completed his epic trio of behind the scenes commentary/ documentaries on the classic Original Trilogy movies. First there was the acclaimed BUILDING EMPIRE, then the equally successful RETURNING TO JEDI, and now, after four years hard work and research, STAR WARS BEGINS, built around my all-time favourite original STAR WARS movie, brings the information and entertainment cycle to a satisfying closure, bristling with great material that will delight fans of all ages everywhere, ranging from cut scenes (several of which have been painstakingly restored to the best quality possible-check out Luke's original introduction and his later scenes at Anchorhead with Biggs), behind the scenes photos, missing scene reconstructions (including some marvellous work on bringing to life the full sequence involving Harrison Ford and Declan Mulholland as Jabba the Hutt, a reconstruction of the original version of the STAR WARS title crawl from 1976 with Joe Johnston's STAR WARS logo, a look at Larry Cuba's innovative early computer graphics for the Death Star schematics, plus fine use of a MARVEL comic book to bring to life a cut scene used in the 1978 HOLIDAY SPECIAL), cleaned up audio and restored music, comparisons between the films many audio versions, a running info text and a few new surprises. Its worth its weight in gold just for the treasure trove of audio commentaries alone, which often brings to life the sheer difficulties the actors and technicians faced in the classic films ultimate realisation, and featuring nicely selected contributions from such rare notables as Sir Alec Guinness, Phil Brown, script/continuity person Ann Skinner, costume designer John Mollo, Harrison Ford, John Dykstra, and even one of the trumpet players from the 1977 London Symphony Orchestra who lent his expert abilities to the films unforgettable opening title sequences!

Here's the trailer for the exciting project: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSMHMOf-DPk

We all have our own individual and deserving lists of what we want to see on any kind of STAR WARS related documentary, but I think you'll find that STAR WARS BEGINS, despite what I felt were a few little niggly omissions towards its final quarter (which I'm sure will be added to any future revised versions of the project), admirably captures all the best behind the scenes/deleted footage material currently available, and proves to be a well structured, highly enjoyable trip of nostalgia and information on the original 1977 film that makes it essential viewing when its fully released next month. You can see that a lot of time, energy, talent and love have gone into making this a special treat for fans that's not only a worthy continuance of Davdar's previous fine work but additionally acts as an effective and separately enjoyable work to the likes of other fan documentary projects like Garrett Gilchrist's few years back, and of a similar vein, DELETED MAGIC. If it hasn't already done so, STAR WARS BEGINS will surely attract the notice of a few LUCASFILM related people out there who will be impressed with Jambe's endeavours, finding that it acts as a very appetising starter to the main course of Blu-Ray releases out in September.

STAR WARS AFICIONADO RATING: 4.5 out of 5

To find out more about STAR WARS BEGINS, check out the link: http://buildingempire.blogspot.com/
and at TWITTER on: @jamieswb
To see BUILDING EMPIRE, RETURNING TO JEDI, and early sections of STAR WARS BEGINS on YOUTUBE, head to this link: http://www.youtube.com/user/jambedavdar

Sunday, 23 January 2011

"THE CLONE WARS": A BEHIND THE SCENES ART TRIBUTE.


My good friend and dedicated STAR WARS fan Adriano Ticiano sent me his latest great art: a fun CLONE WARS behind the scenes homage to that classic EMPIRE image of Lucas off set with Hamill/Ford/Fisher.

Here it is...


Great work, Adriano, and thanks for sending it to me.

To see more of Adriano's work, check out this link:  http://ticiano.deviantart.com/

Saturday, 22 January 2011

CLASSIC IMAGE: FIERY FIGHTING!


On the ash debris spewing, volcanic inferno that is the planet Mustafar, and fighting outside without the environmental protection of a deflector shield, veteran Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi goes up against his once Padawan learner: the intense, hate-fuelled Anakin Skywalker, who, no longer a Jedi, has now become Darth Vader- Dark Lord of the Sith, and must be stopped at all costs!

