Why ‘Star Wars’ Is Here to Stay

Money-grubbing 3D re-release of The Phantom Menace got you down?  Here’s John Scalzi on why we should all just shut up and learn to accept the fact that the Star Wars films aren’t going anywhere:

Star Wars has the books, games, merchandising, and so on, but at the end of the day the movies are at the heart of the universe, and Lucas is smart enough to know he has to engage each new generation with them. In that respect, the theatrical re-releases aren’t aimed at the people who saw the films when they were originally in the theaters; they’re aimed at the ones who have never seen them there — or indeed possibly have not seen them at all. Lucas is explicitly taking a page from Disney, which before the age of home video would re-release its classic movies every seven years or so in order to bring in a new crop of fans to Snow White and Pinocchio and Dumbo (and which is also using 3D right now to do the same trick — note the recent releases of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast).

To be blunt about it, if you’re an older Star Wars fan, your exasperation at the 3D release of The Phantom Menace – and the future 3D versions of the other five films in the series — is almost totally irrelevant, because you’re not really the intended audience. Your kid is. And, speaking as the father of a 13-year-old girl, I can assure you that your child finds your exasperation quaint and adorable. The good news here is that in 10 to 12 years, when a new Star Wars release is out, you’ll smile when your child has his or her own nerd rage about how the films have been changed. It’s the nerd circle of life.

‘Altered Carbon’ Movie in the Works?

Variety and io9 reported yesterday that Mythology Entertainment, a new production company formed by Brad Fischer (producer of Black Swan, Shutter Island, and Zodiac), Laeta Kalogridis (producer, Shutter Island; executive producer of Avatar), and James Vanderbilt (screenwriter of Shutter Island, Zodiac; producer, Zodiac), have purchased film rights to Richard Morgan’s classic cyberpunk noir novel Altered Carbon.

The production team obviously has some chops, but I agree with io9: this makes me nervous.  This is an important book.  Too important to screw up (much like the long-rumored, long-dreaded adaptation of William Gibson’s Neuromancer).  If the producers are willing to make a movie with a hard ‘R’ rating, then they will be on the right track, but turn this into a PG-13 effects fest and the spirit of the novel will be lost.

‘Raiding the Lost Ark’ – A Filmumentary by Jamie Benning

This is too good not to repost (via ForeverGeek).  Raiding the Lost Ark is a fan-made, in-depth documentary / commentary on Raiders of the Lost Ark by Jamie Benning.  It shows the entirety of the film with custom curated commentary from the makers and stars, intercut with clips of the making of the film.  Watch it while you can: Benning’s prior “filmumentaries” on the Star Wars trilogy were forcibly removed from YouTube due to alleged copyright infringement.

Lucas: Han always shot first

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, George Lucas recently commented on the “Who shot first?” issue in Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope:

The controversy over who shot first, Greedo or Han Solo, in Episode IV, what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo [who seemed to be the one who shot first in the original] to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t. It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down.
Via io9 and slashfilm.

Right, George.  Riiiight.  Even if this is true, it just proves that Lucas’s conception of the Han Solo character isn’t as interesting as what actually appeared on screen in the original cut of the film.  It’s not that Solo’s a “cold-blooded killer,” it’s that he’s a criminal who has only survived this long by not taking any chances with other criminals.  It was clear from the original cut that Solo knew Greedo had every intention of shooting him, and when Greedo confirmed it (“Over my dead body.” “That’s the idea.”), Solo shot first.  A pre-emptive attack.  Bush style.  It cemented his status as a rogue, a daring spacer who was not to be trifled with.  Changing the scene and making it out like Solo always had a perfect heart of gold and only acted purely defensively just dumbs down the character arc.  Not to mention the fact that if Han wasn’t the type to shoot first, he almost certainly would have been dead before the story opened.  You can’t always count on your opponent missing.

‘The Bourne Legacy’ Trailer


I’m a big fan of the Matt Damon Bourne films, so this makes me nervous, despite the fact that I like a lot of the actors involved.  The Damon trilogy played as real to me; for some reason this teaser has a superhero movie feel.

Cameron Needs a Custom Submarine for ‘Avatar’ Sequels

In case you haven’t heard, James Cameron has gone into greater detail in recent months about what we can expect from the forthcoming two sequels to his 2009 film Avatar.

Producer Jon Landau was quoted in January as saying that we shouldn’t expect to see another Avatar movie for around four years.

More recently, star Sigourney Weaver told /Film that the relatively long wait will be partially due to special equipment Cameron feels he needs to create his vision:

Cameron will only begin filming the new Avatars after having gone underwater in a specially built submarine. It is thought that he would like to go to the Mariana Trench. Re-beginning work on Titanic for the 3D version has also given him many inspirations for Avatar.

I couldn’t think of something as quintessentially James Cameron as this even if I were deliberately trying to write a parody sketch.  You can’t make this up.  Dude needs a custom submersible, built to his own personal specifications, before he can make another movie.  And sharks.  Sharks with frikkin’ lasers on their heads.

Update on the Harrison Ford/Blade Runner Sequel Story

Twitch’s recent report that Harrison Ford was allegedly in talks to return as Rick Deckard in a Blade Runner sequel have been met with an emphatic denial by producer Andrew Kosove, but Twitch isn’t buying it.

‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Trailer

This is the absolute last movie I expected to be excited about, but this trailer kicks ass.  I thought the reboot was a horrible, greedy, redundant idea, but now I’m into it.  I particularly like that they apparently changed the origin story somewhat: that bit about Parker’s father is brand new, to my knowledge.

Andrew Garfield is also much better casting for Peter Parker than Tobey Maguire ever was: he looks like Spiderman from the comics, thinner, lither.  The bulked up look they gave Maguire in the trilogy always looked a little silly.  And hardcore fans are doubtless thrilled about the mechanical web-shooters.

“You seriously think I’m a cop, in a skin-tight red and blue suit?”

‘The Avengers’ Superbowl Trailer (Extended)

One minute, five seconds of badassery: the extended version of the Avengers trailer shown tonight during the Superbowl.

Harrison Ford in Talks for Blade Runner Sequel

Seriously, where can I get a set of these rocks glasses?

Twitch reports today on the sequel to Blade Runner:

In March of 2011 word broke that Alcon Entertainment and Warner Brothers had teamed up to return to the world of Ridley Scott’s classic scifi Blade Runner. In following weeks Scott himself would sign on to direct the project – it is widely expected to be Scott’s next project after Prometheus, though he’s got a number in the works so scheduling could always change – but the official line has always been that Scott would be the only returning alumni, that the plan was a completely fresh reboot.

I hadn’t heard Scott was making a sequel, but it’s great to see that he’s moving from the Alien universe directly into another science fiction film.  Whether the new Blade Runner will be worth our while is another question entirely, however.  The bigger news today is that Harrison Ford is rumored to be talking about returning as Rick Deckard:

Twitch has learned that Harrison Ford has entered into early talks to join the new Blade Runner. While this is still very early stages and it is quite possible that things won’t work out the obvious implication is that what we are looking at is nota reboot but a direct sequel to the original.

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