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Tag Archive: Star Wars 3D


star-wars-green-screen

Back in 1998, before the Star Wars prequels, PC users were given the first public look at the deleted scenes from Star Wars–the original, Episode IV, A New Hope, etc.  A two-CD-ROM set called Star Wars: Behind the Magic whetted the appetites of fans who were soon going to be able to see a new Star Wars movie for the first time in 16 years.  Deleted scenes?  Lucas shot scenes we hadn’t yet seen?   Finally those still images we only saw as kids in The Star Wars Storybook came to life, like this guy that looked like Clark Gable or Tom Selleck named Biggs Darklighter, with Luke Skywalker and a group of his young friends just hanging out on Tatooine.  Some of the deleted scenes never made it back into George Lucas’s re-worked final canon version of the trilogy.  But the data on those CD-ROMs was unprecedented, and better compiled and searchable than much information available even today on the Internet.

So we were excited to see Industrial Light and Magic release a new Behind the Magic entry this past week, even if only a few minutes long, this time for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  The reel, posted to YouTube by ILMVisualFX, is a bit of a rollercoaster ride through all the layers of CGI and blue screen work required to create so many locations, special effects, characters, and visual spectacles.  It’s wired up with crazy sound, too, and just might make you dizzy as you fall in and out of scene after scene.

star-wars-behind-the-magic   star-wars-storybook

For fans of Star Wars waiting for the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in December, and the release of the 3D edition of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in November discussed here previously at borg.com, and featuring even more behind the scenes features, this new reel just locks in our fanboy and fangirl need for that 3D edition.

Check out this behind the scenes look at last year’s–and this year’s–biggest film, in Behind the Magic: The Visual Effects of Star Wars: The Force Awakens:

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Star Wars issue 1

With the official change over really coming to fruition in January of the return of the Star Wars comic book license to Marvel Comics after its successful run at Dark Horse Comics–and several months before the full magnitude of what it will mean to have Star Wars under the Disney empire–already word is out about re-releases of the original trilogy.

Forget about Greedo shooting first, the ghost of a young Anakin Skywalker at the end of Return of the Jedi, a skinny Jabba at Mos Eisley, and strange circular bursts emitting from destroyed Death Stars.  Forget about a cringe-worthy singsong “Celebrate the Love” over “Lapti Nek.”  It took Disney to give fans what they have wanted all along: the one and only original Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, with no special edition edits, on Blu-ray.  That’s right, all three films are undergoing conversions to Blu-ray for a to-be-announced release date in 2015.

Original Death Star 2 destruction

The original destruction of the second Death Star.

So you’ll again get to upgrade your home version of the trilogy, the one that already replaced you VHS, Beta, Laser Disc, DVD, and countless digital upgrade and boxed set releases–one more time.  That is, until they release the 3D version.  No word yet on that upgrade.

updated Death Star 2 destruction from special edition

Destruction of second Death Star, after the special edition update.

Along with the films, the original Star Wars: A New Hope comic book adaptation created by legendary writer Roy Thomas and illustrated by our favorite comic book artist, Howard Chaykin, will get a facelift of sorts.  Colorist Chris Sotomayor is going to update the four-color standard 1970s style used by Marvel to a more modern color set.  Like the special edition update for the movies, this will give us a new take on the classic book.  Well-known artists Marie Severin, Steve Leialoha and Glynis Wein provided the original color work now being replaced.

Here’s a comparison of the new vs. the old:

Marvel 1977 Star Wars color update

Check back for release dates here at borg.com throughout 2015.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

George Takei Sulu in The Naked Time

If holographic television were available today, would you go right out and buy it?

We’re more than four years into the widespread availability of affordable consumer 3D television and the viewing public hasn’t embraced it yet.  My best guess is simply because they haven’t seen it yet, or they are basing their lack of interest on a poor viewing experience with 3D in a public theater.  At borg.com, we’ve got no skin in the game–we don’t work for or with the studios–we’re just after the best viewing experience possible.  And we’re completely sold on both 3D Blu-ray and the lesser discussed 2D/3D “upconversion” technology.

Distributors have been relatively slow at releasing 3D Blu-rays, the current standard for 3D home viewing.  Many films actually produced in 3D, like Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit series, are very quickly released now in a 3D Blu-ray.  Other films are converted to 3D in post-production, like Star Trek Into Darkness, and they are also released on 3D Blu-ray.  Both films look far superior to standard films–you can’t even compare the quality.  The distinctions between a true 3D film and a conversion are probably not all that noticeable to the average moviegoer with normal vision.  But what we’re focusing on today is something different.

Dathon and Picard in Darmok

A different category of conversion, called 2D/3D conversion, is available on certain affordable 3D televisions today.  This is a technology available to anyone with a 3D television that includes the upconvert technology and compatible 3D glasses.  For films, TV series, or even real-time live or pre-recorded television, this technology manipulates the images to create a real 3D experience for the viewer.  Sounds like a gimmick?  It’s not.  To test it, we tried 2D/3D upconverting on an episode of each of Star Trek, the original series, and Star Trek: The Next Generation.  The result?  We were blown away.  We think if you try it, you too will ask:  Why don’t we watch everything now in 3D, and why isn’t everyone talking about it?