EPISODE III is showing in HD on the UK's ITV1 this Saturday mid-afternoon, but be warned, some of its darker scenes will, once again, most likely be cut for the time slot...

Thursday, 20 January 2011

"THE CLONE WARS": THE WELCOME RETURN OF QUI-GON JINN!

Qui-Gon returns to THE CLONE WARS in January/February 2011!

The most unexpected and also quite wonderful news has come in that actor Liam Neeson has returned to voice the noble Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in spectral form for two upcoming episodes of THE CLONE WARS, in a tale linked to the destinies of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY broke the exclusive scoop.

Check out the link here: http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/01/20/liam-neeson-star-wars-clone-wars-exclusive/

Presuming the voice over work was done a year ago, we're wondering if the upcoming EPISODE III Blu-ray release might just possibly finally have a re-constituted scene involving the voice of Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn talking to Yoda, as was originally planned and scripted by Lucas but dropped in the 2005 post production phase? Let's hope so, as Neeson's non appearance at the end of the film was, I feel, a much missed opportunity which could have added even more completeness to the two trilogies.

Thank you for coming back to the Saga, Mister Neeson!

CLASSIC IMAGE: IN THE NICK OF TIME!


In one of the best cheer out loud moments of EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES, Yoda and the fresh for battle Clone Armies arrive on Geonosis to assist their Jedi colleagues and stop Count Dooku and his new forces.

The Clone War has begun!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

BACK FOR A "LAST CRUSADE"!


"On some adventures, one Jones isn't enough!"

It may have taken quite a long gestation period to reach the worlds cinema screens (including early ideas such as being a ghost story set within a haunted castle, as well as an intriguing aborted screenplay along the way, written by HARRY POTTER director/GREMLINS creator Chris Columbus, called THE MONKEY KING), but INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, the originally planned conclusion to the Indiana Jones Trilogy which had been first thought up by Lucas in the early 1970's and finally brought into development with friend Spielberg after a lazy day on the beach building sandcastles in Hawaii in 1977 (both of whom enjoying some much deserved in-hiding downtime, wanting to escape the stresses of their then just released film-making endeavours), hit the cinemas screens in the early summer of 1989, and proved to be a record breaker amongst a veritable crowded sea of other blockbusters (including the Bond actioner LICENCE TO KILL, GHOSTBUSTERS II, STAR TREK V and the ultimate box office champ that year: BATMAN, starring Jack Nicholson as the evil Joker and Michael Keaton in the title role as the dark avenger of the chaos stricken Gotham City).

After the dark and disturbing imagery of 1983's THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, Lucas and Spielberg were determined to do something a litlte more fun and light heartedly entertaining than before, mixed with the usual "McGuffin" (this time the Holy Grail) and the clever action scenes, as well as giving things story wise a bit more depth as a conclusion. Star Harrison Ford, too, was worried that the character of Indiana Jones was becoming one dimensional and wanted to end the series on a high with more characterisation and additional facets to the iconic role so as to make the film more satisfying as a project for both him to work on and for the audiences watching it. The result of the trios efforts saw in the highly successful introduction of Indy's father, originally planned as a Yoda like professor who stayed away from the action, but whom soon became an integral part of the films success, fully integrated into its story and its character relationships, and metamorphosed into the Henry Jones we know and loved, as played by ex-James Bond himself, Sean Connery. And, despite some early reticence from Lucas about the actor taking the role, Spielberg was ultimately right when he said, "Who else could and should play Indy's father than 007?" The resulting combination/chemistry of Ford and Connery together would prove the vital masterstroke that holds the film together. The pair work beautifully on screen, with a wonderful camaraderie and great comic and dramatic timing-you can also sense that the two actors are having a great time here and presumably added much of their own input to the films success, and providing it, backed up with a great John Williams score and an interesting script from the late Jeffrey Boam (who had a double win that year with his screenplay for another summer hit: LETHAL WEAPON 2), apparently with additional dialogue from popular UK screen writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, which showed a clear sense of heart and familial recognition that could affect, enthuse and entertain audiences worldwide (backed up with a fun opening set-up/chase introducing us to a young version of Indiana Jones, well played by the late River Phoenix). Plus there were the usual great action highlights (the tank versus Indy on horse sequence is absolutely fantastic-a triumph of plotting and choreography which brings to life a very satisfying character orientated adrenaline scene- as is the Venice speedboat chase), a yummy blonde Indy-babe, the German spy Elsa Schneider played by the equally yummy ex-Bond girl Alison Doody, and other enjoyable villains-once more the Nazis (though a little bit more lampooned and cliched now in comparison to their mostly tough and intimidating roles in RAIDERS, but a special note to Michael Byrne who is excellent and thoroughly rotten as General Vogel, alongside Julian Glover's ambitious and slimy US businessman Walter Donovan (and look out for a little cameo from the actors real-life wife, Isla Blair (as Mrs Donovan, and listed in the movies credits as being played by "Mrs Glover"!). Finally, to the delight of long term fans since RAIDERS, there's also the return of our other friends: Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliot) and Sallah (John Rhys Davies), though, like the Nazis they're fighting against, it seems that there characters would also be amped up for more comic effect.

