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Tag Archive: Aladdin


Star Wars Rebels scene

Review by C.J. Bunce

Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion, the premiere one-hour movie for the coming animated series, aired last night on DisneyXD.  If the first hour is any indication, Star Wars Rebels will likely appeal to the entire demographic of anyone under 13 years old.  To that end, the premiere hour could be considered a success.  But as the first visual incarnation of Star Wars in the hands of Disney, is it enough for the generations of loyal Star Wars adult fans?

Star Wars Rebels is targeted at kids primarily through its focus on Ezra, a teenage thief solely defined by his own survival.  The unfortunately franchise-defining, stilted Star Wars dialogue and loud voice readings could only appeal to the younger set of “whiz-bang” aficionados.  It’s “very Disney” with its constantly fart-sound emitting R5-D4-inspired droid named Chop–Disney just can’t get away from a goofy little fringe character in any of its films.  The good part is that Ezra is a ringer for Disney’s Aladdin, and if you liked Aladdin there may be hope for this character for you.

We previewed the first novel in the New Universe under Disney here at borg.com a few weeks ago, Star Wars: A New Dawn.  It featured an interesting, well-written story and was a good introduction of two key characters in the new animated series, a Jedi named Kanan Jarrus (voiced in the series by Freddie Prinze, Jr.) and his partner Hera Syndulla (voiced by Vanessa Marshall), a green Twi’lek woman.  The difference is the novel had none of the goofy-for-kids elements.

Star Wars Ghost crew

Star Wars Rebels defines the challenges that stories of the New Universe will face.  What are the essential elements that make something Star Wars?  More importantly, what are the minimal elements required so this is not just another science fiction story with a Star Wars label?  The first hour of the animated universe bombards us with references back to people, places, ships, uniforms, and artifacts of the first two trilogies.  Can’t something new be done and yet remain completely of the Star Wars world?  Some of the camaraderie on the rebel vessel approached that of Firefly, particularly with the gruff Jayne-like character, Zeb (voiced by Steve Blum), the couple Kana and Hera a bit like Zoe and Wash, and young bomb expert Sabine (voiced by Tiya Sircar) is a bit of a combination of the engineering skill of Kaylee and the borderline sociopath River.  Have all the good sci-fi ideas been used up?

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Blade Runner one-sheet John Alvin   Young Frankenstein one-sheet John Alvin

Back in early 2012 we reviewed one of several books released on movie poster artist Drew Struzan, a useful and interesting resource called The Art of Drew Struzan, reviewed here.  It chronicles the best of painted motion picture advertising one-sheets that Struzan created, and even more enlightening, includes commentary by Struzan about his process and the politics and business of his years of leading the craft.  The picture he painted wasn’t pretty, but despite his own roadblocks he is generally thought of as the best motion picture poster artist of the last 50 years.

Along with Struzan, another poster artist created posters that often could be confused for Struzan’s.  That was the late poster artist John Alvin.  Unfortunately Alvin did not document his own personal account of his creative and professional experiences, but his wife Andrea has put together a book that at least documents his most popular work, released this month by Titan Books as The Art of John Alvin What we don’t know from any of the books we’ve reviewed on poster artists is how they might have competed for work over the years.  Andrea Alvin makes no mention of Struzan, but seems to indicate Alvin was able to keep a nice niche of clients over the years, ranging from the decision-makers behind the movies of Mel Brooks, Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, and the renaissance of animated Disney blockbusters.

ET one-sheet John Alvin   Empire of the Sun one-sheet John Alvin

Alvin’s work seems far more commercial compared to the paintings of Struzan, as can be seen in Alvin’s posters for Empire of the Sun (1987), Cape Fear (1991), Batman Returns (1992), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), and Batman Forever (1995).  But that doesn’t mean they were any less effective at drawing moviegoers to the theater, the entire point of the poster.  The one-sheet for Empire of the Sun is often seen as one of the most memorable images in the history of movie posters.

The power of much of Alvin’s posters is the simplicity.  In 1982 when the public first learned of a movie called E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, the only thing we knew was a newspaper ad showing a wrinkled alien hand touching the hand of a kid, inspired by Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam.  His teaser poster was equally as effective—never did these pictures show E.T. himself.  Those same images were reproduced on movie posters, cardboard standees, and eventually all over picture books sold via school book orders.  Simple images, but lasting images, and what they didn’t show was part of the enticement to reel in an audience.

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