If you’re waiting around for holographic TV, that’s pretty much what you’re getting here, too.  You can even get up and walk around without the 3D image going away.  The only thing you can’t do is walk completely around a floating object, which is what a true holographic TV experience should be.  But this is the next best thing.  We watched two acclaimed, classic Star Trek episodes, the original series episode “The Naked Time” and the NextGen series episode “Darmok” using a 3D television, a Blu-ray/DVD player and, for “The Naked Time” a remastered DVD version, and for “Darmok,” a remastered Blu-ray version.  We then applied the 3D television’s upconvert and easily adjusted the various 3D settings, such as “Standard” or “Cinema” or “Extreme,” tint, and brightness/backlighting, to create the best picture possible for the room lighting.

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It sounds better than it is.  Star Wars is back in theaters.  “See it again for the first time.”  Before 1999 this would have been incredible huge news, and of course in 1999 it was huge news.  Back then we hadn’t seen any new Star Wars movie hit the big screen since 1985, when the last reels of Return of the Jedi played in dollar theaters across the country.  And we all lined up around the block at theaters to see this new Star Wars, this time a big “prequel,” and what would be the film to define that word forever after.

The first time the words Star Wars appeared at the top of the familiar scroll and John Williams trumpets blared from nowhere, no audience was silent.  Star Wars Episode I:  The Phantom Menace was finally here!  And then the movie began.  And there was talk of tariffs…and…what’s that?  Tariffs?  Trade routes?  And the wincing started.  And it didn’t really end until Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith showed Darth Vader walking like Frankenstein.  I’ve always said the reason why franchises succeed is because of checks and balances and the involvement in every enterprise of several creative minds.  When one guy makes all the decisions, and presumably everyone around him is afraid to question his vision, the result is Episode 1.

That said, 1999 was a long time ago.  By now you have probably watched Episode 1 on cable more times than you would admit, simply because nothing else good was on, and, isn’t a little Star Wars universe better than no Star Wars universe?  And maybe you know some kids who weren’t going to movies in 1999.  If so, then, whether or not you love or less-than-love Episode 1, you’d be nuts not to grab that kid and go see it again.

Wait a second, what’s that you said about wincing?

I know.  You can come up with so many reasons to avoid this movie:  (1) Everyone blames Jar Jar for everything, global warming, the economy…  Personally, if George Lucas was aiming at kids just a bit with this character, then fine.  He’s only annoying when you consider being an adult viewer.  If Jar Jar was the only oddity in Episode 1, everyone would have little bad to say about the film.

Jar Jar, Qui-Gon, and Obi-Wan

(2) But you have to add to Jar Jar things like the stupefying midichlorians, an unwanted scientific explanation for the existence of Jedi that instantly shifted all this great space fantasy to questionable science fiction.  It was an unnecessary concept that made the possibility that anyone could become a Jedi, even young hopeful Earthlings, vanish.  You gotta have the noble blood.  Lame.  (3) And I already mentioned the pure excitement of discussing trade routes.  As a concept later in the prequel trilogy this might have worked, but as the first thing we saw, it started us out wrong.  (4) Then you have Queen Amidala.  What could have been used to explain the strength, leadership, and determination of Princess Leia became one of the most pathetic attempts at strong women leaders put on screen.  In Episode 1, she is foreshadowed to be paired with this much younger and smaller boy.  It all seemed so wrong.  In all three prequels she never gets to do anything, with all her greatness happening apparently off-screen.  (5) And to top off the bad, the one character we cared about, that we wanted to see, was never Anakin.  It was Obi-Wan Kenobi.  The guy who first whispered about the clone wars to us.  His past was key to everything.  And in Episode 1 instead of someone awe-inspiring we got a young, pompous, arrogant jerk with a goofy haircut.  We didn’t want to idolize Jedi Knights as protectors who were better than the rest of us.  We wanted Jedi who would stand shoulder to shoulder with the little guy.  Samurai, not WWII military police.  (6)  Phantom Menace as a title, announced well before the release, was indicative of the weird we’d get.  Luckily all the other titles were far better.  (7) Haven’t we already given enough of our earnings to the House of Lucas?  (8) One final thing (because we could go on forever):  CGI Yoda can’t touch Muppet Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back.  ’nuff said.

Amidala in Padme disguise

So there is a lot to wince at.  But then again maybe we should all just lighten up and go with it.  Criticizing Episode 1 is too easy.  Don’t be Simon Pegg in the TV series SpacedUnlearn what you have learned.  Why should I go to see it, you ask?

First, Darth Maul.  More specifically, Ray Park’s performance as Darth Maul.  If they didn’t get anything else right with Episode 1, they finally gave us a lightsaber battle worthy of the Jedi and an acrobatic athlete up to the task of taking on knights in space.  And Maul’s red center-handled lightsaber could not have been a better designed weapon.  Although we questioned the red face and horns, at the time we didn’t know that he was but the first in a line of several prospective alien lieutenants of varying races that were being tested to be the Emperor’s one right-hand man.