Here's one of the original trailers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYNTV61FeAs

The Tank action sequence looked thrilling on the big screen in 1989.

I remember that seeing the final INDY film was even more of a thrill for me this time, as I was witnessing it on the biggest screen in London at the newly re-opened and re-furnished EMPIRE, Leicester Square theatre in the heart of London's West End. I saw it the opening weekend of the films release (plus a few more times after that with family and friends) where it was also the opening weekend for the new cinema, and which, I think, had also played host to another special Royal premiere, too, just like the one for TEMPLE OF DOOM. I clearly remember walking into the new EMPIRE and thinking, "This is how all cinemas should be!", and loved the re-design: the plush seating and a loud and eye filling laser light show and deafening, proper THX sound system designed specifically to rattle you in your seat before the film had even started! The audience of the Saturday mid afternoon show proceeded to love every minute of THE LAST CRUSADE, and so did I, and, as our old friends Indy, Marcus, Henry and Sallah rode off into the sunset at the end of their own crusade, I knew that this was indeed going to be the last film of the series and I had a little lump in my throat as the final credits rolled...

And then, almost twenty years later, Ford and the gang proved me wrong!

THE LAST CRUSADE, showing tonight on BBC 1, completes the series being shown on the channel and BBC HD.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

"THE CLONE WARS" COMING SOON: JEDI MASTER EVEN PIELL


Last seen firmly rooted to his chair within the Jedi Council chambers on Coruscant in both the first two STAR WARS Prequels (played by actress Michaela Cottrell), and the CLONE WARS micro-series, its nice to see the Lannik born Master Even Piell come to action packed, green lightsaber wielding life (after a decade of memorable appearances in the DARK HORSE comic universe) in at least one episode during the final half of the new third season of THE CLONE WARS.

Monday, 17 January 2011

CLASSIC IMAGE: FIGHTING TALK!


On location at the desert of Yuma, Arizona, RETURN OF THE JEDI director Richard Marquand confers with Mark Hamill and Boba Fett (played by either stuntmen Dickey Beer or Glenn Randall, both of whom inhabited the suit for various sequences during the exterior filming) over the duo's upcoming confrontation.

With thanks to Chris Baker for the image.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

REMEMBERING THE "CLONES"!


The STAR WARS saga movie screenings continue this early pm today on the UK's ITV 1 digital and terrestrial channels with ATTACK OF THE CLONES in the HD spotlight, and which will no doubt look gorgeous even in its pan and scan presentation.

Long before it became the seemingly fashionable norm for film critics, Prequel Haters and so-called geek chic celebrity fans to slag the second episode of the new Trilogy off with such thorough disdain, I recall the very enthusiastic response the film got from critics during the first UK press screening at the ODEON Leicester Square in London several weeks before it officially opened worldwide. The cinema, a 2,100 seater, was packed to the rafters with eager people wanting to see the next STAR WARS chapter-and there was a great atmosphere as we all got ready to see it at 10am. It was like being at one of the heady, riotous British Children's Film Foundation movie screenings of the 1970's, when boys would be dropping gunge and ice lolly sticks from the top rows onto the girls hair below them in the stalls, or like the scene where the Gremlins are all watching Snow White! As the film started I recall the cheer with the STAR WARS logo and opening titles, the murmuring excitement of the assassination attempt on Padme's life, the quiet "oohhs" seeing in the arrival of Obi and Anakin at Padme's apartment, some intrigued murmurings of "It's Jar Jar Binks!" when he turned up on screen (plus some later "Oh no's" when he was given that clever scene in the Senate!), followed by a good laugh when Padme kinda brushed him aside to do his political duties, plus some giggles when Obi said "possibly" when he was talking with Anakin about his Jedi abilities, another huge laugh when Obi then sent off Elan Sleazebaggano from the sports bar, the bitchy "oohhhs" when Padme first rebuffed Anakin at the Varykino safehouse on Naboo, and the excitement when Yoda and the Clones arrived in the stadium (you could feel the enthusiasm in the air and surprise at how that opening battle was unfolding). Then the cheers when Anakin had the second lightsaber thrown to him and he tackled Dooku, and then the audience rip-roaring when Yoda took on Dooku in the hangar. And, most noticably, when the film ended and the credits went up there was an appreciative applause.

That was the film screening for ATTACK OF THE CLONES that I'll always remember and cherish!

Amongst the audience (which apparently also included popular UK film critic Barry Norman (who seemingly liked the film and gave it a decentish review) and his daughter, Emma), my attention was particularly caught on two people: verbally the most well known UK Prequel haters, TV chat show host/ comic book geek Jonathan Ross, and actor/writer/film-maker Simon Pegg-I'd like to now happily re-remind both of them if they're reading this, who were sitting in seats near me in the middle stalls area, that they were amongst the people doing all the cheering, shouting and laughing, and the pair certainly seemed to enjoy talking about the film amongst a throng of other fans in the bright daylight sun outside of the cinema once the morning show had ended. ATTACK OF THE CLONES couldn't have been that bad a viewing experience based on my visual experience of them, though they happily slagged the film off afterwards for years to come: which betrays some serious double standards if you ask me! Ah well, I suppose you could put it all down to the fickleness of being a celebrity!

UPDATE: 16/1/2010. Once more, ITV showed the UK cut print of the film with the missing Boba head butt on Obi-Wan. And, just prior to the film coming on, the ITV announcer warned that there were scenes in the film that might be cosidered scary for young children!

                                                                     


Friday, 14 January 2011

CLASSIC IMAGE: WIOSLEA THE SPEEDER DEALER!


Would you buy a used Landspeeder from this alien?

A close-up shot of the barely seen Landspeeder dealer Wioslea, working within the Mos Eisley spaceport, whom Luke sells his speeder to for much needed currency. In the STAR WARS Expanded Universe, the alien is a she from a race called the Vuvrian. Though at least one close image was photographed showing Luke and Obi-Wan with the creature (below), it's unknown so far (though I might be proved wrong by the upcoming Blu-ray cut scenes!) as to whether any extra footage was filmed with it, played by UK extra Barry Copping, bar the long shot moment ultimately seen in the film. Obviously, dialogue for the bartering scene would eventually be created by the late Brian Daley's for his acclaimed NPR dramatisation of the film.


With thanks to Chris Baker for the main image.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

CLASSIC IMAGE: DIRECTING VADER!


Technicians (presumably from ILM or LUCASARTS) film an unknown actor as Darth Vader for what I assume is one of the many video games (Rebel Assault?) or advertising promotions linked to STAR WARS, utilising the saga's most popular villain.

If anyone out there can help with any more caption info for this image, please get in touch...