Qui-Gon, Kenobi and Zod (oh my!)

Although he was only half as cool as he should have been, with his stilted dialogue and inexplicable removal of a little boy from his mother (leaving her to be a slave!), Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gonn Jinn had a very cool look, and for what Lucas was attempting to do, he gave us a leader we all would happily follow.  And where he was lacking, we got to meet an even cooler Jedi, Mace Windu, played by Samuel L. Jackson.  His calm coolness worked, even if he didn’t get to do much yet.

Mace Windu hanging out

And one contributor to the Star Wars universe who never failed was John Williams.  His new score for Episode 1 was on par with Return of the Jedi.  Sure it was darker and less magical, but it reflected the story Williams was handed.  The seemingly never-ending pod race would have been far more painful without his new theme.  The “duel of the fates” of the climax would have been far less foreboding without his incredible soundtrack.

Composer John Williams

Next, the costumes were just awesome.  Check out all of Natalie Portman’s 3,761 dresses.  And the set design and sound can’t be beat.

Finally, the nostalgia and pure fun may be all the reason you need to see this one.  Anthony Daniels as C-3Po.  Kenny Baker as R2-D2Tusken Raiders on Tatooine almost changing the future of the galaxy with a single rifle shot at a little boy in a pod race.  Cameos by Warwick Davis and former Star Wars, Star Trek and Lord of the Rings fan club president Dan Madsen!  Emperor Zod as a good guy!

Kenny Baker, R2-D2 and Dan Madsen

And who doesn’t like 3D?  Just pop some Excedrin before you go.  It might help prevent the headache behind your eyes.

Besides, putting aside the way cool and creepy Daniel Radcliffe movie The Woman in Red, or the 3D version of Disney’s best animated work, Beauty and the Beast, what else are you going to see in theaters this weekend that is any better than the Star Wars universe in 3D?  Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close?  The Vow?  The Grey?  There are three great reasons right there to buy tickets for Episode 1 in 3D before they’re sold out.  And it might whet your appetite while you wait for a better film to return, Attack of the Clones, and then later the real fun begins–the original Star Wars in 3D and then The Empire Strikes Back in 3D.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

If you’re like me and you didn’t spend the day watching the Super Bowl but you still want to know what good ads you missed, never fear as we at borg.com spent the day either: (1) watching the 8th annual Animal Planet Puppy Bowl, (2) working around the house, (3) surfing the Web, and/or (4) spending the day outside, BUT we kept the DVR recording so we could zip through the game for some good genre ads.  And in no particular order here are some ads you won’t want to miss:

1.  I’ve seen billboards for weeks now advertising the return of Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace in a 3D edition, but had no idea this was just the first of the six films to be released in 3D versions and coming back to the big screen.   Personally I will probably go to Attack of the Clones and the original trilogy to “see them again for the first time” as the ads used to say (what does that mean, anyway?).  No one really wants to see pod races in 3D, do they?  Mark Hamill mentioned the possibility of a release of the original trilogy in 3D last summer.  Here’s today’s new promo:

2.  If you’re a fan of comic book movies, whether or not you’re particularly a fan of Marvel Comics characters you will no doubt get your money’s worth when we finally get to see a whole gang of superheroes in one film this May when Avengers: Assemble finally hits theaters.  Great things about this ad: more Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, the Hulk as part of the team, and more Iron Man than we’ve seen in past trailers.  Check it out:

3.  It is unlikely to get me to go out and buy a Honda CRV but if you’re like me and always wondered what happened to Ferris Bueller after he had his famous day off back in the 1980s, the closest thing we’ll likely see to a sequel is right here:

4.  We previewed the new G.I. Joe: Retaliation movie earlier here and here at borg.com (it made our most eagerly awaited films of 2012 list along with Avengers: Assemble).  This is a quicker ad but it confirms what we’d heard and hoped for, that Bruce Willis would be playing the original G.I. Joe, Captain Joe Colton:

5.  Volkswagen had fun with Star Wars references again this year.  If you’ve ever lived with or seen a greyhound in person you’ll totally understand the reference to these guys looking like AT-ATs from The Empire Strikes Back (The Bark Side):

6.  Volkswagen also went to great lengths in their other Star Wars-related Super Bowl commercial (those Animal Planet Puppy Bowl fans will love the first part, too!).  Isn’t it time for a TV series taking place in that old “hive of scum and villainy”?

Honorable mention for Clint Eastwood fans:

7.  If you just miss Clint Eastwood playing Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood talking tough may just be enough for you, as he talks over this pro-Detroit ad that aired at half-time at today’s game.  Is it just me or does his line “The world’s going to hear the roar of our engines” sound like Sean Connery talking about his nuclear submarine’s silent propulsion system in The Hunt for Red October?:

BTW, for Animal Planet fans, there were several good animal ads this year so go to this link at hulu.com to check them out.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com