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

INDY'S DARKEST HOURS AT "THE TEMPLE OF DOOM"

The Bridge too far! Indiana Jones fights for survival in INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM.

"I'm not gonna have anything nice to say about this place when I get back!"  - Willie Scott.

Time has sadly not been kind to INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM. Critics have often stated that it didn't live up to the success or sequel promise of RAIDERS, and both Lucas and Spielberg themselves have kinda regretted making it over time, citing it as too dark and intense in places (indicative of the dark times they too were then having in their personal lives and relationships), but I personally like it a lot. Remember that little dark and intense film called THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK that followed STAR WARS. Nothing wrong with that one, eh? This was just following in the same vein. Granted, it doesn't have the first films verve, but there are some terrific moments of action and comedy worthy of merit (many of which were originally derived for RAIDERS but had to be eliminated for time and money reasons, leading them to be held over for this sequel), and it does have some adrenaline ride moments like the action in and outside the Club Obi-Wan, and, later, in the minefield chase, and the baddies, a different foe from the Nazis, really are nasty and scary. Plus, there's spooky voodoo like possession (even Indy gets captured in this one!), dark caves, human sacrifices and lots of heroics not only from our Fedora hatted adventurer, but also his likable companion Short Round (Ke Huy Quan). Plus Kate Capshaw, Mrs Spielberg to you and me!, is a fine, if loud, Indy babe! And how can we not mention that great musical number at the films beginning, which would make the legendary choreographer Busby Berkeley proud!

Night club singer Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) and the dancing girls- a part of the opening musical number that didn't make the final cut of INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM.

I remember seeing this film twice at the cinema, first at the local ODEON Streatham (where I first saw STAR WARS in January 1978) with my family (and we all thoroughly enjoyed seeing Indy again!), and then with some school friends at the Streatham ABC a few months later. I also remember there was a big premiere at the London West End EMPIRE Leicester Square with the cast and crew, and I think it was a Royal Premiere (with Princess Diana), but I wasn't aware of it until after the fact.

Here's the films original trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4zD6Nm_ce4

TEMPLE, the first Lucas Prequel, is being shown in the UK in glorious full HD widescreen on the BBC tonight, though most likely it will be the edited version of the movie which I despise (on its original release, the scene where Mola Ram removes the heart from one of his sacrificial victims, a part of said victims burning, and Short Round's whipping from the young Maharajah were ordered cut from the film by the then very nervous people at the British Board of Film Censors, so as to get a family audience viewing certificate (all of these scenes, however, remain intact in the US versions on DVD and laserdisc)). These same cuts have continued over the years with subsequent releases in different formats in the UK, and no doubt the eventual UK release on Blu-ray will suffer the same fate unless the movies certificate is upped to a 15 level, which we doubt that LUCASFILM/PARAMOUNT will want to do, as it may disrupt family audience sales of their box sets. To be honest, though, looking back at those TEMPLE scenes they now seem pretty tame to me: the violence and gore I've seen in some of today's modern family viewing is often far worse!

UPDATE: 13/1/2010. Once again, and as expected, the cut UK version of the film was shown.

AFICIONADO REVIEW: "IT'S A TRAP!"

Forget what's his name Ford, Peter Griffin is Han Solo! Image: FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT.

With the release of IT'S A TRAP! on DVD and Blu-ray (also available as part of a special Trilogy box set release (wonderfully titled LAUGH IT UP, FUZZBALL!)), did Seth MacFarlane and his talented FAMILY GUY team deliver a great finale living up to its parody predecessors?

Check out our review to find out. Here's the link:
STAR WARS AFICIONADO WEBSITE: CLASSIC REVIEW: 'FAMILY GUY - IT'S A TRAP' BLU-RAY

Please note: the review contains adult language that may be unsuitable for younger readers.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

CLASSIC IMAGE: ANTENNA ADJUSTMENT!


"Can you get SKY MOVIES HD on this?"

Make-up artists Karen Bradley and Danny Waggoner attend to the delicate work on the head of actress Michelle Bourriague, about to make her blink and you miss it (but soon iconic) cameo appearance as the Bounty Hunter Aurra Sing in ILM inserts filmed for inclusion within the epic Pod Race of STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE. Her character may not have made a once planned return in EPISODE II, but the character has certainly made her mark since both in DARK HORSE comic form, and, as voiced by Jaime King, in the hit THE CLONE WARS series showing on SKY and CARTOON NETWORK.

With thanks to Chris Baker for the image.

Monday, 10 January 2011

ILM CLASSIC IMAGE: IN THE LAND OF THE EWOK!


Here's a great ILM matte painting of a part of the Ewok village on Endor. Can anyone confirm if this was done for JEDI (as some magazines have said over the years-if so, a deleted scene?) or for a scene I don't recall in the Ewok TV movies? I think its probably the latter (perhaps CARAVAN OF COURAGE?), but if anyone can help please get in touch.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

MARK HAMILL TALKS!


Our good friends at the STAR WARS COLLECTORS CLUB site have kindly sent us their YOUTUBE posting (with thanks to the original recording source: a fan named "IG-88") of a rare Mark Hamill interview done sometime between 1981 and 1983 for a breakfast TV programme in New York, where he briefly chats about the upcoming JEDI (where he looks forward to a life beyond playing Luke Skywalker), his work on the Broadway stage and his life/career.

It's worth a look. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhvdAk3q0c4

And check out some of the other SW rarities on their channel page.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

THE "MENACE" RETURNS...

"At last we will have revenge..."

"Always two there are. A master and an apprentice."

The premiere film of the Prequel Trilogy, released in 1999, which gave the world Darth Maul and his double lightsaber, Pod racing, the noble Qui-Gon Jinn, young Anakin Skywalker, the heroic Queen Amidala and, whether you like it or not, comedy star Jar Jar Binks, returns to the UK TV screens in HD on ITV 1 this today pm (hopefully seeing in one film each weekend, presumably being shown before their viewing rights expire with the upcoming Blu-rays). Sadly, TPM probably won't be presented by them in full widescreen, instead pan and scan (being a commercial channel ITV are afraid to lose their general audience with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen!), but what ratio we do eventually see will surely look pretty darned good!

How about a look back at this classic trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dWA9DwDQpM

Friday, 7 January 2011

COMMENT: BLU-RAY "CH-CH-CH-CHANGES..."?


So, the next Blu-ray announcement is here, and I applaud LUCASFILM/FOX for releasing three variations (one entire box set and one each for the Classic and Prequel Trilogies). However, despite my foolish hopes, it looks totally unlikely that LUCASFILM will capitulate and put any of the original theatrical release versions of the Classic Trilogy onto the Blu-ray format (whether they are enhanced or not, and even if they were originally used for VHS tapes). Also, despite the welcome three disc of extras, will 30 hours of material covering all six films (five hours for each movie) really be enough?

Interestingly, the trailer for the releases on STARWARS.COM today has allegedly not been sourced from Blu-ray elements, instead put together from the prints/copies used for the last DVD set (2004). However, it looks to me as if at least one scene from the Blu-rays has slipped (?) through the net.

Here it is from JEDI's space battle. Is it me, or is this shot from the trailer been newly done?



If you look at the trailer, the angle the Rebel ships come in from heading towards the Imperial Fleet looks and feels slightly different. I might be wrong but if anyone can confirm this, please get in touch...

If it has been changed, I think we can definitely expect lots more revisions on all the films to come. The optimist in me hopes that the majority of these additions will be subtle and effective more than anything negative, though please bring back Jason Wingreen's Boba Fett voice for EMPIRE! Continuity doesn't matter in this case!

The Blu-ray trailer: http://www.starwars.com/video/view/001175.html

The announcement: http://www.starwars.com/themovies/saga/preorder_bluray/index.html

Thursday, 6 January 2011

ILM CLASSIC IMAGE: GOING IN FOR THE KILL!


Above the Death Star planetoids surface, two deadly TIE fighters move speedily to intercept a Rebel X-wing fighter (possibly Luke's, from looking at the Fourth Draft script) in a lovely ILM 1976/77 storyboarded image by artist unknown (presumably Joe Johnston).

With thanks to Chris Baker for the image.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

BACK ON UK TV: "RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK"

"Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?" Indy descends into trouble in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

On BBC 1 and HD today at 9pm, and then the other two to follow each week. I'll be intrigued to see which version of RAIDERS is shown: the original as has been seen on the UK's SKY MOVIES over the last year, or two years ago BBC HD copy, which had a new cgi overlay background sequence during one scene in the truck chase (image below):

Old version 1981.
New version-shown on BBC 1 HD during 2010- July 2012- for the so far unreleased INDY Blu-rays? With thanks to ORIGINALTRILOGY.COM

I'll never forget seeing RAIDERS for the first time in 1981. I was eleven years old, and I knew nothing about the film apart from seeing some stills in STARBURST magazine (I didn't even know it was set in the 1930's). Me, mum, my brother and his wife (my dad didn't want to come-he regretted it afterwards!) went to the weekend sneak preview midnight screening, the week before its proper release in UK cinemas, at the lovable flea-pit cinema the Streatham ABC, in the days when you didn't book online or phone for tickets, you just went and hoped you got in there! We did, the cinema was jam packed, and we were all blown away by how exciting the film was- and as the opening scene unfolded we were all impressed by Harrison Ford, superb in a role that was meant for him! My love of STAR WARS got me in trouble, though: when I saw William Hootkins in the film, I remember turning round to my mum and saying, "It's Porkins!", to which I got an aggressive "sshhh" from the angry adult above me!

Great days and happy memories!

UPDATE 6/1/2011: The new version of RAIDERS was shown.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

CLASSIC IMAGE: TO SLAY A JEDI!


Poor Jedi Master Shaak Ti, as played by the rather gorgeous actress/model Orli Shoshan, had a bit of a bad time of things in EPISODE III, actaully dying by foul, murderous means twice, and both times cut from the film-fortunately for fans, or unfortunately for Ti, one of her death scenes-the first from the cowardly General Grievous, shot in Australia in 2003- would eventually see the light of darkness on the EPISODE III DVD released at the end of 2005.

For more on Orli Shoshan, head here: STAR WARS AFICIONADO WEBSITE: ORLI SHOSHAN

Monday, 3 January 2011

CLASSIC IMAGE: "COMING IN HOT!"


From EPISODE III, a tense time for our Republic Heroes as they try to regain flight control of the surviving section of General Grievous's warship The Invivible Hand for a safe (ish) landing on Coruscant.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

"AFICIONADO" BACK ISSUE NEWS



Just to let any interested readers know that the STAR WARS AFICIONADO issues devoted to the making of RETURN OF THE JEDI (2008) and the Thirtieth Anniversary Special (2007) have finally been added to the main sites back catalogue area. That makes every issue of the magazine from number seven onwards now available in PDF form. 

Here's the link for more information:  http://www.starwarsaficionado.com/backissuepdfcatalog.html

As for issues before seven, there are no plans to re-release AFICIONADO double issue five and six, as it was revised as THE MAKING OF STAR WARS special issue in 2007, but there will be an exciting special announcement about issues one to four in the very near future, so keep checking both the sites out...

Saturday, 1 January 2011

CLASSIC ART: ESCAPING IMPERIAL ENTANGLEMENTS!


Getting the New Year off to a bang, here's a wonderful space battle image from the finale of 1995's Steve Perry written STAR WARS adventure SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE, where our Rebel heroes in the Millennium Falcon, accompanied by Dash Rendar, try to escape Coruscant and the clutches of Prince Xizor and Darth Vader in this amazing art from the esteemed Hildebrandt brothers- commissioned for the TOPPS card series released that same year.

Click the pic to see the image in its full widescreen glory.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!